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bell labs

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Anatomy of a Global Streetwear Cult

For almost two decades, Supreme has existed in a cult-like bubble. Many of their short-run products have a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shelf-life; you’ll pretty much never, ever receive an invite to some Supreme-sponsored open-bar fête (because they almost never happen); and unless you’ve been systematically tracking its product developments on the array of feverish blogs devoted to the brand, or know a mole on the inside who can text you when a new shipment has been delivered, you’ll miss out entirely.

Being sovereign – the supreme ruler of culture – is the brand’s unofficial mission statement; everything is appropriated, recontextualised and refitted in Supreme’s hands to be made better. They’ve carefully chosen to cross-pollinate their homegrown image with unhip but timelessly macho brands like Hanes and The North Face, worked with blue-chip artists such as Jeff Koons and Christopher Wool for their art-deck series, and built ad campaigns around a motley crew of celebrities that have no direct connection to skateboarding, including Kermit the Frog, Mike Tyson and the pop star Lady Gaga.

Part one was published today in The Business of Fashion, part two exploring ‘the creative and commercial philosophies that underpin Supreme’s lasting success’ will be published tomorrow January 11th.

UPDATE An excerpt from part 2:

Mr. Jebbia, however, is playfully cautious about the idea that his small production runs are part of an exploitative plan to skew supply and demand to fever-pitch levels. “The main reason behind the short runs is that we don’t want to get stuck with stuff that nobody wants,” he says. But admitting to a kind of customer trickery isn’t exactly the coolest thing to say, so you let him be. “Let me put it this way,” he adds tellingly. “We work really, really hard to make everything seem effortless.”

(via The High Definite)

Secret Santa

People are starting to receive their secret Santa gifts! Hooray!

Figured I’d start this thread if people want to post what they got (or share shopping/shipping stories).

As far as anonymity goes I’m fine with gifters outing themselves or giftees outing who their gifters are. Personally I went to a bit of effort to stay anonymous but it probably won’t be difficult to deduce.

Hope everyone gets their gifts before Christmas!

The Sword Maker

Korehira Watanabe is one of the last remaining Japanese swordsmiths. He has spent 40 years honing his craft in an attempt to recreate Koto, a type of sword that dates back to the Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333 AD). No documents remain to provide context for Watanabe’s quest, but he believes he has come close to creating a replica of this mythical samurai sword.

(via Product by Process)

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some people told me not to walk into nature at all

According to BHMAC (the Mine Action Committee for Bosnia and Herzegovina), just over 3.5% of the land area of the country is still contaminated by landmines. Many of the deminers in the field believe roughly 10% of the country can still be deemed a landmine area. They also feel that nowhere in the countryside is safe, as they may clear one area but a torrential downpour may unearth landmines upstream or upriver; consequently, these unearthed landmines find their way into vicinities that were deemed safe weeks, months or even years ago.


The Art of Not Drowning

We see a beautiful woman, with lush red hair, floating effortlessly, gazing ahead in an attitude of easeful melancholy. The airline artist has recruited Dante Rossetti’s 1877 Mary Magdalene, with perhaps an ironic nod to Botticelli’s Venus, as the heroine of our worst-case scenario. Thus the “fallen woman” motif is reimagined in the most urgent terms: this airline Magdalene is a woman who has quite literally fallen. And this is where we find her, floating in limbo, clutching a lily-white life preserver to her breast (instead of a vase, as in the 1877 portrait). Like Rossetti’s romantic Pre-Raphaelite Magdalene, this woman’s lowly state serves only to magnify her elemental beauty. Here she is, Our Lady of the Plane Crash. “I will make you fishers of men,” says the Christ. “We will rescue you in any corner of the globe,” says a Pan Am safety card. The fallen woman will not remain cast away forever—and, if we follow her lead, the artist assures us, neither will we. It is a pretty vision of earthly salvation.

(via The Hairpin)

Secret Santa!

Second call in case people missed the first post over the holiday weekend.

If you’re interested in participating in some Clusterflock Secret Santa, email me at christopherflocken at gmail dot com by tomorrow with your snail mail address so I can pass it along to your Santa (or I’ll put them all in a shared Google Doc, whichever winds up being more practical).

You should get an email Wednesday night/Thursday morning with who your assigned giftee is. Try to get your gift in the mail by December 14th so it gets to them before any holiday traveling.

Merry Flockmas!

Test Your Morality

That autism quiz seemed to go over like gangbusters so here’s another quiz for a lazy pre-holiday afternoon.

This is a scientific test sponsored by the BBC to help scientists with their science. It’s all highly scientific and not at all a dumb personality test that you take to see how you stack up against friends.
(Takes about a half an hour. Sign up for a throwaway log-in [BBC iD] required.)

I scored pretty middle of the road except for my below average sense of wrongness & disgust and my above average sense of avoidance. AKA I don’t think what you did is wrong, but I don’t want to associate with you either.

The wording of the results is a bit odd…

[Your low sense of wrongness] suggests that you are not very sensitive to actions that break your moral code, and you are quite tolerant things you don’t agree with.

I agree with the latter but can’t I be sensitive to others’ actions while having a broader moral code? If I don’t consider those actions wrong then, almost by definition, they don’t break my moral code.

Different factors such as religious belief and personal wealth can influence our attitudes to the action and behaviour of others.

Yeesh. That’s a loaded statement.

So! Who’s the best Flocker? Scientifically speaking.

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BOSS: Johnson, you’re late. Our meeting started 10 minutes ago.
JOHNSON: Sorry sir, I was struggling getting my things together.
BOSS: Johnson, is that a cat in a sling?
JOHNSON: Yes sir, Fluffernutter has prepared a very compelling case for my promotion.
BOSS: Johnson, get out of my office.


The Unbridge

A series of moats and fortresses were built over the West Brabant Water Line region of the Netherlands during the 17th century in order to provide protection from invasion by France and Spain. Fort de Roovere was surrounded with a shallow moat that was too deep to march across, and too shallow for boats. In turn the earthen fort had remained protected –until now.

This trench-like bridge was designed by RO & AD Architects to allow tourist access to the fort in a natural, thoughtful way.

(via inhabitat)

Safety is Serious

Are you being too safe or are you not being too safe enough?*

*Trick question: You’re already dead.

Meet the Flockers: Sarah Pavis

Last year, when I happened upon this post in Google Reader I felt like the internet was playing a trick on me. Some sort of digital Oroborus. Something I shared in Google Reader made its way out and in to one of my favorite blogs? How did this happen? OH RIGHT. The internet is made of people. Awesome people, as I soon discovered when I started stalking following some of my favorite bloggers like Andrew and Tim on Twitter. They followed me back for some reason and now we’re internet friends because that’s a thing. And that’s evolved into having fun playing Minecraft with Andrew & Dave. So I’m very happy to be joining Clusterflock because I was running out of stalking outlets online gathering places.

SO: Formal hello! My name is Sarah Pavis. I’m an engineer & writer living in Chicago who went to school in Massachusetts and grew up in Connecticut. If you think this means I’m a smart, well-off liberal who pines for rolling hills and foliage then you are correct because all stereotypes are not-so-secretly true.

Most of my interneting the past few years has been on Google Reader. This URL isn’t worth much now but if you’d like I can hook you up with a JSON file that you can peruse over a cup of coffee & a SQL database if you want to become better acquainted. Or you can check out my Twitter where I complain about Google Reader, my cat, Google Reader, television, and Google Reader. If you’re on the newest, biggest, boringest social network might I also trick you into following me like I evidently did +4000 other people.

If you Google my name most of the results are me except for that one girl who rides a motorcycle and lives in Florida. She doesn’t know it but she’s my internet nemesis. Her and whoever owns and won’t sell it to me. In your Googling you might stumble across one of any of a dozen blogs I’ve started that now lie in various states of abandonment. I’ve made sincere promises to all of them that I’ll come back, treat em’ right, clean the cobwebs out of their CSS, stuff ‘em full of content, and pound them with so much traffic it’ll make their site counters spin. Though, for now, they remain fallow. But I’d never do that to you Clusterflock. I love you, baby.

2 Years & +200,000 Jelly Beans

All in-camera, zero green screen. How it was made:

(via +DeWitt Clinton, PetaPixel)

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Telephones — The Ur-Supercut

Christian Marclay’s Telephones (1995) showed famous actors answering ringing telephones in a string of surreal, disjointed conversations throughout Hollywood history. Edited together, the cadence and rhythm of nonstop clips feels very reminiscent of modern supercuts. Apple tried to license Marclay’s film for the launch of the iPhone in 2007, but he refused. Instead, they made their own, borrowing the idea wholesale. (Marclay decided not to sue.)

Andy Baio, in his new column for Wired’s Epicenter blog, discusses supercuts, those videos that mash-up dozens or hundres of short clips of a type. His article traces the evolution of the form from proto examples like Telephones to their use as tools of political critique. More examples at his supercuts site and more analysis at his Wired article.

Hidden Mothers

This was a practice where the mother…often disguised or hiding often under a spread…holds her baby tightly for the photographer to insure a sharply focused image.

Hidden Mother : Tintypes and Cabinets Flickr Group

(via Roslyn Cook / Retronaut)