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Menno Aden – Room Portraits

April 8, 2014 – 11:11 in Design | Calum

Menno Aden – Room Portraits

In a world of convoluted ideas, “sneaker art,” and Banksy’s wildly popular but relatively inane throw-ups, sometimes simplicity is the finest tool for cutting through the visual white noise. The work of Menno Aden in her recent series of Room Portraits is wonderfully powerful, yet there is no grand idea or set-up behind it. Essentially, it is a camera attached to a ceiling, but the results are fascinating. As is her reasoning behind the collection of work:

“The views into private homes and secret retreats bring up associations of the ubiquitous observation camera. The notion of surveillance is systematically played out by the artist to hint at society’s voyeuristic urge that popular culture has made mainstream.”

Check out the full series here. 

Design
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Content For The Sake Of Content

April 7, 2014 – 10:28 in Current Affairs | Calum

Content For The Sake Of Content

Websites need content, I get that. And it’s beneficial to do the occasional art post because it helps temporarily subvert the idea that we’re not all just shallow fucks who like looking at jackets. At the same time, you have targets to meet and ad-revenue to justify. So, perhaps that conceptual installation you put a photo of on instagram last week – which only received a paltry 12 likes and you’re sure at least three of them were from struggle brands – isn’t going to appeal to your readership. What do you do? You get an illustrator – fuck it, anyone half decent at photoshop – and commission them to combine a relatively ubiquitous figure or commodity (Bart Simpson, or a lego man, doesn’t really matter) and violently clash it with whatever the pinnacle of cool culture is for that week (let’s just say Bape or Tyler, the Creator – who cares, no ones going to really read it anyway). It’s banal, aesthetically turgid and generally lazy, but it seems to keep on happening. Despite it’s lack of any real conceptual background, I keep seeing Kanye remixed with vintage American War posters and the outcome is invariably terrible. The same goes for fictitious shoe collaborations, ‘what the NFL would look like if all the badges were designed by hipsters,’ and anything else that would get you laughed out of a community college graphic design course. Feed the hypebeasts, because they’re fucking idiots. Perpetuate mediocrity, because who really cares, right?

Content for the sake of content is my biggest gripe with websites of our ilk. Yes, we have to keep things ticking over and continually provide new content, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of at least some semblance of quality or insight. If it means you only post three articles a day, instead of 7, so be it. If this seems like a rant, it’s because it probably is, but I feel there’s merit to what I’m saying. Publications which treat their readers with a degree of intelligence are becoming increasingly rare and too often we are catering to the lowest common denominator. The rise to prominence of user-generated content over the past five years has certainly increased the number of media outlets within this small world of ours, but diversity of opinion and interesting contents seems to have suffered greatly at the hands of ‘staying relevant.’

There is a solution to all of this; stop posting unimaginative shit, but I doubt that’s an idea which is going to take hold.

Current Affairs
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Mac Demarco – Salad Days

April 7, 2014 – 09:38 in Music | Calum

Mac Demarco – Salad Days

Mac Demarco has a new album out and it’s pretty good. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of him until fairly recent and, therefore, I am unsure if that makes me almost cool or painfully late to the party, but I don’t really care. I first caught onto Demarco through his track Ode To Viceroy, which is an incredible, laid back number laced with psych vibes – it reminds me of summer and that’s definitely a good thing. I digress; his new album is called Salad Days and this is a pretty good interview if you want to understand more about it or the man himself.  I’m not good at doing album reviews, I leave that to those on here who are talented enough to do them, but you should definitely check it out.

Standout track for me was Chamber of Reflection.

Spotify linkage. 

Music
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World Cup Adverts

April 4, 2014 – 18:06 in Current Affairs | Calum

World Cup Adverts

My earliest memory of the World Cup is this advert. Released just prior to the 1998 French World Cup, it was by far and away the coolest thing my six year old self had ever seen. And that’s coming from someone who always preferred adidas, because no-one is ever going to come close to competing with the early iterations of the Predator boot – either in terms of design or just simply looking cool as fuck. Nike have, however, always had the edge when it comes to marketing and not even this Road to Lisbon ad – complete with Zinedine Zidane on a fucking moped – could knock them off their perch. Much of this is due to Wieden + Kennedy, the ad firm synonymous with the Portland-based sports manufacturer, who consistently appear to be operating on a whole other level from their rivals. Not everything they do is my bag, but when they get it right, it’s hard not to love the creativity and theatre which is abundantly apparent in their offerings.

Check out their Brasil 2014 video here. 

Oh, and if you want the magazine equivalent to Roberto Carlos leathering a football down the runway, check out Mundial Mag.

Current Affairs
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