Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Somewhere in the clouds of  news stories on the web, I found BoingBoing wrote about some interesting bit of research done by a PhD student Danah Boyd.  In a catchy titled research called “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?”,  Danah neatly reiterated the fact that Social Media is what we need in order for us to satisfy our undying need for conversation and communal cohesion as well as our desire to explore, share and express.

In the research, she also talks about five properties of social media and three dynamics, as quoted below.

1. Persistence. What you say sticks around. This is great for asynchronicity, not so great when everything you’ve ever said has gone down on your permanent record. The bits-wise nature of social media means that a great deal of content produced through social media is persistent by default.

2. Replicability. You can copy and paste a conversation from one medium to another, adding to the persistent nature of it. This is great for being able to share information, but it is also at the crux of rumor-spreading. Worse: while you can replicate a conversation, it’s much easier to alter what’s been said than to confirm that it’s an accurate portrayal of the original conversation.

3. Searchability. My mother would’ve loved to scream search into the air and figure out where I’d run off with friends. She couldn’t; I’m quite thankful. But with social media, it’s quite easy to track someone down or to find someone as a result of searching for content. Search changes the landscape, making information available at our fingertips. This is great in some circumstances, but when trying to avoid those who hold power over you, it may be less than ideal.

4. Scalability. Social media scales things in new ways. Conversations that were intended for just a friend or two might spiral out of control and scale to the entire school or, if it is especially embarrassing, the whole world. Of course, just because something can scale doesn’t mean that it will. Politicians and marketers have learned this one the hard way.

5. (de)locatability. With the mobile, you are dislocated from any particular point in space, but at the same time, location-based technologies make location much more relevant. This paradox means that we are simultaneously more and less connected to physical space.

Those five properties are intertwined, she says, and their implications also carry following three social dynamics.

1. Invisible Audiences. We are used to being able to assess the people around us when we’re speaking. We adjust what we’re saying to account for the audience. Social media introduces all sorts of invisible audiences. There are lurkers who are present at the moment but whom we cannot see, but there are also visitors who access our content at a later date or in a different environment than where we first produced them. As a result, we are having to present ourselves and communicate without fully understanding the potential or actual audience. The potential invisible audiences can be stifling. Of course, there’s plenty of room to put your head in the sand and pretend like those people don’t really exist.

2. Collapsed Contexts. Connected to this is the collapsing of contexts. In choosing what to say when, we account for both the audience and the context more generally. Some behaviors are appropriate in one context but not another, in front of one audience but not others. Social media brings all of these contexts crashing into one another and it’s often difficult to figure out what’s appropriate, let alone what can be understood.

3. Blurring of Public and Private. Finally, there’s the blurring of public and private. These distinctions are normally structured around audience and context with certain places or conversations being “public” or “private.” These distinctions are much harder to manage when you have to contend with the shifts in how the environment is organized.

The first blog post in the brand new sizzling hot year of 2009!! Hope you’re feeling non-taxated and somewhat adrenalised in this post festive period.

There’s no doubt 2008 was a year full of doom and gloom with so many twisted  ironies and occasional idiosyncrasies, but I’m impatiently waiting to see what 2009 holds for pop-culturalist, sub-modernist trends inspectors like me.

So before I choke to death with my own excitement, here’s some interesting trend forecasts freshly delivered from the web:

General trends

Jeremy Gutsch at Trend Hunter:  Hot Trends in 2009 Forecast

Predictions: DIY crafting, Hollywood virals, Shockvertising, Geek pride, Humanisation of pets, Style over tradition, Pop gaming, Brag materialism and Political Remixing.

Art

Telegraph: Top 10 websites for art in 2009

The Independent: Highlights of 2009: Art

Prediction: Don’t think anyone knows it yet!, I reckon  it’ll be the usual wacky, harebrained, controversial, extremely talented and non talented stuff. Apparently, Linz, the Austrian city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009, excited to see what the city regorges up with.

Music

Guardian Music: Hotlist 2009

The Vine TV: UK music predictions 2009

Predictions: 2009 will be the year of pop sensation Clare Maguire, and a  host of other bands and artists, as listed below.

  • Florence and the Maching
  • Everything Everything
  • Golden Silvers
  • Little Boots
  • The Big Pink
  • Doves
  • Antony & The Johnsons
  • White Lies
  • AutoKratz
  • And the mighty Franz Ferdinand comeback album!

Fashion

Fashionising: Fashion Trends 2009

Trend Hunter: Spring-Summer 2009 Fashion

Predictions: 2009 SS Women’s fashion will consist of wrecked denim, fetish garments, fairy tale dresses, see-throughs, flat abs and all other things that I’m happy to ignore.

Consumer technology

Telegraph: Future technology: our predictions for 2009

Digital Trends: Tech Trends for 2009

Predictions: Touchy feely screens, Netbooks, Blu-ray players, live-streaming technology and more social networking shabangs.

The web/Social Media

ReadWriteWeb: 2009 Web Predictions

Lightspeed Venture: Consumer Internet Predictions for 2009

Predictions: Free web, Virtualisation, Better social media management tools and more mashups.

Science

Telegraph: New Year 2009: Leading thinkers offer predictions of ‘next big thing’

Predictions: Radiotelepathy, green energy technology, genetic re-engineering, Artificial Intelligence, personal genomics and funnily enough the End of Optimism.

shoreditch postersLast weekend I decided to extend my cool hunting beyond the usual digging of the search engine ditches and hit the streets of East London to experience its booming street art scene for the very first time.

I wasn’t in the mission on my own, as I joined a two dozens of art hungry bloggers on a Street Art tour around Shoreditch, which was extremely lucky of me as I was given a crash course in street art by a graffiti whizz kid Michael Vandalong and a resident Art expert Romain of Fubiz . As a result I discovered street art in the form of graffiti ( D*Face, Sweet Toof, Sickboy and Eine), stencils (Banksy, TEK13) , posters (Obey, Jim Cereal and Mike Marcus), mosaics (Invader) last but not least paintings from Barry McGee and Patr2ism.

The tour was part of a wider campaign called Gofindit from Ford Ka, which aims to encourage people to explore the city beyond just the obvious.

As a final note, I’d like to give massive thanks to Robin and Sandrine at We Are Social for bringing in an amazing Art and Mars bar filled afternoon. You can see eclectic mix of photos from our tour on Flickr and a short video clip below.

If you’re interested in organising your own street art tour, please be sure to visit StreetArtLocator , a google street art map mashup for a start.

While watching this ad video from Adidas, as posted on Brentter, I couldn’t help but think how much the modern service industry has evolved with new and absurd services are being branched out to solve problems in our increasingly complicated existance. Named Break-up Service, the ad’s promotes the Adidas Originals Safety Collection through a  humourous storyline plucked from the real life Wakaresaseya service culture in Japan, whereby people hire a specialist who’s more than capable of  just delivering the bad news to their spouses.

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Earlier this week, I got accidentally introduced to Do the Green Thing, a creative movement with an underlining purpose to foster change in people’s perception towards the issue of excessive consumption in the face of global warming.

Founded by a group of friends who worked in creative industry in 2005, the aim of the project is to change the ways in which people foresee the issue and call for creative communities and individuals to promote wider behavioural change through art, music, poetry, the internet, photography, video, collage, mail-art and all else.

No matter what the governments and the media say about global warming, we’re still consuming, wasting and generally trashing our environment, but with a bit of creative spirit we can at least start making a shift in our stinking old attitude and carve new ways to live whilst still manage to have lots of fun in the process. Honestly, how bloody hard can it be?!

Take below video as an example, in which a talented illustrator Guillaume Cornet demonstrates All-Consuming themed sketches using up every last bit of a pencil on every last bit of a page.

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Just few days ago, one of its founder Andy Hobsbawm gave this highly commendable speech at the TED conference.

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While the instantly gratified polaroid fun is increasingly becoming a thing of the past, the fans of the polaroid camera are vigorously campaigning to save it in the face of discontinuation of polaroid films by Polaroid Corp. The real thing maybe no longer on manufacturers’ list, but the subculture of polaroid photography still lives on. And Interestingly, it has taken a completely new form of production with the advent of Poladroid, the coolest “IT” web app of the moment that allows you to create polaroid image out of existing trash snaps. A hat tip also goes to Polanoid community who keeps the instant fun alive and burning with its ongoing projects like weekly themed polaroid photo competitions.

Where's Emily? (Polaroid Collage)  © Nina Buesing

Where's Emily? © Nina Buesing



The culture analysts at Wired posted a great piece about the evolution of emoticons, a simple text expressions that existed long before the World Wide Web itself. I’d never known who exactly invented it, but it turns out that it was Scott Fahlman, an innocent computer scientist at Carnegie-Mellon University, who first proposed using typographical smiley faces to make the collective life at the campus bit more cheery, back in 1982.

But what is more significant Wired says has happened to internet language is that, not only emoticons has become a part of our daily internet communication but it has also become an icon on its own right that it has outgrown the internet and has been capitalised upon in every ways.

While emoticons are still very much thrown into nearly every emails I write (emails often asking people for favours), other keyboard languages has sprung up to shake up the Queen’s English grammer that even proper linguists can’t keep up with it. These languages are  LOL Speaking! and L33t Speaking. The former is a type of language popularised by the LolCat phenomenon and often fetishised by people who thinks their cats are clever or funnier that they are. As for the latter, Leet Speaking has been mysteriously used by die hard gamers and the internet wizards. Leet or l33t language involves using numbers to replace certain letters (mostly vowels) such as A = 4 or E = 3, to create words like d00d, n00b and l4m3r. See the result in the video below.