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Scratching the Surface — 104. Cab Broskoski and Chris Sherron
"Cab Broskoski and Chris Sherron are two of the founders of Are.na, a knowledge sharing platform that combines the creative back-and-forth of social media with the focus of a productivity tool. Before working on Arena, Cab was a digital artist and Chris a graphic designer and in this episode, they talk about their desire for a new type of bookmarking tool and building a platform for collaborative, interdisciplinary research as well as larger questions around open source tools, research as artistic practice, and subverting the norms of social media."

[direct link to audio:
https://soundcloud.com/scratchingthesurfacefm/104-cab-broskoski-and-chris-sherron ]
jarrettfuller  are.na  cabbroskoski  chrissherron  coreyarcangel  del.icio.us  bookmarkling  pinterest  cv  tagging  flickr  michaelcina  youworkforthem  davidbohm  williamgibson  digital  damonzucconi  stanleykubrick  stephaniesnt  julianbozeman  public  performance  collections  collecting  research  2000s  interview  information  internet  web  sharing  conversation  art  design  socialmedia  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  online  onlinetoolkit  inspiration  moodboards  graphicdesign  graphics  images  web2.0  webdesign  webdev  ui  ux  scratchingthesurface  education  teaching  edtech  technology  multidisciplinary  generalists  creative  creativitysingapore  creativegeneralists  learning  howwelearn  attention  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  algorithms  canon  knowledge  transdisciplinary  tools  archives  slow  slowweb  slowinternet  instagram  facebook 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The Heresy of Zone Defense | Thomas Cummins Art & Architectural Photography | San Antonio, Tx
"Consider this for a moment: Julius Erving’s play was at once new and fair! The rules, made by people who couldn’t begin to imagine Erving’s play, made it possible. If this doesn’t intrigue you, it certainly intrigues me, because, to be blunt, I have always had a problem with “the rules,” as much now as when I was younger. Thanks to an unruled and unruly childhood, however, I have never doubted the necessity of having them, even though they all go bad, and despite the fact that I have never been able to internalize them. To this day, I never stop at a stop sign without mentally patting myself on the back for my act of good citizenship, but I do stop (usually) because the alternative to living with rules—as I discovered when I finally learned some—is just hell. It is a life of perpetual terror, self-conscious wariness, and self-deluding ferocity, which is not just barbarity, but the condition of not knowing that you are a barbarian. And this is never to know the lightness of joy—or even the possibility of it—because such joys as are attendant upon Julius Erving’s play require civilizing rules that attenuate violence and defer death. They require rules that translate the pain of violent conflict into the pleasures of disputation—into the excitements of politics, the delights of rhetorical art, and competitive sport. Moreover, the maintenance of such joys requires that we recognize, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the liberating rule that civilized us yesterday will, almost inevitably, seek to govern us tomorrow, by suppressing both the pleasure and the disputation. In so doing, it becomes a form of violence itself.

An instance: I can remember being buoyed up, as a youth, by reading about Jackson Pollock in a magazine and seeing photographs of him painting. I was heartened by the stupid little rule through which Pollock civilized his violence. It’s okay to drip paint, Jackson said. The magazine seemed to acquiesce: Yeah, Jackson’s right, it seemed to say, grudgingly, Dripping paint is now within the rules. Discovering this, I was a little bit more free than I was before, and I know that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange—and I know, as well, that, in my adolescent Weltanschauung, the fact that Jackson Pollock dripped paint somehow justified my not clearing the debris from the floor of my room (which usually, presciently, resembled a Rauschenberg combine). Even so, I had a right to be shocked a few years later when I enrolled in a university and discovered that Pollock’s joyous permission had been translated into a prohibitive, institutional edict: It’s bad not to drip! the art coaches said. It means you got no soul! Yikes!

Henceforth, it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern—and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and less visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art—even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image—the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much-beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began—in the YMCA or its equivalent—governed rather than liberated by its rules."



"The long-standing reform coalition of players, fans, and professional owners would have doubtless seen to that, since these aesthetes have never aspired to anything else. They have never wanted anything but for their team to win beautifully, to score more points, to play faster, and to equalize the opportunity of taller and shorter players—to privilege improvisation, so that gifted athletes, who must play as a team to win (because the game is so well-designed), might express their unique talents in a visible way. Opposing this coalition of ebullient fops is the patriarchal cult of college-basketball coaches and their university employers, who have always wanted to slow the game down, to govern, to achieve continuity, to ensure security and maintain stability. These academic bureaucrats want a “winning program” and plot to win programmatically, by fitting interchangeable players into pre-assigned “positions” within the “system.” And if this entails compelling gifted athletes to guard little patches of hardwood in static zone defenses and to trot around on offense in repetitive, choreographed patterns until they and their fans slip off into narcoleptic coma, then so be it. That’s the way Coach wants it. Fortunately, almost no one else does; and thus under pressure from the professional game, college basketball today is either an enormously profitable, high-speed moral disgrace or a stolid, cerebral celebration of the coach-as-auteur—which should tell us something about the wedding of art and education.

In professional basketball, however, art wins. Every major rule change in the past sixty years has been instituted to forestall either the Administrator’s Solution (Do nothing and hold on to your advantage) or the Bureaucratic Imperative (Guard your little piece of territory like a mad rat in a hole). The “ten-second rule” that requires a team to advance the ball aggressively, and the “shot-clock rule” that requires a team to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds of gaining possession of it, have pretty much eliminated the option of holding the ball and doing nothing with it, since, at various points in the history of the game, this simulacrum of college administration has nearly destroyed it.

The “illegal-defense rule” which banned zone defenses, however, did more than save the game. It moved professional basketball into the fluid complexity of post-industrial culture—leaving the college game with its zoned parcels of real estate behind. Since zone defenses were first forbidden in 1946, the rules against them have undergone considerable refinement, but basically they now require that every defensive player on the court defend against another player on the court, anywhere on the court, all the time."



"James Naismith’s Guiding Principles of Basket-Ball, 1891
(Glossed by the author)

1) There must be a ball; it should be large.
(This in prescient expectation of Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving, whose hands would reinvent basketball as profoundly as Jimi Hendrix’s hands reinvented rock-and-roll.)

2) There shall be no running with the ball.
(Thus mitigating the privileges of owning portable property. Extended ownership of the ball is a virtue in football. Possession of the ball in basketball is never ownership; it is always temporary and contingent upon your doing something with it.)

3) No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play.
(Thus eliminating the job specialization that exists in football, by whose rules only those players in “skill positions” may touch the ball. The rest just help. In basketball there are skills peculiar to each position, but everyone must run, jump, catch, shoot, pass, and defend.)

4) Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contact.
(Thus no rigorous territoriality, nor any rewards for violently invading your opponents’ territory unless you score. The model for football is the drama of adjacent nations at war. The model for basketball is the polyglot choreography of urban sidewalks.)

5) The goal shall be horizontal and elevated.
(The most Jeffersonian principle of all: Labor must be matched by aspiration. To score, you must work your way down court, but you must also elevate! Ad astra.)"
davehickey  via:ablerism  1995  basketball  rules  games  nfl  nba  defense  jamesnaismith  play  constrains  aesthetics  americanfootball  football  territoriality  possession  ownership  specialization  generalists  beauty  juliuserving  jimihendrix  bodies  hands  1980  kareemabdul-jabbar  mauricecheeks  fluidity  adaptability  ymca  violence  coaching  barbarism  civility  sports  body 
december 2017 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
Scratching the Surface — 24. Sara Hendren
"Sara Hendren is a designer, artist, writer, and professor whose work centers around adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. She teaches inclusive design practices at Olin College in Massachusetts and writes and edits Abler, her site to collect and comment on art, adaptive technologies and prosthetics, and the future of human bodies in the built environment. In this episode, Sara and I talk about her own background and using design to manifest ideas in the world, the role of writing in her own design practice, and how teaches these ideas with her students."

[audio: https://soundcloud.com/scratchingthesurfacefm/24-sara-hendren ]
sarahendren  jarrettfuller  design  2017  interviews  johndewey  wendyjacob  nataliejeremijenko  remkoolhaas  timmaly  clairepentecost  alexandralange  alissawalker  michaelrock  alfredojaar  oliversacks  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  amateurs  amateurism  dabbling  art  artists  generalists  creativegeneralists  disability  engineering  criticaltheory  integatededucation  integratedcurriculum  identity  self  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  assistivetechnology  technology  olincollege  humanities  liberalarts  disabilities  scratchingthesurface 
april 2017 by robertogreco
POLITICAL THEORY - Karl Marx - YouTube
"Karl Marx remains deeply important today not as the man who told us what to replace capitalism with, but as someone who brilliantly pointed out certain of its problems. The School of Life, a pro-Capitalist institution, takes a look.



FURTHER READING

“Most people agree that we need to improve our economic system somehow. It threatens our planet through excessive consumption, distracts us with irrelevant advertising, leaves people hungry and without healthcare, and fuels unnecessary wars. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the ideas of its most famous and ambitious critic, Karl Marx. This isn’t very surprising. In practice, his political and economic ideas have been used to design disastrously planned economies and nasty dictatorships. Frankly, the remedies Marx proposed for the ills of the world now sound a bit demented. He thought we should abolish private property. People should not be allowed to own things. At certain moments one can sympathise. But it’s like wanting to ban gossip or forbid watching television. It’s going to war with human behaviour. And Marx believed the world would be put to rights by a dictatorship of the proletariat; which does not mean anything much today. Openly Marxist parties received a total of only 1,685 votes in the 2010 UK general election, out of the nearly 40 million ballots cast…”"
karlmarx  marxism  capitalism  2014  work  labor  specialization  purpose  alienation  disconnection  hierarchy  efficiency  communism  belonging  insecurity  economics  primitiveaccumulation  accumulation  profit  theft  exploitation  instability  precarity  crises  abundance  scarcity  shortage  productivity  leisure  unemployment  freedom  employment  inequality  wealth  wealthdistribution  marriage  relationships  commodityfetishism  feminism  oppression  ideology  values  valuejudgements  worth  consumerism  materialism  anxiety  competition  complacency  conformity  communistmanifesto  inheritance  privateproperty  banking  communication  transportation  eduction  publiceducation  frederickengels  generalists  specialists  daskapital 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Eyeo 2016 – Sarah Hendren on Vimeo
"Design for Know-Nothings, Dilettantes, and Melancholy Interlopers – Translators, impresarios, believers, and the heartbroken—this is a talk about design outside of authorship and ownership, IP or copyright, and even outside of research and collaboration. When and where do ideas come to life? What counts as design? Sara talks about some of her own "not a real designer" work, but mostly she talks about the creative work of others: in marine biology, architecture, politics, education. Lots of nerdy history, folks."
sarahendren  eyeo2016  2016  eyeo  dilettantes  interlopers  translation  ownership  copyright  collaboration  education  marinebiology  architecture  design  research  learning  howwelearn  authorship  socialengagement  criticaldesign  thehow  thewhy  traction  meaning  place  placefulness  interconnectedness  cause  purpose  jacquescousteau  invention  dabbling  amateurs  amateurism  exploration  thinking  filmmaking  toolmaking  conviviality  convivialtools  ivanillich  impresarios  titles  names  naming  language  edges  liminalspaces  outsiders  insiders  dabblers  janeaddams  technology  interdependence  community  hullhouse  generalists  radicalgeneralists  audrelorde  vaclavhavel  expertise  pointofview  disability  adaptability  caseygollan  caitrinlynch  ingenuity  hacks  alinceshepherd  inclinedplanes  dance  pedagogy  liminality  toolsforconviviality  disabilities  interconnected  interconnectivity 
august 2016 by robertogreco
A continuum along which soil practice and social practice occur | Lebenskünstler
"the art system has become industrial agriculture
aesthetic ecology as gardening – learn from your grandmother and your neighbor, pick up some magazines or books, watch some YouTube videos and get growing, no gatekeepers, no degrees required

the art system says the only real gardening is done by experts

seed saving (AE) vs. industrial ag research (AS) – person to person innovation (AE) vs. institutionally controlled validation (AS)

museums, galleries, and universities act much like Monsanto taking up vernacular practices, formalizing them, squeezing the living core out, and controlling their distribution and viability

aesthetic ecology favors diversity – formal, institutional practices, but also backyard gardeners, community gardeners, homesteaders, etc"
art  gardening  linear  linearity  cycles  sustainability  2016  randallszott  amateurs  amateurism  ecology  professionalization  capitlalism  elitism  specialization  generalists  distributed  centralization  permaculture  agriculture  growth  economics  museums  control  distribution  diversity  institutions  institutionalization  aesthetics  socialpractice 
february 2016 by robertogreco
6, 67: Side pass
"Q: Where do you find the time to write a newsletter?

A: I think of things that I was going to do, but which I don’t want to do as much as I want to do a newsletter, and then I don’t do those other things, and do the newsletter instead.

Q: You said once that you were pretty optimistic about the world’s future, despite your deep fear of climate change. Why?

A: Well, short version, because of what I think of as the genre of whig graphs. I strongly disagree with the hypercapitalist, only-humans-matter, business-as-usual agenda of most people I see deploying those graphs. (← Between that sentence and the coming sentence is where a longer version would have to do a lot of careful bridge-building. →) But I have much more trust in the futures of vaccinated, nourished, educated, relatively non-traumatized children who are close to the world’s biggest problems than I do in my own analyses. The risk in this stance is quietism. In any case, I think we’re in big trouble. My optimism isn’t a kind of satisfaction, only a kind of hope.



Q: How do I learn to write better?

A: Not sure. But maybe try stuff like: Write about things you care about. When you read something that surprises you, think about why, and how it could have been different. Good writing teaches you how to read it. As a reader, pay attention. As a writer, reward attention. Accept that you can’t make any one piece of writing avoid every valid criticism, communicate the whole truth, or please everyone you’d like to please. Notice peers whose writing is like yours and watch them learn. Find things you appreciate in writing that you (or common wisdom) don’t like. Ask someone who knows better than me.

Q: As you might expect from the fact that I subscribe to your newsletter, I think we share some tastes and interests.

A: What do you read and pay attention to? Dunno. I follow a lot of amazing people on Twitter. When I come across something especially interesting, I assume it’s part of a network of interesting things and try to map that out. (For example, if I particularly enjoy a book, I’ll do web searches for the people thanked in the acknowledgments.) Looking for gaps, ruthlessness about things that are supposed to be interesting but aren’t, etc. I don’t know! Really there’s nothing in particular that I would point to other than the entire internet."
charlieloyd  2015  reading  writing  howweread  howwewrite  process  learning  howwelearn  generalists  twitter  education  unschooling  attention  interestedness  interested  classideas  communication  ideas  hypercapitalism  future  hope  optimism  climatechange  humanism  newsletters  futures  quietism 
september 2015 by robertogreco
The Whole of Work - Features - Source: An OpenNews project
"I shouldn’t have to say this, but here we are: work that is excessive, consuming north of 40 hours a week and without regular holidays, leads to burnout and reduced productivity, not to mention a toll on workers’ mental and physical health. We should build workplaces that encourage healthy work habits because we are not monsters, but also because we benefit from sane work cultures because they achieve better results.

With that out of the way, parental leave, holidays, paid sick time, flexible hours, and remote-friendly environments are all table stakes for a holistic work culture. Holistic technologies rely on the creativity and leadership of all parties involved—so they are especially sensitive to environments that engender fatigue. Too often, work cultures neglect the fact that workers have bodies, forgetting that food, exercise, and rest are design requirements.

In addition to long hours, push notifications arriving 24/7 and expectations that workers are “always on” are similarly dangerous. A lot of recent technology makes connecting with far-off colleagues trivial, but that’s both a boon and a responsibility. Team leaders have to set an example by promoting responsible time off policies and setting expectations that off time is off limits. Likewise, unlimited vacation policies are only a perk if workers make use of them.

Most importantly, the egalitarianism necessary for productive collaboration requires that we work to reduce the effects of structural discrimination—otherwise, not every team member will be able to contribute fully. We don’t—we cannot—live in a meritocracy, so habits and expectations that force workers to prioritize work over life silently privilege the young, healthy, wealthy, and childless. If we’re going to build diverse workplaces—and we’d better—then it’s critical that we support the whole life of every worker, regardless of the circumstances of their birth.

***

There’s one final point I’ll make about holistic technology: it need not be constrained to the work of making products, but can extend to the products themselves. Many of the products most in vogue today—Slack, GitHub, Trello, or any member of the somewhat misnamed category of content management systems—are themselves tools for collaboration. Which means those tools can also aspire to holistic processes, creating environments in which individuals can take control of their work rather than being controlled by it.

Franklin notes that the real danger of prescriptive technologies is that they lend themselves to a culture of compliance: that is, a prescriptive process teaches people that they must do things a certain way, and so instills in them habits of following the rules. She writes:
The acculturation to compliance and conformity has, in turn, accelerated the use of prescriptive technologies in administrative, government, and social services. The same development has diminished resistance to the programming of people. (19)

The programming of people. In other words, prescriptive technologies lend themselves towards systems and structures that treat people as automatons, diminishing both their talents and their humanity. If we want communities of creative people—that is, people who do not merely accept the way things have always been done but try to improve them—then we cannot afford to breed compliance, in either our workplaces or among our users. The Times expose of Amazon also notes, almost as an aside, that the inhumane culture extends all the way down to warehouse workers who are expected to operate under conditions better suited to robots. If we bristle at working under those kinds of conditions ourselves, what excuse have we for imposing them on others? Moreover, what makes us believe that the programming of people will be limited to those on the lower rungs?

We can’t hoard holistic processes for ourselves—we need to also imbue the tools and systems we create with those same principles. That is, we should encourage collaboration and documentation; anticipate needs for both synchronous and asynchronous workflows; create meaningful ways to denote time working and time away; and most importantly we should resist, at all costs, the temptation to build rigid, prescriptive processes that users must slavishly follow.

Holistic technologies represent better ways of working—and living. We should both enthusiastically adopt them and work to ensure they are the norm, not the exception."
mandybrown  work  collaboration  communication  diversity  2015  ursulafranklin  generalists  specialists  labor  technology  burnout  care  caring  productivity  autonomy  competition  documentation  process  transparency 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Comprehensive Designer - SML Wiki
"Comprehensive designer = artist + inventor + mechanic + objective economist + evolutionary strategist
Synonym: comprehensivist
Antonym: specialist

Quotes from the Internet

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/turner06/turner06_index.html

In a 1963 volume called Ideas and Integrities, a book that would have a strong impact on USCO and Stewart Brand, Fuller named this individual the "Comprehensive Designer."

According to Fuller, the Comprehensive Designer would not be another specialist, but would instead stand outside the halls of industry and science, processing the information they produced, observing the technologies they developed, and translating both into tools for human happiness. Unlike specialists, the Comprehensive Designer would be aware of the system's need for balance and the current deployment of its resources. He would then act as a "harvester of the potentials of the realm," gathering up the products and techniques of industry and redistributing them in accord with the systemic patterns that only he and other comprehensivists could perceive.

To do this work, the Designer would need to have access to all of the information generated within America's burgeoning technocracy while at the same time remaining outside it. He would need to become "an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist." Constantly poring over the population surveys, resource analyses, and technical reports produced by states and industries, but never letting himself become a full-time employee of any of these, the Comprehensive Designer would finally see what the bureaucrat could not: the whole picture.

Being able to see the whole picture would allow the Comprehensive Designer to realign both his individual psyche and the deployment of political power with the laws of nature. In contrast to the bureaucrat, who, so many critics of technocracy had suggested, had been psychologically broken down by the demands of his work, the Comprehensive Designer would be intellectually and emotionally whole.

Neither engineer nor artist, but always both simultaneously, he would achieve psychological integration even while working with the products of technocracy. Likewise, whereas bureaucrats exerted their power by means of political parties and armies and, in Fuller's view, thus failed to properly distribute the world's resources, the Comprehensive Designer would wield his power systematically. That is, he would analyze the data he had gathered, attempt to visualize the world's needs now and in the future, and then design technologies that would meet those needs. Agonistic politics, Fuller implied, would become irrelevant. What would change the world was "comprehensive anticipatory design science.'"

[via: https://twitter.com/shahwang/status/609125189692096512 ]
generalists  comprehensivists  via:sha  specialists  specialization  art  artists  cv  see-minglee  stewartbrand  creativegeneralists  buckminsterfuller  comprehensivedesigner  design  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Leon Botstein for Democracy Journal: Are We Still Making Citizens?
[via: http://willrichardson.com/post/115896934920/on-secret-keeping-and-forgetting ]

"Democracy requires a commitment to the public good. But for a long time now, our citizens have been taught to see themselves as only private actors."



"What the European émigrés discovered was a reality that partially resembled these principles. They saw from the outside, as it were, how vital the connection is between how we structure our schools and our capacity to maintain a functioning pluralist democracy. John Dewey, America’s greatest thinker on education since Mann, guided the ideology of public education. For Dewey, the justification for the proper pedagogy was not primarily political; his conception of teaching and learning derived largely from an epistemological conceit within Pragmatism. But for the European émigrés, the contrast between the school systems from which they came and the school system in the country in which they arrived—the virtue and attraction of American educational practice—was significant in terms of its political consequences.

In those years, the defining factor in the American system was the idea of a single, unitary public school system in which everybody enrolled. All citizens went to the same sort of schools through to the end of secondary school. Private schools were an elite phenomenon and relatively insignificant. Most European public systems, by contrast, were intentionally segregated by ability, creating distinct groups beginning at age 11. The state, using examinations, divided the school population into varying categories, each of which maintained a different track. The majority of citizens never completed school beyond elementary school. Some percentage went on to vocational schooling. A very small segment of the population went, as adolescents, either to a humanistic academic high school (Gymnasium) or to a less prestigious practical and science-oriented high school (Realschule) and received a secondary-school diploma. A Matura or Abitur, the diploma from these two types of secondary schools, permitted an elite student to enroll in the university.

Consequently, the unitary public school system that kept all children together until college and that built citizens of character, devoted to democratic values, was viewed by the émigré generation as a marvel. American education appeared to fit the idea that the nation and democracy were tied to a homogeneity of rights, and that diverse constituencies could not only obtain equal legal status but through education achieve the means to realize it in economic and social terms. Citizenship via a nominally nondiscriminatory and standard process accessible to all irrespective of birth, religion, ethnicity, or even language was unheard of in Europe, but it—and the concrete advantages education added—seemed possible in America.

Higher education was no less eye-opening. Undergraduates delayed specialization and studied more than one subject. They were, from the start, asked to do far more writing that called for the expression of their own arguments and judgments. What was equally shocking to a European was the way in which the American university system seemed immensely flexible and open to new ideas. There was not a rigid hierarchy with one professor running each “faculty.” Young scholars did not have to wait for their elders to retire or die. The university was able to create new fields and new positions. Not only was there less hierarchy and formality, but in graduate education there was even less deference to authority than in the public school system. The dissenter, rebel, and ambitious entrepreneur were prized more than in Europe. In terms of graduate education and academic career advancement, American university practice still stands in contrast to that of Europe.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the academic standards by which the American common school system operated seemed horrifically low. The price paid by the democratic culture of the American school system, the émigré observers concluded, was the low level of shared culture achieved at the end of secondary public education. Freshmen could not read or write properly, and they possessed little understanding of literature, art, philosophy, or history. The thinly veiled (at best) snobbery of the mid-century émigré scholars simply exploded when their members (such as Werner Jaeger, Leo Strauss, and Kurt Wolff) came to teach American college students."



"I distrust private languages and the tendency to rely on one’s personal narrative as the basis for talking about politics and, in particular, education, understood as a political good. The personal narrative is always contingent on those outside of it. What a child has to learn in school is not only to formulate a personal narrative but also to set it aside; children need to listen, to observe others, and thereby to distinguish their personal narrative from those of others as each individual constructs a role as a citizen. However, the two imperatives—personal growth and citizenship—don’t appear naturally to overlap. A child needs to learn things that allow him or her to function in a democratic context, to learn to consciously ignore personal self-interest and contemplate the public good. What a common public school ought to teach, therefore, is the capacity for disagreement, contest, and compromise. But if I think public goods are irrelevant, that we can do without government, I automatically subscribe to a kind of illusion of individualism against which criticism is hard, since the point of having a discussion or debate—the creation of the public space of a shared participatory politics—is rejected."



"The project of public education is fundamental to the notion of public goods in America. The restoration of public education seems a precondition for making the public sphere operate properly. Education must be about something more than personal happiness and benefit, economically defined; it has to map out the idea that there is more to the public good than the belief that through some free-market-style calculus of aggregate self-interests, the greatest good for the greatest number will emerge. In other words, public education is about educating the future citizen to consider a common ground in politics that can and will secure a more rewarding notion of personal security and tranquility for all.

But in the context of today’s disenchantment with the public sphere, what can a school-trained citizen do? Merely compete in the marketplace? Work for Google? What actually defines the public sphere today is not the government and Congress, but Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Conspiracy theorists when I was young pointed to the presence of socialists and communists who were said to undermine our system of values. Fear seemed reasonable in the Cold War and under the threat of nuclear war. The line between fear and paranoia was thin indeed. Fear was plausible.

But the people who frighten me and undermine the public sphere today are not terrorists and ideologues interested in overthrowing the government; they are not even those who work for the U.S. government within the NSA or the CIA. Rather, I’m afraid of the very large corporate giants that control our access to information, regulate our private lives by providing social networks—a platform for deceptive intimacy—and monitor every move we make in life and preserve a record of every message, thereby rendering secret-keeping and forgetting—two essential human experiences—impossible."



"So where does this bring us with regard to education? As a practitioner of education, I still hold to the idea that the most difficult and yet most vital thing to do is to construct and sustain a language of public conversation. And that language of public conversation will inevitably be different from our several private languages. We cannot expect it to be the same. The conversation on matters that affect us all has to take place in real space and time. School is one source of that essential opportunity.

One of the depressing aspects of our politics today is the extent to which our candidates think it is enough to be a personality and to rely on a private language in order to get elected. We are more interested in the personalities of our politicians, as if they were our neighbors or private friends, than we are in what they think. Today’s politicians cannot speak a comprehensible language of ideas in public conversation about public goods, the matters at stake in politics. We have lost the taste for a sustained debate about ideas.

To confront this lack of public discourse based on ideas—ideas bolstered by claims and evidence subject to open scrutiny—public education needs to work. It needs to create a community of very diverse citizens who are able to occupy a public space in which they can negotiate matters of shared concern, from foreign affairs to domestic policy, using a shared language. The Internet does not offer such a platform, nor does the virtual space or Facebook or any other social media.

I therefore think that we need to redouble the defense of a single system of public education to which our citizens have free access. We need to resist the privatization of schooling. That does not mean that every school should look alike. But since we will continue to be (I hope) an immigrant nation, we will have to champion a public school system if we are to reconcile increasing differences, inequalities of wealth, and class distinctions into a functioning, dynamic democracy made up of citizens.

I share the émigré generation’s quite romantic optimism for the potential of a democratic school system, one marked by excellence and equity. I think such a system is worth fighting for. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic. There is evidence that we can improve schools. A welcome first step would be to instill in the best of our current college students and future … [more]
leonbostein  democracy  publicschools  civics  citizenship  2015  individualism  collectivism  publicgood  education  society  us  privatization  government  disagreement  debate  participation  capitalism  hannaharendt  hansweil  christianmackauer  progressive  progressivism  freedom  interdependence  independence  politics  learning  johndewey  egalitarianism  americandream  equality  inequality  generalists  specialization  hierarchy  informality  formality  horizontality  standards  standardization  competition  universities  colleges  highered  highereducation  criticalthinking  accessibility  europe  history  leostrauss  kurtwolff  wernerjaeger  jacobklein  robertmaynardhutchins  stringfellowbarr  heinrichblücher  elitism  privateschools  content  process  methodology  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  purpose  sputnik  truth  canon  discourse  isolation  technology  internet  schooling  schooliness  science  wikipedia  communication  language  eliascanetti  teaching  information  research 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Hear Bucky Fuller Talk About Life, Airplanes, and the Future
[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/122335390 ]

"There's something jarring about hearing old interviews of legendary futurist Buckminster Fuller. He speaks at a rapid pace, like each word is racing to get out before the next. But both Fuller's style and his self-assuredness make it hard not to get swept up in his unbridled optimism about the future of technology — especially in this new animated video created from audio interviews conducted by Studs Terkel in 1965 and 1970.

Yes, the short film appears to be sponsored by Squarespace, but even if it's a thinly veiled ad for building your own website (which I guess it kind of is) it's still worth six minutes of your time.

Fuller talks about everything from seeing the world through his child's eyes to how we might achieve weather control one day. And it all has an air of optimism that's downright infectious, even for dyed in the wool cynics like myself.
Fuller: I recall in Chicago wheeling my little child in her baby carriage in Lincoln Park. I was amazed, because a little biplane went over Lincoln Park. Airplanes were not very common in those days. I said, "Isn't it amazing. Here's my child looking up at that airplane and that airplane in the sky is as natural to her as a bird." Because when I was born, the airplane did not exist. It was really the start of the beginning of impossible things happening.

Fuller was an incredibly complex man, filled with contradictions. But there really is something transfixing in his voice; something that in the moment makes you want to believe that technology is fundamentally a force for good in the world. And then he stop talking, and you realize that Fuller himself is an advertisement — a man who's trying to sell you on a world that doesn't yet (and may never) exist."

[See also: http://mentalfloss.com/article/62240/video-premiere-buckminster-fuller-geodesic-life
and http://experimenters.squarespace.com/ ]
buckminsterfuller  studsterkel  animation  2015  generalists  specialists  geodesicdomes  airplances  future  life  living  parenting 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Artist Endures - The Atlantic
"What’s more, the idea that 10,000 hours of practice makes someone an expert may not even be psychologically valid. A recent meta-analysis found that while practice correlated with skill, it did not at all explain it. “Deliberate practice left more of the variation in skill unexplained than it explained,” wrote one of that study’s authors in Slate. We know so little about this idea because it’s so relatively recent: The first research suggesting a “10,000 Hour Rule” existed was published in 1993, and the rule itself only became popularized with the 2008 release of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers.

And look what happened: In six years, the idea became such a part of the cultural atmosphere that Deresiewicz can treat it like it’s timeless. But it’s not—it’s new, as much a part of the changing artistic firmament as the compulsion to have a website.

But that doesn’t mean its meaningless. The “10,000 Hour Rule” caught on because it invited readers to a cultural meritocracy. It discredited the un-American idea that in-born talent drives careers, instead suggesting that any discipline, any craft or art, could be accessible to anyone through hours upon hours of practice. Maybe that’s true: We just don’t know. Likewise, I don’t know whether true cultural democracy is coming.

But I do know one thing. The value of any discipline, whether craft or art, is not extracted solely by experts. In his essay, Deresiewicz approves of how Gertrude Stein once scolded Picasso for writing poetry. I have also heard Picasso was a terrible poet, but I really don’t know, and I can’t hazard whether some iambic innovation would have spurred him to paint differently.

I am not Picasso, though, and neither are you. And in the world I’d like to live in, everyone—whether they’re a famous painter or a CPA—would feel as though they can explore the breadth of human expression, whether through writing poetry or learning about Chinese pottery or even researching historical pickling methods. If cultural democracy comes, my guess is it will not look like 100 million specialists. It will appear as a society of curious minds, captivated by human traditions and inspired to improve upon them, interested in the many places in the world where humans have spent their attention—and hungry to invest more."
robinsonmeyer  2014  art  williamderesiewicz  craft  practice  internet  malcolmgladwell  advice  democracy  culture  creativity  attention  specialists  specialization  generalists  meritocracy  joirodreamsofsushi  gertrudestein  pablopicasso  dilettantes  innovation  imagination 
january 2015 by robertogreco
deborah sussman interview
"DB: please could you tell us about your background and how you became interested in design?

DS: I grew up in brooklyn where my parents exposed us to the arts from a young age: we had dance lessons, piano lessons, french lessons, trips to museums, performances and galleries. after high school I went to study painting and acting at bard college in new york, which was a very radical school at that time. in those days I thought I’d become an actress or an artist but then I heard about a school in chicago, the institute of design, ran by lászló moholy-nagy and I really wanted to go there and see what it was all about. I got transferred to chicago and design completely took over my life from then on.

one of my teachers in chicago was konrad wachsmann, who was friendly with charles and ray eames. in my first year there the eames came to give a talk at our school and also afterwards asked konrad to recommend them a student who could work with them for the summer, as a graphic designer. he suggested it should be me.

DB: how was it to work at the eames office?

DS: I was extremely happy. as a young designer in my early twenties there was nobody I would rather have worked for. it was a dream job. originally I was only supposed to work there that one summer and then go back to finish my studies in chicago. at the end of the summer I approached charles to say goodbye and he said ‘goodbye? why? where are you going?‘ I told him ‘I need to go back to school and finish my degree‘ he simply replied ‘I don’t have a degree. why do you need one? ray and I are going to europe for a few months, why don’t you stay in our house until we come back?‘. I didn’t need any more persuading than that!

DB: what did you work on while you were there?

DS: a bit of everything; photography, graphic design, illustration, ads for herman miller, sets for films. many, many different things. after working there for three years I applied for a fulbright scholarship to study at the hochschule für gestaltang in ulm, germany and a year later I got it. so I was there for four years in my first stint.

DB: have the eames been the biggest influence on your work?

DS: ray and charles along with alexander girard who worked with us were great mentors to me. another experience from those days that really shaped me a lot was my first trip to mexico. I went there in the early 1950s to take photos as part of the research for ‘the day of the dead’ film and was really taken-back by the place, the people, the culture. the vibrancy of color that I discovered there has always stayed with me, the bright yellow and magenta icing on the sugar skulls and sweet breads – amazing! it was the first time I had been to another country and I absolutely loved it. that really whetted my appetite to travel more and before I knew it I was off to germany.



DB: what eventually made you want to start your own company?

DS: in my second stint at eames I worked on mathematica, then I went to india to work on the exhibition ‘nehru: the man and his india’ and then ended up back in california. at that time people started asking me to work on things for them and I was using my desk at the eames office after-hours to get these side projects done. as the side projects became bigger and more frequent I became uncomfortable working on them at their office, I didn’t want to disrespect them in any way so decided I’d go it alone. frank gehry offered me a space at his office and I started working from there. I worked with him on some projects and also with other architects, advertising agencies, shops and slowly ended up needing my own space. over the years the office has grown and switched locations several times and in the middle of it all I met my husband, paul prejza and we work together with our team on an interesting blend of civic, cultural and commercial projects.

DB: how would you describe your style to someone who hasn’t seen your work before?

DS: exuberant and bold.

DB: what traps should a young designer avoid when working on an environmental design project?

DS: one of the most common traps is not understanding scale. you need to test your design with physical scale-models and if possible at full scale. that’s a very important exercise, you can’t always understand scale on on a computer screen.

DB: what are your thoughts on specialization vs generalization?

DS: I’m most certainly a generalist. I enjoy all the different arts too much to only do one thing all of the time.

DB: what are you passionate about apart from design?

DS: poetry. I would have said photography some years back but now it’s definitely poetry. I write free verse poetry, often about the way I see things and for the last few years myself and juan felipe herrera (poet laureate of california) have been writing poems back and forth to one another, that’s something I have a lot of fun with.

DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?

DS: I do and it’s a bit silly but I’ll tell you! I think that whatever you do on new year’s day, you will do for the rest of the year… so it’s nice to drink plenty of champagne.

DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

DS: a couple of pieces of advice that I often remember are:
‘stick to the concept’ – charles eames
‘the best thing we can do for our clients is not obey them, but inspire them’ – alexander girard

DB: what’s the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?

several people have told me over the years ‘just give them what they want‘ with regards to clients, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have to inspire them and that can sometimes be a very dangerous attitude to have because you can loose yourself a lot of money!"
deborahsussman  2013  interviews  charleseames  eames  eamesstudio  design  education  losangeles  graphicdesign  graphics  konradwachsmann  illustration  alexandergirard  generalists  specialization  specialists  california 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Playing the Odds | Easily Distracted
[via: http://tinyletter.com/audreywatters/letters/hack-education-weekly-newsletter-no-70 ]

"No academic (I hope) would say that education is required to achieve wisdom. In fact, it is sometimes the opposite: knowing more about the world can be, in the short-term, an impediment to understanding it. I think all of us have known people who are terrifically wise, who understand other people or the universe or the social world beautifully without ever having studied anything in a formal setting. Some of the wise get that way through experiencing the world, others through deliberate self-guided inquiry.

What I would be prepared to claim is something close to something Wellmon says, that perhaps college might “might alert students to an awareness of what is missing, not only in their own colleges but in themselves and the larger society as well”.

But my “might” is a bit different. My might is literally a question of probabilities. A well-designed liberal arts education doesn’t guarantee wisdom (though I think it can guarantee greater concrete knowledge about subject matter and greater skills for expression and inquiry). But it could perhaps be designed so that it consistently improves the odds of a well-considered and well-lived life. Not in the years that the education is on-going, not in the year after graduation, but over the years that follow. Four years of a liberal arts undergraduate experience could be far more likely to produce not just a better quality of life in the economic sense but a better quality of being alive than four years spent doing anything else.

I think I can argue that the disciplinary study of history can potentially contribute to the development of a capacity for empathy, or emotional intelligence, an understanding of why things happen the way that they do and how they might happen differently, and many other crafts and arts that I would associate as much with wisdom as I do with knowledge, with what I think informs a well-lived life. But potential is all I’m going to give out. I can’t guarantee that I’ll make someone more empathetic, not the least because I’m not sure how to quantify such a thing, but also because that’s not something everybody can be or should be counted upon to get from the study of history. It’s just, well, more likely that you might get that than if you didn’t study history.

This sense of “might” even justifies rather nicely the programmatic hostility to instrumentally-driven approaches to education among many humanists. Yes, we’re cultivating humanity, it’s just that we’re not very sure what will grow from any given combination of nutrients and seeds. In our students or ourselves.

This style of feeling through the labyrinth gives me absolutely no title to complacency, however. First, it’s still a problem that increased disciplinary knowledge and skills do not give us proportionately increased probability of incorporating that knowledge into our own lives and institutions. At some point, more rigorous philosophical analyses about when to pull the lever on a trolley or more focused historical research into the genesis of social movements doesn’t consistently improve the odds of making better moral decisions or participating usefully in the formation of social movements.

Second, I don’t think most curricular designs in contemporary academic institutions actually recognize the non-instrumental portion of a liberal-arts education as probabilistic. If we did see it that way, I think we’d organize curricula that had much less regularity, predictability and structure–in effect, much less disciplinarity.

This is really the problem we’re up against: to contest the idea that education is just about return-on-investment, just about getting jobs, we need to offer an education whose structural character and feeling is substantially other than what it is. Right now, many faculty want to have their cake and eat it too, to have rigorous programs of disciplinary study that are essentially instrumental in that they primarily encourage students to do the discipline as if it were a career, justified in a tautological loop where the value of the discipline is discovered by testing students on how they demonstrate that the discipline is, in its own preferred terms, valuable.

If we want people to take seriously that non-instrumental “dark side of the moon” that many faculty claim defines what college has been, is and should remain, we have to take it far more seriously ourselves, both in how we try to live what it is that we study and in how we design institutions that increase the probabilities that our students will not just know specific things and have specific skills but achieve wisdoms that they otherwise could not have found."
education  2014  via:audreywatters  liberalarts  timothyburke  highereducation  wisdom  empathy  openmindedness  ethics  morality  philosophy  history  learning  purpose  humanism  humanities  fiction  literature  society  generalists 
july 2014 by robertogreco
studio : lab : workshop | Abler.
"I’ve been saying for some years now that my wish is to be as close to science-making as possible: that is, not merely teaching complementary art and design practices for young scientists in training, but to be in the formative stages of research and development much further upstream in the process. Asking collaboratively: What research questions are worthy questions? What populations and individuals hold stakes in these questions? Are there important queries that are forgotten? Could parallel questions be pursued in tandem—some quantitative, others qualitative? And how do we engage multiple publics in high-stakes research?"

To put it another way: What happens when extra-disciplinary inquiry lives alongside traditional forms of research—especially when those traditional forms occupy the disciplinarily privileged status of the STEM fields? Inviting both generalist and specialist approaches starts to hint at what a “both-and” disposition could look like. As here in David Gray’s formulation of specialists and generalists:

[image]

Breadth, he says, is the characteristic of the generalist, and depth the characteristic of the specialist. A thriving academic research program surely needs both: but not just in the forms of symposia, scholarly ethics, or data visualization to (once more) “complement” or even complicate the science. It’s the last note of Gray’s that I’m particularly paying attention to, because it’s what good critical design and hybrid arts practices often do best: They act as boundary objects.

Gray says those objects can be “documents, models, maps, vocabulary, or even physical environments” that mark these intersections of broad and deep ideas. Well, I’d say: especially physical environments and phenomena. At the scale of products or screens or architectural spaces, these objects can act as powerful mediators and conduits for ideas. They can become modes of discourse, opportunities for public debate, sites of disciplinary flows.

It’s these kinds of objects that I’d like to be a feature of the studio/lab/workshop I’ll bring to Olin: An ongoing pursuit of ideas-in-things that live at all the various points along a continuum between practical use, on the one hand, and symbolic or expressive power on the other. Two poles in the manner still most accessibly captured by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby—both of which I’d like to be present.

And what does this mean for the habits of mind we cultivate? I return often to the ideas of Jack Miles in this essay—also about generalists and specialists, with a key useful heuristic: that specialists tend to embody the disposition of farmers, while generalists tend to embody the virtues of hunters. Both are necessary, and both need each other. The careful tending to a field whose needs are more or less known, protected, and nurtured further, on the one hand. And the more landscape-crossing, round-the-next-bend pursuit of the not yet known and its promised nourishment, on the other.

I want students to try out and value both operative modes, no matter where their own career paths take them. Knowing that others are also asking valuable questions in different disciplinary ways ideally breeds humility: a sense that what one has to offer could be enriched when conjoined in conversation with others whose expertise may not be immediately legible from within a silo.

And not just humility: I want students in engineering to know that their practices can be both private and public, that their status as citizens can be catalyzed through making things. Things that may be practical, performative, or both.

In practical terms, we’ll be looking at labs like Tom Bieling’s Design Abilities group in Berlin, Ryerson’s EDGE Lab, the Age and Ability Lab at RCA, and the newly-formed Ability Lab at NYU Poly. But we’ll also be looking methodologically at Kate Hartman’s Social Body Lab at OCAD, at the CREATE group at Carnegie Mellon, and of course Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic.

Possible paths to pursue: A “design for one” stream of prosthetic devices made for one user’s self-identified wish or need. An ongoing partnership with any of a number of schools or clinics in the Boston area where provisional and low-tech assistive devices could make education more responsive to children’s up-to-the-minute developmental needs. Short-term residencies and workshops with critical engineers and artists working with technology and public life. Public, investigative performances and installations that address issues of ability, dependence, and the body in the built environment.

These things will take time! I can’t wait to begin."
sarahendren  2014  olincollege  design  specialization  specialists  generalists  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  engineering  stem  davidgray  research  academia  extra-disciplinary  ability  dependence  audiencesofone  jackmiles  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  ablerism  events  nataliejeremijenko  tombieling  kateharman  prosthetics  abilities  disability  designcriticism  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  humility  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  accessibility  assistivetechnology  discourse  conversation  openstudioproject  lcproject  howwelearn  howweteach  disabilities 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The Overflowing Froth of Realness: Iowa BIG | ThinkThankThunk
"It’s been slow, especially because I’m used to running my own little kingdom of a classroom, but Iowa BIG is bearing the fruit of a community-focused, project-based model.

The dream was to create a schooling experience with a seamless connection and sometimes blurred difference between who’s doing the learning and who’s doing the supporting of that learning. As I watch my students move out into the community to pitch their projects and seek support from local experts and interested parties, I can’t help but beam with pride.

I woke up this morning to an inbox full of reports and evidence of community building that I had no direct control of: students telling me that they met with local counselors and psychologists that have steered a project on mental health in a totally new direction; I didn’t do that. 300 people gathering to support a student’s long-term study of gender equality this Friday. I had such a small role in that.

Community Building, Inc.

It all comes down to the view of community building as a profession. I was brought into that fold by a local media company; their constant drum beat being that a built community, a connected network where the central node becomes less and less so, is vital to the success of schools, businesses, and the ability for residents to thrive.

I have to admit I didn’t get it at first… So, we should, um, have hang-outs at coffee shops? Sure, but what should the conversation be? You don’t get to plan that, but you do get to support it and help drive it. But don’t these Luddites have a complete lack of understanding of my beautiful vision for education? No/Yes, but they’re integral in creating a vision for education that’s more doable and effective than your “beautiful vision.”

At Iowa BIG, students, faculty, and, most importantly, the community at large pitch projects into our pool. The students then pull from that pool know already that the project matters to someone. The teaching and learning of the students overflows beyond any individual teacher so quickly, it’s almost amazing that we’ve intentionally left the community out of education for so long. Sure, parents support sporting events, and some donate money to the schools, but actual involvement in the educational process has been becoming more and more divorced.

Why else would we have such complicated conversations about grading? I know I’ve spilled some serious digital ink on the subject. If Wormeli is right, that grades are supposed to be communicative over time, instead of summative of a time, then why wouldn’t we carry that naturally beyond the preposterously reductionist practice of grading directly into instruction and mentoring?

As a teacher, my only real talent is the experience I have of working with young people. I can take the smallest tell and imagine what misconception or hang-up may be preventing that project/student from moving forward. That’s my profession. I am not so good at generating a thousand project ideas for every student and having all those ideas hit the mark. Many teachers suffer needlessly over this ineffable hubris that has been placed on the teaching profession: somehow, student interest and buy-in must stem from the teacher or else, I must be a bad teacher.

That’s impossible! For every student!? Impossible!

Yet, I see burned out teachers every May wishing for a break. I then see those same idealists stand up with a firmed chin in August to try it again. You know what they say about repetition…

Without creating a network of interconnected communicative nodes, all dedicated to the education of the network’s students, bringing them into how the community gets work done and needs work done, you’ll never achieve the individualized instruction that everyone claims to want. You’ll never attain the quandrant-D-OMG-engaging-real-world-real-real-World lessons everyone’s trying to design. The school budgets aren’t big enough, but a symbiotic, intentionally-built relationship between education, business, nonprofit, government, and so on?

That’ll do it.

Schools that are Just Killing It:

Blue Valley CAPS [http://www.bvcaps.org/s/1403/start.aspx ]
Northland CAPS [http://www.nkcschools.org/northland-caps ]
Makerspace@Lakewood City Schools [http://www.makerspacelcs.com/ ]
Eagle Rock, CO [http://www.eaglerockschool.org/ ]
Iowa BIG (obvi) [http://iowabig.org/ ]"
shawncornally  iowa  community  mentors  mentorships  generalists  teaching  education  openstudioproject  lcproject  learning  relationships  networks  explodingschool  iowabig  bluevalleycaps  nortlandcaps  eaglerockschool  control  connections  2014  interconnectedness  realworld  projectbasedlearning  pbl  interconnected  interconnectivity 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Designing in the Borderlands by Frank Chimero
"We spend a lot of time making arguments over how to choose sides on these splits. But after a lot of reflection, I’ve decided that I’m not particularly interested in choosing sides.

I want to be the line, and I want to mess with that line, because that line is a total fabrication. Why fall on the side of print or digital if what’s usually needed is both? Isn’t that a more interesting design problem? Why make books with only text or images if they get better with both? The questions go on and on.

Luckily, these distinctions were drawn by us, which means that we can redraw them. We can move the line, toe it, and breach it with a transgressive practice that tries to turn opposition into symbiosis. But you can only cross the line and confuse the distinction if you commit to the middle space.

These borderlands are the best place for a designer like me, and maybe like you, because the borderlands are where things connect. If you’re in the borderlands, your different tongues, your scattered thoughts, your lack of identification with a group, and all the things that used to be thought of as drawbacks in a specialist enclave become the hardened armor of a shrewd generalist in the borderlands."



"I learned a lot through the design process of The Shape of Design. First, that there are opportunities to produce projects that elegantly incorporate multiple mediums. One only needs to look for them. And second, that these design problems become easier to handle if one considers the system as a whole, instead of attempting to chop it up into separate pieces and attack it as smaller bits. Division reduces them in the same way that Massage, Electric Information Age Book, or The Shape of Design would be made small if the individual parts were isolated. The individual bits would be have differently, and the designer would miss the most important thing: these projects are important and big because they are multiple, and to temporarily make them not so is to misunderstand and misconstruct them. For these sorts of projects, my mantra has become:

Everything all at once.
Everything all together.



I had two goals today.

First, I wanted to articulate the biggest opportunity I see in design today: designer as translator, designer as integrator, designer as a merchant of ideas. We’ve built up so much knowledge that is tucked away in books and websites, and often all that’s needed to get that knowledge the attention it deserves is a gentle massage of tone and a switch of format. We can introduce physical materials to the web to reap the benefits of the network, but we can also translate the web’s content to the physical realm to stabilize it so it can be held and appreciated.

The second goal was to cast an additional mold for a designer, and to provide an explanation about why a person would want to go make weird little books and sit and write essays instead of working at an ad agency or startup for six figures. It’s worth documenting the different ways one can go about pursuing a design practice. There are many stories and paths, and I hope all of this is a reminder that the lines we draw to create the contours of our expectations can be disrupted. And that this disruption can, somehow, be soothing to those of us who identify as something different than the standard.

I’d like to finish by revisiting that Calvino quote:
Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification.

I hope you get the opportunity to do this at some point in your career, and that my conclusions will help those of you who identify as generalists. If you do not, perhaps I have convinced you that our conception of work is more flexible than we typically believe. The field is wide open; that is why it’s called a field."
generalists  frankchimero  creativity  design  borders  seams  interstitial  cv  trickster  departmentalization  interdisciplinary  dualism  transdisciplinary  print  digital  books  ebooks  bookfuturism  marshallmcluhan  quentinfiore  buckminsterfuller  multimedia  jeffreyschnapp  adammichaels  allsorts  italocalvino  translation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Are the Humanities in Crisis? - To the Point on KCRW 89.9 FM | Internet Public Radio Station Streaming Live Independent Music & NPR News Online from Los Angeles, CA
Half as many college students major in the humanities as did 50 years ago. Is this cause for concern? What's college for? Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks at what's at stake when higher education becomes more career focused and fewer students study the humanities. Also, a  new court decision calls NSA surveillance legal, and more men on the job are taking advantage of paternity leave. It turns out the time off for men can have far-reaching benefits for women, including helping to close the gender pay gap and shatter the glass ceiling.



Are the Humanities in Crisis? (1:07PM)
Only about 12% of all college students major in the humanities, a big change from just 50 years ago, when there were twice as many. Only about 7% major in subjects like English, Music or Art. The cost of college and concerns about employment are funneling more students into business and technology degrees, and we certainly need engineers, scientists and blue collar laborers, but at what price to American culture? Are we raising a generation of Americans that doesn't know enough about the humanities? What does it take to create a well-rounded society? What's at stake in education and society when our curricula become more career-focused and less aimed at creating well-rounded individuals?

Guests:
Anthony Carnevale: Georgetown University
Heidi Tworek: Harvard University, @HeidiTworek
Lee Siegel: writer and author
Gary Gutting: University of Notre Dame

Links:
Tworek on the real reason the humanities are in crisis
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/the-real-reason-the-humanities-are-in-crisis/282441/

Siegel on who ruined the humanities
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323823004578595803296798048

Siegel on whether literature should be useful
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/11/should-literature-be-useful.html

Gutting on the real humanities crisis
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/the-real-humanities-crisis/ "
humanities  highered  highereducation  2013  anthonycarnevale  heiditworek  leesiegel  garygutting  colleges  universities  employment  history  arts  education  society  generalists  literature  whauden  barbarabogaev  paternityleave  parenting  stem  economics  curriculum  generaleducation  us 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Anyone can learn to be a polymath – Robert Twigger – Aeon
"Monopathy, or over-specialisation, eventually retreats into defending what one has learnt rather than making new connections. The initial spurt of learning gives out, and the expert is left, like an animal, merely defending his territory. One sees this in the academic arena, where ancient professors vie with each other to expel intruders from their hard-won patches. Just look at the bitter arguments over how far the sciences should be allowed to encroach on the humanities. But the polymath, whatever his or her ‘level’ or societal status, is not constrained to defend their own turf. The polymath’s identity and value comes from multiple mastery.

Besides, it may be that the humanities have less to worry about than it seems. An intriguing study funded by the Dana foundation and summarised by Dr Michael Gazzaniga of the University of California, Santa Barbara, suggests that studying the performing arts — dance, music and acting — actually improves one's ability to learn anything else. Collating several studies, the researchers found that performing arts generated much higher levels of motivation than other subjects. These enhanced levels of motivation made students aware of their own ability to focus and concentrate on improvement. Later, even if they gave up the arts, they could apply their new-found talent for concentration to learning anything new.

I find this very suggestive. The old Renaissance idea of mastering physical as well as intellectual skills appears to have real grounding in improving our general ability to learn new things. It is having the confidence that one can learn something new that opens the gates to polymathic activity.

There is, I think, a case to be made for a new area of study to counter the monopathic drift of the modern world. Call it polymathics. Any such field would have to include physical, artistic and scientific elements to be truly rounded. It isn’t just that mastering physical skills aids general learning. The fact is, if we exclude the physicality of existence and reduce everything worth knowing down to book-learning, we miss out on a huge chunk of what makes us human. Remember, Feynman had to be physically competent enough to spin a plate to get his new idea.

Polymathics might focus on rapid methods of learning that allow you to master multiple fields. It might also work to develop transferable learning methods. A large part of it would naturally be concerned with creativity — crossing unrelated things to invent something new. But polymathics would not just be another name for innovation. It would, I believe, help build better judgment in all areas. There is often something rather obvious about people with narrow interests — they are bores, and bores always lack a sense of humour. They just don’t see that it’s absurd to devote your life to a tiny area of study and have no other outside interests. I suspect that the converse is true: by being more polymathic, you develop a better sense of proportion and balance — which gives you a better sense of humour. And that can’t be a bad thing."
polymaths  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  diversity  learning  philosophy  humanities  polymathy  openminded  roberttwigger  2013  specialists 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Inklings: Why I Jumped Off The Ivory Tower
"Although some of the talk about interdisciplinary work is insincere and self-serving -- often justifying the creation of new "Centers" without investing significant resources -- some of it is quite well-intentioned. To my own institution's credit, we have had a significant investment in at least some interdisciplinary research over the past few years. But as anyone in academia will tell you, these efforts usually fail. And although a lot of people have opinions about why it's so difficult to get this kind of research off the ground, I haven't heard a satisfying explanation. So I'll take a stab at it, drawing on my own (admittedly biased) perspective and experiences.



The effect is that when it comes time to decide on salary raises, a faculty member with broad, interdisciplinary research interests is at a severe disadvantage. To put the point bluntly, interdisciplinary researchers get paid less.



If a department or a person is consistently short-changed when it comes time to decide on budgets, it's a bad sign. It indicates that your work is not a priority. This is true for universities, families, businesses, and every other kind of organization.



The assumption behind many interdisciplinary initiatives seems be that if we put smart people in contact with each other and give them some money, good work will happen. Unfortunately, this isn't true at all. The gigantic edifice of the university is at odds with any potentially disruptive effort. It's possible to overcome that inertia, but it's a Herculean task, requiring a lot of patience and a great deal of time.

That grant proposal illustrates how much psychological resistance there is to change within the university. The call for proposals indicated that there would ultimately be five awards, and they were allocated to various subject areas or colleges. One award was to be made to the College of Arts and Sciences, which is by far the largest college on my campus. At the time my colleague and I wrote our proposal, we had literally no competition from our college whatsoever. That is, ours was the only proposal that was being submitted from the entire College of Arts and Sciences. If anyone had written a competent proposal, they could have easily received millions of dollars in funding. Eventually, that component of the grant program was eliminated entirely, and nothing was given to the college. Personally, I think that the explanation for why there was no uptake on this opportunity was that the very idea of conducting potentially wide-ranging, interdisciplinary research was so foreign that the vast majority of faculty wouldn't even know how to being thinking about such a project.

In such an environment, our efforts are channeled into narrow sub-specialties, and we consign our work to a tiny audience. Despite the common talk about the importance of "disruptive research" in the university, there's no real understanding of what makes s's omething "disruptive". To disrupt anything requires going outside the normal methods for one's work, redefining what's important or interesting, and usually drawing on a wide range of data and methodologies. It almost always requires collaboration, and almost always requires going outside one's own comfort zone. But in an environment where the senior faculty and administrators have been rewarded throughout their careers for toeing their disciplinary lines, there's a lot of resistance to change. Some of that resistance is due to outright hostility, but most of it is just the result of a lack of experience and imagination.

None of this is to imply that there's no place for highly specialized work. Quite the opposite -- intellectual progress requires a combination of narrow and broad approaches to a variety of problems. However, we lose a lot of opportunity when there are powerful disincentives for conducting potentially important research."
zacharyernst  education  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  specialization  generalists  academia  highered  highereducation  2013  corporatization  corporatism 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The Schools We Need | Erik Reece | Orion Magazine
"A few years ago, on the first day of my Freshman Comp class, an argument broke out over whether or not “Redskins” was a racist name for a professional football team. I hadn’t expected or planned this debate, but I let it rage for half the class, trying to direct and redirect the lines of argument as best I could. It seemed like productive chaos, and afterward, the class did not emerge from the debate divided, but rather heartened, it seemed, that everyone had been given a chance to voice diverse opinions. Something important happened that day: the students created a democratic space in which to debate and consider ideas. It wasn’t because of anything I did, but simply because I didn’t get in the way of the students’ own grappling over questions of perspective, personal background, and the ability of words to both empower and harm."



"When deregulated corporations destroy entire ecosystems and the Supreme Court grants those same corporations more “rights” to express themselves as “persons” (very rich persons), the need for a more Jeffersonian form of schooling—one that emphasizes serious critical inquiry in the service of citizenship—is imperative to the future of democracy. We need schools, as novelist Mark Slouka recently wrote, that produce “men and women capable of furthering what’s best about us and forestalling what’s worst.”

THE GOOD NEWS is we can begin revitalizing both education and democracy by implementing a curriculum that incubates what I will call the “citizen-self.” As teachers, I believe our purpose should be twofold: 1) to provide the opportunity for individual self-invention among students, and 2) to create a space where that individual takes on the role and the responsibility of the social citizen. The pedagogy I have in mind combines the Romantic idea of the bildung, the cultivation of one’s own intellectual and psychological nature, with the Pragmatist view that such individuality must be vigorously protected by acts of citizenship. That is to say, it encourages Deborah Meier’s “habit of mind” toward the goal of helping each student determine what she or he truly thinks and feels about an issue or an idea, and it encourages what psychologist and philosopher William James called a “habit of action,” a way of translating such thinking into citizenship. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that the first part cultivates the inner self, while the second shapes the outer self. But these two selves cannot be separated; each depends upon and strengthens the other.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the fundamental American impulse of this citizen-self should be anti-industrial, anti-corporation, and should cultivate a generalist approach to education and work. Jefferson also believed that both politics and education best succeed at the local level. This has proven true time and again in my own experience."



"Taking pride in one’s place can also lead to a desire to take responsibility for that place, which is, after all, the crux of citizenship. Teachers can foster this impulse by focusing assignments on local issues, allowing chemistry, biology, English, and civics classes to be driven by a problem-solving impulse. Such learning is inevitably interdisciplinary because real problems, and real learning, rarely break down along clear disciplinary lines. If a strip mine is polluting a local source of drinking water, that is clearly a biological and chemical problem, but it is also an ethical problem grounded in lessons of history. To solve it, many fields of knowledge must be brought to bear. And to articulate the solution will require some skilled rhetoric indeed. Working to solve that problem becomes at once an experiment in stewardship (the opposite of vandalism) and citizenship (participatory democracy).

It also goes some distance toward breaking down the artificial, but very real, wall between school and life, between learning and doing. The rejection of this false dichotomy was one of the primary goals of the American Pragmatist educators like John Dewey and Jane Addams. Of the turn-of-the-century settlement school movement, Addams wrote that it “stands for application as opposed to research, for emotion as opposed to abstraction, for universal interest as opposed to specialization.” Specialization has, too often, been the enemy of educating the citizen-self. It encourages careerism as the only goal of education, and its narrowness can result in an abdication of responsibility concerning problems that lie outside of one’s specialty. These narrowly focused specialists can cause problems. Financial specialists caused the economic collapse, genetic specialists have created crops that require far more pesticide application, and we don’t yet know the full havoc caused by deep-water drilling specialists. But as we saw with BP’s cagey initial reaction to the Gulf disaster, as well as Monsanto’s outrageous contempt for farmers and seed-savers, specialization also seems to create a troubling loss of empathy.

Empathy, what Jane Addams called emotion, has largely disappeared from American public life. Our politics and punditry are too divisive, the gap between rich and poor too wide, the messages from the media too preoccupied with what William James called “the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.” We think of public life as a playing field of winners and losers, when we should be thinking about it, to borrow from Dewey, as a single organism made up of thousands of single but interconnected cells—a whole that needs all of its parts, working cooperatively. In other words, we should be thinking about how our educational institutions can be geared less toward competitiveness and more toward turning out graduates who feel a responsibility toward their places and their peers.

Here is the crux of the matter: As we enter an era of dwindling resources and potential mass migration due to climate change, we are going to need much more empathy—perhaps more than ever before—if we hope to retain our humanity. Empathy must be the measure of our students’, and our own, emotional and ethical maturity."



"How do we recover, how do we reinvent, the country that Jefferson and Franklin envisioned? We must become better citizens, and that transformation must begin—and really can only begin—in better public schools.

PUTTING MY STUDENTS in situations where they might learn and practice the art of real democracy has become a large part of my own teaching, and it is with these goals in mind that I often take them to a place in eastern Kentucky called Robinson Forest. It is a brilliant remnant of the mixed mesophytic ecosystem, and it is home to the cleanest streams in the state. Yet only a short walk away from our base camp you can watch those streams die, literally turn lifeless, because of the mountaintop removal strip mining that is happening all around Robinson Forest.

A few years ago, I had one student (I’ll call him Brian) who had only signed up for one of my classes because it fit his schedule. He was, in his own words, “a right-wing nut job,” and he disagreed with virtually everything I said in class. But he was funny and respectful and I liked having him around. On our class trip to Robinson Forest, we all hiked up out of the forest to a fairly typical mountaintop removal site. The hard-packed dirt and rock was completely barren, save for a few non-native, scrubby grasses. To call this post-mined land a “moonscape,” as many do, is an insult to the moon.

Brian was quiet as we walked, and then he asked, “When are they going to reclaim this land?”

“It has been reclaimed,” I said. “They sprayed hydro-seed, so now this qualifies as wildlife habitat.”

“This is it?”

“This is all the law requires.”

Brian went quiet again, until finally he said, “This is awful.”

Then he asked, “What do you think would happen if every University of Kentucky student came to see this?”

I pulled the old teacher trick and turned the question back on him: “What do you think would happen?”

Brian paused, and then said, “I think mountaintop removal would end.”"
teaching  education  civics  criticalthinking  writing  howweteach  howwelearn  us  environment  erikreece  citizenship  tcsnmy  democracy  specialization  generalists  empathy  emotion  history  deborahmeier  thomasjeffereson  benjaminfranklin  publicschools  johntaylorgatto  2011  learning  highschool  engagement 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Exploring the creative process with Pentagram’s Michael Bierut | The Inspiratory
"“I used to try to get hired even if we weren’t right for the job, and I realized that doesn’t work.”

At Pentagram, the culture is to do the work that will work. If a client prefers lots of account management, Bierut believes their firm is not right. Clients who want to work directly with creatives are a better fit. Focusing on the clients that work well with your perspective and process is key.

“You want there to be a combination of surprise and inevitability”

“I like people who like to read, like to work with words, and are curious about the world beyond design.”

In regards to talent, Bierut believes a perspective beyond design is vital. Having a curiosity about the world allows a designer to more easily understand the wider context into which a certain problem exists. Pursuing interests outside the mouse and screen is essential.

“I never talk about typefaces or aesthetics. People shouldn’t care. It should work underneath, like magic.”

“Sometimes, your key isn’t shaped the right way to open the lock – and no amount of jiggling will work.”"
michaelbeirut  2013  design  reading  generalists  curiosity  pentagram  surprise  work  culture  process  collaboration 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Annals of Innovation: Dymaxion Man : The New Yorker
"Fuller’s schemes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals). It concerned him not in the least that things had always been done a certain way in the past. In addition to flying cars, he imagined mass-produced bathrooms that could be installed like refrigerators; underwater settlements that would be restocked by submarine; and floating communities that, along with all their inhabitants, would hover among the clouds. Most famously, he dreamed up the geodesic dome. “If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top . . . that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver,” Fuller once wrote. “But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.” Fuller may have spent his life inventing things, but he claimed that he was not particularly interested in inventions. He called himself a “comprehensive, anticipatory design scientist”—a “comprehensivist,” for short—and believed that his task was to innovate in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people using the least amount of resources. “My objective was humanity’s comprehensive success in the universe” is how he once put it. “I could have ended up with a pair of flying slippers.”"



"During the First World War, Fuller married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent architect, and when the war was over he started a business with his father-in-law, manufacturing bricks out of wood shavings. Despite the general prosperity of the period, the company struggled and, in 1927, nearly bankrupt, it was bought out. At just about the same time, Anne gave birth to a daughter. With no job and a new baby to support, Fuller became depressed. One day, he was walking by Lake Michigan, thinking about, in his words, “Buckminster Fuller—life or death,” when he found himself suspended several feet above the ground, surrounded by sparkling light. Time seemed to stand still, and a voice spoke to him. “You do not have the right to eliminate yourself,” it said. “You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe.” (In Fuller’s idiosyncratic English, “universe”—capitalized—is never preceded by the definite article.) It was at this point, according to Fuller, that he decided to embark on his “lifelong experiment.” The experiment’s aim was nothing less than determining “what, if anything,” an individual could do “on behalf of all humanity.” For this study, Fuller would serve both as the researcher and as the object of inquiry. (He referred to himself as Guinea Pig B, the “B” apparently being for Bucky.) Fuller moved his wife and daughter into a tiny studio in a Chicago slum and, instead of finding a job, took to spending his days in the library, reading Gandhi and Leonardo. He began to record his own ideas, which soon filled two thousand pages. In 1928, he edited the manuscript down to fifty pages, and had it published in a booklet called “4D Time Lock,” which he sent out to, among others, Vincent Astor, Bertrand Russell, and Henry Ford.

Like most of Fuller’s writings, “4D Time Lock” is nearly impossible to read; its sentences, Slinky-like, stretch on and on and on. (One of his biographers observed of “4D Time Lock” that “worse prose is barely conceivable.”) At its heart is a critique of the construction industry. Imagine, Fuller says, what would happen if a person, seeking to purchase an automobile, had to hire a designer, then send the plans out for bid, then show them to the bank, and then have them approved by the town council, all before work on the vehicle could begin. “Few would have the temerity to go through with it,” he notes, and those who did would have to pay something like fifty thousand dollars—half a million in today’s money—per car. Such a system, so obviously absurd for autos, persisted for houses, Fuller argued, because of retrograde thinking. (His own failure at peddling wood-composite bricks he cited as evidence of the construction industry’s recalcitrance.) What was needed was a “New Era Home,” which would be “erectable in one day, complete in every detail,” and, on top of that, “drudgery-proof,” with “every living appliance known to mankind, built-in.”"



"Like all Fuller men, he was sent off to Harvard. Halfway through his freshman year, he withdrew his tuition money from the bank to entertain some chorus girls in Manhattan. He was expelled. The following fall, he was reinstated, only to be thrown out again. Fuller never did graduate from Harvard, or any other school. He took a job with a meatpacking firm, then joined the Navy, where he invented a winchlike device for rescuing pilots of the service’s primitive airplanes. (The pilots often ended up head down, under water.)"



"Fuller was fond of neologisms. He coined the word “livingry,” as the opposite of “weaponry”—which he called “killingry”—and popularized the term “spaceship earth.” (He claimed to have invented “debunk,” but probably did not.) Another one of his coinages was “ephemeralization,” which meant, roughly speaking, “dematerialization.” Fuller was a strong believer in the notion that “less is more,” and not just in the aestheticized, Miesian sense of the phrase. He imagined that buildings would eventually be “ephemeralized” to such an extent that construction materials would be dispensed with altogether, and builders would instead rely on “electrical field and other utterly invisible environment controls.

Fuller’s favorite neologism, “dymaxion,” was concocted purely for public relations. When Marshall Field’s displayed his model house, it wanted a catchy label, so it hired a consultant, who fashioned “dymaxion” out of bits of “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “ion.” Fuller was so taken with the word, which had no known meaning, that he adopted it as a sort of brand name. The Dymaxion House led to the Dymaxion Vehicle, which led, in turn, to the Dymaxion Bathroom and the Dymaxion Deployment Unit, essentially a grain bin with windows. As a child, Fuller had assembled scrapbooks of letters and newspaper articles on subjects that interested him; when, later, he decided to keep a more systematic record of his life, including everything from his correspondence to his dry-cleaning bills, it became the Dymaxion Chronofile.

All the Dymaxion projects generated a great deal of hype, and that was clearly Fuller’s desire. All of them also flopped."



"In “Bucky,” a biography-cum-meditation, published in 1973, the critic Hugh Kenner observed, “One of the ways I could arrange this book would make Fuller’s talk seem systematic. I could also make it look like a string of platitudes, or like a set of notions never entertained before, or like a delirium.” On the one hand, Fuller insisted that all the world’s problems—from hunger and illiteracy to war—could be solved by technology. “You may . . . want to ask me how we are going to resolve the ever-accelerating dangerous impasse of world-opposed politicians and ideological dogmas,” he observed at one point. “I answer, it will be resolved by the computer.” On the other hand, he rejected fundamental tenets of modern science, most notably evolution. “We arrived from elsewhere in Universe as complete human beings,” he maintained. He further insisted that humans had spread not from Africa but from Polynesia, and that dolphins were descended from these early, seafaring earthlings."

[Slideshow: http://www.newyorker.com/online/2008/06/09/slideshow_080609_fuller# ]
buckminsterfuller  architecture  creativity  design  2008  history  biography  dropouts  bmc  blackmountaincollege  depression  spaceshipearth  writing  systems  systemsthinking  invention  technosolutionsism  comprehensivists  generalists  specialists  specialization  creativegeneralists 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Art Teaching for a New Age - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
[NB: Tagging this one Black Mountain College and BMC, not because it is references in the text, but that it reminds me of BMC.]

[Also related, in my mind: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/15046238819/our-middle-school-is-an-art-school and http://www.graphpaper.com/2007/10-17_what-i-learned-in-art-school-is-it-design-thinking ]

"The technological changes we are witnessing will not threaten conceptual rigor or craft, nor will the ease of expression and communication make art obsolete. But these shifts are changing what we mean by art making and what counts as meaningful, crafted expression. To say so is not to judge the quality of that expression or to lament the rise of vulgarity or the lowering of standards. It is simply to observe that this democratization of expression will alter fundamentally how students—aspiring artists—think about art, its meaning and purpose, and the ways in which it is made.

These shifts will also change the professions for which educational institutions like mine prepare students. After all, if technology becomes smart enough to make design decisions, then designers could increasingly become technicians, operators of machines instead of creative professionals. But the more profound—and less visible—impact will be on how students think about their creative pursuits.

We cannot say with certainty what that impact will be. The first generation of so-called digital natives is reaching college only now; the environment they grew up in—which seemed so radical and new to many of us just a decade and a half ago—is already a punchline. Soon it will be an antiquated joke that doesn't even make sense anymore. Remember AOL? Remember plugging in to access the Net? Today's students don't.

They arrive at college having shot and edited video, manipulated photographs, recorded music—or at least sampled and remixed someone else's—designed or assembled animated characters and even virtual environments, and "painted" digital images—all using technologies readily available at home or even in their pocket. The next generation of students will have designed and printed three-dimensional images, customized consumer products, perhaps "rapid-prototyped" new products—I can't imagine what else.

Students today are not simply bombarded by images, consuming them in great gulps, as previous generations did; they are making the environments they inhabit, and making meaningful connections among images, stories, mythologies, and value systems. They are creative and creating.

But their notion of what it means to create is different from ours. It's something one does to communicate with others, to participate in social networks, to entertain oneself. Making things—images, objects, stories—is mundane for these students, not sacred. It's a component of everyday experience, woven tightly into the fabric of daily life.

So what is the task of arts educators? Is it to disabuse these young people of what we think are their misconceptions? Is it to inculcate in them an understanding of the "proper" way to create, to make art or entertainment? Is it to sort out the truly artistic from the great mass of creative chatterers—and to initiate them into some sacred tradition?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Or maybe the task of the educator is to help them develop judgment, to help them to see that creating, which they do instinctively, almost unconsciously, is a way of learning, of knowing, of making arguments and observations, of affecting and transforming their environment. And perhaps that's not so very different from what we do now.

We do it now, though, in the context of a curriculum and institutional histories oriented toward specific professional training and preparation. We seek to develop in students the critical faculties needed to thrive in clearly defined professions. But in the future, we may have to rethink our purpose and objectives. We may have to reimagine our curricula, recast the bachelor-of-fine-arts degree as a generalist—not professional—degree.

In a media-saturated culture in which everyone is both maker and consumer of images, products, sounds, and immersive experiences like games, and in which professional opportunities are more likely to be invented or discovered than pursued, maybe the B.F.A. is the most appropriate general-education experience, not just for aspiring artists and designers but for everyone.

That poses challenges for arts educators. We are good at equipping students who are already interested in careers in art and design with the skills and judgment necessary to succeed in artistic fields and creative professions that are still reasonably well defined. We are less good at educating them broadly, at equipping them to use their visual acuity, design sensibility, and experience as makers to solve the problems—alone or in collaboration with others—that the next generation of creative professionals may be called on to solve. These will be complex problems that cross the boundaries of traditional disciplines, methodologies, and skill sets—ranging from new fields like data visualization, which draws on graphic design, statistical analysis, and interaction design, to traditional challenges like brand development, which increasingly reaches beyond logos on letterhead to products and environments.

To do that, arts colleges would have to reorganize their curricula and their pedagogy. Teaching might come to look a lot more like what we now call mentorship or advising. Rather than assume that young people know what they want to do and that we know how to prepare them to do it, we would have to help them to explore their interests and aspirations and work with them to create an educational experience that meets their needs.

Curricula would not be configured as linear, progressive pathways of traditional semester-long courses, but would consist of components, such as short workshops, online courses, intensive tutorials, and so forth. Students would pick and choose among components, arranging and rearranging them according to what they need at a particular moment. Have a problem that requires that you use a particular software program? Go learn it, to solve that problem or complete that project. Want to pursue a traditional illustration-training program? Take multiple drawing and painting studios.

Linking all of this together would not be a traditional liberal-arts curriculum but what one faculty member at the University of the Arts has called a liberal art curriculum—one focused on design as problem solving, on artistic expression as the articulation and interrogation of ideas. Instead of an arts-and-sciences core curriculum separate and disconnected from studio instruction, we would build a new core that integrates the studio and the seminar room, that envisions making and thinking not as distinct approaches but as a dynamic conversation.

This fantasy of an alternative arts education—which resembles experiments that other educators have attempted in the past—begins to veer into utopianism, though, and a vague utopianism at that. It would be impossible to administer and to offer to students cost-effectively. And most students would probably find it more perplexing than liberating.

But I see an urgent need for new models that respond to the changing conditions affecting higher education—models that can adapt to conditions that are in constant flux and to an emerging sensibility among young people that is more entrepreneurial, flexible, and alert to change than our curricula are designed to accommodate.

We need an educational structure that takes instability and unpredictability as its starting point, its fundamental assumption. If a university is not made up of stable, enduring structures arranged linearly or hierarchically—schools, departments, majors, minors—but rather is made up of components that can be used or deployed according to demand and need, then invention instead of convention becomes the governing institutional dynamic."
arteducation  art  education  expression  artisticexpression  internet  web  making  unpredictability  uncertainty  liberalarts  generalists  specialists  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  multimedia  lcproject  tcsnmy  tcsnmy8  ncmideas  openstudioproject  2013  seanbuffington  teaching  learning  criticalthinking  problemsolving  communication  bfa  mfa  highered  highereducation  generaleducation  curriculum  altgdp  design  craft  internetage  medialiteracy  media  newmedia  rapidprototyping  projectbasedlearning  bmc  blackmountaincollege  pbl 
july 2013 by robertogreco
A Thing Worth Doing [Gilbert Chersterson]
"Chesterton consistly defended the amateur against the professional, or the “generalist” against the specialist, especially when it came to “the things worth doing.” There are things like playing the organ or discovering the North Pole, or being Astronomer Royal, which we do not want a person to do at all unless he does them well. But those are not the most important things in life. When it comes to writing one’s own love letters and blowing one’s own nose, “these things we want a man to do for himself, even if he does them badly.” This, argues Chesterton (in Orthodoxy) is “the democratic faith: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves – the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state.”

As for “the rearing of the young,” which is the education of the very young, this is a job not for the specialist or the professional, but for the “generalist” and the amateur. In other words, for the mother, who Chesterton argues is “broad” where men are “narrow.” In What’s Wrong with the World, Chesterton forsaw the dilemma of daycare and the working mother, that children would end up being raised by “professionals” rather than by “amateurs.” And here we must understand “amateur” in its truest and most literal meaning. An amateur is someone who does something out of love, not for money. She does what she does not because she is going to be paid for her services and not because she is the most highly skilled, but because she wants to do it. And she does “the things worth doing,” which are the things closest and most sacred to all of humanity – nurturing a baby, teaching a child the first things, and, in fact, all things.

The line, “if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly,” is not an excuse for poor efforts. It is perhaps an excuse for poor results. But our society is plagued by wanting good results with no efforts (or rather, with someone else’s efforts). We hire someone else to work for us, to play for us (that is, to entertain us), to think for us, and to raise our children for us. We have left “the things worth doing” to others, on the poor excuse that others might be able to do them better.

Finally, and less heavily, we should also point out that the phrase is a defense of hobbies. This was confirmed by Chesterton himself."
gilbertchesterson  via:sebastienmarion  teaching  expertise  generalists  specialists  life  living  children  parenting  hobbies  amateurs  professionals  cv  daycare  love  money 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Watering the Roots of Knowledge Through Collaborative Learning - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"These problematic aspects of the model are symptoms of its first major fault, a violation of the wisdom of Confucius: "Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I will remember; involve me, and I will understand." I have demonstrated this fault directly. One fall at Columbia University, I had the usual 80-student class of bright, ambitious undergraduates fulfilling their science requirement by taking my lecture course on the solar system. Most attended the lectures, and, mostly, they paid attention (I do not use PowerPoint). They worked through long quantitative problem sets, took biweekly quizzes, and performed well on the midterm and final exams. They then went home for Christmas and on to the spring semester.

The following September, I gathered most of them again and administered a test on some of the material we had covered. I gave the same test to my new class before my first lecture. The results were statistically indistinguishable. So much for pouring knowledge from the full container to the empty ones—it leaks out.

The second major fault of the current educational model is that learning is an isolated activity. Yes, we bring a number of students together to form a "class," but then we do everything possible to isolate students from each other: "No talking in class"; "Please leave two seats between each person for this exam"; "Do all your own work." We desocialize learning, separating it from the periods of normal human interaction we call dorm-room bull sessions.

The third misplaced pillar of educational practice is competition and its accompanying correlate, quantitative measurement. Standardized tests proliferate; grade-point averages are calculated to four significant figures. We pretend that these numbers measure learning and use them to award scholarships, sort professional-school applicants, and, sadly, evaluate self-worth. And we are surprised that cheating—the goal of which is to get a higher score—is widespread. If a group of students works together effectively and efficiently to solve a hard problem, in school this is called cheating. In life, as the British educator Sir Ken Robinson notes, it's called collaboration, a valued asset in most real-world settings."



"General education is often thought of as a means to expose students to a broad range of "essential" knowledge and to provide a historical context for the culture in which they live. These are valid, but insufficient, goals. The purpose of general education should be to produce graduates who are skilled in communication, imbued with quantitative reasoning skills, instinctively collaborative, inherently transdisciplinary in their approach to problems, and engaged in their local and global communities—broadly educated individuals with an informed perspective on the problems of the 21st century and the integrative abilities to solve them."
davidhelfand  questuniversity  2013  via:tealtan  education  design  curriculum  academia  highereducation  highered  tcsnmy  cv  teaching  learning  unschooling  blockprograms  collaboration  deschooling  measurement  standardization  standardizedtesting  standards  social  isolation  comparison  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  coloradocollege  flexibility  depth  depthoverbreadth  generalists  generaleducation  adaptability  shrequest1 
july 2013 by robertogreco
We are Constructing Communication!
"We Are Constructing Communication*

Our work combines the best of graphics, editorial, and creative problem solving to create the most well suited and superior visual communication system for your particular project. …for architecture. for design. for creating the best way to put your ideas forward.

Why on earth would you want to work with us?
Where's the work? Architects and designers are stressed. Increasingly we have to find other channels and other means of obtaining work. While it's easy to do great work, sometimes it's not so easy for our clients to understand that.

Great ideas demand equally rich communication strategies and solutions!
Our systems and strategies work seamlessly with your content and objectives.

How we make a living.
We'll admit it up front: Our work is not for everyone. We are careful in our selection of professional relationships because we understand that our clients should be selective as well.

When we say we are flexible, we don't mean in terms of quality.
The best projects take advantage of the best people to do the job; where teams are adapted to the needs of each client. For that reason we don't outsource.

Why
no graphic designer,
no editor,
no publisher,
no curator,
no exhibition designer,
no translator,
can do
what we do?

It's impossible to give a conventional name to our work because there is nothing to compare it to. It's probably most accurate to say that we operate in the space between the architect, the publisher, and the graphic designer.

Each one of our projects is ridiculously different from the next. This is because we're not technicians: we don't have a particular "style" or toolbox of the same tricks that we apply over and over. We understand that each one of our clients has a unique set of needs and a distinct personality that we not only respect, but also combine into the work itself. We value the invention of new methods and unconventional means of visual and verbal communication for architectural and design projects that do the same.

How we work. Specialization is not necessarily better.
First and foremost, we work in a huge variety of different conditions. We don't categorize ourselves as book designers, web programmers, editors, or architects. Why pigeonhole ourselves when we can draw on all our varied expertise?

What we mean when we say visual systems.
We consider that each project -- be it a website, a Powerpoint presentation, competition boards, book, rendering, video, exhibition, pamphlet or even a drawing set -- should not only express the client's profile, but also precisely and beautifully communicate the project's concepts and ideas.

To best accomplish seamless communication design that not only fits the project -- but that even enhances it -- we develop the visual project and graphic concept hand in hand with content. A visual system is not a superficial layer of pretty pantone colors and san serif fonts: in the best case scenario, it should be invisible and should never strong arm your work. You'll never hear us say, "Can you cut that text down? It won't fit.""

[via: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/blog/the-visual-language-of-hdl
design  communication  howwework  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  specialization  barcelona 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Maverick Colleges: Ten Noble Experiments in American Undergraduate Education (1993)
[Second edition (1996) of the book with some additional schools here in PDF: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-291-learning-seminar-experiments-in-education-spring-2003/readings/MITES_291S03_maverick.pdf ]

[Wayback:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130730023648/http://www.mit.edu/~jrising/webres/maverick.txt
https://web.archive.org/web/19961105162647/http://www.gse.utah.edu/EdAdm/Galvin/Maverick.html ]

"This book is a product of a University of Utah graduate seminar conducted in the spring of 1991: "Notable Experiments in American Higher Education" (Educational Administration 728). The contributing authors are professor of educational administration L. Jackson Newell and seminar students, each of whom selected an innovative, or "experimental," college for research and reporting."

"Common Themes:

As seminar participants exchanged findings about the ten selected colleges, several prominent themes emerged that had not been predetermined by selection criteria but appeared to indicate common postures among experimental colleges. These include:

• Ideals spawning ideas. In most cases, the ten colleges appeared to start with the ideals of visionary founders. For some, the ideal concerned the citizens who would emerge from the learning experience …

• Emphasis on teaching; retreat from research. The vast majority of experimental colleges are liberal education colleges where the art of teaching and the development of students are values of high esteem. …

• Organization without specialization. Not unexpectedly, these experimental colleges also tended to turn away from the disciplinary organization of scholarship that had sprung from the German research university model. …

• Administrative innovations. Freedom from traditional higher education bureaucracy and hierarchy have been common pursuits of the colleges studied. …

Divergent Approaches:

Just as common themes instruct us about the aims and aspirations of various experimental colleges, so too do their divergent approaches. Two notable areas of difference among the colleges focus on who should attend and how their learning might best be organized during the college years."

[Bits from the section on Black Mountain College:]

"Its educational commitment--to democratic underpinnings for learning that comes from "human contact, through a fusion of mind and emotion" (Du Plessix-Gray 1952:10)-- was reflective of a larger liberal environment that managed a brief appearance before the 1950s ushered in fear of Communism and love of television."



"Rice and his colleagues had stronger convictions about how a college should operate than about how and what students might learn. Democracy would be paramount in the administration of the college, and structure would be loose. Students and faculty joined in marathon, long-winded decision-making meetings with decisions ranging from a faculty termination to a library acquisition.

Particularly prominent, and vital to the democratic underpinnings envisioned by Rice, was the absence of any outside governing body. Rice had determined that control exerted by boards of trustees and college presidents rendered faculty participation meaningless, limiting faculty to debate, "with pitiable passion, the questions of hours, credits, cuts. . . . They bring the full force of their manhood to bear on trivialities. They know within themselves that they can roam at will only among minutiae of no importance" (Adamic, 1938:624).

The faculty did establish a three-member "Board of Fellows," elected from among them and charged with running the business affairs of the College. Within a year, a student member was added to the Board."



"The 23-year history of Black Mountain College was one of few constants and much conflict. Three forceful leaders marked three distinct periods during the 23 years: the John Rice years, the Josef Albers decade, and the Charles Olson era.

During the first 5 years of the College, a solidarity of philosophy and community gradually took shape. It revolved largely around John Rice's outgoing personality (much intelligence and much laughter mark most reports from colleagues and students) and forceful opinions about education. He was determined, for example, that every student should have some experience in the arts.

This translated as at least an elementary course in music, dramatics and/or drawing, because:
There is something of the artist in everyone, and the development of this talent, however small, carrying with it a severe discipline of its own, results in the student's becoming more and more sensitive to order in the world and within himself than he can ever possibly become through intellectual effort alone. (Adamic 1938:626)

Although he cautioned against the possible tyranny of the community, Rice eventually decided that some group activity would,
…help the individual be complete, aware of his relation to others. Wood chopping, road-mending, rolling the tennis courts, serving tea in the afternoon, and other tasks around the place help rub off individualistic corners and give people training in assuming responsibility. (Ibid, 1938:627)



"Rice soon discovered what he would later call the "three Alberses"--the teacher, the social being and the Prussian. The Prussian Albers decried the seeming lack of real leadership at the College and the free-wheeling, agenda-less, community-wide meetings. Rice noted later, "You can't talk to a German about liberty. You just waste your breath. They don't know what the hell you mean" (Duberman 1972:69)."



"The war years ushered in a different kind of Black Mountain; one where students, and at least some faculty members, started lobbying for more structure in learning, but yet more freedom outside the classroom. Lectures and recitations were starting to occur within the classroom, while cut-off blue jeans and nude sun bathing appeared outside. Influential faculty member Eric Bentley insisted to his colleagues: "I can't teach history if they're not prepared to do some grinding, memorizing, getting to know facts and dates and so on…" (Duberman 1972:198). Needless to say, with Albers and many of the original faculty still on board, faculty meetings were decisive and volatile.

Overshadowing this dissent, however, was a new program that was to highlight at least the public notion of a historical "saga" for the College, the summer institutes. Like much at Black Mountain, the summer institutes started more by chance than choice."



"The summer institutes grew throughout the 1940s to include notable talents in art, architecture, music and literature. And it is probably these institutes and the renown of the individuals in attendance that contributed most to Black Mountain's reputation as an art school."



The excitement and publicity generated by the summer sessions, in addition to a general higher education population explosion spurred by the G.I. Bill, put the Black Mountain College of the late 1940s on its healthiest economic footing yet.

Still, Black Mountain managed to avoid financial stability. Student turnover negated some of the volume gains. Faculty salaries rose substantially, but grants and endowments did not. Stephen Forbes, for example, who had always been counted on to supply money to the College in tough times, refused a request in 1949 because he was disenchanted with the new emphasis on arts education at the expense of general education. The ability to manage what money it had also did not increase at Black Mountain, although Josef Albers proposed a reorganization that would include administrators and an outside board of overseers. In the wake of arguments and recriminations about the financial situation and how to solve it, a majority (by one vote) of the faculty called for the resignation of Ted Dreier, the last remaining faculty member from the founding group. In protest, four other faculty members resigned--including Josef and Anni Albers. By selling off some of the campus acreage, the remaining faculty managed to save the College and retain its original mindset of freedom from outside boards and administrators, while setting the stage for yet another era in its history [Charles Olson].



"What Albers lacked in administrative ability, he compensated for in tenacity and focus. What Rice lacked in administrative ability, he balanced with action and ideas. However, when Olson couldn't manage the administrative function, he simply retreated. His idea about turning the successful summer institutes into a similar series of year-long institutes fell on deaf faculty ears. So he gave up trying to strengthen the regular program."



"The vast majority of former Black Mountain students can point to clear instances of lasting influence on the rest of their lives. Mostly, this seems to have occurred through association: with one or two faculty members who made a difference, with a "community" of fellow individuals who were essential resources to one another, or with a new area of endeavor such as painting or writing or farming. Black Mountain, apparently, was a place where association was encouraged. Perhaps this occurred through the relatively small number of people shouldered into an isolated valley, perhaps by a common dedication to the unconventional, or perhaps to the existence of ideals about learning and teaching. At any rate, the encouragement of association with people and with ideas was not the norm in higher education then, nor is it now. Clearly, it is possible to graduate from most colleges and universities today with little, if any, significant association with faculty, students or ideas.

But at Black Mountain, as at other experimental colleges, association could hardly be avoided. Engagement with people and ideas was paramount; activity was rampant. It was social, and it was educational. As Eric Bentley would remark:

Where, as at Black Mountain, there is a teacher to every three students the advantage is evident. . .a means to … [more]
deepspringscollege  reed  reedcollege  stjohn'scollege  prescottcollege  bereacollege  colleges  alternative  alternativeeducation  lcproject  openstudioproject  experientialeducation  unschooling  deschooling  1991  ljacksonnewell  katherinereynolds  keithwilson  eannadams  cliffordcrelly  kerrienaylor  zandilenkbinde  richardsperry  ryotakahashi  barbrawardle  antiochcollege  antioch  hierarchy  organizations  ephemeral  leadership  teaching  learning  education  schools  research  visionaries  ideals  idealism  specialization  generalists  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  transdisciplinary  innovation  freedom  bureaucracy  universityofchicago  collegeoftheatlantic  democracy  democraticeducation  structure  ephemerality  popupschools  small  smallschools  josefalbers  charlesolson  johnandrewrice  lucianmarquis  highered  highereducation  progressivism  blackmountaincollege  bmc  maverickcolleges  evergreenstatecollege  experientiallearning  miamidadecommunitycollege  ucsantacruz  monteithcollege  fairhavencollege  westernwashingtonuniv 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Beyond Face | The Public Amateur
"[T]he artist becomes a person who consents to learn in public. This person takes the initiative to question something in the province of another discipline, acquire knowledge through unofficial means, and assume the authority to offer interpretations of that knowledge, especially in regard to decisions that affect our lives. The point is not to replace specialists, but to enhance specialized knowledge with considerations that specialties are not designed to accommodate.

Specialization has brought about marvelous achievements. But under increasing complexity and fragmentation, the need for overviews of how vectors of power-knowledge intersect has become more imperative than ever. Our culture asks too high a price of society when it insists on narrow professional specialization. Conforming to this demand divides our intellect from our emotions, our imagination from our efforts, our pleasure from our worth, our verbal and analytic capacity from other creative talents, and our ethics from our daily lives. The result is frustration and disempowerment for the individual and shortsightedness for society as a whole."



"The amateur has transparent relations to her object. She approaches and ultimately appropriates the object of knowledge out of enthusiasm, curiosity or personal need. She learns outside the circuits of professional normalization and reward, things the artist was once presumed to resist.

Anyone can develop expertise and, if motivated enough, can even become an authority. The amateur can be as narrow as the specialist or as amorous as the polymath lover of knowledge. The category of the Public Amateur is not confined to artists. It’s a growing polyglot array of people who want to operate equally from the gut and the brain."



"Artists are expected to have publics, however small or large, but for better or worse, they are not expected to know much. An artist who wants to perform learning can leverage whatever claim to a public she is able to accrue, and initiate processes she hasn’t mastered, putting the very notions of professionalization and credibility on the stage.

This is an activation of metalanguage, something that artists do all the time. When I perform the acquisition of knowledge in the symbolic resonance that is art, I am inviting new conversations about knowledge itself. By placing this activity in the realm of aesthetics, I subject it to our questions about what we care about."

[via: http://ablersite.org/2011/03/24/the-public-amateur/ ]
trickster  art  artists  lcproject  openstudioproject  base619  amateurism  amateurs  beginner'smind  learning  workinginpublic  learninginpublic  howwelearn  cv  specialization  generalists  specialists  clairepentecost  publicamateur  enthusiasm  curiosity 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Julian Bleecker on ‘Undisciplinarity’ on Vimeo
"‘Undisciplinarity’ is as much a way of doing work as it is a departure from ways of doing work, even questioning what ‘counts’ as work. It is a way of working and an approach to creating and circulating culture that can go its own way, without worrying about working outside of what histories-of-disciplines say is ‘proper’ work. It is ‘undisciplined’. This is important because we need more playful and habitable worlds that the old forms of knowledge production are ill-equipped to produce. It’s an epistemological shift that offers new ways of fixing the problems the old disciplinary and extra-disciplinary practices created in the first place."
julianbleecker  2010  undisciplinarity  glvo  cv  openstudioproject  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  design  extradisciplinary  knowledgeproduction  learning  culture  making  doing  innovation  scienceofscience  anthropology  science  sciencestudies  historyofconsciousness  sciencefiction  simulation  play  simulations  tinkering  prototyping  exploration  speculation  experimentation 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Donald Glover on Q | Q with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio
From the audio:

"It's the time of the multi-hyphenist."

"I need people."

"I've never gotten a job that wasn't really meant for a white guy."

"The thing that makes Dan Harmon a genius and the writing staff… is that they watch us."

"Everyone is [super interesting]. If you knew everything about them… there's too much. You couldn't know everything. The show is about people forced to be together even though they have nothing in common."

"I am walking a line… You're not doing anything special if you're not scared."

"'Street cred' is code for real… means that you're not lying." [also in the video]

"People want the truth and that's the through-line in everything I do." [also in the video]

"The freedom, that's all I ever wanted… I'm in it for the power… which makes you less black because you can do whatever you want." [also in the video]
donalglover  generalists  underdogs  2011  jianghomeshi  interviews  community  communities  tv  television  acting  creativity  danharmon 
march 2013 by robertogreco
MSU expert has surprising advice about liberal arts degrees, job hunting | Bridge Michigan
"I think there is still value in the liberal arts. Companies on the East and West coasts are hiring a new kind of a professional that we don’t hear as much about in the Midwest.

IBM has gone from manufacturing to a systems, problem-solving approach in its business. Thirty-five percent of its people have social science and humanity degrees. They’re not all engineers and computer scientists.

Companies like IBM are looking for people who have mastered a discipline, have strong communication skills and skill sets that allow them to work across boundaries. Those are liberal arts skills.

Liberal arts also provide a lot of creativity and advancements in communications that spread to other areas of the university. We’ll lose that if we eliminate the liberal arts. We need to be careful what wish for."
2013  liberalarts  philgardner  education  colleges  universities  highered  highereducation  hiring  interdisciplinary  postdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  generalists  learning 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Unbuilding — Lined & Unlined
[now here: https://linedandunlined.com/archive/unbuilding ]

Here's another something that's too large to unpack in a quote or two or three or more, so just one, then read and view (many images) the rest.

"Unlike the thesis, Antithesis was an optional class. Instead of a constant, year-long process, it was interstitial, happening during a “down time” in the year. We didn’t really have class meetings — instead, I spent my time hanging out in the studio. Everyone loosened up. After thinking intensively about the thesis for 12 weeks, it was time to stop thinking about it — at least, consciously. The goal was not to keep pushing forward on the thesis but to get new projects started in parallel."

[video: https://vimeo.com/63008758 ]
completeness  sourcecode  viewsource  critique  susansontag  webdesign  aestheticpractice  criticalautonomy  canon  andrewblauvelt  billmoggridge  khoivinh  community  communities  livingdocuments  constitution  usconstitution  metaphors  metaphor  borges  telescopictext  joedavis  language  culturalsourcecode  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  github  johngnorman  recycling  interboropartners  kiva  pennandteller  jakedow-smith  pointerpointer  davidmacaulay  stevejobs  tednelson  humanconsciousness  consciousness  literacy  walterong  pipa  sopa  wikipedia  robertrauschenberg  willemdekooning  humor  garfieldminusgarfield  garfield  danwalsh  ruderripps  okfocus  bolognadeclaration  pedagogy  mariamontessori  freeuniversityofbozen-bolzano  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnmy  howweteach  cv  anti-hierarchy  hierarchy  autonomy  anti-autonomy  anti-isolation  anti-specialization  avant-garde  vanabbemuseum  charlesesche  understanding  knowing  socialsignaling  anyahindmarch  thinking  making  inquiry  random  informality  informal  interstitial  antithesis  action  non-action  anikaschwarzlose  jona 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Over Optimized | Quiet Babylon
"I keep thinking about the impending extinction of the Cavendish Banana a… mono-culture… propelled to the #1 spot when the previous favourite, the Gros Michel Banana was wiped out, also by disease. And of the injuries (careful about clicking that link) sustained by Super-G skiers when their highly optimized gear turns against them during a crash. And of Koalas which have evolved to eat a tree no one else eats and who will die off when the trees do.

Then I think about apples which come in a variety of types, casual skiers who make it to the bottom of the hill eventually and raccoons who will eat just about anything. These are all generalists that manage to thrive in a variety of areas, and seem to be pretty good at adapting to massive changes to their environments."

"…When things are stable, specialization and optimization is the recipe for success. When things are bumpy, allowing some of the inefficiency that comes from flexibility is probably the thing that will let you survive."
2008  timmaly  markets  inefficiency  overoptimization  adaptability  resilience  survival  slack  optimization  sustainability  animals  raccoons  koalas  skiing  diversity  bananas  apples  generalists  specialization 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Sternberg Press - Alex Coles [The Transdisciplinary Studio]
"We have entered a post-post-studio age, and find ourselves with a new studio model: the transdisciplinary. Artists and designers are now defined not by their discipline but by the fluidity with which their practices move between the fields of architecture, art, and design. This volume delves into four pioneering transdisciplinary studios—Jorge Pardo Sculpture, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design, Studio Olafur Eliasson, and Åbäke—by observing and interviewing the practitioners and their assistants. A further series of interviews with curators, critics, anthropologists, designers, and artists serves to contextualize the transdisciplinary model now at the fore of creative practice."

[See also: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Coles-the-Transdisciplinary-Studio/dp/1934105961 ]
dextersinister  andreazittel  rickpoynor  alessandromendini  marialind  ronaldjones  carolinejones  ryangander  martinogamper  jamesclifford  guibonsiepe  vitoacconci  architecture  anthropology  generalists  fluidity  interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  post-post-studio  2012  jorgepardo  Åbäke  konstantingrcic  olafureliasson  alexcoles  design  art  studios  transdisciplinary 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Whither the Liberal Arts College? Or, Why Bloom’s Critique Doesn’t Matter | Front Porch Republic
"The hallmarks of these places are professionalization and specialization, and in the process they lose sight of the one (truly liberal) question that would help make an education coherent: the question of what it is to be a human being."

"as they become more specialized and professionalized in their internal functioning, they encourage the development of a faculty who are invested in not raising the larger questions about the purpose of education, and a student- body who will increasingly mimic this professionalization and specialization in pursuit of a well- paying job."

"…Not understanding leisure, neither can we understand work"

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/10/19/liberal-arts-uselessness-and-leisure-against-mere-work/ ]
gilmeilander  stanleyfish  allanbloom  us  militaryindustrialcomplex  cronycapitalism  authority  virtue  highereducation  highered  universities  colleges  jeantwenge  sherryturkle  josephpieper  alastairmacintyre  comfort  jeffreypolet  2012  capitalism  society  community  slowlearning  education  learning  slowness  slow  work  labor  leisurearts  leisure  values  purpose  living  life  sensemaking  meaningmaking  generalists  liberalarts  humanism  professions  professionalization  artleisure 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Benji Lanyado is a journalist, coder – and a glimpse of the future? | News Burger
"When I first heard about The Reddit Edit, I thought it was a nifty idea.

It takes Reddit’s functional, information-laden appearance and turns it into a streamlined, colourful depiction of the top trending stories. The top three stories are displayed in an easy-to-use side-scrolling interface, plucked from five popular subreddits: /r/worldnews, /r/politics, /r/technology, /r/science and /r/pics, plus the reddit.com homepage.

You might think a project like this would be the undertaking of a web developer, but it’s the brainchild of 28-year-old British journalist Benji Lanyado. The Reddit Edit was his final project while taking front-end web development classes with General Assembly, a New-York based digital education company who have recently expanded to London.

Benji, who writes for The Guardian and The New York Times, is part of a growing number of media types that are taking it upon themselves to know how to write and code to bring their content to life…"

[An interview follows.]
redditedit  programming  generalists  crossdisciplinary  classideas  glvo  srg  edg  howwework  filters  filtering  clayshirky  facebook  twitter  howweread  news  developers  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  learning  nyc  html  css  javascript  generalassembly  rubyonrails  codecademy  kerouapp  nytimes  guardian  2012  media  reading  theredditedit  benjilanyado  via:russelldavies  reddit  careers  coding  journalism 
september 2012 by robertogreco
cloudhead - knowmad
"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location * then …

A knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, skills, and experiences, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a nomadic knowledge worker …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm. The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist.

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan

* (nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)"


[Previous version when first bookmarked]

"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location 
(nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)

then

a knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, new skills, experiences and insights, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a knowledge worker on the run …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm.
The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because 
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist. 

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan"

[McLuhan quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media:_The_Extensions_of_Man ]
informationage  generalists  specialization  cv  roaming  wanderers  wanderlust  wanderingmind  neo-nomads  wandering  hunter-gatherer  labor  work  play  knowledgeworkers  knowledge  nomads  nomadism  1964  2012  cloudhead  marshallmcluhan  knowmads  shiftctrlesc  headmine 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Death of the niche blog, rise of the lens blog
Anyway, someone more influential than me has probably already coined a better name for this phenomenon, but here’s what I mean by a lens blog: we all know what a niche blog is. It’s one that is about a single subject. But consider BLDGBLOG. You might say it’s an architecture niche blog, but is it really? There are practically no limits on what kinds of subjects might appear on the blog. Everything is open to Geoff Manaugh’s investigation. What binds it all together is this: every subject is analyzed through the lens of architecture. Likewise, its sister site, Edible Geography, examines everything through the lens of food. For Strange Maps, the lens is cartography.
But where these reductive books fail I think the lens blog, as exemplified by BLDGBLOG and Edible Geography, succeeds; because — I feel — these blogs don’t insist on reducing anything to anything else, they are simply showing us one perspective on things. These perspectives are often really interesting. They might even be what “interdisciplinary” research ought to look like.
internet  writing  blogging  blogs  2010  lensblogs  generalists  perspective  cv  blgblog  ediblegeography  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  strangemaps  interdisciplinary  widenet  interdisciplinarity  theviewfromhere  howwesee  howwewrite  howwenotice  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Notes of a Novice Student of India - Justin Erik Halldór Smith
"As time goes on I'm finding myself more and more hung up on questions of methodology and, one might say, of metaphilosophy, wondering how to put two belief systems into comparison without simply resorting to impressionistic observations of the sort, 'This sounds like that', and without favoring one of the systems over the other in the comparison. Lloyd focuses on medicine, which perhaps lends itself more easily to comparison than philosophy as a whole, a field so nebulous, with a denotation so unstable, that one must always wonder whether one is talking about the same thing from one century to the next, let alone from one civilization to the next."

"I'm more convinced than ever that to the extent that academic philosophers stay in the village of European ideas, they are really only, to paraphrase Nietzsche, offering up a catalog of their own prejudices in the guise of philosophical arguments."
wadepage  history  indo-europeanhistory  philosophy  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  curiosity  specialization  asianstudies  indology  via:robinsonmeyer  2012  ignorance  notknowing  knowing  knowledge  research  southasia  eurocentrism  justinehsmith  india  specialists  generalists  bias  academia 
august 2012 by robertogreco
fvck school by fat xxx
"Drop out of school or study english. That’s how you win at javascript."

"In his first lecture, “Artists in Colleges,” he posits that a successful integration of art into academic policy would be one which promotes unifying different branches of study into a “whole” culture. Here diverse fields like physics or mathematics would come within the purview of the painter and the physicist/mathematician would be encouraged to fully embrace nonmeasurable and extremely chaotic human elements which we commonly associate with things like poetry and art.

On the basis then of several fairly extensive observations he goes on to offer three major blocks to the development of such a culture, and to the artist’s continuing to produce serious works within the “university situation.”

Dilettantism …

The Fear of Creativity itself …

The Romantic Misconception of “The Artist” …"
generalists  specialists  authenticproblems  deschooling  unschooling  genius  creativity  highereducation  highered  us  culture  poetry  dilletante  learning  2012  compsci  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  education  art  benshahn 
august 2012 by robertogreco
A Jester’s Guide to Creative See[k]ing across Disciplines | American Journal of Play
"For many centuries and in many cultures, jesters recited tales of heroic exploits, but they did more than simply recount past events—they amused, cajoled, and spun tales that transported listeners to the edge of mysterious, unmapped territories. Through the transformative power of play and the imagination, they reworked what was already understood and created from it new realities that transcended the established order. The author maintains that such imaginative play is vital to creativity in any medium and is fundamental for optimal human development. She explores possibilities for cultivating creativity through the playful, paradoxical stance of the jester—a serendipitous and purposeful, strange and familiar, disruptive and productive figure. Her discussion, grounded in a visual-arts practice that leverages uncertainty and randomness, considers the role of play in light of its wider implications for knowledge and creativity."

[PDF: http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/4-3-article-jesters-guide-to-creative-seeking-across-disciplines.pdf ]
challenge  howwelearn  howwework  productivity  strangeness  purpose  generalists  randomness  uncertainty  visualarts  imagination  play  serendipity  dianerosen  jester  jesters  cv  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  creativity  disruption 
august 2012 by robertogreco
DAILY | Chris Marker, 1921 – 2012 – Fandor - Essential films. Instantly!
"…a quote from Alain Resnais: “Chris Marker is the prototype of the 19th Century man. He managed to achieve a synthesis of all appetites and obligations without ever sacrificing any of them to the others. In fact a theory is making the rounds, and not without some grounds, that Marker could be an extra-terrestrial. He looks like a human, but perhaps he comes from the future or from another planet… There are some very bizarre clues. He is never sick or ill, he is not sensitive to cold, and he doesn’t seem to need any sleep.”"
filmmaking  film  superhumans  generalists  synthesis  2012  sleep  humans  alainresnais  chrismarker 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Steven Berlin Johnson: Instead of building cathedrals in learning, we need to learn to build cathedrals | Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation in Education Symposium
"“Collaboration between different intelligences is the hallmark of innovative spaces,” he remarked. But it wasn’t always easy for Johnson, who has an undergraduate degree in semiotics from Brown University and a graduate degree in English Literature from Columbia, to see how science and the humanities could be entwined. It wasn’t until he was exposed to the work of former Columbia Professor Franco Moretti that he realized bridges could be built joining the two.

Moretti gained fame for controversially applying quantitative scientific methods to the humanities. Johnson mentioned reading Moretti’s Signs Taken for Wonders, and the mind-blowing impact the professor’s use of Darwinian techniques to analyze literature had on him. It was the first time he saw scientific procedures being employed to evaluate literature.

From that moment on, Johnson began researching iconic innovators."
cathedralsoflearning  everythingbadisgoodforyou  gaming  games  multidisciplinarythinking  connectivesyntheticintelligence  connectiveintelligence  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  generalists  specialization  interconnectivity  patterns  conenctions  innovation  multipleintelligences  diversity  problemsolving  systemsthinking  parenting  videogames  teaching  schools  collaboration  gutenberg  crosspollination  feathers  exaptation  devonthink  evolution  stephenjaygould  commonplacebooks  creativity  darwin  francomoretti  semiotics  hunches  learning  2011  stevenjohnson  charlesdarwin  interconnected 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Majoring in Idiocy | Front Porch Republic
"colleges and universities are essentially diploma retailers obsequiously bent on making the shopping experience of their customers enjoyable and painless.

…For education presently conceived and presently practiced has but one goal: the mass production of idiots.

I’m speaking—I hope—in fairly precise terms here.

An “idiot,” from the Greek idios (“private,” “own,” “peculiar”), is someone who is peculiar because he is closed in on himself or separated or cut off. In short, he is a specialist. If he knows anything, he knows one thing.

… The idiot may have extensive knowledge of a given thing, but to the extent that he has no sense of where to place that knowledge in the larger context of what is known and knowable, and to the extent that he doesn’t know that the context for the known and the knowable is the unknown and the unknowable—to that extent his knowledge ceases to be knowledge and becomes a collection of mere facts, which, as Cervantes said, are the enemy of truth."

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/06/13/specialization-idiocy-jason-peters-education/ ]
cv  criticalthinking  thinking  universities  colleges  curriculum  skepticism  science  tunnelvision  knowledge  2010  generalists  certification  diplomas  wisdom  specialization  idiots  highereducation  deschooling  unschooling  education  jasonpeters  specialists 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Grant McCracken at Interesting New York on Vimeo
"Grant discusses how cultural creatives are creating a world that, as it turns out, is making them suffer from Asperger's syndrome."
howwework  patternrecognition  interruptmoments  noticing  novelty  creativity  cognitiveperil  aspergers  generalists  culturalcreatives  2008  grantmccracken 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Frieze Magazine | Archive | Border Control
"…Once they have identified what we should be looking at & talking about, my eye is inevitably drawn to the ‘not art’ side of the room, which often seems more alive to me, more fun. Is it possible to make things, do things, before they are categorized? Is it possible to build a life’s work as a free-range human, freely meandering and trespassing without regard for the borders?…

Children naturally operate this way, but it’s the opposite of how most formal education works. We are introduced to borders, decide which ones we want to surround ourselves with, learn what happened within them before we got there, and are then expected to perform within their narrow perimeters until we die… If I am interested in gardening, I don’t want to make work about gardens, I become a gardener…

Maybe identifying myself as one limits my freedom by implying that everything I do aspires to be art. I’m not aiming for art, I’m aiming for life, and if art gets in the way, that’s fine."

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/05/21/border-control-fritz-haeg/ ]

Another passage from earlier on:

"In her 1979 essay ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ Rosalind Krauss analyzes the slippery, evolving nature of what was being referred to at the time as sculpture by artists including Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra and Robert Smithson. Krauss talks about sculpture, and its relationship to ‘not architecture’ and ‘not landscape’. Recently the term ‘expanded field’ has been revived to help make sense of the work of a new generation of artists (including myself), whose legacy can ironically be traced directly back to artists from the 1970s whom Krauss does not mention in her essay. These include: Ant Farm, Buckminster Fuller, Anna Halprin, Joan Jonas, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Yayoi Kusama, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper and Yvonne Rainer, to name just a few personal favourites. They were working at the borders of what was known as sculpture, and some were outside what was even considered art. With our generation growing out of theirs, I would argue that the field has not expanded at all, but rather the ossified borders that previously separated it and other fields from each other are becoming more porous."
criticism  autonomy  freedom  notart  artpractice  theory  tresspassing  meandering  lcproject  deschooling  learning  generalists  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  disciplines  free-rangehumans  freeranging  unschooling  living  life  making  glvo  2009  fritzhaeg  culture  unartist  community  art  borders  carlandre  walterdemaria  michaelheizer  robertirwin  sollewitt  richardlong  robertmorris  brucenauman  richardserra  robertsmithson  antfarm  buckminsterfuller  annahalprin  joanjonas  mierleladermanukeles  yayoikasuma  matta-clark  anamendieta  adrianpiper  yvonnerainer  rosalindkrauss  architecture  landscape  artists  sculpture  porosity  gordonmatta-clark 
may 2012 by robertogreco
My career on Env
"If I hated these pieces, I would say they were full of bathos, self-seriousness, and chaos. And I would be right. And I would be missing the point that these qualities are what make two quite different essays both brilliant to me, because even when I resist their points, they push me along axes that I did not know to look for. This would not happen if they told me what I already knew of.

What they say matters to me because they have become vulnerable by putting things in their own terms and risking overreach…

I participate in certain subcultures where a lot of weight is put on being smart and getting smarter. But it seems to me that for an awful lot of people trying to do good things, IQ is not a limiting factor. If you are smart but ignorant or smart but lack empathy, you are only better at coming up with justifications for the ways in which you are wrong."
careers  doing  making  leisure  leisurearts  labor  generalists  creativegeneralists  polymaths  humanity  humanism  intelligence  overreaching  overreach  craigmod  erinkissane  vulnerability  empathy  2012  charlieloyd  artleisure 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Valve: Handbook for New Employees: A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do [.pdf]
"There is no organizational structure keeping you from being in close proximity to the people who you’d help or be helped by most."

"Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on after asking yourself the right questions."

"What’s interesting? What’s rewarding? What leverages my individual strengths the most?"

"…our lack of a traditional structure comes with an important responsibility. It’s up to all of us to spend effort focusing on what we think the long-term goals of the company should be."

"Nobody expects you to devote time to every opportunity that comes your way. Instead, we want you to learn how to choose the most important work to do."

"We should hire people more capable than ourselves, not less."

"We value “T-shaped” people…who are both generalists (…the top of the T) and also experts (…the vertical leg of the T). This recipe is important for success at Valve."
agency  initiaive  motivation  tcsnmy  administration  management  hiring  t-shapedpeople  responsibility  creativity  videogames  projectbasedlearning  pbl  community  leadership  lcproject  flatness  flat  hierarchy  specialists  generalists  work  culutre  valve  specialization  horizontality  horizontalidad 
april 2012 by robertogreco
FOLKERT + CARGO - Karyn Campbell
"Artist-engineers. That’s the job description. Or whatever you want to call them: interaction designers, creative coders, hybrid designers. On the web we become generalists."
design  online  internet  web  hybriddesigners  creativecoders  artist-engineers  art  artists  interactiondesign  creativegeneralists  generalists  cargo  folkertgorter 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers - NYTimes.com
"When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices."

[See also in Japan: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204542404577157290201608630.html?mod=WSJ_Magazine_LEFTSecondStories ]
detail  2012  quality  generalists  specialists  handmade  glvo  nyc  food  crafteconomy  small  scale  bespoke  brooklyn  entrepreneurship  craft  specialization 
february 2012 by robertogreco
On Perspective
"A master is often considered a specialist, not a generalist — but I disagree. They are defined by a specific perspective, which they have hone through weaving together many threads of experience and craft.

The richer their experiences, the richer their perspective.

"Japanese chefs are now cooking almost every cuisine imaginable, combining fidelity to the original with locally sourced products that complement or replace imports. When they prepare foreign foods, they’re no longer asking themselves how they can make a dish more Japanese—or even more Italian, French or American. Instead they’ve moved on to a more profound and difficult challenge: how to make the whole dining experience better."

(via this WSJ story on Japanese cuisine)

To know what’s better is to choose where you stand."
better  craft  2012  allentan  experience  perspective  specialization  generalists  specialists 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Career Of The Future Doesn't Include A 20-Year Plan. It's More Like Four. | Fast Company
"Hasler has several of these skills in spades…interests are transdisciplinary…a "T-shaped person," w/ both depth in 1 subject & breadth in others…demonstrates cross-cultural competency (fluent Spanish, living abroad) & computational thinking (learning programming & applying data to real-world problems)…intellectual voracity that drove him to write 50k words on Western cultural history while running coffee shop is a sign of sense making (drawing deeper meaning from facts) & excellent cognitive load management (continuous learning & managing attention challenges)…desire to synthesize his knowledge & apply it to helping people & his ability to collaborate w/ those who have different skills, shows high degree of social intelligence."

"…not every older worker is frightened by the 4-year career. Some…have been living this way for decades, letting their curiosity—or their faster metabolism—guide them. What stands out is their sense of confidence that things can (and will) turn out okay."
collaboration  cross-culturalcompetency  computationalthinking  continuouslearning  socialintelligence  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  adaptability  specialists  generalists  creativegeneralists  curiosity  sensemaking  renaissancemen  education  transdisciplinary  retooling  unlearning  learning  jobs  anyakamenetz  careers  change  cv  trends  t-shapedpeople  specialization 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Man is alone before the cosmos - interview - Domus [Interview with Oscar Niemeyer]
"…professor coming here to our office to talk about philosophy & the cosmos. We also edit an architectural periodical…architecture is just the pretext…magazine's real purpose is to provide young people with the information they need. In all disciplines, from medicine to engineering, when young people finish their studies, as specialists they can only talk about their idea of architecture, or more in general their job…haven't yet thought about or taken much notice of all the rest, of life itself, which is more important than architecture."

"…phrase I once used as motto…"Life is more important than architecture. The fight goes on. In defence of Latin America and the progress of the world.""

[Interviewer] "Looking from above, on the other hand, I was surprised at how the favelas seem more integrated with the environment and that, extensive as they are, they're paradoxically more respectful of it."

"Brasilia is nothing anymore. It is not an example, simply a provincial capital."
change  creativegeneralists  experts  specialists  generalists  brasil  brasilia  attobelloliardessi  space  design  architecture  oscarniemeyer  2010  specialization  brazil  brasília 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Focused dabbling - Neven Mrgan's tumbl
"The hardest thing for humans to persuade each other of is priorities. Should you be an exercise freak? A computer wiz? A classical-literature buff? A badass hiker? A game maker? A dedicated volunteer? A great cook? These are all worthy activities, each enriching your life and likely the lives of others. Our pasts lead us to a mix of a few obsessions, and hopefully we keep our minds open to many more. Those of us who commit to honing that one art may index excel at it. But for my doomed attempt at convincing you of how to arrange your life, I suggest a solid interest in, oh, three or five Big Things. They will compete for your attention, and the vagaries of fate will lead you toward one, then another. Things you learn in the first will improve you in the second, then bring you to a whole new third. You will be a happier and better person for branching out a bit."
howwework  work  attention  meaning  creativegeneralists  generalists  interdisciplinary  learning  hobbies  dabbling  focus  2011  nevenmrgan 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Neven Mrgan at re:build 2011 on Vimeo
"Bit Depth, by Neven Mrgan: At my dayjob, I design Mac software UI/UX, websites, T-shirts, and office signage. In my spare time, I’ve designed 8-bit games. I think every creative professional would benefit from fully executing projects of different complexity, history, and purpose."

[All great stuff. Totally agree with him about the gamification bit.]

[See also: http://mrgan.tumblr.com/post/14868098046/focused-dabbling ]
sideprojects  videogames  specialists  generalists  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  dabbling  software  applications  transmit  panic  8-bit  bitdepth  depth  gaming  games  purpose  focus  darwin  work  design  polish  re:build  2011  appification  gamification  nevenmrgan  specialization  charlesdarwin 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking | Psychology Today
"1. You are creative.
2. Creative thinking is work.
3. You must go through the motions of being creative.
4. Your brain is not a computer.
5. There is no one right answer.
6. Never stop with your first good idea.
7. Expect the experts to be negative.
8. Trust your instincts.
9. There is no such thing as failure.
10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are.
11. Always approach a problem on its own terms.
12. Learn to think unconventionally."
creativity  psychology  innovation  art  designthinking  2011  michaelmichalko  cv  conformity  failure  tcsnmy  toshare  openminded  negativity  defensiveness  specialists  creativegeneralists  generalists  knowledge  instinct  problemsolving  brain  thinking  experts  paradox  biases  bias  mindset  closedmindedness  specialization 
december 2011 by robertogreco
"Knowmads and The Next Renaissance" - My TedxBrisbane Talk - Edward Harran
"Edward Harran shares his personal story into the knowmad movement: an emerging digital generation that has the capacity to work, learn, move and play - with anybody, anytime, and anywhere. In his energetic talk, Edward gives us a compelling insight into his story and highlights what the knowmads represent: the beginnings of the next renaissance."

[See also the video, the rest of the post, and http://www.educationfutures.com/2011/11/17/knowmads-and-the-next-renaissance/ ]
edwardharran  socialinnovation  polymaths  generalists  renaissancemen  knowmads  neo-nomads  nomads  nomadism  learning  adaptability  unschooling  deschooling  glvo  cv  education  freedom  complexity  messiness  simplicity  well-being  introverts  communication  web  online  internet  2011  tedxbrisbane 
november 2011 by robertogreco
MAKE | Zen and the Art of Making
"Some of the most talented and prolific people I know have dozens of interests and hobbies. When I ask them about this, the response is usually something like “I love to learn.” I think the new discoveries and joys of learning are the crux of this beginner thing I’ve been thinking about. Sure, when you’ve mastered something it’s valuable, but then part of your journey is over — you’ve arrived, and the trick is to find something you’ll always have a sense of wonder about. I think this is why scientists and artists, who are usually experts, love what they do: there is always something new ahead. It’s possible to be an expert but still retain the mind of a beginner. It’s hard, but the best experts can do it. In making things, in art, in science, in engineering, you can always be a beginner about something you’re doing — the fields are too vast to know it all."
philliptorrone  making  learning  unschooling  curiosity  education  experts  generalists  creativegeneralists  2011  zen  knowledge  expertise  lewiscarroll  makers  electronics  art  artists  science  scientists  tinkering  tinkerers  lifelonglearning  deschooling  mindset  beginners  invention  arduino  fear  risktaking  riskaversion  teaching  lcproject  failure  stasis  yearoff  openminded  children  interestedness  specialists  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  exploration  internet  web  online  constraints  specialization  interested  beginner'smind 
november 2011 by robertogreco
The Rise of the Generalist « Modeled Behavior
"However, in the information age I can in many cases write a program to repeatedly perform each of these tasks and record every single step that it makes for later review by me. The individualized skill and knowledge is not so important because it can all be dumped into a database."
generalists  2011  karlsmith  specialization  specialists  technology  internet 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Alberto Alessi’s Book List | Designers & Books
"My position is that a designer is—or should be—first a poet. For that reason the books I have listed refer to a wide spectrum of human activity. They can be especially helpful and interesting to read for almost all activities having to do with creating products (industrial products) in our society of consumption."
albertoalessi  design  books  booklists  generalists  creativegeneralists  poetry  curiosity  interestingness  interested  cv  learning  reading  glvo  interestedness 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Startup Man: A Conversation With Joi Ito - Gregory Mone - Technology - The Atlantic
"…part of what managing the Lab is going to be about: trying to make that space perfect. Because the way it's laid out, the way things are connected, and how people run into each other and stumble on new things, a lot of that is affected by the layout. I don't think everybody gets how important that is…

Multi-disciplinary is a really key missing part of society, whether you're talking about science or the economy or any of these things. We've gotten so good at getting deep and being more and more specialized about a smaller and smaller thing that now we've got so many people who are really, really smart but don't know how to talk, let alone build anything together…

A physicist and a chemist and an architect are only going to work together really well when they're building something. You can have them sit around a table and argue but they'll really only be talking across each other. The minute you try and build something together it becomes rigorous."
mitmedialab  joiito  2011  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  lcproject  collaboration  making  doing  discovery  innovation  tcsnmy  learning  sharing  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  serendipity  generalists  creativity  creativegeneralists  medialab 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Steve Jobs and the Rewards of Risk-Taking - NYTimes.com
"The academics identify five traits that are common to the disruptive innovators: questioning, experimenting, observing, associating and networking. Their bundle of characteristics echoes the ceaseless curiosity and willingness to take risks noted by other experts. Networking, Mr. Gregersen explains, is less about career-building relationships than a search for new ideas. Associating, he adds, is the ability to make idea-producing connections by linking concepts from different disciplines — intellectual mash-ups."
questioning  experimenting  experimentation  observation  observing  association  associating  networking  curiosity  disruptiveinnovation  stevejobs  2011  risktaking  tcsnmy  ideas  mashups  mashup  interdisciplinary  generalists  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  halgregersen 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, condemns British education system | Technology | The Guardian
""Over the past century, the UK has stopped nurturing its polymaths. You need to bring art and science back together."…

"It was a time when the same people wrote poetry and built bridges," he said. "Lewis Carroll didn't just write one of the classic fairytales of all time. He was also a mathematics tutor at Oxford. James Clerk Maxwell was described by Einstein as among the best physicists since Newton – but was also a published poet."

Schmidt's comments echoed sentiments expressed by Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, who revealed this week that he was stepping down. "The Macintosh turned out so well because the people working on it were musicians, artists, poets and historians – who also happened to be excellent computer scientists," Jobs once told the New York Times."
ericschmidt  stevejobs  technology  science  polymaths  generalists  well-rounded  education  art  uk  2011  math  mathematics  teaching  learning  creativity  innovation  lewiscarroll  jamesclerkmaxwell  alberteinstein  isaacnewton  apple  poets  historians  newliberalarts  liberalarts  digitalhumanities  computers  computerscience  compsci 
august 2011 by robertogreco
A Sit-Down With Joichi Ito, The Drop-Out VC Leading MIT's Media Lab | Co. Design [Worth reading the whole thing.]
"It’s not about being a generalist. I like to go deep in a lot of things…deep enough to contribute. If I like scuba, I become an instructor…music, I become a disc jockey…movies, I want to work on a movie set. I don’t become a world class academic in that field, but I get good enough to understand the nuances. & then, because I have experience in so many fields, it gives me a pattern that other people don’t have. For me, being unique and having friends who are unique is a really important thing…

When I was in Hollywood, I realized that if I wanted to be a Hollywood producer, I’d have to spend 120% of my time talking to only Hollywood people. It’s the same in every industry or with traditional academics. But the Media Lab is a place where you can sit around & talk about everything deeply & that’s the whole point…here I’ve been stitching this thing together & being called this crazy scatterbrained ADD guy when in fact, what I’ve been trying to do already exists at the Media Lab…"
joiito  mitmedialab  generalists  dilettante  depth  dropouts  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  education  learning  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  2011  careers  optimism  leadership  administration  enthusiasm  medialab 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Orange Crate Art: Stefan Hagemann, guest writer: How to answer a professor
"Be interested in a lot of things: Some questions are designed to test your command of a set of facts, and some leave little room for interpretation. Once in awhile, a question might even permit a “yes” or “no” answer. But often you’ll be dealing with open-ended questions, ones about which there is much to say and from many angles. Recognize that most open-ended questions range across academic disciplines and areas of interest, and do your best to develop a good grasp of the world around you. Good question-answerers read widely, talk to their peers and professors, attend on-campus events such as plays and concerts, and (I’m guessing here) subscribe to PBS and NPR. Good question-answerers also listen. If you know a little bit about the world around you and make an effort to experience your immediate environment, you may be surprised by your ability to add outside knowledge to your answers. Broad experience equals (or at least increases the chance for) serendipity."
serendipity  interested  interestingness  interesting  stefanhagemann  howto  teaching  learning  education  experience  pbs  npr  knowledge  generalists  via:lukeneff  2010  noticing  connections  observation  listenting  inquiry  honesty  power  relationships  universities  colleges  highereducation  highered  interestedness 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Jon Kolko » Interaction design and design synthesis. ["The Conflicting Rhetoric of Design Education"]
"We must train generalists. We must train specialists…

Skills of craft, building, and beauty are more important than theory or systems thinking. Theory and systems thinking are more important than craft, building, and beauty…

We must focus more on ethnography, anthropology, and the social sciences. We must focus more on science, cognitive psychology, math, and engineering…

It's clear that a change is needed in design education, and it's equally clear that the discourse of this change must advance beyond simply calling well-intentioned designers to action…"
jonkolko  education  design  designeducation  nuance  paradox  generalists  specialization  specialists  craft  making  doing  building  iteration  theory  systems  systemsthinking  well-rounded  balance  lcproject  pedagogy  teaching  learning 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Peter Zumthor: In pursuit of perfection | Art and design | The Observer
"His interest in craft owes much to the route he took into architecture. "The first 10 years of my professional life had only to do with running away from my father," he says. "He was a wonderful cabinet-maker and me being the eldest son I had to take over his shop, his profession and so on and so on. I tried to escape by going to art school and then going on to industrial design and then interior design. This was going step by step towards architecture." He never qualified, although the Swiss authorities much later awarded him the title of architect, "because they loved my work"."
architecture  architects  self-taught  design  peterzumthor  outsiders  art  generalists  autodidacts  outsider 
june 2011 by robertogreco
InfraNet Lab » Blog Archive » Infrastructural Opportunism, A Manifesto
1. Know That There is a System of Systems…2. Architects as Expert Generalists: Buckminster Fuller, labeled a dilettante and a dabbler in his age, was instead the forerunner of a new breed of designer / thinker that we like to call the expert generalist. Long live the new expert generalists!…3. Be Alert to What Has Just Happened; Be Entrepreneurial…4. There is Always Missing Information, Use it…5. Agile Maneuverability Rewrites Protocols…6. Software Can be Big and Physical, Like Hardware…7. Be Resourceful…8. Measurements Can be Misleading, But Oh So Fruitful…9. Scalar Indifference…10. Live By Strategy, Play by Tactic: The Russian chessplayer Savielly Tartakower said: Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do."
architecture  cities  urban  infrastructure  systems  systemsthinking  generalists  buckminsterfuller  dabblers  glvo  design  cv  observation  timeliness  measurement  tactics  strategy  systemicimagining  saviellytartakower  resourcefulness  resources  maneuverability  information  bigpicture  thinking  designthinking  adaptability  mobility  opportunity  entrepreneurship  houseofleaves 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Cradles of Eminence?
"If you really learn more about the childhoods of men and women who would late  become eminent, the common factors were more that they were allowed to do what they wanted to do and immerse themselves in whatever interesting subject or idea struck them at the time. It looks very different from this scheduled routine of Junior Kumon, karate classes, and after preschool tutoring all before the age of 7. "
learning  motivation  eminence  flowtheory  neurolearning  deirdrelovecky  education  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  freedom  independence  freetime  self-directedlearning  interestdriven  kumon  testing  testprep  math  mathematics  rote  rotelearning  non-traditional  alternative  experience  parenting  generalists  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Society of Creative Generalists - Eclectic Curiosity
"An outpost for curious divergent thinkers who appreciate diversity, broad thinking, widely inspired ideas, and addressing issues globally."
generalists  creativegeneralists  creativity  diversity 
may 2011 by robertogreco
INTHECONVERSATION: Art Leisure Instead of Art Work: A Conversation with Randall Szott [Truly too much to quote, so random snips below. Go read the whole thing.]
"Sal Randolph talks w/ Randall Szott about collections, cooking, "art of living," & infra-institutional activity."

"undergrad art ed seemed overly concerned w/ 'how & what to make' sorts of questions…"

"in my possibly pathetic & overly romantic vision of considered life, I am quite hopeful about ability of (art & non-art) people to improve their own experience & others' in both grand & mundane ways"

"I would like to build along model of public library. Libraries meet an incredibly diverse set of needs & desires"

"art is a great conversation…tool for making meaning & enhancing experience, but it is highly specialized, & all too often, closed conversation of insiders"

"I am deeply committed to promoting "everyday" people who are finding ways to make lives more meaningful - devoted amateurs to a variety of intellectual pursuits, hobbyists, collectors, autodidacts, bloggers, karaoke singers, crafters, etc…advocate for a rich, inclusive understanding of human meaning-making."
2008  salrandolph  randallszott  leisure  art  living  collecting  food  cooking  life  slow  thinking  philosophy  unschooling  deschooling  credentials  artschool  education  learning  skepticism  everyday  vernacular  language  work  leisurearts  dilletante  generalists  cv  distraction  culture  marxism  anarchism  situationist  lcproject  tcsnmy  intellectualism  elitism  meaning  sensemaking  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  projectbasedlearning  projects  openstudio  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  thewhy  why  audiencesofone  canon  amateurs  artleisure  darkmatter  pbl  artschools 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Randall Szott - Wikipedia
"Randall Szott…is known mostly in the field of social practice.

He is a founding editor of 127 Prince, runs He Said She Said (an exhibition and event series with his wife Pamela Fraser), & co-organizes the Public Culture Lecture Series at threewalls in Chicago, IL.

Szott mostly eschews formal descriptions of his activities & has written anonymously for/as LeisureArts & placekraft. His work for/as LeisureArts has been cited hundreds of times on blogs, in interviews, etc. His writing for placekraft was cited as defining the contemporary sense of neogeography…

Szott is also a merchant mariner. He is a cook aboard the largest hopper dredge owned by a US company and has also cooked professionally in restaurants/private clubs in Pittsburgh, PA, Chicago, IL, and Columbus, OH."
randallszott  socialpractice  art  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  generalists  culture  neogeography  interestingpeopleivemetonline 
may 2011 by robertogreco
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