Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

h1

Wikipedia bound

5 June, 2009

Wikipedia by Rob Matthews, 2009
5000 pages, fully printed

The wonderful world of the interweb is evermore glorious when reminded of the sheer vastness of information that it contains. Even more impressive is the notion that it’s  all held together by a seemingly haphazard yet infinitesimally detailed overlapping of data that spans across networks in an ordered fashion. What better example of this than in the pages of Wikipedia, the massively successful partner of the now defunct encyclopedic project Nupedia, which too was based on collaborative user contribution (experts exclusively on the latter) for reference content published and available freely under copyleft license. Long gone are those days of Encyclopædia Britannica infomercials with special offers on gold-embossed A-Z volumes requiring a sturdy new bookcase of their own. Not even the online version of the classic American public school library mainstay has been able to compete with Wikipedia and its magnitude of documentation that (despite its increasingly sophisticated system of editing and global moderation) is seldom permitted for citation in academic research due to much whinging by the establishment over its accuracy and lack of official review.

But of course much has changed since Wikipedia was launched formally in 2001, today with a tally of wikis (‘quick’ in Hawaiian or ‘what I know is’ in backronym) spanning 262 languages at a grand total of 2.9 billion articles in English alone. And thanks to the brilliance of Brighton-based artist/designer Rob Matthews, his 2009 project rightly titled ‘Wikipedia‘ demonstrates its immense scale through the actual printing and binding of roughly 2,529 articles comprising the niche featured articles section. According to Matthews’ mission statement for the project, his aim is to ‘question its use as an internet resource’ by ‘reproducing [it] in a dysfunctional physical form’. This single volume (photo above) equates to 5000 pages literally standing at a fraction of around 1/1,140th of all existing (English) articles. And aside from the obvious fantastical sight of seeing a book that is so much taller lying down than when sitting upright, the dimensional challenge it poses visually whilst in print is one that truly reaches the core of what Matthews hopes to achieve through this bizarrely tangible display of the virtual web.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: Great unveiling (pieces at random)

Typographer’s bible (pieces at random)

Advertisements
h1

Underground evolved

3 June, 2009

As a consequence of not having had the chance to post over the last couple of months, I’ve missed out on announcing news just as it was breaking out on the aggregated feed circuit. But that’s not to say that any of the initial excitement or relevance has waned at all since then, especially when the headlining content added another unique dimension to the way in which we surf and enjoy the web — precisely the reason why the new site launch of R.fm still deserves a much coveted honourable mention as the site to watch closely in the upcoming months as it continues to reshape the frontier that exists between interactive blogging and dynamic multimedia. Taking off on 15th April and flying high ever since, the redesign of the online music channel/magazine/library/gallery dubbed ‘Acid Squaredance‘ was one that was much anticipated not least due to knowing how well the dynamic team of curators, designers and music-lovers over at R.fm Headquarters have managed to provide the much-needed answer to what was once music-based television programming in the past, but is now streaming on-demand in today’s digital and mobile age.

I have myself lamented on more than one occasion here previously over both the scattered nature of genuinely good music video content and the (lack of) comprehensive accuracy with which it’s reported (it’s precisely for these reasons that I began compiling my own finds onto Ampersound, so as to not lose track  of the bookmarks whilst doing the daily browse-through on YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and countless others that are often not M[usic?]TV). Fortunately for the genuine music fans out there, the Acid Squaredance ethic is obviously one that serves to remedy this gap in the market by not only putting great videos into correct context, but by also allowing viewers to explore the artists/musicians/directors behind them — plus an added bonus of live sets, recommendations, and news at the fore in the world of art, design and culture. What’s more is that the new site layout is incredibly attractive, with its sleek monochrome interface punctuated by accents of colour and seamless navigation inspired by the Grid-A-Licious theme.

Pre-relaunch, my first experience of R.fm had been on the net-TV hub Joost a long while back, by then already a popular music gateway featuring a finely curated selection of recordings and video clips showcasing some of the finest specimens that the club scene has had to offer in recent years. With a solid following locally on the video/premier mobile platforms as well as spinning off into the Last.fm community and across the Facebook grapevine, the Stockholm-based network is deeply embedded within the culture it aims to curate as they work ‘in close co-operation with artists, directors, creative studios and imprints’. Post-relaunch, R.fm has come to aptly demonstrate the great potential of how well music-based content found across the web and in the hottest clubs worldwide can be compiled to form a single online hub through intelligent design. And the credit is owed to the creative team led by founder/creative director Joel Brosjö and design partner Suprb — the studio founded by Andreas Pihlström, who himself has recently relaunched his own site on the Cargo Collective platform where you can browse through his brilliant portfolio.

Alongside co-founder Ebrahim Isaacs, channel manager Gustav Bagge, and ambassador Lucho Ojeda (also running the dB night in Stockholm) on-board, you can rely on their channel for daily servings of visually stunning, high-resolution videos featuring equally impressive tracks ranging between techno, house and minimal to IDM, dubstep, and the more experimental variants of electronic music. You can sign up to the monthly newsletter, and also keep track of the regular stream of R.fm conversation, updates and current trendspotting news on Twitter @acidsquaredance and via the site’s Twitterfeed @rfmupdate. And after you check out R.fm’s must-see interactive section titled ‘Lookbook‘, you’ll have no doubt that the underground has truly evolved.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: R.fm – Underground Evolved

Freeloading limit (pieces at random)

Ampersound (pieces at random)

h1

Freeloading limit

25 March, 2009

As far as predictions go, this is likely to be the beginning of a series of features on the sustainability of various net-based business models experiencing the expository glory of the Web 2.0 surge over the last few years. And conveniently helping to kick-start this debate, revolutionary social music network Last.fm very briefly announced on the Last.HQ blog yesterday that they are to begin charging a non-optional subscription rate (should you choose to continue using the service) to users living outside the United Kingdom, United States and Germany. This €3.00-a-month decision is suggested to come as a result of the international licensing fees that have restricted the likes of Pandora from fully tapping into markets beyond their conventional core user-base back in 2007. Understandably, this creates a veritable dilemma once considering how it is precisely the regions beyond the UK, US and Germany in which such multimedia platforms have been seeing unbridled interest, use and support amongst a diverse forum of users and music listeners as they become increasingly connected and integrated with one another through technology and word-of-mouth. Of course this wouldn’t be the first instance of a move towards charging a premium for content, seeing as online news publications and Google (TBC) are already foraying into a world where free content is yielding to the need to compensate for falling advertising revenue in face of the economic downturn.

But before I grind my axe about YouTube and others, it is important to highlight the fact that the current state of free content simply cannot be sustained forever if one is to also expect product innovation, service differentiation and the expansion of  services offered online. I have written numerous times about Last.fm, very much in praise of what it has done to shape the media landscape in terms of enriching the music listener’s experience whilst facilitating interaction with enthusiastic and perhaps like-minded individuals on an international scale unparalleled despite the recent flood of new music-oriented web platforms. Slightly less obviously so, it has additionally helped to cultivate one’s passion for a variety of musical stylings that may have ordinarily taken a lifetime to explore, furthermore helping to dispel the notions of bad science linking music to the twisted world of profit-based corporate initiatives and targeted advertising (although when examining the nature of the press release, that latter point can easily be disputed). It is for these reasons and many others that the current model would undeniably need to be modified to sustain the company after the CBS acquisition and, sadly, the subsequent laying-off of staff here in East London this past December.

Now Last.fm states that the ‘business decision’ was needed ‘in order to keep providing the best radio service on the web’ and ‘support all the other free services’, promising to provide ‘unlimited access’ alongside improvements ‘for years to come’. One should emphasize, however, that user communications support, scrobbling, charts, recommendations, the events calendar, etc., will remain free for access worldwide. They optimistically state that there will also be a ’30 track free trial, and we hope this will convince people to subscribe and keep listening to the radio’. But despite that all seeming to be in the user’s best interest, the expected backlash will perhaps supersede that which took place following the major interface overhaul last summer. The flood of comments and forum dialogue already provides a fair amount of indication of such, with statements ranging between a series of disapproving expletives and those highlighting the increased attractiveness of alternatives such as Grooveshark, Deezer, RadioVeRVe and Spotify (especially in France). People have also enquired about the precise geographic determinants of the charge (IP address, postal address, nationality?), whilst expressing that the service should either be free for all or free for none.

It is that final note that directs attention to the notion of freeloading and the future of content consumption in a world where not only licensing varies extensively, but also purchasing power parity of currency differs between countries in a manner which makes a move such as Last.fm’s seem highly discriminatory. And it may be the case that the lack of consistent pricing across the board in member countries may prove to be at odds with EU law. But there does seem to be a general view that loyal users who may already be subscribed will go unaffected regardless of location; meanwhile, freeloaders will switch to the alternatives mentioned above, therefore increasing the cost of competition throughout the entire marketplace for everyone (including the competitors). In theory, Last.fm can take this risk now, especially if there is concern as regards to how the recent spike in the popularity of Spotify’s free on-demand service will cut into the Last.fm radio-listening user-base — that is until the two applications become more complementarily integrated. Whether the move will lead users to turn to Spotify or revert back to illegal filesharing is yet to be seen, though I suspect a younger audience located outside the G3 nations who are without the convenience of credit card access will resume (if not doing so already) the use of P2P and mirrors without any trouble at all.

According to Last.fm’s Matthew Ogle, the UK, US and Germany ‘are the countries in which we have the most resources to support an ad sales organization, which is how we earn money to pay artists and labels for their music. We are focused on the US, UK, and Germany as key markets, with the help of the CBS Interactive salesforce and our own sales team here in London. Our headquarters are in the UK and we’ve always had a strong presence in [Germany]. And so we’ve made the decision to focus on these markets for free streaming radio.’ But it would be naive to think that this only impacts specific markets, because web developers will be affected as well. As Steven Bengtson, a creator of the application Songbird, has pointed out, ‘this is also a big pain [because] we are releasing an update to our Last.fm add-on that allows streaming [and now] too bad for those other countries’. In addition, the same goes for labels whose main operating base lies outside of the G3, as a representative from a Brazilian label mentioned in discussion, making Last.fm less prominent of a feature in terms of marketing the music of a label to a home audience facing a price barrier under the proposed scheme.

Out of all the Last.fm user comments, perhaps this one best sums up the current situation: ‘It’s been a pleasure building up a global database for you so you can turn it into gold and then screw people over.’ A successful business strategy is, after all, extremely difficult to fine-tune and maintain whilst adapting to market forces fluctuating in a volatile global economic climate — not to mention the difficulty in appeasing everyone involved, especially when everyone is the massively infinite online community. Evolution is absolutely necessary in order to stay afloat and survive in the longrun, and a good demonstration of prospective monetization of web-based applications to build up the coffers in ways surpassing the potential of advertising was the spoof article in recent circulation on Twitter, itself about Twitter and the creation of premium accounts. Already Twitter has begun to test its own advertising model, bringing it closer in line with Facebook’s Beacon. But whereas content on networks such as Twitter and Facebook is user-generated rather than licensed by media industries (music, mainstream news and ‘premium’ video content) long struggling in the advent of piracy and online technologies, advertising no longer seems to be helping to balance the books.

To be honest, as I am currently in London and already a Last.fm subscriber, I am not particularly affected. However had I been in either Stockholm or Cairo at he moment, I would have to reconsider the burden of my subscription (probably dropping it for the latter city in question due to the exchange rate). Having written my IB dissertation on socio-economic disparity rooted in exchange rates and purchasing power parity in relation to the Third World some years ago, €3.oo will never seem to me to be a ‘mere’ €3.oo to be spent on something in a country where bootlegs are no more taboo than breathing the polluted air is. But for the time being, I will have to ask fellow neighbours and Last.fm users about whether or not they would be willing to pay the premium — especially if they are Spotify users as well. And I’m sure that the general outlook will change once Spotify becomes available worldwide, though considering the headache of all the licensing red tape it’s currently up against, part of me thinks global domination will be very unlikely for some time yet. But until then, perhaps Last.fm would be best advised to adopt Facebook’s recent approach of democratization if it is to maintain its popularity — and hopefully then it will take into serious consideration the feedback it has received from its users thus far after such a significant proposal of change.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: Spotify v Last.fm (pieces at random)

Love thy neighbour (pieces at random)

Site overhaul (pieces at random)

h1

Parallel posting

2 March, 2009

In the wise words of David Ogilvy, ‘Imitation may be the sincerest form of plagiarism, but it is also the mark of an inferior person.’ What better example of this than the recent launch of Skittles’ new website, to the dismay of a public who sees it little more than a rip-off of the novel concept used over at the home of the Modernista! ad agency. With WordPress commentator Lorelle VanFossen having officially declared it ‘The Year of Original Content‘, it’s a relief to see that online creatives are becoming more vocal about the preservation of the integrity of their content. Because let’s be honest — it’s far from pleasant to find that despite taking the risk of appearing anally retentive by plastering your copyright policy in every corner of your site to curb wanton imposters from taking more than their fair share of your time and thought invested without permission or due attribution, there are individuals who persist to steal either directly or through the convenience of creepy crawly spambots. And it is unfortunate that in a world today where blogging provides grounds to help cultivate new and dynamic voices in an arena where politics, the sciences and arts may be explored and discussed freely, the infringement of one’s proprietary rights in relation to their content is as common as it is everywhere else in the media landscape.

And though complex the nature of copyright and ‘originality’ may be by definition, it baffles without fail every time to see that those either callous or inadvertently unaware of content protocol could have otherwise simply sent an e-mail to ask and clear up any doubt if site policy failed to convey the message with a level of clarity that they would appreciate and respect. In writing this, it will fast become obvious that I have dealt with the matter first-hand on numerous occasions, the inaugural moment being that which involved a derivative work of a creative (and personal) piece of mine, about which I was fortunate enough to be notified. But in the past couple of years, it has since continued much to my dismay, spanning all content in surprisingly unique ways that one begins to wonder whether or not content thieves know they would be better off directing their seeming ingenuity into creating their own work instead. In addition to this, the Fair Use and Creative Commons guidelines exist to provide an alternative more conducive to upholding a creative and inspirational forum and flow of information, so that content creators need not be confined only to a full blanket policy requiring the sort of policing that takes a great deal of one’s time.

And let’s not forget the grey area left in the wake of web conventions established amongst online creatives that develop far too quickly for official copyright legislation to instantaneously adapt and reflect real action on the ground. Already there has been considerable discussion regarding the acceptability of deep-linking and the excerpting (at varied lengths) of written content online. It’s not unheard of that trusted sites and bloggers repeatedly attribute content to the wrong individuals or forego on attribution entirely (this applies to video content especially). And yet it’s not much better when adamant bloggers intent on posting daily decide that every little thing they find of interest can be ‘excerpted’ with a sentence of their own tagged at the beginning of it to sell it off as a find worth reading on their page. Of course the incorporation of any advertising or commercial gain into this equation makes it all the more dubious; the same goes for SEO and the mere desire to increase traffic. But even without that, a website claiming to provide ‘news’, ‘thoughts’ and/or ‘opinions’ should not rest solely on what FriendFeed and Facebook Links ultimately amount to.

But equally disconcerting are the bloggers you know personally, who repeatedly dig up your old content to rework into their own, who perhaps believe that your blogging memory only goes as far back as a few weeks and thus they have some sort of licensed access to a smörgåsbord of your work to sell off for personal gain. Although not much can be done about this other than to tolerate it within the confines of non-commercial ShareAlike without attribution, it is when it’s a few words short of full-on plagiarism that it becomes difficult to ignore. Cyber-stalking (or what I like to call ‘parallel posting’) is behaviour more akin to Hirudo medicinalis, reflecting poor judgement on behalf of the parallel poster — though I would gladly stand corrected in the instance it all turns out to be one statistically implausible coincidence, nine times out of ten. Nevertheless, as I can’t emphasize this enough due to previous, more serious experience with having work taken through alteration and wrongful attribution, here is the license under which the written segments of this site operate (unless otherwise stated, i.e. non-applicable to creative non-fiction and original artwork featured, all of which require explicit permission). Internal documentation has also been updated to reflect as much.

But hopefully time spent monitoring suspected trackbacks, scraper sites and copycats will soon be decreased considerably. In celebration of The Year of Original Content, I’m currently beta-testing a fantastic new service called FairShare, which automatically provides a feed that updates in accordance to your site’s content and other content on the web that may have been taken from it. What makes it so convenient apart from sending all of the information to Google Reader is that it provides links to a page showing the exact site it has detected, the percentage of the work used, whether or not it is a derivative, if it complies with your registered license, whether advertising is present, how much traffic it receives, and the list goes on. There is also a content search available through the Copyscape services which have proved useful in the past. And Lorelle VanFossen has written extensively of her insights into how best to deal with one’s blogging and site content — including how to report theft, where to include one’s policy, when to send a cease and desist notice, etc. Most certainly worth checking out (as well as reading the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), regardless of if you’ve ever experienced anything of the above or not.

The important thing to remember in all of this is that it is not often easy to make clear distinction between harmless imitation and more serious plagiarism, theft, scraping, cyber-stalking and downright harassment. Whilst tiring with eyes plastered open through my studies of tort law, constitutional law and most things in-between, the one thing I have to hand to the mind-numbingly dry experience of it all is my respect for some of the well-meaning achievements in the written body of intellectual property law. Its applications are not always correct, consistent, nor apt to every given situation, but the underlying premise aiming to balance between creativity and commercial gain is one worth preserving. To preserve the integrity and relative originality (more on originality in an upcoming post) of one’s ideas, to allow for the recognition and endorsement of such work, all the while motivating the creator and conceiver to continue on with their fruitful endeavours in order to further drive development in the world of science, art, music and writing is no easy feat in an age when exact duplication, wrongly directed advertising, rampant profiteering, unwanted spamming and malicious scraping are all just one easy, mindless click away.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: Creative Commons

Prevent Content Theft (WordPress)

10 Copyright Myths

h1

Beginning the end

28 February, 2009

I absolutely refuse for this to be the last time I write about Trent Reznor — and it won’t be. But what I’d like this to be is an open letter, less for protest, but rather more for clarification. Because the phrase ‘disappear for a while’ is certainly one of the last things you’d like to hear being spoken by the man responsible for producing the music you discovered you couldn’t not love the first time you watched Mark Romanek’s ‘Perfect Drug‘, then enamoured by its absinthe-coloured allusion. Indeed that was also the same year I had listened to Bowie’s ‘I’m Afraid of Americans‘ and eventually figured out the connection amongst others that bound NIN to the 1997 hit single as well as to Tool, Jane’s Addiction, Aphex Twin, Mötley Crüe and producer Bob Ezrin. But I know better than to plead, for as any fan of Nine Inch Nails would know, Reznor’s announcement at the end of last year doesn’t really come as a surprise. Any exacting musician has good sense of when a break is needed. And the ongoing decline resulting from the industry’s marginally adaptive 1990s MO further backfiring in the face of the tightening of fans’ purse-strings in difficult economic times hasn’t exactly made it easy to fill concert halls to the brim.

So the news of an impending and indefinite hiatus has again resurfaced lately, in preparation for what may be considered the final assembling of NIN on-stage, touring alongside resurrected fellow Alt-Nation legends Jane’s Addiction. In an earlier statement issued by Reznor on the band’s official site, he wrote ‘2009 marks the 20th anniversary of our first releases. I’ve been thinking for some time now it’s time to make NIN disappear for a while. Last year’s ‘Lights in the Sky’ tour was something I’m quite proud of and seems like the culmination of what I could pull off in terms of an elaborate production. It was also quite difficult to pull off technically and physically night after night and left us all a bit dazed. After some thought, we decided to book a last run of shows across the globe this year. The approach to these shows is quite different from last year — much more raw, spontaneous and less scripted. Fun for us and a different way for you to see us and wave goodbye.’ He asks, ‘Will it work? Will it resonate in the marketplace? Who knows. Is there big record label marketing dollars to convince you to attend? Nope. Does it feel right to us and does it seem like it will be fun for us and you? Yes it does.’

And perhaps he’s right. After all, the NIN canon has continued on strong since 1989, and the last few in particular have led to milestones that would be best kept untarnished in memory. The output of Reznor’s multifaceted genius coupled with his ever-changing team of musicians, engineers and producers has survived a spate of conflicts facing music corpocracy since as early as the 1990s with TVT Music up until Reznor’s decision to split with Interscope in 2007. As he puts it, ‘Corporate rock still sucks.’ That considered, an intimate tour allowing fans to remember and revel in the previous twenty-seven halos would be just the thing that’s needed at a time like this to celebrate all that’s been put forth since Pretty Hate Machine. As such, there’s a real chance that I may fork over a large sum of money I don’t yet have for a ticket when the tour schedule is announced. I had the opportunity to see NIN perform in Brixton back in October 2007 whilst on the European leg of their Live: With Teeth tour, and my memory of the performance which culminated in a profoundly moving keyboard solo for the very same ‘Hurt‘ that Johnny Cash himself later re-interpreted to great effect is reason enough to see them again. And the Beside You in Time DVD (clip below) provides additional incentive, though unlikely needed.

It may be worth mentioning that I respect Trent Reznor as much as I enjoy listening to NIN, for his understanding in the complexities of groundbreaking composition as much as for his having endured twenty years whilst making progress through well-made decisions rather than following a falsely lucrative spiral down. Having stood his ground in regards to both preserving his creative independence and being outspoken with his view of the previous US administration (to the extent of choosing not to perform), Reznor has come a long way in achieving the career he has whilst also evolving into the man he is today. He’s known for having told fans to ‘steal‘ his music. And upon finding out that the US Military had reportedly been using his music in the torture of detainees, he immediately issued the following statement: ‘It’s difficult for me to imagine anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you’ve put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture. If there are any legal options that can be realistically taken they will be aggressively pursued, with any potential monetary gains donated to human rights charities. Thank God this country has appeared to side with reason and we can put the Bush administration’s reign of power, greed, lawlessness and madness behind us.’

But I must admit that I dislike to even think that the word ‘final’ fits into this equation. Deep down, I still have a sneaking suspicion that a special edition DVD will follow, alongside a greatest hits round-up and perhaps some more of that phenomenal instrumental dreamscape composition from Reznor as seen on Ghosts I-IV (the first to be released under a Creative Commons license under his independent imprint The Null Corporation, accompanied by a visually successful video competition about which I shall be posting shortly). Maybe Tapeworm will be brought out from under the dust and revived, or maybe Reznor will produce IDM under an alias, to be released on his own net-based label to continue the trend he helped to begin with Radiohead and that now Portishead is considering to follow (more on that soon). Or maybe he’ll help to turn-out a few more protégés to combat the increasingly uninspired ‘twee‘ sound of the industry mainstream. Or eventually (ideally) this would culminate in a reunion tour of sorts, five or so years down the line…Who knows? But I do know one thing: This is most definitely not the last time I will be writing about Nine Inch Nails.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

Nine Inch Nails – ‘Beside You in Time’, 12 of 19
North America, Winter 2006 (
Halo 22)

See also: The slip (pieces at random)

Downward spiral (pieces at random)

Rainbow revolution (pieces at random)

h1

Science machine

26 February, 2009

Who would’ve thought the Adobe Illustrator workspace could be such a winning backdrop for Portishead? That aside,  the hours of painstaking work and attention to detail that went into this beautiful piece by Brooklyn-based designer and illustrator Chad Pugh is inspired. In fact, it is this piece in particular that has helped in part to pave the way towards Vimeo‘s spotless interface and login illustration that we get to enjoy today. Commissioning the redesign earlier this year, the Vimeo team fronted by Jakob Lodwick and Zach Klein sought the expertise of the man whose portfolio has provided front-end output for the likes of Janet Jackson and Bon Jovi at the Fearless Concepts studio, and the success has been tremendous both for the site in terms of user feedback as well as for Pugh’s own career success. And seeing as I’ve spoken out considerably against YouTube‘s seeming lack of attention to image and general operation strategy in recent times (inevitably more to come soon), it goes without saying that a site like Vimeo provides much relief to the black-and-white eyesore that can be added to Twitter’s ‘#gfail‘ rap sheet.

Pugh’s filming of his Science Machine rendering in timelapse over several months totals approximately forty hours of working in depth on the elements featured in his landscape, with a screenshot taken every five seconds. Trimming the eighteen-minute total down to seven, it was set to Portishead‘s ‘We Carry On’ track (Third, 2008) for full dramatic effect. A truly incredible thing to behold when you know how much drive it takes to complete an illustration like this for personal enjoyment. And it’s obvious that that enjoyment has translated into Pugh’s work with Vimeo. On the two projects, he has said that ‘before working in-house at Vimeo I provided their login page illustration, which is used throughout the site in many different forms. It was inspired from some other personal illustration work I had just started pursuing and can be found at my store for purchase. I then had the opportunity to work with the staff on-site. Most of my time was spent exploring ideas for the sites interface, new sections, product branding and other features. My life has changed a lot since I started this.’

Unsurprisingly, the largest two prints are already sold-out. However ‘Afloat’ is still available, and it’s well worth checking back later at the The Big Pugh store to see if more becomes available.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: Speed painting (piece at random)

Content awareness (pieces at random)

Flash fantastic (pieces at random)

h1

Crush on you

14 February, 2009

Just in time for St. Valentine‘s day of reckoning and the launch of Virb 2.0: From the wonderful people who brought us Fifty People, One Question comes yet another inspired idea that aims to bring us together through the spirit of love and generosity. Only this time, the Crush + Lovely creative studio based between New York and San Francisco have narrowed the number down to two lucky winners in their offer of  a round-trip, all-expense-paid ‘nerd-core’ getaway very aptly dubbed ‘Crush on You‘. The designated destination? New York or San Francisco, for some webernet schmoozing and dining over a fourteen course ‘tasting’ menu (mezzes anyone?) with two of the six eligible bachelors and bachelorettes on show: Julia Allison ([non]society), Brad Smith (Virb), Dan Rubin (Sidebar Creative), Emily Doubilet (Sustainable Party), Kenneth Chu and Jina Bolton (both Crush + Lovely). Now basically what would have to happen in order to win this chance to, as they say, ‘meet them face to face to flirt, frolic, and make out to your heart’s content with mutual consent’ is to follow Crush + Lovely on Twitter (@crushlovely) in order to help them reach their 14,000 target.

The refreshingly not-so-small and rather people-friendly print for eligibility in this special rendezvous extravaganza is coordination of travel dates whenever most convenient for all those who will be involved (offer void where prohibited), whilst guaranteeing good fun, i.e. ‘not in any way creepy, sketchy, or oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-he/she-just-touched-me-there-y’. This is also ‘including but not limited to […] hay making, rick rolling, play faking, code doling, tongue lashing, hash tagging, the over under, the heart asunder, shotgun weddings, or the taking of toast and tea’. As I’ve already entered, fellow Twitterers next-door will already know who I’ve chosen (see reason for choice in tweet followed by #crushonyou) — though admittedly when the odds are 14,000+ to one, the chances of actually getting to meet one of these young and fetching web wizards is slim. It’s still a lovely idea, nonetheless — not to mention that congratulations are due for the launch of Crush + Lovely’s beautiful new site. And so it is on that note that I shall leave you with Édith Piaf‘s classic ‘À quoi ça sert l’amour ?’ featuring Theo Serapo.  Have a happy (preferably not sappy) Valentine’s!

Film by Louis Clichy and Cube Creative based in Paris.

Sarah Badr © MMIX

See also: To wake up… (pieces at random)

Parlement of foules (pieces at random)

Winter wrap-up v.1 (pieces at random)