Around The Web | What We’re Reading

On May 19, 1933, some 2,000 books were burned by the Nazis during a campaign against intellectuals and minorities. Now an art project hoping to commemorate this tragedy has taken it a step further by recreating the Parthenon in Kassel for Documenta 14 made out of 1000,000 books. An important project that is perhaps representative of our time.
Speaking of freedom of expression, this week we also turn to the ideologies of questionable libertarian and author Ayn Rand. She seems to have inspired a legion of self-obsessed Silicon Valley elites, such as the doomed Travis Kalanick, but maybe the ‘every man for himself’ idea isn’t the answer after all. Especially with the growing backlash against globalisation, more thought needs to be put into how we treat each other not just ourselves. Finally some leaders aren’t all bad. We take a peek at entrepreneurs turning the global food waste problem into business. Here is the best of the web this week:

“The space was dotted with carts serving Tsingtao beer, and lit by paper lanterns that read either ‘Replicant’ in Chinese characters (a nod to Blade Runner), or were printed with Joy Division and New Order album covers — reflecting both a cinematic vision of his new hometown.” Leading the way at New York Fashion Week Men’s, recent NY native Raf Simons paid homage to the city’s multiculturalism in his East meets West SS18 collection. Another success from the designer who never disappoints.

“Metal scaffolding mimics the form of the temple, which is then covered in books held by plastic wrapping. All the books were donated by the public from a shortlist of over 170 titles that are either currently or formerly prohibited.” Take a look at the astounding Parthenon of Books created by Argentinian artist Marta Minujín, installed on a Nazi-book burning site in Kassel, Germany.

“Presented on a large, backlit screen, the frog hung inert in the center of space for long, silent stretches. Periodically, its legs spasmed, causing it to spin gently. The gloved hands made inscrutable movements in an entrancing, slow-motion pas de deux.” This surreal digital artwork is currently exhibited in New York’s Simon Preston Gallery. Combining two scientific experiments separated by 200 years, it makes for a hypnotising and bizarre viewing of a frog floating in space…

“In business, Rand’s influence has been especially pronounced in Silicon Valley, where her overarching philosophy that ‘man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself,’ as she described it in a 1964 Playboy interview, has an obvious appeal for self-made entrepreneurs.” The communism-hating philosopher Ayn Rand has been one of the most influential thinkers in technology. But with the recent failures of devotees such as Uber’s Travis Kalanick, does her ideology work?

“It was, in particular, the competition between workers in developing and developed countries that helped drive down wages and job security for workers in developed countries.” Globalisation and free trade, the economic model that has governed the last 20 years now seems to be receiving a backlash from populists and economists alike. Is the pendulum now swinging the other way?

“It makes no sense that so much food goes to waste at the same time millions of people go hungry. Ours is cradle-to-cradle thinking, the realization of the circular economy for food. Sustainability is baked into our business model. You could say that you can have your beer… and eat it too.” From bread-powered beer to beer-powered granola bars, entrepreneurs are turning the global food waste problem into business. Would you try it?

Today, there are fewer than 25,000 lions left in the wild, down from an estimated 400,000 in 1950. They cling to life in the confines of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the wilds of India’s Gir forest. The vast majority of the lion population are gone – and their decline is thought to be but one part of a mass extinction event.” Scientists are warning that we are now in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction. How did this happen and what can we do to limit the damage to our biodiversity?