Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Japan's pizza vending machines, Detroit Design Month, "sextech" patents and more

Detroit Design Festival Grows to Month-Long Extravaganza

In 2015, Detroit was anointed as the first-ever UNESCO City of Design in the United States. This honor pertains to their astounding past and the continued revitalization coursing through the Motor City as we speak. In celebration of the award and the abundant creative energy, Detroit Design Core has expanded the Detroit Design Festival from one week’s worth of activities to an entire month of events, competitions and projects. Design-Milk highlights some of the best, which occur in September. Read more there.

A Guide to The Monumental-Horror Image

Oftentimes subtle and not necessarily depicting a violent nor gory moment in time, the monumental-horror image still strikes terror into viewers and is a picture that will remain etched inside their brains. Sean T Collins has written an essay about the phenomenon for the Outline—breaking down the different kinds and offering plenty of visual guides. Whether it’s Pennywise standing alone, holding balloons on a deserted street; or the deer head mounted on the wall in Get Out, these images are distressing because they are so ominous. As Collins says, “The monumental-horror image does what ‘here be monsters’ did in maps centuries ago—they mark the border where life as we know it gives way to the terrifying unknown.” Read more at the Outline—and try not to freak out.

The Tricky Expectations of the Photographer/Subject Relationship

Even the language with which we describe the medium—’take’ someone’s picture, ‘capture’ him, ‘shoot’ them—implies a fraught process with an inherent power imbalance. Over the years, photographers have reconsidered what they owe the people in their frames,” Alina Stein writes in her thoughtful piece about photographers and their subjects. The relationship between the two is tricky—both morally and monetarily. For example, compensation for subjects is forbidden by the National Press Photographers Association, but photojournalists and other editorial photographers have varying opinions on how they can make the subject experience something worth their time. Four were asked by Artsy to explain what they feel photographers owe their subjects. They agree that respect is invaluable and mandatory. However, instances where photographers recognized the detrimental effects of a photo and refrained from taking it, told of the humanity at the core of the relationship. Read more at Artsy.

The Phenomenon of Coming-Out Videos

Whether funny or solemn, earnest or playful, heartbreaking or heartwarming, the coming-out video has become a significant cultural phenomenon. They are also ever-evolving, as Justice Namaste for Wired writes. As social media changes the conversation, coming-out videos are shifting from diary-like stories to carefully crafted content—many including interviews, personal reflection, reactions, and advice for others in the very same situation. Namaste says, “By focusing so much on ‘coming out’ as a single moment, most cultural conversations misrepresent the reality of being LGBTQ. For many LGBTQ people, coming out is a never-ending experience.” Ultimately though, openness, conversation and visibility are still crucial, “They’re coming out for themselves, but they’re also coming out for the countless others who can’t, who don’t want to, who haven’t figured out how to… perhaps, for some terrified kid out there, watching coming out videos like these can make it even the tiniest bit easier.” Read more at Wired.

A Pizza-Making Vending Machine Popped Up in Japan

Italy, the mecca of slow-cooking and pizza perfectionism, drove the first iteration of the pizza vending machine out of town—Claudio Torghele’s Let’s Pizza. Now, the Japanese version, Pizza Self, has appeared outside of a video rental store in Hiroshima. A pizza will set you back around ¥980 (around $9 USD) and, in five minutes, it makes a Neapolitan-style margherita or quattro formaggio pizza, then boxes and bags it for you. Even if the pizza isn’t great, the gimmicky entertainment value alone could be worth the cost. Read more on Amuse.

The “Sextech” Patent Has Finally Expired

Since 1998, a patent on the connection of sexual-stimulant devices to computers, phones, or tablets has stunted innovation in the sector. The patent strictly protected the—arguably overly broad—idea behind the “method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks.” The owners of the patent, in the eyes of analysts and competitors, seemed to own it solely to troll smaller companies that infringed on the idea. But now that the patent has expired (these sorts of utility patents have a 20-year lifespan) the industry could experience an unmanageable boom—quicker innovation and production will hopefully precede privacy invasions or clunky interfaces. Read more about the sudden switch on Motherboard.

All the Magical, Technical Benefits of Vollebak’s Graphene Jacket

For the first time, a brand has been able to turn the notoriously difficult to work with, aerospace revolutionizing material, graphene into a piece of consumer outerwear. The thin, expensive graphite-derived matter is very hard to produce and manipulate—especially in large quantities. But London-based Vollebak has utilized it for their $695 reversible jacket—and it’s stunning. The material make it capable of “absorbing heat and then warming you up over time, conducting electricity, repelling bacteria, and dissipating your body’s excess humidity,” according to Fast Company, where you can read more

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.

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