For awhile I thought that sassy artists & web designers working for sassy festivals and galleries were into brutalist, hard to use web pages because they want to challenge their audiences (See: brutalistwebsites.com ). It seemed there was a design movement which opposed the production of passive audiences. But I’ve now understood that these styles are not rebellious, they are compliant: Artists and organizations have messy web pages only because they rely on social medias. They can afford complicated, even artistic sites – Because they reach their audiences primarily through facebook events.
I’ve been thinking about style and ecology during the past weeks. I’m shocked by the amount of usable stuff I can find from the streets (clothing, electronics, tools and furniture etc.) and the amount of plastic they use in shops (orange juice is sold in solid plastic cans, which are as sturdy as flower watering pots I use in Finland ). In Finland I can imagine having an ecological impact by recycling and wearing second hand clothes. In NYC I understand that my environmentally conscious decisions do not have any impact.
In this city, ecologically steered design and arts, are reduced into mere fashion statements. Ecological orientation serves as a class signifier.
How to formulate this critical observation into a style and a movement? I currently think the most equalitarian and ecological style is to have NO-STYLE. Pickup, wear and use anything you find from the streets. When you see a person who is wearing ecobrands: Inform them that they are misguided (possibly by vomiting, like one of my favorite artists Kristofer Paetau during the artforum incident in 2005). The only sustainable way forward is to have NO-STYLE. To go forward we need to consume toxic stuff, learn plastic crafts and listen to algorithmically generated playlists on youtube. Pietari suggested the hashtag #deathhack for these efforts. More reading on class, looks and hiding your class with looks: So You Think You’ve Got Class? (2017) Charlotte Shane (Also related: Sebago docksides rant).
I’ve made a functional and novel sound pedal. The circuit is based on the Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer but I made some mistakes in the assembly, which cause the circuit to behave oddly. It doesn’t work like a bitcrusher, which the DGD is supposed to be. It self-oscillates and creates tunes which are affected by the level of the volume input and potentiometers, it also plays the radio and works like a distortion. A very interesting device (powered with a 9v battery / pedal power supply). As I understand the CD4049 (Buffered) is not grounded and I think the weird behaviour is caused by the signal & voltage working their way to the ground, through the potentiometers. It works great with drums, and creates changing melodic synth and bass lines which follow the rhythm. I added a LM386 amplifier (as an integrated circuit) to the effect to make it louder (The LM386 can also be powered independently so that it acts as a “clean” boost).
The circuit is housed in a Civil Defense V 750 (Model No. 5B) Dosimeter Model No. 5 Charger (C2-2). Serial No. 0005296. Which has been manufactured by the Industrial Electronic Hardware Corp. in New York City (Brooklyn!). The device was intended to reset radiation dosimeter values. If I understand it correctly these kinds of devices were available in fallout shelters during the cold war era in the city. This particular device was manufactured ca. 1962. I repurposed the potentiometer (10k) of the V 750 and used it controls the LM386 output. I’m currently waiting for potentiometer knobs and I’ll make a video of the device after I receive them. I call it the Civil Defence Crusher. It goes well with the Berlin Wall Distortion. Together they form the Sound of Cold War Infra custom guitar pedal series (Ore.e Ref.).