In this month’s Editor’s Letter, Eugene weighs in on our changing relationship between the process and the outcome. We’ve now increasingly been open to the idea of bringing people along for the ride and letting them experience the journey of imperfection and challenge. But what does that mean for expectations when we let them see it all?
The last 6-8 weeks have been a series of personal uncertainties, mostly due to a deep introspective look at what interests me today, how much these things interest me, and what could interest me even more. I soon came to the realization that my current set of opportunities and experiences lack that ability to impact a decision meaningfully.
I used to think that brands themselves should be unwavering and rarely change beyond periodic updates; I don’t subscribe to that anymore. Brands that can find a way to maintain your trust while evolving and changing with the times are perhaps the most interesting and resilient. Looking back, I wish we had taken ourselves less seriously, earlier, but it’s not too late is it?
One thing that’s really exciting for me as of late is a new-found energy around the whole MAEKAN editorial wing. We’ve been quiet the last little while and with Charis’ bandwidth opening up, her and Nate have done an amazing job around reconfiguring our whole process. Process and procedures are an interesting thing that most creatives don’t think that much about. At a small scale and as a small team or individual, we don’t think about how we arrive at a particular outcome. I’ve pushed everybody around us to think more about documentation and being more process-focused, not because it detracts from the serendipitous creative outcome.
Charis and Eugene talk about the global appeal of Squid Game and the possibility of supposedly niche cultural entertainment going viral. They also discuss the importance of Frances Haugen, the latest Facebook whistleblower, coming forward to testify about the need for social media platform regulations.
Eugene and Charis discuss Star Atlas, a space-fantasy RPG built on the Solana blockchain, that indicates the promising possibilities of funding game development through digital asset ownership. They also talk about the prevalence of captions on TikTok and how the use of captions signals considerations of design and inclusion.
Charis and Eugene talk about the Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market brand-development division called Dover Street Market Paris that is similar to an incubator for emerging brands. They also discuss digital fashion as seen in how Farfetch recently seeded influencers their latest lines of clothing via digital fashion items.
Charis and Eugene talk about a single topic inspired by “Nike’s End of Men” by Ethan Strauss. Their conversation covers a shift in Nike’s values (whether internal or what they project to the public), target audience, and marketing strategies.
Eugene and Charis talk about the illusory nature of tech solutions for the climate crisis as well as personal responsibility in the face of it. They also discuss the artistic merit of the release of Kanye West’s DONDA.
Eugene and Charis discuss “Ghosts” by Vauhini Vara, a creative writing piece written with the assistance of the language AI GPT-3 (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3). They also talk about sexism and double standards in sports as seen in recent discussions around uniform requirements in women’s sports.
Charis and Eugene talk about the factors that lead to the prominence of curators and curation. They also discuss the trend, as WGSN calls it, of “genuinfluencers”, who interact with their audiences differently and share content that is a departure from the traditional influencer fare.
Eugene and Charis discuss why elite female athletes are turning away from formerly major sponsors in favor of alternative options. They also talk about the launch of the Culture Pass in France which gives all 18-year-olds €300 to spend on a selection of cultural offerings.
Charis and Eugene talk about how our memories of the pandemic will differ and what narrative arcs the stories we tell of our lives usually take. They also discuss the term “wang hong” (Chinese for internet famous) as written about in Chaoyang Trap.
In a different format to the usual Making It Up episodes, Eugene and Charis announce the launch of the online MAEKAN Shop. They discuss the process that lead to this point and talk about the products that are available.
Much of Sontag’s writing in On Photography revolves around the power photographs wield, as she argues that the quintessential nature of photographs is that they derive directly from reality. This is why they hold a certain authority, a certain sense of “realness” that works in other media, such as paintings, do not. Sontag writes that “Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality, and of realism.”
“We like our candles like we like our people, non-toxic.”
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