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JOIN DOT WORLD

www.webstar.world

Join the dots, and support the creative worlds of music, entertainment, fashion, the arts, and literature.

Paid membership gets you a virtual apartment or studio space, and your membership fee supports this resource, which in turn supports new and emerging artists, independent ventures, production crew and technicians. The more funds we can raise, the more we can all help others as a community.

In return, you receive your very own responsive, mobile-first minisite where you can add your information, image, video playlist and links to all of your other media in one neat package. You also become a part of our support network, and receive exclusive news about future projects and sponsorship.

 JOIN DOT WORLD

(Charges Apply - Inclusion is subject to application)

 

DOT WORLD

Life Support


Dot World is primarily about a connected community and raising funds to support and encourage a real creative world. But Dot World also explores the social connection that often exists between real urban accommodation and the ventures that spring up to support such a community.

Family run cafés, small retail shops, laundrettes, news agents, cinemas, radio stations, entertainment venues, a small theater perhaps, and public buildings for hire to support clubs, events, rehearsal and performance. All of them have a very local social aspect and offer outlets where you can develop interests, meet new people, or have a gossip. There's a chance to get out of the house for a while, and experience some kind of life.

Commercial Culture

Sadly, small retail communities and public venues are slowly being replaced with over-priced leisure consumerism. Commercially driven chains with international business models, and quirky outlets that are short-lived or high-end, have little relation to the everyday needs of local populations. Other premises are falling silent. Even some historic high street names, hit by high expenses and reduced footfall, are closing for good.

New generations addicted and attached to the isolated experience of the online world, are growing up in, and in part creating, a different kind of local environment. Things are changing, and going back doesn't seem to be a part of the process. This is social evolution in action.

Creative Culture

Most large cities still have the capacity to house and finance the top-end of the creative and entertainment industry. However, if you want to live there and take advantage of this fact, either as a patron or as a participant, you could be faced with astronomical living expenses that can kill any artistic enthusiasm stone-dead.

Creative people with ambition often travel to where opportunity lays, and take dead-end jobs to scrape by as they carry the dream. Money rapidly disappears as it's snatched away by daily living, but more importantly, precious creative time slips by too.

Meanwhile, the lights of small local entertainment venues and public spaces continue to go out one-by-one, removing a vital middle-ground for opportunity and creative development.

Ironically, the next generation of entertainers and artists who should be exhibiting or performing in such places, are busy working multiple shifts in the very leisure industries that are replacing local cultural outlets, just to pay the rent. A sign of the times is that many of the potential audience members are doing exactly the same.

The Imagined Meets Reality

Dot World is an attempt to re-balance the online world with the real one. Many visual references are based on real places. Areas and places you could visit, or even live in if you had the inclination and the cash. At the very least, the spirit and history of creative communities in places such as New York and London are explored, revived and remembered.

It's not all doom and gloom. Not everything is on the decline, and gentrification can be a large brush which paints over other issues, such as the influence of new media and local economics. Sometimes, society itself leads change or adapts. There are successful and interesting creative projects out there, and we will be featuring and supporting as many of them as we can through this project.

Sense of Place

You can experience the areas and locations we have based things on so far by proxy, thanks to the work of tour content creators. Walking-guides with no commentary can give the feel of being there. Experience a city for the first time, or re-live the familiarity. Watch as everyday businesses and famous cultural and historical places pass by, or just listen as the societies of particular cities go about their business.

Other shared video content features in-depth history and commentary about places to see, and things to do.

The Madding Crowd (slight return)

Sound and ambience can have a real affect on mood or well-being. In a world where everyone wants to talk at you, everything has a soundtrack, and silence is rare, ambient sounds can take things down a notch and offer a refreshing change.

Street hubbub is still categorized as noise pollution, but if you're working alone from home, or in a fairly soundless environment, some kind of low-key social buzz can keep you subliminally connected to the outside world - or in some small way, get you a little closer to somewhere you might like to be.

Below, you can follow links to architects, historians, city walkers and ambient creators, or follow a guide to the real places and references we have been influenced by for this community project.

Many thanks to all for sharing these excellent city guides. Your time and effort is much appreciated.

London


  • Watched Walker
    East London Walk of Lively Brick Lane & Shoreditch from Liverpool Street Station

New York


Nashville


  • No Talk
    Great Walk in Rising Star Nashville Part 1, Tennessee USA
  • VibesOner
    Downtown Nashville, Tennessee (night walk)
  • ZPierre509
    Nashville Tennessee downtown Broadway Saturday evening/night July 10 2021 walking tour vlog

World


Thanks for sharing.

Soho London : Soho New York


Ambience


  • TedBLOG
    9 ways that sound affects our health, wellbeing and productivity

The Windows

The graphic representations of urban architecture featured here are based on real buildings. The idea came about after creating graphics for the direct-to-fan store. The partial representation of four windows above the store hinted at everyday activity and life. This idea was expanded on by including links to playlists that represented each of these virtual inhabitants. This concept was developed further with research about city architecture, buildings with a cultural attachment, and windows in particular. The results presented a fascinating array of life stories marked by location.

Many publicly available images, sampled textures, and our own photos were used as references. These elements were combined to reconstruct something approximating the features of real buildings at night, with windows lit in a variety of ways.

The interiors or window coverings are not taken from any specific building. They were added, and come from a wide variety of sources. Some are adapted stock images. Others are made-up montages, including snippets of famous and infamous interiors. There is no intended theme, but there tends to be a retro feel.

Behind the visual fun are many researched links, shared video playlists, and in-house features that lead to tangible real-world subjects featuring cultural, historical and current subjects relating to society.

Solid brick imagery married with the idea of virtual apartments raises thoughts of the possible inhabitants, a subconscious link between the online world and real environments. This gave rise to the development of Dot World. A little quirky or game-like perhaps, but a more traditional way of representing community and space.

Selected Locations

The windows finally chosen represent London, New York and Nashville. As things progress, other locations that were initially researched may be added.

A comparison between Soho Manhattan, Soho London, and the surrounding areas was an interesting and connecting cultural theme, especially historically.

Nashville


Nashville. Music City. Country music, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, and a long connection with jazz, blues and rock 'n roll. Nashville is a vibrant city full of creativity, live music and nightlife. Jack White (formerly with The White Stripes) runs Third Man Records from there. The legendary Sun Records is still there. The Frist Art Museum is there. Large tech companies are there, along with a variety of leisure businesses with famous owners.

The windows used to represent Dot World studios are based on the numerous windows of the vast Marathon Motor Works building in Nashville, Tennessee. Industrial engineering and car manufacturing were the original activities, but ceased in 1922 leaving an empty building, which was eventually restored and re-purposed.

Today, this re-purposed building still retains past industrial references including the company signage on the walls, and history preserved both in situ around the site, and in a dedicated museum. New life comes from performance spaces, artist studios, offices, restaurants, independent retail outlets and crafts, along with well-known brand names. This time, history wasn't torn down in the name of progress thanks to a realistic vision from owner, Barry Walker, who purchased the site in 1986.

Video Playlist


External Links


New York


The windows that should be used to represent New York were obvious. We headed north from Soho to East Village and St. Mark's Place. Think of classic New York architecture, and images of slightly run-down brownstone tenement blocks with external fire escapes and wide entrance steps come to mind. This is exactly what you will find here, along with a number of musical and cultural connections.

Fans of Led Zeppelin will instantly feel at home, as the properties at 96 and 98 St. Mark's Place are the real buildings featured on the cover of the 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Conceived by the London based design agency Hipgnosis, and designed by Peter Corriston, the album cover employed an innovative and early interactive element of using a relationship between cover art and inner sleeve (as did Led Zepplelin III). The windows could be populated by famous or infamous faces, or the name of the album by inserting the inner sleeve into the outer cover that had cut-outs where any windows were represented. The front depicted day-time scenes, the back, nighttime scenes. Both the cover and the album material were strong, leading to an iconic point in both design and music.

Peter Corriston also worked with Debbie Harry, solo artist and vocalist of the 1970s new wave band Blondie. Debbie Harry actually lived on St. Mark's Place for a while as did other creative people including writers and artists of the time, and a long list of famous names from the past.

The tone of St. Mark's Place, and the bohemian feel surrounding the area also appealed to The Rolling Stones. The building appears again in the video shot for the track "Waiting on a Friend" from the album Tattoo You (1981). Mick Jagger muses in the doorway of 96, and is joined by Keith Richards who sits between Jagger and Peter Tosh. Jagger and Richards then walk around the corner to St. Mark's Bar & Grill, and go inside where the rest of the band appear. Peter Corriston is a continued thread as he designed the album covers for Tattoo You along with Some Girls, Emotional Rescue, and Undercover.

The building itself comprises of five storeys and the facade includes historical references to its waterside past, with nautical motifs such as seashells, fish, and figureheads representing nautical gods (possibly Neptune). The building hasn't faded into history. It is still a functioning apartment block with apartments available to rent. If you've ever wondered what the real building looks like inside, or have the cash to stay for a while, you can take a look at the latest real estate listings.

Video Playlist


External Links


London


The windows representing the UK are based on architecture found in London. In this case, the locations are Brick Lane in the East End, and Shaftsbury Avenue, a major road which connects Soho and the West End, the home of theatreland.

Brick Lane


Brick Lane is centrally situated in London's East End, and runs northwards from Whitechapel towards Hackney and Bethnal Green. The lane is almost a mile long and connects many side streets which lead off into various shopping or eating experiences. Brick Lane is historically known for the settlement of several successive immigrant communities that have come and gone over the years, which gave rise to a diverse and long-established community centered around market trading, restaurants and small independent retail businesses as each culture left its mark. Traffic is restricted in some areas to accommodate pedestrian access to busy street markets. The range of the more exotic food menus and curry houses is extensive in terms of choice and price.

Graffiti is tolerated which has attracted some of the top artists. Street art is extensive along some sections, and particularly prominent where bridges carry the rail network over and under the lane - the classic urban location for graffiti artists. But, it's not all about graffiti. Art and art galleries are also a feature of Brick Lane.

A few music videos have been shot in Brick Lane including the single "Glory Days" from Camden's Just Jack, and "ÜBerlin" from the R.E.M. album Collapse Into Now, a track accompanied by a video shot in the area, featuring dancing by actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The style of the windows selected is typical of the more historical brick architecture and sash windows, seen above the small retail outlets along Brick Lane. Some of the rooms above the shops are storerooms or workshops, others are accommodation. Many apartments are also available in the surrounding area, but if you want to live there, you may need very deep pockets.

Immigrant History

This playlist looks at the long and varied immigrant history of the Brick Lane area.

Shaftsbury Avenue


The second set of windows selected to represent culture are grander in terms of location and architecture, and can be seen along Shaftsbury Avenue in the heart of London. The road is a main conduit connecting many of the entertainment aspects of London's West End, from Soho and China town, to theatreland and Piccadilly Circus. Much of the architecture features red brick with grand windows and ornate facades, built in the late eighteen-hundreds under the guidance of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Many of the famous London theaters are located along, or around Shafesbury Avenue, and are home to a wide range of new and traditional musicals and stage productions. As you travel towards Soho, the historical musical connection is strong. The jazz club, Ronnie Scotts, is still very much open and active, along with the 100 Club on Oxford Street. Many music videos have been shot around the Soho area and the West End because of this connection.

Small music venues and private cinemas of past times have all but gone, but there are still bars featuring live music or DJs. The area also contains outlets for vinyl and comic culture collectors, and many of the famous landmarks associated with central London are easily reached. It's a fascinating area that can get you close to the heart of the entertainment industry.

The High Street

The graphic representation of the Dot World high street is based on 'bits' of real buildings in the Soho area of London. Soho has connections to the music and film industry past and present, and has a social past that revolved around the British film industry, adult entertainment, and some of the small but famous music venues and social gathering places.

The store fronts include elements of the typical historical architecture and style found in the area. Black, or dark themes for long-established public houses and shop fronts are common. Some are restored or well-maintained. Others bear witness to the years of constant footfall - a little shabby, but a long-standing reminder of how things were.

Traditional exterior features such as wooden windows, coloured or frosted glass, flat pillars with ornate decoration, deeply coloured exterior tiles, window boxes, gold lettering and traditional signage can still be found amongst the aluminium and glass.

Video Playlist


External Links


The Windows We Didn't Use...

Many famous windows and different architecture were experimented with, and below are a few that got away...

Windows collection

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Vienna was home to Mozart in the late seventeen-hundreds. He lived in a building in the heart of the city on Domgasse 5. The apartment on the first floor is still there, and it's a place where he both lived and composed.
    Google Map Street View
  • George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix
    Two houses sit next to each other on Brook Street in Mayfair, London. Both have blue plaques from English Heritage. One for Hendrix, and one for Handel in recognition of their past occupancy of the respective buildings. A great demonstration of how buildings can represent extensive periods of history and culture.
    Google Map Street View
  • David Bowie and Iggy Pop
    In the mid-seventies David Bowie began a new chapter of his life, both personally and musically, in Berlin Germany. He shared an apartment on Hauptstrasse with friend, Iggy Pop.
    Google Map Street View
  • Hansa Studios
    Hansa Studios is a recording studio in Berlin Germany. The studio touches the history of Berlin like no other. It was in close proximity to the Berlin wall when it stood, complete with armed guards and watchtowers, which added an extra surreal dimension. It has become legendary, with famous musicians and bands both past and present recording there.
    Google Map Street View
  • Bob Marley
    Hope Road, Kingston Jamaica is the location of a home bought by Marley in 1975. The house and location puts Marley, and what he stood for, in context. Many of his possessions are preserved in the house.
    Google Map Photo Path
  • Elvis Presley
    Presley made Graceland his home. It is located in the city of Memphis in Tennessee. Many pictures exist of his home life at the property, and today it preserves moments in time and design.
    Google Map Street View
  • Johnny Cash
    The boyhood home of Johnny Cash in Dyess, Arkansas after a move to the historic Dyess Colony, where farming was a primary occupation.
    Google Map Street View
  • Andy Warhol
    The Factory was Warhol's famous studio. There were actually a few incarnations in different locations. The Decker Building was the second location (sixth floor), and is still standing.
    Google Map Street View
  • De Wallen Amsterdam
    Sex and personal services (where windows play a big role), in a location featuring waterways, narrow alleys, cobbled streets and amazing medieval architecture.
    Google Map Street View
NEXT

Webstar Dot World is not associated with any of the places that may be represented by the architectural imagery. The aim is to provide historical and real-world references for educational purposes and interest.

Content

Webstar Dot World is not responsible for the content, or change of content offered by community members. Inclusion is subject to application and is not an automatic process. We reserve the right to refuse an application, or remove files and content at any time without giving reason or refund.

About

Webstar Dot World is a non-commercial project. Any profit generated is used for funding creative people and projects (including maintenance of this project). Contributing community members will be informed about funding and sponsorship as it occurs.

DOT WORLD Café

Caffeine Culture


Dedicated public meeting places have historically been at the core of local communities, evolving over the centuries as the demands of society fluctuated and changed. Some kind of café culture or café society has been around since the sixteenth century, and became a day-time alternative to the local bars or pubs.

In the not too distant past, these places offered more than just coffee. From the late forties, greasy spoons and family run caffs in the UK became well established and provided both a place for social interaction, and a place where the food was simple and affordable. Family owned American diners offered a similar experience during the fifties, sixties and seventies.

Today, affordable cafés are outgunned by sleek, wipe-down coffee shops where you can order anything you like, as long as it's coffee in one of it's endless guises. Prices are high. Interiors are shop-fitted replications. Real spoons are gone. The stirring stick rules. However, a café or coffee house is still one of the last high street refuges offering a sit-down for a few moments - a place where things can stop for a while.

Caff-ethnography

A busy café or coffee shop serves as an ideal outpost if you want to study the human condition. You can observe captive performances freely, and overhear snatches of general conversation with undercurrents of disjointed or bizarre chit-chat, social one-upmanship, personal or intimate negotiations, and one-sided tirades.

Some are having moments of contemplation or inner conflict, and often tell their story in more physical ways. Heavy sighs subtly signal unspoken inner turmoil or despair. Exaggerated yawns and stretching underline boredom, or are an indication an attempt at small-talk from a stranger might be on the way.

Tension or frustration activates agitated foot-twirling or leg jiggling and eyes that never really settle anywhere. Head-holding and face-propping are common, sometimes accompanied with tapping or fiddling. A coffee cup stands in for a problem, and is silently interrogated and tortured with a stirring stick, its owner sits slouched with puffed-out cheeks. Boredom? Resignation? Contemplation of an impossible conundrum?

Cafe Montage

Avoidance is a strange contradiction in a social setting, but often occurs in shared environments. Around you, many sit in seemingly self-absorbed indifference, some oblivious as they step over the microscopic social boundaries of small spaces.

Couples sit together in silence, and find ways to engage with anything except each other. Loners are heads-down, defensively focussed on their order, reading material or phone, with eyes tentatively peeping out from under brows or over glasses from time-to-time.

Some just sit and gaze, with eyebrows permanently raised as wide eyes stare blankly through everything to banish the remotest chance of an unwanted connection. There should be no disturbance of the blissful vacancy currently in progress.

The Extraordinary Inner Orbits of Self

Unlike being at home or work, anonymous moments alone in a public place can start particular inner dialogues and trains of thought. Timeout from your usual surroundings, and the opportunity to mull and muse in your own time can produce thoughts which are disjointed and dreamlike, or different to the more practical inner dialogues associated with the daily grind. The real you inwardly emerges in all your different aspects, popping-out from behind the defensive barriers that are presented to others.

Random thoughts or the immediate surroundings can spark all kinds of flashbacks and connections, and if given a chance, an idle mind can also magnify problems and woes, or bring deeply buried memories to the surface. Lost opportunity or regret, moments of joy, anxiety or self-doubt; the nag of an uncertain future, or comforting memories of 'better times'.

Fascinating stuff.

One of the most famous examples of people-watching in a café setting has to be the painting Nighthawks (1942) by the artist Edward Hopper. Many have theorized about the sparse characters and their thoughts and relationships, as they sit in a setting that serves to give them the same attention and focus as a lit goldfish bowl.

Nighthawks - Painting of a cafe lit in the night

Alfred Hitchcock's movie Rear Window (1954) is another example of the natural obsession we all have with other people's lives and behaviours. Hitchcock and a great cast skillfully agitate the high drama and prickly tension that can arise when minding other people's business, and captures the feelings of wrongness voyeurism can evoke.

Rear Window Movie Poster

Modern entertainment has taken things in an even more extreme voyeuristic direction, and we fritter our own precious moments away as we watch other people's real or imaginary lives unfold in front of a camera.

We have to know about these people. Nothing can just be. No one just is. There has to be a story.

Playlist

Video Playlists



'Caffs'
  • bbc.com
    Cafe culture: The survival of the traditional British 'caff' - Duncan Smith (2015)
People watching
Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock
Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
  • nighthawknyc.com
    Kenn Sava and his search for the location of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks diner.
  • New York Post
    An article from Reed Tucker (2014) - Is this diner the inspiration for Hopper's 'Nighthawks'?
  • DuckDuckGo
    Search results for 'Nighthawks' parody. Modern interpretations of the famous original.

DOT WORLD Project

Are you a writer or storyteller?


The Café Diaries

This project aims to encourage the submission of short written pieces that revolve around one location and situation. Each short story (or poem) is written by a different author to emulate the diversity of different aspects of real life. This is open to all - from professional writers, to those who would like to explore their writing skills.

Current proposal artwork

Here's the outline:

The location is an everyday café or coffee house.
The situation is one person sitting alone.
The story is their inner thoughts.

Are you a photographer or illustrator?

We will select and collate the best stories, and invite photographers and illustrators to contribute their images and ideas to the theme. The results will be published online as an ongoing digital PDF book, with QR codes linking to web pages for each contributor (provided for free).

A follow-on video project is also planned if successful.

Find Out More

 

The Caretaker


The Caretaker is the community moderator and supports Dot World community members. The Caretaker acts as the first point of contact for technical issues, updates, renewals, or upgrades.

The Caretaker oversees releases of a special edition community magazine from time to time. This can be a little surreal and abstract at times, but there are comments, exclusive features and collections of links that are only available to Dot World members.

The Caretaker also maintains the lobby notice board which features links to new and useful third-party resources relating to the world of the arts, music, entertainment and collectors.

Caretaking Magic

Lobby Notice Board


Links to creative resources, workspaces, agencies, publications and more...

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