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Greg Grandin reviews ‘Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War’ by Tanya Harmer · LRB 19 July 2012
"Harmer dispatches two myths favoured by those who blame the coup on Allende himself. The first is that his commitment to democracy was opportunistic and would soon have been abandoned. ‘One might even,’ Falcoff writes, ‘credit the Nixon administration with preventing the consolidation of Allende’s “totalitarian project”’. The second is that even if Allende wasn’t a fraud he was a fool, unleashing forces he could not control – for example, the left wing of Popular Unity, and the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, which was further to the left of Allende’s coalition and drew inspiration from the Cuban Revolution, Cuba conceived here as a proxy for Moscow.

Harmer shows that Allende was a pacifist, a democrat and a socialist by conviction not convenience. He had an ‘unbending commitment to constitutional government’ and refused in the face of an ‘externally funded’ opposition ‘to take a different non-democratic or violent road’. He invoked history to insist that democracy and socialism were compatible, yet he knew that Chile’s experience was exceptional. During the two decades before his election, military coups had overthrown governments in 12 countries: Cuba in 1952; Guatemala and Paraguay in 1954; Argentina and Peru in 1962; Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and again Guatemala in 1963; Brazil and Bolivia in 1964; and Argentina once more in 1966. Many of these coups were encouraged and sanctioned by Washington and involved subverting exactly the kind of civil-society pluralism – of the press, political parties and unions – that Allende promoted. So he was sympathetic to the Cuban Revolution and respected Castro, especially after he survived the CIA’s Bay of Pigs exploit in 1961. And when Allende won the presidency, he relied on Cuban advisers for personal security and intelligence operations.

But Cuba’s turn to one-party authoritarianism only deepened Allende’s faith in the durability of Chilean democracy. Socialism could be won, he insisted, through procedures and institutions – the ballot, the legislature, the courts and the media – that historically had been dominated by those classes most opposed to it. Castro warned him that the military wouldn’t abide by the constitution. Until at least early 1973 Allende believed otherwise. His revolution would not be confronted with the choice that had been forced on Castro: suspend democracy or perish. But by mid-1973, events were escaping Allende’s command. On 11 September he took his own life, probably with a gun Castro gave him as a gift. The left in the years after the coup developed its own critique of Allende: that, as the crisis hurtled toward its conclusion, he proved indecisive, failing to arm his supporters and train resistance militias, failing to shut down congress and failing to defend the revolution the way Castro defended his. Harmer presents these as conscious decisions, stemming from Allende’s insistence that neither one-party rule nor civil war was an acceptable alternative to defeat.

A photograph of Allende taken during his last hours shows him leaving the presidential palace, pistol in hand and helmet on head, flanked by bodyguards and looking up at the sky, watching for the bombs. The image is powerful yet deceptive, giving the impression that Allende had been at the palace when the coup started, and was beginning to organise resistance to it. But Allende wasn’t trapped in his office. He’d gone there earlier that morning, despite being advised not to, when he heard that his generals had rebelled. The Cubans were ready to arm and train a Chilean resistance and, Harmer writes, ‘to fight and die alongside Allende and Chilean left-wing forces in a prolonged struggle to defend the country’s revolutionary process’. But Allende ordered them not to put their plans into operation, and they listened: ‘The Chilean president,’ Harmer says, ‘was therefore far more in control of Cuba’s involvement in his country than previously thought.’ He also rejected the idea of retreating to the outskirts of Santiago and leading an armed resistance: in Harmer’s assessment, he committed suicide rather than give up his commitment to non-violent revolution.

Many, in Chile and elsewhere, refused to believe that Allende had killed himself. The story had to be that he was executed, like Zapata, Sandino, Guevara and others who died at the hands of traitors. Che fought to the end and had no illusions about the bourgeoisie and its democratic credentials. Allende’s legacy is more ambiguous, especially for today’s revived Latin American left, which despite its remarkable electoral success in recent decades still struggles to tame the market forces set free after the Chilean coup. In 2009 in Honduras, for instance, and last month in Paraguay, democratically elected presidents were unseated by ‘constitutional coups’. In both countries, their opponents dressed up what were classic putsches in the garb of democratic proceduralism, taking advantage of vague impeachment mechanisms to restore the status quo ante.

For Brazil’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), founded in 1980 by militant trade unionists including the future president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the coup in Chile reinforced the need to work with centrist parties to restore constitutional rule. Social issues weren’t completely sidelined, but attaining stability took precedence over class struggle; for the first time in Latin American history, a major left-wing party found itself fighting for political democracy as a value in itself, not as part of a broader campaign for social rights. ‘I thought a lot about what happened with Allende in Chile,’ Lula once said, referring to the polarisation that followed the 1970 election, when the Popular Unity coalition won with only a bit more than a third of the vote. That’s why he agreed to set the bar high for a PT win. During the Constituent Assembly debates leading up to the promulgation of Brazil’s 1988 post-dictatorship constitution, Lula insisted that if no one candidate received a majority in the first round of a presidential election, a run-off had to be held between the top two contenders, which would both give the winner more legitimacy and force him or her to reach out beyond the party base. Like Allende, Lula stood for president three times before winning at his fourth attempt. Unlike Allende, though, each time Lula ran and lost and ran again, he gave up a little bit more of the PT’s founding principles, so that the party went from pledging to overturn neoliberalism to promising to administer it more effectively.

In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez drew a different lesson from the defeat of the Popular Unity government. Soon after he was elected president in 1998, before coming out as a confrontationalist, indeed before he even identified himself as a socialist, Chávez began to compare himself to Allende. Wealthy Venezuelans were mobilising against even the mildest economic reforms, as their Chilean predecessors had done, taking to the streets, banging their pots and pans, attacking the government through their family-owned TV stations and newspapers, beating a path to the US embassy to complain, and taking money from Washington to fund their anti-government activities. In response, Chávez began to talk about 1973. ‘Like Allende, we are pacifists,’ he said of his supporters, including those in the military. ‘And like Allende, we are democrats. Unlike Allende, we are armed.’ The situation got worse and worse, culminating in the coup of April 2002 which, though unsuccessful, looked very like the coup against Allende. Chávez found himself trapped in the national palace speaking to Castro on the phone, telling him he was ready to die for the cause. Ever the pragmatist, Castro urged him to live to fight another day: ‘Don’t do what Allende did!’"
greggrandin  salvadorallende  history  marxism  socialism  democracy  2012  tanyaharmer  venezuela  economics  inequality  class  pacifism  cuba  fidelcastro  brazil  brasil  lula  luladasilva  latinamerica  us  richardnixon  intervention  revolution  government  argentina  honduras  guatemala  paraguay  perú  bolivia  hugochávez  pinochet  chile  henrykissinger  tanyharmer  coldwar  markfalcoff  dilmarousseff  authoritarianism  dictatorship 
3 days ago by robertogreco
Project MUSE - On Nonscalability: The Living World Is Not Amenable to Precision-Nested Scales
"Because computers zoom across magnifications, it is easy to conclude that both knowledge and things exist by nature in precision-nested scales. The technical term is “scalable,” the ability to expand without distorting the framework. But it takes hard work to make knowledge and things scalable, and this article shows that ignoring nonscalable effects is a bad idea. People stumbled on scalable projects through the same historical contingencies that such projects set out to deny. They cobbled together ways to make things and data self-contained and static, and thus amenable to expansion. In European New World plantations, the natives were wiped out; coerced and alienated plants and workers came to substitute for them. Profits were made because extermination and slavery could be discounted from the books. Such historically indeterminate encounters formed models for later projects of scalability. This essay explores scalability projects from the perspective of an emergent “nonscalability theory” that pays attention to the mounting pile of ruins that scalability leaves behind. The article concludes that, if the world is still diverse and dynamic, it is because scalability never fulfills its own promises."



"How is scalability created? It is not a necessary feature of the world. People stumbled on scalable projects through historical contingencies. They cobbled together ways to make raw materials (for both goods and knowledge) selfcontained and static, and thus amenable to expansion. In European sugarcane plantations, the natives were wiped out; exotic, coerced, and alienated plants and workers came to substitute for them. Profits were made because the general mess of extermination and slavery could be discounted from the books. Such historically indeterminate encounters formed models for later projects of scalability.

Do we live in a world of scalable nonsocial landscape elements—nonsoels? Yes and no. The great “progress” projects of the last several centuries have built on the legacy of the colonial plantation to make scalability work in business, government, and technology. But scalability has never been complete. In recent years, changes in global capitalism have challenged the assumption of scalability for labor and natural-resource management, and at least some theorists in the social sciences have pointed out the malevolent hegemony of precision. Meanwhile, critics of scalability have raised distress signals about the fate of biological and cultural diversity on earth. It is an important time to develop nonscalability theory as a way to reconceptualize the world—and perhaps rebuild it."

[PDF here: http://www.lasisummerschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Tsing-2012-On-nonscalability.pdf ]

[via:
"I can’t say enough how good Anna Tsing’s essay on nonscalabilty is. “On Nonscalability: The Living World Is Not Amenable to Precision-Nested Scales.” Common Knowledge 18, no. 3 (September 19, 2012): 505–24. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/485828/pdf "
https://twitter.com/samplereality/status/1098610615969562626

"Scalability is the enemy of difference. (Page 507)

via:
"On Nonscalability: The Living World Is Not Amenable to Precision-Nested Scales by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing"
https://twitter.com/dantaeyoung/status/1108070233670123521 ]

[See also:
"“On Nonscalability” of teaching and learning"
https://www.jonbecker.net/on-nonscalability-of-teaching-and-learning/
annalowenhaupttsing  scale  scalability  slow  small  2012  difference  diversity  capitalism  knowledge  expansion  growth  degrowth  culture  technology  progress  labor  work  biology  humanism  humanity  sustainability  environment  sugar  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  antigrowth 
12 days ago by robertogreco
Visit to a Rare Wasabi Farm - YouTube
"There are only 4 Wasabi farms in North America. The Wasabi plant is difficult to grow commercially, and because of its value, these farms tend to be hidden from public view. Join us as we visit a Wasabi farm in Oregon, whose only commercial crop are two varieties of Wasabi: Daruma and Mazuma.


Visit the Frog Eyes Wasabi Farm website:
http://www.thewasabistore.com/ "

[See also:
"Fake Versus Real Wasabi"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsYXEk3Tlr4 ]
oregon  waaabi  agriculture  farming  2012  aquaponics  gardening 
26 days ago by robertogreco
Interview with Dick Gray, founder of World College West - YouTube
"For the occasion of the World College West reunion of July 2012, Dick Gray welcomes attendees and shares his perspective on the founding of World College West and the development of its programs. Dick is interviewed by WCW grad, Lisa Geduldig"
worldcollegewest  dickgray  richardgray  education  learning  schools  highered  highereducation  2012  woldstudytravel  commitment  alternative  howwelearn  lisageduldig  marin  colleges  universities 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Together: The Rituals Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation with Richard Sennett - YouTube
"New York University sociologist and historian Richard Sennett addresses the phenomenon of why people tend to avoid engaging with others who are different, leading to a modern politics of the tribe rather than the city. In this thought-provoking talk, Sennett offers ideas on what might be done to encourage people to live with others who are racially, ethnically, religiously or economically unlike themselves. [3/2012] [Public Affairs] [Show ID: 23304]"
tichardsennett  togetherness  community  2012  empathy  sympathy  design  ethnography  sociology  diversity  difference  curiosity  segregation  self-segregation  openness  openminded  jeromebruner  cognition  xenophobia  xenophilia  tribes  politics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Frankétienne and Rewriting: A Work in Progress | French Studies | Oxford Academic
"In Frankétienne and Rewriting Rachel Douglas presents an elegant overview of Haitian Spiralist writer Frankétienne's literary praxis, connecting the author's ‘near-obsessive’ (p. 1) revising to broader postcolonial Caribbean literary phenomena. Douglas's study offers a comparative analysis of five major works, emphasizing the ethical and the aesthetic perspectives implicit in Frankétienne's ‘predilection for the process of writing over what is written; for production over finished product; and for the dynamic over the stable’ (p. 160). Douglas rightly insists on the importance of fully contextualizing the works in question, considering them always with respect to the changing historical, socio-economic, and cultural realities of twentieth-century Haiti. Yet, while noting the profound political imperative visible in Frankétienne's writings and rewritings, she is careful always to privilege the works' ‘literariness’ and the material, arguing that literary characteristics in Frankétienne connect with changing political, social, economic, and cultural circumstances in the Haiti he rewrites."

[See also:
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/481621
https://books.google.com/books/about/Frank%C3%A9tienne_and_Rewriting.html?id=ewyPMi4WZPAC
https://www.fabula.org/actualites/r-douglas-franketienne-and-rewriting-a-work-in-progress_31893.php
writing  howwewrite  process  frankétienne  2012  racheldouglas  kaiamaglover  2009  haiti  caribbean 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Carol Black: Reclaiming Our Children, Reclaiming Our World - YouTube
"Carol Black directed the documentary film Schooling the World, which describes how western-style schools help destroy indigenous cultures worldwide. This talk was given at ISEC's Economics of Happiness conference in Berkeley, California, in March 2012."
carolblack  unschooling  deschooling  economics  humans  learning  howwelearn  schools  schooling  brains  development  children  education  agesegregation  us  history  literacy  standardization  centralization  publicschools  corporations  corporatism  compulsory  control  power  agesegregaton  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  2012 
october 2018 by robertogreco
AIDependence - Trailer on Vimeo
"Major humanitarian crises caused by civil wars or natural disasters such as recently in Haiti mark humans and cause a wave of solidarity. But do our generous donations actually have the desired effect or do they conversely provoke an unhealthy dependence?

In the form of a film documentary choosing the example of Haiti, we will examine the issue of necessity and usefulness of traditional development assistance and offer solutions for improvement. If, thanks to development aid, houses and roads are built – does it actually stimulate the efforts of the locals? Or could it be the opposite?"

[See also:
https://vimeo.com/67296710

"WATCH THE MOVIE NOW ON: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/aidependence

https://facebook.com/Aidependence

No other country in the world has more NGOs per capita than Haiti, yet the country still remains an impoverished and fragile state. Why is foreign aid not being more effective?
Beschreibung

The award-winning photographer Alice Smeets and the Belgian cinematographer Frederic Biegmann have been living on the Caribbean island, where they've not only supported, but also initiated development projects. This allowed them to get a deeper insight into the dynamics of the aid system.

In „AIDependence“, the filmmakers explore why development aid in Haiti is not working in a sustainable way. Smeets and Biegmann interview Haitian as well as international experts, show appalling examples of failed projects and accompany young inhabitants of Haiti's poorest slum, Cité Soleil, who have decided to take their fate into their own hands; they refuse imposed projects, but develop their own ideas to strengthen the community - even if the ideas may seem crazy, like the construction of a small Eiffel Tower right in the middle of Cité Soleil.

"AIDependence" shows clearly: Haiti's devastating earthquake of 2010 is in no way the cause the problem; it has only aggravated the situation. Thus, the documentary raises urgent questions and encourages the audience to form their own opinion.

a NEOPHILEAS-Production"]
charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  poer  governance  government  haiti  aid  humanitarinaid  dependence  control  nonprofit  nonprofits  donations  charity  philanthropy  2012  development 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Welcome to Your New Government – Next City
[via:

"This is the single biggest problem of the entire Rust Belt, I’ve come to believe. Our cities are run by non-profits, not elected officials" —Anne Trubek
https://twitter.com/atrubek/status/1049845677038145536

"The power of philanthropy in Detroit can't be underestimated. (Eg: https://www.elle.com/culture/a37255/forgotten-rape-kits-detroit/ …; https://detroithistorical.org/learn/encyclopedia-of-detroit/grand-bargain …) Money that was denied to the city over decades -- tax base, loans, mortgages, investment, state revenue sharing -- comes back as charity. A loaded dynamic.” —Ann Clark ]

"Cities in dire straits make it possible for large CDCs to gain huge influence. On April 4, less than 24 hours before a deadline that would give unprecedented control of the city to an emergency manager, the Detroit City Council voted for a consent agreement with the state of Michigan. Under the new deal, a financial advisory board with members appointed by the governor, mayor and council will review all budget matters and grant approval of union contracts. It’s designed to support a city struggling under crushing debt: Detroit owes more than $12 billion in long-term pension and benefit obligations, and as a shrinking city, it is gasping under a loss of property tax revenue even as it must provide services to over 139 square miles.

The consent agreement is nonetheless controversial: It squeaked by on a 5-4 vote and just last month, a lawsuit challenging the agreement filed by the city attorney — against the wishes of the mayor—was dismissed in court. Despite concerns about the city ceding control to the state — which, for many residents, echoes morally bankrupt urban renewal polices of the 20th century that decimated neighborhoods of primarily African-American and immigrant communities — the agreement sidesteps receivership, which would put all power to sell assets, eliminate departments and gut contracts into the hands of an appointee of the governor. (This would be under Michigan’s new emergency management law, which continues to make national headlines.) Relying on private groups like Midtown, Inc. makes it possible for the city of Detroit to avoid some of the most immediate and painful consequences of its financial problems.

In Cleveland, the city’s credit rating on $248 million of debt was downgraded one notch last year by Fitch Ratings: The concerns came down to the city’s lack of savings, combined with its shrinking population and lethargic economy. According to the Plain-Dealer, the city “has been borrowing about $30 million a year with general obligation bonds to pay for city projects and improvements.”

Representatives of both UCI and Midtown, Inc. told me that they are not interested in replacing City Hall, even as they take the lead on many of its services. Rather, they mean to work mutually. Mosey calls Detroit’s Department of Public Works a particularly important partner and ally to, for example, facilitate street repaving and administer streetscape and greenway funds. Ronayne is careful to call UCI’s work “adjunct, or additive to city services in a city that is stretched.”

“The city should look to us as a provider,” he added. “We could be agents for cities.”

As Ronayne sees it, the old world way of thinking is: Local-state-federal. That has slipped away. Now, he says, the thinking is neighborhood-regional-global.

“We can provide the very hands-on work, the eyes on the street, the corner view,” Ronayne said. “And cities need to outsource that to organizations like us, because they have bigger fires to fight.”

But if CDCs and other non-profits are going to take on more and more public services, then they have a proportional amount of responsibility to be democratically structured. That means that both transparency and meaningful community accountability are crucial.

“I believe strongly in ground-up community development,” said DeBruyn of Detroit’s Corktown. But in neighborhoods where large organizations are less intimately engaged with residents, DeBruyn has struggled to carve out avenues for effective grass-roots programs that operate outside their influence. He has tried a resident’s council, and a Better Building for Michigan initiative: “Really organic, ground-up programs.” But, he said, it “seems that institutions of influence, the foundations and powers that be, not only don’t support them, but do everything possible to actively thwart them.” If neither the CDC nor the city is making it a priority to partner with residents in the leveraging of public services and neighborhood visioning, where are the people who want to contribute to the making of their community to turn?

As an alternative, DeBruyn pointed to the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, a thriving organization in a northwest neighborhood that is somewhat overlooked as one of Detroit’s “success stories.” It is home to more than 14,000 people, 92 percent of them African-American, most of them homeowners. At GRDC, local residents make up a well-run, well-organized management team. GRDC develops vacant homes, provides home repair for low-income residents, maintains vacant property, organizes a community safety patrol and hosts a neighborhood garden and farmer’s market. Volunteers are the fuel that makes these programs possible. And it does all this through constant engagement with its citizens: Besides employing residents in its management, it hosts well-attended open houses and community visioning sessions and shares the results online. Its board of directors is comprised entirely of neighborhood residents.

As with Midtown, Inc, UCI and CDCs across the nation, GRDC has expanded beyond the brick-and-mortar work so that it can be more responsive to a complex community. Even with a City Hall that is struggling to remain viable, GRDC has proven effective. It has facilitated more than $20 million in new investments since 1989 in an area that is barely two square miles, even though it is well outside Detroit’s main business corridor and lacks the anchor institutions that enhance Midtown and University Circle. It does this work without detaching from concrete community engagement and democratic process, with residents actively participating in the stabilization and revitalization of their neighborhood. Its example is a stark reminder that the “ends justify the means” is not a viable excuse for shifting services for the public good to systems where the public does not participate.

Thanks to Mosey’s work and that of peers like GRDC, thousands of new residents are making a home in Detroit. But as the city’s numbers continue to grow, and Detroiters make a habit of stoop-sitting and block parties, the question will be how Mosey intends to create space for these newly engaged residents — not only in Midtown’s historic homes, but also in its decision-making apparatus."
philanthropicindustrialcomplex  charitableindustrialcomplex  democracy  governance  government  detroit  cleveland  rustbelt  us  policy  politics  influence  control  power  inequality  cities  capitalism  2012  michigan 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Death Grips Interview (DELETED) - YouTube
"..At one point in my life I was inspired by people, but as I've grown more, humans aren't really my, I don't look really look to that for inspiration that much anymore. I look more inside and what goes on in there, internal, internal struggle, internal shit like that; look inside, more than outside, I'm not into really surface reality, that much."
deathgrip  mcride  interviews  2012  music  art  artists  zachhill  humans 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Rebellious children? At least you're doing something right | Life and style | The Guardian
"We all want impeccably behaved children, right? Well maybe not, says Annalisa Barbieri. Here, she questions why there is such a fashion for taming our youngsters"

"Two stories caught my attention recently. One was a report that breastfed babies are more challenging in their behaviour and the other was about a new book called French Children Don't Throw Food: about how French children apparently behave really well, in restaurants and just generally.

(Hmm. Can I pause here to tell you a story? My aunt was French. She had twins. She'd carry round a little whip – actually several little leather straps of about 6" in length, all coming together into a wooden handle. She would hit my cousins on the back of their legs if they stepped even a tiny bit out of line. The word I remember her saying the most was "arrête". But it is absolutely true to say I never once saw them throw food.)

Most parenting books are about how to get children to do things well. By well, read obediently. When and how you - the adult - want them to do something: eat well, pee in the potty, sleep well (that's the big one), behave well. The aim, it would seem, is to raise compliant children. Because, according to these books, obedient children = successful parents, disobedient = head hanging failures. But actually is an obedient child cause for concern or celebration? The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became by this question. Telling someone their child is obedient is (usually) meant as a compliment. But an obedient adult? Not quite so attractive is it? We have other words for that, doormat being one of them.

Alfie Kohn, author of 'Unconditional Parenting. Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason' says, "When I ask parents, at the beginning of my lectures, what their long term goals are for the children, I hear words such as ethical, compassionate independent happy and so on. No-one ever says mindlessly compliant."

A compliant child becomes a particular concern, Kohn admits, when they reach adolescence. "If they take their orders from other people, that may include people we may not approve of. To put it the other way around: kids who are subject to peer pressure at its worst are kids whose parents taught them to do what they're told."

Alison Roy, lead child and adolescent psychotherapist at East Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), says: "A child will push the boundaries if they have a more secure attachment. Children who have been responded to, led to believe - in a healthy way - that their voice is valued, that all they have to do is object and action will be taken - they will push boundaries. And this is really healthy behaviour. Compliance? They've learned there's no point arguing because their voice isn't valued."

So much of what we see as disobedience in children is actually just natural, curious, exploring, learning behaviour. Or reacting – in the only way they know how – to a situation over which they have no control.

"You can threaten or bribe a child into obedience for a little while," explains Kohn, "but you are missing the big picture and failing to address the underlying cause [of why they may not want to do something] which may be environmental – such as rushing a tired child through an unfamiliar place - or they may be psychological, such as fear about something else. A very obedient or complaint child – it depends, some are more docile by temperament - but others have created a false self because they sense their parent will only love them if they are obedient. The need for autonomy doesn't vanish because kids have been cowed into doing what they're told."

A very young child isn't actually meant to be obedient all of the time, according to Roy. This is because their needs are often completely at odds with an adult's. See that lovely wall you've just painted in £100-a-pot paint? That's just one lovely big, blank canvas to a two-year-old with a contraband crayon, who doesn't understand why you praise them so much for drawing on a piece of paper but shout at them for drawing on the wall. You think it's a cold day and want to wrestle a woolly pully over your child's head but actually the child isn't cold and doesn't want it. Imagine going to a friend's house and you accidentally spill a drink and get shouted at, instead of them saying "oh don't worry" and mopping it up. And yet...

There seems to be a real fashion for taming children and the reason seems to be fear: it's not that most people are worried about one incident of wall-scribbling, but that they seem to fear what this behaviour will turn into if it's not kept in check, as if all children are just waiting to grow up into sociopaths. One of the comments I get a lot, at the end of my columns for the Family section of the Guardian (when I have advocated understanding and a more what would be called 'softly softly' approach to a child) is something along the lines of 'they'll turn into a monster if you don't put your foot down/show them who's boss'.

"It's not based on empirical evidence," argues Kohn. "It's a very dark view of human nature.

At the top of my list of what makes a great parent is the courage to say 'I still have something to learn and I need to rethink what I'm doing'. The parents who worry me are those who dismiss the kind of challenge that I and others offer, waving it away as unrealistic or not practical enough, or idealistic." Kohn advises a 'working with', rather than a 'doing to' approach to children. In short, getting to know your child, listening to them. "Talk less, ask more.""
parenting  2012  annalisabarbieri  children  rebellion  obedience  behavior  psychology  power  control  listening  compliance  alisonroy 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Escola Aberta
"Escola Aberta1,2 is:

a) autonomous b) reflexive c) temporary

1.The Escola Aberta will be a temporary design school based in Rio de Janeiro. Teachers and students of graphic design from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) will conduct a week of workshops, lectures and activities, aiming to ignite a discussion on ways of teaching and learning and to establish an exchange of ideas with Brazil.

2. Directed at students, young professionals and artists, masters and apprentices, the Escola Aberta will be free of charge and take place from the 6th till the 11th of August, at the Carioca Design Center, Tiradentes square.

Escola Aberta1,2 will be:

a) free of charge b) in Rio de Janeiro
c) on August 2012 d) from monday to friday

1.Application deadline is 1st of July 2012. A total of 60 participants will be selected.
2. Please note that the Escola Aberta is unable to provide or organize any accommodation, board or transportation. Attendance is expected for the entire duration of the school, i.e. every day from Monday till Friday.

Escola Aberta1,2 seeks:

a) students e) craftsmen i) Brazilians
b) teachers f) artists j) foreigners
c) masters g) designers k) you
d) apprentices h) philosophers

1.The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a dutch art and design academy, based in Amsterdam. It has grown to be a uniquely international school, open to applicants from all over the world. As a consequence an increased multicultural exchange of ideas, customs, knowledge and skills is cultivated. Particularly in the graphic design department the gap between teachers and students has become eminently narrow. This closeness ultimately opens up an intensified reciprocal exchange of opinions and ideals.

2.The Escola Aberta is looking for people with open minds, will for exchange, a questioning attitude and love for debate. Participants will be challenged to assume different roles during the week, to act as teachers and students, masters and apprentices, designers and artists. They must be able to switch from theory to practice and from protest to action.

T (true) or F (false):
( ) An art school, simply put, is a representative of the institutionalization of art.
( ) When our view of art is limited, so is our view of society.
( ) If questions aren’t asked in art schools, where then?
From Teaching to Learn by Joseph Kosuth, 1991.

Knowledge is something that:
a) You have to repeat and memorize, in order to get a diploma.
b) When in fact you need it, you can get it anywhere.

In 1971, conceptual artist John Baldessari was asked to exhibit his work at an art school in Nova Scotia. Since the school had no funds to fly him out for the installation, Baldessari sent a piece of paper printed with the words, ‟I will not make any more boring art,” and instructed the school to recruit students to write the sentence repeatedly all over the gallery walls, ‟like punishment.”

Art cannot be taught. However, one can teach _______________. The School is the servant of the _____________. One day the two will merge into one. Therefore, there are no teachers and pupils, but ________________ and ________________.
From the ‟Bauhaus Manifesto”, Walter Gropius, 1919.

“We do not need to consciously learn anything in order to learn something”. Do you agree? Explain. ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________ ____________________________________________
From Robert Fillou’s interview with John Cage in ‟Teaching and Learning as performing arts”.

Schools are:
a) on demand d) museums
b) commodities e) all of them
c) social events
School (from Greek “scholè”) means “free time”, being the time when people don’t have to act economically or politically. Within the domain of the school, neither accumulation and profit-seeking nor power games take center stage, but only the subject matter."

[via: https://walkerart.org/magazine/never-not-learning-summer-specific-part-1-intro-and-identities ]
brasil  brazil  lcproject  openstudioproject  altgdp  design  art  artschools  riodejaneiro  2012  ephemerality  ephemeral  autonomy  reflection  temporary  escolaaberta  bauhaus  bmc  blackmountaincollege  robertfillou  johncage  johnbaldessari  franklloydright  hermannvonbaravalle 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Jonathan Mooney: "The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed" - YouTube
"The University of Oregon Accessible Education Center and AccessABILITY Student Union present renowned speaker, neuro-diversity activist and author Jonathan Mooney.

Mooney vividly, humorously and passionately brings to life the world of neuro-diversity: the research behind it, the people who live in it and the lessons it has for all of us who care about the future of education. Jonathan explains the latest theories and provides concrete examples of how to prepare students and implement frameworks that best support their academic and professional pursuits. He blends research and human interest stories with concrete tips that parents, students, teachers and administrators can follow to transform learning environments and create a world that truly celebrates cognitive diversity."
neurodiversity  2012  jonathanmooney  adhd  cognition  cognitivediversity  sfsh  accessibility  learning  education  differences  howwelearn  disability  difference  specialeducation  highered  highereducation  dyslexia  droputs  literacy  intelligence  motivation  behavior  compliance  stillness  norms  shame  brain  success  reading  multiliteracies  genius  smartness  eq  emotions  relationships  tracking  maryannewolf  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  punishment  rewards  psychology  work  labor  kids  children  schools  agency  brokenness  fixingpeople  unschooling  deschooling  strengths  strengths-basedoutlook  assets  deficits  identity  learningdisabilities  schooling  generalists  specialists  howardgardner  howweteach  teams  technology  support  networks  inclusivity  diversity  accommodations  normal  average  standardization  standards  dsm  disabilities  bodies  body 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Interview: Mati Diop (Simon Killer) on Vimeo
"Interview with actress Mati Diop star of Simon Killer - 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by Antonio Campos. Cinematographer: Joe Anderson. Editor: Antonio Campos, Babak Jalali, Zac Stuart Pontier. Producer: Sean Durkin, Josh Mond, Matt Palmieri. Co- producer: Melody Roscher. Also starring: Brady Corbet, Michael Abiteboul, Solo, Constance Rousseau, Lila Salet. Interview conducted by Eric Lavallee. IONCINEMA.com"
matidiop  film  filmmaking  2012  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  music  dance  imagery  photography 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Children learning to read later catch up to children reading earlier
"Two studies from English-speaking samples investigated the methodologically difficult question of whether the later reading achievement of children learning to read earlier or later differs. Children (n = 287) from predominantly state-funded schools were selected and they differed in whether the reading instruction age (RIA) was either five or seven years. Study 1 covered the first six years of school following three cohorts across a two-year design. Analyses accounted for receptive vocabulary, reported parental income and education, school-community affluence, classroom instruction, home literacy environment, reading self-concept, and age. The earlier RIA group had initially superior letter naming, non-word, word, and passage reading but this difference in reading skill disappeared by age 11. In Study 2, the decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension performance of 83 additional middle school-age children was compared. The two groups exhibited similar reading fluency, but the later RIA had generally greater reading comprehension. Given that the design was non-experimental, we urge further research to better understand developmental patterns and influences arising from different RIAs."

[via: https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/924722413840908288 ]
education  reading  2012  learning  children  fluency  literacy 
october 2017 by robertogreco
REPATRIATION — Gabby Miller
"This project facilitates the repatriation of “Home” a sculpture by Nguyen Phuong Linh from Oakland to Vietnam. "Home" is made from 200 year old heavy tropical hardwood, originally used as the floorboards to a Catholic church in the outskirts of Hanoi. This vessel was made in 2012 for Hinterlands at The Luggage Store Gallery. In 2017 "Home" was brought out of storage, and restored for the inaugural exhibition at The Museum of Capitalism,  in The Port of Oakland. "Home" was brought into public view with the express purpose of being repatriated to Vietnam, as a symbolic commemoration of imagining capitalism's end.

repatriate

verb re·pa·tri·ate \(ˌ)rē-ˈpā-trē-ˌāt, -ˈpa-\

to restore or return to the country of origin, allegiance, or citizenship repatriate prisoners of war

verb (used with object), repatriated, repatriating.

1. to bring or send back (a person, especially a prisoner of war, a refugee, etc.) to his or her country or land of citizenship.

2. (of profits or other assets) to send back to one's own country. verb (used without object), repatriated, repatriating.

3. to return to one's own country: to repatriate after 20 years abroad.

Repatriation is the return of art or cultural heritage, usually referring to ancient or looted art, to their country of origin or former owners (or their heirs). The disputed cultural property items are physical artifacts of a group or society that were taken from another group usually in an act of looting, whether in the context of imperialism, colonialism or war. The contested objects range widely from sculptures and paintings to monuments and human remains."

[See also: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYKOEcGl7LV/

"Phase 2 of Repatriation // Preparing for departure at @helloforevor studio // Repatriation is the return of art or cultural heritage, usually referring to ancient or looted art, to their country of origin or former owners (or their heirs). The disputed cultural property items are physical artifacts of a group or society that were taken from another group usually in an act of looting, whether in the context of imperialism, colonialism or war. The contested objects range widely from sculptures and paintings to monuments and human remains.

Repatriation of Nguyen Phuong Linh's wooden boat, made for HINTERLANDS at The Luggage Store Gallery, 2012.

Referencing hinterlands as a shipping term, the project explored the geopolitics of ocean freight trade, and the historical connection between. The two artists from Vietnam were invited to ship raw materials across The Pacific, from Vietnam to San Francisco, to produce their work. Nguyen Phuong Linh asked her father, who founded “Nha San Studio” - Vietnam’s first and longest running experimental art space in their family home, and who collects and salvages wood for a living, to send her wood of his choosing. Her father decided to send her the floorboards of a two hundred year old catholic church in the outskirts of Hanoi. These floorboards were thick and strong. They were planed down and shaped into this boat, which Linh gave the title “Home”.

The establishment of the Port of Oakland is deeply connected to the escalation of The Vietnam War, and the subsequent transformation of the global supply chain through the worldwide adoption of containerization. ➰
In 1967 the U.S. government contracted Sea-Land to begin service from The Port of Oakland to South Vietnam. In November of that year the 685-foot-long ship The Oakland delivered 609 thirty-five foot containers. The ship held as much cargo as could be carried on ten average break bulk ships hauling military freight to Vietnam.

Supplies flowed in, the cargo backlog dissipated. “The port congestion problem was solved,” the army’s history of 1967 declared triumphantly. * (Levinson, The Box) ➰"]
gabbymiller  repatriation  oakland  vietnam  art  sculpture  nguyenphuonglinh  capitalism  museumofcapitalism  hanoi  2017  2012  heritage  culture 
august 2017 by robertogreco
The Wild Dogs of Istanbul | The Smart Set
"No, you’d rather not cuddle with them. They seem a little too unpredictable and unkempt for that. And it’s not tempting to project human characteristics on them either. But it is easy to feel sorry for some of them, who bear traces of injuries, disease, and accidents. Most resemble one another: large, with a light-brown, sometimes darker coat. Some have short legs paired with unusually large bodies. Despite their scars, the wild dogs of Istanbul seem self-sufficient and untroubled, as if no one could mean them any harm. You can find them everywhere: between parked cars or, early in the morning, under the chairs in front of the Starbucks on Taksim Square. Often they just lie there and doze. Are they recovering from last night’s activities? Most people don’t seem bothered by them, but it’s obvious that some, a little uncertain, take pains to avoid them. But they are not to be made fun of because of that.

The dogs’ presence in this metropolis is not entirely without problems. Some of the animals are said to be so smart they understand traffic lights, but more often they cross streets in front of terrified drivers, keep residents awake with their barking, or even attack someone. In fact, I have myself observed an incident in my neighborhood Tarlabası, where a young man was literally chased by two dogs. He fell to the ground and dragged himself into a barbershop. It was painful to watch, but it all happened so quickly that one couldn’t really intervene; besides, how would one disperse the dogs without any adequate stick or tool? I don’t know what exactly preceded the incident, why the dogs had attacked the man in the first place. These attacks, however, happen far less often than one might expect, considering the dogs’ constant presence. No reliable count exists, but according to estimates, the dogs number about a hundred thousand. When you come to Istanbul, you will see that this doesn’t sound like an exaggeration.

The dogs’ position is a strange one: They are used to having people around, and even depend on them, but they don’t live directly together with humans. Behavioral scientist Konrad Lorenz, who once wrote about Istanbul’s stray dogs, observed that they carefully avoid loose small hens and newborn sheep — a lesson they learned in order to survive. Instead, they feed themselves in two ways. First, residents in the poorer sections of the city often put their trash bags out in front of their houses, where dogs and cats plunder them before trash trucks cart off the remaining piles in the early morning. But more and more metal trash cans are popping up, and their content is inaccessible, at least for dogs. Second, many people follow a custom (unfamiliar to Western observers) of more or less adopting a dog and regularly feeding it, without bringing it into their homes. Some people even make beds out of cardboard that become a dog’s regular spot in front of the house. Animals in these relationships are not full-fledged pets, but they are not complete strays either. In any case, their uncommitted “owners” never take them for walks. This reluctance to take in the animals can’t really be due to the size of the apartments; in a society where the single lifestyle is practically unknown, almost all residences are designed for families, and rarely measure less than 80 square meters. So what is the reason?

In Turkey, relationships to dogs are complex. In his novel My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk enters the mind of dog and asks himself about the origins of mankind’s enmity:
Why do you believe that those who touch us spoil their ablutions? If your caftan brushes against our damp fur, why do you insist on washing that caftan seven times like a frenzied woman? Only tinsmiths could be responsible for the slander that a pot licked by a dog must be thrown away or retinned. Or perhaps, yes, cats…

Although there is no clear basis for this belief in the Koran, strict Muslims consider dogs — especially their drool — to be unclean. People don’t let the animals into their homes because they could dirty the prayer rug and because, even today, little tradition exists of keeping dogs as pets. Furthermore, a common belief holds that köpekler, as dogs are called, prevent angels from visiting. Not all Turks share these views. In parts of Istanbul influenced by the West, all sorts of purebred dogs can be found, including traditional fighting breeds. In these cases, dogs are highly desirable status symbols, and many stores sell pet supplies. However, problems with religious neighbors disturbed by the presence of dogs can arise. “Many people want a dog, but don‘t know how to go about it,” says Bilge Okay of the dog protection society SHKD, which works toward better treatment of the animals.

Although keeping pets in this way is a very recent development, the breeding of dogs has a long tradition in the region. One of the oldest pieces of evidence for the domestication of dogs at all comes from Çayönü — in eastern Turkey, near the border with Syria –— from approximately 12,000 years ago. Well-known breeds like the Kangal, a very large shorthair, come to mind as well. Kangals were herd dogs used by Anatolian shepherds even before Islam spread throughout the region; they were associated with one of the 12 months of the year. But back to the wild dogs of Istanbul. Their presence in the city stretches far back, but their origins are the matter of legend: Do they hail from Turkmenistan? Did they arrive with the troops of the conqueror Mehmed II in the 15th century? Wherever their roots may lie, they have been an established part of the city for centuries, skulking in the shadows of the buildings.

Accounts of travelers — sometimes baffled, sometimes disconcerted or frightened — rarely fail to mention the dogs. In the 17th century, Jean de Thévenot noted that rich citizens of Istanbul bequeathed their fortunes to the city’s dogs to ensure their continued presence. And his contemporary Joseph Pitton de Tournefort heard from butchers who sold meat specially intended for feeding the dogs. He also saw how the city’s residents treated the animals’ wounds and prepared straw mats and even small doghouses for their canine neighbors. No less an establishment than the legendary Pera Palas, the best hotel, cared for the dogs and fed them regularly. Edmondo De Amicis, an Italian traveler whose book Constantinople records his impressions of the city in the mid-19th century, went so far as to describe Istanbul as a “giant kennel.” And Grigor Yakob Basmajean, an Orientalist born in Edirne, claimed in 1890 that no other city in the world had as many dogs as the metropolis on the Bosporus. The dogs were so omnipresent that streetcar employees had to drive them from the tracks with long sticks so the horse-drawn wagons could pass through. Passers-by could often stop to watch them fighting with one another. Their howling could be heard all night; there were so many dogs that their voices blended into a constant sound “like the quaking of frogs in the distance,” as one observer vividly described. It sounds like the dogs, not the authorities, set the tone. In popular shadow-puppet plays, dogs were compared to the poor.

Dealings with canines were always marked by ambivalence. Although dogs formed part of a romantic cityscape, caricatures from the Ottoman period depict them as threats to be stopped, along with cholera, crime, and women in European clothing. Again and again, attempts were made to catch them and remove them from the city. In the late 19th century, Sultan Abdülaziz decreed that the dogs should be rounded up and deported to Hayirsiz, an island of barren, steep cliffs in the Marmara Sea. Sivriada, a tiny island to which Byzantine rulers once banned criminals, made headlines in 1911 when the governor of Istanbul released tens of thousands of dogs there. A yellowed postcard shows hundreds of dogs on the beach; their voices could be heard even at great distances. However, an earthquake that occurred shortly thereafter was taken as a sign of God’s displeasure, and the dogs were brought back.

Attempts to stem the plague of dogs in the city continued, with more or less success. Their presence was always seen as a sign that the city could not impose order and guarantee the safety of residents. Cities like New York and Paris, where the problem was under control, became role models. Shortly after the revolution, Mary Mills Patrick, an American who taught at Istanbul’s Women’s College, thanked the new Turkish regime for its efforts in this area; after all, a civilized city was no place for packs of dogs. But even in the decades that followed, the dogs never completely disappeared. Occasional efforts to eliminate them were seen as acts of barbarism. Until 2004, when a law to protect the animals was finally passed, meatballs laced with strychnine were not uncommon. But today such draconian measures are things of the past.

Real change will only come once new solutions for the city’s trash problem are found and garbage is no longer simply placed on the curb, as it is in many neighborhoods today. Then things will be tough for the dogs. Animal protection activists today call for a concerted effort to catch the dogs, vaccinate them against rabies, sterilize them, and tag them before releasing them back into their territory. The World Health Organization also recommends this strategy. But gray areas exist in how authorities deal with the problem. Animal advocates claim that inexperienced veterinarians pack the neutered dogs into overcrowded cages, load them into trucks, and dump them in Belgrade Forest, about 10 miles northeast of the city near the Black Sea coast. There, the dogs are often attacked by wild animals or starve. “In the end, it would be better to put the animals to sleep than to release them in the unfamiliar wilderness,” says Bilge Okay. “But that would be against the religious beliefs of the people operating these facilities.”

… [more]
via:tealtan  2012  istnbul  dogs  multispecies  cities  urbanism  cats  animals  pets  orhanpamuk  history  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  strays  quiltros 
august 2017 by robertogreco
McLuhan in Space (and the Classroom) | Macroeducation
[posted about this here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/162565662048/to-go-with-a-previous-post-from-today-and-some ]

"While Richard Cavell argues in McLuhan in Space that McLuhan should be re-read as an artist, I contend that an equally plausible (and probably less original) suggestion is to re-read him as an educator. Thanks to Cavell, I have recently picked up one of McLuhan’s last books, City as Classroom: Understanding Language and Media, published in 1977, three years before his death.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m nowhere near to reaching the end of McLuhan’s writings (he has 26 books to his name and countless essays and interviews), so I could hardly even call it a re-reading in my case. However, in the works that I have read, it’s plain to see that McLuhan wanted to educate. He aimed to facilitate thought and discussion about both the present and historical transitions between broadly defined eras of communication (oral, print, written, electronic). He wanted us to understand the effects of media, and he wanted us to be aware of our environments, our tools, and the interactions between them. He wanted to facilitate a path for us to find our own understanding. He wanted us to understand media; he wanted us to learn. McLuhan was a media theorist, a communications guru, a historian, an artist, and an educator.

One of his contemporaries, Neil Postman, made a name for himself primarily as an educationist (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, The End of Education) before moving into social commentary and media ecology (Amusing Ourselves to Death, Technopoly). He used many of McLuhan’s ideas and methods to analyze and discuss the classroom environment and the purpose of education.

A common theme found throughout McLuhan’s work is that as we shift into living in the global village of the electronic age, we return to our tribal roots. The conflation of space and time, and communication at the speed of light have effectively shrunk our worlds, causing us to live in proximity with our neighbours, communicating through acoustic rather than visual space. McLuhan suggested that would once again become an oral culture, relying more on the spoken word than the printed. The electronic age would retribalize us.

In McLuhan in Space (which I posted some notes and quotes from last week), UBC professor Richard Cavell analyzes McLuhan as an artist and as a spatial historian. Here Cavell describes McLuhan’s concept of retribalization:
“McLuhan had been at pains to emphasize in his own writings: that retribalization was not intended as a return to a pre-literate utopia; on the contrary, the entry into the electronic era had initiated a process fraught with terrors, as well as benefits.” (Cavell 208)

Disruption is scary. Entering a new age is frightening — full of surprises, changes, and adjustments. McLuhan wrote under the glaze of the newly invented television, when we were suddenly shifting from living in a world of print to a world of audio and moving images. He felt that we were becoming like our ancestors of the oral age, who communicated mostly through acoustic means.

But as we’ve seen, McLuhan did not quite get it right, as the internet has since emerged to usurp television (as well as cinema, radio and telephone), and it is primarily a medium of print. Or at least it used to be. In the 21st century, high-speed bandwidth also allows us to watch lots of YouTube videos, television shows, and movies on our laptops, tablets and phones. The digital age is a world of words, images (moving and not), and sounds. Computers, phones, and video games are interactive and tactile. In the 21st century, we don’t live in acoustic or visual space, we live in audiovisual space — a hybrid of media that involves all the senses.

Mass Media

Neil Postman wrote countless books decrying the potentially disastrous effects of the mass media of television, using a very McLuhanesque approach. He wrote often about the purpose of education, often opining that an important part of one’s education was to become educated about alternatives to mass media.

Here Cavell summarizes the McLuhanesque take on the function of education:
“It is thus the function of education, and even more so the arts, to point away from this mass media mythology to an ideal world.” (p. 209)

“It is thus to their environment that McLuhan suggests these students turn in their quest for an education.

McLuhan remained attached to this notion in his last book, The City as Classroom (1977; with Eric McLuhan and Kathryn Hutchon), returning to notions about the classroom that he had first begun to work out a quarter of a century before in Explorations. ‘Classroom without Walls’ (Explorations 7 [1957]) argues that the electronic information explosion has been so great that ‘most learning occurs outside the classroom’ (ExC 1). This has broken the hegemony of the book as a teaching aid and challenged the monopoly on education vested in official institutions of learning. Yet most educators persist in regarding the products of the mass media as entertainment, rather than as educative. McLuhan points out, however, that many literary classics were originally regarded in the same way, and that the English language is itself a mass medium. The educational imperative is, thus, to master the new media in order to ‘assimilate them to our total cultural heritage’ (2) which would ‘provide the basic tools of perception’ as well as developing ‘judgment and discrimination with ordinary social experience’ (3). This observation is the point of departure for City as Classroom, which outlines methods for training perception through a series of exercises in properties of the media, with the goal of helping students to understand the sociocultural context in which they live. The exercises encourage students to go out into the community and observe, listen, interview, research, and think about the way in which their classroom space influences what they can and cannot know — ‘What did the designers of traditional schools intend when they put thirty or so desks in rows, facing the front of the room? Why is the blackboard at the front? why is the teacher’s desk at the front?’ (4).” (pp. 220-221)

City as Classroom is basically a collection of questions and activities for your students. It’s a book of lesson plans, in a sense, using the surroundings and environment as the subjects to be studied. I think it’d work great with a group of senior students in a writing class.

I would love to read or hear some responses to questions such as (all from the introduction of City as Classroom):
“Do the days of your school life seem like ‘doing time’ until you are eligible for the labor market? Do you consider that real education is outside the classroom? Do you find that what you learn inside the classroom is as useful as what you learn outside the classroom?”

“Talk to your fathers (and updated for the 21st century, mothers) about the sort of work they do in the daytime. How much of their time at work is spent looking at papers and books? Do they also bring their books and papers home? How many people do you know who work day in and day out with papers and books?”

There are also activities for students to explore the history, effects, and opinions surrounding books, films, television, clocks, computers, and eleven more (for a total of 16 units).

I’m looking forward to reading it over the spring break, and hope to be able to use it in the classroom sometime soon.
1977  marshallmcluhan  cityasclassroom  sfsh  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  2012  ivanillich  neilpostman  schools  schooling  highschool  teaching  learning  pedagogy  media  richardcavell  ericmcluhan  kathrynhutchon  education  lcproject  openstudioproject 
july 2017 by robertogreco
YBCA: Visualizing Citizenship: Seeking a New Public Imagination
“Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

Visualizing Citizenship: Seeking a New Public Imagination

Mar 10 2017 — Jun 18 2017

The Mexico-US border is a geography of conflict from which a more inclusive political vision can be shaped, based on integration and cooperation, not division and xenophobia.” - Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman

In the face of a new, more divisive, political landscape, the public narrative around borders surfaces fears on all sides of the political spectrum. Yet for architect and theorist Teddy Cruz and political scientist Fonna Forman, border communities are opportunities for civic and political creativity, rather than criminalization. These sites, to which they refer as “geographies of conflict,” are the basis of three projects that present case studies for more expansive and inclusive ways of thinking of the relationships between the United States and its neighbors, and more broadly propose that citizenship is organized around shared values and common interests, and not on the action of an isolationist nation with a homogeneous identity.

Composed of videos, diagrams, maps, and visual narratives designed in collaboration with Studio Matthias Görlich, the exhibition presents The Political Equator (2011), a video and wall diagram that captures a collective border-crossing performance through a drainage pipe joining two marginalized neighborhoods along the border wall that divides an informal settlement in Mexico from a natural estuary in California. Produced for this exhibition, a series of posters synthesize their work on the Cross-Border Citizenship Culture Survey (2011-ongoing), the result of a collaboration with Antanas Mockus, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; his think tank, Corpovisionarios; and city officials in San Diego and Tijuana. Also featured is The Medellín Diagram (2012-ongoing), which presents a new political and civic model for creating public spaces that facilitate cultural, political, and knowledge exchange based on the example of the city of Medellín and its extraordinary social and urban transformation."

[See also:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKugmPB1ev/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKuesOhEW3/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKucvjBnb4/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91baWBDUT/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91XhMB1B5/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BT91TldB9-0/ ]
ybca  teddycruz  fonnaforman  border  borders  sandiego  tijuana  medellín  antanasmockus  bogotá  matthiasgörlich  studiomatthiasgörlich  corpovisionarios2011  2012  cities  urban  urbanism  transformation  us  mexico  politcalequator  conflict  integration  cooperation  politic  geopolitics  art  design  california  medellin 
may 2017 by robertogreco
What is NEOLIBERALISM? on Vimeo
"What is Neoliberalism? is a video by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, featuring interviews with Lisa Duggan, Miranda Joseph, Sealing Cheng, Elizabeth Bernstein, Dean Spade, Sandra K. Soto, Teresa Gowan, and Ana Amuchástegui. In the video, contributors describe the various meanings that have been attributed to the term “neoliberalism,” the neoliberal economic policies developed through the IMF and the World Bank, and the usefulness of “neoliberalism” as an organizing rubric for contemporary scholars and activists. Drawing from research on immigration policy, the prison-industrial complex, poverty management, and reproductive rights, they sketch some of neoliberalism’s intersections with gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. Recorded Fall 2012.

What is Neoliberalism? was published in issue 11.1-11.2 of The Scholar & Feminist Online, “Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations.” See the entire issue at sfonline.barnard.edu/gender-justice-and-neoliberal-transformations for additional resources."

[Also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kL4p3llmHk ]

[See also: http://sfonline.barnard.edu/gender-justice-and-neoliberal-transformations/what-is-neoliberalism/ ]
2012  neoliberalism  lisaduggan  mirandajoseph  sealingcheng  latinamerica  worldbank  imf  globalization  economics  politics  liberalism  elizabethbernstein  deanspade  sandrasoto  teresagowan  us  anaamuchástegui  gender  sexuality  capitalism  elitism  marxism  neo-marxism  neo-foucaultism  wendybrown  nicholasrose  culture  society  markets  statetransformation  carceralstate  massincarceration  welfarestate  wealthconcentration  labor  work  trade  freetrade  exploitation  justice  socialjustice  immigration  prisons  systemsthinking  welfare  moralism  violence  deathpenalty  capitalpunishment  power  control  poverty  discipline  sovereignty  foucault  michelfoucault 
may 2017 by robertogreco
"Chilecito," or San Francisco's Little Chile - Curbed SF
"San Francisco has lots of areas defined by their history of ethnic settlement, like Chinatown and Little Italy, with some dating back to the city's earliest days. Many have long since disappeared, like Chilecito, or "Little Chile," the settlement of Chilean miners during the Gold Rush when San Francisco was nothing more than a new-born town.

When gold was first discovered in the Sierra Nevada foothills, some of the first miners to arrive in California to test their luck were from Chile. News of the discovery hit the Chilean port city of Valparaiso in August of 1948, and within six months thousands of Chileans had left for San Francisco. The first wave included savvy merchants who knew the coming influx of people would need supplies, so they brought their families along and set up shops. Next came the experienced miners who bought their own tickets or hired themselves out to rich entrepreneurs. They brought with them vast mining knowledge, more than any men in California possessed, and these "48ers" taught later arrivals how to dig shafts, pan for gold, and find the best locations. Later in the year, people of all walks of life arrived from Chile, including many prostitutes who were welcomed by the overwhelmingly male population. Ships that landed in San Francisco ports were soon deserted, as their crews abandoned them for the mines.

Due to their closer geographical proximity and their mining experience, Chileans were one of the first nationalities to immigrate to California during the Gold Rush. Most settled in a ravine by Telegraph Hill, in a square that today is bound by Montgomery, Pacific, Jackson and Kearny Streets. A report from 1881 described the Little Chile area as "a hollow filled with little wooden huts" where women worked doing the washing, and men were "either on their way or just returned from the mines." Some remained in the city, where they worked as bricklayers, bakers, or dock workers.

The settlement was attacked and robbed on July 15, 1849 by the Hounds, a self-appointed militia group from New York. When a Chilean merchant refused to give them money, they robbed the settlement and set fire to the tents. The event sparked a response in the town's population, and the Hounds were arrested and convicted by a jury of five town leaders. Since there was no prison, they were detained on a ship anchored in the bay.

In 2003, the Chilean Consulate laid the commemorative plaque on Kearny Street near Columbus (in front of Cafe Zoetrope)."
chile  sanfrancisco  history  2012 
february 2017 by robertogreco
When looking became seeing - Creative Review
"When John Berger’s BBC television series Ways of Seeing was transformed into a paperback book in 1972, its design owed much to its origins on screen. Forty years on from its first publication, it remains both an influential text and a pioneering example of the visual essay"



"Yet at its 40th anniversary, Ways of Seeing’s longevity exists largely because of the paperback book which followed the television series in the same year, a co-production from BBC Publications and Penguin. While the four programmes have been re-shown on the BBC (and were screened at the BFI in London earlier this month as part of its Berger season), they only really exist in any watchable form on the internet, in a batch of low res fragments.

The book has much more permanence: it remains not only in print, but as a set text on art and visual culture courses, and Richard Hollis’s design – in particular, his radical treatment of the book’s text and images – is lauded as a pioneering example of the visual essay.

“Everyone knows the book, and because it has a higher cultural standing than the TV programmes, people think it came first,” says Dibb. “But the book would never have been the way it is, if we hadn’t have made the series.”

Hollis’s clean placement of Berger’s text, interspersed with a litany of famous paintings, remains accessible and lucid, but its debt to the television series is notable. Hollis’s aim was to replicate the experience of watching and listening, but in print. “You can have a voiceover on television,” he says, “you can be looking and listening, and it was trying to get as near to that as possible.”


Hollis also treated Berger’s text in a new way. Deciding to set it in sans-serif Univers was one thing, but making it bold seemed to declare its difference from the traditional art book, as much as replicate Berger’s buoyant on-screen delivery.

“I wanted the text to be heavy, so that it was as heavy as the image,” says Hollis. “The idea being that you couldn’t read one without the other. I tried to make the text insistent.” In the majority of art books of the time, he recalls, “you tended to have rather spidery text, so people would go through the book and look at the pictures. There might be an explanatory caption, but often [there was] just an identification. So that’s why we kept the references to what things were in Ways of Seeing as minimal as possible, so that people would look at a picture, not because it was a Vermeer, but because it was interesting in relation to the text.”

In Hollis’s design the images become part of the text; they, too, are intended to be ‘read’, and are even indented at the same line length as the words. The large, colour plates common to more conventional art books exalted the image high above the text; Hollis’s conceit was to raise the level of the words to match the art.

But it was not for everyone – and Penguin’s head of design, Hans Schmoller, made that quite clear to Hollis, who received cover proofs scrawled with the typographer’s comments.

“I remember the biggest remark was ‘Is this meant to be centred?!'” Hollis recalls. But the control of the book was firmly in the BBC camp, in the hands of the late Peter Campbell, and so Schmoller’s objections to its radical appearance – the cover cleverly proffering the very first page of the book – went unheeded. (Hollis has previously told the story of when a finished copy of Ways of Seeing was placed on a Penguin director’s desk, it was promptly hurled down a nearby corridor.)

This violent break with the established traditions of art publishing also had its roots in the ways that Dibb’s 30 minute films reacted to the early conventions of art on television, as epitomised in art historian Kenneth Clark and his Civilisation series from 1969. Shot on 35mm film, Clark’s epic 13-episode history of Western art was one of the first documentaries to be made in colour. Clark’s delivery, as he took the viewer through his “personal view” of what were largely European artworks was establishment, patrician, and decidedly clipped in tone.

“Art history in the mid-1970s seemed to be limited by its commitment to a canon of masterpieces, largely the property of the wealthy,” says Professor David Crowley, head of the Critical Writing in Art and Design programme at the Royal College of Art.

“It was also stymied by connoisseurship; tweedy men talking about brushstrokes and style. Berger’s Marxism meant that he was as interested in the reproduction of images as their origination [and] concerned with the persistence of certain recurrent motifs in our culture, like the nude, whether in the gallery, or in an ad in a glossy magazine. This interest in all forms of visual culture, ignoring the pompous high and low distinction, is now the norm, but it was quite provocative at the time.”

Professor Teal Triggs, who uses Ways of Seeing on the London College of Communication’s Design Writing Criticism course, also acknowledges that Berger’s comments in the programme on the female nude influenced feminist readings on art and design – namely, she says, through his focus on the way of “seeing women” and “how these depictions are positioned in relationship to a male spectator”.

For Triggs, “Berger presents a framework involving the ‘surveyor’ and the ‘surveyed’, as one way we might understand sexuality and the female body, her ‘presence’ and sense of herself, personal relationships and who is actually doing the looking. Women are ‘objects of vision’ [and] such a perspective resonated at a time in the 1970s when women’s liberation was an urgent concern and notions of the body and self were being freshly questioned. Berger took these ideas onto national television.”

While both programmes aired on BBC2, compared to Civilisation, Ways of Seeing had a rather more modest budget. It was filmed over six months, mainly at a studio in Ealing in west London (bar a nighttime visit to the National Gallery) and unlike Clark’s grand tour of churches and museums to see the original works of art, Ways of Seeing relied, rather fittingly, upon a host of reproductions.

According to Dibb, a deeper layer of irony now also exists: the copyright of the works shown as reproductions in Ways of Seeing prevents the series from being available on DVD, whereas the rights to Clark’s films of the artworks themselves are held by the BBC. Hence Civilisation is now in glorious HD via Blu-Ray, while Ways of Seeing is scattered across several uploads on YouTube.

But even though many of the ideas that Berger took forward in the early 1970s are now commonplace (and Benjamin much more widely read), Ways of Seeing’s influence remains pervasive. For one, the use of the term ‘visual culture’, to imply the ubiquity of image-based communications – from art to advertising – was brand new territory when Berger, Dibb and Hollis began documenting its occurrence on film and then in print. Moreover, what Hollis was able to do with the format of the book still influences designers today.

James Goggin, now director of design, publishing and new media at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago says that his design for Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane’s Folk Archive book was a direct homage to Hollis’s design, specifically to his trick of seeming to start the book’s text on the front cover.

“While very much admiring Hollis’s direct approach with the book’s introduction starting right there on the cover, I’d always been slightly disappointed that it didn’t follow through directly on the inside front cover and title page, as one might have expected,” says Goggin. “So in designing Folk Archive with a very functional, almost objectively encyclopedic approach, the preface started on the cover [with] four images in a general text page format, as opposed to one single work in a more art book-like full-bleed. Crucially, the text continued directly across the inside cover and title page. The result was a gesture that I acknowledge as inspired by Hollis, but also a playful one attempting to belatedly fulfil the continuous text promise of his original cover.”

The influence of Hollis’s approach is also evident on the graphic design journal, dot dot dot. Peter Bil’ak, who worked on the publication with designer Stuart Bailey recalls “the directness and clarity of Hollis’s no-nonsense approach. Very often, designers see text as grey blocks, [in Ways of Seeing] Hollis is engaged deeply with the text, and helped the message to come across.”

For Crowley the idea of the visual essay as a kind of ‘filmic object’ is a construct with roots in the 1970s, within the ideas brought about by Jean-Luc Godard’s Dziga Vertov group, for example, and has become a concern of contemporary artists such as Ryan Gander and the Otolith Group."



"“There’s a nice connection between I, Eye, Hollis’s early visual essay recording his visit to Cuba in the early 1960s and the visual essay in Ways of Seeing,” Crowley adds, “despite the differences in content.” It’s significant that, in terms of charting his own influences, Hollis also looked to film, most notably to French filmmaker Chris Marker’s book, Commentaires I (1961), where the placement of text and image directly affected the way Hollis would treat Berger’s material.

For Goggin, Ways of Seeing continues the trend in the late 1960s where the trade paperback was used as a vehicle for communicating progressive ideas to a wider audience. He cites works by Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller and Quentin Fiore, Victor Papanek, Carl Sagan, and Bruno Munari as precedents.

But while the avant-garde nature of these texts has recently been re-examined in Adam Michaels and Jeffrey T Schnapp’s The Electric Information Age Book (CR April), it’s possible that Ways of Seeing is, in the UK at least, one of very few 60p paperbacks to have had … [more]
johnberger  2012  waysofseeing  books  television  tv  visualessays  design  walterbenjamin  richardhollis 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Meeting John Berger - YouTube
"Portrait by Jos de Putter about writer, artist and philosopher John Berger, who received the Groeneveld

Director: Jos de Putter
Cinematography: Jean Counet
Sound Recording: Joris van Ballegoijen
Editors: Stefan Kamp, Clara van Gool
Sound Design: Boon and Booy
Producer: Wink de Putter"

[See also: https://jeancounet.myportfolio.com/meeting-john-berger ]

[via:
"Beautiful film of a reading by John Berger, who always reminds us how to be human."
https://twitter.com/tejucole/status/266936094543708160 ]
johnberger  2012  josdeputter  jeancounet  video  tejucole 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Why ravens, crows are more common now in Bay Area - SFGate
"Not so long ago, common ravens were uncommon in the Bay Area. A 1927 reference calls them "rare" except at Point Reyes. American crows lived mostly along the Marin County coast, not in the East Bay.

In 1991, Audubon Christmas Bird Counts tallied 17 crows and 54 ravens in San Francisco; 60 crows and 23 ravens in Oakland. The 2011 San Francisco count reported 599 ravens and 566 crows; Oakland had 1,152 crows and 193 ravens.

Remarkable, especially considering that crows, if not ravens, are highly susceptible to the West Nile virus. California Department of Public Health statistics show more dead crows than any other bird species testing positive for West Nile: 1,792 in 2008; 468 last year. (Raven mortality was minor.) The disease devastated crow populations in the East and Midwest, but California populations weren't dented.

Much of the crow and raven boom is urban. Birder Josiah Clark has seen flocks of 90 ravens in San Francisco. City crows are hard to miss in Berkeley and elsewhere in the East Bay; they're certainly, noisily, all over our neighborhood.

What brings them here? Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes that they don't get shot in cities; they benefit from both federal protected status and local firearms ordinances. That alone may encourage boldness. Also, he says, cities tend to be warmer than the countryside, and have large trees for night roosting. Urban crows are less likely to encounter their mortal enemy, the great horned owl, and city lights let crows spot owls before the owls spot them.

There's food, too: not so much the landfill smorgasbord (more the gulls' beat) as the fast-food parking lot buffet. "We eat so much out of doors now that these very intelligent birds can access all those food scraps we just drop or toss on the street," said Dan Murphy, compiler of the San Francisco Christmas Count. Some people feed them on purpose, too."

[See also:

"Clever crows, ravens crowd the Bay Area"
http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/thedirt/article/Clever-crows-ravens-crowd-the-Bay-Area-2738443.php

"They’re everywhere! Crows, ravens overrun Bay Area"
http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/02/14/theyre-everywhere-crows-ravens-overrun-bay-area/ ]
sanfrancisco  crows  ravens  birds  corvids  bayarea  2012 
january 2017 by robertogreco
How to Tell a Raven From a Crow | Audubon
"You’re outside, enjoying a sunny day when a shadow at your feet causes you to look up. A large, black bird flies over and lands in a nearby tree. You wonder: is that a crow or a raven?

These two species, Common Ravens and American Crows, overlap widely throughout North America, and they look quite similar. But with a bit of practice, you can tell them apart.

You probably know that ravens are larger, the size of a Red-tailed Hawk. Ravens often travel in pairs, while crows are seen in larger groups. Also, watch the bird’s tail as it flies overhead. The crow’s tail feathers are basically the same length, so when the bird spreads its tail, it opens like a fan. Ravens, however, have longer middle feathers in their tails, so their tail appears wedge-shaped when open.

Listen closely to the birds’ calls. Crows give a cawing sound. But ravens produce a lower croaking sound.

We’re back looking up at that tree. Now can you tell? Is this an American Crow or a Common Raven?

That’s a raven. The bird calls you hear on BirdNote come from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To hear them again, begin with a visit to our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Michael Stein."

[audio here: http://birdnote.org/show/ravens-and-crows-who-who ]
crows  ravens  corvids  2012  birds  animals  nature 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Typotheque: Greta Typeface System
[See also:
https://www.typotheque.com/books/greta_sans_specimen
https://www.typotheque.com/blog/icon_font_in_10_weights
https://vimeo.com/37311413 ]

"Greta Sans explores a multidimensional continuum of possibilities, going beyond the relationship between weight and width, dissolving the boundaries between display and text typefaces.

Greta Sans explores a multidimensional continuum of possibilities, going beyond the relationship between weight and width, dissolving the boundaries between display and text typefaces. It is a powerful toolbox capable of dealing with the most complex typographical situations.

Greta Sans comes in 10 weights which, combined with its four widths (Compressed, Condensed, Normal, Expanded), create a tremendous range of possibilities. Read more about the process in the Designing Type Systems article.

Continuous Optical sizes
Greta Sans is designed as a continuous optical size system. While the basic text styles (Regular) are spaced and optimised more loosely for use at small sizes, the surrounding extremes (Hairline, Black) are designed to be used as Display types, and therefore spaced and kerned tightly. The resulting spectrum then runs continuously from Display to Text to Display use.

Choosing Weights
Most widths of Greta Sans include 10 weights which give you precise control over the colour of the text. Choose adjacent weight to achieve an even colour Ⓑ, for example you can set body text in 12pt Light and notes in 7pt Regular. Skip weights if you are choosing style for the emphasis Ⓐ. In general, it is sufficient to adjust the weight by one degree, use SemiBold (and not Medium) to emphasise text set in Regular."
typography  fonts  typefaces  2012  greta 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Teaching is Compression
"Teaching itself comes in at least two forms. It's not just about broadcasting knowledge. No matter how many students you have, if that's all you're doing you aren't making as much progress as you could. The internet is a powerful tool for Type I teaching, but it can't help much with Type II. That is why it is not a satisfactory replacement.

The second type of teaching is a form of compression, making things easier to understand. I don't mean simply eliding details, or making your proofs more terse. I mean compression in the time it takes to explain an idea and its implications.

Computer science is hard. Logic is hard. And that's fine. But if we leave this world as complicated as we found it then we've failed to do our jobs. Think about it this way: if the next generation learns at the same speed as yours, they won't have time to move beyond you. Type II teaching is what enables Type I progress.

Physics went through a period of compression in the middle of the last century. Richard Feynman's reputation wasn't built on discovering new particles or laws of nature, but for discovering better ways to reason about what we already knew. [1] Mathematics has gone though several rebuilding periods. That's why you can pick up a child's math book today and find negative numbers, the square root of two, and many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. Every one of those mundane ideas was once the hardest problem in the world. My word, people died in arguments over the Pythagorean Theorem. Now we teach it to kids in a half hour. If that's not progress I don't know what is.

So how do we get there in computer science? How can we simplify what we already know so the next crop learns what they need to put our best efforts to shame?

The second form of progress is closely related to the second form of teaching. To my mind, understanding and explaining are just opposite ends of the same process. The only way to prove that you understand something is to explain it to somebody else. Not even using the knowledge is an airtight proof. That's why teachers are always telling you to show your work, to explain step-by-step how you got to the answer.

The most powerful way I know of to understand and explain is through story. Rendering a complex idea into a simple example, analogy, metaphor or allegory simultaneously achieves compression and a way to spread that idea far and wide. Making a good story also forces you to think hard about ways to drive home both the idea and its implications."
teaching  compression  howweteach  explanation  analogy  2012  carlosbueno  richardfeynman  math  mathematics 
september 2016 by robertogreco
What do elephants and Eames chairs have in common?: Design Observer
"I would love to get more nominations for charismatic megafauna from any design field. What object appears in every design museum exhibition? What building image always illustrates an architect's career? Which graphic stands for all of Russian Constructivism, over and over again? And how, having identified these beasts, can we expand the pool of imagery in order to expand the parameters of discussion. How can we allow the public to see design as part of a complex environment rather than a string of greatest hits?"
2012  alexandralange  eames  rayeames  charleseames  design  furniture  history 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller's Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975) | Open Culture
"Think of the name Buckminster Fuller, and you may think of a few oddities of mid-twentieth-century design for living: the Dymaxion House, the Dymaxion Car, the geodesic dome. But these artifacts represent only a small fragment of Fuller’s life and work as a self-styled “comprehensive anticipatory design scientist.” In his decades-long project of developing and furthering his worldview — an elaborate humanitarian framework involving resource conservation, applied geometry, and neologisms like “tensegrity,” “ephemeralization,” and “omni-interaccommodative” — the man wrote over 30 books, registered 28 United States patents, and kept a diary documenting his every fifteen minutes. These achievements and others have made Fuller the subject of at least four documentaries and numerous books, articles, and papers, but now you can hear all about his thoughts, acts, experiences, and times straight from the source in the 42-hour lecture series Everything I Know, available to download at the Internet Archive. Though you’d perhaps expect it of someone whose journals stretch to 270 feet of solid paper, he could really talk.

In January 1975, Fuller sat down to deliver the twelve lectures that make up Everything I Know, all captured on video and enhanced with the most exciting bluescreen technology of the day. Props and background graphics illustrate the many concepts he visits and revisits, which include, according to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, “all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries,” “his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization,” and no narrower a range of subjects than “architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering.” In his time as a passenger on what he called Spaceship Earth, Fuller realized that human progress need not separate the “natural” from the “unnatural”: “When people say something is natural,” he explains in the first lecture (embedded above as a YouTube video above), “‘natural’ is the way they found it when they checked into the picture.” In these 42 hours, you’ll learn all about how he arrived at this observation — and all the interesting work that resulted from it.

(The Buckminster Fuller archive has also made transcripts of Everything I Know — “minimally edited and maximally Fuller” — freely available.)"
buckminsterfuller  1975  lectures  internetarchive  2012 
april 2016 by robertogreco
- Path puts a silly amount of trust in its avatars,...
"Path puts a silly amount of trust in its avatars, especially given their tiny size. I never know who the shoes are.

Path is more tappy than typey. That’s fine, I suppose. It certainly makes for a clean flow.

Path is tappy and its content reads like the content of taps. “I am in a place,” you tap. “:)”, come the replies.

Path is pretty in the same designy way as our modern museums. They are shaped like battleships and grain silos and crumpled souffles. There is much said about flow and fatigue and how one of these has been optimized and the other one reduced.

These museums are very exciting when they open. You show up and marvel along with all of the other fans of architecture. Maybe you return for one of those nights where they stay open late and there is a band and drinking. “A great space,” you think. Maybe one day you’ll be rich and rent out the atrium for a private party.

The art doesn’t get talked about so much at these museums. The museum itself is the “social object,” as it were.

Eventually the particulars around which the museum was designed fall out of fashion. A fresh crop of architects finds it to be too flashy, or too dull, or to have been guided by faulty principles. There is congestion where there should be flow. Certain rooms are simply exhausting. Maybe it is even an eyesore.

This is good for the museum. Now they can really fuck up the place. Fill a room with a thousand cubic feet of lead. Let Matthew Barney dangle from a rope and scribble some shit high on a wall where no one can see it. Or: just let their rooms be dull rooms filled with rousing art.

Path is a monument to Path. It is no place to scribble in. I wish it longevity so that it might find shabbiness."
socialmedia  path  design  productdesign  2012  museums  sterility 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Letters of Note: Some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal
"May 7, 2006

Dear Oprah,

Do you remember when you learned to read, or like me, can you not even remember a time when you didn't know how? I must have learned from having been read to by my family. My sisters and brother, much older, read aloud to keep me from pestering them; my mother read me a story every day, usually a children's classic, and my father read from the four newspapers he got through every evening. Then, of course, it was Uncle Wiggily at bedtime.

So I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries. Why this endemic precocity? Because in my hometown, a remote village in the early 1930s, youngsters had little to do but read. A movie? Not often — movies weren't for small children. A park for games? Not a hope. We're talking unpaved streets here, and the Depression.

Books were scarce. There was nothing you could call a public library, we were a hundred miles away from a department store's books section, so we children began to circulate reading material among ourselves until each child had read another's entire stock. There were long dry spells broken by the new Christmas books, which started the rounds again.

As we grew older, we began to realize what our books were worth: Anne of Green Gables was worth two Bobbsey Twins; two Rover Boys were an even swap for two Tom Swifts. Aesthetic frissons ran a poor second to the thrills of acquisition. The goal, a full set of a series, was attained only once by an individual of exceptional greed — he swapped his sister's doll buggy.

We were privileged. There were children, mostly from rural areas, who had never looked into a book until they went to school. They had to be taught to read in the first grade, and we were impatient with them for having to catch up. We ignored them.

And it wasn't until we were grown, some of us, that we discovered what had befallen the children of our African-American servants. In some of their schools, pupils learned to read three-to-one — three children to one book, which was more than likely a cast-off primer from a white grammar school. We seldom saw them until, older, they came to work for us.

Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it.

And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.

The village of my childhood is gone, with it most of the book collectors, including the dodgy one who swapped his complete set of Seckatary Hawkinses for a shotgun and kept it until it was retrieved by an irate parent.

Now we are three in number and live hundreds of miles away from each other. We still keep in touch by telephone conversations of recurrent theme: "What is your name again?" followed by "What are you reading?" We don't always remember.

Much love,

Harper"
harperlee  books  reading  howweread  children  2012  2006  ebooks  social  socialnetworks  rural  cilldhood  oprah  conversation  whyweread 
february 2016 by robertogreco
How to Read for Grad School | Miriam E. Sweeney
"In graduate school the work load increases and students will find that they are expected to master two to three times the material that they were used to as an undergraduate. This can be intimidating to the point of overwhelming a student into paralysis. Following these tips should help you master your readings instead of allowing the readings to master you!

1. Read Strategically, Not Linearly. Reading for graduate school is different than reading a book for pleasure. When we read for pleasure we often start at the beginning of the book, reading carefully in a linear fashion. If you do this with your academic material, it will take twice as long and it is likely you won’t retain the right kind of information from the reading. Instead of reading linearly, read strategically. As an academic reader your job is to mine the text you are reading for information. Instead of cruising along the narrative, you need to dive in, find the information you need, and move along to the next stack of readings for class.

If you are reading a book this means you should look over the table of contents, then read the entire introduction carefully. In academic books, the introduction is where the author states all of their main points, the framework they will use, and an outline of what information will be covered in each chapter. Next, look over the last chapter. This is the conclusion, which will restate the main arguments of the author and will often contextualize these arguments in a broader context, suggest next steps, or speculate solutions or alternatives. From here you can go to the parts of the book you want deeper knowledge about. Individual chapters will be laid out similarly to the book structure with an introduction, and middle and the conclusion. Skimming the beginning and end of the chapter will give you the main points, then you can gather evidence by browsing the middle parts of the chapter. Remember, you are not really expected to read every single word of the book; your mandate is to understand the author’s main ideas, arguments, and be able to articulate why this discussion matters.

If you are reading a journal article, start by checking the name of the journal that published the article. This will key you in to the scope and boundaries that the article is working within. Next, carefully read the title and the abstract of the piece. A good abstract should clearly explain the main argument of the article, the kind of evidence the author uses, and a succinct conclusion, or what the author found out. Armed with this information, look over the introduction to see how the author is framing their work, paying attention to the citations they use. This tells you who the author is trying to be in dialogue with. Next, flip to the discussion section. Sometimes this is separate than the conclusion, sometimes not, depending on the disciplinary standards of the author and journal. Read the discussion and conclusion carefully. These sections will explain the author’s main arguments and the “why you should care” piece. Now you can go back through the article armed with the knowledge of where the author is leading you and browse over methods and results sections. Pay attention particularly to images and data visualizations. Note how these things relate to or support the discussion and conclusion sections you read.

Reading strategically instead of linearly will make you a more efficient and effective academic reader. Getting familiar with how different formats of writing are structured will give you the confidence and control to find the information you need in them more efficiently.

2. Take Notes! As you are reading strategically, you absolutely must take notes simultaneously. Otherwise it is guaranteed you will not remember the kinds of details you need to recall in class, in your paper, in your own research down the road. Develop a system of your own whether it is sticking a post-it note in the book and jotting something down, or opening up RefWorks or Zotero, or Word and throwing some notes down as you read. Whatever you do, remember that future you will have NO IDEA what present you is thinking, no matter how brilliant a thought it is. Be specific, include detailed citations and pages numbers for direct quotes so you don’t have to chase them later.

If you are reading as preparation for a class, make sure you are also jotting down 3-5 questions, observations, or provocations that you can use in class for participation. In grad school, everyone is expected to participate on a high level, so have something to say ahead of time to avoid the high-blood pressure that comes from your professor’s cold, hard stare.

3. Be purposeful. Being purposeful in your readings means that as you are moving strategically through the text you are also being deliberate about what you want to glean from the reading, what are meant to glean, and how this fits with the other readings and conversations you have had in class, along with your own life experiences. Ask yourself, “What is the author trying to say? What is motivating her exploration of this topic? What does this research contribute? What academic conversations is the author trying to align with? What are the main arguments of this piece? How does this relate to my other assigned readings?” Going in with these questions in mind will focus you as you read and aid you in pulling out the most relevant information.

4. A Critical Perspective. Lastly, applying a critical perspective in your reading is helpful for situating a reading in broader contexts. Contrary to how it sounds, being critical does not simply mean being negative or criticizing wantonly. Critical perspectives are those that trace and name flows of power: Who has power and who does not? Who benefits from particular social arrangements, and whom do they marginalize? Critical perspectives also question assumptions and values that are implicit in arguments: What values are underlying this work? What experiences and perspectives do these values privilege? How might centering different values or experiences re-frame the argument or conversation? Asking questions like this will help you have deeper conversations about your readings, and really, isn’t that the whole point of graduate school?

Time to make your reading work for you- good luck!"
reading  pedagogy  teaching  2012  miriamsweeney  howto  tutorials  studying  notetaking  criticalthinking  gradschool  howtoread  academia  academics 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Introducing InformaCam – The Guardian Project
[See also:
http://eyeofestival.com/2015/speaker/harlo-holmes/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqR5K_6xwH0
https://blog.witness.org/2013/02/informacam-knight-news-challenge/ ]

"These are interesting times, if you go by Times Magazine as an indicator. The magazine’s person of the year for 2011 was The Protester, preceded in 2010 by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Both entities partners with equal stake in freely sharing the digital content that shows the world what’s going on in it, at any time, from behind any pair of eyes.The Protester: Person of the Year Also casting in their lot with the others is Time Magazine’s 2006 person of the year, You: the You that puts the “you” in “user-generated content;” the You whose miasma of bits, bytes, and the powerful images they express are becoming increasingly problematic. Problematic and exciting. As governments, police forces, and other power players here and abroad crack down on voices of dissent, it is only You, The Protester, armed not with a press pass, but with a smartphone and a Twitter account, who brings the rest of the world its news. You do it mainly without either the support or permission of those in power, and this makes you a very important person in the world.

The smartphone’s role in the defense of human rights has thus become ever-more clear. How can we make it clearer? Our latest project, InformaCam, tackles this issue head-on. In collaboration with Witness.ORG and the International Bar Association, we’re building a powerful tool to create iron-clad digital images and video that could, should the occasion arise, be used in courts of law to bring justice. This is no small feat– with this project we are helping create the first evidentiary standards for digital media in the social networking age. So, there’s been a lot of excitement these past few weeks about InformaCam, as well as a lot of mystery. It’s time to give the project a proper unveiling.

InformaCam is a plugin for ObscuraCam that allows the user, without much intervention on their own part, to inflate image and video with extra points of data, or metadata. The metadata includes information like the user’s current GPS coordinates, altitude, compass bearing, light meter readings, the signatures of neighboring devices, cell towers, and wifi networks; and serves to shed light on the exact circumstances and contexts under which the digital image was taken. Some users will already be familiar with ObscuraCam, which allows for capturing and digitally manipulating media. With InformaCam included, the app starts to behave almost like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, supporting non-destructive, layer-based edits to media. This means that a version of an image can be created with any sensitive image data and metadata preserved and encrypted to trusted entities, along with a redacted version that has its metadata stripped which can be easily shared to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or any public service the user wishes to use."
informacam  via:unthinkingly  2012  harloholmes  obscuracam  witness  protest  activism  technology 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin - From the Current - The Criterion Collection
"Jean-Pierre Gorin’s three Southern California movies are so militantly unclassifiable that terms like documentary or essay film seem as hopelessly out of sync with the recalcitrant and frequently exhilarating works themselves as a Marxist harangue in a Burger King. Movie criticism is ill equipped to deal with these ecstatic operations, which get high on their own cunning strategies.

How on earth did this Sorbonne-educated son of Jewish Trotskyites, onetime student of Althusser, Lacan, and Foucault, pre-1968 Marxist firebrand and partner in crime of Jean-Luc Godard wind up in Greater San Diego making these peculiarly all-American movies? Let’s just say that he followed his desire. “Many political people have self-conscious and proclaimed interests that they call revolutionary,” he explained to Danish filmmaker and critic Christian Braad Thomsen in a 1974 Jump Cut interview. “But they also have unconscious interests that can be completely reactionary, even if they are linked to the revolutionary interests. There comes the point when I say: ‘Man, blow your mind, try to dig into your own unconscious, try to find where your investment and your interest is.’” During their misunderstood Dziga Vertov Group period, Godard and Gorin were struggling to find a new, living definition of the political: over the years, Godard went increasingly macro, enlarging his sense of his own consciousness to the point where it covered the entire expanse of Western civilization; Gorin went micro, allowing his films and the people and places and contradictions that nourished them to speak in their own idiosyncratic voices. Poto and Cabengo (1980), Routine Pleasures (1986), and My Crasy Life (1992) are, on one level, vastly different experiences, each with its own peculiar frame of reference and line of aesthetic attack. Taken together, they represent an unofficial “language” trilogy, in which varying styles and modes of American speech ravish and are ravished in turn.

Gorin was invited to Southern California by painter, film critic, and teacher Manny Farber, when Farber was in the process of building a visual arts department at the University of California, San Diego. As Gorin put it to writer Lynne Tillman in 1988, “The meeting with Farber was a determining one. As determining, in a sense, as my encounter with Godard years ago. The reading of his film criticism gave me a very different key to American cinema than the one I used in France, a way to ground it in the culture and its language, to pry it away from its own mythology. But more importantly, it’s from reflecting on his painting, his main activity for years by the time I met him, that I learned the most.”

While he was scrutinizing a new landscape through new eyes, Gorin found the story of Grace and Virginia Kennedy, a pair of twins from nearby Point Loma who, according to the press, spoke in their own private language. “The Loch Ness monster had been nowhere in sight that year, and I suspect the journalists felt the twins would be a good substitute,” Gorin told Tillman. “They built up a case which reeked of Wild Child mystique.” Gorin realized instantly that there was no private language but rather “a patchwork of southern lingo spoken by their father and of the deformations imposed on the English language by their German-born mother.” His newfound American friend the producer–star programmer–California gentleman Tom Luddy suggested filmmaker Les Blank as a cameraman, and Gorin began his inquiry into something that “had been so completely misconstrued. It seemed like an eminently dramatic premise: two kids who moved and sounded like hummingbirds, who for years had been privately deciphering the world for each other, who did not know why they had suddenly become the object of so much attention.” Poto and Cabengo (the names by which the twins sometimes called each other) is not a “portrait” of Ginny and Grace and their family, or a “probing look at the strange phenomenon of idioglossia,” but a rhapsodic layering of elements and relations, filmed by Blank in singingly lyrical motion and color. The film can be examined from multiple angles, each as valid, not to mention exciting, as the next.

“Does anyone else use sound as a totally filmic weapon?” wrote Farber of Godard. The same could be said of Gorin’s fix on the spoken word in Poto and Cabengo, and throughout the trilogy, a matter of tireless ethnographic curiosity, slaphappy connoisseurship, and an immigrant intellectual’s ironically tinged boosterism of his new culture—in fact, the title of one of Godard’s finest and least-known works nicely sums up this side of Gorin’s cinematic enterprise: Puissance de la parole. In Poto and Cabengo, you can practically taste the filmmaker’s joy as he circles around the katzenjammerian speech patterns of Chris Kennedy, the raunchy vulgarity of her Hispanic neighbors, and Tom Kennedy’s depressed Georgia drawl, and then contrasts those voices with the squeaky-clean cadences of the speech therapists and linguists, perfectly enunciating every syllable of their expert opinions.

All three films are conversations—conversations between people and between those people and the unlikely landscapes in which they dwell, between cliché and reality, inside and outside, difference and repetition, sound and image, filmmaker and subject, body language and verbal language, and, supremely, between Gorin and himself as he continually revises his own position relative to both the movie and his adopted country. They are explorations and self-explorations, pinpointing and opening up all the inconvenient details and exceptions that short-circuit any final judgments. At first glance, we sophisticates may feel like we have the Kennedy household, Routine Pleasures’ Pacific Beach & Western railway crew, and My Crasy Life’s West Side S.O.S., Sons of Samoa, 32nd Street gangbangers all figured out. We are disabused of such notions almost instantaneously. Every rhetorical move is either jarred or knocked out of place by a countermove, and we are left with a cinematic organism in which nothing is frozen and everything is in ceaseless motion. I honestly can’t think of another movie that keeps tunneling through its own foundation as relentlessly as these three do, each stopping just short of a complete cave-in.

In Poto and Cabengo (and Routine Pleasures as well), the filmmaker’s voice-over squeezes some comedy out of the spectacle of an “ex-Marxist” immigrant fretting over the degree to which he is still French or already American. It’s easy, and slightly misleading, to become fixated on Gorin’s deadpan delivery of his stylized and allusive commentary, in which he borrows Farber’s wisecracking deflations and turns them on the film in general and himself in particular. In his writing, Farber found a language that was scintillating, thrillingly dense with metaphors, and utterly precise, disarming both the reader and any conventionally authoritative voices, be they academic, moralistic, corporate, or political. Gorin adapts Farber’s strategy to his own purposes in order to maintain a one-to-one relationship with his subjects and his audience. While the voice-over scores a few comic points here and there and maintains a nice surface tension, its principal purpose is utilitarian: to steer the film up, down, and sideways, and finally guide us to the more unsettling seriocomic state of affairs deep within the material. The gap between Tom and Chris Kennedy’s vision of their economic situation and the gruesome reality is terrifyingly wide, a real-life version of early movie comedy’s fixation on the gulf between aspiration and achievement. The only reasonable response to the strange sight of this “close-knit” family sitting around their cardboard hearth is to laugh, as they might just do were they to wander into a theater and get a load of themselves. This is not the comedy of cruelty but of extreme identification.

Gorin’s American movies are handmade productions that now speak to us in two tenses. Three decades and a “digital revolution” later, they are among the most provocative artifacts of the last moment when movies really were made by hand, and when, for a precious few (Gorin, Godard, Glauber Rocha, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Robert Frank, Yvonne Rainer, Chantal Akerman), process was on an equal footing with product. As immediate, present-tense experiences, they are endlessly self-revealing, an array of clear aesthetic choices, made from a limited set of cinematic elements, combined, layered, pulled apart and put back together in different configurations to build a rich, winningly active surface texture in the mind of the viewer. They are rude and lovably inelegant movies, resisting any drift into sophistication or severity, and resembling nothing so much as the earliest sound productions of Walsh or Wellman as reimagined by a political firebrand who has just escaped from the prison house of his own theories.

But above all else, these are “popular” films, in the French sense of the term—populaire, or “of the people.” In other words, they begin and end at ground level, where life is lived out from instant to instant. Gorin wrote, “My Crasy Life has at its core a commitment, radical in its simplicity: to respect the voice of its ‘subjects’”—the voice and, by extension, the worldview and experiential horizon line. This can be said of all three movies.

In the cinema of Jean-Pierre Gorin, there is no such thing as a case study or a type. Just us, all in the same boat, whether we care to know it or not."
jean-pierregorin  film  potoandcabengo  2012  kentjones  sandiego  california  mannyfarber  jean-lucgodard  filmmaking  srg  mycrasylife  routinepleasures  1986  1992  1980  lacan  foucault  louisalthusser  michelfoucault  althusser  lesblank  tomluddy  lynnetillman  longbeach  ucsd  glauberrocha  jean-mariestraub  danièlehuillet  robertfrank  yvonnerainer  chantalakerman  babettemangolte  raymonddurgnat  sonsofsomoa  ethnography  samoa  gangs  margaretmead  losangeles 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Michigan Today » That’s what they say
"One of my colleagues and I get into heated debates in the hall about whether or not the pronoun “they” can be singular. I say it can, and he vehemently disagrees.

What we’re talking about here is often called the “singular generic pronoun question.” In English, we have the pronoun “he” for males, “she” for females, and “it” for inanimate objects; but what do you do when you’re referring to a person of unknown or unspecified gender?

We could take a sentence like, “A teacher should learn _____ students’ names.”

“His” suggests the teacher is male. “Her” suggests the teacher is female. “His or her” seems a bit cumbersome. So what do we do?

In the spoken language many of us would say, “A teacher should learn their students’ names.” We would use the singular “they.” Now some people will retort that “they” cannot be singular. Here’s my evidence that it can. Let’s imagine I say to you, “I was talking to a friend of mine and they said it’s a terrible movie.” For most people, that sentence would go unremarked. I was talking to “a” friend of mine and “they” said something about the movie. I’m clearly talking about one person. Perhaps I don’t want you to know whether that person is male or female, or it doesn’t matter, or the friend’s gender does not fit into a male-female binary. And so I say “they.” A singular “they.”

What about the argument that it’s impossible for a pronoun to be both singular and plural at the same time? Well, I would say we already have evidence in the language that it’s very possible. Let’s take the second-person pronoun “you.” The pronoun “you” can be singular: if I’m talking to one person, I would say, “You are very wonderful.” The pronoun “you” can be plural: if I’m talking to a whole group of people, I would (or could) say, “You are very wonderful.” (Of course, many varieties of English now include new second-person plural forms such as “y’all,” “yinz,” and “you guys.”) And standard varieties of English use the same verb “are” (i.e., “you are”) for both one person and many people.

“They” has done the same thing as “you” in terms of taking on both a singular and plural meaning. And it’s actually been doing that for centuries. Jane Austen used singular “they”; Shakespeare used singular “they.” I have found examples of singular “they” going back into the Middle English period (Chaucer’s era).

So English speakers solved the problem of how to refer to a person of unknown or unspecified gender a long time ago. It was the eighteenth century when grammarians told English speakers and writers that singular “they” was not a good idea, not “correct grammar,” and that we should use “he” as a generic instead. It was the 1970s with second-wave feminism that singular “he” was (accurately) identified as sexist, and many style guides recommended that we use “he or she” (or rewrite the sentence entirely to avoid the construction). And many of us may still use “he or she” or “s/he” when we write. But when we speak, we tend to use “they”; multiple studies have shown that the vast majority of the time most of us use singular “they.”

So it’s a problem that we as English speakers have already solved. The interesting question is, at what point will we be told that we’re allowed to write singular “they” down in more formal, edited contexts? And if you watch closely, you’ll see that singular “they” is becoming more and more common. You’ll now see singular “they” in newspapers and magazines, and sometimes even academic prose, as it slowly makes its way into more formal writing, out of the speech that we use every day."
annecurzan  language  english  gender  2012  they  pronouns 
november 2015 by robertogreco
The Challenge of Digital Patina | Project Evolution
"I challenge designers and developers to start to integrate “digital patina” into their application design and UIs. What is digital patina? Let me give you a few examples:

• Your smartphone’s homescreen may display “trails” from where your finger has touched most often, like a desk that wears over time under your arms.

• The most used icons show a wear-and-tear around the edges over time. Maybe the color rubs off like the keys on an old keyboard, maybe there is a slight stain or darkening around the edges from the oils on your finger. When the icon changes or is moved, the stain remains as a sort of ghost.

• Or the opposite happens. The most used icons remain bright and shiny, polished from use. The icons that are not used fade or darken over time, displaying their neglect.

• Maybe in a painting/drawing program, constant use shows little bits of paint and marker trails on the UI. Evidence of paintings past.

• A digital object may be designed to “age” – slowly over time, its color changes or fades, according to the time it has been active – or an object may show signs of wear and tear from the pattern of interactions. Or it may be designed to do both.

I did not coin the phrase. In fact, Mark Boulton first blogged about this idea in May 2012, in his article titled, simply, “Digital Patina”. In it, he outlines the basic idea, the need for digital things to impart their own “flavor” on the world. His open-ended article started me down the path of thinking about what digital patina could really be.
We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket. In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing.

Now the idea of “wok-hey” might be a bit too much to think about right now. Where do we take that idea when we talk about applications? Should our Yahoo account started in 1999 have a different flavor in its messages than someone else’s shiny new Gmail account? Are texts sent from your year-old smartphone imparted with a scratchy old-film quality? That might be taking things too far. What I like is the idea that our actions and the way in which we use an application can leave a mark, a signature, of our use over time.

Why digital patina? Why is it important?

Well, I feel that what is missing in this digital age is the evidence that we are humans using a system, application, whatever… There is no way for us to leave a mark on the object that we use all the time. Sure, the phone itself imparts its own patina, but that’s it. Without patina, there is no history. Without history, there is very little attachment to the thing. It is much easier to throw out the teddy bear that your Aunt got you that you never quite liked and still looks brand new. It is much harder to get rid of the teddy bear that you loved, even if it is missing and eye and has a strange stain on one of its legs. That stain, those worn spots, that is our mark, proof that we have an effect on this world and that our love and constant use of an object takes a little of that objects perfection away from it, which makes us love it more.

Let me note that this is not a call for more and more skeuomorphism in UI design. The idea of digital patina can be applied to even the slickest, non-faux-anything UI design. What digital patina aims to do, I hope, is give the user a sense that they have left a mark on this digital object. That this object has a life and a history, and that history helps us make an emotional connection to it.

As an argument against skeuomorphism, I think this is a world where the visual cliches will soon be irrelevant. The kids picking up smartphones today don’t remember leather desk calendars, they never used a typewriter, they perhaps don’t even have a favorite, well worn novel. Their world could be full of shiny apps that never age, or degrade into bits to be left behind as a ghost of ones and zeros. They might not feel an attachment to their tools of communication, and therefore have very little need for an emotional attachment to objects. Objects, then, become just as forgettable and disposable as the applications on their home screens.

What I am talking about is surface details, I know. It seems to be the low-hanging fruit at the moment, while we think more about Mark Boulton’s challenge to impart “wok hey”. If we start down this path, though, and explore what it means to impact digital patina, than ways in which an application or digital object can have “wok hey” may become more apparent.

The age of digital objects moves rapidly, I know. Most people hang on to a smartphone or tablet for an average of a year before they upgrade. The maximum age may be around 2 years for most pieces of technology. The time in which individual applications are used may be very short, I also admit that. Admittedly, this “patina” would happen in a relatively short time frame. While this may seem like romanticism, what I trying to concentrate on is the connection between people and the objects they love and use every day. In some ways, digital patina might make people appreciate the “new and shiny” when they upgrade their device.

I for one, would prefer that we design a digital world that replicates the positive things about the real world and translates them in a new way. Leaving your mark, having objects that tell a story and have a history with you, that’s a positive thing."
digitalpatina  patina  digital  beausage  skeuomorphism  jhogue  2012  ui  ux  design  grahicdesign  usage  time  slow 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Digital Patina | Journal | The Personal Disquiet of Mark Boulton
"The opening scene in Jaws still gives me goose-bumps.

It’s a dark, moonlit night and a group of increasingly drunk teenagers are sat in the dunes playing guitar and listening to the crackle of a camp fire. You can almost smell the smoke and pheromones.

Chrissie, and her would-be admirer, take off for a swim. Where she is promptly attacked, and eaten, by the star of the film. That first scene is horrific. Mostly because it seems so real. The actress is crying, screaming and writhing in completely believable pain. That’s because – according to some – she was. The frame that was holding her was attached to the sea floor and then two ropes were taken up to the beach where teams of men pulled them back and forth. Apparently, she broke ribs in that scene.

It’s over an hour before we see the fish in Jaws. And that was accidental. Everything broke. ‘Bruce’ – the name of the fish – just broke down all the time. The film we see, when we watch Jaws, is not how it was intended. Instead, the music was the fish.

Jaws is coming up for thirty years old. Over that time, Jaws has aged well. What I find interesting is that the ‘Patina’ of the film didn’t rely on fancy technology. Accidently, it relied on being honest with the materials it used: sound, light and great acting.

We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket.

In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing. Not all woks are alike. This one is mine. And all that.

Working with this definition of flavour as a Patina – which is imparted over time – got me thinking about digital products. The problem with digital products – our websites, applications, phone applications etc – is they don’t age the same way as some physical things. They either don’t age at all: locked in a permanent state whilst the world changes around them. Or they age in the same way plastic does: slowly decaying into tiny chunks that float about for eternity. Always there. Never to be used. Of little significant value. You see, producing digital products is not a sustainable practice.

How can we impart a digital patina on the things we use. What is the flavour of an application? Iteration? Code? UX?

I believe digital patina can be achieved in products that are designed to last. Built honestly, using the true materials of the web and minimal on cliched skeuomorphic concepts. Being true to our materials will produce better, more sustainable stuff. Stuff that will age well. Stuff that will become more useful and more beautiful with age. How can we impart flavour to our work?

Let’s stop designing things that turn into little bits that float about. Always decaying.

That’s a sad story."
patina  digitalpatina  degradation  time  beausage  2012  digital 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Joy of Gif : James Bridle
"I contributed an animated gif to the Photographer's Gallery Joy of GIF exhibition in London.

The image depicts the progressive degradation of an image caused by applying every single Instagram filter in turn. I happen to believe that the filter process in apps like Instagram and now increasingly pervasive across digital photography is a semi-conscious process of legitimisation in time, engraining disposable images of the moment with a patina of memory and experience, in order to save and justify them.

The source image is a photograph of an architectural visualisation, part of my Render Ghosts series, i.e., it is already an unreal and imaginary projection of a possible future, which is worn away by our attempt to memorialise it, before it has even fully formed."
degradation  digital  filters  instagram  2012  jamesbridle  photography 
october 2015 by robertogreco
On Having Roots in More than One Place | The American Conservative
"I’m reading Rushdie’s memoir Joseph Anton right now, and in a particularly interesting passage he — writing in the third person, as he does, annoyingly, through the book — explains why he wrote The Satanic Verses:
The strange truth was that, after two novels that engaged directly with the public history of the Indian subcontinent, he saw this new book as a much more personal, interior exploration, a first attempt to create a work out of his own experience of migration and metamorphosis: To him, it was the least political book of the three.

(The other two books being Midnight’s Children, set in India, and Shame, set in Pakistan.) The Satanic Verses is, in its author’s view, “a personal, interior exploration” in this very important sense:
It was unsettling not to understand why the shape of life had changed. He often felt meaningless, even absurd. He was a Bombay boy who had made his life in London among the English, but often he felt cursed by a double unbelonging. The root of language, at least, remained, but he began to appreciate how deeply he felt the loss of the other roots, and how confused he felt about what he had become. In the age of migration the world’s millions of migrated selves faced colossal problems, problems of homelessness, hunger, unemployment, disease, persecution, alienation, fear. He was one of the luckier ones, but one great problem remained: that of authenticity. The migrated self became, inevitably, heterogeneous instead of homogeneous, belonging to more than one place, multiple rather than singular, responding to more than one way of being, more than averagely mixed up. Was it possible to be — to become good at being — not rootless, but multiply rooted? Not to suffer from a loss of roots but to benefit from an excess of them? The different roots would have to be of equal or near-equal strength, and he worried that his Indian connection had weakened. He needed to make an act of reclamation of the Indian identity he had lost, or felt he was in danger of losing. The self was both its origins and its journey.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and maybe I’ll get a chance to unpack it as I continue reading the book. But let me just note two things right now:

1) Nothing is more important to the modern self that to possess, or to feel that it possesses, authenticity. This manifests itself in a lot of ways, including, most obviously and perhaps superficially, choices about food. For many people there’s no higher commendation of a restaurant than to call it “authentic.” (This used to, and probably still does, drive the great food writer Calvin Trillin nuts. To the claim that a restaurant is “authentic” he would typically reply “No it isn’t.” But then he would ask, “Who cares? What matters is: Was it good? Did you clean your plate?”) A deeper problem is that nothing could be less authentic than thinking about authenticity, as Lionel Trilling noted forty years ago when he wrote a book on this topic that’s still deeply incisive, Sincerity and Authenticity.

2) The question of whether it’s possible to be “multiply rooted” — not rootless, but rooted in different places — is an increasingly insistent one not just for immigrants but for all kinds of people in a transient and mobile world. I have lived in Illinois for much longer than I lived in Alabama, but don’t feel rooted here: is that inevitable? Is that my fault? Have I somehow failed to put down the roots that I should have? Is just being an American, whether in Alabama or Illinois, a sufficiently rooted identity? (Few would say yes. Why not?) Can online identity provide roots? (Some people surely believe that it does.) And why does a felt lack of rootedness bother people, including me?

Things to think about…."
salmanrushdie  writing  identity  culture  authenticity  rootedness  roots  2012  lioneltrilling  food  thirdculturekids  belonging  unbelonging  modernity  alanjacobs  calvintrillin  sincerity  unrootedness  online  web 
october 2015 by robertogreco
La Frontera on Vimeo
"La Frontera is a short, animated, documentary tracing a select history of personal and public land use along the El Paso/Juarez border. Barriers of all kinds are erected, layered and sometimes fused together, often resulting in a distorted and obscured view of what exists beyond the edges of the border. Like most bodies of water, the Rio Grande frequently changing course and fluctuates in level, thus resulting in an unreliable border.

The animation consists of drawings based on personal and collective memories of the Rio Grande, the security fence, an art project executed in Juarez that can only be seen from El Paso, a parking structure erected in front of The University of Texas at El Paso, and other examples of land use in close proximity."
border  borders  us  mexico  texas  elpaso  2012  history  landscape  geography  geopolitics  riogrande  landuse  via:debcha  utep 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Storytellers of Empire by Kamila Shamsie - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
"I grew up in Pakistan in the 1980s, aware that thinking about my country’s history and politics meant thinking about America’s history and politics. This is not an unusual position. Many countries of the world from Asia to South America exist, or have existed, as American client states, have seen U.S.-backed coups, faced American missiles or sanctions, seen their government’s policies on various matters dictated in Washington. America may not be an empire in the nineteenth century way which involved direct colonization. But the neo-imperialism of America was evident to me by the time I was an adolescent and able to understand these things.

So in an America where fiction writers are so caught up in the Idea of America in a way that perhaps has no parallel with any other national fiction, where the term Great American Novel weighs heavily on writers, why is it that the fiction writers of my generation are so little concerned with the history of their own nation once that history exits the fifty states. It’s not because of a lack of dramatic potential in those stories of America in the World; that much is clear.

In part, I’m inclined to blame the trouble caused by that pernicious word “appropriation.” I first encountered it within a writing context within weeks, perhaps days, of arriving at Hamilton College in 1991. Right away, I knew there was something deeply damaging in the idea that writers couldn’t take on stories about the Other. As a South Asian who has encountered more than her fair share of awful stereotypes about South Asians in the British empire novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, I’m certainly not about to disagree with the charge that writers who are implicated in certain power structures have been guilty of writing fiction which supports, justifies and props up those power structures. I understand the concerns of people who feel that for too long stories have been told about them rather than by them. But it should be clear that the response to this is for writers to write differently, to write better, to critique the power structures rather than propping them up, to move beyond stereotype—which you need to do for purely technical reasons, because the novel doesn’t much like stereotypes. They come across as bad writing.

The moment you say, a male American writer can’t write about a female Pakistani, you are saying, Don’t tell those stories. Worse, you’re saying, as an American male you can’t understand a Pakistani woman. She is enigmatic, inscrutable, unknowable. She’s other. Leave her and her nation to its Otherness. Write them out of your history.

Perhaps it’s telling that the first mainstream American writer to try and enter the perspective of the Other post 9/11 belonged to an older generation, less weighed down, I suspect, by ideas of appropriation: I mean John Updike, with his novel Terrorist. I confess I didn’t get past the first few pages—the figure of the young Muslim seemed such an accumulation of stereotype that it struck me as rather poor writing. And, of course, it was a story about America with the Muslim posited as the Violent and Hate-Filled Other. Far more successful attempts to portray Muslims in America came later, again—there really is a paper to be written about this—from women writers: first, Lorraine Adams’s Harbor, and then the wonderful The Submission by Amy Waldman, a breakthrough novel in the 9/11 genre, published in 2011, in which we have both the secular, ambitious, and very defensive Muslim American architect and a Bangladeshi 9/11 widow who is an illegal alien. So there have been writers who have moved the roadblock of appropriation and written about Muslims in America, and done it well. But there have been far too few of them."



"Fear of appropriation? I think that argument can only take you so far. Surely fiction writers today understand the value of stories about America In the World, and can see through the appropriation argument. It is, after all, a political argument that can easily be trumped by another political argument about the importance of engagement. So why, then—why, when there are astonishing stories out in the world about America, to do with America, going straight to the heart of the question: who are these people and what do they have to do with us?—why are the fiction writers staying away from the stories? The answer, I think, comes from John Hersey. He said of novelists, “A writer is bound to have varying degrees of success, and I think that that is partly an issue of how central the burden of the story is to the author’s psyche.”

And that’s the answer. Even now, you just don’t care very much about us. One eye remains closed. The pen, writing its deliberate sentences, is icy cold."

[via: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/magazine/is-cultural-appropriation-always-wrong.html ]
kamilashamsie  2015  appropriation  culturalappropriation  fiction  writing  culture  power  powerstructures  us  2012 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive: Phuc Tran at TEDxDirigo - YouTube
"Phuc Tran is in his second decade as a Classicist and Tattooer. He has taught Latin, Greek, German, and Sanskrit at independent schools in New York and Maine and was an instructor at Brooklyn College's Summer Latin Institute. In 2010, he served on a committee to revise the National Latin Praxis exam for ETS. Phuc currently teaches at Waynflete School in Portland."
phuctran  language  english  subjunctive  refugees  2012  identity  indicative  reality  presence  future  imperative  perspective  immigration  immigrantexperience  grammar  depression  regret  creativity  imagination  experience  optimism  philosophy  via:juliarubin  french  vietnamese  france 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Photo of boy in public housing with an iPad prompts debate over what the poor should have: Jarvis DeBerry | NOLA.com
"But forget about the residents' health worries. Some readers were more worked up over a Rusty Costanza photograph that accompanied Wednesday's story. He showed an 8-year-old boy at the development busying himself with an iPad. That's a relatively expensive piece of technology. Predictably, outrage ensued.

Readers called and emailed reporter Katy Reckdahl to express their anger. One less caustic correspondent was clearly worried at what the reporter might think of him for raising the issue: "Not to rush to comment. I hope this is nothing more than someone gave him the iPad as a gift and he is using it for educational means or just playing games ... I hope I am not over thinking this. I am not prejudice (sic) -- this just did not look right."

I imagine that at some point or another all of us who aren't poor have decided which items poor folks, especially those on government assistance, should be allowed to have. And which items they should be denied. Fancy rims have been known to set me off. Maybe for you it's gold teeth, Air Jordans, the latest mobile phone. City Councilwoman Stacy Head used her taxpayer-funded phone to send an outraged email when she saw a woman using food stamps to buy Rice Krispies treats. What right do the poor have to sweetness?

I could try to defend myself and say that I think it's ridiculous for anybody in any income bracket to buy rims, but that's rather beside the point. I'm not my best self when I'm sitting in judgment and managing other people's money, and I doubt you're at your best when you do.

The idea that most people in public housing are living the lush life has persisted for at least as long as presidential candidate Ronald Reagan started using the offensive "welfare queen." But you ought to take a walk through the Iberville if you think its residents are living like royalty. Walk through and see if you'd exchange their thrones for yours.

The sight of a kid in public housing with an iPad doesn't offend me. Actually it gives me hope. So many poor people have no access to the digital world. They fall behind in school because of it. They miss the opportunity to apply for certain jobs. Yes an iPad is an expensive gadget, but we can't deny its usefulness. As computers go, an iPad comes cheaper than most laptops and desktops."
2012  poverty  judgement  technology  poor  ipad  children  welfare 
september 2015 by robertogreco
A long sentence is worth the read - latimes
""Your sentences are so long," said a friend who teaches English at a local college, and I could tell she didn't quite mean it as a compliment. The copy editor who painstakingly went through my most recent book often put yellow dashes on-screen around my multiplying clauses, to ask if I didn't want to break up my sentences or put less material in every one. Both responses couldn't have been kinder or more considered, but what my friend and my colleague may not have sensed was this: I'm using longer and longer sentences as a small protest against — and attempt to rescue any readers I might have from — the bombardment of the moment."



"To pick up a book is, ideally, to enter a world of intimacy and continuity; the best volumes usher us into a larger universe, a more spacious state of mind akin to the one I feel when hearing Bach (or Sigur Rós) or watching a Terrence Malick film. I cherish Thomas Pynchon's prose (in "Mason & Dixon," say), not just because it's beautiful, but because his long, impeccable sentences take me, with each clause, further from the normal and the predictable, and deeper into dimensions I hadn't dared to contemplate. I can't get enough of Philip Roth because the energy and the complication of his sentences, at his best, pull me into a furious debate in which I see a mind alive, self-questioning, wildly controlled in its engagement with the world. His is a prose that banishes all simplicities while never letting go of passion."



"I love books; I read and write them for the same reason I love to talk with a friend for 10 hours, not 10 minutes (let alone, as is the case with the average Web page, 10 seconds). The longer our talk goes, ideally, the less I feel pushed and bullied into the unbreathing boxes of black and white, Republican or Democrat, us or them. The long sentence is how we begin to free ourselves from the machine-like world of bullet points and the inhumanity of ballot-box yeas or nays.

There'll always be a place for the short sentence, and no one could thrill more than I to the eerie incantations of DeLillo, building up menace with each reiterated note, or the compressed wisdom of a Wilde; it's the elegant conciseness of their phrases that allow us to carry around the ideas of an Emerson (or Lao Tzu) as if they were commandments or proverbs of universal application.

But we've got shortness and speed up the wazoo these days; what I long for is something that will sustain me and stretch me till something snaps, take me so far beyond a simple clause or a single formulation that suddenly, unexpectedly, I find myself in a place that feels as spacious and strange as life itself.

The long sentence opens the very doors that a short sentence simply slams shut. Though the sentence I sent my copy editor was as short as possible. No."
2012  picoiyer  writing  via:seanziebarth  sentences  attention  pace  speed  slow 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Children prefer simple pleasures to organised trips, research finds - Telegraph
"While parents shell out an average of £183 per child on day trips over the course of a six-week summer holiday, their children would be happier doing simple and free activities such as playing with friends or going for bike rides.

The findings are in a survey by the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, which asked 1,500 children aged between 5 and 11 to rank their favourite summer-time activities in order of preference.

Playing in the park or in the garden was ranked as the top pastime. Mud pie-making, tree-climbing and feeding the ducks also came in the top ten.

The first activity that would cost children’s parents money was named as going to the cinema, which was the 12th most popular pastime and came after planting flowers and picking berries.

Psychologists said the survey proved that children enjoy simple outdoor pleasures more than organised trips, which often involve hours in the car. Meanwhile parents admitted they spend so much on activities because they feel guilty that their children might get bored.

Youngsters even said that they prefer flying kites and playing in a paddling pool to going to the zoo. Surprisingly, playing on a computer was ranked as one of the least favourite summer activities.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a child psychologist, said: “While parents are busy spending money on costly activities to ensure their kids have a good summer, children mostly value the simple pleasures that summer brings. In terms of pleasure per penny, it’s the everyday outdoor fun which takes little time or money to organise that far outweighs the more orchestrated expensive excursions.”

Almost half of the children said they preferred playing in familiar places such as the back garden or local park than places they have not been to before.

The supermarket also questioned 2,000 parents as part of its Kids’ Simple Pleasures Per Penny Index. Parents said that they book at least one day trip or paid-for excursion per week over the six-week summer holiday, spending an average of £183 per child per holiday.

A third of parents said that they organised weekly trips to make their lives easier over the holiday period.

Four in ten adults said they had increased their spending on holiday excursions compared with last year despite the economic downturn.

Despite spending so much on their children, seven in 10 parents admitted that their most cherished childhood memories involved playing with friends or having “simple” fun in the garden.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “Summer memories last us a lifetime and parents can learn a lot from what their children have told us in this study.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “The summer holidays can be particularly expensive, especially for families, but it doesn’t have to be a burden if we take the lead from our youngsters and reappraise the value of the simple everyday pleasures loved by all.”"
children  parenting  play  2012  boredom  entertainment  everyday  small  slow  childhood  memory  summer 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Web Artists Are Furious At Rihanna And Azealia Banks
"Pop stars are getting called out by Tumblr artists, seapunks, and fashion mavens for stealing their style."



"This sort of appropriation is nothing new in pop music, or pop culture in general. If anything, it’s part of what keeps culture vibrant and exciting. Even still, it’s easy to sympathize with folks like Jerome LOL, or want to shout “HELL YEAH!” while reading Zeva’s tweets. It’s not just that Rihanna has stolen their style, it’s that from this point onward, their aesthetic will now be associated mainly with her. Rihanna’s SNL appearance was, after all, the first time most people in the audience had ever seen this fairly obscure aesthetic."
appropriation  seapunk  rihanna  azealiabanks  2012  aesthetics 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The History of Boredom | Science | Smithsonian
"Recent scientific research agrees: A host of studies have found that people who are easily bored may also be at greater risk for depression, anxiety disorders, gambling addictions, eating disorders, aggression and other psychosocial issues. Boredom can also exacerbate existing mental illness. And, according to at least one 2010 study, people who are more easily bored are two-and-a-half times more likely to die of heart disease than people who are not.

Why is unclear. Take depression: “One possibility is that boredom causes depression; another is that depression causes boredom; another is that they’re mutually causative; another is that boredom is an epi-phenomenon or another component of depression; and another is that there’s another third variable that causes both boredom and depression,” explains Dr. John Eastwood, a clinical psychologist at York University in Toronto. “So we’re at the very beginning stages of trying to figure it out.”

That’s partly because up until very recently, he says, psychologists weren’t working with a very good definition of boredom. Eastwood is one of a growing number of researchers dedicated to understanding boredom; in the October 2012 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, Eastwood and his colleagues published “The Unengaged Mind”, an attempt to define boredom.

The paper claimed that boredom is a state in which the sufferer wants to be engaged in some meaningful activity but cannot, characterized by both restlessness and lethargy. With that in mind, Eastwood says that it all is essentially an issue of attention. “Which kind of makes sense, because attention is the process by which we connect with the world,” explains Eastwood

Boredom may be the result of a combination of factors – a situation that is actually boring, a predisposition to boredom, or even an indication of an underlying mental condition. What that says about how the brain works requires more research.

“I’m quite sure that when people are bored, their brain is in a different state,” says Eastwood. “But the question is not just is your brain in a different state, but what that tells us about the way the brain works and the way attention works.”

Why is Boredom Good For You?

There has to be a reason for boredom and why people suffer it; one theory is that boredom is the evolutionary cousin to disgust.

In Toohey’s Boredom: A Living History, the author notes that when writers as far back as Seneca talk about boredom, they often describe it was a kind of nausea or sickness. The title of famous 20th century existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel about existential boredom was, after all, Nausea. Even now, if someone is bored of something, they’re “sick of it” or “fed up”. So if disgust is a mechanism by which humans avoid harmful things, then boredom is an evolutionary response to harmful social situations or even their own descent into depression.

“Emotions are there to help us react to, register and regulate our response to stimulus from our environment,” he says. Boredom, therefore, can be a kind of early warning system. “We don’t usually take it as a warning – but children do, they badger you to get you out of the situation.”

And though getting out of boredom can lead to extreme measures to alleviate it, such as drug taking or an extramarital affair, it can also lead to positive change. Boredom has found champions in those who see it as a necessary element in creativity. In 2011, Manohla Dargis, New York Times film critic, offered up a defense of “boring” films, declaring that they offer the viewer the opportunity to mentally wander: “In wandering there can be revelation as you meditate, trance out, bliss out, luxuriate in your thoughts, think.”

But how humans respond to boredom may have changed dramatically in the last century. In Eastwood’s opinion, humans have become used to doing less to get more, achieving intense stimulation at the click of a mouse or touch of a screen.

“We are very used to being passively entertained,” he says. “We have changed our understanding of the human condition as one of a vessel that needs to be filled.” And it’s become something like a drug – “where we need another hit to remain at the same level of satisfaction,” says Eastwood.

There is hope, however, and it’s back at the Boring Conference. Rather than turning to a quick fix – YouTube videos of funny cats, Facebook – the Boring Conference wants people to use the mundane as an impetus to creative thinking and observation.

“It’s not the most amazing idea in the world, but I think it’s a nice idea – to look around, notice things,” says Ward, the conference organizer. “I guess that’s the message: Look at stuff.”"
2012  boredom  via:anne  depression  attention  manohladargis  johneastwood  psychology  engagement  petertoohey 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Wings Over Water - YouTube
"Relying on precipitation, gravity flow, exquisite engineering and ingenuity is the California State Water Project. Come join us for an extraordinary flight on Wings Over Water."
water  california  infrastructure  2012  californiastatewaterproject 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Self-Denial | Submitted For Your Perusal
“A character who needs the accoutrements of worldly success will never be seen by the audience as heroic. Heroes are invariably ascetic, denying themselves pleasures and comforts that ordinary people take for granted.… In war films, the hero often declines invitations to partake of food or sex…. The hero can’t relax, can’t have fun. In westerns … all he owns in this world is in that tiny bundle behind the saddle we see when he first appears. We don’t know if he ever changes his shirt or if he even has a shirt to change into, so minimal are his earthly possessions. In detective, police, mystery, and spy films, the central character usually lives in a one-room apartment … but it’s hard to say the hero lives there – it’s where he flops when he’s overcome with exhaustion.… Like religious and mythical heroes of earlier years, the hero is in this world, but not of it. He denies himself the pleasures ordinary mortals yearn for precisely because he isn’t an ordinary mortal.” —Howard Suber, The Power of Film

[via "@ecourtem @savasavasava I bet there are some, but heroism in film often associated with austerity: http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2012/05/29/self-denial/ "
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593125731879755776

part of this thread: “From the trailer, James Bond’s ascetic apartment (at least, I’m guessing that’s what it is) in SPECTRE (2015).”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593122899244011520

which also includes: “Cf. the lighting, austerity, and accoutrements of Steve Jobs’s apartment circa the early 1980s.”
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593123128215232512

"@mattthomas @savasavasava Just once I'd like to see a superhero emerge out of cluttered and low-class surroundings."
https://twitter.com/ecourtem/status/593125140080234497

"@mattthomas @ecourtem serves to further that whole hero myth while ignoring the privilege of opting for austerity. kinda tired of it."
https://twitter.com/savasavasava/status/593126308286173185

"@savasavasava @ecourtem Cf. the Buddha."
https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/593126469582397441 ]
simplicity  howardsuber  clutter  film  heroes  asceticism  possessions  buddha  minimalism  2012  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Wunderkammer - Chris Marker
"The essayist’s aesthetic is that of the collector, or the ‘amateur’ in an archaic sense: such works seem destined for the writerly equivalent of the Wunderkammer – the essayist thrives on miscellanea. Except to say: the discrete essay may itself be an omnium-gatherum; there’s no duty to thematic unity, and because the notion that the essay is necessarily a short text is just a convenient rule easily broken, none to concision either: in his Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Robert Burton starts composing an essay about a single affliction and ends up writing a book about everything – but everything – he can think of." —frieze, “Energy & Rue”, Issue 151 (November-December 2012)
chrismarker  2012  collectors  collections  essayists  amateurism  amateurs  wunderkammer  miscellanea  gathering  cv  robertburton  essays  everything  eclecticism  collection  commonplacebooks  writing 
march 2015 by robertogreco
A MOOC is not a Thing: Emergence, Disruption, and Higher Education - Hybrid Pedagogy
[Note: this is a link-rich post, none of which are noted here.]

"A MOOC is not a thing. A MOOC is a strategy. What we say about MOOCs cannot possibly contain their drama, banality, incessance, and proliferation. The MOOC is a variant beast — placental, emergent, alienating, enveloping, sometimes thriving, sometimes dead, sometimes reborn.

There is nothing about a MOOC that can be contained. Try as they might, MOOC-makers like Coursera, EdX, and Udacity cannot keep their MOOCs to themselves, because when we join a MOOC, it is not to learn new content, new skills, new knowledge, it is to learn new learning. Entering a MOOC is entering Wonderland — where modes of learning are turned sideways and on their heads — and we walk away MOOCified.

“There is a relational aspect to learning.” There’s an invisible network (or potential network) underneath every learning community. The best MOOCs make the networks patent. The worst MOOCs are neutered, lost objects that float unabsolved in the ether as capital “L” Learning, abstract and decontextualized.

MOOCification: to harness (in an instant) the power of a nodal network for learning. Rather than creating a course to structure a network, MOOCification relies on nodes to power a learning activity (or assignment). MOOCification also refers to a pedagogical approach inspired by MOOCs that is unleashed in an otherwise closed or small-format course.

Chris Friend writes, in “Learning as Performance: MOOC Pedagogy and On-ground Classes”, “The promise of MOOCs lies not in what the format lets us do, but in what the format lets us question: Where does learning happen? What are the requirements of effective collaboration? How can assessment become more authentic? How much structure and direction are best in a classroom?” These questions stir and circle back upon themselves in endless repetition as we and everyone grapples with what the MOOC is and what it does. These are important questions, exactly the right ones at exactly the right time; but there’s a deeper one that underlies our conversation. The question that needs tending to now, as the furor around MOOCs builds to a roar.

Are organized attempts to harness learning always and necessarily frustrated? Does learning happen modally at all? Is learning the demesne of any institution, organization, or formal community; or does it happen regardless of these, unmonitored, unfettered, uncontrolled, and does the rise of the MOOC point to this? Have we created MOOCs, or have we just discovered them, emerging from their cave, where they’ve always lived? Is it, as Roger Whitson writes, that “there is nothing outside the MOOC”? Without threatening to spin into intellectual nihilism (or relativism), we need to worry for the entire enterprise of education, to be unnerved in order to uncover what’s going on now. And not now this year. But now exactly this moment. Because just this second something is awry.
True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed. ~ Tom Robbins

Pete Rorabaugh writes, “The analysis, remixing, and socially engaged construction of personally relevant knowledge — often happens when the institutional framework is disrupted, diverted, or left in the dust.” Many hackles are rightly raised by the ubiquity of this word “disruption”, and its implications for the business of higher education; but the best MOOCs do not deal in the bourgeois concept of disruption, they deal in a very real rupture that is confusing to us all. Something convulsive. A monstrous birth.

The MOOC is a dialectic. It invites us in with a curled finger, as sinister as it is salient.

Learning isn’t (and has never really been) in the hands of academics, administrators, institutions, corporations, Forbes magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s in the hands of Rosemary Sewart, and people like her. The ones who come fully alive to learning without being told when and where it’s going to happen, without being placed obediently on a board like a pawn. The ones who throw wide the classroom doors, who hack schooling, or learn by reflecting on the flurry of input in their everyday lives; as Rosemary says, “learning … where life happens.”
We are all schoolmasters, and our schoolhouse is the universe. To attend chiefly to the desk or schoolhouse while we neglect the scenery in which it is placed is absurd. If we do not look out we shall find our fine schoolhouse standing in a cow-yard at last. ~ Henry David Thoreau

While we’ve all focused our consternation on how MOOCs may take down the walls of the university, or how they may represent the MOOCDonalds of higher ed., we are missing the most important, and most frightening, potential of MOOCs. They force us to reconsider the very fabric of how we think about learning — its occurrence, emergence, habitat, and administration.

From August 12th to August 18th, 2012, Hybrid Pedagogy ran MOOC MOOC, a now infamous mini-MOOC, meta-MOOC, MOOC about MOOCs that garnered not only a good bit of attention for its efforts, but also built a lasting community that remains curious about emerging ideas of MOOCification, the place of mini- and micro-MOOCs, and the implementation of open learning environments in traditional higher ed. classrooms. As well, MOOC MOOC set a precedent for MOOCish conversations about MOOCs, and spurred us to think deeply about where online education is headed.

It would be easy to contend, at this early stage in their evolution, that every MOOC has been a MOOC about MOOCs — that every MOOC is a meta-MOOC, a MOOC MOOC. The early connectivist MOOCs pioneered by folks like George Siemens and Stephen Downes were, whether explicitly or implicitly, exploring the form, the pedagogy, and the process of MOOCs.

At the same time, we were unaware of anyone who had done a MOOC unflinchingly trained on the MOOC phenomenon. A MOOC that explored unhesitatingly — even a bit recklessly — the potential, pitfalls, drawbacks, and advantages of this approach to teaching and learning. MOOC MOOC aimed to expose all of us to the grand experiment of MOOCs by having us participate directly in that grand experiment, albeit in a concentrated, one-week format. (And there was mighty participation. Andrew Staroscik created this interactive graph of tweet volume on the #moocmooc hashtag.) Rather than a knee-jerk critical reaction to the march of the MOOCs, we encouraged participants to inhabit the MOOC, exploring its pedagogical potential as an exercise in discernment but not judgment.

For one week beginning January 6, 2013, MOOC MOOC will return for a continued examination of the MOOC phenomenon, now grown well beyond a rising surge into a more perfect storm. This new iteration, which we’re fondly (and absurdly) calling MOOC MOOC [squared], will inspect not only the broadened landscape of MOOCs (including Coursera’s swelling presence and for-credit bid, Udacity’s flash mob-style on-ground gatherings, and the rise of LMS-based MOOCs like Instructure’s Canvas.net), but also will turn the lens on itself, repurposing and remixing the original course and the conversations and artifacts that arose from within the course. MOOC MOOC will be housed once more within the Canvas LMS, fueled by the ongoing discussions of the MOOC MOOC community.

There is no good or evil inherent in a MOOC, only in what it will or will not unleash. We must stop thinking of education as requiring stringent modes and constructs, and embrace it as invention, metamorphosis, deformation, and reinvention. This is the territory of the inventor always, the territory of the pugnacious and irreverent. Learning in MOOCs should be cohesive, not divided, and it must happen multi-nodally. The parsing of learning that formal education has always relied on will give way to something, if not holistic, then simultaneous, distributed, alive in more than one place at a time. If the best MOOCs show us that learning is networked, and that it has always been, then learning is more rampant than we’ve accounted for."
mooc  moocs  seanmichaelmorris  jessestommel  2012  education  highered  pedagogy  highereducation  dialectics  learning  howwelearn  teaching  howweteach  udacity  coursera  canvas.net  chrisfriend  edx  moocification  networkedlearning  networks  rogerwhitson  tomrobbins  thoreau  rosemarystewart  hybridpedagogy  georgesiemens  stephendownes  connectivism 
march 2015 by robertogreco
454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157
"Anonymous asked: do you want to be famous?

In 1928 the architect Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design a pavilion representing Weimar Germany at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. The building ended up becoming justly famous as the most eloquent definition of what was later gathered into Modernism. This definition would be something like, ‘Not only doing way more with way less, but becoming so good at it that you could thread a way out of the bewilderment and perversity which gnaw at modern lives of otherwise unparalleled bounty and convenience.’

The pavillion was designed to be doorless and mostly made of glass. In almost every way a building could be optimistic for the century it wanted to predict, this one was. The evidence for class oppression that great houses bear, like backstairs and basement kitchens are gone. Blank walls on which evidence of wealth could be displayed have been replaced by windows. Reality is the thing that transparent walls force your attention to confront. The pavillion even does away with the convention of a ‘front’ or a ‘back.’ Without a face on which to project how we want to be seen, duplicity becomes more difficult than simply being honest. The building hopes that without anything to hide behind, the very ideas of secrecy and guile will become too cumbersome to survive.

But in the very temple of delight. There was one place in the pavillion that showed a terrible shadow on the 20th century. Beyond the main room there was a reflecting pool. In the middle of the pool stood a statue of a nude woman. This choice to place a statue at a remove from anyone who would look at it is as elegant a definition as anything else in the building, but what is being defined is hideous. The fact that a statue has been taken out of the round and put in a position that allows only one point of view is an example of something our era has done on an industrial scale—the reduction of volumes to images. A statue by definition fills a volume, but limiting our perspective makes it flat. An image.

The act of reducing the freedom to see from whichever perspective suits you, down to only one, is as old as the allegory of the cave, where statues were reduced to their shadows. But the pavillion predicts that this process will come to dominate everything the statue represents: Art, diversion, beauty, and eventually, people themselves. All of us will buy, favor, love and appreciate from across an impassable distance. We will be segregated from everything we admire and from everything we want, because images are all we are presented with and flatness cannot be embraced.

Over and above every other example of this process is fame. If we are tricked by advertising into buying a phantom, wanting to be famous is wanting to become the phantom. It’s a desire that mistakes isolation for rarity, loneliness for exceptionality, and distance for height. The popular desire for fame is the crowning achievement of a hundred year campaign to iron out any aspect of being alive that calls for a complex and irreducible expression of humanity.

So no."
2012  via:robinsloan  game  humanity  complexity  freedom  reality  advertising  miesvanderrohe  modernism  duplicity  honesty  images  imagery  perspective  pointofview  power  control  flatness  art  diversion  beauty  distance  phantoms 
february 2015 by robertogreco
A Drone's Eye View of the Elwha River » News » OPB
"Scientists have been looking at all angles of the Elwha River since deconstruction began on two dams just over a year ago. They’ve been testing turbidity, tracking river otters and conducting an ongoing salmon census.

And now they’re using remote-control planes to record high-definition video and thermal images. They’re securing a small camera to a 4-foot wide drone, which can flies as high as 500 feet over the river.

Last week researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey stood on the banks of Lake Mills, which was formed by the 210-foot Glines Canyon dam, and launched the camera-toting drone called a Raven. It flew for about 30 minutes over the exposed reservoir showing the vast fields of sediment that have built up behind the dam over the last 85 years.

Watch this video to see highlights from the drone’s most recent flight:

[video: https://vimeo.com/50813890 ]

By studying every inch of the Elwha, scientists hope to answer big questions about dam removal: What happens to the fish? What happens to the massive reserves of sediment? And what happens to the barren, unvegetated areas of the emptied reservoirs?

The drone video research of the Elwha is a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service."
elwha  elwhariver  rewilding  rivers  washingtonstate  olympicpeninsula  nature  dams  2012  drones 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Recruitment of Entropy (Advancing Deltas V) | Free Association Design
"There is a peculiar appeal to situations like this, landscapes that are being redrawn or thrust into an entirely different trajectory. It could be anything from a volcanic eruption to a twinkling New Urbanist development. It’s the effort of transformation itself – its process – that is intriguing. This brings to mind Bruno Latour’s critique of both “nature” and of the “social” as existing a priori, as taken-for-granted given substances of sorts. Rather, he contends, both are constantly being negotiated, remade or forcefully sustained by a shifting multitude of participants, human and non. And further, the distinction between these two collectives doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, as we can see in the former reservoir of Condit Dam.

One of the most useful aspects of actor-network-theory (I think) is its investigative emphasis on change and transition. During such times, we get a better glimpse of what the social is composed of, its peculiar ‘web of associations’ [iii]. When situations drastically change or things quite functioning nature as given substance evaporates and we are better able to see the diverse and dynamic multitude arduously creating it."
elwha  elwhariver  rewilding  rivers  washingtonstate  olympicpeninsula  2012  nature  dams  landscape  maps  mapping 
february 2015 by robertogreco
New study says American families are overwhelmed by clutter, rarely eat together, and are generally stressed out about it all - The Boston Globe
[via: "Stuff makes us sad, especially in America"
http://boingboing.net/2012/07/13/stuff-makes-us-sad-especially.html ]

"The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars.

Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers.

Even families who invested in outdoor décor and improvements were too busy to go outside and enjoy their new decks.

Most families rely heavily on convenience foods even though all those frozen stir-frys and pot stickers saved them only about 11 minutes per meal.

A refrigerator door cluttered with magnets, calendars, family photos, phone numbers, and sports schedules generally indicates the rest of the home will be in a similarly chaotic state.

The scientists working with UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families studied the dual-income families the same way they would animal subjects. They videotaped the activities of family members, tracked their moves with position-locating devices, and documented their homes, yards, and activities with thousands of photographs. They even took saliva samples to measure stress hormones."



"The researchers, working with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, were struck by the number of toys American children have managed to score from parents, grandparents, and friends. In the “Material Saturation: Mountains of Possessions” chapter, they report that our country has 3.1 percent of the world’s kids — and 40 percent of its Little Tikes EasyScore basketball hoops and other toys.

Many of them belong to 2-year-old Anjellisa Redfern. Her Newton bedroom is full of Dora-themed puzzles and dolls, and a kitchen set with 400 accessories. “But she doesn’t want to play with them,” said her mother, Anjelica . “She wants to be on the couch watching TV,” where she sees commercials for more toys to eventually ignore.

But sometimes the little girl does play with her toys, her mom added with a smile. “When I put her in a time out and send her to her room.”

In Weston, Jessica Pohl, a stay-at-home mother, is also being overtaken by inanimate objects.

“Somehow the Barbies multiply,” she explained as she shopped at a big box store in Waltham. “One turns into 10 turns into 100.” The doll is not her only tiny tormentor. “Playmobil,” she said as if it were a bad word. “I’ve got bins and bins of Playmobil.”

Her children, ages 9, 13, and 17, have largely outgrown the toys, but she can’t bring herself to give them away. “I’m saving them for my grandchildren.” She acknowledged that she was looking potentially at decades of storage, and then imagined herself forcing a toy on a future grandchild. “Play with that Melissa & Doug puzzle,” she said. “It was expensive.”

Pohl’s possessions do bring some joy, of course, albeit in some cases it’s when they’re being tossed out. “It’s cathartic,” she said, happily recalling the dumpster outside her home when she moved a few years ago. “I felt so light.”

With that, she pushed her bulging cart toward the store’s cash register. The circle of life continued."
us  consumerism  possession  psychology  culture  clutter  2012  stress  possessions  stockpiling 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Raspberry Pi XBMC Media Center – A Complete Solution - Jason Carr
"I have to admit it’s taken a good amount of research and experimentation, but I finally have an XBMC media center solution on the Raspberry Pi that rivals what I used to have on my old power-sucking full-size PC.

I’m writing this guide to help others get up and running with a stable solution as quickly as possible. I’ll be covering everything from the hardware pieces to the software and configuration. I’m also hoping this guide will be accessible to those who aren’t overly tech-inclined, and I’ll provide some support in the comments.

Continue on after the break for the complete guide."
raspberrypi  mediacenters  2012  via:maxfenton  hardware 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Learning at Not-School | The MIT Press
"Schools do not define education, and they are not the only institutions in which learning takes place. After-school programs, music lessons, Scouts, summer camps, on-the-job training, and home activities all offer out-of-school educational experiences. In Learning at Not-School, Julian Sefton-Green explores studies and scholarly research on out-of-school learning, investigating just what it is that is distinctive about the quality of learning in these “not-school” settings.

Sefton-Green focuses on those organizations and institutions that have developed parallel to public schooling and have emerged as complements, supplements, or attempts to remediate the alleged failures of schools. He reviews salient principles, landmark studies, and theoretical approaches to learning in not-school environments, reporting on the latest scholarship in the field. He examines studies of creative media production and considers ideas of “learning-to learn”-that relate to analyses of language and technology. And he considers other forms of in-formal learning--in the home and in leisure activities--in terms of not-school experiences. Where possible, he compares the findings of US-based studies with those of non-US-based studies, highlighting core conceptual issues and identifying what we often take for granted.

Many not-school organizations and institutions set out to be different from schools, embodying different conceptions of community and educational values. Sefton-Green’s careful consideration of these learning environments in pedagogical terms offers a crucial way to understand how they work."

[Currently free on Kindle too: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Not-School-Education-Non-Formal-Foundation-ebook/dp/B00BSXYPPY/ ]
informal  informallearning  learning  education  unschooling  deschooling  2012  juliansefton-green  howwelearn  lcproject  openstudioproject 
february 2015 by robertogreco
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