robertogreco + circumstance   10

Stefano Harney on Study (Interview July 2011, Part 5) - YouTube
"we’re talking about getting together with others and determining what needs to be learned together and spending time with that material and spending time with each other without any objective, without any endpoint"



"[Study] almost always happens against the university. It almost always happens in the university, but under the university, in its undercommons, in those places that are not recognized, not legitimate…"

[See also Margaret Edson: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:181e6f50825b ]
2011  stefanoharney  study  studies  highered  highereducation  resistance  unschooling  deschooling  labor  work  informal  community  interdependence  cv  credit  credentialism  accreditation  slavery  blackness  debt  capitalism  fredmoten  universities  undercommons  freedom  practice  praxis  learning  communities  objectives  messiness  howwelearn  productivity  production  product  circumstance  producing  nothing  nothingness  idleness  relationships  imperatives  competition  howestudy  self-development  sharing  subversion  education  baddebt  studentdebt  completion  unfinished  margaretedson 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Toward a Poetics of Skateboarding | The American Reader
"But for all of its private jargon, skateboarding’s poetry has never been linguistic. It is forever embodied and also, though this is difficult to speak of seriously, spiritual. How else to explain its appearance in Uganda without even a single retail outlet to support it? In fact, the only conveyable language of skateboarding, outside of participation and socialization in the activity itself, has always been spoken through film.

In broad terms, skate media splits time between documentation and advertisement, and their commercial evolution has skewed ever more crass and spectacular. Recent work from select video artists, however, attempts to confront the activity’s basic mystery and meaningful meaninglessness. Non-skateboarders have tended not to look very closely at these films. They mostly do not care. Skateboarders meanwhile care far too much to care exactly why. In any case, it’s here that an attempt toward a poetics of skateboarding must begin."



"Nor can we call such an effort unselfish. My own struggle with the mystery of skateboarding began five years ago, fifteen after I first stepped onto a board, when I began work on my second novel. The problem I encountered was that none of skateboarding’s confectionary can or should be dismissed. Speaking technically and contra Ian Mackaye, skateboarding today is a sport and a hobby both, along with countless other things: a therapy, an obsession, a conservative anti-drug. In its basic meaninglessness, skateboarding has become the tool that takes the shape of whoever’s hand it’s in."



"What in those first years had fit awkwardly into a de facto rubric of athletics—a sport to be timed and judged for athletic merit—became in the 1970s something more rhetorical. The ethos was the punk scavenging of revolution by way of repurposing. Whatever prefigurations of the object we had seen, never before had they been deployed creatively. To speak in China Mieville’s terms, what emerged was something counterposed to the comfort of the uncanny. The activity, new, unrecognized, and bounded only by imagination, was abcanny."



"While the basic spirit of skateboarding might have remained constant since the addition of polyurethane, the marketplace around it quite obviously has not. Now and once again the importance of skateboarding in our time is on the increase. Today, it is on Fox. It is on ESPN with real-time algorithms for evaluating tricks. Once more the marketplace would have us comprehend skateboarding as a sport.

We know on first glance that skateboarding, in its dominant form of street activity, stands apart from ball and net athletics. It seems uninterested, too, in velocity and stopwatch performances. But the first challenge to the rubric of sport begins even lower, at a semiotic level. You and I could, if we wanted, go and shoot lazy jumpshots on a netless schoolyard hoop, or go to the driving range and smack buckets of balls into the green void. We can take our gloves to the park and throw grounders and pop flies and apply tags to invisible runners. But for any of these to qualify as “basketball,” “golf,” or “baseball,” we would require the structure of competition and order of rules.

Systems such as these have no bearing on skateboarding, of which even the most negligible acts, no matter how brief or private, simply are skateboarding. Consider: between my home and the nearest skatepark is a well-paved boulevard with sewer caps embedded into the blacktop every half block or so. A source of joy for me is to push down this boulevard and pop tiny ollies over these sewer caps, sometimes barely scraping my tail, other times popping hard and pulling my knees up to my chest. These are not tricks proper, just ways to see and engage with the street’s reality. This is not, as athletes might call it, practice; I am not training for a future event. It is travel, yes, but the joy has little to do with the scenery or distance covered. In the purview of skate competition, this pushing down the boulevard, the single most fun I have in any given day, is not a scorable act of skateboarding. It is worth zero and it is worth everything.

In a world increasingly data-driven and surveilled, skateboarding lives beneath scoring and resists all datazation by establishing everything as a performance. It deflects the surveillance state by its primal devotion to documenting and sharing itself, monitoring every possible development, repetition, and failure. It pre-empts the onslaught of observation by embracing it. To pre-empt is to deflect, but also to admit defeat. Luckily, skateboarders are shameless—in this way, they’re the perfect actors to play the role of themselves.

Our potential heuristic now approaches what literary and cultural theorists today speak of, with a smirk, as the so-called authentic self. But a skater, whether standing on his stage, behind a camera, or at a keyboard, sees and thinks and performs precisely as what and who he is. What other memberships function in this or a similar manner? Parenthood. Romantic partnership. Citizenship. Does artistry?

***

To date, the most complete attempt to theorize skateboarding has been Iain Borden’s Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body (Berg, 2001). Borden, a Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at The Bartlett, University College London, treats the activity of skateboarding as a Lefebvrian practice with a potential to become its own sort of architecture: not of construction, but by the “production of space, time, and social being.” He traces the history of skateboarding into the 1990s’ street skating movement, and speaks of the way this “oppositional subculture” rethinks architecture “as a set of discrete features and elements…recomposing it through new speeds, spaces and times.” The gears of capitalism create spaces in which behavior is prescribed and easily accounted for. Skateboarding’s opposition is thus a compositional process, partially of the individual body, which is recomposed against the “intense scopic determinations of modernist space,” and partially of a deeper critique of urban life: “production not as the production of things but of play, desires and actions.”"



"By contrast, today’s most compelling skateboarding films aim to capture not only the play of skateboarding, but enact what Borden calls the “positive dialectic that restlessly searches for new possibilities of representing, imagining and living our lives.” The “Panoramic Series” from Philip Evans, for example, relieves the actor from the full burden of attention. Here Evans follows Phil Zwijsen through his hometown of Antwerp:"



"The skater, Austyn Gillette, appears only after the environmental context, resulting in a portrait not of one or the other, but both. The subject is, as skateboarding’s always has been in practice, the interactions between city and individual body. Alongside recent work by Mike Manzoori, Evan Schiefelbine and select others, these films find energy beyond the progressive trickery of athletics, or the documentation of extant geographies. They combine the skateboarder’s practice—creative, productive—with a distinctly non-skateboarding meta-awareness of the activity’s potential for meaning. Their grounding within the geist of skateboarding is obvious: there is nothing a skater spots more quickly than the fraud, or tourist. These are films made by skateboarders who have lived within the activity’s world, and who choose to leverage the activity as a tool to understand itself. How long, they ask, must a toy endure before it becomes something else? What does it become, and does this mean it has ceased to be a toy?"



"Roberto Bolaño called surrealism “something convulsive and vague, that familiar amorphous thing.” If indeed there is ever to be a poetics of skateboarding, familiarity will have to play a role. Suvin argued that science fiction’s value lay in its ability to effect cognitive estrangement. Campbell’s film documents and creates ostranenie by the re-presentation of a familiar world as captured by, and portrayed through, the glance of the radical dreamer. In fact, what Cuatros does better than any film I’ve seen is remind us that skateboarding’s heuristic usefulness is ontological. Its topos is not that there is a world inside the world, but rather: there is a world the exact shape and texture of the world that you know laid seamlessly over top of it, and you, for some reason, fail to see how beautiful it can be.

Convulsive, vague, and conveyed by slidy looks. Campbell’s subject is our ineffable, binding thing, that lurking, trembling essence that he can only render by images and motions of the surreal. The artist whose art was born from skateboarding has made an object about skateboarding that conveys this birth and mode of being. Skateboarding infects the filmmaker infects the musicians infects the viewer. Viewer goes out skating. Skateboarding is self-perpetuating in this way. It is always itself and something else, it is infectious, it is comprehensive and sublatable to the core. This is how the infinite comes to be—once born, skateboarding can never now die.

But the dreamscape of Cuatros Sueños Pequeños is not an expression of this infinity. Rather, it is mimetic. What world is this?, asks the skateboarder. A familiar one we have seen so many times that it’s rendered unseeable. More importantly, what is to be done in it? The answer, like Campbell’s film, is incoherent, and thank goodness. The answer is anything at all."
skating  skateboarding  skateboards  quantification  measurement  urban  urbanism  surveillance  iainborden  meaning  film  video  robertobolaño  thomascampbell  cuatrosueñospequeños  performance  datazation  repetition  monitoring  failure  documentation  process  capitalism  henrilefebvre  space  place  play  culture  movement  infectiousness  inspiration  feral  ecosystems  socialbeing  time  architecture  landscape  kylebeachy  understanding  experience  robertzemeckis  pontusalv  punk  metrics  schematics  markets  poetics  filmmaking  darkosuvin  sciencefiction  ianmackaye  technology  history  circumstance  california  socal  sports  chinamieville  abcanny  zines  creativity  competition  commercialization  commercialism  commoditization  diy  systems  rules  revolution  resistance  practice  authenticity  artistry  philipevans  philzwijsen  colinkennedy  stasis  motion  austyngillette  mikemanzoori  evanschiefelbine  javiermendizabal  madarsapse  dondelillo  cities  meaninglessness  participation  participatory  democracy  tribes  belonging  identity  spirituality  social  socializati 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Scottish Review: The survivor: in search of my artist grandfather
"What happens to an aspiring artist with family responsibilities in a totalitarian regime? In the case of my grandfather, Martin Ideler, his career was stalled. He became locked into decisions that he probably initially made to tide him over rough spots. The struggle against external circumstances consumed his creative energies. Instead of becoming a good artist, he became a good art teacher. Satisfying, but probably not what he had hoped for when he first pleaded with his father to be allowed to study art."
art  artists  circumstance  teaching  2014juliamira  martinideler  careers  compromise  external  responsibilities  creativity  via:litherland 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Black Pathology Crowdsourced - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"The point is that the same sets of cultural characteristics operate very differently in different circumstances. And to focus on the culture—rather than the circumstances—seems obtuse." —Yoni Appelbaum

[Something of a corollary to Ta-Nehisi Coates here http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/there-are-no-fat-people-in-paris/278162/ :]

"The thing you find so valuable may well be related to something else which you find utterly objectionable."

[BUT rephrased as "The thing you find to be a flaw in one circumstance may well be an admirable trait in another."]
history  culture  circumstance  context  ta-nehisicoates  2014  values  characteristics  behavior  complexity  commentary  race  ethnicity 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Money and Morality: Are the Rich Different? The Rich Buddha Weighs In | Ordinary Times
"The webcasted potion of the discussion ended with Matt Hutson suggesting that we’d be better off if we could shed the “just world theory rationalization”, and my suggesting that would result in our species as a whole sinking into an irreconcilable existential funk. After the HuffPo host signed us off, Matt, Paul and I chatted a while longer, and Paul had an interesting take.

What he said is that people at the top tend to see their position in the world as being earned, and people at the bottom tend to see their position as being a product of fate, and that both groups probably over-emphasise the role agency or fate in their circumstances, and he has some research data to go along with the observation. What he suggested is that what’s important is maintaining a balance between the two views, to realize the circumstances of our birth are accidental, as are many of the things that happen to us between birth and death, but that along the way we do have the opportunity, if we take it, to alter the trajectory of our lives, for better or worse.

What I realized in that moment is that a lot of the writing and rumination that I do is a long-running version of the Serenity Prayer, but rather than being a mediation in service of overcoming addiction, it’s a meditation in service of urging myself to take best advantage of my circumstances and what agency I have, without losing sight of the fact that what agency I have rests on a foundation of happenstance."
wealth  circumstance  happenstance  2013  money  serenityprayer  agency  luck  fate  success 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Daniel Gilbert (psychologist) - Wikipedia
“At the age of 19, Gilbert was a high school dropout who wanted to be a science fiction writer. In an attempt to improve his writing skills, he took a bus to the local community college to enroll in a creative writing class. When he was told that the creative writing class was full, he signed up for the only class that was still open: Introduction to Psychology.”
happiness  serendipity  circumstance  psychology  dropouts  danielgilbert  from delicious
january 2012 by robertogreco
WNYC - Radiolab » Secrets of Success
"Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t like Gifted and Talented Education Programs. And he doesn’t believe that innate ability can fully explain superstar hockey players or billionaire software giants. In this podcast, we listen in on a conversation between Robert and Malcolm recorded at the 92nd St Y. Robert asks Malcolm if he’s a “genius denier,” and Malcolm asks Robert if he’s uncomfortable with the power of love, as they duke it out over questions of luck, talent, passion, and success."
genius  luck  talent  passion  success  love  malcolmgladwell  science  radiolab  brain  desire  leadership  tcsnmy  toshare  topost  mattheweffect  circumstance  coincidence  billgates  advantage  generations  timing  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Caterina.net: How that idiot made 10 million dollars: Cities and Genius
"it may be that creativity and invention are more dependent on the networks in which the creator participates than their individual genius or their willingness to put in the hours. As we've so often seen, great ideas occur where there is a confluence of ideas taken from the environment surrounding the creator or creators. Thus, Silicon Valley. Even people designing office spaces have discovered that creating little meeting spaces and sitting areas at the junctures between hallways increase communication between different departments in an organization and increase cross-fertilization of ideas and intra company relationships.
genius  circumstance  davidbyrne  cities  environment  networks  enhancement  invention  creativity  caterinafake 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Photo Essay: Unlikely Places Where 'Wired' Pioneers Had Their Eureka! Moments
"irony is almost always have pen & paper; I write all time...on this occasion when I had idea of my life, I didn't have pen. For 4 hours my head was buzzing...probably the best thing, because I ended up working whole thing out before I got off train."
writing  inspiration  invention  creativity  place  thinking  ideas  circumstance  postits  napster  richardfeynman  music  harrypotter  jkrowling  post-its 
march 2008 by robertogreco
deputydog | 5 fascinating ‘alternative’ school premises
"i say ‘alternative’ but for many kids some of the examples shown below are the norm, be it through choice, location, cost restrictions or otherwise. either way, all these schools are creatively designed to say the least and there are plenty more to b
schools  schooldesign  architecture  circumstance  place  education 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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