Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Things that made my day this week:

Naomi Wu on the nascent open source culture developing in China. It isn’t just about China taking anymore but contributing.

Ari Saal Forman’s Menthol 10s took a swipe at corporate culture and big tobacco.

The ambiguous nature of the male host business in Japan is highlighted in this interview. The client interview section is insane, an 18 year old having $100,000 to spend on drinks in a nightclub – for some people the bubble economy years of late 1980s Japan has never gone away.

A people’s history of computing in the US.

It’s the time of the year when 2019 consumer trends are trotted out.  JWT(WundermanThompson) have 100 trends. Trendwatching thankfully have just five.

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Things that made my day this week:

Yohji Yamamoto at the Oxford Union

More awesome than your Apple Watch – This Casio G-Shock Watch Transforms into Optimus Prime – Technabob

To coincide with the re-issue of Miles Davis – Rubberbrand EP – Amerigo Gazaway has done a remix and a mix of Miles Davis back catalogue.

Kemo the Blaxican – Something about love. Kemo was in Delinquent Habits and has since put out quality albums under his own name whilst touring with his old colleagues.

A very complete archive of radio transmissions from the Apollo 11 mission: Apollo 11 : NASA : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

The buzz of an emergent community

I was chatting with a friend who was evangelic in their description of the emergent community on the AltSpace VR (virtual reality) social network They had met great friends, the kind of meaningful interactions that seldom occurs on your Facebook wall now.

But was this about the power of VR? My take was that it is a minor factor at best. VR acted as a filter, it brought similar likeminded early adopters together. In many respects this mirrored other technology filters: the early days of dial up bulletin board services (particularly in the US with free local calls on the Bell network carriers),  AOL and CompuServe chat rooms or the Usenet.

Filipino community gathering under the HSBC building

The power of connecting likeminded people can be a transformative experience in the minds of participants.

If I think back before my time on the internet, my friend’s experience in the emergent community of AltSpace sounded like the people I met at the Hacienda. It sounded like the experience of many of the regulars at acid house club Shoom – which was hosted by Danny Rampling out of a small gym in South London.

These experiences are once lived, often never recaptured experiences rather like being on a school or college sports team. They only exist for a fleeting moment in time.

It was like being an early member on Flickr, or my friend Ian’s experience on CompuServe chat rooms (where he met his future wife).

So what makes these communities special?

  • Likeminded people who are likely to share a certain amount of norms and have common grounds to be there
  • A relatively small number of people. This number becomes inexact. In a good nightclub it would be a certain amount of exclusivity because not everyone knew it was there, rather than a strict door policy. The strict door policy is usually a remedial item done once the norms try and break down
  • Agreement to a set of common behaviours, for many years a common etiquette held sway on networks like Flickr. Facebook doesn’t have this except in tightly managed private groups

So what happens to these communities?

  • A number soldier on, particularly around passion points such as Harry Potter books / films / games
  • A small minority (cough, cough) Facebook for example transcend their community and turn into a utility with pockets of interest hidden in secret
  • Things move on. Think about restaurants or nightclubs that are now sites of investment properties in London or Manchester

About the photo: I took this on an early trip to Hong Kong. Every Sunday the Filipino and Indonesian communities would gather in different parts of the city to see friends, eat, sing, dance and trade items. This picture is of Filipinos,  taken in the private public space under the HSBC building in the Central district. Some years later this was a site for the Occupy Central protesters.

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

I’ve been laid up so this has been a long time coming.

I am a big fan of manufacturing videos that show how iconic products are made. This one on Pelican cases isn’t one of the best, but it still gives a good overview of what goes into the cases.

Amerigo Gazaway’s latest mash-up project

Homeboy Sandman & Edan #NeverUseTheInternetAgain – which I think I heard first on Matt Muir’s Web Curios newsletter

Capturing Chına: from civil war to rising superpower  – photo agency Magnum put out a book on China

Louis Vuitton channels French space opera comics such as Moebus and Valerian on the promotion material for its latest collection.

Oprah time: Über by Kieron Gillen

Back in the day reading graphic novels like the Über series would have been a niche interest at best.  Now with the rise of Marvel and DC universe films they are part of mainstream culture.

Über invasion

But not all comics are about accessible hero stories with easy cinematic adaption. My preferred writers like Gillen use the superheroes to ground the stories more in a gritty reality.

Garth Ennis from Preacher to The Boys has looked to subvert and examine comic franchise conventions. Gillen tried to get us to examine our own conventions and pre-conceptions about war.

I see clear parallels between their work and the ‘political’ spaghetti westerns of Franco Solinas in particular.

Gillen’s Über uses superheroes to explain the kind of damage cased by massed Russian artillery in the march to Berlin and atom bomb blasts a la Hiroshima.  Superheroes make the horrors of war more relatable.

It is also interesting how what would seem to be a ‘diesel punk’ series hinges on transformations that are outside the the power of medicine even now. Finally, there is a clear parallel and differentiation between Captain America and Über.

In summary, if you want a good thoughtful read and aren’t squeamish; start reading Über.