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Walk Through Juan Atkins’ Detroit

As any techno fan, myself included, can tell you, Juan Atkins is considered one of the elders of techno, which was born in the rapidly changing world of Metro Detroit. Even as the city, once one of the fastest growing cities in the world, was being hollowed out by white flight, the edges of the city were giving birth to a new musical vitality informed by funk, Kraftwerk, Chicago House, new technologies, and other currents of the period.

In this new video from the Avant/Garde Diaries, Atkins takes you through the urbanscape of a “postindustrial city” that he calls “cold and bleak”, but one that has never stopped acting as a muse for creatives like himself.

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From the Edges of Tokyo, Where the Avant-garde Play

Yousuke Fuyama is a Tokyo-based artist, composer, programmer, and graphic designer. At the age of twelve, armed with a small tape recorder, he began recording and cataloging the various found sounds in his environment. This eventually led to an obsession with synthesizers, samplers, digital audio processing, and recording technology. As a college student, Fuyama’s research focused on computer programming and data interconversion as a means of further expanding the possibilities of multimedia art.

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Scott Campbell & Chances with Wolves: Keeping Current with the Past

Brooklyn artist Scott Campbell is a typical New York creative in that he’s passionate about his eclectic tastes and interests. One of his loves is a Monday night radio show on East Village Radio by the hilariously named Chances With Wolves (DJs Justin Cox and Kenan Juska). The musical duo excavate some of the most obscure, funkiest, and freakiest soul and R&B records you can imagine, and their beats, Campbell says, are great because “they never play the obvious.”

Chances With Wolves posts their playlist and program on their blog and reading the names are like looking into a portal you never knew was there.

“I really like the idea that there are these people that didn’t know how beautiful their records were for some reason,” Justin Cox explains in this latest video from The Avant Garde Diaries

It’s nice to know that every Monday night there’s a little tribe that follows the beats and aural musings of some forgotten artists who deserve another listen. It really does sound pretty avant garde.

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Imagining A Post-Capitalist Society with Ton Matton

Tom Matton is a rare kind of designer and architect who looks past the commercial life of objects to explore the underlying realities of their existence. And like many adventurous creators, he took a chance.

His exploration led him far from the life he knew in The Netherlands, and the growing discomfort he had with suburban building practices. He proudly makes no apologies for his thinking that this is the time to challenge the logic of “greedy capitalism,” something that has impacted his work from the beginning.

“If you don’t have a job in the big city, then you’re a loser,” he says bluntly. In the countryside, he explains, things are different, but you’ll have to watch this latest video from the Avant/Garde Diaries to hear his wonderful explanation.

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The Avant/Garde Diaries: Aaron Rose Talks Watts Towers

It’s impossible to forget the first time you visit Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. I remember being confronted by the beauty of the spires that look dreamlike and fragile at first until you realize how strong and robust they in fact are upon closer inspection.

They are one of the masterpieces of 20th C. folk architecture but also so much more than that label entails.

In the latest installment of The Avant-Garde Diaries, Aaron Rose, of “Beautiful Losers” fame, shares his love for this monument far ahead of its time.

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The Avant/Garde Diaries

The Avant/Garde Diaries is a digital portrait magazine that invites leading creatives to talk about the cutting edge of art, design, fashion, music and film.

In each digital portrait, featured diarists are asked to introduce someone or something they consider to be ahead of their time. The result is a collection of very personal snapshots that celebrate new ways of thinking and spread inspiration.