- As Oscar Wilde said: “When bankers get together they talk about art. When artists get together, they talk about money.” When both artist and capitalist align, it yields the golden ages. For HBO, it was the novelistic storytelling of The Sopranos which boosted its bottom-line and pioneered the popular episodic format for Netflix and Amazon streaming services. As Nassim Taleb likes to say, “trial and error is freedom.” Furthermore, sex and cash can coexist.
- Instagram has 700 million users, 80% which are outside the United States. Unlike Twitter, the platform is still growing rapidly and enriching its addictiveness with popular features like Stories. Instagram is an essential app with a trajectory that looks a lot like Facebook.
- The Godfather of photography William Eggleston explains how he sees “great pictures” that most people miss and why “words and pictures are like two different animals.” He also cares less about Ansel Adams’s work.
- If you’ve ever driven around Los Angeles, you’ll notice the none of the architecture is consistent. Some of this is the work of architect Paul Williams, the so-called architect of Hollywood. who gave LA its eclectic touch. But he was often overlooked because he was African American. The Paul Williams Project is making sure he gets the credit he deserves.
- The barber paradox: Imagine that you live in a remote town in the Austrian Alps that only has one barber. You either shave yourself or go to the barber. So who shaves the barber? The British philosopher Bertrand Russell explained why language confounds meaning.
- “My favorite records sound the worst, because I’ve played them the most.” Indie-musician Damon Krukowski’s new book looks at the listening experience from analog to the digital world.
- This made me laugh: For the Love of God, Stop Putting Two Spaces After a Period I got used to one space because of the Twitter restrictions. Now I practice it everywhere, from work emails to blog posts.
- “All experience is no more than a form of “reliable hallucination,” a movie in the head with only tenuous relation to the outside world.” Our sleepy head makes better movies.
Writing by walking, smartphone addiction, Phillip Kremer’s faceless portraits, new tunes from Actress, Eric Lau, and more in this week’s newsletter.
Arts and Culture
It’s no fun if you’re good at karaoke. It’s equally annoying to laugh while you’re signing. You’re supposed to be so bad that your friends can’t ignore you. Said it’s Japanese creator Daisuke Inoue:
“I was nominated [as] the inventor of karaoke, which teaches people to bear the awful singing of ordinary citizens, and enjoy it anyway. That is ‘genuine peace,’ they told me.”
Philosophy and Productivity
The Paris-based motion design team at Parallel Studio stitched together a series of GIFs that highlight some of the most unfortunate things you might have encountered in everyday life such as like a download that stops at 99% or a spoon that falls all the way into your soup. Watch
When you’re young, it’s the big moments like our first car or getting our first kiss that shapes our lives. As we age, the small things matter like a sip of warm coffee or lunch with a friend. Joy all comes down to the art of noticing. Says Google’s former mindfulness guru Chade-Meng Tan:
“Noticing sounds trivial, but it is an important meditative practice in its own right. Noticing is the prerequisite of seeing. What we do not notice, we cannot see.”
Everybody gets the same amount of hours in a day. It’s your job to use that time most efficiently. Instead of planning your day as a checklist, look at it as a series of 100 10-minute blocks that amount to about 1,000 minutes.
Cooking dinner requires three blocks, while ordering in requires zero—is cooking dinner worth three blocks to you? Is 10 minutes of meditation a day important enough to dedicate a block to it? Reading 20 minutes a night allows you to read 15 additional books a year—is that worth two blocks?
Social Media and Technology
The Binge Breaker: Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is addicting us to our phones. He’s determined to make it stop.
Reward and pleasure are addicting, so much so we get anxious when the pellets stop showing up. That’s when we reach into our pockets and pull out the slot machine disguised as a smartphone for another hit of dopamine.
McDonald’s hooks us by appealing to our bodies’ craving for certain flavors; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter hook us by delivering what psychologists call “variable rewards.”
- Clark – Shadow Banger
- A Made Up Sound – Bygones
- Jesse Futerman – A Tribute To Horace
- Christian Löffler – Myiami
- Leron Carson – Lemonline
Thought of the Week
“He doesn’t give out energy for the benefit of others. He absorbs energy at others’ cost.” – Francis O’Gorman, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History
Arts & Culture
They never won anything but the Fab Five – the so-called greatest recruiting class of all time — broke fashion trends. They took after Michael Jordan and wore baggy shorts, shaved their heads, and replaced their white socks with black. The players doubled revenues for their school but received nothing in return until officials found out a booster paid Chris Webber $200,000. The NCAA banned the Michigan basketball program for a decade. In 2015, the school’s football team inked a $170 million deal with the Jordan brand. It raises the question: when do schools start splitting some of the profits it earns from its athletes?
The challenge isn’t knowing what to see. The challenge is learning how to see. As soon as you learn what to look for, your originality dwindles. Your interpretation becomes someone else’s. Watch John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and you’ll never look at a picture the same way again.
“The process of seeing paintings, or seeing anything else, is less spontaneous and natural than we tend to believe.”
Philosophy & Productivity
What is your inner dialogue? If it’s like most people, it’s chaotic and uncontrollable. Perhaps one of the reasons we tug away at our phones is because we’re too afraid to play with the chorus of our thoughts. In his new book The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves, author, and Durham University psychology professor Charles Fernyhough writes about the tug of war we have with our internal expressions, and how we use creativity as an outlet to express these thoughts and frustrations.
“A solitary mind is actually a chorus,” he writes. Tune into yours right now: What are you hearing? Who’s speaking, and when did the conversation begin? This is ambiguous territory. Measuring one’s own private soundtrack is hard enough.
It was Mark Twain who said “I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.” Worrying goads the Zeigarnik Effect, leading us to take to get rid of anticipation by replacing it with unnecessary action.
Worry alters the atmosphere of the mind. It shrinks your awareness of the present and your ability to enjoy what’s around you right now. It cycles possible bad futures around in your head and forces you to live in dreadful future scenarios, 90 percent of which will never come true.
Social Media & Tech
Social networks come and go (re: Myspace). The latest victim is Vine, who never did anything to improve the tools for its best creators, so they moved on to other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. On Friday, Vine announced that it was shutting down.
“We were driving billions of views — billions — before we left,” Vine star DeStorm Power said Thursday. “The word Vine became shorthand for short sketch-comedy videos. We did that. Vine didn’t do that. We changed culture by making videos on this six-second app.”
What’s next? Are we over the smartphone boom and the newest social networking app already? We live in a ‘next’ society. We need something new every couple months. As the chips get faster, so too do our consumption habits.
Episode 106 | Tunes of the Week
- Chaos in the CBD – Subterranean Storm
- Jay Daniel – Paradise Valley
- Throwing Snow – One for the Booth
- Ensemble Entendu – Peel Back
- Pavel Dovgal – Floating Beams
Thought of the Week
“The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations.” — @nntaleb
Read of the week: Cal Newport explains how to do deep work
Scroll down for ‘tracks of the week’
Arts & Culture
Done is better than perfect, in some cases, as in updating a web design or app. But in China, ‘almost’ is a pervasive and dangerous mindset. Known as ‘Chabuduo’ or ‘good/close enough,’ can have disastrous effects when it comes to building everyday things, especially infrastructure.
“When you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.”
Giphy is the new home of the GIFs, dethroning Tumblr and taking them to the next level, even to real life. Giphy recently hosted an exhibition in New York called ‘Loop Dreams,’ showcasing the GIF works of 25 artists “brought to life through holographic posters, projections, VR, and interactive installations.”
Philosophy & Productivity
Author and acclaimed New Yorker Fran Lebowitz can’t sleep, can’t write, can’t stand watching television, nor does she like social media, yet she’s still on top of them all or at least, well-informed in her sardonic complaints about them.
“..years ago, I decided reading in bed is too stimulating. Watch TV. It’s boring. You’ll fall asleep.”
Skip breakfast. Shorten your work week to four hours. Strengthen your focus. The obsession with productivity is getting out of hand. Why do humans want to maximize their output so they can become more like computers? What are we going to do with the extra time, do even more work? Perhaps, but only if the work is purposeful.
“The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.” – Ira Glass
Social Media & Technology
Artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is giving people a chance to visit their own digital funeral at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to review the type of social media posts people would see after they pass away. According to BuzzFeed’s senior writer Doree Shafrir who experienced her own ceremony:
“All of my tweets started scrolling on a screen in front of me as though to say, you know, here are some words of Doree’s to remember her by – tweeting about wearing a dress to a wedding with pockets or Justin Bieber. And I thought, oh, my God, if I did die – God forbid – right now this is what people would see.”
- Youandewan – Waiting For L
- Hiatus Kaiyote – The Lung (Paul White Unofficial Remix)
- Abi Ocia – Running
- Arbes – Sun On My Back
- Danny Brown – Really Doe