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2.4: Robin Rhode

I’m bending the rules here a little to continue our theme of naming product releases after a graffiti artist, it’s a good one though, so I hope you don’t mind.

Meet Robin Rhode. I came across the South African artist a few years ago while searching for illustration references. I was immediately drawn to the way he combined raw aesthetics with performance. Let’s play table tennis.

The walls of Johannesburg provided the canvases for Rhode’s early work. He used basic materials such as charcoal, chalk and paint to sketch out narratives and invited friends to complete the scenes. These pieces allowed to him grasp photography and animation techniques, with pieces often broken down into stop frame image sequences.

A couple of years later I was at a Q&A session at the Hayward Gallery in London and learned a little more about the motivations behind his work. On the surface what appears to be simple, playful scenes often where outlets for Rhode’s feelings on social inequality, politics and poverty. In ‘Juggla’ below, our faceless circus clown symbolizes Rhode’s opinion that entertainment workers were “…at the mercy of the wealthy, juggling or holding nothing”.

One of my favorite Rhode pieces is called ‘Car Theft’, a performance piece that played out at the Walker Art Center in 2003. He burst through an awaiting crowd to sketch a 2D car outline on the gallery wall, he then disappeared for 2 secs only to launch himself at the drawing and mimic the action of braking into the car, alarm bell accessories and further disappearances added to a memorable performance.

Today, Rhode continues to make solo work and in recent years has collaborated with a bunch of different people, from Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to a commission from BMW to help launch the Z4 Roadster.

This is the point of the post where I switch your thoughts from the performance of Robin Rhode and introduce you to the features we’re working on around an editor’s performance on Percolate. Here we go.

Release Notes:

Introducing ‘Your Week on Percolate’

The posts screen on Percolate is called ‘Percolating’, it’s where an editor can see the social analytics (Retweets, Reblogs and Likes) around their posts.

Our 2.4 release see’s the introduction of ‘Your Week on Percolate’, the next step in presenting editors more interesting data around their posting.

‘Your Week on Percolate’ is a place where an editor can see their top level analytics at a glance. Simple data stories show editor’s their total number of posts for the week and the points these posts have earned (made up by total social interactions and clicks). The second row show’s an editor the sources that have influenced their recent posting and also the sites they are linking out to most.

Percolating is also the place where our learning engine surfaces related sources around each story an editor publishes. The idea here is to present interesting sources for an editor to add to their Percolator, which in turn builds out their interest graph for any given topic.

For this release we reworked our recommendation engine to allow us to more effectively surface related sources (people who also have shared this link) as well as recommended sources (people who are posting interesting content around this topic). This recommendation engine is an exciting step towards introducing new layers of discovery around source pages for editors.

The release also includes a few other small behind-the-scenes pieces like a better testing setup, a new site for our brand partners to help with integration and some more infrastructure fixes we need to help us continue to scale.

Stayed tuned, source pages and other goodies coming up in 2.5.

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