Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
In a wonderfully strange and imagination-provoking exercise, Brian Boyer has created the Very Slow Movie Player. The hand-hacked device plays movies in e-ink (like a Kindle) over the course of days instead of hours. Instead of being the center of a carefully curated experience (dark theater, bright screen, captive audience), the film is subject to the vagaries of light, shadow, and time. It’s art, and narrative, and film, and books, sort of, all at once. Super geeky and fun, and includes some intriguing thoughts on the use of e-paper in public spaces, too. (Hat tip to Jason Kottke for this one.)
As the architectural equivalent of Ninja Cat — a non-binary between moving and stillness — ePaper walls offer a way to play with a handful of interwoven timelines: the minutes of human rituals, the hours of our planet’s rotation, and the months of earth’s annual orbit around the sun. We might create a wall of William Morris wallpaper patterns that blossom and whither [sic] with the seasons, at the annual pace of the seasons. Or use footfall sensors to track visitors and add one black pixel to the walls for each person who enters, very slowly turning the walls from black to white in a digital obliteration room. Or add to the predictable shadows that fall across the facade of a building with fantastical digital supplements.
Framed as an examination of Ted Kaczinski’s influence on a new generation of ecoterrorists, John Richardson’s coverage of the anti-civ (anti-civilization) movement less terrifying than poignant. The thread of violence is muted (outside of outright terrorism, which is not the primary subject of the piece). The threads of desperation and grief are bright — and woven through with simple silliness. Maybe in this world of incels and alt-righters, it’s hard to take environmental extremism as seriously as we ought?
Four years into this bizarre pilgrimage, Jacobi is something of an underground figure himself — the ubiquitous, eccentric, freakishly intellectual kid who became the Zelig of ecoextremism. Right now, he’s about to skin his first rat. Barefoot and shirtless, with an old wool blanket draped over his shoulders, long sun-streaked hair and gleaming blue eyes, he hurries down a rocky mountain trail toward a stone-age village of wattle-and-daub huts, softening his voice to finish his thought. “Ted was a good start. But Ted is not the endgame.”
This detailed investigation into China’s use of technology to surveil its Uyghur population is, on the other hand, absolutely terrifying — author anonymous for their protection. Pair it with the New York Times profile of the full-time staff who scour social media to erase China’s history of human rights abuses as it’s being made.
A few years before then, Chinese video cameras appeared in Tibet that were capable of sending the state messages about the movements of specified people targeted for surveillance. They looked like rotating orbs the size of a human head, and they were equipped with two “eyes.” My Tibetan friends believed the anthropomorphic design was intentional, a deliberate scare tactic. But in Xinjiang, when Chen Quanguo, known as “the repressor of Tibet,” became the secretary of the local Communist Party, police tactics took on a magnitude that was frightening even by Tibetan standards.