Link List #95: Startup minimalism, German art hegemony, and robot pharmacists - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Link List #95: Startup minimalism, German art hegemony, and robot pharmacists


Welcome to the first link list of 2019. To start, we’ve chosen a suitably futuristic article that gives a first look at the “pharmacy of the future,” opening up in Berlin. What makes it so contemporary? Robots, of course! In contrast, we’ve also been reading about one Bavarian art institution’s backward-looking exhibition program, and lastly, we read the debate on what to do with historic works of literature that don’t reflect contemporary values. Enjoy.


    • 1 When walking through supermarket aisles or browsing online catalogs it’s easy to overlook a vital and emerging trend—robots in retail. But robotics play a crucial role in cultivating a holistic retail experience for consumers in ways that they may not even notice. A new “pharmacy of the future” in Berlin makes these links explicit: designed by the local architecture Studio Aisslinger, the pharmacy features a robotic arm that moves up and down the shelves to pick and deliver medicine. Read more on Pop-up City.
    • 2 In a supposed effort to save costs, Munich’s Haus der Kunst has canceled scheduled exhibitions by two widely celebrated female artists, Joan Jonas and Adrian Piper, and replaced them with a show by the German painter Markus Lüpertz, which some say “upholds the outdated standards of German art hegemony.” This article on Hyperallergic explores what happened and why we should care.
    • 3 With global markets in a nervous jitter over trade wars, deficits, and a shutdown of US government (in December, the Dow saw its largest drop since 1931), Vox’s Eliza Brooke examines how the 2008 financial crisis has shaped a decade of design. Similar to how the Great Depression of the 1930’s led to more sober, streamlined forms, the crash of 2008 ushered in our current era of “startup minimalism,” the writer notes. Tracing the rise of post-recession brands like Everlane, Kinfolk, and Airbnb, Brooke explains how their stamp of personable, understated, and innocuous went from being novel to being baseline. Brooke also identifies first signs of a new “maximalism.” Let’s hope the markets hold.
    • 4 Whenever we read the term Boko Haram, or about any other militant group similarly motivated by Islamic extremism, ideas of terror spring to mind. Stories of suppressed women and their experiences of brutal violence aren’t far off either. But they don’t exist alone, as this piece in The New Yorker proves, telling the stories of the women who have returned to their captors.
    • 5 What should museums do with paintings that have sexist or discriminatory motifs? How should university professors deal with classic works of literature that, when read today, display questionable viewpoints and opinions? Is artistic freedom the most important measure or are there some works of art that shouldn’t have a place in the 21st century? In a piece published by The New York Times, Brian Morton explains how it’s still possible to learn from works of literature that we have outgrown as a society.

Hopefully you enjoyed the reads from this week’s Link List, but if you’ve still got an internet itch to scratch, you can find more here.

Also, be sure to check out FvF Mixtapes for some tracks selected by our friends and favorite artists, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with FvF stories.

Text: FvF editorial team
Photography: Mary Gaudin