robertogreco + flatness   16

454 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011—2157
"Anonymous asked: do you want to be famous?

In 1928 the architect Mies van der Rohe was commissioned to design a pavilion representing Weimar Germany at the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. The building ended up becoming justly famous as the most eloquent definition of what was later gathered into Modernism. This definition would be something like, ‘Not only doing way more with way less, but becoming so good at it that you could thread a way out of the bewilderment and perversity which gnaw at modern lives of otherwise unparalleled bounty and convenience.’

The pavillion was designed to be doorless and mostly made of glass. In almost every way a building could be optimistic for the century it wanted to predict, this one was. The evidence for class oppression that great houses bear, like backstairs and basement kitchens are gone. Blank walls on which evidence of wealth could be displayed have been replaced by windows. Reality is the thing that transparent walls force your attention to confront. The pavillion even does away with the convention of a ‘front’ or a ‘back.’ Without a face on which to project how we want to be seen, duplicity becomes more difficult than simply being honest. The building hopes that without anything to hide behind, the very ideas of secrecy and guile will become too cumbersome to survive.

But in the very temple of delight. There was one place in the pavillion that showed a terrible shadow on the 20th century. Beyond the main room there was a reflecting pool. In the middle of the pool stood a statue of a nude woman. This choice to place a statue at a remove from anyone who would look at it is as elegant a definition as anything else in the building, but what is being defined is hideous. The fact that a statue has been taken out of the round and put in a position that allows only one point of view is an example of something our era has done on an industrial scale—the reduction of volumes to images. A statue by definition fills a volume, but limiting our perspective makes it flat. An image.

The act of reducing the freedom to see from whichever perspective suits you, down to only one, is as old as the allegory of the cave, where statues were reduced to their shadows. But the pavillion predicts that this process will come to dominate everything the statue represents: Art, diversion, beauty, and eventually, people themselves. All of us will buy, favor, love and appreciate from across an impassable distance. We will be segregated from everything we admire and from everything we want, because images are all we are presented with and flatness cannot be embraced.

Over and above every other example of this process is fame. If we are tricked by advertising into buying a phantom, wanting to be famous is wanting to become the phantom. It’s a desire that mistakes isolation for rarity, loneliness for exceptionality, and distance for height. The popular desire for fame is the crowning achievement of a hundred year campaign to iron out any aspect of being alive that calls for a complex and irreducible expression of humanity.

So no."
2012  via:robinsloan  game  humanity  complexity  freedom  reality  advertising  miesvanderrohe  modernism  duplicity  honesty  images  imagery  perspective  pointofview  power  control  flatness  art  diversion  beauty  distance  phantoms 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The University as a Googleplex | MPG
"When you hear people say - now and in our present context - that they want the university to be run like a business - full of "sherpas" but not "coasters" - what they really mean is that they don't want it to exist. At all. They don't want it to be dependent on public dollars, or "welfare," or that they don't want "tenured radicals" to be rewarded for obscure, narrowly applicable research agendas, or that they want higher education to be cheap and affordable. This is a certain kind of business model. More like Wal-Mart. It cheapens education. And it spells, down the road, the end of schooling, generally, as anything other than a bestowal of bare skills on a prospective worker."



"Yes, there are serious structural problems with interdisciplinarity. Many clever deans and provosts and chancellors see the metaphors of "bridges" and "switching points" and "nodes" as cutting-edge cost-saving measures, since, in many cases, a single jointly-appointed faculty isn't a truly new hire; he or she is a reallocated budget line, once wholly in one department or another, and now split. Budget problems are real and ongoing. Your average administratrix does the best that he or she can in an age of limited resources to keep the antique disciplines strong and to open the curriculum up to the avante-garde at the same time. Sometimes, they figure - or hope? - that a single person, allocated in two directions, can do the institutional work of many.

If you are trying to foster new knowledge, hiring is the start of it, not the end. What comes next, though, is what often gets skipped: building a more robust interdisciplinary infrastructure - a Googleplex for academics.

So, then, build bridges, where and when you can. Worry as much about sidewalks as that new humanities building. Offer faculty and staff subventions for a bicycle, or give them away. Don't get too caught up with putting the cognate units close together. Make the process of connection over space easier, so that the practice of articulation between units and fields and offices is generative. Keep your faculty moving. Good ideas often come on the road, in transit, in the spaces between destination and departure. If budgets are tight, worry less about clustering like-minded units; worry more about the creation of scenic walkways with flat, safe sidewalks, and benches.

But, then, don't skimp on the tech. You know what kills ideas? It isn't the sprint from one office to another. It is the discovery, on the end of the route, of dodgy wifi, spotty ethernet, and the chatter of the prehistoric desktop computer. Or it is the grinding weight of that 10 lbs. laptop from 2005. So, really, ipads for everyone and segways, too, along with moleskine notebooks, whiteboards, and color pens. Pay for iphones and cover the data costs. Spend the extra 10 million (a tenth of the cost of a big new LEED building) for the best internet connection. And, while you're at it, set up a shuttle bus. And if someone wants to see if the new google chromebook works for them - just as an experiment - say "yes." This isn't pampering. It is dreamscape infrastructure.

When the time comes to hire someone, embrace the weird. Hire people who don't mind wearing running shoes, or who text while they run, or who gchat through meetings. People who love to be in two places, or three, at once. People who aren't just working on three books at once, but who can actually make progress on each. People who can speak to a handful of fields and not just one. Hire foxes, not hedgehogs. And, above all else, hire people who can work with other people.

And then, finally, don't screw it all up by hanging these people out to dry: change the rules about tenure and promotion to protect interdisciplines, groupwork in the humanities, and digital publishing. Make it possible for new forms of knowledge production to be recognized as equally important and valuable. In the humanities, this means that we need to stop the unthinking worship of the book, and remember that the book is a vehicle for ideas, which get expressed - fully and richly - in many ways.

All of this stuff costs about as much as one lab for one scientist, which sounds pretty efficient to me. And the payoff, which may not come in the form of grant money or retail teaching, is worth every penny. If we want to measure our "best" and our "brightest" universities by their movement of the conversation, by their reorientation of everything we know about anything, then let's steal some good ideas from the Googleplex.

But let's also remember that the Googleplex and Google are different. The former is a structure of innovation, while the latter, just like Wal Mart, exists chiefly to market a product, in this case an eco-system through which an enhancement can be bought and downloaded. So build a Googleplex, but don't be Google. Because the central point here is that while universities can learn some useful things from studying corporate cultures of innovation, they can't ever be businesses. And anyone who says otherwise really, truly, and seriously just wants to kill them off."
highered  google  highereducation  education  business  publicgood  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  schooldesign  organization  2013  academics  technology  crosspollination  lcproject  openstudioproject  hiring  hierarchy  flatness  money  matthewprattguterl 
may 2013 by robertogreco
No priests, no temples – Briarpatch Magazine
"Spiritual practices are often concerned with transcendence, but I like to make a distinction between vertical transcendence and horizontal transcendence. Vertical transcendence is when we’re working so that I can connect with something bigger than myself, which can be self-serving and self-focused. Horizontal transcendence, however, involves a recognition that my devotion to your freedom creates the conditions for my own freedom. It’s about a relational, cultural awakening, rather than a personal awakening."
via:selinjessa  horizontality  horizontalidad  verticality  flatness  transcendence  interdependence  2011  yoga  michaelstone  spirituality  anarchism  anarchy  conviviality  mutualaid 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Horizontalidad - Wikipedia
"Horizontality or horizontalism is a social relationship that advocates the creation, development, and maintenance of social structures for the equitable distribution of management power. These structures and relationships function as a result of dynamic self-management, involving the continuity of participation and exchange between individuals to achieve the larger desired outcomes of the collective whole."

"As a specific term, horizontalidad is attributed to the radical movements that sprouted in December 2001, in Argentina, after the economic crisis. According to Marina Sitrin, it is a new social creation. Different from many social movements of the past, it rejected political programs, opting instead to create directly democratic spaces and new social relationship."

[Via: https://delicious.com/selinjessa/horizontality ]
[See also: https://delicious.com/selinjessa/verticality ]
anarchy  horizontalism  horizontality  horizontalidad  argentina  politics  hierarchy  via:selinjessa  democracy  anarchism  flatness  marinasitrin  2001 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Organizing as If Social Relations Matter « Outside the Circle
"What is noteworthy and compelling about the Cooper Union resistance beyond the already-extraordinary sense of a common good embedded in all its slogans it how, when you take freed-up art students and give them a cause they are personally and collectively passionate about, well: watch out! They will unleash their imaginations, in the same way that a plethora of upward spiraling imaginative interventions marked the Quebec spring and summer. Sure, there are the usual sloppily painted signs, sometimes with misspellings, that characterize any US demonstration. And there are protest moments after protest moments, as in today’s rally, designed to be a spectacle of sorts. Yet there also seem to be twists in the cultural production for this rebellious campaign to keep education free, such as transparent banners asking for transparency from administrators even as they reveal how transparent the student, alumni, allied teachers, and community supporters are being in this contestation. Or an oversize Cooper Union student ID for one of the now-deferred prospective early admissions, with a cutout indicating their potential absence come fall 2013 (happily filled in, for a photo-op moment, by a probable current Cooper Union student).

Such creativity, from what I’ve seen, extends to kitschy and silly cultural production for online and social media — not tired memes, but rather faked, funny photos or a humorously false Cooper Union Web site — to wearable artifacts like buttons and “Stay Free or Die Tryin’” patches — to crafty gadgets– such as during their late-fall occupation, to “fly” pizza up the outside of the building to the occupiers via pulleys, ropes, and balloons — to well-written newspaper, communiques, and press releases, to today’s moving testimonials from deferred early admissions students, read by some of those prospects themselves or read for some of the ones from places around the United States. There’s a way in which the spectacle and end-run maneuvers that the administration keeps trying to make just get out-spectacled and out-run by their dynamism of the art students conjuring up new visual, new visions, new strategies — again only underscoring the “value” of free and freeing education.

Perhaps most important, though, I was reminded today of what good organizing looks like. Or to be more precise, I was reminded of what organizing — versus activism — is all about. There’s aspirations, imagination, and also substance backing up these students’ resistance, and the substance is all about both winning and doing so by forging increasingly widening and deeper circles of social relations, and social relations that appear, from my outsider vantage point, to be far more comradely and nonhierarchical than many among social struggles. That’s not to say that this cold afternoon’s rally was large; it wasn’t, attracting maybe a couple hundred folks at most. But as now-deferred prospective student after student got up to read their varied, often-eloquent remarks, or have them read by a current Cooper Union student or an alumni, for upward of an hour, it became clearer and clearer how much work went into finding, educating, involving, and gaining the support and participation of these frequently far-afield potential students. In fact, one of the statements mentioned how current Cooper Union students, faculty, and alumni had reached out to the current higher schooler applying for early admission to explain the deferral (an administration tactic and, as several prospects noted, a “betrayal”) and draw them into this cause — a cause, as several of the prospective students mentioned, wasn’t about them necessarily getting into Cooper Union but about extending the idea that education should be free and available, sustaining people’s self and social exploration in a life of the mind and arts, and thus bettering our world.

Organizing, good organizing, is to my mind the slow, steady, one-on-one building of relations and interconnections that are at odds with how people are treated under capitalism. Instead of instrumentalizing people for what they can give us or do for us, we look to each other as having worth unto ourselves, and for how we can cement relations of sociability, collaboration, and solidarity — as some of the speakers observed today. Expedient activism falls apart under its own flimsy weight; there’s little there to sustain it, especially when the going inevitably gets rough or disappointing. Here, patient and what appears to be joyful organizing might just have a fighting chance of leaving something in its wake: a win for free education perhaps, or if not, a yardstick of how we can reignite our imaginations and rekindle qualitative social relations."
cooperunion  organizing  activism  freeeducation  education  protest  creativity  2013  resistance  caseygollan  cindymilstein  commongood  egalitarianism  culture  culturalproduction  slow  hierarchy  flatness  slowness  relationships  interconnectivity  interconnectedness  interdependence  capitalism  anarchism  socialrelations  socialjustice  mentorship  leadership  nonhierarchical  horizontality  horizontalidad  interconnected 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Design for the New Normal | superflux
"How do you operate as a design company when your competitor is an open source community of hackers - selling 3d printed objects from virtual environments like Minecraft for a profit?…

How can designers explore the potential of these new challenges?

I dont have all the answers, but I can show a quick glimpse of some strategies that we’ve been exploring to work with these challenges at our design studio Superflux.

For starters, can the design studio be less of hierarchial monolith and more of a decentralized organism that has eyes and ears everywhere that people touch the company? Whether they are employees, partners, customers or suppliers? Through these wider networks of interdisciplinary collaborators we are attempting to cultivate the 'scenius', a term create by Brian Eno to refer not to the genius of a lone individual but that of collective intelligence.

Cultivating such a network has led us to work on a range of projects…"
interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  flatness  decentralization  hierarchy  hierarchies  songhojun  ossi  hackers  hacking  future  drones  reprap  collectiveintelligence  biohacking  3dprinting  opensource  collaboration  scenius  design  brianeno  2012  anajain  superflux  horizontality  horizontalidad  anabjain  thenewnormal 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Brute Force Architecture and its Discontents - etc
"More so than cardboard or other model making materials, blue foam erases the signature of its creator allowing for an easier ‘apples to apples’ comparison. The anonymizing uniformity of the cut surfaces and alien blueness of the foam itself allowed multiple workers to prepare options in parallel without the differences of personal craft becoming an element of distraction during moments of evaluation. The cumulative effect means that a table covered in foam models all produced by different individuals can be assessed for their ideas rather than the quirks of who made them or how they were created. What’s on display are the ideas themselves, without any distracting metadata or decoration. This is the model making equivalent of Edward Tufte’s quest to eliminate chartjunk."
bryanboyer  thermalpaper  smlxl  flatness  hierarchy  computation  computing  alanturing  ideation  oma  mvrdv  rex  big  howwework  thinking  making  bruteforcearchitecture  2012  zahahadid  collaboration  chartjunk  edwardtufte  process  remkoolhaas  architecture  design  horizontality  horizontalidad  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Valve: Handbook for New Employees: A fearless adventure in knowing what to do when no one’s there telling you what to do [.pdf]
"There is no organizational structure keeping you from being in close proximity to the people who you’d help or be helped by most."

"Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on after asking yourself the right questions."

"What’s interesting? What’s rewarding? What leverages my individual strengths the most?"

"…our lack of a traditional structure comes with an important responsibility. It’s up to all of us to spend effort focusing on what we think the long-term goals of the company should be."

"Nobody expects you to devote time to every opportunity that comes your way. Instead, we want you to learn how to choose the most important work to do."

"We should hire people more capable than ourselves, not less."

"We value “T-shaped” people…who are both generalists (…the top of the T) and also experts (…the vertical leg of the T). This recipe is important for success at Valve."
agency  initiaive  motivation  tcsnmy  administration  management  hiring  t-shapedpeople  responsibility  creativity  videogames  projectbasedlearning  pbl  community  leadership  lcproject  flatness  flat  hierarchy  specialists  generalists  work  culutre  valve  specialization  horizontality  horizontalidad  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Twitter, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Dreams of Flatland | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"“Wellman is finding that Twitter isn’t flat,” Vidantam says—as if Tom Friedman’s chimerical “flatness” (the analytic value of which has proven to be nil) is the only possible quality of transformative political agency.

In last year’s revolutions, it wasn’t flatness that gave social media its power. It was its hyperlocality, its novel blending of intimate communities and witness at a distance.

Other work in which Wellman is involved argues for the richness of real-world community life that gets instantiated in Twitter. In a paper called “Imagining Twitter as an Imagined Community,” Wellman & his coauthors find that Twitter networks are “the basis for a real community, even though Twitter was not designed to support the development of online communities. There they conclude that “studying Twitter is useful for understanding how people use new communication technologies to form new social connections and maintain existing ones.”

Here’s the thing: Twitter is part of the “real world.”"
networks  hyperlocal  flatness  connections  place  language  nationality  borders  barrywellman  shankarvidantam  andycarvin  tejucole  communitites  thomasfriedman  worldisflat  2012  matthewbattles  community  twitter  sociology  socialmedia  geography  horizontality  horizontalidad  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Small Places of Anarchy in the City: Three Investigations in Tokyo | This Big City
“Tokyo, a city of parts where the individual defines the large scale shows the elimination of the hierarchical city, quietly dismissing accumulated forms of power in favour of a situation in which everyone is free to realize their possibilities. Tokyo makes it possible for slim segments of the population to generate their own environments in scattered oases of a vast metroscape. What emerges here is the idea of the city of unimposed order, consisting of communal self-determination on one hand and individual freedom on the other. Here authority is practical, rather than absolute or permanent, and based in communication, negotiation.

Small places of anarchy are zones of human-scale action, attachment and care. They can:

1) Replace state control with regards to an aspect of city life.

2) Take away that aspect from the requirement of majority rule.

3) Promote unimposed order as the style working…"
tokyo  japan  chrisberthelsen  cities  anarchism  anarchy  diy  gardening  urbangardening  urbanfarming  flatness  chaos  yoshinobuashihara  order  selfdetermination  authority  maps  mapping  adaptability  unschooling  deschooling  urban  urbanism  glvo  negotiation  communication  environment  place  meaning  meaningmaking  activism  scale  human  humanscale  2011  horizontality  horizontalidad  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
InCUBATE [Quotes from the 'about' page]
"InCUBATE is a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding. We at InCUBATE act as curators, researchers and co-producers of artists projects. These activities have manifested in a series traveling exhibitions called Other Options, an artist residency program, and various other projects such as Sunday Soup (a monthly meal that generates funding for a creative project grant). We don’t have non-profit status, instead we are interested in what kinds of organizational strategies could provide more direct support to critical and socially-engaged art and culture beyond for-profit or non-profit structures. Our core organizational principle is to treat art administration as a creative practice. By doing so, we hope to generate and share a new vocabulary of practical solutions to the everyday problems of producing under-the-radar culture. Currently we do not have a physical location and we work together on an ongoing project basis."

"Finally, it is worth noting how various models such as a labor unions, community centers, block-clubs, or religious institutions seem to resolve some of the key problems facing our concept of the slow build. Consider how these institutions provide space and resources, exert political influence, and allow for the participation of wider demographics. Our task for the future is to produce these effects without instituting a rigid hierarchy or overtly moralizing and dogmatic system in order to affect a more equitable, participatory, and democratic future."
art  economics  social  community  collaboration  anarchism  incubate  randallszott  lcproject  openstudio  curation  curating  hierarchy  flatness  slow  chicago  democracy  culture  culturehacking  activism  administration  engagement  organizations  organization  equity  participatory  residencies  pop-upculture  exhibitions  projects  horizontality  horizontalidad  ncm  participatoryart  everyday  amateurs  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Corner Office - Mark Pincus - Every Worker Should Be C.E.O. of Something - Interview - NYTimes.com [these quotes don't stand well on their own]
"when I play in Sunday-morning soccer games, I can literally spot the people who’d probably be good managers and good people to hire ... if you give people really big jobs to the point that they’re scared, they have way more fun and they improve their game much faster. ... I like to bet on people, especially those who have taken risks and failed in some way, because they have more real-world experience. And they’re humble. I also like to hire people into one position below where they ought to be, because only a certain kind of person will do that — somebody who is pretty humble and somebody who’s very confident. This is another thing I really, really value: being a true meritocracy. The only way people will have the trust to give their all to their job is if they feel like their contribution is recognized and valued. And if they see somebody else higher above them just because of a good résumé, or they see somebody else promoted who they don’t think deserves it, you’re done."
management  leadership  administration  empowerment  professionalism  soccer  football  philosophy  hierarchy  flatness  markpincus  tcsnmy  humility  confidence  cv  jobs  horizontality  horizontalidad  futbol  sports 
february 2010 by robertogreco
wirearchy
"new governing principle (often called network dynamics) is growing in impact. It is based on increasingly horizontal communications and interaction between people, whether friends, colleagues, citizens, customers, constituents, employees or management"
management  administration  pyramid  hierarchy  wirearchy  flatness  knowledge  web  internet  online  society  socialnetworks  socialsoftware  business  collaboration  complexity  creativity  culture  futurism  future  organization  people  power  networks  networking  horizontality  horizontalidad 
june 2007 by robertogreco
edublogs: Reboot9: Power and Control at the Edge(s) of the 21st Century - Hierarchy and Wirearchy
"Prisoners call their prison guards Boss bank employees call their leaders Boss; wirearchy = increasingly horizontal communications and interaction between people...friends, colleagues, citizens...employees or management"
management  administration  pyramid  hierarchy  wirearchy  flatness  knowledge  web  internet  online  society  socialnetworks  socialsoftware  horizontality  horizontalidad 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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