NEW from This Is The Kit: “This is What You Did”

Taken from This Is The Kit’s new album ‘Off Off On’ out October 23rd, pre-order here:


Dr. Fauci: ‘We need to engender some responsibility in people”

The top US expert in infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, spoke to Justin Webb and expressed his concern over the rise in coronavirus cases in the country, warning of the risk of a greater outbreak if the latest surge is not controlled. “We got hit very badly, worse than any country, with regard to the number of cases and the number of deaths. The problem we’re facing now is that in an attempt to so-called reopen or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, we’re seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the US.” Dr Fauci was speaking as it was revealed that more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases were detected in the US on Wednesday, a new one-day record.

With analysis from BBC North America Editor Jon Sopel.

Source: BBC Radio 4

The story behind Invisible Flock’s global smartphone app artwork connecting strangers

British artist-technologists Invisible Flock and Indian creative studio Quicksand have collaborated on a global artwork connecting strangers

“What is your worst habit?” I get distracted and check my phone when people are speaking.

“Describe a place that makes you happy?” The fields with long grass and wildflowers in the sunshine.

“What are you going to do today?” I’m going to catch up on work after seeing my mum, then bake cookies.

This intimate conversation is taking place between two strangers thousands of miles apart, part of Duet, an artwork created via smart phone app. It is one in a network of daily exchanges being recorded around the world over 100 days between June and September.

This is the second run of the app, properly known as Duet – Chapter Two, developed by British artist-technologists Invisible Flock and Indian creative studio Quicksand. On signing up, participants are matched to a geographically distant partner. Each is posed a question daily, and their responses are shared. With travel and personal contact limited, this slow conversation with a stranger offers a flight of the imagination.

“You get a little glimpse into someone else’s life, without any of that noise and baggage you get with social media,” says Victoria Pratt of Invisible Flock. In 2017, Duet ran for a year with about 1200 users in India and the UK developing complex long-distance relationships.

In lockdown, with projects cancelled, the two studios have relaunched Duet as a global system of reflective exchanges. “It’s a really important time to be connecting with other people and cultures,” says Pratt. “The anonymity takes a lot of the pressure off sharing something you really want to vocalise.”

Based out of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Invisible Flock have produced engaging, environmentally-focused, tech-savvy artworks for over a decade. They work slowly, often in partnership with environmental scientists and NGOs.

Artists’ engagement with the environment is often irritatingly superficial. Ben Eaton, who co-founded Invisible Flock with Pratt, says it’s time for the art world to move on from merely raising awareness to develop more meaningful engagement. “We don’t feel it’s enough for us to point at things anymore. To use the crassest of examples – pointing at a melting iceberg – it feels a bit late to still be doing that.”

Instead Invisible Flock have developed data gathering tools, such as Open Field Recorders, for use in the forest habitat of Siamang gibbons, an elephant migration corridor in Aceh, Indonesia, and the Oulanka National Park in Finland. The data goes first to scientists and conservationists, and some is translated into artworks.

Sound recordings of six trees housing Siamang gibbons form the basis of The Sleeping Tree, which should have premiered at the (cancelled) Brighton Festival. Scans of the trees hover, projected, in clouds of water mist while recordings, from equipment so sensitive you can hear the sap flow, play in real time.

At Oulanka their Finnish partners are capturing sound and environmental data over a full cycle of thaw, flood and freeze. Invisible Flock have translated it into Out From The Flood, an evolving data visualisation accessed online. A stylized version of Oulanka can be explored like a video game constructed according to real, changing climactic information. By coincidence, recording started shortly before lockdown: repeat visits will allow users to observe the changes to sound and emissions pollution as, for example, flights recommence.

Out From The Flood will continue to evolve online for a year. “The tricky thing is, we don’t necessarily know how the data is going to behave,” admits Eaton. Accepting unpredictability is part of the Invisible Flock ethos: “It’s really important that nature doesn’t perform for us,” says Pratt. “You know, it cares little about us. It goes on.”

Out From the Flood launches on 7 July (

Duet – Chapter 2 can be downloaded free from the App store

Source: The story behind Invisible Flock’s global smartphone app artwork connecting strangers

Letters to The Hobbledehoy: From Murrow to GasLit!

Frank the Yank may agree with much of The Hobbledehoy’s regularly featured GasLit Nation podcasts, but Frank takes exception to the manner in with journalists Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa deliver their message.

I watched some of Gaslit Nation on Attorney General William Barr. I think the hosts [Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa] should speak in a calm tone and when reporting on Barr and Trump. Just state the facts.

They should go deeply into, for example, [Steve] Mnuchin’s background, but report this “layer by layer” without using charged words such as kleptocrats.

Fox News is an obvious example of a slanted network, but CNN appeals to the liberals using the same sort of tactics, as does MSNBC.

Whether for the purpose of pursuing larger audience share and more ad revenue, this needs to stop, and [Gaslit Nation’s Kendzior and Chalupa] should bear that in mind. Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, et al., would turn in their graves listening to a “News” channel today.

Hell, in the ’60s I was a Nelson Rockefeller fan, and Nelson and even Goldwater, would think twice about joining the today’s Republican party. They might be considered too liberal to be a member!

Someone save us.

Frank the Yank

Edward R. Murrow

Too Little, Too Late: Evangelical Leaders Sound Alarm About Trump

By Emily Swan / Medium

Evangelicalism and MAGA culture are in a symbiotic relationship

In a new book edited by Ron Sider — author of Rich Christians In an Age of Hunger, which has sold more than 400,000 copies — a handful of evangelical leaders sound the alarm about the spiritual harm being done by the current White House occupant. In a book titled The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth, and Moral Integrity, Sider and others lay out a case for opposing Trump’s re-election.

Too little, too late.

Trying to distance evangelicalism from Trumpism is anathema. They are in a symbiotic relationship; a person can not wash their hands of one and not the other, which is exactly what Al Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is trying to do. In his recent rambling answers to the New Yorker journalist, he said:

As a theologian and as a churchman, when I define evangelical, I’m really talking about a self-consciously orthodox classic Protestantism that is deeply connected to the church and deeply committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then you have the media definition of evangelicals, which means anybody who isn’t Catholic or Jewish or something else and, especially as demographers look at the white population, identifies as some kind of conservative Protestant. They just are called evangelicals. — Al Mohler

In other words, “real” Christians aren’t the problematic MAGA people seen on the news. Trouble is, regular churchgoers are Trump’s biggest supporters. To be evangelical means you have to own the evangelical culture that has produced this “fruit,” to use churchy language.



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