This is a restart. This is the start of the new season of what once was my monthly newsletter. This now is my fourth issue of Energy Transmission. In this not-monthly-anymore newsletter I explore the question “what is the culture of tomorrow?” together with those who are close to the fire. I have conversations with people I crossed paths with, or who's work inspires me and pair it with stuff we both think is worth checking out.
This month: No one. And yet some.
I recently had the chance to exclusively visit the preview show of Tom Sachs' Space Program: Rare Earth. Before I continue: please go there immediately. If you live in Hamburg or anywhere in Germany or even Europe. This is a must. And can be visited at the Deichtorhallen until April 11. Please, go there and have fun!
Anyway, looking at art is always fuelling me with energy but meeting an idol makes your head explode. So as I was there, I was shooting with an old Olympus mju-ii on Kodak Portra 400 and annoyed everyone from the press with the sound of this film camera. Except Tom. When I shot the photo of him you see above, he called me "Nerd!". The camera team that was about to interview him was wondering why he insulted me and he explained that this is a compliment. For me. And for him. Because nerds are people that are really interested in something. So much that their hunger for knowledge and their attention to detail is endless. That is what I enjoy so much about his art. There are just so many things to explore and discover. Every little screw has its own function or a hidden message written on it. But I don't want to spoil too much. Some more pictures of the show are on my instagram.
Anyways, he made me think about what it means to be a 'nerd'. Made me think about the term 'nerd'. What does it really mean? And has it changed its connotation in any way lately? Let's have a look at the origin and its definition on Wikipedia: Unknown. Okay. So the etymology is not really clear. "Perhaps an alteration of nerts", which means "nuts" or "crazy". Then there are three definitions: 1. "a person who is intellectual but introvert" 2. "one who has an intense, obsessive interest in something" and 3. "An unattractive, socially awkward and/or boring person" - wtf. Let's look deeper into it. Most definitions are frighteningly negative. If you take a look at Urban Dictionary for example.
But let us go with number 2 for now. And forever please. I think this is what a 'nerd' really is. And I believe that due to the Covid pandemic a lot of new nerds emerged. People dug deep into new things they discovered. They had the time and muse to really go down one rabbit hole after the other. In any creative field new nerds are born everyday. And what I found out in addition to this is that a nerd is not mandatory a specialist or expert in just one field. A nerd has lots of fields that he is specialized in or that intrigue her/him. It's the opposite of the allrounder, but not an expert and still hybrid in every sense. Experts tend to be some kind of "know it all" whereas nerds never know too much. They want to know everything and anything. And never stop striving.
So, I now asked some of my peers what they think. They all answered differently but quite similar in a way. I let these quotes sink in and stand alone for themselves, but one comment: when talking to Marie we found that the word 'amateur' and what that means to her is very very the same to my thoughts on the word 'nerd'.
For me, a nerd is the antithesis of the multitasking person who is constantly under pressure to change. The nerd on the other hand, is completely with himself, is concentrated, focused and curious. He is not a lonely weirdo who lives only in his world. On the contrary, to remain a nerd, he opens himself to other people, milieus, techniques or ideas in order to achieve perfection.
Knuth Kung Shing Stein | content curator, writer and walker
The word amateur originates from the French word amour, love. The amateur traverses life not as a professional but as a lover, equipped with not much more than a coarse passion for what lies before him. Seeking rather than knowing, asking rather than answering, his journey to knowledge becomes an exercise in communication. His incompetence belies a profound desire for human connection.
Marie Lueder | fashion designer, narrator, director and sculptor
The modern nerds can be characterised with two traits: they are rooted within dedicated communities and they are driven by the inner force to continuously acquire „Überschusswissen“ (German expression for something like total knowledge excess and surplus). With that being said, nerds are both. Emotional - because they care for belongings. And rational - because they are addicted to knowledge.
Toan Nguyen | founder and managing director of Jung von Matt NERD
Over to you. What are your thoughts about 'nerds'? Share them with me: firstname.lastname@example.org 📩
And please note that Marie Lueder will be my interviewee for next month. We will dive deeper into the amateur/nerd topic, talking about her collaborating on DONDA and what's it like talking to Kanye West on the phone at 2am and her past and future projects. Looking forward to it!
Normally, my last question for every guest is: What is the culture of tomorrow?
This time I asked myself and found the answer in the term, the attitude and the lifestyle of Nerds:
For us this month the culture of tomorrow is NERDS.
Every issue, after the interview section, I share with you some things I found on the Internet or in streets, that infused me with good vibes. These are my new energy sources:
Runners are nerds. Joggers are not nerds. As I recently learned from reading "Beyond Jogging" there is a significant difference between running and jogging. I consider myself a runner, exploring myself and my surroundings with every run a bit more. A brand that perfected the running mentality and brought it into the new age, is SATISFY from Paris. I never thought I will see a film about running with the vibes of a skateboard movie. This happened when they teamed up and took part in "The Speed Project" by Nils Arend and team. "Out On A Wire" will inspire and motivate you to lace up and go running! You will feel like making it from LA to LV.
I stumbled upon this project by renowned agency W+K via the beautiful blog FUSE. In this browser-based minigame you will learn a lot about UX, how corps treat your data and how users behave on the web. It inspired me to think a bit more when checking all the cookies, all the trackers and all the terms and conditions.
I've been a fan of Sabukaru for quite a while now, because they always manage to give a different perspective on what we call "The Culture". This interview with New Balance's Joe Grondin intrigued me by the headline alone: "Cultivating Energy". That is basically my job too. Cultivate it, translate it into ideas and finally into action. I have been quite happy that the streetwear synonym for collaborating has become some kind of 'energy' lately. Worth a read!
When it comes to nerds in movie making, movie publishing and movie marketing, you can't get past A24. The studio from New York breathes heavy hipster energy but manages to transform it into beautifully crafted masterpieces of film. And what I adore is not only that everything they touch, from merch to their instagram, looks fantastic, but also their endless hunger for new ways and unseen territories. Their latest horror flick, releasing October 8, called LAMB is about a child with a lamb head. I repeat: a horror flick about a child with a lamb head. Just watch the trailer and feel as sucked in as myself.
Are you interested in the new male Zeitgeist? In modern menswear? In the post sneaker world? Then these "goddamn mfcking boys" are for you. Their podcast "Throwing Fits" (the only podcast that matters) is a regular companion for me. Seeing Jimmy and Larry now collaborate with Moncler and END. for the Mondogenius event is just the funniest and best way of how advertorials can be rolled out. Love it.
Damn, Moncler is doing a lot right lately. As Highsnobiety stated here perfectly. Also for their Mondogenius event their collaborated with a musician I really love to see blow up and make big things: Teezo Touchdown. His song 'Social Cues' is on my running playlist and ever since his feature on Tyler The Creator's latest album CMIYGL he should be on your radar! And also he was a guest on Throwing Fits last week. So things come full circle. Check this great song 'I'm Not A Fan' now!
Okay okay okay. Finally some oldschool nerd stuff. Haha. All my retro nostalgia loving hormones and memories were triggered when Nintendo announced this: N64 and SEGA Genesis coming to Switch Online! That means you can play Zelda:OoT (my favorite game of all time) from anywhere. Or you can play Mario Kart 64. Online. ONLINE! And they will release a wireless OG controller to play these games the right way. More things to come. This fuels me with sooo much energy, can't emphasize it enough.
Now to something quite personal. My hometown was hit horribly by this horrible flood that put Western Germany on its head. Lots of people lost their homes and their existence. I was there to document it. I teamed up with the amazing team of Neo Metabolism to create this unique piece of video as part of their Remote Control series. You have to see it for yourself.
And I once again ask you to give to Stolberg and other areas and people that are devastated: http://fluthilfe.jetzt/ 🫂
Nevertheless, have a great one - sending good vibes to you all! STAY NERD!
The next issues will be with Marie Lueder in November and a ComplexCon/LA special in December.
A lot to keep you and me excited.