Category Archives: Uncategorized

On Media: Are you contented? Six big ideas shaping the future of what we watch, and *how* we watch it

Is content still king? Yes, probably. But how we consume it is changing. Shifting sands of media and technology mean new ideas and new trends.

A big roundtable event was held in Central London to discuss and debate these changes. The discussion was held as Vodafone Passes launches. This offers people endless data to enjoy the content that matters to them. Experts from Netflix, Vevo, Amazon, and Twitter were among the industry’s finest in the discussion.

Director of Amazon Music Paul Firth, Director of Planning at Twitter David Wilding, Director of International Business Development at Vevo Jim Sanders, Journalist Adam Batstone, Head of Commercial Marketing at Vodafone David James, Future Insights Specialist Inma Martinez and Director Business Development at Netflix discuss the future of content

 

So, what six trends did they identify?

1. Binge-racing

Fingers to the button, this trend is about watching your content quickly.

We have 8 million members globally who have what we call ‘binge raced’, so they’ve watched an entire series within 24 hours. And then we see the binge cheating. Just under half the people who watch have admitted to watching ahead and they’ll watch the next episode because their partner isn’t around to watch it with them and they can’t wait.” ~ Christopher Whiteley, Netflix Director of Business Development, EMEA

 

2. The Big Bandwidth Society

Because all this content requires a good pipeline to deliver it.

The gigabit society worldwide is going to happen. Unfortunately, it’s happening way too slow in the UK and we really believe it needs to move a lot faster with 5G networks and fibre to the home.” ~ David James, Vodafone Marketing Director

Head of Commercial Marketing at Vodafone David James and Future Insights Specialist Inma Martinez discuss the future of content at the ‘Evolution of Content’ roundtable brought to you by Vodafone

 

3. No friction in non-fiction

This trend is about quality. There’s so much content out there, people will simply switch-off if it’s not up to scratch. 

You can start something, and if you don’t like it? You stop and you watch something else, and it costs you nothing. So, you take that friction away, and what that means is that the bar gets set really, really high for what is a compelling TV programme. And there may be vast quantities of programmes being made now in more volume than ever, but I think we’re going to see more and more concentration and fewer and fewer things really cutting through.” ~ Christopher Whiteley, Netflix Director of Business Development, EMEA

 

4. From me to you – an appointment to view

People like to celebrate that they’re watching. Not dual-screening, but just letting friends know that they’re tuned in.

The viewing behaviours around things like Netflix, we’re seeing a new behaviour where people are tweeting about the fact that they’re watching it but they’re not tweeting about the content, so actually it’s about the viewing occasion.”David Wilding, Twitter Director of Planning

 

5. Express yourself – it’s the visual web


New channels means new ways for artists to express themselves.


“The talent, they now see their artform as a visual artform. People like Beyoncé create whole visual albums, which you couldn’t do previously because the cost barriers were too high and there’s a lot more platforms for the content to be distributed and viewed by fans.”
Jim Sanders, Vevo Director of International Business Development

 

6. But, will Tech kill the radiostar?

New technology is really pushing the boundaries.

Alexa is changing the way people listen to music, and Alexa has brought music listening back into the home. Earlier this year we had our first month where we had more listening hours on Alexa than we had on mobile… In the US we now have a series of NFL football games we’re showing live on Thursday nights as part of Prime Video. Likewise, in Germany, we are producing live audio commentary on Bundesliga games which you can access through Echo; so we’re experimenting and we’ll see.” Paul Firth, Director of Music, Amazon Music

On Trends: From Crufts to Craft – beers and man’s best friend

The CultureJukebox team have long been fans of long walks in the country, and enjoying a good ale in the process too.

So, with the number of UK breweries rising and the craft beer trend showing no sign of stopping – it’s great to spot a new trend in UK brewing. Beer for those who love their walking and their dogs.

Nowhere is this more true than in Langdale in the Lake District, which is dubbed by aficionados as the best beer garden in the world. Could it be true? Well, it’s certainly a contender, with more and more beer fans taking their dogs into pubs and sampling some high quality local ales.

Lake District: why not go off-grid for a beer?

Research comes Flogas, specialists in LPG gas tank installation for pubs in remote locations off-grid, who know how to traverse the Lake District with man’s best friend as well as stopping for a few tasty beers along the way.

Here’s their recommended route:

To begin, why not climb the pyramid-shaped mountain that is Bowfell, the sixth-highest mountain in the Lake District and one of the most popular. From here, you can continue along Crinkle Crags to Cold Pike and then finish at Pike O’ Blisco, which will lead you back down to the bottom of the valley again. Once you’ve reached the bottom, it’s time to take your dog to the best-dog friendly pubs in the area.

New Dungeon Ghyll

The first pub you’ll come across is the New Dungeon Ghyll, offering real ales and craft beers such as Westmorland Gold, a Golden Ale brewed in the heart of the Lake District by Barngates Brewery; there will also be a doggy bowl waiting in the Walker’s Bar for when they get thirsty as well.

Sticklebarn

From here, you can re-fuel again at Sticklebarn, which isn’t a far walk from the New Dungeon Ghyll. As it’s a National Trust pub, the Sticklebarn ensures that all its meals are prepared freshly on the premises, whilst stocking real ales on top alongside speciality bottled beers.

This pub is perfect for well-behaved dogs, as well as muddy dogs! Dog towels, water bowls, and doggy treats are all provided here, and there is even a special doggy menu for when you’re enjoying a pint of real ale.

Wainwrights Inn

From here, you can take a 40-minute walk down the valley towards Wainwrights Inn, another dog-friendly pub that serves Coniston, a local brewery based in Cumbria. Try the Coniston Bluebird Bitter – an exceedingly pale beer that has a hint of colour.

Balanced by a biscuity malt, the challenger hops provide this beer with an orange fruit aroma that balances the flavour; a perfect example of how locally brewed ales from microbreweries come to life in local pubs across your fell hike!

With eight pubs now benefitting from the microbrewery phenomenon, it’s easy to see how this new trend has emerged within the Lake District. With over 30 microbreweries creating the best of what the Lakeland region has to offer in terms of real ales, pubs across the Lake District are now benefitting from being dog friendly, as well as serving the most unique beers and flavours available.

So, what’s your favourite dog friendly pub? Let Flogas know, or message the CultureJukebox team in the comments here or via social media. Cheers!

On Cycling: #SpinLDN Returns To The Capital

As regular followers know, the CultureJukebox team are huge fans of having fun on two-wheels..

So, it’s great to hear that #SpinLDN is coming back to the capital.  Visitors to the festival of cycling (which is taking place at London Olympia this year) will find an event that is jam-packed with the best brands, bikes, and the ultimate blend of cycling culture in one location.

Spin is also welcoming a progressive mix of brands to provide food and drink – with a caffeine fix from Volcano Coffee Works, craft beers from Camden Town Brewery and an expertly-curated street food market.

More than 150 of the most forward-thinking cycling brands will be in attendance, presenting must-have products, kit and ideas for seasoned cyclists, biking beginners and everyone in-between. A list of the Spin exhibitors is online here.

A few of the more quirky highlights for this year’s festival includes:

  • The Red Light District – new for 2017, this boundary pushing part of Spin will be an unforgettable showcase of the world’s most beautiful bikes.
  • Day-Night Test Track – a first for any cycling event in the UK – this atmospheric test track offers the chance for cyclists to try out cutting edge new bikes against a backdrop of light installations and music. It also offers a chance for riders to test out a variety of night-time cycling accessories.
  • The Summit – be inspired by the biggest names in cycling, as more than 50 expert speakers take to the stage for an unparalleled programme of expert talks. Chris Boardman, Ned Boulting and CycleHackare among those leading sessions.
  • The Maker’s Lounge– offers a handpicked selection of today’s finest frame and custom bike builders. A chance to see the best work from King Bicycles, Donhou Bicycles, Dear Susan, Mercredi, Hartley Cycles, Quirk Cycles and many more.
  • The Art Hub – featuring printing workshops, saddle art and exhibitions from some of the most creative people showcasing their love of bikes.
  • Giro d’Italia – in association with Eurosport, Spin will be the best place to follow one of the world’s most beautiful races.
  • Cole Coatings Workshop – a chance to learn from the best and really understand the process behind designing and executing an award-wining bespoke bicycle finish.

Spin founder, Alex Daw said: “The whole team here are really excited how Spin 2017 is shaping up, it’s a cycling event for London unlike anything else. The move to Olympia has given us the opportunity to grow the scale and ambition of the show – and get new people into cycling too. It’s an event that‘s for everyone interested in cycling and the culture around it.”

Check out the event online here.

 

On Culture: Inhotim reopens Gallery Doris Salcedo

The CultureJukebox team are huge fans of the epic gallery Inhotim; our visit there was one of the highlights of our month in Brazil in 2016.

So, it was great to hear that ine of the most important works of Inhotim’s collection is now reopened for the public. Neither (2004), by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, was first exhibited at Inhotim in 2008, and has recently been fully restored, together with its host gallery.

This is the first major restoration project undertaken by Inhotim, reaffirming its commitment to the permanent exhibition of contemporary artworks.

Image c/o Inhotim
Image c/o Inhotim
Image c/o Inhotim

Neither’s restoration was concluded in three stages. Initially, an architectural intervention in the gallery modified the public access to the building and created a heated antechamber to avoid direct exposure of the work to external conditions. Then, the engine room of the pavilion was expanded to receive new monitoring equipment, which will guarantee more homogeneous and linear climatic parameters, even with the variation of temperature and humidity in the outdoor environment, as is common in Inhotim.

After the gallery adjustments, it was possible to start the third and more complex stage: the restoration of the work itself.

“In Neither, Doris Salcedo unprecedentedly combines non-conventional materials such as gypsum and metal plaques. We need to consider that contemporary art works like this are designed by artists during experimentation and often for short-term exhibitions. At Inhotim, our challenge is to carry out continuous research on the processes, materials and concepts used to guarantee the perenniality of the collection and the access of the public”, ~ María Eugenia Salcedo, adjunct artistic director of the Institute.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Doris Salcedo’s work has since the 1980s dialogued with political and social issues. Several 20th-century violence stories, such as the guerrillas that have marked Colombian history for decades, emerge as references and starting points for her sculptures and installations.

Neither highlights the artist’s interest in architectural interventions, and more specifically with one of the paradigms of modern exhibitions: the white cube, a space segregated from the outside with idealized proportions and continuous illumination, providing a more “pure” and “neutral” experience with art. In this installation, however, a grid was attached to the walls, with minimal differences in its repetition. Charged with emotion but almost invisible, the work relates to the architecture of concentration camps, but also with the apparatuses of segregation in large cities. If the walls protect, the bars seclude and separate – the artwork, however, is neither.

Explore Inhotim online here: http://www.inhotim.org.br/en/

On Culture: Transcending Boundaries – new work from teamLab

Transcending Boundaries, an exhibition of works by future art dons teamLab, is opening in London later this month.

The exhibition features three rooms of immersive installations, two of which have never been seen before and will be on view from 25 January to 11 March 2017, at 6 Burlington Gardens in Mayfair.

The CultureJukebox team are huge fans of teamLab – we’ve blogged about them before here, and even visited one of their installations in Tokyo too.

Their new show in London Transcending Boundaries explores the role of digital technology in transcending the physical and conceptual boundaries that exist between different artworks, with imagery from one work breaking free of the frame and entering the space of another.

The installations also dissolve distinctions between artwork and exhibition space, and involve the viewer through interactivity.

Debuting new works, Transcending Boundaries will reveal teamLab’s commitment to the advancement of digital art, as well as its unique ability to nurture creativity and curiosity through technology.

“We are honoured to share some of our most recently created artworks and hope the universality of their themes—creativity, play, exploration, immersion, life, and fluidity—will seep into the broader conscience.” ~ Toshiyuki Inoko, teamLab founder

The largest room in the exhibition will include six works and feature Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries (2017), a virtual waterfall that extends beyond the gallery wall onto the floor, flowing through the exhibition space and around the feet of the viewer. It engages with the concept of Ultra Subjective Space, central to teamLab’s practice, referencing the non-perspectival depiction of space in premodern Japanese art and situating the viewer directly within the realm of the artwork.

Encompassing the second room, Dark Waves (2016) is a simulation of the movement of waves based on the behaviour of hundreds of thousands of water particles. The waves are created in a three- dimensional virtual space, expressing water as a living entity that immerses the viewer and suggests an intrinsic connection with nature.

In the last room, the darkened space is transformed by the presence of the viewer, which activates Flowers Bloom on People (2017). With the body as a canvas for the projections, flowers are in a process of continuous change—growing, decaying and scattering in direct response to the viewer’s movements.

Follow the latest teamLab news on Instagram here. The CultureJukebox team hope to have a few images from the private view to share too!

On Media: Donald Trump: Y THO? Blowing Up A Filter Bubble

Profoundly anxious and confused, it’s the news none of us wanted to hear.

But it’s not really *none* of us, is it?

Donald Trump is now the 45th President of the USA. We feel really worried, sh*t-scared, and don’t know what to say. Was this meant to be a joke? Can it really be happening?

Baffled.

Well yes, because just like Brexit in the UK – social media has created an unprecedented echo chamber of opinion and news.

More than ever, we are only seeing, sharing and engaging with views that are similar to our own. This polarisation phenomenon is dividing both politics and people. And it is damaging democracy.

According to Facebook’s own study last year, people have five politically like-minded friends for every one friend on the other side of the political spectrum.

Perhaps last week’s – surprise? – election result just proved it.

Social scientists believe that for us to be healthy and happy its important to encounter a variety of political opinions. But, after logging on throughout, it’s clear that this isn’t happening.

The internet isn’t working, it’s making us dumb. And social media is the worst culprit in this process.

Did you know that the Facebook algorithm itself is designed to give you the content you want? Every day we see less and less “content” that we won’t find “engage” with.

So, ironically enough, if you’re reading this Blasting News article you are likely to broadly agree with what it’s saying.

So, now we’ve fallen down this echo chamber is it possible to climb out?

Of course, it’s not just algorithms that means we’re feeling both confused and scared in 2016.

Individual choice is also leading to this polarising political climate. As more and more of us take our news online, and use social media we are making decisions to not read things we don’t agree with.

It means we do not really debate and we’re losing the ability to consider an opinion that clashes with our own. If you scroll up and down your Facebook feed right about now you’ll probably see plenty of evidence of this.

By cutting ourselves off from dissenting voices, and looking at our phones and chatting with like-minded people instead, we are all – collectively – turning this year into one of the most frightening times anyone can remember.

If we’re all surrounded by people who think the same way as us, it’s easy to forget the rest of the world doesn’t follow the same pattern. There are millions and millions of Donald Trump supporters out there. But online life is shielding too many people from their problems, their anger and this means there’s little understanding.

So, what’s the answer? There’s no simple solution. But I reckon one of the best things would be not “Liking” this piece, but actually taking the time to speak to people (in real life) who are different to you. Understand why people are seriously angry, worried and more confused than ever before. After all, different ideas on the world can be a good thing.

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On Visual Art: The World’s “Pinkest” Pink

The CultureJukebox team are big fans of the super creative Brit artist Stuart Semple, and his latest big idea is a good one..

.. he’s released his own brand of pink paint, ‘PINK’, said to be the world’s pinkest pigment.

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This is what the press release has to say:

PINK is available for £3.99 from www.culturehustle.com – to all but Anish Kapoor.

Artist Anish Kapoor famously acquired exclusive rights to use the world’s blackest black in his art. Developed by NanoSystems, ‘Vantablack’ is composed of a series of microscopic vertical tubes. When light strikes Vantablack, it is continually deflected between the tubes, becoming trapped. The pigment is currently the blackest substance known – so dark that it absorbs 99.96 per cent of light. 

Although originally developed for military and astronomic purposes, NanoSystems subsequently confirmed that Kapoor alone had been authorised to use the pigment for artistic purposes. And as Jonathan Jones began when he wrote on the subject for The Guardian, “Colour is precious”.

“It’s not really very fair! We all remember kids at school who wouldn’t share their colouring pencils, but then they ended up on their own with no friends. It’s cool, Anish can have his black. But the rest of us will be playing with the rainbow!” ~ Stuart Semple

PINK is a highly reflective and rich powdered paint pigment, which repels light to effect a powerful fluorescence. Semple intends to make his paint available to as many painters as possible.

Purchasers of PINK will be required to make a legal declaration during the online checkout process, confirming that: “you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make its way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.”

pink

On Creativity: The Karachi Files, In Berlin

Where do great ideas and creativity come from? For me, it’s always about unexpected collaborations. So, was super intrigued to hear about the Karachi Files gig in Berlin this month.

What are the <em>Karachi Files</em> and what is the story? This one goes back to May 2015 when a forward-thinking group of electronic musicians from Pakistan, the Maldives and Germany followed in the footsteps of brothers Hannes and Andi Teichmann, otherwise known as Gebrüder Teichmann, the Forever South crew and the Goethe-Institut to meet in Karachi; Pakistan’s industrial capital, harbored on the Arabian Sea.

But this was no holiday. The creators and selectors soon got to work. A house was re-moulded into a temporary recording studio. This physical space soon became a place to meet, inspire and be inspired, record, play, eat and sleep. Musicians, together with a photographer convened, and the outcome of two weeks would transpire into the Karachi Files.

B1_INTERIORlongtxt_KARACHIFILESalbum315x7x310_300dpi.jpeg

I was lucky enough to get some time with the super talented Bilal Khan (Rudoh), one of the heads behind Forever South in Karachi. This is how it went down:

Q) Have you worked with Berlin/European artists before? What’s your perception of Berlin as a creative city before this project?

Bilal said: “This was my first time working with European artists in a more creative environment. I lived in London for a bit where I spent time as an engineer at studios recording bands and mixing tunes. I found that generally in Europe, quality standards of sound and the process of recording/composing music are done on a much higher standard to what we’re used to in Pakistan. So for us, to be able to utilise professional equipment to record and create music, was refreshing and a great learning experience. Soundcamp was surely more about compositional explorations and playing the role of a musician and a producer.”

Berlin seemed like a place where there’s always room for new creative landscapes. The clubbing culture, along with people’s open-ness and acceptance of new sorts of art and ideas, have been constantly breeding newer sub cultures, constantly recycling ideas into other forms. After I had finally seen Berlin I felt the same, that it caters to everyone, there’s something there for everyone.

Q) What is so special about working with new artists from around the world? How does it affect your work?

Bilal explained: “I feel like working with musicians from anywhere is always a great learning experience. I’ve gained valuable insight on work flow and how to make certain sounds, solely due to collaborating with such a diverse array of artists. I picked up new ways of sampling, such as working with objects to create rhythms from taprikk swazee. I remember being in total awe after seeing Hannes T use his Euro-Rack setup. I’m trying my best to save money for a 1 one row eurorack for myself.”

Q) What can musicians and creative people working in Europe learn from the way you do things?

Bilal told me: “It is definitely working with Power issues because Karachi’s power supply is notorious for unstable voltage supply, which can be detrimental, even fatal to the musical equipment. Also, the general lack of electricity, which is majority of the gear we use is portable, usually pocket synths and small drum machines. But besides that, we have a real shortage of good gear, mainly due to shipping costs and heavy import duties. The unintended consequence of this situation was the strong DIY nature that cultivated and developed our scene. Since our media industry doesn’t regard sound as an important aspect of tv or film production, it’s hard to find studios with well calibrated acoustics or the minimum required specifications for a professional equipped studio. The attitude is complacent, which makes it harder for us to find places to mix and master our tracks to a professional standard. It’s been a super “Do it Yourself” scene from the get go.”

Q) Finally, we don’t often hear many positive stories about creative and cultural happenings from Pakistan. It feels like a really undiscovered and mysterious place for many European people. How does the sense of place and belonging shape your imagination, innovation and creativity?

Bilal’s final answer: “Karachi is a little hectic to live in and it has it’s ups and downs. The city is densely populated and is usually getting a bad reputation all over the world because the media mostly pays attention to the bombings and political news. The constant bombardment of such “bad news” would have made most people more cynical , yet the people of Karachi are warm hearted here and are very hopeful about having things take a turn for the better. I guess that hopefulness in some ways seeps into ones music through the social surroundings they are part of , for a lack of a better term, it’s got this “I don’t have a dime in my pocket and nothing seems to be working, but it’ll be all good one day” feel to it.”

The Karachi Files is a collection of electronic fused works – bringing together colourful and varied cultures, all inspired by its remarkable setting. So, what about the music? The Karachi Files delivers a rich variety; a series of tracks from electronic club music to electro acoustic experiments. The album is released in May 2016, and will be the first release on the Teichmann brother’s new label NOLAND.

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The Karachi Files performed live in Berlin on the 14th May during “From Inside To Way Out”, a three-day festival at HAU, Berlin, with a special view on Pakistan, including the works of a wide range of musicians, filmmakers, photographers, journalists and artists. Background information is here.

On Beer: The House Of Peroni’s return to London

‘Amare l’Italia’ ..

.. ‘For the love of Italy’. The House of Peroni is making a glorious return to our capital this summer, with a six-week long residency at Proud East in Haggerston, East London.

This summer’s House of Peroni event is called ‘Amare l’Italia’ – meaning ‘For the love of Italy’ – and opens its doors from Thursday 19th May to Friday 1st July.

This year’s event is a celebration of great Italian talent. It will be an immersive journey for people to discover how some of Italy’s most creative ambassadors are inspired by their love for their home country.

Terrazza

The residency Master of Taste will be the critically acclaimed Francesco Mazzei, chef patron at newly refurbished Sartoria in Mayfair (and previously at L’Anima). Francesco is inspired by Southern Italian cooking – as described in his latest cookbook ‘Mezzogiorno’ – and celebrates the abundance of his homeland’s rich ingredients as well as his own memories of growing up in Calabria.’

Working alongside him as the Master of Mixology will be award winning Simone Caporale. Formerly assistant head bartender at The Artesian at The Langham Hotel, Caporale will be bringing his unique vision and innovative flair to the drinks menu, creating an eclectic range of delicious Peroni Nastro Azzurro infused drinks to enjoy whilst relaxing with friends in the summer sunshine.

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Tickets are now on sale, and more information via The House of Peroni website.