Posts tagged art

Misc. links Apr 5th - May 1st

Bruce Sterling’s essay on the New Aesthetic. This is an interesting read, even if it did nothing to counter my ambivalent feelings towards the New Aesthetic. On one hand, I like it, the idea. Even if the ‘official’ blog — which I follow — feels a lot more random than a ‘movement’ should (but perhaps I’m mistaken in expecting something like a ‘movement’). I like to think that at last we figured out an aesthetic for the early twenty-first century, that it is our generation’s Futurism, this time centered in CCTV-obsessed Britain rather than in automobile-obsessed Italy. On the other hand though, I may also believe the New Aesthetic is just a bandwagon, a neatly packaged brand for journalists and lazy curators and critics. Consider John Whitney. BEFLIX. The demoscene. The comparatively long history of Glitch art. Software art. Consider Thomas Ruff’s eroded JPEGs touring the world’s art museums (museums!). Cory Archangel’s tweets about 1990s ‘New Aesthetics’. From this perspective, the New Aesthetic seems like a brand invented by the same kind of savvy people who came up with concepts such as ‘creative industries’ and made a killing living off artists and craftspersons. But then again, most art ‘movements’ didn’t ever exist as such.

Journalist Alexis Madrigal calls for a post-Facebook future (mind you, what the article is really about is the increasingly diminished returns of social and mobile software). I’m all for new things, but the current situation was expected after the initial push to develop applications that leverage ubiquous broadband internet and mobile hardware with built-in sensors (mainly camera and location/GPS) pretty much consolidated. I think that now is time to take a deep breath and start figuring out what happened, what worked and why, and what it means. Bring in the academics.

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age. The authors, Olia and Dagan, blog interesting stuff found in the Geocities torrent rescued by Archive Team. Funny I can’t even remember what was my old Geocities address.

PHP: a fractal of bad design is a very thorough critique of everything that is wrong with the programming language. However, I don’t believe it is constructive to attack PHP developers (such as your truly) as an horde of illiterate, masochistic fools that refuse to use proper tools. Such attacks grossly underestimate the pull of PHP’s being a good enough language for web development — incredibly easy (eg. XAMPP) to get into, well documented, and widely supported by cheap web hosting providers. It’s flawed (eg. I must reemphasize the ‘well documented’ aspect of PHP’s success, given how unintuitive its function names are sometimes) but allows me to do a quick ‘sketch’ of a webpage, hit ‘refresh’ and (often enough) voilá!, it works. And it is this ‘sketching’ (a word I’m borrowing from Processing) aspect that I find vital. To go with the author’s carpenting analogies, most people are building small houses — maybe a shed, maybe a greenhouse to keep the flowers. They don’t need complicated ‘scaffolding’ like in Ruby or Python frameworks. They just need to be able to sketch.

Wired’s piece on deciphering Stuxnet, a real-life spy technothriller.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera. That Canon 5D Mark III is so last year.

An economist’s Six Rules for Dining Out. Some of his tips seem pretty universal: seemingly strange dishes at fancy restaurants must exist for a reason and are probably quite good; listening to lots of conversation means people are waiting a lot more than eating (so loud restaurants should be skipped); and dining establishments in very good locations (eg. with lots of tourists) afford to be bad and expensive, and should often be avoided.

The Brain on Love: what happens.

Procrastiworking: is what I do. As for the “creative success” part, the jury’s still out.

The World’s Longest Invoice. I’d have a couple of submissions for the Portuguese version. Just saying.

How Art Works? by Tymek Borowski and Pawel Sysiak. I really recommend you take twelve minutes to watch this to the end.

Art desperately needs a resurgence of ‘coarse’, earnest artists. Forty years of evolution of the least common denominators between conceptualism, the postmodernist outlook of history, the liberal markets and the academic tradition led to a vicious cycle of non-stop bullshitting in the art world, which fed both the speculators and the dandies who brought about the twin curses of ‘creative industries’ and hipsterism — which in turn eventually led to this guy.

So let’s ‎”try to communicate as simply and directly as possible, even if it sounds stupid.”

I guess I’m going through a deliberately defective images phase. Here, have some Notendo.

I remember when animated GIFs meant loathsome banner ads, rotating logos and other artifacts of 1990s bad and distractive webdesign. So it is perhaps the greatest and weirdest of all atavistic reemergences of a dated technology (after all, the GIF is a rather limited image format — with a palette of 256 colors max, with optional 1-bit transparencies — with an unsophisticated run-length compression algorithm, noted only for its ability to contain multiple frames) that the animated GIF became the new art form of the 2010s.

Anyway, sooner or later this looping animation madness had to come to its logical endgame, so here it is (not pictured above, so not to spoil it for you): the Procatinator.

By the way, here’s my humble contribution to the GIF+cats memepool, done with my Lomokino.

I never knew exactly what We Are Unreasonable People was. Probably it was just an outlet for a certain class of stuff I made, and a few friends also did. Probably these are the sort of artifacts people call ‘art’ — except others rarely called these as such.

Anyway: I redesigned the homepage and adapted some of the works for nowadays (eg. some videos still required Real Player or Windows Media — ugh!). If nothing else, it’s a relic from pre-blogging, pre-Flickr, pre-YouTube days, a short era in which people who wanted to show stuff on the Web got dirty with HTML and made up a homepage.

Maybe I — or someone else — will come up with new Unreasonable stuff soon.