James Murphy (photo Patrick McMullan)

James Murphy Wants to Make Riding the Subway a Little Less Miserable

While James Murphy, he of LCD Soundsystem fame, has always made crowd-pleasing alterna-pop tracks, he has higher aspirations. Specifically, arranging sounds that transcend music altogether and become a more integral part of people's lives. Now that LCD Soundsystem is but a fond memory, it seems he'll have plenty of time to devote to his latest aural pursuit, the Subway Symphony.

He explains thusly: "The sound of the subway is kind of a drag. Every time you swipe your MetroCard, the turnstile emits a flat, unpleasant 'beep.' Each turnstile emits its own beep, all of which are slightly out of tune with one another, creating a dissonant rubbing-styrofoam-on-glass squeak in stations all around New York City."

"What I propose to do is to create a series of 3 to 5 note sequences, all unique, one for each station in the subway system. These sequences will be part of an intersecting larger piece of music, which would run from station to station, and cross one another as, say, the 4, 5, 6 line (one musical piece) intersects with the L, N, R, Q and W (another musical piece) at Union Square. At each turnstile in Union Square, as you tap your new tap and ride card, a pleasant bell tone will sound, in one of a set of possible notes, all related to that station's note sequence. The effect would be that at the busiest times, like rush hour, what was once cacophony would now be music."

"I think people who do what it takes to live here and work here — the commutes and the crowds — deserve a small sonic gift." So while bedraggled users of the city's archaic subways, particularly those in shamefully neglected outer boroughs, might wish for more pressing updates to the system, at least they'll feel slightly less miserable while stranded on a lonely platform, fading to grey.

Feb 24, 2014 14:14:00
T-shirt Issue's animated bird shirt

Something Different: T-Shirt Issue

If you thought you had issues, get a load of the T-shirt Issue and their animated bird shirt. The interdisciplinary art collective combines fashion, design and technology to create unique, mind-bending items of clothing that range from daily basics to conceptual installations, all stemming from digital experimentation.

The group is particularly fascinated by the triangular polygon and the unlimited 3-D shapes it can produce in regular old jersey. For their Muybridge series, on view at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), three frozen frames from a bird in flight are rigged and animated into a garment-based interpretation of the pioneering work of the 19th-century photographer Eadward Muybridge, who first captured a sense of motion through a succession of stills — the original animated GIF.

Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital, Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NYC

Jan 23, 2014 14:01:00

Wearable Technology People May Actually Like

Looks like one of our 2014 predictions is already coming true. Last night at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, chipmaker Intel announced plans to explore the realm of wearable technology. The terrain, however, has been anything but smooth, judging from other tech giants. In response to its much-heralded Glass eyewear, Google can barely get more than an air kiss from the style-minded.

Intel has an advantage, though. They're working with Barneys and Opening Ceremony, as well as the CFDA, on a fashion-friendlier accessory — a bracelet — that presumably won't look like it belongs to a Russian robot from the '50s. OC will help with the design of the smart device, which of course would use Intel technology, while Barneys will carry it in their stores (as will OC).

“The collaborations we announced today are indicative of Intel’s collective and conscious approach to the wearable market,” said Intel VP Ayse Ildeniz. “Our shared vision is to accelerate wearable technology innovation and create products that both enhance peoples’ lives and are desirable to wear.” It's going to be a tough road, but no one said starting trends was easy.

We're probably excluding ourselves from the test pool, but please can it look like these? ...

Jan 07, 2014 20:09:00

Making a Deposit at the Porcelain Bank Just Got Real

A metaphorical indictment of society's addiction to luxury and consumerism, "these 24K gold-leaf capsules turn your innermost parts into chambers of wealth," says Ju$t Another Rich Kid's Ken Courtney. "Consume and digest."

A reissue of his 2005 "Indulgences" collaboration with the late artist-designer Tobias Wong, the glittering flecks safely disperse throughout one's bowels, gilding and beautifying its contents for your most sparkly bathroom visit ever. Talk about pot of gold.


Dec 15, 2013 23:05:00

Shoes That Can Explain Your Breakups with Girls

This is either super sweet and sexy or super vengeful and sexist. Chilean-born, New York-based artist and designer Sebastan Errazuriz has collaborated with Melissa, the Brazilian maker of jelly shoes, on a dozen shoes that depict his feelings about past relationships with women — some nice, others less so.

Sculptural therapy, if you will, the series comes with little anecdotes that explain the reason behind the breakup. Jetsetter Jessica, with an airplane for a heel, is so named because Jessica was too self-important; the Honey Natasha shoe, resembling a honeycomb, tells of a girl who was too nice; and The Boss Rachel can be worn like a dust-knuckle because that's what a bossy girl would do — and that's a deal-breaker.

Visit 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers

Dec 11, 2013 22:32:00
Grayson Perry's Scrotal Sack

Would You Have the Balls to Tote the Scrotal Sack?

A couple of nights ago, Turner Prize-winning UK artist and cross-dresser Grayson Perry appeared as his alter ego, Claire, in a documentary about the iconic London store Liberty of London — and he sported a very unusual bag. Take a moment or two and study this image. See if you can...oh, yes, it's coming to you now?

Called Scrotal Sack, it is exactly that, a leather handbag designed by himself and modeled after a human scrotum, wrinkles and goosebumps and all. And there's more. That flappy frontal nob? Yes, that would be a penis pierced in the foreskin with a little bell. Now take a look at the back. Uh-huh, yup, buttocks with a starfish in the center. Please, please, please someone produce these.

Dec 09, 2013 10:16:00

Susan Sontag Musings Where You Least Expect Them

Slogans are nice; Susan Sontag quotes are better. L.A. designer William Anzevino has emblazoned tees and sweats with the outspoken art theorist and cultural critic's more memorable musings: "Passion paralyzes good taste," "Sanity is a cozy lie," "Desire has no history." For the bolder bibliophile, the designer has even made dresses and button-down shirts printed with all-over type.

Sontag's most famous essay, Notes on Camp (1964), appears to have been left out, but given that Anzevino's previous obsession was the proto-porn homoerotica photographer Bob Mizer, we think he gets it.

Visit Anzevino

Dec 01, 2013 19:40:00
her by Opening Ceremony

Spike Jonze Partners with Opening Ceremony on "her" Merch

Following their Where the Wild Things Are collaboration from 2009, Opening Ceremony has once again teamed up with Spike Jonze, this time on a capsule based on his forthcoming film, her. Think endearing misfit.

Putting the off in office, costume designer Casey Storm created a distinctively nerdy look for the film's protagonist, Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, as he develops a curious intimacy with a computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Their strange love informs the women's and men's collection of color-blocked sweats, patch-pocket jackets, quilted shearling coats, and tees printed with scenes from the film.

$105 - $450, exclusively at Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles, and London (beginning in January) and online (beginning December 2) 

Nov 26, 2013 13:05:00
T-shirt by Thomas Dozol for ATO

Something Different: Thomas Dozol for ATO

Not long ago, French photographer Thomas Dozol had a gallery show at French Riviera in London, an exhibit of semi-nudes cast in black light. A friend of the Japanese men's label ATO showed up, liked what he saw, and suggested that Thomas and ATO team up on graphic tees and sweatshirts printed with the images. The results are stunning: despondent figures rendered in black and white against retro pops of color. 

Around $124 - 268 at ATO in Japan and (soon) at Opening Ceremony, NYC

Nov 25, 2013 18:44:00

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