Austria has incredibly broad libel laws -- so broad that they prohibit disgruntled voters from calling politicians "oafs" or "fascists." Predictably, this gave rise to a legal dispute between an Austrian politician and Facebook, when the former ordered the latter to remove a comment containing these two insults, and the whole mess ended up before the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU -- a person whose decisions are not binding, but are incredibly legally influential.
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Irene Posch and Ebru Kurbak's Embroidered Computer uses historic gold embroidery materials to create relays ("similar to early computers before the invention of semiconductors") that can do computational work according to simple programs; it's installed at the Angewandte Innovation Lab in Vienna.
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The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna started a program in 2012 that opened its doors for "remarkable creative individuals" to select pieces from their massive historical collection to present in an exhibition. Filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner Juman Malouf are the most recent curators in this program. So, for the last two years, they have been putting together their offbeat Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures.
Artnet describes the exhibit as "a totally quirky presentation of affectionate misfits":
Perhaps the duo’s penchant for the collection’s oddball items also stems from their own awareness of being outsiders in a prestigious establishment replete with trained art historians, curators, and conservators.
One senior curator said that some of museum staff were skeptical of the project at first. “We would get an email from Wes asking, ‘Do you have a list of green objects? Could you send us a list of everything you have that is yellow?’ Our data system does not have these categories.”
Because of this, the curators and conservators had to manually search their storage, an often painstaking process due climate controls and the condition checks needed, neither of which Anderson or Malouf were aware of.
The extra labor required was taxing, but the duo’s alternative criteria had a welcome side effect: It leveled the usual hierarchies. Several staff members said it resulted in new revelations. They just had to “learn to unlearn” their ways of working.
The exhibit opened November 6 and will be on view through April 28, 2019. Read the rest
A new report from the Institute For the Future on "state-sponsored trolling" documents the rise and rise of government-backed troll armies who terrorize journalists and opposition figures with seemingly endless waves of individuals who bombard their targets with vile vitriol, from racial slurs to rape threats.
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Al Ridenour, co-founder of Krampus LA and host of the Bone & Sickle podcast, has just announced that he'll be hosting an eight-day tour of authentic European Krampuslaufs (the Krampus Runs). This winter, from November 30 to December 7, he'll be taking folks to Austria and southern Germany to catch runs in Salzburg and Graz.
All the details can be found at the Kristmas with Krampus tour's site.
photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest
Austrian artist Martin Roth created an installation of grass sprouted in worn Persian rugs at the UK's Korean Cultural Centre; the grass sprouts, dies, and ruins the rugs. In between, the room looks and (apparently) smells amazing. Read the rest
Johannes Grenzfurthner writes, "My cinematic tour de farce through nerd culture comes to the West Coast. Upcoming Bay Area and L.A. premieres!" Read the rest
Argentine artist Tomás Saracen's installation, Becoming Aerosolar, is a gigantic hot-air balloon made from recycled plastic bags. Read the rest
Viennese artist Michael Marcovici's Rat Traders uses reward, punishment and selective breeding to create a strain of lab-rat that can predict the movement of international currency markets. Read the rest
Klemens Torggler's designed a thoroughly wonderful and mind-melting door system based on rotating, interlocking squares. There are several variations on the theme on his site, but the one above is the most elegant and polished of the lot.
Klemens Torggler`s doors and paintings
(via JWZ) Read the rest
A Day in Vienna is a 1978 (or maybe 1979) 30-minute TV documentary shot for Austrian TV during the tour for his (magnificent) album Blue Valentine. In addition to spectacular concert footage, the video also features Waits slow-dancing with a "Thai prostitute" at a bar in Vienna called the Moulin Rouge. Read the rest
Wolfgang Matzl (creator of 2011's Inception-as-Victorian woodcut video) writes, "This time I made something a little bit different - a stop motion animation with puppets made out of meat."
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Peter Purgathofer, an associate professor at Vienna University of Technology, built a Lego Mindstorms robot that presses "next page" on his Kindle repeatedly while it faces his laptop's webcam. The cam snaps a picture of each screen and saves it to a folder that is automatically processed through an online optical character recognition program. The result is an automated means of redigitizing DRM-crippled ebooks in a clear digital format. It's clunky compared to simply removing the DRM using common software, but unlike those DRM-circumvention tools, this setup does not violate the law. Read the rest
Johannes from Vienna's Monochrom sez, "Sierra Zulu is a dark political sci-fi comedy about the grotesque world we live in. Let's call it the bastard offspring of Catch-22 and Buckaroo Banzai, reborn with the soul of Harun Farocki. It's a feature film for activists and pessimists, historians and makers, diplomats and mercenaries, hot tub lovers and peasants, cell biologists and beer punks. And it has a bloody CREATURE!
The movie is doing great and we already have LOIs from great folks like Robert Picardo, Jello Biafra and Amber Benson, but one of the important movie grants here in Austria got declinded. So we have to get the rest of the money the usual way: by begging and ass-kissing our way through the private industry. And as we want to avoid that as much as possible, we created a Kickstarter campaign for July."
(Thanks, Johannes!) Read the rest
A Chinese property developer called Minmetals Land Inc secretly built a copy of a picturesque Austrian village called Hallstatt, building it in Guangdong province, the white-hot center of the Chinese manufacturing revolution, on a site 60km from Hong Kong. The Austrians are both proud and miffed, though the argument that ancient designs of buildings, or characteristic layout of ancient villages are somehow the property of their temporary residents is a bit odd -- sort of like claiming that because your town has a gothic cathedral, no one else should be able to reproduce its centuries-old design without your permission.
The original is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a China famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard.
The Chinese Hallstatt features a church spire, a town square ringed by pastel-colored buildings and angel statues. They're among architectural flourishes inspired by the original, a centuries-old village of 900.
Chinese secretly copy Austrian town
(Image: a downsized, cropped thumbnail from a larger picture on Spiegel.de) Read the rest
People sit in front of a house built upside-down by Polish architects Irek Glowacki and Marek Rozhanski, in the western Austrian village of Terfens May 5, 2012. The project is meant to serve as a new tourist attraction in the area, and is now open for public viewing. Read the rest