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Why Your Brain Needs Idle Time – Elemental
"Mental idle time, meanwhile, seems to facilitate creativity and problem-solving. “Our research has found that mind-wandering may foster a particular kind of productivity,” says Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara who has studied mind-wandering extensively. He says overcoming impasses — including what he calls “a-ha!” moments — often happen when people’s minds are free to roam.

Schooler mentions the common experience of not being able to recall a word that’s on the tip of your tongue — no matter how hard you try to think of it. But as soon as you move onto another mental task, the word pops into your head. “I think it’s very possible that some unconscious processes are going on during mind-wandering, and the insights these processes produce then bubble up to the surface,” he says.

It’s also possible that depriving the brain of free time stifles its ability to complete this unconscious work. “I think we need to recognize that the brain’s internal train of thought can be of value in itself,” Schooler says. “In the same way we can experience a sleep deficit, I think we can experience a mind-wandering deficit.”

“Many people find it difficult or stressful to do absolutely nothing,” he adds. Instead, Schooler says “non-demanding” tasks that don’t require much mental engagement seem to be best at fostering “productive” mind-wandering. He mentions activities like going for a walk in a quiet place, doing the dishes, or folding laundry — chores that may occupy your hands or body but that don’t require much from your brain.

While a wandering mind can slip into some unhelpful and unhealthy states of rumination, that doesn’t mean blocking these thoughts with constant distraction is the way to go. “I think it’s about finding balance between being occupied and in the present and letting your mind wander — [and] about thinking positive thoughts and thinking about obstacles that may stand in your way,” says Schooler.

There may be no optimal amount of time you can commit to mental freedom to strike that balance. But if you feel like it takes “remarkable effort” for you to disengage from all your favorite sources of mental stimulation, that’s probably a good sign you need to give your brain more free time, Immordino-Yang says. “To just sit and think is not pleasant when your brain is trained out of practicing that, but that’s really important for well-being,” she adds.

Frank recommends starting small — maybe take a 15-minute, distraction-free walk in the middle of your day. “You might find your world changes,” he says."
brain  jonathnschooler  idleness  2019  cognition  psychology  neuroscience  downtime  daydreaming  mindwandering  walking  quiet  chores  mentalload  cognitiveload  thinking  howwethink  epiphanies  creativity  problemsolving  mentalhealth  attention  distraction  doingnothing 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Laurel Schwulst, "Blogging in Motion" - YouTube
"This video was originally published as part of peer-to-peer-web.com's NYC lecture series on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the at the School for Poetic Computation.

It has been posted here for ease of access.

You can find many other great talks on the site:
https://peer-to-peer-web.com

And specifically more from the NYC series:
https://peer-to-peer-web.com/nyc "

[See also:
https://www.are.na/laurel-schwulst/blogging-in-motion ]
laurelschwulst  2019  decentralization  p2p  web  webdesign  blogging  movement  travel  listening  attention  self-reflection  howwewrite  writing  walking  nyc  beakerbrowser  creativity  pokemon  pokemonmoon  online  offline  internet  decentralizedweb  dat  p2ppublishing  p2pweb  distributed  webdev  stillness  infooverload  ubiquitous  computing  internetofthings  casygollan  calm  calmtechnology  zoominginandout  electricity  technology  copying  slow  small  johnseelybrown  markweiser  xeroxparc  sharing  oulipo  constraints  reflection  play  ritual  artleisure  leisurearts  leisure  blogs  trains  kylemock  correspondence  caseygollan  apatternlanguage  intimacy  dweb 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Shade
[via: https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1122670547777871874

who concludes…
https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1122685558688485376
"🌴Imagine what LA could do if it tied street enhancement to a comprehensive program of shade creation: widening the sidewalks, undergrounding powerlines, cutting bigger tree wells, planting leafy, drought-resistant trees, + making room for arcades, galleries, + bus shelters.🌳"]

"All you have to do is scoot across a satellite map of the Los Angeles Basin to see the tremendous shade disparity. Leafy neighborhoods are tucked in hillside canyons and built around golf courses. High modernist homes embrace the sun as it flickers through labor-intensive thickets of eucalyptus. Awnings, paseos, and mature ficus trees shade high-end shopping districts. In the oceanfront city of Santa Monica, which has a dedicated municipal tree plan and a staff of public foresters, all 302 bus stops have been outfitted with fixed steel parasols (“blue spots”) that block the sun. 9 Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles flats, there are vast gray expanses — playgrounds, parking lots, and wide roads — with almost no trees. Transit riders bake at unsheltered bus stops. The homeless take refuge in tunnels and under highway overpasses; some chain their tarps and tents to fences on Skid Row and wait out the day in the shadows of buildings across the street.

Shade is often understood as a luxury amenity, lending calm to courtyards and tree-lined boulevards, cooling and obscuring jewel boxes and glass cubes. But as deadly, hundred-degree heatwaves become commonplace, we have to learn to see shade as a civic resource that is shared by all. In the shade, overheated bodies return to equilibrium. Blood circulation improves. People think clearly. They see better. In a physiological sense, they are themselves again. For people vulnerable to heat stress and exhaustion — outdoor workers, the elderly, the homeless — that can be the difference between life and death. Shade is thus an index of inequality, a requirement for public health, and a mandate for urban planners and designers.

A few years back, Los Angeles passed sweeping revisions to the general plan meant to encourage residents to walk, bike, and take more buses and trains. But as Angelenos step out of their cars, they are discovering that many streets offer little relief from the oppressive sunshine. Not everyone has the stamina to wait out the heat at an unprotected bus stop, or the money to duck into an air-conditioned cafe. 11 When we understand shade as a public resource — a kind of infrastructure, even — we can have better discussions about how to create it and distribute it fairly.

Yet cultural values complicate the provision of shade. Los Angeles is a low-rise city whose residents prize open air and sunshine. 12 They show up at planning meetings to protest tall buildings that would block views or darken sunbathing decks, and police urge residents in high-crime neighborhoods to cut down trees that hide drug dealing and prostitution. Shade trees are designed out of parks to discourage loitering and turf wars, and designed off streets where traffic engineers demand wide lanes and high visibility. Diffuse sunlight is rare in many parts of Los Angeles. You might trace this back to a cultural obsession with shadows and spotlights, drawing a line from Hollywood noir — in which long shadows and unlit corners represent the criminal underworld — to the contemporary politics of surveillance. 13 The light reveals what hides in the dark.

When I think of Los Angeles, I picture Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village, a streetcar suburb converted into a ten-lane automobile moonscape. People say they like this street for its wall of low-slung, pre-war storefronts, home to record stores and restaurants. To me, it’s a never-ending, vertiginous tunnel of light. I squint to avoid the glare from the white stucco walls, bare pavement, and car windows. From a climate perspective, bright surfaces are good; they absorb fewer sun rays and lessen the urban heat-island effect. But on an unshaded street they can also concentrate and intensify local sunlight."



"At one time, they did. “Shade was integral, and incorporated into the urban design of southern California up until the 1930s,” Davis said. “If you go to most of the older agricultural towns … the downtown streets were arcaded. They had the equivalent of awnings over the sidewalk.” Rancho homes had sleeping porches and shade trees, and buildings were oriented to keep their occupants cool. The original settlement of Los Angeles conformed roughly to the Law of the Indies, a royal ordinance that required streets to be laid out at a 45-degree angle, ensuring access to sun in the winter and shade in the summer. Spanish adobes were built around a central courtyard cooled by awnings and plants. 15 As the city grew, the California bungalow — a low, rectangular house, with wide eaves, inspired by British Indian hill stations — became popular with the middle class. “During the 1920s, they were actually prefabricated in factories,” Davis said. “There are tens of thousands of bungalows, particularly along the Alameda corridor … that were manufactured by Pacific Ready-Cut Homes, which advertised itself as the Henry Ford of home construction.” 16

All that changed with the advent of cheap electricity. In 1936, the Los Angeles Bureau of Power and Light completed a 266-mile high-voltage transmission line from Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam), which could supply 70 percent of the city’s power at low cost. Southern Californians bought mass-produced housing with electric heating and air conditioning. By the end of World War II, there were nearly 4 million people living in Los Angeles County, and the new neighborhoods were organized around driveways and parking lots. Parts of the city, Davis said, became “virtually treeless deserts.”"



"It’s easy to see how this hostile design reflected the values of the peak automobile era, but there is more going on here. The destruction of urban refuge was part of a long-term strategy to discourage gay cruising, drug use, and other “shady” activities downtown. In 1964, business owners sponsored another redesign that was intended, in the hyperbolic words of the Los Angeles Times, to finally clear out the “deviates and criminals.” The city removed the perimeter benches and culled even more palms and shade trees, so that office workers and shoppers could move through the park without being “accosted by derelicts and ‘bums.’” Sunlight was weaponized. “Before long, pedestrians will be walking through, instead of avoiding, Pershing Square,” the Times declared. “And that is why parks are built.” 19"



"High-concept architecture is one way to transform the shadescape of Los Angeles. Street trees are another. Unfortunately, the city’s most ubiquitous tree — the iconic Washington robusta, or Mexican fan palm — is about as useful in that respect as a telephone pole.

Palm trees have been identified with southern California since 1893, when Canary Island date palms — the fatter, stouter cousin — were displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair. On the trunk of one of those palms, boosters posted the daily temperatures at a San Diego beach, and the tree itself came to stand for “sunshine and soft air.” In his indispensable history, Trees in Paradise, Jared Farmer traces the palm’s transformation from a symbol of a healthy climate to a symbol of glamour, via its association with Hollywood. 26

Despite that early fame, palm trees did not really take over Los Angeles until the 1930s, when a citywide program set tens of thousands of palms along new or recently expanded roads. They were the ideal tree for an automobile landscape. Hardy, cheap, and able to grow anywhere, palm trees are basically weeds. Their shallow roots curl up into a ball, so they can be plugged into small pavement cuts without entangling underground sewer and water mains or buckling sidewalks. As Farmer puts it, palms are “symbiotic infrastructure,” beautifying the city without making a mess. Plus, as Mary Pickford once pointed out, the slender trunks don’t block the view of storefronts, which makes them ideal for window-shopping from the driver’s seat. The city’s first forester, L. Glenn Hall, planted more than 25,000 palm trees in 1931 alone. 27

Hall’s vision, though, was more ambitious than that. He planned to landscape all of Los Angeles’s roads with 1.2 million street trees. Tall palms, like Washingtonia robusta, would go on major thoroughfares, and side streets would be lined with elm, pine, red maple, liquidambar, ash, and sycamore. A Depression-era stimulus package provided enough funds to employ 400 men for six months. But the forestry department put the burden of watering and maintenance on property owners, and soon it charged for cutting new tree wells, too. Owners weren’t interested. So Hall concentrated his efforts on the 28 major boulevards that would serve the 1932 Olympics — including the now-iconic Ventura, Wilshire, Figueroa, Vermont, Western, and Crenshaw — and committed the city to pay for five years of tree maintenance. That may well have bankrupted the tree planting program, and before long the city was urging property owners to take on all costs, including the trees themselves.

This history partly explains the shade disparity in Los Angeles today. Consider the physical dimensions of a major city street in Hall’s time. Between the expanding road and narrowing sidewalks was an open strip of grass, three to ten feet wide, known as the parkway. Having rejected a comprehensive parks system, Los Angeles relied on these roadside strips to plant its urban forest, but over time the parkways were diminished by various agencies in the name of civic improvements — chiefly, road widening. 29 And the stewardship of these spaces was always ambiguous. The parkways are public land, owned and regulated by the … [more]
losangeles  trees  shade  history  palmtrees  urbanplanning  electricity  inequality  2019  sambloch  mikedavis  urban  urbanism  cars  transportation  disparity  streets  values  culture  pedestrians  walking  heat  light  socal  california  design  landscape  wealth  sidewalks  publictransit  transit  privacy  reynerbanham  surveillance  sun  sunshine  climatechange  sustainability  energy  ericgarcetti  antoniovillaraigosa  environment  realestate  law  legal  cities  civics 
april 2019 by robertogreco
On the importance of being idle: Writer Anna Della Subin on the unsung values of doing nothing, procrastination as its own form of productivity, and the mythological power of sleep. [The Creative Independent]
"The real epiphanies of figuring out what I’m trying to say don’t happen when I chain myself to my desk. I let myself into the labyrinth, to get lost in the footnotes of arcane books from the 19th century, or just out on a walk. I need a sense of timelessness to do my best work."
annadellsubin  howwewrite  writing  thinking  howwethink  idleness  procrastination  2019  derive  meandering  walking  solviturambulando  laziness  insomnia  sleep  time  timelessness  howwework  immortality 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Oh God, It's Raining Newsletters — by Craig Mod
"In truth, it’s a newsletter about the design of walking. But more broadly, launching it has given me reason to consider the state of newsletters and email, in 2019: It’s kind of amazing."



"Ownership is the critical point here. Ownership in email in the same way we own a paperback: We recognize that we (largely) control the email subscriber lists, they are portable, they are not governed by unknowable algorithmic timelines.3 And this isn’t ownership yoked to a company or piece of software operating on quarterly horizon, or even multi-year horizon, but rather to a half-century horizon. Email is a (the only?) networked publishing technology with both widespread, near universal adoption,4 and history. It is, as they say, proven."



"A lot of this newsletter writing is happening, probably, because the archives aren’t great. Tenuousness unlocks the mind, loosens tone. But the archival reality might be just the opposite of that common perception: These newsletters are the most backed up pieces of writing in history, copies in millions of inboxes, on millions of hard drives and servers, far more than any blog post. More robust than an Internet Archive container. LOCKSS to the max. These might be the most durable copies yet of ourselves. They’re everywhere but privately so, hidden, piggybacking on the most accessible, oldest networked publishing platform in the world. QWERTYUIOP indeed."
carigmod  newsletters  2019  email  internet  web  online  publishing  walking  substack  buttondown  tinyletter  mailchimp  memberful  naas  instagram  facebook  socialmedia  blogs  blogging  self-publishing  selfpublishing  intimacy  ownership 
february 2019 by robertogreco
The WALKING podcast by Jon Mooallem on Apple Podcasts
"Come along as acclaimed journalist and author Jon Mooallem takes a walk through tranquil woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. No talking; just walking. Ambient. Pleasing. Unusual."



"Customer Reviews

Sooooo Soooooothing...
by Christopher Gronlund
Because I'm a tech writer by trade, and because I don't commute to work, I really don't have the ability to listen to many podcasts. Talking does not work well with writing, and evenings are spent with my wife, or doing the writing I prefer doing.

But ambient footfalls out on a walk? Yes! Not only can I listen to this while working...the pacing of the steps slogging along probably improved productivity. Bonus: I'm sure I'll relisten to episodes when I need to block out the world and get things done.

Finally
by Code Name Dazzle
The walking podcast I've been waiting for!

Slug Murder Truthers
by Ryan Nickum
The pitter patter of host Jon’s feet upon the soft Pacific Northwest soil is a soothing sound... that is until about 6:09 into episode 1, when the host can clearly be heard stepping on a banana slug. At first I thought that squishing sound might be mud, which is common to the area, but immediately after one can clearly hear his pace quicken and his breathing increase, as he hurries away from the horror he’s caused."
sound  walking  pacificnorthwest  jonmooallem  podcasts  ambient 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Making the Ordinary Visible: Interview with Yasar Adanali : Making Futures
"Yaşar Adanalı defines his work over the past decade as being that of a “part time academic researcher and part time activist”. He is one of the founders of the Center for Spatial Justice in Istanbul, an urban institute that focuses on issues of spatial justice in Istanbul and beyond. In this interview, he reflects upon “continuance” as a tool of engagement, the power of attending to the ordinary within the production of space, and the different types of public that this works seeks to address.

What led to the founding of the Center for Spatial for Justice and how does its work relate to the worlds of academia, activism and urbanism?

I’m interested in questions regarding spatial production in general and more specifically justice – the injustices that derive from spatial processes or the spatial aspect of social injustices. The Center for Spatial Justice takes the acronym MAD in Turkish – a MAD organisation against mad projects, that’s our founding moto. We bring together people from different disciplines such as architects, urban planners, artists, journalists, filmmakers, lawyers and geographers to produce work in relation to what’s going here: grassroots struggles in the city and in the countryside. The Center for Spatial Justice believes in the interconnectedness of urban and rural processes.

As educator and an activist, you work both within and outside an institutional setting. Have you been able to take the latter experience back into the academy and if so, what in particular? How do these two roles inform each other?

Since 2014 I have been teaching a masters design studio at TU Darmstadt. It’s a participatory planning course that both follows and supports a cooperative housing project in Düzce, Turkey, produced for and by the tenants who were badly affected by the 1999 earthquake. Over the course of the past five years, the master students have been developing a 4000 sq m housing project from scratch. The students from Darmstadt come to Istanbul as interns, working partly on the project. The result is a long-lasting relationship with the neighbourhoods in question and with the organisations we have been working with.

Apart from that, through MAD and Beyond Istanbul we develop summer and winter schools – non-academic experiences that similarly bridge the gap between the alternative universe and the mainstream universe. When you start to put critical questions into the minds of the students, these linger and they then take them back to the university, so their friends and professors also become exposed to that. We prefer to develop this approach outside of the university so that we are freed from bureaucracy and rigid structures but we keep it open to enrolled students and professors.

What are some particular strategies and methodologies that you adopt to engender this approach to urban practice? How do you involve local residents, for example?

That building of long-term relationships with communities is why we do a lot of walking. Our research questions are informed by the community and the site we arrive at – we do not predetermine hypotheses in advance. We remain in direct contact with different groups in the city and walk through these territories – with the neighbourhood association – not just once but every week. We listen to a lot of stories and record them. Oral histories are an important part of the ethnographic enquiry.

We also use mapping, a tool commonly used to exert power but that nature can be reversed. Through mapping we reclaim territories that have perhaps been “erased” – that is, transformed by injustice. We also map informal areas and then give those maps to the communities there because the way they appear on official plans often doesn’t reflect how things look on the ground. What looks like a carpark in the plan might be someone’s house; what’s represented as a commercial development might currently be a neighbourhood park or some other form of already existing social infrastructure.

In addition, we try to embed journalistic means within our academic interests, which is why we work with documentary journalists and photographers on each of our projects. We broadcast spatial justice news videos, in depth films that offer 8-10 minutes of reporting on a particular issue, giving it context and also pointing towards possible solutions. Solution journalism, which doesn’t just focus on crisis, is very important in the work we do.

As part of its work making spatial injustices visible, MAD publishes a wide range of materials. Which are the publics you try to communicate with through this?

Research has to be coupled with a conscious effort to communicate because you want to make change. We don’t want to make research for the sake of research or produce publications for the sake of publishing. We want to create those publics you allude to – and to influence them. We are addressing people involved in the discipline in its broadest sense: planners, architects, sociologists, activists, but perhaps most especially students who are interested in spatial issues, urban questions and environmental concerns. They are our main target. We want them to understand that their discipline has much more potential than what they are learning at university. I’m not saying the entire education system is wrong but there is much larger perspective beyond it and great potential for collaboration with other disciplines and engagement with different publics as well.

Another important public is the one directly involved with our work, i.e. the community that is being threatened by renewal projects. These groups are not only our public but also our patrons – we are obliged to be at their service and offer technical support, whether that’s recording a meeting with the mayor or analysing a plan together. Then there is the larger audience of broader society, who we hope to encourage to think of and engage with these issues of inequality and spatial justice.

I found an interesting quote on your webpage that says that the founding of MAD “is an invitation to understand the ordinary in an extraordinary global city context”. Can you talk a little about the urban context of Istanbul, Turkey and why the focus on the ordinary?

Everything about Istanbul is extraordinary: transformation, speed, scale. We are interested in making the ordinary visible because when we focus so much on the mega-projects, on the idea of the global city, then the rest of the city is made invisible. We look beyond the city centre – the façade – and beyond the mainstream, dominant discourse. This “ordinary” is the neighbourhood, nature and that which lies beyond the spectacle – other Turkish cities, for example. This approach can entail initiatives that range from historical urban gardening practices, working with informal neighbourhoods subject to eviction and relocation processes, or rural communities on the very eastern border currently threatened by new mine projects.

More specifically, today we live in an extraordinary state. The public arena is in a deep crisis and the democratic institutions and their processes do not really deserve our direct involvement right now. Having said that, there are different pockets within these systems, municipal authorities that operate differently, for example, and when we find these we work with them, but we remain realistic with regards to our limits. The “now” in Turkey has been lost in the sense that its relevance is not linked to the future beyond or to the next generation. That is a deep loss. But if you have the vision and the production means, if you set up a strong system, build the capacity first of yourself and then of the groups your work with, then when the right moment comes, all of these elements will flourish."
urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  cities  maps  mapping  neighborhoods  unschooling  deschooling  education  independence  lcproject  openstudioproject  justice  visibility  istanbul  turkey  ethnography  inquiry  erasure  injustice  infrastructure  socialinfrastructure  2018  rosariotalevi  speed  scale  transformation  walking  community  yasaradanali  space  placemaking  interconnectedness  interconnected  geography  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  socialjustice  architecture  design  film  law  legal  filmmaking  journalism  rural  engagement 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Paolo Pedercini 🌹 on Twitter: "An anti-battle royale / walking simulator in which you start with a group of friends in a small area and, as the circle expands, you gradually lose touch with them, too busy accumulating stuff and piecing together fragmen
"An anti-battle royale / walking simulator in which you start with a group of friends in a small area and, as the circle expands, you gradually lose touch with them, too busy accumulating stuff and piecing together fragments of a story that doesn't make any sense"
paolopedercini  scale  small  walking  understanding  2018  accumulation  socialmedia  networks  networking 
september 2018 by robertogreco
‎Dérive app on the App Store
"Dérive app is created as a simple but engaging platform that allows users to explore their urban spaces in a care-free and casual way. It takes the ideals of the Situationists and merges it with digital means in order to create a tool that allows for the exploration of urban space in a random unplanned way, as a game.

Too often in urban centers we are controlled by our day to day activities thus closing off urban experiences that exist around us. Dérive app was created to try to nudge those people who are in this repetitive cycle to allow the suggestions and subjectivities of others to enter into their urban existences."

[See also: http://deriveapp.com/s/v2/ ]
ios  dérive  applications  situationist  iphone  walking  exploration 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering | Literary Hub
"In the most egalitarian of European—and New Mexican—traditions, forests were public commons in which common people could roam, graze flocks, hunt and gather, and this is another way that forests when they are public land and public libraries are alike: as spaces in which everyone is welcome, as places in which we can wander and collect, get lost and find what we’re looking for.

The United States’s public libraries sometimes seem to me the last refuges of a democratic vision of equality, places in which everyone is welcome, which serve the goal of an informed public, offering services far beyond the already heady gift of free books you can take home, everything from voter registration to computer access. I’ve joked for a long time that if you walked up to people in the street and asked them whether we could own our greatest treasures collectively and trust people to walk away with them and bring them back, a lot of people would say that’s impossibly idealistic and some would say it’s socialist, but libraries have been making books free for all for a very long time. They are temples of books, fountains of narrative pleasure, and toolboxes of crucial information. My own writing has depended on public libraries and then university libraries and archives and does to this day. I last used a public library the day before yesterday."



"So let’s begin by recognizing that all this was—and in many moral ways still is—Coast Miwok land, before the Spanish came, before Spanish claims became Mexican claims, before this was considered to be part of Mexico, before it was part of the United States."



"Browsing, woolgathering, meandering, wandering, drifting, that state when exploring, when looking to find what it might be possible to find rather than seeking one particular goal, is the means of locomotion. I often think that hunter-gatherers must move a lot like this, seeking game or plant foods, flexible about what might show up on any given day. I was lucky that children were weeds, not hothouse flowers, in those days, left to our own devices, and my own devices led in two directions: north to the hills and the horses, south to the library."



"These linked paths and roads form a circuit of about six miles that I began hiking ten years ago to walk off my angst during a difficult year. I kept coming back to this route for respite from my work and for my work too, because thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking. Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing. It is a bodily labor that produces nothing but thoughts, experiences, arrivals. After all those years of walking to work out other things, it made sense to come back to work close to home, in Thoreau’s sense, and to think about walking.

Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts."



"Moving on foot seems to make it easier to move in time; the mind wanders from plans to recollections to observations."



"Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go…"



"Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there. Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working. Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone."



"Libraries are sanctuaries from the world and command centers onto it: here in quiet rooms are the lives of Crazy Horse and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Hundred Years War and the Opium Wars and the Dirty War, the ideas of Simone Weil and Lao Tsu, information on building your sailboat or dissolving your marriage, fictional worlds and books to equip the reader to reenter the real world. They are, ideally, places where nothing happens and where everything that has happened is stored up to be remembered and relived, the place where the world is folded up into boxes of paper. Every book is a door that opens into another world, which might be the magic that all those children’s books were alluding to, and a library is a Milky Way of worlds. All readers are Wu Daozi; all imaginative, engrossing books are landscapes into which readers vanish."
rebeccasolnit  2017  children  unschooling  deschooling  parenting  education  libraries  wandering  howwelearn  freedom  autonomy  forests  childhood  novato  california  learning  canon  publicgood  us  egalitarianism  democracy  socialism  thoreau  walking  cv  unknowing  uncertainty  woods  writing  howwewrite  books  literature  stories  storytelling  listening  reading  sanctuary  vanishing  nature  plants  wildlife  multispecies  morethanhuman  society 
april 2018 by robertogreco
On how to grow an idea – The Creative Independent
"In the 1970s, a Japanese farmer discovered a better way to do something—by not doing it. In the introduction to Masasobu Fukuoka’s One-Straw Revolution, Frances Moore Lappé describes the farmer’s moment of inspiration:
The basic idea came to him one day as he happened to pass an old field which had been left unused and unplowed for many years. There he saw a tangle of grasses and weeds. From that time on, he stopped flooding his field in order to grow rice. He stopped sowing rice seed in the spring and, instead, put the seed out in the autumn, sowing it directly onto the surface of the field when it would naturally have fallen to the ground… Once he has seen to it that conditions have been tilted in favor of his crops, Mr. Fukuoka interferes as little as possible with the plant and animal communities in his fields.


Fukuoka’s practice, which he perfected over many years, eventually became known as “do nothing farming.” Not that it was easy: the do-nothing farmer needed to be more attentive and sensitive to the land and seasons than a regular farmer. After all, Fukuoka’s ingenious method was hard-won after decades of his own close observations of weather patterns, insects, birds, trees, soil, and the interrelationships among all of these.

In One Straw Revolution, Fukuoka is rightly proud of what he has perfected. Do-nothing farming not only required less labor, no machines, and no fertilizer—it also enriched the soil year by year, while most farms depleted their soil. Despite the skepticism of others, Fukuoka’s farm yielded a harvest equal to or greater than that of other farms. “It seems unlikely that there could be a simpler way of raising grain,” he wrote. “The proof is ripening right before your eyes.”

One of Fukuoka’s insights was that there is a natural intelligence at work in existing ecosystems, and therefore the most intelligent way to farm was to interfere as little as possible. This obviously requires a reworking not only of what we consider farming, but maybe even what we consider progress.

“The path I have followed, this natural way of farming, which strikes most people as strange, was first interpreted as a reaction against the advance and reckless development of science. But all I have been doing, farming out here in the country, is trying to show that humanity knows nothing. Because the world is moving with such furious energy in the opposite direction, it may appear that I have fallen behind the times, but I firmly believe that the path I have been following is the most sensible one.”

The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

✶✶

In my view, Fukuoka was an inventor. Typically we associate invention and progress with the addition or development of new technology. So what happens when moving forward actually means taking something away, or moving in a direction that appears (to us) to be backward? Fukuoka wrote: “This method completely contradicts modern agricultural techniques. It throws scientific knowledge and traditional farming know-how right out the window.”

This practice of fitting oneself into the greater ecological scheme of things is almost comically opposite to the stories in John McPhee’s Control of Nature. There, we find near-Shakespearean tales of folly in which man tries and fails to master the sublime powers of his environment (e.g. the decades-long attempt to keep the Mississippi river from changing course).

Any artist or writer might find this contrast familiar. Why is it that when we sit down and try to force an idea, nothing comes—or, if we succeed in forcing it, it feels stale and contrived? Why do the best ideas appear uninvited and at the strangest times, darting out at us like an impish squirrel from a shrub?

The key, in my opinion, has to do with what you think it is that’s doing the producing, and where. It’s easy for me to say that “I” produce ideas. But when I’ve finished something, it’s often hard for me to say how it happened—where it started, what route it took, and why it ended where it did. Something similar is happening on a do-nothing farm, where transitive verbs seem inadequate. It doesn’t sound quite right to say that Fukuoka “farmed the land”—it’s more like he collaborated with the land, and through his collaboration, created the conditions for certain types of growth.

“A great number, if not the majority, of these things have been described, inventoried, photographed, talked about, or registered. My intention in the pages that follow was to describe the rest instead: that which is generally not taken note of, that which is not noticed, that which has no importance: what happens when nothing happens other than the weather, people, cars, and clouds.”

Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by George Perec

✶✶

I’ve known for my entire adult that going for a walk is how I can think most easily. Walking is not simply moving your thinking mind (some imagined insular thing) outside. The process of walking is thinking. In fact, in his book Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World, David Abram proposes that it is not we who are thinking, but rather the environment that is thinking through us. Intelligence and thought are things to be found both in and around the self. “Each place is a unique state of mind,” Abram writes. “And the many owners that constitute and dwell within that locale—the spiders and the tree frogs no less than the human—all participate in, and partake of, the particular mind of the place.”

This is not as hand-wavy as it sounds. Studies in cognitive science have suggested that we do not encounter the environment as a static thing, nor are we static ourselves. As Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch put it in The Embodied Mind (a study of cognitive science alongside Buddhist principles): “Cognition is not the representation of a pre-given world by a pre-given mind but is rather the enactment of a world and a mind… “ (emphasis mine). Throughout the book, the authors build a model of cognition in which mind and environment are not separate, but rather co-produced from the very point at which they meet.

[image]

“The Telegarden is an art installation that allows web users to view and interact with a remote garden filled with living plants. Members can plant, water, and monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender movements of an industrial robot arm.”

✶✶

Ideas are not products, as much as corporations would like them to be. Ideas are intersections between ourselves and something else, whether that’s a book, a conversation with a friend, or the subtle suggestion of a tree. Ideas can literally arise out of clouds (if we are looking at them). That is to say: ideas, like consciousness itself, are emergent properties, and thinking might be more participation than it is production. If we can accept this view of the mind with humility and awe, we might be amazed at what will grow there.


breathing [animation]

✶✶

To accompany this essay, I’ve created a channel on Are.na called “How to grow an idea.” There you’ll find some seeds for thought, scattered amongst other growths: slime molds, twining vines, internet gardens, and starling murmurations. The interview with John Cage, where he sits by an open window and rejoices in unwritten music, might remind you a bit of Fukuoka, as might Scott Polach’s piece in which an audience applauds the sunset. The channel starts with a reminder to breathe, and ends with an invitation to take a nap. Hopefully, somewhere in between, you might encounter something new."
intelligence  methodology  ideas  jennyodell  2018  are.na  masasobufukuoka  francesmoorelappé  farming  slow  nothing  idleness  nature  time  patience  productivity  interdependence  multispecies  morethanhuman  do-nothingfarming  labor  work  sustainability  ecosystems  progress  invention  technology  knowledge  johnmcphee  collaboration  land  growth  georgesperec  walking  thinking  slowthinking  perception  language  davidabram  cognitivescience  franciscovarela  evanthompson  eleanorrosch  buddhism  cognition  johncage  agriculture 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Take your time: the seven pillars of a Slow Thought manifesto | Aeon Essays
"In championing ‘slowness in human relations’, the Slow Movement appears conservative, while constructively calling for valuing local cultures, whether in food and agriculture, or in preserving slower, more biological rhythms against the ever-faster, digital and mechanically measured pace of the technocratic society that Neil Postman in 1992 called technopoly, where ‘the rate of change increases’ and technology reigns. Yet, it is preservative rather than conservative, acting as a foil against predatory multinationals in the food industry that undermine local artisans of culture, from agriculture to architecture. In its fidelity to our basic needs, above all ‘the need to belong’ locally, the Slow Movement founds a kind of contemporary commune in each locale – a convivium – responding to its time and place, while spreading organically as communities assert their particular needs for belonging and continuity against the onslaught of faceless government bureaucracy and multinational interests.

In the tradition of the Slow Movement, I hereby declare my manifesto for ‘Slow Thought’. This is the first step toward a psychiatry of the event, based on the French philosopher Alain Badiou’s central notion of the event, a new foundation for ontology – how we think of being or existence. An event is an unpredictable break in our everyday worlds that opens new possibilities. The three conditions for an event are: that something happens to us (by pure accident, no destiny, no determinism), that we name what happens, and that we remain faithful to it. In Badiou’s philosophy, we become subjects through the event. By naming it and maintaining fidelity to the event, the subject emerges as a subject to its truth. ‘Being there,’ as traditional phenomenology would have it, is not enough. My proposal for ‘evental psychiatry’ will describe both how we get stuck in our everyday worlds, and what makes change and new things possible for us."

"1. Slow Thought is marked by peripatetic Socratic walks, the face-to-face encounter of Levinas, and Bakhtin’s dialogic conversations"

"2. Slow Thought creates its own time and place"

"3. Slow Thought has no other object than itself"

"4. Slow Thought is porous"

"5. Slow Thought is playful"

"6. Slow Thought is a counter-method, rather than a method, for thinking as it relaxes, releases and liberates thought from its constraints and the trauma of tradition"

"7. Slow Thought is deliberate"
slow  slowthought  2018  life  philosophy  alainbadiou  neilpostman  time  place  conservation  preservation  guttormfløistad  cittaslow  carlopetrini  cities  food  history  urban  urbanism  mikhailbakhti  walking  emmanuellevinas  solviturambulando  walterbenjamin  play  playfulness  homoludens  johanhuizinga  milankundera  resistance  counterculture  culture  society  relaxation  leisure  artleisure  leisurearts  psychology  eichardrorty  wittgenstein  socrates  nietzsche  jacquesderrida  vincenzodinicola  joelelkes  giorgioagamben  garcíamárquez  michelfoucault  foucault  asjalacis  porosity  reflection  conviction  laurencesterne  johnmilton  edmundhusserl  jacqueslacan  dispacement  deferral  delay  possibility  anti-philosophy 
march 2018 by robertogreco
idizwadidiz - YouTube
"idizwadidiz
Isiah Medina, CAN, Digital Video, 7 min, Sound, 2016"

"by Isiah Medina

http://kinet.media/films/program-08/idizwadidiz "

"Two take a walk and draw. It is what it is, idizwadidiz, c'est ce que c'est, seskecé. Nice weather."
film  isiahmedina  video  walking  drawing  2016  via:fantasylla 
january 2018 by robertogreco
What Is Neorealism? on Vimeo
"“The only great problem of cinema seems to be more and more, with each film, when and why to start a shot and when and why to end it.” – Jean-Luc Godard

Created for Sight & Sound / British Film Institute"
film  kogonada  editing  time  hollywood  walking  italy  1952  vittoriodesica  neolrealism  davidoselznick  extras  lingering  longshots  efficiency  slow  context  place  story  plot  narrative  cinema  srg  videoessays 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Blind Spot | Blog—Jarrett Fuller
"Blind Spot, the writer and photographer Teju Cole’s new book, feels like a culmination of his intellectual work of the last few years. A master of shifting forms, Cole previously published two novels (Open City and Everyday is for a Thief) and an essay collection (Known and Strange Things), is the photography critic for The New York Times, and is prolific on Instagram where he showcases his photography. Blind Spot, a book that mixes text with his original photography, at once feels like a continuation of his previous work while also something completely new. How does one define Blind Spot? Is it a photo book or a novel? A travelogue or a poem? A memoir or a lyric essay? The answer, I think, is ‘yes’.

The photos — all shot on color film from Cole’s travels across the globe — blend seamlessly from Brooklyn to Berlin, Omaha to Africa. The images are quiet and largely devoid of humans, aside from a final striking portrait, recalling great street photographers like Stephen Shore and Louis Ghirri. The text — which shifts between narrative, memoir, criticism, poetry — sometimes refers to these photos while at other times remain independent. All of Cole’s familiar influences — Sebald, Berger, Calvino — are on display here.

The text reads less as captions as they do a voiceover — he’s said in interviews he sees the book as a documentary in book form — where another set of influences emerge. “I pray to Tarvoksy, Marker, Hitchcock” he writes in the middle of the book. Sure enough, the flipping between Cole’s text and image, one could see the book as homage to Chris Marker’s Sans Soliel. And as the photos start to reference each other, and fragments begin to connect, Marker’s more famous La Jetee comes to mind. There’s a playful reflexivity throughout — his writing reflects on his own writing process for the book, how he selected particular images, and what he hopes the book will be. In one passage he writes:
She asked, though these were not her exact words: Isn’t all the work part of a single piece? She asked, like someone patiently unlocking, with a pin, a pair of handcuffs: Aren’t all the photographs and texts, the fragments and experiments, even the things you say into a microphone, even the things you don’t say, aren’t they all installments toward a unified project? She said, though these are not her exact words: I have always felt that Open City was one way you approached the problem. You’re still circling the problem now, she said, obsessed, she said, and approaching it in other ways. You will probably always be returning to it, she said, making herself comfortable within the folds of my brain.

In a later passage, Cole invokes Calvino’s continuous city and his search of the threads that connect the places he visits. But he’s also looking for the threads that connect the images and the text. Calvino suggests that there is simply one big, continuous city that does not begin or end: ‘Only the name of the airport changes,’ he writes in Invisible Cities. The same can be said of Cole’s work — it’s simply one big, continuous journey — his intellectual interests and preoccupations recur — he finds new ways to display them, new ways to talk about them. Only the name of the book changes.

I read Open City, Cole’s first novel in 2015 during my last week in San Francisco, before moving to Baltimore for graduate school. My belongings were packed up and I’d lay on the floor in the middle of a nearly empty apartment reading. In the book, largely devoid of an obvious plot, we follow the narrator, Julius, as he walks through Manhattan. I started doing the same thing — after a period of reading, I’d put the book down, put classical music on in my headphones, and walk the San Francisco streets. This had been my neighborhood for the last three years but that week, with that music, and Cole’s prose rattling around in my head, I saw the city differently. That, I think, is the thread that ties Cole’s work together. He changes your pace, forces you to slow down. His writing is patient, his photography reserved. He makes you look, really look. This world moves fast. There’s always something new to read, new tweets, new emails, new books, new music. Last month’s news feels like a decade ago.

Blind Spot is a book about looking; about seeing what’s in the frame, about reflecting on what we see. Teju Cole asks us to slow down so we can understand our own blind spots. I saw San Francisco differently that last week, and as I finished Blind Spot this week, I started to see New York differently too. He taught me to see."
tejucole  jarrettfuller  2017  writing  photography  italocalvino  johnberger  wgsebald  chrismarker  film  walking  cities  urban  ubanism  place  landscape  noticing  looking  seeing  sansoleil  lajetée  blindspot 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The Art of Teaching
[via: "The slide deck for the workshop is superb. Such a great experience, so grateful to @tchoi8 & the other participants." https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879465006449909760

referencing also: "How I learn to build things. Something I created for @tchoi8’s Art of Learning workshop at @eyeofestival."
https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879366496354488322 ]

[video: "Absence is Presence with Distance"
https://vimeo.com/234330230

"As an artist, I work with technology and narrative – formal and relational projects. As an activist, I examine personal and political – practice and praxis. As an educator, I create feedback between plastic and elastic – learning and unlearning. My talk is set at the dawn. We are waiting for the sun to rise and we are full of questions. What’s the role of an artist as an activist now? How can we critique oppressive systems that create the sense of ‘others’ based on ability and legal status? What’s kind of pedagogy can we experiment through alternative schools? How can we create a community among those who have nothing in common? By creating art, we can give form to our intentions, contribute to making the world we want to live in.

( For a companion posting to this talk visit:

https://medium.com/@tchoi8/absence-is-presence-with-distance-c0712aada56c )]
taeyoonchoi  education  teaching  purpose  routine  ritual  silence  flow  conflict  communication  structure  nurture  authority  kojinkaratani  jean-lucnancy  community  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  eyeo2017  unlearning  curriculum  syllabus  sfpc  schoolforpoeticcomputation  art  craft  beauty  utility  generosity  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  cv  reciprocity  gifts  kant  discretion  instruction  discipline  johndewey  bmc  blackmountaincollege  justice  annialbers  stndardization  weaving  textiles  making  projectbasedlearning  materials  progress  progressive  unschooling  deschooling  control  experimentation  knowledge  fabrication  buckminsterfuller  constructivism  constructionism  georgehein  habit  freedom  democracy  paulofreire  judithbutler  sunaurataylor  walking  christinesunkim  uncertainty  representation  intervention  speculation  simulation  christopheralexander  objectives  outcomes  learningoutcomes  learningobjectives  remembering  creativity  evaluation  application  analysis  understanding  emancipation  allankaprow  judychicago  s 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Walking Playground – Linda Knight
"Edges are an interesting concept to consider. Do edges exist? Does everything have an edge, even the atmosphere or air? If edges do exist, are they sharp, sudden? Do edges sit alongside each other without space between them? What might be between the edge of an object and the edge of air? Ideas about matter are being reconceptualised and ‘things’ are being thought about less as discrete bodies, but as clusters of forces, what Karen Barad calls ‘transmaterialities’, energy fields of particles moving in times and patterns with lively edges that move back and forth. Barad’s research into theoretical physics exposes how even seemingly inert matter is not dormant or static but consists of particles busily moving and experimenting with possibilities and futures.

These theoretical reconceptualisations around matter enable thinking about taken-for-granted notions of how space, structures and forms can be allocated particular purposes. Playgrounds are static, demarcated architectural sites, however I’m curious about where the edge of a playground sits. Clearly, invisible force fields do not surround a playground so at what point does the playground end?

My work explores the pedagogies that occur in pedagogic sites and how ideas about pedagogy as a human exchange, might be rethought. I also explore the pedagogic in/of the other-than human, including surfaces, light, time, animals, birds, sounds, gestures, shade, rain, and noises. In rethinking where and what is pedagogic, the static playground loses its edges and becomes a series of moving, traveling, multispecies events, shifting locations in unpredictable ways. This project investigates the walking playground through a series of inefficient mappings."
lindaknight  edges  karenbarad  maps  mapping  multispecies  playgrounds  walking  birds  animals  light  time  morethanhuman  human  surfaces  gestures  shade  rain  noise  sounds  sfsh 
march 2017 by robertogreco
Get out now
“GET OUT NOW. Not just outside, but beyond the trap of the programmed electronic age so gently closing around so many people…. Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around. Do not jog. Do not run…. Instead pay attention to everything that abuts the rural road, the city street, the suburban boulevard. Walk. Stroll. Saunter. Ride a bike, and coast along a lot. Explore…. Abandon, even momentarily, the sleek modern technology that consumes so much time and money now…. Go outside and walk a bit, long enough to forget programming, long enough to take in and record new surroundings…. Flex the mind, a little at first, then a lot. Savor something special. Enjoy the best-kept secret around—the ordinary, everyday landscape that rewards any explorer, that touches any explorer with magic…all of it is free for the taking, for the taking in. Take it. take it in, take in more every weekend, every day, and quickly it becomes the theater that intrigues, relaxes, fascinates, seduces, and above all expands any mind focused on it. Outside lies utterly ordinary space open to any casual explorer willing to find the extraordinary. Outside lies unprogrammed awareness that at times becomes directed serendipity. Outside lies magic.”

—John Stilgoe, Outside Lies Magic
johnstilgoe  austinkleon  walking  noticing  looking  observing  seeing  exploration  landscape  attention  serendipity  outside  outdoors 
february 2017 by robertogreco
The Kalman Family's Language of Looking
"“Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough,” Gustave Flaubert wrote in a letter. This is something I keep in mind when looking at visual art: there is usually a story for the eye to find, some detail to latch onto. But when in the company of Maira and Alex Kalman, I am reminded that this truly does extend to most “anything.”

Maira Kalman is a New York–based illustrator, while Alex, her son, is the co-founder of Mmuseumm, a former elevator shaft in Tribeca that he and two friends transformed into an exhibition space. This month, Mmuseumm launched its fourth season with a second space, Mmuseumm 2, a storefront window nearby where Maira has re-created the closet of her mother, Sara Berman.

Kalman, an author and illustrator for The New Yorker, New York Times, and Departures Magazine, is known for picking up on the unnoticed, overlooked particulars of daily existence — in her telling of the life of Thomas Jefferson, for instance, we learn that the author of the Declaration of Independence “slept slightly sitting up” and that his favorite vegetable was peas. There is a rambling quality to her stories; we feel we are with her while she freely discovers her subjects, which vary from fashion shows to yoga retreats to artist studios.

“For me, the digressive moment is the moment,” she once told the interviewer Paul Holdengräber. It’s why Kalman loves walking — because you can stop thinking and just look and be. Walking, for her, is an exercise in keeping an open mind, in letting her surroundings catch her by surprise.

It’s only suitable, then, that one stumbles upon Kalman’s installation of her mother’s closet by walking down a quiet alley. Behind a pane of glass, neatly folded white linens and shirts and stacks of rosy underwear sit on white shelves — “Sara, who came from Belarus, only wore white,” says the British voice of the audio guide. “I always say she was emulating the empress Josephine,” Kalman said to me of her mother’s fashion choices. “But that is not true. We never talked about it … In some instinctual way she was clarifying the world.”

There’s a glass jar filled with identical gray buttons, a bottle of Chanel No. 19, a box of recipes (for roasts, blintzes, schnitzel, and “some unfortunate forays into Americana,” Maira confessed), and a cheese grater for making potato pancakes. The chain for the light dangles playfully from the ceiling with a fluffy red ball of yarn to pull on. While growing up, “the closet was a masterpiece of modern art in our eyes,” said Alex. The closet has been reproduced almost identically, though on a slightly smaller scale, and with a few substitutes — “it’s like the vertebrae at the Natural History Museum, only here we have a bra and a pair of socks,” he explained. Indeed, ever since Sara Berman died, Maira has envisioned her mother’s closet as a kind of museum, hoping that one day it would become “a big attraction for people worldwide.”

Sara Berman’s luminous closet gives us pause. There is a sense of calm and purpose in those sheets and sweaters that were daily and meticulously folded. (“Some families go bowling together. We ironed and folded and sorted and stacked with joy,” said Maira.) Everything, from the pair of reading glasses to the stray piece of checkered ribbon, takes on an anthropomorphic quality; the shoes themselves become portraits: there are six pairs of them, lined up neatly, all with pointed ends and some with their laces undone. Varying in grays, browns, and creams, the shoes are sharp and delicate, playful and smart — much as I imagine Sara Berman to have been.

“Everyone grows up with a language in their home. Ours was looking,” said Alex. Just as Maira asks us to contemplate a closet, usually thought of as a repository behind closed doors, Alex draws our attention to objects that would’ve generally escaped us, like coffee cup lids, vomit bags, gas masks, and eggs (that will, in fact, hatch). He describes the objects in Mmuseumm, on display behind glass vitrines like scientific specimens, as “meaningless and potentially meaningful.” Some come from Mmuseumm’s permanent collection, like a gold $100 bill and a rubber chicken wing, but the majority traveled from collections around the world. For instance, the cornflake index — a personal collection of cornflakes organized by shape, color, and texture — arrived from England “packaged like the queen’s jewels.” The way Alex sees it, these objects should be cared for like artworks. And yet, when Mmuseumm runs its call for submissions each season, it welcomes proposals from anyone around the world on one condition: that it not include “art.”

The winning collections, Alex explains, are those whose contents are “not obvious” — you wouldn’t think to stop to look at a rusty nail (one of many in a doctor’s collection of objects he has removed from people’s bodies) in the same way you would stop before a painting. “It is never ironic,” he made clear. “It’s sincere.” Like Maira, Alex is drawn to “the vernacular” because it communicates something “incredibly intimate and human.”

In other museums, the assumption is that you won’t fully appreciate an object unless you have the historical background. Here, there is no background necessary, except perhaps a sense of humor and some compassion. It was from “my beautiful mother,” an oft-repeated phrase, that Maira learned that knowledge isn’t really what matters. “What you have to have is curiosity.” Growing up, Maira was never “tested” on her knowledge or asked to “perform.” In fact, she says with some pride, “facts were banished from our home.”

In following their curiosity, the Kalmans have observed their surroundings indiscriminately, capturing pieces of our lives that we generally don’t think are worth our time or contemplation. The Kalman language of “looking” requires patience and dedication — as does looking at visual art. Responding to art, really engaging with it, involves actively journeying through it with no purpose. It is a rare moment when I give myself that wandering freedom and time. The Kalmans, in seemingly assuming this attitude wherever they look, remind me of what the artist Paulo Bruscky once said in an interview:
For me, art is a form of seeing and not of doing. It might seem utopian, but the day will arrive when the artist will no longer be necessary. The artist makes things only because people don’t know how to see for themselves. Someday … people will begin learning how to see art in everything …. because art is present everywhere — the artist merely captures and displays it.

I don’t totally buy Bruscky’s conclusion, but he has a point when he suggests that the artist’s sources of inspiration surround us all. Though Alex doesn’t acquire art for Mmuseumm, the works in his museum are just as artful. In some ways, what Mmuseumm is encouraging us to do — to look for the art around us — is a greater task than that of your regular one."
mmuseumm  museums  mairakalman  alexkalman  2015  looking  seeing  noticing  paulobruscky  saraberman  walking  small  tiny 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Demons Hate Fresh Air | Submitted For Your Perusal
"My father was a very disciplined and punctual man; it was a prerequisite for his creativity…. No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, he’d say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air."

—Linn Ullmann, in an interview with Vogue, on her father Ingmar Bergman

[from: http://www.vogue.com/872539/linn-ullmann-novel-the-cold-song/ ]
linnullmann  ingmarbergman  walking  demons  cv  work  howwework  depression  motivation  2014  mattthomas 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Learning by walking: Non-formal education as curatorial practice and intervention in public space | Claudia Ruitenberg - Academia.edu
"This case study focuses on Walking Home Carrall Street, a series of walks with youth that took place in the autumn of 2010 on and around Carrall Street in Vancouver, BC. Through participant observations, interviews and analysis of the written reviews submitted by the youth, the purpose of the study is not to provide generalisable insights, but rather to discern with which category or categories of educational programmes it may share certain features. The central question guiding the study, therefore, was: How might Walking Home Carrall Street best be characterised as an educational programme? By drawing out connections to educational, philosophical and geographical literature, I discuss obvious features explicitly mentioned by the programme’s organisers, such as its nonformal and experiential character, as well as less obvious ones, such as the ways in which the pro- gramme constitutes an intervention in public space and the ways in which it offers youth opportunities to manifest their intelligence. I also discuss curricular features, such as the deliberate use rather than avoidance of repetition and the relevance of emergent and unplanned curriculum."
walking  education  learning  informallearning  informal  2016  claudiaruitenberg  sfsh 
august 2016 by robertogreco
BBC Radio 4 - Short Cuts, Series 9, Field Guides
"The lessons about love and life that we can learn from a fig, a walk in the woods and a connection to a lost love found in the water. Josie Long ventures outdoors, hearing stories of how human hearts become tangled in the forests, lakes and skylines of the natural world."

[via: https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/758649803588894720
"Superlative final episode of the current series of Short Cuts, on identity, venturing, and the world outdoors:"]
walking  figs  woods  identity  venturing  outdoors  2016 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Teacher Tom: "But How Do They Learn To Read?"
""But how do they learn to read?"

It's the question most often asked by doubters when first learning about play-based education. Most people "get" that play is important for young children, at least to a certain degree, they're not ogres, but they just can't get their minds around the idea that most children, when left to their own devices, will actually learn to read without adult intervention.

First of all, from a purely developmental perspective, preschool aged children should not be expected to be reading. This isn't to say that some preschoolers don't teach themselves to read. I've known readers as young as two. And at any given moment, there will be a handful of four and five-year-olds at Woodland Park who are reading books on their own because that's how human development works: some children start speaking at three months and some barely utter a word until after they've celebrated their fourth birthday; some are walking by six months and some aren't up on their feet until they're closer to two. Parents might worry, but the truth is that it all falls well within the range of "normal." The research on reading indicates that the natural window for learning to read extends to as late as 11 years old!

Of course, in today's America, a child who is not reading by the time he is seven or eight is thought to have some sort of learning disability when the fact is that he is perfectly normal. A couple years back a University of Cambridge team reviewed all the available research on the topic and concluded that "formal" schooling should be delayed until children are at least seven, and that, indeed, pushing it earlier is damaging children's "academic" achievement, especially when it comes to reading.
Studies have compared groups of children . . . who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7 . . . (T)he early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children's reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who stared at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later.

Their recommendation is that the best "academic" education for children under seven is the sort of "informal, play-based" environment we offer at Woodland Park because that is how the human animal is designed to build the foundation for all future learning.

The sickening thing is that today's kindergartens and preschools are charging pell-mell in the wrong direction:
A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

With the advent of the Common Core federal public school curriculum in the US (and it is a curriculum despite it's advocates' insistence that they are merely "standards") with its narrow focus on literacy, mathematics, and testing, it has gotten even worse since 2006. Indeed:
Last year, average math scores . . . declined; reading scores were flat or decreased compared with a decade earlier.

We are proving the research: we are damaging our children. This is why I remain so consistently opposed to what is happening in our public schools. By law I'm a mandatory reporter of child abuse in my state. This might not fit the legal definition, but it definitely fits the moral one.

That still begs the original question: how will they learn to read?

As I learned from Carol Black's brilliant essay entitled A Thousand Rivers, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1439, very few people could read. In fact, reading was primarily the domain of the clergy who needed the skill to read and create Bibles. But the printing press suddenly made printed matter widely available. With no notion of formal literacy education, Europeans were left to learn to read on their own, passing on the knowledge from one person to the next, from one generation to the next.

Literacy rates steadily climbed for the next couple hundred years, then surged around the time of the American Revolution when Thomas Payne's pamphlet Common Sense became a runaway hit, selling over a half million copies and going through 25 printings in its first year. It's estimated that 2.5 million colonists read it, an astronomical number for the time. And it's not easy reading. Nevertheless, historians credit this viral document with inspiring the 13 American colonies to ultimately declare their independence from British rule.

People wanted to read, they needed to read, so they learned to read, which is why literacy rates in those original 13 colonies were actually higher than those we see today in in our 50 states. A similar thing has happened, albeit at a faster pace, with computer technology. I have a distinct memory of Dad buying an Apple II+, a machine that came with no software. Instead it came with thick instruction manuals that taught us how to write our own programs. You could take classes on "how to work your computer." Today, our two-year-olds are teaching themselves as these technology skills have gone viral. The idea of a computer class today is laughable, just as a reading class would have been laughable in 1776.

And just as "walking" or "talking" classes would be laughable to us today, so too should this whole nonsense of "reading" classes. Yet shockingly, we continue to go backwards with literacy to the point that most of us seem to think that it's necessary that children spend days and years of their lives at earlier and earlier ages, being drilled in a utilitarian skill that past generations just learned, virally, over the natural course of living their lives. No wonder children hate school. No wonder they are bored and stressed out.

Certainly, there are children in our world who are "at risk" for not learning to read, including those with actual learning disabilities, as opposed to the manufactured ones we are currently slapping on normal children who are simply taking a little longer to getting around to reading. And for those children, as well as for those who are being raised in illiterate households, intervention may be necessary. But for the overwhelming majority of our children, the greatest literacy challenge they face is our obsessive rush for more and more earlier and earlier. We are, in our abject ignorance, our refusal to actually look at the evidence, teaching our children to hate reading, which is in my view a crime not only against children, but against all humanity."
children  reading  play  literacy  pedagogy  teaching  schools  carolblack  unschooling  deschooling  play-basededucation  kindergarten  sfsh  history  gutenberg  thomaspayne  tomhobson  walking  howwelearn  necessity  coercion  learningdisabilities  talking  education 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Due North | VQR Online
"I arrived in New York in October 2005 and immediately began walking all over the city, exploring for hours at a time. As I traversed its landscape, I discovered a topography of social conditions. Some days, I would linger on Thirty-Fourth Street among the glamorous workers of Midtown Manhattan rushing to and from their high-rise buildings—in swift pursuit of their ambitions, I’d assumed. I’d watch them zigzag around and dart past the enthusiastic tourists filing into the Empire State Building, that colossus rising majestically above as a beacon of hope and symbol of American derring-do.

Then I’d stride northward, eager to explore Whitman’s “Numberless crowded streets – high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies.” A little over two hours later, I would end up in Harlem at the courtyard of a housing project on 125th Street, where residents lounged on benches and welcomed each other with cheerful banter. They also welcomed me, and I sat beside them, took one of the kiddie’s box drinks they offered, and enjoyed their jovial talk in that relaxed, open space in Harlem far removed from the hurried dynamism of Midtown.

But as I’ve circulated through New York’s streets, nothing reveals the city’s opposites in stark juxtaposition like the walk from the Upper East Side to the South Bronx, two neighborhoods separated by a brisk ninety-minute walk, or a quick twelve-minute subway ride. I’d call them neighbors were it not so clear that they occupy such distinctly different worlds. To walk the streets from one to the other, as I often do, is to bear witness to a landscape of asymmetry. The city that comes into view is one of uneven terrain, vistas of opportunity alongside pockets of deep poverty too often lost in the periphery.

In early 2006, almost six months after moving to the city, I was hobbled from roaming around because of a botched surgery on my right knee. A few months later, I switched hospitals to the Hospital for Special Surgery, located on the Upper East Side, where I eventually underwent two more surgeries to get back to walking the streets without chronic pain. As a result of the operations and follow-up physical therapy, the Upper East Side became a regular destination. I spent a lot of time watching people go about their lives, many of whom were middle- and working-class people employed in hospitals, museums, universities, hotels, and elsewhere on the Upper East Side. Plentiful as these workers were, they didn’t define the neighborhood—at least, not in a way that forcefully impresses itself upon the mind when you think of the Upper East Side. No, the population that embosses its mark on the neighborhood is the wealthy—the extraordinarily wealthy, to be precise.

The Upper East Side houses one of the richest zip codes in the US. This wealth touches almost everything in its vicinity. Many of the less-flush people I met going about their days worked at institutions that were among the world’s finest—the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery—and that were easy access for their upper-class neighbors. In addition to stellar medical care and world-class museums, I’d walk past some of the city’s best private schools, public libraries abuzz with parents and nannies—many of whom were foreigners—playing with children, and music schools with eager and not-so-eager kids developing their skills. Here was a neighborhood stocked with the resources for worldly success.

Walking through that part of the Upper East Side was not unlike a jaunt in a museum. On Park or Fifth Avenue, for example, one could walk for hours and admire magnificent buildings fronted by well-manicured gardens and quiet, clean sidewalks. Serenity suffused the atmosphere. Nothing seemed out of place, and, to my untrained eye, it all looked unspoiled.

There are stunning apartment buildings that look like cathedrals in high heels. Überchic boutiques—throne rooms of specialization meant to cater to people with the most rarefied, and demanding, of tastes—abound. You can pick up scented shoelaces for your teen daughter from a store filled with accessories for tweens, buy a bra for a few hundred dollars from an Italian lingerie store, and then drop off your puppy for a spa day, all in under a half hour. And, shhh, the stores were very quiet, I’ll-glare-if-you-speak-loudly quiet. I was often hushed, too, since sticker shock often dumbfounds me. Though, I should confess, something perverse in me wanted me to scream upon entering those hush-up stores.

All around are luxe restaurants with patrons to match, and sophisticated bistros with fresh-looking, pleasant-smelling—oh, those lovely scents!—upscale clientele. And for outdoor relaxation and play, Central Park is a quick stroll away—across the road, even. It’s as if the neighborhood was curated to cater to the needs and pleasures of its wealthy residents. Dig through the historical record and you’ll find that, indeed, starting with Fifth Avenue in the late nineteenth century, later joined in the early twentieth century by Park (formerly Fourth) Avenue, elegance and convenience have characterized the Upper East Side’s moneyed class and its tony residences.

Yet, for all its beauty, the neighborhood today feels like a welcome mat with spikes, or, more aptly, like a museum after closing time. You could stand nearby and look in, but that’s as far as you could go: admiration from a distance. My feet met their limit.

So much of the lives of the very wealthy was a mystery to me, not least because I couldn’t hope to stand and chat with them. The city was this enticing language I was learning, but they were a cipher. They lived, as my friend and walking companion Suketu once put it to me, in vertical gated communities—fortresses within layers of insulation. I’d see them shuttle from cabs or chauffeur-driven cars into their elegant buildings fronted by attentive doormen. Or I’d see them interacting with each other as I strolled past a posh establishment. They were sharply dressed ghosts; I would see them for a brief moment, only for them to quickly disappear into vehicles or buildings as mysteriously as they came.

There was a come-hither-stay-away quality to it all. Apartment lobbies looked inviting, but dapper doormen in their white shirts and black ties stood between you and them. Brownstones were beguiling, but you dared not sit on their steps. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone my shade, the color of the neighborhood’s nannies and gardeners and janitors but not their neighbors (at least, none that I saw), was more unwelcome on a stranger’s stoop.

Nor would I ever see people hanging out on their own steps. The beauty of the Upper East Side, the visual allure, had a placidity I felt detached from. There was something disquieting about all that silence. Certainly, one of the joys of living in the city is the wonderful solitude it affords, the option to, as E. B. White memorably put it, opt out and announce, “I did not attend.” The city is a place of escape as much as it’s one of pilgrimage, and, to someone outside of their circle passing through, the affluent inhabitants of the Upper East Side resemble a group who entered a compact to “not attend.” The serenity felt fragile, and I feared that if I did anything that was perceived as a threat to it, no matter how simple—approaching that friendly face to have a chat, leaning over to inhale perfumy flowers—that I would be promptly reminded that I could inhabit those streets only so much.

When I leave the Upper East Side on foot, the streets declare it to me almost immediately. I cross Ninety-Sixth Street—on Park Avenue, say, and the picturesque quickly recedes. Islands of gardens are supplanted by train tracks that tear out of the ground and rise alongside and above houses, transporting streams of Metro-North trains and dispersing noise across the neighborhood. Pristine sidewalks are replaced by dusty ones, and time and again micro-dirt tornadoes, with candy wrappers within, whirl around. And luxury mansions are replaced by tenement-type buildings, row houses, and “superblocks” of housing projects.

And the population becomes increasingly darker. A lot more. And friendlier. A lot more. More Spanish is heard (significantly so), more bodegas are seen on corners, and the hum of the Upper East Side gives way to a skipping, sometimes clamoring, beat. (On weekends with good weather, there are block parties aplenty). You almost begin to wonder—at least, I often do—if East Harlem is the town crier announcing, “Yeah, you’ve left the Upper East Side. The South Bronx is three miles, and an hour’s walk, thataway.”"



"On the way back home, Suketu drove through the Upper East Side, past glittery boutiques and sexy bistros, enticing department stores and showy high-rise apartment buildings. At that moment, I recognized that, for me, there wasn’t much difference between cutting through the neighborhood on foot and in a car. There was, of course. But leaving from Hunts Point, where time in a car away from residents removes so much of the neighborhood’s pleasure, and arriving in the Upper East Side around fifteen minutes later, only to recognize that I felt at arm’s length from a lot of its residents even when I walked through, reminded me that inequality also deprives the very wealthy. In ensconcing themselves in their circles, the very wealthy had cut themselves off from a range of perspectives and temperaments and stories—stories that are a central part of their city’s vibrancy and appeal. In Hunts Point, I witnessed deprivation due to an absence of resources; in the Upper East Side, I witnessed deprivation of a different, but related sort: the absence of enriching interactions.

I became an obsessive walker as a matter of necessity. Too poor to take taxis when I was growing up in Jamaica, and living in a … [more]
walking  serendipity  2014  garnettecadogan  nyc  inequality  discovery  wonder  possibility  ebwhite  wealth  waltwhitman  rebeccasolnit  micheldecerteau  observation  flaneur 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Walking While Black | Literary Hub
"Within days I noticed that many people on the street seemed apprehensive of me: Some gave me a circumspect glance as they approached, and then crossed the street; others, ahead, would glance behind, register my presence, and then speed up; older white women clutched their bags; young white men nervously greeted me, as if exchanging a salutation for their safety: “What’s up, bro?” On one occasion, less than a month after my arrival, I tried to help a man whose wheelchair was stuck in the middle of a crosswalk; he threatened to shoot me in the face, then asked a white pedestrian for help.

I wasn’t prepared for any of this. I had come from a majority-black country in which no one was wary of me because of my skin color. Now I wasn’t sure who was afraid of me. I was especially unprepared for the cops. They regularly stopped and bullied me, asking questions that took my guilt for granted. I’d never received what many of my African-American friends call “The Talk”: No parents had told me how to behave when I was stopped by the police, how to be as polite and cooperative as possible, no matter what they said or did to me. So I had to cobble together my own rules of engagement. Thicken my Jamaican accent. Quickly mention my college. “Accidentally” pull out my college identification card when asked for my driver’s license.

My survival tactics began well before I left my dorm. I got out of the shower with the police in my head, assembling a cop-proof wardrobe. Light-colored oxford shirt. V-neck sweater. Khaki pants. Chukkas. Sweatshirt or T-shirt with my university insignia. When I walked I regularly had my identity challenged, but I also found ways to assert it. (So I’d dress Ivy League style, but would, later on, add my Jamaican pedigree by wearing Clarks Desert Boots, the footwear of choice of Jamaican street culture.) Yet the all-American sartorial choice of white T-shirt and jeans, which many police officers see as the uniform of black troublemakers, was off-limits to me—at least, if I wanted to have the freedom of movement I desired.

In this city of exuberant streets, walking became a complex and often oppressive negotiation. I would see a white woman walking towards me at night and cross the street to reassure her that she was safe. I would forget something at home but not immediately turn around if someone was behind me, because I discovered that a sudden backtrack could cause alarm. (I had a cardinal rule: Keep a wide perimeter from people who might consider me a danger. If not, danger might visit me.) New Orleans suddenly felt more dangerous than Jamaica. The sidewalk was a minefield, and every hesitation and self-censored compensation reduced my dignity. Despite my best efforts, the streets never felt comfortably safe. Even a simple salutation was suspect.

One night, returning to the house that, eight years after my arrival, I thought I’d earned the right to call my home, I waved to a cop driving by. Moments later, I was against his car in handcuffs. When I later asked him—sheepishly, of course; any other way would have asked for bruises—why he had detained me, he said my greeting had aroused his suspicion. “No one waves to the police,” he explained. When I told friends of his response, it was my behavior, not his, that they saw as absurd. “Now why would you do a dumb thing like that?” said one. “You know better than to make nice with police.”"



"Walking had returned to me a greater set of possibilities. And why walk, if not to create a new set of possibilities? Following serendipity, I added new routes to the mental maps I had made from constant walking in that city from childhood to young adulthood, traced variations on the old pathways. Serendipity, a mentor once told me, is a secular way of speaking of grace; it’s unearned favor. Seen theologically, then, walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling. We see, we listen, we speak, and we trust that each step we take won’t be our last, but will lead us into a richer understanding of the self and the world.

In Jamaica, I felt once again as if the only identity that mattered was my own, not the constricted one that others had constructed for me. I strolled into my better self. I said, along with Kierkegaard, “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”"



"Walking while black restricts the experience of walking, renders inaccessible the classic Romantic experience of walking alone. It forces me to be in constant relationship with others, unable to join the New York flaneurs I had read about and hoped to join. Instead of meandering aimlessly in the footsteps of Whitman, Melville, Kazin, and Vivian Gornick, more often, I felt that I was tiptoeing in Baldwin’s—the Baldwin who wrote, way back in 1960, “Rare, indeed, is the Harlem citizen, from the most circumspect church member to the most shiftless adolescent, who does not have a long tale to tell of police incompetence, injustice, or brutality. I myself have witnessed and endured it more than once.”

Walking as a black man has made me feel simultaneously more removed from the city, in my awareness that I am perceived as suspect, and more closely connected to it, in the full attentiveness demanded by my vigilance. It has made me walk more purposefully in the city, becoming part of its flow, rather than observing, standing apart.

* * * *

But it also means that I’m still trying to arrive in a city that isn’t quite mine. One definition of home is that it’s somewhere we can most be ourselves. And when are we more ourselves but when walking, that natural state in which we repeat one of the first actions we learned? Walking—the simple, monotonous act of placing one foot before the other to prevent falling—turns out not to be so simple if you’re black. Walking alone has been anything but monotonous for me; monotony is a luxury.

A foot leaves, a foot lands, and our longing gives it momentum from rest to rest. We long to look, to think, to talk, to get away. But more than anything else, we long to be free. We want the freedom and pleasure of walking without fear—without others’ fear—wherever we choose. I’ve lived in New York City for almost a decade and have not stopped walking its fascinating streets. And I have not stopped longing to find the solace that I found as a kid on the streets of Kingston. Much as coming to know New York City’s streets has made it closer to home to me, the city also withholds itself from me via those very streets. I walk them, alternately invisible and too prominent. So I walk caught between memory and forgetting, between memory and forgiveness."
garnettecadogan  racism  blackness  race  walking  nyc  neworleans  nola  serendipity  anonymity  fear  judgement  fatswaller  waltwhitman  kingston  jamaica  us  via:ayjay  racialprofiling  police  lawenforcement  possibility  possibilities  grace  favor  faith  hermanmelville  alfredkazin  elizabethhardwick  janejacobs  memory  forgiveness  forgetting  freedom 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Walkabout Map Style · Mapzen
"A few months ago we asked ourselves: how could we celebrate walking? Today we introduce Mapzen’s latest cartography: Walkabout.

Walkabout features walking paths & hiking trails early, emphasizes outdoor attractions with bright green-blue icons, and shows where the ups and downs are with hill shading. From a morning jog to a slow stroll with friends, in the city to the backcountry, Walkabout evokes the places we’ve played outdoors and inspires us to “get outside”.

Walkabout joins Mapzen’s other house styles: Bubble Wrap, Refill, Zinc, and Cinnabar and is available immediately in default, more labels, and no labels basemap versions.

Explore Walkabout below and scroll down for a visual tour of this signature cartography."
mapzen  maps  mapping  classideas  walking  sanfrancisco  cartography  2016  hiking  terraingeraldinesarmiento  nathanielvaughnkelso  walkabout 
july 2016 by robertogreco
In Praise of Walks and Wilderness | Alpine Modern Editorial
"More full of wonder than your deepest dreams, indeed. I kept looking over to my friend, continually proclaiming: “I can’t believe how happy I am here.” I understood Abbey’s fierce ecological devotion to the place. Preservation begins with appreciation; it begins with experiential love. “Earn your turns,” a friend always calls out, strapping his skins to his skis and hoisting his body up the incline. Another pal takes off to the mountains when big life decisions loom in front of him: “It’s the only place quiet and still enough to think.” One hikes fourteeners to prove to himself that his body is capable of more than he believes and that what others say about him is not the whole story. One of my best friends may have hated the peak I dragged her up during our climb, but afterward she turned to me and sighed, “I’ve never felt more alive or more in love with my body.” Once, on a backpacking trip with high school senior girls, one turned excitedly to me and said, “I haven’t thought badly about my body this whole trip!” I think of my skis hanging over the ledge of Blue Sky Basin, my toes hurting like hell, my legs are tingling and frozen, and my flight-or-fight mode tells me that the drop in isn’t worth the potential outcome of pain. But when I look up at the snow-crested ridges against the deepest blue backdrop I’ve ever seen, I push on and fire up my legs, reminding myself that this view is worth the discomfort it takes to reach it."



"Ecologists speak now of a need for “deep ecology,” not just an understanding of ecological issues and piecemeal scientific responses, but an overhaul of our philosophical understanding of nature. Instead of viewing mankind as the overlord of nature, it’s about revisiting the idea that a give-and-take relationship exists between the human and the nonhuman, a relationship that thrives on mutual respect and appreciation. To develop this sort of appreciation for nature and the nonhuman, it matters that we actually experience it. For many ecological thinkers, walking among mountains can be the first step in healing a false split between body and mind. The grief at the destruction of a beautiful building, the ecstatic joy of a sunrise in the mountains—these moments stem from this unification of the two.

Fragile moments of being that exist in nature

It’s a question of place versus nonplace. In The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities, Richard Sennett points to the peculiarity of the American sense of place: “that you are nowhere when you are alone with yourself.” Sennett speaks of cities as nonplaces, in which the person among the crowd slips into oblivion, only existing inside him- or herself. Other nonplaces look like the drudgery of terminals or waiting lines or places where all eyes are glued to phones. The buildings are uniform, and the faces blur together to create a boring conglomerate of civilization. If to be alone in a city is to be nowhere, the antithesis must be that to be alone in nature is to be everywhere. Nature is a place characterized by its “thisness,” as Gerard Manley Hopkins describes it—a place to enter into that is palpable with its own essence and feeling.

But as we lose our connection to place, as virtual reality turns here into nowhere, we lose our ability to narrate our experiences of nature. Recently, nature writer Robert Macfarlane pointed out that in the Oxford Junior Dictionary, the virtual and indoor are replacing the outdoor and natural, making them blasé. When we lose the language to describe our connection to landscape and place, we lose the actual connection to these things and the value decreases, separating us from the natural. According to Macfarlane, we have always been “name-callers, christeners,” always seeking language that registers the dramas of landscape, and the environmental movement must begin with a reawakening of natural wonder–inspired language.

Perhaps the point of all of this is to work to develop more refined attention, an ability to seek out and perceive fragile moments of being that exist in nature. We must pay attention to our breath and our bodies. Wendell Berry, a prophet of the natural, writes that to pay attention is to “stretch toward” a subject in aspiration, to come into its presence. To pay attention to mountains, we must come beneath them and reach out toward them.

To walk is to perceive

How do we begin? By wandering within the wilderness. Rebecca Solnit’s book on walking comes to mind: “Walking is one way of maintaining a bulwark against this erosion of the mind, the body, the landscape, and the city, and every walker is a guard on patrol to protect the ineffable.” While people today live in disconnected interiors, on foot in wilderness the whole world is connected to the individual. This form of investing in a place gives back; memories become seeded into places, giving them meaning and associations both in the body and the mind. Walking may take much longer, but this slowing down opens one up to new details, new possibilities.

Brian Teare is one of my favorite modern poets because his poetry is centered upon Charles Olson’s projective verse and on walking. All his works contain physical coordinates, anchoring each work of art to the place that inspired it. The land becomes the location, subject, and meaning to the thoughts and feelings that Teare wants to convey. As we enter into a field or crest the ridge of a mountain, we perceive the sight of the landscape and experience our bodies within it. We feel the wind and touch the dirt; we see the edges and diversity of the landscape. Perhaps we have hiked a far distance to reach this place and feel the journey within the body. Teare says in one of my favorite poems, “Atlas Peak”:

we have to hold it instead

in our heads & hands

which would seem impossible

except for how we remember

the trail in our feet, calves,

& thighs, our lungs’ thrust

upward; our eyes, which scan

trailside bracken for flowers;

& our minds, which recall

their names as best they can

Sitting on the side of Mount Massive, on the verge of tears, I felt utterly defeated. Our group took the shorter route, which had resulted in thousands of feet of incline in just a few miles, and my lungs, riddled with occasional asthma, were rejecting the task before them. It felt as if all the rocks in the boulder field had been placed upon my chest. My mind went to the thought of wilderness: Was it freedom or a curse? What would happen to me if something went wrong up here? Risk and freedom hold hands with each other in the mountains. After a long break, a few puffs of albuterol, water, and grit, I pulled myself up the final ascent and false summits along the ridge. I have been most thankful for my body when I have realized how beautifully fragile and simultaneously capable it is. On the summit, as we watched thin wispy waves of clouds weave into each other and rise around us, the mountain gently reminded me that I am not in control. I am not all-powerful, and nature’s lesson to me that morning was to respect its wildness.

As in all things, essentialism should be avoided. We live in a world that tends toward black-and-white perspectives, and when one praises the wilderness, those remarks can devolve into Luddite sentiments that are antipeople, antitechnological, and antihistorical. This solves nothing. Advancements in civilization are welcome and beautiful; technology has connected us in unprecedented ways. But as with anything, balance is key. We need the possibility of escape from civilization, even if we never indulge it. We need it to exist as an antithesis to the stresses of modern society. We need wilderness to serve as a place to realize that we exist in a tenuous balance with the world around us. All the political and societal struggles matter little if we have no environment to live in. In a world of utilitarian decision-making, a walk in the woods may be considered frivolous and useless, but it is necessary. The choice to preserve or to dominate is ours. But before deciding, perhaps one should first wander among the mountains."
nature  walking  wilderness  body  fragility  power  control  memory  luddism  decisionmaking  risk  freedom  technology  attention  brianteare  thinking  2016  hiking  robertmacfarlane  essence  feeling  feelings  vulnerability  gerardmanleyhopkins  nonplaces  urban  urbanism  escape  richardsennett  mind  spirit  life  living  mindbodyspirit  haleylittleton  andygoldsworthy  place  rebeccasolnit  wendellberry  walterbenjamin  outdoors  edwardabbey  ecology  environment  bodies 
june 2016 by robertogreco
The Solution to Technology Overload Is So Incredibly Simple | Big Think
"University of Illinois researchers have found that getting outside with family members can help prevent family dysfunction. Previous research had been done on the benefits of walking unto itself, but combining the social element as well brings past studies into a new light.

To clarify, walking itself, even for just 20 minutes, can help you restore your attention. And attention helps you pick up social cues, not feel as irritable, and maintain more self-control than you otherwise would have. All of these factors can lead to functioning more in harmony with those around you.

Attention is a scarce resource in the age of the Internet and constant screen exposure. It’s hard for our brains to have the chance to sit back and have restorative time when there are so many tools, entertainment and advertising devices clamoring for our focus. Taking kids to the park helps parents feel like they can relax a little, they are “on-duty” in a different way. And the ritual itself of going outside with family can have benefits for family functioning.

The question of how to increase our attention spans is a big one, with implications far outside that of this study. It turns out that the human attention span these days has actually decreased to be shorter than that of a goldfish. Back in 2000 (before smartphones became a big thing), the average human attention span was 12 seconds. Now, it is only eight seconds, while the attention span of a goldfish is about nine seconds.

Activities such as “dual screening,” using a smartphone while watching TV is an example, are suspected of contributing to this mass attention deficit. But even for those who aren’t switching back and forth between devices, heavy usage of a smartphone can lead to episodes called “cognitive failures.” Cognitive failures can include forgetting appointments, frequent forgetfulness about what they were planning to do next, and having a hard time concentrating on a conversation.

Getting out for a walk might be even more beneficial for you if you walk in an area with some amount of trees. Even when viewing a street at just two percent tree density, participants in a study noted feeling more relaxed than they did when viewing a street without any trees. Seeing more trees led to further participants reporting stress reduction."
outdoors  trees  health  psychology  technology  2016  families  parenting  screentime  walking  attention  sfsh  social 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Escuchatorio | UN ESPACIO QUE REPOSICIONA LA ESCUCHA COMO EJERCICIO POLÍTICO UN FLUJO SONORO DESDE EL CUAL TU ERES LA FUENTE MANDA TU SONIDO Y LO EMITIREMOS
"Este es un llamado a los caminantes, a sus pies y a sus oídos.

Caminar como acto de resistencia.
Caminar para perderse, para reencontrarse.
Caminar es estar alejándose de algo.
Caminar también como encuentro con la incertidumbre.
Caminar hacia el futuro y de regreso.
Caminar más lento, tomarse el tiempo, reducir el paso hasta detenerse.

Graba el sonido que hacen tus pasos.
Graba un camino imaginario, el cotidiano, el diferente.
Graba un paisaje sonoro de tu andar.
Tu grabación es un recorrido.

Manda tu sonido antes del 30 de abril. Todos los audios recibidos se difundirán en las radios y espacios participantes.

transmisión: 1 de mayo de 2016.

Escuchatorio #Camina se emitirá en una jornada de sol a sol de 7:09 a las 19:59 (12h 50m de duración) desde la Ciudad de México.

Moverse no es suficiente hay que caminar…"

[See also:
https://soundcloud.com/escuchatorio
https://www.instagram.com/escuchatorio/
https://twitter.com/escuchatorio ]
mexico  mexicodf  walking  resistance  via:felixblume  audio  sound  radio  df  mexicocity 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Research backs up the instinct that walking improves creativity - Quartz
"For centuries, great thinkers have instinctively stepped out the door and begun walking, or at the very least pacing, when they needed to boost creativity. Charles Dickens routinely walked for 30 miles a day, while the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

But in recent years, as lives have become increasingly sedentary, the idea has been put to the test. The precise physiology is unknown, but professors and therapists are turning what was once an unquestioned instinct into a certainty: Walking influences our thinking, and somehow improves creativity.

Last year, researchers at Stanford found that people perform better on creative divergent thinking tests during and immediately after walking. The effect was similar regardless of whether participants took a stroll inside or stayed inside, walking on a treadmill and staring at a wall. The act of walking itself, rather than the sights encountered on a saunter, was key to improving creativity, they found.

Dan Schwartz, who conducted the study and is Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education, says in an interview that there are “very complicated” physiological changes associated with walking. It’s not exactly clear why walking is helpful to so many thinkers, but “it could be that the brain is focusing on doing a task it’s quite good at,” he adds, which then allows it to free up and relax.

Exercise is known to improve mood, and so it’s likely that the aerobic activity has an effect. But it’s not clear whether more intense forms of exercise has exactly the same effect as walking.

“When I’m in good shape, my imagination can go, but when I’m in bad shape, all I can think about is how much it hurts,” says Schwartz, suggesting that perhaps the activity would have to be undemanding to have a creative boost.

Barbara Oakley, engineering professor at Oakland University who wrote a book about learning effectively which includes the benefit of walking, says in an interview that we make a mistake of thinking that we’re only learning when we’re focused. In fact, walking allows us subconsciously process and think in a different way.

“Part of why walking, I think, is important is it can be boring. It’s that very aspect that causes your mind to go back and revisit, even subconsciously, on what you’ve been analyzing and learning,” she says.

This “important part of the creative process” has helped her work many times, adds Oakley:
““I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working away and I’m completely stuck. Sometimes I’m so stuck I don’t even know I’m stuck. I finally get so frustrated I just get up. And as soon as I get out and have walked for ten or 15 minutes, these ideas start coming to me. It’s the best thing I could’ve done and I should’ve done it earlier.

Meanwhile, several therapists have embraced the benefits of walking, by only conducting sessions outside. Clay Cockrell, who runs a walking therapy practice in New York, says he believes the motion, as opposed to sitting on a couch, allows for more free form thinking.

Cockrell has 35 to 40 clients a week, and says they appreciate the rare chance without any agenda.

“New Yorkers walk out of their apartment building and jump in the taxi or subway, get to their destination, walk the two feet to their office. They’re never just outside out and about,” he says in an interview."
solvaturambulando  walking  creativity  2016 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Return to Black Mountain College - WSJ
"“Black Mountain is a myth, but it was mythic in its inception,” says Helen Molesworth, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, who is organizing the first major American museum show to examine the school’s legacy, Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933–1957, opening this month at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. “The people who made it had a lofty sense of what they were doing before it even started. They were trying to form a better world.” The exhibition will feature work by nearly 100 artists. Along with stars like the architect Walter Gropius and the Alberses, it includes figures like the sculptor Ruth Asawa, the collagist Ray Johnson and the funk potter Peter Voulkos, together with scores of photos and archival materials, as well as dance and music performances held within the galleries.

Other 20th-century art luminaries passed through the college too, including the abstract expressionists Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline, Russian-born WPA muralist Ilya Bolotowsky and Jacob Lawrence, the African-American painter whose Great Migration pictures were the subject of a recent MoMA retrospective, all drawn largely by Josef Albers’s allure. From the start, “Albers had an international reputation, and so did the college,” says Alice Sebrell, program director of the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in nearby Asheville, which was founded in 1993 to honor the school. “He was very open to artists whose work was different from his own. The whole package was appealing to artists who were doing non-mainstream work.”

From today’s vantage point, the reality of Black Mountain College as a crucial nexus for artistic, intellectual and even political activity is coming into sharp focus. Artists, scholars, educators and curators are increasingly recognizing that its unique environment was essential to the flowering of midcentury American art and culture, a place where the avant-garde of Europe and the United States came together and created something new. The past year has seen another major show, Black Mountain: An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933–1957, at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof, which explored the creative contributions made by German refugee artists and intellectuals who converged at the school during the Nazi era. A new book, The Experimenters: Chance and Design at Black Mountain College, was published last December.

“Today Black Mountain seems so avant la lettre, so proto-Beat, proto-hippie, so completely off the known of the region but also of the nation,” says Eva Díaz, the book’s author. In a contemporary art world riveted by the idea of experimentation, she adds, “Black Mountain is often invoked as a touchstone.”

The school’s interdisciplinary outlook is like catnip to curators and academics because it anticipated the current interest in performance art, craft and design. Artists are fascinated by it too: “There’s a growing need for us to be socially engaged, to want an interaction with a larger aspect of society,” says photographer and sculptor Sara VanDerBeek, whose father, the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek, studied at the college from 1949 to 1951. “That’s in keeping with the things they were discussing and engaging in at Black Mountain.”"



"“The teachers who were at Black Mountain were there because they really believed in freedom and education,” says abstractionist Dorothea Rockburne, who heard of it as a teenager in Montreal and began saving money to attend, which she finally did, from 1950 to 1954. She took science with the physicist Goldowski, but her most profound connection was with the German mathematician Max Dehn, with whom she studied topology, linear algebra and Euclidean geometry.

Part of what made Black Mountain special was the mix of disciplines, the intensity and the fact that everyone was together so constantly in the remote location. “We were all foreigners, so to speak, in that setting,” says Theodore Dreier Jr. (the son of the co-founder), who studied music there before transferring to Harvard, later becoming a psychiatrist. “It enhanced that kind of participatory, creative openness.”

The college was never accredited, largely because the founders wanted to remain independent from outside influences. Its largest class was 100, and only 66 students ever graduated. But great teaching was always the byword. Although the constantly evolving curriculum always included classroom instruction, Rockburne recalls that most of Dehn’s teaching “took place on our morning walks to the waterfall five days a week. He would explain to me the mathematics of nature,” pointing out examples of probability theory and Fibonacci progression as they occurred in plants. “I always had the sense that my teachers were living for me.”

By 1941, just before the United States joined the war, the school had raised the money to buy its own lakeside campus. It moved after the faculty and students had spent a year and a half constructing a two-story, 202-foot-long, streamlined modernist compound known as the Studies Building. When its summer art and music sessions, initiated by Albers, began in 1944, a dizzying array of instructors arrived, including the art critic Clement Greenberg, the choreographer Agnes de Mille, the gamelan composer Lou Harrison and the photographer Harry Callahan—most long before they became well known."
bmc  blackmountaincollege  2015  carolkino  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  art  education  schools  unschooling  deschooling  democracy  freedom  autonomy  learning  history  robertrauschenberg  johncage  johnandrewrice  rollinscollege  highered  highereducation  stanvanderbeek  saravanderbeek  mercecunningham  jeromerobbins  josefalbers  bauhaus  communes  cytwombly  annialbers  buckminsterfuller  helenmolesworth  robertmotherwell  jacoblawrence  franzkline  ilyabolotowsky  alicesebrell  theodoredreier  jonathanwilliams  walking 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Smartphones and the Uncertain Future of 'Spatial Thinking' - CityLab
"Your brain is indeed relaxing. In a handful of studies conducted over the last decade in the United States, England, Germany and Japan, researchers have shown that GPS navigation has a generally pernicious effect on the user's ability to remember an environment and reconstruct a route. Toru Ishikawa, a spatial geographer at the University of Tokyo, quantified the difference in a study published earlier this year. Asked to recall various aspects of their surroundings, participants using GPS navigation performed 20 percent worse than their paper-map peers.

As Ishikawa pointed out to me, these findings raise questions beyond urban anthropology. Spatial thinking helps us structure, integrate, and recall ideas. It's less an independent field of study than a foundational skill; a 2006 report from the National Research Council called spatial literacy the "missing link" in the K-12 curriculum at large.

Navigating is among the greatest incubators of that ability. A sophisticated internal map, as a famous study of London cab drivers showed, is tied to greater development in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for spatial memory. In another study, participants with stronger hippocampus development tended to navigate with complex cognitive maps, while those with less developed spatial memory memorized turn-by-turn directions.

Isn't it ironic: the easier it is for me to get where I'm going, the less I remember how I got there. As a conscious consumer of geographic information, should I be rationing my access to navigation tools—the mental equivalent of taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator?"



"It's too early to toll the bell for human navigation. GPS remains a clumsy accessory for a pedestrian, frustrating on a bicycle, and impossible on a motorcycle. There are indications that regular car commuters, too, may be impervious to the commands of the dashboard gods. "In general, the reason there's traffic is that people take the same way even if there's a different route," says Julie Mossler, head of global communications and creative strategy at Waze. Old highways die hard.

It seems that digital maps haven't rid wayfinding of its personal touch; rather, they are just beginning to properly incorporate it. New products in consumer mapping respond to the hegemonic efficiency of tools from Garmin, TomTom, and others. A handful of services cater solely to joggers. Yahoo Labs is attempting to quantify a nice walk based on crowd-sourced impressions of the city. A Dutch cartographer aims to chart the streets you have or haven't traveled. Every few months, it seems, some entrepreneur is embroiled in controversy over a map service showing neighborhoods that the user should avoid. The worldwide map, like the sprawling territory of the Internet itself, is balkanizing into a set of increasingly specialized "maplications."

The casualty of this gradual fine-tuning, I think, is chance. Routes were once conceived in a febrile mix of logic, accident, and instinct. Today's data-driven apps have mastered logic. They have registered road traffic, train delays, and the other accidents of travel. They have also, by explicitly catering to each of our effable desires, rendered human navigational impulse an eccentricity.

It's still possible, of course, to take a walk or go for a drive; to open your mind and let the city deliver, in Walter Benjamin's phrase, its "hints and instructions." The reverie of wandering, on foot or on wheels, can't be calculated by an algorithm or prescribed by an app.

But technology doesn't go away when you don't use it. From now on, an aimless jaunt is marked not only by openness to the stimuli of the physical world, but by the strain of blocking out their virtual counterparts. Contingent on technophobic self-control, wandering has lost its essential ease."
spatialthinking  cartography  mapping  maps  navigation  2014  via:shannon_mattern  gps  smartphones  orientation  wayfinding  walking  googlemaps  driving  cars  publictransit  memory  henrygrabar 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Caminar como último acto de libertad que nos queda | VICE | España
""No hay que olvidar que el trayecto es lo mejor del camino". Así se despide en nuestra entrevista Francisco Navamuel. El fotógrafo decidió crear un grupo en Facebook:Caminar como práctica anarquista, ética, estética y de pensamiento. Ahora reconoce que esta idea se le ha ido un poco de las manos. "Cuando te comento esto tiene que ver con el propio funcionamiento de la red social, en el que la información pasa a una velocidad incompatible con la reflexión".

En estos momentos el grupo cuenta con más de 4.600 seguidores. "Pero no siempre fue así. Arrancar el grupo costó más de tres años. El grupo contaba con unos 150 seguidores y decidí hacer administrador del grupo a todos. Actualmente, el grupo se autogestiona y seguimos creciendo, no solo en cantidad sino en calidad".

¿Y por qué esa necesidad de reivindicar el acto de caminar? "Sobre todo para mí es una manera de relacionarme con el territorio, de conocer en primera persona el espacio que habito, de reconocerme en las personas que voy encontrando cuando camino. Es una forma de conocimiento personal donde el espacio-tiempo confluyen al mismo ritmo que el pensamiento. Caminar tiene la capacidad de igualarnos, de hacernos ciudadanos en la medida que ocupamos y utilizamos un espacio y lo transitamos".

VICE: Entonces, ¿caminar va más allá del acto de desplazarse?

Francisco Navamuel: Caminar es un acto de libertad. Pero también de resistencia frente a las urgencias impuestas y las velocidades ajenas. Caminar se ha convertido en algo subversivo si no se practica para producir o para consumir y me niego a renunciar a esa capacidad transformadora y de conocimiento que recibimos cuando se camina, sea la manera elegida que sea: por placer, por obligación o por salud. Caminar tiene esa parte lúdica y pedagógica que tenemos que recuperar como fuente de conocimiento. Pero también entiendo el caminar como una experiencia estética. El paseo está asociado al paisaje y me interesa la percepción que cada persona tiene sobre cómo interpreta el territorio.

Y el grupo de Facebook, ¿cómo surge?

El grupo surge en un momento en el que comienzo a realizar una tesis doctoral en la que vinculo el caminar, la fotografía y el llamado 'Modelo Barcelona'. Desde el principio empecé a ser consciente de la cantidad de información que existía sobre el caminar desde disciplinas como la antropología, la sociología, el arte, el urbanismo. No todo lo que recopilaba para la tesis me era útil y pensé que ese esfuerzo de investigación y toda esa información no debía quedarse guardada en una pestaña del navegador. Decidí crear el grupo Caminar como práctica anarquista, ética, estética y de pensamiento porque pensaba que podría ser útil a otras personas el poner en común todo lo que generaba la investigación. Al mismo tiempo daba la oportunidad a otros caminantes a compartir sus experiencias, vivencias o conocimientos sobre el tema. Soy partidario de la transmisión de conocimientos de manera horizontal y el grupo permite esa transmisión no jerárquica que existe en espacios como la enseñanza reglada o la académica. Cualquiera puede compartir la información que considere oportuna, desde un paseo alrededor se su casa hasta el último proyecto participativo o la última publicación. Si bien Facebook no es precisamente un espacio de conocimiento, respeto y libertad, sí que permite este flujo de información compartida sobre un mismo tema.

Y el anarquismo del título.

Hay algo en la acción del caminar que lo vinculo con valores del anarquismo. Caminar es una manera de posicionarse en el mundo. Cada persona decide cuáles son los motivos que tiene para caminar, tiene libertad para decidir hacia dónde se desplaza y el mismo acto genera un bien en la comunidad. Las personas que caminan respetan y protegen los espacios por donde transita. Se es solidario con las personas que encuentras a tu paso. Caminar se ha convertido en un acto de resistencia y en muchos momentos de desobediencia, de compromiso y de acción directa. Caminar como experiencia libertaria, de respeto, conocimiento y reconocimiento del 'otro', caminar como acto de rebeldía, como respuesta a la especulación urbana. Caminar como penúltimo acto de dignidad, como último acto de libertad.

¿A qué te refieres cuando hablas de ética y estética?

La ética y la estética están íntimamente relacionadas en la medida que una experiencia estética está cargada de ética. La observación responsable genera pensamiento crítico. Como consecuencia de esa observación el ser humano ha materializado esa experiencia estética en objeto artístico por medio de la literatura, la escultura, la pintura, el dibujo, el sonido o como es en mi caso por medio de la fotografía. Caminar por tu entorno más inmediato te invita a mirar, a percibir, a conocer, a reflexionar y te permite ser crítico hacia las diferentes transformaciones que el poder fáctico impone. Ese conocimiento junto a ese pensamiento crítico genera un compromiso ético.

¿Se pueden cambiar las cosas con el acto de caminar?

Las cosas no se cambian por sí solas simplemente caminando. Se necesita el compromiso de una parte de la sociedad. Las personas que deciden caminar están en continuo cambio y ese movimiento genera unas sinergias que son capaces de transformar cualquier cosa. No basta con salir a la calle a caminar si no va implícito un grado mínimo de compromiso y de acción.

¿Necesitamos volver a ocupar los espacios públicos?

Necesitamos recuperarlos en la medida en que necesitamos socializar el espacio que ya ocupamos, y el desplazarse a pie ayuda a mantener ese equilibrio entre lo privado y lo público. Si algo caracteriza ese espacio público es la posibilidad de transitarlo con total libertad. Un espacio imperfecto y en continua transformación, donde el ser humano debe ser el protagonista frente a la especulación y a los intereses partidistas. El antropólogo Manuel Delgado llega a afirmar que el espacio público no existe en esta sociedad capitalista mientras se excluya de él a las personas y colectivos más vulnerables. Creo incluso que es necesario recuperar el espacio público como espacio de confrontación, donde dejemos de ser simples autómatas obedientes y materialicemos nuestros deseos. Una parte de urbanistas modernos, junto a ciertas políticas neoliberales, se han empeñado en proyectar las calles, las plazas, los barrios de tal manera que todo esté en orden, controlado y vigilado, de crear la ciudad perfecta con la intención de desactivar cualquier tipo de discrepancia y conflicto. Esto va en contra del propio concepto de ciudadano en la medida que se hace ciudad activando y socializando el espacio público.

¿Cómo ha influido tu pasión por caminar en tu proyecto personal?

Esa experiencia estética la materializo a través de mi trabajo artístico por medio de la fotografía y los registros sonoros. Pongo en práctica diferentes maneras de caminar, desde las deambulaciones perceptivas de los surrealistas, las derivas psicogeográficas de los situacionistas hasta las transurbancias que nos propone Francesco Careri con el grupo 'Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade'. De estas experiencias nace el proyecto WALKCELONA, en el que llevo trabajando los últimos siete años. Registro mis desplazamientos por la ciudad, que no dejan de ser pequeños momentos cotidianos, donde el conflicto está presente en sus calles, donde las contradicciones urbanas nos hacen errar en todas direcciones, donde los paisajes lingüísticos nos hace más humanos, sabiendo que la mayoría de las veces acaban censurados, generando muros de estéticas imposibles. Donde la arquitectura nos habla de cómo el espacio se convierte en tiempo y éste en historia, de lugares concretos que la cámara aísla y rescata de su anonimato para ser observados con la tranquilidad que la fotografía nos permite y que el ritmo de la propia ciudad nos arrebata."
walking  freedom  fernandobernal  2015  via:javierarbona  ethics  anarchism  aesthetics  thinking  solviturambulando  walkcelona  psychogeography  francisconavamuel  barcelona  españa  spain  knowing  scale  situationist  observation  criticism  criticalthinking  publicspace  space  manueldelgado  transurbanism  urbanism  urban  cities  anthropology 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Auto Correction: L.A. rethinks its car culture. - The California Sunday Magazine
"No one is more pleased than Aaron Paley to see Los Angeles morphing from a sprawling, car-dependent metropolis into a series of interconnected neighborhoods served by transit. In 2010, Paley introduced CicLAvia to his hometown. Modeled on Bogotá’s street festival Ciclovía, the event drew an estimated 100,000 residents on foot, bike, scooter, Rollerblades, and skateboard to a seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of car-free road between Boyle Heights and East Hollywood. The daylong festival has expanded from an annual event to a quarterly one and is now an L.A. institution, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood.

As we meander through Down­town’s Bunker Hill on a drizzly Satur­day morning, Paley is explaining CicLAvia’s rise. He believes the event’s popularity is emblematic of L.A.’s transition to a post-car city. “It took 27 years,” he says, “from the closure of the trolley lines in 1963 until the opening of the first light rail in 1990. During that time, Los Angeles essentially finished its freeway system and became the automobile capital of the planet. And during that time, you could answer any ‘How long does it take to get there?’ question with ‘Twenty minutes or less,’ and it was true. But then it wasn’t any longer.”

Compact and energetic, Paley is 57 years old with a salt-and-pepper beard. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and was trained as an architect and urban planner. For the past 26 years, he has been president of an orga­­ni­­zation he cofounded called Community Arts Re­­sources (yes, cars for short), which puts on art and street festivals throughout the area. Our route through Bunker Hill is not direct. Instead of streets, we take the tucked-away staircases and escalators that weave between the hill’s high-rises. Along the way, Paley points to the sky bridges that were built in the 1970s in anticipation of a never-constructed people mover. “That idea of separating the pedestrians from car traffic goes back to the middle of the 20th century,” Paley says. “It made for great science fiction, but it’s a terrible idea.”

After grabbing breakfast at Grand Central Market, we sit down at one of a handful of outdoor tables on South Broadway. Buses go by, a lot of buses, and lots of people are riding them. Where public transit in L.A. used to be the mode of necessity for those who couldn’t afford a car, it’s become a lifestyle choice for increasing numbers of residents. Former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his successor, Eric Garcetti, have promoted an aggressively bold campaign to make transit a cornerstone of the region’s growth and development. In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved a half-cent sales-tax increase that will raise $40 billion over 30 years to expand light-rail, subway, and bus lines, more than doubling the current system.

We walk down Spring Street, head­ing for the Metro Red Line that will take us to Union Station, the gorgeous 1939 Mission Revival train depot that is now the city’s transportation hub. “The past 40 years have brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants who had no alternative to get to work or school aside from mass transit,” Paley says. “Kids found other ways of staying in touch with their friends aside from cruising down Van Nuys Boulevard. It’s socially acceptable now for a 16-year-old kid not to get her driver’s license on her 16th birthday. That was unheard of in L.A. 20 years ago. A generation is opting to get their licenses later or opting not to get them at all. All these factors meant that by the early 2000s there was a mass of folks taking transit, a burgeoning bike culture, and more and more people saying that they wanted to live in a walkable neighborhood.”

Dodging raindrops, Paley and I take in some of Downtown’s greatest hits: the Bradbury Building (the 1893 landmark that starred in Blade Runner), the Last Bookstore (only a decade old and California’s largest used and new bookstore), and the Angels Flight funicular (the now-shuttered 298-foot railway that once delighted generations of Angelenos). We then hit upon a hidden treasure. Behind a roll-up door on Sixth Street is a vaulted room covered with custom tiles depicting scenes from Holland, which Arts and Crafts pioneer Ernest Batchelder created in 1914 for a soda parlor called the Dutch Chocolate Shop. We never would have been able to experience all this from a car.

I ask Paley if he worries that mass transit, especially the subway, will lead to the gentrification of L.A.’s poor neighborhoods, as it has in cities like Washington, D.C. “What we’re really talking about is the unwilling displacement of people and communities,” he says. “It’s occurring in every city throughout the world, and I don’t know one that has dealt with it effectively. In L.A., you have this weird symmetry at either end of the wealth spectrum. In richer neighborhoods, residents want everything to stay just as it is, and this form of nimbyism prevents transit stations from opening and affordable housing from being built. And in disadvantaged areas, the fear that good transit might lead to gentrification has led to the opposition to new lines in transit-dependent areas.”

Before we depart, Paley pulls out a map of Los Angeles he’d picked up on a recent trip to Berlin. It not only shows yet-to-be-completed subway lines. It depicts Downtown as the city’s center. Santa Monica, indeed the whole coastline, is an inset, an afterthought. That California-loving German tourists would be drawn not to the fantasy of Los Angeles but the Los Angeles of bikeshare and sidewalks amuses Paley. “I can only wish,” he says, “that urbanism has supplanted movie stars, but I’m sure that our worldwide identity as the home of Hollywood is firmly entrenched. The truth is, I’m far less concerned with how the rest of the world sees us and far more interested in how Angelenos themselves see their own city. If we can figure out how to move to the next incarnation — a place with viable transportation alternatives — then we’ll offer a new model to emulate for all those cities that followed our lead into the car century. There are a lot more cities that look like L.A. than look like San Francisco, Paris, Copenhagen, or Manhattan.”"
alisonarieff  losangeles  bogotá  colombia  cars  bikes  biking  walking  aaronpaley  ciclavia  ciclovía  tranporation  urban  urbanism  cities 
march 2015 by robertogreco
What if the Police Treated Murder Victims Like Pedestrians? — SD YIMBY
"Given that the fourth San Diegan this year was killed by a car while walking in San Diego yesterday, the San Diego Police Department has decided it is about time to do what they can to halt this disturbing upward trend in deaths. To avoid further deaths, SDPD issued the following tips:

Taking Steps for Pedestrian Safety
A reminder for pedestrians and drivers
• Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals where available and crosswalks
• Always look left, right, and left again before crossing a street and keep watching as you cross. Be aware that drivers have differing levels of eyesight and skill in operating motor vehicles.
• Pedestrians should be especially careful at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street
• Make sure you are seen: Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets, wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night, carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
• Walk on the sidewalk
• Walk defensively and be ready for unexpected events. Know what is going on around you and don’t allow your vision to be blocked by clothing, hats or items you are carrying.
• Watch the pedestrian signals, not the traffic signal and follow the “walk/don’t walk” lights.
• Watch out for parked vehicles. Parking lots can be dangerous
• Avoid alcohol and drugs as they can impair your ability to walk safely
• When crossing, use all of your senses and don’t use your cell phone for calls and texting
• Use particular caution when crossing driveways and alley entrances. Drivers may not expect you to be there or see you
• Adults should supervise children when crossing streets or walking in parking lots. Smaller children may be difficult for drivers to see and young children may not be able to judge whether it is safe to cross
• Walk dogs on short leashes
• MOTORISTS NEED TO BE VIGILANT OF PEDESTRIANS AND PEDESTRIANS NEED TO BE VIGILANT OF MOTORISTS. Although motorists have more responsibility under the law when operating a motor vehicle on city streets, pedestrians have more at stake

Whatever means of transportation, please travel safely.

Because obviously, when one group of people is killing the other, the best police tactic is to blame the victim. Luckily, SDPD has decided to take the same approach to murder in the City. Below is a dispatch from SDPD:

CITIZENS: Recently, the fourth San Diego resident was murdered this month. Shortly after the shooting, the murdered told us that he just didn't see his victim until the last minute and was so tired after working a long day at work that he couldn't suppress his anger. Makes sense, so we let him go. To help avoid more murders, SDPD offers the following advice. If everyone can follow these easy tips, no one will get murdered and life will be great in San Diego.

Taking Steps to Not Get Murdered

• MURDERERS NEED TO BE VIGILANT OF CITIZENS AND CITIZENS NEED TO BE VIGILANT OF MURDERERS. • Although murderers have more responsibility under the law, citizens have more at stake.
• Only walk during the day, as murderers tend to come out at night.
• Be especially careful walking during the day, because murderers will know you have your guard down.
• Small children won't be able to recognize murderers, so it's best to leave them inside until they turn 18. But if you're elderly, you're also probably not fast enough and can't see far enough to avoid murderers. If you are elderly and venture outside, you're basically asking to be shot.
• While living your life, focus solely on not getting murdered. Don't eat or drink, talk on a phone, listen to music, talk to friends, or do anything that will impair your ability to see a murderer.
• Live defensively and be ready for unexpected events. Murderers can come from anywhere, so don't do anything that may block your vision. Don't wear clothes, hats, or carry anything.
• Make sure you are not seen. Wear camouflage, avoid eye contact, dart between bushes and large objects.
• Every now and then, we will flash signs when it looks like the coast is clear. But this is also the most likely time you'll get murdered, because it's easy to pick off unsuspecting prey.
• Always look left, right, and left again before leaving the house. Be aware that murderers have different anger levels before they snap, so you can't trust them not to shoot you even if you are nice.
• Watch out for people with guns, knives, and clubs. But also be vigilant for people with none of these things, because they might be concealing their weapons. Concealed weapons are especially dangerous because you don't see it coming.
• Use particular caution when outside a building. Murderers will not expect to see you there and may get trigger happy.
• if you fail to do any of these things, be ready for the newspapers to say, "Sure, Jane got murdered, but it was her fault for trying to walk during the day and not wear camouflage." Also, SDPD will assume you were asking for it if you don't follow our tips. We really wish there was something we could do to protect citizens against murder and prosecute murderers, but murder is just a fact of life, ya know?
• Maybe the best bet is to just stay inside your house and not get murdered. Unless a family member is a murderer. I guess there is nothing to be done. Sorry!"
sandiego  sdpd  motorists  cars  safety  victimblaming  pedestrians  walking 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Pedestrians As Safety Hazards - John P Anderson
"Enough anecdotes about the incredible amount of land we dedicate to vehicles only, which is a constant and physical reminder of what we place value on. On to the seemingly well-intentioned note from the SDPD to help keep pedestrians safe which is shown in full below. What are we keeping pedestrians safe from? Other pedestrians? I don't recall the last pedestrian killed by another person walking. Of course the danger that is obliquely referred to is the motor vehicle. For some reason the onus is put on the pedestrian - the most vulnerable and least detrimental form of transport known to humankind.

So what advice does the SDPD have for pedestrians to keep themselves out of harms way? Essentially to dress like a traffic cone and give vehicles priority whenever possible; this is also known as 'defensive walking'. Pedestrians should dress in bright colors, carry a flashlight, look thrice before crossing the street and do so only at corners. Pedestrians should also not assume a car will stop - aka wait on the curb until there are no cars in either direction. These sort of instructions make walking seem dangerous, inconvenient and unpleasurable. Walking is great exercise, safe, and healthy - we should be encouraging it as much as possible! Repeat after me: "Motorists are dangerous, pedestrians are not". Again, no one is being killed or injured by pedestrians. Our neighbors and friends are being maimed and killed by motorists every single day of the year. Pedestrians are not the problem, they are a key part of making where we live safer and more enjoyable.

If we were serious about keeping our neighborhoods safe for pedestrians we would take effective action against the biggest danger, motorists, and not penalize and scare people that might otherwise walk. Lower speed limits would be a great start. Another powerful tool would be penalizing drivers that kill people. Running over an old man crossing the street in an unmarked crosswalk should not be chalked up to 'oops, my bad'. Running over an elderly woman walking on the sidewalk should not result in no ticket. These are real tragedies happening right where we live. The same police department that is scolding pedestrians for their flippant and unsafe ways is letting motorists walk away from a dead body without even a basic traffic citation. There is no clearer example of how much we will prioritize the car over all, we don't even take killing someone seriously when it is done with a car.

Will the SDPD be posting safety tips for motorists to Nextdoor as well? I won't be holding my breath but hope so. I would suggest posting safety tips for each mode of transport in proportion to the amount of people killed by that mode in the past year. Obviously this would result in an incredibly high amount of safety tips for motorists as compared to pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. This would be appropriate because motorists are the biggest danger by a very, very wide margin to others. The safety tips below are like addressing second smoking by advising non-smokers to wear masks, avoid areas where smokers may be, and at the same time granting the majority of public land to smokers. It's farcical and year, in regards to transport it is exactly what we are doing over and over in nearly every facet of our society.

It's time to stop stigmatizing safe transport and giving dangerous transport a free pass. Motorists are dangerous, pedestrians are not."
sandiego  cars  safety  2015  sdpd  pedestrians  walking  motorists  johnanderson  victimblaming 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Los Angeles, as a Pedestrian - NYTimes.com
"Had I been driving I would not have stopped here. But I was lured from the sidewalk by an open gate and the mysterious buildings beyond. There was a Moorish structure with a minaret, another was Italian with a loggia, a third had a fleur-de-lis on a chimney. It was as if a snow globe village had been dropped onto Sunset Boulevard. At the back of the hushed lot, a stone statue, naked to her hips, stood sentry.

I would later learn that this is where a Jazz Age gangster named Charlie Crawford was murdered. In 1936 these fanciful buildings, commissioned by his widow, became Crossroads of the World, the first pedestrian outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles. In the 1940s it was recast as an office complex, attracting such tenants as Alfred Hitchcock. Today, the complex calls to mind the scene in “Big” where Tom Hanks returns to an abandoned fairground in search of a wish-making machine. There’s magic in the air, even after the carnival has come and gone.

Visit Los Angeles as a solo traveler and you’ll find few better ways to unmask the city’s hidden-in-plain-sight history, meet other people and imbibe responsibly than to be car-free. (And consider the money you’ll save on gas and valets.) This is not to scorn the car, which offers its own pleasures. It’s a symbol of freedom and, at its most inspired, art. The poet Gary Snyder has written of “the calligraphy of lights on the night freeways of Los Angeles.” And, as Reyner Banham put it in “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies,” the city’s freeway system is “one of the greater works of Man.”"
2014  walking  losangeles  via:mattthomas  stephanierosenbloom 
december 2014 by robertogreco
‘A Philosophy of Walking,’ by Frédéric Gros - NYTimes.com
"The act the French philosopher Frédéric Gros describes in his athletic new book, “A Philosophy of Walking,” has more in common with what Americans call hiking and the French call la randonnée than with what they are likely to think of as simply “walking.” But for Gros this is the only kind that matters: City dwellers can only ever be “strollers,” stretching their legs in fragmented moments between street-crossings. Gros’s true walker leaves the pavement far behind.

Less organized than a sport and more profound than a voyage, a long walk, Gros suggests, allows us to commune with the sublime. Through sheer force of continuous effort, the views we contemplate become more beautiful than if we had simply pulled over by the side of the road to admire them. By physically covering the terrain, we make it ours: The beauty of the world is inscribed in us, and we in it.

We shed our identities in the course of the long, rhythmic move on two legs across the landscape, Gros says; all other ambitions fall away as we give ourselves over to the transformative powers of physical exertion, which pulls us more strongly to earth yet enables us to slip the bounds of our bodies, so that we become “almost” as unconscious as a “tumbling dead leaf.”

If this is starting to sound like a hybrid Hindu-Buddhist philosophy of walking, that’s exactly where it’s headed. Invoking the pilgrimage diaries of Swami Ramdas, Gros explains that “it is when we renounce everything that everything is given to us, in abundance.” The book’s final description is of speed-walking ­Tibetan monks called lung-gom-pa.

But the path to enlightenment also leads through the West. In chapters on Nietzsche, Rousseau, Rimbaud, Thoreau and others, Gros considers the inspiration they each found in walking. Nietzsche even advised, aphoristically, “Do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement.” Gros takes this to mean that books bear in their very DNA the circumstances of their conception; we can tell when they have been composed entirely at a desk, their authors hunched and squinting over a stack of books.

Gros is in search of higher truths than those found in libraries: “There are thoughts that can only occur at 6,000 feet above the plains and mournful shores,” he rightly points out, and if his prose gets a bit purple from time to time, maybe it’s because it was composed on one of those peaks where the oxygen’s a bit thin.

Unlike Gros’s, my own philosophy of walking is about the pleasure and stimulation of the city. Far from being an encounter with capitalist systems of “information, images and goods,” as Gros insists, urban walking in fact offers a million invitations to become anyone we want, totally for free. Personally, a long stretch of country leaves me as bored as a blank wall, which means I can’t quite regard what Gros is up to with anything other than awe mixed with skepticism, the way I think of people who make their own bacon. Impressive, but not for me.

The joy of walking transcends setting; it engages the mind as well as the spirit. Some great walkers don’t like there to be buildings in their way, and that’s fine for them. Others of us just can’t do without the buildings."
via:mattthomas  walking  frédéricgros  laurenelkin  enlightenment  philosophy  2014  books 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Why Walking Helps Us Think - The New Yorker
"In Vogue’s 1969 Christmas issue, Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” He drew a charming one himself. Several decades later, a Boston College English professor named Joseph Nugent and his colleagues put together an annotated Google map that shadows Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom step by step. The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, as well as students at the Georgia Institute of Technology, have similarly reconstructed the paths of the London amblers in “Mrs. Dalloway.”"



"What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

The way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa. Psychologists who specialize in exercise music have quantified what many of us already know: listening to songs with high tempos motivates us to run faster, and the swifter we move, the quicker we prefer our music. Likewise, when drivers hear loud, fast music, they unconsciously step a bit harder on the gas pedal. Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.

Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander—to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind’s theatre. This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight. Earlier this year, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz of Stanford published what is likely the first set of studies that directly measure the way walking changes creativity in the moment. They got the idea for the studies while on a walk. “My doctoral advisor had the habit of going for walks with his students to brainstorm,” Oppezzo says of Schwartz. “One day we got kind of meta.”"



"Perhaps the most profound relationship between walking, thinking, and writing reveals itself at the end of a stroll, back at the desk. There, it becomes apparent that writing and walking are extremely similar feats, equal parts physical and mental. When we choose a path through a city or forest, our brain must survey the surrounding environment, construct a mental map of the world, settle on a way forward, and translate that plan into a series of footsteps. Likewise, writing forces the brain to review its own landscape, plot a course through that mental terrain, and transcribe the resulting trail of thoughts by guiding the hands. Walking organizes the world around us; writing organizes our thoughts. Ultimately, maps like the one that Nabokov drew are recursive: they are maps of maps."
walking  solviturambulando  exercise  creativity  life  ulysses  jamesjoyce  maps  mapping  vladimirnabokov  psychology  physiology  thinking  marilyoppezzo  danielschwartz  marcberman  memory  attention  urban  urbanism  stephendedalus  leopoldbloom  virginiawoolf  adamgopnik  mrsgalloway  thoreau  thomasdequincey  williamwordsworth 
september 2014 by robertogreco
I Knew Jim Knew – powerHouse Books
"He’s been called “the furniture pimp” by Mike D of the Beastie Boys. He consulted on the period 1970s furniture and interiors for the movie The Ice Storm. For those in the know he is an absolute design guru. There are few people with a firmer understanding of the last 75 years of furniture, interior, graphic, and industrial design, architecture, and where they all meet in popular culture. Until now, unless you were fortunate enough to personally know Jim Walrod, you likely didn’t know all the amazing facts about those subjects swimming around in his head. Ask his friends after even the most casual conversation with him and they’ll shake their head in amazement and say, “I knew Jim knew!”

Jim has three passions: self-discovery at his own pace; a keen attuning to the offbeat; and walking around wherever in the world he is. Through decades of this special combination he has picked up a diverse and quirky array of historical facts that have simply been forgotten by many, if they ever knew them to begin with! Jim has an uncanny knack for pulling out of thin air during mid-conversation one arcane reference after another, such as who the model was for a famous Rolling Stones album cover, a strange book written by Charles Mingus, Liberace’s early career, and what Frank Lloyd Wright admitted to later in life. Let I Knew Jim Knew be a fascinating tour inside Jim’s head with the only problem being that we couldn’t possibly get to it all!"
books  jimwalrod  walking  slef-discovery  slow 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Uses of Art: Little Beasts | The American Reader
"Let us in our imaginations allow all this critique and disappointment to raze participatory art to the ground. Let us do away with it along with the other outmoded utopias. We live now in a world so saturated with the engagement (post, snap, tweet, comment, yo) that even commenting on that situation has become superfluous. We might think of ourselves as in a post-participatory condition. In mood, there is little hope. Change occurs as fitfully as it always has. Personal transformation passes through us convulsively, but cure eludes.

If we destroy as much as we can, oddly, the sense of possibility pokes back up, stems of quackgrass in the rubble of a vacant lot. Pretty soon we have a post-apocalyptic grove of frondy locust trees to contend with. There is something stubborn and persistent that remains, some reason that people keep trying to do this impossible thing.

Participatory art survives and not just on the margins. The less hope we have for art’s political and social efficacy, the more hyper-optimistic work appears and proliferates, under new names and old: Durational Performance, Neo-situationism, Intervention, Social Practice, Socially Engaged Art. Sometimes it’s just called “art.” Often it takes the form of “projects” which try to escape claims in relation to art history or art discourse.

Whatever we think of its chances, participatory art is an explicit antidote to the extreme narcissism of the ordinary material work of art. Walking through white cubes it becomes obvious that the expensive celebrity objects in our museums and galleries do not need us. That’s what they proclaim in their serenity and their stillness. They exist outside of time, complete unto themselves. We are patient before them, ready to be affected, but we cannot affect them in turn. Landscapes shimmer, the depicted stare out, bodies present themselves for our gaze. But the artwork fundamentally doesn’t care whether we are moved or indifferent, aroused or disgusted. It doesn’t even care if we look at it or turn away. It is unchanged by ignorance, by knowing little nods, by crowds of swooners, by expert dismissals. It sails on through time, accepting its preservation, its custodial care, as its due."



"Clark, along with several contemporaries in the influential Brazilian Neo-concretist movement (Amilcar de Castro, Ferreira Gullar, Franz Weissmann, Lygia Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis) argued for an art that was “always in the present, always in the process of beginning over,” an art which brought back “a primal—total—experience of the real.” Beginning in 1960 with her series of Bichos (beasts), she made the leap from ordinary geometric abstraction to objects meant to be handled directly by the viewer."



"Clark and other participatory artists are part of a long tradition of demystification—of deliberate attempts to destroy the mana of the work of art by treating it casually, and in so doing to destroy the political gradient between the work and the viewer. In this way, participatory art aims to change the deep structure of the art experience.

To the extent an artwork signals its hierarchical relation to the viewer, to the extent to which it is considered more valuable (financially, absolutely) than the viewer, the form of relation it offers can overwhelm any subversive “content.”

Clark’s Bichos, by demanding touch and rearrangement, propose that art can move from icon or totem to toy. A toy acts intimately. A toy does not and cannot rule its player. It can only invite. As Johan Huizinga suggested in his classic Homo Ludens, play is a free activity. “Play to order is not play: it could at best be a forcible imitation of it.”

This, in potential, gives another register to my self-consciousness and my failure to fall immersively into play with Clark’s Bicho. Between me and the Bicho is a question, a field of possibilities. It is precisely in uncertainty, in the possibility of saying no, or being unable to play, that the desire for real relation can be discovered."



"As I move the plates and hinges she says: “You are the artist, you can make whatever you want.” Generally, this is a sentiment I like, but here it strikes me as missing something crucial. It encourages you to notice your own agency but obscures the curious counter-agency of the object in your hands.

Kids, she says, are better than adults.

“Better at playing?” I ask.

“They ask permission. The adults, if they push too hard, they could break the piece.”

Even though the guard is friendly, and easy with me, her watching makes it even harder to really play. I don’t feel like either an artist or a child."



"As the Sixties ended, Clark moved away from art and especially from museums and galleries. She shifted her work to a class she taught at the Sorbonne in Paris on gestural communication. There, she developed new “relational objects,” sensory prosthetics, and experimental rituals. Imagine a group of Sorbonne students enacting Baba Antropofagica (Anthropophagic Drool), unspooling thread from their mouths and layering a tangle of saliva covered strands over a fellow student, or picture them blindfolded and trying to eat a piece of fruit from a pouch of another student’s suit.

In the milieus of Paris and Rio, rich with psychoanalytic theory and practice, Clark began to call her work psychotherapy, and when she moved back to Rio de Janeiro in 1976 she worked privately with therapeutic participants in a project she called Estruturação do Self (Structuring the Self).

In the account of Suely Rolnik, who knew Clark and has written about her extensively, “[Clark] dedicated a room of her flat to a sort of installation, where she received each person individually for one-hour-long sessions one to three times a week over a period of months, and in some cases, even a period of years. The Relational Objects were the instruments conceived by the artist to touch the bodies of her ‘clients,’ as she referred to those who were available to experience this proposal. Naked, they would lay on one of those objects, the Grande Colchão (Large Mattress), and the session would begin.”

Although Clark called this private practice therapy, she also said that she never stopped being an artist. Estruturação do Self opens the possibility of a way of art which is not merely participatory, a form of art in which the body of the artist is copresent with the art object and with the participant in a mutual relation. Too intimate, perhaps, for most. When I imagine it, I keep picturing the sensation of being covered with drool-soaked strands."



"Clark says, “True participation is open and we will never be able to know what we give to the spectator-author. It is precisely because of this that I speak of a well, from inside which a sound would be taken, not by the you-well, but by the other, in the sense that he throws his own stone.”

My own stone falls as into a shallow street puddle. Thudplop.

The problem is one of time, and of giving in. I can’t seem to give into the Bicho’s time. Its movement, yes, its lived time, no. Maybe for others this lived time would emerge more easily. Perhaps if I were a child, the fascination of the changing forms would absorb me totally. Maybe they would become dreams and stories. I want them to.

It’s as if I need the Bicho to step forward like a pet and command my attention, butting my hand with its head. Yes, now, play with me, no, don’t stop petting, don’t stop throwing the ball."



"Wanting to walk with her, I rummage around my studio for a roll of adding machine paper, glue up some Möbius strips and go out for coffee while the glue dries. When I come back, I begin cutting. “Pierce,” says Clark, so I stab the paper with the open blade and start. My scissors aren’t the best, they’re sticky and the grip seems to be made for child aliens, but despite that I am soon in a rhythm of cutting. I think of the tiny blunt scissors I saw in the hands of visitors at MoMA. I cut and cut, going around. As you meet your original cut, where the scissors have torn awkwardly into the paper, there is a choice, cut to the right or the left. I go left and steer towards the edge, to preserve as much thickness as I can. As I come around to that mark a second time I realize I’ve mistaken the geometry for a loop, my left and right are now reversed, and I’ve saved nothing. Keep going. It is indeed a little like walking. And like making. There’s a shivery doubling or layering of experience—walking is making, making is playing, mine is hers. It doesn’t much matter in that moment whose the making is, Lygia Clark’s or mine. I know I’m not having as romantic an experience as she might hope for, but there, in my studio, as the ribbon of adding machine paper gets thinner and thinner in a geometry that quickly escapes my full imagining, something is happening that wouldn’t otherwise happen. From my scissors, a tangle that is one continuous piece of paper collects at my feet, a paradox object. The making of the object is not in service to the having of the object. There is a sense of going somewhere and nowhere at the same time. There is the hope of being able to go on forever as the paper narrows and narrows until one tiny slip severs the piece and you know you’re done."
salrandolph  art  participatory  lygiaclark  walking  sensoryprosthetics  glvo  babaantropofagica  play  making  doing  conversation  audiencesofone  toys  learning  touch  rearrangement  homoludens  possibility  possibilities  uncertainty  unfinished  demystification  interaction  taboo  situationist  socialpracticeart  performance  prosthetics 
july 2014 by robertogreco
BBC News - The slow death of purposeless walking
"A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk?"
walking  thinking  2014  flaneur  wandering  charlesdickens  georgeorwell  patrickleigh  constantinbrancusi  thoreau  thomasdequincey  nassimtaleb  nietzsche  brucechatwin  wgebald  johnfrancis  fredericgros  geoffnicholson  merlincoverley  observation  attention  mindfulness  rebeccasolnit  finlorohrer  vladimirnabokov 
may 2014 by robertogreco
SuperShoes - tickling shoes that facilitate urban rediscovery on Vimeo
"Today we immerse in our digital lives through smartphones - we use google maps to navigate to the right location, yelp to find the right restaurant and so on. We don't get lost anymore, we don't wander, wonder and discover. Acts of random serendipity through walking brings us back to our innate nature as explorers, walking is meditating.

SuperShoes are a pair of flexible inner soles that you can flex, twist and put in any of your shoes to make them a supershoe. Each of these soles have three vibrotactile motors that tickle your toes, a capacitive pad that recognizes your touch and serves as an input modality. Onboard micro controller, low-power bluetooth and battery supplement the interface. The soles talk to the smartphone to use its location and data services. Users register onto ShoeCentral - once - where they populate their likes and dislikes (food, people, shopping, weather, places, hobbies, activities, interests etc) and social preferences. The ShoeCentral keeps learning about user preferences as you use the SuperShoes to go around.

The shoes are based on a tickling interface - left toe tickles - turn left, right toe tickles - turn right, no tickle - keep going, both tickle repeatedly - reached destination, both tickle once - recommendation, both tickle twice - reminder.

The shoes perform varying functions -

Map - The shoes take you to your destination by tickling. You input your destination once on the accompanying smartphone app. No more staring at the screen, rather immerse in your surroundings.

Tour guide - Since the shoes know your likes and dislikes, they recommend places of interest nearby. You could look at the smartphone app to know the suggestion, but ideally - the user follows the tickle to reach the suggested place as a surprise. Say you like Sushi and the shoes know this, the shoes know that you are on 33rd St and 7th Avenue, the shoes tickle you to take you to the Sushi place nearby which is highly recommended online. You can pause the suggestion by tapping on the toes to ignore it.

Reminders - Most of our to-do lists are on the smartphone or on the computer, we don't constantly monitor these lists throughout the day. The shoes know your tasks, and they tickle you twice to remind you when you are close to the place. Say you had to pick up wine before reaching home, as you approach close to the wine store, the shoes tickle you - and as you look around - you see the wine store and you remember your task.

Break time - We don't take breaks, we run from one place to the other. The shoes have access to your calendar and know if you have a free slot in the day, they plan a short route for you that starts and ends at your current location. So you can go out and take a break - walk without worrying where you are going - while being assured that you'd reach back at your origin in time.

Getting lost - Given the design of cities and the cross streets, there are infinite number of ways to go from one place to the other. However, we always take the same route from our work to home and vice versa. Depending on how much time you have at hand, the shoes suggest a new route for you everyday so that you can discover, explore more and not worry about getting lost."

[Also posted here: http://dhairyadand.com/sec/?page=projects&id=supershoes ]

[Reminds me of: http://dominicwilcox.com/portfolio/gpsshoe/ ]
via:lukeneff  shoes  walking  supershoes  discovery  meandering  wonder  wandering  haptic  interface  maps  mapping  directions  reminders  gettinglost  exploration  2014  dhairyadand  design 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Full stack writing (and publishing): Welcome to Hi – Tokyo, Japan — A Hi Moment
"Hi is what we call a “full stack”1 writing and publishing platform. Just what is a writing stack? Capture. Write. Publish. is our summary of it, but really it breaks down into five parts:

Sudden inspiration!
Capture
Draft
Publish
Converse
Some platforms provide tools for parts of the stack.
Hi gives you tools for the full stack.
All the pancakes.

**All the pancakes**

What advantages come from having all of your pancakes in one place? The biggest advantage is that it’s easy to weave community into each stage of the writing process. This creates a unique intimacy with an audience. It also makes building an audience feel accessible. In fact, writing on Hi feels less like using a set of tools and more like having an increasingly deepening, extended conversation.

In service to this, much of the work we’ve done these past eight months has been explicitly focused on community building. For example, we have a Welcome Committee at Hi. (Of course, please join if you feel so inclined.) And all conversations for each Hi member are consolidated under a single stream called, unsurprisingly, Conversations.

As you post sketches (our term for short snippets that then turn into longer stories), our community gently prods you to Tell them more. And as you publish finished stories, our community responds with a chorus of Thanks. It may not sound like much, but those two, simple actions create a powerful feedback loop predicated on guidance and optimism.

**Sense and sense making**

Another advantage of having all your pancakes one place is that as a moment moves from sketch to published story, the address (its URL) stays the same. Sketches and stories intermingle. We like to describe sketches as sensing and the full stories as sense making. On Hi, the sense and sense making happen in parallel.

**Real-time**

Which points to another key attribute of Hi: Real-time. Because Hi and our community encourages lots of sketching, we’ve made sure Hi works where inspiration hits — on mobile platforms.2 Location is an integral part of any Hi moment.

What happens when you give a community real-time and mobile friendly tools? They “narratively map the world.”

Thomas Clark in his epic travel poem, In Praise of Walking, describes variously the traversed routes of the world:
Always, everywhere, people have walked, veining the earth with paths, visible and invisible, symmetrical and meandering.


Give folks the proper tools and those veined paths — both as etched into the earth and into our minds — suddenly become more concrete, real, with each sketch or story on Hi existing as a marker in time and place.

**Loops**

Finally, Hi acts — prosaically yet powerfully — as a mailing list. Readers who have asked a writer to “Tell me more” are notified by email when the writer has, indeed, written more. And a writer’s subscribers will similarly get an email when they publish a new story.

In other words: the full stack writing experience on Hi is, at its core, an interlocking set of feedback loops built atop our great community.

For example, when poet Lia Pas sketches about a new iPad, we want her to Tell us more, and so she does: [image]

Or when Luis sketched rather cryptically about a graveyard in Tokyo … he told us more and it was a doozie: [image]

**Writing and rewriting**

Does this full stack of publishing pancakes work for all types of writing? Of course not. Certain writing doesn’t benefit from an everything-public, community-everywhere stack like that of Hi. In fact, certain writing can only be accomplished off the stack. Which is to say there is a meditative quality that presents itself when you move away from an environment like ours.3

But! Many types of writing benefit from, and thrive, within Hi’s full stack.

Travel writing — writing with location at its core — obviously feels at home on this full stack. Real-time, iterative journalism (the covering of protests, emerging and evolving stories, etc) benefits from full stack tools wrapped in community.4 Journaling or chronicling feels particularly comfy on this full stack.

Uniquely, writing almost has to happen in stages. An instagram photo may be finished as soon as its taken, and a sketch on Hi might be worked out the instant it’s posted, but, a longer story? That (usually) needs much more time. E. B. White is famously quoted, “Writing is rewriting.” If you’re looking for thoughtfulness, a piece of writing needs multiple passes. 5

Which is why we’ve deliberately embedded enclaves of calm into our stack. The capture process happens with whatever device you have in hand, as soon as inspiration hits. But the followup or drafting or sense making — the more meditative processes of rewriting — can happen either on that same device, a tablet, or on the desktop. And it can happen minutes, days, or months later.

Which is to say that life happens in real-time but thoughtfulness happens in slow-motion, requiring appropriate time and distance from an event, an insight, a moment. The tools of any full stack writing platform should understand, respond to, and respect that.

**Community**

Hi is a community. A community both narratively mapping the world, and making sense of their everyday lives, their loves, fears, joys, insights — all as connected to place and bound together by topic.

We’ve had a blast these past eight months working on Hi, straightening out the kinks, tightening the feedback loops, making the community feel stronger and more easily connected to one another. Hi is still not perfect, and it’s not for every kind of writer, but if sounds interesting to you, we’d love for you to join us at the table. There’s pancakes aplenty. "
craigmod  hitotoki  writing  howwewrite  publishing  ebooks  blogging  epublishing  web  internet  hi  hi.co  2014  process  walking  place  thomasclark  maps  mapping  time  timing  rewriting  editing  feedback  community  instagram  photography  inspiration  communication  ebwhite  blogs  sharing  digitalpublishing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Making Do
"“Having a conversation with the junk of a City of Riches feels surprisingly cosy.
And inspires intense concentration.

With a makeshift trolley of tools and resources in tow, Xin Cheng, Chris Berthelsen and companions become hypnotized by the fine-grain of Auckland’s native wetlands, urban industrial zones and sub/urban deathtraps. Over a series of walks they begin to work out how to come to terms with the Super City in a pragmatic, generative, and non-goal-oriented manner.”

making do by Xin Cheng, Chris Berthelsen and companions might concern: circumstances and eddies, niches and leftovers, material intrigue, spontaneous constructions and rearrangements, sustenance and pleasures of the senses.
at least.

A sketchbook of the project can be found at http://making-do.tumblr.com "
xincheng  chrisberthelsen  walking  conversation  makingdo  aukland  newzealand  wetlands  urban  urbanism  supercity  senses  generative 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Xin Cheng
"Xin Cheng enjoys tramping and Manuka tea, and would like to be a nomad. Studied at the University of Auckland: BFA(Hons), 2011; BA/BSc, 2005. Volunteered in Cambodia (2013) and Codfish Island (2006) on nature conservation projects. Former co-director of RM project and gallery (2007-2012). Regular at S/F.

Recent projects: From the Northeast, performance at Stazione di Topolò_Postaja Topolove, Italy; Propositions, Freedom Farmers, Auckland Art Gallery; Improvising, ongoing and everywhere."



"making do [http://making-do.a-small-lab.com/ ] with Chris Berthelsen, supported by Artspace NZ

vernacular Cambodia [http://vernacular.xin-cheng.info/ ] with Sa Sa Art Project, Phnom Penh, supported by Asia New Zealand Foundation"



"Xin Cheng and I spent several days in conversation - about personal politics, aesthetics, and a philosophy of art. The most significant moments however were actually pretty poetic in simple terms: the texture of a chicken heart bought from a street vendor; the echo of a rock bouncing off the green-tiled-rooftop on which we played; a dog wandering through a garden in the ruins; running from security with spray paint on our fingers.

When I met Xin I was working in Taiwan, teaching children English. Xin had just left Cambodia where she had spent months building an educational nature trail. Both of us had been, in a way, redefining our own approach to things through trying to be useful in the world. Yet we were still connected to our obsessions: Xin to making and I to words. Working in us was the electricity of continually rediscovering life that comes with being in a new place; the freedom of new ways of seeing, the smoothness and unrestrained energy of what Deleuze and Guattari call ‘nomad thought’. And Xin in her gentle, organised and cataloguing way is one of the truest nomads I have ever met.

We wandered the streets and rooftops of Taichung, taking in things as they were, without much in the way of preconceptions or pretence. We talked nonstop, punctuated by Xin pausing to admire the texture of a patch on a wall, photographing a water bottle that hung from a storefront awning by a string as it swayed in the wind like an apple on a branch, marvelling at a chair made out of spare parts. In these memories Xin is like a gardener, and as we walked, a crumbling city street became a flourishing garden of objects under her gaze, each with their own unique ripeness of meaning and beauty… the flows of time and process revealing narratives about the organic inventiveness of necessity, about how things are not permanently one thing. There is something radical in this. She would harvest these ideas through observation, without interfering. Her approach could be likened to her interest in ecology and permaculture farming, in which the found objects that show up her work – the readymades – are refreshingly free from petrifying irony; instead, demonstrating a process of life and living.

Perpetually engaged like children, we spoke in English while the signs around us were in Chinese, but the objects of her fascination were mostly freed from the trouble of language. And in our time together my way of observing was changed by her; her attentiveness to process and understanding of how the small flaws in things are instructive as to their making, and agency in the breathing world - things that I sometimes forget.

Nick Yeck-Stauffer

September 2013"
xincheng  newzealand  aukland  art  artists  chrisberthelsen  walking  tramping  nickyeck-stauffer 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Albert Gusi – Caminar en círculo | 30y3 – Spanish Photography Now
"Caminar en círculo es un proyecto que propone mini itinerarios que no avanzan. Una caminata que no nos lleva a ninguna parte, pero que a su vez, paso tras paso, termina por dejar la traza de uno mismo, haciendo el propio itinerario cada vez más evidente. Caminar en rodó es la manera idónea de ver un paisaje en toda su dimensión; en una contemplación expansiva y completa en constante itinerancia.

Proyecto de intervención en el paisaje sobre el soporte de una fotografía tomada por los satélites de Google (es pues un postfotograma en tiempos de postfotografía), que manifiesta una experiencia artística que permite ser compartida y experimentada por cualquiera de nosotros.

(Se pueden descargar las rutas haciendo clic en cada imagen.)

(…) Pero el recorrido circular de Gusi es adrede, intencionado, y porta con ello también para desafiar el sello del absurdo de caminar en círculos, sin principio ni fin claros, sino que sólo dejando la huella sobre la tierra para ser leída por el GPS desde Wikiloc o de cualquier plataforma de toma de imágenes satelitales, en una ultramoderna intervención sobre el paisaje que sólo queda documentada por la imagen satelital.

(…) Si se piensa que la fotografía de autor hace referencia justamente a un autor al patentar con autoridad que la toma fue hecha efectivamente por alguien, y detrás de ese alguien hay un discurso, una poética, una propuesta particular, la obra de Gusi va más allá. Las tomas son ahora unas sin autor, y el absurdo camino en redondo documenta esa imposibilidad autoral de una imagen satelital. ¿Puede seguir siendo fotografía? ¿o lo es sólo porque ilustra esta presencia de una ausencia? Si la instantaneidad es siempre una falsa promesa, aunque sea por algunos segundos ¿Acaso no es siempre esa la característica de cualquier tipo de imagen?


(Citas extraídas de un Texto de Lucy Quesada. Texto completo aquí http://www.albertgusi.com/pdfs/Texto_Lucy_Quezada.pdf )"

[See also:
http://www.albertgusi.com/galeria/caminar_rodo.html
http://www.albertgusi.com/ ]
art  walking  circles  gps  gpsart  albertgusi 
april 2014 by robertogreco
La Forme de Flâner — Dorian Taylor
""Never run for the train," proclaimed Nassim Taleb in The Black Swan. It's something of a gnomic statement, coming from an independently wealthy, born-again slacker, albeit one who I believe is on to something. I think about this statement a lot, because it embodies something we don't have very good language for in the professional discourse around things made of pure thought-stuff.

Our dominant paradigm is couched in language of comparative efficiency. We focus on becoming lean from trimming off the fat of bureaucratic processes, and remaining agile to respond quickly to the bewilderingly capricious environment that snares lumbering megafauna. This is an enormous achievement. It is also enormously limiting.

My problem with this paradigm is that we can only get so lean before becoming anorexic, and only so agile before burning out. It's unsustainable and we have to stop eventually. Perhaps most significant, though, is that efficiency is antithetical to what we do.

Our raw material is information, which, despite tremendous advances in its storage, transport and manipulation, still exhibits peculiar properties. It must be recognized, gathered, concentrated, operated on, arranged, displayed, communicated and understood. Information is scattered around space and time, and often buried far from the surface. It is also rarely substitutable: if we need a particular piece of information, we must expend exactly the effort required to get it. It follows that in order to know how to optimize the work around information, we must already have done it.
If that statement was false, there would be no need for empiricism at all, because all knowledge could be reasoned, including knowledge about how long it takes to reason.

I worry that our fervour to get leaner and more agile will eventually starve us of our perceptual acuity, memory, and ultimately our wisdom. But I'm not precisely advocating slowing down, as much as I am suggesting aligning with the cosmos in a way that makes fast not necessary.

The ethos that embodies such an alignment, I believe, is that of the flâneur. To flâne is to amble about with no outwardly discernible mission, taking interest in whatever presents itself wherever and whenever you are. We don't have a word for this in English, at least not one that doesn't import some form of morally reprehensible, even parasitic quality.

The inscrutability of the state of flâner does not necessarily entail that it is unproductive. Certain results are indeed either better or only achieved en flânant, namely those that depend on a complex synthesis of diverse material from disparate and eclectic sources. Like the kind of precursor material you need to write a book. Or a song. Or an app.

Flânerie has found its way into design literature, albeit not always explicitly. Bill Buxton mentions phases of divergence interspersed with those of convergence, to arrive eventually at a successful outcome. Herbert Simon wrote that when designing a system, we should operate for a period with no objective in mind whatsoever. In a keynote, Alan Cooper argued the futility of racing to be second to market versus waiting for the precocious to make their mistakes—the iPod to the Archos Jukebox. This is the kind of sentiment I want to harness.

Why not run for the train? Because another train will be along shortly. Such is the nature of trains. Running will cause you to miss everything between you and your object, and more often than not leave you disappointed and out of breath.

To flâne is to be neither lean nor agile, but comfortably plump. Relaxed. Zaftig even. A flâneur never runs for the train because of his commitment to serendipity, and because he was clever enough to invest in a schedule."
design  flaneur  walking  doriantaylor  meandering  noticing  dérive  derive  efficiency  information  patternrecognition  understanding  slow  haste  relaxed  agile  nassimtaleb 
march 2014 by robertogreco
barbara bestor interview
"DB: what’s been the biggest singular influence on your work?
BB: I’d have to say popular culture. I like to think that I have a pretty good historical knowledge of architecture and am always surrounded by it. I keep myself up to date on what’s happening – so to pick a reference from the ‘architecture world’ is hard, it all filters through.

what I’m interested in is seeing how architecture can stay relevant and relate to the issues of today and how people live today, where our minds are at. keeping an open mind and an eye on popular culture is how I try to do that. I love contemporary art, music, music videos, films – seeing how those mediums push technology and seeing how ideas from those fields can become part of what we do.

for example, I would never play the video game grand theft auto, but the way that the fictional city ‘los santos’ (based on LA) is depicted in that game is incredible. thousands of hours have gone into achieving that level of detail and it will probably shape a lot of people’s perceptions of how los angeles is – even though it’s wildly distorted. what I get from that is comparing it to my reality; how does that version of LA compare to the city where I live? those ‘outside’ influences are what stimulate me the most."



"DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs?
BB: I’m not superstitious but I do avoid certain things regarding my work. I don’t like things that are too slick and I don’t like to be too ‘architecty’ – I want our studio to be non-conformist. I don’t want us to tow the party line of any movement or follow trends that are promoted by magazines. sometimes you notice that what you are doing has become the norm and then it’s time to change. if you think of it like music, you wouldn’t start a project and find any reason to use autotune – because it’s already been done to death.

DB: what’s your most prized possession?
BB: if I have to name one I would say it’s a bright and brilliant artwork I own, which illustrates the cycle of life and the encroaching forces. the message of the piece is to have a good time, ‘make hey while the sun shines’ so to speak.

DB: what’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
BB: if you get stuck on something go for a long walk. sometimes I can get very intense and obsessive and in those situations it’s best to take a moment and breathe. for me taking a walk helps me to breathe and gather my thoughts.

DB: what’s the worst advice you have been given?
BB: wear a suit."
2014  interviews  design  architecture  barbarabestor  losangeles  grandtheftauto  gta  popculture  srg  art  education  technology  solviturambulando  walking 
february 2014 by robertogreco
How to walk in a city | Life and style | The Guardian
"If your only experience of crossing the city is a hectic commute, you're missing out. Here, three seasoned walkers share their favourite ways to enjoy an urban stroll"
walking  2014  cities  urban  urbanism  craigtaylor  philippaperry  sukhdevsandhu  place  relationships 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Beta-Local
"Beta-Local es una organización sin fines de lucro dedicada a apoyar y promover la práctica y el pensamiento estético a través de varios programas:

La Práctica, una programa post-académico centrado el pensamiento estético y la producción artística mediante el cual becarios de diversas disciplinas llevan un proyecto desde conceptualización hasta presentación mediante procesos abiertos y frecuentemente colaborativos.

The Harbor, un programa de residencias artísticas, a través del cual artistas, arquitectos y otros hacedores residen en Beta-Loca y desarrollan proyectos o talleres.

La Ivan Illich, una plataforma mediante la cual cualquier persona puede proponer una clase que puede ofrece o que quiere tomar,

y un nutrido programa público de exhibicions, charlas, Pin-ups (críticas abiertas), muestras, exhibiciones y publicaciones.

Nuestra biblioteca de consulta, La Esquina está abierta al público un día a la semana y por cita."

[video (in English): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXEfZ3rxEck ]

"Beta-Local is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting aesthetic thought and practice through various programs:

La Práctica, a post-academic study and production program, through which Fellows coming from diverse disciplines take a project from concept to production.

The Harbor: a residency program for visiting international artists, architects, designers and other cultural producers. Visitors to Beta-Local, develop projects, workshops and offer lectures on a variety of subjects related to art and other creative disciplines to the general public and to La Práctica Fellows.

La Ivan Illich, an open experimental school through which the participating public suggests, requests and creates courses and workshops.

and a full schedule of public programming which includes exhibitions, lectures, Pin-ups (open critiques), screenings and publications.

We also have a small reference library, La Esquina, focused on art and designopen once a week to the general public."
puertorico  ivanillich  education  art  arts  learning  colearning  via:javierarbona  studios  residencies  lcproject  freeschools  artmaking  materials  society  research  workinginpublic  tonycruz  pabloguardiola  michymaxuach  toolsforconviviality  conviviality  bosqueauxiliar  tooltotool  collaboration  socialpracticeart  walking  politics  beta-local 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Could Electric Cars Be Bad For The Environment? | Here & Now
"For Zehner, electric cars are illustrative of a larger discussion that he says environmentalists are not having.

“We associate certain technologies with being clean,” Zehner told Here & Now. “These technologies have become a part of the environmental movement, a part of what it means to be an environmentalist, and we’re finding now that there are some questions that we haven’t been asking.”

For example, Zehner says much of the research into electric cars is funded by members of the automotive industry.

“I’m not suggesting that the corporate sponsorship leads people to massage their research data, but it can shape findings in more subtle ways,” Zehner said. “It influences the questions that get asked, and companies are interested in directing their money to researchers who are asking the types of questions that stand to benefit their industry.”"
ozziezehner  cars  2013  electriccars  sustainability  walking  walkablecities  cities  transportation  climatechange  environment  donanair 
july 2013 by robertogreco
ARTS 499: Mobile Mapping for Everyday Spaces [.pdf]
"Through an investigation of walking, this course will develop a suite of devices and programs for the mapping and recording of everyday spaces. Using simple sensors, reverse-engineered consumer products, opensource mapping resources, and location-aware devices, we'll discover new and meaningful ways of capturing and sharing the rich data of our everyday walking patterns through neighborhoods, campuses, streets, cities and trails. An emphasis will be on how the collection of ambulatory and locative data can offer programmatic ways to shape social and personal identity. Students and faculty will work closely with visiting artists and scholars to conceptualize investigative methodologies, developing devices that can be easily reproduced and utilized, with as few proprietary or cost-prohibitive technologies as possible.

This class will explore the culture of walking, identifying its shifting roles and contexts. From meditation to fitness, through pilgrimage to protest, walking and its representations embody a purposeful engagement with our immediate environment that is seemingly the antithesis of a technologically mediated existence. Students will be asked to implement these collaboratively designed devices and visualize the collected data in ways that foster embodied knowing and experience. Coursework will include three walked lectures, reading and critiquing papers and designing and implementing software and hardware prototypes. Collaborative teams will be required to investigate our four content areas - walking, mapping, collaboration, locative media – in each assigned project. There will be in-class critiques and a final project. This course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students"
mobilemapping  maps  mapping  mobile  kevinhamilton  syllabus  everyday  teaching  walking  complexfields  syllabi 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Commented City Walks | Wi Journal
"This paper presents an interdisciplinary method designed to study urban ambiances. The main goal of the commented city walks approach is to gain access to the in situ sensory experience of passers-by. The key is to acquire accounts of perception in motion. For this, walking, perceiving and describing are simultaneously required. Commented walks are based on three central hypotheses: the situationally-rooted nature of perception, mobility as a condition for the existence of perception, the interlacing of words and perception. This method is applied here to the Grand Louvre in Paris."
walking  perceiving  noticing  2013  urban  urbanism  ethnography  methodology  sensory  senses  citywalks  cities  perception  mobility  everyday 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Spring 2011 | The Walk Exchange
"Week 1: Intro, Beliefs in Walking
• Henry David Thoreau “Walking”
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1022
• Francis Alys. The Modern Procession
press release:
http://www.publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/02/alys_f_release_02.html
video:
http://www.francisalys.com/public/procession.html
Interview with Alys (optional)

Week 2: English Rural Art Walkers
• Rebecca Solnit “The Shape of A Walk” from Wanderlust
• Richard Long essays from Guggenheim exhibition catalog by R.H. Fuchs
• Hamish Fulton
website http://www.hamish-fulton.com
Hamish Fulton radio interview
http://badatsports.com/2011/episode-282-hamish-fulton/

Week 3 : Urban Walking theory
• Michel de Certeau “Walking in the City” from The Practice of Everyday Life
• Guy Debord “Theory of Derive”
http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm
Case Studies
Alex Villar “Alternative Access”
http://www.de-tour.org/post/4114141755/alternative-access
Villar interview with Simon Sheikh
• Vito Acconci “Following Piece”
http://hosting.zkm.de/ctrlspace/d/texts/01?print-friendly=true
“Following Piece” log
http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/acconci_followingtext.html
Homework
Do a short “Following Piece” of your own and document

break : day one of “Lah” feild trip (optional)
http://www.implausibot.com/coyote

Week 4: the Tour
• Lucy Lippard “The Tourist at Home” from On the Beaten Path
• Barnet Schecter from The Battle for New York
online walking tour guide for Schecter
read only “The Battle of Harlem Heights”
http://www.thebattlefornewyork.com/walking_tour.php
• Natalie talks to us about the Miss Guides http://themissguides.com/

Week 5: Other Lines
• Bruce Chatwin from The Songlines
• Lygia Clark “Caminhando”
http://www.lygiaclark.org.br/arquivo_detING.asp?idarquivo=18
Case Studies
• walk and squawk http://walksquawk.blogs.com/about_the_walking_project/
Guest walker: James Walsh author of Solvitur Ambulando

Week 6: Central Park
• Fredrick Law Olmsted Ch. IX from Walks and Talks of an American in England
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moa;cc=moa;rgn=full%20text;idno=AJQ8991.0001.001;didno=AJQ8991.0001.001;view=image;seq=00000084
• Robert Smithson “The Dialectical Landscape of Fredrick Law Olmsted”
Homework
• Janet Cardiff “Her Long Black Hair”"

[See also: http://walkexchange.org/ and
http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/fall-2011/ ]

[Same here: http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/spring-2011/ ]
walking  nyc  walkexchange  2011  thoreau  francisalÿs  rebeccasolnit  richardlong  hamishfulton  micheldecertau  guydebord  alexvillar  vitoacconci  lucylippard  barnetschecter  brucechatwin  lygiaclark  jameswalsh  fredricklawolmstead  robertsmithson  janetcardiff  readinglists  toread  urban  urbanism  rural  theory  derive  simonsheikh  songlines  dérive 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Walk Exchange
"What is the Walk Exchange?

The Walk Exchange develops educational and creative walks that are free and open to the public. We emphasize the body as a way to produce and transmit knowledge. Since 2010, The Walk Exchange has led an annual training course, an informal monthly walk series, and has partnered with organizations to conduct workshops and site specific projects. We walk to learn about spaces, ideas, and each other.

Can I come on a walk?

Yes! The first step is joining our mailing list.

After that, There are a couple of options:

The Walk Study Training Course is a six week course focused on reading about walking and walking about reading. Each class takes the form of a walk that facilitates interaction with the city through the lens of critical readings and examples of artistic practice. The Walk Study Training Course is free of charge, however, participants should commit to the full schedule of walks.

We also produce and support community-based walks, as well as host a monthly walk series. Check out our Upcoming Walks page! All walks are free. If you have an idea for a walk, or a particular topic you want to explore through walking, contact us, we are always open to your suggestions.

If you require specific accommodation to participate in a walk, please let us know."

[See also: http://walkexchange.org/works-walked/ and
http://walkstudytrainingcourse.wordpress.com/spring2011/ and
http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/spring-2011/ and
http://walkexchange.org/walks/walk-study/fall-2011/ ]
walking  nyc  walkexchange  dillondegive  bessmatassa  virginiamillington  blakemorris  moirawilliams 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Book review - The Art of Walking: A Field Guide - we make money not art
"Book description: The Art of Walking: a field guide is the first extensive survey of walking in contemporary art. Combining short texts on the subject with a variety of artists work, The Art of Walking provides a new way of looking at this everyday subject.

The introduction relates peripatetic art now to a wide range of historic precedents, and is followed by a series of visually led 'Walks' dealing with seven overlapping themes: footprints and lines; writers and philosophers; marches and processions; aliens, dandies and drifters; slapstick; studios, museums and biennales; and dog walkers.

The guide includes newly commissioned art and writing, and many artists have been actively involved in the design of their respective pages.

This overview of artworks dealing with walking completely took me by surprise. I was expecting psychogeography, peripatetics, geolocation and theory. But The Art of Walking: A Field Guide is not only light on words, it also follows themes that range from aliens to slapstick to dog walking.

The way the content is illustrated is worth a mention too. There are the usual photos that document performances of course but also letters, preparatory drawings, souvenir programme, etc. The succession of images for each artwork allows the reader to fill in the dots, complete the short presentation text and create their own narrative. The author even asked some of the artists to participate in the editorial process. For example, The Art of Walking opens on a series of proposals that artist Peter Liversidge wrote down on his old typewriter for the author of the book, for himself or for the reader. He invites you to put down the book and go outside, for example. And following his suggestion, the book closes on 5 empty pages for you to write down notes.

The book was thus nothing i expected. And that's never a bad thing.

Special mention for the format and design of the book. Soft cover. Thick, glossy pages but not too glossy (if you know what i mean.) Round corners.

And now for the traditional tour of some of the works presented in the book: …"
books  toread  walking  wmmna  2013  davidevans  reginajoségalindo  francisalÿs  marcuscoates  simonfaitfull  lawrenceabuhamdan  keitharnatt  catherineyass  art  réginedebatty 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - A garden in Chelyabinsk and walking
"The small acts – where do they go? This garden, at this moment, found its way into a famous and stable repository of knowledge. Its neighbors in space and time did not, as far as I know. And even this moment of this garden has lost context. Are those blueberries or cranberries? Why? Who is the man in the white shirt? We could get some answers if we looked hard enough, but not all of them.

Most of life disappears. The small acts barely happen even once. They are unnamed, like gusts of wind. They are transient, like waves. They are mortal, like us.

Walking, because it happens in the ordinary human scale, puts you in these things. You pass gardens like this one, and friends chatting drowsily in the park, and alleys with kickstood children’s bikes, knowing that most of what you notice will never be felt again, by you or anyone. Your pace and your pulse go a little faster than a second hand, sliding the world into the past at comprehensible speed.

And it’s continuous. I can forget, after a plane flight or a car ride, that the place I come to is connected, physically, by a chain of real places, with the place I came from. It’s the realness of the between that I lose. Walking does not make me the perfect seer. It cannot balance me between identifying with the things I see and respecting their otherness. But it lets me try. I can’t look at this garden without imagining that I walked up to it."
walking  charlieloyd  life  moments  transience  ephemeral  slow  scale  huamnscale  2013  gardens  living  otherness  space  time  memory  memories  actions  acts  speed  travel  passage  place  human  humans  ephemerality 
may 2013 by robertogreco
High Tower Walk in Hollywood Heights | Walking Tour | Travel | KCET
"Tucked between the Hollywood Bowl and Camrose Drive in the Hollywood Hills sits the cozy and unusual High Tower neighborhood, a place that feels like an exciting peek into old Hollywood. The homes along Alta Loma Terrace, the pedestrian pathway at the top of the hill, are accessible either by stairs or by the Bolognese-style "high tower" elevator at the northern end of High Tower Drive. The Carl Kay-designed duplex immediately adjacent to the tower was featured as Philip Marlowe's apartment in the 1973 classic "The Long Goodbye."

The following walking tour of the neighborhood is adapted from my book "Walking LA: 38 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed". Free street parking is available on Camrose Drive, although neighborhood parking restrictions apply when shows are playing at the Hollywood Bowl."
losangeles  walking  todo  2013  hollywood 
april 2013 by robertogreco
walking as knowing as making
[Intro here: http://www.walkinginplace.org/converge/intro.htm ]

"...sense of place can be seen as a commonplace occurrence, as an ordinary way of engaging one's surroundings and finding them significant. Albert Camus may have said it best. "Sense of place," he wrote, "is not just something that people know and feel, it is something people do". And that realization brings the whole idea rather firmly down to earth, which is plainly, I think, where a sense of place belongs."

Keith Basso (Wisdom Sits in Places)

"Walkscapes deals with strolling as an architecture of landscape. Walking as an autonomous form of art, a primary act in the symbolic transformation of the territory, an aesthetic instrument of knowledge and a physical transformation of the "negotiated" space, which is converted into an urban intervention. From primitive nomadism to Dada and Surrealism, from the Lettrist to the Situationist International, and from Minimalism to Land Art, this book narrates the perception of landscape through a history of the traversed city.

Francesco Careri (Rome, 1966) graduated in architecture in 1993 in Rome. His doctoral research began in Naples in 1996, resulting in a thesis entitled "The Journey". He is a member of the Stalker urban art workshop, an open interdisciplinary structure that conducts research on the city through experiences of transurbance in open spaces and in interaction with the inhabitants. He has taught at the Institut d'Arts Visuels d'Orléans and the Schools of Architecture of Reggio Calabria and Roma Tre, experimenting together with the students on methods of reappropriation and direct intervention in public space. He has recently published a book on Constant and the Situationist city Constant imagined in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Constant / New Babylon, una città nomade, Testo & Immagine, Turin 2001), and participated with Stalker in many international exhibitions of contemporary art and architecture."

http://www.osservatorionomade.net/
http://www.stalkerlab.it/
http://digilander.libero.it/stalkerlab/tarkowsky/manifesto/manifesting.htm


From the intro:

"Despite its ubiquity in the everyday walking is an activity obscured by its own practical functionality. It is employed literally and understood metaphorically as a slow, inefficient, and increasingly anachronistic means to a predetermined end. Rarely is walking considered as a distinct mode of acting, knowing, and making. As its necessity diminishes and its applications rarefy, the potential of walking as critical, creative, and subversive tool appears only to grow. Conceived of as a conversation between the body and the world, walking becomes a reciprocal and simultaneous act of both interpretation and manipulation; an embodied and active way of shaping and being shaped that operates on a scale and at a pace embedded in something seemingly more authentic and real.

Based in Urbana-Champaign at the University of Illinois, Walking as Knowing as Making is a multifaceted effort that seeks to nurture both a theoretical and applied approach to knowing and interpreting place as we experience and construct it through walking. Using the walk as a guiding metaphor the format of this symposium has been designed to encourage a sustained, rigorous, and layered yet experimental, diffuse, and meandering consideration of walking and its associated activities, systems, and values. Between February and May 2005 we will bring to campus a diverse group of scholars, activists, and pedestrians to present ideas, engage in conversation, generate questions, tell stories, and, of course, walk. Supplementing and also weaving together this series of convergences will be a new interdisciplinary course about walking, an informal film series about place, a reading group, a series of informational and experimental walks and tours, production of a monthly sound collage for broadcast on local community radio stations, a museum exhibition, and a digital and print archive of all the events and activities."
architecture  culturalstudies  culture  space  walking  psychogeography  keithbasso  francescocareri  reggiocalabria  situationist  urban  urbanism  cities  art  transurbance  place  territory  landscape  via:anne  davidabram  dannisbanks  timcresswell  johnfrancis  hamishfulton  chellisglendinning  davidmacauley  trevorpaglen  mikepearson  danicaphelps  andrephelps  janerendell  davidrothenberg  garysnyder  christaylor  jackturner  annewallace  msimonlevin  laurielong  knowing  making  slow  small  subversion  scale 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Wrights & Sites
"Wrights & Sites is a group of artist-researchers with a special relationship to site, city/landscape and walking."

"Formed in UK, 1997, Wrights & Sites are four artist-researchers (Stephen Hodge, Simon Persighetti, Phil Smith and Cathy Turner) whose work is focused on peoples' relationships to places, cities, landscape and walking. We employ disrupted walking strategies as tools for playful debate, collaboration, intervention and spatial meaning-making.

Our work, like walking, is intended to be porous; for others to read into it and connect from it and for the specificities and temporalities of sites to fracture, erode and distress it. We have sought to pass on our dramaturgical strategies to others: to audiences, readers, visitors and passersby.

The outcomes of our work vary from project to project, but frequently include site-specific performance, Mis-Guided Tours (e.g. Stadtverführungen in Wien, Tanzquartier Wien and Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, 2007), published Mis-Guides (e.g. A Mis-Guide To Anywhere, 2006), 'drifts', mythogeographic mapping, public art (e.g. Wonders of Weston, CABE/Situations, Weston-super-Mare, 2010) or installations (e.g. mis-guided, Belluard Bollwerk International Festival, Fribourg, 2008), and public presentations and articles.

Today, walking and exploring the everyday remains at the heart of all we do, and what we make seeks to facilitate walker-artists, walker-makers and everyday pedestrians to become partners in ascribing significance to place."
psychogeography  art  landscape  stephenhodge  simonpersighetti  philsmith  cathyturner  place  walking  porosity  exploring  exploration  via:anne  wrights&sights  sensemaking  meaningmaking  spatial  situationist 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Walk [Your City]™
"What? An online pedestrian empowerment tool for any citizen to become an engaged stakeholder in their community. The W[YC] platform will allow anyone to auto-magically create their own guerrilla wayfinding sign to export, print and install.

Why? Walk Raleigh, our initial guerrilla (unsanctioned & self initiated) wayfinding project, has resonated with so many people, both home and away (even the BBC came to town!), we had to make it accessible for more people to use. Walk Raleigh has even been adopted as a pilot educational program in Raleigh, N.C. Wait, whats guerrilla or tactical urbanism anyways?

How? By using existing digital resources and the newly released “google maps” walk tool, we will develop a simple point and click sign-making experience for even the most novice of computer-user. Anyone will be able to auto-magically download their own sign."
srg  edg  activism  classideas  templates  communities  community  exploration  guerillawayfinding  wayfinding  northcarolina  raleigh  urbanism  urban  cities  walking  projectideas 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Smell and the City
"This blog has been developed with a specific focus upon relationships between smell and the city and follows the hosting of an inter-disciplinary workshop on this subject at the University of Manchester in March 2012. The session identified a clear need for further research and projects in this field and provided the incentive for those who organised it (Chris Perkins, Dominic Medway, Kate McLean, Gary Warnaby and myself, Victoria Henshaw) to find a way to harness the enthusiasm and interest expressed by those attending by providing a forum where discussions can further develop and grow to include others.

We welcome the input of people from a range of disciplines and sectors therefore if you would like to write a piece or contribute a link to an article, or promote details of a relevant event, please email me at Victoria.henshaw@manchester.ac.uk"

[via: http://events.gsapp.org/event/smell-and-the-city ]
smellwalks  walking  victoriahenshaw  smell  cities 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Why we should leave our fingerprints for the future. - Do Lectures
"Robin [Sloan] tells us how and why he writes. And how to get the most out of what you do."

"Lightness of inspiration [TCS example, collecting for unknown future needs]
Lightness of motion [walking when stuck, solvitur ambulando, lightness of the mind and body]
Lightness of digital [enabling a start]
Lightness of dependency [this AND that, not this OR that]
Lightness of heart [because dwelling on death can lead to depression]"

"Time is the ultimate body shop."

"When you are light you are best able to answer the deepest and darkest questions."

"Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?"
mindbody  motion  ephemeral  ephemerality  dolectures  doing  making  fingerprintsforthefuture  ambition  purpose  time  whywedowhatwedo  why  craigmod  ebooks  digital  friction  resistence  collectingforunknownfutureneeds  future  collecting  observation  noticing  howwework  meaningmaking  happiness  and  thisandthat  haiku  2011  normalheights  mrpenumbra  living  buddhism  death  life  meaning  lloydalexander  reading  howwewrite  cv  ego  tcsnmy7  tcsnmy  italocalvino  walking  small  slow  lightness  creativity  writing  fingerprints  robinsloan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
GEOG 181 MANUAL
"This site is a web archive of resources for a course I am teaching at UC Berkeley in the Fall of 2012, called Urban Geography of the San Francisco Bay Area (Geography 181). The class is mostly taught out doors and on foot.

Until 2011, the course was taught by my dissertation advisor, Richard A. Walker, who recently retired from full-time teaching (he seems to be pretty busy anyway). I owe a great debt to him, not only for the blueprint to the class, but also for years of training that I draw upon for the materials discussed.

This tumblr is used to share the weekly outlines of walking routes, additional scholarly and photographic resources for exploration, and other clippings of general interest related to the course topics. I make any and all efforts that I can to track down and credit sources. I apologize in advance for any errors or gross omissions. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please email or call me (see info below).

Thanks for visiting,

- Javier Arbona"
walking  2012  mapping  maps  history  bayarea  sanfrancisco  geography  javierarbona 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Walk [Your City]™
"What? An online pedestrian empowerment tool for any citizen to become an engaged stakeholder in their community. The W[YC] platform will allow anyone to auto-magically create their own guerrilla wayfinding sign to export, print and install.

Why? Walk Raleigh, our initial guerrilla (unsanctioned & self initiated) wayfinding project, has resonated with so many people, both home and away (even the BBC came to town!), we had to make it accessible for more people to use. Walk Raleigh has even been adopted as a pilot educational program in Raleigh, N.C. Wait, whats guerrilla or tactical urbanism anyways?

How? By using existing digital resources and the newly released “google maps” walk tool, we will develop a simple point and click sign-making experience for even the most novice of computer-user. Anyone will be able to auto-magically download their own sign."
walkability  googlemaps  signs  guerillawayfinding  wayfinding  mapping  maps  signalization  transportation  urbanism  urban  walking  pedestrians  empowerment  cities 
july 2012 by robertogreco
vade mecum - Wiktionary
"Etymology: From the Latin vāde (“go!, walk!”), the second-person singular present active imperative of vādō (“I go, I walk”) + mēcum (“with me”), literally meaning "go with me!".

Noun: vade mecum (plural vade mecums)
A referential book such as a handbook or manual.
A useful object, constantly carried on one’s person."

[Via @litherland: "I love my little book, my vade mecum, my iPhone." https://twitter.com/litherland/status/222854164936540161 ]

[See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enchiridion ]
cv  books  iphone  language  thehandbook  theguidebook  themanual  manuals  walking  sidekick  sidekicks  utility  enchiridion  vademecum  greek  latin  words  handbooks 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Walking tour of Helsinki's architecture | Travel | The Observer
"Design is to Helsinki as literature is to Dublin and samba is to Rio. It is simply a cultural manifestation of the national character, and Finns are sensible, detail-oriented people. Apart from the great Alvar Aalto, few Finnish designers or architects are widely known outside their own country. But to Finns themselves, designers such as Tapio Wirkkala and Ilmari Tapiovaara are household names. Their furniture from the 1940s and 1950s – once inexpensive, hard-wearing everyday items that now count as collectible classics – is still passed down from generation to generation.

Beyond simple, perfect objects, Finns have an innate sense of the role design can play in society. How many countries can you think of that make design a matter of government policy? Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, uses designers to address issues from sustainability to education. Let's just say they take their design pretty seriously."
artek  marimekko  cheltenham  bertramgoodhue  secondglances  stevenholl  jugend  walking  cities  worlddesigncapital  alvaraalto  architecture  2012  policy  sitra  design  finland  helsinki 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Drift: an app for getting lost in familiar places | Broken City Lab
"Finally launched and available in the iOS App Store! [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drift/id524083174 ]

Drift helps you get lost in familiar places by guiding you on a walk using randomly assembled instructions. Each instruction will ask you to move in a specific direction and, using the compass, look for something normally hidden or unnoticed in our everyday experiences.

As you find these hidden or unnoticed things, you will be asked to document them with the camera, creating a photographic record of you walk. Drift also keeps track of where and when you took the photos and makes your documentation optionally available for others to view through the Drift website.

Drift was made possible with the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant for Emerging Artists.

Drift was developed by Justin Langlois in collaboration with Broken City Lab.

This project was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant for Emerging Artists."
2012  observation  documentation  photography  justinlanglois  psychogeography  experience  everydaylife  everyday  compass  cities  brokencitylab  drift  iphone  ios  applications  noticing  exploration  walking  situationist  flaneur  derive  dérive 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Leonard Lopate Show: Video: Questions for Teju Cole - WNYC
"What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?

Poets inform my ear and my way of seeing the world. I read poetry much more than I read prose…"

"Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where and when do you write?

I make notes all the time. There are little fragments of experience that somehow call out to me, and I make note of them: either something I’ve read in a book, or something I see on the subway, or a thought that occurs to me in the shower. And this archive of fragments after a while begins to show family resemblance, and could lead to a work, fictional or otherwise. Other than that, I have no particular rituals. I write longhand or on a computer, usually the latter, in the morning or late at night, usually the latter, in silence or with music, usually the latter."

"How does your photography inform you writing?

I try to see things from a different angle, in photography and in writing. Not novelty for its own sake but something that comes from an…"
noticing  patterns  patternrecognition  howwework  seamusheaney  derekwalcott  poetry  nyc  walking  experience  interviews  2012  notetaking  writing  opencity  cities  perspective  seeing  looking  photography  adjectives  words  tejucole 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Looking, Walking, Being | Design Culture Lab
Looking, Walking, Being

“The World is not something to
look at, it is something to be in.”
- Mark Rudman

I look and look.
Looking’s a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
That’s
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
looking,
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.

~ Denise Levertov
eyes  language  walking  2012  deniselevertov  observation  annegalloway  poetry  poems  markrudman  noticing  looking 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Los Angeles Walks | Everyone Walks in L.A.
"Mission Statement

Los Angeles Walks is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to promoting walking and pedestrian infrastructure in Los Angeles, educating Angelenos and local policymakers concerning the rights and needs of pedestrians of all abilities, and fostering the development of safe and vibrant environments for all pedestrians.

Vision

Los Angeles is a vibrant city in which people can and do walk regularly for transportation, exercise, or fun. Policymakers and residents appreciate walking as a valuable form of transportation, and Angelenos of all ages, ethnicities, incomes, and abilities are able to walk or move safely through their neighborhoods."
urbanism  urban  policy  transportation  pedestrians  losangeles  walking 
april 2012 by robertogreco
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