Itamar Kubovy, curator of live experiences


Cool Tools Show 240: Itamar Kubovy

Our guest this week is Itamar Kubovy. Itamar is a creator and curator of live experiences. He studied philosophy; ran theaters in Germany and Sweden; wrote and directed plays and films, and for 16 years was Executive Creative Producer of the globally acclaimed dance company Pilobolus. For the Freeman company, Itamar co-founded and co-leads Inside Live, a platform where innovators in hybrid events share knowledge and collaborate. Most recently, Itamar launched Decameron Row, a virtual street of 100 windows where artists from around the world share one-minute video postcards of their work in isolation.

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Show notes:

No Comment TV, Euronews
It’s sort of late jet lag nights in European hotels. There’s a cable news network in Europe called Euronews and late at night when they would otherwise stop programming, they started doing this thing where they just show B-roll of various things during the day in the last couple of days that happen. And it’s entirely unedited B-roll. It’s called No Comment, and essentially it’s just an endless sequence of one or two minute snippets of B-roll from all over the world that news journalists shot but didn’t end up using. And they just sort of throw them up on the site. And it’s funny since quarantine and since the entire kind of change in the world has taken place over the last few months, it feels like everything we read and everything we see is so intentional in some way, everything seems planned to get us to think something, we don’t know if it’s a bot or something real. And there’s something about unintentional footage of the world right now that almost seems accidental that feels sort of soothing to me. Everything feels remotely somehow adjacent to the news, but it’s an angle that you’ve never seen. And it has no story to tell other than just letting you be there for a minute and a half.

Astronaut.io and r/ObscureMedia
Astronaut.io is an algorithm-driven site that basically combs YouTube for videos that have either been seen zero times or one time. And it’s so weird and so good. And you realize that there’s this extra special feeling of like you’ve uncovered the tomb of King Tut that hasn’t been seen in 4,000 years, except it just randomly got loaded from someone’s pocket four days ago. It’s just such a strange feeling that is really enabled by the technology but also brings you to some very human place.

Obscure Media Is a subreddit that is a little bit different from the others. And it’s essentially just a subreddit where people collect strange pieces of created media from any time in the past. So, just odd, strange commercials of actors you know that were made in Bulgaria, or just the kind of strange sort of throw away detritus of media. This time, it’s all stuff that was very much made at some point. It’s very intentional, but it’s so irrelevant at this point that it kind of loses its intention and just feels like, “Wow, someone in Italy in the sixties actually dressed up as a pineapple and really tried to sell you a car this way.” And it somehow reveals a lot of the kind of strange foibles of the human imagination.

Jabra Elite 85h
These are over-the-ear, clunky Jabra 85h’s, which are Bluetooth, noise-canceling sort of giant things. And they’re great. They’re just really good. They allow you to do all the things that people pretend they can do with earbuds, and they’re way less comfortable and they’re hot and whatever, but they really work. And I found that they’ve helped me so much to be able to stay focused during this time when there’s so much stuff going on around. And there’s so much competition for concentration, both visual and our environments where we have our families or whoever’s around us all the time. It’s just really helped me focus in a way that I feel very appreciative to the product. I think for me, what it does is it just creates a different space in your head. It successfully does that, even when you’re outdoors, even when there’s a lot of stuff going on around you. It allows you to sort of be with the person you’re talking to in a different way. It literally puts you in a bubble.

UK Marks & Spencer Luxury Gold Tea Bags
What I’m recommending is Marks & Spencer tea. Nothing fancy, a hundred bags per box. No beautiful tin, no beautiful wood covering. For the umami of tea — which has been quite a treat sometimes during this period where you kind of put a little milk in it at night or in the morning, and really feel the comfort of a sort of creamy cup of tea — this can’t be beat. For a long time, I was literally getting people who went to London to go to the basement of Marks and Spencer and get me two boxes of this tea. And I think with the sort of globalization over the years, Amazon now allows you to just buy it with a click. It’s a particular blend, and they blend different origins of tea together in the way that one might blend coffee beans from different places together to get a particular taste. And it’s quite strong, so it really gives you a flavorful tea and dark, but never has any bitterness to it. It’s just very smooth. There’s nothing fancy about it. And it’s just an enormous, enormous improvement over Lipton or something like that.

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