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Weekly Wrap-Up – September 02


With the constantly changing political and social climate, it’s hard to keep up with key events that take place. Each week we compile a highlight of notable events so that you can remain informed about current art, design, sustainability and marketing developments. 

Where Architecture and Music Meet

An architect and a composer cross paths; six years later, the Cobar Sound Chapel is built. Situated in a rusted water tank on the liminal desert country of Cobar in New South Wales, the sound installation is the brainchild of Georges Lentz and Glenn Murcutt. Lentz is a renowned contemporary composer specialising in traditional string instruments that are then manipulated through technology. Murcutt is an architect with a focus on the poetry created through buildings and who takes interest in the way we sensorily experience landscape and architecture. 

The music was inspired by the immediate landscape of the tank, with direction being taken from the land, the sky and the art of Kathleen Petyarre. Within the tank a rectangular square room was constructed, housing a golden lens that is open to the sky. It simultaneously restricts the view of the sky whilst relating the viewer’s movements to the motion of the stars and sky. The tight view, when combined with the immersive sound, creates a bubble where we exist in a detached space whilst we are simultaneously hyper aware of the world around us and our place in it. 

To see more on this permanent sound installation, head to their website: https://www.cobarsoundchapel.com/

Lost & Hound - The Sound-Based Game Designed for Blind Players 

Gaming is a fun outlet to play with friends and be competitive, however it is largely inaccessible to a big demographic of people - blind players. Lost & Hound is a new kind of video game where seeing the screen isn’t essential. In this game, players are a scent-tracking dog that tries to help people in need. The game is heavily sound reliant and the scent cues are indicated through sounds and vibrations.

The struggle with creating accessible video games is that they unintentionally become patronising through removing the challenges of the game and undermining the abilities of blind players. What’s great about this game is that it is adjusted to suit the needs of blind players, but still presents a challenge to players. 

Anyone can play the game, and if you’re interested you can find it on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1054350/Lost_and_Hound/

Online Subcultures Infiltrating High School Classrooms

Students from prestigious private boys’ school Knox Grammar have been suspended or expelled following the revelation of an online chat room where repulsive commentary was shared. The online chat room took place on Discord, where racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic commentary was shared. It serves as just one example of the growing problem of “incel” culture spreading into schools through social media. 

“Incels” are members of online communities who hold misogynistic and hostile views towards women, as well as marginalised communities. Platforms like Youtube and TikTok that are based on a secretive algorithm to keep people on their platform for lengthy periods while lacking content restrictions - and actively rewarding controversial content - expose people, including children and teenagers, to extremist right-wing content and consequently shape their views. As platforms have proven they aren’t interested in reducing harmful content, the importance of social media education, supervision and restriction is important in preventing young people from unknowingly stumbling into these communities and becoming trapped in their echo chambers.
For those who wish to learn more about dangerous online communities, we recommend reading Laura Bates’ Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists, the Truth about Extreme Misogyny and how it Affects Us All.

Proposal to Cut Back on Private Jet Usage in France

As Ukraine-Russia war continues on, the Russian supply of energy and gas is restricted and many countries are experiencing an energy crisis. Many people and businesses are practicing “energy sobriety” by being mindful of their electricity usage, switching to LED lightbulbs and preparing alternate heat sources such as woodfire. That is, everyone except billionaires who regularly take private flights, causing public outrage. 

Transport and Environment, the European federation for clean transport, released a report that found that 1% of people release 50% of global aviation emissions. Private jets have a disproportionate impact on the environment, and after just one hour they can emit two tonnes of CO2. 

A number of emissions-reducing measures are likely to be introduced, including heavy taxations and restrictions. Government spokesman Olivier Véran also reaffirmed that it is "obviously not a question of banning them", given their important role in the economy, but that “the French should not have to feel as if it’s always the same people who are being asked to make efforts".

To see the full report by Transport and Environment, head to their website: https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/private-jets-can-the-super-rich-supercharge-zero-emission-aviation/

TikTok Testing a Rendition of Snap Maps with a “Nearby” Feed

TikTok has confirmed that they are currently testing a new “Nearby” feed that will appear next to the “Following” and “For You” tabs. It is an attempt by TikTok to catch up with Snapchat’s Snap Map that allows users to post stories and content to locations. In conjunction with the new feed type, TikTok is allowing creators to add location tags to their videos. 

The new feature would be a game changer for businesses and creators in supporting local content discovery. It also coincides with internal Google reports stating that Gen Z prefer apps like TikTok and Instagram for search, over Google. 

Hortenzia is a full-service design agency delivering creative and strategic outcomes across branding, design, digital, production and communication. 

Hortenzia acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation as the traditional and ongoing custodians of the lands on which we work. We pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded and recognise First Nations peoples’ rights to self-determination and continuing connections to land, waters and community.

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