In(ter)activity

interactivitySpeaking as an Interactive Arts graduate (who’s obviously putting his degree to very good use in his career, <ahem>), this Onion article really struck a chord and had me shouting “Yes! Exactly!” at the screen over and over again.

Internet users demand less interactivity
‘We Just Want To Visit Websites And Look At Them,’ Users Say

Tired of being bombarded with constant requests to share content on social media, bestow ratings, leave comments, and generally “join in on the discussion,” the nation’s Internet users demanded substantially less interactivity this week. […]

Speaking with reporters, web users expressed a near unanimous desire to visit a website and simply look at it, for once, without having every aspect of the user interface tailored to a set of demographic information culled from their previous browsing history. In addition, citizens overwhelmingly voiced their wish for a straightforward one-way conduit of information, and specifically one that did not require any kind of participation on their part. […]

“Every time I type a web address into my browser, I don’t need to be taken to a fully immersive, cross-platform, interactive viewing experience,” said San Diego office manager Keith Boscone. “I don’t want to take a moment to provide my feedback, open a free account, become part of a growing online community, or see what related links are available at various content partners.”

“All I want is to go to a website, enjoy it for the time I’ve decided to spend there, and then move on with my life,” he continued. “Is that so much to ask?” […]

In addition to demanding less interactivity, Internet users requested fewer links and clickable icons connected to social media outlets through which they could email, share, tweet, pin, blog, or re-blog content. Many said that when they did come across something they found interesting or amusing, nine times out of 10 they just wanted to keep it to themselves.

“Don’t always ask me to send everything I’ve read to everyone I know. And by the same token, I don’t need to know if they’ve read the same thing. That information means nothing to either of us,” said Glendale, AZ shopkeeper Dan Allenby, who could not think of a single instance where it would be helpful to sign into another website through his Facebook account. “If I wanted to tell someone about something, I’ll just tell them individually. Or better yet, they’ll stumble across it on their own.”

The header image for the article is great, just people reading the web, but sat next to it are the obligatory share-this-with-everyone buttons showing some impressive scores, so whilst it’s hitting a nerve with me, there are plenty of others on the other side of the in(ter)activity fence.

Genetic portraits

split-face-portraits2      split-face-portraits3      split-face-portraits1

Wonderful sets of family portraits, with a difference, from Canada-based photographer and graphic designer Ulric Collette. He and his son appear in the third photo above.

The parent/child portraits look very startling, but the brother and sister pairs could very easily be photos of real people. Must have a go at this myself…

And here’s some more of Ulric’s mad portrait work.

(Via 123 Inspiration)

Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are, according to Wikipedia, “still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Cinemagraphs, which are usually published in an animated GIF format, can give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video.”

Am I right in thinking this is an internet-only thing? Is this a branch of photography that couldn’t have existed when I was at art college?

Where old cars went to die

deadcarsNothing’s permanent, of course, but not many things shuffle off this mortal highway so gracefully as these old Belgian bangers.

“The large ‘car cemetery’ is located in the village of Chatillon,located in Belgium. In Second World War the world faced much losses.one of the losses are cars. Yes there are more than 500 cars in one places are become corrosive. The reason was more expensive for shift throw Ocean. So cars left in the forest. Somebody like to prevent this models from cemeteries. whoever car lovers enjoy this collection”

(Via Design You Trust. More photos at Mail Online.)

An Alaska Window

alaskawindowIt may be another simple-thing-building-up-into-something-interesting-through-daily-repetition art project, but I like the calm meditative feel of Mark Meyers’ An Alaska Window.

I live in Alaska in a log house that’s about 100 years old. It has these interesting, old (though not energy efficient), single-paned sash windows. They are at the foot of my bed and are normally the first thing I see in the morning. I noticed over the years that they are constantly changing with the weather and seasons, occasionally in interesting ways. They ice up in the winter, collect leaves in the fall, and occasionally steam up in the summer. So I started taking photos of them and the scene outside—mostly with the iPhone, but occasionally I’ll lug the dSLR up there. It has gradually turned into a minimalist personal project that’s become a reminder to myself that even the simplest things are interesting if you pay attention. I’ve found it to be good way to start each day, an exercise in seeing and visually exploring a single subject and noticing how it gradually changes over time.

(Via Petapixel)

Like seasonal crop circles

simonbecksnowartWe’ve all heard of crop circles, but how about something a little more seasonal? Colossal has a collection of photos from Simon Beck who, since 2004, “has strapped on a pair of snowshoes and lumbered out into the the freshly fallen snow at the Les Arcs ski resort in France to trample out his distinctly geometric patterns, footprint by footprint. Each work takes the 54-year-old artist anywhere between 6 hours and two days to complete, an impressive physical feat aided from years of competitive orienteering.”

Perhaps I should give street photography another go

streetMing Thein has a great post on petapixel on the ethics of photographing random strangers on the street and, as you’d expect, they are some wonderful shots throughout. It was interesting to read about some of the different techniques that can be used. I can’t remember where I first heard the line “If your photo’s not good enough, you’re not close enough”, but Ming has another way too.

There’s a slight snobbishness about shooting with a longer lens, too – it isn’t seen as being hardcore enough. In fact, these days, it seems if you’re not at f/8, hyperfocal distance and sticking your camera and flash right up to somebody’s nose, then you’re not really doing street photography.

There’s another approach, though. I think it’s much, much harder to shoot wide open with a relatively wide lens – say nothing longer than 35mm – and shoot without your subject knowing you’re there. This is what I like to call the stealth method – you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, and better yet, shoot without even bringing the camera to your eye.

I’d love to give this a proper go. It’s easier to blend in and look inconspicuous with a cameraphone than with a big lens perhaps, but the one I’ve got now isn’t up to much. I sense a post-Christmas shopping opportunity!

Does technology determine prose style?

The start of an essay entitled The Author Signal: Nietzsche’s Typewriter and Medium Theory

The condition of possibility created by a particular medium forms an important part of the theoretical foundations of medium theory, which questions the way in which medial changes lead to epistemic changes. This has become an important area of inquiry in relation to the differences introduced by computation and digital media, more generally.

As impenetrable as that sounds, I’m very much looking forward to reading this properly – something else that takes me back to those Newport days.

(Via The Browser)

Never thought about chairs this much before

Colin McSwiggen explains why he’s so against chairs. I have to admit to not giving them a second thought, other than the times at work when my recline lever slips and I end up suddenly horizontal. The problems seem much deeper than temperamental office furniture though.

Against Chairs
I hate to piss on the party, but chairs suck. All of them. No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Some are better than others, but all are bad. Not only are chairs a health hazard, they also have a problematic history that has inextricably tied them to our culture of status-obsessed individualism. Worse still, we’ve become dependent on them and it’s not clear that we’ll ever be free.

History, ergonomics, politics, it’s all in there.

And here’s another take on the chair, which I guess backs up his point. Make of it what you will.

Self-Sustainable Chair 2

Fourteen years of pantone colors-of-the-year (tecznotes)

Fourteen years of pantone colors-of-the-year (tecznotes)
“I love the language patterns in press releases that accompany annual announcements, like Pantone’s Color Of The Year. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, has been providing adjectives and free-associating since 1999. Between 9/11 and the economy, a lot of political freight gets bundled into these packages as well—“concern about the economy” is first mentioned in late 2005 (sand dollar).”