Locals and Tourists is a fascinating series of maps that juxtapose who takes Flickr photos locals vs. tourists. The blue is the locals, red is tourists. Above you can see Toronto and how locals take pictures all along Bloor and Queen and up Yonge. Tourists stay downtown.
Stan pointed me to a net site called Selfiexploratory where you can explore selfies with a very neat faceted browsing control panel. The panel lets you restrict the selfies to those where the person looks up or down; or the head is tilted. You can thus explore the database of selfies by pose and other categories.
Yesterday I went to the Animethon. This is a convention about Japanese anime, manga, games, cosplay and related culture that takes place every year in Edmonton on the campus of Grant MacEwan City Centre Campus. The three day event attracts thousands (probably around 6000). A sgnificant portion of participants are dressed up for cosplay. You can see my photographs on Flickr in my Animethon 2013 set. The best of the cosplayers I saw was the Hello Kitty samurai knight in the photo above.
It is tempting to compare this Japanese pop culture event in Canada to ones I saw in Japan, but I haven’t seen enough on either side of the Pacific to be sure. What is clear to me is that Japanese pop culture is big here in Edmonton and not just among youth. While there were a lot of kids (some with parents), there were also older fans (like me.) I loved the inventive costumes and there seemed to be almost as many men cosplayers as women. Many took real pride in their costumes.
Some of the panels I went to included one on the Touhou Project and one on ball-jointed dolls (BJD). There was a cosplay contest with some fabulous costumes. I also spent time in the exhibit hall were I picked up a WonderSwan and some games, including a copy of Rez. Now I need a PS2 to play it on!
The ball-jointed doll session was the most interesting as it was a community I didn’t know much about. There is apparently a strong BJD club in Edmonton and they meet to trade and teach each other. Many of the participants had brought their dolls (see my photos) and they seemed to be mostly mature women, though there were some men there too with dolls. I can’t help wondering about the differences between the doll culture in Japan and here. Here it seemed to be a hobby in the tradition of collecting dolls. In Japan there seemed to be a subset of male owners for whom these dolls are more than collectibles, but that may be a projection.
I’m on research leave this year and spending a couple months this Fall in Kyoto hosted by the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University. For those who care, I will be posting photos up on my Flickr account like this first set, Kyoto – a set on Flickr.
From Humanist I found Simon Norfolk’s web site which includes a photographic series on “The Supercomputers: ‘I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” (click enter, then click the title of the collection and then click photographs.)
The photographs pick out details of HPC installations that are visually arresting. They are without people as if these spaces were silent. In reality when you are in these spaces (at least the computer rooms I’ve been in) they are noisy with cooling systems and there are people nursing the beasts.
Historypin is a very cool project that lets people attach their historic photographs to locations. It is a partnership with Google that allows images to be pinned on Google Street View and Google Maps.
I like the scale and ambition of this project – it invites a country to document itself. I also like the way they have captured the concept with a name (“Historypin”) and an image of the historic photo pinned over the current view.