Frozen Dead Guy Days, a Festival in Colorado, Stays Put [NYT] – Perhaps Burning Man is now the most famous of a group ritual that evolved to celebrate something other than what it originally intended. Excluding, of course, organized religion. Looking at the irony (or cynicism) that so clearly is at root of this shindig makes me wonder about how extensively meaning can shift over time.
It was probably not, in the end, an idea with huge franchise potential or a killer smartphone app in its future. After all, a gleefully macabre weekend celebration built around a frozen corpse — complete with coffin races, tours of the shed where the body is kept on ice and, of course, lots of beer — just might not be as fun beyond the skewed sensibility of Colorado’s hippie-tinged mountain belt. But now it’s official: Frozen Dead Guy Days are staying put in the small town of Nederland, about an hour northwest of Denver, as are the mortal remains of one Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian man whose strange and unlikely saga in death — and long-term storage — inspired the whole thing. The Nederland Area Chamber of Commerce put the rights to the festival up for sale last June, saying it could no longer manage Frozen Dead Guy Days, which had grown rapidly through 10 years of icy, late-winter mayhem and was attracting upward of 20,000 revelers over the course of a weekend in a community of about 1,500.
Smell-designing Sheffield [Edible Geography] – A long and fascinating interview about smellwalks, smellscapes, and other funny words that are about exploring our sensory experiences in spaces. Brilliant! When is the Pacifica smellwalk happening?
There were a lot of people who said they didn’t like the smell of fish. But Doncaster is famous for its fish market, and when we went into the fish market on the walk, even those people who said that they didn’t like the smell of fish actually enjoyed it when they experienced it within the context of the market. They expected to smell fish there — it’s a fish market, so how else would it smell? — and it enhanced their experience of the market. In a vacuum, people say that they like and don’t like particular smells, but it turns out that they can enjoy all kinds of odours as long as they experience them in the right context. As designers, that’s quite an important point for us to note. It would be easy for us to say that because our surveys have said that people like smell A but they don’t like that smell B, therefore we’re going to design out smell B and introduce smell A everywhere. But people can enjoy a smell that they say they don’t like when it enhances their place experience.
Starbucks Frappuccino Bottles as Firebomber’s Tool [NYT] – Kind of a non-story when you go past the headline, but the notion of unintended uses for products is always fascinating. Sometimes that leads to innovation, sometimes that leads to a brand nightmare, I suppose sometimes it leads to both.
Mason jelly jars, whiskey quarts, wine and beer bottles — all have been among history’s vessels of choice for a homemade gasoline bomb. Now, a less likely vehicle has come forth: the dainty, 9.5-ounce glass container used by Starbucks to house its popular Frappuccino drinks. Investigators believe that in a rash of firebombings Sunday near the Queens-Nassau border, a Frappuccino bottle was the incendiary component of choice in most of the attacks.