Quaranzine 028

The Akin's email of bits.

Hi all, 

As we enter into the last week of Feb, we are broaching a full year since COVID lockdowns began in the UK, which has got me reflecting on the phases of the last 12 months. 

At each step of this rollercoaster, we have had to adapt to and accept our new realities - the ‘new normals’. It feels like in this most recent lockdown, we have entered another ‘new normal’, one which feels more escapist. There feels to be more of an acceptance of our ongoing temporal states; perhaps we don’t have the energy to fight it anymore. 

This week we highlight some projects which help us wander and daydream. We hope you enjoy the mental holiday they give you, and may they provide you with hope.

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This week we are focusing on another collective moment that’s messing with markets. Different to $GME, but similar market fuck. 

NBA Top Shot is an NBA-backed platform to sell and trade videos of special moments in NBA history. Simply put, Top Shot sells trading cards, except the trading card is a digital video - ‘a Moment’.

Recently someone paid $100,000 for a Zion Top Shot Moment, and it’s reported that the NBA partnered with the has sold $11 million worth of "packs", which have gone on to sell for another $70 million on the resale market. Top Shot’s success was a surprise until we found out the team behind CryptoKitties made it. 

Why is NBA Top Shot interesting?

It’s a different reaction to the same conditions that fueled $GME - economic instability, rage against the system, and smart young people with time on their hands. They are redefining how we define scarcity and assign value.

This generation is sussing out if a digital good or a CryptoAsset is a better investment than an old school see-touch-and-feel thing. There’s no one in power pulling strings, no singular leader. And try how they might, governments and Those With Power can’t derail them, because even if Robinhood shuts down $GME trades or the NBA pulls their backing of Top Shot (doubtful), Gen Internet has finally found one of its powers – subverting the systems older generations thought were gospel. For the most part, these people aren’t looking to break laws, they are looking to break the system, and we are down with it.

Interested to see what this unlocks for other spaces - fashion, music, art, films, esports.

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Here is this week's list of things you should be watching, reading, listening to or know about:

  • Beginning in true TA style with a mind-fuck, this NYTimes article explores the new bustling market for souvenirs of Lehman Brothers, Enron, and other casualties of the system. “An Enron “Conduct of Business Affairs Booklet” is on sale for $395 on the “stock market gifts and collectables” website Wall Street Treasures… There’s almost like a sense of appropriation or a sense of empowerment that comes along with it.”  Buy now for your anti-capitalist loved one!

  • How’s the Covid sex life going? Well, maybe you can get turned on by a mortgage company? Habito, in their research, that 1 in 10 couples weren’t intimate through their mortgage application process. In response, Habito released an erotic novel titled The Road to Completion, featuring a short story by the guy (Rocky Flinstone) who wrote My Dad Wrote a Porno. GENIUS.

  • An inspiring new online exhibition at Somerset House not to be missed is Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy. The contributions from individuals within the arts and sciences propose critical, practical, and speculative strategies that explore “the sensory, spiritual, social, and environmental to unpack notions of contemporary health and well-being.”  Stimulating in a different way than above.

  • As younger folks stray away from large social media platforms, we see a new social frontier for brands – especially fashion brands. Vogue Business explores the connection between luxury, creators and these new platforms. “Berlin-based Voo Store will start sharing on OnlyFans, while designer Rebecca Minkoff will stream her New York Fashion Week show. Designer Mimi Wade is trialling Patreon time instead this season. Lottie London is launching campaigns on Twitch this week.”

  • How do we know that drop culture is over? Well, McDonald’s is using the model. “The brand is expected to drop their trio of new Crispy Chicken sandwiches… you can gain access through the chain’s secret CHKNDrop.com website on February 18th, though, well, if you are lucky and fast enough! Lucky participants who score the ‘limited-edition capsule’ will get early access to the new Crispy Chicken Sandwich, an original, never-before-heard audio track and a limited-edition hoodie.” Need I say more.

  • A piece of brand content to spotlight - Loewe taps into Chinese heritage in their Lunar New Year film. They highlight the traditional crafts woodblock prints from Shaanxi Province, Yuting cakes from Guangdong and Daoming woven bamboo from Sichuan. The series offers a glimpse into the lives of families dedicated to preserving these ancient skills and techniques. It is dreamy. [Other Lunar New Year productions to check out - Alipay’s “Expectation”, JD.com’s spot by director Lu Chuan, Burberry’s “A New Awakening, and Pepsi’s annual “Bringing Happiness Home” campaign.]

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Now to help you daydream. I am very into ambient content atm, whether than is having on my regular Coffitivity or:

  • Anyone else go somewhere on google maps and ‘stroll around’ to be somewhere else for a while…just me? Well, Radio Garden is for you. As you rotate the globe, each green dot represents a live station ready to be discovered. As I am writing this, I’m listening to Radio Coco in Cuba. Go travel through music. 

  • Something I miss a lot due to living in London is driving around and listening to music. Drive and Listen lets you drive through cities of the world while listening to their respective radio stations. Get in losers; we’re going to Rio.

  • I guess by now you have heard about Window Swap, a quarantine project from Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam. [You can peep into the views of different locations across the globe] Our favourite activation from this project is their artist collaboration with RHYE. You can relax to RHYE’s new album, 'Home,' while looking at mesmerising window views from his house in Topanga, California, where he recorded most of this album. A delight.

  • And lastly, but probably the one I wish I had created. I Miss My Bar by Maverick. The concept is simple, load the site and use it as a background sound to wind down with a cocktail at home. The site has its own set of environmental controls, adjusted by the user, such as Bartender working or rain on the window, and Maverick creates a weekly playlist to croon in the background. Mines an icy, slightly dirty martini, please.

Until next week, stay positive and testing negative. 

TA x