The Age of Hard and Soft: The New Yorker

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New Yorker Cover

Firstly The New Yorker gets giffy with Christoph Niemann, then digs deep into the changing relationship of the digital and the physical

The New Yorker has been playing with the theme of Hard and Soft recently, not least with it’s October 6 “Rainy Day” cover by Christoph Niemann, which had an alternative life on the web as the magazine’s first ever gif cover (see the full story and the gif here).

christoph niemann new yorker

The November 24 issue features illustrator Richard McGuire’s, “Time Warp” cover. He explains the image on The New Yorker website“As I walk around the city, I’m time-travelling, flashing forward, planning what it is I have to do.” (McGuire is long-celebrated in the more cultish circles of comics connoisseurs as the creator of “Here” originally published in Art Spigelman’s Raw magazine).

The cover (headline image) echoes McGuire’s interest in how our experience of the everyday is layered with different slices of time. But the issue’s features explore the changing relationship between the 2D and the 3D. ‘Print Thyself’ explores how 3D printing is transforming medicine and features the image below by photographer Lori K. Sanders.

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The caption for the image reads “A 3-D printer used by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute creates a model vascular network.” When we still don’t know what this tech means for us, or how it will radically change our familiar systems of making and distributing, Sanders delivers a highly textural photo, of contrasting surfaces, blocks of colour and geometric shapes. The visual and design shorthand for the future has always been Kubrick and 2001, but Sanders shoots the future like Mondrian – blocks of shape and colour. 

“Good Game” explores the rise of the professional cyber athlete and is accompanied by an image by photographer Jenny Hueston. The caption reads, “Scarlett [Sasha Hostyn], the most accomplished woman in e-sports, is known for her macro mutalisk style and kick-ass creep spread.”

Cyber Athlete

The strange language in the caption comes from the world of gaming (strategies) and that blown out look is a great look for someone living in the in-between of the Hard and the Soft, a space that is neither and both. The kind of dazed-over-exposed visualises a kind of of jet-lag you might get as you recover from the intensity of game space. And if anyone doubts that this is a thing, the feature notes that, “As of last year, gamers of international renown are eligible for P1-A exemptions, otherwise known as ‘athlete visas.’ Robert Morris University, in Illinois, has added League of Legends, a “multiplayer online battle arena” game, as a varsity team sport, and this semester the program began awarding athletic scholarships.” 

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