Quaranzine 034

The Akin's email of bits.

Hi folks, I hope this email finds you all well.

So what’s going on...

Well, The Akin are nearly ready to share our developments. Which we will tell you more about in the next QZ 👀

But in the meantime, I have been self-reflecting over what lockdown changed for me. 

At the moment, I feel like I am living in limbo. In this in-between world, I am stuck somewhere between exhaustion and functionality, socially distanced but socialising. I have been yearning for the world to ‘unlock’, so it feels very counterintuitive to be so exhausted by the thought of it.

The researcher in me wanted to figure out why? --- In March 2020, we were living at a time in history that asked a lot of us. Now I look back at it; I openly participated in the sadist religion of late capitalism, travelling too much, working too late, buying things to make me feel something, letting off steam on weekends to able to start it all again. It didn’t make me feel good - mind or body, and it doesn’t make me feel proud reflecting now. I think the fear of regression back to that old pattern is triggering to me, making me tired at the thought of living that way again.

Sounds enlightened, so what now? I am sincerely trying to get out of the circle jerk that cults busyness and schedule myself differently. I recently created a new framework for how to gain focus during the working day. One thing that has helped a lot is how I now reply to emails and set expectations - ping me an email to see it in practice sarah@theakin.com (many thanks to Leonie for inspiring this). I have also been working with amazing people that are putting into practice new ways of thinking (in awe of Ploi for her dedication to this). All these things have given me the space to find new perspectives and explore what a better world might look like; for myself and The Akin, my community, and my clients. 

If you feel anything like me, I urge you to find a way for yourself to navigate ‘unlocking’. Please hit me up if you want to talk about it or found any strategies I can learn from!

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Time for some exciting things to explore. It’s a long one, but it has been a while :)

  • Let’s start big. Pandaily explores the Metaverse and so the future of the digital world from an Eastern and Western perspective. “The difference between Eastern and Western responses to changes and the underlying thinking about the future has greatly affected artistic expression and life.” Please read it.

  • Imogen Heap has set the bar on how to release NFT’s; her new work sequesters more carbon dioxide than was released, making the release effectively carbon negative by partnering with Nori as part of its first offset project. Dezeen cover the full story here.

  • Last week’s instalment of Not Boring - The Great Online Game is an essential read to anyone who uses the internet. “We’re all playing a Great Online Game. How well we play determines the rewards we get, online and offline… played concurrently by billions of people, online, as themselves, with real-world consequences. Your financial and psychological wellbeing is at stake; the downside is limited. The upside, on the other hand, is infinite.”

  • So can we gamify anything? Wired, in a brilliant article, ask where the power and pitfall of gamification lies. The science says that gamifying our achievements by promoting goals we’re intrinsically eager to reach, i.e. weight loss, works. But using game-like features to promote significant lifestyle changes that are less tangible, gamification isn’t a substantive solution.

  • Recently I have been called out for my regular use of the phrase ‘Issa vibe’, and thanks to The New Yorker, ‘Tiktok and the vibes revival’ article - I have figured out why it’s slipped back into my vocabulary. “What a haiku is to language, a vibe is to sensory perception: a concise assemblage of image, sound, and movement... What we’re after from social media is not narrative or personality but moments of audiovisual eloquence… Vibes are a medium for feeling, the kind of abstract understanding that comes before words put a name to experience.” I can go on; the article is full of vibes.

  • What is an embodiment of digital culture - Buffalo Zine. The recent one is out exploring virality, “screen use has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, with adults spending an average of 50% of their waking time on screen. What are we looking at??”

  • So the internet is facing a cookieless future, but is the online business world ready for it? MIT Tech Review has discussed the outcome. What they conclude in short is that half-baked marketing strategies won’t cut it anymore.

  • Have you heard of Renderporn? I bet you have saved something like it in your Insta. “Renderporn” domesticates the aspiration and surreality of the digital age. I bet most of you that participate in the internet have seen Villa Saraceni, the work of designers Riccardo Fornoni and Charlotte Taylor and their stranger soothing computer-generated cliff home. The New Yorker explores this new movement.

  • A beautiful project with a lovely sentiment, Deathforms Death Tarot. It helps the reader consider the multiple possibilities of death as experienced by the non-humans of this world and beyond. Each card proposes a different Deathform; some living, some non-living and some that occupy a space in between. Being a morbid Scorpio, I am very into all of it.

  • Want to have your mind blown. Scientist have proved that time is elastic - time dilation -  and that it does pass quicker on top of a mountain than down at the beach. “Time moves slower as you get closer to Earth because, as Einstein posited in his theory of general relativity, the gravity of a large mass, like Earth, warps the space and time around it.” 🤯

  • Something I talk about a lot without clients is how to measure value and success. Last month, a Pew Research survey methodologist, a rabbi, a Tlingit tribal leader, an Islamic scholar, an entrepreneur, a sociologist, a law professor, a journalist, an investor, and a BBC researcher walked into a virtual room for a profound conversation about how our lives are measured. The outcome was a great and deep discussion.

  • When you find an article with this title, you read it. “Research proves it: There’s no such thing as noblesse oblige.” Over on The Atlantic, the very rightly state to understand how money affects politics, we need to know how money affects psychology. “Wealthy subjects, regardless of politics, are prone to a more utilitarian mindset than their less-wealthy counterparts.”

  • The best new tool of the moment is shADE, an anti-greenwashing web plugin. Connecting to Good on You's database shADe lets you immediately and easily see fashion brand ratings while you're browsing. This way, you can shop with alignment towards your interests.

  • Speaking of greenwashing, has thrifting become problematic? Vox explores here

  • This links to problems with the resale and why sneaker brands need to embrace pre-order models to fight bots and sneaker mafias. This brilliant article by Futurevvorld unpacks the system’s issues. “A pre-order model can democratise releases and improve what the consumer can expect as it relates to “drops.”  Ultimately, managing those expectations will solidify customer confidence and strengthen long term brand allegiances.” Perhaps Nike needs to think about harder, as their current strategy is to increase the production of limited sneakers to fight resellers. Um, NO Nike.

  • Lastly, something which could be the reason for my fumbling of styling myself right now. Brain fog is a definite 2021 thing, and it seems one of the pandemics most persistent and mysterious problems finally have some treatments. “I stopped chasing my pre-COVID capacity because it was causing me to overlook all the progress I had made,” see, we have come full circle!

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It goes without saying; we should all be engaging with what is happening in Gaza, especially if your job title includes EMEA. A great place to start, as always, The Slow Factory has unpacked the myths perpetuated by the mainstream media, who has continuously worked to conceal Israel’s ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. For those that can, please donate aid that is greatly needed. 

Until next time, 

TA x