Custom Culture


Unboxing Body by Body

"Brand Innovations for Ubiquitos Authorship" focuses on the rise of customizable print-on-demand products as aided by the internet. A sampling of the impressive roster of more than sixty artists includes Parker Ito, Daniel Temkin, Lauren Christiansen, and Jayson Musson. Artie Vierkant, who organized the show at Madison Avenue's Higher Pictures gallery, explained some of the thinking behind the exhibition: 

I always thought of these services as a very interesting sign of where we're headed in consumer space. The Internet has helped make one-to-many content empires stumble and niches to become stronger, and consumer goods are now no exception. The idea is that we've moved past mass production and into something like custom/craft/artisinal production on a massive scale; production for each individual amongst the mass. It's easy to get wrapped into that idea--particularly if you watch something like Zazzle's 'About Us' video, which hits you with a combined rhetoric of liberation-through-self-expression and environmental-consciousness--even if in practice Internet-ordered custom items are often a cheap and mass-produced object marked with an image emblazoned by an expensive printer.

All objects were shipped directly to the gallery and opened on site with little to no prior knowledge of how the artists had chosen to customize their products. Videos of this unboxing process, like the one above, can be seen on the show's Youtube page. Vierkant stressed that by sending all products to Higher Pictures, artists in foreign countries avoided high shipping costs that could have barred even small objects from being included in the show. Vierkant added that not every artist had chosen to work with the suggested on-demand services: Borna Sammak, for example, contributed a limited edition jacket made by Buron, based on one of the artist's designs. "This kind of ...


adiZones and Lo-Lifes


This post originally appeared Spitzenprodukte.


This week I attended Regeneration Games, a talk at FreeWord on the branding and aesthetic ideology of Olympic-driven regeneration. Alberto Duman organised the event and presented three 'artifacts' of regeneration: the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, a promotional PDF selling the regeneration of Newham to Chinese investors, and 'adiZones'. The author and critic Owen Hatherley was then invited to respond to 'adiZones', a small development project intended on delivering part of the “Olympic Legacy” in the form of better community sports provision

adiZones are “giant multi-sport outdoor venues” — essentially outdoor gyms — comprising “basketball, football and tennis areas, a climbing wall, an outdoor gym and an open area to encourage dance, aerobics and gymnastics” over a footprint of 625 sq m. They contain durable exercise apparatus and ‘quotations’ of team sports (for example, a short basketball court, a single football goal or a “climbing wall”). The footprint of each adiZone is in the shape of the 2012 Olympic Games logo, making the adiZone an example of “Google Earth Urbanism” — urban development conceived with one eye on the heavens and the omnipresent, panopticonic satellites that lurk there-in, guiding us to work and quietly reshaping our understanding of the urban environment. Significantly, each adiZone also has free wifi installed.


adiZone in Mile End Park, as seen on Google Maps


There are currently 5 adiZones within London, one in each of the “host boroughs”, located within municipal parks and specifically located with the intention to “renovate either disused or run down areas within the boroughs”. Nationwide there have been over 50 adiZones installed, built through a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) scheme with sportswear brand adidas (lower case theirs) contributing £1million, or 50% of the budget, with Sports England matching with funding allocated as part Sports England’s “Inspired Facilities” campaign ...