COOL SH*T

Volume 222

Save The Social.

Since the summer of 1999, The Social have played host to everyone from The Chemical Brothers, Young Fathers, Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys and Fat Boy Slim to name a few. Now, just as it approaches the milestone of its 20th anniversary, one of the UK’s best loved independent music venues is under serious threat of closure due to redevelopment in the West End. To fight back, its founders have urgently launched a crowdfunding campaign with a pressured deadline of 2 weeks to save The Social from being forced to close its doors.

Venues like these are a vital part of London’s culture and nightlife and sadly so many others have already been banished. You can’t replicate a lived-in living room or a bar that’s seen night after night of action. Once these spaces go, they’re gone forever. Give The Social some love before it’s too late.

The Bob Ross of AI.

This new software by Nvidia is the MS paint of the AI age. GuaGAN can transform basic scribbles into photorealistic landscapes in seconds. Draw a shape of a tree and it will produce a tree. Draw a circle on the ground next to it and you’ll have a pond, reflection and all! It’s even smart enough to ensure that if two users create the same sketch with the same settings it will create different visual results. I could play with it for hours on end!

Virtual Gap Year.

Virtual Gap Year is a creative experiment by Pitch Studios and IAM for IAM Weekend 2019 – a Barcelona based festival exploring the evolution of internet culture. While the future of the internet is often given “a dystopian lens” of impending doom, Pitch Studios offers a more positive outcome for our progressively internet-based world. The film reflects the GAP year concept as we know it – ‘A glorious period of freedom where one can embark on a journey of self-discovery’ – and applies it to the WWW, reminding us we’re still at the early stages of its development and there is still much to be learnt.

Introducing Google Stadia.

Although it sounds like the name of a medication…”I keep my cholesterol in check with Stadia”, ‘Stadia’ is actually the title of Google’s new streaming service for video games. The platform is a no-console innovation where you don’t need to download games to your devices, you can just play them over any Wi-Fi connection and on any screen. It’s a pretty exciting move from Google that will make games more accessible for everyone. My only reservation is needing a seriously hench Wi-Fi to keep up with its estimated use of 20GB per hour of game play. OUCH.

Drawing attention to refugee aid.

Migrate Art is an organisation set up in 2016 to help those affected by the global refugee crisis. It was built in response to the demolition of the Calais Jungle community in France, previously home to approximately 10,000 refugees.

 

Days after the camp was destroyed, the charity’s founder, Simon Butler, salvaged tons of coloured pencils from the ruins of the site, which have now been utilised by high-profile artists such as Anish Kapoor, Jeremy Deller and Rachel Whiteread, to create unique works.

An exhibition of these pieces is at Cork Street Galleries in London from 20-31 March, before an auction in April where all proceeds will be donated to various refugee charities – check out some of the work here.

Burning down the competition.

Fast-food rivalry is entertainment like no other, lest we forget Burger King grilling Kanye West for tweeting that McDonald’s is his favourite restaurant. The burger war continues with BK pulling out all the stops to quite literally burn down its rivals. Their latest campaign entices customers in Brazil to use AR to send competitor ads up in flames in exchange for a free whopper. Although it’s just a bit of fun, I’m anticipating local arsonists explaining to the police, ‘Burger King told me to do it!’.

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