Need to Know
08 : 07 : 20

Exploring the complexities of queerness and blackness, a conceptual bunker for crisis living, and Japan’s workers enjoy commute-free working.

MQBMBQ is a digital platform celebrating queer blackness


Global – My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness (MQBMBQ) is a new digital project exploring the multiple facets of black queer identity.

Envisaged by creative producer Jordan Anderson, the project is a response to his own experiences, personal difficulties around gay pride, and the portrayal of queerness in a whitewashed, American form. The project gives a platform to 12 image makers, each of whom explore the theme of black queer identity, with all image proceeds donated to black transsexual charities.

‘It’s a complex that hits you from both sides and can lead you into believing the lies being fed to you as a black queer person,’ explains Anderson. ‘It’s a case of constantly doing the work to unlearn all the misconceptions and biases you’re taught. All this has motivated me to launch My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness.’

Exploring black masculinity is a complex topic. In our interview with Iggyldn, he discusses his own experiences of representing modern manhood, alonside black fatherhood and engaging young black men.

A pandemic-proof bunker for subterranean living

Sergey Makhno Underground House Plan B, Ukraine Sergey Makhno Underground House Plan B, Ukraine
Sergey Makhno Underground House Plan B, Ukraine Sergey Makhno Underground House Plan B, Ukraine

Ukraine – Sergey Makhno Architects have created a high-spec concrete home – Underground House Plan B – envisaged as crisis-proof dwellings.

The Covid-19 pandemic is the catalyst for the project, with the architecture group realising a potential future life for humans in subterranean settings. Hidden in a Ukrainian forest, with a helipad allowing access to the bunker, the house can easily accommodate two or three families. While security and resourcefulness are at the core of its design, the underground home also recognises the need for entertainment and hobbies. It includes a home library, cinema, gym and water filtering system.

Ihor Havrylenko, co-author of the project, said: ‘Modern people are too accustomed to freedom and lack of restrictions. Life in a bunker, even a very comfortable one, is life within frames. We tried to design the space so that people could feel them minimally.’

Future planners and architects will need to design properties with health and safety at the fore. As we explore in Pandemic-proof Properties, the lockdown period has highlighted the health impacts of life in isolation.

Music synching for alone-together listening

AmpMe, Global AmpMe, Global

Global – Music synchronisation app AmpMe is launching a new feature to allow friends to connect virtually and listen to music together.

With video calls and digital chatrooms having become the norm for group socialising, AmpMe recognises the opportunity to improve group listening experiences.

The new feature allows up to eight people to listen to music together via Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud or Deezer. While popular video platforms like Zoom have the option to play music via screen sharing, the functionality isn’t optimised for strong sound quality.

‘I’ve tried with a few friends many times during this confinement to do Zoom drinks. But it’s really not made for that,’ explains Martin-Luc Archambault, CEO of AmpMe. ‘You can change the background, but you can’t play music. Music is a big part of partying or having fun with your friends.’

While music fans have previously connected in Listening Clubs, the rise of virtual meetings has created new opportunities for digital music synching.

Stat: Japanese employees embrace working from home

Breather, New York Breather, New York

A recent survey by Jiji Press has found that the majority of Japanese people want to continue working from home, even after Covid-19 has been contained.

Many respondents said that they were happy with the reduction in commuting. Some 68% said they had no stress from commuting and more than 50% said the arrangement meant they could live in and work from areas with lower housing costs.

Many people also recognised an improvement in their efficiency since working from home, with 42% saying they had spent less time on unproductive overtime than they usually would.

This mindset shift will have a particular impact on Japan’s emerging youth, whose conservative values remain in conflict with those of their Western counterparts.

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