The Null Device
Gizmodo has a photoessay from São Paolo's Santa Ifigênia, the Brazilian city's somewhat dodgy electronics grey market. The city itself looks like some alternate New York of faded grandeur mixed with post-cyberpunk South-East Asia, with retailers setting up stalls on Toyota utilities under derelict art-nouveau buildings, ready to flee (leaving a wake of scattered electronic parts) should the police show up to confiscate their goods. And the market is ruthlessly efficient in filling any gaps left by busted traders.
Car accessories, speakers, car mp3 players - almost everything "used" can be found on the camelôs (street-salesmen). It is not uncommon for them to promise to fetch you the exact model of car stereo you want, returning triumphantly with the item: wires exposed, shards of glass and if you are lucky, blood.
Last night, I went to Dorkbot). It was a bit of a mixed bag; the presentation on London Free Map (a sort of geospatial Wikipedia, consisting of people with GPS units walking the lengths of streets to build up a GFDL/CC-licensed map of London and break the Ordnance Survey monopoly; connected with OpenStreetMap) was interesting, as were some of the "minidorks", including one by a chap who put a Wacom tablet on a guitar-like mount and used it to make noise with Max/MSP, and one by an American who built a 3D voxel display for Burning Man, using 729 microcontrollers, RGB LEDs and ping-pong balls, and an Ethernet printer server to control them). Others left a bit to be desired; the architecture student who started his with footage of the World Trade Center attack and went on to talk about the acoustics of spaces, sticking microphones into his mouth and filling latex balls with white noise, seemed a bit on the random side, while the presentation about the possibility of a bicycle that folds into an umbrella-sized package had little more than hastily-made Microsoft Paint drawings to it. There was also an intriguing-looking installation on the table, consisting of a brain-shaped set of neon tubes, a red vintage telephone and a Radio Shack speaker box, though the person operating it couldn't make it, and attempts to demonstrate it over the phone proved inconclusive (all it did was flicker, and the mobile phone interference drowned out what the guy at the other end was saying).
In the wake of the Band Aid 20 charity single (which is rumoured to be awful), NYLPM looks at what happened to Band Aids #3 through to #19:
Band Aid 3: Recorded in a secret corner of the Hacienda, "Baggy Aid" in 1990 melded social conscience with a wah-wah break and found Shaun Ryder offering to feed the starving his melons. That Line was sung by Bobby Gillespie, but nobody heard his reedy mewlings and the single flopped.
Band Aid 8 and Band Aid 9: The blackest hour in the long history of Band Aid saw a schism as Blur and Oasis insisted on recording separate versions of the legendary song for Christmas 95. Blur's video featured Keith Allen in a dress riding a desert goat and Oasis' contribution ran into trouble when Liam punched Michael Buerk in the face. A disgusted public turned instead to Kula Shaker's Crispian Mills, who promised to feed the world with his cosmic love.
Band Aid 15: Radiohead's "Kid A(id)" was more challenging than most interpretations, being a 17-minute video installation showing Thom Yorke being chased by a bear to the sound of a whimpering child. Retail response was sluggish.