• I wrote about the last album by the Mexican band Caifanes for Grammy.com - Revisiting “El Nervio del Volcán” 🎵

    Sunday June 30, 2024
  • The Washington Post shows why so many Americans are feeling an economic crunch: Housing costs are out of control.

    Wednesday June 26, 2024
  • I do not want an AI iPhone. Apple Intellgence sounds like a privacy nightmare. There’s no guarantee that they will do no evil with the data being sent to their services. OpenAI is a malicious company. More from Disconnect

    Tuesday June 11, 2024
  • What would a federated news organization look like? What would the benefits be?

    Monday June 3, 2024
  • music

    🎵 Didn’t like Mengers when I first heard them (maybe I wasn’t in the mood at the time), but now I’m addicted to their album “Golly”:

    Thursday May 30, 2024
  • I read that the fediverse will save us from Big Tech. But for godsakes, how many tutorials do I have to read to understand it? What the hell? I am also wary of anything that the Instagram head honcho has embraced.

    Wednesday May 29, 2024
  • Great conversation on 🎙️Search Engine: Are news orgs ready for what is expected to be a web traffic catastrophe?

    Sunday May 26, 2024
  • music

    Que vergüenza: Only one Spanish-language album makes it on Apple Music list 🎶🎵

    Congrats to Bad Bunny on having the only Spanish-language album on Apple Music’s List of 100 Best Albums. I agree that “Un Verano Sin Ti” is a masterwork. But I can name a few other Spanish albums that are just as deserving: “Motomami” by RosalĂ­a, “Re” by CafĂ© Tacuba, and maybe even “Matamoros Querido” by Rigo Tovar.

    Thursday May 23, 2024
  • Ha Ha

    Red Lobster Goes Broke Over Shrimp. Or Did It?

    The endless shrimp did in Red Lobster! A lesson in the consequences of overconsumption and capitalism? It’s fishy, for sure. One Bloomberg writer imagines the CEO at a meeting discussing a conspiracy to flood the market with cheap crustaceans:

    Then he gets up from the table and shrimp fall out of his pockets and he walks out of the boardroom trailing shrimp everywhere, this is what corporate finance is all about.
    Tuesday May 21, 2024
  • Latino/a

    Delicious! First taco stand ever to receive a Michelin star is based in Mexico City. The chef says their secret is “simplicity.” The Associated Press

    Tuesday May 21, 2024
  • music

    Despite illness, Echo & The Bunnymen put on a fantastic show in DC 🎵

    Saturday May 18, 2024
  • music

    Portuguese industrial anyone? Maquina 🎶🎵

    Thursday May 16, 2024
  • There are so many good lines in this Platformer story, but this one makes it clear how Google is on the verge of fully capturing the web through AI. Google’s broken link to the web

    Over the past two and a half decades, Google extended itself into so many different parts of the web that it became synonymous with it. And now that LLMs promise to let users understand all that the web contains in real time, Google at last has what it needs to finish the job: replacing the web, in so many of the ways that matter, with itself. 

    Wednesday May 15, 2024
  • art

    I took a collage workshop. Here is what happened. Any other collage fans out there? 🎨

    Wednesday May 15, 2024
  • art

    A highlight for me at the Independent fair in NYC: Sculptures by Anna Tsouhlarakis

    Wednesday May 15, 2024
  • tech

    Copyright theft cartel OpenAI is making some bizarre arguments to justify its banditry.

    Friday May 10, 2024
  • Frieze New York: Art in Cubicles

    Frieze New York Entrance.

    I went to Frieze New York for the first time yesterday with a couple friends. It was the first time I have been to an art fair, and it was an exhausting experience — but not in a bad way. Being with friends was lovely.

    Held this year at The Shed, the arts complex located in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, three floors were dedicated to exhibition space.

    At one point, we were on the second floor, where some of the more renowned artists had their work displayed, and we got to peer down into the first floor. I took the following photograph. For me, it was an accidentally representative image of my experience of the art world at Frieze: Artists and people contained within cubicles. Spatially, it was reminiscent of what a corporate office might look like from above.

    Frieze NY first floor.

    If I didn’t know it was a festival, I would have looked down and thought it was a business convention not an art show. With the corporate sponsors, businesslike design of the Frieze materials, the overall feeling was transactional and impersonal.

    I think it has something to do with the decision to give show space to individual galleries and its setting. Also the setting. Despite its outward appearances, The Shed is basically the average convention center, just better designed.

    On one hand, I wondered why the gallery owners hadn’t leaned into this convention idea and had made available those fun squeezable stress toys that come in all kinds of custom shapes and are regularly given away to convention goers. I guess that is ultimately what it was: A chance to brand market to the art buyer the individual galleries, since they all attempted to have their own visions (not all the times successfully). But at least some artists were having fun, as in one work (I don’t have a photo) of a dog on a merry-go-round. 

    Those galleries that hit the right balance between artistic excellence and experience often focused on one or two artists. Take, for instance, the Instituto de Visión (Bogotá and New York). I had been keen to see it. They represent, of course, artists from Colombia, but also from other regions of Latin America.

    One of them is NohemĂ­ PĂ©rez (TibĂş, Colombia), whose large works of charcoal on embroidered canvas were compellling for their exploration of themes of nature and the relative smallness of humanity in comparison.

    Nohemi Perez.

    The other works in the space complemented her style — rustic, folkloric, making use of materials such as ceramic and wood to convey modern ideas.

    Another gallery that had a cohesive vision was Matthew Brown (Los Angeles, New York) British-born Hayley Tompkins was the focus of their space. She redefines the role of ordinary objects (plastic cutlery, shirts) by painting them with abstract, expressionistic patterns. The focus of the many works on display at Frieze seemed to be the color pink. I enjoyed this work. It reminded me of David Byrne’s big suit.

    Hayley Tompkins.

    Another one of my favorites was Central Galeria (Sao Paulo, Brasil), which dedicated its entire cubicle to the phenomental work of Carmézia Emiliano. According to one of the gallery workers, Emiliano is an indigenous artist working in Roraima. These paintings reminded me of the works of indigenous artists in Mexico, street artists, who create ellaborate scenes of the environment and people. They are almost anti-modern, but obviously draw on contemporary artmaking techniques. Her skills are noteworthy.

    carmézia emiliano

    Unfortunately, my experience of most of the fair was one of hunting for hidden treasures amidst the average (even mediocre). I don’t intend to be mean, but some of the works just were not at a level that I would expect from a major art fair. Also, the sheer amount of work was a weakness, but the Frieze design almost compelled volume over curation.

    I left with the disorienting sense that I sometimes have while flicking through videos on YouTube or songs on Spotify. In that sense, Frieze is an algorithm for the art industry.

    Sunday May 5, 2024
  • Narcissism taken to the logical next step? Can’t wait to get my own Digital Double. Tech bro talks with creepy AI double

    Saturday May 4, 2024
  • Outside agitators in university protests? Show me the evidence. Professional Bike Chain Discovered at Columbia University

    Thursday May 2, 2024
  • Dear Microsoft, why are you making it such a shitty experience to read the news online?

    Thursday May 2, 2024
  • Jack Conte proposes theory for saving the creator economy from the algorithmic void

    Jack Conte took the stage at SXSW24 last month and delivered a fantastic speech about the evolution of internet publishing from an early creator’s perspective.

    Most tech talks are fullof jargon and futurespeak, but Conte’s was strengthened by personal anecdotes, humor, and a clear message about the power of creating on the internet.

    And he didn’t say one goddamn thing about the bots—hallelujah.

    One of the takeaways for me was the idea that the current algorithmic-driven internet was imposed not by the demand of users, but by the profit-seeking whims of tech companies like Google and Facebook. Of course, we all know this instinctively, but he offered evidence with a timeline that showed there was a major shift around 2016 to algorithms that reshaped engagement on platforms.

    This has had far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from how people find audiences to the way that tech companies approach designing for the web.

    Conte’s response to this has been to rethink Patreon as an app that offers communities and business. He mentioned competitors like Discord as part of a new wave of social media networks.

    Also interesting was his thesis that his platforms and similar ones will allow creators to engage with their fans at a deeper problem.

    Discovery remains one of the biggest obstacle that these new platforms haven’t solved. Conte was explicit that creators will still need to rely on legacy social media for reach.

    Here’s the full video on YouTube:

    Tuesday April 30, 2024
  • Foundation seeks open source, digital commons ideas

    The foundation that backs Pixelfeed is looking for proposals for tools that expand the use of open technologies:

    Do you have a valuable idea in the area of digital commons and networked technology, that will contribute towards achieving a more open information society and brings us the next generation of the internet closer? We are interested in further developing open solutions that empower users on all layers of technology.

    Specifically, NLNet Foundation (based out of Europe), is looking for project proposals that support the digital commons, help “reclaim the public nature of the internet,” private digital payment systems, and ethical mobile software. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 1, 2024.

    Monday April 29, 2024
  • art

    Women At The Center of Art

    I recently took my daughters to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. I thought my daughters would be inspired by seeing the success of so many women in art, and they probably were. I also secretly wanted them to recognize how revolutionary the idea of a museum dedicated to women in art was even in a time when our VP is Kamala Harris and Beyoncé is charting a country record. They didn’t say anything to me, but I hope the works left an impression on them. I can’t recommend the museum enough. I left feeling that art history had been redefined for me.

    The image above is from a powerful installation by Japanese artist Ai Hasagawa. It explores the idea of a future where same sex couples can procreate without the need for men. One of the girls’ favorites. Here’s more info from the artist’s website:

    In this project, the DNA data of a lesbian couple was analyzed using 23andMe to simulate and visualize their potential children, and then we created a set of fictional, “what if" future family photos using this information to produce a hardcover album which was presented to the couple as a gift.

    This work is from the museum’s exhibit “New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024.” April 14-Aug 11.

    Wednesday April 17, 2024
  • Christopher Wool In The Financial District

    #art #nyc

    Saturday March 30, 2024
  • A Neomedieval World

    One of RAND’s top political scientists argues that we have entered a neomedieval era.

    Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher with the think tank, says that the signs we have entered this new era have been with us for at least 20 years: declining influence of nation-states, with power concentrated among the elite; stagnant economic growth, leading to massive income inequality; and growing threats outside of great nation competition from disasters, pandemics, etc.

    While this means a more chaotic world political economy, it also means that “both the United States and China will be under pressure to avoid unnecessary escalation.” They might have a skirmish over, say, Taiwan, but it won’t lead to the kind of cataclysmic war that we witnessed in the last century.

    The concept of neomedievalism is not new. In the late 1990s, some political theorists began to entertain the idea that globalization would weaken the authority of nation-states and give birth to quasi-governmental institutions and tribalism.

    What is new is that RAND is proposing that U.S. policymakers adopt a new strategic outlook:

    Decisionmakers need to adopt a more neomedieval mindset. They cannot assume the public will get behind a war effort that requires real and sustained sacrifice. Other threats—a pandemic, climate change, political upheaval—will always vie for attention and resources. With nations everywhere facing the same challenges, partners and allies will also be stretched thin.

    Tuesday March 26, 2024