Sunday, December 5, 2010
I’ve invite the producers and directors of the Unravel film to come to school and do a
Winner of the Deutsche Bank Award for Art at the Royal College of Art 2010, Unravel
is an epic project that will create a hand painted film that correlates in length with the 874 miles between John O’Groats and Lands End - taking each metre between
these two edges of mainland Britain as a ratio to equal one frame of 16mm film.
Formed by Maria Anastassiou and Chris Paul Daniels whilst studying at the Royal College of Art, Unravel is also comprised of OKO Lab of Leeds (Mark Pickles and Jo Byrne) and, Manchester based, Kelvin Brown.
This piece of film was made during a Workshop at Camberwell College of Arts,
Wilson Road (MA Graphic Design Studio).
Post on Unravel blog:
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I'm a student at Camberwell University of the Arts and I am writing a dissertation on the process of letter press, it's relevance in design culture today and its future. James down in letter press showed me some of your work and I also checked out your website/ blog, and I love the work that you have done with this printing process. I wondered if you could answer some quick questions for me please?
Thanks so much,
1. What first attracted you to working with letterpress?
To learn about typography, even if we use only digital "instruments" in the end, we need to learn how to use type in the letterpress. It's harder to make it work because you have more constrains, and that makes you understand better how to work with type in general. When you need to spend more than 5 minutes just to find the exact thickens of a piece of metal to work the spaces between two letters, this space becomes much more visible. And you get much more sensitive to it. You will spot it all the time around you in every piece of text you see on the street.
2. Why do you chose to use the process of letterpress in your working practice?
I use letterpress when and if it makes sense to use it. It's not a rule, it's a tool/technique like any other. Like the computer is another fantastic tool.
When I was studying in RCA for one year and focusing on the idea of dematerialization of music (internet, mp3, etc) I wanted to work with the idea of reify music. I was working with video so I've decide to use metal type, compose the lyrics of one song and film it in the leterpress. In this case I though it was the best tool.
3. Why do you think letterpress is going through a massive resurgence at this current time?
I guess it's a circle. Everyone was fascinated with computers for a while. Then some people realize the physicallity, print quality, texture, one can achive in the leterpress is something very special and unique. So they went back.
Also I think that's a different approach over graphic design, that has a very artistic experimental side. Leterpress is like a type lab for people to do nice experiments.
4. Do you think letterpress could ever be replaced by digital technology? And why?
No. For comercial reasons. For money reasons. For time reasons. Lots of reasons. Also there are many many things you can't do in the letterpress and you can do digitally.
And I don't see it as being either one or the other. Both can work in paralel. You can start a project in the letterepress and finish it on the computer.
The last project I did in the Camberwell Leterpress I didn't print it. I compose the type, ink it, and photograph it. Everything else was done in the computer.
5. Do you think there is a sense of nostalgia attached to letterpress?
For some people it can be. But what about young students using it for the firts time? They don't have any reason to feel nostalgic. They never did it before!
You can imprint the feeling of nostalgia to a project by using the leterpress. But that can also be achieved with other tools and techniques.
My answer is yes and no, depending on the person and on the project.
6. Where did you learn to use letterpress?
I've learn with the leterpress monster (like he likes to call himself) Ian Gabb, in the Royal College of Art leterpress. He is a funny character. We where all the time listening to music with a very nice selection done by Ian (also a Dj). I've use his turntable for some experiences with a praxinoscope that I end up using in my final project at RCA.
7. Do you think people in general (not in the design world) really appreciate and respect pieces made in letterpress?
I'm sorry but I don't like generalizations. People in general is too vague.
And I don't think it needs to be respected. Let's not be too precious about it.
In graphic design what people can't see, doesn't exist. We are not supposed to convince people about anything.
Otherwise we are talking about an artistic practise.
Letterpress can be a self indulgent practise. If "people" don't apreciate it so what?
8. Letterpress is a very time consuming practice, do you think this adds to part of it's charm?
I like to spend time in the leterpress. And I believe that by spending more time on something you can make it better. Also allowing yourself time it helps spotting mistakes. But for me the charm is more on the touch, on the smell and on the result. Not so much on the time.
9. Do you think you get more self- satisfaction from using this printing process rather than printing something off the computer?
No. My self- satisfaction comes from getting to the end of a project and feel that I did a good job. That is to do with answering in a consistent way to a specific programme. I don't like self initiated projects. I like to work with clients and to have restrictions, budget, deadlines, an audience, a programme. I'm a graphic designer.
I actually think it's easier to get to some nice visual results using the leterpress than using the computer. And all this fascination for no reason can be silly. Everything at it's own place, please.
10. What are the disadvantages of letterpress in you opinion?
If you use it in a anapropriate situation. If it doesn't make sense to use it. If you are just fascinated by a visual result and forget the purpose of what you're doing. Then it has disadvantages. When it's inadequate.
Besides this you can find lots of obvious disadvantages: no repetition, time consuming, you destroy your clothes with paint, it's tyring, you have to carry heavie stuff, bla, bla. Or you can have a look at it from the opposite direction and say: you get unique print work, enjoy the time you spend in the letterpress, learn a lot, etc.
Monday, October 25, 2010
"Using cheap, easily available materials, make a symbol, sign or image to represent change, transition or transformation in your own life.
Communicate your message to one other person in the group so that they can communicate it to the group as a whole."
My main message was "I'm going to be based in Portugal this year to make it easier and possible to travel more in order to continue the documentary/video project: music industry outside the music industry."
I went to the library in search of the map of the world and I found the Time Zone map. That allow me to realize I've been working, traveling and living in the same time zone.
I still don't know if this will be some kind of guidance for the rest of the project. But it's an interesting fact.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
How 20 years of the web has reshaped our lives
The wonder and walls of Wikipedia; the blogger media revolution; who really has power on the web? Is it the online crowd or the 'gatekeepers'?
Internet in Africa and more
Making a documentary has become easier with the help of The Virtual Revolution. We are providing unedited professionally filmed footage from the series, for you to use. This includes interviews, aerial shots, graphics and music. Download them for free under our permissive licence, and mix them with your own ingenuity.
Stone Country Festival (www.gunbalanya.org), in August, is an open day and cultural festival with traditional music, dancing, arts and crafts demonstrations. It’s the only day you can visit Gunbalanya without a permit. Camping is allowed but strictly no alcohol."
Their music is strongly connected to their rock paintings.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Organ that recycles sound wins New Music award
The Organ of Corti – which takes sounds from saturated environments and recycles them using sonic crystals – wins £50,000 prize for most innovative idea for a new musical work
A £50,000 award given to the most innovative idea for a new musical work was tonight given to an arts practice that recycles everyday noise whether it is the repetitive drone of motorway traffic or the tumbling rapids of a weir.
The biennial New Music award is one of the most financially lucrative prizes in the arts calendar – more even than the Turner or Mercury – and is given to what is judged the most groundbreaking concept for a new musical work, whatever the genre.
At a ceremony at the Serpentine gallery pavilion, in London, first prize went to an arts practice called liminal led by composer David Prior and architect Frances Crow, for their entry, The Organ of Corti, named after a part of the inner ear.
In essence, the project sculpts sounds. It uses a portable structure resembling a fairground organ to take sounds from saturated environments and recycle them using sonic crystals. One of the project's aims is to encourage people to listen more carefully and be more aware of the sounds around them.
The judging panel was chaired by the Guardian's chief arts writer Charlotte Higgins. She said the decision had been unanimous after "a long, sometimes difficult, and always stimulating debate". She added: "The judges admired the quiet beauty of the idea of 'recycling' sound in a world saturated by noise and overwhelmed by music. In a world obsessed by glitz and glamour of large-scale, bells-and-whistles events, the thoughtful, discreet and gentle idea of the Organ of Corti utterly caught their imagination."
The prize, established in 2005, is funded and organised by the PRS for Music Foundation which funds music across all genres, supporting everything from unsigned bands to composer residencies.
Sally Taylor, the foundation's chair, said the award was "about looking beyond the obvious and the commercial and envisaging the music of the future. All five ideas on this year's shortlist, which ranged from site-specific sound art to African-inspired human beatbox, captured this spirit of adventure and discovery."
The liminal work will now premiere at the City of London festival in July 2011. It was chosen by a judging panel that also included the artist Martin Creed, the singer and DJ Bishi, the pianist and conductor Joanna MacGregor, the composer and pianist Michael Finnissy and the music journalist Paul Morley.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
For those who can't afford to have their ashes sent to space or who may not like the notion of being screwed into the ground post-mortem, here's another solution: have your ashes pressed into a vinyl record and spin for all eternity.
For about $3,000, your cremated remains, parts of your remains, or your pet's remains can be immortalized in a limited-edition run of 30 records. In a 24-minute segment, you can record your final thoughts or your favorite songs, or you can pay extra to have a UK band write a song for you.
The company, And Vinyly, says you can "live on from beyond the groove."
UK record-label founder Jason Leach, who is also part of a couple techno groups, came up with the idea after contemplating his own mortality, according to Wired UK. His mother started working at a funeral home, and he saw a TV program that showed someone in the U.S. putting ashes into fireworks.
The basic package, which costs $3,000, includes standard "Rest In Vinyl" artwork decorating up to 30 albums, with audio provided by you. For extra fees, you can add in exclusive artwork, where UK artist James Hague adds your ash to the paint; original music by artists on Leach's record labels; and even worldwide distribution in record stores.
The Web site is a bit cheeky -- it includes a link to a "raveyard," which simply shows a bunch of headstones splashed in pulsating color.
But it's a unique way to spend eternity once you shuffle off your mortal coil. Hey, you can't do it with an MP3.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
What makes them extreme? They utilize specially designed earmuffs that passively attenuate surrounding sound by 29db and custom fitted high-quality, speaker assembly. Because of the extreme surrounding sound isolation, it is only necessary to use the headphones at medium to low volume resulting in less ear fatigue and less risk of hearing defects.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Song lyrics brought to (visual) life by typography and design
The TypoLyrics section in the German typography magazine Slanted is an experiment in bringing together song texts and typography, writes Yves Peters. Slanted has turned this popular section into a book featuring 170 new contributions. Celebrated graphic designers as well as talented young designers from all over the world were asked to create typographic interpretations of song lyrics.
Above: Amon Düül II, ‘Archangel Thunderbird’ (George Triantafyllakos, typeface: BP Mono Italics / John Dowland, ‘Come Heavy Sleep’ (Hannes von Döhren, typeface: Opal Pro)
Below: The Dillinger Escape Plan, ‘Sunshine the Werewolf’ (Chris Steurer, typeface: Hunstruct Tall) / The Crystals, ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ (Vincent Sahli, typeface: Theinhardt Pro)
In analogy with traditional type classification, the illustrations are grouped in eleven chapters according to musical styles. Each genre is coupled with a particular type style, for example stencil for Punk or monospaced for Krautrock. The book opens with a foreword by Max Dax, interviews with Stylorouge, Dirk Rudolph and Invisible Creature, plus a comment by Frank Wiedemann who selected most of the songs. The end pages list the contributors and the typefaces used.
Above: Miss Kittin, ‘Kittin is High’ (Matthias Christ, typeface: Rauschen) / Faithless, ‘Insomnia’ (Dirk König, typeface: Frac)
Below: David Bowie, ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ (Sabrina M. Lopez & Maximiliano R. Sproviero, typeface: Aphrodite Slim)
As is to be expected in this type of book, the work presented is very eclectic, and inevitably some pages are not as successful as others. Yet most designs are imaginative and offer surprising visuals, like Daniel Bär’s exuberant interpretation of Zoot Woman’s ‘Nu-Disco’, or Franzi Kahle’s visceral painting for ‘Je t’aime … Moi non plus’. This book confirms that great type designers seldom make great graphic designers. Their efforts to present their typefaces as favourably as possible sometimes fall short in the design department – a noteworthy exception being Andrea Tinnes’ brilliant visualisation of the angular, cut-up R&B of Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ featuring Beyoncé.
TypoLyrics is a beautifully produced hardcover book, printed in simple black on coloured stock – a different colour for each chapter. As the ink for the covers was gradually changed during printing and the volumes randomly put in the boxes, each cover has a unique colour. TypoLyrics shows an interesting cross-section of contemporary graphic design and examines the intriguing interaction between the music, the meaning of the lyrics and their typographic interpretation.
Above: Visage, ‘Fade to Grey’ (Anthony Dart, typeface: Statistic) / Gary Numan, ‘Cars’ (Kristina Klinkmüller)
Below: Van Morrison, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (s-w, typeface: Susa) / Bill Haley, ‘See You Later Alligator’ (Elena Albertoni, typeface: The Antiqua Ornaments)
Back in 2007, director Vincent Morisset reinvented the music video online, with his interactive promo for Arcade Fire track Neon Bible. For the band's latest album, The Suburbs, Morisset has now turned his attention to how digital music files could be more visually exciting...
Morisset has worked with designer Caroline Robert to create a digital artwork that appears when the album is played on mp3 players like the iPod or iPhone. The work deliberately echoes the pleasures of old vinyl record sleeves, where the song lyrics were often written out in full. Each track on the album has an individual image that appears on the iPod screen when it is played, with the lyrics of the song then appearing on the screen as they are sung.
"Win [Butler, Arcade Fire's lead singer], wanted to create a version of the artwork that would be relevant in the digital world," explains Morisset on his website. "Most of us now buy, share and listen to music through computers and portable devices. It seems absurd that it is still a single jpg that is attached to an album in 2010."
"I thought about the relation we have with the vinyl cardboard cover or the paper booklet while listening to the songs. Flipping through the lyrics, looking at a band picture or a cool drawing related to a song while listening to it. With the mp3 player, we lost that. I wanted to find a way to get closer to that experience again."
As with his Neon Bible video, part of the success of the Synchronised Artwork is its simplicity. Explaining how it works, Morisset says, "Tightly sync a series of images with specific moments in a song using the m4a format. Like some podcasters do, but with micro chapters for each line of the lyrics. In addition to that, we were able to add good old hyperlinks also synchonised to the song. This gives the possiblity for the band to add, at any moment, all kinds of references related to each song. They plan to change and update those links occasionally."
The handwritten presentation of the lyrics on the screen works perfectly with the artwork that Caroline Robert designed for the album, which includes photographs shot by Gabriel Jones in the suburbs of Houston. To experience the Synchronised Artwork for yourself, head online to arcadefire.com, where it is included with the purchase of any digital download of the album.
CREATIVE REVIEW BLOG
8 different covers:
"So what's this all about? Well, turns out that long established Soho record shop, Harold Moores (specialist in classical and jazz releases), is closing for a re-fit. In order to prepare the shop for its revamp, staff are chucking out thousands and thousands of records (well over 20,000 by my reckoning) - which were dumped, rather unceremoniously, in a skip outside the premises...
But that's not to say the records are destined for landfill just yet. During my lunchbreak I stumbled across this scene of vinyl hungry people clambering over each other to grab a few vintage slabs of wax..."
CREATIVE REVIEW BLOG
Sunday, July 11, 2010
To write messages of today and save them on draft to the future.
To chose a number of objects from today and imagine someone will find them out of the context in the distant future. To "catalog" today's day by explaining through these objects how we live today.
Lets imagine an archeologist finds one object of today in 400 years from now. How easy will it be for him to understand the context, the use, the year of made... If we could make his life easy what will we attach to that object.
For the "today in a boat" project I would like to invite a diverse group of people, from different backgrounds (who could per si represent today's society) and present them the challenge of choosing an object, collecting all the operating instructions, manufacture information, manuals, and come on board to give us a short introduction of why they have chosen their particular object. For that they will have to describe the object, tells us what it's used for, where it was found, bought, measurements materials, etc, how much did it cost... And from there move to what does it say about our society today.
As an example I chose a plastic bottle filled with tap water. And let's say It has the original packaging from the distributor.
I would have to explain exactly how we use it now (context), how the container is produced (manufacturing instructions and technology used to produce it), what is plastic, how we put the tap water inside and how the plump water system works and gets to our houses, the problem of excess of plastic bottles in the world, how we carry this bottles in our bags an forget them it in meeting tables, visual instructions of how to use it, how we use our hand to grab it, harm to help it get close to the mouth, mouth as to be slightly open.
Well, this all seams annoyingly obvious for us now.
But how will people drink water in the future?
Portable, on the move, recycle, plastic! (will plastic still exist in 400 years from now?). So speed could also be an abstract element we can use to represent our everyday routine. What kind of speed, in what situation, what is our reaction to low speed?
Now pick another object and do the same.
If 40 people collect 40 objects will it be enough to represent this present day?
Some objects have a lot to say, and if each person put it in context and explains all the connections around it, I believe it could.
The purpose of this project is also to raise important issues about the society today and to promote tertulias between people.
The project was based on the idea that by being in a close environment such as a boat, people will focus more. Also the fact we are going to spend two days on a boat makes us think better about what we want to take with us. Again what objects?
So I thought it would be interesting to go up the Thames in the boat. And up the Thames on a boat is "Three man in a boat", by Jerome K. Jerome. And here's an excerpt of the book that helped building the concept for this project:
"To go back to the carved-oak question, they must have had very fair notions of the artistic and the beautiful, our great-great-grandfathers. Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The "old blue" that we hang about
our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried.
Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house?
That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to
verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her.
But in 200 years' time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was.
We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as "those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs."
Chapter 6, pag 45
The concept behind the boat project it's expressed in the book itself. And this made me build the route on the river based on the trip they did as well: Starting in Kingston-upon-Thames (were they've got the boat from), up into Pangbourne, where the book heroes abandoned their boat and got the train back to London.
This project would be documented in the shape of a book.
More details to follow.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Published June 9, 2010
A Manolo Blahnik it isn't.
Still, the world's oldest known leather shoe, revealed Wednesday, struck one of the world's best known shoe designers as shockingly au courant. "It is astonishing," Blahnik said via email, "how much this shoe resembles a modern shoe!"
Stuffed with grass, perhaps as an insulator or an early shoe tree, the 5,500-year-old moccasin-like shoe was found exceptionally well preserved—thanks to a surfeit of sheep dung—during a recent dig in an Armenian cave.
About as big as a current women's size seven (U.S.), the shoe was likely tailor-made for the right foot of its owner, who could have been a man or a woman—not enough is known about Armenian feet of the era to say for sure.
Made from a single piece of cowhide—a technique that draws premium prices for modern shoes under the designation "whole cut"—the shoe is laced along seams at the front and back, with a leather cord.
"The hide had been cut into two layers and tanned, which was probably quite a new technology," explained Ron Pinhasi, co-director of the dig, from University College Cork in Ireland.
Yvette Worrall, a shoemaker for the Conker handmade-shoe company in the U.K., added, "I'd imagine the leather was wetted first and then cut and fitted around the foot, using the foot as a last [mold] to stitch it up there and then."
The end result looks surprisingly familiar for something so ancient—and not just to Blahnik.
"It immediately struck me as very similar to a traditional form of Balkan footwear known as the opanke, which is still worn as a part of regional dress at festivals today," said Elizabeth Semmelhack, a curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada.
"I thought, Wow, not so much has changed."
Oldest Leather Shoe Shows Stunning Preservation
Radiocarbon dated to about 3500 B.C., during Armenia's Copper Age, the prehistoric shoe is compressed in the heel and toe area, likely due to miles upon miles of walking. But the shoe is by no means worn out.
Shoes of this age are incredibly rare, because leather and plant materials normally degrade very quickly.
But in this case the contents of a pit in the cave, dubbed Areni-1, had been sealed in by several layers of sheep dung, which accumulated in the cave after its Copper Age human inhabitants had gone.
"The cave environment kept it cool and dry, while the dung cemented the finds in," said Pinhasi, lead author of the new study, published by the journal PLoS ONE Wednesday.
Why Was Oldest Leather Shoe Made?
Protecting the foot was probably one of the main reasons people started wearing shoes, and certainly this seems the case for the world's oldest leather shoe.
Around the Armenian cave, "the terrain is very rugged, and there are many sharp stones and prickly bushes," said University of California archaeologist and study co-author Gregory Areshian, who was partly funded by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
Furthermore, shoes like this would have enabled people to cope with extremes of temperature in the region—up to 113°F (45°C) in summer and below freezing in winter—and to travel farther.
"These people were walking long distances. We have found obsidian in the cave, which came from at least 75 miles [120 kilometers] away," he said.
Blahnik, the shoe designer, speculates that even this simple design was worn for style as well as substance.
"The shoe's function was obviously to protect the foot, but I am in no doubt that a certain appearance of a shoe meant belonging to a particular tribe," said Blahnik, who knows a thing or two about expressing identity through attire. "I am sure it was part of the outfit which a specific tribe wore to distinguish their identity from another."
Not the World's Oldest Shoe
Previously, the oldest known closed-toe shoes were those belonging to Ötzi, the "Iceman" found in the Austrian Alps in 1991, who died around 5,300 years ago. (See "Iceman Wore Cattle, Sheep Hides; May Have Been a Herder.")
Sandals meanwhile, have an even longer history, with the oldest specimens, dated to more than 7,000 years ago, discovered in the Arnold Research Cave in central Missouri.
The wearing of shoes, though, is almost certainly older than the oldest known shoes. For example, a weakening of small toe bones found in 40,000-year-old human fossils has been cited as evidence of the advent of shoes.
Compared to Ötzi's shoes, the world's oldest leather shoe is strictly bare-bones, according to Jacqui Wood, an independent archaeologist based in the U.K., who studied Ötzi's shoes and who said the new study's science is sound.
"The Iceman's shoe was in another league altogether," Wood said. "Each base was made from brown bearskin; the side panels were deerskin; and inside was a bark-string net, which pulled tight around the foot.
"By contrast, the Armenian shoe is the most basic of shoes and was probably made worldwide once people decided not to walk about in bare feet." (See pictures of the Iceman.)
It's true that similar shoes have been found at other sites and from other times, but study co-authors Pinhasi and Areshian think it's plausible that the style originated in Armenia.
"Many other inventions, such as wheel-thrown pottery, cuneiform writing, and wool production evolved in the ancient Near East," Pinhasi said. "And so Armenia may give us the earliest clues to a 'prototype' shoe, which later spread to Europe.
Rebecca Shawcross, a shoe historian at the Northampton Museums & Art Gallery in the U.K., said, "You can certainly make a case for this shoe [design] being a forerunner to the North American moccasin, which has gone on to be a popular shoe style, whose influences can be seen in shoes of today—deck shoes; soft, slipper-style shoes for men; and so on."
Beyond the World's Oldest Leather Shoe
With the moccasin mystery largely solved, the study team has plenty more puzzles to solve in Areni-1.
Along with the shoe, the ancient sheep dung had sealed in the horns of a wild goat, bones of red deer, and an upside-down broken pot.
"It is a strange assortment of items," Pinhasi said, "and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have some symbolic meaning"—a meaning that could be revealed as summer, and a new dig season, dawns at Areni-1.
The discovery of the world's oldest known leather shoe was funded by the National Geographic Society, the Chitjian Foundation (Los Angeles), and Joe Gfoeller of the Gfoeller Foundation, the Steinmetz Family Foundation, the Boochever Foundation, and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.
The oldest example of a leather shoe has been discovered by archaeologists in a cave in Armenia.
At 5,500 years old, the well preserved cow-hide shoe pre-dates Stonehenge by 400 years and the Pyramids of Giza by 1,000 years.
It was made of a single piece of leather and was shaped to fit the wearer's foot, the researchers say.
They have published details of the discovery from south-east Armenia in the journal Plos One.
The shoe contained grass, although the archaeologists are uncertain as to whether this was to keep the foot warm or to maintain the shape of the footwear.
The authors are unsure whether it was worn by a man or a woman. The shoe is relatively small, corresponding to a UK women's size 5 (European size 38; US size 7 women), but it could have been worn by a man of that period.
It was discovered at the Areni-1 cave in the Vayotz Dzor province of Armenia, which borders on Turkey and Iran.
The archaeologists put the shoe's remarkable preservation down to the stable, cool and dry conditions in the cave and the fact that the floor of the cave was covered by a thick layer of sheep dung.
This layer of excrement acted as a solid seal, preserving it over the millennia.
"We thought initially that the shoe and other objects were about 600-700 years old because they were in such good condition," said co-author Dr Ron Pinhasi from University College Cork in Ireland.
"It was only when the material was dated by the two radiocarbon laboratories in Oxford and in California that we realised that the shoe was older by a few hundred years than the shoes worn by Oetzi the Iceman."
Other well preserved objects were also found in the cave, including large containers, many of which held wheat and barley, apricots and other edible plants.
Sandals made from plant fibres found at the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri, US, pre-date the shoes from Areni by some 2,000-2,500 years.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Six independent, bottom-up educational initiatives share their experiences of experimenting with different systems of teaching, radically reassessing accepted modes of knowledge distribution: Critical Practice, FLAG, Interdisciplinary Critical Forum, Parallel School, Thinking & Practice Group and Department 21.
Flag, Joana, Bianca
How to deal with the question of authority of student-led or extra curricula projects? Could the work or participation in them not be valued as everything else one does in college? What authority do you need for those initiatives to be accepted by the student body?
How to keep a group accessible? Should information be widely accessible? Does a project become elitist, if the information is not stored in a place that can be accessed by everyone. Here the question comes up of how public you want the project to be.
New necessities evolve throughout running a project, so it is necessary to adapt to these in a flexible way.
Open calls for participation. Sometimes just one person gets back. This needs already to be seen as a success.
Trans-college communication should be improved so that like-minded students can meet across colleges.
These educational initiatives will always be institution-specific, but still connecting across institutions can prove valuable and supportive.
How to network if you don’t do shows? We should find a way of supporting people who have a non-medium based practice. Is cash all you can support them with?
Documentation vs. Legacy. As an initiative it is more productive to leave something that sparks imagination and reflection, rather then a 1:1 representation of the activities.
Sophie, Metod, Jay, Fabio, Callum
Initiating – getting people together, finding a common ground/aim/goal
Commitment, enthusiasm and trust are key attributes.
Openess – creating possibilities for people to join in
Collective in?? – forming a horizontal structure. (Here we discussed that horizontality might mean equal opportunity, but not that no one takes the lead.)
What role play personal interests within a collective goal?
Strong collective interests
In each group their needs to be space for employing the personal skills.
Initiatives should have some sort of perpetual restructuring build in.
Where do you find an agreement between the individual and collective interests?
Katrine, Marsha, Paul, Terry
Individuals – groups – specific. The chemistry in the group is important.
Be bothered. Something about value and aim – finding a common ground – trust.
There is no good or bad practice, lets speak about productive practice instead.
Occupying a social space – social engagement
Monday, July 5, 2010
From 2000 to 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.”
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
By paying attention to details, Nashville festival Bonnaroo has become a thriving business
By Josh Eells
It was the fall of 2001, and Jonathan Mayers was stuck. He had built Superfly Presents—the New Orleans-based concert promotion company he ran with three friends—into a local success, staging some 120 shows a year and earning around $1 million. However, Mayers and his partners—Rick Farman, Richard Goodstone, and Kerry Black—were tired of the nightly grind, the razor-thin profit margins, and the battle with industry colossus Clear Channel Communications. They realized there was only so much money to be made staging rock and jazz shows for a few hundred people a night. "We saw there was a ceiling to what we were doing," Mayers says. "We had to take a risk."
That decision led to the founding of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, a 100-band jamboree that has been the top-grossing music festival in North America for eight years running. This year, from June 10-13, 75,000 fans will make the pilgrimage to a 700-acre farm an hour southeast of Nashville for what observers ranging from Rolling Stone to the concert chronicler Pollstar have called the best music festival in the country.
As live concerts have supplanted album sales as the music industry's chief moneymaker, Bonnaroo (which means "good times" in Creole) has flourished. Ticket prices range from $250 for a general-admission pass to $18,500 for a luxury package that includes an air-conditioned bus, on-stage VIP viewing platforms, and a chauffeured golf cart to shuttle between the two. Meanwhile, the promoters have 16 other profit centers on-site, including concessions, merchandise and, yes, paid showers. Last year the festival grossed around $30 million, approximately $18 million of which came from ticket sales. And since, according to Goodstone, Bonnaroo "funds itself on ticket sales," the other $12 million was profit.
"It's really as modern a music formula as you could have right now," says Ray Waddell, the longtime touring guru for industry publication Billboard. "They're focused on the live experience, but they also branch off into these other directions—licensing, media deals, the Web. They've really broadened the revenue stream."
The first Bonnaroo, held in 2002, featured mostly jam bands and cult acts such as Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, and the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh. As the festival has grown, it has diversified to encompass an eclectic mix of A-list stars, from Radiohead and Pearl Jam to Metallica and the Beastie Boys. This year's headliners offer something for every demo: Jay-Z and Kings of Leon for the college kids, Stevie Wonder for the boomers, and the Dave Matthews Band for the hacky-sacking base. Bonnaroo also books comedians, including Conan O'Brien this year, and features such amenities as a film tent, gourmet burrito and microbrew stands, and TV banks for watching the NBA finals and, this year, the World Cup.
Daily programming runs from noon until 4 a.m., and an estimated 90 percent of concertgoers stay on-site—either in tents or in one of the fully outfitted RVs provided (for a price) for the camping-averse. "You don't go home at night and turn on CNN or check your e-mail," Farman says. "It's an all-encompassing experience." The goal is to create the kind of communal, anything-goes atmosphere where, say, Bruce Springsteen can play a three-hour headlining set on Saturday night, jam with Phish on Sunday, and in between, stay out until 4 a.m. watching indie-rock band MGMT with his teenage son (all of which happened last year).
"We pay attention to details—that's the business model," Mayers says, sitting on a couch at Superfly's scrappy Manhattan headquarters. The company's aesthetic is college-pad chic: lava lamps, vintage concert posters, jeans, and flip-flops. Scribbled on a dry-erase board is one of their mission statements—"selling authenticity"—while the office Wi-Fi password jokingly recalls rapper Kanye West's diva-like performance at Bonnaroo 2008. (It's "kanyesucks.") The vibe isn't too far removed from Superfly's do-it-yourself early days, when Goodstone once spent a night in jail for posting an illegal concert flier.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Let’s work with the concept of ‘listening’ rather than ‘selling’
Published on Thursday, 3 June, 2010 | 11:01 am
I wasn’t expecting this Senegal, writes Joana Monteiro. Technology not only influences culture but it also changes the way we access it.
The Internet changed our life forever. In particular the way we share and listen to music. We are not listening to music with as much sound quality as before. But we listen more. Because music is everywhere, no matter where in the world we are. And I’m not talking about ‘wallpaper’ music, because then we aren’t really listening. It’s the way we access our music that became more democratic.
My experience visiting Senegal changed my view on the music industry outside western society. In places where you don’t have running water or electricity, music still is the big passion. Like in any other part of the world, in Senegal people listen to music using YouTube, mp3 players and mobile phones.
We live now in the Information Age. ‘We’, meaning the whole planet, not just the western world. The music industry is changing, but it’s not dying. Music will always exist, and people will always find ways of listening to music.
If we, designers, want to keep our jobs inside the music industry, we must start working more around the concept of ‘listening’ and not so much with the concept of ‘selling’.
Are we pirates or donkeys?
Going to a music shop (top) in Senegal was an interesting experience. All they sell are copied CDs with home made covers. Other places wait for you to make a specific request and burn the files there and then.
Before recorded music, live music used to be the only way people could listen to music. It might be that in the future this will be the only transaction occurring between bands and their fans. As designers, let’s get out of our self-indulgent desert island of beautiful packaging and start having fun working side by side with artists / musicians providing more interesting experiences to the audience.
Below: Music from the mosque.
Here is a short video I made of my trip to Senegal.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the music industry was dominated by the publishers of sheet music. By mid-century records had supplanted sheet music as the largest player in the music business: in the commercial world people began speaking of "the recording industry" as a loose synonym of "the music industry". Since 2000, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially, while live music has increased in importance. Four "major labels" dominate recorded music — Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI — each of which consists of many smaller companies and labels serving different regions and markets. The live music industry is dominated by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, which is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States. Other important music industry companies include Creative Artists Agency (a management and booking company) and Apple Inc. (which runs the world's largest music store, iTunes Store, and sells the iPod, iPad and iPhone).
Until the eighteenth century, the processes of formal composition and of the printing of music took place for the most part with the support of patronage from aristocracies and churches. In the mid-to-late 1700s, performers and composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began to seek commercial opportunities to market their music and performances to the general public. After Mozart's death, his wife (Constanze Weber) continued the process of commercialization of his music through an unprecedented series of memorial concerts, selling his manuscripts, and collaborating with her second husband, Georg Nissen, on a biography of Mozart.
In the nineteenth century, sheet-music publishers dominated the music industry. In the United States, the music industry arose in tandem with the rise of blackface minstrelsy. In the late part of the century the group of music publishers and songwriters which dominated popular music in the United States became known as Tin Pan Alley.
Main article: 20th-century music
At the dawn of the early 20th century, the recording of sound began to function as a disruptive technology in music markets. With the invention of the phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison in 1877, and the onset of widespread radio communications, the way music is heard was changed forever. Opera houses, concert halls, and clubs continued to produce music and perform live, but the power of radio allowed even the most obscure bands to form and become popular on a nationwide and sometimes worldwide scale.
The "record industry" eventually replaced the sheet music publishers as the industry's largest force. A multitude of record labels came and went. Some note-worthy labels of the earlier decades include the Columbia Records, Crystalate, Decca Records, Edison Bell, The Gramophone Company, Invicta, Kalliope, Pathé, Victor Talking Machine Company and many others.
Many record companies died out as quickly as they had formed, and by the end of the 1980s, the "Big 6" — EMI, CBS, BMG, PolyGram, WEA and MCA — dominated the industry. Sony bought CBS Records in 1987 and changed its name to Sony Music in 1991. In mid-1998, PolyGram merged into Universal Music Group (formerly MCA), dropping the leaders down to a "Big 5". (They became the "Big 4" in 2004 when BMG merged into Sony.)
Genre-wise, music entrepreneurs expanded their industry models into areas like folk music, in which composition and performance had continued for centuries on an ad hoc self-supporting basis. Forming an independent record label, or "indie" label, continues to be a popular choice for up-and-coming musicians to have their music heard, despite the financial backing associated with major labels.
Main article: 2000s in music industry
In the 21st century, consumers spent far less money on recorded music than they had in 1990s, in all formats. Total revenues for CDs, vinyl, cassettes and digital downloads in the world dropped 25% from $38.6 billion in 1999 to $27.5 billion in 2008 according to IFPI. Same revenues in the U.S. dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $9 billion in 2008. The Economist and The New York Times report that the downward trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future —Forrester Research predicts that by 2013, revenues in USA may reach as low as $9.2 billion. This dramatic decline in revenue has caused large-scale layoffs inside the industry, driven music retailers (such as Tower Records) out of business and forced record companies, record producers, studios, recording engineers and musicians to seek new business models.
In the early years of the decade, the record industry took aggressive action against illegal file sharing. In 2001 it succeeded in shutting down Napster (the leading on-line source of digital music), and it has threatened thousands of individuals with legal action. This failed to slow the decline in revenue and proved a public-relations disaster. However, some academic studies have suggested that downloads did not cause the decline. Legal digital downloads became widely available with the debut of the iTunes Store in 2003. The popularity of internet music distribution has increased and in 2009 according to IFPI more than a quarter of all recorded music industry revenues worldwide are now coming from digital channels . However, as The Economist reports, "paid digital downloads grew rapidly, but did not begin to make up for the loss of revenue from CDs."
The turmoil in the recorded music industry has changed the twentieth-century balance between artists, record companies, promoters, retail music-stores and the consumer. As of 2010[update], big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy retail more music than music-only stores, which have ceased to function as a player in the industry. Recording artists now rely on live performance and merchandise for the majority of their income, which in turn has made them more dependent on music promoters like Live Nation (which dominates tour promotion and owns a large number of music venues.) In order to benefit from all of an artist's income streams, record companies increasingly rely on the "360 deal", a new business-relationship pioneered by Robbie Williams and EMI in 2007. At the other extreme, record companies can offer a simple manufacturing and distribution deal, which gives a higher percentage to the artist, but does not cover the expense of marketing and promotion. Many newer artists no longer see any kind of "record deal" as an integral part of their business plan at all. Inexpensive recording hardware and software has made it possible to create high quality music in a bedroom and distribute it over the internet to a worldwide audience. This, in turn, has caused problems for recording studios, record producers and audio engineers: the Los Angeles Times reports that as many as half of the recording facilities in that city have failed. Changes in the music industry have given consumers access to a wider variety of music than ever before, at a price that gradually approaches zero. However, consumer spending on music-related software and hardware has increased dramatically over the last decade, providing a valuable new income-stream for technology companies such as Apple Inc.
 Business structure
Frith can portray "the music industry" as a part of the entertainment industry.
The music industry itself comprises various players, including individuals, companies, trade unions, not-for-profit associations, rights collectives, and other bodies. Professional musicians, including band leaders, rhythm section members, musical ensembles, vocalists, conductors, composers/arrangers, and sound engineers create sound recordings of music or perform live in venues ranging from small clubs to stadiums. Occasionally professional musicians negotiate their wages, contractual conditions, and other conditions of work through Musicians' Unions or other guilds. Composers and songwriters write the music and lyrics to songs and other musical works, which are sold in print form as sheet music or scores by music publishers. Composers and performers get part of their income from writers' copyright collectives and performance rights organisation such as the ASCAP and BMI (or MCPS and PRS respectively for the UK). These societies and collectives ensure that composers and performers are compensated when their works are used on the radio or TV or in films. When musicians and singers make a CD or DVD, the creative process is often coordinated by a record producer, whose role in the recording may range from suggesting songs and backing musicians to having a direct hands-on role in the studio, coaching singers, giving advice to session musicians on playing styles, and working with the senior sound engineer to shape the recorded sound through effects and mixing.
Some professional musicians, bands, and singers sign with record labels, which are companies that finance the recording process in return for part or full share of the rights to the recording. Record label companies manage brands and trademarks in the course of marketing the recordings, and they can also oversee the production of videos for broadcast or retail sale. Labels may comprise a record group — one or more label companies, plus ancillary businesses such as manufacturers and distributors. A record group may be, in turn, part of a music group which includes music publishers. Publishers represent the rights in the compositions — the music as written, rather than as recorded — and are traditionally separate entities from the record label companies. The publisher of the composition for each recording may or may not be part of the record label's music group; many publishers are wholly independent and are owned by the artists themselves.
Record labels that are not part of or under the control of the "Big Four" music groups are often classified as independent or "indie" labels, even if they are part of large, well-financed corporations with complex structures. Some music critics prefer to use the term indie label to refer to only those independent labels that adhere to criteria of corporate structure and size, and some consider an indie label to be almost any label that releases non-mainstream music, regardless of its corporate structure.
Record labels may use an "A&R" (Artist and Repertoire) manager not just to seek out bands and singers to sign, but also to help develop the performing style of those already signed to the label. A&R managers may organize shared tours with similar bands or find playing opportunities for the label's groups which will broaden their musical experience. For example, an A&R manager may decide to send an emerging young singer-songwriter with little live playing experience on a major tour with an established electric folk rock act from the same label, so that this person will gain more confidence.
A record distributor company works with record labels to promote and distribute sound recordings. Once a CD is recorded, record distribution companies organize the shipping of the CDs to music stores and department stores.
When CDs sell in stores or on websites (such as the iTunes Store), part of the money obtained by the record label for the sales may be paid to the performers in the form of royalties. Of the recordings which generate substantial revenues for the labels, most do so only for a short period after they are released, after which the song becomes part of the label's "back catalogue" or library. A much smaller number of recordings have become "classics", with longstanding popularity, such as CDs by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. These albums have continued to generate revenue for the labels and often, in turn, royalties for artists, long after their original release.
Successful artists may hire a number of people from other fields to assist them with their career. The band manager oversees all aspects of an artist's career in exchange for a percentage of the artist's income. An entertainment lawyer assists them with the details of their contracts with record companies and other deals. A business manager handles financial transactions, taxes and bookkeeping. A booking agency represents the artist to promoters, makes deals and books performances. A travel agent makes travel arrangements. A road crew is a semi-permanent touring organization that travels with the artist. This is headed by a tour manager and includes staff to move equipment on and off-stage, drive tour buses or vans, and do stage lighting, live sound reinforcement and musical instrument tuning and maintenance. The tour manager's tasks can vary widely depending on the type of tour and where the group is playing. The tour manager's typical tasks of ensuring that hotel, restaurant and travel arrangements are confirmed may expand into other tasks, if the venue where the band is playing does not have certain equipment. For example, if the venue lacks a grand piano or Hammond organ that the band needs for the show, the tour manager will be responsible for finding a rental instrument for the show and having it moved onstage. Or, if a band member needs an emergency instrument repair, the tour manager and/or the guitar tech will help to find a repair person or replacement instrument. The most high-profile celebrity performers may also have personal assistants, a chef, and bodyguards. Singers may hire a vocal coach to give them suggestions on how to take care of their voice or develop their singing range.
* Lebrecht, Norman: When the Music Stops: Managers, Maestros and the Corporate Murder of Classical Music, Simon & Schuster 1996
* Imhorst, Christian: The ‘Lost Generation’ of the Music Industry, published under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License 2004
* Leonhard, Gerd: Music Like Water – the inevitable music ecosystem
* The Methods Reporter: Music Industry Misses Mark with Wrongful Suits
* Music CD Industry – a mid-2000 overview put together by Duke University undergraduate students
* d’Angelo, Mario: Does globalisation mean ineluctable concentration ? in The Music Industry in the New Economy, Report of the Asia-Europe Seminar, Lyon, 25–28 oct. 2001, IEP de Lyon/Asia-Europe Foundation/Eurical, Editors Roche F., Marcq B., Colomé D., 2002, pp. 53–54.
* d'Angelo, Mario: Perspectives of the Management of Musical Institutions in Europe, OMF, Musical Activities and Institutions Sery, ParisIV-Sorbonne University, Ed. Musicales Aug. Zurfluh, Bourg-la-Reine, 2006.
* The supply of recorded music: A report on the supply in the UK of prerecorded compact discs, vinyl discs and tapes containing music. Competition Commission, 1994.
* Tschmuck, Peter: Creativity and Innovation in the Music Industry, Springer 2006.
* Weisman, Loren: "The Artist's Guide to Success in the Music Business", BPN 2010. ISBN:1-935359-33-9