Ubiquitous, derided, then begrudgingly loved—25 years after its debut, Adobe ends support for Flash player. Flash was launched by Macromedia in 1996, acquired by Adobe in 2005, and had a stake driven through its heart when Apple didn’t support it in iOS. In its heyday Flash was used to author tens of thousands of websites, but it also served as a platform for experimental works like Joshua Davis’ Praystation (1999-2002), Pope.L’s distributing martin (2000-08), and Yael Kanarek’s World of Awe (2000-06, image). While it may be dead in the modern browser, Flash lives on through preservation and emulation efforts including Rhizome, Wick, and Internet Archive.
The Society For Non-Trivial Pursuits (S4NTP, affiliated with UdK Berlin’s Generative Art class) launches “Future Voices,” a one-year-long radio broadcast generated from people’s “hopes, fears, and dreams,” uploaded as audio recordings from around the world. Commissioned for Berlin’s CTM Festival, the project hopes to amplify “voices that would otherwise remain unheard within an attention economy that favours loudness, provocation, and conspiracy theories.”
“What if satellites were art?” Régine Debatty recounts her visit to “Unseen Stars,” Trevor Paglen’s (temporarily closed) solo exhibition at OGR Torino in Turin, Italy. Revisiting his spacefaring sculpture Orbital Reflector (2018), the show comprises a series of non-functional satellites Paglen designed together with aerospace engineers. Their featureless mirror-surfaces demonstrate what space exploration could look like if, as Debatty puts it, “it were not guided by nationalism, global surveillance, and industrial logics.”
Inspired by how SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is used to ferment kombucha, MIT and Imperial College London researchers have produced several proof of concept living materials. Drawing on the flexibility of lab-grown yeast, Timothy Lu (MIT) and Tom Ellis (Imperial College) have produced microbe cultures that detect environmental pollutants, and glow in the dark when exposed to certain hues of light. “We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” says Lu.