The Anthropocene – consider how humans influence the environment and how the environment influences humans in return. This is Hartbeespoort Dam, now being taken over by water hyacinth, a popular decorative plant from the Amazon, that needs strong flowing waters to thrive without clogging the environment. During the Colonial era, it was taken all over the world, and due to its invasive nature, has now displaced a number of people and communities, with dire economic and social consequences. Consider the earth as a living organism with agency and the ability to fight back!
The future of galleries, museums and even travel. TeamLab developed this 10,000-square-meter digital art museum in the Tokyo Mori Building Digital Art Museum. No maps, guides, or captions, to understand, you need to interact...borderless!
Brought to life beautifully in Steven Spielberg’s 'Ready Player One', the juxtaposition of a future dystopian real world, with a spectacular dream world that people can escape to online, otherwise known as the Oasis. Dreams become reality and reality becomes a bad dream that you can escape from anytime you want.
The perfecting of artificial intelligence image recognition. The guys who are killing it are called SenseTime, a Chinese organisation that has developed technology that identifies images, objects, and people with unbelievable accuracy. Supposedly to improve 'customer experience', but currently being used to identify the Uighur Muslim population in XinJiang...more like surveillance and population control!
The worldwide question of 'data ethics'. What information do you gather, how do you gather it and what do you use it for? Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg has said he is sorry, but that is not the end of the story! Law makers are not adequately equipped to understand and/or deal with the brave new world of social media, a global body is probably needed given the transnational nature of these indiscretions...time for the UN to get involved?
A brave new world that is questioning generation upon generation of patriarchy and redefining what it means to be a man, down with toxic masculinity!
Fake news, deep fakes and outright propaganda, spread via social media, but amplified through traditional media. Media houses need to be vigilant and consumers need to be discerning. Simply put, if you want real news you may need to pay for it!
Stand for something or you fall for everything...come on brands you can do better, you can be better, take a stand, stop trying to be everything to everyone, no one like's a kiss ass!
#Whywewearblack a profound moment at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, where almost all of the actresses chose to wear black, and black alone. Following on from the #MeToo campaign, a Red-carpet blackout. Let's hope the movement gains momentum and certain Hollywood execs start wearing orange!
A trend I identified in 2016, what happens when the fake trumps the real thing! The power of brand, influencers and a great vision but zero follow through! The importance of brand leadership, responsibility and accountability (especially of those beautiful influencers), and a life lesson in how a big gap (rich vs poor) can become non-existent overnight! (Staggering how quickly it escalated into 'Lord of the Flies')
A trend identified in BP's 2000 future scenarios. The 'New Feudalism', where corporates hold all the power (versus government). Its lovely if you are on the inside of the castle looking out, but it's very cold, lonely and scary on the outside looking in.
The banning of single use plastic starting to gain traction around the world due to the literal mountains of plastic waste growing in cities around the world. The importance of materials and their lifetime journey on this planet. Even if it doesn't bring you joy anymore, I'm afraid you can't just throw it out Maria Condo!
16 year old Greta Thunberg, climate activist from Sweden who is demanding climate justice and a living planet through her 'School Strike for Climate'. At COP 24 she admonished global leaders, telling them "you are never too small to make a difference". She is completely independent of the good opinion of others, and certainly not "too scared of being unpopular". Sad that children are having to tell us that we are "not mature enough to tell it like it is". With great power comes great responsibility, but large corporations and governments appear to have forgotten this, as she noted in Davos, "if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame and someone is to blame".
Diesel's 'Go with the flaw' campaign, glorifying the unperfect, the damaged the atypical. Its time to embrace divergence in people not just ad slogans!
Avatars are here! Ory cafe in Japan, is hiring paralyzed people to control it's robot servers. As noted by its CEO, “even those who can’t go out, can work through this alter ego and have a role in society”. The cafe relied on crowdfunding ahead of its opening, collecting more than twice its 1.5 million yen ($13,000) goal. Here's to the future of radical accessibility and integration.
Need a home, just print it! Jason Ballard, Alex le Roux and Evan Loomis developed a 3D-printed home that they hope can help solve global homelessness. The number of people living in slums passed 1 billion this century. This 600 to 800 square-foot home can be printed in a single day, but costs $4,000, so we need to work on price, but the idea is brilliant.
Millennial's are entering the job market and taking on leadership roles...and they don't like generation X'ers very much! How are you repositioning your organisation for a new generation? The British Army's creative agency, Karmarama, developed this campaign using the historic reference of “Your Army Needs You" (Think Alfred Leete’s 1914 iconic recruitment poster with Lord Kitchener and the 1917 Uncle Sam's “I Want You” posters).
They are unapologetically targeting a new generation of millennials who feel “undervalued in a cycle of unrewarding jobs". The British Army is offering them an "opportunity to belong to a purposeful team where recruits can do something that matters”. Hmmm...jury's out, not sure they can shake that other pesky job description of "war machine"?
Fabulous new trend in the art world of collectible designer toys as a form or art. Ikaru Iwanaga's Kid Hunter (Cap ‘n Crunch), is a case in point! You have to be in the know to get one, as you can only purchase it at certain times in their clothing boutique. Other awesome art toys include Paul Budnitz's Kidrobot (2002), Michael Katz's KAWS Companions. When the MoMA Design Store released a series of 11-inch-tall vinyl versions of “Companions” for $200 - traffic crashed their website.
Classic moment in popular culture history, quoting Picasso, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge”, Banksy rigged a famed print of Girl with Balloon (2006) to get shredded via a remote device, just after being sold at Sotheby’s for $1.3 million. As expected, rather than an actual act of self-vandalism, the shredding of Girl with Balloon was recast as a creative act and entirely new work - Love is in the Bin (2018)
A social media delight, Kirby Jenner, the Instagram twin of Kendell Jenner, or just some strange guy who inserts himself into all of Kendall’s photos! He describes himself as an “Amatuer Model / Lover of all things / Fraternal Twin of Kendall Jenner”, has nearly 59k followers on Instagram, and he only follows one person…guess who?
The language of a new generation, they are posted, quoted and now used to strategically grow brands. But you can't just do it, you need to have a massive understanding of popular culture, especially retro, be seriously up on current affairs and know how to write good MEME! Tops brands are hiring the best of the best Meme'ers to Meme their events e.g. Louis Vuitton's latest fashion show. Are we seeing the ad agency of the future? PS Copyright can be a drag, leading to all sorts of bans and legal battles.
Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, in partnership with the visionary Hiro Murai, created "This is America"...I dare you to try and watch it only once...it's impossible! An incredible narrative about 'Black American Life' in just 4 minutes. It's hectic but mesmerizing, with loads of social references and was quickly applied to Nigeria's social context by Falz in an ironic/iconic twist.
New technology revealing past secrets, specifically the "Lost city of Kweneng", in the Suikerbosrand hills just outside Johannesburg. LiDAR technology that uses light detection and laser pulses identified a 15th Century Citadel, home to up to 10,000 people from the Tswana ethnic group. A complex social structure with five levels of local government, regiments organised by age that could be called up for civic work or war, and a grave yard for significant leaders under the walls of the central cattle enclosures. And most of us didn't even know it existed!
Ruth E Carter's reinterpretation of African cultures and traditions merged with Afrofuturism and Afropunk for the iconic Black Panther Marvel epic. Seamlessly merging traditional tribal garb alongside current fashion trends and the most incredible reinterpretation of indigenous African tribal designs specifically: W’Kabi rocks a Lesotho blanket; Queen Ramonda’s in her traditional Zulu hat/crown; the Dora Milaje warriors’ in their Maasai beads, and so much more!
So perhaps its time to "return the treasures"! The importance of returning looted African art, in a similar vein to giving back works stolen by the Nazis. A process of recovering lost cultural heritage and the fact that Cultural imperialism is dead. Germany and France have started to look at decolonising their ethnographic museums, with President Emmanuel Macron declaring that “African heritage can’t just be in European private collections and museums”. Let's hope some other countries and institutions will start to reflect on their history!