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robertogreco : materiality   30

Why Is Japan Still So Attached to Paper? - The New York Times
"Because of the sheer accumulated weight of its past, and the velocity of its rush into the future, Japan offers these contradictions and anxieties of modernity in particular abundance. Japan was geographically isolated for centuries, so the time between the country’s opening — thanks to the gunboat diplomacy of American warships’ arrival in 1853 — and the postwar miracle of reconstruction produced a linear and especially propulsive narrative of an agrarian society becoming one defined by urban futurism. The contrast (and conflict) between ancient and modern is the primary tension in Japan’s modern literary and filmic traditions: rural families experiencing the shock of the city in Yasujiro Ozu’s films of the ’40s and ’50s, or Noh drama in the novels of the Showa-era writer Fumiko Enchi. Everything, from the perfervidness of the country’s electronic manufacturing, the proliferation of its pop culture, the aggressiveness of its building booms — even as a three-decade-long economic decline strips these characteristics of their sheen — seems to serve as a reminder that throughout the postwar era, Japan was a byword for the future.

All of these forces — the past, the present, the future — can be crystallized in one persisting Japanese tradition: the longevity and depth of its papermaking. Perhaps chief among the historical foundations of Japan is that it is a country of artisans, so much so that the national government stipulates requirements for an object to be classified as a “traditional Japanese craft.” The first of these requirements is that an object must be practical enough for regular use, which helps explain the continuing relevance of paper, or washi (which translates as “Japanese paper”). In our digital age, we tend to forget just how practical and versatile the material actually is, and many of its modern uses can be traced directly back to Japan, where the art of handmade washi began with the arrival of Buddhist monks to the islands from Korea in the seventh century.

Since then, washi has been used as stationery, as canvas and as art itself through the rise of origami, which was invented almost simultaneously with washi — but these practices, which remain popular, overshadow just how deeply entrenched paper is in Japanese history. Some 700 years before the Gutenberg Bible, the Japanese were hand-printing Buddhist texts on paper. Before printed periodicals began to appear in Europe in the 17th century as predecessors of the modern newspaper, Japan was printing yomiuri (literally “to read and sell”), handbills that were sold in major urban centers. (Today, Japan maintains the largest circulation of print newspapers in the world, and the second largest per capita.) Paper was the dominant characteristic of Japanese aesthetics, appearing everywhere from domestic rooms to funerals. Paper lanterns were burned at religious ceremonies. Clothing was made from it. It became a popular building material. The shoji screens that were ubiquitous in the Edo period, which spanned the 17th to the late 19th centuries, reflected an appreciation for mood and tactility and, with their lunar opacity, contributed to the clean, mollified serenity that later so attracted Modernist architects like Le Corbusier to traditional Japanese architecture. Even a form of facial tissues, the kind you sneeze into when you have a cold, were used by the Japanese for centuries. Paper has a long history all over the world, but it is to Japan something like what wine is to the French — a national obsession and point of pride. It remains, despite every innovation since, the central material of Japanese culture."



"THE GREAT PARADOX of Japan’s paper culture is that the country was also one of the earliest producers of global technology, particularly with the founding in 1946 of Sony (originally called the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp.), a company that could reasonably claim the mantle as one of the original tech supergiants. Having once been a papermaking innovator, the country also became the site of other crucial advancements. The first consumer tape recorders and transistor radios emerged here in the 1950s, and in 1966, the Sony Building in Ginza, Tokyo’s old business district, further transformed the look of the modern city by becoming the first example of “media architecture,” with a facade that displayed video images, a development for screens that was perhaps inevitable in a country that pioneered this technology back when it was still analog.

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In a bit of irony, the first cellular network is also Japanese, introduced in 1979 by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. This may have helped sound the long, slow demise of print throughout the world, but in a country where the roots of paper are so deep, today the material is still everywhere, even when it isn’t. As in many places in the world, passengers on the subway system scroll continuously on their phones. But the country’s low-tech traditions have not been casually discarded. The same spirit that continues to cultivate beautiful washi also seems of a piece with the strange persistence of meikyoku kissaten, the “masterpiece cafes” where people sit and listen to recordings of classical music on old phonographs. Much like the more famous and trafficked vinyl bars — hole-in-the-wall haunts catering to audiophiles, hundreds of which speckle the streets and back alleys of Tokyo — they reflect a reverence toward a medium and not just the product produced via that medium.

In an age of sharply escalating computerization and digitization of everything into an intangible ether, it can be hard to remember that paper, too, is just another medium, something that acts as a transmitter for something written or typed in the past. Or better, it’s too easy to imagine that replacing paper with digital screens is just moving from one medium to another. Digitization has produced a change not just in what we see and feel but in what we control. The world of new media — of what the left-wing theorist Jodi Dean calls “communicative capitalism” — is standardized in a way that not even the most fantastical efficiency expert could have dreamed. If thousands of families could once make their own paper, it is now only a few monopoly companies that create virtually all the media through which we transmit communication today, and virtually all of it is being data mined in a way that letters never could be. The fetish for media like washi is nostalgic on one account, cleareyed on another: The paper bears an imprint, of the maker and eventually of the user, in a way no digital object ever can. For this reason, those pale, fringed sheets retain a measure of the time, and the sense of self, we are always losing as we rush heedlessly into the future."
japan  paper  history  materials  materiality  craft  artisans  process 
november 2018 by robertogreco
DERC - Digital Ethnography Research Centre | Melbourne
"The Digital Ethnography Research Centre DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

DERC approaches this world and how we experience it through innovative, reflexive and ethical ethnographic approaches, developed through anthropology, media and cultural studies, design, arts and documentary practice and games research.

Our research is incisive, interventional and internationally leading. Going beyond the call of pure academia we combine academic scholarship with applied practice to produce research, analysis and dissemination projects that are innovative and based on ethnographic insights.

DERC partners and collaborates with a range of institutions in Australia and globally, including other universities, companies and other organisations. This includes collaborative research projects, conferences, symposia and workshops, and international visits, fellowships and publications.

DERC members are aligned into Labs to represent their research interests, DERC Labs include:

• Data Ethnographies Lab
• Design+Ethnography+Futures (D+E+F) Lab
• Bio Inspired Digital Sensing-Lab (BIDS-Lab)
• Migration and Digital Media Lab

WHAT IS DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY?

Recognising the differential meanings and uses of the term ethnography across and between academic disciplines, DERC utilises a broad definition of ethnography that views ethnography as an approach for understanding the world that cannot be reduced to a single method. Through DERC, our aim is to engage in research and conversations that are committed to the following:

• transdisciplinary research that is inquiry-based;
• engagement with empirical research and/or materials;
• socially and historically contextualised analyses;
• comparison across local, national, regional and global frames.

DERC welcomes partnerships and collaborations with national and international centres with expertise in digital media and ethnography. Through research, workshops, talks and publications, we collectively seek to critically engage with and push the boundaries of ethnographic practice in, through and around digital media. To learn more about our perspectives on Digital Ethnography see our Introduction (Horst, Hjorth & Tacchi 2012) and articles by Sarah Pink and John Postill in the Special Issue of Media International Australia published in 2012."
ethnography  digital  digitalethnography  anthropology  online  web  internet  design  culture  documentary  games  gaming  videogames  transdisciplinary  inquiry  materiality  sarahpink  johnpostill 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lucerne, last year. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The priest at prayer is not at all concerned with originality. The prophet at the moment of…”
"Lucerne, last year.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The priest at prayer is not at all concerned with originality. The prophet at the moment of utterance accepts it, but knows that the real interest is elsewhere. For both, presence is the heart of the matter.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Of the many things of monumental scale made of gold in ancient times, almost none survive. The gold is always melted down at the next conquest. What survives? Little figurines carved in stone, the size of a hand or smaller.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The boxes wilt in a few weeks, the man who made the photographs dies some years later. But the photograph of the boxes lives on, the presence (and in fact the moment of happiness) they embed outlasts their materiality, and they might be looked at again, in some form, in 2116."
tejucole  2016  survival  culture  gold  prophets  presence  persistence  materiality 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Asemic writing - Wikipedia
[See also: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/877535553671090176

Lyn Hejinian: "In responding to the Dubravka Djuric's question about the origins of my interest in writing, I said that it as the materiality of writing that first drew me to it, the prospect of working with 'the typewriter and the dictionary.'"
https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/877535553671090176

[See also:
"Definition Not Found: The last refuge from #content might just be asemic writing" by Rahel Aima
http://reallifemag.com/definition-not-found/

"Asemic writing might be better understood not as illegible but as ‘post-literate’"



"Within the sphere of green anarchist thought there is a current that bills itself as primitivist, with all the condescending fetishism that “primitive” invokes. Avowedly anti-technology, the anti-civilizationist critique of capitalism extends beyond the environmental degradation and forms of domination of contemporary production to rail against the concept of civilization itself. The sphere of alienation is extended beyond labor; as theorist John Zerzan lays out in Running on Emptiness, it is the regime of symbolic thought that is believed to most deeply distance us from our authentic selves, which are arbitrarily defined as the way we once existed as hunter-gatherers. Art, music, mathematics, literature, speech: any mode of representation is highly suspect. It’s the paleo diet, but for culture. Zerzan’s vision for the “future primitive” would have us living in a silent, pre-pastoralist utopia where we exist wordlessly amongst the trees — beyond art and agriculture and beyond semiotics, or perhaps more aptly, before and unsullied by it. While Zerzan’s concepts seem attractive as a thought exercise, they are unconvincingly and rather petulantly argued. Who would want to do away with the back catalogue of some of the only good things to come out of the morass of humanity as we know it? Perversely, a reading of these texts makes me wonder about the possibility of an asemic writing made not by humans, but by bots and other algorithms.

In 2011, So Kanno and Takahiro Yamaguchi created the Senseless Drawing Bot, a kinetic drawing machine that is Jean Tinguely-meets-Mars rover. It pairs a motorized skateboard with an arduino, and a long-short double pendulum that induces an element of chaos, to spray graffiti on the wall. There’s a lot of empty swinging and swaggering, a louche calisthenics. It makes a mark only when its randomized wobbles pass a certain pre-coded threshold, when it’s sure all eyes are on it, and then its gestures are fast, flashy, and nonchalant, as if drawn from immense, tumescent muscle memory. It’s all big words and it’s trying hard to flex; if ever a bot has seemed like a blustery fuckboy, this is it. The outcome is surprisingly great, a dense accumulation of multicolored freneticism, neat on the bottom and looping wildly on top like an overgrown hedge. Unlike the aforementioned Tag Clouds, it points to a machinic tagging that does not mandoline work into strict taxonomies, is unreadable by human viewers, and does not — yet — appear to be machine readable, either, as well as the delightful paradox of generative bots which are programmed by people, yet also enjoy their own agency.

In the realm of graphic notation, Emma Winston’s @GraphicScoreBot tweets out an image resembling a graphic score every hour. Each tweet features an outlined white rectangle, usually with stave lines, and often with a bass or treble clef and dynamic markings, so it’s clear we are to read this as music. Except, instead of conventional note forms, its markup includes an array of colorful geometric shapes, squiggles, and dashes. Circles of varying sizes and transparencies especially make the images feel like musical infographics (to me, they seem to suggest duration; others might see in them chords or orchestra stabs). There are semantic ruptures: the bot will, at random, tweet out cards from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies, entreaties like “Trust in the you of now,” “A very small object. Its center,” and “Slow preparation, fast execution.” Less bombastic are the double-spaced “B E G I N” and “E N D” that pepper the scores, which Winston suggests can be taken as start and end points or altogether ignored. Though the scores are generally sparse, occasional plaintive adverbs and phrases like “sadly,” “casually,” and “as if tired” make suggestions as to mood. Cameos by Italian terms like con moto (with movement), andante (at a walking pace), and quasi niente (fade away to nothing) make the scores feel somehow more official. If the “post-literate” leads us to interrogate what we consider to be writing, this bot’s relative adherence to notational convention, more Fauvism than De Stijl, does the same for the musical score.

Also on Twitter, Darius Kazemi’s @reverseocr tweets out asemicisms more akin to those absentminded doodles, each cryptic scrawl accompanied by a random word, like “subtlety,” four times a day. It’s a study in impenetrable handwriting, only here the writer is not a shrink with a prescription pad but a bot. Without that accompanying word, the marks, while elegantly spare, are unrecognizable as anything but marks. So far, so asemic. Yet the way the bot works is by selecting a word and then trying — badly, endearingly — to draw it out. It keeps drawing, and failing, until an OCR or Optical Character Recognition program (the question of literacy is transposed to the algorithm, here) identifies a character. If that character matches the first letter of the word, “s” in the case of “subtlety,” that character gets drawn and the bot turns its attentions to the second character, “u.” If not, it perseveres until it gets a match, and eventually it manages, through trial and a lot of error, to draw out the whole word; we only see these successes. Of course all of these computational processes happen at lightning speed, but in a 2014 adaptation of the work for a show at Boston’s now-shuttered Find and Form Space Kazemi slows the algorithm down to a human timescale and makes visible the otherwise hidden work performed by the bot. The word here is, appropriately, “labor.” Yet there’s something in @reverseocr’s yearning to be understood — to be read, to be recognized by another — that makes me think it’s a kind of unrequited love. There is a 1973 interview with James Baldwin in the Black Scholar in which he says, in response to a question about the role of political themes in his writing,
The people produce the artist, and it’s true. The artist also produces the people. And that’s a very violent and terrifying act of love. The role of the artist and the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see. Insofar as that is true, in that effort, I became conscious of the things that I don’t see. And I will not see without you, and vice versa, you will not see without me. No one wants to see more than he sees. You have to be driven to see what you see. The only way you can get through it is to accept that two-way street which I call love. You can call it a poem, you can call it whatever you like. That’s how people grow up. An artist is here not to give you answers but to ask you questions.

Kazemi’s bot expands the field of how we might understand asemic writing. Illegible though its drawings may be to our eyes, it is without doubt trying very, very hard to communicate meaning. Humans are not its intended audience; rather, its visual language, like barcodes or the computer vision markup of Amazon warehouses, is entirely for bots, machines, scripts, and other denizens of the algorithmic world. It’s a robot laughing alone with salad, and its inner life, its own well of lactic acid that it draws from to express itself, is off-limits to us. We, however, are on view to them, from the moment we press our thumbprints into our iPhones in the morning to the moment we touch-type a 2 a.m. text message whose characters are so drunkenly scrambled as to form complete non-words, which an algorithm gently corrects to other words we did or did not mean, so long as they’re legible. Perhaps this is an imposition on our freedoms; perhaps this is that two-way street between us and the algorithms, learning from each other; perhaps this is love."

via: "This @_reallifemag essay on asemic writing by @cnqmdi might be the best unwitting 'take' on Trump, covefefefe, etc."
https://twitter.com/eyywa/status/875099774059507716 ]
writing  asemicwriting  scribbling  randomness  typewriters  dictionaries  howwewrite  materiality  rahelaima  jeremybushnell  lynhejinian  dubravkadjuric  content  joséparla  apophenia  oseneworkekosrof  scat  scatsinging  conlang  language  experession  hélènesmith  medewianta  mirthadermisache  zhangxu  marcogiovenale  timgaze  jimleftwich  dariuskazemi  bots  emmawinston  horse_ebooks  huaisui  cursive  legibility  illegibility  avakofman  covfefe  literacy  postliteracy  ocr 
june 2017 by robertogreco
SAND – Social and Material Conditions of Education
"SAND (est. 2012) is a collective of researchers of the social, historical, cultural and material discourses which underlie and condition educational practices and structures. The collective members employ postfoundational, discursive, poststructuralist and/or posthumanist approaches. We are located in multiple universities and cities in Finland.

We conduct research of the material and discursive processes within which children become subjects as human children, teachers become subjects as teachers and students as students. This entails engaging with the theoretical assumptions on which current educational thought is based, and re-imagining the materially and discursively co-emerging conditions of education and childhoods.

Some of the inter/over/multidisciplinary research foci of the collective are:

• Exclusionary discourses in educational institutions
• Discourse of research based teacher education
• Children’s everyday life beyond developmental discourses
• Human–animal relations in challenging the humanist foundations of education
• Emerging praxes in empirical posthumanist research of education and childhoods"
multispecies  posthumanism  childhood  children  education  teaching  learning  pedagogy  howweteach  poststructuralism  materiality  everyday  pauliinarautio  maijalanas  annekoskela  johannasitomaniemi-san  tuijahuuki  kristiinavälimäki  riikkahohti  ayakoshimada  annavladimirova  tuuretammi  anttipaakkari  virpitimonen  noorapyyry  päivijokinen  hannaguttorm  mariantutmnyan  sfsh 
march 2017 by robertogreco
The Art of Resistance | Commonweal Magazine
"Writing in the aftermath of the fall of communism, John Berger, the world’s preeminent Marxist (patience, dear readers) writer on art, faced the apparently decisive and irreversible victory of capitalism. Rather than concede defeat and join in the triumphal chorus heralding the end of history, Berger drew an unlikely lesson from the ostensible cessation of the old hostilities. In the conclusion of Keeping a Rendezvous (1991), he studied a photograph of people assembled in recently liberated Prague and discerned in their faces both elation and a dread that an even more primordial conflict was in the offing. The class struggle, he now suggested, partakes of a broader and deeper contest over ways of being in the world. “The soul and the operator have come out of hiding together.”

For two centuries, Berger explained, the soul’s longings had been perverted or marginalized in both capitalist and socialist societies, identified with or subordinated to the imperatives of material progress. Yet humanity “has great difficulty in living strictly within the confines of a materialist practice or philosophy. It dreams, like a dog in its basket, of hares in the open.” Heir, for many, to the hope once contained in religion, Marxism had been the secular abode for the soul; but with the dialectic of “historical materialism” now discredited by history, “the spiritual,” Berger observed, aimed “to reclaim its lost terrain,” surging through fundamentalist and nationalist movements. At the same time, the poor were being “written off as trash” by the soul’s implacable adversary, “the operator,” the forces of pecuniary and technological utility united under the aegis of capital. For Berger, art remained not only a potent weapon against injustice but also an enclave for the qualities of the soul. In a powerful letter to the miners who unsuccessfully resisted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s attempt to close down mines in 1984, Berger wrote:
I can’t tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumor or a legend because it makes sense of what life’s brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honor.

Characterized by the lack of a credible alternative to the glittering imperium of capital, the ensuing twenty-five years have been the Age of the Operator: neoliberal economics, a hustling ethos, the divinization of markets and technology, the hegemony of a consumer society given over to spectacle and fueled by debt. As Berger writes in his latest book, Portraits (Verso, $44.95, 544 pp.), “the future has been downsized,” restricted to the mercenary parameters of finance capital and digital technocracy. Neoliberal capitalism fulfills the “strange prophecy” depicted in the hellish right-hand panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s Millennium Triptych: “no glimpse of an elsewhere or an otherwise.” The poor—and increasingly anyone outside the gilded circle of “the 1 percent”—are indeed “written off as trash,” detritus of the quest for efficiency, human refuse piling up not only in Calcutta, Mumbai, or Mexico City, but also in Palo Alto and San Francisco, where the technocrats of Silicon Valley dispossess workers from their homes to build mansions scaled to their colossal self-regard.

The Operator remains in the saddle, riding humankind; but with anger and dissent on the rise—Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter here at home—the Soul may be gathering strength to embark on another, more enduring reclamation of terrain, and, if it does, John Berger will deserve our attention as one of its greatest contemporary prophets. Renowned and even beloved as both novelist and art critic, Berger has also become an unlikely moral and metaphysical sage. “You can’t talk about aesthetics without talking about the principle of hope and the existence of evil,” he declared in The Sense of Sight (1985). Not that his revolutionary spirit has withered; that flame is lower but remains incandescent. But Portraits, a miscellany from his career as a writer, records the evolution of this “principle of hope”—a reference, no doubt, to Ernst Bloch, the closest thing to a theologian ever produced by the Marxist tradition. Like the other two panels of Bosch’s triptych—The Garden of Eden and The Garden of Earthly Delights—Portraits offers “a torchlight in the dark,” a glimpse of an elsewhere or an otherwise, a way of seeing the visible world that Berger might agree to call sacramental.



BERGER WAS BORN in 1926 in London, the son of a middle-class Hungarian immigrant from Trieste and an English working-class suffragette. As a youth growing up in Oxford, he drew and painted for relief from his “monstrous and brutal” education at a local private school. He also read anarchist literature and ardently embraced the radical left; yet unlike most anarchists, Berger felt no visceral hostility to religion. As he told the Guardian in 2011, since his teenage years two convictions have “coexisted” within him: “a kind of materialism,” as he put it, along with “a sense of the sacred, the religious if you like.” This coexistence has never felt anomalous to him, even when “most other people thought it was.” Indeed, the philosopher of whom Berger has been most fond is not Marx but Baruch Spinoza, whose monist ontology sought to overcome the Cartesian dualism of matter and spirit.

Conscripted at the age of eighteen, Berger spent World War II stationed in Belfast. After the war he enrolled in the Chelsea School of Art and exhibited in London galleries. While working as a teacher, he began writing reviews for the New Statesman, Britain’s flagship left periodical. In the early years of the Cold War, Berger embraced Marxism (despite his aversion to Joseph Stalin). He even maintained that, until the Soviet Union gained nuclear parity with the United States, left writers and artists should support Moscow. In the late 1940s, Berger made a deliberate decision to set aside his painting and embark on a career as a writer.

Although the New Statesman published his essays for more than a decade (some of which he collected in 1960 as Permanent Red), Berger was its most beleaguered contributor. Adamantly pro-Soviet, he wrote for a magazine that opposed Stalinism. (In his controversial 1958 novel A Painter of Our Time, Berger hinted his support for the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution.) Where the New Statesman reflected the broad sympathy toward literary and artistic modernism characteristic of liberal and social-democratic intellectuals, Berger championed realism and called for art that would “help or encourage men to know and claim their social rights.” His profoundly ambivalent view of abstract expressionism challenged its celebration by most Western intellectuals as a token of “free expression.” Although he marveled at Jackson Pollock’s formal skills, Berger argued that the drip paintings registered a collapse of “faith” in the visible world that heralded “the disintegration of our culture.” Berger asked strikingly traditionalist questions for an enfant terrible of Marxist criticism. “How far can talent exempt an artist,” he asked, who “does not think beyond or question the decadence of the cultural situation to which he belongs?”

With judgments and questions like these, Berger found himself “fighting for every sentence,” not only against his editors and skeptical readers but also against curators, gallery owners, and art critics. (One less-than-enthusiastic review of Henry Moore earned him the everlasting enmity of Sir Herbert Read, then Britain’s most respected critic.) Berger railed helplessly as the London cultural establishment—like that of New York—transformed modernism into an aesthetic for corporate suites and an emblem of Western individualism.

Weary of his travails among the London intelligentsia, Berger left England in 1962 and lived an itinerant but productive life on the continent for the next fifteen years. He published studies of Picasso and cubism as well as several other volumes of essays on painting, sculpture, photography, and politics; chronicled, in collaboration with the photographer Jean Mohr, the life of a country doctor in A Fortunate Man (1967); wrote several screenplays, including Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976), a wise and sympathetic story about disappointed radicals; and authored three novels, including G. (1972), a political and erotic bildungsroman that won him the Booker Prize. Berger promptly caused an uproar when he donated half of his prize money to the British Black Panthers (the Booker fortune having been amassed, he pointed out, through the exploitation of Caribbean slaves) and used the other half to fund a project on the condition of migrant workers that became A Seventh Man (1975). Whatever one thinks of his politics, there can be no denying that Berger is a writer who acts on his convictions.

But Berger’s most enduring achievement from this period was his landmark BBC television series Ways of Seeing (1972), notable if only because it disseminated a radical perspective to a mass audience. Published in book form in the same year, Ways of Seeing was a response to another television milestone, Civilisation (1969), hosted by Sir Kenneth Clark, doyen of the British art establishment. Loftily indifferent to social and political context, Clark’s parade-of-masterpieces approach to the history of Western art epitomized the patrician didacticism that Berger loathed. Focusing … [more]
johnberger  resistance  eugenemccarraher  2017  communism  capitalism  marxism  spirituality  anarchism  religion  materialism  sacredness  neoliberalism  mutualaid  craftsmanship  materiality  pleasure  convivilaity  soul  revolution  waysofseeing  art  artists  peasants  biography 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Are You Being Served? → Summit_afterlife.md
"A few months after “Are You Being Served?“ some of us met up in the Feminist Server Summit at Art Meets Radical Openness (AMRO <http://radical-openness.org>), ESC in Graz. The theme of this edition, Autonomy (im)possible sparked discussions on relationality, dependency and what that would mean for an (imaginary) Feminist Server. The following embryonic manifesto was written in response to these discussions.
A feminist server…

* Is a situated technology. She has a sense of context and considers herself to be part of an ecology of practices
* Is run for and by a community that cares enough for her in order to make her exist
* Builds on the materiality of software, hardware and the bodies gathered around it
* Opens herself to expose processes, tools, sources, habits, patterns
* Does not strive for seamlessness. Talk of transparency too often signals that something is being made invisible
* Avoids efficiency, ease-of-use, scalability and immediacy because they can be traps
* Knows that networking is actually an awkward, promiscuous and parasitic practice
* Is autonomous in the sense that she decides for her own dependencies
* Radically questions the conditions for serving and service; experiments with changing client-server relations where she can
* Treats network technology as part of a social reality
* Wants networks to be mutable and read-write accessible
* Does not confuse safety with security
* Takes the risk of exposing her insecurity
* Tries hard not to apologize when she is sometimes not available


Another version will be developed and presented at The Ministry of Hacking (ESC, Graz) <http://esc.mur.at/de/projekt/ministry-hacking>. You are welcome to contribute to this text through comments, rewriting, additions or erasure: <http://note.pad.constantvzw.org/public_pad/feministserver>."
via:caseygollan  feminism  servers  technology  ecology  community  software  hardware  materiality  efficiency  scalability  slow  small  immediacy  networking  autonomy  security  safety  readwrite  service  manifestos  context  sfsh  care  caring  transparency  open  openness 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Will digital books ever replace print? – Craig Mod – Aeon
[See also: http://kottke.org/15/10/on-the-declining-ebook-reading-experience

"The Kindle is a book reading machine, but it's also a portable book store. 1 Which is of great benefit to Amazon but also of some small benefit to readers...if I want to read, say, To Kill A Mockingbird right now, the Kindle would have it to me in less than a minute. But what if, instead, the Kindle was more of a book club than a store? Or a reading buddy? I bet something like that done well would encourage reading even more than instantaneous book delivery.

To me, Amazon seems exactly the wrong sort of company to make an ebook reader 2 with a really great reading experience. They don't have the right culture and they don't have the design-oriented mindset. They're a low-margin business focused on products and customers, not books and readers. There's no one with any real influence at Amazon who is passionately advocating for the reader. Amazon is leaving an incredible opportunity on the table here, which is a real bummer for the millions of people who don't think of themselves as customers and turn to books for delight, escape, enrichment, transformation, and many other things. No wonder they're turning back to paper books, which have a 500-year track record for providing such experiences."]
amazon  kindle  ebooks  books  publishing  bookfuturism  craigmod  2015  print  paper  bretvictor  alankay  dynabook  materiality  marshallmcluhan  vannevarbush  borges 
october 2015 by robertogreco
the blind man's stick - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement, by Lambros Malafouris, is a maddening but also fascinating book that is seriously helping me to think through some of the issues that concern me. Malafouris wants to argue that the human mind is “embodied, extended, enacted, and distributed” — extensive rather than intensive in its fundamental character.

He starts his exploration wonderfully: by considering a thought-experiment that Maurice Merleau-Ponty first posited in his Phenomenology of Perception. Merleau-Ponty asks us to imagine a blind man navigating a city street with a cane. What is the relationship between that cane and the man’s perceptual apparatus? Or, as Gregory Bateson put it in Steps to an Ecology of Mind,
Consider a blind man with a stick. Where does the blind man's self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point halfway up the stick? These questions are nonsense, because the stick is a pathway along which differences are transmitted under transformation, so that to draw a delimiting line across this pathway is to cut off a part of the systemic circuit which determines the blind man's locomotion.

(Bateson does not mention and probably was not aware of Merleau-Ponty.) For Malafouris the example of the blind man’s cane suggests that “what is outside the head may not necessarily be outside the mind.... I see no compelling reason why the study of the mind should stop at the skin or at the skull. It would, I suggest, be more productive to explore the hypothesis that human intelligence ‘spreads out’ beyond the skin into culture and the material world.” Moreover, things in the material world embody intentions and purposes — Malafouris thinks they actually have intentions and purposes, a view I think is misleading and sloppy — and these come to be part of the mind: they don't just influence it, they help constitute it.
I believe this example provides one of the best diachronic exemplars of what I call the gray zone of material engagement, i.e., the zone in which brains, bodies, and things conflate, mutually catalyzing and constituting one another. Mind, as the anthropologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, “is not limited by the skin,” and that is why Bateson was able to recognize the stick as a “pathway” instead of a boundary. Differentiating between “inside” and “outside” makes no real sense for the blind man. As Bateson notes, “the mental characteristics of the system are immanent, not in some part, but in the system as a whole.”

If we were to take this model seriously, then we would need to narrate the rise of modernity differently than we’ve been narrating it — proceeding in a wholly different manner than the three major stories I mentioned in my previous post. Among other things, we’d need to be ready to see the Oppenheimer Principle as having a far stronger motive role in history than is typical.

When I talk this way, some people tell me that they think I'm falling into technological determinism. Not so. Rather, it's a matter of taking with proper seriousness the power that some technologies have to shape culture. And that's not because they think or want, nor because we are their slaves. Rather, people make them for certain purposes, and either those makers themselves have socio-political power or the technologies fall into the hands of people who have socio-political power, so that the technologies are put to work in society. We then have the option to accept the defaults or undertake the difficult challenge of hacking the inherited tools — bending them in a direction unanticipated and unwanted by those who deployed them.

To write the technological history of modernity is to investigate how our predecessors have received the technologies handed to them, or used upon them, by the powerful; and also, perhaps, to investigate how countercultural tech has risen up from below to break up the one-way flow of power. These are things worth knowing for anyone who is uncomfortable with the dominant paradigm we live under now."
alanjacobs  2015  technology  modernity  blind  blindness  lambrosmalafouris  mauricemerleau-ponty  gregorybateson  oppenheimerprinciple  culture  assistivetechnology  disability  mind  materiality  bodies  body  disabilities 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Fragments on Machines on Vimeo
"HD Video, 16:9, audio, colour
17 mins
Narration by Barnaby Kay
Writing by Jen Calleja and Richard Phoenix

Fragments on Machines reveals the physical framework and materiality of the Internet, a vast network often thought and spoken about solely in abstract terms.
Adopting the title from Marx’s Grundrisse, The Fragment On Machines, in which the material and immaterial are discussed in relation to labour and, I use it here to explore similar notions within this film.

Taking New York City as its central focus, the film observes the evolution of architecture in the city to accommodate the material nodes and connectors that comprise the physical manifestation of the “virtual” world.

New York is home to many of the great buildings that symbolise nineteenth and early twentieth century industrial capitalism. Today, it is significant that a number of these Art Deco skyscrapers—located predominantly in the Financial District—have become the containers for the infrastructure of the Internet and virtual capital. These grand monuments of brick and steel are now homes to the servers and computers that drive post-industrial finance capitalism.

This research elucidates how the Internet is connected to the wider economy via such phenomenon as high-frequency trading (HFT). HFT firms in NYC and elsewhere have physically moved to be as close as possible to the Internet’s infrastructure, filling high-rises in the surrounding area with mainframes and cooling systems. The physically closer these firms are, the faster their algorithms can trade—much faster than our human capabilities.

It is no coincidence that sites such as the Verizon Headquarters, adjacent to One World Trade Center, which is explored within Fragments on Machines, are located in the heart of New York’s financial district surrounded by international banks and close to the New York Stock Exchange. Highly elusive yet pervasive in their nature, data centres consist of room upon room of copper and fibre-optic cables, computer servers and ventilation systems. With direct links to the companies they serve, these Internet hubs become a kind of unofficial space for trade."
infrastructure  internet  emmacharles  jencalleja  richardphoenix  materiality  networks  nyc  via:ablerism  datacenters  capitalism 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Infrastructure as a divination tool: Whispers from the grids in a Nigerian city - City - Volume 19, Issue 2-3
"In the Nigerian city of Jos, everyday life is shaped by interlacing rhythms of disconnection and reconnection. Petrol, electricity, water, etc., come and go, and in order to gain access inhabitants constantly try to discern the logics behind these fluctuations. However, the unpredictable infrastructure also becomes a system of signs through which residents try to understand issues beyond those immediately at hand. Signals, pipes, wires and roads link individuals to larger wholes, and the character of these connections informs and transforms experiences of the social world. Not only an object, but also a means of divination, infrastructure is a harbinger of truths about elusive and mutable social entities—neighbourhoods, cities, nations and beyond. Through the materiality of infrastructure, its flows and glitches carefully read by the inhabitants, an increasingly disjointed city emerges. Through new experiences of differentiated modes of connectedness—of no longer sharing the same roads, pipes, electricity lines, etc.—narratives are formed around lost common trajectories. By focusing on how wires, pipes and roads are turned into a divination system—how the inhabitants of Jos try to divine the city's infrastructure and possible ways forward, as well as how they try, through the infrastructure, to predict a city, a nation and a world beyond—this paper strives to find ways to grasp a thickness of urban becomings—a cityness on the move according to its own unique logic."
via:javierarbona  2015  nigeria  africa  cities  anthropology  urban  urbanism  materiality  divination  jos  erictrovalla  ulrikatrovalla 
july 2015 by robertogreco
On Digital Ethnography | Ethnography Matters
"When Tricia asked me to contribute a series on Ethnography Matters, I thought that I would take this opportunity to bring together the notes on digital ethnography that I have collected over the last couple of years. I would like to push the boundaries of computational usage in ethnographic processes a bit here. I really want to expand the definition of digital ethnography beyond the use of computers, tablets, and smart phones as devices to interact with online communities, or to capture, transfer, and store field media.

In this three-part series, I am going to discuss how working with computational tools could widen the scope of ethnographic work and deepen our practice. I will stay mostly within the domain of data gathering in this first post. In the second post, I will talk about the process of field data interpreting and visualizing; and the last post, I will focus on how the digital may transform ethnographic narrative and argumentation."

"On Digital Ethnography, What do computers have to do with ethnography? (1 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2012/10/27/on-digital-ethnography-part-one-what-do-computers-have-to-do-with-ethnography/

"On Digital Ethnography: mapping as a mode of data discovery (2 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2012/12/05/on-digital-ethnography-mapping-as-a-mode-of-data-discovery-part-2-of-4/

"On Digital Ethnography, magnifying the materiality of culture (3 of 4)"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/01/25/on-digital-ethnography-magnifying-the-materiality-of-culture-part-3-of-4/

"Ethnography Beyond Text and Print: How the digital can transform ethnographic expressions"
http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2013/12/09/ethnography-beyond-text-and-print-how-the-digital-can-transform-ethnographic-expressions/
ethnography  2012  wendyhsu  maps  mapping  culture  materiality  digitalethnography  ethnographymatters  via:anne  data  text  print  digital  audio  photography  geography 
july 2014 by robertogreco
CTheory.net — Dust and Exhaustion: The Labor of Media Materialism, by Jussi Parikka
"This is a text about dust as well as exhaustion: about non-human particles as well as labor. It takes small things like dust as one vector for its argument, and as a vehicle in the manner of which we sometimes think through objects. Dust is, however, not quite an object, not in the intuitive sense that objects are supposed to be easily graspable. It does not fit the hand, even if it covers vast terrains. It is more environmental and better characterized as a milieu. Well, almost a milieu: we rarely count it among things that matter, but what if we did? What if we followed dust as a trajectory for theory -- theory that is concerned with materiality and media? What if dust is one way to do "dirt research": a mode of inquiry that crosses institutions and disciplines, and forces us to think of questions of design as enveloped in a complex ecology of economy, environment, work, and skill. Dirt brings noise, as Ned Rossiter reminds us, and dirt research can be understood "as a transversal mode of knowledge production [that] necessarily encounters conflict of various kinds: geocultural, social, political and epistemological.""



"To conclude, it is in this context of the materiality of labor and dust that we need to talk not only of the soul at work, but of the lungs at work. This essay serves as a reminder of the alternative materialities of technical media culture that tie together issues of political importance with the murky sides of hardware. Bifo's reference to the "cognitariat" -- the class of cognitive, creative, information technology supported smart labor -- as the "semiotic labor flow" includes a wider materiality than any loose reference to a virtual class. For him, the cognitariat involves "the body, sexuality, mortal physicality, the unconscious." This description resonates with Matteo Pasquinelli's call to include both material and darker, libidinal energies in our accounts concerning media cultures and creativity discourses. [58] It is precisely because of this call that any extended understanding of the cultural techniques and technologies of the cognitariat needs to be able to take into account not just souls, but where the breath comes from. This includes both the mental labor that is increasingly invested in high tech communicative work processes that consume mental energies and the lung violated by dust. It also includes chemicals, minerals, and hardware as socio-technical conditions for the existence of information technology culture. In Bifo's words, "life, intelligence, joy, breathing -- humanity is going to be sacrificed in order to pay the metaphysical debt." [59]

The lack of breath, whether from dust particles or from the increase in anxiety disorders and panic attacks, is indicative of the tie between immaterial labor and the material exhaustion of bodies of nature. Le Corbusier's modern fantasy of rationalized, filtered and optimized "exact air" in The Radiant City has proven to be a short-term dream. With a different focus, Peter Sloterdijk identifies the beginning of the twentieth century with a specific event of breathlessness, in the early phases of World War I: "April 22, 1915, when a specially formed German 'gas regiment' launched the first, large-scale operation against French-Canadian troops in the northern Ypres Salient using chlorine gas as their means of combat." [60] Lack of breath, or "atmo-terrorism" (as Sloterdijk calls it), escorts the technological twentieth century into the twenty-first century, where we continuously face the same danger: not only from state terrorism, but from (in)corporate(d) terrorism across industrial and postindustrial production; the twenty-first century as the century of dust, depletion of water resources, desertification, as well as the residues of our modes of production."
jussiparikka  dust  via:shannon_mattern  materiality  2013  francoberardi 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Why we should love material things more – Nick Thorpe – Aeon
"For a new materialist, the term ‘inanimate object’ is similarly inadequate to describe the things that we collect and discard. In Vibrant Matter (2010), Bennett writes that if we paid attention to the aliveness of matter, we wouldn’t be so careless with our stuff. But the disjointedness of hyper-consumerism conceals the continuing life of objects, built anonymously in distant factories and eventually left to leech chemicals into landfill: ‘How, for example, would patterns of consumption change,’ she asks, ‘if we faced not litter, rubbish, trash, or “the recycling”, but an accumulating pile of lively and potentially dangerous matter?’

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

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



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



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

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

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

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

There are many who believe that our own society is in the process of learning a similar lesson. But a more thoughtful commitment to love and cherish what we already have might yet save us, too. And leave us more deeply connected to one another."
objects  materialism  consumerism  nicholsonbaker  2014  nickthorpe  buddhism  rapanui  easterisland  materiality  events  experience  howwelive  cv  disposability  sustainability  ownership  sharing 
march 2014 by robertogreco
On Animism, Modernity/ Colonialism, and the African Order of Knowledge: Provisional Reflections | e-flux
[Part of a series from multiple authors. Introduction, with contents in the sidebar:
https://www.e-flux.com/journal/36/61244/introduction-animism/

a link to the Animism issue: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/36/ ]

"How do we account for the recent resurgence of interest in animism and animist thought? Once considered a kind of cognitive error, as evidence of cognitive underdevelopment and epistemological failure, animism has once again become an object of discursive attention and intellectual inquiry, in addition to serving as a platform for political action, particularly around issues of ecology and the environment. It has become an acceptable if not entirely respectable way of knowing and acting in the world. Although E. B. Tylor’s nineteenth-century definition of the concept has remained foundational, we have come a long way from the modernist understanding of it which Emile Durkheim summed up in these words:
For Tylor, this extension of animism was due to the particular mentality of the primitive, who, like an infant, cannot distinguish the animate and the inanimate. […] Now the primitive thinks like a child. Consequently, he is also inclined to endow all things, even inanimate ones, with a nature analogous to his own.

This new interest has overturned the old prejudice which equated animism with everything that was childlike and epistemologically challenged, everything that was the negation of the mature, the modern, and the civilized."



"If the new convergence of interest in animism is to bear any advantage for those on the other side of modernity, it is here that we should begin with a conception of time that rejects linearity but recognizes the complex embeddedness of different temporalities, different, discordant discursive formations, and different epistemological perspectives within the same historical moment. And then we should search for a language to represent this knowledge."
animism  art  harrygaruba  2012  modernity  colonialism  africa  knowledge  brunolatour  wendybrown  karlmarx  objects  vymudimbe  alfhornborg  knowing  masaomiyoshi  talalasad  ramongrosfoguel  fetishism  commodities  mysticism  foucault  materiality  science  scientism  frederickcooper  time  knowledgeproduction  johannesfabian  dipeshchakrabarty  ebtaylor  technology  dualism  linearity  embeddedness  temporality  michelfoucault  linear 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Interface Critique | Words in Space
[Updated version [22 Jan 2014]: http://www.wordsinspace.net/wordpress/2014/01/22/interface-critique-revisited-thinking-about-archival-interfaces/ ]

"how do we critique an interface?"

… "We should attend to variables of basic composition (e.g. the size, shape, position, etc., of elements on the screen), as well as how they work together across time and space: how we read across panels and scenes, how we follow action sequences and narrative and thematic threads through the graphic interface."

… "Reading “beneath” those graphic frames provides insight into the data models structuring our interaction with the technology. ... The design of an interface thus isn’t simply about efficiently arranging elements and structuring users’ behavior; interface design also models – perhaps unwittingly – an epistemology and a method of interpretation."

… "In our interface critique, then, we might also consider what acts of interpretive translation or allegorization are taking place at those nodes or hinges between layers of interfaces."

… "We might consider how the interface enunciates – what language it uses to “frame” its content into fundamental categories, to whom it speaks and how, what point(s) of view are tacitly or explicitly adopted. ... How the interface addresses, or fails to address us – and how its underlying database categorizes us into what Galloway calls “cybertypes” – has the potential to shape how we understand our social roles and what behavior is expected of us."

… "We also, finally, must consider what is not made visible or otherwise perceptible. What is simply not representable through a graphic or gestural user interface, on a zoomable map, via data visualization?"

… "Yet we should also consider the possibility that some aspects of our cities are simply not, and will never be, machine-readable. In our interface critique, then, we might imagine what dimensions of human experience and the world we inhabit simply cannot be translated or interfaced."
toread  shannonmattern  interface  ubicomp  design  2014  johannadrucker  stevenjohnson  criticism  scottmccloud  cities  alexandergalloway  adamgreenfield  materiality  scale  location  urban  urbanism  time  space  orientation  frameanalysis  minorityreport 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Culture Machine Live podcast: Johanna Drucker | OPEN REFLECTIONS
"This interview with visual and cultural theorist and practitioner Johanna Drucker by Janneke Adema focuses on Drucker’s work as a scholar and practitioner, speculative computing, the difference between aesthesis and mathesis in Humanities knowledge production, and the concept of performative materiality. The interview was conducted on November 16th, 2013, at the Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, UK."

[Audio here: http://culturemachinepodcasts.podbean.com/2013/11/24/speculative-computing-and-the-aesthetics-of-the-humanities-johanna-drucker/ ]
johannadrucker  digitalhumanities  aesthesis  mathesis  humanities  knowledgeproduction  2013  jannekeadema  speculativecomputing  performativemateriality  materiality  poetry  piaget  constructivism  differntiation  charlespeirce  situatedness  authority  hierarchy  artistsbooks  jeanpiaget  artbooks 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Photography Is the New Universal Language, and It's Changing Everything | Raw File | Wired.com
"Thinker, writer, curator, editor, blogger, and currently a Contributing Editor for Art in America and on the faculty at ICP-Bard College and the School of Visual Arts, Heiferman has watched the photography market explode and the acquisition policies of galleries and museums adapt accordingly. The art market is a one-percenter game, and Heiferman thinks it distracts us from the uses of images in our everyday lives. Photography is all around us and used in ways we don’t even consider. Raw File spoke to Heiferman about surveillance, facial recognition, the obsolescence of future technologies and why Midwest newspapers are so good at reporting the weird stuff about image use."



"People talk about photography being a universal language but really it’s not; it’s multiple languages. The dialogues you can have with neuroscientists about photographic images are as interesting and as provocative as the dialogues you can have with artists. People have wildly different contexts in which they use photographs — different criteria for assessing them, reasons for taking them, priorities when looking at and evaluating them. It creates incredible possibilities for dialogue when you realize the medium is so flexible and so useful."



"Look at Flickr. Look at what people do. It is fascinating to look at what people are taking pictures of, as we all take more and more pictures. I spoke with a guy named Steve Hoffenberg who worked for Lyra Research [now owned by Photizo] and is one of the go-to-guys when you want to find out how many people are taking pictures any given day. Steve talked about how the availability of cell phones cameras has changed the way we make images.

In the past, it was more conventional; we had to have reason to make a picture and it was usually to document something specific. Whereas now people are now take pictures because the camera is there [in their hand]. It has got to the point where sometimes if you ask people why they take pictures they can’t even say. I think people are using images in a completely different way and as a communicative tool."



"With people more actively using images, visual literacy becomes an important thing to talk about. Everybody pays a lot of lip service to visual literacy but very few schools teach it. There’s not a lot of discussion about what photography is. What’s a photograph? How does it work? Photographs are useful to you in different ways than they are useful to me."

[The book, Photography Changes Everything:
http://www.aperture.org/shop/books/photography-changes-everything-book
http://www.amazon.com/Photography-Changes-Everything-Marvin-Heiferman/dp/1597111996 ]
materiality  photography  technology  marvinheiferman  everyday  communication  language  universallanguage  expression  dialog  media  jonathancoddington  mobilephones  cellphones  cameras  digital  lyraresearch  stevehoffenberg  instagram  visualliteracy  literacy  stephenmayes  images  imagery  photosynth  philippekahn  hanyfarid  photoshop  davidfriend  flickr  newliteracies  multiliteracies  dialogue  books 
september 2013 by robertogreco
Making the Geologic Now
"Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life announces shifts in cultural sensibilities and practices. It offers early sightings of an increasingly widespread turn toward the geologic as source of explanation, motivation, and inspiration for creative responses to material conditions of the present moment. In the spirit of a broadside, this edited collection circulates images and short essays from over 40 artists, designers, architects, scholars, and journalists who are extending our active awareness of inhabitation out to the cosmos and down to the Earth’s iron core. Their works are offered as test sites for what might become thinkable and possible if humans were to take up the geologic as our instructive co-designer—as a partner in designing thoughts, things, systems, and experiences. As a reading and viewing event, Making the Geologic Now is designed to move with its audiences while delivering signals from unfolding edges of the "geologic now."

The Website

The Making the Geologic Now website is a creative translation of the book into an interactive website. Readers can update and extend the book by uploading and illustrating their own sightings of "the geologic now." Readers can also join in discussions of articles and images in the book or on the website."
anthropocene  books  geology  elizabethellsworth  jamiekruse  ediacarian  anthropozoic  material  time  design  art  documentary  ebooks  materiality  friendsofthepleistocene 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Michael Shanks: Archaeological manifesto
"Archaeologists don't discover the past;
they work on what remains
with a view to the present and the future.

Archaeology is THE discipline of things - the history of design, innovation, creativity, how people get on with the material world, materiality itself.

Archaeologists deal in the life of things.

Archaeology is also our only access to a long term perspective on history and what it is to be human Archaeological evidence frequently provides insights counter to the great narratives of history that we have grown so used to over the last couple of centuries.

I have researched megalithic monuments in an archaeology of the prehistoric body, ancient Greek perfume jars in the early city state, the design of contemporary beer cans, managed a project with DaimlerChrysler to develop a model of the car interior of 2015, in an archaeology of the contemporary past. My current fieldwork is revisiting an old genre of writing on the land - chorography - in a study of the Roman borders with Scotland - how to understand and represent a region, in the context of imperial incursion and local response.

Archaeology stretches from genetics to art history, includes laboratory study, fieldwork and survey, statistical analysis, and textual interpretation, combining media old and new, from graphics to virtual reality. I am committed to hybrid practice where art becomes scientific research, where the academy becomes an art sudio, where pedagogy mingles with outreach into the community and industry, where practice can be research, where old disciplinary divisions give way to a committed address to matters of common human concern.

All made possible by our newly fashioned freedoms of digital authorship, collegiality, collaboration and creativity.

New Humanities Post disciplinary practices ...
shifting a custodial model of stewardship - looking after the past
to one of production and creativity - working on what remains to help guide us now and for the future.

Archaeologists work on what remains of the past...
This means that
we are all archaeologists now ..."
archaeology  michaelshanks  past  present  time  humanities  interdisciplinary  creativity  future  genetics  arthistory  fieldwork  statistics  art  media  newmedia  chorography  writing  deepmaps  innovation  materiality  design  designthinking  manifestos  stewardship 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Matt Jones & Jack Schulze, “Immaterials” on Vimeo
"Matt Jones and Jack Schulze will explore a cross-section of recent and ongoing work from BERG, examining how the design of products and services comes from working intimately with the materials of your domain, even if they are intangible—like radio or data."

[Diagram at 16:33 mark reminds me of my interest in audiences of one.]
design  materialsim  jackschulze  mattjones  weakties  dunbar  dunbarnumber  materiality  audiencesofone  berg  berglondon  immaterials  smallgroups  groupsize  stongbonds  2011  data  comics  michelgondry  time  radioactivity  touch 
november 2011 by robertogreco
City Walks and Tactile Experience
"This paper is an attempt to develop categories of the pedestrian’s tactile and kinaesthetic experience of the city. The beginning emphasizes the haptic qualities of surfaces and textures, which can be “palpated” visually or experienced by walking. Also the lived city is three-dimensional; its corporeal depth is discussed here in relation to the invisible sewers, protuberant profiles, and the formal diversity of roofscapes. A central role is ascribed in the present analysis to the formal similarities between the representation of the city by walking through it and the representation of the tactile form of objects. Additional aspects of the “tactile” experience of the city in a broad sense concern the feeling of their rhythms and the exposure to weather conditions. Finally, several aspects of contingency converge in the visible age of architectural works, which record traces of individual and collective histories."
urban  walking  urbanism  cities  tacticalurbanism  materiality  textures  sufaces  porosity  roofscapes  movement  pulse  rhythm  experiential  time  touch  patina  history  atemporality  MădălinaDiaconu  weather  plato  johnlocke  hobbes  vitruvius  sensation  contact 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Infovore » Technology As A Material
"To make art with technology, one does not use it as a tool; one must understand it as a material. Technology is not always a tool, an engineering substrate; it can be something to mould, to shape, to sculpt with.

Materials have desires, affordances, and textures; they have grains. We can work with that grain, understanding what the material wishes to be, wishes to do – or we can deliberately choose to work against it. We must understand that grain and make a deliberate choice."
design  technology  art  culture  data  materiality  2011  tomarmitage  glvo  tools  howwework  howwethink  creativity  materials 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Presence and Perception [Xskool]
"Perceiving and re-connecting: Xskool will engage with artists in seeking ways to help us perceive the unseen, or the invisible: Ways to re-imagine the built world as a complex of interacting ecologies: energy, water, mobility, food. Ways to enrich our understanding of space, time, materiality, and process. Ways to steer our focus to open versus closed systems.

Presence and distance: It would be easier to travel less, and telecommunicate more, if the sensation of ‘being there’ were more engaging than it is now. Xskool will involve artists, theatre directors, fashion designers, psychologists, game designers – even philosophers – in effort to improve the design of remote communication.

Hosting and Coordinating: A whole-systems, transdisciplinary approach involves the need to connect and coordinate stakeholders with differing perspectives. How do we design conversations to be participative rather than directive? How to identify and organize hubs; the role of time-based events…"
xskool  ecosystems  systems  systemsthinking  ecology  networkedecologies  presence  perception  closedsystems  opensystems  open  complexity  complexsystems  energy  water  mobility  food  art  design  communication  johnthackara  process  materiality  transdisciplinary 
june 2011 by robertogreco
ball nogues interview
"mark allen…'machine project'. they work in a kind of nexus, a community that is bound by mutual interests. this could be an interest in cooking, or gardening, mathematics, ad so on. they do workshops on everything, like computational crochet to baking with a light bulb… it's an approach to art & life…

advice to the young?

…it's very important to not be constrained by categorization…categories that define people in a particular way can kill a lot of good, creative

inspiration by trying to fit into a specific group…can be very limiting for people. I would always encourage everyone to be critical of categorical thinking…another thing that's going on is people are starting to disassociate their hands from their brain…there is no sense of meaning, materiality, or gravity in what they make…it's always important to balance those things out - but not entirely.

you should be able to dream as well."
ball-nogues  benjaminball  gastonnogues  loasangeles  architecture  design  interdisciplinary  craft  art  glvo  advice  childhood  markallen  machineproject  interviews  categorization  meaning  materiality  making  doing  make  life  openstudio  lcproject  learning 
december 2010 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sensing the immaterial-material city
"I've created a public group at Flickr called Sensing the City, so if you have similar photos, do add them there. I'd be interested to see what turns up.

While it's a very different sensibility and approach to the aforementioned explorations of radio frequencies - it's often a very material city, rather than immaterial; just hidden - in the context of discussions around instrumenting the fabric of our cities via urban informatics it's interesting to consider how much of this already occurs on our streets. And despite being marked by traffic cones and fluorescent work jackets it's become an invisible activity, somewhat ironically, for passers-by. These people are sensors."
danhill  design  urbanism  materiality  visualisation  cities  urban  visualization  ubicomp  space  flickr  rfid  mobile  nearfield  wireless  networkedcities 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Fred Kaplan on creative freedom
"Lots of creative moments combine prep & training w/ serendipity or the creativity that emerges out of responding to in-the-moment challenges or opportunities...Other creative acts are grounded in, or push the boundaries of, the nature & limits of the media you're working w/ (applies equally to crayons, Lie groups or reinforced concrete). The tinkering movement recognizes the fundamental materiality of most creative work & puts engagement with stuff at its center...as Matthew Crawford & Richard Sennett argue in their books, the creativity of everyone from machinists to musicians is tested & tempered by the demands that their materials make & the traditions in which they work. In other words, thinking of "creativity" as mainly an expression of a psychological gift– a capacity to be creative– is wrong. Or it's incomplete. People aren't creative when they're free to do whatever they want. They're creative when they're free to experiment, to try out new things, to fail at the boundaries."
alexsoojung-kimpang  creativity  constraints  tinkering  serendipity  materiality  innovation  cultofyouth  risk  jazz  experimentation  milesdavis 
august 2009 by robertogreco

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