Category Archives: Arts and Culture

Print Your Own Makeup and Self-Promotion or Selling Out?

Hi there!

On today’s podcast, Cathi Bond wonders whether you’d print out your own makeup? Grace Choi wants to convince you to. She’s the founder of Mink, which aims to market a 3D printer for makeup. Part of the reason, according to this interview, is that she wants to offer a broader range of shades to reflect the diversity of women’s skin tones. You can watch the video of her speaking at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY below.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about the trend towards authors getting fans and friends not just to buy their books, but to promote them as well. It seems like a trend for selling and marketing all kinds of things, but when does it just become too much? Are Cathi and Nora missing the boat by not doing this with their books?

Art For Everyone and Fuel for Creativity

Hey, trendwatchers! This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about “Stockholm is Your Canvas” a project of Stockholm Art Week, to make billboard space in downtown Stockholm available to anyone who wants to submit their digital art, in a revolving series of 30 second intervals (via PSFK). What would your ideas be for making public art more…public?

Nora Young mentions an interview with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer at CBX, a branding firm. He talks about bringing the physical and the tactile into the creative process (via Fast Company). Nora and Cathi love sticky notes (NY particularly likes ones from Muji). What are your physical cues for creativity?

Control With Gestures and Selfie Money

Apologies for the absence, but we’re back! This time, Nora talks about Ring, a very cool project on Kickstarter (via Core77). You tap the side of the ring, then use finger gestures to control your various devices. Check out the video and let us know if you’d use this. Are Minority Report style gestural interfaces the future, or will we stick with our phones and purpose-built devices?

Cathi brings you the story of “selfie money” (via PSFK). Artist Jonathan Keats has an ironic proposal for saving cash money: appeal to our narcissism by printing bills with ‘selfie’ images of individuals on it!

Nora also mentions Duolingo, the fun, free online language learning website she’s been using. Check it out!

The Sniffer, June 2nd, 2013: Trends in Books, A.I., Tree-houses, and Data

This time around, we do a bit of a debrief about Cathi Bond’s book launch.

Nora Young talks about an upcoming episode of Nora’s show Spark, on the future of work, and wonders what are the jobs that humans – for sure – can do, that A.I. programs can’t down the road. She mentions this New Scientist article on A.I. taking on some functions traditionally performed by judges. You can find some of Spark’s past coverage on this issue here and here. So, what do you think? Based on how A.I. is progressing, what would you advise young people to go into as a career?

Cathi’s obsession with nests, cocoons, and tree-houses continues. This time it’s a model rainforest in Cornwall that includes a very cool tree-house where you can stay over amongst the trees! (Via Gizmag)

Nora’s obsession with data continues as well. This time, it’s a neat project launched by Intel’s R&D wing and some TED fellows: We The Data is a platform for thinking up democratic approaches to data use (via Technology Review) Along the way, Nora refers to research at MIT, and practical uses of feature phone data.

The Sniffer, Jan 20th, 2013: Trends in Baby Tech, Analog, and TVs

On this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young are back from a midwinter break with some wacky stories that nonetheless point to bigger trends. Cathi has two examples of tech for babies. There’s the Bubble Baby futuristic, self-cleaning crib, which Cathi and Nora would both like for themselves (via Gizmag), and the slightly more dubious sounding iPotty (via Gizmag).

Nora looks at The Polaroid Cacher, a very cool art project which is built off a vintage polaroid camera (via Prosthetic Knowledge). Essentially, it recreates the experience of taking instamatic snapshots, but in this case, it captures your digital, on-screen interactions. It’s part of a trend we’ve looked at before on The Sniffer, and on Nora’s show, Spark, of combining the digital and the mechanical or analog. Why do we love this stuff so much?

Finally, Cathi saw this Samsung easel TV which came out of this year’s CES (via Paste Magazine). She points to it as part of a flood of new TV designs. What would it take you to invest in a new TV?

The Sniffer, June 30th, 2012: Trends in Housing and Bartering

Hey trendwatchers! In today’s podcast, Cathi Bond talks about a gorgeous – and tiny – portable home by Leaf House, and a fellow named Laird Herbert. Small houses are picking up as a trend; could you see yourself living in one? (Via Jetson Green)

Nora Young mentions Springwise’s story about the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, which now accepts art by artists as barter payment for a night’s stay in the hotel. It has Nora wondering whether the barter economy could make the leap from peer-to-peer, to individual-business bartering. More on the barter economy from Business Week, here.

Finally Meagan Perry has created this very cool project called Stationary Groove. It maps what music people at different Toronto subway stations are listening to and offers up a playlist.

The Sniffer, March 18th, 2012: Trends in Retail and Books

This time, trendwatching pals, everything old is new again, at least in retail. Cathi Bond hearkens back to the tinkerer and the bookmobile with Styleliner, a mobile boutique fashioned out of an old chip truck (via PSFK). How important is in-person shopping to you? Is online OK for some things but not others?

Nora Young looks at a new experiment in the growing attempt to marry the digital and the paper book in creative ways. Between Page and Screen uses augmented reality to create a 3D experience with books (via Springwise). Is this the beginning of a more sculptural approach to text? A cool niche a la Griffin and Sabine or The Raw Shark Texts? More importantly, would you read like this, or do you prefer good ol’ linear text?

The Sniffer, Jan 23, 2012: Trends in Social Media and Employment

On this week’s podcast, Cathi Bond is feeling inspired by her participation in 1,000 Songs, a Facebook group about music, coordinated by arts guy about town, Jim Shedden. She’s discovered great tunes by The Cowsills and more. If you can’t get depth from long form journalism, maybe social media is the answer after all.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about this article in Technology Review, about the impending job loss as a result of the rate of change in computer technology. It reminded Nora of this article by Farhad Manjoo. Oh, and watch out for flying robots.

After we recorded this podcast, Nora thought it might make for an interesting topic for Spark. If you’d like to hear more, here’s the full interview with Andrew McAfee, co-author (with Eryk Brynjolfsson) of Race Against the Machine.

Cathi continues her search for novelty personal transport with the Seabird personal submarine. Check it out here!

The Sniffer, Jan 6, 2012: Trends in New York and IKEA’s Urban Planning

In today’s trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond looks at the news that IKEA is creating a development in east London. The neighbourhood will have about 1,200 homes, and will be mostly car-free. What do you think? Would you live in a development like this? Is this the ultimate in ‘extending the brand’? You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile, Nora Young is back from New York, and finds the city still in retro mode, at least as far as cool bars and eateries goes, from the 70s vibe of Marshall Stack, to older aesthetic throwbacks. Still, nothing felt as fresh as the steampunk vibe of a few years back. Cathi points out that the retro feel is found far and wide these days, from the return of vinyl to Toronto spots like The Communist’s Daughter and Commute Home, to the ‘rumpus room’ aesthetic you find in videos like this one, from Real Estate:

The Sniffer, Nov 4th, 2011: Trends in Publishing and Cellphones

In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the launch of The Slant, dubbed an “artifact” publication (via JC Report). It looks cool, with a bit of an anti-consumerist edge. What’s the place for real, physical artifacts in a digital age? You can find out more about the project by watching their charming Kickstarter pitch.

Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions this new infographic on post-secondary students’ use of cellphones, particularly in class (via Mashable). Nora wonders how educators can respond. Should they design courses that actually involve interactive use of phones, thereby satisfying the urge for a quick info hit while keeping the course on track?
And a quick note in the ongoing struggle for publishers to adapt to a digital age: a division of Simon and Schuster is trying out smart books. These are regular paper books kitted out with RFID tags. Browsers can touch their phones to them to learn more about the books (via PSFK)