Bits: 02.05.09

A sustainable raft from the Swimming Cities of Serenissima website by Tod Seelie

C-Monster has Daily Digest. Hrag has Caught My Eye. Off-Center has Centerpoints. But Eyeteeth? Nuthin'. So I'm happy to present the inaugural edition of "Bits." I considered brand-y names related to the title of this blog, but after much teeth-gnashing, I concluded they were too strained. (Thanks for trying, Justin!) With this, I get a name that says what it needs to -- quick morsels of info -- while still coming across as vaguely toothsome. My inner brander, however, would prefer the more "incisive" connotations of a dentist's drillbit than, say, flecks of basil stuck in your teeth hours after lunch. With that mental picture... Enjoy!

• The same anecdote gets different play in reviews of Trevor Paglen's new book (out today): TIME calls it a "stunt" when black-ops chronicler Paglen holes up in a Las Vegas hotel trying to track travel by personnel who work on covert military projects, whereas the Brooklyn Rail sees such tactics as "as radically democratic as his project: aside from a high-powered camera and some Berkeley research funds, Paglen’s most valuable resources are his laptop and critical intelligence."

• This begs for a contemporary art version: Andy Baio, like tech professionals everywhere, used Amazon's Mechanical Turks program to hire unnamed workers of the internet age to do small tasks for him for pennies per job. Only this time the task was to make these unseen workers seen: He asked each one to photograph themselves and write a statement about why they "Turk."

• Echoes of Allora & Calzadilla's radio project at the Walker a few years back, a video tutorial on how to make your own radio station.

Swoon takes the Miss Rockaway Armada to Europe, sorta. Swimming Cities of Serenissima is a "fleet of three intricately hand crafted vessels that will navigate the Adriatic Sea from the Karst region of Slovenia to Venice, Italy in May of 2009."

• For more on the Rockaway culture, don't miss photos by Tod (Sucka Pants) Seelie, including these portraits (as well as the shot above) or the experimental film shot aboard the rafts of the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, the precursor to Swoon's new project.

• Hey do-gooder designers: Osocio lines up socially conscious design poster contest deadlines, including the Good 50x70 contest (Apr. 1) and Australia's Greenpeace Design Awards (Jun. 15).

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