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Originally posted here on Indexed, by Jessica Hagy.

Amateur Hour is a showcase for new learning, skills and entertainment. Submissions in any form welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail [dot] com


Pras Sarkar (of Yahoo! Research) advises the following tips on

how to do this most effectively:
  • Stay up-to-date with your area of generalization
  • Know what to explore and what to ignore
  • Be critical of new technologies
  • Visualize the results of all new pursuits and endeavors
  • Don’t over-generalize
I came across this over at the always challenging and sadly now defunct
LeisureArts, who say of the project, '[it] documents every instance of the
phrase "is the new" encountered from various sources in 2005.
It is intended to map the iterations of a peculiarly common marketing 
and literary device'.
MFA is the new MBA.
Ugly is the new cute.
Brown, white, orange, tartan, silver, pink and red are all the new black.
Oil is the new slavery.
Porn is the new glamour, and also the new crack.
Security is the new cold war.
Prequel is the new sequel.
Local is the new organic is the new kosher.
The current version above is by Roo Reynolds and can be seen here. A larger image can be seen in the originally published version in Diagram.

Arthur C. Brooks has written a great series of posts over at Freakonomics about personal happiness, according to politics, religion and the relative extremes of these beliefs. He’s recently published a book on Gross National Happiness.

Among his findings/ conjectures are that Conservatives Are Happier than Liberals

A commenter says:

One possibility that springs to mind: Perhaps people who label themselves as “extremely” liberal or “extremely” conservative are also more likely to call themselves “very” happy. That is, someone who uses immoderate terms to describe his political views might also use immoderate terms to describe his degree of personal happiness — and that might reflect a difference in rhetorical style rather than a difference in life satisfaction.

There’s a correlation here between happiness and faith, it seems.

Earlier in the year I was at a seminar for utopian studies where the issue of religion and utopian thinking arose (this was specifically in relation to science fiction literature, and ‘religion’ seemed a relatively disparaging term in the way it was used).

This led me to wonder, could being an atheist – or at least lacking a belief in the afterlife – lead to an inability to imagine the future?


This image held here

Hype cycle graphs can be sourced for consumer e-learning and a host of techie phenomena. What’s curious is what other social trends they might be applied to…


Image held here

So there are two distinct things that are interesting here – the visual and what it represents.

(The trajectory runs from attention data > interest cloud > XXL attention profile).

This represents APML: attention profiling mark up language. (APML is a proposed standard that allows users to share their own personal attention profile and compress all forms of attention data into one portable file format that can be traded between ‘attention seekers and givers’).

The internet is coming up with some intriguing new forms of visual culture to respresent what’s been described and imagined as ‘the crowd’ or ‘the masses’. This runs from the conventional idea of the crowd as a stupid-to-dangerous social ‘blob’ and the dangers of ‘groupthink’, to optimistic ideas of collective intelligence such as James Suroweicki’s The Wisdom of Crowds. It comes back to the old debate of populism. That is, elitism.


I missed the boat on this one but it’s still a great idea and worthy cause. Not to mention an interesting experiment in ‘collective intelligence’… 

There’s a lack of art/artist info on Wikipedia, and we’re often too busy to find the time to contribute. So, we’re setting aside one day where a crew of people collectively drop serious knowledge into wikipedia about art. From your favorite notable artwork, artist or exhibition, to our soon-to-be-famous peers. We’ll also add structural links to alumni schools and categories like collective art groups, non profit orgs, etc.<br>

The day is Saturday January 26th: an afternoon on the internet quietly enriching the public domain. We imagine groups of 2-4 people around tables across the country, bottomless coffee cups fueling the discussions, fact checking, and troubleshooting. Ideally lots of “oh, that person worked with X, I’ll make a page for them, link me up.” There will also be a lot of online chatting across coasts. Video chats if bandwidth permits.

Get the full info here

Image held here


This blog is not usually used in the interests of self-promotion, but the content seemed to fit here, this time, so here goes.

Above are two recent works exhibited at a show called City of Ideas at a self-storage warehouse in Galway, Ireland. The show was curated by Human Resources (Ben Roosevelt and Emma Houlihan).


Model for Experiencing Economic Panic/ Excitement


Landscape of Desires and Manias [Tulipmania, 1640s; South Sea Bubble, 1720; UK Railway Crash, 1830s]

These are experiments very much informed by the research themes in this blog, and the sense of emptiness and excess that pervaded the storage space. I’ve also recently been investigating the ‘Economic Worry Matrix’ and ideas of irrationality and so-called ‘market sentiment’.


Key to Artwork Diagram: 

  1. Concept (raw commercial intervention)
  2. Initial Transaction (unanticipated relations)
  3. Economic Filter (seven models of transaction)
  4. First Advancement of Transaction (Cork alternative auction)
  5. Bipolar Field of Constraint (Liberal Capitalist – Socialist)
  6. Second Advancement of Transaction (Belfast alternative auction)
  7. Transformation of Capital (exchanges of goods – further relations)
  8. Investment of Transformed Capital (constrained models of social transformation)
  9. Analysis / Assessment 

The National Sculpture Factory commissioned Art / not art to create a project in tandem with the NSF seminar Do You Speak Art? (or where are you coming from?) exploring the relationship between art and globalisation. In response, Art / not art purchased and auctioned (three times) an exceptional sculpture by Thai artist Pornpraeseart Yamakazi, entitled ‘Want to Be Rich?’ (see below). As part of the seminar on 3 Nov, Art / not art presented the sculpture for auction.  A bid of €500 was accepted for consideration in the ongoing art-transaction. 


Now Art / not art have purchased ANOTHER exceptional piece of contemporary art, a painting by Thai artist Mit Ja-In. You are invited to join in deciding its fate.

Using contemporary means of communication, cosmopolitan connections, transnational standards of artistic accreditation, modern money transfer systems and freight networks we have purchased and imported from the other side of the world a sculpture by an artist previously unknown to us, all in a matter of weeks.

The nature of this intervention, however, has yet to be decided. It all depends on what Art/ not art do next.



Above: Map of world legal systems; Below: World Map of Happiness (created by Adrian White at the University of Leicester).


July 2020