28 August 2019

Dynamicland and the Whimsical Digital Object

Analoguing the digital

Olivia Kan-Sperling

Six hours’ drive north of Disneyland, a building in downtown Oakland houses a kind of computer scientist’s version of the storied children’s amusement park. Its digital magic is of a less spectacular flavor, though; while Hollywood dreams of technofuturia in the style of vapory holograms, and Elon Musk promises to launch us skyward in machines of the old-school brushed-steel-and-silver variety, “Dynamicland” is composed of more modest materials. It’s neither VR, nor AR—just R. ...

27 August 2019

Ringing in Your Ears

Silence and memory in Berlin

Lily Scherlis

There is a building in the neighborhood of Bötzowviertel in northeast Berlin with a panel of doorbells that make no sound. This special bell board at 35 Käthe-Niederkirchner-Straße is a memorial: the names listed next to the bells belong to eighty-three Jews who occupied the building’s forty apartments prior to their deportation, escape, or death during the Nazi era. ...

11 March 2019

Perchance to Sleep

Trouble getting out of bed; trouble getting into bed

Aaron Schuster

A recent advertisement for Beautyrest™ mattresses announces that “Sleep Performance Is the New Performance,” and compares sleepers to swimmers, cyclists, and marathon runners: it’s all about technical perfection in pursuit of human excellence. I have to admit that, not being a sporty type, the idea of sleeping counting as physical exercise and even an athletic skill immediately appealed to me: will they soon make sleeping into an Olympic event, with subcategories for light dozing, power napping, and—the big attraction—deep slumber? At least one thing is like the Olympics: with the widespread use of psychopharmacological supplements, the contemporary sport of sleeping is one giant doping scandal. ...

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