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In the News 04.16.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 04.16.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.16.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.16.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Genre Of You

The demand for photographability has changed behavior, from increasing the amount people spend on events like baby showers and birthday parties to changing the design of restaurants to be better lit and full of signature elements for photos. It has also changed our relationship to ourselves. Influencers reflect and lead that change, modeling how we can find “joy” in the packaging of ourselves.

In the process, influencers are changing the speed of fashion. If Instagram is like a fashion magazine that is continually publishing — an agitation machine accelerating trends, expanding styles, and connecting them to identities — then influencers serve as both models and guides of that territory. In cultivating their streams of refined aesthetics and personal philosophies, they build their own world that absorbs and subverts the “taste-building” power of conventional hierarchies and gatekeepers — from fashion editors and art institutions to runways and A&R departments. Rather than fashion being dictated from above, it appears in Instagram as a two-way dialogue where users “vote” on aesthetics through the apps’ hearts, follows, and comments. The platform’s metrics and sorting algorithms feedback into the system, reinforcing its logic while mapping out the taste and trend landscape like a Mars Rover of material culture.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

“The Future Is Here”: A Design Conversation With Kanye West

A curious thing happened when Kanye West sat down to interview his design collaborator Axel Vervoordt. As Vervoordt walked into the Calabasas offices of Yeezy — the hip-hop mogul’s Adidas fashion brand — West seemed preoccupied. He would later admit that his mood was due to longtime Yeezy collaborator Virgil Abloh having just been named Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director. But as West and Vervoordt settled in on that afternoon in late March, everything seemed to click.

Both men sensed it, too, as Vervoordt’s answers repeatedly provided perfect segues to West’s next question. It was electric. The dialogue — timed to the publication of Flammarion’s Axel Vervoordt: Stories and Reflections, a memoir co-written by Michael Gardner (full disclosure: the brother of this conversation’s moderator) — waxed philosophical as well as temporal, touching on their work together (Vervoordt helped West and wife Kim Kardashian design their nearby estate) among many other topics. “I need this,” said West. “This is like church for me.”

Vervoordt agreed, but don’t call him a minister. He prefers not to be called a decorator, either. “Some people call me that, but I really don’t feel like that at all,” he demured. Instead, Belgium-born and bred Vervoordt, 70 — who runs his namesake business alongside son Boris just outside Antwerp, overseeing 100-plus employees — prefers to be known as an “art dealer, curator and designer.”

Vervoordt, named to Architectural Digest’s inaugural AD100 Hall of Fame last year, is known for his eclectic eye, talent for mixing genres and time periods, and show-stopping stands at art, antiques and interior design fairs across the globe. He’s designed homes in New York, Miami, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, and all over Europe and even the Middle East. To those in the art world, he’s also known for his legendary exhibitions at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice during the Biennale from 2007-17.

He’s also the go-to designer for West and Kardashian, as well as Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. They, like West, have made multiple trips to his home, a 12th century castle known as ‘s-Gravenwezel, and his company headquarters Kanaal, a former malting factory his company transformed into showrooms, workshops and art galleries, alongside 100 apartments, a restaurant, bakery and fresh market. (Others, like Ellen DeGeneres, are just fans: “Axel Vervoordt is kind of everything,” she has said.)

“Axel’s talent is to find the spirit of any place he transforms, and to reflect it back within design,” write Sting and Styler in an affectionate emailed statement. “He finds its history, its mood, its soil. Also, to embrace the idea and fact of impermanence. He is a joyful person and we are proud to call him our friend.”

Read the rest of this article at: Hollywood Reporter

Editor's Letter: Happy (Belated) 2016 & Some Rather Extraordinarily Exciting News

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Acid Redux

The good Lord—or maybe it was natural selection, but, when you look at the outcome, how plausible is that, really?—gave us, in addition to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, the fantastic variety of fungi with which we share this awesome planet: yeasts, rusts, mildews, mushrooms, and molds. Among them is ergot, a fungus that destroys cereal grasses, particularly rye, and that, when eaten, can cause hallucinations. Ergot is the natural source of lysergic acid, from which lysergic acid diethylamide is readily synthesized—LSD. What purpose, divine or adaptive, this substance might serve was once the subject of a learned debate that engaged scientists, government officials, psychiatrists, intellectuals, and a few gold-plated egomaniacs. Timothy Leary was one of the egomaniacs.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker


The Internet Apologizes …

Something has gone wrong with the internet. Even Mark Zuckerberg knows it. Testifying before Congress, the Facebook CEO ticked off a list of everything his platform has screwed up, from fake news and foreign meddling in the 2016 election to hate speech and data privacy. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility,” he confessed. Then he added the words that everyone was waiting for: “I’m sorry.”

There have always been outsiders who criticized the tech industry — even if their concerns have been drowned out by the oohs and aahs of consumers, investors, and journalists. But today, the most dire warnings are coming from the heart of Silicon Valley itself. The man who oversaw the creation of the original iPhone believes the device he helped build is too addictive. The inventor of the World Wide Web fears his creation is being “weaponized.” Even Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, has blasted social media as a dangerous form of psychological manipulation. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he lamented recently.

To understand what went wrong — how the Silicon Valley dream of building a networked utopia turned into a globalized strip-mall casino overrun by pop-up ads and cyberbullies and Vladimir Putin — we spoke to more than a dozen architects of our digital present. If the tech industry likes to assume the trappings of a religion, complete with a quasi-messianic story of progress, the Church of Tech is now giving rise to a new sect of apostates, feverishly confessing their own sins. And the internet’s original sin, as these programmers and investors and CEOs make clear, was its business model.

To keep the internet free — while becoming richer, faster, than anyone in history — the technological elite needed something to attract billions of users to the ads they were selling. And that something, it turns out, was outrage. As Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality, points out, anger is the emotion most effective at driving “engagement” — which also makes it, in a market for attention, the most profitable one. By creating a self-perpetuating loop of shock and recrimination, social media further polarized what had already seemed, during the Obama years, an impossibly and irredeemably polarized country.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

“The Clock Is Ticking”: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades


In the darkness before dawn on Thursday, October 1, 2015, an American merchant captain named Michael Davidson sailed a 790-foot U.S.-flagged cargo ship, El Faro, into the eye wall of a Category 3 hurricane on the exposed windward side of the Bahama Islands. El Faro means “the lighthouse” in Spanish. The hurricane, named Joaquin, was one of the heaviest ever to hit the Bahamas. It overwhelmed and sank the ship. Davidson and the 32 others aboard drowned. They had been headed from Jacksonville, Florida, on a weekly run to San Juan, Puerto Rico, carrying 391 containers and 294 trailers and cars. The ship was 430 miles southeast of Miami in deep water when it went down. Davidson was 53 and known as a stickler for safety. He came from Windham, Maine, and left behind a wife and two college-age daughters. Neither his remains nor those of his shipmates were ever recovered. Disasters at sea do not get the public attention that aviation accidents do, in part because the sea swallows the evidence. It has been reported that a major merchant ship goes down somewhere in the world every two or three days; most are ships sailing under flags of convenience, with underpaid crews and poor safety records. The El Faro tragedy attracted immediate attention for several reasons. El Faro was a U.S.-flagged ship with a respected captain—and it should have been able to avoid the hurricane. Why didn’t it? Add to that mystery this simple fact: the sinking of El Faro was the worst U.S. maritime disaster in three decades.

To the outside world, the first hint of trouble came with a phone call that Captain Davidson made from El Faro’s navigation bridge to the owners, a shipping company called TOTE, and specifically to the safety-and-operations manager, a former captain named John Lawrence, who was listed on the ship as the official point of contact, or “designated person ashore.” The time was 6:59 A.M., just after dawn. Lawrence was dressing for work at his home in Jacksonville, and he just missed answering. When he got to his cell phone he saw that the call had come in from a satellite number and that a voice mail had been left. He listened to the message, which sounded calm, even nonchalant. It was 33 seconds long:

Captain Lawrence? Captain Davidson. Thursday morning, 0700. We have a navigational incident. I’ll keep it short. A scuttle popped open on two-deck and we were having some free communication of water go down the three-hold. Have a pretty good list. I want to just touch—contact you verbally here. Everybody’s safe, but I want to talk to you.

There was no background noise. To Lawrence, this did not sound like a message of distress. He began to dial the satellite number to return the call.

Meanwhile, Davidson, having failed to get through, dialed TOTE’s emergency call center, a company that provides after-hours services primarily to physicians. At 7:01, the operator answered. Sounding less casual than he had in his message to Lawrence, Davidson said, “This is a marine emergency. Yes, this is a marine emergency.”

The operator said, “O.K., sir.”

“Are you connecting me through to a Q.I.?” “Q.I.” stands for “qualified individual.” He used the term to mean a designated person ashore.

The operator answered, “That’s what I’m getting ready to do. We’re seeing who is on call, and I’m going to get you right to them. Give me one second, sir. I’m going to put you on a quick hold. So one moment, please.” She paused. “O.K., sir. I just need your name, please.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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