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What is the Spatial Turn? · Spatial Humanities
"“Landscape turns” and “spatial turns” are referred to throughout the academic disciplines, often with reference to GIS and the neogeography revolution that puts mapping within the grasp of every high-school student. By “turning” we propose a backwards glance at the reasons why travelers from so many disciplines came to be here, fixated upon landscape, together.

For the broader questions of landscape – worldview, palimpsest, the commons and community, panopticism and territoriality — are older than GIS, their stories rooted in the foundations of the modern disciplines. These terms have their origin in a historic conversation about land use and agency."

[Introduction: http://spatial.scholarslab.org/spatial-turn/what-is-the-spatial-turn/ ]

"What is the Spatial Turn?
The Spatial Turn in Literature
The Spatial Turn in Architecture
The Spatial Turn in Sociology
The Spatial Turn and Religion
The Spatial Turn in Psychology
The Spatial Turn in Anthropology
The Spatial Turn in Art History
The Spatial Turn in History"
digitalhumanities  joguldi  landscape  geo  geography  gis  maps  mapping  neogeography  criticism  2014  spatial  spatialhumanities  panopticism  territoriality  landuse  agency  commons  palimpsest  psychology  literature  architecture  sociology  religion  anthropology  arthistory  history 
march 2014
PopClip for Mac
"PopClip appears when you select text with your mouse on your Mac. Instantly copy & paste, and access actions like search, spelling, dictionary and over 100 more."

[Extensions: https://pilotmoon.com/popclip/extensions/ ]
[More: http://brettterpstra.com/projects/bretts-popclip-extensions/ ]
mac  osx  via:sebastienmarion  tools  copypaste  popclip  extensions  software  utilities 
march 2014
Moomins in November: Tove Jansson's Escapist Magic : The New Yorker
"In 1915, a mother makes a sketch of her one-year-old daughter’s hands. “Look what beautiful hands, one flat, with outstretched fingers, one with a clenched fist,” she notes. The hands were to be key, as they belonged to Tove Jansson. Jansson was born in Helsinki, and spent most of her life there and on islands in the Pellinge archipelago, in the Gulf of Finland. On top of producing the nine Moomin books—about the adventures of a family of buoyant, good-hearted creatures that look like upright hippos—she painted, drew a Moomin comic strip, illustrated children’s classics and her own stand-alone picture books, and wrote fiction for adults. (As Damion Searls wittily observed in Harper’s Magazine, “It is rather as though Jonathan Franzen not only admired Charles Schulz but was Charles Schulz, retired from comic strips and deciding to try his hand at a family novel.”) But the anecdote of the sketched hands, one flat and one clenched, also heralds a conflict. In Jansson’s narratives, whether tilted to children or adults, a debate can be felt rustling under the surface: it’s between voices that speak for the open hand of compromise and diplomacy and those that see the truth as naked or nothing, wills that would rather do whatever the hell they like."



"Jansson’s parents were two recognized, Swedish-speaking artists, the sculptor Viktor Jansson and the illustrator Signe Hammarsten. (The latter’s sculpting plans were sacrificed to family—instead, she merely designed more than two hundred postage stamps.) Home was continuous with studio, at night filled with music and the couple’s creative friends. While freedom exists in principle, when you grow up in such a setting, and one of your family pets is a monkey named Poppolino, chances are you will become an artist yourself."



"As for relationship stuff, “Tove Jansson” naturally goes into that. Jansson was taken with men and women, came close to marrying, and found lasting love with the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä. (She is the basis for Too-ticky in the Moomin stories, while the couple’s shared working life underpins “Fair Play.”) The evidence points to nothing simple, yet does suggest that Jansson’s adult view of her father’s role in the family, combined with “the utterly hellish war years,” came to affect her outlook on the male sex as a whole: “Of course I’m sorry for them and of course I like them, but I’ve no intention of devoting my whole life to a performance I’ve seen through … A men’s war!” These words, which I’ve abridged for space, were written as the Continuation War, between Finland and the Soviet Union, dug in. Part of the Second World War and strangely its own affair, the conflict saw Finland accepting help from Germany. Jansson, whose best-known cartoons were aimed at Hitler, couldn’t abide her father’s politics—he had fought against the Bolshevist side in the civil war during his youth, and stood by Germany as a liberator—nor his private anti-Semitism.

Writing the Moomins afforded an escape at war’s end. After a quiet start, the series took off in the fifties, bringing welcome financial stability—but the success also represented a kind of detour. Jansson’s ambitions for painting never left her. Now free time was scarce, thanks to an unceasing flow of fan mail, the minutiae of merchandising, processions of visitors, and, until Lars, one of her brothers, took over, the arduous demands of the comic strip. For a while, there was no pleasure to be found in working. Thankfully, social media didn’t exist yet: “I could vomit over Moomintroll,” she wrote. “I shall never again be able to write about those happy idiots who forgive one another and never realize they’re being fooled.”"
tovejansson  finland  families  art  design  writing  compromise  diplomacy  tuulikkipietilä  moomin 
march 2014
An Education Spring in Our Step: Reflections on the #NPEconference | Chris Thinnes (@CurtisCFEE)
"2. ACTIVE LISTENING AND SELF-AWARENESS

… I have, for some time, been deliberately studying the ways that white men – particularly those vested with authoritative roles and rights that extend even beyond their white privilege, and their male privilege — understand their presence and their impact in conversational dynamics and in space. I do this purposefully in an effort to explore – sometimes helpfully, and sometimes ham-handedly – my own identity, responsibility, and opportunity as a white man, as a school leader, as a parent, as a partner, as a friend, and as a citizen. Sometimes this presents itself in relatively banal and mundane examples worth noting – the dude last night in the movie theater, for example, who splayed his arms across the armrests on both sides of his seat, stared over at my phone before the movie started to take a peek at my twitter stream, and offered his audible commentary to his friend throughout the coming attractions. And sometimes this presents itself in profound examples of people who understand the significance and symbolism of the space they occupy, the meaning of the boundaries they presume to cross, and the impact of the things they say on others.

Recently at the Project Zero conference in Memphis, I was struck by the example of Rod Rock, Superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools, who was only too content to support the leadership of a principal who co-facilitated their workshop, and the learning of participants who’d gathered to exchange their ideas, by listening. “Listening” sounds simple, and innocuous enough, but what I’m talking about is a kind of active listening that intentionally elevates the contributions of others above the inclination to influence, to alter, or to question those contributions. The kind of listening that doesn’t respond to the notes that people play as good chords, or as bad chords, but simply as unexpected chords. We do not often see that in our leaders.

And yet I saw this regularly in the dispositions, behaviors, and actions of leaders at the NPE conference – men and women, white folks and people of color, ‘management’ and ‘labor,’ young and old. And the personal preoccupation I described with white male identity drew me emphatically to the examples of white men in leadership roles who the defy prevailing examples of white men in leadership roles. In the same spirit as my example above, I offer this image of Principal Peter DeWitt and Superintendent John Kuhn, alongside co-panelist and Superintendent H.T. Sánchez:

[photo]

I was taken by the purposeful efforts they made – at this instant, and in many others like it over the course of our time in Austin — to really hear and to honor the contributions of others; the authenticity of their responses to questions, even and especially when they presented them with a challenge; their willingness to take steps back in order that others might take steps forward; and their seeming preference to defer to the insight and experience of others, in order that they might learn themselves. Imagine what could happen – in and among our schools, and in the public discourse about them – if our extended conversations and collective decision-making were framed by such an ethos.

3. FACILITATION AS ACTIVE INCLUSION

Naturally our capacity – in the immediate relationships of our personal and professional lives, and the collective dynamics of a shared effort to support all our nation’s children – depends on more than our resistance or repudiation of dynamics that limit teacher, students, and parent voice. We need urgently to challenge the dynamics of hierarchy, prestige, and privilege that have seemingly determined who should have the most influential voices in a national conversation, and we need actively to recognize and to challenge our own dispositions to marginalizing the input of others who may not share, or who may not have a space to share, their views.

But we also need to make active, purposeful, intentional, conspicuous, and fierce efforts to create a space for other people and ideas. We need to develop active facilitation and inclusion skills alongside those interruption and resistance skills with which we may be more practiced.

To that end, words cannot describe the influence on me of Jose Vilson’s example. There’s a lot that has inspired me in Jose’s work, and a lot that has made me dig deeper in the healthiest kinds of ways, over the time I’ve been familiar with him. But at the NPE conference I got to see him do his thing in a real-life situation for the first time. In the first case, I watched him quietly, respectfully, and clearly create and protect a safe and productive space for the contributions of exceptional student leaders:

[photo]

He did so not just by lauding the efforts of these brave young activists, but by creating a structure of adult participation that limited our inclination — no matter how noble or well-meaning our intentions might be — to steer or shape the conversation. He did so by noticing the impact of our responses (applause, silence, commentary) on the dynamics of the conversation, and by providing subtle cues to adults that helped us co-create an inclusive space. He did so by gently and respectfully pushing two student participants’ thinking further – not at all to question or to critique that thinking, but to lure these students’ wisdom past the threshold of their nerves, and to give their insights the wings of words that might carry us all further forward in our recognition, support, and deference to authentic student voice in the months and years to come.

He did it again during a Common Core panel with several other extraordinary participants, but in a different way. In that context, he managed to create a space for voices and dynamics who are rarely present in such conversations — either about the ‘standards,’ or the high-stakes testing and evaluation schemes with which they are inextricably intertwined. Jose insisted, through his words and through his example, that we examine the implications and impact of education policy and politics through the lens of race and ethnicity; that we deconstruct and challenge the facile assertions of some policymakers and pundits that they are fighting for “the civil rights issue of our time;” and that we recognize and honor the many, many thousands who won’t have a seat at a table until and unless we demand and create a shared, inclusive, respectful, and honest Common Conversation."
christhinnes  npeconference  20145  listening  activelistening  race  self-awareness  power  leadership  servantleadership  inclusion  facilitation  diversity  activism  inclusivity  relationallearning  learning  conversation  hierarchy  hierarchies  relationaldynamics  peterdewitt  deborahmeier  anthonycody  leoniehaimson  dianeravitch  petergow  commoncore  karenlewis  relationships  community  johnkuhn  education  policy  josévilson  inlcusivity 
march 2014
Keybase
"Keybase will be a public directory of publicly auditable public keys. All paired, for convenience, with unique usernames."



"Keybase.io is also a Keybase client, however certain crypto actions (signing and decrypting) are limited to users who store client-encrypted copies of their private keys on the server, an optional feature we didn't mention above.

On the website, all crypto is performed in JavaScript, in your browser. Some people have strong feelings about this, for good reason."
security  crypto  cryptography  keybase  usernames  identity  2014  publickeys  directories  keybase.io  encryption 
march 2014
Ariel Waldman » Democratized Science Instrumentation
"I wrote/curated a guidebook on democratized science instrumentation, documenting both hardware and software that significantly increase people’s opportunity to participate in scientific discovery. The paper was commissioned by the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) to be presented to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)."

[PDF: https://www.ida.org/stpi/occasionalpapers/papers/OP-7-2012-DemocratizedScienceInstrumentation-v1.pdf ]
openhardware  hardware  science  citizenscience  arielwaldman  2014  ostp  stpi  technology  instrumentation  software  projectideas  openstudioproject  srg  edg  glcvo 
march 2014
Autism | Mada Masr
"In prison I try to make up for my inactivity, my helplessness, by reading. Maybe I can get information or wisdom that would be of use to those who visit me, or could help me the day I'm released.

I read — among other things — about autism. I lose myself in reading and find myself thinking about the troubles of the revolution. I imagine that autism is a good metaphor for our condition. I start writing texts that contrast a child losing — or not having — the ability to speak with a generation gradually losing its ability to chant. Or that compare his impaired communication with our inability to understand those queues of dancing voters.(1) Or that try to develop an image where an extreme sensitivity to sound makes it painful to hear the bullets fired regularly by the state — bullets inaudible to those who don't share our disability. Our disability causes us to be troubled by the sight of the blood of those martyred to things other than duty — a sight which clearly does not offend the eyes of the delegates.(2)

The texts are poor, inaccurate and with no basis in science. You don't get autism because of the shocks life delivers. It's a condition that is known and documented. It's mostly to do with learning difficulties and what we can do about them. The books talk about the importance of paying attention to the "secret curriculum."

We might have difficulty learning the official school curriculum. We might find some subjects difficult, and autism might make it up for us by making others easy. But the heart of the problem is in the secret curriculum: the lessons and skills and bases and rules of human communication. Nobody hid this curriculum: humans assumed it was known and understood and so no-one wrote it down. Why do we ask each other "how are you" when we meet though we've no wish for a detailed answer? What pushes us to declare a love we don't feel and hide the love we do? What's the importance of showing various kinds and degrees of respect to colleagues and bosses? Why does the teacher want to hear a pin drop though she has no pin in her hand?

And that's not to mention the complex rules for speech and clothing and behavior that depend on distributions of relationships and that change in response to time and place and social context. We live by a complex and complicated system that is always in flux. Most of us don't need to actively learn all its details, but most people who live with autism stand helpless in front of it. Their isolation increases unless someone makes the effort to teach them the secret curriculum. It doesn't matter if the details of this curriculum are useful or logical or not; if you don't conform to them society will reject you. Which is easier? To persuade society that a response to "how are you" with a real report about one's feelings does no harm and might even be useful, or that it's OK not to ask how one is doing if it's a quick meeting and doesn't allow for a conversation about feelings — or to train the disabled minority to respond with "al-hamdulillah" (fine, thank you) whatever their real feelings.

The books warn: don't train for conformity. Our duty is to teach the curriculum and to empower the "disabled" person to register and grasp what society expects and then decide of his own free will how he should behave. He might decide to conform or he might rebel. "What's easiest" isn't the only question. Pay attention to what's richer and more beautiful and more compassionate and better.

I like the idea of the secret curriculum. Which one of us "normal" people has not been confused or suffocated by the assumed rules of behaving and communicating. Which one of us hasn't been seized by the wish to scream or cry or curse or hug or kiss inappropriately? Practically half the secret curriculum is to do with how to hide the effects of the rare moments with which you explode — hide them or rebel and don't conform.

They arrive and break my train of thought and my reading stops. We've expected them since the news of their torture was leaked into the papers and since we learned that the prison administration was expecting newcomers from Abu Zaabal prison. We tried to prepare to receive them, but how do you welcome a friend who went through the battle with you but went through his experience alone? Will he be comforted if you tell him that your old jail/his new jail is safe and that his ordeal is over? Will he be angry? Should I feel guilty or grateful? We must have learned this in the secret curriculum; the gradations in the acuteness of injustice and in the price people pay are nothing new. I've spent my life with these gradations so why am I confused by the heat of their anger? We adopt autism. We receive them with a detailed report about the facts: there is no torture here but you're probably here to stay, the law means nothing and the constitution offers no hope and the courts are worth nothing. We shall stay until they're done with their damned road map. They reply with similar autism with a detailed report about the torture in a steady mechanical delivery with no embarrassment, no concealment. The books tell me not to assume the absence of feeling; autism hampers expression and communication, it does not negate feeling."



"Which is easier? To train the minority unable to conform to the hidden constitution to ignore injustice as long as it falls on others, to avoid challenging authority and to assume its good intentions, or to persuade society of the absurdity of trying to live with an authority that allows itself murder and torture and detentions as long as it adheres to hidden rules?

The books warn us: don't train for conformity. Our duty is to learn the curriculum to empower the "disabled" person to register and grasp what society expects and then decide of his own free will how he should behave. He might decide to conform or he might rebel.

"What's easiest" isn't the only question. Pay attention to what's richer, what's more beautiful, more just, more compassionate. What's better."
madamasr  autism  learning  hiddencurriculum  communication  2014  conformity  injustice  society  torture  war  egypt  secretcurriculum  hiddenconstitution  alaaabdelfattah  expression  emotion  emotions  prison  behavior  violence  power  control  colonialism  domination 
march 2014
Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney - NYTimes.com
[Don't read this here, go read the entire article.]
[Update (20 Sept 2014): Now Radio Lab has done a story. http://www.radiolab.org/story/juicervose/ ]

"Owen’s chosen affinity clearly opened a window to myth, fable and legend that Disney lifted and retooled, just as the Grimm Brothers did, from a vast repository of folklore. Countless cultures have told versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” which dates back 2,000 years to the Latin “Cupid and Psyche” and certainly beyond that. These are stories human beings have always told themselves to make their way in the world.

But what draws kids like Owen to these movies is something even more elemental. Walt Disney told his early animators that the characters and the scenes should be so vivid and clear that they could be understood with the sound turned off. Inadvertently, this creates a dream portal for those who struggle with auditory processing, especially, in recent decades, when the films can be rewound and replayed many times.

The latest research that Cornelia and I came across seems to show that a feature of autism is a lack of traditional habituation, or the way we become used to things. Typically, people sort various inputs, keep or discard them and then store those they keep. Our brains thus become accustomed to the familiar. After the third viewing of a good movie, or a 10th viewing of a real favorite, you’ve had your fill. Many autistic people, though, can watch that favorite a hundred times and seemingly feel the same sensations as the first time. While they are soothed by the repetition, they may also be looking for new details and patterns in each viewing, so-called hypersystemizing, a theory that asserts that the repetitive urge underlies special abilities for some of those on the spectrum.

Disney provided raw material, publicly available and ubiquitous, that Owen, with our help, built into a language and a tool kit. I’m sure, with enough creativity and energy, this can be done with any number of interests and disciplines. For some kids, their affinity is for train schedules; for others, it’s maps. While our household may not be typical, with a pair of writerly parents and a fixation on stories — all of which may have accentuated and amplified Owen’s native inclinations — we have no doubt that he shares a basic neurological architecture with people on the autism spectrum everywhere.

The challenge is how to make our example useful to other families and other kids, whatever their burning interest. That’s what Team Owen seems to be talking about. How does this work? Is there a methodology? Can it be translated from anecdote to analysis and be helpful to others in need?"



"The room gets quiet. It’s clear that many of these students have rarely, if ever, had their passion for Disney treated as something serious and meaningful.

One young woman talks about how her gentle nature, something that leaves her vulnerable, is a great strength in how she handles rescue dogs. Another mentions “my brain, because it can take me on adventures of imagination.”

A young man, speaking in a very routinized way with speech patterns that closely match the “Rain Man” characterization of autism, asks me the date of my birth. I tell him, and his eyes flicker. “That was a Friday.”

When I ask the group which Disney character they most identify with, the same student, now enlivened, says Pinocchio and eventually explains, “I feel like a wooden boy, and I’ve always dreamed of feeling what real boys feel.” The dorm counselor, who told me ahead of time that this student has disciplinary issues and an unreachable emotional core, then compliments him — “That was beautiful,” she says — and looks at me with astonishment. I shrug. He’d already bonded in a soul-searching way with his character. I just asked him which one.

It goes on this way for an hour. Like a broken dam. The students, many of whom have very modest expressive speech, summon subtle and deeply moving truths.

There’s a reason — a good-enough reason — that each autistic person has embraced a particular interest. Find that reason, and you will find them, hiding in there, and maybe get a glimpse of their underlying capacities. In our experience, we found that showing authentic interest will help them feel dignity and impel them to show you more, complete with maps and navigational tools that may help to guide their development, their growth. Revealed capability, in turn, may lead to a better understanding of what’s possible in the lives of many people who are challenged."



"For nearly a decade, Owen has been coming to see Griffin in this basement office, trying to decipher the subtle patterns of how people grow close to one another. That desire to connect has always been there as, the latest research indicates, it may be in all autistic people; their neurological barriers don’t kill the desire, even if it’s deeply submerged. And this is the way he still is — autism isn’t a spell that has been broken; it’s a way of being. That means the world will continue to be inhospitable to him, walking about, as he does, uncertain, missing cues, his heart exposed. But he has desperately wanted to connect, to feel his life, fully, and — using his movies and the improvised tool kit we helped him build — he’s finding his footing. For so many years, it was about us finding him, a search joined by Griffin and others. Now it was about him finding himself.

“Owen, my good friend,” Griffin says, his eyes glistening, “it’s fair to say, you’re on your way.”

Owen stands up, that little curly-haired boy now a man, almost Griffin’s height, and smiles, a knowing smile of self-awareness.

“Thank you, Rafiki,” Owen says to Griffin. “For everything.”

“Is friendship forever?” Owen asks me.

“Yes, Owen, it often is.”

“But not always.”

“No, not always.”

It’s later that night, and we’re driving down Connecticut Avenue after seeing the latest from Disney (and Pixar), “Brave.” I think I understand now, from a deeper place, how Owen, and some of his Disney Club friends, use the movies and why it feels so improbable. Most of us grow from a different direction, starting as utterly experiential, sorting through the blooming and buzzing confusion to learn this feels good, that not so much, this works, that doesn’t, as we gradually form a set of rules that we live by, with moral judgments at the peak.

Owen, with his reliance from an early age on myth and fable, each carrying the clarity of black and white, good and evil, inverts this pyramid. He starts with the moral — beauty lies within, be true to yourself, love conquers all — and tests them in a world colored by shades of gray. It’s the sidekicks who help him navigate that eternal debate, as they often do for the heroes in their movies.

“I know love lasts forever!” Owen says after a few minutes.

We’re approaching Chevy Chase Circle, five minutes from where we live. I know I need to touch, gently, upon the notion that making friends or finding love entails risk. There’s no guarantee of forever. There may be heartbreak. But we do it anyway. I drop this bitter morsel into the mix, folding around it an affirmation that he took a risk when he went to an unfamiliar place on Cape Cod, far from his friends and home, and found love. The lesson, I begin, is “to never be afraid to reach out.”

He cuts me off. “I know, I know,” he says, and then summons a voice for support. It’s Laverne, the gargoyle from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“Quasi,” he says. “Take it from an old spectator. Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’s all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without you.”

He giggles under his breath, then does a little shoulder roll, something he does when a jolt of emotion runs through him. “You know, they’re not like the other sidekicks.”

He has jumped ahead of me again. I scramble. “No? How?”

“All the other sidekicks live within their movies as characters, walk around, do things. The gargoyles only live when Quasimodo is alone with them.”

“And why’s that?”

“Because he breathes life into them. They only live in his imagination.”

Everything goes still. “What’s that mean, buddy?”

He purses his lips and smiles, chin out, as if he got caught in a game of chess. But maybe he wanted to. “It means the answers are inside of him,” he says.

“Then why did he need the gargoyles?”

“He needed to breathe life into them so he could talk to himself. It’s the only way he could find out who he was.”

“You know anyone else like that?”

“Me.” He laughs a sweet, little laugh, soft and deep. And then there’s a long pause.

“But it can get so lonely, talking to yourself,” my son Owen finally says. “You have to live in the world.”"
autism  learning  parenting  comics  disney  health  movies  communication  fables  myths  legends  morals  ablerism  capabilities  abilities  differentlyabled  capacities  howwelearn  howweteach  neurotypical  psychology  dignity  interestedness  connection  love  howwelove  friednship  teaching  listening  folklore  via:timmaly  ronsuskind  interested 
march 2014
Good Intentions and Big Ideas: Feel Good Grants That Exploit Artists and Reduce Arts Funding
"Needless to say, all that money and privilege leaves some big and largely unanswered questions around access, inclusion, politics and turning ideas into marketable products that these organizations and companies try to claim ownership over."



"What I want to do here is channel that growing skepticism around the fact that it is often the wealthiest and most powerful people who dictate the terms of the good acts that our society commits and who decide which ideas will underpin them. And it’s absolutely true that sometimes they get it right and great things are accomplished, I’m never going to deny that, but sometimes what I would call boutique charities arise that are often ego-driven and compete with other organizations with less capital or cache which ultimately diminishes resources and ends up with populations in need being very poorly served."



"Of course, it’s true, as Slayton and I concurred, that any time an artist receives funding there are going to be compromises made or limitations placed on the work that the artists create. These fellowships are a small part of a much larger system. And all an artist needs to do to avoid such conflicts is not apply when they see problematic programs. But the thing is, as with many of those organization like TED that I mentioned at the outset, because of the popularity of these brains-in-a-room programs with a lot of people in power right now, there has been a noticeable shift over the past decade or so toward thinking that artists’ new job is to answer society’s most urgent needs in short periods of time for little to no money. Lately this has led to giving people desperate to cut money in their budgets big ideas like “let’s just get rid of our trained aides in the senior programs and offer the space for free to a bunch of artists who will come in and fingerpaint and play music” or “instead of having actual teachers who understand lesson plans and childhood developmental stages, let’s bring in some theater people without education experience to make plays with the kids about the history those teachers would have been teaching.” This is where what seemed like a good intention turns into something deeply problematic when made manifest in the actual, daily lives of the people the programs are intended to help — the artists are exploited, the people with immediate needs are no longer having those needs met by competent and trained workers, and governments hide behind out-of-the-box thinking when laying waste to programs and services."
art  artists  ted  2012  alexisclements  exploitation  power  money  economics  charitableindustrialcomplex  zero1  labor  charities  chrisanderson  bigthink  ideas4all  aspenideasfestival  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  charity  capitalism  control 
march 2014
The Death of American Universities | Jacobin
"The idea is to divide society into two groups. One group is sometimes called the “plutonomy” (a term used by Citibank when they were advising their investors on where to invest their funds), the top sector of wealth, globally but concentrated mostly in places like the United States. The other group, the rest of the population, is a “precariat,” living a precarious existence.

This idea is sometimes made quite overt. So when Alan Greenspan was testifying before Congress in 1997 on the marvels of the economy he was running, he said straight out that one of the bases for its economic success was imposing what he called “greater worker insecurity.” If workers are more insecure, that’s very “healthy” for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health.

At the time, everyone regarded Greenspan’s comment as very reasonable, judging by the lack of reaction and the great acclaim he enjoyed. Well, transfer that to the universities: how do you ensure “greater worker insecurity”? Crucially, by not guaranteeing employment, by keeping people hanging on a limb than can be sawed off at any time, so that they’d better shut up, take tiny salaries, and do their work; and if they get the gift of being allowed to serve under miserable conditions for another year, they should welcome it and not ask for any more.

That’s the way you keep societies efficient and healthy from the point of view of the corporations. And as universities move towards a corporate business model, precarity is exactly what is being imposed. And we’ll see more and more of it.

That’s one aspect, but there are other aspects which are also quite familiar from private industry, namely a large increase in layers of administration and bureaucracy. If you have to control people, you have to have an administrative force that does it. So in US industry even more than elsewhere, there’s layer after layer of management — a kind of economic waste, but useful for control and domination."



So the university imposes costs on students and on faculty who are not only untenured but are maintained on a path that guarantees that they will have no security. All of this is perfectly natural within corporate business models. It’s harmful to education, but education is not their goal.

In fact, if you look back farther, it goes even deeper than that. If you go back to the early 1970s when a lot of this began, there was a lot of concern pretty much across the political spectrum over the activism of the 1960s; it’s commonly called “the time of troubles.” It was a “time of troubles” because the country was getting civilized, and that’s dangerous. People were becoming politically engaged and were trying to gain rights for groups that are called “special interests,” like women, working people, farmers, the young, the old, and so on. That led to a serious backlash, which was pretty overt.



And another technique of indoctrination is to cut back faculty-student contact: large classes, temporary teachers who are overburdened, who can barely survive on an adjunct salary. And since you don’t have any job security, you can’t build up a career, you can’t move on and get more. These are all techniques of discipline, indoctrination, and control.



"Even young children are creative, inquisitive, they want to know things, they want to understand things, and unless that’s beaten out of your head it stays with you the rest of your life. If you have opportunities to pursue those commitments and concerns, it’s one of the most satisfying things in life.

That’s true if you’re a research physicist, it’s true if you’re a carpenter; you’re trying to create something of value and deal with a difficult problem and solve it. I think that’s what makes work the kind of thing you want to do; you do it even if you don’t have to do it. In a reasonably functioning university, you find people working all the time because they love it; that’s what they want to do; they’re given the opportunity, they have the resources, they’re encouraged to be free and independent and creative-what’s better? That’s what they love to do. And that, again, can be done at any level.

It’s worth thinking about some of the imaginative and creative educational programs that are being developed at different levels. So, for example, somebody just described to me the other day a program they’re using in high schools, a science program where the students are asked an interesting question: “How can a mosquito fly in the rain?”

That’s a hard question when you think about it. If something hit a human being with the force of a raindrop hitting a mosquito it would absolutely flatten them immediately. So how come the mosquito isn’t crushed instantly? And how can the mosquito keep flying? If you pursue that question — and it’s a pretty hard question — you get into questions of mathematics, physics, and biology, questions that are challenging enough that you want to find an answer to them.

That’s what education should be like at every level, all the way down to kindergarten, literally. There are kindergarten programs in which, say, each child is given a collection of little items: pebbles, shells, seeds, and things like that. Then the class is given the task of finding out which ones are the seeds. It begins with what they call a “scientific conference”: the kids talk to each other and they try to figure out which ones are seeds. And of course, there’s some teacher guidance, but the idea is to have the children think it through.

After a while, they try various experiments and they figure out which ones are the seeds. At that point, each child is given a magnifying glass and, with the teacher’s help, cracks a seed and looks inside and finds the embryo that makes the seed grow. These children learn something-really, not only something about seeds and what makes things grow; but also about how to discover. They’re learning the joy of discovery and creation, and that’s what carries you on independently, outside the classroom, outside the course.

The same goes for all education up through graduate school. In a reasonable graduate seminar, you don’t expect students to copy it down and repeat whatever you say; you expect them to tell you when you’re wrong or to come up with new ideas, to challenge, to pursue some direction that hadn’t been thought of before. That’s what real education is at every level, and that’s what ought to be encouraged. That ought to be the purpose of education. It’s not to pour information into somebody’s head which will then leak out but to enable them to become creative, independent people who can find excitement in discovery and creation and creativity at whatever level or in whatever domain their interests carry them."
2014  1960s  1970s  highered  highereducation  economics  policy  studentdebt  tenure  precarity  pracariat  plutonomy  administrativebloat  control  neoliberalism  indoctrination  power  adjuncts  learing  howwelearn  tcsnmy  lcproject  democracy  openstudioproject  curiosity  inquiry  enlightenment  history  education  howweteach  pedagogy  teaching  learning  flexibility  faculty 
march 2014
Seventeen-day Studio
"Seventeen-day Studio writes about books, experimentation & experience. "

"The Seventeen-day Studio began on March 29, 2013 and ended seventeen days later on April 14. We formed the studio as an exploration in collaboration, an exhibition of the design process, and an evaluation of the field as we know it. What came from the studio greatly outweighs what we put into it, due to the kindness and generosity of our colleagues, advisors, and all those who stopped by."



[Projects]

"Studio as critique.

As much as the studio is about showing designers in their element, we felt a need to be critical about what we do. Through open collaboration with each other and visitors, we embrace the loss of explicit authorship. We recognize our own ego but do not believe in solitary genius. To achieve this we developed projects which spanned the 17 days. These parts of the studio are meant to challenge the traditional notion of the graphic designer through our relationships with clients and the greater public.

Posters, books, and logos are quintessential so we began there. To explore our use of technology, media, and medium as they relate to the deliverable, we created these systems of making and interaction. The Poster Machine, Logo Parlor, and Bookshop as we called them produced work for a walk-in clientele. They act as introduction to basic concepts of design[ing] and being designed for in a way that was personal for each visitor.

We want to expand the space of graphic design criticism. Through our studio space and by working in the gallery, performing, we present design, the verb, to more than our peers. We used one of our 23 ft high walls to proclaim a diagnosis of the field. Graphic design is made of contrary elements, involving a clash of thought, emotion, and behavior, leading us as graphic designers, toward eccentric perceptions, unusual actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality into fantasy or delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

Bookshop.

The print-per-request Book Shop interprets an individual’s reading preferences and habits. We posit that reading is distracting, because it is plastic, creative work that is affected by methods of publishing and the devices we use. Visitor input went into editing and producing a 100 page book that focuses on the parts of books and reading that cannot be read or are routinely glanced over, though contribute the how a reader reads.

The poster machine, an alternative interface.

The poster machine was made to challenge the digital tools that designers conventionally use in making. A series of knobs and switches are used by the machine’s operator to alter the mood and layout of their poster. Each poster is then handmade and machine-made. After playing with the machine the maker sends her poster to print, where it is also automatically fed to our website for all to see.

Logo Parlor, a generative identity system.

The logo parlor generates a logo and 20 business cards in 8 minutes. The piece was developed based on a system in which visitors fill out a form where they rank different skill sets in a scale of 1 to 10. The skill sets are gathered from a survey of most repeated characteristics mentioned by prospective candidate during interviews across different fields. During the exhibition visitors were encouraged to fill out a form and spend 8 minutes with the designer as the process of creating their customized logotype unfolded."



"Graphic design is made of contrary elements, involving a clash of thought, emotion, and behavior, leading us as graphic designers toward eccentric perceptions, inappropriate actions and feelings, our withdrawal from reality into fantasy or delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation."
design  designprocess  classideas  projectideas  graphicdesign  graphics  typography  books  making  openstudioproject  glvo  srg  manifestos  workshops  events  studios  printing  publishing  eventideas 
march 2014
Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom | DML Hub
"This volume highlights compelling firsthand counter-narratives from educators engaged in solving an array of challenges in today’s classrooms. It draws together narratives from an inspiring group of educators within the National Writing Project—a collaborative network of instructors dedicated to enhancing student learning and effecting positive change—that contributes to our understanding of what “Digital Is” (DI). DI is a web community for practitioners with high levels of expertise and a deep commitment to engaging today's youth by fostering connections between their in- and out-of-school digital literacy practices. Furthermore, DI is about sharing experiences that offer visibility into the complexity of the everyday classroom, as well as the intelligence that the teaching profession demands.

The chapters in this volume represent a bold re-envisioning of what education can look like, as well as illustrate what it means to open the doors to youth culture and the promise that this work holds. While there are certainly similarities across these diverse narratives, the key is that they have taken a common set of design principles and applied them to their particular educational context. The examples aren't your typical approaches to the classroom; these educators are talking about integrating design principles into their living practice derived from cutting-edge research. We know from this research that forging learning opportunities between academic pursuits, youth’s digital interests, and peer culture is not only possible, but positions youth to adapt and thrive under the ever-shifting demands of the twenty-first century. We refer to this approach as the theory and practice of “connected learning,” which offers a set of design principles—further articulated by this group of educators—for how to meet the needs of students seeking coherence across the boundaries of school, out-of-school, and today’s workplace. Taken together, these narratives can be considered “working examples” that serve as models for how educators can leverage connected learning principles in making context-dependent decisions to better support their learners."

[From within: ]

“…Typically, publications about or for teachers highlight “best practices.” The buzzword-driven form of highlighting a superior approach, to me, ignores the cultural contexts in which teacher practices are developed. The best practice for my classroom is going to be different both from a classroom anywhere else and from my classroom a year down the road. Context drives practice. As such, this is not a how-to guide for connected learning or a collection of lesson plans. The pages that follow are, instead, meant to spur dialogue about how classroom practice can change and inspire educators to seek new pedagogical pathways forward…”

and

“…I remember distinctly thinking “those students are doing it wrong.” … I didn’t understand that I was naturally ascribing my own rules of use on a cultural practice that was not my own…As such “doing it wrong” is culturally constructed and important to remember when we think about how we will roll out sustained connected learning support for teachers nationally and globally.”

[See also: http://dmlcentral.net/blog/antero-garcia/teaching-connected-learning-classroom-new-report ]

[A Summary (source of those quotes): http://bwatwood.edublogs.org/2014/03/05/connected-learning/ ]

[PDF: http://dmlhub.net/sites/default/files/teaching-in-the-CL-classroom.pdf ]
anterogarcia  mimiito  connectedlearning  2014  bestpractices  teaching  pedagogy  emergentcurriculum  christinacantrill  daniellefilipiak  budhunt  cliffordlee  nicolemirra  cindyodonnell-allen  kyliepeppler  classideas  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  lcproject  interest-drivenlearning  learning  peer-supportedlearning  sharedpurpose  networking  production-centeredclassrooms  interest-basedlearning 
march 2014
Will This Be the U.K.'s New Flag? - Matt Ford - The Atlantic
"With a referendum on Scottish independence coming later this year, Britain may have to re-think the Union Jack."
flags  uk  unionjack  design  geopolitics  mattford  2014 
march 2014
✌ Reading : Your free data is now even freer
[Settings: https://reading.am/settings/extras ]

"Remember how Reading lets you download all of your posts, whenever you like, for free? Well, today that’s changing and I’m totally cutting you guys off and selling all of your tasty data to Facebook for billions of bitcoins.

Kidding. Actually, data export just got even easier. Not only can you export a CSV for use with your favorite spreadsheet program, you can now grab an HTML file that can be imported into your browser’s bookmarks folder and to sites like Pinboard. I even sped the whole thing up while I was at it. Find your exports under settings/extras and thank @ablaze for the feature request.

Happy reading!"
reading.am  tools  onlinetoolkit  2014 
march 2014
floccinaucinihilipilification - Wiktionary
"(often humorous) The act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant, of having no value or being worthless."

[via: https://twitter.com/tejucole/status/441397146227834880 ]
words  humor  pointlessness  definitions 
march 2014
Teju Cole: By the Book - NYTimes.com
"What books are currently on your night stand?

I just got in the “Selected Poems” of Bill Manhire, who is from New Zealand. He’s a mature poet with his own voice, but his unobtrusive authority and his tenderness remind me of Seamus Heaney. I’m teaching Intermediate Fiction at Bard this semester, and I’ve assigned Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, Petina Gappah, Lydia Davis and Stephanie Vaughn. So I’m rereading them, too.

Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today?

Penelope Fitzgerald was the author of several slim, perfect novels. “The Blue Flower” and “The Beginning of Spring” both had me abuzz for days the first time I read them. She was curiously perfect. Among living novelists, my favorites include J. M. Coetzee, Michael Ondaatje and Michel Tournier, none of whom need my praise. I cherish James Salter’s short stories, and his every sentence.

Sell us on your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer.

Lydia Davis is famous, but not nearly famous enough. Ditto Anne Carson. It’s notable that neither of them is really a novelist; “the novel” is overrated, and the writers I find most interesting find ways to escape it.

Have you read any good contemporary poetry lately?

I’m very pleased to have encountered in the past couple of years the work of two astounding young poets, each of whom has one book out: Ishion Hutchinson (“Far District”) and Rowan Ricardo Phillips (“The Ground”). Both have impressive reserves of insight and the language to bring those insights to life. They are the future of American poetry.

And I’m glad I finally got round to reading “Stag’s Leap,” by Sharon Olds. There is the feeling that one gets when one “discovers” a new song only to realize it has a million views on YouTube already. “Stag’s Leap” was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize last year. But the book is new to me, and I love it.

And which recent books by or about photographers would you recommend?

“Wall,” by Josef Koudelka; “Sergio Larrain” (a monograph on the reclusive Chilean genius, who died in 2012); and “The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus,” by Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen.

I wrote the introductory essay to Richard Renaldi’s “Touching Strangers.” Nevertheless, it is an excellent book. Ivan Vladislavic’s novel “Double Negative” is another great book that wasn’t marred by my introduction.

What are your literary guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre?

No guilt. I read many kinds of things, but my deepest happiness is in reading poetry.

What are your favorite art history books?

I was trained in art history and still get a great deal of joy from reading it. The best art history books, I feel, are as good as the best novels. Among the most illuminating for me are the following: “The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany,” by Michael Baxandall; “The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus,” by Paul Zanker; “The Painting of Modern Life,” by T. J. Clark; “The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art,” by Joseph Leo Koerner; and “Inside Bruegel,” by Edward Snow. The last of these, a startling interpretation of Bruegel’s “Children’s Games,” is great for nonspecialist readers.



What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?

I began early — around 6 — and by the time I was 10 I had read Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart,” Charles and Mary Lamb’s “Tales From Shakespeare” and an abridged edition of “Tom Sawyer.” I wasn’t a prodigy, but I developed a sense that access to any book was limited only by my interest and my willingness to concentrate.

Whom do you consider your literary heroes?

They are many: Michael Ondaatje, most of all. But also Marguerite Yourcenar, John Berger and Seamus Heaney.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

I suppose at least a little faith in literature’s ability to make us better is what lies behind this question. But I have no such faith. The president has already read many wonderful books from many different cultures. Now we need him to act justly in certain matters: to stop killing people extrajudicially, and to stop deporting people with such enthusiasm. I doubt that more reading will quicken his conscience in these matters.

You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?

Alice Oswald, Laila Lalami and Zadie Smith.

You’ve got an active Twitter account going. Does it influence your thinking or writing process?

I suppose it must. It’s such a combative place at times that it makes me less worried about putting ideas out into the world. You realize that anything you have to say is going to annoy some stranger, so you might as well speak your mind. But being active on Twitter also means that the literary part of my brain — the part that tries to make good sentences — is engaged all the time. My memory is worse than it was a few years ago, but I hope that my ability to write a good sentence has improved.

What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?

I have not read most of the big 19th — century novels that people consider “essential,” nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter. But this does not embarrass me. There are many films to see, many friends to visit, many walks to take, many playlists to assemble and many favorite books to reread. Life’s too short for anxious score-keeping. Also, my grandmother is illiterate, and she’s one of the best people I know. Reading is a deep personal consolation for me, but other things console, too."

[via: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/78770035787 ]

[via: https://twitter.com/tejucole/status/446639178843840512 ]
tejucole  2014  interviews  books  literacy  illiteracy  reading  politics  barackobama  booklists  poetry  novels  literature  writing  howweread  howwewrite  twitter  guiltypleasures  seamusheany  billmanhire  alicemunro  jhumpalahiri  petinagappah  lydiadavis  stephanievaughn  penelopefitzgerald  hmcoetzee  michaelondaatje  miceltournier  jamessalter  annecarson  rowanricardophillips  ishionhutchinson  sharonolds  josefkoudelka  sergiolarrain  robhornstra  arnoldvanbruggen  richardrenaldi  ivanvladislavic  michaelbaxandrall  paulzanker  tjclark  josephleokoerner  edwardsnow  chinuaachebe  charleslamb  marylamb  margueriteyourcenar  johnberger  aliceoswald  lailalalami  zadiesmith  sergiolarraín 
march 2014
Face-Off With a Deadly Predator - YouTube
"Paul Nicklen describes his most amazing experience as a National Geographic photographer - coming face-to-face with one of Antarctica's most vicious predators."
animals  nationalgeographic  photography  2009  storytelling  leopardseals  seals  predators  antarctica  paulnicklen  antarctic 
march 2014
Goodbye to Blog Comments + Subtraction.com
"As mentioned earlier this month, a brand new version of Subtraction.com is coming soon. Very, very, very soon, maybe as early as next week. I’ve been diligently working with my friend Allan Cole to sort out a ton of kinks, rewiring a lot of the site behind the scenes. I’ll talk about that in greater detail soon, but one major change that we’ve made is that, in this new design, user comments will be no more.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. In 2011 I wrote this post about how the volume of comments had dwindled on my blog, and extrapolated from that some observations on how blogging in general has changed. If anything, that change has accelerated in the intervening three years, and now commenting on Subtraction.com is a tiny fraction of what it was at its peak.

Moreover, it just feels like the time for comments has passed. At least for me, it has. I’m frequently and conspicuously absent from comment threads on my own blog, a byproduct of my ridiculously crazy schedule. That situation makes for a less than stellar commenting experience for everyone; commenters feel as if I’m not paying attention, and I feel embarrassed that my name is missing from threads entirely."
commenting  blogs  blogging  khoivinh  2014 
march 2014
The Fall of Collaboration, The Rise of Cooperation
"Time to Retire Collaboration

The term "collaboration" has been so stretched by its use in dozens of very different apps and disciplines that we should retire the term, and a bunch of the tired thinking that is bound up with it. What does it mean, anyway? "Working together." So let’s just call them "work tools," and if we want to focus on the technology side, "work tech."

Consider the old school notions of business process, where the entire chain of work activities is mapped out by experts looking across many disciplines, with all the rules baked in, and everyone must be taught how to perform their roles and what degree of flex is allowed within the painted lines: that notion is being fractured. Things are changing too fast to devise a collection of end-to-end, top-down, totally designed business processes. Besides, anything that can be programmed is being handed off to algorithms, and the rest is left to humans to invent. Today, people are not blindly following rote instructions, but instead they reapply general principles to specific situations: they are not blindly stamping out license plates, or following a script.

The future of "process" in this new world of work is a general understanding of how work might be passed around, and which applications might be employed at different parts of a value chain. So the process involves people deciding how to do things after looking at guidelines. This decision making may involve tools cobbled together, through connections managed by infrastructure that may work like IFTTT (If This Then That), a service that supports transferring information from one app's API to another’s. In this way a company has structured the first stage of job applications as a file containing a resume being placed in a specific Dropbox folder, which initiates the creation of a task in Trello, and the automatic placement into the company’s Job Applications task list. What happens downstream of that would be up to the person who pulled that task to work on it. So instead of a big, totally defined and inflexible process we see a loose collection of smaller activities cascading along, with the eventual outcome not ordained by well defined rules, but instead determined by the individual decisions of those doing the work.

This change is already showing up in the most advanced technology firms, where lean approaches to software development have reflected back into thinking about lean organizations in general. For example, Asana’s "leanership" has built an organization of peers, not just a flat hierarchy. And similar changes are going on at Yammer, GitHub, Medium and other leading tech firms. That is where we will see the rise of cooperative work tech at the core of the new way of work."
collaboration  cooperation  hierarchies  hierarchy  horizontality  open  stoweboyd  2014  process  tools  ifttt  dropbox  flexibility  autonomy  yammer  github  medium  asana 
march 2014
It's not only adults who need comfort reading | Books | theguardian.com
"A new report into what children are reading at school shows a "marked downturn in difficulty of books at secondary transfer", it was revealed today. The books children are reading in year 7, according to the report What Kids Are Reading, include tons of Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid titles and David Almond's (wonderful) Skellig, along with Roald Dahl's The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine. By year 7, says the study, which calculates the reading level of a book using software that measures the text's complexity, "students are reading at over a year below their chronological age".

According to the report's author, Professor Keith Topping, this is a "matter for alarm". According to Philip Pullman, speaking on Radio 4 on Wednesday, there's not much need for panic. "Isn't it only the natural thing to do? You go from being a big child in a small school to a very small child in a very big school. There's all sorts of new anxieties, new people to meet, thousands of new things to do – so isn't it natural you turn back to the things you felt safe with when you were younger? I remember doing that myself," said Pullman. "I am a bit puzzled why there's all this anxiety, that they're not reading for pleasure, that they're reading the wrong books. Well, no, it's not the wrong book. If the child is enjoying it, it's the right book.""
via:ayjay  books  reading  howweread  education  anxiety  readinglevel  2014  pleasure  children  schools  philippullman 
march 2014
Taylor & Francis Online :: Prisoners of Ritoque: The Open City and the Ritoque Concentration Camp - Journal of Architectural Education - Volume 66, Issue 1
"In the early 1970s, a school of architecture and a concentration camp appeared at the Ritoque beach, just north of Valparaíso, Chile. Situated three miles apart, they never acknowledged each other's presence. Nonetheless, their occupants formed communities that used a similar repertoire of games, events, and performances to create real and imaginary spaces. Faculty at the school deployed these activities to form a utopian enclave, freeing students and themselves from the strictures of normative education and practice, while limiting their political agency. In contrast, the prisoners of the camp transformed their enforced isolation into active political resistance."

[PDF: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10464883.2012.718300 ]
ritoque  opencity  ciudadabierta  concon  chile  valparaíso  pinochet  prisoners  concentrationcamps  dictatorship  architecture  anamaríaleón  viñadelmar  history  ead  pucv  amereida 
march 2014
Featured Artist: Augustina Woodgate | RedFlagMagazine
"Artist Augustina Woodgate goes “beyond skin” with her colorfully woven tapestries created from re-purposed plush dolls. Each piece in her “Skin Rug” series is a hand-sewn and designed rug made from recycled stuffed animal “skins”.

The process starts with the memory of the love imbued into each stuffed animal when they are in the hands of their owners. The rugs not only reference the personal histories of the toy’s owners, but investigate the rug as an object that organizes and displays memories and lineages. Woodgate is particularly drawn to the specific meanings in the arrangement of rug designs, and how the different histories belonging to each rug represent stories of the past and ways of tracing archetypes in physical and material forms. Woodgate sees the rug as an object of having the power to centralize the living space into pattern, operating beyond utility to depict the spiritual and mental world in woven form."
art  tapestries  plush  artists  augustinawoodgate  glvo 
march 2014
You're Not Punk | VICE United Kingdom
"I genuinely believe that if it hadn't been for Crass and the movement which grew out of it, punk would now only be remembered as another old dame in the rock and roll pantomime; just the same old attitudes dressed up in a different costume. The Pistols certainly didn't do anything more radical than Elvis Presley, the only difference was that Elvis could handle his drugs better than they could.

Crass wanted to change the world, and in some respects we did, but nowhere to the degree that we set out to. We wanted to undermine the prime institutions of the State and everything that it represented. We went to great lengths to do that. The rock and roll swank of performing in a band was simply the platform we used."



What we did as activists was much more important to us than the music. We were always looking for some way of moving beyond being just a band. In our history we had dealings and run-ins with all sorts: Baader Meinhoff, the KGB, the CIA, the IRA, MI6, Margaret Thatcher. You name them, they all tried it on. When you compare that to bashing away on stage, you can see where we were at. I guess our interest in performance was secondary.

Punk in the hands of the showbiz world is an absolutely pointless farce. It means nothing. Fine, rock and roll can be fun, you can have a good night out, but what's that got to do with punk? All these reformed punk bands and major label acts who like to think of themselves as punk are okay if you want a laugh and a good old jump around, but it's nonsense to imagine that it's anything to do with what punk was really about. Punk was a way of life, not a pop fad.

If you're a band there's a degree to which you have to make a commitment to put forward a public image, and the only way you can do that is to keep up a personal front. In the end we found it impossible to keep up that front, which is one of the reasons we stopped—1984. Very Orwellian.

The lyrics, music and imagery of Crass were involved with global politics, but ultimately I think the effect we had on people was more on their personal politics. Punk used to be a massive cry against inequality and injustice, but then it became incorporated into the mainstream. I detest people who allow that incorporation to happen. It makes me angry. Time and time and time again you hear youth expressing its voice. Time and time and time again you see that voice destroyed by drugs, self-indulgence, stupidity and sell-outs. It's sad."
pennyrimbaud  crass  2005  punk  politics  inequality  music  justice  injustice 
march 2014
A Disaster Brought Awareness but Little Action on Infrastructure - NYTimes.com
"How the United States allowed some of its most precious assets to decay so badly may say something about both its character and its leadership. This is a nation ever in the thrall of innovation. We like to build new things. We’re not so crazy about the drudgery of keeping the old in decent shape. Most bridges are meant to last 50 years; those classified as structurally deficient are, on average, a good deal older than that. As for political leaders, spending time and money on essential maintenance holds scant sex appeal. How many elected officials are just dying to preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new gusset plate?"
infrastructure  us  2014  priorities  government  politics  economics 
march 2014
UbuWeb Historical - Internationale situationniste (1958-1969)
"L’Internationale situationniste produit ses travaux théoriques dans sa revue Internationale situationniste. La revue fut également rédigée par Guy Debord, Mohamed Dahou, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Maurice Wyckaert, Constant, Asger Jorn, Helmut Sturm, Attila Kotanyi, Jørgen Nash, Uwe Lausen, Raoul Vaneigem, Michèle Bernstein, Jeppesen Victor Martin, Jan Stijbosch, Alexander Trocchi, Théo Frey, Mustapha Khayati, Donald Nicholson-Smith, René Riesel, René Viénet, etc. 12 numéros furent publiés entre 1958 et 1969. Cette revue était un terrain d’expérimentation discursif et également un moyen de propagande.

Bulletin central édité par les sections de l’international situationniste
Director: G.-E. Debord
Rédaction: Paris"
situationist  1950s  1960s  guydebord  mohameddahou  giuseppepinot-gallizo  mauricewyckaert  constant  asgerjorn  helmutsturm  attilakotanyi  jørgennash  uwelausen  raoulvaneigem  michèlebernstein  jeppesen  victormartin  janstijbosch  alexandertrocchi  théofrey  mustaphakhayati  donaldnicholson-smith  renériesel  renéviénet 
march 2014
Do your students also love to say “reading too much into this”? - more than 95 theses
Do your students also love to say “reading too much into this”? I remember this remark as a buzz-kill that frequently deflated discussions in high school English. Just when we had begun to dig into the precious details of a novel or poem and unearth some larger idea, someone would inevitably scoff, “we’re reading too much into this.” Today, my students, indignant, ask “isn’t that reading too much into it?” about almost every attempt to find meaning in the art, literature, and cultural artifacts of the past.? I cringe every time I hear it. The sentiment strikes me as exquisitely anti-intellectual, creating an image of the useless scholar wasting time on meaningless trivialities, like Socrates measuring how far a flea can jump in Aristophanes’s anti-intellectual comedy, The Clouds. “Reading too much into this” seems equivalent to saying “there’s too much thought going on here,” a complaint that has no place in a history class!
"Reading Too Much Into This" | s-usih.org. [http://s-usih.org/2013/03/reading-too-much-into-this.html ]

"Yes, students do often say this, but there’s a reason for it. They’re failing, from mere lack of experience, to realize the difference in time and intellectual investment between reading a book, or, in the case cited here, reading about someone’s career (which they have just done) and writing a book, or making a career (which they have not done).

I’ve often gotten this from students who are reading Joyce’s Ulysses. I try to remind them that he was an immensely brilliant man who spent seven years writing the book. A great many things might occur to you when you spend seven years working on a book, especially if you’re immensely brilliant. And if that doesn’t convince them I show them the Linati schema."

[Cross-posted here: http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/reading-too-little-into-it/ ]
alanjacobs  reading  ulysses  jamesjoyce  linatischema  literature  art  understanding  sensemaking  culutre  2014  benalpers 
march 2014
Archizoom: Open City
"“Open city: Thinking while building” is an exhibition produced by Epfl (Lausanne) with the School of Architecture and Design at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile."

"Since its creation in the 1950s, the Chilean school Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso favours community-based learning, cultivates experimentation at the 1:1 scale, and dedicates itself to promoting artisanal building techniques.

The founders of the school of Valparaíso base their architectural thought on poetry, with the poem Amereida acting as a guide. Poetry expresses and architecture creates. Thinking and building are not two autonomous acts that follow one another. There, poetic reflection and material experimentation meld.

Ephemeral construction is also one of the approaches taught by the university. Architecture is not imposed on its users and will last only if its users accept it, thus remaining open to appropriation and transformation. At the community’s service, these architectural works arising from poetic interpretation are first and foremost the fruit of a collective endeavour.

Every ten years, the Valparaiso school organises an event in which it presents its curriculum and specific approach. There have been six exhibitions since its creation, the first of which centred on history and memories of the school. The latest one celebrated the school’s sixty years and moved away from such focuses, instead concentrating on consolidating links between Latin America and other continents. Titled “World, the relationship with the others”, it adopted as its guide such terms as “openness” and “hospitality”.

To understand these reflections, a taller (“workshop” in spanish) lasting two weeks is organised for Swiss and Chilean students by the Epfl in collaboration with Pucv and the Eth in Zurich. The exhibition will present installations and ephemeral constructions created during this exchange to the public."

[See also: http://www.domusweb.it/it/notizie/2010/11/08/amereida.html
http://www.domusweb.it/en/interviews/2012/06/06/cazu-zegers-poetics-of-the-territory.html

"Open City" by Alastair R. Noble (.pdf)
http://dspace.lafayette.edu/bitstream/handle/10385/46/Noble-Sculpture-vol26-no4-2007.pdf ]
opencity  amereida  valparaíso  chile  architecture  design  pucv  ead  cazuzegers  2013  2010  2012  ciudadabierta 
march 2014
MARLEY DAWSON - Hemphill
"Australian artist, Marley Dawson, approaches the studio environment as a test laboratory, and the gallery or public space inevitably turns into a hall of wonders for experimental objects. He is attracted to materials and processes with veiled significances that suggest the possibility of interaction, i.e miniature rockets created with the same ballistics technology used in weapons manufacturing, and aerodynamic, turned wooden objects made from rock maple baseball bat blanks."

[via: http://darklyeuphoric.tumblr.com/post/78496002441/australian-sculptor-marley-dawson ]
marleydavidson  art  artists  sculpture  aerodynamics  rockets  motorcycles  cars 
march 2014
Cincopatasalgato: Arquitectura El Salvador
"Somos Cincopatasalgato, un estudio de Arquitectura, diseño de interiores y mobiliario en EL SALVADOR, bajo la visión de José Roberto Paredes, fundador de Cincopatasalgato: darle más vueltas a las “cosas”, explorar hasta romper con lo tradicional y plasmar la personalidad, necesidades y deseos de cada uno de nuestros clientes. Creemos que Cada persona es única y merece ser libre de expresar su personalidad. De una personalidad única resulta un proyecto singular."

[via: http://www.designboom.com/architecture/3-2-2014/ ]
cincopatasalgato  architecture  elsalvador  sansalvador  design 
march 2014
Compass Teens | Centre for Self-Directed Learning
"WHAT IS COMPASS?
Compass is a centre that helps teenagers live and learn without school by supporting teens to create a customized education based on their interests, abilities, and goals. We offer classes that run throughout the day, tutoring, mentoring, assistance with finding internships and volunteer opportunities, help with university admissions, and a safe and comfortable place for students to work and socialize.

OUR PHILOSOPHY: SEVEN PRINCIPLES THAT GUIDE OUR WORK AT COMPASS

1. YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN.
Human beings are learning creatures. We don’t have to persuade babies to be curious and to seek competence and understanding. The same can be true of teenagers. Rather than trying to motivate teenagers, we support their basic human drive to learn and grow. Where obstacles – internal or external- have gotten in the way of this intrinsic drive, we focus on helping teenagers overcome or remove these obstacles.

2. LEARNING HAPPENS EVERYWHERE.
Conventional wisdom says that children “go to school to learn,” as though learning can only occur in places specially designed for that purpose. We believe that people learn all the time and in all kinds of places. It doesn’t have to look like school or feel like school to be valuable, and it’s not necessary to make distinctions between “schoolwork” and “your own hobbies” or “for credit” and “not for credit.”

3. IT REALLY IS OK TO LEAVE SCHOOL.
Many young people who are not happy in school – academically or socially – stay because they believe that leaving school will rule out (or at least diminish) the possibility of a successful future. We believe that young people can achieve a meaningful and successful adulthood without going to school. We’ve seen it happen, over and over again.

4. HOW PEOPLE BEHAVE UNDER ONE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES DOES NOT PREDICT HOW THEY WILL BEHAVE UNDER A VERY DIFFERENT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
School success or failure is not necessarily a predictor of a child’s potential for success or failure outside of school. An unmotivated student may become enthusiastic and committed after she’s left school. A student who doesn’t thrive in a classroom environment may become successful when allowed to learn through apprenticeships or in one-on-one tutorials. When we change the approach, the structure, and the assumptions, all kinds of other changes often follow.

5. STRUCTURE COMMUNICATES AS POWERFULLY AS WORDS – AND OFTEN MORE POWERFULLY.
It’s not enough to tell kids that we want them to be self motivated, or that we want them to value learning for its own sake, if the structure of their lives and their educations is actually communicating the opposite message. Voluntary (rather than compulsory) classes, the ability to choose what one studies rather than following a required curriculum, and the absence of tests and grades all contribute to a structure that supports and facilitates intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning.

6. WE SHOULD MOSTLY STRIVE TO “MAKE POSSIBLE” RATHER THAN “MAKE SURE.”
Most of the time, adults working with young people can’t truly make sure that young people learn any particular thing – learning just doesn’t work that way. A group of adults can decide that all fifth graders should learn fractions, but when it comes to each individual child’s genuine understanding and retention, we can’t actually make it happen or guarantee that it will happen. As adults, what we can do, however, is try to make things possible for young people – provide access, offer opportunity, figure out what kind of support will be most helpful, do whatever we can to help navigate the challenges and problems that arise.

7. THE BEST PREPARATION FOR A MEANINGFUL AND PRODUCTIVE FUTURE IS A MEANINGFUL AND PRODUCTIVE PRESENT.
Too often, education is thought of in terms of preparation: “Do this now, even if it doesn’t feel connected to your most pressing interests and concerns, because later on you’ll find it useful.” We believe that helping teenagers to figure out what seems interesting and worth doing right now, in their current lives, is also the best way to help them develop self-knowledge and experience at figuring out what kind of life they want and what they need to do or learn in order to create that life. In other words, it’s the best preparation for their futures."

[Via a search via mention by: http://constanthappiness.com/ ]
compassteens  northstar  toronto  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  self-directed  self-directedlearning  cityasclassroom  unschooling  deschooling 
march 2014
5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus - Luba Vangelova - The Atlantic
"Why playing with algebraic and calculus concepts—rather than doing arithmetic drills—may be a better way to introduce children to mat"
math  mathematics  learning  education  teaching  children  algebra  calculus  arithmetic  2014  lubavangelova  mariadroujkova  howweteach 
march 2014
La Forme de Flâner — Dorian Taylor
""Never run for the train," proclaimed Nassim Taleb in The Black Swan. It's something of a gnomic statement, coming from an independently wealthy, born-again slacker, albeit one who I believe is on to something. I think about this statement a lot, because it embodies something we don't have very good language for in the professional discourse around things made of pure thought-stuff.

Our dominant paradigm is couched in language of comparative efficiency. We focus on becoming lean from trimming off the fat of bureaucratic processes, and remaining agile to respond quickly to the bewilderingly capricious environment that snares lumbering megafauna. This is an enormous achievement. It is also enormously limiting.

My problem with this paradigm is that we can only get so lean before becoming anorexic, and only so agile before burning out. It's unsustainable and we have to stop eventually. Perhaps most significant, though, is that efficiency is antithetical to what we do.

Our raw material is information, which, despite tremendous advances in its storage, transport and manipulation, still exhibits peculiar properties. It must be recognized, gathered, concentrated, operated on, arranged, displayed, communicated and understood. Information is scattered around space and time, and often buried far from the surface. It is also rarely substitutable: if we need a particular piece of information, we must expend exactly the effort required to get it. It follows that in order to know how to optimize the work around information, we must already have done it.
If that statement was false, there would be no need for empiricism at all, because all knowledge could be reasoned, including knowledge about how long it takes to reason.

I worry that our fervour to get leaner and more agile will eventually starve us of our perceptual acuity, memory, and ultimately our wisdom. But I'm not precisely advocating slowing down, as much as I am suggesting aligning with the cosmos in a way that makes fast not necessary.

The ethos that embodies such an alignment, I believe, is that of the flâneur. To flâne is to amble about with no outwardly discernible mission, taking interest in whatever presents itself wherever and whenever you are. We don't have a word for this in English, at least not one that doesn't import some form of morally reprehensible, even parasitic quality.

The inscrutability of the state of flâner does not necessarily entail that it is unproductive. Certain results are indeed either better or only achieved en flânant, namely those that depend on a complex synthesis of diverse material from disparate and eclectic sources. Like the kind of precursor material you need to write a book. Or a song. Or an app.

Flânerie has found its way into design literature, albeit not always explicitly. Bill Buxton mentions phases of divergence interspersed with those of convergence, to arrive eventually at a successful outcome. Herbert Simon wrote that when designing a system, we should operate for a period with no objective in mind whatsoever. In a keynote, Alan Cooper argued the futility of racing to be second to market versus waiting for the precocious to make their mistakes—the iPod to the Archos Jukebox. This is the kind of sentiment I want to harness.

Why not run for the train? Because another train will be along shortly. Such is the nature of trains. Running will cause you to miss everything between you and your object, and more often than not leave you disappointed and out of breath.

To flâne is to be neither lean nor agile, but comfortably plump. Relaxed. Zaftig even. A flâneur never runs for the train because of his commitment to serendipity, and because he was clever enough to invest in a schedule."
design  flaneur  walking  doriantaylor  meandering  noticing  dérive  derive  efficiency  information  patternrecognition  understanding  slow  haste  relaxed  agile  nassimtaleb 
march 2014
On Reverse Engineering — Anthropology and Algorithms — Medium
"As a cultural anthropologist in the middle of a long-term research project on algorithmic filtering systems, I am very interested in how people think about companies like Netflix, which take engineering practices and apply them to cultural materials. In the popular imagination, these do not go well together: engineering is about universalizable things like effectiveness, rationality, and algorithms, while culture is about subjective and particular things, like taste, creativity, and artistic expression. Technology and culture, we suppose, make an uneasy mix. When Felix Salmon, in his response to Madrigal’s feature, complains about “the systematization of the ineffable,” he is drawing on this common sense: engineers who try to wrangle with culture inevitably botch it up.

Yet, in spite of their reputations, we always seem to find technology and culture intertwined. The culturally-oriented engineering of companies like Netflix is a quite explicit case, but there are many others. Movies, for example, are a cultural form dependent on a complicated system of technical devices — cameras, editing equipment, distribution systems, and so on. Technologies that seem strictly practical — like the Māori eel trap pictured above—are influenced by ideas about effectiveness, desired outcomes, and interpretations of the natural world, all of which vary cross-culturally. We may talk about technology and culture as though they were independent domains, but in practice, they never stay where they belong. Technology’s straightforwardness and culture’s contingency bleed into each other.

This can make it hard to talk about what happens when engineers take on cultural objects. We might suppose that it is a kind of invasion: The rationalizers and quantifiers are over the ridge! They’re coming for our sensitive expressions of the human condition! But if technology and culture are already mixed up with each other, then this doesn’t make much sense. Aren’t the rationalizers expressing their own cultural ideas? Aren’t our sensitive expressions dependent on our tools? In the present moment, as companies like Netflix proliferate, stories trying to make sense of the relationship between culture and technology also proliferate. In my own research, I examine these stories, as told by people from a variety of positions relative to the technology in question. There are many such stories, and they can have far-reaching consequences for how technical systems are designed, built, evaluated, and understood."



"So what does “reverse engineering” mean? What kind of things can be reverse engineered? What assumptions does reverse engineering make about its objects? Like any frame, reverse engineering constrains as well as enables the presentation of certain stories. I want to suggest here that, while reverse engineering might be a useful strategy for figuring out how an existing technology works, it is less useful for telling us how it came to work that way. Because reverse engineering starts from a finished technical object, it misses the accidents that happened along the way — the abandoned paths, the unusual stories behind features that made it to release, moments of interpretation, arbitrary choice, and failure. Decisions that seemed rather uncertain and subjective as they were being made come to appear necessary in retrospect. Engineering looks a lot different in reverse."



"All engineering mixes culture and technology. Even Madrigal’s “reverse engineering” does not stay put in technical bounds: he supplements the work of his bot by talking with people, drawing on their interpretations and offering his own, reading the altgenres, populated with serendipitous algorithmic accidents, as “a window unto the American soul.” Engineers, reverse and otherwise, have cultural lives, and these lives inform their technical work. To see these effects, we need to get beyond the idea that the technical and the cultural are necessarily distinct. But if we want to understand the work of companies like Netflix, it is not enough to simply conclude that culture and technology — humans and computers — are mixed. The question we need to answer is how."
algorithms  culture  engineering  netflix  nickseaver  anthropology  reverseengineering  alexismadrigal  nicholasdiakopoulos  technology  invention  2014 
march 2014
Why do adolescents take crazy risks? – Guy Claxton – Aeon Magazine
"No wonder adolescents jump off cliffs and fall in crazy love – they are constantly stifled by school and society alike"



"We should not impose on all young people a high-church framework of scholastic values that is, for many of them, deadening and uninspiring. Instead, we should stretch our own values, so that we can help them along on their own journeys of discovery. We need to get better at honouring and channelling these impulses, not condemning them, so that we do not strand adolescents in a world where they are constantly told that what feels good is ‘bad’, and what is ‘good’ involves being studious, sensible and contained. It is true that the ability to ‘self-regulate’ — to concentrate, delay gratification and control our impulses — is a key asset for all of us. It predicts everything from happiness to financial probity. Yet too much of a good thing turns sour. Being able to check your tears or your tantrums once in a while is useful, but when self-control becomes a chronic straitjacket, the person rebels. It is as important to know when and how to let the brakes off as when to apply them.

Adolescents, by and large, don’t get a balanced message from the social arbiters of value around them, such as their schools. So, to use Yeats’s word, they might vacillate between compression and explosion — and that is not good, either for them or for their communities. The less the feeling of aliveness and belonging they have towards their school, the more extreme this vacillation is likely to be. Schools are not just the victims of social forces that lead some of their students to ‘act out’ or become ‘disaffected’. The rigidity and lopsidedness of school values and practices makes a bigger contribution to the difficult behaviour teachers have to deal with than they realise."
2013  society  adolescence  youth  unschooling  deschooling  learning  schooliness  psychology  guyclaxon 
march 2014
What four months on Mars taught me about boredom– Kate Greene – Aeon
"On Mars I learned that boredom has two sides – it can either rot the mind or rocket it to new places"
boredom  2014  kategreen  creativity  exploration  psychology 
march 2014
Why I want my children to be bilingual – Ben Faccini – Aeon
"My children are not in the eye of converging linguistic influences the way I was. I have to accept that I cannot recreate the natural intermeshing of languages necessary for long-lasting bilingualism or multilingualism. I have, disturbingly, even begun to fear that my children might not speak any language other than English.

From school to university, and then working and travelling for a UN agency for many years, I constructed myself thanks to different languages, following the roads they paved out into the unknown. I can now say with confidence that the chameleonic battles of my childhood were worth it. A knowledge of languages can foster versatility, an attentiveness to the world and an understanding of cultural difference. It can make sense of the make-up and narrative of nations, cultivating deeper and joyous communion with others. Without languages, I feel as though my children are going to be missing some vital limb, hobbling through life, cut off from their heritage and the possibilities of the world."



"In my experience, learning another language lays the foundations for greater curiosity and openness to learning processes overall. It evolves into a curiosity that can underpin life in general. As a child, no doubt because of my rural isolation too, I used to spend hours crouched in the long grass observing insects and juxtaposing words in my head, lining up meanings in different tongues, jostling alternatives and options, classifying, rearranging. I remember being particularly exercised by my father’s complaint that there wasn’t anything as expressively satisfactory as the French ‘tant pis’ in English. ‘Too bad’, ‘never mind’ or ‘oh well’ didn’t quite do it justice, and the accompanying gestures certainly weren’t the same either."



"Areas most vulnerable to the loss of biodiversity are regions where languages are dying out"
bilingualism  polyglots  language  languages  dementia  parenting  2014  banfaccini 
march 2014
Why we should love material things more – Nick Thorpe – Aeon
"For a new materialist, the term ‘inanimate object’ is similarly inadequate to describe the things that we collect and discard. In Vibrant Matter (2010), Bennett writes that if we paid attention to the aliveness of matter, we wouldn’t be so careless with our stuff. But the disjointedness of hyper-consumerism conceals the continuing life of objects, built anonymously in distant factories and eventually left to leech chemicals into landfill: ‘How, for example, would patterns of consumption change,’ she asks, ‘if we faced not litter, rubbish, trash, or “the recycling”, but an accumulating pile of lively and potentially dangerous matter?’

Another name for this is awareness – a spiritual virtue increasingly cultivated in the West through the growing popularity of Buddhism and meditation. By focusing upon a raisin for 15 minutes, as I was once exhorted to do in pursuit of mindfulness, you can find yourself inside a sensory fractal of awe, tracing its tiny life from seed to sap to vine, to sun-baked plumpness, as if on some benign hallucinogenic trip. It’s certainly never ‘just a raisin’ again.

Indeed, it is often the seemingly insignificant objects that tell us most about ourselves. In his celebrated debut novel The Mezzanine (1988), the American cult materialist writer Nicholson Baker feasts with such relish on physical minutiae – the patterns in a recently vacuumed office carpet; a can of soup rotating slowly at the end of a supermarket conveyor belt – that it is impossible not to feel affinity with them. The entire timeframe of the novel spans only the seconds it takes for the narrator to ascend one floor on an escalator, so dense and vivid are the lives and memories that fan outwards from the things he encounters."



"If I’m ever going to respond more consciously to my knee-jerk replacement anxiety, I need a product designed to last."



"The New Economics Foundation predicts that the new materialism will lead to more emphasis in spending on ‘experiences rather than disposable goods’, which means less shopping and more music, film, live performance, sport and socialising: more lasting satisfaction and less of the transitory hit of ownership. This in turn might lead to a proliferation of festivals, sporting competitions and cultural events celebrating the talents we share and occluding the endless proliferation of retail stuff.

Interestingly, this was more or less what changed for Easter Islanders when it became obvious that building totemic tribal monoliths was not going to save them from the ecological abyss. Instead, they evolved a new system of governance based on an annual festival known as the Birdman Rites. This colourful and demanding event pitted the fittest young men against one another in a death-defying swim to an islet a mile offshore. Their goal was to be the one to find the season’s first egg of the migrating sooty tern and bring it back, unbroken, to their tribal sponsor – who then became the ruling ‘birdman’ for the year.

If not an obvious recipe for social stability, at least it focused on an iconic object that did not require unsustainable quarrying or tree-felling: the egg, a thing of fragile beauty, is a universal symbol of rebirth and sustainability.

The Birdman Rite outlasted a rocky period of tit-for-tat statue toppling, and seemingly even suggested a way for the Rapa Nui to recycle and repurpose their ancient stone ancestors for a different age. Look closely at the back of the famous Hoa Hakananai’a moai at the British Museum, and you see much later carvings of birdmen and the sooty tern, whose eggs came to symbolise the true power on Rapa Nui. ‘There is something poignant in this dialogue between the two sides of Hoa Hakananai’a,’ writes McGregor in A History of the World in 100 Objects, ‘a sculpted lesson that no way of living or thinking can endure for ever.’

There are many who believe that our own society is in the process of learning a similar lesson. But a more thoughtful commitment to love and cherish what we already have might yet save us, too. And leave us more deeply connected to one another."
objects  materialism  consumerism  nicholsonbaker  2014  nickthorpe  buddhism  rapanui  easterisland  materiality  events  experience  howwelive  cv  disposability  sustainability  ownership  sharing 
march 2014
“Education in Disguise”: Culture of a Hacker and Maker Space [eScholarship]
"Hacker and maker spaces (HMSs) are open-access workshops devoted to creative and technical work. Their growing numbers (over 500 worldwide) make them a significant grassroots movement supporting informal learning. Scholars have found pedagogical benefits of tinkering and hacking, but the cultural contexts from which these practices arise remain under-studied. How do members of hacker and maker spaces bring about personalized and collaborative learning? In-depth interviews were conducted between October 2011 and March 2012 with members of GeekSpace, a North American HMS. Findings suggest that the pragmatic attitude present in other hacker cultures served a similar uniting function in this space. Specifically, members encouraged learning and collaboration predominantly through a belief in materialities, particularly as GeekSpace's collective identity shifted from hacker to maker. Members altered the space to serve individual and collective goals rather than employing deliberation or strong organizational methods. Initially the group approached learning through lectures and solo problem-solving, which gave way to learning through hands-on work and peripheral participation on projects. Future avenues of research on HMSs include patterning across different sites, organizational practices and factors that inhibit participation. This article draws on interviews with HMS members to discuss how the spread of hacking and making has led to members forming loose organizations focused on informal learning and peer production."
hackerspaces  makerspaces  lcproject  openstudioproject  research  2014  andrewschrock  learning  education  howwelearn  tinkering  grassroots  constructivism  informallearning  collaboration  criticalmaking  mattratto  seymourpapert 
march 2014
Design Futurescaping | superflux
"We presented our work on 'Design Futurescaping' at the Yeditepe International Conference on Futures & Foresight and Rotterdam's V2_Institute for Unstable Media.

'Complexity, Narrative, Participation, and Images of the Future'
What opportunities do traditional arts, digital media, and social networks create for foresight and futures? What new approaches do these media and digital platforms provide for engaging people in creating and exploring alternative images of the future? How can group-sourced futures creation and exploration put chaos and complexity theories in service to basic futures theory? How can they enhance experiential engagement in the futures dialogue?

These questions set the premise for the Poster Session at the Yeditepe International Conference on Foresight and Futures, Istanbul, Turkey. Curated by Dr. Wendy Schultz, the poster session included contributions from Wendy Schultz, Noah Raford, Justin Pickard and Jake Dunagan. 

We presented a poster outlining some of our work on 'Design Futurescaping', describing some our tools and methods, grounded in examples from 'Little Brinkland' and 'Power of 8'."

"Expanding on this poster, our short essay 'Design Futurescaping' appeared in the free e-reader Blowup: The Era of Objects, published by Rotterdam's V2_ Institute for Unstable Media."

[PDF: http://v2.nl/files/2011/events/blowup-readers/the-era-of-objects-pdf ]
superflux  toolkit  futurescaping  design  designfuturescaping  process  digitalmedia  art  socialnetworks  powerof8  littlebrinkland  future  speculativedesign  speculativefiction  designfiction  anabjain 
march 2014
The Revolution at Your Community Library | New Republic
"Now that a digital copy of the Library of Congress’s entire book collection could fit in a single shoebox, the future of the contemporary library is up for grabs. The New York Public Library’s proposed reconfiguration of its Manhattan headquarters is only the most recent high-visibility entrant in a debate that has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, manifested in the press and in a series of large urban central library projects in Berlin, Singapore, Seattle, and elsewhere. What should a contemporary library be? 1 Seattle is one oft-cited exemplar: there Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture jettisoned the reading rooms, study carrels, and hushed whispers of the traditional library in favor of a dramatic multi-story “living room” where patrons could, according to the architects, “eat, yell, or play chess.” But to find architects, librarians, and municipalities who have re-conceptualized the contemporary public library with a more nuanced and promising vision, we must turn our attentions away from noisy Seattle and other large projects toward the modest community library.

Around the globe, a handful of innovative architects are forging a new building type with a deceptively familiar name. These libraries offer something found nowhere else in the contemporary city: heavily used, not-for-profit communal spaces that facilitate many and various kinds of informal social interactions and private uses. Ranging in size from five thousand square feet, a smallish McMansion in Westchester, to thirty thousand square feet, the size of Derek Jeter’s home near Tampa, some of these community libraries are neighborhood branches of an urban library system, and others stand alone. These buildings look nothing like one another, yet they all offer exemplary moments of architectural innovation. Collectively, they make the case that excellent design is no luxury, certainly not for the civic buildings and lives of people and their communities."



"No wonder that, around the world, the construction of new small community libraries has spurred an impressive efflorescence of architectural innovation. People have wearied of bowling alone. Individuals need places where they can engage with others like and unlike them, with whom they share an affiliation just by virtue of inhabiting a particular city, town, or neighborhood. Groups of people need places that can help constitute them into and symbolically represent their community. Everyone needs what the urban sociologist Ray Oldenberg calls third places—the first is home, the second is school or workplace.2 That is what these new community libraries provide.

THE FUTURE OF THE LIBRARY IS UP FOR GRABS.

This creates an engagingly complex architectural challenge, as the community library presents many competing mandates that are difficult to resolve in built form. To become a lively centrifugal social force that can buttress or, in more troubled areas, constitute a neighborhood’s sense of identity, it must project the impression that it is a civic icon and a public place. And yet it must also offer people opportunities to engage in solitary pursuits. Today’s community library might well be a place where one can eat and play chess, but it must not be a place to yell; it must still offer private moments in communal places, moments saturated in silence, light, the knowledge and the creativity of human expression. And all on a tight budget.

How to distill such competing if not colliding imperatives—public, private; iconic, domestic; distinctive, local—into a coherent design? Even though technically all that a community library actually needs is enclosed, climate-controlled loft spaces, in fact it needs more. Only good design can make a mute, inert edifice convey to people that it embraces all comers and embodies their community’s shared identity. Many of the new library designs are loft-like spaces writ monumental, but they are much more than warehouses for computers, books, and people. Monumentalizing domesticity by design, they take their cues from the needs of people in general and community library patrons in particular: the neighborhood’s scale, the proportions of the human body, people’s innate receptivity to natural light, their tactile sensitivity and associative responsiveness to materials."
2014  libraries  seattle  bellevue  washingtonstate  oma  remkoolhaas  joshuaprince-ramus  washingtondc  community  architecture  norway  samfrancisco  louiskahn  mvrdv  rotterdam  nyc  nypubliclibrary  davidadjaye  thirdplaces  thumbisland  nypl  dc 
march 2014
What Bill Knew: Observatory: Design Observer
"It commemorated that much-remembered talk, one he had given on October 4, 1991, on the opening night of the AIGA National Design Conference in Chicago. It was part of a program organized by Chris Pullman called "Thirty Lectures in Thirty Minutes." Bill was one of the 30 speakers that night, and true to his reputation, gave a talk called "Everything I know about business in one minute." These are the ten things he said.

Focusing on making a partnership work is more profitable than focusing on making money.

Love your employees more than you love your clients.

The best new business is your current business.

Price projects by asking yourself what the client's lawyer would charge.

It's better to be hired for your work than for your price.

When it comes to getting paid, the first of the month is better than the thirtieth.

Making money off mechanicals, printing and computers turns your business into a commodity.

The books in your library are more important than the numbers on your balance sheet.

In order to love your work, take vacations.

Power, in business, comes from sharing money and valuing love.

Reading these over two decades later, I'm struck by the fact that the word "business" appears three times, but the word "love" appears four. It turned out that Bill wasn't all those different people: the business guy, the poet, the theorist, the visionary. Bill had discovered the ultimate secret: how to be all those people at once. His talk wasn't about business, it was about life. His favorite kind of secret was one that he could share with the rest of us. That is what he did that night so long ago, and that is what he did every day of his life."
business  life  design  love  tcsnmy  books  libraries  2014  1991  glvo  openstudioproject  money  people  relationships  williamdrenttel 
march 2014
We 'Choose' for Poor Children Every Day - Bridging Differences - Education Week
"You challenge me: "What gives you confidence that we get to choose?" You insist that "I don't pretend for a second that I get to choose. At least not for other people's children."

But in fact you/we are choosing, every day. In acts small and big, from deciding small classes don't matter, to deciding to gentrify Manhattan. The people of Harlem didn't have a choice. It's some other "we" who are moving other people and their children to locations not specified. What/who is it that didn't "adapt"? It wasn't the working people of Detroit or New Orleans or Manhattan who failed to "adapt"—it was the industries they counted on, the expertise of those well-educated people who did have the power to make some choices and failed to do so.

It was my dear old mother who warned me about people who cry "crisis" too often. I should beware of them, she said. Tell me what years there hasn't been a "crisis" that was blamed on our public schools? (Read Richard Rothstein's The Way Things Were—it's truly a fun read.) Yes, in some ways, I'm more "conservative" than you: I know who gets hurt first when we "disrupt" regardless ....

Yes, there is a lot of money spent on education, and any good entrepreneur seeks his or her opportunities where the money is. And then looks for ways to make more. That's not a plot or a conspiracy. Just good straight thinking. But not all entrepreneurs are equal when it comes to pushing for their self-interest.

So we agree on tests? If we do, then it wasn't test scores that revealed the rot in Detroit's schools for the poor. If you walked into them, without any data, you'd know immediately that you wouldn't CHOOSE to send your children there. Although for many parents it was a "home" of a sort, better than having none.

You wouldn't CHOOSE to live where these children do either. So whites moved out—by choice—and left Detroit what it is today. Whether the kinds of solutions that those who remained are exploring are utopian or not, I'm on their side. They're trying to reconstruct a city built on a different set of assumptions—that a community can be rebuilt out of the ashes. I wish them all the best, and offer any help I can.

It's too easy, from perches of comfort and adaptability, to say that factories come and go, as do oceans and rivers and mountains, and species. But the triumph of the human species, up to now, rests on its use of its brains. We're not exempt from some "laws" of nature. Adaptation isn't accomplished overnight. If we don't use our brains better (and more empathetically) we, too, will become extinct—although I can't adapt to that idea yet!

You and I—or some other somebodies—are deciding the future of "other people's children" unless we provide ways for "them" to have a voice, a vote, and the resources to decide their own future. We need to restore a better balance between local communal life (with its power to effect some immediate changes like we did at the small self-governing schools I love) and distant, "objective" moneyed power. It's our democracy that rests on our rebuilding strength at the bottom. If we don't, we induce a passivity that surely cannot be in the self-interest of the least powerful, but might (just might) be in the self-interest of others. And then we blame them for being passive?

The experiment in democracy may or may not survive this round, but I'm not giving up on it. "Self-governance"—of, for, and by the people, Robert, is what's at stake. Do we agree that it's an essential aspiration, another way of describing what we mean by freedom within community, or communities of free citizens? If so, what would it look like in schools given, as you remind me, the realities we must all "accept"—for the moment. Until we create new realities."
deborahmeier  2014  edreform  reform  education  democracy  choice  passivity  robertpondiscio  entrepreneurship  gentrification  adaptability  opportunity  community  schools  publischools  policy  self-governance  citizenship  civics  acceptance 
march 2014
Design in Times of Crisis
"What is it?

Design in Times of Crisis is a work-in-progress reflection for a scenario of the everyday present and near future. It is also a series of short-term block seminars (TBA).

It is part of the PhD investigation of two Brazilian design researchers located in Berlin, Germany: Pedro Oliveira - www.partidoalto.net - and Luiza Prado - www.doisedois.net.

It is through an observation of the current state of affairs mostly outside the so-called “developed world” that we aim to construct our scenario. Of course many of our concerns also do apply to other places in the world, but our focus is more looking home.

This is, of course, nothing new. Its idea stemmed from the very nice "Design for the New Normal" developed by Superflux (if you ended up here, you should definitely check out their work). We think that their outline is indeed fruitful and very necessary, but coming from a different political and social background there are some elements we’d like to disagree, and others we’d like to suggest.

Differently from them, however, we decided to call it the "Times of Crisis" because it does concern the immediate present and the probable future. We think that, as design researchers, it is of paramount importance that we investigate this projection and prepare ourselves for it.

In a nutshell, the links posted here will fall in a few categories, which are the characteristics we are framing as constituents of this scenario. They are:

All Technology is Proprietary

Brands and the State will control your technology. What they do is only to lure you into using their services in order to collect data about everything, everywhere. Crowdsourcing at its best. The obsession with the “quantified self” only leads to the loss of privacy and the more proprietary the technology is, the less control you have over your data. In these times of crisis, people comply with giving their data over to brands and the state under an alleged “full disclosure” of their use. In poorer and emergent countries, particularly, the use of proprietary technology, that is, branded tech, is still a form of social and economical affirmation and status, particularly in lower classes. Open-source tech can and will come to the empowerment of small groups and initiatives, but consumerist ideals and patterns are likely to boost, particularly when formerly poorer classes/countries start to gain more economical power.

You Are what You Consume

Brands and consumption are the biggest form of social insertion. Brands explore that ad infinitum and you belong to those groups where your favorite brand fits in. With the rise of a “new middle class” in developing countries, the patterns of consumption are likely to change and grow; the brand is the greatest form of social status. Musical movements in favelas and ghettos praise brands as something to be desired and proudly worn or used, while at the same time brands try to detach themselves from these movements to protect their capital.

Surveillance is Desired

Reality shows become the norm, they are a preparation for an acceptance of a Police State (cf. Laurel Halo in The Wire). Surveillance gives the false illusion of safety, of “watching out against the other”, but also of being watched against yourself. Drones and Bugs are everywhere for the sake of peace maintenance and the quantified self. Proprietary Tech collects your data with games and research projects. Your data is everyone’s data.

Cities are Corporations are Cities

The association (both legal and illegal) of Business and State leads to a City whose form of social and urban control relies on the interests of brands. Big industries support “eco-initiatives” in order to promote a false state of sustainability while securing their own profit through exploring real estate, mobility and other issues that should be of concern from the State. (cf. Carlos Vainer) - also, prices go crazy because regulation is left to a “minimal State” (Estado Mínimo). Giant sporting events and conferences sell an image of a city devoid of its poorer and “unwanted” social components in favor of its market value as commodity.

——

Here in this blog we aim to collect evidence, reflections and projections for this scenario.

A good starting point for the scope of this discussion you can find here. In this text, we pointed out some things we think that are problematic when approaching Speculative and Critical Design from a narrow perspective of the world.
Naturally, this is an open, stream-of-consciousness idea. Comments, critique and additions to it are more than welcome.

Shout it loud at pedroliveira [at] udk-berlin or luiza.prado [at] udk-berlin.de "
luizaprado  pedrooliveira  design  everyday  present  future  nearfuture  superflux  tomesofcrisis  crisis  technology  crowdsourcing  data  control  consumption  brands  branding  surveillance  policestate  laurelhalo  safety  privacy  security  cities  corporations  corporatism  urban  urbanism  socialcontrol  systainability  carlosvainer  estadomínimo  minimalstate  commodities  business  law  legal  specialinterests  anabjain 
march 2014
DIGITAL PUBLISHING TOOLKIT for the Arts and Culture | RAAK-MKB project by Institute of Network Cultures, Hogeschool van Amsterdam
"Digital Publications are slowly ascending since a couple of years. Due to the rise of tablets and smartphones this development has accelerated and by now these publications – e-books, newspaper apps and digital magazines – are forever part of our media landscape. More and more people use mobile devices to read books and magazines and the coming years this way of information processing will dominate the market. Publishers can’t stay behind in relation to digital publishing. However, many publishers in the art- and cultural sector are unfamiliar with these developments. They do not have the knowledge, resources and capacities to develop new methods of digital publishing and participate in the digital market. Moreover, the art- and culture books have an extra challenge, because the form and content are deeply intertwined.

This RAAK-MKB project will provide the research and realization of such a platform. The following research questions is formulated: “In what way can a platform be created with new tools for open source-publishing, by which publishers in the art- and cultural sector can produce interactive e-publications by themselves?”

To answer this research question, the Institute of Network Cultures (lectortaat Netwerkcultuur) of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Knowledge center Creating 010 of the Hogeschool van Rotterdam are executing state-of-the-art research. In collaboration with an already existing consortium of eleven MKB-companies consisting of publishers, designers and developers, a fivesome subprojects will be formulated. Within these subgroups publishers, designers and developers, (research)lecturers and students of the participating applied universities will collaborate.

The result is a new developed toolkit that exists of tools for digital publishing, based on open source-software of which the source code will be published and freely accessible. As a result everyone can freely copy, adjust and distribute the tools. Five e-publications of titles of the art- and culture books fund of the participating publishers will be produced and presented on a platform that is developed for that purpose. Moreover the following manual will be created: “How to publish an e-book?” on digital publishing processes."
publishing  epub  books  digital  digitalpublishing  amsterdam  epublishing  toolkit  opensource  raak  mkb  raa-mkb  epubs 
march 2014
Autonomous Machines Project by Echo Yang
"Analog machine action: Autonomous Machines Project by Echo Yang examines modern generative design processes, where computer software iterates endless variations, by turning old school (obsolete) analog devices into instruments of self-generated output, for example, by attaching a swab with paint to a bobbing tin chicken wind-up toy and recording the dabs."
art  echoyang  machines  color  motion  toys 
march 2014
Chokwe Lumumba: Remembering "America’s Most Revolutionary Mayor" | Democracy Now!
"AMY GOODMAN: That was Jamie Scott and, before that, Gladys Scott, released from jail after 16 years in prison for an $11 robbery. Standing next to them was Chokwe Lumumba, their attorney at the time, now mayor—well, until yesterday. His sudden death is why we’re talking about him today, though we interviewed him the day after he was elected. Also standing there was Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, who recently wrote a piece for The Huffington Post called "Remembering Chokwe Lumumba." Remember him for us, Ben.

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: Sure. Well, you know, that was the fourth or fifth time we had stood next to people that we had worked together to free from prison over the last 20 years. And that was what was so remarkable about Chokwe. I mean, he was a man who was, you know, a true man, if you will. He was active in his church. He had a great marriage to his wife. He had two wonderful kids that he poured all of his love into. He was a well-respected coach. He was an incredible lawyer.

And he chose his—and he also was, you know, somebody with very strong ideals. And he chose to live and practice those ideals on the ground in one of the poorest places in our country. And he brought all of those things with him into the courtroom—all the compassion, all the insight, all his skill as a lawyer—on behalf of the poorest people in the state. And that’s ultimately why Bill and Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP in Mississippi, and so many others, they say he was drafted to run for mayor, because everybody had basically fallen in love—let me put it this way: An overwhelming majority of Jackson—I won’t say everybody, because there were definitely some people who were on the other side—but an overwhelming majority of Jackson, black and white, had fallen in love with Chokwe over the years that he had lived in town, because he was just such a good person. And you knew in your heart, when you live in Jackson, that the toughest thing in Mississippi to be is to be poor and black and in court without good counsel. And he would, at oftentimes risk to his own financial stability, defend anyone who he thought he could help, who he thought needed help, and, most importantly, who he was convinced that nobody else would help.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to our interview with Chokwe Lumumba on Democracy Now! the day after he was elected. We talked to him June 6th. I asked him about the FBI’s decision last year to place his former client, Assata Shakur, on the Most Wanted Terrorists list. But before we play that clip, I wanted to ask you, Ben, about the media coverage, both of Chokwe Lumumba, his election, and the significance of the man who some who called the most revolutionary mayor in America—the lack of the coverage. Last night, I was watching the networks, and I opened The New York Times today, the actual paper edition, and I didn’t see a reference. Last night watching MSNBC for hours, now, I didn’t watch every single second, so I might have missed something, but I did not see a reference. As Bill Chandler said, he died late yesterday afternoon.

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: Yeah. So, you know, I know that I saw something in the Times this morning online.

AMY GOODMAN: Online, yes.

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: Yeah, I mean, Chokwe—I mean, look, Chokwe is somebody who you have to give this much time to really talk about. This is a man who lived, if you will, sort of multiple journeys in his life and who was quixotic to people because, on the one hand, you could easily stereotype him as being some sort of radical—he would say he was a radical, because he didn’t see that as being a bad thing. You know, he was somebody who thought that, frankly, having ideals and practicing them in this country full of so much hypocrisy was a radical thing. But he was also somebody who was an extremely committed mayor, very good at working across the aisle, even in his short tenure, with people in the business community, in the most conservative corners of the city, if you will. And he was somebody who at the end of the day, yes, stood up for black people, but was ultimately committed to fairness for everyone in our country.

And so, you know, for, I think, many in the media who sort of deal in sound bites, there’s just too much there to quickly understand in 30 seconds, and so they move on. But he’s ultimately the type of person that we need to understand better in our country, because our country ultimate is greatest, if you will, because of the contributions of idealists over the years who, yes, may have staked a far-out position at times in their lives, but ultimately served to pull our country closer to its own closely held ideals of fairness and equality and justice and the universal dignity of all humanity."
chokwelumumba  socialjustice  leadership  2014  obituaries  ideals  idealism  praxis  government  policy  politics  law  jackson  alabama  benjaminjealous  amygoodman  akinyeleumoja  kwamekenyatta  fairness  equality  civilrights  justice  us  chokweantarlumumba 
february 2014
Accessibility and Building a web for everyone because sometimes it's not all about us
"So what can we do? Study, duh. Change our perspectives by constantly telling ourselves "this is not all about me." The more we study and talk and write about the subject, the quicker and easier it will be to change the idea of accessibility being an afterthought or something to wait to consider until the end "if we have the time and the budget." We are so focused on content issues trivial to accessibility of a project - like whether we properly use semi-colons; or the proper use of "whether." We need less grammar nuts and more accessibility nuts."
webdev  accessibility  colorblindness  jennschiffer  grammar  prioritites  webdesign 
february 2014
In His Words | Stillness in the Move
"I love dancing, and I especially love being in a club at 2 a.m., when one or three drinks, good company and a gifted D.J. collectively liberate me into my body. The place could be Barbès in Park Slope, where old-school Guinean grooves silver the air, or perhaps I’m at Windfall in Midtown, enjoying the latest Nigerian Afrobeats and Congolese ndombolo. Wherever it is, I stop my habitual overthinking and become, quite simply, a body in the half-dark.

But this is not the highlight of such evenings, for afterward is the journey home to Brooklyn. From the back seat of a taxi, the city unfurls before me as a series of illuminated sights. If we go down the West Side Highway, we’ll pass by the apparition of One World Trade and enter the Tarkovsky-like glow of the Battery Tunnel. If we take the F.D.R., there’s the jeweler’s display of the bridges: Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn, all those dreamy rows of diamonds. At such moments, the city is mine alone: its immensity, its beauty, its clear streets, its silent waterways. It is open in a way daylight would never permit. I lose myself in it and belong to it, a happiness no less real for being so fleeting."
2014  tejucole  happiness  music  nyc  brooklyn  night  thinking  overthinking  slow  ephemeral  ephemerality 
february 2014
The Reparations of History - Politics - Utne Reader
"Haitian slaves began to throw off the “heel of the French” in 1791, when they rose up and, after bitter years of fighting, eventually declared themselves free. Their French masters, however, refused to accept Haitian independence. The island, after all, had been an extremely profitable sugar producer, and so Paris offered Haiti a choice: compensate slave owners for lost property—their slaves (that is, themselves)—or face its imperial wrath. The fledgling nation was forced to finance this payout with usurious loans from French banks. As late as 1940, 80% of the government budget was still going to service this debt.

In the on-again, off-again debate that has taken place in the United States over the years about paying reparations for slavery, opponents of the idea insist that there is no precedent for such a proposal. But there is. It’s just that what was being paid was reparations-in-reverse, which has a venerable pedigree. After the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the U.S., London reimbursed southern planters more than a million dollars for having encouraged their slaves to run away in wartime. Within the United Kingdom, the British government also paid a small fortune to British slave owners, including the ancestors of Britain’s current Prime Minister, David Cameron, to compensate for abolition (which Adam Hochschild calculated in his 2005 book Bury the Chains to be “an amount equal to roughly 40% of the national budget then, and to about $2.2 billion today”)."



"The idea that slavery made the modern world is not new, though it seems that every generation has to rediscover that truth anew. Almost a century ago, in 1915, W.E.B Du Bois wrote, “Raphael painted, Luther preached, Corneille wrote, and Milton sung; and through it all, for four hundred years, the dark captives wound to the sea amid the bleaching bones of the dead; for four hundred years the sharks followed the scurrying ships; for four hundred years America was strewn with the living and dying millions of a transplanted race; for four hundred years Ethiopia stretched forth her hands unto God.”

How would we calculate the value of what we today would call the intellectual property—in medicine and other fields—generated by slavery’s suffering? I’m not sure. But a revival of efforts to do so would be a step toward reckoning with slavery’s true legacy: our modern world."
reparations  slavery  haiti  us  2014  via:javierarbona  slavetrade  imperialism  capitalism  humanrights  medicalexperimentation  history 
february 2014
Where Time Comes From - The Atlantic
"The time that ends up on your smartphone—and that synchronizes GPS, military operations, financial transactions, and internet communications—originates in a set of atomic clocks on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, Chief Scientist for USNO's Time Services, gives a tour."
time  demetriosmatsakis  science  physics  gps  2014  video 
february 2014
DJ Ushka | deejay, global bass, one half of iBomba (Brooklyn), Dutty Artz
"Ushka is a Sri Lankan-born, Thailand-raised, Brooklyn-living migrant. She is an activist, cultural organizer, and deejay re-defining the boundaries between global bass music, culture, and organizing.

As an organizer and cultural activist, she put together the Beyond the Block festival as part of Dutty Artz in 2012, which brought together community leaders, youth, immigrant organizations, artists and DJs in a block party-style vibe in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In a months-long process, Ushka facilitated the creation of a space difficult to find in immigrant neighborhoods often ignored by New York City, providing a means for some of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and Bayridge residents (Chinese, Arab, Mexican, and more) to access important information around current immigration policies, as well as know-your-rights and housing resources while at the same time creating an artistic and musical environment for cross-community interaction.

As a deejay, she is one half of iBomba – one of NYC’s premiere destinations for global bass every second Thursday of the month at Bembe (81 South 6th St, Brooklyn). She is also a part of the Dutty Artz label + crew, a collective of djs + producers creating sonic cultural production and events in NYC. Having grown up in several parts of the world, her musical influences are as transnational as she is. She deejays from the perspective of a dancer, blending a wide range of music from soca to cumbia, hip hop to south asian rhythms, kuduro and other african styles to samba, for a wide audience. She does so with the philosophy that global genre-blending connects cross-cultural struggles and tells important stories between communities but most importantly, she translates this onto dancefloors.
Her debut mixtape, entitled ‘Foreign Brown‘ was well received, reaching over 6,300 listens in a few months. It was profiled in Sounds and Colours reaching audiences in North America, South America, and the United Kingdom.

Ushka has deejayed at iBomba at Bembe, Dutty Artz Change the Mood at Glasslands Gallery, Azucar at One Last Shag, Anthology of Booty’s Backdoor party at Tropicalia, D.C. and Que Bajo at Tammany Hall. She was also an opening DJ for Q-Tip at SRB Brooklyn. Other venues she has deejayed at include SOBs in Manhattan, Gallery Bar in the Lower East Side, Public Assembly in Williamburgs, and Caracas Arepas Bar in the Rockaways. She is expected to perform in Boston and Chicago in the coming months."

[See also:
https://twitter.com/ty_ushka
https://soundcloud.com/djushka
http://djushka.tumblr.com/
http://opencitymag.com/always-foreign-always-brown/
http://www.duttyartz.com/blog/mixes/6-years-deep-what-edward-said-ep-mix/ ]
djushka  music  nyc  ibomba  brooklyn 
february 2014
Adopt the Arts Foundation
"It is the mission of Adopt the Arts Foundation to bring together well-known artists, public figures, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and the general public to save the arts in America's public schools. We believe that it is morally and ethically incumbent upon us to foster the creativity, dreams, hopes, and imaginations of our children."
arts  art  losangeles  schools  education  publischools 
february 2014
Ben Pieratt, Blog - A 3-step process for naming a project/product. (And some resources)
"Naming a project is always an awful experience.

An earworm that won’t stop tapping your skull from the inside. A tenacious pop jingle with teeth and a paycheck.

As a freelance designer, I do a fair amount of this for clients. Generally, my process has been a garble of notes and trips to thesaurus.com, but lately I’ve noticed a fairly simple pattern emerging, a 3-step framework for cutting through the fog.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3-Step Process
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Step 1.
Identify the feeling you want the brand to convey. A great brand communicates on an emotional wavelength, so make that feeling your bedrock.

One way to identify what feeling you’re pursuing is by figuring out what you’re not. A great brand is defined as much by what it is as by what it is not. So if you’re entering a certain market that is a certain way, identify that point of frustration and invert it. For instance, if your market is confusing, you could pursue ‘Relaxed’, or ‘Lucid’.

Step 2.
Embody that feeling in a list of persons, places, things or phrases (etc) that communicate viscerally. For instance:
Relaxed = a picnic
Exclusive = Studio 54
Cool = Paul Newman

Step 3. Final
Identify a detail that represents the [embodiment] of [your feeling] in a non obvious but compelling way.
Relaxed = a picnic = Sunny Nap™
Exclusive = Studio 54 = Velvet™
Cool = Paul Newman = Ben Quick™ (a character he played)

Repeat.
New insights gained from the process should help you get a better handle on the unique feeling or value your brand has to offer.

Ideally,
the name should have a ‘special wrongness’* to it. An unforgettable newness. A new shape. 1+1=3. If your name lacks this, the product itself may have a hard time differentiating itself in whatever market you’re entering. Why are you different than your competitors? That difference should be reflected in the brain jam your name causes in its audience.

*”Special Wrongness” is a term I’ve stolen and adopted from Peter Mendelsund from this amazing interview: http://portersquarebooksblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/interview-with-peter-mendelsund.html "
branding  names  naming  benpieratt  glvo  projectideas  howto  design  creativity 
february 2014
Domestic Folklore, or Washing Machines for Men | fabric of things
"It’s a washing machine for people who don’t know how to use washing machines; who don’t need to wash a wide-range of fabrics, worry about how colourfast material is, or how wet or dry clothes are when you take them out of the machine. It’s a washing machine for people who do bulk washes of jeans and t-shirts and sometimes wash other things."



"Like it or not, there’s a Secret Language of Domesticity. In technology terms, it’s the equivalent of “viewing source”: it’s not intentionally secret, it’s just easy to ignore if you’re not interested or don’t understand it."
berg  berglondon  begcloud  feminism  gender  washingmachines  clothing  chores  2014 
february 2014
Readdle: Scanner Pro
"Scanner Pro transforms your iPhone and iPad into portable scanners."

[See also: https://itunes.apple.com/app/scanner-pro-by-readdle/id333710667 ]
iphone  ipad  ios  ipod  scanner  applications  via:caseygollan 
february 2014
The Secret Auden by Edward Mendelson | The New York Review of Books
"W.H. Auden had a secret life that his closest friends knew little or nothing about. Everything about it was generous and honorable. He kept it secret because he would have been ashamed to have been praised for it."



At literary gatherings he made a practice of slipping away from “the gaunt and great, the famed for conversation” (as he called them in a poem) to find the least important person in the room. A letter-writer in the Times of London last year recalled one such incident:
Sixty years ago my English teacher brought me to London from my provincial grammar school for a literary conference. Understandably, she abandoned me for her friends when we arrived, and I was left to flounder. I was gauche and inept and had no idea what to do with myself. Auden must have sensed this because he approached me and said, “Everyone here is just as nervous as you are, but they are bluffing, and you must learn to bluff too.”

Late in life Auden wrote self- revealing poems and essays that portrayed him as insular and nostalgic, still living imaginatively in the Edwardian world of his childhood. His “Doggerel by a Senior Citizen” began, “Our earth in 1969/Is not the planet I call mine,” and continued with disgruntled complaints against the modern age: “I cannot settle which is worse,/The Anti-Novel or Free Verse.” A year after he wrote this, I chanced on a first book by a young poet, N.J. Loftis, Exiles and Voyages. Some of the book was in free verse; much of it alluded to Harlem and Africa; the author’s ethnic loyalties were signaled by the name of the publisher, the Black Market Press. The book was dedicated “To my first friend, W.H. Auden.”



"When he felt obliged to stand on principle on some literary or moral issue, he did so without calling attention to himself, and he was impatient with writers like Robert Lowell whose political protests seemed to him more egocentric than effective. When he won the National Medal for Literature in 1967, he was unwilling either to accept it in Lyndon Johnson’s White House during the Vietnam War or “to make a Cal Lowell gesture by a public refusal,” so he arranged for the ceremony to be held at the Smithsonian, where he gave an acceptance speech about the corruption of language by politics and propaganda."
charity  humility  modesty  whauden  2014  edwardmendelson  audiencesofone  theleastofourbrothers  attention  listening 
february 2014
anthropology + design: anne galloway. | Savage Minds
"[This post is part of a two-week series featuring interviews with designers reflecting on anthropology and design.]

ANNE GALLOWAY. designer. ethnographer. archaeologist.

ANTHROPOLOGY + DESIGN.

My sense of anthropology is very materialist so I think it made a lot of sense for me to gravitate towards design. I originally trained as an archaeologist and did ethnographic fieldwork on Andean textile production, so I’ve always been interested in the things that people make. Of course, as anthropologists we’re taught the importance of context and I think that bringing anthropology and design together really stresses contextual meanings. For me, the most interesting connection between anthropology and design can be found in how each practice enhances the other. Anthropology provides a kind of thick description that contextualises design processes and products, and design offers anthropology creative means of exploring and representing what it means to be human. I also enjoy the explicit combination of thinking, doing, and making—of blurring boundaries between analytical and creative practice, between rational and emotional experience.

Sometimes, in design, we talk about research about, for, and through design—and I think that anthropology is well suited to contribute to each endeavour. As we know, ethnography (including material, visual, and discursive culture) can tell us a lot about the roles of design in everyday life. Ethnography also provides us with valuable information that can be used to design “better” things—or to design nothing at all. And although research through design is perhaps less obviously related to anthropology, I think that every kind of anthropological research could create and employ objects and images with as much nuance as we’ve come to use words.

PEDAGOGY.

My teaching is focussed on issues-based design, which means that my students have proposed everything from community recycling services and conservation activities to publicly curated museums and stray animal sanctuaries. My students also often work in the tradition of critical design, where they create object and image-based interventions or provocations into more culturally fraught issues, like euthanasia and immigration.

WHAT I DO.

My recent research has focussed on seeing how speculative or fictional design can be used as a public engagement strategy. Critical design has sometimes been criticised for a lack of nuanced politics and failure to engage audiences outside of gallery settings. So I began to wonder: what might happen if I applied my background in anthropology and science studies to practice? My “Counting Sheep: NZ Merino in an Internet of Things” research project was conceived as a means to explore possible human-livestock-technology futures, and each fictional design scenario currently exhibited on our Counting Sheep website is based on actual hopes and concerns voiced by research participants.

Inspired by cultural interests and artistic provocations rather than corporate or government forecasting activities, we created a series of speculative “everyday” objects, images, and narratives that we hope will challenge people to critically examine common assumptions and expectations about livestock animals and near-future technologies. (If you’ll forgive me for getting a bit more academic here—) By making the familiar strange, and the strange familiar, we were interested in learning how “what if…? ” scenarios might act in the present, especially in terms of constructing multiple publics and co-producing knowledge. We were also interested in better understanding how these scenarios might support and hinder understanding assemblages of people, places, animals, and technologies as moving processes rather than as static things.

invitro.culturedlamb invitro.meatballs

HOW I SHARE.

In addition to grounding our creative work in substantial empirical research, one of the things we wanted to do was systematically assess people’s responses to our designs—to see if and how they resonate. Since the scenarios were designed as prompts for reflection and discussion, we’ve created an anonymous online survey that anyone can take (Please take our survey!) before the end of April 2014. We’re also following up with our earlier research participants to have more in-depth discussions about the different content, our intentions, and their expectations. The project winds up at the end of June 2014, so we’ll be writing up our research results for both academic and popular publications after that. What I can say now is that things are looking pretty interesting—and not least because of disengaged or disinterested publics!

MY TOOLKIT.

It turns out that I’m compelled to get out and witness the goings on of the world, so despite working in design for the past five years, I still consider my primary tool to be fieldwork through participant observation. And, like all fieldworkers, I have a set of things that I use to collect what I see and do.

These days I never do fieldwork without my iPhone, iPad, an extra camera, a notebook and set of pens. I tend to use my phone’s camera as a sort of external memory device, and my other camera for presentation and publication-quality shots. To be honest, I’ve always found that cameras interfere with my ability to be present (and that’s a real problem during participant observation), but photos help me catch things I miss or to see things a bit differently, and that’s very helpful.

I record all my interviews with an app called Highlight, which I like because I can flag interesting points during the conversation and return to them later, without interrupting the flow. I do a lot of note-taking, using a regular paper notebook or an app called iA Writer (because that’s where I do most of my writing these days, including right now). I also try to post regular field reports to my research blog (http://designculturelab.org), but that’s not always possible or practical. I have quite limited drawing skills but I always map where I am and make sketches that are too ugly to share with anyone but are useful to me. Design work is much more varied and collaborative, and the tools we use are highly dependent on whether we’re creating objects or images.

METHODOLOGY.

I think I’ve already touched on where I see the most potential for design and anthropology to come together. In terms of more academic methodologies, I’m quite inspired by Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford’s 2012 edited volume, “Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social,” because they point out clear paths already being taken by interested researchers. I also hold out hope that speculative design can be stretched and strengthened by more explicit engagement with empirical research—not least because it may make it easier for us to explore a less anthropocentric anthropology, or tend to the nonhuman in new and exciting ways. I’ve also written about a bit about this recently—”Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design“–and there’s more to come!

RESOURCES.

Galloway, Anne. 2013. Towards Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design. Ethnography Matters Blog. September 17.

Lury, Celia and Nina Wakeford, eds. 2012. Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social. London: Routledge.

ME.

Anne Galloway (@annegalloway) is Senior Lecturer at the School of Design(Victoria University of Wellington,) and Principal Investigator at Design Culture Lab. Her research brings together social studies of science and technology, cultural studies, and design to explore relations between humans and nonhumans. She is particularly interested in creative research methods for understanding—and supporting public engagement with—issues and controversies related to science, technology and animals. Her current research, supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, combines ethnography and speculative design to create possible future scenarios for the use of wireless technologies in the production and consumption of NZ merino."
annegalloway  2014  anthropology  design  ethnography  speculativedesign  methodology  fiction  observation  fieldwork  howwework  making  craft  friends  research  fictionaldesign  speculativefiction  criticaldesign  everyday  objects  provocations  context  pedagogy 
february 2014
Oberlin College - Wikipedia [points to section on "Experimental College"]
"The college's "Experimental College" or ExCo program, a student-run department, allows any student or interested person to teach their own class for a limited amount of college credit. ExCo classes by definition focus on material not covered by existing departments or faculty.

Many courses supplement conventional disciplines, from languages and areas of cinema or literature, to musical ensembles like Steel Drums and Javanese gamelan, martial arts and forms of dancing. Other ExCos cover an array of topics, in the past ranging from Aquariums[34] to Wilderness Skills[35] to Hacky Sack to philosophical discussions of Calvin and Hobbes. Due to the nature of ExCo, while some staple courses are continued for years, the overall number and selection of classes offered varies dramatically from semester to semester."
oberlincollege  via:lukeneff  self-directedlearning  self-directed  student-led  exco  highered  highereducation 
february 2014
Notes on Looking | Contemporary Art from Los Angeles
"Notes on Looking is blog about contemporary art that invites one to consider the object, and to seek understanding from the moment of looking; anti-nomian to the orthodoxies of art criticism and academics, Notes on Looking takes a supportive stance – support that is informed by the rigors of close observation and inquiry.

Notes on Looking is also fun, or it aims in that direction.

Notes on Looking also publishes a weekly email newsletter that offers highlights and context for upcoming exhibitions and art events as well as a synopsis of recent blog posts. Sign up in the side bar.

In addition to writing by founder Geoff Tuck, Notes on Looking publishes work by a number of artists and writers, these will be found in the Topic “Artist Collaborators.” Through these collaborative projects Notes on Looking serves as a space where artists can share their thoughts on the art worlds they inhabit. Submissions are welcome, please refer to the “Contact” page for information. The site offers reviews, artist projects, podcast interviews and – under Miscellaneous – historical and contextual commentary on exhibitions, announcements of opportunities to support projects, archived copies of Notes on Looking email newsletters and more.

At heart, Notes on Looking is quirky, enthusiastic and humanist; the blog was founded out of a wish to educate myself about art and to share what I find in the public square. That the blog also serves as a passionate and vocal advocate and booster for art, artists and art spaces in Los Angeles is simply the way things should be. If you’re given a voice, use it for something good."
geofftuck  losangeles  art  architecture  looking  noticing  blogs 
february 2014
‘Where They Raced’ Details History of Los Angeles Auto Racing | Only A Game
[See also: http://www.wheretheyraced.com/WHERE_THEY_RACED/Where_They_Raced.html ]

"Northeast of downtown L.A. there’s a neighborhood called El Sereno. One weekend morning not long ago, El Sereno’s serenity was broken by the sound of a 1926 Winfield Ford. The vintage racecar tooled down today’s city streets, but the route they were on follows the racetrack of one of L.A.’s most storied speedways.

“That was such a thrill to be able to bring back a car and sort of reunite a car with its track,” filmmaker Harry Pallenberg said. “Where we are now, this is called Legion Ascot. It was a great track from the ’20s, and we were able to bring back a car that was one of the most winning cars here, and we sort of took a lap around the neighborhood. Some of the neighbors were screaming at us because those racecars were very very loud, but most of the neighbors were coming out and were like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe there was a racetrack here,’ or ‘My grandfather told me about it, and that’s awesome.’”
At the turn of the last century, Los Angeles, like today, had great weather, but back then there were very few people, meaning there was a lot of empty land. That made it perfect for auto races, like the one they held a 100 years ago in a town called Corona, 50 miles east of L.A. In the film, driver Brian Blain drove down the original course in a vintage National racecar.

“There was a half a dozen or so sites of races in Southern California that drew huge crowds,” Blain said. “Corona was one of the first and one of the biggest. If you can imagine, this town had a population of 3,500 people. And in 1913, they held a race and 100,000 people came. It’s just amazing.”

But car racing started here 10 years earlier, on a track south of downtown L.A. Harold Osmer, the film’s host and author of the book “Where They Raced” is based on, says that’s where one of the most famous names in early racing, Barney Oldfield, drove one mile in 54 seconds.

“The next day,” Osmer said, “the Los Angeles Times reported, ‘Oldfield’s attempt to commit suicide only resulted in a compound fracture of the world speed record.’”

Osmer writes that he started searching for what he thought were L.A.’s 10 to 15 racetracks, but, to his amazement, he found more than 100. Auto races were used to publicize Southern California, and speedways were used as placeholders for real estate, sometimes absurdly so."
cars  racing  carracing  losangeles  elsereno  film  history 
february 2014
Interactive Criticism: House of Leaves as Haptic Interface
"House of Leaves demands what Laura U. Marks, in Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media, calls “haptic criticism.” A haptic interface is one that engages our skin before our intellect, our body before our brain. Certain media devices could be described as peculiarly haptic (such as the Xbox Kinect or Apple’s iPad), but all media have the potential to be (or necessarily are) haptic. A book has an odor, a certain weight in our hands, a tactile pleasure at the turn of a page. The film strip has an audible clack as it moves through the projector, and the emulsion dissolves sweetly before our eyes. And, even if these media are rendered mostly intangible, books and films will always have a physical impact on us, causing us to recoil, sigh, bristle, and scream. For Marks, when we write about literary texts, “the task is to make the dry words retain a trace of the wetness of the encounter” (x). Roland Barthes writes similarly in The Pleasure of the Text, “Text means Tissue” (64), a nod to the literal substances from which books are made (pulp, rag, and animal hide), while also alluding to the materiality of language. When we read, we engage the physical object of the book in an intimate way, each of us handling books with our own idiosyncrasies. Some readers will delicately cradle an open book in two hands, whereas others will forcefully bend the cover back and pinch the book violently between the thumb and forefinger of one hand. How we handle a printed text effects how we encounter and interpret its contents.

Quote from Roland BarthesBarthes continues, “What I enjoy in a narrative is not directly its content or even its structure, but rather the abrasions I impose upon the fine surface” (12). His use of the word “abrasions” suggests there is indeed something violent about how we interact with a written text. And the act of reading, for better or worse, is something we “impose” upon a text. Thus, Barthes talks further about how “applied reading” (12) disrupts the “integrity of the text” (11). The word “integrity” is italicized (by Barthes), drawing attention to its polyvalency. Applied reading doesn’t just disrupt the value or moral character of a text; applied reading tears at the text’s cohesive fabric, punctures its skin, rips its pages and paragraphs, dissects its innards. This is not only what reading can do, for Barthes, but what it must do. The goal of reading is “not to devour, to gobble, but to graze, to browse scrupulously, to rediscover” (13). We metaphorically engage the flesh of a word when we focus on the typographical choices that govern how a word looks on the page, but we engage the flesh of a word even more literally when we notice and concern ourselves with how a word feels as it comes out of our mouths. Each word has a shape, a part of our mouths, lungs, throat, or gut that it tickles or mobilizes into action. We don’t just gobble words, but also expel them. This is a biting criticism of another sort; but my work here is about a kind of criticism that bites back. The violence we do to a text is minor when compared to the violence a text can do to us, if we let it."



"I’ve spent more time not reading House of Leaves than I’ve spent reading other books. The book haunts me — hits me sidelong when I least expect it. It bubbles to the surface at inopportune moments. And there are holes in the text I haven’t yet fallen into. Holes in the text I probably never will fall into. All the while, the book incessantly urges me and its other readers to examine our looking away — and to examine our compulsion to avoid thinking about or theorizing that looking away. An interactive criticism takes as its subject criticism and so must be unabashed about the many lovely (and not so lovely) shapes of that criticism. Sometimes, the shape of that criticism is a hole or a gap, one we can only hollar into."
jessestommel  books  reading  howweread  text  haptic  touch  rolandbarthes  texture  markdanielewski  2014  lauramarks  katherinehayles  ebooks  space  narraive  storytelling  jeffreyjeromecohen  seanmichaelmorris  echolocation  interactivecriticism  hapticcriticism 
february 2014
East of Borneo
"East of Borneo is an online magazine of contemporary art, and its history, as considered from Los Angeles.

It marks the convergence of two distinct lines of thought: What is the nature, and the future, of art magazines? And how might we give form to the many histories of art in Los Angeles, one that is generative and productive rather than merely descriptive?

We publish original essays, artist profiles and interviews alongside a growing "collaborative archive" of videos, images and historical texts added by our editors and readers, highlighting unexpected connections and encouraging new lines of thought. The introduction of East of Borneo Books and our debut title, Piecing Together Los Angeles: An Esther McCoy Reader, sees the extension of our mission into print. In the coming years, the imprint and magazine will continue to draw new attention to the best writing on the visual culture of Los Angeles."

[See also: http://curatingla.com/2014/02/26/unforgetting-la-3-build-a-better-online-history-of-art-in-southern-california/ ]

[See also: http://blogs.walkerart.org/design/2014/08/05/icas-excursus-interview-with-the-alex-klein-and-mark-owens/
and http://excursus.icaphila.org/ ]
art  culture  losangeles  via:jonhall  magazines  publishing  artbooks  artistsbooks 
february 2014
The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar - Michelle Navarre Cleary - The Atlantic
"A century of research shows that traditional grammar lessons—those hours spent diagramming sentences and memorizing parts of speech—don’t help and may even hinder students’ efforts to become better writers. Yes, they need to learn grammar, but the old-fashioned way does not work.

This finding—confirmed in 1984, 2007, and 2012 through reviews of over 250 studies—is consistent among students of all ages, from elementary school through college. For example, one well-regarded study followed three groups of students from 9th to 11th grade where one group had traditional rule-bound lessons, a second received an alternative approach to grammar instruction, and a third received no grammar lessons at all, just more literature and creative writing. The result: No significant differences among the three groups—except that both grammar groups emerged with a strong antipathy to English.



Just as we teach children how to ride bikes by putting them on a bicycle, we need to teach students how to write grammatically by letting them write. Once students get ideas they care about onto the page, they are ready for instruction—including grammar instruction—that will help communicate those ideas. We know that grammar instruction that works includes teaching students strategies for revising and editing, providing targeted lessons on problems that students immediately apply to their own writing, and having students play with sentences like Legos, combining basic sentences into more complex ones. Often, surprisingly little formal grammar instruction is needed. Researcher Marcia Hurlow has shown that many errors “disappear” from student writing when students focus on their ideas and stop “trying to ‘sound correct.’”



"Schools that have shifted from traditional “stand-alone” grammar to teaching grammar through writing offer concrete proof that such approaches work. They are moving more students more quickly into college-level courses than previously thought possible. One of these is a program at Arizona State in which students who test below college-level in their writing ability immediately begin writing college essays. More than 88 percent of these students pass freshman English—a pass rate that is higher than that for students who enter the university as college-level writers. At the Community College of Baltimore, a program in which developmental writing students get additional support while taking college-level writing classes has reduced the time these students spend in developmental courses while more than doubling the number who pass freshman composition. More than 60 colleges and universities are now experimenting with programs modeled on this approach.

In 1984, George Hillocks, a renowned professor of English and Education at the University of Chicago, published an analysis of the research on teaching writing. He concluded that, “School boards, administrators, and teachers who impose the systematic study of traditional school grammar on their students over lengthy periods of time in the name of teaching writing do them a gross disservice that should not be tolerated by anyone concerned with the effective teaching of good writing.” If 30 years later, you or your child is still being taught grammar independent of actually writing, it is well past time to demand writing instruction that is grounded in research rather than nostalgia."
grammar  writing  teaching  teachingwriting  2014  education  howwelearn  via:lukeneff  michellenavarrecleary  georgehillocks 
february 2014
Our Comrade The Electron - Webstock Conference Talk
"Termen had good timing. Lenin was just about to launch a huge campaign under the curiously specific slogan:

COMMUNISM = SOVIET POWER + ELECTRIFICATION OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY

Why make such a big deal of electrification?

Well, Lenin had just led a Great Proletarian Revolution in a country without a proletariat, which is like making an omelette without any eggs. You can do it, but it raises questions. It's awkward.

Lenin needed a proletariat in a hurry, and the fastest way to do that was to electrify and industrialize the country.

But there was another, unstated reason for the campaign. Over the centuries, Russian peasants had become experts at passively resisting central authority. They relied on the villages of their enormous country being backward, dispersed, and very hard to get to.

Lenin knew that if he could get the peasants on the grid, it would consolidate his power. The process of electrifying the countryside would create cities, factories, and concentrate people around large construction projects. And once the peasantry was dependent on electric power, there would be no going back.

History does not record whether Lenin stroked a big white cat in his lap and laughed maniacally as he thought of this, so we must assume it happened."



"RANT

Technology concentrates power.

In the 90's, it looked like the Internet might be an exception, that it could be a decentralizing, democratizing force. No one controlled it, no one designed it, it was just kind of assembling itself in an appealing, anarchic way. The companies that first tried to centralize the Internet, like AOL and Microsoft, failed risibly. And open source looked ready to slay any dragon.

But those days are gone. We've centralized the bejesus out of the Internet now. There's one search engine (plus the one no one uses), one social network (plus the one no one uses), one Twitter. We use one ad network, one analytics suite. Anywhere you look online, one or two giant American companies utterly dominate the field.

And there's the cloud. What a brilliant name! The cloud is the future of online computing, a friendly, fluffy abstraction that we will all ascend into, swaddled in light. But really the cloud is just a large mess of servers somewhere, the property of one American company (plus the clouds no one uses).

Orwell imagined a world with a telescreen in every room, always on, always connected, always monitored. An Xbox One vision of dystopia.

But we've done him one better. Nearly everyone here carries in their pocket a tracking device that knows where you are, who you talk to, what you look at, all these intimate details of your life, and sedulously reports them to private servers where the data is stored in perpetuity.

I know I sound like a conspiracy nut framing it like this. I'm not saying we live in an Orwellian nightmare. I love New Zealand! But we have the technology.

When I was in grade school, they used to scare us with something called the permanent record. If you threw a spitball at your friend, it would go in your permanent record, and prevent you getting a good job, or marrying well, until eventually you'd die young and friendless and be buried outside the churchyard wall.

What a relief when we found out that the permanent record was a fiction. Except now we've gone and implemented the damned thing. Each of us leaves an indelible, comet-like trail across the Internet that cannot be erased and that we're not even allowed to see.

The things we really care about seem to disappear from the Internet immediately, but post a stupid YouTube comment (now linked to your real identity) and it will live forever.

And we have to track all this stuff, because the economic basis of today's web is advertising, or the promise of future advertising. The only way we can convince investors to keep the money flowing is by keeping the most detailed records possible, tied to people's real identities. Apart from a few corners of anonymity, which not by accident are the most culturally vibrant parts of the Internet, everything is tracked and has to be tracked or the edifice collapses.

What upsets me isn't that we created this centralized version of the Internet based on permanent surveillance.

What upsets me, what really gets my goat, is that we did it because it was the easiest thing to do. There was no design, forethought, or analysis involved. No one said "hey, this sounds like a great world to live in, let's make it". It happened because we couldn't be bothered.

Making things ephemeral is hard.

Making things distributed is hard.

Making things anonymous is hard.

Coming up with a sane business model is really hard—I get tired just thinking about it.

So let's take people's data, throw it on a server, link it to their Facebook profiles, keep it forever, and if we can't raise another round of venture funding we'll just slap Google ads on the thing.

"High five, Chad!"

"High five, bro!"

That is the design process that went into building the Internet of 2014.

And of course now we are shocked—shocked!—when, for example, the Ukrainian government uses cell tower data to send scary text messages to protesters in Kiev, in order to try to keep them off the streets. Bad people are using the global surveillance system we built to do something mean! Holy crap! Who could have imagined this?

Or when we learn that the American government is reading the email that you send unencrypted to the ad-supported mail service in another country where it gets archived forever. Inconceivable!

I'm not saying these abuses aren't serious. But they're the opposite of surprising. People will always abuse power. That's not a new insight. There are cuneiform tablets complaining about it. Yet here we are in 2014, startled because unscrupulous people have started to use the powerful tools we created for them.

We put so much care into making the Internet resilient from technical failures, but make no effort to make it resilient to political failure. We treat freedom and the rule of law like inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the fragile and precious treasures that they are.

And now, of course, it's time to make the Internet of Things, where we will connect everything to everything else, and build cool apps on top, and nothing can possibly go wrong."



"What I'm afraid of is the society we already live in. Where people like you and me, if we stay inside the lines, can enjoy lives of comfort and relative ease, but God help anyone who is declared out of bounds. Those people will feel the full might of the high-tech modern state.

Consider your neighbors across the Tasman, stewards of an empty continent, who have set up internment camps in the remotest parts of the Pacific for fear that a few thousand indigent people might come in on boats, take low-wage jobs, and thereby destroy their society.

Or the country I live in, where we have a bipartisan consensus that the only way to preserve our freedom is to fly remote controlled planes that occasionally drop bombs on children. It's straight out of Dostoevski.

Except Dostoevski needed a doorstop of a book to grapple with the question: “Is it ever acceptable for innocents to suffer for the greater good?” And the Americans, a more practical people, have answered that in two words: “Of course!”

Erika Hall in her talk yesterday wondered what Mao or Stalin could have done with the resources of the modern Internet. It's a good question. If you look at the history of the KGB or Stasi, they consumed enormous resources just maintaining and cross-referencing their mountains of paperwork. There's a throwaway line in Huxley's Brave New World where he mentions "800 cubic meters of card catalogs" in the eugenic baby factory. Imagine what Stalin could have done with a decent MySQL server.

We haven't seen yet what a truly bad government is capable of doing with modern information technology. What the good ones get up to is terrifying enough.

I'm not saying we can't have the fun next-generation Internet, where everyone wears stupid goggles and has profound conversations with their refrigerator. I'm just saying we can't slap it together like we've been doing so far and expect everything to work itself out.

The good news is, it's a design problem! You're all designers here - we can make it fun! We can build an Internet that's distributed, resilient, irritating to governments everywhere, and free in the best sense of the word, like we dreamed of in the 90's. But it will take effort and determination. It will mean scrapping permanent mass surveillance as a business model, which is going to hurt. It will mean pushing laws through a sclerotic legal system. There will have to be some nagging.

But if we don't design this Internet, if we just continue to build it out, then eventually it will attract some remarkable, visionary people. And we're not going to like them, and it's not going to matter."
internet  surveillance  technology  levsergeyevichtermen  theremin  electricity  power  control  wifi  intangibles  2014  maciejceglowski  physics  music  invention  malcolmgladwell  josephschillinger  rhythmicon  terpsitone  centralization  decentralization  cloud  google  facebook  us  government  policy  distributed  anonymity  ephemeral  ephemerality  tracking  georgeorwell  dystopia  nsa  nest  internetofthings  erikahall  design  buran  lenin  stalin  robertmoog  clararockmore  maciejcegłowski  iot  vladimirlenin 
february 2014
What I Learned At Hiroshima (In Photos)
"The biggest and most pleasant surprise from my visit was how the Japanese have converted a horrible episode from human history into something positive, without skipping past the difficult parts. The peace museum tells a balanced story of WWII and the bombing itself, leading visitors through rooms about the current nuclear weapons treaties and the effects of nuclear radiation on citizens.
But the park is called the Peace Park and Memorial for a clear reason: they want to use their example to prevent similar horrors from ever happening again and they did an excellent job of making that the clear theme in the experience of visiting the place. They did a far better job at this ambition than any other historic war site I’ve seen, and I’ve seen many.
It seems mandatory that young students visit the center, as they were there in busloads. The primary frustration I had with the Peace Memorial Museum was having to navigate around gangs of Japanese kids. Even outside the museum we met many groups of children in the park and they were curious about foreigners, which was great to see. I’d say hello as they passed by in groups, and they always laughed and waved back at me.

Many of the younger students had assignments to talk to foreigners and practice their English. They asked me where I was from, what my name was, and what thoughts I had about the museum and world peace. It was a highlight of the entire trip to meet these children and talk with them for awhile."
ww2  wwii  japan  hiroshima  war  scottberkun  via:unthinkingly  2013 
february 2014
Online, Researcher Says, Teens Do What They've Always Done : NPR
[Adding this review of danah boyd's book at the top: http://www.saramayeux.org/?p=769 ]

"Today boyd is one of those people who seems to have memorized several maps of the World Wide Web. She roams like the rest of us, but she also seems to know exactly where to go and what to do when she gets there. She's got a variety of different Twitter accounts. "I have both my formal, professional @zephoria account, but then I also have a personal account which is me joking around with friends — and then I have an even sillier account which is me pretending to be my 7-month-old son," says boyd. "Flickr," she says, "has been a home for a long time to share photos with friends," and LinkedIn is where she spends professional time.

On the subject of Facebook, boyd rolls her eyes. Yes, she's there, but she finds it a very hard space to manage.

"I have to simultaneously deal with professional situations, friends from the past, friends from the present all in one environment and I don't share the same thing in those worlds. For me it's a world of context collapse," says boyd.

"Context collapse": boyd isn't sure whether she or a fellow social scientist coined the phrase, but she refers to it a lot. She says, like adults, teenagers are figuring out how to present themselves in different contexts. One of the chapters in her new book is all about why teenagers seem to behave so strangely online. "They're trying to figure out the boundaries with regard to their peers. So what is cool? What is funny? What will get them a lot of attention good or bad?" says boyd."



"Teenagers, boyd writes in her book, are "desperate to have access to a social world like that which adults take for granted." Jamahri Sydnor — also 14 — thinks a lot of adults don't understand that her smartphone is a place to relax and have fun. "My phone is my escape from all of the things at school and other things that stress me out," says Sydnor. "So I think that being on your phone is a good thing. And like games, social networking, it's a good thing because you can escape."

For the most part, boyd says, teenagers are doing online what they've always done. The difference now is that — if that teenager isn't careful — the world can see it. For her book she also talked to a lot of adults: Parents, ministers, teachers. Once, an admissions officer from an Ivy League school contacted her about an essay they'd received from an African-American teenager from South Central Los Angeles. "He wrote really beautifully about wanting to leave behind the gangs that surrounded him growing up," says boyd.

The school loved the essay. But then they checked out his Myspace profile and found out it was full of references to gang activity. boyd says the admissions officer asked her 'Why would he lie to us?' "And this question was fascinating to me," says boyd, "Because — I didn't know this particular kid — but, my guess, having spent a lot of time in this region of Los Angeles — is that he was working on survival." She believes it's possible he needed to affiliate with a gang for his own safety."And so what happened was Myspace became a place of performing those gang affiliations," says boyd. "Those Myspace pages were never designed for the college admissions officer. And so here's this college admissions officer not understanding the context in which this teen is operating."

Context is everything, says boyd. She believes teenagers' behavior online is often misinterpreted without it. Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher and director of teens and technology at the Pew Research Center, agrees. Lenhart says boyd digs deeper. "She goes out and she does the legwork and spends the time to talk with these kids and then takes the time to glean it and digest it and put it out there for the rest of us to use," says Lenhart."

[See also: http://www.npr.org/books/titles/282512124/its-complicated-the-social-lives-of-networked-teens ]

[Related: http://ethnographymatters.net/2014/02/26/tell-me-more-danah-boyd-an-interview-with-the-author-of-its-complicated-the-social-lives-of-networked-teens/ and
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/media/generation-like/danah-boyd-the-kids-are-all-right/
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/01/young-people-online-parents-dont-panic-instagram-snapchat ]
danahboyd  teens  online  internet  facebook  twitter  socialmedia  contextcollapse  2014  youth  sameasitsalwaysbeen  context  codeswitching  social  socialnetworking  socialnetworks 
february 2014
GIF hearts Tumblr: a fairytale for the internet age (Wired UK)
""The reason everyone thought MySpace was going to die, was because these (GIFs) are really ugly," says meme-master general Kenyatta Cheese, speaking at Story Festival in London. Cheese helps to run the Doctor Who Tumblr for BBC America, the second biggest Tumblr in the world, and was also a cofounder of Know Your Meme.

Cheese describes himself as being "of the internet", but says he is mainly interested in the way people do things online. "Our myths that we have don't necessarily reflect the things that we do, so I want to create new myths," he says.

The GIF, he continues, is a 30-year-old file format, which is woefully inefficient and yet despite all the innovation in technology, is used to tell stories all over the internet today. When he looked it up on a Wikipedia, all that was there was was a description of what it was and where it came from, but a disappointing lack of insight into its cultural significance. "I don't think it's the facts that are important," he continues. The GIF has a story of its own -- a fairytale, in fact -- but it is a story based on emotion, not fact.

"There was a king named browser and a queen named CompuServe," he begins. The king and queen have a daughter called GIF, who is considered a novelty, but is not taken seriously as "she can render rainbows and unicorns", even though all she wants to do is be useful. When the queen dies, the king remarries and his new queen -- Queen Flash -- decides to banish GIF to the subculture forest, as her magic mirror on the wall -- the tech blogs -- tell her she is no longer the most useful format of them all.

Fortunately for GIF, the trolls take her in and she makes her GIFs again using viral video clips and NSFW webcam footage, which lays the foundation for the viral web. The forum users get to work making GIFs, simply for the purpose of having fun and expressing themselves. "This is creating these small moments in time that we're able to share with one another," says Cheese. "You're now using GIFs on forums instead of writing a 200-word response."

While even Queen Flash realises her reign is over, along comes Prince Tumblr into the subculture forest, where he meets and falls in love with GIF (Prince Tumblr: "Your work gives me all the feels"; GIF: "lol thanks").

It is this union that spread the culture of GIF creation far and wide. "What happens on the internet is when people migrate from forum to forum they take their culture with them," says Cheese. It has led to people making GIFs in all kinds of different contexts -- as works of art, as sets of instructions and even for making porn, says Cheese. It also resulted in people using and reappropriating GIFs to suit their own purposes.

"GIFs were perfect for Tumblr, because people started using them in ways not just to express themselves but in a reblog so they spread really fast," Cheese explains. People might create a GIF set of their favourite scene from a film and that post gets flagged and reposted, and then somebody might take one of those images, save it to their hard drive and use it as a reaction GIF. "All of a sudden it's used everywhere," he says.

Since that's happened all the other kingdoms on the internet have realised that they too can use GIFs, including journalism -- from Buzzfeed writers to data journalists.

"This becomes a story of a 30-year-old file-format that everyone thought was dead," he says. In all its archaic inefficiency, he adds, it rose up again "not because people thought they could profit off it, but because they wanted to do something useful"."

[See also (another talk): http://videos.theconf.se/video/8580175/kenyatta-cheese-how-visual-media ]
kenyattacheese  gifs  tumblr  web  internet  animation  animatedgifs  2014 
february 2014
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