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robertogreco : magic   59

OCCULTURE: 52. John Michael Greer in “The Polymath” // Druidry, Storytelling & the History of the Occult
"The best beard in occultism, John Michael Greer, is in the house. We’re talking “The Occult Book”, a collection of 100 of the most important stories and anecdotes from the history of the occult in western society. We also touch on the subject of storytelling as well as some other recent material from John, including his book “The Coelbren Alphabet: The Forgotten Oracle of the Welsh Bards” and his translation of a neat little number called “Academy of the Sword”."



"What you contemplate [too much] you imitate." [Uses the example of atheists contemplating religious fundamentalists and how the atheists begin acting like them.] "People always become what they hate. That’s why it's not good idea to wallow in hate."
2017  johnmichaelgreer  druidry  craft  druids  polymaths  autodidacts  learning  occulture  occult  ryanpeverly  celts  druidrevival  history  spirituality  thedivine  nature  belief  dogma  animism  practice  life  living  myths  mythology  stories  storytelling  wisdom  writing  howwewrite  editing  writersblock  criticism  writer'sblock  self-criticism  creativity  schools  schooling  television  tv  coelbrenalphabet  1980s  ronaldreagan  sustainability  environment  us  politics  lies  margaretthatcher  oraltradition  books  reading  howweread  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  facetime  social  socializing  cardgames  humans  human  humanism  work  labor  boredom  economics  society  suffering  misery  trapped  progress  socialmedia  computing  smarthphones  bullshitjobs  shinto  talismans  amulets  sex  christianity  religion  atheism  scientism  mainstream  counterculture  magic  materialism  enlightenment  delusion  judgement  contemplation  imitation  fundamentalism  hate  knowledge 
february 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 66. Gordon White in “Breaking Kayfabe” // Ursula Le Guin, Dragons & the Story Shape of the 21st Century
"If ya hit the ol’ play button on this one, it’s probably because of the name in the title. Gordon White is in the house. Mr. White as he’s known in the metafiction that is our current cultural narrative. But Mr. White is no reservoir dog in this story. He’s the Humphrey Bogart of High Magic, the main mage behind the oh-so-popular Rune Soup blog and podcast. You’ve read it, you’ve heard it. And if ya haven’t, well, you’re in for quite the trip on this here starship.

Gordon’s mind is a cabinet of curiosities and we pull out quite a bit of them here, including how we can rearrange our reality, the magic of fiction, artistic impulses, Game of Thrones, a game of tomes, and if ya ever wanted to hear Gordon White speak in pro wrestling terminology, well, there’s a bit of that too.

So let’s do this damn thing already and cast this pod off deep into the primordial chaos, where the protocols of the elder scrolls read more like a legend on a map of Middle Earth than they do a plan of global domination."
gordonwhite  fiction  fantasy  novels  art  makingart  magic  myth  mythology  belief  creativity  ryanpeverly  nonfiction  stories  storytelling  change  homer  bible  truth  ursulaleguin  2018  occulture  westernthought  carljung  josephcampbell  starwars  culture  biology  nature  reality  heroesjourney  potency  archetypes  dragons  odyssey  anthropology  ernestodimartino  religion  christianity  flow  taoism  artmagic  artasmagic  magicofart  permaculture  plants  housemagic  love  death 
february 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 67. Carl Abrahamsson & Mitch Horowitz in “Occulture (Meta)” // Anton LaVey, Real Magic & the Nature of the Mind
"Look, I’m not gonna lie to you - we have a pretty badass show this time around. Carl Abrahamsson and Mitch Horowitz are in the house.

Carl Abrahamsson is a Swedish freelance writer, lecturer, filmmaker and photographer specializing in material about the arts & entertainment, esoteric history and occulture. Carl is the author of several books, including a forthcoming title from Inner Traditions called Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward.

Mitch Horowitz is the author of One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life; Occult America, which received the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence; and Mind As Builder: The Positive-Mind Metaphysics of Edgar Cayce. Mitch has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Salon, Time.com, and Politico. Mitch is currently in the midst of publishing a series of articles on Medium called "Real Magic".

And it is that series paired with Carl’s book that lays the foundation for our conversation here."
carlabrahamsson  mitchhorowitz  occult  culture  occulture  magic  belief  mind  ouijaboard  astrology  mindfulness  buddhism  religion  academia  antonlavey  materialism  mainstream  intellectualism  elitism  mindbodyspirit  2018  esotericism  authority  norms  nuance  change  enlightenment  popculture  science  humanities  socialsciences  medicine  conservatism  churches  newage  cosmology  migration  california  hippies  meaning  psychology  siliconvalley  ingenuity  human  humans  humannature  spirituality  openmindedness  nature  urbanization  urban  nyc  us  society  santería  vodou  voodoo  voudoun  climate  light  davidlynch  innovation  population  environment  meaningmaking  mikenesmith  californianideology  thought  thinking  philosophy  hoodoo  blackmetal  norway  beauty  survival  wholeperson  churchofsatan  satanism  agency  ambition  mysticism  self  stories  storytelling  mythology  humanism  beinghuman  surrealism  cv  repetition  radicalism  myths  history  renaissance  fiction  fantasy  reenchantment  counterculture  consciousness  highered  highereducation  cynicism  inquiry  realitytele 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Just don’t lose the magic
"“We cannot have a meaningful revolution without humor.”
—bell hooks

In a terrific piece about his writing education, George Saunders talks about getting into the MFA program at Syracuse and hanging out with his new mentor, Tobias Wolff:
At a party, I go up to Toby and assure him that I am no longer writing the silly humorous crap I applied to the program with, i.e., the stuff that had gotten me into the program in the first place. Now I am writing more seriously, more realistically, nothing made up, nothing silly, everything directly from life, no exaggeration or humor—you know: “real writing.”

Toby looks worried. But quickly recovers.

“Well, good!” he says. “Just don’t lose the magic.”

I have no idea what he’s talking about. Why would I do that? That would be dumb.

I go forward and lose all of the magic, for the rest of my time in grad school and for several years thereafter…

He later sums it up:
[S]omehow, under the pressure of suddenly being surrounded by good writers, I went timid and all the energy disappeared from my work–I’ve lost the magic indeed, have somehow become a plodding, timid, bad realist.

You see this pattern over and over with many creative people: they have this little bit of magic, a spark of something that comes naturally to them, and it’s often messy and weird and a little bit off, and that’s why they catch our attention in the first place. The odd magic is what we love about them.

Then, something happens. They decide it’s time, now, to be serious.

The wild painter whose Instagram you love goes to grad school and all of the sudden her posts get boring. A brilliant illustrator decides to write a book, a real book, one without any pictures in it, and it comes out and bores you to tears. Etc.

(Preston Sturges sends up this impulse in his great movie about a comedy director who decides he wants to make a serious film, Sullivan’s Travel’s.)

It happened to me: before I went to college, I loved poetry, drawing, and art with a sense of humor. Then, after I got to college, I decided, It’s time, now, to be serious. I started to believe in the following misguided equations:

1. fiction > poetry
2. words > pictures
3. tragedy > comedy

Eventually, I got so miserable that I threw those equations out the window, bought a sketchbook, and started reading comics again. When I graduated college, I started making my weird, occasionally funny, blackout poems. Slowly, a little bit of the magic came back.

But whenever that impulse returns, that impulse to come on now be serious, I lose the magic again. It happened most recently getting ready for my upcoming art show. That stupid voice started saying: This is a gallery show. This is Art. I need to be serious.

Cue the choke.

A few years ago, Bill Murray gave a speech to a bunch of baseball players and he ended it with this perfect bit of Zen:
If you can stay light, and stay loose, and stay relaxed, you can play at the very highest level—as a baseball player or a human being.

I keep this goofy picture of him in my studio:

[image]

It’s up there to remind me: Stay at it, but stay light. Don’t be afraid to do what comes naturally. Fight the urge to be serious. Don’t let it destroy the very thing that makes you you.

Like Tobias Wolff said, “Just don’t lose the magic.”"
austinkleon  self-care  writing  creativity  personality  billmurray  tobiaswolff  prestonsturges  georgesaunders  howwewrite  smartness  audience  messiness  weirdness  magic  individuality  playfulness  seriousness 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Blog - by Allen Tan - But cities that are magical and sentient tho
"• Cities shutting down the subway and refusing to lower bridges when potholes get too bad and nothing is done about them because hey that hurts and someone needs to fix it.

• Cities opening old abandoned subway stations and venting hot air above ground during the winter for the homeless population.

• Sidewalk blocks standing up to protect protesters from the police.

• Everyone feels safe running in the park at night because everyone knows one story about a guy who tried to mug/rape/attack someone and was dragged off by tree roots

• Subway stairs rolling themselves up and refusing to let anyone into the tunnels so that management is forced to listen striking train drivers.

• One weekend every summer the entire city is covered in chalk drawings the residents create as a thank you to the city that protects and cares for them so well. For weeks afterwards the sidewalks are covered in faint chalk marks until the next rain washes it all away.

• Each spring the city does it’s own spring cleaning, rain storms and strong winds sweeping the garbage out of alley ways and into piles for the garbage workers to come and collect.

• CITIES THAT ARE SELF AWARE FRIENDS"
cities  smartcities  2015  magic  personification  sentience  sentientcities  urbanism 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Christine Jones on the notion of the gift, reciprocity, and how being a parent influences her work — Odyssey Works
"OW: WHY CREATE EXPERIENCES?

CJ: As a parent I am aware of creating a world where Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy exist for my kids. When they die it's our job to make other kinds of magic. I love what Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere says. He said he wanted to live in a world where anything can happen at any moment. His work makes our world just such a world...I think everyone has a desire to be surprised, delighted, moved, and transported. If we don't do this for each other, no one else will. Our parents will make magic for us when we are young, when we are older, we have to make it for ourselves and each other."

OW: WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO WITH YOUR WORK?

CJ: This probably sounds horribly pretentious, but lately I have been thinking of myself as an artist who uses Intimacy the way a painter uses paint. My intention with all of my work is to enhance a feeling of connection and presence that makes people feel seen, and sometimes, especially with Theatre for One, loved. It is always amazing to me how simple acts of kindness and generosity are so deeply appreciated. We very rarely slow down enough to feel truly with other people. I am trying to create fruitful circumstances for a gift exchange between audience and performer. Whether it be a big Broadway show, or an immersive dinner theatre experience, or Theatre for One, I am hoping to create a space and relationships within the space that allow the audience to feel that they are receiving a beautiful experience and in return they are giving the performers or creators the gift of their full presence and attention."
audiencesofone  2015  christinejones  art  performance  theater  reciprocity  presence  care  parenting  interactivity  immersivity  immersive  experiencedesign  magic  intimacy  audience  setdesign  wonder  discovery  visibility  gifts  interviews  odysseyworks  wanderlust  sextantworks  relationships  davidwheeler  generosity  theatreforone 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Hack Education Weekly Newsletter, No. 115
"Virgil Runnels, Jr. – better known by his wrestling persona “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes – passed away on Thursday. Dave Zirin writes,
Dusty Rhodes was the most public expression about surviving in the Reagan 1980s: a Jonathan Kozol book in tights armed only with a sharp tongue and a bionic elbow. Remembering this Dusty Rhodes matters because the historical amnesia about the Reagan years has been so total. An extremely well-funded right-wing campaign has whitewashed the truth of the era: that Ronald Reagan left a body count of victims due to an indifference as callous as it was calculated. The Reagan backlash spared no one, least of all industrial workers: the people who worked with their hands and sent children to college on a single union wage, without student loans. It sounds like another world, and it was: a world that Reagan’s agenda—with no small help from congressional Democrats—destroyed. Dusty Rhodes was the voice of the person getting crushed under the weight of Reagan and keeping his head held high, dignity not only intact but non-negotiable.

I saw The Mountain Goats play last week, and the band opened the show with Rhodes’ famous “Hard Times” promo. (The Mountain Goats’ latest album focuses on professional wrestling.)

Professional wrestling, like ed-tech I suppose, has become something else since the 1980s. Perhaps it is, as Zirin suggests, partly due to this erasure of stories of survival and resistance in exchange for stories of magic and money. The latter still try to convince everyone it’s “the revolution,” of course. Ed-tech and/as the Reagan Revolution. There's a story idea..."
ronaldreagan  2015  audreywatters  resistance  survival  money  magic  revolution  capitalism  latecapitalism  davedzirin  virgilrunnelsjr  distyrhodes  neoliberalism  1980s  edtech  education  technology 
june 2015 by robertogreco
#vaporfolk #hollyvoodoo. Sponsored by Amazon Readymades.
"With technology invented to fly us to the moon we write LMAO.

The internet tribe abandoned the global village when it started to resemble a shopping mall. After the digital natives were promised that their new ideas would lead to fame and success on global markets, they are now confronted with totalitarian networks and corporate structures. Consequently they turned their heads away from the screen. Facebook owns the copyrights to their ideas, shared infinitely to only disappear in the clouds.

Among all the possible realities imaginable, artists start to look for common ground in products, hardware and brands – commodities made from global materials. A form of recursive materialism emerges. The common ground between seven billion people is that we can all share a micro USB connector. An empty coke bottle will be found in the desert sands and nomads navigate the dunes with a Samsung tablet. Global materials seem to override all phantasies of unique visions and subjective expressions.

But the internet tribe moves to the outskirts of physical production, reusing artifacts from the world of corporate mythologies. They work with concepts of the “Archaic” instead of “New”, choosing to be ‘poorsumers’, transforming ideological waste into something magical. For them, art is a poetic freight and the trade system a collective parable of desire. By imitating commodities in almost shamanic rituals, a higher form of cargo is summoned: be it future wealth, success or even art.

Zsófia Keresztes, Angus McCullough, Alexandra Hackett (A.L.C.H.), Andreas Ervik, Stephanie Syjuco, Michele Gabriele, Pau Sampera, Peter Moosgaard, Bernhard Garnicnig

Opening: 3.6. 18:00
Exhibition: 5.6.–27.6.
Lust Gallery, Hollandstrasse 7 1020 Wien

“An approach to the now which looks widely, sharply, and especially at global materials ripe for use by our village of disenfranchised consumers.” (Quote and image of “Prototype: Axe” by Angus McCullough)

In cooperation with Making.Artistic.Technology (http://artistictechnology.at/) and the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien (http://www.palaisdesbeauxarts.at/). Supported by the Austrian Federal Chancellery.

#walmartsurrealism #hyperethnicity #vaporfolk #brandart #matrixbotanica #productshamanism #favelachic #holycargo #ritualfakes #ancientonline #poplatch #postdigital #ersatzculture #saintpepsi #refundutopia #parableofdesire #neomaterialism #summonwarhola #hollyvoodoo #digitalnaïve #artsypovera"
petermoosgaard  bernhardgarnicnig  pausampera  angusmccullough  alexandrahackett  andreaservik  stephaniesyjuco  michelegabriele  zsófiakeresztes  globalization  technology  art  vaporfolk  hollyvoodoo  capitalism  screens  digitalnatives  cloud  hardware  poorsumers  magic  cargocult  wealth  success  latecapitalism 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Hack Circus
"Hack Circus is about fantasy technology and everyday magic

Invention doesn’t have to be useful. Hack Circus is an artistic collective dedicated to celebrating the entertaining and engaging side of inventive thought, whether that manifests physically with wires and batteries, or conceptually in artistic or philosophical ways – as long as it makes us smile.

There's a lot of great virtual stuff out there, but we make things that can be enjoyed in the physical world; strange, unsettling things that shouldn't work in our commercial society – including a quarterly magazine and a live show, but also interactive art objects, prints, experiences, workshops and media.

So far, Hack Circus has addressed questions like:

• How do you know you’re not just a brain in a jar?
• What do particle physicists know about ghosts?
• How do you communicate with the distant future?
• How do you write about time travel so it makes sense?
• Why do some people think the Universe is a hologram?

You can read about the quarterly Hack Circus events here and on the blog and watch videos of them on our YouTube channel. Each issue is launched at an event, and each Hack Circus is themed. The first event and magazine were all about TIME and the second were about REALITY. At the September 2014 event, a large team of us collaborated on an immersive experience, and we sent 50 people into space.

Sign up to our newsletter for brief monthly updates, new issue previews etc. Check out our Purpose page to find out why we do all this. Our feet are in the real world, but our head's in the clouds.

The magazine and events are launched in December, March, June and September and locations change each time. It's a travelling circus.

Hack Circus doesn’t take itself too seriously. We value entertainment, invention and imagination. We believe some things are inherently interesting – and those are the things we’ll feature.

There is also an occasional podcast with its own subjects and guests. The theme tune is by Joseph Thorpe from Sheffield. Check out Joe's band or email him.

Hack Circus is designed and produced in Yorkshire and you can buy it in some shops here. It’s printed by Pressision in Leeds and designed by Matthew Keen and James Rogers in Sheffield, with additional illustrations from Matt Harrison Clough.

The Ringmaster is Leila Johnston: journalist, maker, and creator of numerous art/entertainment/tech mash-ups.

Hack Circus is a registered Trademark (2014)."

[via: https://twitter.com/revdancatt/status/580028847891992577 ]
magazines  hackcircus  science  education  art  magic  technology  everyday 
march 2015 by robertogreco
In fantasy worlds, historical accuracy is a lie - Boing Boing
"The mythical realms of Dragon Age grow beautifully with the telling, including their representation of Earthly minorities. Even so, something's missing..."



"Elves, magic, dragons, shapeshifting and ancient powers of world destruction are somehow totally believable, but the idea that brown people might exist is somehow not. My colleague MedievalPOC's blog uses art, history and other resources to regularly debunk the broad but rarely-questioned misconception that only white people were around in medieval times. So if we know brown folks definitely existed in actual Medieval Europe, why are they absent from a made-up fantasy world only loosely inspired by Medieval Europe? Where are the brown folks in Dragon Age's Thedas?

Let's have a look at the history of representation in my favorite game series."



"I hope the tropes that govern characters like Vivienne de Fer or Mother Giselle are the last we see of these types of things. I hope these missteps simply happen because there aren't many people of color working in the games industry. It's not that anyone on the Dragon Age team is willfully racist or malicious to players; it's simply that someone who doesn't have the lived experience of dealing with racism as a person of color would simply not think about these things.

I want these things to end; I want more people of color working in the games industry. I want more people on the team who can go, "whoa, wait, this isn't okay." I want more people sitting in the room who can bring things like these up when scripts are being written -- or better yet, while characters are still being conceived. These painful jabs hurt people like me as we traverse the fantasy worlds that are supposed to represent the ultimate escape from the real."

[via: http://finalbossform.com/post/114504124240/in-fantasy-worlds-historical-accuracy-is-a-lie ]
fantasy  accuracy  history  race  2015  tanyad  magic  dragons  elves  games  gaming  videogames  dragonage 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Mnemosyne
"The last project of the German Jewish “cultural scientist” Aby M. Warburg (1866-1929), the Mnemosyne Atlas is an unfinished attempt to map the pathways that give art history and cosmography their pathos-laden meanings. Warburg thought this visual, metaphoric encyclopedia, with its constellations of symbolic images, would animate the viewer’s memory, imagination, and understanding of what he called “the afterlife of antiquity.”"

[via: http://thetotalarchive.tumblr.com/post/104851446110/more-of-the-mnemosyne-and-see

See also: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/25660 ]
abywarburg  mnemosyne  magic  alchemy  collections  memory  imagination  afterlife  maps  mapping  art  arthistory  history 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Too Much Magic, Too Little Social Friction: Why Objects Shouldn’t Be Enchanted | The Los Angeles Review of Books
"The more we’re inclined to see technology as wizardry, the less disposed we are to demystifying the illusions that obscure why some people get to enjoy hocus pocus at other people’s expense.

Magical Consumerism

Advertisers also use magic to deceive consumers into believing that products pave the path to the good life. Rose is so excited about what motivational fitness products like Nike + can do that he characterizes them as belonging to a magical lineage that includes the mythical “Hermes’s sandals” and cinematic “Dorothy’s slippers.” I felt like I was reading a script for a commercial when I got to the part where he praises them for “promising to transport us to a place of our dreams.”

Let’s be honest. That’s a promise that can’t ever be delivered. In fact, it’s a lie that moves along the perpetually running hedonic treadmill. Rose’s seamless discursive shift from technology theory to marketplace vocabulary thus serves as a good reminder that when it comes to commercialized goods, it’s dangerous to refer to them using language that breaks down too many of the barriers separating constraint-filled reality from practically unobtainable, constraint-removing fiction."



"The problem with both examples is that they are guided by the assumption that good relationships can be fashioned using technology to minimize misunderstandings and to maximize predictive awareness. While this is true up to a point, the devices Rose discusses eliminate so much important human interaction that they hardly seem like desirable means for achieving worthy ends."
magic  technology  attention  devices  emotions  2015  objects  enchantment  davidrose  evanselinger  advertising  capitalism  consumerism  materialism 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: The day the rabbits died
"Somewhere around the end of February my Nabaztag rabbit stopped doing the only thing it did any more - announcing the time in odd, amusing ways, in a strange English accent.

It was an act any of you could have built with a couple of line of javascript and a voice over artist but it felt different because it was embedded in a plastic rabbit.

And, although I didn't notice straight away the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because one a routine failure faded into the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because they'd switched the servers off and I noticed it had died and I was sad.

I've owned three iterations of the Nabaztag/Karotz thing - each bought and connected in the fond hope that it would finally make the network talk to me rather than just appear on a screen. And each didn't quite work, and each attempt at hacking around it didn't quite work either and then they just became Minimum Viable Talking Things muttering to themselves in the corner of the room.

But there was still something to love about them.

Not least because they suggested there were alternatives to the Silicon Valley object design axis where everything sits somewhere on a line between Useful and Delightful. They found another interesting place to be, a line between Useless and French, and they explored what it meant to make the network into something funny, social and decorative. They didn't fail because no one wants that. They failed because the technology wasn't good enough and because hardware is hard.

This still feels to me, like fresh and unexplored territory - the network talking to you, not you talking to it. It doesn't need speech recognition, it just needs to connect to your feeds and friends and occasionally tell you what's happening. The Nabaztag took that further by embedding that capability in something charming and odd, something that didn't look and feel like 'technology'.

Now, though, the servers are off and it looks like my only option is to learn how to run it off a Raspberry Pi.

The rabbits have fallen apart."
2015  russelldavies  nabaztag  magic  uselessness  useful  delight  delightfulness  technology  ambient  karotz  hardware 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Don’t do away with the fairies: we need to relearn our sense of the magical | Sara Maitland | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Woods are magical. Throughout northern Europe they are deeply linked to older ways of being, to what we might now like to dismiss as superstitious, childish nonsense.

But we cannot so simply wipe this out. Woods are our original home. If we do not populate the woods with imagination, with stories, with wonders, we will destroy them, or limit our own flourishing – or both.

I believe that most of us have a deep yearning for the magical, for a secret “otherness”, for an environment flowing with abundance – not just with nature but with super-nature too; with a rich background of stories and concepts and images, to inform our individual imaginations and give them actual material to come to grips with.

We know that our children are growing up richer and safer, less likely to die in childhood than ever. We also know that they (and their grownups ) have increasingly poor mental health, with higher levels of depression, anxiety, attention deficit problems and eating disorders. There are lots of reasons for this, of course; it is complex and complicated. But in 2012 a survey suggested that more than half of Icelanders believe in, or at least entertain the possibility of the existence of, the huldufólk – the hidden people, the elves. Iceland ranks well above the UK in social stability, equality and most noticeably happiness (ninth in the world, compared with our 22nd). Is it possible that there is a connection? And would we lose anything by assuming that there might be?"
nature  forests  woods  children  imagination  creativity  fantasy  iceland  magic  mentalhealth  environment  hiddenpeople  huldufólk  depression  anxiety  otherness  trees 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Beyond Imported Magic | The MIT Press
"The essays in this volume study the creation, adaptation, and use of science and technology in Latin America. They challenge the view that scientific ideas and technology travel unchanged from the global North to the global South—the view of technology as “imported magic.” They describe not only alternate pathways for innovation, invention, and discovery but also how ideas and technologies circulate in Latin American contexts and transnationally. The contributors’ explorations of these issues, and their examination of specific Latin American experiences with science and technology, offer a broader, more nuanced understanding of how science, technology, politics, and power interact in the past and present.

The essays in this book use methods from history and the social sciences to investigate forms of local creation and use of technologies; the circulation of ideas, people, and artifacts in local and global networks; and hybrid technologies and forms of knowledge production. They address such topics as the work of female forensic geneticists in Colombia; the pioneering Argentinean use of fingerprinting technology in the late nineteenth century; the design, use, and meaning of the XO Laptops created and distributed by the One Laptop per Child Program; and the development of nuclear energy in Argentina, Mexico, and Chile."
technology  latinamerica  olpc  chile  colombia  argentina  uruguay  perú  mexico  2014  books  toread  magic  science  politics  power  innovation  edenmedina  ivandacostamarques  christinaholmes  marcoscueto 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Interview with Sjón | The White Review
"Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Where are you from? And how did you come to write?

A: SJÓN — I was born in Reykjavík in 1962. From the beginning I read everything, from children’s books to newspapers – whatever printed material came into the house. At the age of 8 I discovered Icelandic folk stories, which is when I truly started waking up to literature. A year later, I discovered poetry. In school we were given a big collection of poetry, which was to last us throughout our school years, and I started reading this book for pleasure at home. I was reading detective novels, Icelandic folk stories, and Icelandic romantic poetry from very early on. Early reading teaches you the different possibilities of text.

When I came into my teenage years I became a huge David Bowie fan. To be a David Bowie fan in Iceland you more or less had to teach yourself English – to translate the lyrics, to be able to read the interviews in NME. My infatuation with Bowie prepared me for my discovery of modernist poetry, first in translation. At the age of 15 I found a book of Icelandic modernists from the end of the Second World War. That’s when modernism came to Iceland – and they were very much influenced by the surrealists. Somehow, I was bitten by the bug. It simply fascinated me that you were allowed to use the Icelandic language in this way, to create these incredible images and metaphors, and to present such ideas with the Icelandic language. I felt like I should be a part of it. So I started writing poetry and in a few months time I had written enough poetry for a book. I published my first book of poetry the summer I turned 16.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — You speak of an early interest in the various kinds of text, and your own writing is not easily assimilated into any single textual mode. As a writer, lyricist and poet, you move in and out of these different formats. What do you classify yourself as first and foremost, if anything? How might this resistance to categorisation link in to your interest in surrealism?

A: SJÓN — I’m a novelist who occasionally writes poetry. I write librettos, lyrics and children’s books but these are all collaborations that I do in between working on novels and poetry. One of the wonders of the novel is how easily it absorbs diverse texts. Everything that is written, whether it is non-fiction, old archives, newspaper articles, lullabies – somehow it can always find its place in the novel, and for that reason the novel became more important to me than the poem.

The novel is encyclopaedic: all of the different manners of expressing oneself in words can find their place there. In the Eighties my friends and I formed a group of surrealist poets called Medusa. Surrealism brings so much with it and one of the first things I realised when I became excited by surrealism was its link with folk stories. Surrealism is always non-academic, always looking for the source of human activity, looking into the back alleys and the darkest clearing in the forest for excitement. Somehow it was always very natural for me to bring all these different things together in what I was doing.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Your novels are hybrids – a crossbreed of narrative fiction, historical fact, myth, music…

A: SJÓN — I like my novels to be made up of different parts, realities, states of consciousness. I now see my work as realist because everything I write is grounded in at least the experience of the character, here, in earthly life. The strange things that happen in the books are what happens in people’s minds, what they experience as truth. That of course creates a hybrid, when your standard is something normalised and accepted as the only way to experience reality.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Music is a great part of this assortment – you’ve mentioned Bowie as an influence, and you have collaborated with musicians such as Björk. Do you think that words can achieve the condition of music, which has a much greater immediacy and is far less freighted with multiple meanings?

A: SJÓN — I think it’s very important to be open to influence from diverse artistic forms and forms of expression. I have been very much influenced by music and one of the routes I took to literature was through the music of David Bowie. I have worked with musicians in all fields – contemporary composers, pop artists – and I’ve worked with very diverse styles of music. But there is a huge difference between words being sung, spoken or read. The emotion that the singing voice brings to the world when sung out loud is something you cannot recreate on paper. I don’t think you should even try.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — You have spoken of realising that ‘you could take the classical string quartet as a model for the composition of THE BLUE FOX’. How did you achieve this?

A: SJÓN — I think the fact that I can take the form of the string quartet and use it as the basis of a novel is another proof of how dynamic the novel is. I’m sure that a composer writing a string quartet can learn something from a movie or the structure of film. It was music that gave me the idea of constantly breaking up the narrative. THE BLUE FOX would be a completely different novel if it were chronological. In it, there are constant cliff-hangers and repeated refrains – I’m playing with the element of two melodies that come together but never fully, only in the end finding a solution. It was very interesting that the first people who commented on the book were composers. They said it was very clear to them that I was always playing with volume of information versus text, which is the same thing they do – volume of tones versus time. You can take a melody and stretch it over five minutes, or compress it down to three seconds. They were very much aware of how I was playing with text versus information.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Does your involvement in the world of music, and the musicality of your novels, betray some sort of frustration with the limits of the written word?

A: SJÓN — No. I am in the position where I can move between those different ways of writing. For me, it is a celebration of the many possibilities given to an author. I play no instruments, my only involvement with music is in collaborations with people who know how to do it. It is a privilege to be working with these musicians and to be allowed to bring my words to their work. To hear the words sung is a wonderful present from these people."



"This view actually went against everything that I had been taught in school. The Reformation is presented in Icelandic history books as something very benevolent and it was convenient to ignore that in the first decade after the Reformation life was very difficult for the common man and for scholars. The Methodist church became very dogmatic, and everything that had to do with the old Nordic religion, with old wisdom or old medicine, was banished as sorcery. He is the only historical voice that we have speaking against this. It was an opportunity to put a seed inside somebody’s skull, and take a walk through those times with his eyes."



"The reason that I felt it right to enter this world, this state of complaint against a world going to pieces, is because he lived through the period when the Catholic Church, the only socially responsible institution, was all of a sudden taken away. In Iceland, it is a fact that the Catholic Church was the only welfare structure in the country – we had no king, no dukes, we had no one to take over the social responsibilities when the Catholic Church vanished overnight. All the monasteries were closed down, all the orphanages, the old people’s shelters – everything, overnight. And the duty that the rich had – to keep the livestock alive on behalf of the religious priests who fed the poor – that vanished too.

Jón Guðmundsson is unique in that he is the only one who wrote about this. He bore witness to a world in which man had been relieved of his duty to show charity to his fellow men. This is very much what the last decade has felt like, at least in Iceland, if not many parts of the West. With the deregulation of the economic system, social responsibility was thrown out of the window and all of a sudden the rich became richer and they had no duties any more. This is something that happened with the fall of the Eastern Bloc – the message that we were told then was that capitalism had won and communism was the dark art. The Left lost its voice, at least in Iceland. The centre Left – the social democrats – they decided to start playing along with the capitalists, which is what you would call New Labour here. The real Left was all of a sudden presented as the losers of history, even though these people had been in opposition to the totalitarian regimes in the East for decades. All of a sudden everything that began with the word ‘social’ was a dirty word. The social contract that was established in most of the West after the Second World War, was dealt the final blow."



"In times where grand narratives are needed we look to the grand narratives of our culture. In our case it is the great myths, and sometimes it is to give name to something like the panic after September 11. Myth always puts man down to size, and man realises he is just this tiny figure moving from one meal to another on his way to the grave.

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Oral tradition is very much a part of myth. Is this something that can still exist today?

A: SJÓN — You have a whole continent, Africa, which has so many languages that have still not found a written form. There are places that have an unbroken tradition, stretching thousands of years back, of telling the same stories over and over again. Mostly here in the West we have lost the ability to protect our culture orally, and maybe we are in danger. What will happen when all the books have flared up and all the Kindles lost their battery power?

Q: THE WHITE REVIEW — Literary translation and the rise of world … [more]
sjón  2012  interviews  iceland  poems  poetry  novels  literature  writing  music  björk  reality  collaboration  surrealism  existence  humans  storytelling  davidbowie  mogenrukov  dogme95  life  living  perspective  curiosity  translation  africa  diversity  myths  myth  mythology  charity  catholicism  history  capitalism  economics  society  collectivism  interdependence  individualism  insignificance  folklore  nature  reformation  religion  magic  mysticism  enlightenment  catholicchurch  9/11  oraltradition  ebooks  books  words  coldwar  socialism  communism  jónguðmundsson  sorcery  songs  posthumanism 
december 2014 by robertogreco
I Had A Scheme | MORNING, COMPUTER
"Last night I dreamed of being able to curate a hub on Medium that was nothing but the confluence between the apocalyptic, the technological, the numinous, the archaic and the future. A Black Mountain College of the next new normal. Which is basically the space I’m thinking within all the time right now. I’m feeling very apocalyptic. I’m feeling like I want to explore it. In 1968, the year I was born, NEW WORLDS magazine ran a cover that contained a black-on-near-black graphic and the white text WHAT IS THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CATASTROPHE? The answer is both ahead and behind. Half of my brain is in deep time at present. I have a book on my shelf entitled APOCALYPTIC WITCHCRAFT.

“The Wild Hunt as living experience” is a phrase on the back cover.

(God, what if it’s just The New Hauntology? “We are as ghosts and might as well get good at it.”)

I’m a little worried about turning into the ghost of Terence McKenna and rattling on about The Archaic Revival for the rest of my days.

Anyway. I woke up and I was still poor, so I know it was a dream."

[Post referenced here too: http://morning.computer/2014/10/the-university-of-disaster/

"“Science itself is on the verge of a systemic crash, a philosophical coma. In the face of this crash, I suggested creating a “university of disaster”…”

That’s from THE ADMINISTRATION OF FEAR by Paul Virilio. Connects to “a Black Mountain College of the next new normal.” Imagine if the Health Goth look became, in response to First World Ebola, the street-level iteration of the medieval “plague doctor” look, jumping right past cheap hazmat suits. Extinction Symbol connects to Health Goth by its stark black-on-white nature. The symbol leaps out at you on streets, but may not look so out of place in hospitals. Rewilding becomes a reaction, not an active response, to First World Ebola because the African hot zone where this latest outbreak originates is so wild and unmanaged that WHO has to state that its infection stats should be speculatively multiplied by three, due to the simple fact that they can’t get reportage out of a significant chunk of the region. You may indeed want to go back to the woods when our cities become viral incubators, but that really just means that nobody will know who you’re spreading diseases to. The cities are where the medical care is. Unfortunately, people fly into them from all over the place, and so Bruce Sterling’s notion that cities will be filled with old people who are afraid of the sky takes on a whole new meaning. And suddenly we’re living in the old BBC tv series SURVIVORS from 1975, a prime year in classical British hauntology.

Someone just prototyped a litmus paper test for Ebola over the weekend. Virilio contends that “speed” is the defining element of the present-day condition. Speed as agency of fear.

Still just thinking out loud here."]
warrenellis  2014  bmc  blackmountaincollege  1968  witchcraft  hauntology  magic  petergrey  terenecemckenna  paulvirilio  extinction  speed  fear  ebola  rewilding 
november 2014 by robertogreco
▶ One-On-One Conversations: Ingrid Burrington and James Bridle by EyebeamNYC
[Description from: http://eyebeam.org/events/eyebeam-artists-one-on-one-james-bridle-and-ingrid-burrington ]

"The first in this series features James Bridle and Ingrid Burrington, discussing "The Black Chamber". As technology advances and becomes increasingly networked and integrated with our daily lives, it tends towards a greater invisibility, a seamlessness and an unreadability. From the Cipher Bureau to Room 641A, from the datacenter to the iPhone, from the drone command module to the shipping container, the black boxes of the network litter the contemporary landscape. Unable to see inside them, we construct fantasies about their use, develop new ways of thinking about them, and attempt to probe them through techniques legal, technical, and magical. Eyebeam Residents Ingrid Burrington and James Bridle will explore the aesthetic and imaginative space of the black box, and outline some of their own practices for approaching them."
ingridburrington  jamesbridle  via:vruba  invisibility  visibility  blackboxes  datacenters  infrastructure  technology  magic  unreadability  landscape  urban  urbanism  architecture  2014  wizards  daemons 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Fantasy and the Buffered Self - The New Atlantis
"When asked by the editors of the website The Immanent Frame to summarize the key concerns of his vastly ambitious book A Secular Age (2007), Charles Taylor wrote,

Almost everyone can agree that one of the big differences between us and our ancestors of five hundred years ago is that they lived in an “enchanted” world, and we do not; at the very least, we live in a much less “enchanted” world. We might think of this as our having “lost” a number of beliefs and the practices which they made possible. But more, the enchanted world was one in which these forces could cross a porous boundary and shape our lives, psychic and physical. One of the big differences between us and them is that we live with a much firmer sense of the boundary between self and other. We are “buffered” selves. We have changed.

As Taylor makes clear, the shift from a porous to a buffered self involves a complex series of exchanges. But to put that shift in simple terms, a person accepts a buffered condition as a means of being protected from the demonic or otherwise ominous forces that in pre-modern times generated a quavering network of terrors. To be a pre-modern person, in Taylor’s account, is to be constantly in danger of being invaded or overcome by demons or fairies or nameless terrors of the dark — of being possessed and transformed, or spirited away and never returned to home and family. Keith Thomas’s magisterial Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971) specifies many of these dangers, along with the whole panoply of prayers, rites, amulets, potions, chants, spells, and the like, by which a person might seek protection from the otherwise irresistible. It is easy, then, to imagine why a person — or a whole culture — might, if it could, exchange this model of a self with highly permeable boundaries for one in which the self feels better protected, defended — impermeable, or nearly so.

The problem with this apparently straightforward transaction is that the porous self is open to the divine as well as to the demonic, while the buffered self is closed to both alike. Those who must guard against capture by fairies are necessarily and by the same token receptive to mystical experiences. The “showings” manifested to Julian of Norwich depend upon exceptional sensitivity, which is to say porosity — vulnerability to incursions of the supernatural. The portals of the self cannot be closed on one side only. But the achievement of a safely buffered personhood — closed off from both the divine and the demonic — is soon enough accompanied by a deeply felt change in the very cosmos. As C. S. Lewis notes in The Discarded Image (1964), the medieval person who found himself “looking up at a world lighted, warmed, and resonant with music” gives way to the modern person who perceives only emptiness and silence. Safety is purchased at the high price of isolation, as we see as early as Pascal, who famously wrote of the night sky, “Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie” (“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me”).

In these circumstances, one might expect people to ask whether so difficult and costly an exchange is in fact necessary. Might it not be possible to experience the benefits, while avoiding the costs, of both the porous and the buffered self? I want to argue here that it is precisely this desire that accounts for the rise to cultural prominence, in late modernity, of the artistic genre of fantasy. Fantasy — in books, films, television shows, and indeed in all imaginable media — is an instrument by which the late modern self strives to avail itself of the unpredictable excitements of the porous self while retaining its protective buffers. Fantasy, in most of its recent forms, may best be understood as a technologically enabled, and therefore safe, simulacrum of the pre-modern porous self.

Before pursuing my argument, I must make two clarifications. First, fantasy itself is not a recent development but rather an ancient form (though not under its current name). What we now call “fantasy” is something closer to “realism” in the pagan world, which is populated by many powers capable of acting upon “porous” human selves. In the pagan world, success in life is largely a matter of navigating safely among those powers, which are unpredictable, beyond good and evil, and often indifferent to human needs. (Such indifference means that they can help as well as hurt, but also that their assistance can never be relied upon.) In this environment, fantastic creatures are at the very least personifications or embodiments of powers genuinely believed to exist. The realism is not strict, in that the writers and readers of earlier times did not necessarily believe in the existence of precisely such creatures as were described in their stories — perhaps not Apollo or Artemis any more than Dante’s Geryon or Spenser’s Blatant Beast, though such questions are necessarily and notoriously vexed. But at the very least the pre-modern world is one in which powers like those hold sway and cannot be safely neglected; a world in which what we would call the fantastic is an intrinsic element of the real.

Second, some of the most celebrated practitioners of modern fantasy share with their pre-modern predecessors this belief that the fictional apparatus of fantasy is a relatively close approximation to the way things really are for human beings. J. R. R. Tolkien may not have believed in Sauron, but he surely believed that there are in human history people who sell themselves to the Enemy and find themselves as a result of that decision first empowered and then destroyed. And when, at the beginning of Lewis’s Perelandra (1944), the protagonist Ransom’s progress toward a friend’s house is impeded by invisible forces who fill him with fear, Lewis was describing the work of spirits whom he truly believed to exist, though under a slightly different description, just as he probably believed that some forms of scientistic rationalism are the product of demonic influence. In short, these writers sought to present their readers with an image of an enchanted world, of selves fully porous to supernatural forces. But because they did so in genres (fantasy, science fiction) known for the imaginative portrayal of the wholly nonexistent, readers confident in their buffered condition can be delighted by those stories without ever for a moment considering the possibility that the forces portrayed therein might correspond to something real. Indeed, the delight of the stories for such readers consists primarily in their perceived unreality."



"If the technical boy is wrong, if resistance can happen, we might take comfort from what seems to me the authentic core of the fantastic as a genre, as we see it from the standpoint of late modernity: fantasy may best be taken as an acknowledgment that the great problem of the pagan world — how to navigate as safely as possible through an ever-shifting landscape of independent and unpredictable powers who are indifferent to human needs — is our problem once more. The powers now may have different names than the ones Homer or Ovid knew, but they are powers all the same. American Gods is an especially important text for this moment, because it rightly identifies technologies as gods and simultaneously sides with the older gods as being intrinsically closer to the proper human lifeworld. Imaginatively, if not in substantive belief, we are pagans once more.

What We Don’t See

But a coda is required. All that I have written so far about porous and buffered selves has followed Charles Taylor in bracketing the question of what our actual condition is. We may choose to believe that we can buffer ourselves, protect ourselves against unknown powers. But that’s a kind of wager: if the powers are real, our disbelief won’t deter them. And it may be that certain powers profit from being disregarded or treated as mere fancies. In a sonnet he wrote in the late 1930s, Auden portrayed a world from which magic had passed: “The sudden shadow of a giant’s enormous calf / Would fall no more at dusk across their lawns outside”; the last dragons and kobolds died off. The people “slept in peace.” But:

... The vanquished powers were glad

To be invisible and free: without remorse
Struck down the sons who strayed into their course,
And ravished the daughters, and drove the fathers mad."
2014  alanjacobs  fantasy  history  legibility  invisibility  visibility  belief  modernity  mysticism  magic  identity  self  protection  boundaries  unpredictability  uncertainty  supernatural  spirits  sciencefiction 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Save The Data Drama
"Place



A location rife with beautiful signifiers of gentle exclusion seemed an ideal place for a conference like this. Within a few minutes of Friday's talks beginning, it became clear that almost everyone at this event knew each other, and if they didn't know the speakers they were probably grad students. I came to this thing from a periphery: close enough to some of the speakers to not be totally isolated, making work that's relevant to the topic, but not transactionally useful to the majority of the people there.

I admittedly have a knack for showing up in places where I am out of place. I tend to show up to such places bearing a massive, posture-ruining, class warfare chip on my shoulder. Some of this comes from the fact that being alive feels like being out of place, because honestly I wake up every day amazed that I'm still alive after an unrelated incident in 2009 that I don't really want to talk about.

One side effect of my terrible posture is that I'm a terrible liar. When faced with the elaborate theater of someone trying to convince me that this is the hippest data center ever or that he is the Most Important Man In The Room, I kind of just start laughing. And when I start to get worked up about how out of place I am in a given situation, I get defensive and snarky.

This isn't necessarily an apology (I don't think I have to apologize for for thinking that careerism is silly or for having reactions to however unintentionally hostile spaces); just context on the off-chance any of the Serious Important Men of Data Drama (who perhaps hereafter should be called the Data Drama Queens) who were probably annoyed with me read this. Don't worry guys, I'm just a silly woman living paycheck to paycheck, don't mind me.



Privilege



Honestly, I don't really like being the person at a gendered, privileged event talking about gender or privilege, because I know that I have so much privilege, and I don't want to claim to speak for the marginalized who are not in the room. Hell, we didn't even really get into how deeply white the conference was (in both speaker and audience makeup). There was a uniquely awkward moment when, during a Q&A session, filmmaker Ben Lewis complained about the difficulty he encountered finding people to interview who were concerned about or negatively affected by surveillance--this after James Bridle had given a talk about British citizens stripped of their citizenship essentially so they could be droned. The anger at Lewis' apparent ignorance was palpable, but not necessarily productive--while yes, someone probably should have said "Ben, perhaps you should consider speaking to people who don't look like you", there weren't that many examples of such people to point to in that conference room at Princeton.


When Data Drama Queens talk about the risks being faced in our new data age, the future adaptations of cyborg humans, the potential of World 2.0, who is actually being spoken about or spoken for? To what extent are these speculations of the future posed more or less for people like them?



Magic

The aesthetics of the slide talks and much of the work presented varied--from Metahaven's seapunk-Geocities collages to Adam Harvey's apparently oblivious fashion magazine-glossy male gaze--but there was a frequently ambivalent return to a rhetoric and aesthetics of awe. Despite ourselves, we are kind of in love with the technology, even if it is in the hands of the oppressor, and that's hard to reconcile.

Early on during Saturday's talks, a Q&A got into a discussion of magic, and that's the thing I keep coming back to. I'm not sure what that's going to look like, but I think it's got a lot of potential. I am for a dialogue on technology and society that allows for weirdness, allows for vulnerability, allows for humanity, requires a certain amount of faith, and isn't about pure mastery. I think there's more space for that in the language of magic, I don't know. Mostly I wanted to know how many of the people at that conference listen to Welcome to Nightvale."
ingridburrington  datadrama  2014  data  privilege  place  conferences  magic  nightvale  mastery  usmanhaque  katecrawford  cv  honesty  lying  class  classwarfare  liamyoung  jamesbridle  benlewis 
april 2014 by robertogreco
fey - definition of fey by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
"1.
a. Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality: "She's got that fey look as though she's had breakfast with a leprechaun" (Dorothy Burnham).
b. Having visionary power; clairvoyant.
c. Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell."

[via: http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2014/02/27/demons-by-candelight/ ]
words  language  scotland  definitions  magic  fairies  fey 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Watching these dogs confused by a magic trick is hilariously cute
"Dogs can be incredibly smart but—when it comes to trusting humans—they are as naive as a little kid who doesn't know what a lie means yet. Watching these dogs getting completely confused when magician Jose Ahonen mades a treat disappear right in front of their eyes (and noses) makes me laugh and awwww at the same time."
dogs  2014  magic  illusion  joseahonen  humor  animals  intelligence 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Jon Kolko » Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis
"Designers, as well as those who research and describe the process of design, continually describe design as a way of organizing complexity or finding clarity in chaos. Jeff Veen, founder of Adaptive Path, has noted that "Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos."[1] 1 Jeff Veen, The Art and Science of Web Design (Indianapolis: New Riders Press, 2000). Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Motorola's Consumer Experience Design group explains that "design is always about synthesis—synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs."[2] During synthesis, designers attempt "to organize, manipulate, prune, and filter gathered data into a cohesive structure for information building."[3] Synthesis reveals a cohesion and sense of continuity; synthesis indicates a push towards organization, reduction, and clarity.

Yet despite the acknowledged importance of this phase of the design process, there continues to appear something magical about synthesis when encountered in professional practice: because synthesis is frequently performed privately ("in the head" or "on scratch paper"), the outcome is all that is observed, and this only after the designer has explicitly begun the form-making portion of the design process. While other aspects of the design process are visible to non-designers (such as drawing, which can be observed and generally grasped even by a naive and detached audience), synthesis is often a more insular activity, one that is less obviously understood, or even completely hidden from view. Designers may follow a user-centered discovery process to immerse themselves in a particular subject or discipline, and then go "incubate" that material. After a period of reflection, they will produce a tangible artifact as a visual representation of the reflection. When synthesis is conducted as a private exercise, there is no visible connection between the input and the output; often, even the designers themselves are unable to articulate exactly why their design insights are valuable. Clients are left to trust the designer, and more often than not, the clients simply reject the insight as being "blue sky" or simply too risky.

For example, a designer developing a new digital device might study the use of digital devices used in the workplace. Typically, a designer will observe four or five users as those individuals conduct their work. The designer will ask questions of each user about their jobs and record details of their responses. The designer might also take screen shots or photographs of the tools being used, and probe for details about each item. The designer will then return to the design studio. In the privacy of his or her natural work place, the designer will attempt to make sense of what he or she has learned. The goal is to find relationships or themes in the research data, and to uncover hidden meaning in the behavior that is observed and that is applicable to the design task at hand.

The user research sessions will produce pages of verbal transcript, hundreds of pictures, and dozens of artifact examples. Because of the complexity of comprehending so much data at once, the designer will frequently turn to a large sheet of paper and a blank wall in order to "map it all out." Several hours later, the sheet of paper will be covered with what to a newcomer appears to be a mess—yet the designer has made substantial progress, and the mess actually represents the deep and meaningful sensemaking that drives innovation. The designer will have identified themes, and will better understand the problem he or she is trying to solve; the designer will have discovered "the whole," as described by Daniel Fallman: "Fieldwork, theory, and evaluation data provide systematic input to this process, but do not by themselves provide the necessary whole. For the latter, there is only design."
design  sensemaking  jonkolko  2010  magic  transparency  process  synthesis  fieldwork  jimwicks  jeffveen  howwework  bluesky  risk  messiness  demystification  canon 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Two quotes for 2014 | Magical Nihilism
"from Freedom by Daniel Suarez:

“Where ancient people believed in gods and devils that listened to their pleas and curses — in this age immortal entities hear us. Call them bots or spirits; there is no functional difference now. They surround us and through them word-forms become an unlock code that can trigger a blessing or a curse. Mankind created systems whose inter-reactions we could not fully understand, and the spirits we gathered have escaped from them into the land where they walk the earth—or the GPS grid, whichever you prefer. The spirit world overlaps the real one now, and our lives will never be the same.”

“But doesn’t this just spread mysticism? Lies, essentially?”

“You mean fairy tales? Yes, initially. But then, a lot of parents tell young children that there’s a Santa Claus. It’s easier than trying to explain the cultural significance of midwinter celebrations to a three-year-old. If false magic or a white lie about the god-monster in the mountain will get people to stop killing one another and learn, then the truth can wait. When the time is right, it can be replaced with a reverence for the scientific method.”

See also Julian Oliver’s talk. Again.
http://timoarnall.tumblr.com/post/40012610155/julianoliver "
mattjones  danilesuarez  2014  gods  devils  technology  belief  fairytales  falsemagic  magic  myth  truth  science  scientificmethod  spirits  spiritworld  systems  understanding  bots  julianoliver 
january 2014 by robertogreco
If a cat could talk – David Wood – Aeon
[Related: "How Humans Created Cats: Following the invention of agriculture, one thing led to another, and ta da: the world's most popular pet." http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/how-humans-created-cats/282391/ ]

"Perhaps because we selected cats for their internal contradictions — friendly to us, deadly to the snakes and rodents that threatened our homes — we shaped a creature that escapes our gaze, that doesn’t merely reflect some simple design goal. One way or another, we have licensed a being that displays its ‘otherness’ and flaunts its resistance to human interests. This is part of the common view of cats: we value their independence. From time to time they might want us, but they don’t need us. Dogs, by contrast, are said to be fawning and needy, always eager to please. Dogs confirm us; cats confound us. And in ways that delight us.

In welcoming one animal to police our domestic borders against other creatures that threatened our food or health, did we violate some boundary in our thinking? Such categories are ones we make and maintain without thinking about them as such. Even at this practical level, cats occupy a liminal space: we live with ‘pets’ that are really half-tamed predators.

From the human perspective, cats might literally patrol the home, but more profoundly they walk the line between the familiar and the strange. When we look at a cat, in some sense we do not know what we are looking at. The same can be said of many non-human creatures, but cats are exemplary. Unlike insects, fish, reptiles and birds, cats both keep their distance and actively engage with us. Books tell us that we domesticated the cat. But who is to say that cats did not colonise our rodent-infested dwellings on their own terms? One thinks of Ruduyard Kipling’s story ‘The Cat That Walked by Himself’ (1902), which explains how Man domesticated all the wild animals except for one: ‘the wildest of all the wild animals was the Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him.’

Michel de Montaigne, in An Apology for Raymond Sebond (1580), captured this uncertainty eloquently. ‘When I play with my cat,’ he mused, ‘how do I know that she is not playing with me rather than I with her?’ So often cats disturb us even as they enchant us. We stroke them, and they purr. We feel intimately connected to these creatures that seem to have abandoned themselves totally to the pleasures of the moment. Cats seem to have learnt enough of our ways to blend in. And yet, they never assimilate entirely. In a trice, in response to some invisible (to the human mind, at least) cue, they will leap off our lap and re-enter their own space, chasing a shadow. Lewis Carroll’s image of the smile on the face of the Cheshire cat, which remains even after the cat has vanished, nicely evokes such floating strangeness. Cats are beacons of the uncanny, shadows of something ‘other’ on the domestic scene.

Our relationship with cats is an eruption of the wild into the domestic: a reminder of the ‘far side’, by whose exclusion we define our own humanity. This is how Michel Foucault understood the construction of ‘madness’ in society — it’s no surprise then that he named his own cat Insanity. Cats, in this sense, are vehicles for our projections, misrecognition, and primitive recollection. They have always been the objects of superstition: through their associations with magic and witchcraft, feline encounters have been thought to forecast the future, including death. But cats are also talismans. They have been recognised as astral travellers, messengers from the gods. In Egypt, Burma and Thailand they have been worshipped. Druids have held some cats to be humans in a second life. They are trickster figures, like the fox, coyote and raven. The common meanings and associations that they carry in our culture permeate, albeit unconsciously, our everyday experience of them.

But if the glimpse of a cat can portend the uncanny, what should we make of the cat’s own glance at us? As Jacques Derrida wondered: ‘Say the animal responded?’ If his cat found him naked in the bathroom, staring at his private parts — as discussed in Derrida's 1997 lecture The Animal That Therefore I Am — who would be more naked: the unclothed human or the never clothed animal? To experience the animal looking back at us challenges the confidence of our own gaze — we lose our unquestioned privilege in the universe. Whatever we might think of our ability to subordinate the animal to our categories, all bets are off when we try to include the animal’s own perspective. That is not just another item to be included in our own world view. It is a distinctive point of view — a way of seeing that we have no reason to suppose we can seamlessly incorporate by some imaginative extension of our own perspective.

This goes further than Montaigne’s musings on who is playing with whom. Imaginative reversal — that is, if the cat is playing with us — would be an exercise in humility. But the dispossession of a cat ‘looking back’ is more disconcerting. It verges on the unthinkable. Perhaps when Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote (of a larger cat) in Philosophical Investigations (1953) that: ‘If a lion could talk we would not understand him,’ he meant something similar. If a lion really could possess language, he or she would have a relation to the world that would challenge our own, without there being any guarantee of translatability. Or if, as T S Eliot suggested in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939), cats named themselves as well as being given names by their owners (gazed on by words, if you like), then the order of things — the human order — would be truly shaken."



"Yet the existence of the domestic cat rests on our trust in them to eliminate other creatures who threaten our food and safety. We have a great deal invested in them, if now only symbolically. Snakebites can kill, rats can carry plague: the threat of either brings terror. Cats were bred to be security guards, even as their larger cousins still set their eyes on us and salivate. We like to think we can trust cats. But if we scrutinise their behaviour, our grounds for doing so evaporate.

It is something of an accident that a cat’s lethal instincts align with our interests. They seem recklessly unwilling to manage their own boundaries. Driven as they are by an unbridled spirit of adventure (and killing), they do not themselves seem to have much appreciation of danger. Even if fortune smiles upon them — they are said to have nine lives, after all — in the end, ‘curiosity kills the cat’. Such protection as cats give us seems to be a precarious arrangement."



"Look into the eyes of a cat for a moment. Your gaze will flicker between recognising another being (without quite being able to situate it), and staring into a void. At this point, we would like to think — well, that’s because she or he is a cat. But cannot the same thing happen with our friend, or child, or lover? When we look in the mirror, are we sure we know who we are?"



"Cats, one at a time, as our intimates, our familiars, as strangers in our midst, as mirrors of our co-evolution, as objects of exemplary fascination, pose for us the question: what is it to be a cat? And what is it to be this cat? These questions are contagious. As I stroke Steely Dan, he purrs at my touch. And I begin to ask myself more questions: to whom does this appendage I call my hand belong? What is it to be human? And who, dear feline, do you think I am?"
cats  humans  pets  animals  2013  montaigne  tseliot  wittgenstein  jacquesderrida  gaze  michelfoucault  relationships  nature  consciousness  independence  codependence  rudyardkipling  domestication  davidwood  compatibility  trickster  magic  talismans  micheldemontaigne  foucault 
december 2013 by robertogreco
I'm an atheist so why am I a committed Quaker? – Nat Case – Aeon
"I contradict myself. I am an atheist and committed Quaker. Does it matter what I believe, when I recognise that religion is something I need?"



"If you are really going to be part of a community, just showing up for the main meal is not enough: you need to help cook and clean up. So it has been with me and the Quakers: I’m concerned with how my community works, and so I’ve served on committees (Quakerism is all about committees). There’s pastoral care to accomplish, a building to maintain, First-Day School (Quakerese for Sunday School) to organise. And there’s the matter of how we as a religious community will bring our witness into the world. Perhaps this language sounds odd coming from a non-theist, but as I hope I’ve shown, I’m not a non-theist first. I’ve been involved in prison visiting, and have been struck at the variety of religious attitudes among volunteers: some for whom the visiting is in itself ministry, and others for whom it’s simply social action towards justice (the programme grew out of visiting conscientious objectors in the Vietnam era). The point is: theological differences are not necessarily an issue when there’s work to be done."



"How can we do that? How can I do that? Submitting to something I am pretty sure doesn’t exist? How can I bow down to a fiction? I did it all the time as a child. Open the cover of the book, and I’m in that world. If I’m lucky, and the book is good enough, some of that world comes with me out into the world of atoms and weather, taxes and death. It’s a story, and sometimes stories are stronger than stuff.

Maybe part of the trick is realising that it doesn’t have to be just my little bubble of fiction. I can read a novel, or I can go gaming into the evening with friends. I can watch a ballet on a darkened stage, or I can roar along to my favourite band in the mosh pit. I hated school dances with a passion, yet I have been a morris dancer for 23 years now: I just had to find the form that was a right fit. I don’t pray aloud, or with prescribed formulas. But I can ask Whatever-There-Is a question, or ask for help from the universe, or say thank you. And now that I’m in a place with a better fit, sometimes I get answers back. And so there I am, a confirmed skeptic, praying in a congregation."



"A year and a half ago, our family began worshipping with a smaller Conservative Friends group. Conservative Friends are socially and theologically liberal but stricter in adhering to older Quaker practices. The group uses the Montessori-based Godly Play curriculum for the children: it’s all about stories. Every session begins with a quieting and a focusing. The leader tells a story from the Bible or from the Quaker story book. Then ‘wondering’ questions are asked that spur the children to reflect on what’s going on, and what they would do in the same situation.

I wish I’d had this great programme as a child. The teacher is a good storyteller who clearly loves the kids, and they love the stories and the time with their friends. To me, it’s such an improvement on school-style lessons. It says: this is a different kind of knowing and learning — this is not about facts and theories you need to learn, but about the stories we want to become part of your life.

I love facts and theories, the stuff of the world. I spend most of my life wrestling and dancing with all this amazing matter. As the Australian comic Tim Minchin says in his rant-poem ‘Storm’ (2008): ‘Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable world?’ And yes, it’s enough. We don’t need to tell lies about the real world in order to make it magical. But we do still need impossible magic for our own irrational selves. At any rate, I do.

Because I don’t feel stuff-and-logic-based explanations deep down in my toes. There are no miracle stories of flying children there, or brothers reborn into the land where the sagas come from. The language of ‘stuff is all there is’ tells me that I can — even ought to — be rational and sensible, but it doesn’t make me want to be. ‘Atheism’ tells me what I am not, and I yearn to know what I am. What I am has a spine, it’s a thing I must be true to, because otherwise it evaporates into the air, dirt and water of the hard world.

Maybe I — we — need to start small, rebuilding gods that we talk to, and who talk back. Or just one whom we can plausibly imagine, our invisible friend. Maybe part of our problem is that we don’t actually want to talk to the voice of Everything, because Everything has gotten so unfathomably huge. George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, didn’t have to think about light years, let alone billions of light years. The stars now are too far away to be our friends or speak to us in our need. Maybe we could talk to a god whom we imagined in our house. Maybe we could ask what is wanted, and hear what is needed. Maybe that god would tell us not to tramp over the earth in armies, pretending we are bigger than we are, and that dying is OK, because it’s just something that happens when your life is over. Maybe we would ask for help and comfort from unexpected places, and often enough receive it and be thankful for it.

Maybe we need to name that little god something other than God, because maybe our God has a boss who has a boss whose boss runs the universe. Maybe we name this god Ethel, or Larry, or Murgatroyd. Maybe there is no god but God... or maybe there just is no God. And maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe we just tell stories that ring true to us and say up-front that we know they are fiction. We can let people love these stories or hate them. Maybe imagining impossible things — such as flying, the land where sagas come from, God — is what is needed. Maybe we don’t need the gods to be real. Maybe all we need is to trust more leaps of the imagination."
philosophy  quakers  atheism  2013  natcase  religion  belief  literature  fiction  skepticism  stories  storytelling  listening  learning  life  magic  wonder  truth  logic  trust  imagination  community  committees  myth  myths  josephcampbell  robert  barclay  via:jenlowe  everyday  quaker 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles – What is a specimen
"The little ivory characters are examples of tupilaq, a genre of carved critter widespread among the Inuit and other peoples of the far north. The tupilaq that live outside of museum time, outside of gallery time, are evil spirits called into being by a shaman for the purpose of making mischief. They carry curses to rivals and enemies. Made from bone and fur and other materials, the tupilaq are powerful magic — and dangerous for those who wield them, for if discovered, their powers turn back on their users unless an immediate public confession is made. Secrecy and darkness are the native habitat of the tupilaq; they lose their power when exposed to the sociable light."



"Objects arrive webbed in connections, and hoard their most intimate gestures and relations in unreachable treasure-houses. A collected object is a kind of vessel, freighted with an irredeemable record of acts and things, inaccessible worlds of sense and event, a tissue of phenomenal dark matter caught up in time’s obliterative machinery."



"Forged in an organismic manufactory, tooled by genes (it’s symbols all the way down), a tooth takes its place for a time in a network of perception and action: catching the piercing resonance of whale song bounding in the deep canyons — testing and metering the shifting temperatures of Arctic air — tearing and gripping the trauma-tautened flesh of smolt salmon."



"I want a museum with the modesty to realise that the objects of its interest do not take their sole, true, or final form beneath its gaze. As seen by science, objects withdraw their auras — burning coronas that connect sense and experience to the deep past — and when the galleries and museums are in ruins, they will expose new banners to time’s unfolding."



"Upon leaving the dermestid room, you had to stand in the airlock and brush down your clothes. There was an aroma of putrefaction in the room, but it was faint — you got used to it. The sound, however, was oppressive. The place hummed with a static song of tens of thousands of beetle grubs, hairy and grey, all chewing at sinew and dried muscle."



"Although to call the specimens dead does not sound quite right. For the specimens had transcended or exceeded death, had passed beyond its dominion by means of a process that arrested, ostensibly in perpetuity, their participation in the carbon cycle, the wheel of disarticulation and recombination, that is life on earth."



"An act of predation subsumes and reincorporates phenomenal animal affordances; the scientific sacraments of collecting and accessioning, by contrast, call forth abstract and motive truths, just as the expertise of the shaman reveals and directs the powers of the tupilaq spirits."



"Only later, upon its post-mortem discovery, was this dead creature turned into data. Now roughly preserved and enshrined in the Smithsonian, the dead insect serves as holotype for the computer bug. Like the tupilaq, computer bugs are ungovernable spirits evoked by a kind of transubstantiation. As the uncanny architecture of the computer unfolded itself in Harvard’s labs, the bug found its way not only into the machine’s works but into a new role as an object in our midst — a role that took its place among the object’s other histories and meanings, its penumbra of qualities.

This patterned assemblage of purposes, roles, and given characteristics, this accidental and ephemeral fate, I want to call by the name habit. An effigy, an insect, an animal’s measured, pinned-out pelt — we have our ways of domesticating these objects, of bringing them to ground, fixing them in amber or in print. The precise practices vary with what habits we bring to bear (from science to shamanism) and the collections they inhabit. And here is a clue — for dwelling in the word ‘inhabit’ is ‘habit’ itself. What if the habits in question are not ours, but those of the objects themselves?

A habit is not only a way of acting, but also a costume of a kind. Some objects — books, dice, celery stalks, lens caps — have deeply ingrained habits, while others — seashells and stars, perhaps, but also bottlecaps, icicles, and plastic six-pack yokes twirling in the mid-ocean gyre — wear their habits more lightly. And some objects take on the habit of naphtha and indelible ink, of cotton wool and alum, of cabinet drawer and taxonomic order.

The word ‘habit’ catches for me a sense of the shoddy assortment of qualities that knits an object into the fabric of things, weaving into one whole its social roles, the cultural codes it keys, and its whence-and-whither entanglements with deep time."



"After a long moment, the bat fled in a blur, disappearing into Chicago’s booming late-autumn breeze. It disappeared into the invisible cabinet of its unmeasured curiosity, its habit secreted in the wind."

[Previously: http://hilobrow.com/2013/01/29/resistant-objects/ ]
matthewbattles  objects  collections  museums  nature  aura  2013  tupilaq  meaning  meaningmaking  taxonomy  whales  animlas  teeth  inuit  art  culture  srg  edg  glvo  specimens  life  death  memory  memories  storytelling  holotypes  preparators  procedures  metadata  autotelos  naturalhsitory  georgescuvier  secrecy  darkness  magic  eowilson  history  bugs  computerbugs  habits  time  qualities  shamanism  science  understanding  misunderstanding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: 'It's a map of the world'
"From the top of Te Mata Peak you can’t see the whole world, this is true, but what Ambrose understood is that the view that one gets from the top of the hill is already a map. It just hasn’t been traced yet."

"He has been on Google Earth once and experienced how from a view of the entire planet you can zoom in onto a single point and then zoom out again, a powerfully evocative visual effect that wasn’t available to me in my childhood. Consequently, he knows that the world is as small or as large as you make it out to be."

"A map is a vantage point and a vantage point – as the military origin of the phrase suggests – is a source of power."

"Something else that Ambrose said during the holidays, when beckoning us to look at a cirrus cloud: ‘It’s the breath of the Earth.’"

"I’d envy him for living in a world at the threshold between geography and magic. "
context  place  vantagepoint  power  howweseetheworld  geography  magic  parenting  heights  2013  children  perspective  mapping  maps  childhood  giovannitiso 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Warren Ellis » How To See The Future [What? Not yet bookmarked?] [Purposely tagged 'boredome'.]
"Can you even consider being part of a culture that could go to space and then stopped?

If the future is dead, then today we must summon it and learn how to see it properly.

[more examples]

We live in the future. We live in the Science Fiction Condition, where we can see under atoms and across the world and across the methane lakes of Titan. …

Understand that our present time is the furthest thing from banality. Reality as we know it is exploding with novelty every day.

To be a futurist, in pursuit of improving reality, is not to have your face continually turned upstream, waiting for the future to come. To improve reality is to clearly see where you are, and then wonder how to make that better.

Act like you live in the Science Fiction Condition. Act like you can do magic and hold séances for the future and build a brightness control for the sky.

Act like you live in a place where you could walk into space if you wanted. Think big. And then make it better."

[Video now here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLTs4RXM3vE ]
boredom  boredome  spacetravel  jgballard  philipkdick  takealookaroundyou  appreciation  science  sciencefictioncondition  rearviewmirror  space  nasa  voyager  voyager1  vintage  vintagespace  magic  weliveinamazingtimes  perspective  atemporality  iphone  googlegloves  googleglass  manufacturednormalcy  venkateshrao  reality  marshallmcluhan  noticing  hereandnow  now  lookaround  futurism  sciencefiction  2012  scifi  technology  future  warrenellis 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Dad’s Idea – Jack Cheng
“Just my thought,” he’ll continue. He always says “just my thought” before anything he knows is a hunch, an uninformed, unscientifically-proven, unwikipediaed hypothesis. But hunch or not, the words that follow are always spoken with absolute conviction. His eyes light up & his forehead wrinkles and he leans forward, & his mouth is half open and his top teeth are showing & he has a look of sheer amazement on his face…

There have been scientific experiments conducted to discover what goes on in our brains when we experience near-death events—like getting hit by a car or falling off a ladder—as if they were happening in slow motion. The findings are in line with Dad’s hunch…

But I don’t tell Dad any of this. I don’t tell him because I don’t want to dispel its magic by inserting my own. I don’t want him to stop being excited about his idea. I don’t want him to ever stop asking me about it, because every time he asks, it’s a reminder. To make next week longer & more memorable than this…"
slow  life  experience  offline  online  routine  repetition  neuroscience  brain  learning  motion  travel  movement  attention  selfishness  selflessness  engagement  magic  excitement  relationships  hunches  2012  parents  presence  time  memories  memory  jackcheng 
september 2012 by robertogreco
On Sleep No More, magic and immersive storytelling | Fresh & New(er)
"Towards the close of their talk Pete Higgin had a nice line – “explanation is the killer of wonderment”.

It reminded me of a recent article from Salon on the effect of YouTube on the traditions & social practices of magicians.

“The biggest problem with DVD and YouTube exposure is that it has damaged the skill of learning through asking…

What if we designed exhibitions to have the same ‘dense, cinematic detail’ that Punch Drunk’s productions have? (And trusted visitors to respect and engage with them appropriately through scaffolding the entry experience?)

What if we designed our exhibitions to hold things back from some visitors? And to purposefully make some elements of an exhibition ‘in-accessible’ to all? (The Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is wonderfully designed with some spaces and passages that are only accessible by small children that lead to experiences that only children can have separate from their parents.)

What if we made ‘wonderment’ our Key Performance Indicator?"
theatricality  magic  explanation  parallelism  mitmedialab  colinnightingale  petehiggin  transmedia  storytelling  punchdrunk  via:tealtan  storycode  immersive  exploration  museums  themeparks  theater  exhibitions  inaccessibility  accessibility  nyc  lcproject  experiencedesign  experience  studioghiblimuseum  studioghibli  details  wonder  wonderment  sebchan  2012  sleepnomore  design  medialab 
july 2012 by robertogreco
rahel aima | THE STATE
"Rahel Aima… is co-editor at THE STATE. Her current research focuses on the intersections of magic, radical politics and future technologies."

[See also http://www.thestate.ae/ AND http://killingdenouement.tumblr.com/ ]
culture  future  technology  radicalpolitics  magic  rahelaima 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Frieze Magazine | Archive | Twenty Years Fore & Aft
"People are never scared by the commonplaces of daily life, no matter how risky they are; in 2031, people choose to be alarmed by exotic, eye-catching stuff, like rare diseases and psycho serial killers…

There are no political parties. They were entirely hollowed-out and disrupted by social networks. That happened fast.…

Suburbs are the new favelas, while the prosperous live cheek-by-jowl in repurposed downtowns. Architecture guts entire city blocks, preserving the historicized skins around flats packed to Hong Kong densities. Cars are rental-shared. Furniture is mobile. Most objects have IDs…

Nothing can be ‘innovative’ unless you are convinced that change makes a difference. Without the magic patter, the semantic context that sets expectations, a rabbit in a hat is not a wonder, it’s just a weird accident. A true network society cannot progress, because it reticulates; it’s all snakes and ladders, rockets and potholes, mash-ups and short circuits."
brucesterling  2031  futurism  favelachic  cities  risk  commonplace  magic  mystery  technology  future  fiction  speculativerealism  designfiction  scifi  sciencefiction  2011  nostalgia  atemporality  books  publishing  film  reality  chernobyl  fear  life  art  glvo  classideas  projectideas 
november 2011 by robertogreco
On why, or the magic of coffee - Bobulate
"A question of why

Why is a six-year old so curious? Partly practical. Because she is not tall enough to know all the answers, she must ask good questions. To see over the edge of the cup would be to see the answer. As this isn’t possible, observation and questioning are her only tool.

Access less

Access can take away why. More practical is less practical sometimes, and being tall and connected and well-read and traveled can dull the edges of a good question. If questions aren’t coming easily, make yourself less so. Take something away. Give something away. Be less tall. Remove the excess, and you might find what remains is a good question.

And that is magic."
lizdanzico  curiosity  children  magic  imagination  questions  access  knowledge  practical  excess  information  wonder  wonderdeficit 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Ted Chiang on Writing - Boing Boing
"Science fiction and fantasy are very closely related genres, and a lot of people say that the genres are so close that there's actually no meaningful distinction to be made between the two. But I think that there does exist an useful distinction to be made between magic and science. One way to look at it is in terms of whether a given phenomenon can be mass-produced. [...] I think magic is an indication that the universe recognizes certain people as individuals, as having special properties as an individual, whereas a story in which turning lead into gold is an industrial process is describing a completely impersonal universe. That type of impersonal universe is how science views the universe; it's how we currently understand our universe to work. The difference between magic and science is at some level a difference between the universe responding to you in a personal way, and the universe being entirely impersonal."

[via: http://interconnected.org/home/2011/01/02/ted_chiang_makes_a_neat_distinction ]
writing  scifi  writers  science  sciencefiction  interviews  tedchiang  magic  fantasy  universe  individual  individualism  understanding  philosophy 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Jonathan Safran Foer Talks Tree of Codes and Conceptual Art | VF Daily | Vanity Fair
"Bruno Schulz is regarded as one of the greatest artistic minds of the 20th century. He was killed by a Nazi officer during the war. I don’t know of a book that has a following that’s as passionate as [that of] this book.... It’s such an unusual book. There’s a quality of the writing that makes an all-or-nothing wager. Like religion. God doesn’t “kind of” exist - he either does or doesn’t. This book is either genius or nothing. I find that wager really attractive. All really great artists, Jackson Pollack, John Cage, Beckett or Joyce—you are never indifferent to them."

"I don’t think this book would translate well to an iPad. Do you have an iPad?

No. I have nothing against it. I love the notion that “this is a book that remembers it has a body.” When a book remembers, we remember. It reminds you that you have a body. So many of the things we may think of as burdensome are actually the things that make us more human."
jonathansafranfoer  treesofcode  physicality  books  literature  writing  memory  2010  art  magic  samuelbeckett  jacksonpollock  johncage  jamesjoyce  human  humans  glvo  embodiment  physicalmemory 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Do Lectures | Matt Webb
"Matt Webb is MD of the design studio BERG, which invents products and designs new media. Projects include Popular Science+ for the Apple iPad, solid metal phone prototypes for Nokia, a bendy map of Manhattan called Here & There, and an electronic puppet that brings you closer to your friends.

Matt speaks on design and technology, is co-author of Mind Hacks - cognitive psychology for a general audience - and if you were to sum up his design interests in one word, it would be “politeness.” He lives in London in a flat with a wonky floor."
mattwebb  design  designfiction  computing  ai  scifi  sciencefiction  berg  berglondon  future  futurism  retrofuture  space  speculativedesign  2010  dolectures  books  film  thinkingnebula  nebulas  history  automation  toys  productdesign  iphone  schooloscope  redlaser  mechanicalturk  magic  virtualpets  commoditization  robotics  anyshouse  twitter  internetofthings  ubicomp  anybots  faces  pareidolia  fractionalai  fractionalhorsepower  andyshouse  weliveinamazingtimes  spacetravel  spaceexploration  spimes  iot 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Scientific Commons: Sigur Rós's Heima: An Icelandic Psychogeography (2009), 2009 [Tony Mitchell]
[now here: https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/10567 ]

[PDF: https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/bitstream/10453/10567/1/2008008719OK.pdf ]

"examines sonic geography of…Sigur Rós w/ particular reference to Heima, which documents tour…of remote places in home country. Known for causing people to faint or burst into tears during concerts, music could be said to express sonically both isolation of Icelandic location & induce feeling of hermetic isolation in listener through climactic & melodic intensity of sound…Singing both in Icelandic & invented language Hopelandic (vonlenska), Jónsi, gay & blind in one eye, channels a striking form of glossolalia in vocals…group acknowledges strong degree of Icelandic animism in music…have referred to ‘presence of mortality’ in Icelandic landscape & links to stories, sagas, magic & ritual in remote country where ‘majority…believes in elves & power spots…invisible world is always w/ us’…create geomorphic soundscapes which transport active listener into imaginary world…bass player Georg Holm, who is demophobic, has stated, ‘we provide colors & frame & you paint the picture'"

[via: http://twitter.com/ballardian/status/24613154409 ]
glossolalia  vonlenska  sigurros  heima  iceland  music  psychogeography  inventedlanguages  language  emotion  fear  demophobia  sound  animism  landscape  sagas  magic  ritual  mortality  soundscapes  geomorphicsoundscapes  jouissance  identity  myth  isolation  sigurrós  rituals 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Cooking, Magic, Jamming Your Own Stuff Through the Machine & Changing Everything
[Frank: Thanks. That Grant Achatz piece came along while digging around online after seeing "A Day at El Bulli" [Phaidon] at the bookstore—some old-fashioned serendipity there. Don't miss this (bookmarked a year ago): http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6105.html &, for the record, on Sunday, my kids were remarking about my actual sense of smell.]

"I’m not sure I know specifically what magic is, but maybe it is encountering a good impossibility. We don’t run into many Willy Wonkas or Walt Disneys in our lives: someone who has a completely different viewpoint than our own, & somehow, through sheer talent or brute force, builds a temple to that point of view."… "I think the future belongs to designers who can create their own content; to designers who have a point of view about the world. To folks who can make people respond to what they make and build an audience and then let them support that point of view." … "At this point in my life, I believe the future of design is the polymath."
frankchmero  magic  design  ferranadrià  elbulli  vision  meaning  purpose  ego  serendipity  frankchimero  polymaths  generalists  future  cv  glvo  experience  surprise  delight  creativity  imagination  personality  audience 
august 2010 by robertogreco
f(t): Who else is sensing a theme here?
"Exhibit A : I don't know the answers, but it turns out the experts in the field don't either. Not because they haven't tried, but because it's that complicated and messy.

Exhibit B : Just don’t make this about some magic set of rules that are going to make your classroom perfect. Guess what? That will never happen. Stop looking. Education is always going to be ugly.

Exhibit C : Let it be clear that there is nothing magical that I am doing. There is no algorithm. I don’t woo them in with some charm and they are all of a sudden amazing students."
katenowak  via:lukeneff  uncertainty  tcsnmy  teaching  learning  education  magic  messiness  notknowing  certainty  experts  mindchanges  complexity  therearenoeasyanswers  glvo  mindchanging 
july 2010 by robertogreco
BigThink videos: Penn Jillette and Dan Ariely - Boing Boing
"A couple of great videos from BigThink. First, Penn Jillette on how reading the great religious texts will make you into an atheist, the future of magic, and how he and Teller work together."

[Videos are at: http://bigthink.com/pennjillette AND http://bigthink.com/danariely ]
behavior  rationality  religion  pennjillette  skepticism  atheism  irrationality  primarysources  criticalthinking  magic  pennandteller  performance  business  partnerships  ikeaeffecy  ikea  onlinedating  math  politics  tolerance  respect  morality  right  wrong  glenbeck  abbiehoffman  libertarianism  honesty  humility  tcsnmy  classideas  civics  policy  humanity  context  media  perspective  evil  good  wisdom  disagreement  debate  philosophy  drugs  alcohol  modeling 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Coming Barbarism | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters
“People feel they can rely on the irrational. It offers the only guarantee of freedom from all the cant and bullshit and sales commercials fed to us by politicians, bishops and academics. People are deliberately re-primitivizing themselves. They yearn for magic and unreason, which served them well in the past and might help them again. They’re keen to enter a new Dark Age. The lights are on, but they’re retreating into the inner darkness, into superstition and unreason. The future is going to be a struggle between vast systems of competing psychopathies, all of them willed and deliberate, part of a desperate attempt to escape from a rational world and the boredom of consumerism.”
adbusters  freeculture  geny  internet  politics  generations  generationy  millennials  consumerism  unreason  magic  superstition  boredom  rationality  mysticism  altermodern  capitalism  globalization  postmodern  postmodernism  culture  ideology  philosophy  future  music  art  nicolasbourriaud 
march 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: vague, telescoping reminiscences
"Memory, being a phenomenon of emotion and magic, accommodates only those facts that suit it. It thrives on vague, telescoping reminiscences, on hazy general impressions or specific symbolic details. It is vulnerable to transferences, screen memories, censorings, and projections of all kinds."
psychology  memory  experience  magic  emotion  russelldavies 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Debate: Science Versus Magic -- Is There a Difference in the World of Fiction?
"We talked to five authors whose fiction blurs the line between magic and science to find out what they thought of the difference between the two. Here's what they said."
magic  science  scifi  sciencefiction  fantasy  writing  definitions 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Will Work for Magic: Creativity and Play at SXSW (Global Moxie)
"Folks who work on own...grapple w/ work/life-balance...beat ourselves up for maintaining a lousy balance...answer is to stop trying to separate the two, coax work into play. Give yourself permission to screw around & explore."
creativity  janemcgonigal  kathysierra  motivation  play  productivity  psychology  sxsw  imagination  sideprojects  work  life  gamechanging  magic  jimcoudal 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Pasta&Vinegar » Blog Archive » Surrounded by objects whose workings are a total mystery
“Why Toys Shouldn’t Work “Like Magic”: Children’s Technology and the Values of Construction and Control “...describes the tension between “ease of use” and user empowerment” that is at stake in kids artifact design."
design  learning  technology  toys  mystery  magic  objects  empowerment  user 
january 2008 by robertogreco
bezoar: Definition and Much More from Answers.com
"A hard indigestible mass of material, such as hair, vegetable fibers, or fruits, found in the stomachs or intestines of animals, especially ruminants, and humans. It was formerly considered to be an antidote to poisons and to possess magic properties."
words  definitions  glvo  animals  digestion  magic 
january 2008 by robertogreco
TED | Talks | J.J. Abrams: The mystery box (video)
"traces his love of unseen mystery -- heart of Alias, Lost, and the upcoming Cloverfield -- back to its own magical beginnings, which may/not include an early obsession with magic, the love of supportive grandfather, or his own unopened Mystery Box."
jjabrams  lost  storytelling  mystery  technology  television  tv  creativity  discovery  ideas  writing  learning  crafts  craft  making  engineering  howthingswork  curiosity  stories  narrative  children  lcproject  unschooling  education  magic  glvo  democracy  consumer  consumergenerated  content  film  imagination 
january 2008 by robertogreco
The Santa delusion - being-human - 22 December 2007 - New Scientist
"It is a time-honoured cultural conspiracy that most of us grew up with; a tradition that makes Christmas a magical time for youngsters. But is it really just harmless fun? Is it right to systematically deceive children, only to shatter the illusion later
psychology  children  tradition  magic  myth 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Homunculus - Wikipedia
"The concept of a homunculus (Latin for "little man", sometimes spelled "homonculus," plural "homunculi") is often used to illustrate the functioning of a system. In the scientific sense of an unknowable prime actor, it can be viewed as an entity or agent
biology  ai  folklore  magic  philosophy  mind  logic  science  history  singularity  homunculus  thought  glvo 
september 2007 by robertogreco
greg.org: the making of: Magic: Teller Like It Is
"[Magic is] the theatrical linking of a cause with an effect that has no basis in physical reality, but that — in our hearts — ought to.”
culture  magic  imagination  creativity  play  quotes  awe  emotion 
september 2007 by robertogreco
i am ai - active ingredient & ai online
"I AM AI is the umbrella name for the activities of Active Ingredient.We create art works, using everything from household chemistry to emerging technologies. Our artwork explores the relationship between real and imaginary digital spaces attempting to u
art  internet  mobile  design  games  collective  pervasive  space  magic  digital  glvo 
august 2007 by robertogreco
opensourcery
"opensourcery is what you get when you throw a master of bewitching installations and a "real" magician right into a workshop dedicated to magic and illusion."
design  hardware  illusion  magic  opensource  production  video  visualization  screen 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Raph’s Website » ETech07 liveblog: Incantations for Muggles
"Incantations for Muggles: The Role of Ubiquitous Web 2.0 Technologies in Everyday Life" - notes on Danah Boyd talk
demographics  generations  privacy  sociology  technology  web  youth  danahboyd  facebook  myspace  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  social  magic  design  aging  twitter  raphkoster 
march 2007 by robertogreco
Magical Thinking: Why Do People Cling to Odd Rituals? - Psychology - The New York Times - New York Times
“why do people create this illusion of magical power?... in part it’s because we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts, they are most salient to us” — and thus we are likely to overestimate their connection to outside events."
psychology  religion  science  children  development  brain  faith  magic 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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