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robertogreco : working   14

The Centre For Innovative and Radical Fishmongery : Bad at Sports
"To respond to the art world with a fish may be a surrealist gesture. But to respond with an entire fish counter, complete with fishmongers in white boots, ice and creative displays of the seafood itself, is surely pushing the 20th century genre to breaking point.

Such is the effect of the so-called Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, spotted in public at Sluice Art Fair, London, late October. Amidst the plentiful art for sale, the wares at CIRF included a scrambling pile of langoustine and a sinister-looking hake chewing on a lemon.

The artist behind the project is Sam Curtis who came to fishmongery by chance in 2006. A part time MFA at prestigious art school Goldsmiths necessitated finding work. By strange twist of fate, he found an opening on the fish counter at luxury department store Harrods.

“I decided to kill two birds with one stone,” he tells me when we catch up via phone. “I was under a lot of pressure to make work and earn at the same time, so I turned the day job into a studio, into a springboard, a platform for creating new projects.”

Curtis took his fishmongery skills back to successful crits at Goldsmiths. “I called it working in stealth mode, an undercover residency where my employer and my colleagues weren’t aware of the things that I was doing, what I was taking from the job, until the end,” he says.

After leaving this post, the artist blew his cover. “It was hard for them to grasp, in a way,” he says of his erstwhile colleagues, and equally hard to get their heads round was the film Curtis went on to make about them, “about their creativity and how they potentially see themselves as artists”.

“There’s a performative aspect to it,” says the artist of his former trade, and, “There is a lot of theatre there,” he says of his former workplace. But he now sees his installation at Sluice as a conceptual piece, and one he hopes to be able to tour.

“Fish are different all round the country,” he explains, adding that he hopes to collaborate with more fishmongers and artists alike. Pre CIRF, in 2011 he completed a residency in a fish shop in Penzance, Cornwall. There are clearly openings for artists working with fish.

But his new project is nothing if not inclusive. For the London art fair, Curtis invited half a dozen visiting artists to make their own displays. He can now add their ideas to the ever growing repertoire: “They created displays that I would never have done,” he admits.

And with an art fair audience already primed for excitement, Curtis can claim reactions of genuine surprise towards his intervention at Sluice. With plenty of conversation about fish, there was also an interest in day jobs in general and ways in which they can be creative.

Curtis says that artists and creative types are highly prone to disappointment in the realities of working life: “Your expectations aren’t really fulfilled quite often, because you might have more glamorous ideals about what being an artist is.”

By contrast, the fish-loving artist also says: “I’m interested in treating life as an artwork. Hence the turning of day job into a residency. I think if you can inject creativity into the more banal parts of your life, you’re more likely to become fulfilled.”

“I’ve always played on the fact you can insert your practice into your day job, no matter how far detached away from art that job is.” But even Curtis has his moments of doubt, having recently taken on a new full time job, he admits to being “slightly scared” about losing time for his art.

“As to what the best day jobs are, I don’t know,” he says, having tried working in a gallery and not liking the experience. “I prefer being quite far away from the art world.”

The trick is surely to become Innovative and Radical in everything you do, be that showing fish alongside video or giving away seafood at an art fair. “In terms of fishmongery and the radicalization of fishmongery I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet,” says Curtis. CIRF is clearly going after the big, ocean-going game."
via:annegalloway  fish  marksheerin  fishmongery  samcurtis  art  goldsmiths  harrods  work  labor  working  lifeasart  glvo  leisurearts  everday  performanceart  sluice  2013  artleisure 
november 2013 by robertogreco
On Burnout
I remember reading this published insight[1] from Marissa Mayer a few months ago:

Burnout is caused by resentment

Which sounded amazing, until this guy who dated a neuroscientist commented[2]:

No. Burnout is caused when you repeatedly make large amounts of sacrifice and or effort into high-risk problems that fail. It's the result of a negative prediction error in the nucleus accumbens. You effectively condition your brain to associate work with failure.

Subconsciously, then eventually, consciously, you wonder if it's worth it. The best way to prevent burnout is to follow up a serious failure with doing small things that you know are going to work. As a biologist, I frequently put in 50-70 and sometimes 100 hour workweeks. The very nature of experimental science (lots of unkowns) means that failure happens. The nature of the culture means that grad students are "groomed" by sticking them on low-probability of success, high reward fishing expeditions (gotta get those nature, science papers) I used to burn out for months after accumulating many many hours of work on high-risk projects. I saw other grad students get it really bad, and burn out for years.

During my first postdoc, I dated a neuroscientist and reprogrammed my work habits. On the heels of the failure of a project where I have spent weeks building up for, I will quickly force myself to do routine molecular biology, or general lab tasks, or a repeat of an experiment that I have gotten to work in the past. These all have an immediate reward. Now I don't burn out anymore, and find it easier to re-attempt very difficult things, with a clearer mindset.

For coders, I would posit that most burnout comes on the heels of failure that is not in the hands of the coder (management decisions, market realities, etc). My suggested remedy would be to reassociate work with success by doing routine things such as debugging or code testing that will restore the act of working with the little "pops" of endorphins.

That is not to say that having a healthy life schedule makes burnout less likely (I think it does; and one should have a healthy lifestyle for its own sake) but I don't think it addresses the main issue.

Then I finally realized how many times I've burnt out in my life, and I became much better into avoiding it. Which is really hard to do.

And it seems to me that this is one of the many points that Ben Horowitz talks about on his What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology[3]

[1] http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Burnout-is-caused-by-resentment.html
[2] http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Burnout-is-caused-by-resentment.html#comment-478842490
[3] http://bhorowitz.com/2011/04/01/what%E2%80%99s-the-most-difficult-ceo-skill-managing-your-own-psychology/ "
life  working  burnout  neuroscience  failure  psychology  workhabits  work  via:tealtan 
april 2013 by robertogreco
an intense kind of nothing | the m john harrison blog
"The nightmare of the self: whatever you discover, it will never actually allow you to say anything about the foundation of things. Each discovery will only open up another scale, which, probed, will almost immediately begin to imply a further scale, a finer-grained space. The very small always has something smaller inside it. Whatever you find isn’t the end, it’s only ever the beginning of something else. Worse, the characteristic of these successive foundational states is that they’re composed increasingly of emptiness, of the gaps between things. Everything diffuses out into nothing. And the tools you develop operate only at the scale for which you develop them–though they have just enough sensitivity to alert you, as you push towards each outside edge, to the possiblility of the need for another, yet more subtle, toolset."
learning  making  thinking  working  mjohnharrison  2013  perspective  powersoften  discovery  curiosity  fractals  diffusion  toolsets 
february 2013 by robertogreco
We Didn’t Even Bother with a Funeral | dirtystylus
The guys who were quiet? They were the ones who realized that Flash was still good for a great many things, but for mobile it was going to be native apps or open web technologies. So they put their heads down and went to work, picking up new skills or brushing up old ones. Meanwhile, some of their colleagues shook their fists at Apple and played the waiting game, promising that each new release on Android would finally bring the “full web experience”. It was late to arrive, and never delivered on the promise. So now comes the inevitable news, and everyone shrugs. The ones who got a head start are busy learning and growing elsewhere; the blowhards have probably just found another symbolic divide to rally their banners around.
internet  apple  working  flash  markllobrera  2012  mobile  design  adobe  android  iphone  ios  ipod  learning  change  adaptability  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Pendulums, Tea, and Jack Cheng | One Skinnyj
"I wanted the lack of employment & stable income to motivate me to do something."

"…balance implies movement. A more appropriate instrument would be a pendulum—constantly swinging back & forth. W/ a scale, stasis is desirable, but w/ a pendulum, stasis is death."

"We have a limited supply of attention every day & thus a sweet spot for novel experiences. Too little novelty & you’re bored. Too much & you’re overwhelmed. But with the right amount, you’re learning & growing."

"The right team to me consists of a group of people who are simultaneously mentor & mentee, skilled at certain things & eager to learn about others."

"I love learning new things, & I’m continually improving myself. I feel like I’m experiencing the world closer to the way I did when I was a kid, the result of unlearning some…biases & tendencies…"

"I’m a big proponent of journaling…it builds self-awareness, which is always the first step to improvement…Honest journaling helps you face your own fear & neglect."
memberly  motivation  howwegrow  howwelearn  entrepreneurship  distrupto  employment  attention  distraction  newness  travel  yearoff  stasis  growing  growth  learning  unlearning  tendencies  biases  self-improvement  neglect  fear  self-awareness  noticing  novelty  howwework  working  groups  mentees  mentors  movement  balance  pendulums  stability  chaos  reflection  journals  journaling  2011  interviews  seepster  tea  jackcheng 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Critical Mess Collecting
"The most intriguing thing is how a collection like Michael's gets built," Reese said, by way of explaining the practical ramifications of the critical-mess theory.  "When you start on something like this, you say, O.K., here is a genre, here is a field. And I'm just going to buy it, whatever it is that I'm collecting -- signs from homeless people, imprints froom before 1801.  You don't start with a theory about what you're trying to do.  You don't begin by saying, 'I'm trying to prove x.' You build a big pile. Once you get a big enough pile together -- the critical mess -- you're able to draw conclusions about it.  You see patterns.  You might see that this one lithographer in Philadelphia does all the scientific works.  You start to see that certain early printers were much better than other printers. You start to see that homeless people in the South put together wordier signs than people in the North because people in the South like to read billboards, so they'll slow down and read the sign.  People who have the greatest intuitive feel for physical objects start from a relationship with the objects and then acquire the scholarship, instead of the other way around. The way to become a connoisseur is to work in the entire spectrum of what's available -- from utter crap to fabulous stuff. If you're going to spend your time looking only at the best, you're not going to have a critical eye."
messiness  criticalmess  criticalmesses  pattenrecognition  patterns  via:vruba  collecting  working  collections  michaelzinman  cv  howwework  howwelearn  learning  divingin  starting  startingsomewhere  piles  criticaleye 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Stet by Me: Thoughts on Editing Fiction · Meanjin
The editor’s only real resource is judgement. You have to have absolute faith in it, but you must also interrogate it ceaselessly so as to keep the clearest possible distinction between the needs of the work and your own tastes or preferences.
But it seems to me that perhaps being invisible is an issue when you work in the arts, in entertainment, in media. In public. Actually, I am not sure I think it is a problem. It is just weird.
My authors make themselves vulnerable in the understanding that I will take care of them. Consequently neither of us wants me to get around in public inadvertently creating the impression that their novel was an unpublishable pile of shit before I got my genius hands on it. Editors do not in general confuse themselves with the dude on the cloud receiving the spark from the finger of God. And because we don’t wish anyone to think we do—especially the dude—we do not talk much about our craft. Or, although we feel it acutely, our immense pride in doing it well.
The purpose of writing is to express meaning; the purpose of publishing is to transmit meaning from a single mind to a large number of other minds. The purpose of editing is to ensure the transmission proceeds as far as possible without impediment. As I hope I have indicated, the editorial process itself is not arcane. It is about attention to effect: to how the mechanics of writing operate on the apprehension of meaning. The meaning we are concerned with in fiction is different from that in, say, educational texts, chiefly because it prioritises feeling. But in each case the editor’s task is to ensure that the words and symbols achieve what they need to achieve and do not get in their own way.
Writers, by contrast, are concerned with something very close to magic, something to do with consciousness transported, with the generation of meaning, of feeling—of something that was not there before—by means that cannot (therefore) be apparent to me. I do not know how to help an author who cannot make, or is not making, magic. What I hope I can do is point out that the magic could be even more dazzling but for these things—here and here—obstructing it, occluding it. If I am really on my game I may even be able to tspot some latent magic that only needs this new thing here to bring it out; and that is about as good as it gets.
Good editing is not just important for an individual book, it is crucial to the health of our industry and the survival of reading as a recreation. Nobody will ever recognise good editorial work—that is the point of it.
Of course today’s readers will always love the whisper of a crisp new page or the musty whiff of an old one, but for tomorrow’s, it may be a finger-flick on a touchpad that will spark the associations. The objects are not the source of the power, they merely absorb some of it and radiate it over time. The power comes from written stories: from the particular way reading brings stories to life in the human imagination.
publishing  editing  books  fiction  working  trust  feminism  pride  via:tealtan 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter / @johnmaeda: "Differentiate between har ...
"Differentiate between hard work and long work. Long work is just time-consuming." -from conv with Seth Godin
johnmaeda  sethgodin  work  working  effort  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  rote  memorization  time  lcproject  learning  meaningmaking  rotelearning 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero ["We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next." —Charles Eames]
"And so this is my favorite quote in regards to design. The Eames are heroes of mine: such virtuosity over such a wide array of practices. Products for the home, patterns, architecture, movies, I mean, it’s just silly. People have said that doing so was easier back then because the walls between the practices were lower, just like how Da Vinci was able to be on the cusp of understanding in science because we knew so little. I think that’s partially true, but not a convincing enough argument to stand on its own.

The Eames were sharks. One just has to read what Charles said. In work, it’s not that one project leads to the next, it’s that one subject leads to the next. If we’re really sniffing out solutions to the problems of people, then we’ll be going down some serious rabbit holes.

We don’t need to say “multi-disciplinary designer” any more. If we’re truly trying to make things that help all of us to live better, it’s implied and redundant."
design  quotes  eames  charleseames  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  generalists  crossdisciplinary  doing  making  work  glvo  working  howwework  curiosity  learning  unschooling  deschooling  postdisciplinary 
march 2011 by robertogreco
On words alone - Bobulate
"Writing more than anything else is a way of clarifying one’s thoughts; the initial act is not for the reader"

[Sounds like something I wrote here a while back: http://snarkmarket.com/blog/snarkives/media_galaxy/stumbling_away_from_the_story/#066170 ]
working  writing  design  culture  art  glvo  creation  creativity  cv  thought  tcsnmy  words  clarity 
june 2010 by robertogreco
W+K12 Presents No Place Like Home [The boarding school of work environments?]
"In the 21st century, living is an art. Balancing home and work is just one aspect. We work to live; we live to work. The space in which that happens is ultimately changing. As houses evolve into workspaces, and workspaces become more hospitable to longer hours, we see the lines breaking down. Microwavable breakfastlunchdinner, office living rooms, wi-fi, cloud-computing, all are demanded evolutions of a space caught in crisis.

For "No Place Like Home" WK12 combines work and home by moving both into one living-breathing space. For the month of May, 12 eats, drinks, works, plays and sleeps in the lobby of Wieden + Kennedy. Our job is to create art. Our work is to design our space.

A house warming party is open to the public on the First Thursday of May."

[Lapsed domain. Here's the Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110128112343/http://12noplacelikehome.com/ ]
wk12  wk  worklive  livework  work  housing  homes  balance  workspace  noplacelikehome  coworking  coliving  space  place  identity  lcproject  community  learning  working  computing  experiments  wieden+kennedy  workspaces 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Week 241 – Blog – BERG
"always put something on the table, no matter how half-formed the concept, and then it’s perfectly okay to critique it and pull it to bits… but only if you can replace it with something better. It’s a strategy that means you’re always left with a working concept, and not something about which you know everything that’s wrong but nothing that’s right. ... As to what I do care about, it’s the gestalt: happiness, growth, and direction, and not how I do it but how we do it, together. I’m not sure I’m terribly good at it yet (it requires a level of self-awareness that I’ve yet to develop), and in fact I slip an awful lot, but maybe it’s because I find it so hard that I find it so fulfilling."
iteration  howwework  berg  berglondon  mattwebb  doing  critique  glvo  working  tcsnmy  happiness  collaboration  self-awareness 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Caterina.net: Working hard is overrated
"a lot of what we then considered "working hard" was actually "freaking out"...panicking, working on things just to be working on something, not knowing what we were doing, fearing failure, worrying about things we needn't have worried about, thinking about fund raising rather than product building, building too many features, getting distracted by competitors...& other time-consuming activities. This time around we have eliminated a lot of freaking out time. We seem to be working less hard this time...Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on. Paying attention to what is going on in the world. Seeing patterns. Seeing things as they are rather than how you want them to be. Being able to read what people want. Putting yourself in the right place where information is flowing freely and interesting new juxtapositions can be seen. But you can save yourself a lot of time by working on the right thing."
caterinafake  working  careers  life  work  tcsnmy  cv  wisdom  business  entrepreneurship  startups  productivity  gtd  lifehacks  focus  philosophy  time  balance  flickr  advice  ideas  culture  patterns  management  leadership  administration  confidence  freakingout 
september 2009 by robertogreco

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