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robertogreco : hands   12

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
Chirologia, or The Natural Language of the Hand (1644) | The Public Domain Review
"Is gesture a universal language? When lost for words, we point, wave, motion and otherwise use our hands to attempt to indicate meaning. However, much of this form of communication is intuitive and is not generally seen to be, by itself, an effective substitution for speech.

John Bulwer (1606 – 1656), an English doctor and philosopher, attempted to record the vocabulary contained in hand gestures and bodily motions and, in 1644, published Chirologia, or the Naturall Language of the Hand alongside a companion text Chironomia, or the Art of Manual Rhetoric, an illustrated collection of hand and finger gestures that were intended for an orator to memorise and perform whilst speaking.

For Bulwer, gesture was the only from of speech that was inherently natural to mankind, and he saw it as a language with expressions as definable as written words. He describes some recognisable hand gestures, such as stretching out hands as an expression of entreaty or wringing them to convey grief, alongside more unusual movements, including pretending to wash your hands as a way to protest innocence, and to clasp the right fist in the left palm as a way to insult your opponent during an argument. Although Bulwer’s theory has its roots in classical civilisation, from the works of Aristotle, he was inspired by hundreds of different works, including biblical verses, medical texts, histories, poems and orations, in order to demonstrate his conclusions.

The language of gesture proved a popular subject in the age of eloquence, and inspired many similar works. Bulwer’s work was primarily meant for the pulpit, but also had applications for the stage. Although we do not know if these hand gestures were ever used by public speakers as they were intended, there is some evidence of the book’s impact on popular culture. Laurence Sterne’s novel Tristram Shandy (completed in 1767) features characters who clasp their hands together in the heat of argument, one who dramatically holds his left index finger between his right thumb and forefinger to signal a dispute, and another who folds his hands as a gesture of idleness.

This was not the end for the Chirologia, however. Some years after publishing the book, Bulwer became one of the first people in England to propose educating deaf people. Although the link to deaf studies seems evident, the Chirologia only makes passing reference to deafness, but this nevertheless may have inspired Bulwer’s further research in the area, and how fingerspelling and gesture can be used as a form of communication in themselves. The hand shapes described in the Chirologia are still used in British Sign Language today."

[via: https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/801582488896290821 ]
gestures  1644  books  hands  chirologia  communication  signlanguage  johnbulwer  universality  meaning  expression  speech 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Just a Brown Hand — Medium
"On August 25th, Slack unveiled a new way for developers to connect to Slack, the “Add to Slack” button. It was the culmination of a great deal of work from many Slack employees, and just the beginning of what we have in store for Slack in the near future. Today, though, I want to talk about a seemingly small detail that has been more important to me than I would have expected: the skin color of the hand in the launch graphics.
Slack’s people of color group (#earth-tones) was the first to say something.

[screenshot]

But, it wasn’t just Slack employees who noticed:

[screenshot]

Why was the choice an important one, and why did it matter to the people of color who saw it? The simple answer is that they rarely see something like that. These people saw the image and immediately noticed how unusual it was. They were appreciative of being represented in a world where American media has the bad habit of portraying white people as the default, and everyone else as deviations from the norm."

[continues]
slack  diversity  race  design  diogenesebrito  representation  2015  imagery  hands 
october 2015 by robertogreco
It’s a Man’s Phone — Technology and Society — Medium
"My female hands meant I couldn’t use my Google Nexus to document tear gas misuse"



"Since officials often claimed that tear gas was used only on vandals and violent protesters, I wanted to document these particularly egregious circumstances. Almost by reflex, I pulled out my phone, a Google Nexus 4, which I had been using on this trip as my main device, sometimes under quite challenging circumstances.

And as my lungs, eyes and nose burned with the pain of the lachrymatory agent released from multiple capsules that had fallen around me, I started cursing.

I cursed the gendered nature of tech design that has written out women from the group of legitimate users of phones as portable devices to be used on-the-go.

I cursed that what was taken for granted by the male designers and male users of modern phones was simply not available to me.

I cursed that I could not effectively document how large numbers of ordinary people had come to visit a park were being massively tear-gassed because I simply could not take a one-handed picture.

I especially cursed that I could not lift the camera above my head, hold it steadily *and* take a picture—something I had seen countless men with larger hands do all the time.

I’m 5 foot 2 inches on a good day and my hands are simply not big enough for effective one-handed use of the kind of phones that I want to use for my work.

Increasingly, on the latest versions of the kinds of phones I want to use, I cannot type one-handed. I cannot take a picture one-handed. I can barely scroll one-handed—not very well, though. I can’t unlock my phone one-handed. I can’t even turn on my phone one-handed as my fingers cannot securely wrap around the phone while I push a button with a finger.

I used to be able to do all that on smart phones just a generation ago. Unfortunately, I can’t just use an inferior, older and smaller phone as I do need all the capabilities of the best phones—except their screen size. What I simply do not need or want is that teeny, tiny bit more of screen landscape that comes, for me, the total expense of usability. Yet, I’m increasingly deprived of the choice.

Not upgrading to new phones is not an answer either. I’m not just after the latest phone for the sake of having the latest phone. However, older phones get sluggish over time as requirements for software upgrades overwhelm their capacity. As phones age, their battery life gets shorter and shorter. In the field, battery life is very important. Soon, certain apps start not working unless I upgrade my operating system to the latest version which will crash my older phone.

As a woman, I’ve slowly been written out of the phone world and the phone market. That extra “.2" inches of screen size on each upgrade simply means that I can no longer do what I enviously observe men do every day: Check messages one-handed while carrying groceries or a bag; type a quick note while on a moving bus or a train where I have to hold on not to fall.

I must put down everything in my hands and use my phone with both hands for everything.

There is no rule that says the screen size must get bigger with each upgrade in memory or capabilities, and yet it does. For most men, it’s just one small, added benefit. For many women, though it’s a reminder that the tech industry doesn’t always remember or count your existence.

Just so we are clear: I don’t want a pink phone, I don’t want “women’s applications” and I don’t want ruffles or hello kitty on my phone.

I merely want a design that acknowledges that women exist, and women often have smaller hands than men.

Tech designer men, especially tall or average-sized men: Imagine a world in which all keyboards were designed for hands like mine—and you had to type all day for work. Or, imagine a world in which you sat in economy class airline seats all day, every day to work. That’s what it feels like to live in a world designed for someone else. (Although airlines do this for profit, the effect is the same: I have little to complain about economy seats because they fit me even though they are painful and torturous for many people).

The scene in Gezi that day was one of chaos and crowds, as people tried to move away from the gas that had enveloped us. Some were buckled on the floor, vomiting in pain. The evening crowd had swelled the numbers in the park, and with one hand, I clutched the bag I was carrying with my research materials as I stood in the undulating crowd, and with the other, I tried in vain to hold the phone steadily and tap on the camera button.

It was futile.

I gave up and put my phone back in the bag.

Online sources suggest that the average adult man’s hand is about 2 cm larger than a woman’s—three quarters of an inch. That is not a small difference for using a hand-held device.

The effect will become more pronounced as the next three billion people come online using their phones. People in the developing world are, on average, much shorter and have smaller hands. When I traveled to the Mayan highlands in the Guatemala-Mexico border as part of my interest in the Zapatista movement and I was practically a towering giant.

Google now has announced the next generation, Nexus 5. With trepidation, I immediately looked at the size: Yep, slightly bigger.

I’m just going to hold on to my already slightly too-big Nexus 4 as long as I can, and hope that a manufacturer out there starts designing good smartphones for people other than average sized men in rich countries. (Free #PROTIP to manufacturers who care about their bottom line: women usually make their own purchasing decisions, and we are a huge market).

Google Nexus was otherwise a great phone for me. I travel a lot for my research and my work so I need an unlocked phone that I can use in multiple countries. I wanted a phone without the “crapware” that comes with buying from intermediaries. I’m a junior academic—and I simply can’t spend my time rooting my phones and then manually updating and configuring everything all the time.

All practical “solutions” out there involve that I pay a penalty for not having a man’s hands.

This is why diversity in technology is not just about optics, feel-good or window dressing. Diversity in experience, diversity in body size, diversity in ability among people who make decisions in tech design influence basic questions of equity and accessibility of products and platforms that are increasingly essential parts of our personal, social and political lives. (Also, hint, Google Nexus 5 designers, just in case these things were too hard for you guys to look up: my middle finger is 2.6 inches.)"

[See also: http://kottke.org/13/09/computers-are-for-people
http://kottke.org/09/10/one-handed-computing-with-the-iphone ]
technology  bodies  accessibility  via:ablerism  nexus4  nexus5  mobilephones  size  height  gender  hands  google  2013  body 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Hand Made
"Hand Made is a tool to produce a collective library for future reference of everyday hand gestures, questioning how they have, are and will be shaped by technology."



"Conclusion and Future Application

I suggest that the use of objects shape peoples movements and consequently the way they communicate. Hand gestures are to speech communication, as underlining a sentence is to text. It is a call for attention to something important or worthy of notice.

Technology has been shaping our interactions and movements differently through the performance of everyday activities. But that doesn't mean it is necessarily changing the way people communicate them, at the same velocity. The more movements merge into clean, clinical and abstract interactions with everyday objects, the more creative and imaginative people get in describing them.

Hand Made should not be seen as a substitution for natural culture evolution, but as an exploration and speculation on it. The project aims to be a provocation and an inspiration for discovering new kinds of communication and interaction. This kind of analysis can be used in the future in the fields of animation, communication and computational devices.

Hand Made proposes a way for people to demonstrate hand gestures, that they feel communicate digital activities. Why not have people design hand gestures and the way they interact with technology, instead of designers forcing gestures? Through participation it is hoped that people become more aware of the way they currently interact with technology. On the design side this research is about future possibilities, imagining applications and the potential of context-aware, gesture recognition devices, that can track and trace hand-based interactions."
sarasalsinha  hands  gestures  communication  technology  handgestures  libraries 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Edward Tufte forum: Touchscreens have no hand
"So instead let us give more time for doing physical things in the real world and less time for staring at (and touching) the glowing flat rectangle.

Plant a plant, walk the dogs, read a real book, go to the opera. Or hammer glowing hot metal in a blacksmith shop."
edwardtufte  making  doing  tangible  touch  touchscreen  2011  bretvictor  hands  living  screens  interface  interactiondesign  glowingrectangles 
november 2011 by robertogreco
A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design
"The next time you make breakfast, pay attention to the exquisitely intricate choreography of opening cupboards and pouring the milk — notice how your limbs move in space, how effortlessly you use your weight and balance. The only reason your mind doesn't explode every morning from the sheer awesomeness of your balletic achievement is that everyone else in the world can do this as well.

With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?"

[via: http://twitter.com/debcha/status/134055293440106497 ]

[follow-up: http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/responses.html ]
interactiondesign  design  future  ux  ui  touch  apple  microsoft  haptic  senses  2011  hands  human  humans  complexity  bretvictor 
november 2011 by robertogreco
metacool: More thoughts on the primacy of doing: Shinya Kimura, Jeep, Corvette, and the cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010
"cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010 America is clearly saying "We need to start thinking with our hands again", & that we need at least to have confidence in our decision making as we seek to create things of intrinsic value…It's not difficult to get to a strong, compelling point of view. That's what design thinking can do for you. But in each of these videos I sense our society expressing a strong yearning for something beyond process, the courage to make decisions and to act. Talking and thinking is easy, shipping is tough…<br />
<br />
Tinkering, hacking, experimenting, they're all ways of experiencing the world which are more apt than not to lead to generative, highly creative outcomes. I firmly believe that kids & young adults who are allowed to hack, break, tear apart, & generally probe the world around them develop an innate sense of courage when it comes time to make a decision to actually do something. I see this all the time at Stanford…"
diegorodriguez  make  making  handson  hands  manufacturing  machines  tinkering  shinyakimura  detroit  gm  jeep  bigthree  spacerace  rockets  nostalgia  thinking  learning  experimenting  experience  facebook  google  apple  hacking  creativity  innovation  2010  jacobbronowski  design  engineering  machining  action  tcsnmy  glvo  lcproject  doing  motivation  do  corvette 
november 2010 by robertogreco
El baúl de Israel Centeno: Las Manos que crecen
"Miró hacia abajo y vio que los dedos de sus manos arrastraban por el suelo.

Los dedos de sus manos arrastraban por el suelo. Diez sensaciones incidían en el cerebro de Plack con la colérica enunciación de las novedades repentinas. Él no lo quería creer pero era cierto. Sus manos parecían orejas de elefante africano. Gigantescas pantallas de carne arrastrando por el suelo.

A pesar del horror le dio una risa histérica. Sentía cosquillas en el dorso de los dedos; cada juntura de las baldosas le pasaba como un papel de esmeril por la piel. Quiso levantar una mano pero no pudo con ella."
juliocortázar  hands  literature  stories  shortstories  classideas 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Cortázar y Las manos que crecen - Todo lo que usted quiso saber sobre la literatura y nunca se atrevió a preguntar
"“Sus propias manos eran de mentira cuando las tendía” la frase la tomo prestada del Sr. Tascoigne que como mimo gesticula espléndidamente con las palabras desde su blog sin casi hacer nada de ruido.

(No puedo evitar también el chiste aquel de Jaime Rubio Hancock, a la muerte de Marcel Marceau: “Por supuesto, perdono a los siete que intentaron asesinarme. Mimo y francés: imagino que todo el mundo me odiaría por una cosa y/o por la otra”).
La totalidad del hilarante texto se puede encontrar en Libro de Notas.

Y para finalizar dos fragmentos de un cuento de Cortázar, que ¿cómo no? lleva el título “Las manos que crecen”. A eso iba."
hands  juliocortázar  michelgondry  film  literature 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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