Shorb's Cyberoptix Tie Lab

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Filed under: Satire

Consumed: Viral Inflection
by Rob Walker
The New York Times Magazine
May 21, 2009

A design inspired by pandemic paranoia is one way for style rebels to reject the traditional necktie, with panache.

…"Terminal Illness" is the name of one of the most recent designs from Bethany Shorb, a Detroit artist, and the fact that it has a title is a good indicator that it is not a traditional tie. What at first glance resembles an abstract pattern well within the vernacular of the necktie aesthetic is, rather, a repeated image of the swine-flu virus connected by shapes based on international-airport-terminal diagrams.

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A tie called "Snoutbreak!" features a simpler graphic that clearly suggests a pig's nose; if you order this tie, you get a matching surgical mask free. These offerings from Shorb's Cyberoptix Tie Lab were made available in early May, when the swine-flu freakout was at its height and the director general of the World Health Organization had recently warned that a pandemic had the potential to threaten "all of humanity." … Read the full article here.