Toby Shorin: The diminishing marginal value of aesthetics

Toby Shorin: The diminishing marginal value of aesthetics Red Shuheart, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/red_shuheart/38210802106
Cultural production is typically ignored by economists and technology writers. At best it is only addressed within the context of various media verticals: film, music, news, and so on. In this post I will begin to correct this strategic oversight by combining a theory of cultural production with some common frameworks for understanding technology a...
Continue reading

Rockstar is more than a feeling, it's a new programming language

Rockstar is more than a feeling, it's a new programming language Montecruz Foto, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/libertinus/4848597995
Rockstar, a new Turing-complete programming language, is " designed for creating computer programs that are also song lyrics, and is heavily influenced by the lyrical conventions of 1980s hard rock and power ballads." With tongue firmly in cheek, its name and format has been derived from the reference of "rockstar developers" by recruiters - so, th...
Continue reading

Online art market matures

Online art market matures Halfrain, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfrain/15134351524/
Hiscox has released its  ​Online Art Trade Report ​ for 2018, and it makes for interesting reading. The market is slowing and maturing; online art platforms are continuing to consolidate; and Instagram casts a long shadow over art consumers. Key points are: ​ Online sales are up 12%, but growth is slowing. Sales were estimated at $4....
Continue reading

Visual decay: new exhibition examines ways of communicating climate change

Visual decay: new exhibition examines ways of communicating climate change La Llareta #0308-2B31 (3000+ years old; Atacama Desert, Chile), Rachel Sussman
Critical to the mitigation of climate change is the communication of it, and the communication of its prevention.  ​Future Knowledge ​ is a forthcoming exhibition, taking place at our almost-neighbours Modern Art Oxford, where artists and designers show new work in response to the phenomenon. Work in the show includes  ​Loop ​, an aerial ...
Continue reading

We don’t need Elon Musk for an innovative tech industry

We don’t need Elon Musk for an innovative tech industry Web Summit, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/websummit/10707529713/
We all know that organisations are made up of many people, so why is it that the leaders get all the credit and most of the cash? In the Iron Man f ilms, Tony Stark, the president of Stark Industries, is presented as a wild innovator and technological genius. He swipes at virtual screens, cuts and welds, and stays up for days. This is what a boy wo...
Continue reading

Generative art finds its prodigy: an interview with Manolo Gamboa Naon

Untitled Detail from "bbccclll", Manolo Gamboa Naon
Manolo's work feels like it is the result of the entire contents of twentieth-century art and design being put into a blender. Once chopped down into its most essential geometry, Manolo then lovingly pieces it back together with algorithms and code to produce art that is simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. His work serves as a welcome (and nee...
Continue reading

Roca explores the history of urban planning

Ebenezer Howard, To-Morrow, 1898 Ebenezer Howard, To-Morrow, 1898
A new exhibition at Roca London, entitled The Data and Life of Great Future Cities , proposes that personal data “could be the key to better urban design”. With a title influenced by Jane Jacobs’ 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities , it also references work more recently undertaken by Marco de Nadia at the University of Trent...
Continue reading

Web Curios 07/09/18

Web Curios 07/09/18
HELLO EVERYONE I GO ON HOLIDAY TOMORROW FOR TWO WEEKS I AM SO EXCITED I MIGHT PROLAPSE! Yes, fine, I know that you personally couldn't give a flying one about my plans, but it's my blognewsletterthingy and I will open it however I like so  there . Welcome to the final Curios til 28 September, the last, wheezing gasp of Summer before we usher i...
Continue reading

Imperica update, September 2018

Imperica update, September 2018 Tony Hisgett, CC https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/5129805518/
Hello from a sunny Oxford. We have been busy in recent months with this site, not that you should really notice that. 8 years of content has been moved from an old CMS to a new one; the site has moved hosts; the mobile web version has been completely reworked; and the newsletter system, for Web Curios , has been given an awful lot of back-end ...
Continue reading

How a Beatles song about ‘revolution’ helped Nike become a billion Dollar brand

How a Beatles song about ‘revolution’ helped Nike become a billion Dollar brand
​Fifty years ago the Beatles released a single that sold over 8m copies – their highest selling 45rpm – Hey Jude . While Hey Jude made the greater impression, it was the B-side – Revolution – in which John Lennon addressed the global political upheaval of 1968 that has the more interesting story. Rare as it was for a pop song to address politics, t...
Continue reading

Web Curios 31/08/18

Web Curios 31/08/18
So, I went to Leeds. And I survived, but dear GOD am I glad it was only a day and that I am not 16 any more. WHY ARE YOU ALL TAKING SO MUCH KETAMINE, FESTIVALGOING CHILDREN OF THE UK? WHY DO YOU ALL SHOUT 'WHOOMP THERE IT IS'  EVERY TIME THE DJ DOES SOMETHING GOOD? WHY AM I SO OLD AND CONFUSED? Anyway, I felt old and baffled and basically like...
Continue reading

Web Curios 24/08/18

Is he going to be impeached? IS HE? Stop getting excited, nothing's going to happen for AGES and in the meantime there's still plenty of stuff that could get worse. Don't worry, though, because over here we've finally got a plan for No Deal Brexit! It involves evertything being incredibly fcuking sh1t! But! Don't worry though! Because Jezzus is goi...
Continue reading

Web Curios 17/08/18

Neville Southall Adult Baby Twitter Takeover. Take those words; taste them; roll them around your mouth and revel in their juicy savour. So rich! So DENSE!  I'm choosing to focus on the ridiculous rather than the awful in the intro this week, seeing as the past couple have been pretty frothy with fear and rage and seeing also as it's my girlfr...
Continue reading

Web Curios 10/08/18

Can we all agree that whilst Boris Johnson may himself not be a racist he's spent this week behaving in a manner designed explicitly to appeal to racists and that that's not really that much better? Good! Now we've got that cleared up, let's crack on with the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF. Given that Summer is now over (bet you wish you hadn't complained ...
Continue reading

Web Curios 03/08/18

Wife-beating, justice-perverting peddler of race-hate Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is out on bail! HUZZAH FOR FREE SPEECH! I am exercising mine right now in order to call all his fans and supporters intellectually moribund racists at worst, or credulous idiots being puppeteered by actual proper fascists at best! Isn't free speech great! BUT! None of you c...
Continue reading

Web Curios 27/07/18

Web Curios 27/07/18
HOT! SWEATY! DAMP! MOIST! SUPPURATING! ROTTEN! FETID! SEETHING! TURGID! All of the above - and frankly there would me more were I not, as ever, so desperately pressed for time - can be used to describe the sensation in our great capital this week as we edged ever closer to a full-on, heat-induced brainmelt.  Even worse, you've now clicked on t...
Continue reading

Web Curios 20/07/18

Web Curios 20/07/18 Wendy Stone
 I...I don't know  whats  going on. Do you? Can you tell me? Can you explain? Honestly, I seem to have totally lost the run of things this week, and am utterly confused as who to believe and what to think about  anything .  Do I believe Donald? Do I believe Vlad? Do I believe T'reese, or peaky-looking Jacob, or 'funny' Bori...
Continue reading

Is Facebook the future of the national census?

Is Facebook the future of the national census?
 E very ten years, governments around the world conduct their national census: a count of the resident population. This is no easy task. The 2011 Chinese census, for instance, was a vast operation relying on six million enumerators taking census questionnaires from door to door. Knowledge of a population's composition is crucial for government...
Continue reading

Best practices for reporting on the far right

Best practices for reporting on the far right @TrumpBabyUK
NY-based research group Data and Society has released a comprehensive report on how the media should report on the far right, called  ​The Oxygen of Amplificiation: Offering extremely candid comments from mainstream journalists, the report provides a snapshot of an industry caught between the pressure to deliver page views, the impulse to cove...
Continue reading

Web Curios 13/07/18

Web Curios 13/07/18
Oh Christ. What a MESS.  Look, let's focus on the positives - the kids got rescued!  What else? Eh? Oh.  Sorry everyone, I have literally NOTHING else today - it's all just TOO MUCH (and I have a lunch to get to, then theatre with a godchild, and then dinner with my girlfriend and then Fat Bob's birthday tomorrow and then, doubtless,...
Continue reading