Thavorn Ko-udomvit: Utilitarianism

Thavorn Ko-udomvit: Utilitarianism
With the heat and torrential rain July isn’t the best time of year to be visiting Bangkok but if you find yourself in the city during this time I can’t imagine a better escape from the rain than a visit to one of the many galleries throughout the city.
I’ll be in a completely different paradise (Atlantic Canada) during the showing of the latest solo exhibition by Thavorn Ko-udomvit. Inspired by the current political turmoil and conflict in Thailand Thavorn has created an exhibition presenting various kinds of arts from photography to installation art, from video art to interactive art.
From the artists’ statement:

The exhibition is inspired by the current political turmoil and conflict which result in the separation among people who have different ideas. The colors that were used to separate people into two groups are now reversely interpreted in order to propose the idea of unity and at the same time erase the ego and individuality a certain group has towards their belief. Artistic techniques are applied to create positive yet sarcastic artworks that question, urging opinions and suggesting ideas to help appreciate the worthwhile notions found from both groups.

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Wool Felt Sleeve for iPhone 4

Wool Felt Sleeve for iPhone 4
I’m a sucker for cases made from felt. While they won’t solve the dilemma over how exactly you are supposed to hold your new iPhone 4, these felt sleeves from Case Closed will keep your new iPhone safe and scratch free. Handmade in England with 3mm slim and soft pure German Wool Felt. Portrait or landscape versions are available.
Wool Felt Sleeve for iPhone 4

Rag & Bone Leather Gym Bag

Rag & Bone Gym Bag
I’ve been eyeing their New Amsterdam Overnight Bag for some time but this handsome leather gym bag, found via @acquire, with it’s understated aesthetic is my new favorite from their collection. The bag features leather in brandy, with top zip and flat leather handles, exterior zipper pocket, two snap-close pockets at sides and a fabric lined interior with side zipper pocket. Those zipper pulls could use some length but otherwise it looks great.
Rag & Bone Gym Bag

Popweekly: Digest for 06.28.10

g20 police
Violent thugs and criminals disguised as protestors create mayhem in Toronto. Photo by poyanp.
As I enter my summer travel schedule I’ll be postponing gathering my weekly link digest until my return to Taiwan in September. My time will be tight and this is perhaps the most time consuming piece I prepare for Popwuping (and the most under read as well).

Rent a White Guy – Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing

Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary–which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.
And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image–particularly, the image of connection–that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

Indian outsourcing firms find greener pastures

As the business matures in India, companies are setting up offices in rural areas, with lower costs and, possibly, fewer office romances. In the process, they’re bringing middle-class values and modern aspirations to the tradition-bound heartland.
V. Bharadwaj had never used a computer before landing a data-entry job at an outsourcing firm here in India’s Karnataka state. Now he spends his days quietly tap-tapping on a keyboard in a converted school building next to a field of dirt-caked sheep.
Initially his mother was worried for her only child, fearful the 20-year-old would meet the “bad” women who populate the wanton call centers of Indian TV and movies. That changed, however, with his first paycheck, more than his parents ever made, and a new sari for his mother’s birthday.

Designing better urban noise

Earlier this year, Deborah Hall, a psychology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, gave a talk about how listeners react to different urban soundscapes when put into a fMRI machine. It turns out that loudness is not the only factor that determines how people react to urban soundscapes. A perception of pleasantness actually changes the way we feel about sounds. Loud bird song is far more pleasant than equally loud beeping.
If there is no way, then, to make these sounds less loud (for reasons of safety) could we not have more bird-song, rustling leaves and waterfalls in our urban soundscapes? Dr Hall says
…while it is probably not possible to redesign warning alarms (like tube or lift doors closing) a lot of unpleasant noise can come from ongoing sounds in the background, especially the constant rumble of traffic sounds. In Sheffield planners have built a long water feature (water running down a wall) that separates pedestrians leaving the railway station from the dual carriageway around the city centre. This makes the five-minute walk to the shops very pleasant.

Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has discovered, for the first time, that social networking triggers the release of the generosity-trust chemical in our brains. And that should be a wake-up call for every company.
What explains the need of our BlackBerry-bearing, Twitter-tweeting Facebook friends for constant connectivity? Are we biologically hardwired to do it? Do our brains react to tweeting just as they do to our physical engagement with people we trust and enjoy?
The answers could have profound ramifications. As Zak and others deepen their study of oxytocin, we may better understand why people with friends live longer and get sick less, and why we are compelled to be social animals online and off. If these changes apply in the world of social media, the implications for business — for every brand, company, and marketer trying to understand the now intimately networked world — could be significant. Yes, there may be a dark side to all this: What if corporations come to understand human behavior and its root mechanisms so well that they can manipulate our biochemistry to trick us into buying more? But that’s a question for later.

Prince George’s bans student cellphone use during school day

That silent, studious classroom? Looks can deceive, say Prince George’s County educators, who have fired the latest volley in a technological arms race that pits student against teacher.
There is an epidemic of under-the-desk text messages during class, a virtual economy of exam pictures posted to Facebook, a trade in school fight videos on YouTube, they say. To combat it, the county school board voted Thursday to ban cellphones and other electronics during the school day, even as many school systems across the country are loosening their rules.
Also: A ringing endorsement for Prince George’s cellphone ban
We have created a culture of rampant attention deficit disorder. The fact that some parents object to the cellphone ban by the Prince George’s County school board tells us that this cultural warp has infected multiple generations, and many adults are unable to model appropriate behavior for their children.
People in business meetings surreptitiously text under the table. You see people in restaurants with phones buzzing on the table. Friends are distracted by work messages. Real life becomes background noise to the latest intrusion. As a social work supervisor, I’ve had to remind staffers to give their cellphones a rest during supervision and case conferences.

Revaz Todua: Thailand

Revaz Todua: Thailand
I’m reliving Thailand through the eyes of Moscow based photographer Revaz Todua. His other work is arguably better but this set keeps me satiated until I can return to see these locations in person.

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Brown Leather Shoulder Bag

Brown Leather Shoulder Bag
I love the simplicity of this carry-all. Made from stiff brown cow skin leather with a matte finish yhis bag features a doubled shoulder strapp for carrying comfort and folded bottom for a flexible capacity. Hand stitched and made to order.
This is how I remember handmade leather bags that saw growing up. Great unique piece which will develop a handsome patina over time.
Brown Leather Double Strapped Shoulder Bag

Steve Mono Leather Bags

Steve Mono leather bags
I love these leather bags from Spanish designer Steve Mono. They exude quality. Pictured above is his Dennis Briefcase, Arthur Briefcase, Thomas briefcase with bandolier and the Adam school briefcase. The Dennis is my favorite.
From his description:

Shapes, materials, finishings,… are inspired by classic, easy and cool pieces I´ve seen many times in vintage photos, books or movies; that kind of briefcases and wallets that men used to take to their works in offices buildings, and also reminding that school boy-man look.
Bags, briefcases, wallets, umbrellas, belts,… thinking of that kind of men wearing always suit, jackets and tie, with their polished shoes and those bags and briefcases in their hands, where they take all they need for the day. Basic but quality and personal pieces.
Made in Spain; working personally with a small manufacturer, and taking care in every moment of the work process: vegetal tanning, cut, sew, clean, label, pack,…everything controlled to offer a personal and intimate product you can feel as specially made for you.
Advise: Women use, and like, to steal their men bags.

Steve Mono leather bags and other goods for men.

Link Love: Net Culture

Chair Hong Kong
Photo by Jonathan van Smit
Small pieces, loosely joined.

From the archives.

The Anti-Web Movement

The Anti-Web Movement
Though at times difficult to decipher there are some great points in this article on the burgeoning American app. culture and its effect on web publishing.

After 15 years as the net’s publishing platform of choice, a movement is growing that wants to put the web back in its box.
Blame the “app”. With little prior culture of mobile web consumption, publishers have barely given their HTML efforts five minutes in the sun before preferring to code snazzy, custom, closed interfaces instead in the likes of Xcode and Objective-C, in iPhone’s case.
After the desktop OS and browser wars of the late 90s settled down in to uniform web standards, many of us had thought the web, which runs through my veins, would become the mobile platform of choice in the same way. But, the rise of the revenue-making app store sales channel has coincided with publishers’ realisation that, if there are precious few ways of monetising content on the desktop web, then little would be different on the handset or tablet flavour.

Print is dying and outside of large websites like the NY Times, which in itself is difficult to read and lifeless, few print publications have truly embraced or innovated with their web efforts. Their web publications are generally profitable but not to the degree that it can carry the whole company. LeMonde is a current example with their profitable but barely recognized web division, management with no vision and an extremely expensive print operation.
Apps. give these dinosaurs the type of control that they have experienced in the past, with the medium that their customers are embracing, and a new more predictable revenue stream. It’s a package they can more readily understand. For the reader there is nothing new here. Most efforts I have seen for the iPad are nothing more than cheap imitations of the print version or a rehashing of what we used to see on cd-rom.

Sure; through a new focus on lean-back consumption over sit-forward distraction, the hyperactive attention deficit that comes with continual self-satisfied link clicking will dissipate. But so may the marvellous connections that the open web affords between people and content and places and pages, the opportunity to freely publish in an open ecosystem and the serendipity of discovering something unexpected at the end of a mouse click.

The Anti-Web Movement Is Gathering Pace

Herbas & Fug for iPad

Herbas & Fug for iPad
“Keeping you and your iPad warm this winter”. If you live in Australia that is.
Herbas & Fug is Crumplers addition to the growing collection of bags designed for the iPad. The Herbas is made from one piece of material and features one front pocket for cables and chargers, and another smaller coin pocket. Crumplers signature oversized clip holds this one piece construction in place.
The Fug is a simple sleeve for the iPad that compliments the Herbas … “the Fug fits the iPad, like a Fug, or glove, and slips neatly into The Herbas”.
Herbas & Fug for iPad

Grid-App for iPhone/iPad

Grid-App for iPhone/iPad
Grabbed. Grid lovers or those who find Apple’s included backgrounds too distracting will like these grid based home screen backgrounds for iPhone and iPad. Designed by Effektive these grid inspired layouts act as an organised wireframe structure to keep your applications in neat and tidy order on your iPhone or iPad*. With numbered grid rows and a ‘D’ for Dock you simply press hold and drag and drop your icons into the specific grid spots.
Works on devices running IOS4 and only on 3GS or iPhone 4. Download and installation instructions are available here.
Via swissmiss.

The Parallels Between Social Networks and Tribal Societies

 The Parallels Between Social Networks and Tribal Societies
Photo via Pablo Lorenzo
In 2007, The New York Times reported on how in the collective patter of profile-surfing, messaging and “friending,” academic researchers saw the resurgence of older patterns of oral communication.

“The growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Second Life has thrust many of us into a new world where we make “friends” with people we barely know, scrawl messages on each other’s walls and project our identities using totem-like visual symbols.
We’re making up the rules as we go. But is this world as new as it seems?
Academic researchers are starting to examine that question by taking an unusual tack: exploring the parallels between online social networks and tribal societies. In the collective patter of profile-surfing, messaging and “friending,” they see the resurgence of ancient patterns of oral communication.”

Blogs and social networks are subtle forms of oral culture.

“If you examine the Web through the lens of orality, you can’t help but see it everywhere,” says Irwin Chen, a design instructor at Parsons who is developing a new course to explore the emergence of oral culture online. “Orality is participatory, interactive, communal and focused on the present. The Web is all of these things.”

Social networks are tribal.

“In tribal cultures, your identity is completely wrapped up in the question of how people know you,” he says. “When you look at Facebook, you can see the same pattern at work: people projecting their identities by demonstrating their relationships to each other. You define yourself in terms of who your friends are.”
In tribal societies, people routinely give each other jewelry, weapons and ritual objects to cement their social ties. On Facebook, people accomplish the same thing by trading symbolic sock monkeys, disco balls and hula girls.

Online social networks gradually replace real world social interaction.

The more time we spend “talking” online, the less time we spend, well, talking. And as we stretch the definition of a friend to encompass people we may never actually meet, will the strength of our real-world friendships grow diluted as we immerse ourselves in a lattice of hyperlinked “friends”?

New York Times: Friending, Ancient or Otherwise

Traveling Denim

Traveling Denim
Traveling Denim
Travelling Denim, a short film by Takayuki Akachi, documents the fade and wear of a pair of jeans over the course of a two year trip across fifty countries.
“The denim walks freely in the world, meets people, changes and fades.”
Wonderful shots of jeans, bags and the different cultures and surroundings seen during the trip.

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