Quotable (#111)

Spontaneous emergence of the Shanzhai Lyric:

Made in China but bearing English text, ubiquitous garments spotted across the globe feature texts and aphorisms which appear to be mistranslations from some obscure fashion manual. These phrases connote trendiness but exist as intriguing nonsense. Brand names and major cities abound — Proenza Schouler, New York, Paris — alongside the lesser-known Tofyo, Zondon, Cnanel, while pop lyrics and celebrities run the gamut of widely recognized (William Shakespeare, Allen Ginsberg) to the eccentrically misprinted misfit (Andy Warnol, Carfield). Hallmark sayings are interwoven with military slang, and then there are long strings of gibberish curbed by mysterious numbers and dates claiming alleged typologies and histories. The prerogative of fashion, as Caroline Busta writes, has always been that of “metabolizing the surplus of one’s environment.” Indeed, the manic mash-ups of realms and registers often read as poems distilled from the detritus of consumerism. …

Watch this space

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Hacked Matter on the next wave of shanzhai consumer electronics:

Cyberspace, both as word and as vision, entered the popular lexicon through William Gibson’s 1984 cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. But as it turns out, Gibson wasn’t interested in the Internet until he started buying watches on Ebay. In a 1999 Wired article, he details his compulsive addiction to bidding for vintage mechanical watches — what Gibson calls “fine fossils of a predigital age.” Little did Gibson know that thirty years after Neuromancer, watches and cyberspace would fuse — not only because it is now commonplace to buy watches online, but also thanks to “smart watches” set to become the latest portal into cyberspace.