Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Snackwave, re-inventing the phone call, JR on Ellis Island and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Pro Bono

Don’t you hate it when house guests request listening to something other
than everyone’s favorite band, U2? Fret no further, new smart speaker Pro-Bono exclusively plays the band’s new
album Songs of Innocence—you know, the one Apple recently attempted to force on all iPhone users? Through Pro-Bono, even if someone selects a song from a different band, the speaker overrides it and only plays U2. A device so
brilliant, it’s a surprise Jony Ive didn’t think of it first.

2. In Residence: Ricardo Bofill

Iconic architect Ricardo Bofill tells the story of his monumental home in a Nowness video that’s strangely haunting and entirely fascinating. The house is a huge, converted former cement factory located outside Barcelona—a place Bofill says he wanted to transform from a polluting machine into a green space full of a team of thinkers. He says, “The beauty of this labyrinth is that people don’t find each other and everyone can live as they want to.” It’s a minimalist, but entirely overwhelming space—even when only viewed on film.

3. It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

Back in 2009, McSweeney’s writer Colin Nissan stunned stateside suburban mothers with his hilariously accurate article, “It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers.” Each fall since, the cultivated San Francisco outpost re-publishes the think piece to great delight, reminding us all of just how silly it is to fill a wicker cornucopia with the orange-hued, hard-skin fruit in the name of seasonal cheer. But in that spirit and in his words, it’s time to “throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days.”

4. Life Returns to NYC’s Ellis Island

French artist JR made a name for himself with large-scale creative undertakings that change viewers’ perceptions of location, space and time. His latest project takes on NYC’s historic entry port as his canvas. With “Unframed—Ellis Island,” JR has reopened Ellis Island Hospital to the public (for the first time in 60 years) and inside are archival images—blown up to massive proportions—of those who were treated and those who performed the treatment. While spooky, this site-specific installation is a powerful trip back in time that’s brimming with beauty.


5. John Malkovich Being Others

Celebrated photographer Sandro Miller set out to pay homage to some
of his profession’s most iconic images, and to do so, he enlisted the help of actor John Malkovich. With tongue firmly in cheek, Malkovich resurrects each portrait’s main subject—from Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother (1936)
to Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait (1986)—with stunning resemblance.

6. The Ins and Outs of Honeypot Corn Maze

Many of us fear the perils of navigating a large seasonal corn maze. If I enter, will I ever get out? Are there secrets? Shortcuts? Many even wonder why they consider entering one at all when autumn rolls around. In an insightful, hilarious FAQ, the proprietor of the Honeypot Corn Maze (“New England’s Largest Corn Maze”) shares the nitty gritty, from the WiFi password to the nickname of lost children and even a glimpse at their needle exchange program.

7. Re-Inventing the Phone Call

It’s undeniable that the phone call has become outdated as a form of communication when compared with more flexible forms like email, texting or even photo apps. A new app Talko is reinventing the call by merging all of the above formats (as well as the ability to archive conversations) with likely even more as time goes on, by combining both presence and playback. So you can remember where you last left off in a business meeting, but also remember the most important calls—like news of an engagement or a baby’s birth. It’s time to use our voices and ears again!

8. I’d Rather Have a Pizza Than a Boyfriend

From Moschino’s McDonalds-themed F/W 2014-15 collection (where a fountain drink purse currently costs $895) to Cara Delevigne and Beyoncé wearing head-to-toe pizza outfits to the head-scratching tweets from Taco Bell wanting to be your friend, snackwave has hit the mainstream. The Hairpin gives an extensive lowdown about the lowbrow origins of snackwave (a snarky, slightly doom-and-gloom attitude about eating cheeseburgers and junk food and loving it—the antithesis to health food craze and food-shaming) to becoming an aesthetic embraced by celebrities, couture fashion brands and fast food corporations alike.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.