Can you take e-commerce offline? Ask Alexa and Amazon.

Image result for storesigns.com

Image source here.

Hello boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen,

One of the hot topics I lecture on is e-commerce, physical stores and the combination of both. The usual way this is done by companies and brands is that they have a store and then absolutely must expand into e-commerce, making sure they are available to customers through all sorts of digital and mobile devices.

But can this work the other way around? Can a pure-play retailer (only selling via e-commerce and with a business model entirely devoted to it) take its business offline?

The world’s pioneer of e-commerce Amazon has done just that. The infamous inventor of Alexa was once famous for being an on-line bookstore and a few decades later this bookstore is now a physical store. What’s highly interesting is how the digital gimmicks of ratings or purchase suggestions have been turned back into brick-and-mortar. Although I usually write about fashion, art, Japan and textiles, I want to direct your attention to books, in this case. It’s a great example for any e-business, including e-tailers like ASOS or Net-a-Porter and Zalando who all might consider a brick & mortar store (and not just a pop-up store which they open from time to time).

Below I am re-posting an excerpt of an insightful article by Anne-Marie Kovacs and her blog “As a Consumer.” Enjoy and click on the link to read it in full if you fancy!

 

“[…] The shopping experience at Amazon Books, the physical store

I walked into Amazon Books in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood last month. This was the company’s fifth physical store. At 6,000 square feet with only 3,800 titles on display, it’s definitely not a bookstore on the scale of the mega Barnes & Noble or Borders bookstores of lore. It’s “small” but the whole product selection is curated – with guidance from Amazon’s top ratings and product popularity – to feature only top selling favorite products. Add Amazon’s tweaks and “secret sauce” to the traditional bookstore model and it made for a very enjoyable shopping experience.

 

Amazon Store in Southport Corridor of Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago

 

Book display Amazon Books store

Reviews and ratings

Amazon Bookstore reviews and ratings

Each book presented here has been deemed worthy of taking up shelf space. That’s because any book in the store has a rating of at least 4 out of 5. There is also a chosen reader’s review is featured on the review card that is displayed with each book. As is a barcode that customers can scan to get more information. As a consumer, I’m comforted to know that every book in the store has been vetted by hundreds – thousands? – of readers and should provide a satisfying, if not captivating read.

Visual cues

If you like youll love feature in the Amazonbooks store

I particularly enjoyed the “If you like {_____}, you’ll love {_____}” feature. A visual, immediately accessible way to find other books in a similar theme, style or category.  

Reading prompts and local interest

Amazon Books endcaps

The endcaps each feature different compelling reading “themes” such as the geo-relevant “Fiction Top Sellers in Chicago”, the take-it-on “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime”, addictive “Page Turners” and “Highly Rated” books in various categories. The books throughout the store are all placed face up. This take up a lot of real estate but it does make the selection easily scannable and shoppable.

Mobile enabled and encouraged

Using the Amazon app in the store

Amazon knows exactly how consumers shop today: always with a phone in hand, ready to “showroom” and search for reviews, coupons, opinions… It’s probably pointless to “showroom” in the Amazon store since, as we know, Amazon is the usual showrooming reference when we shop elsewhere.

The Amazon Books store encourages customers to use their app, not for showrooming, but to see the item’s price, additional recommendations and information on the Amazon.com site itself. The Amazon app (incidentally categorized under “Essentials” in iTunes) is quite fun to use in the store. Click on the app’s camera icon and it will scan pretty much any object (you can use it anywhere! Try it on any object where you are now) and provides eerily accurate search results within seconds. It found my Macbook right away when I was revisiting the app at home…

Prices are not marked on any of store items. In what we can guess is an attempt to onboard new Amazon Prime customers, existing Amazon Prime members get Prime pricing (which fluctuates constantly, so it can’t be listed) as opposed to the higher “list price” for non-Prime people. I don’t know anyone who’s not a Prime member. Do you? I bet only a minority of customers here actually pay MSRP. Anyhoo, if you don’t have the app, there are plenty of “scanning stations” throughout the store that can be used to get all the item’s info.

Electronics demystified

Amazon Books store - electronics section

Innovative electronic gadgets are not always an easy sell. We often need to see them in action to convince us to take the leap and purchase. The electronics display seen here, paired with competent and enthusiastic sales associates, make the sale a lot easier: easily understood product descriptions, customer reviews, samples to play with and salespeople available to ask questions to. This is the model needed to break through that customer hesitancy barrier. […]”

 

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On cars and fashion

Dear readers,

I’ve just published a new article about cars and fashion in the context of teaching. Here is an excerpt. Click the link below to transfer to the full article on the academic site wornthrough.com!

 

Fashion and Cars – exploring common grounds in class

Have you ever proposed to your students to explore an uncommon topic? Or combine two topics that seem to have nothing in common at all? What did the students think about the approach?

I am asking you this because in June, I brought up a slightly unusual topic in class: Fashion and cars. At first, it seemed that the two subjects are hardly connected to each other so we set out to explore them. The results were quite fascinating and I would like to share a brief summary of them with you today, because whether you look at design, marketing strategy or the environmental impact, cars and fashion actually do have many parallels.

2142119_kelly_300

Image source here.

First of all there is a phenomenon called “car culture” which – to sum it up in a sentence – is the cultural impact cars had on society once they became mass marketed. This influence permeated the way we shop (i.e. big malls), where we work (i.e. commuting to and from suburbs) and how a car became a status and power symbol, at first mostly for men. This car culture triggered a myriad of advertising showing sexy and fashionable women and created fashion outfits to be used when driving such as the original Car Shoe and its many clones.

Read the full article here: http://www.wornthrough.com/2015/06/26/fashion-and-cars-exploring-common-grounds-in-class/

Is it a fashion shot or not? Fashion selfies on very old phone cameras.

In a time where selfies make up a huge part of our photos I wonder what importance a good camera or mobile phone plays. What makes for a good selfie, especially a fashion one? Is it a) a pretty look, b) a fashionable outfit, c) a really good camera (in your phone) or d) all of the above? When I look at cool fashion blogs like those of Chiara Ferragni or Sea of Shoes they mostly have a good photographer snapping the look. Rarely do they use selfies to get their message across, but there are some. I wonder which phone they use? It surely must be better than mine which is very old and dated.

Just to prove the point, I’m going to go very very basic and experiment a bit with my extremely old Samsung Galaxy Ace which has a cracked screen and a camera which can deliver 5 megapixels, but looks like 2MP because either my phone has been dropped too often or because it is simply no good.

Here’s my one-try-shot, before I put on my pyjama, get cozy and have a cup f tea (totally unspectacular Tuesday night).

No make-up, featuring my beloved Robert Clergerie shoes (bought in the R.C. shop in London) as well a fantastic motelrocks dress which my dear friend Isaac got me in an indie-underground store in Zurich. Below is the result! Is it a fashion shot or not?

Pyjama o kiru mae ni

Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower – 中銀カプセルタワ- the last residents before demolition?

中銀カプセルタワ is Tokyo’s experimental architecture from the early 70s. You might find it ghastly or you might find it cool, but in either case it is something outstanding.

This capsule living concept is rapidly deteriorating and authorities are considering its demolition. If that was to happen, this is our last chance to find out what it is like to live in such a futuristic concrete tower of the past.

This is why I am reposting this story of two young “gaijin” architects who managed to rent one of the last few intact apartments.

Enjoy!


The Metabolist routine

Japanese Metabolism was more than just an architectural movement: it was a lifestyle. Two young Portuguese architects, who currently reside in Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, report on their daily 21st-century life in one of the 20th century’s most iconic buildings.

Architecture / Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares

This article was originally published in Domus 969 / May 2013

 

Sometimes you get lucky
We first went to visit Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower as architects (and tourists). We got lost on our way there and ended up arriving late in the evening. The initial impact was strange: it was as if we were looking at an old friend that we had known for a long time, an interesting feeling when you first visit a building you thought you knew everything about. Only one capsule had the light on. “Curious,” we thought. We entered the lobby, but the doorman quickly saw us out. “No visit! No picture!” were the only two phrases we could understand.

By chance, while we were being ushered back out onto the street, a Japanese man in his late 50s was arriving and, in nearly perfect English, he started asking us questions: “What fascinates so many people about this building? What brings you here?” We were caught off guard by those questions and replied truthfully. “We’re architects. We’ve just moved to Tokyo and we tremendously admire this building. We’d like to live here.”

Top and above: Metabolism had very few opportunities to translate its principles into built projects, and the Nakagin Capsule Tower, built between 1970 and 1972 by Kisho Kurokawa in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district, is certainly the most famous example. The building’s two concrete towers, standing 11 and 13 storeys high, are connected to one another and have a stair and elevator shaft at the centre of each. They house a total of 140 prefabricated capsules, each of which is independent from its neighbour, being attached as a projection from the central load-bearing frame

Kenzo-san laughed, gave us his business card and said: “Maybe I can help.” Thanks to this encounter, a few days later we would be living in the Nakagin Tower. Indeed, Kenzo-san had his office in one of the capsules and a friend of his had another available for rent. We met his friend, who subsequently became our landlord, and he was delighted to find someone as enthusiastic about the building as he was.

When he was young he had dreamed of living there, read everything about the building and the Metabolists, and had ended up buying his own capsule, where he lived for several years before moving to the suburbs upon his marriage. He was really happy that someone still believed in the building and wanted to live there. On the day we moved in, the capsule owner greeted us with the key and said something we will not forget anytime soon: “You are very likely the last people to live the Metabolism.”

Filipe Magalhães and Ana Luisa Soares on the emergency stairs

Living the Metabolist dream
Every time we meet an architect and our address comes up we get the same reaction. “What’s it like to live in the capsule?” is the first question. Then we get some sceptical remarks about the available floor area, followed by curiosity regarding the rent. While our courage is praised (not more than our luck), we always give the same answer: “It’s different from what we were used to.”

Inside, the space doesn’t seem that small. And, honestly, it doesn’t even seem so relevant in our daily lives. The capsule perfectly fulfils its modern function of a “machine for living” and, as a couple, which theoretically makes the experience even more extreme, we can live normally. We are happy here. We prefer to live in a smaller space in central Tokyo than in a big house in the suburbs. Our routine is to leave home in the morning and return at night to rest. We feel like normal, happy examples of the “contemporary nomad” whom Kurokawa wrote about. Nevertheless, it still feels like we are living somewhere in between a hotel and a scientific experiment.

The capsule’s internal measurements are reduced to the bare minimum (2.3 x 3.8 x 2.1 m)

The window is large and circular; it seems huge in such a space. Our room faces west, overlooking the surrounding buildings and the Shimbashi crossing, which at night is filled with lights. The frame is fixed, to avoid accidents, yet this precludes natural ventilation in the room. In the ’70s, all the windows had a round fan system that controlled the amount of light coming in, but today only the metal support in the middle of the window remains. As a result, and despite the fact that we put up a blue curtain, every day at 6am light invades the capsule. At first, sleeping was a problem, but now we are used to it.

All the surfaces are in contact with the outside and the insulation is not particularly good. The result is simple: the capsule is sweltering in the summer and freezing during winter. There is an enormous ventilation system integrated into the original design of the capsule. The wheel button allows three options: “fan”, “low” and “high”, but the air temperature cannot be controlled since it is set by the general system of the entire building. The air ducts are damaged in many places and some residents speak of possible contaminations. Even though we use an electric heater and the capsule is warm when we go to bed, all the heat quickly dissipates overnight.

The windows were originally fitted with a fan-shaped brise-soleil, of which only a central pivot remains

When we take off our jackets or get changed, we have to store everything right away. The space is limited, but ergonomics is all-encompassing. A 35-centimetre-deep closet covers the entire south wall and serves as the storage system for the capsule, simultaneously featuring a sideboard, a dining table, a wardrobe and a set of shelves to store other objects. There isn’t much space for coat hangers, but the table is large and folds away, disappearing when not required. It is relatively low, like a sink, but its latch is impressive: while the table is folded down in the horizontal position, the mechanism is collected in a cavity and becomes coplanar with the table, so your elbows don’t hit against it. The capsule encloses similar small details everywhere—in a very simple and almost imperceptible way, Kurokawa made living in such a space easier. As time passes, we get the feeling that maybe we don’t need more space than what we have now.

The entrance lobby to the tower

The TV is not the original, although it is the same size. The radio doesn’t work and the only functioning buttons on the “control panel” are the ones that switch on the two sources of light in the room: a large central lamp and a small, individual reading light. The fridge is small and tight, like a minibar, but very useful. The freezer is not sealed and thus becomes the cooling unit. We were lucky that it works, because placing a standard refrigerator in that space would have been a nightmare.

As it was designed for the man of the future, whose very busy life would leave no time for cooking, the capsule does not include any appliances, so we were forced to buy a small kettle and a portable electric stove. Sometimes we cook but it isn’t easy, especially if we’re both at home. After some experimentation, however, the process got smoother. We realised the bathroom extractor fan is so powerful that it can ventilate food smells from the entire room, and the table can be used simultaneously as a kitchen work surface and dining table. The secret is organisation (as with almost everything we do in the capsule).

The secret is organisation (as with almost everything we do in the capsule)

When we’ve finished cooking, we do the dishes in the bathroom sink and have to put them away immediately. During the night, we only hear the old refrigerator running. If we feel like eating something before going to bed, or if we’re just not in the mood to cook, we always have the convenience store on the entrance floor, which is open 24/7.

The bed was a major problem. We couldn’t find a bed or mattress to fit the capsule, and we needed space to store our suitcases. Since we were having problems, and had access to the University of Tokyo’s carpentry workshop, we bought some materials and built our own bed, tailored to our needs. With a little diy philosophy we achieved a good result, and even added a few more boxes for storage on the bed’s accessible side. On top of the structure we placed an air mattress, which fits perfectly.

The residents’ letterboxes

The bathroom is particularly well organised. The walls are made of a washable plastic, turning the wc into a capsule within the capsule. In a visit to some of the abandoned units, the advanced state of disrepair of the remaining elements compared to the sanitary divisions was plainly visible. Since this is an interior space with no windows to the outside, the door has a round frosted glass window, which brings natural light into the bathroom.

Despite the space’s minute proportions, there is a bathtub instead of a shower, something very typical in Japanese culture. The toilet, sink and tub are a single plastic piece that functions as a whole and organises the space. Soap dispensers, a lamp, a towel holder and some small shelves are subtly placed on the walls to avoid the need for a cabinet. There is an electric plug next to the sink, protected from water by a metal screw cap. To flush the toilet we press a button.

We rarely see any of our neighbours, and despite having lived here for a few months, we’ve never come across anyone in the elevator. There is no noise in the other capsules and sometimes we have the impression that no one else lives in the building.

Kenzo-san in his capsule B702

Current condition
Every time we leave our capsule and look up at the ninth-floor balcony, while waiting for the elevator, we remember the earthquake of late last December, when Tokyo shook and the tower rocked violently. The building is not prepared to withstand strong earthquakes, but after 40 years these events are seen as normal.

We come from a country where there is no seismic activity, and for us it was scary to see the capsules colliding into each other. We dashed down the concrete staircase, which seemed safer, and on the way we saw some neighbours acting as if nothing were happening. In Japan, an earthquake is somehow part of daily routine. A couple of days later the building was covered with a net, as a “precautionary measure” and “only for a few days”, so as to prevent anything from falling onto the sidewalk. Maybe we’re wrong, but something tells us that the net is here to stay.

There are perhaps ten to fifteen people living here, and most of the capsules have been abandoned

Although it is known as “Nakagin Tower”, the building is actually composed of two attached towers. Each has an elevator core with a staircase going up in a spiral. On every landing there are two or three doors, but in reality there are many “landings” that don’t correspond to regular floors. There are 78 units in tower A and 62 in tower B. The numbering system is simple: we live in capsule B807—tower B, 8th floor, door number 7.

Signs of previous residents are present all around the capsules and corridors. In our capsule, the most evident marks are the strange wallpaper, a carpet covering some degraded spots in the original flooring, and the air-conditioning unit that had to pierce through a wall in order to be installed. At Kenzo-san’s office, nothing original remains except for the bathroom, and the entire space is filled with revivalist furniture; a neighbour two doors down has created a warehouse and lined the interior with metal shelves. Most capsules are generally used for functions other than living. The interior spaces gradually get larger towards the staircase, which is suitable for storing bicycles, boxes, shoes, garbage, etc.

There is no hot water in the capsules. In order to wash ourselves with hot water, we could either install a water heater by ourselves, or use the shower on the common entrance floor. Like most residents, we chose to use the common shower facing the street. Every day we have to schedule our shower time, which isn’t difficult since there are so few of us. Due to the deterioration of the plumbing, new pipes were installed a few years ago, but the job was done carelessly and the doors of the capsules were cut so that the pipes could pass through. Indeed, everywhere around the building it is clear that the structure was never respected whenever some kind of repair was necessary. All solutions are patches.

Left, the majority of units are in a bad state of repair, and few are still used as dwellings. Right, the corridor along which the capsules are distributed

There are perhaps ten to fifteen people living here, and most of the capsules have been abandoned. Some are “sealed” with plastic, while others don’t even have locks so you can enter and see the advanced state of dilapidation: walls are crumbling, shelves are broken, and garbage, mould and moisture are everywhere. From the emergency stairs, outside, you can see damaged roofs and holes all over. The ground and office floors work normally and are well maintained, but the capsules are slowly disintegrating. The doorman leaves at midnight and only comes back at around 6am. The door stays unlocked all night. Tokyo is so safe that the building only needs protection from the hordes of tourists. Until he got used to us, the doorman would always run up to the elevator telling us we could not enter. We had to show our contract several times to prove that we were not tourists.

Someone is invariably standing at the door every day when we leave. Dozens of tourists — predominantly architects — stand on the other side of the street taking pictures. Most of them try to get in, like we did months ago. Usually we are approached when someone notices that we are leaving the tower. In the beginning we were happy when this happened, and we would even show our capsule, but as time passed this became so frequent that we now comprehend the doorman’s brusque reaction to us the first night we came here.

The Shimbashi district seen from the second-floor platform. This area lies next to Ginza and has a high market value—a factor that in 2007 prompted the owners to consider the possible demolition of the Nakagin Capsule Tower. Kurokawa, backed by the Japanese Institute of Architects (JIA), proposed substituting the worn-out capsules

Past/present/future
We often speak with Kenzo-san, who tells us that some of the remaining inhabitants talk of demolition as if it were imminent, even mentioning specific dates.

Every day we hear new rumours and conflicting information. Nevertheless, a few days ago we met a young Japanese man who had bought five capsules and was restoring them by himself in his spare time. Despite so many abandoned and decaying units, somebody still believes in the building’s future. Contrasting approaches by the building’s diverse inhabitants outline an uncertain future.

The demolition almost went ahead in 2007. Plans were approved and some owners were completely in favour of it, but a public petition with the support of the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) saved the building at that time. Faced with this situation, Kurokawa proposed an obvious solution: “Why not replace the old capsules with new ones? That was the idea all along.” However, the idea fell through. Six years have passed since then and the doubts regarding the building’s future remain.

Contrasting approaches by the building’s diverse inhabitants outline an uncertain future

At over 40 years since its completion back in 1972, the tower that was a modern icon is now seen by some as obsolete, and even a bad idea. Nevertheless, maybe the update suggested by Kurokawa could revive the idea that sustained the building’s conception to begin with. The idea of demolition and renewal was an integral part of the Metabolist ideology, so it’s somewhat ironic that there’s all this controversy surrounding the tower’s demolition, updating and current state of decay.

Tokyo has changed a lot since the ’70s. At first the tower stood alone, but over time it found itself surrounded by tall buildings. Facing it, a once busy highway is now closed, with no cars crossing it any longer. During the ’90s several skyscrapers were built across the street, blocking the sunlight that arrived from the south. The convenience store is not the same.

The city has lost its love for the Nakagin Capsule Tower and intends to demolish it in order to profit from the sale of the valuable square metres in this area, which lies at the edge of the fashionable Ginza district. The most tangible materialisation of Metabolism has become part of the scenery. Now rotting, it has become disposable. Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares, architects, www.falaatelier.com

UPDATE: Cyborg Neil Harbisson appointed MA Material Futures Designer in Residence!

Neil_Harbisson_cyborgist

 

I am very pleased to find this on my former university’s website. The very cool Neil Harbisson who I wrote about in my last blog post has been appointed as designer in residence at St Martins – in my old department! How cool is that? Very interesting, that we think along the same lines, the MA course and I..

From the website:

MA Material Futures is honored to announce the appointment of Cyborg Neil Harbisson  as MA MF Designer in Residence !

Neil Harbisson is a Catalan-raised, British-born contemporary artist, musician, and cyborg activist best known for his self-extended ability to hear colours and to perceive colours outside the ability of human vision.[9] In 2004 he became the first person in the world to wear an eyeborg.[10] The inclusion of the eyeborg on his passport photo has been claimed by some to be official recognition of Harbisson as a cyborg.[11] Colour and the use of technology as an extension of the performer are the central themes in Harbisson’s work. In 2010, he founded the Cyborg Foundation, an international organisation to help humans become cyborgs.

 

http://www.textilefutures.co.uk/2014/02/26/cyborg-neil-harbisson-appointed-ma-material-futures-designer-in-residence/

 

Synesthetic artist Neil harbisson thanks to modern technology (not mind-altering substances)

Synesthetic artist thanks to modern technology

(not mind-altering substances)

 

This is a re-post of a fab article I came accross

today. It tells the story of a colour blind artist who

is now experiencing the phenomenon called

“Synesthesia”. Neil Harbisson’s experience could

be categorized as Chromosthesia. here is an brief

explanation from Wikipedia:

“Another common form of synesthesia; it is when people associate sounds with colors. For some, everyday sounds can trigger seeing/hearing colors such as doors opening, cars honking, or people talking. For others, colors are triggered when musical notes and/or keys are being played. People with synesthesia related to music may also have perfect pitch because their ability to see/hear colors aids them in identifying notes or keys. According to Richard Cytowic,[3] sound → color synesthesia, or chromesthesia is “something like fireworks”: voice, music, and assorted environmental sounds such as clattering dishes or dog barks trigger color and firework shapes that arise, move around, and then fade when the sound ends.

Sound often changes the perceived hue, brightness, scintillation, and directional movement. Some individuals see music on a “screen” in front of their faces. Deni Simon, for whom music produces waving lines “like oscilloscope configurations – lines moving in color, often metallic with height, width and, most importantly, depth. My favorite music has lines that extend horizontally beyond the ‘screen’ area.”

Individuals rarely agree on what color a given sound is (composers Liszt and Rimsky-Korsakov famously disagreed on the colors of music keys).”

Of course, in the past these mind-altering

synesthetic experciences could also be triggered

through the consumtion of narcotics. In some

cases, they have been know to create flas

hbacks or remain irreversible….Scary stuff!

Please read below the story and feel free to comment!

********************************************************************

Colour-Blind Artist Neil Harbisson Embeds

‘Eyeborg’ in Skull to ‘Hear’ Colour

 

Image

Artist Neil Harbisson and his ‘eyeborg’. (www.eyeborg.wix.com)

A colour-blind artist can now “hear” colours, after having an “eyeborg” implanted into his skull.

Neil Harbisson, 31, was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition which means he can only see in black and white.

For 10 years, the London-based artist has been using an “electronic eye”, which picks up colour frequencies and transforms them into sound.

In an effort to hear more intricate colours, he has now had the device implanted into his skull.

“This announcement is not the launch of a new product and it is not the presentation of new technology – it is the presentation of a new body part that will allow us to extend our senses in unimaginable ways,” Harbisson said.

Harbisson conceived of the idea for the device after hearing Adam Montandon give a talk about cybernetics at Dartington College in 2003.

The pair then devised the device, which comprises a camera at one end, and an audio device on the other.

Every colour recorded by the camera produces a different vibration or sound and a wi-fi connector allows him to “see” images sent from mobile phones

Last month, in a series of operations in Barcelona, Harbisson had the device implanted into his skull, giving him greater depth of perception, and tomorrow he will unveil the device.

Project spokeswoman Mariana Viada said: “There is now more distinction between the colours – it is much wider and more definite.

“But the most important new thing is that he can now connect with other devices.

“He can now not only perceive the colours that are in front of him but also colours that other people are looking at on their phones.

“Potentially, this means, that he could also communicate skull to skull with other people who have the implant, but at the moment he is the only one.

“How this will exactly work and the details will be revealed by Neil during his presentation.”

Harbisson has used the device to create the world’s first “colour opera”, in which he ordered the sounds produced by an image of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica into a musical sequence, which singers and musicians then performed.

Speaking at a conference in 2012, he said: “For me the sky is always grey, flowers are always grey and television is black and white.

“But since the age of 21 instead of seeing colour I can hear colour.

“So I’ve been hearing colour all the time for eight years so I find it completely normal to hear it all the time.

“At the start it’s had to memorise the names you have for each colour and the notes but after some time all this information became a perception and I didn’t have to think about the notes and after some time this became a feeling.

“I started to have favourite colours and I started to dream in colour.

“When I stared to dream in colour is when I felt that the software and my brain had united because in my dream it was my brain creating electronic sounds it was not the software and that’s when I started to feel like a cyborg.

“It had become an extension of my senses.”

 

Full article seen here: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/colour-blind-artist-neil-harbisson-embeds-eyeborg-skull-hear-colour-1440525

September Issue through the (google) looking glass

Hillarious! This article just flew past me like an on-line meteorite and I just had to catch it and share with you. Apparently Vogue’s September Issue featured Google Glass in a Sci-fi fashion spread, and if we can believe author Mark Wilson, made a compete fool of Google. So if they didn’t notice yet – shouldn’t they zoom in ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Vogue Makes A Complete Joke Out Of Google, And Google Doesn’t Even Notice”

Image

Google Glass made it into Vogue’s esteemed September issue. But its treatment says a lot about how the fashion industry views the geek elite.

Google Glass just scored a 12-page spread in Vogue’s September issue, or what’s easily the most influential issue of the most influential publication in all of fashion. You could argue that this is Google’s moment, that this single spread (coupled with the DVF show last year) portends a future in which we all wear Glass.

And I’ll gladly listen. Just give me a second while I grab my live goat shawl because it’s a bit cold in here. You wouldn’t happen to have any alfalfa in your pocket?

Just because Google is courting the fashion industry doesn’t mean that Glass–in its current hideous incarnation–is the next big fashion accessory. Sergey Brin is to Anna Wintour what Jay Gatsby is to Daisy Buchanan: a nouveau riche geek making attempts at chic. A spectacle.

If you want to know how Vogue really sees Glass, take a closer look at that the mise en scène called “The Final Frontier.” Glass doesn’t live in a world of rolling meadows, crashing waves, Elizabethan furniture, or any other ethereally romantic creation of Grace Coddington. Glass was placed into a dystopian future, some planet from the original Star Trek that’s devoid of life save for a solitary, soul-sucking alien and a model in a Bottega Veneta wool-cashmere coat ($2,750). (Call that coat “saffron,” but any way you gussy up the hue, that’s Captain Kirk’s color through and through.) Even in Vogue’s brashest issue of the year, Glass can only exist as geek-wear.

Yet I understand the magazine’s creative approach. Their photo spread works wonderfully as an artistic statement all its own. The images are hyperbole through environment–Glass just makes sense in a dead sci-fi future in the same way that wool feels inevitable in Scotland. Because when you actually see Glass worn in person, noticing its absolute worst trait–how it has a tendency to obscure the wearer’s eyeline in profile–it’s hard to feel anything but coldness toward the technology.

Is she dead because she removed Glass?

Vogue likes Glass for the wrong reasons: Because it’s expensive and it looks silly, because it makes a brash, unmistakable fulcrum in a photo essay. So in featuring Glass, Vogue has actually given Google the kiss of death, certifying that Glass (v1) will always be a loved or hated fashion statement for an elite few, an elite few who probably like Star Trek.

But with any luck, the next time Mountain View celebrates an appearance in Vogue, no one will notice Isabelle Olsson’s original design. Glass will be invisible, existing as the technology woven deep within the fabric of fashion. And Glass’s greatest fashion statement can be every fashion statement. Glass can be ubiquity.

See the spread here.

Photographs by Steven Klein, Vogue, September 2013