For Mason, all this is also pretty clearly manifested in this year’s most iconic archetype: the tent community which springs up in the midst of the city, usually home to the flickering blue light of laptops and the incessant hubbub of intense conversation. “One thing that there has been in common between the Arab spring and the European and American events is this drive – which is almost pathological – to secure space, and live in it,” he says. “In one sense, it’s a meme … and I think it does satisfy a desire. Once you’ve lived and experienced this sort of spontaneous, communal, utopian sort of existence online, which is what you do if you’re a net-savvy young kid … well, put it this way: if you were to ask yourself, what is the real-world equivalent of being in a 200-strong World Of Warcraft horde? It’s probably sitting in a square, in a tent.”
Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration — music, food, good works, what have you — is expressed in those terms.
The small business is the idealized social form of our time. Our culture hero is not the artist or reformer, not the saint or scientist, but the entrepreneur. (Think of Steve Jobs, our new deity.) Autonomy, adventure, imagination: entrepreneurship comprehends all this and more for us. The characteristic art form of our age may be the business plan.
On a Tumblr, every kind of memory could be collected and streamed, linked, as so many of the “f*** yeah” genre are, by a single word. Vintage ads and color samples, quotes from literature and scenes from movies, new product, old furniture, cleaning tips and housewives’ economiums. All these things would sit easily next to each other (and, I believe, attract a larger following) on Tumblr. A book seemed like it might be just another vanity production, dead and not living a second life of likes and reblogs and potential new fans. A Tumblr seemed generative, and potentially creative. It only took me two years, but I felt like I was finally thinking in Tumblr.
What I’m most drawn to about the show is its spectacular range of high imagination. It’s not the naïve, kitsch-fated imagination that we now associate with the heyday of the World’s Fair (or with its contemporary descendant, the trade show). It’s the kind of imagination that provokes, entertains, subverts, amuses, and changes the way the viewer thinks not just about the future, but about the present. Best of all, many of these objects express narratives and critiques—often at the same time—that transcend the bounds of the plausible, by design.
- AB: A number of interviewers have asked about your use of Twitter in Zero History, but I’m more interested in the Gabriel Hounds line, which is this very high quality, very rare brand of denim clothing. Like Cayce’s Buzz Rickson jacket in Pattern Recognition, it’s an almost fetishized revisiting of an older fashion, an older technology, yet still highly functional in addition to being cool. Is this how nostalgia plays out in an increasingly atemporal culture?
- WG: That stuff is all very literally real, and I watch it playing out in our culture. I don’t know what it means, but I find it poignant, and admire and am friends with some people who do it. My friend Kiya, in San Francisco, will sell you a pair of $600 jeans, but only if you really want them. If you ask him why they cost that much, he’ll probably shrug and tell you you don’t need them. And his clientele isn’t particularly wealthy. Passionate, in a way. But I don’t see it as nostalgia, which I assume ordinarily to be the conservative modality. It’s about pushing back at the shabbiness of simulacra, maybe. Kind of a William Morris move for the 21st Century.
On May 12, 2009 astronaut Mike Massimino made history with the first Tweet from space.
This is a photo [of] a Predator drone getting ready to take off from an airbase in Khandahar.
If it looks a little odd that’s because it was taken with an iPhone using a camera application called “Hipstamatic” that post-processes photographs and makes them look like they were shot and developed using colour film from the 1970s. Note the addition of the faux-paper “border” around the image.
This is all kinds of weird. This is a photo taken with a device that more than any other collapsed not just the financial but social barrier to people taking a particular kind of networked mobility, an by extension maps, for granted. It’s a photo of a machine that is forcing people to confront a whole new set of questions about war and technology; about accountability and moral authority. In a place that the US has been fighting a war for the last ten years. Dressed up in a summer dress from 1974.
It’s a beautiful photo. It’s also profoundly weird. There’s no going back.” —A refreshing lack of laptops — Aaron Straup Cope (via paperbits)