Poetry for sale

Poetry for sale “Hilltop”, McCann-Erickson for Coca-Cola, 1971
Canto 1: A masthead for my ambition A teenage bedroom, mid-afternoon. In amongst the posters you might expect – bands you will never hear of apart from one glorious summer, a goalscorer who who will never trouble a net, a pitch, the record books ever again – lurking – no, not lurking but blaring from the a wall, a flash of red: postbox, traffic lig...
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Fontikon: turning ancient fonts into digital artefacts

Fontikon: turning ancient fonts into digital artefacts
We have covered Rome-based designer Michela Graziani before. With her Symbolikon project, Michela documented and then adapted the world’s symbols, recreated into digital fonts that wrap up the past and offers a new, vibrant future. With  ​Fontikon ​, Michela is looking to do the same with ancient typefaces and fonts. It’s a great project, so l...
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How pandemics past and present fuel the rise of mega-corporations

How pandemics past and present fuel the rise of mega-corporations Richard II meets the Peasants’ Revolt, 1381 / Wikimedia Commons
June 1348, people in England began reporting mysterious symptoms. They started off as mild and vague: headaches, aches, and nausea. This was followed by painful black lumps, or buboes, growing in the armpits and groin, which gave the disease its name: bubonic plague. The last stage was a high fever, and then death. Originating in Central Asia, sold...
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Afro hair is finally given digital representation

Afro hair is finally given digital representation Hexmaniacanna
Artist and designer A.M. Darke decided that enough is enough when it comes to poor representations of afro hair in computer graphics. So much so, that she is creating an open source hair library for afro and other under-represented styles. Black hairstyles are confined to specific genres of computer gaming such as basketball games - and even t...
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Entombed: a video game that no-one really understands

Entombed: a video game that no-one really understands
​ ​Entombed ​ is a video game for the Atari 2600 console. It's a really simple game: get through a vertically-scrolling maze, avoiding the baddies. Oh, and there's one thing: it's not a really simple game. We lied. It  ​really isn't. ​ OK, we lied again. The game is simple, but the way in which the game was developed has overtones of 4D Chess....
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Art Derivatives: where artworks are culled, digitised for fun and profit

Art Derivatives: where artworks are culled, digitised for fun and profit
Paolo Cirio, a longtime favourite of Imperica (cf. Attention , 2019), has launched  ​Art Derivatives ​.    The website has scraped over 100,000 Sotheby’s records from their past decade. They are republished to  ​Art Derivatives ​, and sold by Cirio as digital reproductions - what Cirio calls financial derivatives -&nbs...
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Zoom security: I’ve researched problems with video conferencing for years – here’s what you need to know

Zoom security: I’ve researched problems with video conferencing for years – here’s what you need to know Chris Montgomery
The video conferencing app Zoom gained about 2 million new users in the first two months of 2020 – and that was before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. With so many people now relying on video conferencing for contact with their friends, family and colleagues, it's no wonder Zoom has seen a significant inc...
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Internet culture is anxiously celebrated in new book

Internet culture is anxiously celebrated in new book Social Cut
​Art in the age of anxiety ​ is the title of both a book and exhibition; the exhibition was scheduled to be held at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE, but has been cancelled due to COVID-19. An age of anxiety, indeed. The book remains on track and is edited by Omar Kholeif. We first met Omar in 2013 when he was at the White Building (RIP). Now ...
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Rent a gob: AI service allows people to say your every word, for a fee

Rent a gob: AI service allows people to say your every word, for a fee “Max Headroom“, 1985
You’ve probably heard of Cameo, where... er... celebrities who need a few quid are matched with users who want a personalised message. You have also, no doubt, heard of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) where human faces can be mapped and recreated as almost-human moving, talking heads.  Alethea AI is a new service which sm...
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Pandemic panorama: new report on post-COVID consumer behaviour

Pandemic panorama: new report on post-COVID consumer behaviour Gian D
The Protein community - a sort of crowdsourced group of strategists, co-ordinated by Shoreditch‘s Protein trends/media organisation - has come together to answer a question. That question, in the light of COVID-19, is:  ​ “What are you really going to change?“ To produce the report‘s content, Protein surveyed 1100 of its members in early ...
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When a glut of misinformation is folded into a plethora of half-baked science, you get two pandemics

When a glut of misinformation is folded into a plethora of half-baked science, you get two pandemics Engin Akyurt
Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are getting used to hearing the fanfare of new discoveries which either herald a new treatment or a horrific mutation of the Coronavirus genome that will result in disaster. Some of these come with a calculated purpose; some come from scientists and journalists putting ideas into the wild before they are fully-...
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Databrick: take yourself to your next place

Databrick: take yourself to your next place
Databrick is a new project which aims to develop a hardware device that stores information about a property and its residents - some of which stays with the property, some of which stays with its residents when they move. The idea is actually rather simple. It connects to data points regarding both property and residents - such as ownership (L...
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On the New Normal

On the New Normal
The  ​Wunderkind  ​that is Tobias Revell has built a site which scraps Twitter for definitions and interpretations of that most contemporary of terms: the new normal... actually, let’s call it the  New Normal. To paraphrase Jeanette Winterson, why be happy when you could attempt to predict the New Normal? Many people and organisation...
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When ad agencies merge: yet another case of unappetising alphabet soup

When ad agencies merge: yet another case of unappetising alphabet soup
We haven’t covered McGarry Bowen in a while - or, as it is styled,  ​mcgarrybowen ​. Part of Japanese agency giant Dentsu, it is the product of a few mergers over the years, including in the UK, where Dentsu’s UK arm was rebranded as McB and folded into the wider group. Dentsu has shuffled the deck around a little and the agency is now, so&nbs...
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Lidl fluffy clouds: discounter wants to host your web applications

Lidl fluffy clouds: discounter wants to host your web applications Mitch Hodge
Lidl, or rather its parent company the Schwarz-Gruppe, is creating a competitor to Amazon Web Services. If you’re not aware of the size of Amazon Web Services, usually shortened to AWS, then here goes: it generates $40bn in sales per year, grows at 30% annually, and takes around 15% of Amazon’s revenue. It’s unquestionably the largest web and appli...
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New Led by Donkeys campaign spells out the unfolding disaster of the UK’s COVID-19 strategy

New Led by Donkeys campaign spells out the unfolding disaster of the UK’s COVID-19 strategy
Led By Donkeys is a group which has had mixed success over the past couple of years. Started by a group of friends on an anti-Brexit ticket, it ran some excellent and professional campaigns on exactly that strategy, both before the 2016 referendum and after it. However, since then, its style, which mocks up quotes to looks like Tweets and then runs...
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Māori ethics guidelines for IOT, AI and algos are published

Māori ethics guidelines for IOT, AI and algos are published Mt Aoraki, Aleks Dahlberg
The Māori people of New Zealand now have a set of guidelines on some of the more cutting-edge consumer technology out there. Developed by doctoral researcher Karaitiana Taiuru, the guidelines are for New Zealand projects looking to engage with The Māori people and their data. You might be wondering... why? Well, here’s Karaitiana to ...
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Zoom to chase the day away: now the BBC gets in on virtual backgrounds

Zoom to chase the day away: now the BBC gets in on virtual backgrounds Blankety Blank, BBC, 1983
The Zoomification of our lives, where the ubiquitous web conferencing service has become the platform for choice, is finally complete. Its - entirely justified - privacy concerns were largely ignored by a user base who, through Facebook and GDPR, are used to Not Really Being Arsed About It any more. Zoom has succeeded because it has removed mu...
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Why 5G conspiracy theories prosper during the coronavirus pandemic

Why 5G conspiracy theories prosper during the coronavirus pandemic CreepCreep
  As the coronavirus pandemic has gathered momentum, so too have explanations for how the outbreak started and what is causing its spread. Among these explanations is a theory that the recent rollout of 5G technology is to blame. Many countries are witnessing increased numbers of groups warning others about the dangers of 5G. In the UK, Austra...
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Talking heads remain in light: Hypercam offers a distortion of your image

Talking heads remain in light: Hypercam offers a distortion of your image
Kim Albrecht’s Hypercam is a playful way to mess around with your video presence in a more abstract way than Snap Camera. ​Born out of the ubiquity of Zoom - something of a totem for those staying indoors, spending hour after hour on a video call -  ​Hypercam ​ allows you to distort what your camera shows to the recipient, based upon...
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