RADAR is a series produced by WBPLabs -- a division of the WorkBook Project. The series is a timely, insiders view into the cutting edge of storytelling and creativity, and the attendant tools, tech, models and community.
This week, we bring back the blog with help from Diana Eng (RADAR ep 31 – Fairytale Fashion), and she made it easy for me, since I’m already a huge fan of most of her choices. She’s been quite busy lately, with her amazing line and increasing popularity in the fashion world, including her new collection of Laser Lace Tees and Tops. You can also check out her shop, as well as read up on her inspiration on her own blog.
How long can you nyan for? This very well could be the last thing the Internet ever needs, as it combines the holy trifecta of cats, adorableness, and utter randomness. Based off of PRguitarman’s original Pop Tart Cat .gif (I suppose toast is healthier?) times how long you can, well, nyan. It’s so addictive, though, that you can nyan for hours on end if you allow it. Added bonuses here include putting the site into different languages such as Japanese (makes sense), Nyan (exactly what you’d expect) and Catalan, giving double meaning to the .cat domain name. We may think it’s cute now, but once cats successfully conquer the Internet, the rest of the world will surely follow. So cute though!
This was Diana’s pick, but I have to interject here—this isn’t just one of my all time favorite songs, but possibly my all time favorite music video, and a big part of my inspiration for wanting to get into filming bands. A ballad off their definitely-classic-by-now debut LP Fever to Tell, it showed that the (at the time) rising buzz band Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and more specifically, lead singer Karen O) could do more than thrash and screech, but also create one of the most touching songs of the last decade.
Tina Fey is just one of those people who do pretty much everything right—30 Rock is still the funniest thing on TV after like, what, 5 seasons? Then there’s Date Night and Baby Mama, and the fact that after she left Saturday Night Live the only time people talk about the show is when they mention how far downhill it’s gone since then. So clearly she’s some kind of sorceress and we should all be terrified. Or you can read her hilarious book and hopefully absorb some of its power. If nothing else, reading it on the subway is sure to piss off the disgruntled former frat bros who still insist, “women aren’t funny.” Tina Fey just happens to be at the top of a long list of women who prove them wrong.
Talk To Me is a new exhibit at MoMA that examines the ways humans interact with objects. Every day we interact with things like computers and increasingly smarter phones, which in turn, interact with us. Talk To Me offers a look at the history and future of these interaction, going back to products from the 1960s and looking forward with some products in development. A lot goes into it—visual design, interface, information. In keeping with the theme, the organizers encourage communication and feedback from the visitors, ranging from suggestions from designers to visitor interaction using cell phones. Be sure to check out the blog as well.
Talk To Me
July 24–November 7
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019 EVENT INFO
Thingiverse and Ponoko
Diana has picked a couple of nice blogs for you to check out, specifically if you like, well, things and stuff. Thingiverse is a blog co-founded by fellow RADAR contributor Bre Pettis of Makerbot (RADAR ep 19), focusing on digital designs from ordinary people and realizing them through the use of machines like laser cutters and digital printers. In a similar vein is Ponoko, which is sort of like a digital Etsy (or rather, a more-digital Etsy), exploring the art of digital making even further.
What do you do when there’s a pothole in your street? Try avoiding it? Call the city to fill it in? Effective ideas, though they aren’t especially imaginative. With the help of Claudia Ficca and Davide Luciano, a couple of Montreal-based artists, these folks in several US and Canadian cities turned their potholes into works of art—at least temporarily. But the photos on My Potholes capture a number of whimsical moments created from minor nuisances. Watch as they turn common road hazards into swimming pools, donut fryers, gardens, rabbit holes, and more.
Noveller, a.k.a. Sarah Lipstate (RADAR ep 28 – Before I Die) has just released this gorgeous black and white video on her website for her song “Alone Star” off her new album Glacial Glow. Directed by Matt Kleiner, this video chronicles several days in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. It’s some powerful stuff when paired with the musical storytelling of this Brooklyn-based guitar goddess. Contrasting the busy city with vast desert, it creates a truly surreal scene.
Writer Ben McCool (RADAR ep 41 – Memoir) has a new comic series coming out this September, but in the meantime you can check out a preview of it as well as an interview with USA Today. Titled “Pigs,” the comic takes a gritty look at the Cold War, which if you can believe it, ended two decades ago this year. So now it’s far back enough in our collective subconscious that we can take another look at the whole terrifying era of mutually assured destruction, secret agents and the Cuban Missile Crisis and see that things weren’t quite as black-and-white as we all thought at the time.
Our friends at the Poetry Brothel (RADAR ep 20) are bringing it back this weekend, with a magical twist. The “whores” will be teaming up with a master magician for some old school, Houdini-esque illusions.
Sunday, June 12th, 8pm-1am
The Back Room
102 Norfolk Street
New York, NY
$5-$15 EVENT INFO
Newmindspace Bubble Battle NYC 2011
The folks at Newmindspace (RADAR ep 10) want to make New York a more bubbly, effervescent place for its residents. Join hundreds of other bubble battlers with your own bubble-making supplies, and let the air fill with soapy, prismatic orbs (and yes I was trying to avoid saying “bubble” again).
Saturday, June 18th 2010 @ 6:00pm
Rain or shine. Free and all ages!
New York, NY EVENT INFO
Second Avenue Sagas
New Yorkers, be honest, how often do you find yourself silently (or not so silently) cursing the MTA for all the service changes and fare increases? Second Avenue Sagas hopes to answer some of the questions as to why all these annoyances happen. What started as a blog chronicling the progress of the long-delayed Second Avenue Subway, is now a blog covering all forms of New York City transit, offering opinions, insight, progress reports, and ideas to make transit better, as well as listing all the weekend service changes every Friday. It’s a great place for New Yorkers to get informed and involved with the city’s decisions on transportation.
RADAR NYC 5.6.10 WATCH
Cindy Gallop on IfWeRanTheWorld.com
“IfWeRanTheWorld.com is a simple, playful platform that harnesses good intentions and downloads them into tangible, do-able microactions that anyone and everyone can do. IfWeRanTheWorld is about complete transparency – you are what you do. And it is with these same principles that we are developing IfWeRanTheWorld: what you experience today is an early, alpha release… read more
RADAR NYC 10.01.10 WATCH
This is the official trailer for Collapsus, a media phenomenon that will expand the limits of how different forms of communication work together to create a complete experience. The project is headed by Tommy Pallotta, producer of Waking Life and Scanner Darkly. Collapsus is set in the near future and details the effects of the imminent energy crisis… read more
Tech/Stories:An Interview With Henrik Werdelin At SXSW I attended the Scandinavia Tech Summit, a panel covering technology and media. Henrik Werdelin (@werdelin) was one panelist who stood out with his unique understanding of tech startups.
As disruptive technology is forcing the entertainment industry to either evolve or die, more creators should talk to smart people like Henrik.
Below is our interview.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is… read more
This week, we return to our contributor-curated series of blog posts with Lori Nix (RADAR ep 33 – Unnatural History). She found us a nice mix of beautiful works of art and some quirky, off the wall stuff–sort of like her own work.
That’s it, I’m officially jealous of the British. After outdoing us in music and comedy for years, they now roll out this oddly addicting TV spot for milk—which is undoubtedly a result of years of its creators spending too much time on the Internet. Because—and I’ve mentioned this before—the equation goes: cats + doing weird things = roughly 85% of Internet content. Also, note the strange milk cartons they use over there (hey, at least it doesn’t come in bags like in Canada).
Bodies of Water: Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink
The music from this extremely talented LA-based collective has this rolling, lively Spaghetti Western-esque epicness to it that hooked me pretty much immediately, sort of like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros without all the gimmickry. Ennio Morricone would be proud. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still enough theatrics and choral pieces to make this record the very definition of grand. Listen to it while walking down the street makes your life an instant musical. Just don’t blame me if people stare at you when you start singing along.
Despite new media’s repeated attempts to kill off the magazine once and for all (blogger’s note: hi there, sorry about that!), Hi-Fructose Magazine may be all the proof needed to show that there will always be a place for a beautifully-made, high quality, full color quarterly. Hi-Fructose aims to profile and discuss alternative artists, while at the same time dissecting what “alternative” means, bending genres and shattering norms in the process. Whatever you want to call it, there’s really some stunning work on display here.
You can pick up a copy at most bookstores, or check out their web presence HERE
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
It may still be a ways off, but Otherworldly at the Museum of Arts and Design should definitely be worth the wait. Lori Nix and other diorama artists will be showcasing their different creations, extremely detailed microcosms of worlds that are both realistic and surreal—glimpses of our world both as it is and as it could be.
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities
June 7 – September 18
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
$15 Admission EVENT INFO
New York Mag (and comments)
When Lori told me she liked to liked to read New York Magazine online to laugh at the comments following the articles, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. But I didn’t have to look far to find out—the comments section is a nice concentrated cross-section of the Internet as a whole. You’ll find cynical, snarky millennials, sarcastic storytellers, political pundits who insert their opinions of Bush and/or Obama into every conversation, and trolls of course, because trolls simply are and always will be—they are as deeply ingrained into comment threads as the Pope is into Catholicism. It’s worth a laugh on any day you could use a bit of a confidence boost.
hazel grian Welcome to Transmedia Talk a new podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia… read more
This week’s edition of RADAR NYC is brought to you by Marc Horowitz (RADAR ep 18 – Google Maps Road Trip). When we last checked in on him, he was working on The Advice of Strangers, a project where he had strangers vote on all his life choices. His latest project is a series of short video “studies,” showing a day in the life of things like talking random objects and dust. Many of his selections for this blog seem to fit the theme of “a day in the life,” whether it’s the life of a city or the life of an imaginative teenager.
Directed by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, Manhatta is a short film depicting the city in 1921. And it’s honestly amazing how much hasn’t changed since then—the film depicts shots of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry, as well as a few buildings modern New Yorkers would certainly recognize. These are things we see every day, just as we did 90 years ago. A series of shots filmed to show the creators’ love of the city, the stark images of steel and steam invoke a feeling of strength and power It chronicles a moment in the life of not just any city, but The City.
At first glance I thought this was a music video, but it’s actually much more than that. Martin Creed is a Glaswegian conceptual artist, though many of his works mix music and visuals. The song itself manages to be both catchy and chaotic, which contrasts nicely from the minimalist video of two dogs of (very) different size representing Thinking (the small one) and Not Thinking (the large one). It’s quite a funny juxtaposition, reflecting the different roles of consciousness and unconsciousness.
Zombie? Spaceship? Or wasteland? Take your pick, if you like awesome things. Or if you’re a teenager with an overactive imagination. According to comedian Patton Oswalt, these are the themes we tend to gravitate toward as young storytellers. Oswalt shares his thoughts on growing up in this hilarious memoir of his own experiences (of the three above topics, he picked wastelands), from dealing with relatives as a child to working in a “grim Canadian comedy club.” It should definitely be a great read for all those creative kids who grew up in the suburbs.
This week’s even goes out to our readers in LA. Roman Signer is a Swiss Artist who specializes in what he calls “momentary sculptures,” essentially small live installations that are captured on video. One work, “Barrel with Camera,” is of Signer placing a camera in a barrel and rolling it down a hill, though the video withholds this information until the end to give the viewer a humorous revelation. Many of his works invoke humor, ranging from slapstick to dark comedy, all laced with social commentary against pretensions. The art world could always use a bit more humor.
Ongoing through March 14
8687 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA EVENT INFO
News, Words, and Drawings of the Day
Finally, Marc gives us a few things to follow, including a couple we can follow on our smart phones. The Fluent News app gives us a break from the cacophony of all the different news outlets out there, and aggregates the top stories into a mobile newspaper that the viewer can customize to his or her own tastes. For all the language geeks out there, there’s the Dictionary app, which includes a Word of the Day feature for those of us who like to confuse our friends with our ever-expanding vocabularies. And this last one isn’t an app, but artist Lauren Nassef posts a new drawing every day on her website, ranging from current events (Gaddafi) to some rather beautiful vintage-esque portraits.
DIYDays NYC – Brian Chirls [vid] In the media industry, gatekeepers traditionally wield extraordinary power over creatives, as they hold artists’ dreams in their hands. This imbalance has led to a bizarre set of standard deal terms and practices that would seem absurd in any other industry. Now that artists have the power to reach their audiences directly, these old ways are obsolete. Before entering the… read more
RADAR NYC 12.17.10 (via www.fuckedinparkslope.com)
Marc Horowitz Advice of Strangers
Now, we suggested a few weeks ago that you follow Marc Horowitz (RADAR ep18 – Google Maps Road Trip) in his latest project, The Advice of Strangers. For the month of November, he put up his daily decisions to a poll for his followers to vote on, everything from who to vote… read more
RADAR NYC 8.13.10 WATCH
Story Pirates – Tickle Monsters Are Robots
Check out the “Tickle Monsters Are Robots!!!!,” video from Story Pirates, who were featured in our latest RADAR episode (RADAR 30 – Story Pirates). There are many children’s entertainers out there, but none are quite like these guys, who actually draw their material from the children themselves. They go to schools, have… read more
This week’s installment RADAR NYC is brought to you by Mary Mattingly (RADAR ep 17 – Waterpod), a well-known New York-based visual artist who uses a variety of different mediums from photography to living installations to explore themes of different relationships. She shared with us some things that inspire her and offer a glimpse into her world, including a book from a famous experimental composer, an Italian organization that focuses on smart city planning, and an avant-garde turntablist from Peru. And while they all come from very different backgrounds, each of the artists she chose have something in common – they all find creative and brilliant ways to reevaluate things that are part of our everyday lives, from time to silence to the city itself.
Christian Marclay – “The Clock”
This is kind of amazing. Would you watch a clock for 24 hours straight? What if it was the most captivating clock ever? Artist Christian Marclay spliced together thousands of film clips from across the history of cinema, each one referencing a different moment in the day. So think of whenever a movie character looks at his or her watch, or mentions what time it is—Marclay has somehow crafted an entire day out of these moments, and presents it in real time, as a living clock. So if you tune in at 8:37 a.m., that’s what time it will be for the characters on screen. The Clock will be showing at the Paula Cooper Gallery until February 19.
Frazey Ford has lived quite an interesting life. Born in a Canadian commune in the late 70s, she spent the 80s traveling Asia with her family. Then in the late 90s, she formed the Canadian band The Be Good Tanyas, which split in 2008. And just last year, she released her debut solo album, Obadiah. The album is full of wonderful soulful folk (or is it folky soul?) that’s definitely worth a full listen, but the song “Blue Streak Mama” stands out particularly well. It has a distinctive blues-rock feel to it, sort of like a female-fronted Black Keys. But with more stripped-back instrumentation, the amazing vocals and lyrics take center stage and really shine through.
I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it.
-John Cage, “Lecture on Nothing” (1949)
Composer John Cage was a pioneer of American experimental music and one of the most influential American composers of the 20th Century. His most famous composition, 4’33”, consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds without a note being played, and instead encourages the listener to focus on the sounds of the environment as it is played. Silence is Cage’s first book, published in 1961, made up of a collection of essays and lectures he wrote from 1939 to 1961, including “Lecture on Nothing,” quoted above. It is also his best known book, in which he discusses the nature of writing and ideas.
Maria Chavez is a Brooklyn-based experimental turntablist from Peru. She uses both new and broken needles (she calls them “pencils of sound”) on different records to create live sound installations, of which no two are ever exactly alike. Above is a live video of Chavez at a show in Queens last November. You can see her use a variety of different objects to create her sound, including (very) broken records, showing that a turntablist can many things beyond getting people onto the dance floor. She’ll be joined by harpist Shelley Burgon at The Stone on March 1.
Tuesday, March 1 · 8:00 pm
East 2nd Street @ Avenue C
New York, NY 10009 EVENT INFO
As we make our way through the 21st Century, one important issue for all urban-dwellers is the ever-growing and changing landscape of cities. Any New Yorker can attest that cities continue to grow quite rapidly. Cluster is a non-profit organization based in Turin, Italy, which seeks to answer these questions, looking for innovative and creative ways to plan and design modern cities. Their goal, to improve and revitalize urban life, has already helped Turin to become a cultural center in northwest Italy, and now they want to reach out to other cities in Europe and beyond, from improving drinking water in Haiti to experimental architecture in Brazil.
FINDING VALUE IN OPEN SOURCE Every minute of every day successful, talented, intelligent and often technically brilliant people give up their extremely limited free time to contribute to open source… read more