Friday 30 August 2013

High rotate

This dropped a few weeks ago - a tiny little gorgeous snippet from Frank Ocean

Actually, let's go back a ways to an old favourite Frank Ocean track, pre-Channel Orange

Icona Pop and Zebra Katz dropped this cover of My party just in time for a friend's 30th this week

And for no other reason than the fact that we can - Tears For Fears' cover of Arcade Fire's Ready to Start.

Monday 26 August 2013

Tweet this. No, *this*.

I've wondered over the last few year whether public speakers are crafting their slides and their key points for optimal tweetability; say, 100-120 character long type-bites, to allow for their handle and a hashtag to be included. When you spend a lot of time on the platform - as I do - you start to experience a familiar sense of let-down as your favourite lines of essays and poems prove to be those crucial few letters to long to share easily with the world.

Clearly others have been thinking about this. Reading this article about Saturday Night Live auditions in the New York Times magazine, I saw for the first time this automatic tweet extracter:

The subtle little tweet icon (the text and icon highlight when you hover over them) carries over the text to your Twitter client, so all you have to do is click send

As you can see, it's not necessarily a direct extract. The edited tweet is adjusted for the medium, adding handles and a link. It's like the services that let website owners add a link to copied and pasted text (such as Tynt), which capitalise on what Alexis C Madrigal calls 'dark social', only someone has put a second level of thought into how the content might be best shared, as well as written.

Going back and looking at the work Seb Chan did at the Powerhouse a few years ago, using Tynt to trace which parts of collection item descriptions were most frequently copied and pasted, and suggesting that this analysis could be used to craft those descriptions, I wonder whether we'll soon start seeing this method used on museum websites, especially on event and exhibition listings and news items. It's an extra layer of content creation, but if newspaper editors feel it's worthwhile now, I have the feeling we will too soon.

Friday 23 August 2013

High rotate

Next month I'm driving up to the opening of MTG Hawkes Bay (check out their awesome blog). Naturally, this means roadtrip playlist! Few things excite me more these days.

I think the key to a good roadtrip song is an emphatic riff or chorus that holds up well when belted out while driving that little bit too fast. On that basis, some recent listens that have made it onto my playlist ...

Haim's Falling - the combo of the repeated 'I know!' and 'Falling ... falling falling .. falling ... falling falling'

Let's have two Haims, actually, since I've been thrashing their stuff lately: the Shania Twain-esque The Wire is also damn appealing ... 'It felt right ... HEY! ... it felt right'

Fabienne's Smokescreen takes things in a more R&B direction with a great shout-along chorus: 'In between, in between / you and me / stop stop stop stop / building up the smokescreen'.

The Cooper's Summer's Child is every throw-away summer guitar-led pop song you've ever heard, but 'Sun shining on your face  / you are a summer's child' is sure fun to yell along to.

And because you also need something moody and croony on a roadtrip playlist, and Banks does moody and croony so well - 'What if I never even see you cos we're both on a stage / Don't tell me listen to your song because it isn't the same / I don't wanna say your love is a waiting game'.

(Though again with Banks; you should learn all the words to "Before I ever met you" - preferably this Sohn remix - and rage along with that some time that you need to. )

Wednesday 21 August 2013

On the radio

Today on the radio I'll be talking about the Judith Dobrzynski article I posted on last week, and a court case in New York over privacy versus First Amendment rights.

High Culture Goes Hands-On - New York Times

Judge upholds artist’s right to photograph unsuspecting neighbours - The Art Newspaper

Monday 19 August 2013

Do what you love

You know how sometimes a writer puts together an article on a thought that's bounced around in your head a lot, but when you see it written out, you think 'Oh, wow. You miserable old bugger'. Well, yeah.

Try reading it with a soundtrack of Machines Are People Too's 'Do What You Want'

Friday 16 August 2013

High rotate

Swim Good's 'Summer Solstice' is one of those songs that, as you're listening to it, you're sure you've already heard it. Catchy, poignant ... pity about the petering out ending.

More catchy, summery guitar-led tunes, this one courtesy of Atlas - 'Coin'

And more of my current crush - Oh Land's 'My Boxer', a slightly eerie song with a great hummed riff. Sadly no embed available, but you can listen on Soundcloud.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

All hands

A recent article in the New York Times by Judith Dobrzynski ruffled a few Twitter feathers earlier this week. Titled High Culture Goes Hands-On, the opinion piece asks whether our arts institutions, in an effort to meet the demands of an audience that increasingly thinks in terms of 'experience', are forsaking their traditional strengths and becoming more homogenous as a result.
Some of these initiatives are necessary, even good. But in the process of adapting, our cultural treasuries are multitasking too much, becoming more alike, and shedding the very characteristics that made them so special — especially art museums.
It's an interesting argument. The Sleep No More phenomena - which had museum thinkers flogging themselves to think of ways to bring the aesthetic and involvement of interactive theatre into galleries - caused me to wonder whether museums and galleries have a quiet but deep envy of their more immediately, physically affecting cousins: dance, theatre and music.

At the same time, decrying the programming of a Martin Creed work as experience-seeking - a desire to 'activate' the museum - seems a little offbeam.
In ages past, art museums didn’t need activating. They were treasure houses, filled with masterpieces meant to outlast the moment of their making, to speak to the universal. Visiting one might be social — you went with friends — but fairly passive. People went to see beauty, find inspiration, experience uplift, sometimes in a spiritual sort of way. Museums housed their heritage, their raison d’être.
The Creed work Dobrzynski focuses on - Work No. 965: Half the Air in a Given Space - is interactive, experiential. That's how the artist made it. That's how the museum is obligated to show it. Any other decision would lose integrity. And that seems to me to be where Dobrzynski goes a little off-kilter here: it is not necessary the museum approach that has changed, but the art. Sure, museums are responding to the reactions they see from audiences (who do, by and large, enjoy experiential works) but they are also responding to generations of artists who have decided to make the viewer or visitor part of the work.

Dobrzynski concludes
For decades, museums have offered social experiences — the fact that you can talk while you’re in the galleries has always given them an edge over the performing arts — and that is good. Now is the balance shifting too far to the experience? Are they losing what makes them unique? Should museums really follow the path of those “experience” businesses?
This made me think about standing in front of Duchamp's Étant donnés at the Philadelphia Museum of Art earlier this year. That work needed me. It needed me to press my eyes up against that wooden door in order to make it seen. Did this make my visit any less reverential, moving, unique? No. It made it what the artist wanted it to be.

Friday 9 August 2013

High rotate

Let's get happy, shall we?

Polarsets' 'Just Don't Open Your Eyes Yet' is one of those songs that when you first hear it, you already feel like you know it - in a good way. Play it LOUD. Maybe even dance around a little.

Dive In's 'Let Go' is one of those catchy summer songs - cheerful, disposable, and none the worse for that.

Oh Land's 'Renaissance Girl' has a bit more edge to it, but still that uplifting falsetto chorus
And finally - who doesn't need a bit of A$AP Rocky mixed with Britney Spears in their life?

Thursday 8 August 2013

On the radio

This week on the radio, I talked about two examples of conservation with lasers, a major digitisation project at the New Museum, a museum in a liftshaft, and gave a quick plug to the ongoing good work at