A few reads from this past week for your weekend. For now, you can find these on README which is an experiment I’m still trying via Telegram.
History’s first call on a hand-held wireless phone was made on April 3, 1973, by a Motorola executive named Martin Cooper. Mr. Cooper had developed the phone himself and, having a cheeky streak, decided to step out onto Sixth Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, and call his rival at Bell Laboratories to gloat a little.
Three principal forces pulled off this coup. There was Google, with its software and services; Samsung, a South Korean electronics giant waking from its slumber; and China, where a stunning economic rise created a massive audience for life-changing gadgets. Together, this unwitting coalition created an unprecedented technological transformation.
There are two questions surrounding artists and their archives. Why do artists keep them? And what is worth keeping? Legacy and ego certainly play a part in answering the first question, as does an acute awareness of one’s mortality. But in the last century alone there has also developed a clear distrust of institutional integrity, an overall unhappiness with what white cube galleries and museums can offer. A creative desire has arisen — as the sculptor Isamu Noguchi experienced when he opened his own museum in 1985 — to preserve the context of an artwork alongside the work itself. In 1977, Donald Judd, who saw the paintings of a previous generation of artists scattered across collections or neglected, with little effort toward genuine conservation, wrote, “My work and that of my contemporaries that I acquired was not made to be property. It’s simply art. I want the work I have to remain that way. It is not on the market, not for sale, not subject to the ignorance of the public, not open to perversion.”
As the story goes, Googie got its name when the architecture critic Douglas Haskell was driving around Los Angeles researching a story about all the new splashy coffee shops he spied in the city. He saw Googies, a West Hollywood coffee shop with a bold red roof, and decided to name the style after it.
Millions of first-time internet consumers from the Ivory Coast to India and Indonesia are connecting to the web on a new breed of device that only costs about $25. The gadgets look like the inexpensive Nokia Corp phones that were big about two decades ago. But these hybrid phones, fueled by inexpensive mobile data, provide some basic apps and internet access in addition to calling and texting.
Go to Coney Island. Go when it’s so hot you want to fight strangers taking too long at turnstiles, when you have contemplated the hygienic consequences of sleeping with a bag of frozen corn in your armpits. Go when your life is a nightmare; go when your life is so good you want to forgive your enemies. Go when your life is neither of these things, when each day is just in dull slow-motion and only the grease-shined sun-drunk mayhem of a carnival laid along the ocean can hot-wire you. Go when it’s Wednesday. Go for no good reason. Go in March, when after dark not one soul is there besides two meaty old men moving along the boardwalk with a triumphant bounce, dragging fishing poles behind them, the hooks swinging in the wind.