Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Down, More to Come

Hats off to any of you who have attended, played or followed DO IT! since we started out in a dark Doric November back in 2008 - we celebrate two years of events and collaborations this month!  From the moments Jon Reid, Jonathon Brown and I (Alexander Horne) sat in my parents house evolving the idea having returned inspired from several years in Barcelona, to the kind gesture from our last performing artists in Oslo - it has been an exciting journey and great excuse to meet people pro-actively involved with culture across Europe. Photos from our 2nd birthday shindig in Aberdeen can be found on Resident Advisor. At our closing Oslo show, Halvor Bodin once again set the visual barometer high with a complete package of pre/post event work to combine with his ever-evolving live performance. Pics from this and other shows can be found on our FB group here.
videos: DU 'Softness' (Sprutbass remix) and Rustie 'Bad Science' by Halvor Bodin, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Re-newed Frontier

Bucharest was a fruitful trip in terms of culture intake and productivity earlier this year, the latest and final piece of work as a result of that visit has just been published on Architonic. Read the 'Bucharest: The 2010 Mix' article and my previous contributions for the Zurich based magazine here. As much as the city was an eye opener with an elegant decay of opposing styles - pieces from the imperial past melded with influence from outside and around the neighboring Western and Eastern worlds - creative discourse appeared to be be at a shy and emergent stage. One of the few creatives to actively assist in the article research process was Corvin Cristian, whose interior design for the re-vamped former stock exchange building can be seen in the images above. Bucharest is not a perfect city but, it is an exciting place to visit and energizing to hear from locals with visions for what could be. Staying at a place like the Hotel Rembrandt certainly benefited the experience, as too did my hosts.
images: Advertising agency Headvertising's Bucahrest HQ, interior design by Corvin Cristian

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

press: Think issue 7 'Future'

Think have been looking ahead with their timely 'Future' issue coming out at the turn of a decade. For this issue I supplied the cover design and an article on the burgeoning Bucharest scene, featuring fashion designer This Is Lü and graphic talent MihaMiha. It was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to design the cover so I set to work on a unique piece. The result; a 3d pixel amazon-scape alluding to how a digital future can alter our vision of the natural environment. View it here.
image: front cover by Alexander Horne, Think magazine issue 7 'Future', 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

art: Appplesmash

In a society where convenience and familiarity regularly wins over pragmatism and social openness,  I was delighted to discover Michael Tompert and Paul Fairchild's 12LVE exhibition this week. Although it can be argued that Apple products are a well designed piece of equipment,  recent episodes have left me feeling part of a minority observing swathes of cash ready consumers lurch towards the latest gadget in the brand-led belief that it will greatly improve their life. Turning your back to other punters in a cafe or bar to play a retro video games or being wired to emails buzzing through 24 hours a day is not a social progression in my eyes.  In Norway alone the statistics are startling, almost 20% own an Iphone. As much as a great gadget it is for business, watching grown up professionals fight to whack their gadget out reminds me of being in a Primary School gym class observing the tension between owners of a pair of Nike air sneakers and the poor chap with the Hi-Techs  mulling about in the corner. Which is why it is so refreshing to see someone smash up some Apple products for the sake of art. These products are not perfect untouchable icons, this exhibition reminds us of the lack of natural aura consumer products have and of their temporary existence. Read more  here.
photos: from the 12LVE exhibition by Michael Tompert and Paul Fairchild, San Francisco 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

city: Bucharest Beat

All the blood, sweat and beers that go in to running events in two cities throughout the year seems to pay off (never financially!) in Autumn time. Last year DO IT! collective were hosted in Helsinki and Bergen for two differing gigs but equally fun trips during August. This year it was just me (Uraki Riddim) on a solo trip to Bucharest via Copenhagen in late October.   Copenhagen opened my ears to an exciting instrumental beats scene which is arguably the strongest right now in Scandinavia, the label Hobby Industries and New Folder collective making up the best of it. Bucharest peeled back my eyes to an otherworldly place.  Hosted by ex-pat DJ and journalist Tom Wilson, I was given the insight needed to map my way through a city that without assistance I would have struggled to grasp.  Full of contrasts, romantic and mysterious historical corners it is a metropolis like none other I have visited. Playing at Ota's minimal looking basement club (complete with kitchen for making hearty soups) alongside Tom was incredible, the crowd were so locked in and ready to dance - someone name checking and asking for a spin back on a Mike Slott tune will surely be a once in a lifetime request! Props to Fresh Good Minimal for press, check them out for a lowdown on the Bucharest scene.     
photo: from the excellent Bucharest based photo blog Revelator//Planet34 by Andrei Mocanca

Sunday, October 10, 2010

music: Oslo Institution Closes

It is with a relative degree of sadness that The Villa closed their doors after one last dance on 2/10/10.  Although the club had sat below pizza institution Hells Kitchen for less than five years, it had won a place in many music aficionados hearts in Oslo and from overseas. From New Wave to old age disco via dubstep, skweee and house - the club was the only spot in town close to rekindling memories of clubs such as Edinburgh's The Venue and old Bongo Club (sadly also both defunct). For readers not familiar with those venues, perhaps the best comparison came from one revered DJ visiting for a set during Oslo Live who compared The Villa to Plastic People in London - only better. The Oslo nightscape maybe changing with the arrival of new venues and rumors of takeovers on the horizon but, in the meantime we salute you The Villa; door and bar staff, regulars, visiting acts and in particular the booking team of Tore Jazztoback (Ost from Ost&Kjex) and Scot Electric Lane (Jen McConachie). It was a pleasure to play there on several occasions and in particular for our DO IT! event during Øya 
video: Oslo Experimental presents: DO IT! Oyafestivalen, The Villa 13.8.10 by Halvor Bodin

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

press: Think issue 6

Think magazine issue 6 came out some weeks ago and marks something of a landmark for the thought provoking and aesthetically conscious publication. Editor of the magazine Jacqueline Carlisle has upped the output ante of Think by introducing not only web and Iphone apps but, also pressing a limited run of actual physical copies. With an article from talented Scottish designer Scott Jarvie and my own regular contribution discussing issues related to the 'Progressive' theme, there should be something in there for not only designers but also those interested in ideas and sustainable issues we face today. You can read the latest issue here.
image: LEED certified Cherokee studios by Pugh & Scarpa, Los Angeles 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Architecture by Night

As reported by design blog Its Nice That - one of my favorite projects of recent years is back! Kubik is a pop-up club concept from Germany which pits raw urban architecture with electronic music in a fluoro Blade Runner-esque temporary space. The creators of the project, Ballestra Berlin, have previously taken the club to spots as diverse as Eindhoven, Dubai and Warsaw. The temporary structure is constructed using disused septic tanks joined by an outer metal membrane, each tank has a small L.E.D inserted in them which is connected to a midi control that allows a VJ to control the lighting patterns. When I first saw the Kubik concept in Barcelona I was in awe of how an already scenic space (next to a port) was transformed into a theatrical and functionable culture venue by night.
video: by Chad Samson, Barcelona 2007

Thursday, August 19, 2010

DO IT! abz 20.08

Heading back to the Granite City to drop some of the new Dødpøp wax I picked up from the guys having played out with them at The Villa a couple of times this past month. Especially looking forward to playing some records before and after Lamplighter's first full live show since he dropped his debut LP on Antimatter. Lamplighter's ever evolving sound caught our eyes and ears since the very first day we started this whole DO IT! jaunt. Chris Clark, John Carpenter and Prince Paul - these influences are all in there. Warming up for Cars & Trains on a cold and dark Aberdeen night some years back, he managed to capture the darkness of the nordic spirit with a peephole of light and communicate it through a crisp layered sound that could be best imagined as a beats incarnation with more attachment to folk than the grimey boombap or new jackswing that swaggers loudly at the moment. I'm going to playing with our Aberdeen residents Kid Bell and White Chocolate, with Uber AV (M.O.C. & Ben) on the visuals and a selection of Aberdeen's street aret continuum adding some live illutstrion to the event. Check out the Resident Advisor events page or fb event for more details.
poster: by Sio, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

RA: Singles Reviews

What with Resident Advisor just being nominated for a BT Digital Music Award for 'Best place to discover new music' I thought it would be an appropriate time to have a quick run down on some recent single reviews I've dispatched on their site. To vote for RA  - click here to register and vote. 3 releases varying from disco to beats - all with an underlying cosmic vibe, in reverse order from oldest to the latest.
First up is Spanish visionary Mweslee and his Eurocarne EP for Mamiko Motto's ever evolving Nod Navigators imprint. From the outset this release has been one that stands out; it is very apparent from the variety of production and depth of musical knowledge demonstrated on this EP that the producer is someone who has most certainly served their music traineeship.  Five years DJing at an R'n'B club obviously hasn't done Mwes much harm, he is now at the forefront of new Spanish music alongside others such as his Arkestra label partner Bflecha and Lo Fi Funk honcho and DJ extrordinaire Chelis. Check out the review here.
Closely related in the classification game and gaelic background - LuckyMe duo DomSum and Martyn Flynn aka The Blessings first official release, also on Nod Navigators, is ethereal and impecably referenced. Covered in a light cosmic blanket with a sweet underlay of new jack swing, hiphop and acid euphoria you could listen to this Ep at dusk or dawn. As with the Mweslee release, the greatest thing that can be said about this release is that it is interesting, relevant and enjoyable music and not just a one genre representation or scene jumping horse. I cannot wait to hear more from these two, read about the EP in greater detail here.
Similarly euphoric but, more directly aimed for the dancefloor - Skatebård's Starwatcher release on Luna Flicks is an EP which divides opinion. As a live performer, producer and DJ his status in Norway is unquestionable and it is certainly worthy of some greater attention outwith of the Nordic domain.  However, on this release for the two good productions from the man himself it is let down by some substandard remixes - most notably the Plastique De Rêve mix which could have been found in a 90s trash can.  Nonetheless, for the strength of the originals this EP is well worth picking up. Check out some more about it here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Øyanatt: Oslo Experimental presents DO IT

Friday 13th was a massive night for DO IT! and Oslo. Through support from Oslo Experimental, we had the privilege and power to book two of the finest active purveyors of contemporary music alongside a showcase of the best of Norwegian skwee, a legendary graphic artist and our very own Norway based residents and regular collaborators for a memorable Øya festival party at The Villa. While Cupofill went all Friday 13th with Jason masks and blood red markers in the lounge, the Dødpop crew treated those who managed to fit in the backroom skwee shop to a barrage of lofi funk squeaks and blips that included Beatbully, Sprutbass and a live debut for Kapteien Melkevein's new Mother North project. The main room got hot and sweaty to Inko's heavy hitting opening DJ/live set before I spun some slower experimental beats as a prelude to Dorian Concept, whose tailored live show transformed the club into a dancing pit of awe and joy. Inko and I took it up a notch to get things ready for the much anticipated live show of soon-to-be Warp album debutante Rustie, which as expected tore up what remained of the club. All this was complimented by some industrial influenced imagery from VJ Pop Com and some incredible disected and deconstructed works from the well-known Norwegian designer Halvor Bodin aka VJ Superlow. More coverage to come soon!

poster: by Alexander Horne (me) and Cupofill. 2010 / video: Sprutbass 'Matt Huffley' by Halvor Bodin

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Logo Design: ESRU, Universitat de Barcelona

Considered to be the best university in Spain, The Universitat de Barcelona has over 30 specialist research units focusing on expertise in subjects ranging from mathematics to sociology. One of these academic and research organisations, The European Social Research Unit, contacted me with the request of a new identity design to be used for an upcoming international conference and thereafter as their continuous brand image. The brief requested something similar to the existing Universitat de Barcelona logo. The result was simple and bold with the social quirk of a slanted main image and highlighting of key words in the logo text.
ESRU logo design by Alexander Horne

Monday, July 26, 2010

press: Nytt Rom (No)

Some busy days freelancing and traveling with pen and paper at hand this past few months so just catching up with old news here at New Ink. Clean, minimal, spruce fresh and classy - Nytt Rom is a beautifully crafted publication from Norway that goes beyond the presentation of designers and their products. Every issue editor/designer/creator of the magazine Hans Petter Smeby single-handedly invites readers into the realm of the featured designers' living rooms and kitchens; sometimes asking them about their inspirations and other times intricately photographing the little details of their lives in the studio or at home. Late Spring this year, I had the honour of being invited to feature in the magazine for a small-medium sized apartment special. Hans Petter visited our place, asked some questions and took some snaps from my portfolio and new living abode. You can pick up the current issue for the next few months at any good newsagent in Scandinavia and by mail order on the internet from anywhere else in Europe. I'll also be keeping a few copies on hand if you want to see what the mag looks like.
Nytt Rom #19, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black Denim Wars

Was pretty impressed with Anti's black metal takeover at PechaKucha Oslo a few months back whilst showcasing their black denim label, Anti Sweden. This public act and some well thought out international collaborations, that include gore artist Justin Bartlett and more recently Jeremyville, really spell out this Norwegian label as one to watch amongst the sea of Swedish fashion sharks that dominate the Oslo high streets. Its been refreshing to see a Norwegian label turn the tide on an image of being a rich consumer paradise to a country with dark soul and witty come backs of their own, in reply to the permanent jibes from the yellow and blue neighbours. You can read my article and interview with Anti in Vice Style here.

video from Hintmag on Vimeo. 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sonar 2010

Just about recovered from the 2010 edition of Sonar festival and accompanying events. While last year could have been seen as a welcome return to form for the festival in the face of competition from other local festivals - this year Sonar excelled itself with the representation of more homegrown performers and the increase in actual music acts. Gone were the almost staple diet of Detroit techno kings playing the closing hours at Sonar night and in its place more bands, live shows and a whole Friday night stage more less dedicated to hip hop.
Thursday kicked off with a sizzling hot party organized by the former Friends & Family promoters, now called Plat Du Jour, in collaboration with Hyperdub that witnessed pretty much the full Hyperdub roster, Mweslee, Guido and Flying Lotus as a special guest alongside a host of others. Rolling out of bed the next morning was difficult and I was unlucky to miss Arkestra's BFlecha playing live in the RBMA stage. Alongside Noaipre and her later performance in Sonar Galicia with Arkestra leader Mweslee - it was refreshing to see such acts finally get some recognition and what I hope will be continued support. Other performers from Barcelona and around Spain at the main Sonar event worth noting were; Delorean (uplifting trippy fun but quite flat), the future psychedelic drone of Narwhal, a disappointing John Talabot who whirled between his more interesting recent production and tedious tech house, a promising petite poppy performance by Lucrecia Dalt and a solid daytime DJ set at the outdoor stage by Annie Hall.
Of the big acts for those with more discerning tastes; complete with towel on head and fetching female aides, Moodymann played a wonderful midday ode to vinyl - spinning solely slabs of wax with live playlist commentary, a real education for the techno heds. Flying Lotus went as far out as to drop some Weather Report on Friday night (the first time someone dropped jazz at that stage!?) and gave everyone who plays only one genre of music a lesson - jumping from beats to jazz to deep house to electro to garage and back again. Joining these two in the big name league; Hudson Mohawke who also played off Sonar events most nights and the Saturday LuckyMe showcase complete with hippo mask disguise. Friday night he made his own with a memorable DJ set alongside Olivierdaysoul on the mic - his presence and sounds filling out the 8,000 capacity SonarPub stage.
Although there was many other acts worth mentioning, Hovotron playing a live set at new Barcelona record store Discos Paradiso for a Lo Fi Funk showcase being one, the main surprise and show stealer was Brooklyn gal Pursuit Grooves who I only previously knew as one of the producers featured on the first Beat Dimensions compilation from 2007. Curious I made my way to the front and was blown away with the soulful jaw jack beats and house euphoria of her live set. Punching pads from a Dilla tiempo through to a bouncy house hop via uplifting acid house moments - she even had time to jump on the mic to whisper some slick rhymes, when not jumping energetically around the booth. A fantastic live show which, had everyone in the RBMA tent grabbed and bouncing. Listen back below:

Images from RBMA and Sonar.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DO IT! oslo 25.06

Coming up to end of June and time for the third DO IT! Oslo session at the hallowed home of music that is Blå and it's gonna be BIG. We got Mweslee - one of the hottest and most exciting beats talents around playing a live set - alongside one of Norway's finest proteges playing one of his last gigs before his Berlin move, Telephones - and lets not forget the talented groups of residents that include local illustration crew Cupofill, VJ Pop Com, myself spinning wax and potential Norway's first real beats representative Inko who shares his Domenican origins with a life in the nearby Oslo town of Tønsberg. Music is going to take in anything from jazz, funk, soul, boombap, garage and beats with a nice tropical underline. Something for the floor and something to go home and remember the next day as a cultural experience worth mouthing about on Monday morning. Big up Tom at La Cocina for helping us hook this one up. Oslo you have been warned -
Å FROM 22:00 DO IT!
Poster: by Alexander Horne (me) 2010.

Monday, May 31, 2010

DO IT! live jam # 1

End of May and getting ready for some major upcoming DO IT! gigs, The Villa on the 12th June and 25th June at Blå with esteemed and much revered guests Mweslee and Telephones, myself (Uraki Riddim), Inko and the Cupofill illustration crew hooked up for a bit of a jam session. Inko has been working on some really sick live stuff recently developing his already progressive production skills, on show on his myspace, and through online releases such as the great Oscillations compilation. I dropped some beats and scratches on one turntable and a mixer while Inko went through his new beats on the MPD. As with all DO IT! events there was a visual backdrop; on this occasion it was Cupofill, who sketched with some fat black markers on white paper live to the heavy sounds we created. Attached are some pics from the session and a rough recording (real rough as this was the first time Inko and I ever hooked up). We hope you enjoy it. It's gonna be something fresh and ready to bust your eardrums and a groove for June 25th!
Live session 28.05.10 by Uraki Riddim

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nou Norge Gem in the Rough

Scotland on Sunday recently published my travel piece on coastal Norwegian town Ålesund. The vibrancy of the town combined with the enthusiastic forward thinking from local creatives such as architects Sandbakk & Patterson and the owners of design hub and gourmet coffee cafe Invit left me with a memorable and favorable impression. Aside from these innovators there was room for restauarants with water-side access to allow for the delivery of fresh seafood everyday and a hotel designed by the world renowned architects Snøhetta, Hotel Brosundet. While the experience was resoundingly positive, when comparing my hometown of Aberdeen to Ålesund it paints a grey picture of the lack of culture vibrancy supported by the local state and private sector in Scotland's Granite City. With proposed projects such as concreting over a renowned Victorian garden (one of the only green spaces in the city centre) to become a carpark and consumer playground it is left to young artists to support themselves and develop Aberdeen's culture identity independently. One of the few sprouts of green shoots in the creative sector in Aberdeen has been the transofrmation of a derelict basement site into the base for 26 Collective. I hope that for the sake of the city, these young innovators are allowed to flourish and paint a more gleaming picture of the city.
scanned image of Scotland on Sunday, Spectrum magazine 9th May 2010.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Designer Roots

Jacqueline Carlisle's ever improving Think magazine recently released their fourth issue in time for Earth Day. My editorial contribution in the latest issue comes in the form of a piece entitled 'Designer Roots' and aims to introduce readers to the existing world and potential of Biomimicry. In conjunction with this field, architects such as Oslo based Bifokal have opened my eyes recently to the potential design can have as a tool for tangible knowledge value as opposed to the hot air we have become accustomed to from certain other designers in recent times. Design inspired by nature has a refreshing ring to it in the hangover of a period of excessive consumption and greedy attempts to defy nature's logic. As much as I felt for those left stranded and apart from loved ones, there was something refreshing with the recent flight restrictions due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland. It would be great if for one week a year we could plan in advance to stop all flights as to ease congestion and stop the incessant and ridiculous notion that we need to move non-stop around the world at all times. Master of marrying the poetic daydreams of yesteryears philosophers to modern day dilemmas - Alain de Botton published a great article about the notion of a world without planes. Read it here.
photo from Biomimicry workshop at AHO in Oslo by John Christer Høiby 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Catch of The Day

Way back mid 00s; amongst the energetic illustrations and polemic wordage of hyperdope Lowdown magazine I came across a write up on a guy called Flying Lotus. Didn't need any encouragement to hit up his myspace after reading up on the Coltrane and Dilla links and wasn't exaclty dissapointed! What has happened since then, not many could comprehend. Going into Summer 2010 it is as if we have gone back to the early 90s - the heydays of triphop, beats and 808s - when post rave festivals such as Tribal Gatherings were getting off to DJs like Krush and James Lavelle (pre Unkle). Sounds from 'grimey London', 'sunny Cali' and the 'motorcity folklore of Detroit' stir the imagination before even listening to anything so it has been of great pleasure to recenty discover some Nordic talent outside of these big hitting 'beats' hotbeds. A graphic designer and hottly tipped producer to boot, Offshore comes from my hometown Aberdeen. His beats and mixes meld raw energy with maturity and music knowledge that are rarely found by Djs over indulging in one of the many genres that he splices and blends with ease. Over the North Sea, Inko has been surviving the Norsk winters for over five years developing a sound which shares the melodic rough bristles of Flying Lotus with exotic boombap depth. Be sure to try catch them at the following DO IT! nights;

OFFSHORE - DO IT! abz - May 7th at The Tunnels

INKO - DO IT! oslo - June 25th at Bla

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Ink in 3D

New Ink is going 3D! None of that 90s 3D cereal box giveaway nonsense though. In fact, we are working on some fresh ropa (clothes) straight outta Oslo. This Summer, New Ink will unveil three fresh t-shirt designs and the Uraki pattern tote bag (check out Uraki Riddim myspace for the design). Uraki pattern was inspired by the discovery that the first ever city in the world was from Iraq, Uruk. Uraki represents the terminology for a citizen of this first city. The other designs will be inspired by the contents of the blog - architecture, beats, illustration, landscapes and abstraction. Check out some of the early sketches and be sure to get in touch if you are interested in picking up one of these hot cakes pre-release.
Illustrations by Alexander Horne (me) 2010.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

DO IT! oslo 12.03

Our second DO IT! session in Oslo welcomes some of the biggest droppers of mektig (heavy) beats this side of the Viking peninsula, the Bitch Boys, spinning hot tracks next to an exciting live solo project from promising Bergen band, Leif and The Future. All this mixed in with our intercontinental Oslo residents and Cupofill, one of the freshest crews to hit Oslo, since they first imported Colgate, will be throwing the laws of illustration out the window and getting down to a serious live ink'n'sketch session throughout the evenings proceedings. MIR is a bric brac artsy hide away bar shrowded in internationally famed graffiti artist' pieces in a building which contains a lo fi music studio used by local punk bands and uber hip illustrators and graphic designers Yokoland. Turn up and represent if in the Oslo area and for those in Aberdeen make sure to catch some of the artsy goings on throughout Saturday evening 13.03 and culminating with a DO IT! night at Tunnels.
Poster: by Alexander Horne (me!) 2010.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Scando Robot Funk

Wading through the splutter of very ordinary Indie acts at Norway's by:larm festival last week, I came across my first direct experience of Skwee music courtesy of a night dedicated to it at underground Oslo club The Villa. Skwee has been bubbling under the radar for a while since one of the genre's first international introductions via Sonar 2008. It generally sounds like future funk made by machines from the era when they looked like cyborg robots and has roots mostly from Scandinavia, particularly Sweden and Finland. I had a chance to meet one of the scenes driving figures, Mesak, during by:larm and got so excited by the sounds I heard at The Villa and on his new album The School of Mesak - I've written a review about both that night and the album. There is something for beats heads, disco, house and even grime DJs in this album - be sure to get on this Scando-wagon and pick it up!
Skwee/Mesak street tag

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Design Think-ing

'Intrinsic Incision' article featuring Ronen Kadushin is now published in issue 3 of US based, sustainable design magazine Think. I will be contributing design editor for the same magazine's forthcoming special 'Earth Day' issue which will be online around the end of April, to coincide with other Earth Day events around the globe. Earth Day originated around 1970 as a day of educational talks and debate to raise awareness about environmental concerns. You can find out about some of the various events going on throughout the globe on the Earth Day network site.
Think magazine issue 3

Thursday, February 4, 2010

À bon chat, bon rat

Suffering from post-cheap flight travel trauma and subsequent illness from the multiple chicken marching arrangements (extensive bus journeys, caged into tight squadrons of ill travelers before embarking and vice versa) put paid to any previous words about my recent Paris jaunt. Here are some nibbles from the French metropole of amour and tardy waiting staff; Staying around the Château Rouge area of Paris was grimey warm - like onion soup - charming, colorful and full of slapdash market stalls. The daily contraband operation at nearby Barbès metro was a theatrical masterpiece; sellers moving back and forth to the changing of traffic lights or loitering like seasoned flâners. One of the lures of Paris on this occasion was a return to the Rex Club for a set by legendary mixer Francois K. You can check out my review of this event on Resident Advisor. Ultimately, the best cultural olives in this swing-by-trip were the burgeoning design and culture scene in Bastille and the vibrant and youthful burst of bars in Oberkampf.
'ticket collage' by Alexander Horne, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Breaking the ice

Street culture, urban expressionism, creative jams - these exist to a minor extent in Oslo but, it's just there does not seem to be any visible showcase or cross field collaboration going on with them. If a tiny paint shop at the back of a night club and one store dedicated to street-affiliated threds and pleasures, Hunting Lodge, is pretty much all there is to show - it cannot be a healthy thing! Or is it going to change.....just recently Oslo based trio Ole, Lars and Martin brought some life and well needed urbaine vigour to the cities artscape with their 'All Bottled Up' exhibition, held in the cavernous confines of a student bar with free beers (near impossible in Norway!) and a live show by synthy new wave Bergen talent Leif. It was a welcome addition to whats (not) going on here and thankfully like the kind of event you would find in cities such as Barcelona or San Francisco. Check out some pics from the exhibition below or read the write up they got on Superfuture.
'All Bottled Up' photos by Alexander Horne, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oi Oi Osloposters

Last Saturday we held our first DO IT! event in Oslo at a tiny artsy hide out called Sound of Mu in the Grünerløkka district. The turnout was average but, the music on offer from our guests Proviant Audio and DJ Woo was of the highest eclectic quality. We initially had some sound problems what with fitting a full brass ensemble, conga drums, bass player, beat maker and djs into such a small space but hit the high notes for originality regards the billing and uncovering of a new Nordic talent, Proviant Audio. Norway based or visiting people can catch them live as part of the music festival By:Larm next month, which this year is run by head honcho of the seminal Norwegian imprint Smalltown Supersound - Joakim Haugland. Anyway, it might not have moved too many people but, my latest DO IT! poster got published on Osloposters - a great resource and community for the art of poster design in Oslo by designer Stig Andersen. It gives me great pleasure to be recognized alongside some of the eye catching posters around here and I only hope other people start up similar sites around the world in the hope of resurrecting the dying 'art of the poster'. Thanks to Jan for photos on the night!
'Nordic Eye' poster design by Alexander Horne, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Ability to Sustain Sustainability

''To be taught to write or speak – but what is the use of speaking if you have nothing to say? To be taught to think – nay, what is the use of being able to think, if you have nothing to think of? But to be taught to see is to gain word and thought at once, and both are true.'' John Ruskin / Selected Writings (Oxford World's Classics)

An article for Architonic magazine questioning the tangibility of the terminology 'sustainability'; it's common misconception, examples of use and how we could use such terms in an eco-effective and holistic manner. The article, entitled 'Sustaining Sustainability', features references to the excellent Architecture for Humanity group and an introduction to recently developed 'sustainable' programs such as Cradle to Cradle design and Miljøfyrtårn. As discovered through the harsh reality of economic downturn - the Western world has been overproducing and consuming. Many design services are sprouting through the rust of those who have bolted themselves to the sinking ships of dated production mechanisms. But, who is governing these design services? What gives these companies the power to certificate producing designers? These are issues that need to be addressed as design molds into something that can bare more visible relevance to all in society. Read the full article HERE. Godt Nytt År (Happy New Year) as they say here!
'Sustainable Pie' illustration by Alexander Horne, 2009