September 19, 2004

Calm Technology

Calm technology. What an odd concept they pitch. Calm technology essentially comes into being via the act of frantic listening to its environment. Can a technology really be calm while its insides are stuck in an infinite loop, churning code, waiting for the moment to "calmly" react to the outside world?

Posted by Abe at 12:31 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 13, 2004

Tribal Awakening

The RNC was just a warm up, spring training for the tribal convergences that form and reform New York f'ing city in a viciously delightful rhythm. The extremists (you know black bloc anarchists, aging hippies and Republicans) might be more ready for radical actions and streetwise experiments, but its the fashion designers, gallery owners and A&R execs who know how to call the tribes with the mass professionalism.

The RNC left the city deathly still provided you could avoid the minor leaguers (still going like Ricky Henderson!) Police, labor leaders, lobbyists. They can't turn it out the way pros can. Now its September the shity is live and direct. 9-11's gone in forgotten, they tossed the light show in a parking lot across from ground zero and no one noticed. Too busy gathering their tribes.

Thursday was for the sonics. Interpol and there 80's clad indie rock brethren, did some fake art gallery thing, with real art via Shep Fairey. The nationwide omnipotent Polaroid Scene (rumor: being sued by Polaroid) documents. Then Fader brings M.I.A. in via London via Sri Lanka. We remain unconvinced.

At least we finally met the abstract personas of S/FJ aka Sasha Frere-Jones and the Cowboy Poodle aka Julianne Shepherd in the flesh. Meeting all these imaginary blog peoples in the pseudo reality of Manhattan's Occupied Zones is vaguely incomprehensible. One day when we make our peace with time, we'll have to contemplate just what is the bloggish abstract dynamics domain we've nurtured. There are tribes online two I suppose, but they are not yet professional I think.

And yeah, blog talk did rapidly devolve to the bragging and boasting worthy of an early Sugar Hill track, but unlike what might be implied we bear no guilt. For the straight record, Abstract Dynamics takes no position on the Faculty Lounge Sticker Shock rivalry, other then that there should be some MP3s somewhere, no? We're the Vince McMahon up in here, running things for all sides of the wild rumpus.

Sipping the spillings of the music marketing industry ain't bad, but Friday brought the real money, art fashion and porn. All wrapped in the one personality of Terry Richardson, who sole existence seems to be getting away with filthier and nastier photos at each snap. Now that punk rock is for prep school I guess you can call him the punk Helmut Newton. That plus free alcohol and a sinking building will get Deitch to shut down a couple blocks and make your opening a block party complete with art stars. But even the art world can't free booze a glamours block and that meant a mass mobbing of Hiro. In turn that transformed into a battle ground to put the MP3 blog wars to shame. This one is rooted in time. Hipsters and fashionista's versus the masses of over scrubbed bridge and tunnelers who have made the meat packing district a hell away from home. Of course the masses win in the end, leaving the pitiful high rent postbohemians to slink off towards unchartered pastures.

Round about yesterday those pastures where the Dark Room, something of a cross breed of 151 and Piano's destined to be going out of style at exactly the same time it sneaks into vogue. Is there any reason at all to start a bar on Ludlow Street? Other then making an assload of money that is.

Pull up to Saturday and we slip downtown to connect with a lost tribe. Now that a digital video is establishment I'm not quite sure what separates Resfest from the rest of the filmfest pack, other then perhaps its globetrotting nature. And as the 90's vibes continue die away, taking with them any status attached to designers, djs and video editors, we suspect rough waters are ahead. And really that's a good thing, cause something interesting is bound to happen while the media forgets about this space. This year we peeped some of the shorts, which left us really wanted to ride our bicycle even more. Which I suppose says good things about "The Bicycle Gangs of New York". But really I'm hoping they drop the quarter assed attempt to mimic Warriors, and really come out to play on a new edit.

The 90's themselves are begging for a new edit, but we tread fearfully. The 80's revival (rearing into a Azzedine Alaia phase) is about to crash headlong into the tail end of 90's fashion, still not flushed from the system. What sort of cognitive dissonance can we expect when the trend chasers realize they are running after their own ass end? Does that mean designers will need to be creative again? Does it just get messy, or do we get some real fireworks? Fuck it, its New York, no one will notice anyway, unless they can get a good PR firm organize it all with free liquor...

Posted by Abe at 11:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 08, 2004

Montreal Smoked Meat

Summer slips away quick, it never quite showed its hot face this year anyway. Today we started a full phase change, and Montreal, we scramble to capture in words before the memories slip away.

The first time I visited I left blindsided. A new yorkers natural superiority complex was blown away, here was a city in America (sort of) with more history, deeper culture, closer to Europe. I did not know this existed, although now its clear these cities are multitude, anywhere the Catholics conquestadored they left an etched history that leaves the protestant work ethic in deep doubt.

That first trip was a wirlwind, conference, wander the streets, post conference party, good bye. I had to return, and after much delay I arrived in the good hands of tobias c. van Veen. A week is never enough to learn a city, but this time at least I could take a taste away, not just an impression.

And yes what wonderful tastes. Raw milk cheeses, layered microbrews, French pasteries, old school bagels, poutine and smoked meat. Don't tell the Montealers but their 'smoked meat' is not similar to pastrami, it is pastrami. But damn its good, subtler then New York's bold versions, and quite honestly if you factor in the plague of tourist prices and overstuffed sandwiches that infests NY remaining pastrami masters, then Montreal's Schwartz's is actually a better all round experience.

The true Qubcois culinary experience though is the poutine, a dish with close to no peer in the heart attack department (except perhaps frito pie). French fries topped in cheese curds and gravy. Far better then it sounds. I sort of ruined it all by starting with the haute cuisine version, poutine with foie gras (warning, awful website, great food). All comfortably housed in restaurant on the cusp on the next stage of 80's revival, Tibor Kalman/M&Co. yuppie humor...

tobias is of the opinion that Montreal never quite dug itself out of the 80's in the first place, but I'm not quite convinced. There is an other energy to the city, one perhaps akin to pre dot com San Francisco. If SF had a breed of French refinement and vicious colonial streak... This a city the French populated by fur trappers, mercenaries and branded whores. There is a channel to European culture that gives Montreal its glamour, and then a brutal reminder of the deep violence that underseats that culture.

What's new (and perhaps fleeing) Montreal is the creative charge. Like San Francisco the city is open to new ideas, quality control optional. Unlike San Francisco though the city is cheap. Dirt cheap lofts sit a 15 minute walk from the prime central streets. Apparently at -40 below this hood is way to far from public transit. But then again the whole city apparently hibernates for 5 months. I don't anticipate a winter visit. Come next summer though...

Posted by Abe at 12:34 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

More RNC/Protest

Damn I love how the blogsphere routes around traditional media.

Speaking of which the Ruckus rnc sms feed is viewable online. Not the one going into my phone, but the content is essentially the same.

It looks like the police are using the trap and enclose tactic big time tonight. More people on the streets, lets see how far these tactics scale. Actually I suspect the scaling ability is close to directly proportionate to the number of trained police on hand.

And yeah, I think I finally figured out what was up with the Bush twins awful sitcom the other night.

Forgot where I saw it but the best line on that one was that the only way it could be worse is if they where triplets...

Posted by Abe at 10:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Some notes from the Republican National Convention and the streets of New York. If all goes as planned a more essayish thing to follow...

- New York is just to big for these things to impact for real. Neither the RNC nor the protesters have the numbers to make more than a half skip in the patterns of the city that never sleeps. It now seems laughable that people actually bothered to leave town over this. None of this however is relevant to the unlucky few who happened to be at the precisely wrong spot as the NYP broke out the orange security fences trapping and arresting like deep sea fishermen.

- the police have fine tuned the art of using the physical form of the city against protesters. 1 city block + 100 cops on scooters and motorcycles = a mobile holding pen. The protests are divided and dispersed before they can even truly form. It takes active hard work to find an active protest. At the moment it seems the action is at 100 Center Street.

- the sms channels are marvelous sources of tactical news. Let us hope they refine further. The fact that police can listen in and in some cases post makes for a fascinating experiment in open systems. As a historical note, I first noticed these tactics in action during the post 9-11 Davos Economic Summit, held here in NY.

- many of the police seem to be without gasmasks of any kind. A clear indication they have dropped tear gas as a tactic. One wonders if the cops will soon be the ones getting tear gassed? Or perhaps the no tear gas rule is temporary, a gift to the poor Republican eyes, they clearly have enough trouble viewing reality already.

- on Tuesday the undercovers wore green bands around their arms or on their heads. Wednesday yellow. Today orange and red.

- has anyone ever seen a protester with a gun? if there was such a thing as a "violent protester" don't you think they would arm themselves?

- the standard tactic in anarchist channels now seems to be to blame any and all calls (and acts) to violence on undercover police provocateurs. One wonders if they get a different color armband. Maybe black?

Posted by Abe at 07:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Wow, some beautiful, and presently anonymous, person actually took the time and money to send me something off my wish list. Thank you! Email me for a more personal thanks if you wish..

And on a less personal, but similarly flattering note, these people (possibly affiliated with the Onion?), sent notice of their event on Saturday (at Piano's in NY 8-10pm btw) and caked off the invite with a "ps bloggers drink free". Is society read to start respecting people who spend far to much time in front of their computer again? Must be part of the 90's revival...

Posted by Abe at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack