Friday 21 June 2013

Web Curios 21/06/13

28.01.13 - Missing Circumstances. Rye Lane, London SE15 28.01.13 - Missing Circumstances. Rye Lane, London SE15 Garudio Studiage, Photo of the week

GAH! SO MUCH TO DO! I am meant to be going on a stag do in about 2 hours; that's not going to happen. I simply don't have TIME to do a linky recap of stuff that's been going on this week - look, BrazilSaatchiSyriaInternetpr0nVICEGraffitiStuartHallCannesLions...there you go. There's been other stuff too but that's probably covered below. Happy Friday, EVERYONE - read, enjoy and bask in the skin-flaying intensity that is a full week's worth of Web Curios. I'm off to soak my typing fingers in a waterbath for a bit.


By Henry Faber

  • Look! They Done Made Video!: Well, not them exactly, but hipster subsidiary Instagram. This has been massively overtrailed and discussed, so we don't need to spend too much time on it here. Suffice it to say that it's a direct response to, and competitor for, Vine (you can read the head-to-head feature comparison-list here, but the main differences are based around editing (better on Vinestagram) and embeddability (you can only do it on Vine, so far)), and that you're going to get incredibly bored of seeing people's shoddily made videos of their cake-smeared progeny clogging up your Facebook feed over the next few months (and indeed for the rest of your natural life). This is, as per the norm with Facebook, MASSIVE for advertisers and brands (some of whom have already started making CONTENT, for which I for one am oh-so-grateful) - watch the branded videos start getting made and then promoted MERCILESSLY through FB promoted posts, etc. Not to mention the extension of Instagram's offering to advertisers which can only be a short while away. Here's some thoughts by someone more professionally interested in this topic than I am (it's not hard) on what this means for all you ad folk - read this whilst enjoying the tooth-grinding post-Cannes comedown!
  • New Analytics!Look! Slightly different numbers you can use to prove to your clients that spending £72,000 per year, excluding VAT, on a bunch of graduates to post pictures of sullen cats on their Facebook pages really is a good idea! This slight update to FB analytics will (eventually) give Page admins more details beyond 'People Talking About This', and show broken down numbers for 'Likes', 'Shares', clicks, etc, on a per-post basis. So you can all try and ignore the fact that everyone stops caring when brands talk about anything to do with their actual business or products. BACK TO THE CATS!!!!
  • Photos in Comments!And you will imminently be able to use photos in comments. Which is going to lead to a load of HILARIOUS meme-led conversations as everyone else discovers rage faces 3 years after 4chan and reddit got bored of them. I really do hope that some FORWARD THINKING (read: happy to get fired) community manager institutes a 'we are only responding to Facebook comments in pictures' policy. DO IT. 
  • They've Made Ads Linking to non-Facebook Pages BetterI'm so bored by this that I literally can't bring myself to type any mo
  • An Interesting Look at Why FB Doesn't Really Do Ads Very WellIn a week when it basically admitted that it owes its million+ advertisers EVERYTHING, this is a decent overview of why Facebook's ad products really aren't as good as they ought to be.
  • Another Year, Another Spurious Figure Placed on the Value of a 'Fan'I'm including this because it's so utterly ridiculous it's funny. If you want to read the whole 'study' you'll need tto sacrifice your email address and download a PDF, but it's almost worth it. Apparently a Facebook fan's value "has increased 28% to $174.1"!!!! WHO ARE THE IDIOTS WHO BELIEVE THIS RUBBISH?!?!?! With any luck, your clients!
  • No, Wait, Come Back, We're Making Vines Better!Hm. A short, speculative piece on some apparent improvements to Vine which Twitter may roll out soonish. Will it be enough? Which platform is going to WIN THE SHORTFORM VIDEO WARS? Oh dear God, is this what we have become?
  • Who's Tweeting From What, WhereVery cool map visualisation showing tweets posted, worldwide, and the mobile devices they're posted from. Aside from being oddly visually compelling, I can imagine how this might be quite useful in terms of seeing geographical concentrations of Twitter users, and device adoption. Maybe.
  • What People Tweet About, WhereSome information about what people share on Twitter. Useful from a stats point of view, and interesting in regard to the amount of tweets linking to social media vs news. 
Report-y Industry-y-type Things
A Load Of Other Things, Including Some Campaigny Things You May Already Have Seen at Cannes But Were Too Messed Up To Remember:
  • MySpace Relaunches!*tumbleweed*
  • Campaign at CannesA minute-by-minute rundown of the past week's backslapping, should you wish to read all about it.
  • Foursquare + NY Public Library = TIME MACHINE!: This is clever, and I am surprised it's not been done before (but maybe it has). 4sq has partnered with the New York Public Library to serve historical images and information to people who check in near to certain locations around Manhattan. This should just become a standard thing that people can do, I think - it would be lovely to be able to zoom back in time a few hundred years wherever you where and whenever you wanted (basically I want an actual time machine).
  • Heineken IgniteNice little techy hack for Heineken bottles in a Dutch (I think) club. Now combine this with the Buddy Cup thing that Budweiser did and you have a rather nice thingy.
  • Renault - Single Tank DestinationsRenault have developed a web app to promote some car or another (look, I don't drive, I barely understand how cars work) which apparently goes very far on one tank of petrol. The app shows you all the places you could go from your current destination on one tank, tells you how to get there and gives you info about the places you could go. Cute. 
  • Surrender Your SayThis has been everywhere amongst UK advermarketingpr folk over the past couple of days. A campaign from Canada to raise awareness of Tourettes, which allows people to hand over their Twitter feed to their website for a day; users' who participate will see themselves tweeting unexpectedly Tourettic things to their followers, with the hashtag #surrenderyoursay and a link to the site. Nicely done, although the main takeaway from this is that we are as a nation still childishly obsessed with the condition (although it does give me yet another excuse to link to this, which sort of proves that point really). 
  • True Blood's Bad ThingsYou know the famed webart project Post Secret, which asks people to send in their deepest, darkest anonymous secrets on a postcard? Well HBO TOTALLY ripped it off as part of their campaign for sex-and-vampires series True Blood. Well, almost - people submitted anonymous confessions and the advermarketingpr folk paired them with images from the show and then squeezed them out through social media. Dispiriting.
  • Hell Is Other PeopleA Foursquare hack which allows you to see where your friends have checked in recently and so avoid them. Brilliant an useful, and surely to be coopted in some fashion by one of those 'why not have a secret affair?' dating websites. 
  • Gum HeroDo you find people chewing loudly and visibly upsetting, rude or just a bit gross? Skip this one, then. This is a promo for a chewing gum brand, who created their own bespoke version of Guitar Hero in which players were required to chew in-time to win PRIZES!
  • Donate Your Mobile ChargeSmart little promo to encourage blood donation in (I think) Brazil - why is it that there's so much good work coming from that country at the moment?
  • Cleverest Thing Of The WeekA really ingenious music promo, creating the virtual stylus for mobiles. It's hard to explain; just watch the damn thing and wish you'd thought of it. 
  • Finally, Red Bull AgainDanny MacAskill is a Scottish BMX person (it would appear). This is a short film made by Red Bull showing him being amazing at being on a bike. It's so, so good - really worth watching the whole thing, as it shows all the reasons why Red Bull are good at this sort of thing. Also, please note, that it was 2 years in the making. GOOD STUFF TAKES TIME AND MONEY. Now send it to your client and wait for them to tell you that they want one too, next week, for £500. 
Happy Death, by Maurice Heesen

A Miscellany Of Interesting Curios From This Week's Internet, Pt.1:

  • Deletionist PluginTurn any webpage into a piece of erasure poetry with this little plugin. You can make some accidentally rather beautiful things with this, have a play.
  • Protests in Sao PaoloA great set of pictures from this week's huge protests in Brazil. It's amazing to think that this was all started by a proposed increase in bus fares - straws, camels, backs, etc. Oh, and this Vine gives an idea of the scale of the demonstrations - impressive.
  • The Edges of the World on Google MapsThere are places on this earth where even the Google Streetview car cannot go beyond. These are the pictures of those places - literally the ends of the earth - makes me want to go away and just WALK. 
  • The Periodic Table of MuppetsThis didn't really need to be a periodic table, but whoever designed it evidently knows how to get stuff shared on the internet. LOOK, MUPPETS! ALL OF THE MUPPETS!
  • A Potentially Useful Colour Matching Palette-tool ThingyWebsite which lets people fiddle around and match colours, palettes and the like. It's quite fun, and I imagine quite useful if you're a web designer or brand person or, perhaps, if you're decorating your house and want to know which particular shade of puce the dado rail should be. 
  • Google Colour Theory[SEAMLESS!] Google image searches for certain terms, boiled down to won colour. Ever wanted to know what colour the official arbiter of everything (that is, Google) dictates is the official shade of, say, 'business'? Now you can. 
  • The Chromatic Typewriter[SO SEAMLESS!] An old-school typewriter (now I come to think of it, a tautological statement, but hey ho) which has been doctored so that it types colours rather than letters. The results are beautiful. I think every home should have one. 
  • A Guide to Safer CommunicationOr, 'A Webmong's Guide To Stopping THEM Snooping On You'. A whole list of tools and websites which you can use to encrypt or hide your communications from the snooping eyes of the NSA or indeed anyone else who you might not want to see it. Contains the obligatory reference to TOR, which I feel a duty of care to point out is the gateway to everything that is REALLY WRONG AND SCARY on the internet (Maria Miller may be amazed to know that there are other places to find BAD STUFF other than Google). 
  • The Mobile BreathalyserMany years ago, I came up with an idea to have breathalysers in pubs to let drunk people have official 'let's see who's drunkeshhhhhht!' competition with each other (I was a teenage genius, evidently). Now that glorious idea has practically become a reality with this add-on for smartphones which allows inebriates to guage the exact level of their drunkenness. This will, I am sure, ONLY be used responsibly. Hmm.
  • NYC Partners with NextdoorI think that this is REALLY interesting. Nextdoor's a hyperlocal social network, designed for small communities - the city of New York is working with them in an as-yet-unclear fashion, but probably experimenting as to how to use such micronetworks to deliver very targeted local information to residents in a personal fashion. I think that this could really catch on - oi, Boris, copy this please.
  • My Daughter QuinoaA Pinterest board collecting images of the author's imaginary well-dressed toddler, Quinoa, along with captions detailing her inner fashionista monologue. Funnier than it has any right to be.
  • Fretboard HeatmapsFamous guitarists' most-used notes, depicted on fretboards. Not only a cool project, particularly if you're a guitar fanatic, but also the graphics are rather nice and, I think, would make rather lovely minimal posters. 
  • There's An Irish Die Antwoord Tribute Band Called 'Die Antrim'A pointless fact that pleased me this week.
Paint, by the fabulously-named Marcel Christ

A Miscellany Of Interesting Curios From This Week's Internet, Pt.2:
  • Taxidermist and Their Dead, Stuffed FriendsMike McGregor took this series of pictures of taxidermists with the creatures they work with. It's hard to tell who's got the creepier dead eyes. I once met a man in Fort Louden, Pennsylvania, who freeze-dried cats for a living. He was an odd man, who insisted that he's received several requests from people to freeze-dry them after their deaths. I wonder what happened to him? OH MY GOD THE ARTICLE STILL EXISTS - I took these pictures (they are terrible).
  • Classical Sculptures Dressed As HipstersYes, that. What's brilliant about this is that it draws out how beautifully human the faces, poses and attitudes of some of the best sculptures of antiquity were / are (cf these ones). And the fact that, you know, HIPSTERZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
  • Hovertrax!You know how people look really stupid riding Segways, except the police who instead simply look incredibly futuristically sinister and oppressive? Well get ready to usher in a whole new era of stupid-looking transport options with Hovertrax, something which looks so ridiculous and dangerous that it can't possibly catch on. Can it?
  • The Gay Vatican Cabal's Favourite WebsiteVenerabilis is, it would appear, a community dedicated to 'homo-sensible' Roman Catholic priests. You will only get the most out of this if you speak Italian, but it really is quite remarkable. Also, the 'we are being watched, communicate ONLY via SMS' Twitter feed is really quite the thing.
  • Vintage Superheroes In The Style of PixarJust excellent work.
  • Kill Online SlideshowsYou know how annoying it is when you click on that link you've seen with the description 'The 50 hottest Kate Upton GIFS' and it turns out to be a bloody slideshow that you have to click through and you get all frustrated? Er, yes, yes you do. This is a brilliant service which lets you plug in the url of any web slideshow and automatically turns it into a single page. SO GOOD. 
  • The New York City Municipal ArchiveNYC has put its municipal archives online. You can lose yourselves in a truly immense collection of images, videos, audio, maps and all sorts of other things - a truly amazing piece of digital archiving and an incredible resource.
  • So You Think You're An Athlete?You're not. Marathon Des Sables? PAH! This takes 52 days and is about 2.5k miles and sounds frankly MENTAL. 
  • BlaBlaBlaBla is part interactive film, part art project, part 'game', but isn't really any of those things at all. It's an interactive animation project which uses a variety of techniques and styles to tell a series of short vignette-based stories about LIFE and human interaction and stuff. Go and have a play.
  • The Mars Rover Megapixel PictureMars! A really, really high-res picture of Mars! It looks a bit cold and lonely, to be honest.
  • Airport Carpets - The Archive: Mapping the carpets of the world's airports, because it's important that we have an adequate archive of these things so future civilisations can marvel at our artistry.
  • "Elmo, Where Did Daddy Go?"Heartbreaking. A Sesame Street toolkit helping explain the incarceration of a loved one to small children. I've got a really awful gag knocking about in my head about The Count going from one to LIFE :-(.
  • The Vine DatabaseThis is an awesome tool which allows you to search through ALL OF THE VINES by hashtag, keywords, etc. This is SO MUCH MORE than a really useful tool to find 6-second bongo clips. No really, it is. As this piece about the making of it states, Vine is about memories - I'd actually not thought about it like this before, but it rather resonated with me as a theory. Oh, and as a bonus, have the new, revamped VinePeek (which is now called VPeeker, and is still a MASSIVE timesink).
  • WeMojisPeople replicating the expressions seen in Emojis. Silly, but fun, and you can add your own to the database if you want your face to be immortalised looking really silly for strangers to laugh at. 
  • The Best Origami In The World, EverIt's so good that it's hard to believe that there's not some cheating going on here somewhere. Astoundingly skillful. 
  • Portraits of Mysterious-looking DogsOstensibly a series of pictures of dogs, this photoseries by Martin Usborne is about depression and all sorts of other things. Gorgeous pictures and, once you read the description of why they were taken, a thought-provoking project.
  • Incredible Photographs of Mexican Gang Culture: Carlos Alvarez Montero is a photrographer who originates from Mexico City. These are a selection of his pictures of Mexican gang members. I wouldn't mess.
  • Make the NSA Follow You On Twitter: Triggertreat is a website which autogenerates a series of words and phrases which are on the NSA's 'watch list' of trigger terms and lets you tweet a sample selection of them. The theory being that the feds (there is NOTHING more silly than a British person using this term, I have just realised - sorry) will IMMEDIATELY spot this and start tailing you online. OH THE LULZ!
  • My Dad Was In A BandActually this should probably be up the top, being as it is a smart piece of marketing for a documentary about a band called 'Death' (called, conveniently, A Band Called Death), but I like it enough to chuck it in alongside the REAL stuff. Anyway, a nice little blog asking people to submit pictures of their parents in bands. Some cool nostalgia here, and also an object lesson in clever advermarketingpr.
  • BBC Radio4 in 4 MinutesIf you listen to R4 as much as I do, then this will be FRIGHTENINGLY resonant. Has catapulted itself to the top of my list of middle-class litmus tests...
This is 'Vessel' a hammock/bath designed by Splinter Works. WANT.
  • Cartoons From Police ScannersA series of short cartoons inspired by the stuff you overhear listening in to police scanners. Makes me quite glad I'm not a policeman.
  • ContainerisationA collection of pictures showcasing the weird industrial beauty of containers. Industrial art pr0n, basically. 
  • Justin GigerWhat would you get if you crossed 'troubled' multi-millionaire pop-cyborg Justin Bieber with the insectile and biologically obsessed art of HR Giger? This tumblr, is what.
  • The Bieber ComicSpeaking of Justin Bieber, here's a comic about him. It's...odd, and contains hand-drawn Bieber-wiener. 
  • Game Design TipsYep, those. A selection of not-dumb thoughts about game designe. Videogame types should take a look.
  • Britpop TextsPictures pf Britpop stars of yesteryear (see if you can name them all!), captioned with Texts From Last Night. Occasional gold. 
  • Kanye Vs CannesWho said it - narcissistic millionaire egomaniac and now-babyfather Kanye 'Yeezy' West, or some schlub from the advertising industry living it up on Le Croisette? YOUR CALL!
  • Food ReplicatorStar Trek-themed recipes. This is possibly the geekiest thing on here this week, which frankly really is saying something. The food doesn't actually look too bad, though, if you ignore the Trekkie rubbish (SORRY).
  • Reasons My Son Is CryingPictures of crying kids, with explanations. Man, being small is HARD,
  • Mean Mad MenStills from Mad Men, captions from Mean Girls. Fits almost too well.
  • My Addiction To IronyOh McSweeney's how do I love thee? SO MANY WAYS. This isn't actually very long at all, but it is an excellent piece of writing and brilliantly captures a recurring conversation I've had with my mate Jim which will mean nothing to you. THIS IS A PROBLEM FOR ALL OF US.
  • The Credit Rating Agencies Are ScumYou know how it felt through large swathes of the GFC that the credit agencies were just fcuking with us? OH LOOK THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! I honestly think that this should be a bigger story than it is - so much of this mess was exacerbated by their actions, after all. Although, having said that, I don't know who I expect to do anything about it (or care, really).
  • The Dragonmaster of Central Park: I'm not going to lie, I almost cried at this - there was a proper huge intake of breath at the end type-of-thing. It's not sad in the conventional sense, but there's something really poignant about the story of Blackwolf (nee Richard), the Wizard of New York. Read this one if none of the others - it's really worth it. 
  • The NYT On InnovationA really interesting NYT feature, looking at the nature of innovation and the 48 greatest innovations as they see them. Not only a fascinating read, but nicely laid out in a webdesign sort of way.
  • Gary Winogrand and the Art of PhotographyBrilliant (but VERY long) piece about photographer extraordinaire Gary Winogrand, whose name will probably be familiar to you if you're into the medium.  Looks at his life, his works, his obsession with taking pictures (he left over 1/2million exposures when he died in 1984, which in the analogue age is an astounding number) and his incredible body of work. Some great photos in there, as you'd imagine. 
  • Hunter S Thompson and the Art of JournalismThe Paris Review gives us one of the greatest invterviews with Thompson I've ever read. Such a good piece of writing and journalism. As a bonus, have the 60-second speedrun animation of Fear & Loathing. You're welcome!
  • The Irritating Stylistic Tics of TwitterAn article looking at the annoying phrases and stylistic conventions which have become popular on Twitter. There are some in here which are rage inducing, and some which I'm pretty sure I have done myself. You will recognise and, potentially, cringe. 
  • On Twitter and WritingExcellent thinkpiece in the NYT about how Twitter interacts with the writing process and what using it means for people who write for a living, or want to, and how it fits with the creative process, and all sorts of other things besides. One of those great pieces which makes you think about something we've sort of normalised (ie Twitter) in a fresh way. 
  • Leaving The Internet (sort of, for a month)After that bloke who left the internet for a year and found that doing so didn't magically cure him of all the internal personal issues he'd been struggling with, comes this story of Baratunde Thurston, a terrifyingly alpha and successful human being who I imagine MAXIMISES HIS LIFE and repeats motivational mantras to himself in the mirror and probably isn't afflicted with any of the self-doubt and night-terrors that the rest of us (oh, ok, me) get, who left the internet for A WHOLE MONTH! I KNOW! Actually more interesting than you'd think, and a broader look at how to unplug from stuff even if you're HYPERBUSY and successful and stuff. 
  • On Stealing Jokes, Heckling and Rape GagsPatton Oswalt on the aforementioned issues. A really interesting perspective from a pro comedian, and some deep thinking (man) on the culture and mores of comedy.
  • A Night Out In MagalufNot a great week for VICE, really, but they've in part redeemed themselves by featuring ANOTHER excellent piece of writing by Clive Martin, who's rapidly becoming my favourite person writing about anything in the English language at the moment. So, so good

1) I'm going to ease you into this week's selection of videos with a cute, soothing little piece of pseudo-pschedelia - the LSD alphabet. Beautifully made: 

2) So, so, so clever, this. An animation using over 1,600 Instagram pictures to create this stop-motion clip, which is not only technically clever but shows a degree of wit and imagination not always visible in these things. The only down side is the title - I'm not totally sure that 'Instagramimation' is forgivable:

3) I don't really understand why this exists, although I get the feeling it was done as part of some Norwegian charity telethon. Nonetheless, who needs explanations when you have a cast of minor celebrities from around the world, selected with no apparent unifying criteria, singing along to 'Let It Be'? NOONE, THAT'S WHO! Also, look, it's the bloke who played Carlton in the Fresh Prince!:

4) Who is John Mayer? Did he used to date poor Jennifer Aniston? I don't really know and I don't care enough to Google it (IN YOUR FACE, CELEBRITY CULTURE). Anyway, he makes music. I find this song a bit so-so, but it's salvaged by the video which is a true piece of craftsmanship and contains all sorts of brilliant techniques, and lenticulars which I'm a sucker for, and it's lovely. WATCH:

5) I never thought I'd get so enthused by a video that effectively repeats the same pull-back tracking shot over and over again whilst what I perceive to be a fairly tedious piece of electo, but then it got to 1 minute in and I sort of got transfixed (and no, not because of the naked woman who appears at that point, I promise). Really, really well-made and stylish and just sort of cool - this is Gesaffelstein with 'Pursuit':

6) Yung Lean is the most hipster musician IN THE WORLD right now. That doesn't mean that I don't rather like his video for 'Hurt', which is all sorts of flavours of teen emo mashed together into one glitched-out, Pokemon-infused mess. No idea what's going on with the song, mind:

7) This is the hairiest music video you will ever see, ever. Breach, with 'Jack':

8) Oh, Die Antwoord. I was apparently wrong when I thought they'd stopped doing their thing, for here is a BRAND NEW SINGLE called Cookie Thumper. The video's as odd as we've come to expect, and the song...well, the song's about anal sex. Some other stuff too, but mostly that:

9) My favourite song of the week comes from Robots Don't Sleep, with Don't Wake Me. A filmic, summery video with all the standard KIDS WANT FREEDOM AND ESCAPE tropes, but most significantly a lovely tune:

10) Last one for this week, and I'm going to have to do something very un-Curios here and warn you that it contains some pretty nasty / distressing scenes, and woman-on-woman violence (not in any sort of sexualised, voyeuristic or pervy way, but still). There's a bit in here that still makes me recoil, and I've seen it a few times and know it's coming. Still, I think it's an excellent piece of work, and that it has something to say so I'm including it. Caveat emptor, and all that. This is 'Tiff' by Polica, featuring Bon Iver: 


That's it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you're reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.


Matt Muir

Matt Muir is interested in lots of different things, and as a result rather likes the internet. Web Curios is a weekly(ish) snapshot of what he has found interesting this week. You can find Matt on Twitter, where he's quite good. In his spare time, Matt tries to ignore the web as much as is humanly possible (not very much, it turns out).

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