Conversation Piece, December 17, 2017

A weekly series.

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Enjoy our Sunday series, Conversation Piece, a NUVO–curated digest of things on the Internet we think you’ll want to talk about.

The smell of home. For the past seven years, English artist Kate McLean has been mapping landscapes based on sensory input—like smell. These “smellmaps” can be used by visitors or locals in a given city who are interested in touring the streets in hunt of specific odours, and recording their own observations of not only smells, but the emotions those smells evoke and how they feel the city’s identity is shaped by them. Given that olfactory records are not institutionally kept, consider this a project in developing smell-literacy. Read more.

Celebrity skin. Delve into Meitu, Inc., the Xiamen-based social media app company that has released photo-editing tools used by over a billion people that are literally changing the face of beauty in China. The New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan explores the phenomenon of “internet celebrity face” and its effect on preconceptions about what is attractive. Read more, here.

Born to be mild. The question of what you find exciting and interesting often seems to arrive with an implicit bias towards adventurous pursuits—but what if skydiving leaves you cold, and rather, it’s trying a new type of biscuit, or photographing vintage post boxes, that spikes your heart rate? Perhaps you’ll find a kinship within the Dull Men’s Club (female equivalent: “The Decent Woman’s Club”, rationale: “Women are never dull” …) a British group of middling men and their mundane machinations. Read more, here.

The life cycle of a meme. Denizens of the internet—depending on how engaged in online communities, or simply how bored at the office—can easily learn how memes are born. Current events, news stories—memes bud off of popular culture at an untold rate, rocketing to ubiquity for a short time, after which only a select few seems to retain their appeal. But what, exactly, differentiates a lasting meme from a flash in the pan? The Atlantic’s Lauren Michele Jackson explores.

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December 17, 2017