Archives for category: CULTURE

Woody Anderson visits the city’s sights and sounds and a quick rundown on current communities.


A slice of solidarity for the soul…love is love is love.

Watch the future with augmented reality as realized by London designer, Keiichi Matsuda. Either it kills you or makes you stronger….

HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

via Keiichi Matsuda’s Hyper-Reality film blurs real and virtual worlds

The Age Of The Long Near from The Future Laboratory on Vimeo.

London – This is The Age of the Long Near, in which we explore why short-term thinking is the greatest threat to business potential, our happiness as individuals and the world that sustains us.

The Future Laboratory’s creative team has produced a film for LS:N Global’s Spring/Summer 2015 Trend Briefing, which was held at South Bank on 12 March.

The video introduces The Optimised Self, our manifesto for the body and mind; Whole-system Thinking, consumerism that goes beyond sustainability and environmentalism; and The Immortal Brand, a new premise for businesses that want to thrive in The Age of the Long Near.

‘We wanted to establish the premise of The Age of the Long Near through a commanding spoken narrative,’ says Lynne Devine, who provided design and direction on the film. ‘The film traces the path of an orb as it evolves, regenerates and mutates before returning to a singularity, suggesting an infinite cycle of time with an element of the divine.’

For more information about the event, contact

Animation: Mighty Elk
Sound: Joe Ashworth
Voice Over: Elizabeth Nestor

Van Gogh cycle path by Studio Roosegaarde, Neunen, Netherlands
Morphosis by Lucia Giacan for ODDA magazine
Prada Mens AW15 Catwalk by AMO. Photography by Alberto Moncada

The TED conference happening this week in Vancouver has not only notable speakers but innovative artwork like that of Janet Echelman. Her”Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks” is monumental in size and claims to be one of the biggest sculptures ever. It spans 227 x 145 x 53 m, suspended between a 24-story skyscraper and the Convention Center. Made from Honeywell Spectra fibre, it is a massive, billowing Google Chrome Eye floating high above the city with stunning light show at night.


Ms Echelman

There is fresh fury over revered artist, Banksy and his take on the colossal 2012 Olympics. You be the judge. As the Guardian paper recently posted:
“This attack on one of contemporary London’s most renowned traditions reveals how deeply uncomfortable the cultural relationship between this city and the Olympics really is,” writes Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. “An event that is all about massive finance, colossal scale, hyper-organisation and culture delivered from above is being superimposed on a capital that happens to be best at improvisation, dirty realism, punk aesthetics and low art. It’s like Versailles versus the sans-culottes. And this time Versailles is determined to win.”

Like a blind spot, I have overlooked one of my favorite artists, Grayson Perry (or more affectionately, Clare). His is a world of wild artistic syntax and blindingly good art. In London he transforms the craft of ceramics, sculpture and tapestry into otherworldly dialogues with himself and the modern consumer world.
He’s so good, I just want to keep him for myself…oh well, here you are, one of Britain’s national treasures. I’ve included an intimate moment in the kiln studio rather than the glam potter we’ve all come to love. Sorry, he doesn’t do websites.

I’ve always admired free spirits as the ultimate expression of life. Perhaps because I often feel the conservative constraints imposed on all of us rather acutely. Take for example the incredible fusion of Rick Owens and Michele Lamy, locked in, creatively and as a whole. A fascinating look at their dynamics and of course, their incredible works.
I have included some stills as I was not able to insert this video from “Another Mag” but have this full screen link here:
More: Rick Owens

From Bio: Peter Gronquist was born in Portland, Oregon in 1979. Growing up in a creative family, he began drawing and painting at a very early age. This led to obsessive artmaking throughout his childhood that continues today. After highschool, Peter attended the School of Visual Arts for two years, then finished his bfa at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. Peter currently resides in Oakland California (EAST BAY!) and tries to paint every day.
His latest project just opened in Venice. If only I had more room…
See more here: PETER GRONQUIST

It is only fitting I pay my own respects to Steve Jobs by showing his unveiling of the very first personal Macintosh computer, especially as I am using one of its descendants as I write. It’s quite the moment.

With the launching of their new album “Skying”, the Horrors come back with an evolved sound that is a fusion of 80’s and 90’s influences. I find it easy on the ears and since I am a fan of New Psychedelica, I thought I should include it here. The effects are as mesmerizing as the music. Will see them tonight in concert as well. Enjoy.

How our imaginations must have been stretched at the thought of such sci-fi communication and convenience. We simply don’t realize what a strain normal life must have been like (kidding of course). Here is an excerpt from a flight-of-fancy documentary. It’s pretty accurate! Watching this video on our new fangled computers is all very back to the future…

If your desk is an entry into your soul, then certainly these vignettes hold the key to something rather dark. Hailing from Sweden, Carl Hammoud focuses on tumultuous settings but in very calming and appealing color. Great draftsmanship as well… Perhaps one above my desk might make me feel more at home.
See more of his work here: Carl Hammoud

Not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing garment around, it is nevertheless a HUGE hit this summer as the Japanese avoid air conditioning and other mod cons amid power shortages in Japan after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Two electric fans in the jacket can be controlled to draw air in at different speeds, giving the garment a puffed-up look. But this has not deterred those happy to be cool rather than “hot” when it comes to fashion.The fans in the Kuchofuku jacket are connected to a lithium-ion battery pack that lasts for 11 hours on a single charge, consuming only a fraction of the power used by conventional air-conditioning.A standard air-conditioned jacket sells for around 11,000 yen ($140).

A new exhibit curated by Francesca Gavin in Eindhoven examines a generation affected by technological and digital psychedelica.


As we approach the end of the first decade of the new millennium, let’s consider what life will be like a decade hence. Changes in our lives from technology are moving faster and faster. The telephone took 50 years to reach a quarter of the U.S. population. Search engines, social networks and blogs have done that in just a few years time. Consider that Facebook started as a way for Harvard students to meet each other just six years ago; it now has 350 million users and counting. 

Between now and 2020, the trend will continue, spreading cutting-edge technologies to every corner of the country and beginning to make innovations once consigned to the realm of science fiction real for millions of Americans. Specifically what can we expect? Solar power on steroids, longer lives, the chance to get rid of obesity once and for all, and portable computing devices that start becoming part of your body rather than being held in your hand. 

What will drive all this accelerating change is precisely what has driven it this past half-century: the exponential growth in the power of information technology, which approximately doubles for the same cost every year. When I was an MIT undergraduate in 1965, we all shared a computer that took up half a building and cost tens of millions of dollars. The computer in my pocket today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion-fold increase in the amount of computation per dollar since I was a student. 

That incredible force — information technology that moves faster, then faster, then faster still — will power changes in every imaginable realm over the next decade.

Start with the basics. You’ve no doubt noticed that electronic gadgets are getting smaller and smaller; the iPod Shuffle holds 1,000 songs and weighs 0.38 ounces. Your phone is smaller than it was a few years ago and can do much more. By 2020, memory devices will be integrated into our clothing. And the very idea of a “smart phone” will begin to change. Rather than looking at a tiny screen, our glasses will beam images directly to our retinas, creating a high resolution virtual display that hovers in air.

That virtual display will be able to take over our entire visual field of view, putting us in a three-dimensional full immersion virtual reality environment. We’ll watch movies virtually and read virtual books. A lot of our personal and business meetings will take place in these 3D virtual worlds. The design of new virtual environments will be an art form. We’ll even have ways to touch one another virtually.

There are already beginning to be apps available for your iPhone or Android phone that allow you to look at a building and have the display superimpose what stores are inside it; Google Goggles, released last week, is the first free, widely-available version of such software. By 2020 we’ll routinely have pop ups in our visual field of view that give us background about the people and places that we’re looking at.

In other words, your memory will be constantly, instantaneously aided by the information available on the Internet. The two will begin to become indistinguishable.

How about energy? That doesn’t sound like an information technology. Fossil fuels, after all, are an early first industrial revolution, 19th century technology. But we are now applying nanotechnology — the science of essentially reprogramming matter at the level of molecules to create new materials and devices—to the design of renewable energy technologies such as solar energy. As a result, the cost per watt of solar energy is coming down rapidly and the total amount of solar energy is growing exponentially. It has in fact been doubling every two years for the past  20 years and is now only eight doublings away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.

When I shared this fact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a few weeks ago, he asked, “but is there enough sunlight to double solar energy eight more times?” I responded that we have 10,000 times more sunlight than we need to do this. The prime minister announced an Israeli energy initiative the next day at the Israeli Presidential Conference based on our conversation, setting a 10-year goal to create the technologies to completely replace fossil fuels.

It’s not just the gadgets we carry around and the power we use to fuel our lives that are subject to what I call “the law of accelerating returns.” Health and medicine, which used to be a hit or miss process, has now become an information technology.

We now have the software of life (our genes) and the means of upgrading that software. How long do you go without updating the software on your cell phone? Not long: it does it itself every few days or weeks. Yet we are walking around with obsolete software in our bodies that evolved thousands of years ago. Within 10 years, that will change. 

Already today, there are over a thousand projects to change our genes away from disease and toward health, not just in newborns but in mature individuals. The Human Genome Project, which has catalogued our genetic material, was itself a very good example of the law of accelerating returns; the amount of genetic data that is sequenced has doubled every year and the cost has come down by half every year. We can now design health interventions on computers and test them out on biological simulators. These technologies are doubling in power every year and will be a thousand times more powerful in a decade.

By 2020, we will have the means to program our biology away from disease and aging, and toward significant advances in our ability to treat major diseases such as heart disease and cancer — an approach that will be fully mature by 2030. 

We won’t just be able to lengthen our lives; we’ll be able to improve our lifestyles. By 2020, we will be testing drugs that will turn off the fat insulin receptor gene that tells our fat cells to hold on to every calorie. Holding on to every calorie was a good idea thousands of years ago when our genes evolved in the first place. Today it underlies an epidemic of obesity. By 2030, we will have made major strides in our ability to remain alive and healthy – and young – for very long periods of time. At that time, we’ll be adding more than a year every year to our remaining life expectancy, so the sands of time will start running in instead of running out.

No, it’s not going to be an entirely brave new world. Some things will look pretty similar in 2020. We’ll still drive cars — although they will have the intelligence to avoid many accidents and self-driving cars will at least be experimented with. All-electric cars will be popular. And in cities, don’t expect subways or buses to go away.

But in more and more ways big and small, hang in there and we’ll all get to see the remarkable century ahead.

Kurzweil is former recipient of the MIT-Lemelson prize, the world’s largest for innovation, and in 1999 was awarded the National Medal of Technology. He is the author of the books “The Singularity is Near” and “The Age of Spiritual Machines.”

2009 Honda U3-X Demonstration Video
A self-balancing unicycle experimental vehicle from Honda to be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show next month might just be history in the making. Weighing less than 10kg, the 24 by 12 by 6-inch U3-X experimental vehicle runs for an hour, is small enough to be carried onto an airplane as hand luggage, has a wheel which spins in two planes and is set to challenge, perhaps even change, society’s concept of personal mobility.

Though Honda’s U3-X is still experimental, only runs for an hour, isn’t as fast as the Embrio and is not hydrogen fuel cell powered, it is already in prototype form and weighs just 10 kg, rather than the 164 kg weight BRP expected of the Embrio in 2025.

Six years later, Honda’s U3-X is one sixteenth of the weight of the Embrio envisioned for 2025 – and 2025 is still more than a decade and a half away.

And though the HFT is two-wheeled rather than one, it has a top speed of 20 kmh, weighs in at 50kg and it is available now.

Clearly personal transport must get smaller and lighter, particularly if it is to share the footpath with humans made from flesh and blood. It also makes sense to make personal transportation devices easily backpackable, so they can be carried on public transport, and at just two feet tall and 12 inches by six inches in cross section, the U3-X is so small that it would never disrupt crowd flow or obstruct a railway carriage as we often see with bicycles on public transport around the world.
With the world’s most prolific demographic, the post-war baby boom moving into old age, Honda and the world’s number one automobile manufacturer (Toyota) both recognize that low speed, footpath bound mobility assist devices will be in great demand a decade from now. Toyota has also shown both walking- and wheeled-chair mobility assist devices in addition to its iREAL wheeled exoskeleton which I was lucky enough to try at the last full Tokyo Motor Show back in 2007.

Though it is a genuine engineering triumph of some magnitude in its entirety, the U3-X’s most remarkable piece of engineering is the Honda Omni Traction Drive System which enables both forward and backward movement as well as side-to-side movement.

The HOT drive is indeed one of the coolest things you have ever seen if you’re mechanically inclined and consists of many small motor-controlled wheels in-line connected to form one large wheel. Forward and backward movement is done by moving the large wheel, and side-to-side movement is done by moving the small wheels. By combining both, the U3-X moves diagonally, though to the rider, it’s more like thinking “I’ll go that way”, and away it goes.

When being carried, the seat and the footrests fold away so it looks more like a ghetto blaster than a transportation device.

And at Honda’s stated weight of less than 10kg, the light-weight it’s highly portable – indeed, it’s not that long ago that computers weighed more than this.

Though the Tokyo Motor Show is still four weeks away, and promises to be the most significant car show in recent history due to the plethora of eco-centric vehicles we’ll see, I’d be very surprised if the U3-X isn’t the vehicle that we’ll read about in history books a century from now. It just might be a landmark device in transportation history.
 Portable and less than 10kg in weight - the Honda U3-X The seats stow within the Honda U3-X when not in use The Honda U3-X, ready for use A pair of Honda U3-X experimental vehicles

By Samantha Critchell (Canadian Press)

NEW YORK — The clone wars have ended: It is no longer cool to carry around the must-have handbag that all your friends have, too. Nor do you need to have matching designer outfits or easily identified mass-market kitsch.

Tastemakers say there’s more value these days in owning the unique, even if it sometimes costs a little more.

At a recent brainstorming session held by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, designer Betsey Johnson told her peers that it was her “special things” – the items that didn’t look as if they could come from anywhere else – that were her best performers.

When it comes to trends, Johnson says, a chain like H&M can get them out there before she can, even if the style started on her runway. But, she says, those stores can’t capture the Betsey Johnson signatures, so that’s what she’s concentrating on.

“The idea of a cookie-cutter idea of style can seem more stale than it used to,” says Claire Hamilton, retail and events consultant for style forecasting firm WGSN. “This is a reaction to the sheer amount of fastness in the fashion market … people are looking for what is unexpected.”

Even retail giant Macy’s is trying to carve niches to appeal to the uniqueness customers are craving.

The company is the sole U.S. department-store source for the Spanish label Desigual, which has a global-infused contemporary look achieved through embroidery and patchwork, and it will be the only place for Rachel Rachel Roy, the upscale designer’s contemporary line.

“We want to make Macy’s a destination for these things,” says group vice-president of ready-to-wear fashion Nicole Fischelis. “We can’t go anymore and focus just on the basics. We want to offer pieces that stand out.”

The company is actively seeking out exclusives, serving a twofold purpose, according to Fischelis: Shoppers get distinctive items and the store differentiates itself from its competitors.

Cathy Calhoun, a jeweller in Royersford, Pa., and New York-based Max Osterweis, who launched Suno, a collection of bright cotton apparel made from traditional East African kangas, both have found success during the recession by offering one-of-a-kind items.

Osterweis, in fact, now is moving away from using vintage printed fabrics to creating new vintage-inspired printed fabrics at a factory in Kenya partly because the demand is exceeding supply. (Also, part of the mission of Suno is to create a sustainable apparel industry for the local population.)

Michelle Obama, wife of the U.S. president, was photographed this summer in a Suno top, which almost certainly increased brand awareness.

Even as it grows, however, the business will stay intentionally small, which allows him to maintain control, explains Osterweis. “Suno is trying to create a new paradigm for what luxury goods are by going back to the old paradigm of what luxury goods were – things that are very special, difficult to get and might have a story behind it.”

Calhoun Jewelers sells the traditional milestone items such as engagement rings and confirmation crosses that one would expect from a suburban store, but Calhoun says it’s the vintage pieces, which are often more expensive, that are generating interest and excitement.

“Here’s the No. 1 thing people are looking for: a piece of jewelry with provenance or a story. If there’s a story to it, they have to have it,” she says.

Recently, she had a quick sale of a diamond brooch with open platinum handwork from the early 1920s that came in its original box. It had been passed on from generation to generation and, for 30-plus years, it belonged to a woman who wrote a note, kept in the box, asking the next bearer of the brooch to “wear it and cherish it as I did.”

“People don’t come in knowing they want a story, but once you start giving a story, they are enthralled by it and that’s when they have to have it,” she says. “You feel important in this jewelry and you are given the chance to retell the story every time you wear it.”

Consumers are attracted to the craftsmanship they associate with vintage jewelry, as well as top-tier leather brands and couturiers, says Greg Furman, executive director of The Luxury Marketing Council, which advises CEOs and marketers on how best to reach potential customers.

It helps if you can make an emotional connection too, because then shoppers aren’t concerned with price – or at least the price tag, he explains. They’ll amortize the cost over the long period of time that they’ll cherish that special thing or experience, which will be perceived as a better long-term investment than a here-today, gone-tomorrow fashion trend.

“It’s stuff you understand why there might be a high price tag on a product,” Furman says. “That brings the joy to have great things.”

Furman also sees a growing movement toward customization, in which consumers have a say in how a final product turns out – and ensuring its rarity.

“We’re moving away from the old push form of marketing. Image ads don’t work anymore. Now we want to understand what you want, it’s pull marketing – tell us what you want,” he says. “How much more special can something be than if you help make it. It’s a clear shift from the ‘it’ bag mentality.”

Hamilton, the trend analyst, says the change is largely a byproduct of a more savvy marketplace. “We’re all a little more sophisticated in how we dress and think about fashion. The ability to have something no one else has is total luxury.”

Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.