One of these things is not like the other thing

Happy new year. We’ve had a gratifying amount of feedback to our last post of 2012, a short discussion of the internet of things and the realm of the superficial, the analogy of the curiosity cabinet and its potentially damaging – or positive – impact. There are some good points (and links, such as Emile de Bruijn’s post ‘We are all found objects now‘ and suggestion that Pinterest, et al, have parallels with André Malraux’s 1947 Musée Imaginaire, an early experiement in eschewing the hierarchy of art history in favour of ‘taste’).

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But we digress. Towards the end of last year our enthusiasm for things, and things, was starting to wane. Twelve years is a long time on the internet. But a new year brings new energy, plus the realisation that ‘things’ isn’t simply howling into the wind. We’re a few months late in making these discoveries, but the RCA/V&A History of Design course – where this publication originally began – now has another online publication, Unmaking Things, a forum for the course to ‘explore (and expose) the process of writing (and crafting) history. Unmaking Things is about trying out our theories, making mistakes, discovering interesting lines of thought, starting debates, and finding out what works and what doesn’t.’

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We feel rather guilty for not linking to the HOD more regularly as there are some fascinating pieces proposed that we’d love to read in more detail: Bullet Bras and Bombshells: the Conical Design of Bras and Breasts in America 1930s – 1960s, Santa, Strawberry Cake and KFC: The Material Culture of the Contemporary Japanese Christmas and From Technocracy to Techno-Utopia: Futurology and the Soviet Home 1964-1974 to name just three.

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On to the next ‘thing’. The arrival of ThingsMagazine.co.uk also slipped under the radar. It’s a little bit frustrating, to say the least, to be suddenly faced with an identically named magazine, even if it is one with a rather different focus (‘things magazine was conceived five years ago when I stumbled across a ‘kids’ issue from the great Martha Stewart… I wanted to create a magazine that was beautiful to look at, was easy to follow and that would inspire parents and children to create beautiful things together.’). Started in September 2012, the new magazine also tweets and is legalled up to the eyeballs. It’s our fault, perhaps, for not buying the domain (surprisingly, we see that thingsmagazine.com is worth some $1,695).

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The other thing that tempers our slight ennui with the daily weblog format – apart from the distant promise of more print – is that there is still so much interesting stuff out there. Are we evolving into a site that tries to uncover the creative processes that underpin modern culture’s churn factory, or are we just going to keep striving for clicks? We shall see / some things: ‘Recreating the sounds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop using the Web Audio API’ / Amanda Ghassaei’s 3D Printed Record project is nicely done / Below the Boat offer laser cut maps of underwater contours (via Kottke), although we are wary of the phrase ‘heirloom quality’ / The Original Star Wars Trilogy As Maps (via MeFi), a classic online button pusher / finally, why hasn’t Samsung’s Galaxy SIII’s clipboard bug been given more attention? It’s a bit like being given a new notebook and pen only to discover there’s no ink cartridge in the pen. Infuriating.

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4 Responses to One of these things is not like the other thing

  1. Jack Self says:

    I’ve been following Things (the real one, as far as I’m concerned) for more than 5 years now — regarding your ennui for the weblog format, I would say only this: in an era of ubiquitous (but largely banal) aggregator sites, Things is still the finest curation of the Internet available.

  2. furtho says:

    Definitely true.

  3. londonlee says:

    You just need more links to nice jumpers to buy for the kids.

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