Another week, another set of people yapping away at each other on the internet in the mistaken belief that what they say matters. Earlier this week, the web watched AGHAST as two sets of people pitted themselves against each other in a BITTER WAR OF WORDS, in what turned out to be a massively unedifying spectacle both for the journalist involved and, frankly, for everyone else who participated.
I believe it was contemporary urban philosopher Ferris Bueller who once said ‘Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it’ (NB – on reflection, I don’t know why I wrote that; I hate people who ascribe deep significance to the throwaway utterances of fictional characters. IT WAS WRITTEN BY A SCREENWRITER, YOU CHUMP). This edition of Web Curios is brought to you by the whooosh-ing sound that time makes as it flies past your ears; it seems like only yesterday that I was writing the last one of these, talking about holidays and the end of summer and stuff. All of a sudden it’s December, I’ve not written a Curios for a month (not that any of you CARE, you unappreciative whelps), and you can’t turn on the television without a famous trying to sell you stinkwater. On an unrelated note, I am yet to eat a mince pie in 2011. If anyone would like to courier some over to H&K towers, I will be very grateful and possibly do a small happy dance in gratitude; thanks (in the unlikely event that HRH Prince Charles is reading this, I am a massive fan of Duchy Originals).
The pretence that this blog is a weekly thing really has to stop. One month since the last one, fact fans. I’ve had THINGS TO DO. Not least going to Brussels and Croatia, where I went on holiday and did NOTHING other than read and swim and be horizontal. It was awesome, and as a result I now look less like this and more like this. No really, I do.
But for now it’s still all about the internet. Well, on this particular blog it is, anyway. If you don’t like it, you know what you can do (though I’d prefer it if you didn’t; I’m needy, and low-to-moderate traffic figures are all that’s standing between me and a P45).
I am in the slightly surreal position of writing this Curios whilst our blog is in fact broken (a fact in no way due to incompetence on the part of anyone, no sirree), meaning that there is NO GUARANTEE that any of you will be able to read this sparkling prose. It’s strangely liberating, much like the fact that I am sitting here clad in nothing but a tshirt and a winning smile. I could say ANYTHING!
I have no idea why, but I love this picture very much indeed.
Things About The Internet:
These aren’t new news, so I won’t dwell on them as you’ve doubtless read about them on some other SOCIAL MEDIA GURU’S blog, but Facebook has added the ability to tag Pages in photos (thus giving us all that longed-for ability to link to Coca Cola’s Facebook page from our pictures. Hear that sound? That’s the sound of thousands and thousands of souls, fizzing sadly into nothingness as we take one more step towards being nothing more than dead-eyed marketing shills!), and has also updated the manner in which its ‘Share’ functionality works, allowing users to share links with specific Groups / Friends. There’s nothing evil about that, I don’t think.
This IS New – Google Correlate – New cleverness from Google, allowing you to map search terms against each other to find patterns. It’s appallingly hard to explain, or at least it is for me; they do it rather better on the site, so I suggest that you go there.
Social Search and Filter Bubbles and Stuff: Both Google and Bing hace recently been wanging on about their increased commitment to integrating social into search; that is, factoring in data from your Facebook and Twitter profiles when compiling search results. WHY IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? Ok, so I’m possibly being a luddite about this, but my friends are not necessarily experts on stuff I am searching for. Just because 8 morons who I used to go to school with and haven’t spoken to in 16 years happen to ‘like’ a story from the Mail Online doesn’t mean I want it appearing at the top of my search rankings. Ok, so obviously it’s more sophisticated than this, but this is a prime example of the growing problem of filter bubbles, as brilliantly explained in this recent TED talk by Eli Pariser (it really is interesting, I promise) – that is, information filtering based on existing tastes / preferences, and the problem of sourcing that this can and does create; when the web can learn our tastes, can provide us with prioritised information based on what our friends – who are likely to be like us – are consuming, what are the long-term consequences? This isn’t a new concept – after all, people have been reading the newspaper that best reinforces their existing worldview for years – but one that will become increasingly relevant as automated curation becomes ’smarter’ (or, at the very least, more ubiquitous). Perhaps we should all make an effort to take our news from a different source each week? Just a thought.
Ana Somnia – I’ve never been a little girl, and it’s unlikely this state of affairs will change in this lifetime; nonetheless, had I been one this is what I like to imagine my dreams would have been like. An awesomely trippy website which is halfwaybetween storybook and art project, and which has one of the most captivatingly creepy and odd soundtracks I’ve heard in a while. Click and play – a lot of it’s procedurally generated, it would seem, which means each of you will experience it in a different manner.
Vorsong Iceberg Energy Water Feng Shui Brand! – I’m reasonably sure that this is some sort of spoof, but I’m buggered if I can work out of what / why. If it’s not, there are some very, very strange people marketing this water.
Er, Horseracing? – I don’t read Japanese, therefore my ability to understand what in the name of sweet Baby Jesus this is about is pretty much 0. It’s…just mental, really. Just click stuff until the race starts and watch, mouth agape, at the ensuing oddness.
Dumb Tweets At Brands – Sometimes the quality of ‘engagement’ brands can achieve through social media is of questionable value.
Alan Sailer takes amazing pictures. Click the image for more.
The HitchHiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – This Wednesday was Towel Day, and reminded me not only of the sheer amazingness of Douglas Adams’ work but also how good the original Hitchhiker’s game was. I say ‘game’; it’s more an interactive novel, the whole thing written by Adams’ himself and containing some brilliant gags and some of the most impressive / frustrating (depending on your mood) examples of lateral thinking you will ever find. Take the afternoon off and play it. You too, The Man!
Some Wordy Stuff:
Ulysses, On Twitter – Literary experimentation in 140 characters isn’t new (I covered this in a VERY early web curios, for example), but this is a really interesting experience. The idea is to recruit a bunch of James Joyce aficionados to take sections of the legendarily ‘challenging’ novel and submit them to a central account, from which they will be tweeted on 16th June as part of Bloomsday (an annual celebration of Joyce’s life and work) – as the novel unfolded over the course of a single day, so the Tweets will reflect the narrative. Will be interesting to see how it works.
Live Writing Projection – This might be my favourite thing on here this week. As part of the promotion for New Zealand’s BNZ literary awards, the opening lines of short stories were projected onto public spaces in Aotea Square, Auckland. And then passers-by started to realise that the story being written might be about them…
Motion Poems – Poetry set to animation. Some really beautiful work on here; recommended.
Katie Alves paints scenes from films on people's eyelids. This is The Nightmare Before Christmas.
VideoStuff! Enjoy – and given the fact that it’s our last bank holiday for AGES, I ORDER you to slack off for the rest of the day and watch all of them.
1) I’m opening with what is by far and away the most rubbish song I’ve featured on Curios for AGES. It’s worth it, though, for the video is all kinds of supervideogamegeekery. See how many retrogame references you can spot – there are HUNDREDS in there. I’m thinking that the audience for this is going to be primarily male. Oh, and if you do like this song then you are a cloth-eared dunce. Sorry, but it’s true. Goldfish, with “When We Come Together”:
2) This, on the other hand, is a great song by a band called Bad Lamps. The video, made by some random off the internet, features what I think is a whole host of clips from porn movies, strung together to accompany the song. There’s no nudity whatsoever, and there’s something weirdly poignant about seeing the nonsex elements of bongo movies:
4) Loom is a jaw-dropping piece of animation. Probably not great if you’re an arachnophobe, mind:
5) God, OFWGKTA are SO LAST MONTH. If you never found any of their output upsetting or abrasive enough then you’ll very much like Full Moon by current internet obsession Death Grips:
6) PHEW, THAT WAS A BIT MUCH WASN’T IT? Let’s come down with this, by Black Light Dinner Party. It will make you want to be a New York hipster, just a little bit. Older Together:
7) I have no idea who this girl is, but her endearingly inept (and very, very sweary) cover of ODB’s “Got Your Money” has made her my new favourite internet person. I bet she’d be THRILLED to know that:
It’s a remote control plane, THAT LOOKS LIKE A SUPERHERO. Amazing. Want one:
9) To close, this week’s eyemeltingly strange video of the week – there’s a point in this that genuinely makes me shudder each time I watch it. ENJOY!!!!
1) I featured French people Yelle a few weeks back in a video double bill, and ordinarily I wouldn’t bother again, but they’ve made another awesome promo to accompany their single “Que Veux Tu”. Watch:
2) Have you ever seen Swan Lake being performed by whimsical, animated Sumo wrestlers? If not, then this will be a NEW EXPERIENCE:
3) I really don’t know why this hasn’t had more views, seeing as it’s about ZOMBIES and the internet seems to love those. Anyway, this is a technically brilliant piece of claymation (sorry) about…er…zombies. WARNING: CONTAINS PLASTICINE BRAINS:
4) Metermaids are a (probably hideously hipster-ish) Brooklyn hiphop group; this is their song ‘Matchbooks’. The video features people throwing stuff at them, which is always a winner. Fans of Sage Francis, Atmosphere, etc, should like this I think:
5) I think Little Red might be Australian, but don’t let that put you off (sorry, my one Australian reader) – I really like the (simple) concept for this video for the single ‘All Mine’:
6) Are you having a stressful day? Is The Man on your back? Watch this short clip of origami gently unfolding itself on water and relaaaaaaaaax:
7) Continuing the trend of ‘bands I’ve never heard of but who must be quite famous given the production values of their videos’, Hooray For Earth (Hmmm) have produced this beauty for their single True Loves. No idea what it’s about, mind. Er, cupid?
I’m sure there’s a name for this genre of music (er, Favelastep? Sorry), but, whatever it is, this vid for BURAKA SOM SISTEMA’s ‘Hangover’ is pretty good at conveying Brazilian mentalness:
9) I’ve never really understood what ‘Witch House’ is meant to be, but apparently this is it. Creepy, weird, wtf-ish video to close for Mater Suspiria Vision’s ‘Holy Beast Of Bethlehem’. Moderately NSFW due to some nipples (not many, though, so don’t be scared):