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robertogreco : wandering   21

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
The Art Of Picture Taking — Vantage — Medium
"Q: A lot of artists still struggle with their creative process in terms of what comes first — the imagery or the concept. Can you describe your creative process for us? Which comes first for you?

A: Usually it’s a feeling or an atmosphere I want to express and I try to build a story around that. So I don’t remember if it’s the image or the idea first. But I like to have a free process and to discover things as I go along.

Q: You use the word “discover” to describe your creative process and your short film “The Art of Picture Taking” features a protagonist that you’ve described as “a wandering young man.” The idea of the “wanderer” is quite a prominent one in the image-making world. How much of your own image making is done through wandering?

A: Yes, most of it has to do with wandering and I like to film when I travel because the places are still new and untouched for the eyes. That’s what happened when I shot The Art Of Picture Taking in Seoul, I was only there for a few months. Often I will see a place I like and then I’ll plan to come back to it, or even write a scene that could take place in that location so I can film there.

Q: We noticed the “wandering young man” in the short film is using a Lomo LC-A+! Have you used LC-A+ yourself? Do you have a favorite Lomography product?

A: Yes, it was my own Lomo camera! It’s my favorite product too. I think it’s a great camera, a classic and it’s brought me a lot of joy. Unfortunately I’ve lost it a year ago in Paris. Perhaps someone else found it and is happy with it now.. Also, I’ve never tried it, but I’m very intrigued by the LomoKino.

Q: The LomoKino has a very unique photographic point of view on cinematics. And undoubtedly, there have been films with a photographic quality and photographs with a cinematic quality. What is your take on the interwoven nature of still and moving images? Do you apply photographic concepts and theories in your image making?

A: Film can do things that photography can’t do and the opposite is just as true. I’ve never really thought of this but I guess I enjoy street photography a lot, seeing people caught unaware in their everyday life, minute details that reveal themselves in the photographic instant, and there is no staging in this kind of photography, just the framing. But somehow “ordinary” reality can be even more dramatic. And when you have no money to make a film, it’s empowering to think this way, to realize that you don’t need an expensive set to make a good movie because there’s already a lot of dramatic potential out there.

Q: Indeed, this way of thinking is quite an empowering one — not allowing your creativity to dwindle due to lack of a blockbuster budget is certainly sage advice! Do you have any other advice for young and eager filmmakers and photographers out there?

A: Don’t listen to anyone. Just go and make your art.

Q: What are some projects that we can expect in the near future?

A: I’ve just finished two short documentaries, one called Who is Albert Fallen?, following friends of mine who have an electro band in Paris and are trying to make it. The other is called Memory, about an ex-factory-worker in Luxembourg who comes back to see the steel factory he worked at for 40 years that has now been turned into a creative hub. Other than that, I’m writing a play and I’m working on my first feature film!

Q: And last but not least, we’d love to hear where you draw your inspiration from! Are there any artists whom inspire you in your filmmaking practice?

A: Right now I love Patti Smith, Agnès Varda and Miranda July. I’ve spent almost a decade being taught about male artists, I’m trying to make up for lost time."
catherinedauphin  srg  photography  azinteimoori  lomography  lomo  2016  filmmaking  mumblecore  discovery  creativity  wandering 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Do You Read Differently Online and in Print?
"The Internet may cause our minds to wander off, and yet a quick look at the history of books suggests that we have been wandering off all along. When we read, the eye does not progress steadily along the line of text; it alternates between saccades—little jumps—and brief stops, not unlike the movement of the mouse’s cursor across a screen of hypertext. From the invention of papyrus around 3000 B.C., until about 300 A.D., most written documents were scrolls, which had to be rolled up by one hand as they were unrolled by the other: a truly linear presentation. Since then, though, most reading has involved codices, bound books or pamphlets, a major advantage of which (at least compared to the scroll) is that you can jump around in them, from chapter to chapter (the table of contents had been around since roughly the first century B.C.); from text to marginal gloss, and, later, to footnote."



"Comprehension matters, but so does pleasure. In Proust and the Squid, Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, observes that the brain’s limbic system, the seat of our emotions, comes into play as we learn to read fluently; our feelings of pleasure, disgust, horror and excitement guide our attention to the stories we can’t put down. Novelists have known this for a long time, and digital writers know it, too. It’s no coincidence that many of the best early digital narratives took the form of games, in which the reader traverses an imaginary world while solving puzzles, sometimes fiendishly difficult ones. Considered in terms of cognitive load, these texts are head-bangingly difficult; considered in terms of pleasure, they’re hard to beat.

A new generation of digital writers is building on video games, incorporating their interactive features—and cognitive sparks—into novelistic narratives that embrace the capabilities of our screens and tablets. Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro’s 2014 iPad novella, Pry, tells the story of a demolitions expert returned home from the first Gulf War, whose past and present collide, as his vision fails. The story is told in text, photographs, video clips, and audio. It uses an interface that allows you to follow the action and shift between levels of awareness. As you read text on the screen, describing characters and plot, you draw your fingers apart and see a photograph of the protagonist, his eyes opening on the world. Pinch your fingers shut and you visit his troubled unconscious; words and images race by, as if you are inside his memory. Pry is the opposite of a shallow work; its whole play is between the surface and the depths of the human mind. Reading it is exhilarating.

There’s no question when you read (or play) Pry that you’re doing something your brain isn’t quite wired for. The interface creates a feeling of simultaneity, and also of having to make choices in real time, that no book could reproduce. It asks you to use your fingers to do more than just turn the page. It communicates the experience of slipping in and out of a story, in and out of a dream, or nightmare. It uses the affordances of your phone or tablet to do what literature is always trying to do: give you new things to think about, to expand the world behind your eyes. It’s stressful, at first. How are you supposed to know if you’re reading it right? What if you miss something? But if you play (or read) it long enough, you can almost feel your brain begin to adapt.

Most of the Web is not like Pry—not yet, anyway. But the history of reading suggests that what we’re presently experiencing is probably not the end times of human thought. It’s more like an interregnum, or the crouch before a leap. Wolf points out that when it comes to reading, what we get out is largely what we put in. “The reading brain circuit reflects the affordances of what it reads,” she notes: affordances being the built-in opportunities for interaction. The more we skim, the more we’re likely to keep skimming; on the other hand, the more we plunge into a text, the more we’re likely to keep plunging. “We’re in a digital culture,” Wolf says. “It’s not a question of making peace. We have to be discerning, vigilant, developmentally savvy.” And of course we have to be surprised, delighted, puzzled, even disturbed. We have to enjoy ourselves. If we can do that, digital reading will expand the already vast interior space of our humanity."
howweread  readin  albertomanguel  technology  reading  digital  internet  paullafarge  maryannewolf  web  online  staugustine  ambrose  nicholascarr  socrates  brain  agostinoramelli  history  attention  digitalmedia  rolfengelsing  rakefetackerman  morrisgoldsmith  johannesnaumann  dianadestefano  jo-annelefevre  hypertext  michaelwenger  davidpayne  comprehension  engagement  enjoyment  talyarkoni  nicolespeer  jeffreyzacks  psychology  memory  linearity  footnotes  marginalia  bookfuturism  information  wandering  cognitiveload  games  gaming  videogames  samanthagorman  dannycannizzaro  ipad  pry  interiority  affordances  interface  linear  awareness  immersion  skimming  cv  humanity  interregnum  interactivity  interaction 
january 2016 by robertogreco
A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo : The Poetry Foundation
"In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for
those who would climb through the hole in the sky.

My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged
from the killing fields, from the bedrooms and the kitchens.

For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.

The map must be of sand and can’t be read by ordinary light. It
must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.

In the legend are instructions on the language of the land, how it
was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.

Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the
altars of money. They best describe the detour from grace.

Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; the fog steals our
children while we sleep.

Flowers of rage spring up in the depression. Monsters are born
there of nuclear anger.

Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to
disappear.

We no longer know the names of the birds here, how to speak to
them by their personal names.

Once we knew everything in this lush promise.

What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the
map. Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us, leav-
ing a trail of paper diapers, needles, and wasted blood.

An imperfect map will have to do, little one.

The place of entry is the sea of your mother’s blood, your father’s
small death as he longs to know himself in another.

There is no exit.

The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine—a
spiral on the road of knowledge.

You will travel through the membrane of death, smell cooking
from the encampment where our relatives make a feast of fresh
deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.

They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.

And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world
there will be no X, no guidebook with words you can carry.

You will have to navigate by your mother’s voice, renew the song
she is singing.

Fresh courage glimmers from planets.

And lights the map printed with the blood of history, a map you
will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.

When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers where they
entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.

You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.

A white deer will greet you when the last human climbs from the
destruction.

Remember the hole of shame marking the act of abandoning our
tribal grounds.

We were never perfect.

Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth who was
once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.

We might make them again, she said.

Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.

You must make your own map."
via:anne  poems  poetry  joyharlo  maps  mapping  humans  wandering  wanderers  language  nature  multispecies  names  naming  communication  forgetting  forgetfulness  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  posthumanism 
may 2015 by robertogreco
s p a c i n g : : : whose space is public space?
"Sometimes I feel an urgent need to get out of Toronto, and this is one of those times. The strain does not come from difficult friendships or celebrity magazines or the noise, so much as my relationship to my fellow pedestrian. The crisis is almost always a crisis about strangers; it’s a crisis of eye contact. Someone approaches and the problem of whether to look away or look at them — and if to look, how long to keep looking for — does not resolve itself easily, quietly, in the background. It becomes a loud problem, and as people pass by, the anxiety of how to act and this question about responsibility to my fellow humans, paid out in a momentary acknowledgement of our mutual humanity, prohibits me from thinking about anything else.

In such a state it is difficult to accept that we really are free on the streets of Toronto; free to look or not look as we choose, without consequence and without affecting anyone for the better or worse. In times like these, it feels as though what it means to look at someone and what it means to decide to not look is as central an ethical dilemma as any; that the question of our responsibility to each other really comes down to how we interact with people we do not know. What degree of regard are the hundreds of strangers we pass in a single day worth?

That walking among others should present itself as a dilemma is pathetic. Perhaps it is because we are primarily a culture of drivers, not pedestrians. Even if we do not drive, still we share the streets with many who do, who do not occupy the sidewalks with pleasure but rather are wishing there was less space to travel between the restaurant and their parked car. “Urbanity and automobiles are antithetical in many ways,” writes Rebecca Solnit in Wanderlust, a history of walking. “A city of drivers is only a dysfunctional suburb of people shuttling from private interior to private interior.” This is also true in a city of transit users — we rush to the streetcar stop, take a seat, look through whatever newspaper is lying closest. Walking is no longer, as Solnit points out, “a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned.” As a result, we are jarred by our encounters. Eye contact is an irritation. It disrupts the work of getting somewhere.

Most of us accept as inevitable the sort of eye contact that is most pervasive, that rushed and fearful glance. You might argue that this way of looking is respectful; that since privacy is so scarce in a city, it is gracious to look away. But I have experienced such gentle looks away — giving them, getting them — and they’re not what I am talking about and not the norm. There still remains that quick glance away, which often leaves me with a feeling of shame or a sense of the diminishment of my humanity. And as I sweep my eyes rapidly from someone’s face onto the mailbox, I recognize that, in my wake, I may leave that person with this same anxiety.

For some people, it seems clear, if someone looks quickly and uncomfortably away as soon as eye contact is made, no matter. This crisis doesn’t exist for them; the interaction barely registers. I wonder if such people are suffering from what George Simmel calls “the blasé attitude.” He defines it as the result of the over-stimulation of nerves that accompanies life in a metropolis, which results in a “blunting of discrimination, [so] that the meaning and differing values of things, and thereby the things themselves, are experienced as insubstantial. They appear to the blasé person in an evenly flat and gray tone; no one object deserves preference over any other.” The lamppost, that boy, same difference.

But for those of us who are not suffering from the blasé attitude, who are very conscious of the reality of the people we encounter, why do we look away embarrassed or scared, rather than gently, politely, in good conscience? Perhaps in every glance there is desire expressed. I don’t mean sexual desire — though sometimes there’s that — as much as the sort Constant Nieuwenheuys described when he wrote, in 1949, “When we say desire in the twentieth century, we mean the unknown, for all we know of the realm of our desires is that it continuously reverts to one immeasurable desire for freedom.”

Perhaps the desire expressed in every glance, that we see in another person’s face and they see in ours, is a desire for freedom — which on the street comes down to the freedom to look at each other. We are naturally curious about other people. From the start, as babies, we are drawn to the eyes of our parents. Imagine a cat, neurotically trying not to look directly at a passing cat. We need eye-to-eye contact. We want to see each others’ faces. It is why we take and keep photographs, watch television, hang portraits in our homes. There is something terrible about looking at each other, only to have reflected back our own (and the other person’s) thwarted, repressed desire to look. Somewhere we have failed magnificently.

Our culture is such that a greater value even than freedom is productivity, utility. I was having a conversation with a friend about leisure, and she was saying how much she enjoys doing nothing, just wandering aimlessly around her house, thinking. “I find it so productive,” she decided. Even an activity we enjoy precisely because it is not about production we must ultimately justify by way of its productivity. This being the situation we find ourselves in, how can we ever justify to ourselves or to each other the value of those most fleeting relationships, lasting at most two seconds long, with a stream of people we will never see again? What is the utility of the quarter-of-a-second-long relationship?

When we look and look away, we reveal what we want — communion, citizenry — and what we lack — communion, citizenry. It is not unreasonable to think the health of a culture can be judged by how many seemingly inconsequential encounters and experiences are shared among its citizens. Take the option of making real eye contact with strangers — frank, fully conscious, unafraid, respectful, not obtrusive. This level of engagement would be satisfying, but so exhausting to sustain; possibly too relentless and demanding for a city-dweller, since to look at someone in this way is to acknowledge and recognize how they’re like you, how they are like everyone you know and love, and so to become responsible for them, just as you are responsible for those you love. But while your duty to your friend is directed only at your friend, as needed, your duty to a stranger can be paid only to the collective, constantly.

We need to learn how to look away well, but we cannot fake it. We cannot look from someone’s face comfortably until we find what we are looking for in it."

[quoted here: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/02/27/look-and-look-away/ ]
sheilaheti  communition  citizenship  civics  productivity  community  privacy  unknown  constantnieuwenheuys  strangers  attention  consciousness  culture  society  collectivism  utility  leisure  leisurearts  artleisure  nothing  wandering  idleness  relationships  togetherness 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange on the problems with the museums experience
"This is Mexico's most visited museum, frequented, on the day I was there, by tourists from many countries – Mexicans, families, old, young, rambunctious, quiet. There was space for them all and there was time for them all. You did not have to read a word (I don't speak Spanish) to feel that you had learned something. All you had to do was walk and look, and the alternation of indoor and outdoor spaces meant that you tired less easily. The oscillation between small and large meant that you had to adjust your eyes more often and look again. It felt like a walk in the park, but it was a museum. And we need more museums that let us relax into knowledge, showing, not telling us everything by audioguide.

In New York, at least, the friction of timed tickets, crowds and lines are now baked in to many big museum experiences: one can rarely expect to be able to just walk in, buy a ticket, see a show. Lines for the Museum of Modern Art-hosted Rain Room this summer stretched past the four-hour mark – and that's a separate line from the one for tickets that forms along 53rd Street.

My experience at the MNA caused me to think back on other museum discussions and visits of the past year, big and small: the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, stunts like the Rain Room or James Turrell at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Donald Judd’s House at 101 Spring Street in SoHo. Art may be more delicate than Aztec heads, but there isn't only one way to show it. Thinking about each of these visits as variations on a theme, I have found what I crave is not more access but less: a discrete, informal, and time-limited chance to look at work in peace. To wander rather than move in lock-step. To walk in the front door, look at art or artifacts for as long as I want, and leave."
museums  museumeducation  education  art  experience  2014  alexandralange  exploration  curating  curation  showing  telling  exposing  exposition  exhibitiondesign  design  exhibits  exhibitions  guides  wandering  time  space  attention  learning  howwelearn  informal  informality  artifacts 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Whyfinding: what pervasive gaming has taught me about 3D videogame design | Christy's Corner of the Universe
"The thing I came back to was my experience with pervasive games. Those games set in the actual world — on websites, social media, newspaper, in your street. Is my frustration because I’m corrupted by my background designing and playing pervasive games? In pervasive games I could actually pick up a bow. I could actually be crawling through the cave. Is the problem that I want the seamlessness of mission play and can’t get it in some 3D games? So I played with that idea. What is the difference in how the missions would be designed and experienced in a pervasive game versus a 3D digital game?"



"Looking for Internally-Motivated Navigation

I looked at works that seem to be about this internally-driven navigation of space: Michel de Certeau’s ‘Walking in the City’ in The Practice of Everyday Life [PDF], Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space [PDF]; Walter Benjamin’s The Arcade Project [PDF], John Stilgoe’s Outside Lies Magic, and Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking. I jumped from flâneurs to the larp movement to (with the help of Johanna MacDonald) Laban drives (link, link) — all in the hope of finding design techniques relating to internal motivation. I remembered my theatre experiences and thought maybe that relates to my type of play.

These works are all about internally-driven movement, but specifically about a free-movement, where you walk (or run) where you please and with a particular way of seeing. This is related, but doesn’t explain exactly what I’m talking about. A common thread in these works, however, is that it is about being present in the moment…in the world…in the streets. I look around to the rise of digital exploration games, and see a similar trend. Indeed, I don’t think the growing attraction to open world games, experiential games, and thin play is  coincidental. These are parallel phenomena that speak of an urge for a different kind of experience: one of being present in the (digital) world. But these types of experiences are often couched in phrases such as agency or choice that an open world games affords, such as the “exploring freedom in World of Warcraft.

There are many reasons for the attraction to these types of experiences (both as designers and players), including having an alternative to the magical dad stories of first-person shooters, and the reflection a “walking simulator” affords. Indeed, there are more and more of these sorts of games, or “first person exploration games, ” “first person adventure,” “story exploration games,” “a game of audio-visual exploration,” “non-combative exploration games,” or “not games,” or whatever. There are well known ones such as Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, Bientôt l’Été, as well as ones more recent or in development such as Ether One, Dream, Sunset, Firewatch, Virginia, and HomeMake, and Hohokum.

I believe that one of the attracting factors of these games is the desire for intrinsically-motivated movement. (This trait, however, certainly isn’t shared by all of the community-created “walking simulator” tags on Steam.)

It isn’t as if exploration is ignored in conventional videogame and theme park design though. For instance, Scott Rogers talks about enabling exploration by creating subpaths or alternate paths that people discover that get them to the main attractions. But this way of navigating space is different. It isn’t just about exploring space either. Most of the internally-driven movement I found though, was about exploring or viewing space differently. There is something else. Then I found it.”
videogames  situationist  worldofwarcraft  digital  sandboxgames  freedom  exploration  flaneur  derive  2014  johnstilgoe  larp  larping  gastonbachelard  micheldecerteau  walterbenjamin  rebeccasolnit  wandering  whyfinding  pervasivegames  gaming  games  play  maps  mapping  landscapes  landscape  gamedesign  motivation  visualattention  attention  christydena  experience  dérive 
august 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
Science teacher: "We've always done it this way..."
"
You should share my reliance on those old, old truths which shallow, drawing-room talk contemptuously dismisses as "commonplaces", though they have more marrow in them, and are quite as seldom wrought into the mental habits as any of the subtleties that pretend to novelty. —Marian Evans (George Eliot) via Zadie Smith, Changing My Mind

We love the new, the shiny, the splashy, next big thing.

When we focus on the newest tech tool, we can let go of the harder questions. We can bask in the light of the new while quietly ignoring the mess we've left behind. We focus on the bright green foliage at the edge of the cesspool.

When we focus on the newest tech tool, we confuse the surges of adrenaline and dopamine we get from novelty with the warm satisfaction of working our way towards wisdom. The tool becomes the truth.

I love tools--I've used a drill, a mallet, a cross-cut saw, a measuring tape, a socket wrench, and a wheel barrow all within the last few hours to build a raised garden bed to grow vegetables that we plan to harvest with our hands.

The point is, literally, the fruit of our labors.

***

That anyone uses the "we've always done it this way" as a defense for a particular practice strikes the technophile crowd as galling, and on the face of it, I agree. The more interesting question would be why has it "always" been done this way? Does it work?

I am trying a raised bed for the first time this year, but I will not know if it is an improvement until I see the results in late summer. I've invested some time and money in the effort for something that I know works for many, but has never been tried on this particular patch of land here in my backyard.

I will still bury my beans one knuckle deep, as I have always done. I will still use jute twine to hold up the vines, as I have always done. I will still mix some compost and aged manure into the earth, as I have always done.

My goals have not changed--I want to eat fresh basil and sun-warmed tomatoes within an hour of harvest--and I use tried-and-true ways for obvious reasons.

The art of educating human larvae may have lost its way--these things happen when crowds wander around aimlessly without a consensus on the destination. The high tech crowd keep selling us marvelous GPS devices that do everything they promise to do, and we keep mindlessly buying them, hoping to reach our destination quicker.

Unless you know where you want to go, you're never going to get there."
michaeldoyle  education  teaching  technology  newness  shininess  squishynotslick  maps  compasses  wandering  dérive  derive  mindlessness  mindfulness  unschooling  deschooling  curriculum  2014  process 
april 2014 by robertogreco
BOMB Magazine — Teju Cole by Aleksandar Hemon
"TC Thank you. Halfway through writing Open City, I thought to myself that I should learn some of New York history “properly.” So I bought a stack of worthy books and started to read them. But, you know what? Doing that offended the sense of drift I relied on for my novel. The books were too systematic, too knowledgeable. So I just went back to my previous method: relying on the things I already knew, walking around aimlessly, and filling in facts and figures later as needed. The thing had to breathe, it had to drift, and it had to pretend not to know where it was going. (A dancer in mid-dance can’t think too much about her legs.)

As for cities in general: I think they might be our greatest invention. They drive creativity, they help us manage resources, and they can be hives of tolerance. In a village, you can’t stick out too much. In the city, if anyone judges you, you tell them to go to hell. So, there’s that positive side. But the other side is that they are simply so congested with material history and the spiritual traces of those histories, including some very dark events. Your contemporary Chicago is haunted by the Chicago of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Chicago of innovation and of systematic exclusions. Rural landscapes can give the double illusion of being eternal and newly born. Cities, on the other hand, are marked with specific architecture from specific dates, and this architecture, built by long-vanished others for their own uses, is the shell that we, like hermit crabs, climb into.

The four cities I listed are simply four that were important nodes in the transatlantic slave trade and in black life in the century following. They are the vertices of a sinister quadrilateral.

AH Cities do offer spaces for uncontrollable exchanges, but then there is always controlled commerce, which not so long ago included slave markets. But cities also erase and reshape themselves in ways that are different in different places. American cities tend to erase their pasts, particularly the conflictual parts, just as they marginalize the inconvenient and unjust parts of the present—the killing and the greed are always elsewhere. Take the Bloombergian New York, the Vatican of entitlement, where glamour conceals the greed that drives (and destroys) it all.

Cities like Lagos, Sarajevo, Rio, or New Orleans, do not project a harmonious version of themselves, because they cannot—the conflict is ever present and indelible. Hence they’re uncontainable, like language or literature—no experience or interpretation can be final, no delimiting or closure ever available.

Reading your books, I have a sense that, had you taken different routes in your wanderings, a different New York (in Open City) or Lagos (Every Day Is for the Thief) would’ve emerged. Or to put it another way, there is no way to impose a self-sustaining narrative upon any city—only multiple, simultaneous plots/stories are possible. Could it be that cities are therefore more conducive to poetry, which allows accumulation of fragments and does not require narrativization? You invoke Ondaatje a lot, a great poet and wrangler of fragments, as well as Tomas Tranströmer. What does poetry do for you? Do you write poetry?

TC I rarely sit down to write a poem, not the kind you can submit to Poetry magazine or the New Yorker. But I think poetry and its way of thinking does infect a lot of my work. I certainly read a lot of it—there’s a discipline and tightness in the language that very few prose writers can achieve. So, yes, people like Tranströmer and Ondaatje and Wisława Szymborska are touchstones for me. It’s a long list: George Seferis, Anne Carson, Charles Simic, Sharon Olds, Seamus Heaney: anyone who has found a way to sidestep conventional syntax. And for this reason, I take pleasure in reading those writers whose prose also contains the elusive and far-fetched. I imagine in reading you, for instance, that you must make notes of the odd and remarkable ideas or moments in a way similar to a poet. Is poetry important to your reading?

AH Actually, I don’t make notes. I rely on memory and its failure. I do think in language and I imagine that is what poets do, except in tighter spaces, closer to the language, indeed inside it, wrangling its rhythms, uncovering its dormant possibilities. When I was coming up in Bosnia the most common distinction in literary discourse was between poetry and prose, and it was not unusual for writers to write both poetry and prose (stories/novels/essays). Consequently, if you were an invested reader, you would read poetry as well as prose. Whatever the reason for that, it foregrounded the notion of literature as made of language. The distinction was founded upon the different uses of language, and not, as in fiction versus nonfiction, upon the relation between representation and “truth.” Poetry is, as far as I’m concerned, essential to the field of literature, it is its purest form. Sadly, I’m not good at writing it (I’ve tried), but I love reading poetry."



AH I was particularly struck by the last chapter in Every Day Is for the Thief, taking place on the street of carpenters who make only coffins. There is a devotion to their work of packing people away into the void, never questioning the meaning of it all. That perhaps redeems all the other failures in Lagos, in the world, in literature. And the photo that ends the book is not only sublimely beautiful but suggests a transcendence that is beyond death, something that might be available to the carpenters/writers if they maintain their devotion for the work.

The questions: Where do you stand in relation to transcendence? Do you pursue it? Must we pursue it? Is that a way to imagine better worlds?

TC Well, open up yourself to our new overlords, Sasha. But, yes, I’m with you, particularly on the cataclysmic climate change that’s coming into view and which will cause so much needless suffering.

As for faith: I don’t believe in the Christian god, or the Muslim one, or the Jewish one. I’m sentimentally attached to some of the Yoruba and Greek gods—the stories are too good, too insightful, for a wholesale rejection—though I don’t ask them for favors.

What do I believe in? Imagination, gardens, science, poetry, love, and a variety of non-violent consolations. I suspect that in aggregate all this isn’t enough, but it’s where I am for now.
tejucole  aleksanderhemon  2014  interviews  memory  notetaking  cities  wandering  howwewrite  writing  language  poetry  representation  truth  prose  seamusheaney  sharonolds  charlessimic  annecarson  georgeseferis  wisławaszymborska  michaelondaatje  charlestranströmer  twitter  blogs  blogging  photography  religion  belief  socialmedia  fiction  literature  narration  faith  climatechange  transcendence  sashahemon  everydayisforthethief 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Wander — Carvalho Bernau
"Wander is a research residency program in The Hague, The Netherlands. They provide a custom framework for every guest to instigate public events and activities. The identity system we developed for them visualises the individual connections between people that Wander facilitates. They asked us to one step further in the website, and come up with an individual path for every visitor: Instead of overwhelming the site’s visitors with information, we’ve left it to the them to discover, and turned the act of finding information into a game. Every new tap unveils another piece of data, and at the same time creates a unique path through the website. It’s a red thread through their serendipic and unique discovery processes that is engaging and fun."

[Site is here: http://go-wander.org/ ]
via:caseygollan  carvalhobernau  webdev  webdesign  visualization  discovery  wandering 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Don’t Do What I Do | Seth W.
"You can prepare, fill your head with knowledge, listen to podcasts, buy a lightweight and foldable jacket and $250 pants, and email other people who’ve done the same thing, but really you just need to set off on your own. You need to make your own mistakes, because they’re yours. You’ll learn all the lessons you need to learn.

Am I telling you to trust a complete stranger with ALL your stuff? No.

I’m telling you to go make your own advenutres. Stop waiting for permission, stop waiting for the right circumstances, stop waiting, stop waiting, stop… waiting."

See also: http://sethw.com/about-seth-werkheiser/

"In August of 2010 I ditched my stuff and started traveling full-time while working remotely…

Since then: traveled from Brooklyn, NY to New Orleans, LA, over to Austin, TX and as far west as Albuquerque, NM. Visiting 12 cities in 14 days was fun, too, when I traveled by bike and train from Miami, FL to Portland, ME.

I carry everything I own in a bag (currently a Chrome Yalta)."
sethwerkheiser  experience  preparation  deschooling  unschooling  learning  yearoff2  exploration  trust  justdo  waiting  cv  travel  adventure  2012  bikes  biking  possessions  minimalism  yearoff  wandering  packing 
november 2012 by robertogreco
cloudhead - knowmad
"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location * then …

A knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, skills, and experiences, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a nomadic knowledge worker …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm. The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist.

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan

* (nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)"


[Previous version when first bookmarked]

"if a nomad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new pastures and hunting grounds rather than settling down permanently in one location 
(nomas = wander, nomos = pasture)

then

a knowmad is a person that roams and wanders in search of new knowledge, new skills, experiences and insights, rather than settling down permanently in one specialized silo of awareness.

A knowmad is not a knowledge worker on the run …
roaming from coffee shop to boardroom with a laptop under her arm.
The term doesn’t belong to the workplace because 
a knowmad doesn’t work, she plays … like a child or an artist. 

“The primitive hunter or fisherman did no work, any more than does the poet, painter, or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labor and the specialization of functions”—McLuhan"

[McLuhan quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media:_The_Extensions_of_Man ]
informationage  generalists  specialization  cv  roaming  wanderers  wanderlust  wanderingmind  neo-nomads  wandering  hunter-gatherer  labor  work  play  knowledgeworkers  knowledge  nomads  nomadism  1964  2012  cloudhead  marshallmcluhan  knowmads  shiftctrlesc  headmine 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Directions From our Dreams: Imagining a More Amazing iOS 6 Maps App | Wired Design | Wired.com
"Buried in Baio’s post was this intriguing tidbit: “Developers can specify a category (Car, Bus, Train, Subway, Streetcar, Plane, Bike, Ferry, Taxi, Pedestrian, Other).”

“Other”? What kind of thing can you do with “other”? Media inventor Robin Sloan saw it first.

"So Apple’s iOS 6 Maps delegates public transit to third-party apps. That, my friends, is a storytelling opportunity. Two words: Catbus app."

Yes! Why limit ourselves to mundane, workaday transit (especially given how hellish this is for developers) when now we can map anything.

With that in mind, we humbly present this list of suggestions:

* An app that routes your trip via LA’s lost streetcars.
* A psychogeography directions app, perhaps a port of Near Future Laboratory’s Drift deck, which directs aimless wandering around a city.
* An app to help The Warriors get home.
* An app to celebrate Bloomsday by following James Joyce’s Leopold Bloom through Dublin.
* An app for Batman that routes by rooftop."
publictransit  api  mapping  wandering  batman  jamesjoyce  bloomsday  driftdeck  psychogeography  catbus  apple  ios6  ios  mapsoftheimagination  maps  robinsloan  timmaly  2012  andybaio 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Will Self: Walking is political | Books | The Guardian
"A century ago, 90% of Londoners' journeys under six miles were made on foot. Now we are alienated from the physical reality of our cities. Will Self on the importance of walking in the fight against corporate control"

"Borges's animals and beggars are those who still seek the disciplines of physical geography – we understand that to walk the city and its environs is, in a very powerful sense, to use it. The contemporary flâneur is by nature and inclination a democratising force who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control."
humanconnection  humanconnectivity  connectivity  human  society  indifference  friedrichengels  gps  london  thomasdequincey  moritzretszch  edgarallanpoe  wandering  wanderlust  rebeccasolnit  epicurus  thecityishereforyoutouse  geography  democracy  freedomofmovement  freedom  access  movement  flaneur  borges  cities  place  space  limitedspace  psychogeography  urbanism  urban  transportation  control  corporatism  willself  2012  walking 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Welcome to the Flaneur Society
"The Flaneur Society was created in response to Walter Benjamin's book Berlin Childhood Around 1900. In it he explores the concept of the Flaneur, one who wanders without destination.

Intrigued by this concept, the society was created to spread the concept of the Flaneur beyond academic studies and into the general consciousness of how we think of urban spaces.

The Guidebook to Getting Lost is a small pocket sized book which defines the concept of the Flaneur. Using the language of the Park Service and backcountry maps, the guide aims to introduce the participant to a city without the concern of street names and directions. Inside, there are three maps which can guide the participant to a state of Flaneuring. A PDF of the guidebook can be downloaded here." [PDF: http://www.flaneursociety.org/guide.pdf ]

[Tumblr: http://flaneursociety.tumblr.com/ ]
flaneur  situationist  walking  wandering  sanfrancisco  walterbenjamin  maps  mapping  derive  via:maryannreilly  ralphwaldoemerson  iste-fringe2012  dérive 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit - Wikipedia
"Rebecca Solnit (born 1961) is a writer who lives in San Francisco. She has written on a variety of subjects including the environment, politics, place, and art. [1]

She skipped high school altogether, enrolling in an alternative junior high in the public school system that took her through tenth grade, when she passed the GED exam. Thereafter she enrolled in junior college. When she was 17 she went to study in Paris. She ultimately returned to California and finished her college education at San Francisco State University when she was 20.[2] She then received a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley[3] in 1984 and has been an independent writer since 1988. Prior to this she was a museum researcher and art critic.[4] She has worked on environmental and human rights campaigns since the 1980s, notably with the Western Shoshone Defense Project in the early 1990s, as described in her book Savage Dreams, and with antiwar activists throughout the Bush era."
literature  rebeccasolnit  unschooling  deschooling  alternative  education  sanfrancisco  california  writing  writers  books  wanderlust  wandering  walking  nomads  neo-nomads  nature 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Against Situationism | varnelis.net
"Deliberately obscure, Situationism was cool...perfect ideology for knowledge-work generation. What could be better to provoke conversation at local Starbucks or company cantina, especially once Marcus's, which traced dubious red thread between Debord & Malcolm McLaren, hit the presses? Rock & roll plus neoliberal politics masquerading as leftism: a perfect mix. For the generation that came of age with Situationism-via-Marcus & dot.com era, work at offices like Razorfish or Chiat/Day was highest form of play. Enough pop-tarts for middle of the night charettes & a bit of colorful design ensured that work & life had finally merged in dot.com workplace. Or so it was in theory. The reality was Office Space. Today, Situationism seems to be more popular than ever, serving as the latest justification for neoliberal city. Instead of a broader idea of a collective, Situationism advocates for the right not to work (but just how will we survive? will amazon make free shipments after revolution?)"
situationist  kazysvarnelis  art  culture  architecture  dotcomboom  education  mapping  vision  geography  utopia  urbanism  wandering  france  paris  urban  critique  politics  philosophy  history  now 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: now, more than ever
“It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties. The prosperous middle classes, who ruled the nineteenth century, placed an excessive value upon the placidity of existence. They refused to face the necessities for social reform imposed by the new industrial system, and they are now refusing to face the necessities for intellectual reform imposed by the new knowledge. The middle class pessimism over the future of the world comes from a confusion between civilization and security. In the immediate future there will be less security than in the immediate past, less stability. It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ages.” -Alfred North Whitehead, “Science and the Modern World,” 1925
civilization  technology  future  stability  chrisheathcote  science  history  security  insecurity  wandering  instabiity  alfrednorthwhitehead  instability 
january 2009 by robertogreco

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