MIT grad student Joy Buolamwini was working with facial analysis software when she noticed a problem: the software didn’t detect her face — because the people who coded the algorithm hadn’t taught it to identify a broad range of skin tones and facial structures. Now she’s on a mission to fight bias in machine learning, a phenomenon she calls the “coded gaze.” It’s an eye-opening talk about the need for accountability in coding … as algorithms take over more and more aspects of our lives.
Hito Steyerl is a German filmmaker and artist whose work explores the complexities of the digital world, art, capitalism, and the implications of Artificial Intelligence for society. Her recent artworks cover subjects as diverse as video games, surveillance and art production.
Steyerl’s series of projects at the Serpentine Galleries is positioned around ideas of ‘power’. Beginning from the premise that ‘power is the necessary condition for any digital technology’, the artist considers the multiple meanings of the word, including electrical currents, the ecological powers of plants or natural elements, and the complex networks of authority that shape our environments. She addresses the notion of power through three interrelated research strands and projects: Actual Realityos, a collectively-produced digital tool; Power Walks, a series of guided walks and a tour that draws upon conversations with campaigners, community groups and organisations in the local area surrounding the Serpentine, and finally this exhibition, Power Plants, which features new video installations created using artificial intelligence trained to predict the future.
(…) It’s one of the ironies of the present age that while we feel that everything has changed, our view seems to be unaltered. If you walk down the street, the buildings, vehicles and people all look much the same as in Berger’s heyday. The digital revolution is largely an invisible one – until you start to look closer. The people are mostly talking to themselves, or staring at their hands, and the banks, post offices and libraries are coffee shops, because most of their functions have moved online. As a result, we rarely “see” the digital world as it really is – even as it makes more and more claims over our lives.
In the first episode of New Ways of Seeing, I meet artists such as Ingrid Burrington and Trevor Paglen, who explore this hidden architecture of the internet. In New York, Burrington takes us inside 32 Avenue of the Americas, an art deco temple to telecommunications dating from 1932, when it was the headquarters of AT&T’s transatlantic network. The atrium contains a grand mural depicting nation calling nation across the telegraph wires – but Burrington also shows us the manholes and markings on the street outside that allow us to read the fibre-optic cables snaking under the city today.
Paglen in turn takes us to the bottom of the ocean, where he photographs the same cables that connect nations today. We’ve got used to hearing about “the cloud”, the numinous neverland where the machines do their unseen work, but this is where it comes back down to earth. Looking at a map of the ocean-going internet, we can see how its real shape maps on to the trading routes of old empires; how former colonies are still dominated by connections to their old rulers, and forms of digital colonialism persist into the present. It’s artists who are mapping these sites in order to try and draw a truer picture of the world today, one so often hidden under glass, buried under the ground, or concealed in lines of inscrutable code. (…)
Read the whole article here: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/apr/16/new-ways-of-seeing-john-berger-digital-age-decode-radio-4
Listen to the podcasts: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000458m/episodes/player
In the 70s, the late critic revolutionised our appreciation of the visual arts. How do his ideas translate to contemporary culture?
A statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Firdaus Square, Bagdhad, April 2003
Berger was strongly influenced by Marxist ideas of class struggle. In Ways of Seeing, for instance, he calls such art historians as Kenneth Clark “a privileged minority … striving to invent a history which can retrospectively justify the role of the ruling classes”. What might he see here? A statue of an authoritarian ruler is being pulled down in what looks like an image of liberation. It is a picture that evokes revolutionary hope and yet shows the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s image after the US led invasion of Iraq. Few see this as a hopeful image now. It marks the birth of a new age in which left and right often look bizarrely similar, when, for instance, the champions of Brexit can sound like French revolutionaries denouncing elitist “enemies of the people”. It might have stumped Berger, but not Karl Marx himself, who in his most subtle essay, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, writes that the new often wears the robes of the past. A conquest borrows the garb of liberation, a rightwing reaction dresses itself as a peasant’s revolt.
Kim Kardashian on the cover of Paper magazine, September 2014
“A woman must continually watch herself,” says Berger in Ways of Seeing. “She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself.” These words written in 1972 apply uncannily well to this image of Kim Kardashian. The queen of self-promotion has embraced what Berger saw as the oppressive demands of patriarchy. Does her self-portrayal and the hypersexualised selfie age confirm or mock his analysis of the nude? The early 70s saw a feminist intellectual revolution and Berger brought a feminist perspective on art into the mainstream. He argued that Renaissance paintings of the female nude by the likes of Tintoretto and Bronzino are just as much instruments of male power as are modern porn images. It has all got so messy since then. Perhaps every would-be Kardashian taking a saucy selfie is a self-oppressing victim of the patriarchy, but that’s a lot of false consciousness to go around. As with any severely moralising critique of modern life, you risk dismissing the people as idiots. I would argue that Berger also got Renaissance art wrong, as some of the paintings he condemns can be interpreted as sex guides that put all the stress on female sexuality (he sees Bronzino’s Venus and Cupid as an objectifying image and misses the fact that Cupid is pleasuring his mum). It all comes down to ways of seeing.
Read the whole article here: How to use John Berger’s ‘language of images’ on Trump, polar bears and Kim Kardashian
Iron-cooked ham and cheese sandwiches, cailles en sarcophagi, explosive pissing beef balls; low, high, accessible, obscure, comical – food, like art, is served up in various guises, but whatever form it takes, it shares the common traits of being a stimulant as well as a necessity for living. Food and art also share a common space at the heart of Hato’s practice. Each day they serve up a communal afternoon meal, creating an opportunity to down tools and enjoy the moment. Now, with this book – a black- and-white trailer for a full colour feature to be published soon – they welcome you to join in this homage to both food, and to films that celebrate eating in all sorts of compelling ways. – Ananda Pellerin, Editor, The Gourmand
A major work by New York–based artist Christian Marclay, The Clock mines the history of film for moments from everyday life and thrilling only-in-the-movies events that indicate the passage of time. Synchronized with local time, cinematic and actual time run parallel in a 24-hour montage.
Series of 10 protest banners inspired by iconic protest songs.
A sobriety coin is a token given to Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step group members representing the amount of time the member has remained sober.
When a twelve-step member is presented with his or her first chip, they are often told, “This chip represents AA’s commitment to you – not your commitment to us”. Sobriety coins themselves do not necessarily help the holder stay sober, but studies have shown a connection between the visual presence of the coin and the holder’s self-resolve. The coins are meant to motivate the holder to continue their abstention from the subject of their addiction.
Sections of fresh bamboo are split to form the sticks for these traditional candies from the old castle town of Sendai. The holder is also of bamboo, and the arrangement, suggesting sprays of flowers, displays both the charm and the great usefulness of the plant.
Ordinary rice straw is used imaginatively to create a most functional and beautiful container. Since a set of items in Japan is five rather tha half a dozen (five teacups, five cake plates, and the like), this carrier contains just five eggs. Devised by farmers in Yamagate Prefecture in northern Japan, it is an example of packaging born of rural necessity. Interestingly enough, it seems to emphasize the freshness of the egg.
Join me on a walking type workshop on Saturday the 18th February, an event organised with Moments Like This, a multi-disciplinary art and design practice curating convivial events as a way to generate research and outputs addressing environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic issues.
We will leave from Shoreditch Church at 11 am and walk our way through Hoxton across estates, victorian, georgian and vernacular architecture and new developments, looking for letters in the buildings around us.
Fellow walkers will be asked to share their finds on twitter with the hashtag #walkingtypeworkshop to later re-trace them and this way create a collective letterform.
On the 3rd of October 2016, I will be participating to the Graphic Gathering in the Raphael Gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum, with a performance-based typographic workshop for 14 to 18 year olds and their teachers, working on a brief set by BBC Radio 1 to promote their New Music Friday playlist. Other participants include Studio Hato, Zoe Payne and Bethan Durie.
We would love you to join the launch of our new book Big Letter Hunt London at the Whitechapel Gallery on Thursday 1st September at 6.30pm.
This new book, published by Batsford Books, is a super colourful version of The Big Letter Hunt in the East End of London for our fellow typography, architecture and London lovers. Our new architectural treasure hunt winds its way past some of our favorite London spots such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, as well as 20th century architectural gems like the Barbican, the Brunswick Centre and the Southbank Centre. It includes a glossary with quirky facts about each of the buildings where our specimens were found (did you know that Liberty’s façade had been built from the timber of two ships?!), as well as an alphabet poster.
Come say hello, get your copy signed and watch a projection of giant letterforms sent to us by our friends from across the world. It’s not too late to have your building-letter featured! Please Tweet or Instagram your finds tagging #bigletterhunt and you’ll also be entered into a draw to win a copy of Big Letter Hunt London.
This has been a busy year so far.
I’ve had a baby and quite a lot of interesting projects which sometimes are almost babies of their own kind.
One of the most exciting ones was a second book with my partner in crime (and architect!) Rute Nieto Ferreira. This new publication brings together pretty much everything we both love and got us to even meet at first: photography, architecture, typography, children, playfulness, exploring London.
Big Letter Hunt: London is an alphabetical picture book for both children and adults that takes the readers – young and old – on a tour of England’s capital to find giant letters hidden among the city’s buildings and streets. The architectural treasure hunt winds its way past London landmarks such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, as well as architectural gems such as the Barbican and the modernist Brunswick Centre.
Letters also appear in the skyscrapers of the City of London, on tube stations and in the detailing of windows and facades. Some letters are easy to spot while others need a closer look. Rute and I obviously got quite contagiously obsessed with this game and have been sharing our finds since, both between ourselves and with our friends from around the world (#bigletterhunt, in case you want to join!).
The book includes a glossary with quirky facts about the buildings where our specimens were found, a map to follow the letter hunt around the city, and a A-Z poster to hang on the wall hidden at the back of the book jacket!
We’ll be signing books at the Whitechapel Gallery bookshop on the 1st of September; meanwhile please please please do share YOUR own letter finds online using the tag #BigLetterHunt @amndne or @towerblockbooks for a chance to win a copy; your letters will be projected at the book signing! Can’t wait to see your catch!
Big Letter Hunt: London is published by Batsford/Pavilion Books and is available from Foyles, Tate, the British Museum, probably your local bookshop (if not, ask!), and of course online from the usual suspects.
I was recently invited by Maiike Van Neck to plot a typographic workshop for 50 Graphic Design Students at Ravensbourne College in London.
I asked the students to take advantage of their critical mass, and of the large open-space building of Ravensbourne, which offers a birds-eye view from 4 stories.
The students slipped into white overalls for uniformity and contrast on the dark floor, and worked in groups, each team art-directing the rest of the small crowd to perform their idea of human typography. Some used the individuals as pixels, others had a go exploring motion blur, while others organised a human chain that could be choreographed to elegantly (and efficiently!) merge from one letterform to the next.
More about the workshop here.
All pics and GIFS by the brilliant students of Ravensbourne.
Rute Nieto Ferreira and I are showing the games we are playing in our heads finding letterforms in architecture with the big letter hunt (see Tower Block Books) this weekend at Now Play This at Somerset House, as part of the London Game Festival.
The festival explores the notion of games: the ones you play on your own, or in teams, on tables, under tables, on screens or in person.
A limited edition of Big Letter Hunt prints will also be available to purchase on the spot, and I’ll give a 5 minute talk on games on Friday afternoon at 5pm.
1 – 3 April 2016,
“No to Pre-selected Candidates” banner on a back-lit bus shelter advertising. Unintentionally combining the written banner with the calligraphic artwork of a property development artwork.
In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography.
One Word at A Time is a classic improv theatre exercise:
in a circle, a story is started, with each person in turn adding one word.
Join us and dress up as a human letter as part of a typographic performance;
form words with other visitors and watch as a story unfolds through the evening.
Each word will be photographed so that you can decide what word to contribute next, and you can follow the story live on my twitter account @amndne.
See/Read you there!
WEARABLE TYPOGRAPHY: ONE WORD AT A TIME
Friday 28 November 18.30 – 22.00
Raphael, Room 48a
Last week I was one of many speakers invited by Curator to discuss design process
at the V&A Friday Late programme on curating, called Collections of Collections.
Using the Curator App, which has been my tool of choice for a while anyway (honest!), and no more than 25 slides, a performer, food designers, a baker, a curator, editors,
art directors and a couple of product designers discussed work processes and research rather than actual outcomes. The variety of practices and the rather snappy rhythm contributed to keeping the level of excitement high, when the huge amount
of information could have been totally overwhelming; the use of Curator allowed seamless transitions within the presentations and from one to the next, keeping
the flow of the discussion.
It’s always the greatest reward to see people in the audience giggle when discovering my work. In a separate talk, my new partner in typographic crime, Rute Nieto Ferreira, also explained the process behind The Big Letter Hunt, and how at the origin of our work is something called apophenia, or the fact of seeing patterns or connections (OR LETTERS!) in random or meaningless data (OR BUILDINGS).
This also reminded me how much I love Friday Lates at the V&A; that’s something I will now be looking forward to. The next one this month is on Typography, more about this soon!
So last Sunday was the launch of the second edition of The Big Letter Hunt ( also back on our webshop!), in the context of Hackney with a Twist, organised by L’Entrepôt.
Rute Nieto Ferreira, who I imagined Tower Block Books Publishing with, and I had also prepared various workshop activities for young hunters: Letter Hunting in a book, Letter Hunting/coloring in large urban landscape photographs, and dressing up as letters, with some interesting typographic interpretations there!
I was invited to talk about my work in the brand new building of the School of Art of Bedfordshire University, in Luton. This was the first of a series of talks called Making it Happen, organised by Becky Ford. Very impressed by the attendance, and amount of questions at the end, which is always great.
I’ve taught there a few years ago, but the energy was quite different this time (in a good way); it probably helps to gather the arts in their own very open space (totally sans corridors!) building. I’ll be back!
Our first publication, The Big Letter Hunt (In the East End of London), is a book about finding letters in the architecture
of the East End.
This is a Riso-printed alphabet picture book; it takes the readers, young and old, on a walk which starts at the Barbican and continues East along the Regent’s Canal, Haggerston, Mile End, Whitechapel and their surroundings, spotting giant letters amongst buildings.
Supported by Hato Press, The Big Letter Hunt is a very local project: it was devised and designed in and around Regent Studios on Andrews Road E8, printed and bound on Scawfell Street E2, and we are now launching the second edition on Sunday 26/10 from 3pm at L’Entrepôt on Dalston Lane, E8, as part of Hackney with a Twist.
There will be a workshop (booking essential), books and limited edition prints at a reduced price, and great wine.
Water is spilled on a stone pavement leaving a small stain. As time passes the stain dries up, shrinks and changes shape. Just before the water is completely evaporated the process is put on hold. The new shape of the stain is then being enlarged and recreated with new water. This process repeats and with these interventions the ‘life’ of the stain is artificially refreshed and extended to an unnatural length. Which allows new shapes to evolve that otherwise could never have existed.
This week I’ve received the first issue of The T, a Type and Typography Korean magazine published by Typography Seoul with a long feature on Erik Spiekermann.
There are also a few spreads on my Body Type work.
On the 29th of March, WWF Deutschland organised a performance by the Brandenburg Gate using the Letterform for the Ephemeral to mark Earth Hour.
Over 7,000 cities in 150 countries joined the movement to raise awareness about climate change.
More about this here:
Sculptural arches by LIKEarchitects resemble Microsoft Paint squiggles
Paper envelopes made into traditional quilts by Stephen Sollins
A handwritten text on a page the size and shape of a cinema screen
Fiona Banner, Every Word Unmade, 2007
All images : © Magdalena Jetelovà
A GEOLOGICAL EPIPHANY: MAGDALENA JETELOVÀ’S ICELAND PROJECT (1992)
Hlynsky first started filming birds in 2005 using a small Flip video recorder, but now uses a Lumix GH2 to record gigabytes of bird footage from locations around Rhode Island. He then edits select clips with After Effects and other tools to create brief visual trails that illustrate the path of each moving bird. Non-moving objects like trees and telephone poles remain stationary, and with the added ambient noise of where he was filming, an amazing balance between abstraction and reality emerges. The birds you see aren’t digitally animated or layered in any way, but are shown just as they’ve flown, creating a sort of temporary time-lapse.
Department International is a collaborative design practice via London & NYC.
Wonderful food-stuffed still-lifes from photographer Per Johansen
Piccadilly Community Centre
Installation view, Hauser & Wirth Piccadilly, London, England
Photo: Guilhem Alandry
Midas-touch Dutch duo Blommers / Schumm have been making the world look cooler for years. Their brilliant photoshoots and set design for the trendiest magazines are so consistently excellent that we barely even have to look at one of their projects before we whack it on It’s Nice That. This one, though, is by far my favourite. For a show in Amsterdam the duo paired up with Erwin Olaf and Petra Stavast to create Renaissance portraits out of household objects. So simple but meticulously done. Watch a making-of animation on their site to see the projects in their full glory.
Commissioned work in the December issue of Wired UK:
slow motion hand-danced numbers + 30s exposure self-portraits x4
My Things 2001 – 2009 by Hong Hao above, began 12 years ago, with all the goods that the artist consumed being scanned piece by piece to create a visual diary, then categorised and made into a collage.
Fear expanded – 2012 is an artwork by Ryan Everson in collaboration with Jason Garcia. The further away you go, the more the big mirror clad letters are merging into the landscape.
Geometric Coin Sculptures by Robert Wechsler
Artist Robert Wechsler (previously) was recently comissioned by the The New Yorker to create a series of coin sculptures for their October 14th money-themed edition. Wechsler used a jeweler’s saw to cut precise notches in coins from various currencies and then joined them together in several geometric forms. While nine pieces were selected for the magazine, a total of 22 were created, all of which can be seen in his Money gallery. (viaColossal Submissions)
Tumblr by: Katie Notopoulos
I’m honoured that my work was selected by Curators Dr Glenn Adamson, of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Priya Khanchandani as a winner of the Word Art Collective digital competition. Below is the exhibited work.
30s exposure photograph + 30s Video
The french expression “avoir un poil dans la main” means to be lazy, or literally to have a hair growing in your hand.
Because us French people tend not to pronounce the letter H, it becomes To ‘ave R (air) in your hand when translated in English. Dancing is playing with air.
The photograph exposed is a 30s exposure of a choreography very slowly drawing a R with my hand.The video shows a random-looking dance, so slow that it’s hardly recognisable as a letter until we see the photograph next to it.