What Haiti Looks Like From Far Away

Now, finally, the world looks at Haiti.  The typical disaster storylines are served up, readymade from the bin previously marked “Hurricane Katrina” or “Kashmir Earthquake” or ‘Tsunami ’04”.  There’s the first wave of shock and speculation, an awe of the tragedy’s magnitude and not a little voyeuristic jolt of seeing such a terror from a safe remove.  The actuaries run the numbers and give ranges of deaths and tallies of expense while satellite photos are shot for before and afters.  Then, come the survivor stories and amateur footage from the apocalypse’s dress rehearsal, bookended by grimacing news anchors and wrapped in the networks’ scrolling ribbons of text. As I write this, we’re wading into the judgment stage where the horrors are put into context and the axes that have been grinding all along are revealed.  Survivors become ‘looters’, the victims are ‘impatient’ and the powers who gather with gifts begin […]

"Nuts to War!" Disney's Dinosaurs Show the Horrors of War

Remember that big rubber suit sitcom Dinosaurs?  Remember how it was the most incisive social commentary on television?  No?  OK, so you just remember wearing a t-shirt from K-Mart that said “Not the Mamma!”   Fair enough.  But the show had its moments.  And apparently the whole run is on YouTube, including the 1992 two-part parable about the Gulf War where the dinos go to war over pistachios. Of course, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Iran is the world’s largest producer of pistachios, giving the whole deal a bit more modern resonance.

Tasmanian Devils in Hamster Balls

You’ve heard what’s happening to the Tasmanian devils, right? Really freaky face cancer, spread like it’s oral herpes at a kino mutai junior prom. Wait, what? OK, Tasmanian devils, like their more famous cartoon counterpart, really like biting things.  Things like kangaroos and wombats and, hell, each other, all in the course of saying “hello” or “fuck off” or “let’s have sex”.  Along comes a cancer spread by gnawing on your neighbors face and all hell breaks loose.  Add that to the low genetic diversity of the species (apparently the stereotype of human Tasmanians also applies to the massively inbred population of devils) and the poor little monsters are dropping like flies.  Horribly disfigured flies. Efforts have lately focused on quarantining healthy individuals and setting up captive breeding programs to preserve the species.  This won’t do any favors for the cause of genetic diversity, though. The clear answer is to […]

[Noise Interlude]

I spent the weekend trying to catch up on what’s new but really, it all kind of sounds like there’s nothing coming out that’s not on a continuum marked “Surf-Fuzz” on one end and “Neo-Harry Chapin” on the other.  Putting canned orchestration behind one or the other doesn’t count.  I guess it’s just back to thrash metal for me…

Structure Synth is the DNA of the Machine That Will Consume All of Our Tomorrows

I woke from a dream of a 3-D printer that had gained sentience, hooking itself to a digester unit to feed its ravenous hunger for the raw materials of creativity.  Its mind was stuck in a loop, printing boxes that gained in size then shrunk, ebbing and flowing like a sine wave was at its center, guiding the flailings of its insane electric mind.  Buildings were struck down like a hand moving through water, then fed into its maw and spun out into these new, terribly precise shapes that soon filled the land from horizon to horizon. I’ve been playing around in the software genre of Things That Make Shapes, with little straightforward success but a pleasant amount of brain fermentation.  There’s the old stand-by Processing, of course, with its familiar code structure and broad scope to mess with 2-D, 3-D and audio.  And Terragen is a fun way to […]

Title Manifesto 2010

Yeah, like that. Before I get into things, I just want to say that we here at TITLE continue to be awed and flattered that you people are actually reading this, subscribing to it and following us on Twitter. A big thanks to the friends we’ve made along the way, all the folks who dig what we do, and every little thing that makes the little stat bar creep up, thus giving us a handy numerical value for our self-worth. But on to some talk about what’s coming down the pipe… What’s in a name? Yeah, it’s weird that we’re called Title of Magazine and there’s no magazine.  Got it.  The aim always was to find something that managed to not only be a magazine but also not to be a time-sucking, cash destroyer, puking ads and compromises all over the pavement.  A tricky thing, it turns out.  But that’s […]

Paint By Number Culture

Walking in any shop by the magazine aisle now feels like a Philip K Dick novel. I see magazines featuring people with mentions of going-ons in their life: a new baby, an argument with a spouse, a disruption of lifestyle. While these events are important to the person experiencing them, they matter little to a stranger. All these people on the magazines are strangers– I have no idea who they are, what they do and why I should care. Sometimes I feel as if I have slipped into an alternate universe where things are a bit different, such as Dewey defeated Truman or Buddy Holly is alive. I feel like a character in a Philip K Dick novel wondering how I ended up here and if I’ll need a canister of Ubik. I wonder who these people are and why they are famous or important. No one– even adoring fans– […]

Sean Hannity Owes the Troops $2 Million+

Mr. Richard Metzger over at Dangerous Minds chimed in yesterday with a reminder that there’s in excess of $2 million waiting for U.S. troops and their families.  The catch?  It’s money pledged to charity if Sean Hannity makes good on his promise to be waterboarded for charity. So what’s the hold up, Sean?  It’s not like you’d be the first journalist to be waterboarded under controlled circumstances.  It’s not like once it’s over it’ll happen another 182 times. Rhetorical question, of course.  Sean Hannity can dismiss the U.S.’s use of torture and make false macho claims because no one who listens to Sean Hannity actually expects him to go through with it.  People already listen to Sean Hannity despite the fact that he appears to be a marshmallow with a hairpiece and rabies.  Once you’re willing to get your news from a cartoon character, it’s not like you’re expecting a […]

One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick

Matt Kish is redecorating the interior of the Melville classic Moby Dick. In August of 2009, I was really restless. I remembered seeing a book where the artist Zak Smith had made one illustration for every page of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow. I was really blown away by how amazing his art was, and by the whole idea in general, so a while later I decided to try the same thing myself. Only instead of Gravity’s Rainbow I decided to work on my favorite novel, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Before this, most of the art I made had been excessively detailed, really overwrought, and incredibly time consuming to complete. I got really sick of working like that. I wanted something different, so I decided that for the Moby-Dick project I would do one piece a day, every day, until I was done. And I have a full time job too. […]

MK1 MIDI Controller at ITP NIME 2009

MK 1 MIDI Guitar at ITP NIME 2009 from Aaron Cael on Vimeo. Headed out to the NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) show this past Tuesday to do a little fitful start of the actual journalism thing. Shot a lot of blurry video so there’s more to come. Above’s a little number that got mentioned on the Make blog this week: the MK 1 MIDI controller. Ain’t that sweet looking? The blurb on the show flyer sez: The MK 1 is a programmable MIDI controller in a familiar form factor. Comprised of 32 LED pushbuttons and six touch-sensitive copper plates, the MK 1 allows the user to control music synthesizers by means other than a traditional keyboard. Finally an upgrade to enable the keytar player to actually get laid after the show. Excellent. We need those guys breeding. More on this later as I slice things up and ask […]