Discover more from In Bed With Social
Exploring these intriguing contemporary revelations that speak volumes about our era.
Starting this summer, I'm introducing a fresh monthly snackable format that combines curation and personal analysis, serving as a companion to my long-form posts. I invite you to immerse yourself in these nuanced signals that unveil insights about our ever-changing world. While some may not require full-length articles, they offer fresh insights into my previous publications. Take a moment to explore and enjoy them at your own pace. Enjoy the read ;)
🎨 Tangible Art. Over the years, museums have sought to make art more interactive, exploring new ways to engage visitors. While augmented and virtual reality have introduced immersive projections, a new trend is emerging, driven by a desire for disconnection and for a more hyperphysical experience. Two compelling examples showcase this evolving shift. Firstly, I recently discovered the concept of "Fibrilles," an experience that blends physical activity with the world of art. Its founder, Vincent Leyrat, shared his perspective: "We often remember the moment we visited a museum, the person who accompanied us, or the small details that captivated us while reading a book, rather than the artwork itself. Through Fibrilles sessions, the artwork comes alive within and around us, creating a deeper connection." Similarly, the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam has unveiled a temporary studio where visitors can receive tattoos inspired by the master's iconic works.
🔎 The meh-taverse is dead. With Disney and Microsoft shutting down their metaverse divisions, and as Meta tones down the hype, raising the question of whether the metaverse is transitioning into the meh-taverse, it's important to consider that it may not be the metaverse itself that has perished. Instead, it could be the overhyped expectations and flawed definitions that have hindered its progress. However, amidst this landscape, there may be a game changer on the horizon - Apple.
Apple is renowned for its ability to enter new markets after the initial wave. Remember how the iPhone eclipsed BlackBerry & Co.? What sets this tech powerhouse apart is its unparalleled talent for rendering its competitors' visions obsolete, resonating with the concept of the "reality distortion field" associated with Steve Jobs, who reshaped the world around him... just like a mixed reality headset could do.
And that's where Vision Pro comes in. Early competitors lured us with travel and “teleportation”. New “entertaining programs” awaited. But Apple takes a different route. Apple aims higher: be the TV, not merely another program. Be your own life amplifier.
🙃 Post-irony, and the saga continues. The concept of post-irony, which I've previously discussed, where irony is purposefully employed to both satirize and transcend its sarcastic nature to express nuances of sincerity, continues to manifest itself in various ways. Since my article, three examples have highlighted this trend. Firstly, a collective auctioned off a nano bag with a surface area of less than a millimeter, inspired by a Louis Vuitton design, thus mocking the mini bag trend. This accessory sold for $63,000 on Joopiter, Pharrell Williams' auction website, who is… the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton Homme. Secondly, Shopify has created a tool that cleverly indicates the financial cost of meetings, notorious time-consumers... in a noteworthy parallel to a user's previous satirical interface envisioning? Lastly, Real Housewives of Clapton, a meme page, has attracted 70,000 followers by mocking the obsession of some London residents with outrageously expensive olives. The page even inspired an ephemeral menu featuring dishes inspired by these memes, at a local wine bar.
🛍️ Netflix, from streamer to retailer? While the streaming giant has announced the launch of a pop-up restaurant where one can indulge in dishes inspired by its series, this news holds more significance than it may seem. In my view, it represents two intertwined trends. The first is defictionalization, bordering on hyperphysicality, which involves grounding fictional characters or experiences in reality. The second trend is the emergence of a powerful revenue channel. In recent months, the American behemoth has been experimenting with the concept of "soap shopping," including an online store where fans can purchase clothing and accessories inspired by the series, while fashion brands also seek to establish their presence in this realm. While Netflix has previously demonstrated its ability to successfully pivot its business model, is this yet another remarkable transformation in the making?
🔌 Meta-Aggregator? Zuckerberg's company launched Threads, its Twitter clone, quickly gaining momentum by leveraging Instagram's extensive user base, and it's fascinating to consider that converting just 18% of Instagram's users would match the scale of Twitter. If successful, it could chart a new course for the social media giant: becoming a kind of social aggregator.
Allow me to elaborate on my reasoning. In the ever-evolving social media landscape, users are increasingly drawn to niche and personalized networks. However, these networks often face challenges in achieving widespread popularity due to their limited audience reach. This presents a distinct opportunity for Facebook to establish itself as a more pervasive presence, aligning with its core strategy of ubiquity.
The acquisition of Giphy was a strategic move in that direction. Gifs transcend barriers, extending beyond social media to infiltrate emails, slacks, and various digital channels. In essence, gifs embody digital ubiquity. However, regulatory challenges compelled Facebook to sell Giphy, prompting them to reassess their strategy and find new ways to achieve their goal. It is evident that Facebook, at least publicly, is embracing an open approach, exemplified by the launch of their generative model LLaMA in open source.
So, could Facebook's exploration of meta-ubiquity pave the way for a new era of social media aggregation?
🌡️ Stay cool, stay fashionable. As the temperature rises, so does the demand for innovative solutions. From heat-reflecting white paints to advanced cement formulations, the phenomenon is gaining momentum. However, an intriguing manifestation of this trend can be observed in the world of fashion. Neck fans have become a sensation on Amazon, while the "facekini" has attracted its own legion of devoted fans. With celebrities embracing mini fans as the ultimate accessory, one can't help but wonder, when will the fan-purse make its stylish entrance?
📸 Photoshopping is dead, long live fauxtoshopping? This new term signifies the creations made using Adobe's groundbreaking generative fill feature, which harnesses the power of generative AI to produce photorealistic objects, backgrounds, and scene extensions. If you want to witness the technology in action, check out its remarkable application to Van Gogh's masterpiece, "Starry Night," available here.
Smokepocalypse. The harrowing wildfires in Canada have sparked the imagination of futurist Alex Steffen, who, while reflecting on the New York sky, coined the term "smokepocalypse." With a poignant phrase, he remarked "Our skies are full of the ghosts of forests" (Via Patrick Kervern)
🌐 Para-Real. We're all familiar with IRL (in real life) and URL (online), but what about ORL (on real life)? This term refers to augmented reality experiences that enhance our perception of reality. Hard to keep up right? According to the New Design Congress, para-real is "an emotional and transformative state that emerges at the intersection of electronics and reality, creating a hybrid, ephemeral, and enigmatic third space." In the realm of art, Joseph Ford's "Impossible Street Ar" embodies this concept. By adding art to photographs and seamlessly integrating them back into their original locations, Ford unveils an impossible reality where artistic freedom knows no bounds. It's a glimpse into a parallel universe, a visual manifestation of the para-real.
💢 Tech Backlash: The revolt against technology is growing stronger. As the youth rebels against Snapchat's My AI bot, and AI camouflage clothing gains popularity, unexpected methods are being used to combat autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, such as placing traffic cones on car hoods to render them inoperable. Even in Kenya, tea pickers are destroying machines that aim to replace them. Meanwhile, users of platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and various media outlets, as well as actors and artists, are taking a stand against the unauthorized harvesting of their data by AI. As The New York Times puts it, "at the core of these rebellions lies a new understanding: online information, including stories, artworks, news articles, forum posts, and photos, holds significant and untapped value." Are we on the cusp of a new era of resistance, questioning the status quo? Could this mark a paradigm shift, with the rise of "AI walls" and a bifurcated world where humans and artificial intelligence exist in separate (digital) realms?
Imperfection Perfected. According to Matt Klein, Head of Trends at Reddit, the year 2022 witnessed r/AmItheAsshole becoming the world's most visited subreddit, while r/TIFU (Today I Fucked Up) experienced remarkable growth among the top 50 communities. Another example of this trend is seen in the impressive +345% growth of r/True0ffMyChest in just one year, placing it among the 30 most popular subreddits. Interestingly, American students are embracing "rejection parties," celebrating their non-admission to prestigious universities, with the belief that our failures do not define us. This philosophy of embracing authenticity extends even to everyday products, as seen in a London restaurant proudly displaying the inscription "An Elegant Mess" on its pink napkins, and a Parisian stationery store boldly proclaiming the right to make mistakes with their erasable pens bearing the slogan "Make mistakes."
🎀 La vie en rose. The Barbiecore aesthetic has been gaining momentum for several years, and the release of Maison Valentino's Pantone Pink PP in 2022 further solidified its influence. However, it was the recent Barbie film that sparked a media frenzy, propelling bubblegum pink to the forefront of current trends. From delectable food collaborations to dazzling restaurant decor, the color pink is making its vibrant presence felt in unexpected and eye-catching ways. And there's no escaping it - as the following scenes below, captured by me, perfectly illustrate, men are boldly embracing pink with style.
🥗 Unlocking hidden abundance. As highlighted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, out of the 250,000 to 300,000 known plant species, only a small percentage, around 4%, are utilized by humans. Three of these species - rice, corn, and wheat - provide nearly 60% of the calories and protein derived from plants. This reality is partially driven by our capitalist approach focused on mass production. However, the emergence of regenerative agriculture and innovative consumption practices hold the potential to reshape our relationship with food in the future... and awaken our taste buds to a whole new world?
💫Getting Closer to the Stars? Astronomers sound the alarm: the stars are disappearing from the night sky. And what could be more precious than that which becomes scarce? As a result, the art of stargazing is reclaiming the spotlight. The "Paris sous les étoiles" program, offering the opportunity to observe the Milky Way from parks and gardens in the capital, is making a comeback with its new edition. In a similar vein, Decathlon Lab has introduced a tech bubble tent with a transparent roof, allowing people to marvel at the sky above.