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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Mauritania in photos, a Mr. Bingo rip-off, dog TV and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 17 August 2013

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1. Dog TV

With 24 hours of advertising-free programming, the first television network for dogs recently launched through DirectTV. As ridiculous as it sounds, the network founders claim the color-enhanced programming can help dogs—whose owners are away most of the day—with separation anxiety. At just $5 per month, it may just be the cheapest form of therapy out there.

2. Drug Use and Genius

Sigmund Freud, Steve Jobs, Carl Sagan and even Thomas Edison all dabbled with drugs. History begs us to ask if there is a link between genius and an increased likelihood for drug experimentation. Jobs never kept his appreciation for the expansive power of LSD a secret, but Francis Crick, of the DNA-structure discovering team was also an outspoken believer. Edison used cocaine elixirs and even Bill Gates admits to psychedelics. In fact, a fair amount of tech and scientific visionaries had a drug of choice, ranging from marijuana to ketamine. It's uncertain if there is a definitive link between intellect and such experimentation, but the hypothesis does seem to be gaining momentum.

3. This Must Be The Only Fantasy

A bizarre fantasy-game-come-to-life sort of short story, filmmaker Todd Cole's "This Must Be the Only Fantasy"—made in partnership with the Creators Project—centers on one bored teenager's suburban adventure, involving unicorns, sword fights and fairies. Creative, confusing and inspiring, the film features Rodarte's beautiful Dungeons and Dragons-inspired SS '13 fashion line and original music by Beach House and Elijah Wood.

4. Parkour Indoors

A city-based outdoor sport with hardcore participants that became a YouTube sensation, Parkour (PK) has found itself a new home—at local gyms. Defined by dazzling acrobatics occurring in public spaces, a principal of PK is improvisation—practitioners play off their spaces. Chance factors in, as do instincts. Thus, many purists are opposed to a new commodification sweeping the United States. Parkour gyms are springing up replacing railings and scaffolding with cushioned pits and monkey bars. It doesn't stop there. Private classes, children's birthday parties, tailored apparel and even insurance policies have stripped the renegade nature of a rebel sport. It can be perceived as growing up, blowing up or selling out. Whichever it is, a level of access is being granted that seems to oppose the very nature of PK's self-taught roots.

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5. Mauritania, A Montage

Travel photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich posted images from his trip to Mauritania, taking the reader on a documentary-like adventure through a country that's deemed unsafe for travel and has a "high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping." Tourism has thus dropped significantly, distinguishing Mauritania from its more popular North African neighbor Morocco, and resulting in more natural interaction with locals. Kanashkevich writes candidly about his trip and his images, rethinking cultural misconceptions about Islamic societies along the way. Through the portraits, sandstorms, tea-times and oases captured on film, learn why every nomad dreams of owning binoculars and observe children memorizing the Quran from tablets—the kind that don't require any charging.

6. The Permanence of Donald Judd

NYC-based artist Donald Judd, who passed away nearly a decade ago, was a pioneer of permanent installation as a practice, in contrast to galleries and museums. He was the first to build permanent large-scale installations in Marfa, Texas and started the exodus to the southern desert, now a cultural haven for contemporary artists. In 1968, Judd bought his home, a five-story building in Soho, and filled it over the years with art, furniture, and decorative object to create a " permanent museum" for his work. This aligns with Judd's belief that the place where art resides is part of the artwork itself; his New York home was finally made open to the public this summer.

7. Talking in 25 Languages

Next time you're overseas, leave your travel apps and dictionaries behind. Sigmo is developing a pocket-sized device that will translate speech in 25 different languages using Bluetooth connection with your phone. Speak into the device and the translation will play back through Sigmo's speaker. Though it won't work without signal, the team is working to make a voice vocabulary available for download for those dire travel situations. With eight hours of translation battery life and over 300 in standby time, the device is ideal while on the go. Sigmo is looking for $15,000 on Indiegogo to make their project a reality.

8. Pride Not Prejudice

When the country of England—so committed to its sterling pound that there is even a lengthy Wikipedia article titled "United Kingdom and the Euro"—announced its new 10-pound banknote would replace Charles Darwin with Jane Austen, everyone from citizens to university professors had their say and nay. Avoiding the politics, graphic designer Paula Scher, partner at Pentagram and the master of recasting identities from MoMA to the Metropolitan Opera, instead gave her two cents on the banknote's actual design. She explains why a complicated, messy banknote is more believable, what changes she would have made to improve it, and finishes with something to chew on: "My hope is that in the future all money will derive from our fingerprints."

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9. Toto Koopman

T Magazine's latest "Close Read" features the illustrious life of Toto Koopman, the first famous biracial model, posing for the likes of Chanel and French Vogue in the 1930s. As a model gone spy, her fluency in six languages proved to be an asset as she worked for the Italian resistance through WWII. From runway to Nazi internment camp, from lover to lover, nothing could bring down her fanaticism for life. Read more on T Magazine where you can check out the latest Koopman biography, "The Many Lives of Miss K."

10. Trouble with Society6

This week, UK illustrator Mr. Bingo informed Society6 that one of their artists—ironically named "Thug"—was displaying and selling copyrighted work without any kind of OK from Bingo or the other artists he ripped off. This isn't the first time this problem has surfaced with Society6. The unchecked selling of artwork online is apparently much easier than getting the company to take unchecked artwork sales offline. Society6 has removed the "Thug" sales page after some impassioned Bingo tweeting, but has not proven to be especially cooperative in the past. Get the full scoop from Creative Review.

11. Inside the '70s with Blondie

Chris Stein, guitarist for the iconic band Blondie and former lover of lead singer Debbie Harry, has revealed a collection of photographs that only an insider could have snapped. Captured across years within the punk-rich '70s music, Stein's photos offer intimate exposure to the intermingling of the scene's numerous personalities. Stein managed to record much of the movement within punk and New Age, where Harry, Joan Jett and even Andy Warhol figured into what would become a cultural explosion. Now 24 of Stein's prints, mostly pertaining to Blondie's early years up through the mid-80s, are on view at Los Angeles' The Morrison Hotel Gallery.

12. Andy Gilmore + Ghostly

To see inside the mind of artist Andy Gilmore, Ghostly went into his home in Rochester, New York, for a new short video documenting the creative process involved in making the kaleidoscopic creations. From finding inspiration in nature and switching from pencil to pen and now computer, an organic progression has lead his work to evolve freely. Coincidently, a new series of Gilmore's prints are now available through The Ghostly Store.

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