Today I sat on a Sydney Writers Festival panel with Eli Horowitz (creator of The Silent History), Mauro Bedoni from COLORS Magazine, Dr Neil James (Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation) and Digireado‘s Anna Maguire – all attempting to answer the question “Is technology changing how and what we read?”
If you couldn’t make it along, or are otherwise hungry for the Cliff Notes version, here’s my takeaways from the session:
You can read an interview with me in the latest issue of the renowned national design magazine, Design Quarterly, in a piece which names The Nest one of the “Top Ten Forces & Faces in Australian Design”.
I’ll be appearing on a panel at this year’s Sydney Writers Festival, titled Reading in the E-Future, looking at the ways in which technology is changing the way we read.
The panel includes Eli Horowitz, the co-creator of The Silent History, prosaically dubbed “a serialized, exploratory novel for the iPad and iPhone”. From what I’ve uncovered thus far, I can say that The Silent History is a unique and compelling experience, one that takes no prisoners as far as traditional narrative is concerned. Eli was also managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s – a journal that became a well-loved publishing empire, blowing a delicious raspberry in the face of literary industry doomsayers.
First posted on The Nest blog, February 2013.
I came to the conclusion only recent that I am officially a “Magazine Junkie” – and, while we’re at it, I’m also a borderline hoarder. Two confessions for the price of one.
I simply cannot buy enough magazines – trimmed to perfection, bursting with colour and looking resplendent in all their glossy, shiny goodness. I’ve always loved them, and always bought them, but I hadn’t quite fathomed the depth of my obsession until the gargantuan pile next to my bed started to look as it was about to topple over and kill a small child.
You might find some irony in the idea of someone who spends all day every day talking digital, going home and finding solace in a stack of printed paper. If that were true, it would make a good story – but that’s not the angle. I adore magazines both for their bravado and for so beautifully encapsulating a moment in time. Every spread is a new idea, a fresh playpen for design innovation, and it will forever tell us what was so special about ‘right now’. The length of the curatorial hand and the precision of the art direction have both been honed to perfection in the magazine format – every dot on each page has been checked and rechecked before it goes to press. The paper stock, the pantone, the weight, the bleach – everything last tiny detail has been considered. (Perhaps to my other confessions, I can add obsessive compulsive perfectionist?)
It’s been a long gestation, but I’m finally pleased to announce the launch of a digital publishing venture, The Branches Imprint. Born of our work at Branches Publishing, we launch with out first original title, Cuttings - an interactive quarterly anthology of new Australian writing.
Leaving the e-book format behind, Cuttings represents a new way of bringing writing to life – a free, full-colour, digital-only publication, exposing new talent and new ideas from around Australia, married with unique and original design, illustration and photography.
Available now for iPad and Android tablets, the 28-page launch issue of Cuttings – titled A Cosy Catastrophe - offers a time capsule of texts, or postcards for a post-apocalyptic future, striving to sum up for generations to come what it really meant to live in Australia in 2013.
The Nest’s apps for the Art Gallery Of New South Wales are this week featured in Concrete Playground’s list of ‘Ten Best Art Apps’. Described as “an online weather vane pointing you to the cultural tornadoes that are just about to hit”, Concrete Playground prowls Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland to pluck out the best of what’s happening in the arts and cultural worlds.
A new study reveals how arts audiences are using mobiles before, during and after arts events – and how they’d like to be engaging in the future.
When asked by arts clients about how audiences are using technology, I often reference the 2011 Australia Council For The Arts report, Connecting Arts Audiences Online. This was a much-needed reality check, offering real data about digital engagement amongst local arts audiences. It remains a handy tool and is worth further investigation, however the bulk of the research would have been carried out in late 2010 or early 2011, and its currency is therefore dating fast. Two years in digital terms is an epoch, and we can’t now vouch for the integrity of much of the data.
Enter Group Of Minds, and their Principal Ron Evans. I had the good fortune to hear Ron speak at the 2012 Australia Council Marketing Summit – seeing him talk, I initially thought to myself, “here’s a man who loves his data”. Yet it became clear that Ron was more than just a number-cruncher – pragmatic and level-headed he may be, but he was also clearly passionate about how hyper-relevant data could force us to challenge and rethink our approach and our strategies. It’s there to be interrogated and understood, and – even when it smacks in the face with a home truth we’d rather avoid – it’s there to be used.
Last time I checked, local mobile photographer Oliver Lang, aka Oggsie, had racked up close to 150,000 followers on Instagram. It’s a staggering feat for any photographer, much more so when you consider that – by his own admission – Oggsie has no formal training, and his network has organically grown piece by piece by the simple virtue of his beautiful images. Clearly, Oliver has a gift for photography in this format - he has exhibited in Sydney and in Europe, he’s the founder of an international collective titled the Mobile Photo Group, and he has also taught ‘iPhoneography’ at the Australian Centre for Photography and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The very nature of social media often means that stories, news, links and commentary that are all here today are sadly gone tomorrow – they’ve slipped into the bottomless bucket of digital ‘deletia’, or at least have disappeared sufficiently from the top of the pile that they are effectively invisible. And even when those objects do stick around, how do we help people to make sense of them? They are often scattered across multiple platforms, fragmented across hours and days – how do we pull them together into a logical narrative, and re-present them back to the community?
Storify is one solution to the problem – and I’m fast becoming a fan.
I have boxes of broken tech in the cellar under the house, somewhere next to the many bags of orphan cables that have yet to find a home. Instead of hoarding such things, perhaps I should turn them into art?
Artist Benjamin Gaulon takes this idea of ‘recyclism’ (their term) to an interesting conclusion. Under the title of “KindleGlitched – The Aesthetics of Planned Obsolescence”, he has repossessed a series of glitched (aka broken) Kindle devices via eBay and requisitioned them into an art project which combines automatic, accidental and auto-destructive art.