Seoul Fiction,
Jun Yang

Seoul Fiction is a road movie about an old couple who take a journey on a bus from the countryside to the city to visit their children and grandchildren in the city of Seoul, Korea. Movie opens with the scene of an empty bus stop which has direction stickers (left-right) placed on it. Elderly couple at intervals start a conversation with each-other with accompanying scenes of the changing landscape from countryside to the cityscape, while conversation between them uncloak their memories and their unfamiliarity and surprise through the transitions in city life. While sharing their opinions about this world strange to them, they cross-question ‘change.’ We sometimes hear lines such as “what a new world”, “at least they have it better than us”, “everything has changed.” Dialogue between them also becomes more abstracted with voice-overs as sequences progress. Fiction and reality are interwoven with sequences created about where they will meet their children, and the built city like a stage set. 15 minute movie is a tribute Yasujiro Ozu’s respected Tokyo Story as well directors Jacques Tati and Alain Resnais. I am happy their journey was not the tragedy we watch unfolding in Tokyo Story.

Curse on Minoru Yamasaki,
Relationship Between Pruitt-Igoe and 9/11

Thanks to Metahaven’s book Corporate Identity I learned about the curse put on Minoru Yamasaki, an American architect who designed the World Trade Center complex, the Twin Towers, and Pruitt-Igoe. All of these architectural buildings have their own tragedies. We all know about Twin Towers so I want to dwell a little on Pruitt-Igoe. It was an urban housing project in St. Louis, Missouri in 1954; a planned gentrification project to clean slum areas, predominantly populated by the black population. After 16 years, the area confronted saddening problems due to various social, economic, and cultural reasons, the conclusion to which was supplied by dynamite (like it never existed). Once again a poorly thought out political agenda ruined lives and stole low-income families’ hopes for the future. By neoliberal policies cities are apportioned according to the demands of the money market. Pruitt-Igoe is a disgraceful instance of failure in modernism, and its post modernist architecture was found throughout the USA and other countries with the power of politics. But one thing that really matters was forgotten once again: People. Segregation on a social, cultural, economic and ethnic scale has resulted in concrete jails in urban-renewal projects. And Minoru Yamasaki was just one of those architects whose work darkened the lives of people unknowingly.

Sealand,
Micronation

Micronations are the what-if fantasies of reality. As you may know, Sealand is a former defense fortress tower inherited World War II, just six miles off the British coast. Paddy Roy Bates, a former major in the British Army, proclaimed the international water a favela in 1967 and named it the Principality of Sealand. Sealand then became an independent nation with prince and princesses, although as a nation it was not generating an income. Via forged passports created in the 1970’s nation put stamp on history as an rising market. Sealand hosted illegal, forbidden or risky information, especially with regard to copyrighted and intellectual property. It became a free web space and data haven for refugees, for instance a popular example being Napster. The state’s business failed over time, but Michael Bates, the son of Roy Bates is the current head of state. The internet’s role in the micro-nation’s full life story matters considerably. Information became the most vital lifeblood of its existence. Yet the popularization of Sealand could ultimately ensure the collapse of its role as a public data haven. There is still much to learn from Sealand’s attitude on open source data, which opens up new spaces for those opposed to legal barriers; it resembles a pirate state for information. “We propose that Sealand become an issue-based state, entirely devoted to appropriating world issues; the Principality of Everything.”

Mercedes Mon Amour (1992),
Tunç Okan

Mercedes Mon Amour (Yellow Mercedes in Turkish) is a Turkish road movie shot in 1992, a turning point year for Turkey socially and economically. New politics in Turkey’s historical records have normally leave behind dilemmas and problems citizen’s have to deal within daily life realities. The worker recruitment agreement between Germany and Turkey started in the year of 1961. Millions of people moved to Germany with false papers of statement of health, and credential for works. The movie gives us a glimpse of Turkish guest worker Bayram’s timely journey from Germany to Turkey with his Yellow Mercedes. Returning home with a Mercedes was, for an ex-pat, a phenomenon, a sublime and ostentatious action showing the better life standards or status of worker compared to that available in their native land. The story of Bayram is fictionalized around this phenomenon and overall touches subjects of social pressure both in foreign and native land, rapacity, traffic accidents, symbols of wealthy life, materialism and confusion. This is a social landscape movie with a feeling of stillness and distance. Viewers find themselves watching Bayram’s story from the front window of his car, recounting a realistic typological portrait that touches your sentiments.

Leaderless Politics with International Pirate Parties Reader #3,
New World Academy

I have found this small, promising book called Leaderless Politics sharing pirate party spokesperson opines about their visions on liquid democracy and various subjects. Pirate Parties history can be traced back to Pirate Bureau, a Swedish organization that opposed the manner in which open culture platforms like The Pirate Bay were prosecuted as mentioned in the book. I also believe its connected to Hakim Bey’s Book Pirate Utopia. I picked some quotes which I found valuable to share.
1 “ We don’t need bigger systems; on the contrary, we need to downsize them so that they can truly serve us and so we can truly shape them. “
 by Brigititta Jonsdottir: a poetician, activist in Icelandic Parliament for the Pirate Party
2 “ The political, legal and jurisdictional consequences of the cloud are slowly becoming apparent-right at the time when we are unlikely to withdraw from it. The cloud is just too good…But the story is not over yet. Will the anarcho-libertarian roots of the Internet kick back at the cloud’s centralized architecture- or are they forever overrun by it? Has the cloud assumed its final form, or is there still a time and a place for surprises?” by Metahaven: is an Amsterdam based research and design collective on the cutting blade between politics and aesthetics.
3 “ It seems to me that in order to avoid death by a terrorist’s bomb, we have instead chosen for death by a thousand legal cuts to our liberties and rights…We feel that the problem lies in the fact that parliaments are not protecting our democratic rights, but rather seem to be abusing the global fear concerning terrorism in order to take those very rights…” 
by Dirk Poot:  is a blogger, programmer, politician, and spokesperson for the Dutch Pirate Party.

Mark Verlag Publishing,
Astrid Seme & Thomas Geiger

There are rare moments when you might think your profession is boring and useless. Excuse me, but you are the one who is boring. That is how I felt when I came across the Mark Pezinger Verlag publishing house which creates artists’ books ranging from one off editions to performance-related publications and audiobooks. They publish solid content and material, with a strong sense of form and a sincere humane touch. Obviously they are working with great artists, and it is clear that Astrid Seme and Thomas Geiger run a publishing house that is full of energy. More interestingly, the existence of this publishing house came about as a result of a side project called “I Want to Become a Millionaire.” This was a performance project begun in 2010 to create a funding mechanism for new independent projects and to explore people’s desire to become millionaires. It looks like this public performance has worked so far; to date Geiger has earned €23,356.

Black Transparency,
Metahaven

I’ve been an admirer of works of Metahaven for a while now. Their project “Black Transparency: The Right to Know in the Age of Mass Surveillance” was published as a book by Sternberg Press, and they have released a related video on Vimeo. They ask the difficult questions about the contemporary issues of user privacy and online activity. We all live our lives confused about how to conduct ourselves in the digital realm. Metahaven provides useful advice on this topic, and a rounded explanation of the situation in this video.

To Joy,
Sebastiaan Bremer

Sebastiaan Bremer has a unique style, expressing his ideas in a range of collaborative mediums. His technique of drawing onto photography, as well as his candid imagery, has attracted me to his work for some time. He creates art which reflects the way he feels, and writes the way he speaks. The topics he deals with include family, death, and sex, with each of his pieces informed by his own experiences and personal anecdotes.

Serial Psycho Interviewee,
David Sherry

David Sherry, a performance artist who was awarded at the Beck’s Future Awards in 2002, is a recent discovery for me. I am most intrigued by his “Serial Psycho Interviewee” project which was published in book format by Mark Pezinger Verlag. This is a piece of investigative performance art for the unemployed. For three months he acted as an eager interviewee looking for work, and was invited to four interviews, and received 22 rejection letters. In his own words, he “found it difficult to unearth one single edifying grain of moral fortitude from the interview process, masquerading as an interviewee enabled [him] to collect information about interviewers, offices and stuffy offices.” Needless to say, the performance art medium is an effective and powerful way of exposing the details of daily life that we become accustomed to.

Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives,
Simon Menner

The Stasi, the East German secret police service, employed over 300,000 people as secret agents and spies. Large numbers of top secret photos of these officers were unearthed at the organization’s archives, and subsequently released in this book by Simon Menner. It is a funny and at the same time sad collection. I mainly loved the moustaches and fake hairpieces that were used. When flicking through the pages, it is hard to believe that these handsome men were agents. I experienced conflicting feelings looking through this book, and learned to not judge people by their appearance, and to suspect all hipsters of being undercover spies.

Interactive Investigation on Pirate Fishing,
Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera continues to look for ways to produce and organize progressive reportage with interesting content. In this project, users are invited to investigate and collect information on pirate fishing, an issue which affects the lives of locals in a country in which 70% of the population live in poverty. Over the course of the investigation, users research in collaboration with reporters and various authorities trying to prevent illegal fishing. We, as virtual activists guided by videos, photos, and maps, are asked to chase trawlers and gather evidence of their actions to present to government authorities.

Cabin Porn,
Zach Klein

This volume comprises a collection of images of cabins in many different landscapes, and serves as a joyous book. Who wouldn’t want to have a friend own a cabin like one of these, by the edge of a lake, in a hidden forest, or perched on a hillside for a weekend getaway and barbecue? In fact, this book offers even more than that. Zach Klein, the creator of this project (and also co-founder of Vimeo), inspires us by presenting an alternative way of living for our short lives. I adore the architectural ideas, the buildings’ design, and the comfortable interiors on display in the book. I support the idea that living with less is much better.