‘Material Evidence. Syria. Ukraine’ comes to NYC

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Learn more about what’s going on…

 

Crimes against peace have become a central theme of the international photo exhibition that is now touring Germany. Scenes of misery and destruction in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts were handpicked by a jury to show the true face of the war.

Photo exhibition “Material Evidence. Syria. Ukraine” in Berlin is based purely on the material submitted by war correspondents illustrating “the evolution of the countries undergoing civil conflicts.” It is organized in such a way that allows maximum visitor participation.

New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see this collection of photographs and multimedia displays in their city this year, starting September 21 through October 11 at ART Beam, Chelsea, 540 West 21st, New York 10011.  Admission is free.

The exhibition poster (it’s huge!) being displayed in the city’s train stations is attracting thousands of New Yorkers interested in learning more about the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

Besides unique photographs and multimedia displays, visitors have a chance to see some material evidence from the warzone. Gas masks, tire roadblocks and personal possessions of the victims are just some items found on display.

“This is a brilliant idea, to juxtapose photos and the materials that were present at the scene when the photograph was taken,” Irina Schiemann, Assistant Organiser of the exhibition told RT. “Such an approach allows the visitor maximum absorption of the true nature of conflict. Every visitor notes that.”

 

Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” Video Directed By Anton Corbijn

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Arcade Fire’s hotly anticipated “Reflektor” video, directed by Anton Corbijn, is finally here a few hours early and despite being a little jaded from the tornado of hype that’s gone on today, you may find it pretty damn incredible. The whole thing is so big, so weird, so overwhelmingly stylish, and beautiful, not to mention it’s all shot in that stark black and white that made Corbijn iconic. It’s the sort of thing that already tops every other music video this week by the two minute mark, and that’s not even the halfway point. Watch below.

Reflektor is out 10/29 via Merge.

This is the album cover, and Reflektor is a double album.

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Report From Arcade Fire’s Surprise Show At Montreal’s Salsathèque

Last night at Montreal’s Club Salsathèque, Arcade Fire performed songs from their upcoming double album Reflektor for a crowd of 200 people. The show was announced yesterday morning when a poster for “The Reflektors” appeared under the “Parties” section of Salsathèque’s website, saying the event would take place on 9/9 at 9PM and cost $9. Formal attire or a costume was required. Cameras and cell phones were strictly banned. I headed over to see what was going on.

Hopeful attendees had started lining up outside the venue around noon. The crowd contained a mixed bag of people in suits, dresses, and all kinds of crazy costumes, with others who didn’t get the memo about the dress code. Rumous circulated throughout the day of our outfits being “judged” before we could gain admission to the show. The bouncers periodically looked us over and gave warnings to people dressed inappropriately — no jeans, no tennis shoes, etc. — and this created a lot of anxiety among us. Some ran to H&M for a quick outfit tuneup, others called up significant others for suit pants deliveries. My favorite was this guy who had gone into the office in the morning, heard about the show, asked his boss for the rest of the day off, and scrounged together a “Mr. Reflektor” superhero outfit that he put on over his work clothes.

Things got more exciting when the band appeared in a black SUV at the end of the block and walked along the lineup to the club’s entrance. This happened twice — once around 5PM for soundcheck, and again around 7PM for the show. The first time, they showed up donning the oversized heads they had worn in the “Sprawl II” and “Reflektor” videos. Later, they came back in masks, white and red suits, and skull makeup.

In the end, no one was denied entry for his or her outfit, but there was a stylist for the event who handed out white jumpsuits to anyone who had underdressed for the occasion. Apparently, the costumes were required as part of a video shoot, although it was never clear what type of video. Later there would be a film crew recording the whole set.

Doors opened at 8:30PM and we made our way up a long staircase lined with lights, past a Salsa dancing school, and into the wonderfully disco’d out Salsathèque. The walls and ceiling were made of mirrors, there were blinking and colored lights everywhere, and an elevated light up dance floor looked exactly like the light up dance floors in every disco movie ever.

The band took the stage at 9PM wearing the costumes they had donned on the street. It was immediately clear that a few things were different about Arcade Fire. Gone was the second drum kit of their early years and the Suburbs tour. Instead, they had two additional percussionists playing a mixture of congas, timbales, wood blocks, bongos, and other instruments, adding much more rhythmic complexity and power to their sound throughout the set. There were no horn players present and Sarah Neufeld was the only devoted violinist; Owen Pallett was there, and switched between violin and keyboards. Otherwise, the band’s instrumentation consisted of guitars, drums, and synths/keys. In this way, Arcade Fire presented themselves not as barons of symphonic indie rock anthems, but as the tightest of house bands ready to provide a sweaty night of dancing tunes. That said, and as anyone should expect, their anthemic choruses still crept in between the beats.

The set was short and only contained songs from Reflektor.

Various loose threads relating to Arcade Fire’s forthcoming album Reflektor have been showing up online for a few weeks. Tonight, at 9PM, the band will release the first single/title track, as well as its Anton Corbijn-directed video (though the song already leaked online over the weekend). And now, we know what the album cover looks like, since, as Pitchfork points out, a listing for the album appeared on New Zealand iTunes. If that’s actually the cover, the image comes from an Auguest Rodin sculpture, which depicts the doomed Greek-myth couple of Orpheus and Eurydice. More intriguing, that New Zealand iTunes listing seems to imply that Reflektor could be a double album, which would be truly badass. Below, check out a new 30-second trailer for the album, which includes footage from a Haitian parade.

The Reflektors – Arcade Fire

Reflektor is out 10/29 on Merge. Also, the band played another secret show tonight at the Montreal salsa club Salsathèque, at 9PM, with a $9 cover charge.

Creative Intelligence – The Creativity Post

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CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE
By Greg Satell | Jan 30, 2013

Synopsis

Rethinking the creative process.

Albert Camus once said that “true art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.”  Henry Ward Beecher similarly wrote that “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

You don’t have to look far to find quotes like these, because art is something we consider intensely human. Art and the artist are so thoroughly intertwined that we can’t bear to think of one without the other.

For better or worse, we’re going to have to rethink this comfortable little notion.  Machine intelligence is advancing to the point where algorithms have begun to invade the world of culture and the aesthetic.  From recommendations to evaluation to the production of art itself, computers are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the creative realm.

The Search for Creative Assets

When you make a TV ad in Ukraine (as I have), you generally do it on a tight budget. You certainly don’t have the money to buy the rights to the latest hit by a big pop star or a vintage Beatles classic.  There are some local musicians who can create something for you, but thats a pretty involved effort and, to be frank, the quality isn’t worth it.

I found a good solution with DeWolfe Music, which is an online database that gives you access to thousands of songs from unknown composers and performers.  You can search by music genre, keyword (e.g. an artist that you’re trying to emulate) and tempo, quickly find what you need and license the music for a small fee.

Newer services, such as Pandora and Spotify, deploy a similar idea in order to build custom radio stations.  Rather than a human programming director choosing your music, you can just give the software some clues about what you might want to listen to and it designs a selection from a nearly infinite database to cater to your mood and preference.

This is all done through the use of complex mathematical techniques, such as Bayesian classifiers and Gaussian copulas, that recognize similarities between data sets.  So just like a sommelier might ask you what wine you typically like and offer you something similar,recommendation algorithms can do the same with music, films and even art.

Cultivating Creativity

Being able to search and find elements of art and culture is one thing, but can computers appreciate quality?

Mike McCready has shown that they can.  His company, Music X-Ray, offers a service where composers can upload their music to evaluate its hit potential and it has been shown, in many cases, to outperform professional music executives (reportedly predicting the success of Norah Jones when many industry experts were skeptical).

As crazy as the idea sounds, you’ve probably recently listened to many songs identified by the service.  Every major label now uses some version of it and they’re not alone.  Movie studios employ a similar service, called Epagogix to tell them which scripts are likely to become box office hits.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Music scholar and composer David Cope has built algorithms which create music that has drawn critical acclaim.  In fact, even music experts can’t tell the difference.  When Cope’s computer generated music was played along with a Bach piece and another original composition, they couldn’t correctly identify which was which.

What is Creativity?

As impressive as all of this is, it creates a particularly thorny, visceral problem:  If creativity can be reduced to an algorithm, doesn’t it lose its soul?

While I admit, I find something troubling in all of this as well, after thinking it through I have come to believe that artificial intelligence actually has the potential to help us appreciate creativity even more, in much the same way as Richard Feynman explains how understanding the inner workings of a flower help him acknowledge its beauty.

Our brains, in many ways, are inferior to computers.  They transmit information at the relatively feeble rate of 200 mph, vs the speed of light for computer chips.  They get tired, need nourishment, age, forget things and don’t interface with other databases of information effectively.  Objectively speaking, they are slow, inefficient and prone to error.

Their saving grace is that they are a massively parallel complex network.  They are made up of 100 billion neurons and each one can connect to any other.  These interfaces, calledsynapses, optimize themselves as they strengthen and decay with use and link to the outside world through our five senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell.

While computers have relatively few active pathways at work at any given time, we have millions, giving rise to infinite permutations of thoughts, feelings, bodily functions and sensory inputs.  Perhaps not surprisingly, these hierarchies get tangled, resulting instrange loops that manifest themselves in what we have come to know as original creativity.

As Douglas Hofstadter said, “In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.”

Rethinking the Creative Process

The creative process has always been cloaked in mystery and artistic types tend to be resistant to formality.  Nevertheless, professional individuals and organizations strive to develop an effective framework to enhance the productivity and quality of their work and creativity researchers have been able to identify some basic principles of creativity.

However, in light of the breakthroughs in machine creativity, I think that we need to revisit past thinking about creativity and identify three major processes:

Forming Intent: Every creative endeavor has its purpose.  Designers work on a brief that someone else creates while true artists form their own purpose, but in either case, the final result is, in essence, a solution to a particular problem.

For example, my purpose in creating ads was to sell a product, while Picasso’s purpose in creating cubism was to establish a fundamentally different way at looking at the world. In the final analysis, both are judged by the significance and the degree to which the original intent was fulfilled.

Searching the Domain:  As Howard Gardner explained in his highly regarded study,Creating Minds, great creativity requires a thorough knowledge of the domain.  Picasso’s cubism, for example, was inspired by his encounter with obscure African art.  The larger your database of experience, the greater your ability to create.

Computers obviously far outperform humans in this regard.  They have practically limitless memory and their vast computational power enables them to search incredibly quickly and accurately.

Tangling Hierarchies:  As I’ve written before, great breakthroughs come fromsynthesizing across domains, whether that be Picasso’s blending of European and African art or Rock and Roll’s unique fusion of various american music styles.  It is when two or more ideas collide in a meaningful way that people find inspiration and creative flow.

It is this last trick, that of emulating the strange loops in our mind, which computers have recently learned how to do, that has given rise to machine creativity.  David Cope, for example, found that his computer generated music was dull and lifeless until he injected an element of randomness into his algorithms.

Flying By Wire

Pilots don’t really fly planes anymore as much as they direct them.  These days, their controls and instruments don’t actually connect to the plane’s mechanism, but to computers which translate their intent into meaningful action.  In doing so, they make flying far safer and more efficient.

This is known as flying by wire and we don’t see anything threatening or strange about it. While at first it may seem to be a bit more disconcerting when computers start navigating the realm of abstract thought rather than the mechanics of aviation, it shouldn’t be, any more than driving a car should affect our feelings about walking.

So what makes us creative?  Our ability to form our own intent.  It is only through creating a purpose that is uniquely our own that we can fully embody the human spirit.

This post originally appeared at  DigitalTonto

Reposted by The Creativity Post

About Greg Satell:
Greg Satell is an internationally recognized authority on Digital Strategy and Innovation who has served in senior Strategy and Innovation roles for the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s premier marketing services companies. In 2012, Innovation Excellence ranked Greg #6 on their annual list of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers.  Previously, he was Co-CEO of KP Media and spent 15 years in Eastern Europe managing a variety of media businesses ranging from market leading web sites to history making news organizations to women’s and lifestyle focused media.

Find out more at http://www.digitaltonto.com/