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After Authenticity
"Meanwhile, years of semantic slippage had happened without me noticing. Suddenly the surging interest in fashion, the dad hats, the stupid pin companies, the lack of sellouts, it all made sense. Authenticity has expanded to the point that people don’t even believe in it anymore. And why should we? Our friends work at SSENSE, they work at Need Supply. They are starting dystopian lifestyle brands. Should we judge them for just getting by? A Generation-Z-focused trend report I read last year clumsily posed that “the concept of authenticity is increasingly deemed inauthentic.” It goes further than that. What we are witnessing is the disappearance of authenticity as a cultural need altogether.

Under authenticity, the value of a thing decreases as the number of people to whom it is meaningful increases. This is clearly no longer the case. Take memes for example. “Meme” circa 2005 meant lolcats, the Y U NO guy and grimy neckbeards on 4chan. Within 10 years “meme” transitioned from this one specific subculture to a generic medium in which collective participation is seen as amplifying rather than detracting from value.

In a strange turn of events, the mass media technologies built out during the heady authenticity days have had a huge part in facilitating this new mass media culture. The hashtag, like, upvote, and retweet are UX patterns that systematize endorsement and quantify shared value. The meme stock market jokers are more right than they know; memes are information commodities. But unlike indie music 10 years ago the value of a meme is based on its publicly shared recognition. From mix CDs to nationwide Spotify playlists. With information effortlessly transferable at zero marginal cost and social platforms that blast content to the top of everyone’s feed, it’s difficult to for an ethics based on scarcity to sustain itself.

K-HOLE and Box1824 captured the new landscape in their breakthrough 2014 report “Youth Mode.” They described an era of “mass indie” where the search for meaning is premised on differentiation and uniqueness, and proposed a solution in “Normcore.” Humorously, nearly everyone mistook Normcore for being about bland fashion choices rather than the greater cultural shift toward accepting shared meanings. It turns out that the aesthetics of authenticity-less culture are less about acting basic and more about playing up the genericness of the commodity as an aesthetic category. LOT2046’s delightfully industrial-supply-chain-default aesthetics are the most beautiful and powerful rendering of this. But almost everyone is capitalizing on the same basic trend, from Vetements and Virgil Abloh (enormous logos placed for visibility in Instagram photos are now the norm in fashion) to the horribly corporate Brandless. Even the names of boring basics companies like “Common Threads” and “Universal Standard” reflect the the popularity of genericness, writes Alanna Okunn at Racked. Put it this way: Supreme bricks can only sell in an era where it’s totally fine to like commodities.

Crucially, this doesn’t mean that people don’t continue to seek individuation. As I’ve argued elsewhere exclusivity is fundamental to any meaning-amplifying strategy. Nor is this to delegitimize some of the recognizable advancements popularized alongside the first wave of mass authenticity aesthetics. Farmer’s markets, the permaculture movement, and the trend of supporting local businesses are valuable cultural innovations and are here to stay.

Nevertheless, now that authenticity is obsolete it’s become difficult to remember why we were suspicious of brands and commodities to begin with. Maintaining criticality is a fundamental challenge in this new era of trust. Unfortunately, much of what we know about being critical is based on authenticity ethics. Carles blamed the Contemporary Conformist phenomenon on a culture industry hard-set on mining “youth culture dollars.” This very common yet extraordinarily reductive argument, which makes out commodity capitalism to be an all-powerful, intrinsically evil force, is typical of authenticity believers. It assumes a one-way influence of a brand’s actions on consumers, as do the field of semiotics and the hopeless, authenticity-craving philosophies of Baudrillard and Debord.

Yet now, as Dena Yago says, “you can like both Dimes and Doritos, sincerely and without irony.” If we no longer see brands and commodity capitalism as something to be resisted, we need more nuanced forms of critique that address how brands participate in society as creators and collaborators with real agency. Interest in working with brands, creating brands, and being brands is at an all-time high. Brands and commodities therefore need to be considered and critiqued on the basis of the specific cultural and economic contributions they make to society. People co-create their identities with brands just as they do with religions, communities, and other other systems of meaning. This constructivist view is incompatible with popular forms of postmodern critique but it also opens up new critical opportunities. We live in a time where brands are expected to not just reflect our values but act on them. Trust in business can no longer be based on visual signals of authenticity, only on proof of work."
tobyshorin  2018  authenticity  culture  anthropology  hispters  sellouts  sellingout  commercialism  kanyewest  yeezy  yeezysupply  consumerism  commercialization  commodification  personalbranding  branding  capitalism  shepardfairey  obeygiant  tourism  sarahperry  identity  critique  ethics  mainstream  rjaymagill  popculture  aesthetics  commentary  conformism  scale  scalability  venkateshrao  premiummediocre  brooklyn  airbnb  wework  local  handmade  artisinal  economics  toms  redwings  davidmuggleton  josephpine  jamesgilmore  exclusivity  denayago  systems  sytemsofmeaning  meaning  commodities  k-hole 
april 2018 by robertogreco
jwz: They Live and the secret history of the Mozilla logo
So that was the time that I somehow convinced a multi-billion dollar corporation to give away the source code to their flagship product and re-brand it using propaganda art by the world's most notorious graffiti artist.
mozilla  jwz  computerhistory  shepardfairey 
october 2016 by zozo
OBEY Mozilla
The story of the Mozilla logo
shepardfairey  mozilla  jwz  design  logo 
october 2016 by nelson
Gi Ma on Twitter: "Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey"
Gi Ma on Twitter: "Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey" Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey from gima2327, June 26, 2015 at 01:56PM, gima2327, Twitter June 26, 2015 at 02:01PM
IFTTT  bitly  ShepardFairey 
june 2015 by heyyouapp
Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey | usnewse | Pinterest
Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey | usnewse | Pinterest Where To Find Shepard Fairey's New, Huge Mural In Detroit Shepard Fairey #ShepardFairey from gima2327, June 26, 2015 at 01:56PM, gima2327, Twitter June 26, 2015 at 02:03PM
IFTTT  bitly  ShepardFairey 
june 2015 by heyyouapp
What's on Your Wall? Mike Maxwell - Behind The Scene: The Art And Drama Of Making Art In San Diego
"As soon as I walked into Maxwell's house at the beginning of January to meet him and appear on his Live Free Podcast, I knew I'd have to come back with Sam Hodgson to feature the artistic contents of his home in our What's On Your Wall? series. We've already checked out artist Kim MacConnel's Encinitas home, and art gallery director Ben Strauss-Malcolm's home in Golden Hill.

Most of the art in Maxwell's house he procured by trading his own work. He's collaborated with some of the artists, worked for others, curated shows for still others. "I would pay top dollar, if I had top dollar," he says."

[See also: AND AND ]
mikemaxwell  sandiego  artists  homes  2011  kimmacconnel  shepardfairey  mikegiant  randyjanson  barrymcgee  davekinsey  elcajon  benstrauss-malcolm  yerinmok  ryanjacobsmith  isaacrandozzi  classideas  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
SAFFRON // 2 mins on Vimeo
"A documentary about the intersection of street art, politics, and human rights in Burma . With Shepard Fairey and Aung San Suu Kyi. 90 mins Dir. Jeffrey Durkin"

[Trailer (and film) has footage from the mural that we saw go up around the corner. Also here: ]
sandiego  southpark  breadtruckfilms  shepardfairey  streetart  2011  2012  2010  documentary  saffron  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco Should Jay have the right to claim the derived....
"“Should Jay have right to claim derived image isn’t fair use & ask for cease & desist? Yes. He’s not, as many are saying, a dick for his opinion. Should Andy have the ability to defend his stance that it is fair use. Of course. Should it take the kind of money that only either corporations or the very rich can easily afford to spend in order to get a judge’s ruling and find out? Definitely not. That’s the real problem here.”

James Duncan Davidson writing about The Maisel vs Baio Incident.

I strongly agree…Currently US (&, largely, UK) ration access to law on ability of both (sometimes prospective) litigant & defender to pay, rather than merits of case.

Another piece…mentions Shepard Fairey vs AP case (Obama Hope poster) would have made great case law. Instead…ended w/ out of court settlement. Shame.

(…another public service which has more demand than access—health care…UK largely rations through need, via NHS…US dependent on employment, age, & to nontrivial extent, mone)
andybaio  law  litigation  money  power  government  copyright  fairuse  2011  paulmison  corporations  corporatism  legalsystem  us  uk  helathcare  via:preoccupations  employment  age  settlements  outofcourtsettlements  shepardfairey  associatedpress  ap  obamahope  jamesduncandavidson  photography  ageism  agism  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Thierry "Mr. Brainwash" Guetta loses copyright case with photographer Glen E. Friedman
(Above Left: Photo of Run D.M.C., taken by Glen E. Friedman Above Right: The invitation which Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, used for his debut exhibition 'Life Is Beautiful'.)

Thierry Guetta, the figure at the center of the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, just lost a court case which could result in significant damages.
Sean Bonner broke the initial news of the legal dispute here on Boing Boing, in a guest blog post this January.
From the Melrose and Fairfax art blog:

A judge just ruled against Mr. Brainwash in a lawsuit from photographer Glen E. Friedman claiming that MBW used his iconic photo of Run D.M.C. without permission. Mr. Brainwash had argued that the photo had been altered sufficiently and could be used under the 'fair use act'. But the judge disagreed, and, MBW's haters will be excited to hear that the judge "ruled that Guetta can't defend his work as transformative fair use."

The Hollywood Reporter has the full story, and covered earlier news of the dispute here.

More at the UK Guardian, and Thomas Hawk's photography blog, and at

Some will ask how this case is different from that of the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey, over Fairey's iconic Obama poster. Some context: Fairey is a creative collaborator and friend of Friedman, and Bonner, and crossed paths with Guetta, as those of you who saw "Gift Shop" will recall. Sean Bonner covered that question here in detail, in a previous Boing Boing guest blog post.

 Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash sued for copyright infringement ...
Banksy speaks about Exit, Thierry/Brainwash, and filmmaking ...
Art_and_Design  Copyfight  Culture  Ripoffs  pop_culture  art  banksy  glenefriedman  hiphop  hiphop  shepardfairey  streetart  thierryguetta  from google
june 2011 by jmkeiter

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