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briansholis : 2020-01   74

The Long Time
"We now have the unprecedented ability to destroy our species and that has happened at such a speed that we haven’t evolved mechanisms—politically, scientifically or culturally—to manage such risks."

The five long-term paths

1. DEEP TIME: This enables us to engage with our place in the epic geological history of the universe. Deep time work can foster a profound sense of awe for the richness of life on earth.

2. MULTIGENERATIONAL EMOTIONS: This work is about how we connect emotionally across multiple generations.

3. LEGACY STANCE: This work goes beyond just empathising with past and future generations and is about how we build our desire and agency to leave a positive legacy.

4. MORTALITY CONSCIOUSNESS: We’ve got a hunch that our inability to deal with the future of the world beyond our lifespan is wrapped up with our inability to deal with the fact that our lives will end.

5. INTERCONNECTED WORLDVIEWS: Valuing the long term is also about understanding our place in the wider web of life, fostering a sense of connection to the non-human.
2020  2020-01  ClimateKIC  BeatricePembroke  EllaSaltmarshe  LongTimeProject  DeepTime  ClimateChange  environment  futurism 
5 weeks ago by briansholis
Lindsay Caplan, "The Social Conscience of Generative Art," Art in America
"Importantly, computers continued to make their way into art and culture not in spite of their entanglement with the military-corporate research complex, but because of it. The artworks, exhibitions, actions, and texts that comprise the early history of generative art were meant not only to integrate computers into artmaking, but also to reimagine the political agency of artists and artworks alike. Generative art, in other words, was tied to a generative understanding of art’s political role."

"The political impetus of generative aesthetics might be easily lost in this sea of equations, formulas, and technical language, if not for Bense’s own insistence on the urgency of this approach. Bense argued that rationality is humanity’s first defense against fascism."

"Bense’s theory of generative aesthetics works to remove subjectivity from art and aesthetic judgment and imbue both with the transparency and clarity of science—striving, in his words, to “transform the metaphysical discipline into a technological one.”4 Underlying all the technical language of information, complexity, redundancy, and signs was an attempt to salvage meaning in an increasingly dispersed and confused information age, while at the same time expressing an anti-totalitarian skepticism about whether such shared meaning was possible or desirable."

"What is crucial to auto-destructive art is that disintegration, ephemerality, and, most important, destruction all figure centrally in the work."

"The worst manifestations of destructiveness—war, waste, environmental catastrophe, and the capitalist system behind them—all need to be laid bare and eliminated. But destruction, at the metaphorical level of the artwork or social critique, can be wielded to create a productive opening."

"Metzger’s values of spontaneity and randomness seem to contrast starkly with Bense’s prioritization of programming and transparency, but both are resolutely concerned with communication. Each sees the computerized creation of artworks as a concretization of some kind of more ethical collective life.

For Bense, this manifests in a circuit of communication based on universally affective signals and signs; for Metzger, in a shared social space that can connect individual and collective experiences, events, and temporalities. For both, the ethics of their envisioned systems stems from their transparency, dynamism, and ability to be understood by everyone. Both Bense and Metzger produced elaborate theoretical treatises—be it manifestos or multiple philosophical volumes. Clear communication is central to what they thought computers could give us, and essential to whatever future collective life they imagined such technologies might support."
2020  2020-01  LindsayCaplan  ArtInAmerica  MaxBense  GustavMetzger  art  ArtHistory  computers  GenerativeArt  aesthetics  politics 
5 weeks ago by briansholis
Bruce Robbins, "John Berger’s Life Between Art and Politics," The Nation
"In these early years, Berger grabbed the spotlight not as a theorist but as a polemicist, picking fights with the establishment, happy to take on whatever it happened to be saying and whoever personified it in his mind. (Kenneth Clark was a particular bête noire.) According to Sperling, Berger needed an opponent in order to get himself going."

"Like others of his generation, Berger certainly suffered from a dashing of his revolutionary hopes. And yet he was never tempted by a depoliticized aestheticism. Throughout the various stages of his long and astonishing career, beauty and commitment were always intimates."

"By the middle of the ’70s, Berger was publicly triumphant. Yet it was at this very moment that he chose to retreat from public life and move to a mountain village above Geneva."

"But Sperling seems right that if demystification was indeed the keynote of Berger’s earlier writing on art, then his later writing marked a reversal—which does leave one wondering if Berger, now tapping his scythe in the foothills of the Alps, had decided to cut loose from history even while history kept chugging along."

"Peasants, like the world’s indigenous peoples, function today as repositories of knowledge that will increasingly be needed as a poisoned, overdeveloped world tries to model sustainable ways of life. "

"The attractions of small-scale but realized alternatives to actually existing social life were, of course, already a part of the 1960s counterculture. In this sense Berger’s move to the Alps was neither all that peculiar nor really a withdrawal at all. He was, like many veterans of the New Left, compromising on long-term goals in order to invest in community, in whatever form and on whatever scale it could be found."
2020  2020-01  BruceRobbins  JoshuaSperling  JohnBerger  biography  BookReview  art  criticism  Marxism  capitalism  peasants 
5 weeks ago by briansholis
Jacob Lindgren, "Graphic Design's Factory Settings," The Gradient
"Design education not only teaches its technical and historical canon, or how to design, but more importantly teaches students how to be designers in society and in relation to capital. A school becomes a factory producing designers, one that, in keeping with the principles of “good design,” turns them into efficient and interchangeable parts ready to hit the market."

"That the the marriage of design and business in the pursuit of profit and progress be labeled as something as ubiquitous as “thinking” is telling as to what extent design is entrenched in industry."

"… the “Bauhaus model,” regardless of how close it actually adheres to the school’s ideology or actions, is the primary model in which contemporary programs are rooted."

"Even more encompassing than the Bauhaus’s model, but certainly as a result of it, design education and history are completely dominated by western principles and hegemony."

"What would it look like to identify and replace the current power structures and ideologies embedded in contemporary design practice and pedagogy? What tools are available to do so and who gets to decide how they are used?"

"Self-organized educational initiatives move closer to alternative pedagogies for graphic design while also serving as sites for rethinking the practice as one closer to a mode of inquiry then an effect of industry."

"With regards to graphic design—now largely immaterial labor—the proliferation of adjunct teaching positions, precarious (freelance) work, and a general culture of commodification of the self as entrepreneur (or entreprecariat) make the structures and apparatus through which power manifests ones no longer limited to existing within the “factory walls.”"

"Self-organized forms of education can reaffirm the very same neoliberal tendencies in education they intend to critique by relieving the institution of its responsibility to provide for its students and faculty. For this reason it’s important for these initiatives to be speculative and world-building in nature, but also to be rooted in and cognizant of the conditions that structure their range of possibilities."

"… we need to leave the factory, potentially by building our own school-as-exit."
2020  2020-01  JacobLindgren  TheGradient  WalkerArtCenter  GraphicDesign  capitalism  Bauhaus  education  AlternativeEducation 
5 weeks ago by briansholis
Ingrid Burrington, "A Tour of Some Logistics Landscapes," Urban Omnibus
"But just as neoliberalism is more than a set of economic policies, logistics is more than an abstract term for ordering things: It’s a form of management, a security imperative, a world-making process unto itself. Not all systems are logistical, but to assume a logistics lens on the world tends to systematize it — making it mappable, standardized, subject to control, and predicated on perpetual growth almost always in need of optimization."

"The language of logistics tends toward comparisons to nature — a product does not have a timeline but a “life cycle,” supply chains run “downstream” and “upstream,” and logistics itself has a “flow.” In this framing, the movement of commodities is part of the natural order of things, and that natural order requires the utmost protection. In both state and federal treatment of American pipelines, the commerce and security imperatives of logistics become painfully evident."

"But this is what the logistics lens does: It prioritizes continuous flow, presumes infrastructural necessity, and can’t really imagine anything outside itself rendering it unnecessary."

"Ultimately, the greatest source of friction in logistics systems is simply the imprecision and uncertainty of the reality they seek to precisely contain. The earth doesn’t rotate with the precision of an atomic clock. Human beings are unpredictable and stubborn and defiant. Old buildings with old, slow elevators will still be old and slow even with a new routing algorithm. In this respect, the logistically seamless ideal of the smart city is and probably always has been more horizon than destination. And while the presumed rewards at that horizon of infinite order and control may appeal to some, it’s not clear that the journey toward it is worth the cruelties and destruction left in its wake."
2020  2020-01  UrbanOmnibus  IngridBurrington  technology  infrastructure  logistics  cities  urbanism  UrbanPlanning  capitalism 
5 weeks ago by briansholis
Mark O'Connell, "Splendid isolation," The Guardian
"My relationship with time had always been characterised by a certain baleful anxiety, but as I approached the start of the decade in which I would have no choice but to think of myself as middle-aged, this anxiety intensified. I was always in the middle of some calculation or quantification with respect to time, and such thoughts were always predicated on an understanding of it as a precious and limited resource. What time was it right now? How much time was left for me to do the thing I was doing, and when would I have to stop doing it to do the next thing?

This resource being as limited as it was, should I not be doing something better with it, something more urgent or interesting or authentic? At some point in my late 30s, I recognised the paradoxical source of this anxiety: that every single thing in life took much longer than I expected it to, except for life itself, which went much faster, and would be over before I knew where I was.

Much of this had to do with being a parent. Having two young children had radically altered my relationship with the days and hours of my life. Almost every moment was accounted for in a way that it had never been before. But it was also the sheer velocity of change, the state of growth and flux in which my children existed, and the constant small adjustments that were necessary to accommodate these changes."

"And with this new phase of parenthood, I began to think how strange it was, given how precious those early years now seemed to me, that I spent so little time thinking about my own childhood, the lost civilisation on which my adult self now stood."

"A word he used a lot in talking about his work, and in describing the experience and value of the nature solo, was 're-enchantment.'"

"When you’re actually in it, the reality of the solo is, at least at first, one of total boredom. I cannot stress enough how little there is to do when you have confined yourself to the inside of a small circle of stones and sticks in a forest. But it is an instructive kind of boredom, insofar as boredom is the raw and unmediated experience of time."

"Then it occurred to me that there was something about the not knowing that was somehow right. Not having a human name to give the tree, a category in which to put it, made the tree more real and present to me than it otherwise would have, or so I allowed myself to believe."

"In these moments, I find myself thinking of the place itself as somehow conscious of my presence. To be alone in a forest, and to be thinking of the forest as somehow aware of you: I will acknowledge that this sounds like the very substance of nightmare, but, in fact, it is a strangely beautiful and quietly moving experience, and I think it must be what people mean when they talk about intuiting the presence of God."

"And I thought with a pang of how I was always hurrying him – to get dressed, to get out the door for school, to finish his dinner, to get ready for bed – and of how heedlessly I was inflicting upon him my own anxious awareness of time as an oppressive force."
MarkOConnell  TheGuardian  isolation  time  nature  NatureWriting  solitude  parenting  2020  2020-01  2020Faves 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Sheila Heti, "A Common Seagull," The Yale Review
"A friend drawn ugly becomes ugly. A life drawn sweet becomes more sweet. To draw your life is to attempt to transform it with your magic."

"The things that interest us most, that we live with, become trapped in our consciousness. Our minds, once we have an object in them, can never let that object be free. The ones we love, no matter how many ways we tell them they are free, live unfree in the jail of our mind. We cannot release into freedom those we love so long as we continue to think about them."

"This seems to me one of the central dilemmas of art making: What is the right way to keep working once the inspiration—the being taken possession of by the appropriate muse—has left you? How do you complete in a way that doesn’t distort or damage, what emerged spontaneously? Do you produce only fragments? Do you try to link the fragments by the thinnest threads that are as unobtrusive as possible? How do you finish what inspiration has left off? How the artist resolves this problem is everything."

"What does it mean to distrust the novelty of experience? To say instead that what one needs in order to create are not new things—not new grand adventures, not new wives or husbands or cities—but the same thing over and over again until a Platonic form of the thing builds up in the mind and becomes the model for what is written about, or painted?"

"It is this profound and inward attachment to his own domestic reality, which was repetitive, limited, and simple, that perhaps led my grandfather to praise Bonnard for the complete honesty in his intuitive emotional statements…"

"When I think about the death of my father, there are no edges to my recollection. How could my thoughts of that week, in a way the most profound week of my life, be in relation to a rectangle, to a rectangular frame? That week does not even know what a rectangle is."

"For George, happiness would always be there when he heard the word seagull, which could not be touched or eroded by the sight of an actual seagull. The idea of the thing is so much more shimmering than the thing itself. To let the repetitions of our life cohere into the Platonic form of our life—to contemplate our life not by looking at it directly but by way of our inward relation to it—might be the best way to feel that one’s life is not just a common seagull, but something balanced and faultless and sweet."
SheilaHeti  TheYaleReview  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  mourning  Bonnard  painting  art  PersonalEssay  creativity  writing  family 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Nathan Heller, "Is Venture Capital Worth the Risk?" The New Yorker
"In Venture World, everyone seems to be more or less on your wavelength. Its companies are geared toward unfussed people who keep their phones silenced and close. Venture capitalism is behind most of the platforms on which people lament the gaucherie of “late-stage capitalism”; it has become the chief industrial backer of the self-aware, predominantly upper-middle-class approach to life style now called woke.

A marriage between social enlightenment and manic growth defines the business of the past decade."

"Nicholas quotes early venture capitalists saying that they wouldn’t have got into the game if it hadn’t been for federal incentives; venture capital transformed from the pursuit of a few ultra-wealthy scions into a true profession. In the seventies, the government relaxed certain regulations—allowing pension funds to make high-risk investments, for instance—and lowered capital-gains taxes. These changes, plus firms’ embrace of limited partnerships, a legal structure that offered further tax shelters and protected passive investors, brought financial growth to the community that the incentives had founded. For the first time, a few venture-capital portfolios began to outperform the public markets. Many prominent venture capitalists now decry government controls and say they favor market meritocracy. That’s ironic, given that their industry exists as such only because of a sequence of supportive actions taken by the government."

"As a whole, the venture-capital industry has significantly outperformed the public markets only in the nineties—a decade that, you will remember, ended with the so-called dot-com bubble bursting"

"Institutionalizing venture capital has had good effects. For all its swagger about finding diamonds in the rough, the industry has always been largely about whom you know and what narrative you fit, with firms notoriously favoring socially maladapted young white men. This tendency has begun to change as its costs, financial and social, come to mainstream attention."
NathanHeller  NewYorker  2020  2020-01  VentureCapital  technology  SiliconValley  fundraising  investing 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, "Data Architectures," e-flux Architecture
"The facilities described in the report all share an aesthetic of total inaccessibility and anonymity: contemporary fortresses, with no windows or signs. They sit silently in urban landscapes, allowing a powerful infrastructure of surveillance to be hidden in plain sight, invisible to thousands of people passing by every day."

"While data centers are pivotal nodes in our social, political, cultural, and financial landscapes, their physical presence remains unassuming, banal, and anonymous. They mirror the asymmetric and abusive relationships between tech corporations and end-users."

"In fact, ninety percent of the world’s data was generated just in the last two years."

"… if data centers were a country, they would be the eleventh most energy consuming nation in the world."

"On server farms, the presence of humans is increasingly occasional and residual. Data centers are extreme buildings built for machines. Are they a new form of post-human architecture?"

"Data centers are an architecture for machines, but they are still modelled on human dimensions and needs."

"Can we imagine new models of a data permaculture, relying on the unstable course of the sun and the winds for energy, and decide to harvest data only when resources are available? Or conversely, what if we embrace the notion of an impermeable architecture completely liberated from humans, one where humans are reduced to an occasional visitor of a lightless, hot, ultra-efficient machine environments?"
2020  2020-01  eflux  IppolitoPestelliniLaparelli  environment  architecture  data  infrastructure  2020Faves 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Murray Whyte, "'My Parkdale is gone,'" The Guardian
"But the lively streetscape here masks a threat to what could very well be the last island of diversity in a city swamped by the flood waters of global capital. Huge international real estate investment firms have embedded themselves in Parkdale’s urban fabric, buying dozens of apartment towers and thousands of rental units."

"In the late 1990s, Parkdale could be chilling: group homes housed hundreds battling mental health and addiction issues; the less fortunate were left to the precarious realm of government rent subsidies and dilapidated, poorly-maintained rooming houses – or, just as often, the street. Along a deadened streetscape of mostly empty storefronts, drug deals happened in broad daylight, addicts raged and twitched, and Parkdale earned another name, Crackdale, day by day."

"It was built in the late 19th century as a summer refuge for the city’s wealthy, with opulent brick mansions on a small bluff overlooking the water. Six kilometres from the smoky and bustling downtown, it was close enough for those with means to easily reach – and to keep those without away."

"Gentrification, on the surface, seemed less of a threat than an impossibility. As the rest of Toronto surged upward in the early 2000s, Parkdale was forever “up and coming” – real estate code for a litany of social ills – and a target for only the heartiest of speculators. Some did come, sprucing up half a block here, a cluster of houses there, but Toronto’s real estate boom left Parkdale’s intractable poverty largely intact."

"The people who did come were new immigrants and refugees, heading to the last inner-city refuge of low rent. The tower units were squalid but cheap. And slowly, the tide of crime and drugs began to recede. Thanks to a long-standing federal policy, Tibetan refugees fleeing persecution in China took particularly strong root through the 2000s and 2010s, opening restaurants and grocery stores along Queen Street."

"In less than two decades, housing prices in Toronto doubled, then trebled, then quadrupled: the average price of a single-family home went from $251,267 in January 2000 to $1,044,527 in late 2018."

"By 2016, the last time the Canadian government collected census data, on paper, Parkdale had changed little: Almost 90% of its residents were renters, versus less than half for the city as a whole, making its 35,000 people more vulnerable to rental market swings than anywhere else. More than a third lived below the poverty line, 50% more than the broader city. While the immigrant population had grown to almost 50%, the data still showed that Parkdale was very much what it had always been: A haven for the vulnerable, reliant on the density of social services that had long clustered there. Nearly half of Parkdale’s residents were seniors, living alone, often in the rooming houses now under threat of reinvestment and renovation."
2020  2020-01  Parkdale  Toronto  MurrayWhyte  TheGuardian  gentrification  neighborhoods  immigration  RealEstate 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Astra Taylor, "The Right to Listen," The New Yorker
"The idea that the right to listen to one another should be defended in a democracy seems strange. That’s probably because we lack a shared vocabulary or framework for understanding listening as a political act."

"But to listen is to act; of that, there’s no doubt. It takes effort and doesn’t happen by default."

"A listener, when she realizes that she struggles to attend to only certain kinds of voices, apprehends the divisions in society. How we hear someone relates to that person’s gender, race, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and wealth. Some voices are perceived as authoritative, others are ignored; some are broadcast around the world, others fade for lack of funds. Attempting to create what the essayist Rebecca Solnit calls “a democracy of equal audibility” is a social enterprise—it’s one of the tasks of feminist, anti-racist, and economic-justice movements. What would such a democracy sound like? Certainly not like one booming bass note."

"To defend our right to listen to one another, we must sometimes strain to hear voices that the powerful would drown out."

"How might Zuckerberg’s rhetoric strike us if we also saw the ability of citizens to hear one another as central to democracy? From that perspective, the deliberate pollution of our common listening space might register as an anti-democratic act. The listening perspective is especially useful today, in the age of digital media. While Facebook and other social-media platforms do facilitate speech, their business models revolve, in a fundamental way, around the manipulation and commodification of listening."

"… the history of thought about free speech does contain ideas that can be of use. Among them are the concepts of “audience interests” and the “right to hear,” which have been repeatedly recognized by the Supreme Court. These concepts see the First Amendment from a listener’s point of view. In addition to asking, “Do I have the right to speak,” Genevieve Lakier, a professor at the University of Chicago School of Law, told me, we can ask, “Am I, as a listener, genuinely hearing a diverse and representative array of views?”"

"As an activist on the left, I long assumed that my role consisted entirely of raising awareness, sounding alarms, and deploying arguments; it took me years to realize that I needed to help build and defend spaces in which listening could happen, too. As citizens, we understand that the right to speak has to be facilitated, bolstered by institutions and protected by laws. But we’ve been slow to see that, if democracy is to function well, listening must also be supported and defended—especially at a moment when technological developments are making meaningful listening harder."
AstraTaylor  NewYorker  2020Faves  2020  2020-01  listening  politics  democracy  activism  empathy 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Quinn Latimer, "New Mineral Collective: Core Desires, Counter Prospects," Canadian Art
"How to image and imagine that, how to see it—the glittery-political-ecological apocalypse all around us—and how to stop it? Can the optical record be framed as a form of resistance? Or is it always passive in its distance? These are some of the questions that New Mineral Collective, a collaborative platform under the auspices of artists Tanya Busse and Emilija Škarnulytė, seems to ask in this and other recent films and installations. Indeed, moving images seem to ask this of us."
QuinnLatimer  NewMineralCollective  ArtistsToWatch  CanadianArt  2020  2020-01  film  EssayFilms  geology  extraction  capitalism 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Florence Hazrat, "Pause and Effect," History Today
"During late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, classical texts were under threat as fewer and fewer knew how to punctuate them. Faced with a potential loss of meaning, scribes and scholars introduced a system of marking pauses, which included a pause between elements of a single sentence whose sense is not complete (which would become a comma), a pause between elements whose sense is complete yet their sentence is not (the future colon) and a pause between two sentences (the full stop)."

"The 15th century saw a boom of inventive punctuation, including the exclamation mark, the semicolon and brackets (or parentheses). New marks arise when a lack of clarity needs to be redressed, communication controlled and sense disambiguated, an emergency perhaps stemming from greater reliance on written diplomacy as well as the newly fashionable art of letter writing."

"What the interrobang does show, however, is that our prime concern today crowds around the absence of tone in writing."
culture  grammar  language  history  HistoryToday  FlorenceHazrat  2020  2020-01  punctuation 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Ian Bogost, "The Smartphone Has Ruined Space," The Atlantic
[Pair with Kyle Chayka's 2016 "Airspace" essay]

"Blockbuster is dead, but the emotional dread of its aisles lives on in your bedroom."

"Nowhere feels especially remarkable, and every place adopts the pleasures and burdens of every other. It’s possible to do so much from home, so why leave at all?"

"The den or the bedroom has to take on additional responsibilities, haunting them with the functions of locations where other activities once took place."

"… any place whatsoever—even the anthropological spaces that Augé thought gave human experience context—can become equally anonymous."

"… technology has allowed personal intimacy and connection to flourish too much, and anywhere. Now every space is a superspace, a place that might be fused together with any other."

"It’s not just that the work comes home with you, but that the office does as well. Infinitely portable, the smartphone turns every space it enters into a workplace. Once Salesforce is launched, whatever room you occupy is a conference room."

"These changes hollow out the spaces where specific activities once took place. The unique vibe and spiritual energy of the record shop or the clothing boutique evaporate away once Spotify or Amazon takes over for them. Peripheral spaces also decay, such as the transit lines or roads that lead to them, and the cafés or boba joints that flank them."

"It’s easy but disorienting, and it makes the home into a very strange space. Until the 20th century, one had to leave the house for almost anything: to work, to eat or shop, to entertain yourself, to see other people. For decades, a family might have a single radio, then a few radios and a single television set. The possibilities available outside the home were far greater than those within its walls. But now, it’s not merely possible to do almost anything from home—it’s also the easiest option. Our forebears’ problem has been inverted: Now home is a prison of convenience that we need special help to escape."
IanBogost  TheAtlantic  smartphones  architecture  media  technology  2020  2020-01 
7 weeks ago by briansholis
Toby Shorin, "Building for the Culture," Subpixel Space
"I’ve noticed many founders prioritizing culture, visibility, and perception over product, customer development, and strategy. Maybe this is to be expected in a time where culture moves faster and is perceived as more important than ever. But I find it unusual that the tech industry seems unaware of a whole class of typical mistakes founders make in pursuit of cultural relevance."

"Having a good brand can serve business goals. But prioritizing it to the neglect of other needs is always damaging, especially for early-stage companies with limited funding."

"Content algorithms are programmed to reward visibility with more visibility, and the equation of visibility with value is also instantiated in social media interfaces, where the most recognizable game is “make the numbers go up.” Media technology changes what we look for in culture, and what we expect of ourselves. What we have today is a culture of culture: an online arena in which the perceived importance of visibility, influence, and culture itself are at an all-time high."

"Today’s founders want to be seen, to be relevant, to become part of the spectacle of hyperspeed online discourse. In fact, I suspect that in many cases the pursuit of cultural relevance is the reason for starting a business in the first place."

"Having a company entails being seen. It entails being known more widely than one can typically be known. It is a way of being at the center of attention."

"When it comes to public presence, everything a company does a brand does better—or with less effort. Realistically, it is much easier to run a great brand than it is to run a great company. A successful brand can be bon visuals, hype, and a twitter presence alone—customers aren’t even necessary. A brand, after all, is just a nexus of belief.

And this is exactly where problems arise. Founders that are primarily concerned with their public perception are likely to prioritize work that confirms it."

"As long as there are zero-cost ways to become visible to thousands of people, these desires aren’t going away. Media transforms our societies irreversibly."

"The internet is a technology of visibility, of seeing and being seen. As each aspect of our lives, as culture, business, and identity formation move into these networked spaces, each aspect will develop ways of seeing and being seen, and in this way they will become more alike. There was already a certain homomorphism between corporations and celebrities. Our new culture of seenness is accelerating this tendency. Businesses are becoming more like people who are becoming more like celebrities who are becoming more like businesses."
TobyShorin  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  management  leadership  SiliconValley  SocialMedia  SocialCapital 
7 weeks ago by briansholis
LM Sacasas, "The Convivial Society: Vol. 1, No. 2"
"What I am trying to get at is the epistemic and affective consequences of information super-abundance created by digital media and the related collapse of trusted institutions/authorities that might serve as a guide through the overwhelming cacophony of information we are all flooded with at any moment on any given day. The consequences, I’d say, are persistent cognitive exhaustion yielding either epistemic nihilism or potentially violent sectarianism."

"When we have a superabundance of information and a failure of trusted institutions, any effort to make sense of a situation, to connect the dots, will seem (and perhaps feel) not unlike conspiracy theorizing."

"We’ve always need to trust in order to know. The more there was to know, the more we’d need to trust. Unfortunately, at present, many are finding it increasingly difficult to trust just as our need for genuine knowledge and judgment grows.

In this light, polarization and group loyalty may be understood as a psychic/epistemic defense mechanism, exacerbated by the architecture of social media platforms. So, too, apathy, indifference, and varieties of ironic detachment."

[In a separate section of the newsletter] "It is taken from Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time to Keep Silence. In it Fermor recounts his stays at various monasteries during his travels throughout Europe and Turkey in the early 20th century. This is his description of his initial encounter with the rhythms and silence of the monastery. What has struck me in reading this is the notion that we are all carrying about a “tremendous accumulation of tiredness,” simply as a matter of living in the modern world. Naturally, I suspect that presently the situation has only been aggravated. Tiredness, exhaustion, burnout—these are our most characteristic states."
LMSacasas  2020  2020-01  information  technology  media  attention  misinformation  conspiracy  tiredness  sleep 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Jason Farago, "International Center of Photography Refocuses in a New Home," The New York Times
"This is the paradox: the average photograph has never been more banal or irrelevant, yet photography as a medium has never mattered more. In 2020 we are in desperate, desperate need of a richer discourse about this new, pervasive era of photography: how the lens-based image became a ubiquitous thing, and how any image or photographer can gain distinction in this flood of pictures. Cross your fingers that the International Center of Photography finds its way there soon."

"For it is a wounding mistake to think that reaching a broader and younger audience requires a lowering of ambitions, and I can name one institution that used to know that. It was at the International Center of Photography, back in Midtown, that the artist Coco Fusco and the curator Brian Wallis presented “Only Skin Deep,” their sprawling 2003 exhibition on the role of the camera in the construction of American racial categories. It was at ICP that Okwui Enwezor, the towering Nigerian curator, first mounted “Rise and Fall of Apartheid,” an impassioned and typically precise study of South African photography and history from 2012, which mixed fine art, photojournalism and bureaucratic documentation."
museums  2020  2020-01  JasonFarago  NYT  InternationalCenterOfPhotography  photography  ExhibitionReview 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Rob Mahoney, "How the Indiana Pacers Home-Brewed a Winner," The Ringer
The Pacers put a playoff team on the floor every season, no matter who’s on the roster. With Victor Oladipo returning, can they finally be something more? Here’s how Indiana home-brewed a winner, and why taking the next step won’t be so easy, even with its All-NBA guard in the lineup.
RobMahoney  TheRinger  NBA  basketball  Pacers  VictorOladipo  2020  2020-01 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Katrina Onstad, "The Woman Who Built Queen West," Toronto Life
The art dealer Katharine Mulherin transformed a rundown strip into the coolest neighbourhood in the city. Then she found herself priced out of the world she created. The untold story of her dazzling life and tragic death
art  obituary  QueenWest  Toronto  KatherineMulherin  KatrinaOnstad  TorontoLife  Parkdale  ArtScene  galleries  2020  2020-01 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
John Kaag and Douglas Anderson, "The Renegade Ideas Behind the Rise of American Pragmatism," Literary Hub
"Pragmatists such as James and Peirce remind us that philosophy connotes the willingness to live or die—to live and die—for our thoughts. Thoughts matter: they can quicken our end, or help us survive, at least for the time being."

"The existential crises of James and Peirce were grounded in two of the enduring concerns of classical American pragmatism and drove them to concentrate on seemingly disparate, but actually adjacent, concepts: the efficacy of individual freedom and the possibility of genuine communion."

"James’s desire for power—his hope that the world could be “up to us”—drew him away from his biological studies, toward a Frenchman who was in the process of constructing a philosophy of free will. Charles Renouvier was an unabashed loner, which might have been at least partially inspired by his argument that the individual will, even in total isolation, could be freely executed."
WilliamJames  CharlesPeirce  JohnKaag  DouglasAnderson  LitHub  AmericanHistory  pragmatism  philosophy  2020  2020-01 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Becca Rothfeld, "James Wood’s inspired reading," Bookforum
"Wood’s distaste is always buttressed by reverence that mounts a demand for perfection: He cares too much about fiction to let it calcify into cliché."

"He frowns over the fiction he censures like a disappointed father. His disapproval is only a correlate of his abiding love."

"What makes Wood such a formidable opponent? The most obvious answer is the crackling sensuousness of his prose. He writes unusually tactile criticism, thick with images you can almost reach out and grasp."

"Wood’s writing is lush, but a wire of rigor runs through it, and the exactitude of its argumentation stings."

"What good fiction is at pains to reflect is therefore not reality in a vacuum, but reality glimpsed through the veil of a specific author’s vision. A vision is not entirely arbitrary, but it is not entirely inert either: It is interpretive, and that is why it can revive the world, rather than merely recapitulating it."

"The prose Wood prizes interposes itself between self and reality as intrusively as a frosted pane."

"One concrete and demonstrable affinity between Wood’s writing and the liberal tradition, at least as the latter is elaborated in the work of John Rawls, is that both tend to presuppose that we can extricate ourselves imaginatively (if not materially) from our circumstances so as to migrate briefly into someone else’s. If criticism competes with and sometimes converges with fiction, and fiction is isomorphic not with the world but with a vision, then the critic offers us not truth but perspective. Both a critical essay and a novel invite us into an experience that is not our own."
Bookforum  BookReview  BeccaRothfeld  JamesWood  criticism  2020  2020-01  LiteraryCriticism  LiteraryStyle 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
George Scialabba, "Back to the Land," The Baffler
"Farming is the deepest layer of his mind; writing—learned at the University of Kentucky and then at Stanford in a famous seminar with Wallace Stegner—is the upper layer. That upper layer itself is divided: the fiction (a selection was issued last year by the Library of America) and poetry are slow-moving and deep-gauged, beautifully observed and full of interior incident, never loud or didactic. The essays, by contrast, though full of elegantly phrased and powerfully rhythmic sentences, are intensely earnest, aiming not to entertain or even to instruct but to convince and move."

"This is splendid prose. It is disastrous advice."

"No amount of recycling, farming right, eating right, being neighborly, or being personally responsible in other ways will matter much if we don’t subsidize solar and wind power, raise mileage requirements, steeply tax carbon, drastically reduce plastic production, kill coal, and provide jobs for all those whom these measures would disemploy. [...] In a face-to-face society, virtue is the right lever. Unfortunately, we live in a mass society, thoroughly bureaucratized and institutionalized, dense with complex systems, which only large aggregations of people (or money) can move. We need more, not fewer, plans, laws, and policies, but democratically formulated ones."

"Berry’s prescription underestimates the opposition—they really have closed off every path to change except the most difficult one: sustained, society-wide, decentralized popular mobilization."

"Like most antimodernists, Berry is very good at reminding us what we have sacrificed by embracing modernity. One such sacrifice is a sense of place."
"But although it lends his writing gravity and grace, I’m sorry that Berry insists on giving the agrarian ethos a religious framework and on situating human flourishing within a “Great Economy,” by which he means not Gaia but the “Kingdom of God.” As a result, he speaks less persuasively than he might to those of us who feel that our civilization has somehow gone wrong, and that at least some part of traditional wisdom is indeed wisdom, but who cannot believe that this universe is the work of the Christian God, or of any God."
TheBaffler  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  WendellBerry  ethics  economics  landscape  farming  LandUse  BookReview 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Leslie Nguyen-Okwu, "Boba Explained: Types of Bubble Tea, and How to Order," Eater
"The word “boba” can refer to either a broad category of chunky drinks — including everything from iced tea with tapioca pearls to fresh juice loaded with fruity bits — or black tapioca pearls themselves. Boba tea, bubble tea, and pearl milk tea — in Taiwan, zhenzhu naicha (珍珠奶茶) — are essentially different names for the same thing; the monikers differ by location, but also personal preference. (In the U.S., the East Coast favors bubble tea, while the West prefers boba.) Whatever you call it, in its most basic form, the drink consists of black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls, all shaken together like a martini and served with that famously fat straw to accommodate the marbles of tapioca that cluster at the bottom of the cup."

"And while the term was once confined to tea shops, you’ll find throughout Taiwan that the boba trend is now being incorporated into desserts, sandwiches, cocktails, and even skincare."
Eater  LeslieNguyenOkwu  boba  tea  BubbleTea  Taiwan  cafes  food  2020  2020-01 
8 weeks ago by briansholis
Bak Gordon, Secondary School Romanshorn, Dezeen
Beige tiles and pale pink window shutters cover the exterior of this concrete secondary school in Romanshorn, Switzerland.

Designed by Portuguese practice Bak Gordon Arquitectos with local firm Architekturbüro Bernhard Maurer, the Secondary School Romanshorn replaces two outdated buildings.
2020  2020-01  2020Faves  architecture  BakGordon  education  concrete 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Peter Schjeldahl, "The Art of Dying," The New Yorker
"I don’t trust my memories (or anyone’s memories) as reliable records of anything—and I have a fear of lying. Nor do I have much documentary material. I’ve never kept a diary or a journal, because I get spooked by addressing no one. When I write, it’s to connect."

"Death is like painting rather than like sculpture, because it’s seen from only one side."

"Closeness is impossible between an artist and a critic. Each wants from the other something—the artist’s mojo, the critic’s sagacity—that belongs strictly to the audiences for their respective work. It’s like two vacuum cleaners sucking at each other."

"When I started writing criticism, in 1965, in almost pristine ignorance, I discovered that I was the world’s leading expert in one thing: my experience. Most of what I know in a scholarly way about art I learned on deadlines, to sound as if I knew what I was talking about—as, little by little, I did. Educating yourself in public is painful, but the lessons stick."

"Advice to aspiring youth: in New York, the years that you spend as a nobody are painful but golden, because no one bothers to lie to you. The moment you’re a somebody, you have heard your last truth."
PeterSchjeldahl  NewYorker  memoir  dying  cancer  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  ArtCriticism 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Dayna Tortorici, "My Instagram," n+1
"I told my friend, an art critic, that I was self-banishing to Instagram, the only social media platform that did not haunt me, get under my skin, and cause me to feel shortness of breath and numbness in my fingers. I had a theory that everyone was haunted by at least one of them, and which one depended on your insecurities, the type of people who gathered there, and the style of communication its interface allowed."

"Leaving Twitter for Instagram was like moving to Los Angeles, only cheaper."

"The satisfaction of self-publishing is difficult to describe. To press a button and see your own excrescence appear in the preordained format, minted, can feel like a kind of magic. It can make you feel like you count."

"This would be the place to speak about René Girard, about influencers, about the mise en abyme of mimetic desire: we want what other people want because other people want it, and it’s penciled-in eyebrows all the way down, down to the depths of the nth circle of hell where we all die immediately of a Brazilian butt lift, over and over again. But what is there to say? We know it, we know it, we know it. Still we keep scrolling, deeper down the well of our bottomless need."

"Instagram grows on subjectivity like a fungus whose shape and color varies from person to person, and to describe what it feels like to live with it is not to describe how it works. Nor is it to describe what it feels like for anyone else — a fact of which this essay is evidence."

"Considerations like comfort, accessibility, and acoustics were secondary to visual appeal. It was as if the landscape itself had dysmorphia, altering its physical appearance to fit an arbitrary standard that undermined its primary function. But maybe I had it backward. Maybe the point of a physical space was no longer to shelter physical people. Maybe a storefront was a marketing tool for a direct-to-consumer internet start-up, the way a website was once a marketing tool for a brick-and-mortar store."

"A voyeur knows what kind of viewer he is, but looking at Instagram, you are not always a voyeur. Neither are you always a witness, nor any other single kind of watcher. Each post interpellates you differently. Your implied identity slips with each stroke of the thumb."
DaynaTortorici  n+1  Instagram  Twitter  SocialMedia  identity  2020  2020-01  2020Faves 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Jia Tolentino, "The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism," The New Yorker
"Today’s minimalism, with its focus on self-improvement, feels oddly dominated by a logic of accumulation. Less is always more, or “more, more, more,” as Millburn and Nicodemus write: “more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment—and more freedom.”"

"Chayka aims to find something deeper within the tradition than an Instagram-friendly aesthetic and the “saccharine and predigested” advice of self-help literature. Writing in search of the things that popular minimalism sweeps out of the frame—the void, transience, messiness, uncertainty—he surveys minimalist figures in art, music, and philosophy, searching for a “minimalism of ideas rather than things.”"

"In a way, Chayka’s book replicates the conflict he’s attempting to uncover—between the security and cleanliness of a frictionless affect and the necessity of friction for uncovering truth."

"Underneath the vision of “less” as an optimized life style lies the path to something stranger and more profound: a mode of living that strips away protective barriers and heightens the miracle of human presence, and the urgency, today, of what that miracle entails."

"The difference between profound and superficial minimalism may be a matter of conceptual inversion: the question is whether you accept diminishment in order to more efficiently assert your will or whether you assert your will in order to accept the unseen bounty of self-diminishment."
JiaTolentino  KyleChayka  NewYorker  2020  2020-01  minimalism  lifestyle  bookreview  InteriorDesign 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Molly Young interview on The Creative Independent
Journalist and critic Molly Young on the importance of curiosity, strategies for writing an effective magazine pitch, and what it means to create open spaces for dialogue and engagement on the internet.

"I think part of the sadness of growing into an adult is that you become trained to spend less time distracted by things. And what I try to do is re-access that ability to be interested in things, and then to not ask myself why I’m interested in them, but simply to explore them and trust that the reason will eventually become clear to me."

"The role of a critic is to have a really subjective opinion and to express it as beautifully as possible, period. Why would you want to read somebody who pretended to be objective? That’s insane and totally untrustworthy."
MollyYoung  criticism  TheCreative  2020  2020-01  WriterInterview  curiosity  BookReview 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
M. R. O‘Connor, “Dirt-Road America,” The New Yorker
“He continued to run his pharmacy but started an amateur cartography business on the side, tracing his routes on maps and taping them together, mailing copies to people all over America. “Part of my original thought was to get people out into the outback and to see their country,” he said. ’There’s more to travelling than being on the interstate going seventy miles an hour.’”

“Today, approximately thirty-two per cent of America’s public roads are unpaved. There are still, however, millions of miles of dirt roads in what the French call arriere-pays—the hinterland. The poet Beverley Bie Brahic describes arriere-pays as “the place we can’t quite see from where we stand: it’s around the next bend; it’s what draws us onward in our travels.”
maps  trails  NewYorker  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  driving  America  landscape  cartography  travel 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
n+1 editors, "Smorgasbords Don’t Have Bottoms," n+1
"Indies have benefited from the patterns of gentrification that have proved so punishing to other kinds of small businesses, and future growth may be inhibited by those same forces."

"Like Facebook, Amazon doesn’t put a high value on moderation, or any kind of human/editorial intervention, casting the very core of the bookselling business as one more efficiency to be optimized. Thus the everything store is not a store at all, but rather the retail economy in miniature, its seedier and illicit aspects brought to the surface, operating on an equal plane with more straightforward transactions — all of which Amazon profits from."

"Conglomerate publishing has responded with anxiety masquerading as newsy brashness. Given the choice between seeking out the new, the strange, and the shocking or hanging onto personalities and news hooks and follower counts, the Big Five opt for the latter. In an age of hyperconglomeration, there are profit goals to aim for and slots to fill. There are templates for success, never mind that they may be out-of-date, or that success in publishing, as in life, tends to be a freak occurrence."

"There are still numerous book editors who edit, and edit well, but they are operating at cross-purposes with their employers, for whom editors are most valuable as seekers of sure things, known quantities, and built-in platforms."

"The drift into vacuity signifies something more than the difficulty of describing boring books, a problem publishers have contended with as long as there have been publishers. One senses in jacket-copy rhetoric the hermetic, recursive antipoetry of consolidation."

"No one wakes up in the morning hoping to be as vapid as possible. But eventually you internalize the squeeze. Everyone down the chain adjusts their individual decisions to the whim of the retailer, or to their best guess at the whim of the retailer."

"The extreme whiteness of the industry is a crucial part of the problem, but so is a coercive bookselling environment and an ever greater tendency toward profit seeking. Without structural changes, the industry will float from one idea to the next, incapable of differentiating good from bad, deep from shallow."

"Even in the absence of revolutionary change, the truth is that as Barnes & Noble floundered and Amazon rose, independent bookstores across the US fought back against every mitigating circumstance and overturned every dire prediction. They may not save the industry, but their example is a source of constructive inspiration. And even as conglomerate logic tries to crowd those bookstore shelves with Trump books and influencer memoirs, there is a giant constellation of books being produced by America’s independent publishers, carefully edited and intelligently marketed, that are worth reading."
books  publishing  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  n+1  technology  Amazon  IndependentBusinesses 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
David Reinfurt interview on the Design Notes Podcast from Google Design
Design Notes is a show about creative work and what it teaches us. For the first episode of 2020, Liam speaks with David Reinfurt, founder of O-R-G, half of Dexter Sinister, and author of A *New* Program for Graphic Design. Together they explore the fluid notions of personal, corporate, and graphic identity throughout Reinfurt’s career, the importance of learning through practice, and the relationship between design and art.
DavidReinfurt  DesignNotes  2020  2020-01  2020Faves  podcast  GraphicDesign  DexterSinister 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Jeffrey Moro, "the problem with bringing back blogs is"
"The problem with bringing back blogs is that Twitter is still the distribution platform."

"… the serotonin hit of Twitter’s instant posting plus intense sociality is too addictive to bear, such that we were always going to stop blogging and Google Reader’s demise was the symptom rather than the cause."

"The problem with bringing back blogs is that you can’t bring back blogs without deleting Twitter."
blogs  websites  twitter  SocialMedia  publishing  2020  2020-01 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Noah Brier, "The Genre-Bending Edition," Why is this interesting?
"On top of that, there’s no question that unlimited access is one of—if not the—critical techno-cultural shift of the 21st century. In all spheres—from finance to academia to journalism to marketing—access to a nearly unlimited supply of information is fundamentally shifting the possibilities for those with an appetite to seek it out."

"The truth is that music always worked this way: More of an ontology of sounds than a taxonomy of genres. Whereas a taxonomy is strict about its hierarchy—think of a list with bullets and sub-bullets—an ontology allows for any node to be connected to any number of additional nodes, creating a graph of relationships. Before music was entirely digitized (both the songs and the playback data), we didn’t have a particularly good way to map things. Once we start to see things this way, we realize that genre is a lot squishier than we may have originally believed."

"As we acquire both the data and the means to process it, most things that are currently organized taxonomically will likely give way to more complex and accurate networked descriptions."
WITI  NoahBrier  2020  2020-01  genres  categories  KnowledgeManagement  InformationDesign 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
Standards for Writing Accessibly – A List Apart
A List Apart is pleased to present this excerpt from Writing is Designing, by Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle, available now on Rosenfeld Media.

- Writing for Screen Readers
- Write Chronologically, Not Spatially
- Write Left to Right, Top to Bottom
- Don’t Use Colors and Icons Alone
- Describe the Action, Not the Behavior
accessibility  writing  UXWriting  websites  2020  2020-01 
9 weeks ago by briansholis
‘Book of Basketball 2.0’: Last Fun Knicks—Indy–New York Game 3, 1999, The Ringer
"Bill, Sean, and Jason break down Game 3 of the 1999 Eastern Conference finals and Larry Johnson’s iconic 4-point shot"
BillSimmons  JasonConcepcion  SeanFennessy  NBA  podcast  2020Faves  2020  2020-01  NewYorkKnicks  IndianaPacers 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
Andy Shauf, "The Neon Skyline" (ANTI-)
""I kept coming back to the same situation of one guy going to a bar, which was basically exactly what I was doing at the time. These songs are fictional but it's not too far off from where my life was," Shauf explains.

For The Neon Skyline, Shauf chose to start each composition on guitar instead of his usual piano. He says, "I wanted to be able to sit down and play each song with just a guitar without having to rely on some sort of a clever arrangement to make it whole." The resulting album finds its immediacy in simplicity. While the arrangements on folksy "The Moon" are unfussy and song-centered like the best Gordon Lightfoot offerings, his drive to experiment is still obvious. This is especially so on the unmoored relationship autopsy "Thirteen Hours," which boasts an arrangement that's both jazzy and adventurous.

Like he's done throughout his career, Shauf wrote, performed, arranged, and produced every song on The Neon Skyline, this time at his new studio space in the west end of Toronto. Happy accidents like Shauf testing out a new spring reverb pedal led to album cuts like the woozy closer "Changer" and experimenting with tape machines forced him to simplify how he'd arrange the tracks. Over the course of a year-and-a-half, Shauf ended up with almost 50 songs all about the same night at the bar. Though paring down his massive body of work to a single album's worth of material was a challenge for Shauf, the final tracklist is seamless and fully-formed.

As much as The Neon Skyline is about a normal night at a bar with friends and a bartender who knows exactly what you'll order before you sit down, the album is also about the painful processing of a lost love."

Written, performed, arranged and produced by Andy Shauf
Mixed by Rob Schnapf at Mant Sounds; Assisted by Matt Schuessler.
Mastered by Philip Shaw Bova at Bova Labs.
Art by Meghan Fenske
Photo by Colin Medley
Layout by Mat Dunlap
AndyShauf  2020Faves  2020  2020-01  PopMusic  Toronto  TorontoMusicians  storytelling  ANTI- 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
Frank Chimero, "Redesign: Gardening vs. Architecture"
"…there are different modes to writing, and they produce distinct qualities to the text. These characteristics determine the robustness and expressiveness required of the typographic system built to support the writing."

"My personal preference is for the lowest item in the hierarchy to have a strong resemblance to the main text, then each step higher in the hierarchy gets slightly more distinguished from the main paragraphs."

"Here’s another trick you can hang on to that mental framing: items higher in the hierarchy can have more negative space around them, because that extra negative space will elevate their sense of importance. High-order elements represent bigger chunks of content, so placing a slightly larger top margin on an H2 compared to an H3 reinforces this structural quality by making the block labeled by the H2 more visually distinctive."
FrankChimero  design  websites  typography  writing  2020  2020-01 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
The Private Network: Paul and Rich on Intranets - Postlight — Digital Product StudioPostlight — Digital Product Studio
his week on Track Changes Paul and Rich discuss the best way to keep track of company communications and tools. Our verdict, an Intranet. We lay out what an Intranet actually is, what it should and could look like and why it’s so important in an age of using too many apps at once. We also make a pact to build a functional intranet in the next six months. Wish us luck!
working  KnowledgeManagement  intranet  podcast  PaulFord  Postlight  TrackChanges  2020  2020-01 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
LM Sacasas, "The Convivial Society: Vol. 1, No. 1"
"… to thrive or even exist in the culture of digital media, one has to rather unrelentingly offer up more and more of oneself in ways that make one, initially at least, more than a little uneasy."

"My experience has been one of growing gradually more comfortable with publicizing myself, by which I simply mean making public aspects of myself that I would have ordinarily considered private or of little to no interest to others. Not all of this amounted to overcoming shame, precisely, although, of course, that depends to how exactly we define shame. It is not exactly that I thought I was doing something wrong about which I should feel ashamed, but rather that there was something rather untoward about the whole thing."

"…we're now accustomed to sharing things/moments/images about ourselves that others used to be ashamed of sharing. So, we've learned to have less shame about such things. One can decided if that's bad or not."

"In the culture of digital media, the boundaries between home and work blur so that we might be ever more available as a source of labor. In the culture of digital media, the boundaries between the home and the commercial sphere blur so that we might be ever more available as a source of consumption. In the culture of digital media, the boundaries between public and private blur so that we might be ever more available as a source of data and content."

"It is also the case that we must be shameless in our consumption as well. We must not turn away; we must be comfortable voyeurs, shameless connoisseurs of the lives of others."

"Increasingly, it seems to me that we are coming to see not only the natural world but the social world as standing-reserve. We do not, in other words, see other human beings as persons to be respected, even their folly and frailty, perhaps especially in their folly and frailty. We see them resources for the content mill."

"… it may be that we need to draw attention again to very basic and fundamental realities. That we must learn again what it means to take responsibility for the good of our neighbor. That we must rediscover our responsibility to tend the social commons that it may be reconstructed in such a way that human beings may flourish in it once again. For as human beings, we depend not only on nature, but on our second nature, the realm of culture; both require our care and our maintenance, both must be cultivated if they are to yield the fruit."
LMSacasas  technology  SocialMedia  publicity  privacy  DefinitionsOfSelf  media  TikTok  CivilSociety  boundaries  2020Faves  2020  2020-01 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
Anne Helen Petersen, "The Wages of Productivity"
"The real way to show that you’re cultured is to evidence (through conversation or Instagram) consumption of cultured things (podcasts, articles, award-winning books, quality television) and participation in cultured activities (pottery class, skiing, bread baking, endless numbers of self-optimizing physical activities)."

"Each spike in the fetish for productivity aligns with a moment of mass anxiety over layoffs, downsizing, and general precarity in the workplace."

"Before, productivity was possible partly because all of the “mundane” labor of the workday, from typing to making dinner reservations, was offloaded to the paid and unpaid women in your life. And every productivity manual or app is a blueprint, in some way, to returning to this model of work, where the concerns and demands of others’ largely did not concern or demand of you."

"And for those tasks and inefficiencies we can’t offload on coworkers and family, we now underpay others to perform them for us: TaskRabbits, Uber drivers, Instacart grocery shoppers, Trunk Club stylists, Blue Apron packagers, nannies, home organizers, Handy house leaners, Amazon warehousers and drivers, Seamless delivery people."

"We’re creating a new class bifurcation, between those who work so much, and are so conscious of squeezing productivity out of every hour, making enough money to offload all unproductive tasks, and those making very little in order to make that productivity possible."

"The problem is working so much, and cultivating such a hunger for total productivity, that the few hours we do have off, we’re desperate to preserve, in whatever small ways, for ourselves: to spend time with our children, to consume the products that announce our aspirational class, to sleep, to breathe."
AnneHelenPetersen  productivity  economy  leisure  ClassStructure  aspiration  Instagram  DomesticEconomies  2020Faves  2020  2020-01 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
Sasha Frere-Jones on Warp and ECM, Artforum
"ECM and Warp both stuck to the daily grind of personal relationships, careful record-making, and consistent business practices. This isn’t to say that the two present as similar: ECM generally puts out albums created in real time with acoustic instruments while Warp Records releases work largely made with machines and recorded on nonlinear digital platforms. But there is a survival mode and an aesthetic intensity linking these two, an echoing ethos. Warp and ECM are small-batch, independent institutions."

" Think of Warp and ECM as fertile crescents that pass through phases of wider popularity while growing mainly because of small fanbases. These territories are protected by hermetic enclosures, design that uses abstraction as a strengthening bond rather than as a deflection. Both Warp and ECM have cohered around a graphic sensibility that visually responds to their musical cohort."
WarpRecords  ECM  SashaFrere-Jones  Artforum  MusicCriticism  RecordLabels  jazz  electronic  ExperimentalMusic  2020  2020-01 
10 weeks ago by briansholis
Frank Chimero, "Redesign: Picking Typefaces"
"Last time, I laid out some thoughts on how the design of individual letters can accumulate into the feel of a typeface. With all that in mind, let’s take a look through my font collection and make some selections."
FrankChimero  design  typography  TypeSetting  websites  KlimTypeFoundry  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Rob Giampietro, "Structure"
"The plotting gives us a sense of order and shape, and yet there are not five but six discrete paths through the quincunx, so some new sense beyond the the points alone has emerged. This is the problem before each of you with the thesis — to take points of effort or insight and give them a shape, to hang them in space, to form them into a book, to teach with them, to write about them, and for something new to emerge from these repeated acts of positioning and repositioning."
RobGiampietro  design  syllabus  quincunx  gardening  RISD  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Robinson Meyer, "How the Death of iTunes Explains the 2010s," The Atlantic
" What the idealized iPhone user and the idealized Gmail user shared was a perfect executive-functioning system: Every time they picked up their phone or opened their web browser, they knew exactly what they wanted to do, got it done with a calm single-mindedness, and then closed their device. This dream illuminated Inbox Zero and Kinfolk and minimalist writing apps. It didn’t work. What we got instead was Inbox Infinity and the algorithmic timeline. Each of us became a wanderer in a sea of content. Each of us adopted the tacit—but still shameful—assumption that we are just treading water, that the clock is always running, and that the work will never end."
RobinsonMeyer  TheAtlantic  technology  iTunes  productivity  hoarding  FileStructure  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Florens Verschedle, "A short history of body copy sizes on the Web"
"On average, online text got bigger — at least in nominal pixel sizes — in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The exact reasons why are anyone’s guess, so here’s mine:

the medium’s matured, thanks to arguments such as the one spelled out by Oliver Reichenstein;
text in the 10–12px range looked tiny on the iPhone and other early smartphones (resolutions in the 150–200ppi range).
"
design  history  typography  websites  FlorensVerschelde  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Stephen Marché, "The Charms of Toronto for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle," The New Yorker
"The literary critic Northrop Frye once called Toronto a good place to mind your own business"

"Toronto is the ideal city to move to if you want to become less famous. It is not a particularly amenable place for people who think they’re special. There are Toronto celebrities, but ninety-nine per cent of them became celebrities elsewhere.
Toronto  StephenMarche  NewYorker  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Parul Sehgal, "In ‘Serious Noticing,’ James Wood Closely Reads Chekhov and Others—Including Himself," The New York Times
"That classical, very consistent taste (which critics would term “narrow”) can occlude how surprising, open and deeply unusual his criticism can be. Who else would describe criticism as “modesty” or as “simplicity and near-silence”? For all the institutional authority Wood possesses, one of the great pleasures he takes in criticism seems to be the opportunity for self-forgetfulness. He speaks admiringly of artists who merge with their work: Glenn Gould “becomes the piano, Moon becomes the drums”; Naipaul is “colonized” by his characters; Chekhov transforms into them “more completely than any writer before him.” Wood writes as if enmeshed in the text itself; registering shifts in point of view and perspective with seismographic precision."

"There is stark personal accounting here; the “serious noticing” of the title has as much to do with the self as with texts. He is taking stock of childhood, and his decades in America, and in doing so he performs a kind of literary criticism on his own life. What it misses, he realizes, is the pungency of detail, the pungency of his childhood in England, when every object seemed invested with meaning"
ParulSehgal  NYT  BookReview  JamesWood  LiteraryCriticism  LiteraryStyle  essays  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Frank Chimero, "Redesign: Looking at Letters"
ooking at typefaces can sometimes feel like the Check and Double Check games in old Highlights magazines, where you’re challenged to find the five differences in two nearly identical illustrations. But, the outcome is the same for both the magazine illustrations and typefaces: once the differences are pointed out, you can’t unsee them. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some fonts to see how the design of individual letters exponentially accumulate to create the voice of a typeface.
typography  TypeSetting  FrankChimero  websites  design  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Anita Schillhorn van Veen, "The Feminine Mystique Edition," Why Is This Interesting?
"I’m surprised Thompson didn’t reference Betty Friedan in his article; after all, her book is a famous turning point for the “housewife,” and sparked second-wave feminism by articulating the malaise that many women felt in relation to this limited role in society. Friedan made the same argument as Thompson, and thereby catalyzed women to seek professional fulfillment.

I imagine Friedan and Thompson would further agree on another point he makes: That, as Thompson puts it, 'a lot of modern overwork is class and status maintenance.'"
AnitaSchillhornVanVeen  WITI  BettyFriedan  DerekThompson  TheAtlantic  DomesticEconomies  labor  WomensWork  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Jessica Gelt, "Behind the scenes in the Getty photo archives with 'Unseen,'" Los Angeles Times
"The main vault pairs the look of a library with the chilly, no-frills ambiance of a walk-in cooler. The room is kept at 68 degrees to protect the prints. The vault for color photographs is kept at 40 degrees to slow the inevitable changes with the dyes. Before color materials can be moved in or out, they must spend 24 hours in a transition room with the thermostat set to 55 to prevent condensation from forming on the surface of the work.

“It’s essential that photographs are housed with high quality materials and that the storage environment is climate controlled for long-term preservation,” explains associate conservator of photographs Sarah Freeman, who is part of the team that evaluates each of these factors to ensure they are optimal. Acid-free folders, mats and frame packages are key because they provide protection from handling and the environment. Cool, dry conditions are ideal, and proper air filtration is necessary."
GettyInstitute  LosAngelesTimes  JessicaGelt  photography  conservation  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Pirijan Keth, "Why Software is Slow and Shitty"
Good software comes from a vision, combined with conversations not commandments. In a craft-focused environment, care for efficiency, simplicity, and details really do matter.
software  engineering  management  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Nat Eliason, "The Procrustean Bed of Productivity"
I’ve been trying to strip everything down to try to create a simpler setup. One that’s more resilient to the temptation to feel productive by messing with my productivity system.

The goal is to get away from what I’ll call the “Procrustean Bed of Productivity.” When you design a complex, rigid system, you force your goals and projects to fit into its cogs. That’s great when the cogs fit, but frustrating and counterproductive when they don’t. And you can be sure you’ll find a goal that doesn’t.
NatEliason  productivity  software  2020  2020-01 
11 weeks ago by briansholis
Evan Malmgren, "Networked Up," The Baffler
A first-person 2020 update of Bowling Alone.

"I originally moved into a van to escape a numbing sense of static instability. I was living invoice-to-invoice on the margins of a dying print industry that was choking on the tentacles of powerful social media companies."

"Over time, I understood less and less about my surroundings, and simultaneously felt they understood less about me. I was rarely completely alone, but spending time with people either meant reconnecting after a long lapse or meeting someone for the first time. The questions were always, “What have you been up to lately?” and never “How was your day?” Everything, including my social connections, became fuzzy and abstract."

"As I circled the country, the U.S. Interstate Highway System started to feel like an extension of the internet—a diffuse, instantaneously interconnected collection of cataloged information systems, manifest in the material world. The veins took precedence over the organs they connected."

"What unifies the spectrum of van-dwellers, from “down by the river” to the glitzy, sanitized #vanlife micro-celebrities, and what makes them emblems of a broader social order, is that they’re all produced by a political economy that de-emphasizes rootedness and tolerates a great deal of individual precarity in service of heightened interconnection and general accumulation. Vanlifers inhabit a grid that emphasizes fluidity over the specific nodes it connects."

"Living in a van often involved an isolating disorientation, but the boredom— even in the face of continuous novelty—was more surprising. Without a grounding frame of reference, the overwhelming newness numbed me."
EvanMalmgren  TheBaffler  itinerant  vanlife  technology  SocialMedia  place  loneliness  2020Faves  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Nell Zink, "This Babushka Has Talons," n+1
"Imagine if the Confederacy had won and Paul Beatty had to get work translating Paulo Coelho. That’s what it was like.

Back when I couldn’t publish my own stuff, I also translated. It’s a compromised art. I remember telling my agent, after she liberated me from economic oppression, that it was like eating snot-covered baseballs. Languages are incommensurate. The better you know them, the more you’ll hate it. But someone has to do it. There’s no compromise between getting it wrong and never trying in the first place. In this way it resembles all worthwhile endeavors—peace, justice, conservation, et cetera. You can approach it with a mix of laziness and demoralization, get ugly results, and still be doing the right thing.

Overwhelmed translators, I applaud and deplore you, and you should be flattered by that, because only non-trivial problems admit of solutions that can be simultaneously applauded and deplored."
NellZink  n+1  RobertWalser  translation  Switzerland  literature  Dostoyevsky  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Deborah Solomon, "John Baldessari: An Artist in a Class by Himself," The New York Times
"The truth is that Baldessari not only loved teaching but made it the central theme of his art."

"His visual style derives from a corner of life that we never even knew had a style — i.e., the classroom. Many of his compositions feature photographs or text borrowed from disparate sources, and have the lucid, unadorned look of educational materials, especially flash cards and posters inscribed with useful information in sans-serif, jumbo-size type."
DeborahSolomon  JohnBaldessari  art  teaching  obituary  NYT  ConceptualArt  LosAngeles  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Ann Kjellberg, "Notebook: Gatekeepers, Part I," Book Post
"He was the rare editor to whom writers seemed to respond as a peer.

What really secured his legacy however was not his excellent taste and wide reading, but his readiness to harness these to the business of publishing books."
AnnKjellberg  BookPost  SonnyMehta  editor  tastemaking  publishing  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Kyle Chayka, "The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism," The Guardian
"Dissatisfaction with materialism and the usual rewards of society is not new, but minimalism is not an idea with a straightforward chronological history. It is more like a feeling that repeats in different times and places around the world. It is defined by the sense that the surrounding civilisation is excessive, and has thus lost some kind of original authenticity, which must be regained. The material world holds less meaning in these moments, and so accumulating more stuff loses its appeal."
KyleChayka  TheGuardian  minimalism  MarieKondo  design  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Dustin Illingsworth, "The Letters Behind One of American Poetry’s Most Infamous Books," The Nation
"The book’s title refers to The Dolphin, Lowell’s controversial collection of sonnets written during the couple’s estrangement, in which he used lines from Hardwick’s aggrieved letters as poetic material. The reader will discover many things concealed within their epistolary record: a chronicle of betrayal that consistently defies expectations with regard to revenge or comeuppance, a mapping of marriage’s creases and alluvial valleys, a record of almost telegraphic communication between writers of vast and appealing gifts, and a study of how creative work reconstitutes the raw materials of life. Buoyed by the dialectical elegance of its form, The Dolphin Letters is an extraordinary philosophical inquiry into what is permissible in a work of art."

"Hardwick is the book’s true center. Her writing eschews mournfulness almost as a matter of personal style. The animus of the early letters dissipates fairly quickly. What emerges is the kind of obliquely gorgeous, epigrammatic writing she is best known for. Her attentions elevate her most frequent subjects—work, literary gossip, motherhood—to an improvised, offhand poetry. Great art remains ever present as a species of hope."

"Each exerted meticulous control over the page in inverse proportion to that which they wielded over their lives."
DustinIllingsworth  RobertLowell  ElizabethHardwick  poetry  BookReview  letters  biography  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Claire Bishop and Nikki Columbus, "Free Your Mind," n+1
"The hoary tale of the avant-garde—from prewar Europe to postwar US—has been abandoned, and, in its place, the transnational stories of Europe and North America are interwoven, starting in the 1880s. Both show modernism emerging from the foundational violence of industrialization and colonialism, which are traced through to their contemporary legacies in environmental destruction and white supremacy."

"Chronological or thematic hangs? Museums have wrangled with this binary since 2000, when MoMA briefly flirted with the latter before returning to the former. Now the museum seems to have resolved this intractable problem by narrating art through history—an inspired (if, in retrospect, obvious) reorientation that seamlessly allows some galleries to emphasize a timeline while others focus on a topic."

"These kinds of contrasts give rise to history understood as a morass of unresolved conflicts and multiple lines of flight, rather than a unified tale of artistic development. Of course, none of the current constellations break new ground or present innovative scholarship—that is still a step too far for even #newMoMA—but they renounce the egregious evasions that were previously MoMA’s calling card."

"At last, MoMA has realized that true innovation in the gallery lies in rethinking its model of history, and this can only come about once structural change is accomplished. Equity in the workplace, and a board of trustees whose commitment to art is not simply financial, are fundamental prerequisites for reshaping its approach to art history. Who works at the museum—and how they are treated—necessarily affects what gets exhibited and how it is presented, which in turn reaches different audiences."

"Once the most bloated museum in the US with plans to swell still further, MoMA has—like an oversize cruise liner in the Hudson—magnificently changed its course. The additional square footage gained by swallowing the former American Folk Art Museum is now utilized not for exhibitions but for much-needed community services."

"A colorful diagram in the lobby breaks down MoMA’s annual budget, showing the percentages spent on salaries, operating costs, and a severely slashed acquisitions fund. Commendably, the director has decided to bring the museum into line with more progressive institutions, earning no more than eight times that of workers on the bottom rung. The surplus from the formerly exorbitant salary has reportedly been redirected to eliminate unpaid internships. Free admission has finally been instituted, in recognition of the fact that the public has every right to see the collection of a tax-exempt museum."
2020Faves  NikkiColumbus  ClaireBishop  MOMA  NYC  museums  n+1  art  PaperMonument  FictionalCriticism  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Frank Chimero, "The Burnout List"
I am a man who knows burnout. Last summer, I found myself in the deepest work-related hole I’ve experienced. I spent some time (with help) looking at what parts of my burnout were on me and what parts were outside of my control—the elements of my fatigue that were, you know, out there.

I made a list of these outside components, intending to have it come together into a short essay, but I was never able to have the ideas coalesce. So, rather than have the ideas rot in my Notes app, I thought I’d do a copy/paste job and share them here in their original form.
FrankChimero  WorkLifeBalance  working  burnout  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Pete Tosiello, "Silicon Valley Hustling: An Interview with Anna Wiener," The Paris Review
"It’s like the difference between someone who went to Yale and someone who dropped out of Stanford. I think both of these industries inherit the problems of a larger social landscape."

"For meaningful shifts, everything would need to change—stock option distribution, board composition, hiring practices, the exchange of silence or NDAs for robust severance packages. In so many ways, the American tech industry is a reflection or concentration of social issues with deep roots."

"I think a lot of people in tech were prepared for other careers, and would be working in academia, law, public service, the arts, if those industries could offer a sense of stability and momentum."
AnnaWeiner  TheParisReview  PeteTosiello  WriterInterview  SanFrancisco  SiliconValley  startups  technology  work  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Destroyer - Cue Synthesizer - YouTube
From the album "Have We Met," out January 31st, 2020.
We acknowledge the financial support of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters, FACTOR, and Amplify BC.

Director: David Ehrenreich
Producer: David Galloway
Director of Photography: Liam Mitchell
Choreography : OURO Collective
Production Company: Border Patrol Films
2020Faves  MusicVideo  Destroyer  DanBejar  PopMusic  Vancouver  DavidEhrenreich  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Jedediah Britton-Purdy, "Becoming a Parent in the Age of Climate Crisis," The Atlantic
"What does it mean to teach a child to live in a time of perennial crisis, always in the shadow of loss? I think about trying to teach him love and wonder first, before he inevitably learns fear. I would like him to be fascinated by a Manhattan red oak, a red-tailed hawk perched in its limbs, or a morel mushroom at its roots, before he thinks, This forest is going to die, with everything in it. When the thought of climate doom arrives, I hope it will arrive in a mind already prepared by curiosity and pleasure to know why this world is worth fighting to preserve."

"Some of the wonder of the world is what is already gone from it. Nothing he learns to love will be undamaged. Love for half-broken things and places is what he will have to practice, like all of us."
JedediahBrittonPurdy  TheAtlantic  environment  parenting  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Frank Chimero, "Redesign: Wants and Needs"
"Websites sit on a design spectrum. On one end are applications, with their conditional logic, states, and flows—they’re software. The design challenge here is to create designs that support everything the product could contain and become. Google Maps in the browser is probably the most purely appy application I can imagine, but any design system supporting variable content and conditional states is going to be pretty appy and have exponential complexity.

[ … ]

On the other end of the design spectrum are documents; sweet, modest documents with their pleasing knowableness and clear edges. They only need to achieve readability with hierarchy and layout—they’re writing and records. The design challenge is to make it look like what it is, because the content is all there in front of you. If you’re looking for a purely documenty document website, I’d nominate blog-based personal websites as the platonic example."
FrankChimero  design  websites  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Thomas Chatterton Williams, "The Best of Japanese Dining and Design, Under One Parisian Roof," The New York Times
"It is here that the Tokyo-based architect, designer, restaurateur and chef Shinichiro Ogata has set his latest project — Ogata Paris, a newly opened multistory complex comprising a tea shop and tea salon, a full-service restaurant, a pastry shop, a bar, an art gallery, and a crafts and houseware store. It is a tour de force of one man’s vision of the best Japan has to offer; nearly every detail, from the cocktails to the glasses in which they’re served, has been designed by Ogata himself."
ThomasChattertonWilliams  Paris  Japan  patisserie  teahouse  NYT  OgataParis  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Our Predictions About the Internet Are Probably Wrong
"Consider what it meant to own books personally and read them silently, rather than having to hear words read aloud: No one knew what you were up to in the privacy of your home. Writers and publishers wanted some degree of ownership—­hence the new concepts of copyright and intellectual property. More books and rising literacy created an eyeglass industry, which in turn brought advances in lens-making, which ultimately made possible the telescope and spelled the end of biblical cosmology. The printing press transformed religion, science, politics; it put information, misinformation, and power in the hands of more people than ever before; it created a celebrity culture as poets and polemicists vied for fame; and it loosened the restraints of authority and hierarchy, setting groups against one another."

"When people can publish whatever they want, they do. The printing press made individual books more uniform and more numerous, but it also put the idea of universal truth up for grabs."

"More books were printed in the five decades after Gutenberg’s invention than had been produced by scribes during the previous 1,000 years."

"we no longer register the impact of the printing press because we have no easy way to retrieve the ambient sensation of “before,” just as we can’t retrieve, and can barely imagine, what life was like when only scattered licks of flame could pierce the darkness of night."
printing  HistoryOfTechnology  technology  internet  TheAtlantic  Gutenberg  RareBooks  2020  2020-01 
december 2019 by briansholis

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