recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : potential   20

Language Is Migrant - South Magazine Issue #8 [documenta 14 #3] - documenta 14
"Language is migrant. Words move from language to language, from culture to culture, from mouth to mouth. Our bodies are migrants; cells and bacteria are migrants too. Even galaxies migrate.

What is then this talk against migrants? It can only be talk against ourselves, against life itself.

Twenty years ago, I opened up the word “migrant,” seeing in it a dangerous mix of Latin and Germanic roots. I imagined “migrant” was probably composed of mei, Latin for “to change or move,” and gra, “heart” from the Germanic kerd. Thus, “migrant” became “changed heart,”
a heart in pain,
changing the heart of the earth.

The word “immigrant” says, “grant me life.”

“Grant” means “to allow, to have,” and is related to an ancient Proto-Indo-European root: dhe, the mother of “deed” and “law.” So too, sacerdos, performer of sacred rites.

What is the rite performed by millions of people displaced and seeking safe haven around the world? Letting us see our own indifference, our complicity in the ongoing wars?

Is their pain powerful enough to allow us to change our hearts? To see our part in it?

I “wounder,” said Margarita, my immigrant friend, mixing up wondering and wounding, a perfect embodiment of our true condition!

Vicente Huidobro said, “Open your mouth to receive the host of the wounded word.”

The wound is an eye. Can we look into its eyes?
my specialty is not feeling, just
looking, so I say:
(the word is a hard look.)
—Rosario Castellanos

I don’t see with my eyes: words
are my eyes.
—Octavio Paz

In l980, I was in exile in Bogotá, where I was working on my “Palabrarmas” project, a way of opening words to see what they have to say. My early life as a poet was guided by a line from Novalis: “Poetry is the original religion of mankind.” Living in the violent city of Bogotá, I wanted to see if anybody shared this view, so I set out with a camera and a team of volunteers to interview people in the street. I asked everybody I met, “What is Poetry to you?” and I got great answers from beggars, prostitutes, and policemen alike. But the best was, “Que prosiga,” “That it may go on”—how can I translate the subjunctive, the most beautiful tiempo verbal (time inside the verb) of the Spanish language? “Subjunctive” means “next to” but under the power of the unknown. It is a future potential subjected to unforeseen conditions, and that matches exactly the quantum definition of emergent properties.

If you google the subjunctive you will find it described as a “mood,” as if a verbal tense could feel: “The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to express a wish, a suggestion, a command, or a condition that is contrary to fact.” Or “the ‘present’ subjunctive is the bare form of a verb (that is, a verb with no ending).”

I loved that! A never-ending image of a naked verb! The man who passed by as a shadow in my film saying “Que prosiga” was on camera only for a second, yet he expressed in two words the utter precision of Indigenous oral culture.

People watching the film today can’t believe it was not scripted, because in thirty-six years we seem to have forgotten the art of complex conversation. In the film people in the street improvise responses on the spot, displaying an awareness of language that seems to be missing today. I wounder, how did it change? And my heart says it must be fear, the ocean of lies we live in, under a continuous stream of doublespeak by the violent powers that rule us. Living under dictatorship, the first thing that disappears is playful speech, the fun and freedom of saying what you really think. Complex public conversation goes extinct, and along with it, the many species we are causing to disappear as we speak.

The word “species” comes from the Latin speciēs, “a seeing.” Maybe we are losing species and languages, our joy, because we don’t wish to see what we are doing.

Not seeing the seeing in words, we numb our senses.

I hear a “low continuous humming sound” of “unmanned aerial vehicles,” the drones we send out into the world carrying our killing thoughts.

Drones are the ultimate expression of our disconnect with words, our ability to speak without feeling the effect or consequences of our words.

“Words are acts,” said Paz.

Our words are becoming drones, flying robots. Are we becoming desensitized by not feeling them as acts? I am thinking not just of the victims but also of the perpetrators, the drone operators. Tonje Hessen Schei, director of the film Drone, speaks of how children are being trained to kill by video games: “War is made to look fun, killing is made to look cool. ... I think this ‘militainment’ has a huge cost,” not just for the young soldiers who operate them but for society as a whole. Her trailer opens with these words by a former aide to Colin Powell in the Bush/Cheney administration:
OUR POTENTIAL COLLECTIVE FUTURE. WATCH IT AND WEEP FOR US. OR WATCH IT AND DETERMINE TO CHANGE THAT FUTURE
—Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel U.S. Army (retired)


In Astro Noise, the exhibition by Laura Poitras at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the language of surveillance migrates into poetry and art. We lie in a collective bed watching the night sky crisscrossed by drones. The search for matching patterns, the algorithms used to liquidate humanity with drones, is turned around to reveal the workings of the system. And, we are being surveyed as we survey the show! A new kind of visual poetry connecting our bodies to the real fight for the soul of this Earth emerges, and we come out woundering: Are we going to dehumanize ourselves to the point where Earth itself will dream our end?

The fight is on everywhere, and this may be the only beauty of our times. The Quechua speakers of Peru say, “beauty is the struggle.”

Maybe darkness will become the source of light. (Life regenerates in the dark.)

I see the poet/translator as the person who goes into the dark, seeking the “other” in him/herself, what we don’t wish to see, as if this act could reveal what the world keeps hidden.

Eduardo Kohn, in his book How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human notes the creation of a new verb by the Quichua speakers of Ecuador: riparana means “darse cuenta,” “to realize or to be aware.” The verb is a Quichuan transfiguration of the Spanish reparar, “to observe, sense, and repair.” As if awareness itself, the simple act of observing, had the power to heal.

I see the invention of such verbs as true poetry, as a possible path or a way out of the destruction we are causing.

When I am asked about the role of the poet in our times, I only question: Are we a “listening post,” composing an impossible “survival guide,” as Paul Chan has said? Or are we going silent in the face of our own destruction?

Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista guerrilla, transcribes the words of El Viejo Antonio, an Indian sage: “The gods went looking for silence to reorient themselves, but found it nowhere.” That nowhere is our place now, that’s why we need to translate language into itself so that IT sees our awareness.

Language is the translator. Could it translate us to a place within where we cease to tolerate injustice and the destruction of life?

Life is language. “When we speak, life speaks,” says the Kaushitaki Upanishad.

Awareness creates itself looking at itself.

It is transient and eternal at the same time.

Todo migra. Let’s migrate to the “wounderment” of our lives, to poetry itself."
ceciliavicuña  language  languages  words  migration  immigration  life  subcomandantemarcos  elviejoantonio  lawrencewilkerson  octaviopaz  exile  rosariocastellanos  poetry  spanish  español  subjunctive  oral  orality  conversation  complexity  seeing  species  joy  tonjehessenschei  war  colinpowell  laurapoitras  art  visual  translation  eduoardokohn  quechua  quichua  healing  repair  verbs  invention  listening  kaushitakiupanishad  awareness  noticing  wondering  vicentehuidobro  wounds  woundering  migrants  unknown  future  potential  unpredictability  emergent  drones  morethanhuman  multispecies  paulchan  destruction  displacement  refugees  extinction  others  tolerance  injustice  justice  transience  ephemerality  ephemeral  canon  eternal  surveillance  patterns  algorithms  earth  sustainability  environment  indifference  complicity  dictatorship  documenta14  2017  classideas 
29 days ago by robertogreco
SpeculativeEdu | Superflux: Tools and methods for making change
"Anab Jain and Jon Ardern of Superflux (“a studio for the rapidly changing world”) talk to James Auger about their approach, their recent projects, and their educational activities.

Superflux create worlds, stories, and tools that provoke and inspire us to engage with the precarity of our rapidly changing world. Founded by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern in 2009, the Anglo-Indian studio has brought critical design, futures and foresight approaches to new audiences while working for some of the world’s biggest organisations like Microsoft Research, Sony, Samsung and Nokia, and exhibiting work at MoMA New York, the National Museum of China, and the V&A in London. Over the last ten years, the studio has gained critical acclaim for producing work that navigates the entangled wilderness of our technology, politics, culture, and environment to imagine new ways of seeing, being, and acting. The studio’s partners and clients currently include Government of UAE, Innovate UK, Cabinet Office UK, Red Cross, UNDP, Mozilla and Forum for the Future. Anab is also Professor at Design Investigations, University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

[Q] You practice across numerous and diverse fields (education, commercial, gallery). Does your idea of speculative design change for each of these contexts? How do you balance the different expectations of each?

We don’t tend to strictly define our work as “Speculative Design”. Usually we say we are designers or artists or filmmakers. Speculative Design is gaining traction lately, and we might have a client of two who knows the term and might even hire us for that, but usually they come to us because they want to explore a possible future or a different narrative, or investigate a technology. We think our work investigates a potential rather than speculating on a future. Speculation is an undeniable part of the process but it is not the primary motivation behind our work. Our work is an open-ended process of enquiry, whilst speculation can at times feel like a closed loop.

[Q] There is a tendency, in many speculative design works, towards dystopian futures. It seems that as with science fiction, apocalyptic futures are easier to imagine and tell as stories. Focusing on your CCCB installation, Mitigation of Shock, how would you describe this project in terms of its value connotation? What is the purpose of such a project?

For us, Mitigation of Shock is actually not apocalyptic at all, but instead a pragmatic vision of hope, emerging from a dystopian future ravaged by climate change. On a personal level, it can be difficult for people to imagine how an issue like global warming might affect everyday life for our future selves, or generations to come. Our immersive simulation merges the macabre and the mundane as the social and economic consequences of climate change infiltrate the domestic space.

The installation transports people decades into the future (or perhaps even closer on the horizon), into an apartment in London which has been drastically adapted for living with the consequences of climate catastrophe. Familiar, yet alien. A domestic space alive with multispecies inhabitants, surviving and thriving together in an indoor microcosm. Climate projections from the beginning of the century have unfurled into reality, their consequences reverberating across the globe. Climate catastrophes shatter global supply chains. Economic and political fragility, social fragmentation, and food insecurity destabilise society.

Rather than optimistically stick our heads in the sand, or become overwhelmed with fear, we decided to catapult ourselves and others directly into a specific geographical and cultural context to experience the ripple effects of extreme weather conditions. Hope often works best alongside tools for proactively tackling future challenges. Which is why, in this year-long experimental research project, we explored, designed and built an apartment located in a future no one wants, but that may be on the horizon. Not to scare, or overwhelm, but to help people critically reflect upon their actions in the present, and introduce them to potential solutions for living in such a future. The evidence in the apartment may reflect a different future, but all the food apparatus was in fully working condition, no speculation there. We wanted to demonstrate that we have the tools and methods we need to make the change today.

[Q] We are living in complicated times – politically, environmentally, culturally. After several years of speculative and critical design evolution, do you think that it can have a more influential role in shaping futures/alternatives beyond the discussions that typically take place in the design community?

We wrote a little bit about this here: https://medium.com/superfluxstudio/stop-shouting-future-start-doing-it-e036dba17cdc.

[Q] Could it adopt more political or activist role? If so, how could this aspect be incorporated into education?

Yes definitely. Our latest project Trigger Warning explores this very space: https://mod.org.au/exhibits/trigger-warning. And then a completely different project: http://superflux.in/index.php/work/future-of-democracy-algorithmic-power/#temp.

[Anab] Also my students at the Angewandte will be exploring the theme of “futures of democracy” in the upcoming semester.

[Q] Coming from India but educated at the RCA, what was your take on the “privilege” discussion via Design and Violence? More specifically, what can we learn from this debate? How can it push speculative design forwards?

[Anab] I sensed an underlying assumption in that debate that anybody from the West was seen as “privileged” and anyone from any other colonised country is not. Whilst there is a long and troubling history to colonisation in India, I do bear in mind that India was always a battleground for clans and dynasties from other countries long before the West came and colonised it. These issues are very complex, and I think the only way we can attempt to understand them is by avoiding accusations and flamewars, but instead opening up space for everyone’s voice to be heard.

As things stands today, even though I come from India, a lot of people would argue that, within India, I am privileged because I had the opportunity to choose my education path and the person I want to marry. On the other hand, I know lots and lots of people in the West (white/male even) who are disempowered because of systemic privilege within the West. So discussions of race, gender expression and privilege are much more granular than simplistic accusations, and I strongly believe that designers who address complex issues, whilst battling student loans and rents, should be applauded, not condemned.

[Q] How can we resist or overcome the situation where avant-garde design practices, established as a resistance to the dominant system, ultimately become appropriated by the system?

If we successfully overturn capitalism, the rest will follow."
superflux  2019  anabjain  jonardern  jamesauger  design  designfiction  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  capitalism  democracy  climatechange  education  marrtive  film  filmmaking  art  artists  potential  inquiry  open-ended  openendedness  hope  globalwarming  future  politics  activism  india  colonialism  colonization  complexity  privilege 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Teju Cole en Instagram: “A memory I cherish is of being backstage with John Berger and how he leaned forward and began to tell me about how beautiful, how dear, is…” • Instagram
"A memory I cherish is of being backstage with John Berger and how he leaned forward and began to tell me about how beautiful, how dear, is the moment of being backstage, the moment before the main event. In that moment, John said, everything is still and full of potential. In a way, there’s more to it than the main event, this sitting together in the dark waiting for something to happen.

Today I noted an even earlier moment. The shirt I intend to wear is just out of the dryer, draped across a chair in my kitchen, not yet ironed, caught just so by the afternoon light as though attended by one of the great painters."
tejucole  johnberger  2017  potential  anticipation  waiting  before 
november 2017 by robertogreco
my friend pokey — futures market
"(ed. note: stephen died while writing this, may his sinful heart now rest in peace)

I think that every work implies an audience, i think that projected audience will be perpetually dreamlike and strange since it’s drawn not from human consciousness but from a form of same which has been distorted through embodiment in alien material. Refracted by some “medium” and then existing as a transferable, reproducible object and living an object life separable from the human circumstances by which it was produced. And I think that when we evaluate a work part of what we evaluate is this audience and the prospect of belonging to it, the possibility of a community with those assumptions and those values. The saying “give people what they want” always confuses me in this context because surely part of what they want is the possibility of wanting something else, of being a person who wants something else. Advertisements famously sell not just a product but also the prospect of being the kind of person who likes that product. Even the most conservative works pull a bait and switch in this regards in that part of what they suggest is the prospect of being a person who already knows what they want, of having character and qualities that persist in time rather than being a shapeless blob of experiences.

Avant-garde work could be said to be that which prioritises the formation of new audiences, or the possibility of forming new audiences, above any actual qualities which those audiences would have. It draws on the utopian aspect of creating new social structures, new communities, where whatever form they ultimately end up taking the fact that they can be made at all is in some way a celebration of agency and the possibility of new futures. But the other side of things is that even as the appeal of these imaginary communities comes partly from their distance from our real ones, they’re also evaluated on the basis of their feasibility - their power comes not just from a list of bloodless alternities but from possessing a transformative quality, the real possibility of enactment which is used to make demands on the contemporary. Not just a future but one already germinating in the present. And though I like and respect a lot of these works it’s also hard, for this reason, not to feel a little uneasy about them - because the imagery of an imminent, transfigurative break from the present has been so co-opted as a way to conceal the fundamental limitations and eerie inertia of capitalism that I think it’s hard for anything drawing on that tradition to escape lending credibility to it, even when its interests are directly opposed. 20+ years of an increasingly threadbare neoliberal consensus in the face of problems which grow more and more obvious mean the notion of an unexpected, miraculous shift in the causal order grows more and more central, from the vague sense that someone will invent, like, a moss or something which will stop global warming in the nick of time to the idea that the same clumsy, stupid videogames we’ve been bonking against invisible walls in for decades now will any minute now transmogrify into the effortless freefloating virtual lucid dreams of legend. And in fact videogames provide a constant running example of just how profitably this perception can be managed - - from a medium which from inception built upon a certain futuristic quality coming both from the historically new level of consumer access to computer technology and from decades of science-fiction representations of same, and which leveraged that into a perennial suggestion that the bright new day was always just around the corner - that by playing videogames now you were securing a kind of early-investor bragging rights to the media singularity to come. If there’s anything historically new about videogames it’s the extent to which the very suggestion of potential developments to be had later on was finally recognised as more profitable than any intrinsic qualities of the form itself.

And I think all this raises some problems when we think about avant-garde and experimental videogames, not just because in replicating some of the assumptions of the industry they risk being assimilated by it - you can’t game-design your way out of late capitalism, there are no final aesthetic solutions to economic problems etc - but because by repeating those assumptions they risk being judged by the standard of contribution to this same monolithic vidcon future, and then discarded accordingly when “the future” changes according to stockholder diktats. I mean that when you see these works as yet more expressions of “the medium” it’s harder for them to survive when that status is taken away again, and that at this point it’s difficult to conceive of a future of videogames that doesn’t in some way just flow back into the orthodox one still being sold.

Why does this matter. I think the videogame market will crash again because that’s what markets do, and when it does I believe it’ll be blamed on small engines, on unity and rpgmaker, on asset-flipping and joke simulators and walking games and political games rather than e.g. the incessant boom-bust cycles of capitalism or the fact that the particular interactive media singularity that videogames have invested so much image, money and energy into identifying themselves with looks more and more dated and less likely to happen. I think there’ll be more gamergate bullshit from people who invested in the stupid, stupid videogame dream and got told by youtube millionaires that it was being undermined from within by sjw fifth columnists making pug dating games. I think that just as places like YouTube have shown a willingness to quietly cut down on who’s able to make money through their service places like Steam will do the same thing, particularly after already raising the prospect of exponentially increasing the cost of using the store for small developers already. I think middlebrow columnists at the Atlantic will cash checks saying well, a lot of those games weren’t pushing the medium forward anyway, and that the whole thing will end up being recast as a morality tale about an overcrowded, overdiverse market, and that a lot of valuable work people are doing now will be just wiped from the record in the same way as a lot of pre-2007 indie games were, or flash games, or interactive CD-ROMs, or whatever the fuck.

I think that when this happens experimental games or avant garde games or alternative games will be seen less as possible alternatives to the mainstream tradition than as offshoots of it which got pruned, and I’m not sure how much help they will really be to anyone trying to figure out ways to make these things without getting pulled into the endless churning blood rotor of existing videogame culture.

I’ve written before that the game scenes which interest and excite me most are things like FNAF fangames, Undertale fangames, Unity horror games, RPG Maker games, hyperspecific utility pieces like the Prosperity Path orbs, less for any particular aesthetic or design qualities than for them being videogames which manage to escape some of the awful binary of Producer/Consumer and the ideas of “importance” which evolve later to help justify that perverse dynamic. Like what does it mean to experience a game if it’s just part of a big stack of almost interchangeable things and anyway you’re only absently going through it when searching for more stuff to steal for your own interchangeable thing. Which is healthier and more interesting than “art”. But I think part of it too is the sense of having a specific audience to bounce against, even if it’s just of people looking to take your Secret Of Mana midis, and the way that the concreteness of that audience helps defuse the kind of creeping tendency towards cultural speculation that comes with the belief in a big medium-wide payout somewhere down the line that’d justify the time and energies of everyone involved. I don’t think it’s enough to say people should make an effort to criticise games for what they are as opposed to what they might be, or whatever, insofar as that’s even possible. I think being able to appreciate what they are is dependent on recognizing that they have an audience which is similarly settled, similarly “just there”. And I think working towards constructing that kind of space would mean, yes, a sort of concession of “the future” to the stockholders of industry, renouncing the right to eventually reap that dread crop. But in the process being able to better engage with the present and all the disparite forces and strands within it who have similarly been lopped off that grand narrative, or were never part of it to begin with, and navigate all the ambiguities and potentials of that space. I think the future of videogames is the same kind of desperate, self-willed dream as those years worth of Twitter shares, for a company which has never actually been profitable, or the horrible locked-down image of infinity that sees new Rocket Racoon movies coming out every year til 2099, I think those dreams are ones that emerge and grow stronger as the actual basis for them either materially or affectively grows ever more decrepit, I think however overwhelming they get they can only really be strangled in the present.

As they say… no futur-what! what are you doing in my house! no-aieee!! (manuscript abruptly cuts off)"
via:tealtan  videogames  capitalism  avantgarde  audience  audiences  potential  invention  utopia  games  gaming  media  neoliberalism  2017  possibility  transcontextualism  alternative  art  future  markets  economics  alternities  transformation  change  fandom  agency  moss 
october 2017 by robertogreco
How design fiction imagines future technology – Jon Turney – Aeon
"As technological choices become ever more complex, design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want"



"Design fiction’s efforts to create imaginative realisations of technology, which consciously try to evoke discussion that avoids polarising opinion, have a key ingredient, I think. Unlike the new worlds of sci-fi novels, or the ultra-detailed visuals of futuristic cinema, their stories are unfinished. Minority Report is not about critical design because its narrative is closed. In good design fiction, the story is merely hinted at, the possibilities left open. It is up to the person who stumbles across the design to make sense of how it might be part of a storied future."



Design fiction’s proponents want to craft products and exhibits that are not open to this simplified response, that fire the imagination in the right way. That means being not too fanciful, not simply dystopian, and not just tapping into clichéd science‑fictional scripts. When it works, design fiction brings something new into debates about future technological life, and involves us – the users – in the discussion."



"As design fiction comes to be recognised as a distinctive activity, it will continue to find new forms of expression. The US design theorist Julian Bleecker of the Near Future Laboratory suggests that the TBD Catalog with its realistic depictions of fictional products models a different way of innovating, in which designers ‘prototype and test a near future by writing its product descriptions, filing bug reports, creating product manuals and quick reference guides to probable improbable things’. The guiding impulse is to assist us in imagining a new normality. Design and artistic practice can both do that.

Design fictions are not a panacea for some ideal future of broad participation in choosing the ensemble of technologies that we will live with. Most future technologies will continue to arrive as a done deal, despite talk among academics of ‘upstream engagement’ or – coming into fashion – instituting ‘responsible research and innovation’. The US Department of Defense, for instance, and its lavishly-funded, somewhat science-fictional Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has an extensive catalogue of research and development (R&D) projects on topics from robotics to neural enhancement, selected according to a single over-riding criterion: might they give the USA a military advantage in future? DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office tells us, in a ghastly combination of sales talk and bureaucratese, that it is ‘looking for the best innovators from all fields who have an idea for how to leverage bio+tech to solve seemingly impossible problems and deliver transformative impact’. Here, as in other fields, military, security and much commercial R&D will probably go its own way, and we’ll get weaponised biology whether we like it or not.

For the rest, though, there is a real contribution to be made through a playful, freewheeling design practice, open to many new ideas, and which is technically informed but not constrained by immediate feasibility. There are already enough examples to show how design fiction can invite new kinds of conversations about technological futures. Recognising their possibilities can open up roads not taken.

Design fiction with a less critical (and more commercial) edge will continue to appeal to innovative corporations anxious to configure new offerings to fit better with as yet undefined markets. Their overriding aim is to reduce the chances of an innovation being lost in the ‘valley of death’ between a bright idea and a successful product that preys on the minds of budget-holders.

But the greatest potential of this new way of working is as a tool for those who want to encourage a more important debate about possible futures and their technological ingredients. This is the debate we’re still too often not having, about how to harness technological potential to improve the chances of us living the lives we wish for."
design  designfiction  2105  jonturney  technology  science  participatory  future  complexity  debate  futures  potential  howwelive  lcproject  openstudioproject  darpa  scifi  sciencefiction  change  nearfuturelaboratory  julianbleecker  tbdcatalog  fiction  prototyping  art  imagination  tinkeringwiththefuture  paulgrahamraven  alexandraginsberg  christinapagapis  sisseltolaas  syntheticbiology  alexiscarrel  frederikpohl  cyrilkornbluth  margaretatwood  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  koertvanmensvoort  hendrik-jangrievink  arthurcclarke  davidnye  julesverne  hgwells  martincooper  startrek  johnunderkoffler  davidkirby  aldoushuxley  bravenewworld  minorityreport  jamesauger  jimmyloizeau  worldbuilding  microworldbuilding  thenewnormal 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Three Uncertain Thoughts, Or, Everything I Know I Learned from Ursula Le Guin | Design Culture Lab
"One.

In her 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin writes, “The unknown, [...] the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action . . . [T]he only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.”

If the only certainty is death, then to deny uncertainty is to deny life.

My work (creative? social science?) is vital not in the sense of being necessary or essential, but energetic, lively, uncertain. In a short 2006 piece in Theory, Culture & Society, Scott Lash argues that the classical concept of vitalism has re-emerged in the face of global complexity and uncertainty, manifesting itself in cultural theory that acknowledges that “the notion of life has always favoured an idea of becoming over one of being, of movement over stasis, of action over structure, of flow and flux.”

In my research I take seriously the idea that what I am seeing, doing and making is emergent; I cannot know how — when, where, for whom or why — it will all end. I can only live with, and through, it. This means I do not want to convince others that I am right. (Have you ever noticed that Le Guin’s stories unfailingly explore ethics and morality without dealing in absolutes?)

I only — as if this were a small thing! — invite you to accompany me for a while, and see what we can become together. This is just — as if this too were a small thing! — one way of knowing the world.

Two.

In a 2014 interview for Smithsonian Magazine, Le Guin explains that the future is where “anything at all can be said to happen without fear of contradiction from a native. [It] is a safe, sterile laboratory for trying out ideas in, a means of thinking about reality, a method.”

My work makes things, and explicitly makes things up, in some near or far future. I practice different worlds.

Fictions and futures give me (you? us?) space to move, and be moved. This is the space of utopia, but not an idealist utopia set against a pessimist dystopia. Fictions and futures are literally no-places: real but not actual, and always vital. I feel as though I thrive in these spaces, both grounded and reaching toward the sky, open to the elements, potential.

But here’s something I’ve learned: I can’t make up anything and expect it to work. The stories need to resonate. And that means they need to be internally coherent and consistent, plausible. So I locate others and myself empirically, ethnographically. I look to the hopes and promises that bind us together, to the threats that rip us apart, and I look to the expectations that constrain and orient us along particular, but not certain, paths.

And then I imagine it (me, you, us) otherwise.

Three.

In her 2007 essay “The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists,” Le Guin clarifies “although the green country of fantasy seems to be entirely the invention of human imaginations, it verges on and partakes of actual realms in which humanity is not lord and master, is not central, is not even important.”

My imagination has sought out this vital, “green country of fantasy” by focussing on possible futures for multispecies, more-than-human, agents. But I’ve yet to be successful in my quest to avoid anthropocentrism. (My dragons remain stubbornly human!)

Still: I follow Donna Haraway’s argument, in 2007’s When Species Meet, that “animals enrich our ignorance.” When I look at people and technology and design and everyday life with — and through — animals I am never more uncertain about what they all mean. To take animals (and other nonhumans) seriously forces me to let go of many preconceptions, even when I fail to imagine a plausible alternative.

But perhaps that uncertainty is only appropriate, too."
annegalloway  2014  ursulaleguin  unknown  uncertainty  unproven  certainty  death  life  scottlash  vitalism  complexity  culture  theory  morality  ethics  absolutism  knowing  unknowing  future  futures  fiction  worldbuilding  process  method  making  speculativefiction  designfiction  ethnography  imagination  utopia  dystopia  potential  fantasy  invention  design  anthropocentrism  multispecies  donnaharaway  ignorance  technology  preconceptions  posthumanism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
An Administrator's Lament — Casey's Notes and Links
"A businessman approached with the idea of a sporadic institution might be see it as something on the brink of collapse or failure. That’s because the ephemeral institution’s default state is not growing, profitable, comfortable, boring, tense inertia…but: potential energy. A resting network of individuals, resources, and ideas awaiting the charter of its next constellation.

There’s a weight to having resources and a freedom in forcing yourself to shut down and start over early and often. You can tell you’re thinking in terms of Return On Investment if that sounds backwards to you.

Starting something is hard enough, so it’s scary to consider building a framework in which you intentionally shut yourself down like clockwork to rehustle as if you’re just starting out. Self-sabotage?! Self-inflicted trauma!? (The warnings of smart and kind but still capitalists.)

Again, this sounds crazy, but: if you’re liked well enough, you won’t be able to run fast enough to outpace support. The gradual decline into comfortable, boring, tense, rich, ignorant, trapped — at some point forever imposed on you.

The-most-fucked-up-thing-of-all: time accrues. No matter how small you try to stay fiscally, bureaucratically — time grows you up. Simply by virtue of having existed for consecutive minutes, months, years you’re expected to legitimize (as if you didn’t start off running from its logical conclusion): a storage unit, taxes, insurance, payroll, audits, correspondence. Whole industries around not letting experiments stay young forever.

Maybe in a year there’ll be a staff of 25 and franchises from Shanghai to Dubai. I can only see that kind of future when I squint beyond the horizon of some twisted alternate universe. But I’ve lived it before, so when I meet with our accountant it literally hurts to think I’ll live it again."
caseygollan  2014  ephemeral  ephemeralinstitutions  pop-ups  inertia  potential  sfpc  schoolforpoeticcomputing  schools  openstudioproject  lcproject  time  bureaucracy  capitalism  nonprofits  freedom  returnoninvestment  roi  ephemerality  nonprofit 
april 2014 by robertogreco
gis-advice.md
"Find interesting people. You’ll learn a lot more from a great professor (or mentor, or friend, or tutorial) talking about something outside your specialty than you will from someone boring who’s working on exactly what you’re interested in. Don’t get insular! All the best artists I know have close scientist friends and vice versa.

That principle alone should expose you to enough interesting ideas that you will be able to see the most productive paths for yourself. I guess I could go on:

Look for real problems. “Let’s make a map of the furthest point from a McDonalds in each state” may be a useful exercise, but it’s not a real problem. Accurately measuring how earthquakes propagate is a real problem. Making sure that indigenous land rights are represented is a real problem. Finding early evidence of village destruction is a real problem. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time on scientific and humanitarian topics, especially as a student! But your work is valuable and should be spent on things you care about, even if they’re silly. If you learn to ask interesting questions that no one else is asking, you will get a good reputation among the people whom you would actually want to work for.

Learn as much statistics as you reasonably can. Trust me. Half the time I solve a tough technical problem it involves learning some stats, and then suddenly I see all these other places where that bit of knowledge applies. In fact, I’m making a note: I should learn more stats.

Read Edward Tufte’s books front to back several times, even the parts that don’t seem to have anything to do with maps."



"If you need to do some work (a course, a job) that you don’t believe in, fine, and try to learn something from it. Pay the bills. But don’t bring it on yourself. Don’t say “Well, Yoyodyne makes kitten-seeking missile guidance computers and their contract doesn’t allow side projects, but I need something solid on my résumé, so I’ll just spend four years there while I get on my feet.” It might work by chance, but odds are it’ll lead to selling out, burning out, and just generally being no use to yourself or anyone else. The GIS industry is a moving target: don’t aim for a good job, aim to invent it.

One of my coworkers came to the company from a project to map the history of the ancient Mediterranean; another got on the radar because he was mapping the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk. Our lead developer was a philosophy/studio art major. I dropped out. Very few of us majored in GIS or CS. But we all ended up here because each in our own way we fundamentally care about geography – place, space, and helping people work with representations of their world more easily. Of course we’re a startup so things are a little unusual, but really, to any company worth working for, showing initiative, carefulness, curiosity, and delight in geography itself matters so much more than any one item on your CV.

When people say “do what you love” they don’t mean “goof off and trust the world to provide”; they mean “you’ll be working below your abilities whenever you don’t have intrinsic motivation, so find it”.

Stick with open-source tools as much as reasonably possible. There are various advantages, but one is that in principle you can always look inside them and figure out exactly what they do. In practice that’s rarely easy, but it’s still valuable. You also get to share your work with a much larger community – given that maybe 3% of the population can afford a closed-source GIS package, 97% of Earth’s latent GIS talent is in the open-source world. Help bring it to fruition:

Teach. Any time anyone is paying attention to you, you’re teaching anyway, so it’s good to be deliberate about it. This might take the form of a notebook blog, for example: “Today I tried to do X with method Y, but got result Z. Will try again next week”. Teaching forces you to think carefully in certain ways (as does programming!). Teaching also helps you keep ethics in mind. Mapping is a special kind of power that most people cannot tell is being abused even when it is; having to justify something to a student is one technique to keep in mind the consequences of things."
charlieloyd  2013  advice  learning  interestedness  problemsolving  gis  teaching  inventing  understanding  unschooling  values  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  potential  interested 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Existential Depression in Gifted Children | The Unbounded Spirit
"It is such existential issues that lead many of our gifted individuals to bury themselves so intensively in “causes” (whether these causes are academics, political or social causes, or cults). Unfortunately, these existential issues can also prompt periods of depression, often mixed with desperate, thrashing attempts to “belong.” Helping these individuals to recognize the basic existential issues may help, but only if done in a kind and accepting way. In addition, these youngsters will need to understand that existential issues are not ones that can be dealt with only once, but rather ones that will need frequent revisiting and reconsideration."
depression  existentialism  structure  life  psychology  children  meaning  meaninglessness  gifted  potential  purpose  isolation  failure  aloneness  via:litherland 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Albert Cullum, Pablo Picasso and The Art of Teaching | Teaching Out Loud
""I think teaching is pushing them away from you…through different doors. Not embracing them. When you embrace someone, you’re holding them back. Picasso really captured that in his art work, Mother and Child: a chunky mother, balancing the baby perfectly. She doesn’t hold him…it’s balance…he can go, anytime he’s capable of going, but he’s perfectly balanced until he takes the step. Classroom teaching should be that. Find a security spot for them and then they’re ready to go."

…the “balance” to which Cullum refers has more to do with allowing children to discover their own uniqueness, their own abilities and their own “script”. He creates the structures and the strategies that allow this discovery to take place,  but the goal is never to have them cling to him as teacher. Instead, the goal is to have them embrace that uniqueness and potential and run with it…as far as they can in whatever direction they choose."
children  parenting  learning  education  belesshelpful  deschooling  unschooling  potential  discovery  balance  howweteach  cv  2012  stephenhurley  albertcullem  dependence  independence  freedom  control  teaching 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Chuck Klosterman on Rock VORP - Grantland
"WE ARE THE PEOPLE, AND WE ARE OUTSTANDING.

And yet … not perfect.

Not quite. There's still a lot of greatness to be achieved. We're still struggling with cold fusion and time travel. It seems like our ACLs are constantly tearing. Cats remain undomesticated. Many of the existential paradoxes originally raised by Gallagher continue to haunt us (parking on driveways, driving on parkways, etc.). To truly live, man must forever joust against himself. He must wage war against his own sexy demons. And I think we'd all agree that one of these demons looms larger than all others combined — we still haven't figured out a way to arbitrarily turn art into math.

Well, that is about to change.

That is about to VORM."

[via: http://hello.typepad.com/hello/2011/06/chuck-klosterman-on-rock-vorp.html ]
art  music  humor  society  humans  2011  potential  there'sworktodo  progress  chuckklosterman 
june 2011 by robertogreco
cloudhead - hypercity
"the web is hypercity - virtualizing and extending every process and relationship that grew out of the urban environment. With the remediation of the city comes a new understanding of citizenship.

hypercity is quite literally the rebirth of the citizen … a reawakening of the city’s exhausted civic potential."
web  internet  online  cities  thecityishereforyoutouse  urban  urbanism  situationist  hypercities  hypercity  civics  citizenship  potential  anarchism  anarchy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  networkedlearning  networks  relationships  learning  meaningmaking  meaning  sensemaking  shiftctrlesc  headmine 
june 2011 by robertogreco
OK Do | Dreaming objects – A meeting with Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
"AD: The question of art and design is problematic. A lot of people want to see us as artists, but we definitely see ourselves as designers trying to push the discipline forward, asking questions about design and through it. In fact, we launched the term critical design ten years ago in order to describe our work. Sometimes people think it simply means criticism; that we are negative about everything, anti-consumerist and against design. Some people relate it to critical theory; to Frankfurt school and anti-capitalist thinking. We are definitely aware of it, but then again not in that category either. Critical design is about critical thinking – about not taking things at face value. It’s about questioning things, and trying to understand what’s behind them. In essence, our objective is to use design as a means for applying skepticism to society at large."
art  design  dunne&raby  fionaraby  anthonydunne  learning  unschooling  deschooling  criticalthinking  questioning  unproduct  undesign  science  research  parallelworlds  paralleluniverses  social  society  democracy  education  thinking  philosophy  glvo  lcproject  openstudio  anti-consumption  functionalfictions  okdo  interviews  potential  herenow  presentations  narratives  change  sustainability  slow 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Put This On • Sometimes people ask me about how I created my...
"Sometimes people ask me about how I created my little media empire. This is how.

Ira spent 20 years working at NPR before he started This American Life. Twenty years making mistakes, learning from them, thinking about what he’d do with his own show. When he started This Life, NPR turned him down. After 20 years. Told him to do it on his own. So he went out and won some fucking Peabodys.

The day Ira told me he enjoyed a particular episode of my stupid comedy podcast that I didn’t even know he’d every heard of much less listened to was one of the proudest days of my life. For serious.

And speaking of serious: SERIOUSLY, MAKE YOUR THING."
creativity  work  inspiration  tips  howto  iraglass  jessethorn  putthison  persistence  mistakes  learning  perseverance  hardwork  glvo  lcproject  volume  process  2011  making  doing  justdo  do  taste  potential  practice  deadlines  discipline  self-discipline  thisamericanlife 
april 2011 by robertogreco
I Wish This Was
"New Orleans is full of vacant storefronts and people who need things. These stickers are an easy tool to voice what you want where you want it. Fill them out and put them on abandoned buildings and beyond.

These stickers are custom vinyl and can be easily removed without damaging property. They're free and can be found in corner stores, cafes, bookstores, bars, hair salons, and other places around New Orleans. See select photos here and share more on Flickr (tag your photos "iwishthiswas") or email photos or locations.

This project was created by local designer Candy Chang and launched with exhibit Ethnographic Terminalia at DuMois Gallery. Come to the opening Nov 19 or visit the show until Dec 3 2010 for good times and free stickers."
candychang  crowdsourcing  stickers  urbanism  neworleans  location  labels  papernet  city  nola  activism  iwishthiswas  via:migurski  cities  classideas  civics  potential 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Portrait of a child's wonder years - The Irish Times - Tue, Oct 05, 2010
"He doesn’t point to his controversial claim that watching films as a child can be as beneficial a part of early childcare as being read books. He doesn’t bring up his championing of creches because they ape the way ancient tribal societies rear children.

What surprised him most, he says on the phone from his home in England, was just how full of ability children aged two to five really are. “They are capable of so much and have such a capacity for learning that it is quite simply astonishing,” says the 81 year old.

His latest book is full of equally not-so-shocking revelations. He warns that adults should not speak to children in baby language as it could slow down language acquisition, for example – advice which can be found in even the most elementary childcare books…"It’s not up to me to tell people how to raise their children but I wrote this book because if they have all the facts, a parent will be better informed about the decisions they make.""
desmondmorris  children  parenting  books  film  learning  potential  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  schools  teaching 
october 2010 by robertogreco
RSA - No limits
"This does not mean, of course, that every person has the same resources and opportunities or that anyone can be great at anything; biological and circumstantial differences and advantages or disadvantages abound. However, by revealing talent to be a process rather than a thing, we can debunk the simplistic idea of genetic giftedness. It is no longer reasonable to attribute talent or success to a specific gene or to any other mysterious gift. The real gift, it turns out, belongs to virtually all of us: it is the plasticity and the extraordinary responsiveness built into basic human biology."
talent  practice  creativity  psychology  expertise  learning  doing  tcsnmy  potential  davidshenck  adaptability  toshare  topost  plasticity  genius  sports  persistence  hardwork  experience  iteration 
july 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - Shawn Achor, Part 1: The Science of Happiness and Potential
"Shawn Achor from Harvard University speaks on "Positive Pscyhology: The Science of Happiness and Potential." Shawn Achor describes the approach of positive psychology, the research behind how people can change, and the dramatic effects of positive psychology upon productivity, health, relationships, creativity, and success rates. He is the CEO of Aspirant, LLC, a positive psychology consulting firm in Cambridge, MA (www.shawnachor.com)."
happiness  products  work  psychology  shawnachor  potential 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Unboxed - If You’re Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow - NYTimes.com
“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront
potential  management  administration  leadership  genius  growth  psychology  risk 
july 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read