MonthDecember 2003

Marketing and gender

Salon’s got a short piece about gender in movie marketing:

But then, why play the tired old Hollywood-marketing game of hanging a prescribed gender tag on art? Not trusting her own view of the works at hand, James has to blame the fact that she doesn’t like them on her sex. It’s an approach that renders serious thought about movies, and the ways we respond to them, meaningless. Why think critically, when you can just consult the imaginary focus group in your mind?

But there’s a danger to positing that certain types of movies are “for” audiences of either gender. That’s how you get a world of “inclusionary” and “exclusionary” art, instead of art that cuts across gender lines (or, for that matter, racial lines) to speak to everyone. I have a male friend whose tastes typically run to horror movies, but he adores the television adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” — it’s one of those things he says he could watch anytime. And there are exactly two women in Peter Weir’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” and one of them is a miniature painting in a locket. What’s more, there’s lots of battles and gunfire — two more elements that you might characterize as appealing to men specifically. Yet I don’t see “Master and Commander” as a “men’s” movie at all. Are women somehow less well-equipped to enjoy a picture that’s beautifully shot, and whose story is well told, intuitively acted and marvelously paced, just because it has a masculine aura around it? Do you need to be a man to respond to “typically masculine” notions of nobility and heroism?

Global trends 2020 from NIC

“The National Intelligence Council has begun a project that will help uncover the most important influences that will shape our world to the year 2020.”

National Intelligence Council Global Trends page.

Terrence McKenna on Philip K. Dick

“I Understand Philip K. Dick” by Terrence McKenna.

(via Die Puny Humans)

Ransoming content

Another idea which it seems like someone must have come up with already: ransoming art/content/whatever.

The idea is simple: a content provider sets up a donation box and publishes material enough money has been made. It seems this may only work for someone with an established reputation as a good content provider, but as long as the goals set are reasonable it could work.

This solves a couple problems: it prevents there from being a toll box on the information superhighway as some people have put it (a real problem considering that what’s a micropayment in the US could be considerably larger in a third world country, where even getting internet access is very expensive). But it also encourages people who have the money to donate it.

I see this working particularly well for big name musicians… what if Trent Reznor says he won’t record another album until he gets a $6 million advance from fans? He’d probably get a lot of the money from just a couple of rich nin fans. Then he could release the album on p2p networks and completely bypass the entire label system.

But it could work for someone like E-Sheep Patrick Farley too. I would donate towards a ransom for a new E-Sheep comic.

Update: from the comments: Abe points to Street Performer Protocol.

Slate on Alan Moore

Fair enough:

Moore is comics’ Orson Welles: a genius formalist with a natural collaborative impulse and a habit of taking on overambitious projects. His work is alternately groundbreaking and painfully lazy; he often coasts on his cleverness for a quick paycheck. The question of whether he’s a fountain of imagination or just bats has never arisen: He’s both, and his ability to see familiar ideas from an alien perspective is one of his best tricks.

Full Story: Slate: Please, Sir, I Want Some Moore

Hunter S. Thompson on the Honolulu Marathon

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this:

December is an ugly month for getting involved in public travel. It is a desperate season for most people, but not for me this year, because I am turning into a Body Nazi, and I feel pretty good about it. Ho ho ho. Yes sir. Nothing can hurt me for at least 30 days, and by then I will be twice as strong and crazy as I am now.

It happens every year, one way or another, and every year it gets weirder. And wilder and darker and more intense.

I should read this column more often.

via Zen Werewolf

“Urban Reclamation” new trendy past time?

Today’s Trendcentral Newsletter:

Similar to the recent flash mob phenomenon, the idea of taking over, or in some way owning the urban landscape is becoming popular with trendsetters. Referred to as “urban reclamation”, “urban exploration”, and “space hijacking,” this desire to discover random or out of the way places in one’s own city is becoming so appealing that trendsetters are seeking out abandoned areas such as the High Line in NYC, an elevated train track on the West Side between 34th and 17th Streets. We have also heard of organized events in unusual places, such as parties in subway cars in NYC (including streamers and punch), happenings in empty schoolyards after hours in Chicago, and most recently a guerrilla party/fashion show at a Wal-Mart in Oconee County, Georgia. Artists in NYC are also participating in The Outlaw Project, which is a temporary series of art installations in unorthodox locations, such as bar bathrooms.

Exploring urban landscapes and nontraditional settings may take off because it offers an interesting experience which is often much more attainable than material things in these financially pressed times.

How is this different from the early [insert any underground scene here] scene? That it’s being done by “normal” people? Hm.

And is this “urban exploration” anything to do with the old, rather dangerous subculture, or does this merely involve going out and look for abandoned spaces?

New Get Your War On

Brilliant as usual.


Thoughts about spam

On occasion I’ve thought about the potential of using “spam” as an art form… graffiti is un-authorized use of space for art, so why not use spam as e-mail graffiti? And of course, there are various political chainletters that periodically go round (usually right-wing, but a couple leftwing one’s as well).

I’ve not thought too hard about it, since there’s generally a huge opposition to unsolicited e-mail. But I’ve seen studies that say that the reason companies spam is because it works. And if it can work for penis enlargement, why can’t it work for art or activism?

But it may be too late to do anything with this since Bush signed an anti-spamming bill. If this works, it will be a boon to ISPs everywhere who are dealing with the terrible bandwidth burdon of spam. And no one will miss the onslaught of porn, scams, and other misc. crap that builds up in their “bulk” mail folders. But think of this: that’s one less tool for activists and artists and small businesses. Megacorporations can afford to advertise to millions of people. The rest of us cannot.

Update: See also this Salon article on artist Netochka Nezvanova and this Wikipedia.



via Abe

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