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March 9, 2009

'A remarkably popular archive within the audio library is devoted to the Grateful Dead'

There goes the day.

[via The Economist's March 5, 2009 Technology Quarterly]

March 9, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Proof of life


March 9, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Laura Gilbert channels William Goldman: 'Nothing is worth anything anymore'


The great screenwriter's remark about Hollywood and how movies like "Ishtar" happen — "Nobody knows anything" — has now been dusted off and repurposed for the 21st century by the New York City artist, who last Thursday (March 5) passed out over 600 copies of her latest piece, called "The Bailout Bill" (top) over an hour at the Midtown headquarters of Citigroup.

Last fall's "Zero Dollar" by Gilbert struck me as a topical work of inspired genius.

The funny thing is, she had trouble giving them away.

That was then, this is now.

Here's A.G. Sulzberger's March 6, 2009 New York Times City Room blog post about the giveaway.


The Art of Hard Times

It has become the conventional wisdom that hard times get the creative juices flowing. Busts — not booms — are the source of weightier, more substantial, art, the thinking goes.

“People stop worrying about whether they can get rich and famous and become more interested in how to become more involved and relevant in society,” says Carol Becker, the dean of the Columbia University School of the Arts and a critic who has written about the intersection of art and politics. Holland Cotter, an art critic for The Times, even suggested that a financial scouring can only be good for American art."

So what better artistic foil could there possibly be than the collapse of the nation’s economy, with its lengthy cast of villains, from deceitful asset managers to negligent regulators?

There have been some artistic forays into the area: an ice sculpture spelling out the word “ECONOMY” left to melt in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan; a photo illustration depicting the famous bronze bull at the base of Broadway, dead and lying on the ground; and headier pieces visualizing G.D.P. and derivative volume.

Another artist who has made the economy a focus of her work is Laura Gilbert. On Thursday, Ms. Gilbert headed to the Midtown headquarters of Citigroup to pass out more than 600 copies of her latest piece, called “The Bailout Bill,” over an hour.

It’s a print, a collage of sorts that centers on her earlier piece, “Zero Dollar Bill” [below],


a digitally manipulated $1 note with a zero in each corner instead of the number 1, and the words Zero Dollar under George Washington’s profile. The bill is set against a corroding silver and gold background. The names of various corporate culprits — AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, Countrywide, Fannie Mae and Merrill Lynch — adorn the image. The prints are hand-signed and numbered.

Ms. Gilbert’s message is fairly simple: Nothing is worth anything anymore. And it’s all their fault. And when she hands copies of her work to employees, she wants them to know that.

“I hope they get a clear picture of the absolute distress they’ve unleashed on the world,” she said. “It is clear. It shows insolvency in all its ugliness. It’s the true loss of wealth by people who are not hurting at all and are in fact profiting.”

She added, “If they chose not to be moved, it shows how callous they are.”

This is the second time she has passed out her work to financial types, with the earlier effort earning her significant attention.

The artist Karen Finley, who teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, says that an important role of an artist is to translate current events into symbols.

“Artwork is an important way to express the frustration, the anger, the emotions,” she said. “But I actually haven’t seen a lot of work that speaks about the economy. It could be because there’s a certain level of denial. It might be too soon.”

Antoine Guerrero, director of operations and exhibitions for P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, Queens, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, agreed. It takes awhile for art to catch up with calamity, he said, so the latest economic-themed works might just the leading edge of the wave.

“Artists are still processing it,” he said. “Few artists dive into it right away. How many artists worked on 9/11? And that was a while ago. Or even the war? And that’s been going on for a while. I think it will take some time to see it in artwork.”


Now comes your reward for reading all the way to the end.

As if you hadn't wasted enough time already today.

But I digress.

Though the artist gave away 600 Bailout Bills free last Thursday — the day Citigroup became a penny stock, whose share price is now higher than its ATM fee (I may be a brain-dead anesthesiologist, not a broken model/derivative-driven rocket scientist, but even I know that's a bad sign) — she created an edition of 5,000, "numbered in reverse from -1/5,000 to -5,000/5,000 to parallel the swift descent of the economy."

I'm betting that if you email her saying I sent you, she'll sell you one for a nominal price.

"Zero Dollar Foot Long" — Subway needs to be on this yesterday.

Wait a minute... what's that music

I'm hearing?

March 9, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK bus slogan generator

Picture 1

Make yours here .

March 9, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Yesterday's mystery quote source


Pictured above.

March 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Subway's next 'Five Dollar Foot Long' commercial

3 3

March 9, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

SitOrSquat — new iPhone app taking the world by storm, one bathroom at a time

"A place to find and record bathrooms anywhere in the world."


Free, the way we like it.

March 9, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Geek Girl Heaven: Swarovski Crystal Heartbeat Flash Drive — Price Break


A reader in Dallas informs me that the ultimate Geek Girl/corporate espionage accessory can now be had for significantly less than the $180 it sold for when it came out two years ago.

How does $142.63 work for you?


USB memory key disguised as a heart pendant on a silver silk cord.

Polished stainless steel heart combined with Silver Shade crystals set in Ceralun™.


The two halves are held together with a pin.

Holds 1 GB of data (about 250 songs or 1,000 photos).


Password protection and high-speed USB 2.0 interface.

1-11/16" x 1-3/4" x 3/4".


Prediction: These will sell out in a heartbeat.

March 9, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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