2021年6月30日 星期三

The T List: Five things we recommend this week

A book of contemporary queer photography, sculptures from Ditte Blohm — and more.

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An Exhibition That Takes on Climate Change

A selection of photographs from Jeff Frost's project "California on Fire" (2011-18) featured in the exhibition "Implied Scale" at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. Photo: John Berens. Courtesy of Mana Contemporary.

By Korsha Wilson

T Contributor


In 2011, while Southern California-based artist Jeff Frost was en route to paint an abandoned building in Bombay Beach, his drive was cut short by a wildfire that would ultimately consume over 500 acres of land. "I dropped what I was doing and just time-lapsed it all night long," he remembers. Fascinated by this fast moving and destructive force, he set out on a new mission: to document how residents, firefighters and news outlets coped with these dangerous occurrences, purchasing special protective equipment to best capture the blaze. The 300,000 photographs and time-lapse videos he made — of 70 different wildfires from 2011 to 2018 — are part of his latest work, "California on Fire," a frighteningly vibrant and intimate look at the environment, which is now part of the group show "Implied Scale: Confronting the Enormity of Climate Change" at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, on view through July 22. Using photography, video, drawing and installation, artists either confront climate change head-on or pay homage to nature. Included are photographs of leaf-cutter ants in Costa Rica by Catherine Chalmers and a 70-foot-long mural by Ted Kim that depicts the incredible amount of trash accumulated in cities, among others. As with Frost's work, the intention of the exhibition, notes Kele McComsey, director at Mana Contemporary, is to make the viewer think about changes they can make. "Don't disconnect yourself from nature," he says. "We're all sharing the same space." "Implied Scale: Confronting the Enormity of Climate Change" is on view at Mana Contemporary through July 22, manacontemporary.com.


A Ready-to-Wear Resort Collection From a Resort

A look from the Essentials by Aman.Chris Colls

By Flo Wales Bonner

T Contributor

Since 1988 — with the opening of Amanpuri, an idyllic boutique retreat on a secluded peninsula in Phuket, in Thailand — Aman Resorts has become famous for its signature combination of lavish hospitality and architecture informed by each property's local design vernacular. Now comprising over 30 resorts worldwide, from Cambodia to Morocco, the hotel group is drawing further inspiration from its destinations with its first foray into ready-to-wear. The collection of men's and women's clothing and accessories includes unfussy slip dresses, tailored shorts and monogrammed shirts — plus a selection of sleek swim- and active wear — in colors lifted from Aman's most sun-soaked locations, including dusty ochers, baked terra-cottas and marine blues. Made in Italy, pieces are crafted from materials including silk, linen, cashmere and Japanese cotton and, according to Kristina Romanova, Russian fashion model and director of product development at Aman, are designed to put their wearers firmly into "vacation mode." The Essentials by Aman collection is available at Aman boutiques worldwide, from $61.



For Pride Month, a Compendium of Contemporary Queer Photography

Images by Christopher Sherman (left) and Bettina Pittaluga (right) from Benjamin Wolbergs's "New Queer Photography."Courtesy of the artists and Benjamini Wolbergs

By Kurt Soller

The fact that Pride Month in the United States began just as many American cities were emerging from over a year of hibernation meant that the internet was suddenly full of L.G.B.T.Q. people celebrating, protesting, going to the beach — living in the world — which got me thinking of the power of such everyday imagery and, in particular, one book of photography that Gingko Press published last September. Called "New Queer Photography: Focus on the Margins," it's a large-scale survey of 52 rising and established international artists whose work spans from plainly erotic to achingly sweet, activism-minded to amusingly camp. Most of the artists featured are portraitists, and I find myself drawn to M. Sharkey's naturalist, documentary-style images of gay and trans teenagers; Bettina Pittaluga's celebrations of couples across a broad spectrum of body types; Luis Venegas's twinks akimbo; and Christopher Sherman's oddly cropped 35 mm male gaze on male skin. Really, though, it's the collective — these artists and their subjects together — that speaks most to the current moment: As the editor Benjamin Wolbergs asks in the introduction to his book, "Isn't a marginal perspective in many ways much more exciting than looking at things from the center?" Of course it is. $65, gingkopress.com.


Otherworldly Sculptures Made in Isolation

From left: Ditte Blohm's "Blue King" (2020) and "Blue Mountain" (2020).Ditte Blohm

By Tilly Macalister-Smith

T Contributor


Before the pandemic, the London-based Danish ceramist Ditte Blohm — whose work spans elegant tableware to free-form porcelain to stoneware sculptures — would regularly escape on "solitude retreats," renting a cottage and turning off all digital distractions before returning to her studio in Walthamstow. Comfortable with isolation, Blohm spent last year producing a new series of intensely expressive sculptures, which she calls "mind maps." In stark contrast to her more minimalist pieces, these bold works take as their inspiration "small snippets of memories — an experience, a smell, a person," she says. Blohm often works on five or six sculptures at a time, building, drying, firing and glazing them over many weeks. "Each is different, and they all have their own little soul," she says of the sculptures in this series, which were all shaped by hand. Her art echoes the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi — "finding perfection in the imperfect" — and the Danish design tradition of marrying simplicity with function. "My work is very much about being present," she says. "If I can enjoy what's here right now, that's all I need." Available through the gallery space and design studio 8 Holland Street, 8hollandstreet.com.


A Collaboration From Jil Sander and Birkenstock

Styles from Birkenstock's fall 2021 collaboration with Jil Sander, including the Berlin (left) and the Milano (right).Talia Chetrit

By Angela Koh

Lucie and Luke Meier, the husband-and-wife creative directors of Jil Sander, have fond memories of wearing Birkenstocks growing up. "They were my dry shoes for my canoe trips in Ontario," says Luke of the vacations he took as a kid. For Lucie, they were her go-to house shoes for as long as she can remember. Today, the duo owns several pairs between them. And it's no wonder why: Founded in 1774, Birkenstocks have been the world's most dependable shoe for comfort and practicality. Now, these two brands are collaborating on a new line of shoes. Launching this week, the collection will include four styles in earthy tones: cream, olive and black. Three of the sandals are redesigns of classic Birkenstocks — the Arizona, Berlin and Milano — with raised soles, elongated straps and a thin, silver buckle. The fourth style, the Velan, is a new shape for the German-based shoemaker, featuring a round closed toe and a soft leather strap that wraps around the ankle — a familiar trait in shoes from Jil Sander. From $475, jilsander.com and 1774.com.


A Boutique Hotel in the Umbrian Countryside

The hotel pool at the Reschio estate in Italy's Umbrian hills.Courtesy of Reschio

The Reschio estate, over 3,000 acres of land in Italy's Umbrian hills, was bought by Count Antonio Bolza in 1994, and in the decades that followed, his son Count Benedikt and daughter-in-law, Donna Nencia, have set about transforming the crumbling farmhouses that dot the land into one-of-a-kind private homes. The property's Hotel Castello di Reschio features terra-cotta-brick and wooden floors, hand-stitched linen curtains, locally crafted marble and brass vanities, and bespoke beds and lights designed by Benedikt's own furniture arm, B.B. for Reschio. Every room has its own character and quirks, from original stone-carved fireplaces to an old olive press. For more, follow us on Instagram.

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On Tech: Why the internet didn’t melt down

At the start of the pandemic some feared the internet wouldn't be able to keep up. Luckily, they were wrong.

Why the internet didn't melt down

Kiel Mutschelknaus

We're more than a year into Zoom work calls, Netflix marathons and most of us being online more for everything. And the internet has not melted into goo, as some experts feared at the onset of the pandemic.

Households, organizations and individual websites have had connection problems, but the basic plumbing of the internet has mostly held together. It shows that technologists learned from past mistakes when the internet did break and built a more adaptable system over decades.

As the United States starts to open back up, I wanted to take a moment to assess what has gone right and appreciate the people and technologies that made our digital life sustainable. Nerds, I salute you.

I called Justine Sherry, an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, to ask her why there haven't been catastrophic internet failures despite wild spikes in online traffic during the pandemic. Last year, even Mark Zuckerberg was worried that his company might not be able to keep up with all of the people hopping on Facebook's apps.

Dr. Sherry gave me two explanations. First, she said, the internet's biggest vulnerability — its interconnectedness — is also its greatest strength. And second, digital services have been cleverly designed for weird and imperfect conditions.


"The underlying infrastructure that makes everything work is constantly adapting to failures, and it's doing a pretty good job," Dr. Sherry told me.

Her first point is largely about the prevalence of cloud computing. The technology, popularized in part by Amazon, essentially lets any website or app pay for someone else to handle all or parts of its digital operations instead of doing it on its own.

There are downsides to this approach. When one widely used cloud computing company has a problem — and it happens fairly regularly — it can crash the websites of banks, cripple supermarket checkouts, disable email and stop people from accessing news outlets online, including The New York Times.

The root cause of this fragility of our internet plumbing is also a strength. Because so much of the world's digital services are handled by huge computer systems like Amazon's and Google's, many digital services can be more flexible in responding to spikes in demand and can more easily route around problems.


Dr. Sherry also talked me through a couple of other internet design technologies that have been essential to handle major increases in web traffic.

She told me about a technology pioneer, Van Jacobson, who invented software to automatically slow down internet data when online networks are clogged. She compared it to the freeway metering systems that limit the number of cars entering on-ramps during rush hour so that roads don't become completely gridlocked.

Dr. Sherry said that his invention was a response to unusable internet in the mid-1980s, when networks mostly used by universities kept breaking when too many people were online at once. Congestion control algorithms are now widely used. And web video companies have designed software on a similar premise to automatically downgrade internet video quality if internet networks are clogged.

Those techniques, Dr. Sherry said, are adaptations based on the principle that the internet is never going to be perfect, and anything we access online must be able to function under less-than-ideal conditions. "The broad theme of all this is agility and adaptability," she said.


Yes, online services in many countries did bog down when the pandemic hit last year, and internet service providers and website operators scrambled to add more computers and capacity to unclog networks. Our home networks and the individual internet connections running into our homes tend to be the most common points of failure. But again, the architecture of the broad internet system is fairly healthy.

I asked Dr. Sherry if we should take more notice of what works about the internet. Should we thank Van Jacobson when Netflix streams pretty well while we're riding in a moving car?

She said that not noticing is a sign of a system working as intended. "I don't know that much about how my car works," Dr. Sherry said. "I trust it."

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Before we go …

  • Computers have the same flaws as humans: People train the machines and therefore our biases can creep into artificial intelligence systems. My colleague Cade Metz writes about people and organizations that are trying to identify and remove bias from artificial intelligence software before it's widely used for high-stakes decisions like who should receive housing, health care and credit.
  • More evidence of the internet's age verification problem: U.S. law effectively requires websites and apps to get parental permission before children under 13 use online services, but it's difficult to enforce the rules. One example: TikTok said it removed more than seven million accounts in the early months of 2021 because the company believed they belonged to children under 13, Axios reports. My colleagues last year wrote about the large percentage of TikTok users that are most likely underage.
  • A phone company doing something clever?!?! T-Mobile is letting people test drive its mobile phone service without signing up, The Verge reported. People with newer iPhones can download an app and try the T-Mobile network side-by-side with their existing phone carrier for 30 days.

Hugs to this

Here is Sivuqaq the walrus clapping, loud enough to be heard on the other side of his tank's four-inch-thick glass walls. My colleague Sabrina Imbler explained how and why Sivuqaq claps.

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you'd like us to explore. You can reach us at ontech@nytimes.com.

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