robertogreco + seams   31

On the Wild Edge in Iceland | Center for Humans & Nature
"Picture a country hanging from the Arctic Circle, where at least 80 percent of the people leave room in their minds for the existence of elves, “Huldu-folk” (hidden people), or other netherworldly creatures; where wild means vast stretches of grayness: gray, craggy mountain peaks, gray gravel, and gray ash from yesteryear’s volcanoes."



"As an ecologist, I was painfully aware of the stresses that ecosystems worldwide experience from grazing, climate change, and other human-imposed factors. What I wanted to know was this: Does a forest with a history of higher levels of disturbance have a more difficult time responding to additional stress than a forest with a lesser history of disturbance?

There was one way to find out. I would impose a disturbance on three woodland sites and observe the response. My three sites were strikingly similar birch woodlands, but they had a few important differences in their disturbance histories. My Site 1 (the forest in the valley in eastern Iceland that had me believing in elves) had not seen any serious sheep grazing for about a century. My Site 2, in a valley adjoining Site 1, was remarkably similar in all respects to Site 1, except that it had never been protected from grazing. My Site 3 was farther north—a harsher climate, a shorter growing season—and, like Site 2, it had never been protected from sheep grazing. These sites were on a gradient of stress from the least stress (at Site 1) to the most stress (at Site 3). Knowing how important nitrogen is to plant survival at high altitudes (and latitudes), I would track foliar nitrogen as my clue, using it as my insight into how the woodlands were handling stress.

I didn’t know at the time that some of the ecological models concerning disturbance, ecosystem shifts, resilience (or lack thereof), and crossing of ecological thresholds were based on psychological models of human psychic breaks and breakdowns. But now it makes sense. At what point does the accumulation of disturbances become so profound that a person—or a forest—is no longer able to function?

It is important to note that the prospect of disturbing the woodland sites was not an easy one for me. I was conflicted. I was studying forests because I loved them. Was it ethical to stress my subject and push it closer to the edge, even if my long-term goal was to understand (and even promote) ecosystem resilience? My advisor, Kristiina Vogt, comforted me: the forest disturbance would be minor and temporary. The ecosystems would bounce back.

With that reassurance, I bought a lot of sugar (actually, almost half a metric ton) for my disturbance experiment. While ecologist and forest service colleagues in Iceland questioned whether I was embarking on a homemade liquor and bootlegging project, the truth was that my unusually large sugar purchase had everything to do with nitrogen. A story from one of my fellow doctoral students, Michael Booth, can help me explain how.

Michael used to begin his forest ecology presentations with a picture of a forest upside down. The roots of the trees were featured on top and the leaves down below. His point? Much of what is running the show in a forest is under our feet. In any given handful of dirt, there are millions to billions of bacteria. And these microbes can be the tail that wags the forest dog, especially when it comes to nitrogen. While these bacteria play a key role in making nitrogen available to trees and plants in their preferred form, bacteria also need nitrogen for their own survival. Can you guess what happens to nitrogen in a handful of soil when there is a significant increase in the bacterial population? The answer: The microbes take the bulk of the nitrogen for themselves, leaving less nitrogen available for plants.

I wonder if a happy, healthy forest is one that has just the right number of microbes (whether that number would be in the millions or billions, I have no idea), such that the microbial community gets the nitrogen it needs while giving the trees and other vegetation the nitrogen they need. While notions of “balance” in nature are very out of fashion, to say the least, the concept seems applicable here. Too few or too many microbes would be a problem—from the perspective of the Icelandic woodlands, anyway. At both ends of the spectrum, there would not be enough nitrogen for the plants and trees."



"At the grazed sites, perhaps the warmer soil temperatures allowed for expansion of the birch woodland into higher altitudes. While the warmer soils may have allowed the birch to exist at higher altitudes, the trees at the grazed sites are also at a higher risk for nitrogen competition (from microbes enjoying the warmer soils) and grazing (from the aforementioned sheep). In other words, the birches at grazed tree lines exist higher up on the mountainside, but at the same time, they live closer to their edge. While this may not be the safest route for the birches, it is perhaps worth the risk because the upside is pretty big: the chance at life.

It sounds familiar. Given the choice, I would rather be on the edge of human experience, certainly on the edge of human knowledge, and even tolerate the edge of emotional comfort, if it meant life. And does not history (our own and others’) show that experiences on the edge can offer important insights into both what it means to be human and what it means to be one human in particular? For me, “living on the edge” is part of the daring—and the learning—that is central to the evolution of life.

There are many expressions of Iceland’s wildness, and all these expressions depend on the presence or absence of sheep. Perhaps the most common depiction of the Icelandic wild involves Iceland’s gray moonscapes, with sheep—and not trees. However, these starkly beautiful landscapes have crossed over an ecological threshold beyond which it is very hard to return. These landscapes are wild and wooly, but if you do not know how they came to be as they are, you may not be able to put your finger on the sadness that you might sense in the haunting gray vistas.

One could argue that the lush, protected woodlands are Iceland’s most wild places, despite the fact that they are enclosed by human-made fences. These sheepless woodlands offer wild green memories seemingly borrowed from the time of the Vikings and carried into the present day by their human—and elf—protectors. On the other hand, in some places, Icelanders ask the Icelandic Forest Service not to plant more trees. The chief of the Icelandic Forest Service, Þröstur Eysteinsson, told me that in such cases he hears the complaint that trees will “ruin the view.” “They are optimists,” Eysteinsson retorts, because it is, of course, no small task to restore a whole forest ecosystem anywhere, much less in such a harsh climate.

If I were to show you what I believe to be the wildest places in Iceland, however, I would take you to the forest limit, to a birch woodland populated with a good number of sheep and enough moss to satisfy the average elf. Mind you, this place would not have too many sheep, nor too many soil microbes, for that matter. I would take you to a place where birches breathe life into a landscape shared with sheep and their people, a place where the story told by both the sagas and the landscape itself is a story of life taking a chance—on the edge."
iceland  trees  forests  brookeparryhecht  2018  elves  sheep  fences  humans  anthropocene  edges  seams  ecology 
june 2018 by robertogreco
The Great Africanstein Novel | by Namwali Serpell | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
"The title of Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s magisterial first novel, Kintu—first published in Kenya in 2014, then in the US this year by the Oakland-based press Transit Books—is a Luganda word. Luganda is a Bantu language spoken in Uganda; Bantu is a proto-language that just means people; there are languages derived from it all across the African continent. In Zambia, where I’m from, we spell this word chinthu. In both countries, it is pronounced chin-two and it means “thing.” In ancient Buganda mythology, however, Kintu is also the name of the first man, the equivalent to the Judeo-Christian Adam. The implications of this titular oxymoron—a word that means both “thing” and “man”—begin to unfold in the opening pages of Makumbi’s book.

There’s a knock at the door. A woman opens it to four local officials, who rouse her man, Kamu, from sleep and lead him outside for questioning. He assumes they’re there on behalf of a creditor but when they reach a marketplace, they bind his hands. Kamu protests: “Why are you tying me like a thief?” A mob swirls into being like a weather formation, the word thief flying “from here to there, first as a question then as a fact.” Kicks and blows begin to rain down on him, from both the elderly and the young. Arrivals to the scene ask, “‘Is it a thief?’ because Kamu had ceased to be human.” He tries to hold on to his humanity: “Kamu decided he was dreaming. He was Kamu Kintu, human. It was them, bantu. Humans. He would wake up any minute.” He does not.

The account of Kamu’s abrupt, arbitrary death on Monday, January 5, 2004, and the subsequent fate of his corpse in the bureaucratic torpor of Kampala’s morgue, recurs in short fragments at the start of each of the novel’s five sections, which tell the stories of other members of the scattered Kintu clan. First, we jump back three centuries to its first generation, headed by Kintu Kidda, a ppookino, or governor, of the Buddu province in the eighteenth-century Buganda Kingdom. In a moment of irritation, Kintu slaps his adopted son, a Rwandan, and the boy falls down dead. His men bury the body improperly: “the grave was narrow and shallow. They used a stick to measure Kalema’s length, but while the stick fit into the grave, Kalema did not. They crammed him in.” In their haste, the men do not even realize that they have buried the boy beside a burial shrub for dogs. The tragic repercussions of this desecration—“the curse was specific: mental illness, sudden death, and suicide”—ripple across the centuries through the lives of Kintu’s descendants.

Like Charles Dickens or Gabriel García Márquez, Makumbi ranges widely across time and social strata; her knowledge of Ugandan culture seems as precise as a historian’s. We meet Suubi Kintu, a young woman who grows up in a compound, perpetually on the brink of starvation, but is eventually integrated into a middle-class family. Kanani Kintu and his wife, Faisi, members of an evangelical group, the Awakened, bear a twin son and daughter with an uncomfortably close relationship. Isaac Newton Kintu, the product of rape and named for the last lesson his mother learned in school before she dropped out, gets trapped into marriage; when his wife dies, seemingly of AIDS, he anguishes over whether to learn his own HIV status. Miisi Kintu, a writer raised by colonial priests (the “white fathers”) and educated abroad, returns to a postcolonial Kampala still feeling the aftershocks of dictatorship and the bush war of the early Eighties, which killed some of his children. With its progression through generations and its cyclical returns to genetic inheritance—hay fever, twins, madness—Kintu’s structure feels epic.

Kintu continually diverts us from this straightforward path of a curse and its aftermath, however, as well as from our preconceptions about Africa. The polygamous eighteenth-century governor wants nothing more than to be with the woman he loves; the Awakened couple experience their enviably passionate sex life as a torment; the spiritual leader of a ritual cleansing is so “anglicized” that the assembled family members doubt his efficacy. Social class is defined neither by strict stratification nor by upward mobility, but by extreme volatility—economic fates rise and fall almost at random. Servant girls become educated women, sons of professors come to live in slums.

Makumbi’s depiction of local culture also bears little resemblance to standard notions of African “authenticity.” Her Uganda is an unabashed amalgam of Europe and Africa, in everything from cooking to spiritual possession to mental health to sexual mores. As Makumbi said in an interview:
We are both Europeanized and Ugandan. We speak both traditional languages and English. Someone goes to church, but then will go to the traditional healer. Someone is a scientist but will have an intense spiritual life. We have this saying in Uganda: “God help me, but I’m going to run as well.” We think two ways at once.

In the novel, Miisi conjures an image of African postcolonialism that captures this sensibility. He pictures the black torso of the continent but stripped of its limbs, which have been replaced with European ones. “We cannot go back to the operating table and ask for the African limbs,” he writes. “Africa must learn to walk on European legs and work with European arms. As time goes by, children will be born with evolved bodies.” Makumbi’s portmanteau for this Gothic image enacts the very grafting it describes: Africanstein.

Kintu cannot but be in some sense the story of a people, the Ganda, and a nation, Uganda. But its politics are personal. Idi Amin and the bush wars emerge in conversation, in acts of mourning. The ins and outs of the ancient Buganda Kingdom’s secessions and coups seem incidental to the personal tragedy of Kintu Kidda, his wives, and their children. Makumbi has said that she intentionally skipped the nation’s colonial history: “The almost complete lack of colonization was deliberate…. To me colonization was my grandfather’s quarrel.” So, without the usual lenses of class, culture, and colonialism—without “Queen and Country,” so to speak—how are we to read this “African” novel?"



"Oddly enough, despite all this generalizing and pigeonholing, African writers are rarely thought to speak to the universal—in the philosophical sense rather than the platitudinous one. But if, as Makumbi noted at an event in Brooklyn last June, the origin of the human species is probably East Africa, then why can’t Kampala be the center of a profoundly universal inquiry? As its two-faced title—man/thing—suggests, Kintu does in fact have a grand philosophical question in mind. The novel forces us to reckon over and again with what it means to be kintu, to be man, or human. This question plays out across certain boundaries: between men and women, between twins, between life and death, between “mankind” and “animalkind,” between good and evil, between human and supernatural worlds, between foreigners and family, and, of course, between humans and objects."



"Miisi completely loses his grip on reality and starts wearing a Western-style waistcoat and coat over his kanzu. In his dishevelment, he comes to resemble his ancestor with that strange thing/person name, Kintu. Miisi becomes a man “floating in two worlds.” Which two worlds? Boyhood and manhood, past and present, muntu and muzungu, Europe and Africa? “I know who I am,” Miisi tells his daughter, “We are not even Hamites. We are Bantu.” But she thinks, “He is now a different person.” In the end, he is riven by his divisions, “in the middle world between sanity and insanity.”

To survive being human, Kintu suggests, is to hold all these divisions together, gently, to “just be.” This argument about personhood is radical because it rejects a long philosophical tradition of considering “humanity” as a matter of self-containment and integrity, of what the human excludes. It is also radical because Makumbi centers this argument in Uganda. But what better place, with its arbitrarily sketched borders, its pliable myths and cultures, its originary status—cradle of the first human/thing—to stage an interrogation of personhood? As Makumbi has remarked in passing about living as an immigrant in the UK: “Out here you are Ugandan. At home you are just human.”"
jennifernansubugamakumbi  namwaliserpell  books  literature  kintu  kampala  ugnda  africaisnotacountry  2017  toread  universal  universalism  humans  humanism  objects  betweenness  seams  gender  supernatural  middleground  gray  grey  humanity  personhood  integrity  self-containment  borders  identity  myth  culture  sexuality  history  colonialism  postcolonialism  human  colonization  europe  decolonization  frankenstein  africanstein  africa  africans  twins  multispecies  morethanhuman  life  living  philosophy  divisions  interstitial  liminality  liminalspaces  liminalstates  between 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Dark Mountain: Issue 11 | The Dark Mountain Project
"But the lines separating these things remained – and remain – illusory. Such borders, powerful though they seem, are only one way of seeing the world; like so many human inventions, they are better understood not as facts, but stories."



"Once we break free from straight-line thinking, the truth is much more messy.

That messiness is, in part, what this book tries to articulate. Dark Mountain: Issue 11 takes as its premise the notion of endings – cultural, social, ecological, political, existential – but recognises that things seldom end, or begin, in well-mannered ways."
darkmountain  liminality  liminalspaces  seams  scars  edges  borders  2017  messiness  truth  linearity  endings  culture  society  ecology  politics 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Illuminating the Beauty in Our Broken Places | On Being
"I have a favorite coffee mug that I use every morning for making my own cup of coffee. The ritual pleases me. My own coffee, ground and brewed fresh. The aroma of the coffee that fills my home. My fingers wrapped around the cup. Soft music playing. It’s a lovely way to start my morning.

Recently my beloved cup got a chip in it. I don’t remember where the chip came from, but I look at it each time I go to drink from the cup. Thinking about the chipped cup makes me think a lot about cracks. Cracked spaces. Cracked hearts.

I have been writing, for a while, about the theology of cracked spaces, about failing and failing better. It’s a realization that life is not a smooth, linear climb to the mountaintop of “success,” but often a messy, beautifully messy series of falling flat on one’s face, bouncing back, and falling slightly less awkwardly the next time. (And the next, and the next.)

So thinking about cracking and breaking and chipping (and healing) has been with me for a while. But until recently I had not thought about how there is a beauty that can emerge from the cracked spaces. That there is a way to illuminate cracked cups, spaces, hearts.

Turns out that the Japanese have been doing so for the last 400 to 500 years. It’s called kintsukuroi.

It’s a Japanese art form. Cups, chalices, mugs, dishes that are cracked are repaired with gold or silver lacquer. Kintsukuroi is also referred to as kintsugi, meaning “golden repair.”

There is an interview with a 27-year-old Kintsugi master, who explains how this works:
“It’s very important that we understand the spiritual backgrounds or the history behind… the material.”

This is interwoven with the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which means “to find beauty in broken things or old things.”

I wonder what it would be like to live knowing that our own hearts are like these cracked, illuminated, and healed dishes. Oh, it is so sweet and innocent to love a heart that has never been broken.

There is a simplicity, a childlike naïveté to that kind of love. And there is a love, a mature love, a whole love, a healed love, to loving someone who has been broken and healed, made whole again, and where the cracks are golden.

We see what was once broken and is now healed. Sometimes they are stronger, more beautiful, more whole for the cracks showing up.

Desmond Tutu was right. We are all wounded healers. Cracked open, healed, and healing wounded healers.

We value success, wholeness. Unlike this Japanese art form, we don’t yet have a way of looking for what was once broken and has been healed and illuminated. How lovely would it be to find that a cracked and illuminated cup can be even more beautiful than a whole cup. How wise to realize that the broken hearts, illuminated and made whole, can be even lovelier.

Give me someone who knows their own vulnerability and sees mine.
Give me someone whose cracked spaces are golden.
Give me someone who has helped do kintsugi to my cracked spaces.
Give me someone who is open to me doing kintsugi to their cracked heart.

So friends, wabi-sabi me.
Let me wabi-sabi you.

Let’s repair each other.
Let’s seek what’s cracked in each other.
Let’s heal our broken spaces.
Let’s fill what’s broken with gold.

May we emerge more beautiful, more whole, and luminous.

So, my love, come and see the beauty in my cracked spaces.
I see the beauty in yours.

You are not a heart that I will discard.
Do not discard me.
We can emerge from this healing golden, more beautiful.

May all that is cracked and broken be healed
be illuminated."
kintsugi  repair  2017  omidsafi  clacks  seams  scars  fisixing  maintenance  healing  care  caregiving  caretaking 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces on Vimeo
"Perhaps we might take a cue from Latin Americans, who are organising alternative visions around the indigenous concept of buen vivir, or good living. The west has its own tradition of reflection on the good life and it’s time we revive it. Robert and Edward Skidelsky take us down this road in his book How Much is Enough? where they lay out the possibility of interventions such as banning advertising, a shorter working week and a basic income, all of which would improve our lives while reducing consumption."

[via: https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-illuminating-the-beauty-in-our-broken-places/ ]
kintsugi  repair  seams  scars  fixing  wabi-sabi  japan  japanese  words  beauty 
april 2017 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Ghost Streets of Los Angeles
"In a short story called "Reports of Certain Events in London" by China Miéville—a text often cited here on BLDGBLOG—we read about a spectral network of streets that appear and disappear around London like the static of a radio tuned between stations, old roadways that are neither here nor there, flickering on and off in the dead hours of the night.

For reasons mostly related to a bank heist described in my book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, I found myself looking at a lot of aerial shots of Los Angeles—specifically the area between West Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard—when I noticed this weird diagonal line cutting through the neighborhood.

[image]

It is not a street—although it obviously started off as a street. In fact, parts of it today are still called Marshfield Way.

At times, however, it's just an alleyway behind other buildings, or even just a narrow parking lot tucked in at the edge of someone else's property line.

[image]

Other times, it actually takes on solidity and mass in the form of oddly skewed, diagonal slashes of houses.

The buildings that fill it look more like scar tissue, bubbling up to cover a void left behind by something else's absence.

[image]

First of all, I love the idea that the buildings seen here take their form from a lost street—that an old throughway since scrubbed from the surface of Los Angeles has reappeared in the form of contemporary architectural space.

That is, someone's living room is actually shaped the way it is not because of something peculiar to architectural history, but because of a ghost street, or the wall of perhaps your very own bedroom takes its angle from a right of way that, for whatever reason, long ago disappeared.

[image]

If you follow this thing from roughly the intersection of Hollywood & La Brea to the strangely cleaved back of an apartment building on Ogden Drive—the void left by this lost street, incredibly, now takes the form of a private swimming pool—these buildings seem to plow through the neighborhood like train cars.

Which could also be quite appropriate, as this superficial wound on the skin of the city is most likely a former streetcar route.

But who knows: my own research went no deeper than an abandoned Google search, and I was actually more curious what other people thought this might be or what they've experienced here, assuming at least someone in the world reading this post someday might live or work in one of these buildings.

[image]

And perhaps this is just the exact same point, repeated, but the notion that every city has these deeper wounds and removals that nonetheless never disappear is just incredible to me. You cut something out—and it becomes a building a generation later. You remove an entire street—and it becomes someone's living room.

I remember first learning that one of the auditoriums at the Barbican Art Centre in London is shaped the way it is because it was built inside a former WWII bomb crater, and simply reeling at the notion that all of these negative spaces left scattered and invisible around the city could take on architectural form.

Like ghosts appearing out of nowhere—or like China Miéville's fluttering half-streets, conjured out of the urban injuries we all live within and too easily mistake for property lines and real estate, amidst architectural incisions that someday become swimming pools and parking lots.

*Update* Some further "ghost streets" have popped up in the comments here, and the images are worth posting.

[image]

The one seen above, for example, is "another ghost diagonal that begins on 8th St. at Hobart, and ends at Pico and Rimpau," an anonymous commenter explains.

Another example, seen below—

[image]

—is "a block in the Pico-Robertson area," a commenter writes:
I lived there as a teenager, but never noticed the two diagonals until I looked at it with google maps. There are some lots on the west side of the next two blocks north which also have diagonals. And if you continue north across Pico Blvd, you can see diagonal property lines around St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School and the church.

Thanks for all the tips, and by all means keep them coming, if you are aware of other sites like this, whether in Los Angeles or further afield; and be sure to read through the comments for more.

*Second Update* The examples keep coming. A commenter named Lance Morris explains that he did an MFA project "about this very thing, but in Long Beach. There's a long diagonal scar running from Long Beach Blvd and Willow all the way down to Belmont Shore. I tried walking as closely to the line as I could and GPS tracked the results. There are even 2 areas where you can still see tracks!"

This inspired me to look around the area a little bit on Google Maps, which led to another place nearby, as seen below.

[image]

Again, seeing how these local building forms have been generated by the outlines of a missing street or streetcar line is pretty astonishing.

Further, the tiniest indicators of these lost throughways remain visible from above, usually in the form of triangular building cuts or geometrically odd storage yards and parking lots. Because they all align—like some strange industrial ley line—you can deduce that an older piece of transportation infrastructure is now missing.

[image]

Indeed, if you zoom out from there in the map, you'll see that the subtle diagonal line cutting across the above image (from the lower left to the upper right) is, in fact, an old rail right of way that leads from the shore further inland.

To give a sense of how incredibly subtle some of these signs can be, the diagonal fence seen in the below screen grab—

[image]

—is actually shaped that way not because of some quirk of the local storage lot manager, but because it follows this lost right of way."
losangeles  urban  architecture  cities  chinamieville  streets  seams  scars  landscape  2015  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Victor Hwang at Austin Community College, December 11, 2014 : The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever : NPR
"When you go fishing, the best places to drop your line are at the transition points, where light meets dark, shallow meets deep, fast meets slow. The same is true for human life." —Victor Hwang, Austin Community College, December 11, 2014
seams  scars  2014  liminality  borders  edges  transitions  crosspollination  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  victorhwang  liminalspaces  littoralzone 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Blog - by Allen Tan - An accent marks the lag between two cultures, two...
"An accent marks the lag between two cultures, two languages, the space where you let go of one identity, invent another, and end up being more than one person though never quite two." —André Aciman in Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language, and Loss
andréaciman  language  accents  identity  languages  speech  exile  connection  betweenness  migration  immigration  belonging  culture  seams  interstitial  thirdculture  liminality  liminalspaces  liminalstates  between 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Matt Jones: Jumping to the End -- Practical Design Fiction on Vimeo
[Matt says (http://magicalnihilism.com/2015/03/06/my-ixd15-conference-talk-jumping-to-the-end/ ):

"This talk summarizes a lot of the approaches that we used in the studio at BERG, and some of those that have carried on in my work with the gang at Google Creative Lab in NYC.

Unfortunately, I can’t show a lot of that work in public, so many of the examples are from BERG days…

Many thanks to Catherine Nygaard and Ben Fullerton for inviting me (and especially to Catherine for putting up with me clowning around behind here while she was introducing me…)"]

[At ~35:00:
“[(Copy)Writers] are the fastest designers in the world. They are amazing… They are just amazing at that kind of boiling down of incredibly abstract concepts into tiny packages of cognition, language. Working with writers has been my favorite thing of the last two years.”
mattjones  berg  berglondon  google  googlecreativelab  interactiondesign  scifi  sciencefiction  designfiction  futurism  speculativefiction  julianbleecker  howwework  1970s  comics  marvel  marvelcomics  2001aspaceodyssey  fiction  speculation  technology  history  umbertoeco  design  wernerherzog  dansaffer  storytelling  stories  microinteractions  signaturemoments  worldbuilding  stanleykubrick  details  grain  grammars  computervision  ai  artificialintelligence  ui  personofinterest  culture  popculture  surveillance  networks  productdesign  canon  communication  johnthackara  macroscopes  howethink  thinking  context  patternsensing  systemsthinking  systems  mattrolandson  objects  buckminsterfuller  normanfoster  brianarthur  advertising  experiencedesign  ux  copywriting  writing  film  filmmaking  prototyping  posters  video  howwewrite  cognition  language  ara  openstudioproject  transdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  sketching  time  change  seams  seamlessness 
march 2015 by robertogreco
On seams and edges - dreams of aggregation, access and discovery in a broken world | ALIA
"Visions of technological utopia often portray an increasingly 'seamless' world, where technology integrates experience across space and time. Edges are blurred as we move easily between devices and contexts, between the digital and the physical.

But Mark Weiser, one of the pioneers of ubiquitous computing, questioned the idea of seamlessness, arguing instead for 'beautiful seams' -- exposed edges that encouraged questions and the exploration of connections and meanings.

With discovery services and software vendors still promoting 'seamless discovery' as one of their major selling points, it seems the value of seams and edges requires further discussion. As we imagine the future of a service such as Trove, how do we balance the benefits of consistency, coordination and centralisation against the reality of a fragmented, unequal, and fundamentally broken world.

This paper will examine the rhetoric of 'seamlessness' in the world of discovery services, focusing in particular on the possibilities and problems facing Trove. By analysing both the literature around discovery, and the data about user behaviours currently available through Trove, I intend to expose the edges of meaning-making and explore the role of technology in both inhibiting and enriching experience.

How does our dream of comprehensiveness mask the biases in our collections? How do new tools for visualisation reinforce the invisibility of the missing and excluded? How do the assumptions of 'access' direct attention away from practical barriers to participation?

How does the very idea of systems and services, of complex and powerful 'machines' ready to do our bidding, discourage us from seeing the many, fragile acts of collaboration, connection, interpretation, and repair that hold these systems together?

Trove is an aggregator and a community. A collection of metadata and a platform for engagement. But as we imagine its future, how do avoid the rhetoric of technological power, and expose its seams and edges to scrutiny."
seams  edges  interactiondesign  collections  archives  mrkweiser  timsherratt  seamlessness  connections  meanings  meaningmaking  discovery  trove  fragmentation  centralization  technology  systemsthinking  collaboration  interpretation  repair  repairing 
march 2015 by robertogreco
reform toxicity bhopal india
“The scar is a deeper level of reconstruction that fuses the new and the old, reconciling, coalescing them, without compromising either one in the name of some contextual form of unity. The scar is a mark of pride and of honor, both for what has been lost and what has been gained. It cannot be erased, except by the most cosmetic means. It cannot be elevated beyond what it is, a mutant tissue, the precursor of unpredictable regenerations. To accept the scar is to accept existence. Healing is not an illusory, cosmetic process, but something that—by articulating differences—both deeply divides and joins together.”
—Lebbeus Woods, Radical Reconstruction
seams  scars  lebbeuswoods  reconstruction  regeneration  differences 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Cracks in the Buddha | Body Happy
"One day, a group of monks was attempting to fix one of the many cracks that had emerged in the well worn statue, and they noticed that light was emerging from the crack. As they continued to explore, they found light shining from other cracks and chips in the earthen Buddha. Eventually they discovered that the Buddha statue was actually made of solid gold, one of the largest golden Buddhas in the world, and that it had been covered in clay to protect it through the wear and tear of the years and through ages of war and invasions.

Tara told this story as a demonstration of how it is with all of us. That our golden being, our essence, is often covered in layers of protection. Layers of forgetting. Just like the shell of the Buddha kept it safe through all those years, our shells got us through 7th grade, protected us in difficult relationships, helped us navigate through the confusion and pain of this world. Yet it is so easy to mistake the shell for who we are, and have total amnesia of what is underneath.

Leonard Cohen has that great line, “There is a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in.”

You could also say, as in the case of the Buddha statue, the cracks are where the light shines out. The cracks that we work our asses off to fix, to hide, hold it all together, are often the invitations to remember who we really are."
buddhism  cracks  seams  scars  leonardcohen  shells 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Kintsugi - Wikipedia
"Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum a method similar to the maki-e technique.[1][2][3] As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."
art  design  japanese  japan  words  seams  scars  repair  kintsugi  repairing 
june 2014 by robertogreco
What I’m working on lately: Practices of the minimum viable utopia (long) | Speedbird
"In the fusion of each of these three archetypal processes, el Campo de Cebada, Godsbanen and Unto This Last, we can see the outlines of something truly radical and terribly exciting beginning to resolve. What can be made out, gleaming in the darkness, is a — partial, incomplete, necessarily insufficient, but hugely important — way of responding to the disappearance of meaningful jobs from our cities, as well as all the baleful second-order effects that attend that disappearance.

When apologists for the technology industry trumpet the decontextualized factoid that each “tech” job ostensibly creates five new service positions as a secondary effect, what they neglect to mention is that the lion’s share of those jobs will as a matter of course prove to be the kind of insecure, short-term, benefits-lacking, at-or-close-to-minimum-wage positions that typify the contemporary service sector. This sort of employment can’t come anywhere close to the (typically unionized) industrial-sector jobs of the twentieth century in their capacity to bind a community together, either in the income and benefits they produce by way of compensation, in the conception of self and competence they generate in those who hold them, or in the sense of solidarity with others similarly situated that they generally evoke.

At the same time, though, like many others, I too believe it would be foolish to artifically inflate employment by propping up declining smokestack industries with public-sector subsidies. Why, for example, continue to maintain Detroit’s automobile manufacturers on taxpayer-funded life support, when their approach to the world is so deeply retrograde, their product so very corrosive environmentally and socially, their behavior so irresponsible and their management so blitheringly, hamfistedly incompetent? That which is falling should also be pushed, surely. But that can’t ethically be done until something of comparable scale has been found to replace industrial manufacturing jobs as the generator of local economic vitality and the nexus of local community.

So where might meaningful, valued, value-generating employment be found — “employment” in the deepest sense of that word? I have two ways of answering that question:

- In the immediate term, I believe in the material and economic significance of digital fabrication technologies largely using free and open-source plans, deployed in small, clean, city-center workshops, under democratic community control. While these will never remotely be of a scale to replace all the vanished industrial jobs of the past, they offer us at least one favorable prospect those industrial jobs never could: the direct production of items immediately useful and valuable in one’s own life. Should such workshops be organized in such a way as to offer skills training (perhaps for laid-off service-sector workers, elders or at-risk youth), they present a genuinely potent economic and social proposition.

There are provisos. The Surly Urbanist correctly suggests that any positions created in such an endeavor need to be good jobs, i.e. not simply minimum-wage dronework, and my friend Rena Tom also notes that the skills training involved should be something more comprehensive than a simple set of instructions on how to run a CNC milling machine — that any such course of instruction would be most enduringly valuable if it amounted to an apprenticeship first in the manual and only later the numeric working of materials. I also want to be very clear that, per the kind of inclusive decision-making processes used at el Campo de Cebada, such a workshop would have to be something a community itself collectively thinks is worth experimenting with and investing in, not something inflicted upon it by guileless technoutopians from afar.

- In the fullness of time, I believe that the use of relatively high-technology techniques to accomplish not merely the local, autonomous production of everyday objects, furnitures and infrastructures, but their refit and repair, will come to be an economically salient activity in the global North. In this I see a congelation of several existing tendencies, logics or dynamics: the ideologically-driven retreat of the State from responsibility for stewardship of the everyday environment; the accelerating attrition and degradation of the West’s dated and undermaintained infrastructures, and their concomitant need for upgrade or replacement; increasing belief in the desirability of densifying urban infill; the rising awareness in the developed world of jugaad, gambiarra and other cultures of repair, reuse and improvisation; the emergence of fabricator-enabled adaptive upcycling; the circulation of a massive stock of recyclable componentry (in the form of obsolescent structures as well as landfill-bound but effectively nondegradable consumer items), coupled to the emergence of a favorable economics of materials recovery; broader experience with and understanding of networked, horizontal and leaderless organizational structures; the creation of a robust informational commons, including repositories of freely-downloadable specifications; and finally the clear capability of online platforms to facilitate development and sharing of the necessary knowledge, maintain some degree of standardization (or at least harmonization) of practice, suggest sites where citizen repair might constitute a useful intervention, and support processes of democratic decision-making."
utopia  2014  adamgreenfield  openstudioproject  pocketsofresistance  resistance  institutforx  godbanen  aarhus  madrid  spain  españa  elcampodecebada  untothislast  london  making  makerculture  economics  production  fabrication  democracy  labor  upcycling  collectivism  collaboration  repair  furniture  agency  denmark  davidharvey  postcapitalism  sharingeconomy  sharing  libraries  lcproject  community  communities  cooperatives  anilbawa-cavia  renatom  airbnb  couchsurfing  kintsugi  seams  minimumviableutopia  douglasmeehan  idealism  practicalism  jeremyrifkin  self-reliance  murraybookchin  jugaad  fabbing  gambiarra  fixing  maintenance  cv  repairing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Designing in the Borderlands by Frank Chimero
"We spend a lot of time making arguments over how to choose sides on these splits. But after a lot of reflection, I’ve decided that I’m not particularly interested in choosing sides.

I want to be the line, and I want to mess with that line, because that line is a total fabrication. Why fall on the side of print or digital if what’s usually needed is both? Isn’t that a more interesting design problem? Why make books with only text or images if they get better with both? The questions go on and on.

Luckily, these distinctions were drawn by us, which means that we can redraw them. We can move the line, toe it, and breach it with a transgressive practice that tries to turn opposition into symbiosis. But you can only cross the line and confuse the distinction if you commit to the middle space.

These borderlands are the best place for a designer like me, and maybe like you, because the borderlands are where things connect. If you’re in the borderlands, your different tongues, your scattered thoughts, your lack of identification with a group, and all the things that used to be thought of as drawbacks in a specialist enclave become the hardened armor of a shrewd generalist in the borderlands."



"I learned a lot through the design process of The Shape of Design. First, that there are opportunities to produce projects that elegantly incorporate multiple mediums. One only needs to look for them. And second, that these design problems become easier to handle if one considers the system as a whole, instead of attempting to chop it up into separate pieces and attack it as smaller bits. Division reduces them in the same way that Massage, Electric Information Age Book, or The Shape of Design would be made small if the individual parts were isolated. The individual bits would be have differently, and the designer would miss the most important thing: these projects are important and big because they are multiple, and to temporarily make them not so is to misunderstand and misconstruct them. For these sorts of projects, my mantra has become:

Everything all at once.
Everything all together.



I had two goals today.

First, I wanted to articulate the biggest opportunity I see in design today: designer as translator, designer as integrator, designer as a merchant of ideas. We’ve built up so much knowledge that is tucked away in books and websites, and often all that’s needed to get that knowledge the attention it deserves is a gentle massage of tone and a switch of format. We can introduce physical materials to the web to reap the benefits of the network, but we can also translate the web’s content to the physical realm to stabilize it so it can be held and appreciated.

The second goal was to cast an additional mold for a designer, and to provide an explanation about why a person would want to go make weird little books and sit and write essays instead of working at an ad agency or startup for six figures. It’s worth documenting the different ways one can go about pursuing a design practice. There are many stories and paths, and I hope all of this is a reminder that the lines we draw to create the contours of our expectations can be disrupted. And that this disruption can, somehow, be soothing to those of us who identify as something different than the standard.

I’d like to finish by revisiting that Calvino quote:
Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification.

I hope you get the opportunity to do this at some point in your career, and that my conclusions will help those of you who identify as generalists. If you do not, perhaps I have convinced you that our conception of work is more flexible than we typically believe. The field is wide open; that is why it’s called a field."
generalists  frankchimero  creativity  design  borders  seams  interstitial  cv  trickster  departmentalization  interdisciplinary  dualism  transdisciplinary  print  digital  books  ebooks  bookfuturism  marshallmcluhan  quentinfiore  buckminsterfuller  multimedia  jeffreyschnapp  adammichaels  allsorts  italocalvino  translation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Svetlana Boym | Off-Modern Manifesto
"1. A Margin of Error

“It's not my fault. Communication error has occurred,” my computer pleads with me in a voice of lady Victoria. First it excuses itself, then urges me to pay attention, to check my connections, to follow the instructions carefully. I don't. I pull the paper out of the printer prematurely, shattering the image, leaving its out takes, stripes of transience, inkblots and traces of my hands on the professional glossy surface. Once the disoriented computer spat out a warning across the image “Do Not Copy,” an involuntary water mark that emerged from the depth of its disturbed memory. The communication error makes each print unrepeatable and unpredictable. I collect the computer errors. An error has an aura.

To err is human, says a Roman proverb. In the advanced technological lingo the space of humanity itself is relegated to the margin of error. Technology, we are told, is wholly trustworthy, were it not for the human factor. We seem to have gone full circle: to be human means to err. Yet, this margin of error is our margin of freedom. It's a choice beyond the multiple choices programmed for us, an interaction excluded from computerized interactivity. The error is a chance encounter between us and the machines in which we surprise each other. The art of computer erring is neither high tech nor low tech. Rather it’s broken-tech. It cheats both on technological progress and on technological obsolescence. And any amateur artist can afford it. Art's new technology is a broken technology.

Or shall we call it dysfunctional, erratic, nostalgic? Nostalgia is a longing for home that no longer exists or most likely, has never existed. That non-existent home is akin to an ideal communal apartment where art and technology co-habited like friendly neighbours or cousins. Techne, after all, once referred to arts, crafts and techniques. Both art and technology were imagined as the forms of human prosthesis, the missing limbs, imaginary or physical extensions of the human space."



2. Short Shadows, Endless Surfaces



Broken-tech art is an art of short shadows. It turns our attention to the surfaces, rims and thresholds. From my ten years of travels I have accumulated hundreds of photographs of windows, doors, facades, back yards, fences, arches and sunsets in different cities all stored in plastic bags under my desk. I re-photograph the old snapshots with my digital camera and the sun of the other time and the other place cast new shadows upon their once glossy surfaces with stains of the lemon tea and fingerprints of indifferent friends. I try not to use the preprogrammed special effects of Photoshop; not because I believe in authenticity of craftsmanship, but because I equally distrust the conspiratorial belief in the universal simulation. I wish to learn from my own mistakes, let myself err. I carry the pictures into new physical environments, inhabit them again, occasionally deviating from the rules of light exposure and focus.

At the same time I look for the ready-mades in the outside world, “natural” collages and ambiguous double exposures. My most misleading images are often “straight photographs.” Nobody takes them for what they are, for we are burdened with an afterimage of suspicion.

Until recently we preserved a naive faith in photographic witnessing. We trusted the pictures to capture what Roland Barthes called “the being there” of things. For better or for worse, we no longer do. Now images appear to us as always already altered, a few pixels missing here and there, erased by some conspiratorial invisible hand. Moreover, we no longer analyse these mystifying images but resign to their pampering hypnosis. Broken- tech art reveals the degrees of our self-pixelization, lays bare hypnotic effects of our cynical reason.




3. Errands, Transits.



4. A Critic, an Amateur

If in the 1980s artists dreamed of becoming their own curators and borrowed from the theorists, now the theorists dream of becoming artists. Disappointed with their own disciplinary specialization, they immigrate into each other's territory. The lateral move again. Neither backwards nor forwards, but sideways. Amateur's out takes are no longer excluded but placed side-by-side with the non-out takes. I don't know what to call them anymore, for there is little agreement these days on what these non-out takes are.

But the amateur's errands continue. An amateur, as Barthes understood it, is the one who constantly unlearns and loves, not possessively, but tenderly, inconstantly, desperately. Grateful for every transient epiphany, an amateur is not greedy."
philosophy  technology  svetlanaboym  via:ablerism  off-modern  canon  nostalgia  human  humanism  amateurs  unlearning  love  loving  greed  selflessness  homesickness  broken  broken-tech  art  beausage  belatedness  newness  leisurearts  walterbenjamin  errors  fallibility  erring  henribergson  billgates  prosthetics  artists  imagination  domestication  play  jaques-henrilartigue  photography  film  fiction  shadows  shortshadows  nearness  distance  balance  thresholds  rims  seams  readymade  rolandbarthes  cynicism  modernity  internationalstyle  evreyday  transience  ephemeral  ephemerality  artleisure 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Anguish beyond whirrs | Wrong Dreams
"Written in response to an essay on the New Sincerity, this offhand comment on poetry blog htmlgiant seems to express a fundamental anxiety around what we consider to be authentic, sincere and true in a world where automated programmes are increasingly responsible for both writing and distributing text. This tweet captures a similar sentiment, one that resonates across online space:

[embedded image]

that mistakes are more human, less bot and conversely, that well-written, grammatically correct statements are more contrived and mediated, because they point to the intrusion of automated technology.

Put another way- only a human decides to leave something uncorrected. Word helpfully underlines your mistakes, Skype makes its own adjustments as you type and the iPhone’s hilariously potty-mouthed corrections are regularly shared on Damn You Auto Correct (presumably it picks up words like fuckweasel, butthole and jizz off its owners?)

Keeping the mistakes becomes, therefore, a gesture of asserting human agency, making visible an active choice on the part of a human author in defiance of the ‘correct’ version a bot is programmed to deliver. Or, in its imperfection a ‘badly spelled sext’ (or other message) conveys an urgency, immediacy and therefore sincerity; scribbled in a hurry and sent off before second thoughts/ regret sets in, it becomes a display of vulnerability, fallibility and ultimately humanity.

Badly spelt and punctuated writing also quietly rebels against the slick, well-considered and crafted copy employed by corporate entities, in their slogans, email bulletins and adverts. It communicates a willingness to relinquish image-management and show your ‘real’ self, letting your image slip in a way that no brand would- unless of course it was calculated to come across as more ‘authentic’ (coming to a billboard near you, Coke/ Nike/ Converse ads with crap spelling…just you wait).

What it amounts to is a suspicion that if it’s well written, some non-human agent was involved, which points to the either corporate or technological mediation.

Sincerity effects

As an artistic strategy, keeping the mistakes in has a similar ‘sincerity effect’, suggesting an intimacy and vulnerability that Tracey Emin and to a lesser, funnier extent Laure Provost and doubtless many others have (intentionally or not) made use of. AD Jameson argues (again on htmlgiant) that in Steve Roggenbuck’s work, “persistent typos signal that the work has been written quickly, spontaneously, and is therefore less revised” and “more earnest.” He shows how contemporary poets- many, like Steve Roeggenbuck and Tao Lin, associated with the New Sincerity- are experimenting with ways of writing that can “create the illusion of transparency, of direct communication”, pointing out the irony that they use devices, or methods- which are a kind of artifice- in order to seemingly go beyond artifice and set up a ‘direct’, unmediated connection between poet and reader.

Devices include emulating the meandering flow of a G-chat through broken, stilted conversation, time elisions and slack, no-caps grammar; or channeling the ‘20 open tabs’ mentality of online drift by absent-mindedly switching between ‘deep’ shit (life/ death/ whatever) and inconsequential observations about the colour of the sky:

[poem]

Another tactic is oscillating between different levels of intimacy, which reflects the juggling of simultaneous conversations with mothers, employers and lovers all on the same device; as Senthorun Raj points out in an piece about Grindr, users must calibrate their tone depending on whether they’re texting Mr Right or Mr Right Now, which requires demanding emotional labour."
writing  bots  ericscourti  human  humans  sincerity  vulnerability  2013  flaws  seams  spelling  social  newsincerity  grammar  errors  mistakes  autocorrect  fallibility  humanity  punctuation  mediation  authenticity  squishynotslick  copywriting 
august 2013 by robertogreco
The Garden | Contents Magazine
"Tagore’s influence scattered into the world, beloved but uncollected, like the impromptu stanzas that he wrote on admirers’ paper scraps while touring. He is in politics and activism, hidden behind the image of his friend Mohandas Gandhi, whom he held back from many ill-advised projects. He is in education via Montessori, and in economics via Sen and the Grameen Bank. He is especially in literature: via Anna Akhmatova, Bertolt Brecht, T. S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Victoria Ocampo—a reader could live many happy years on books by his admirers. Kawabata, who wrote The Master of Go, was a particular fan."



"The archives are best just before sleep, as memory and imagination take sway. Every archive has an intended logic, a day logic, with well-defined topics, alphabetical orderings, hierarchical taxonomies, or cross-referenced indexes. At night we see less of what is intended and more of what is there. "



"Archives cut up the understandings we make of things as we live them. As fragments, distant pieces of the world can find each other. When we visit the archives, we are visited by what arises among the fragments: by memories with their own power, by coincidences, by hidden patterns and new understandings. As we step out of the archives into everyday life, and back and forth, like we cycle between dreaming and waking, we stitch our own seams."
charlieloyd  dreams  archives  writing  memory  memories  seams  2013  contentsmagazine  rabindranathtagore  tagore  darkmatter  taxonomy  night  understanding  everyday  everydaylife  fragments  assemblage  bricolage  patterns  patternsensing  patternrecognition  dreaming  sleep  monetssori  mariamontessori  grameenbank  victoriaocampo  tseliot  bertoldbrecht  annaakhmatova  pabloneruda  gandhi 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Machines of Laughter and Forgetting - NYTimes.com
"The hidden truth about many attempts to “bury” technology is that they embody an amoral and unsustainable vision. Pick any electrical appliance in your kitchen. The odds are that you have no idea how much electricity it consumes, let alone how it compares to other appliances and households. This ignorance is neither natural nor inevitable; it stems from a conscious decision by the designer of that kitchen appliance to free up your “cognitive resources” so that you can unleash your inner Oscar Wilde on “contemplating” other things. Multiply such ignorance by a few billion, and global warming no longer looks like a mystery."

"Imagine being told that “you visited 592 Web sites this week. That’s .5 times the number of Web pages on the whole Internet in 1994!”

The goal here is not to hit us with a piece of statistics — sheer numbers rarely lead to complex narratives — but to tell a story that can get us thinking about things we’d rather not be thinking about. So let us not give in to technophobia just yet: we should not go back to doing everything by hand just because it can lead to more thinking.

Rather, we must distribute the thinking process equally. Instead of having the designer think through all the moral and political implications of technology use before it reaches users — an impossible task — we must find a way to get users to do some of that thinking themselves."

"While devices-as-problem-solvers seek to avoid friction, devices-as-troublemakers seek to create an “aesthetic of friction” that engages users in new ways. Will such extra seconds of thought — nay, contemplation — slow down civilization? They well might. But who said that stopping to catch a breath on our way to the abyss is not a sensible strategy?"
design  friction  frictionlessness  seams  scars  ambient  evgenymorozov  canon  civilization  thinking  2013  slow  slowtechnology  transparency  problemsolving  problemshowing  contemplation  via:anne  cognitiveresources  technology  globalwaming  mindfulness  narrative  forgetting  memory  seamlessness 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Dis/Ability: Moving Beyond Access in the Academy | HASTAC
"Converging at the intersections of disability theory, pedagogy, and media studies, this forum intends to harness both theoretical and praxical discussions. We are interested in sharing ideas about how disability theory can positively intersect with our larger understandings of accessibility and the potentiality of technologies and multimodality. We are interested in classroom practices—the practical strategies folks have developed for increasing accessibility and centralizing issues of dis/ability as both material condition and social construct. We are interested in the everyday ways that we—as scholars and researchers and teachers—take up (or don’t, for various personal or institutional reasons) the challenge of creating more accessible physical and digital spaces for learning, teaching, and researching.

• What strategies do you use in your classrooms to increase accessibility or even to cater to or accommodate particular disabilities? What challenges have you faced making your classroom more accessible? Have some strategies backfired? Are there particular issues that have prevented you from making accessibility-related changes?

• What technologies are people using (whether assistive technologies or broader tech like YouTube & Twitter) to meet the needs of students? What technologies are used to create and/or support online disability identities?

• How can our own scholarly research be more accessible? I mean this both in terms of wider availability (open access publishing, perhaps) and in terms of ensuring that a range of people with various physical differences can access our new media projects. How might accessibility enhance a digital or multimodal project?

• How does disability theory intersect with technology, particularly in relation to race & resistance studies; “assistive” technologies; innovation, hacking & appropriation; and gender & queer studies?"

[From Sara Hendren's comment: http://hastac.org/forums/disability-moving-beyond-access-academy#comment-21573 ]

"I think some of the strongest art/design-and-technology practices result in objects or interactions or performances where “use” isn’t the mandate at all—and therefore, leaving aside the creation of resonances for use, at least as a goal. Usefulness or functionality may result, but it’s not the destination, if you will, of the work. And indeed true “interrogative” works, in my estimation, are best when they suspend questions indefinitely. They press and hold two or more opposing functions or symbolic/expressive gestures together at once, without resolve.

I think that strong interrogative objects, when engaging ideas in disability studies/politics, help skirt the artificial denoument of erasing difference, a la Jay’s “whack-a-mole” analogy. That is, resisting the seduction of “solutions” in design where “problems” become invisible."
via:ablerism  ability  disability  academia  marylalper  melissahelquist  stephanierosen  jaydolmage  alanfoley  maramills  cyndirowland  questions  questioning  unfinished  solutions  solutionism  transparaency  visibility  problems  problemsolving  design  art  technology  interactions  interrogativeworks  resolution  laurenmccarthy  matthiasgommel  jennifercrupi  accessibility  assistivetechnology  hacking  appropriation  innovation  resistance  unresolved  seams  seamlessness  canon  sarahendren  allisonhitt  disabilities 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Landless: Ode to the Semicolon
"Ode to the Semicolon

By Tony Noland

The simple thoughts of children need only simple punctuation,
A sentence with one verb, one noun, for every situation.
“I want a cookie.” “She hit me!” “When are we going to eat?”
These subject/object pairings up express these thoughts complete.

As we mature, our thoughts do too, become harder to express.
Complexity increases, stacked more and more, not less.
“Optic blasts are awesome, but adamantium claws are better.”
“Should I call up Mary Lou, or send an e.mail letter?”

Related concepts bloom within, so quickly they do roll on,
To show they’re separate (but connected), apply the semicolon.
The sentences could stand apart, but linking them together
Allows the thought to seamlessly express itself much better.

“We danced all night; it was divine.” describes one case in point.
The first and second halves of which each other do anoint.
“We danced all night. It was divine.” How choppy and how stilted!
Without the semicolon how the narrative gets wilted!

Conditional or adverse, it supports concept relations;
O semicolon, praise we all, the best of all notations!"

[via: https://twitter.com/Braddo/status/310019709116493825
and http://www.swiss-miss.com/2013/03/ode-to-the-semicolon.html ]
poems  poetry  semicolons  complexity  unfinished  seams  punctuation  seamlessness 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Wired 7.01: The Revenge of the Intuitive
"The trouble begins with a design philosophy that equates "more options" with "greater freedom." Designers struggle endlessly with a problem that is almost nonexistent for users: "How do we pack the maximum number of options into the minimum space and price?" In my experience, the instruments and tools that endure (because they are loved by their users) have limited options.

Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users - when given a choice - prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else.

Indeed familiarity breeds content. When you use familiar tools, you draw upon a long cultural conversation - a whole shared history of usage - as your backdrop, as the canvas to juxtapose your work. The deeper and more widely shared the conversation, the more subtle its inflections can be.

This is the revenge of traditional media. Even the "weaknesses" or the limits of these tools become part of the vocabulary of culture. I'm thinking of such stuff as Marshall guitar amps and black-and-white film - what was once thought most undesirable about these tools became their cherished trademark."

"Since so much of our experience is mediated in some way or another, we have deep sensitivities to the signatures of different media. Artists play with these sensitivities, digesting the new and shifting the old. In the end, the characteristic forms of a tool's or medium's distortion, of its weakness and limitations, become sources of emotional meaning and intimacy.

Although designers continue to dream of "transparency" - technologies that just do their job without making their presence felt - both creators and audiences actually like technologies with "personality." A personality is something with which you can have a relationship. Which is why people return to pencils, violins, and the same three guitar chords."
howwework  thetoolsweuse  intuition  intuitive  via:vruba  1999  familiarity  limitations  mediation  experience  toolmaking  features  featurecreep  options  freedom  seams  distortion  software  design  creativity  technology  culture  tools  constraints  tradition  art  intimacy  brianeno  music  seamlessness  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Speaking of beautiful seams… | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"Speaking of beautiful seams…

(stills from http://www.vimeo.com/48739524 )
In architecture, the line barely noticed, between concrete and corrugated steel.
In nature, the indistinguishable line where wet becomes dry.
In clothing, the disparate elements, forming a whole.

Again, fantastic work @erlsn and @kentoyam
(And I am thankful for the beautiful seams between our worlds.)"
infrastructure  clothing  nature  seams  2012  borisanthony  seamlessness  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Semicolons; So Tricky : The New Yorker
"[I]t still seems to have a vestigial interrogative quality to it, a cue to the reader that the writer is not finished yet; she is holding her breath."

"With a period, the four words sink at the end: SHE LOOKED at me. The semicolon keeps the words above water: because of that semicolon, something about her look is going to be significant."

"If I had invented the interrogative ellipsis, I think I’d have gone with “Punctuation???” Or maybe “Punctuation;” it would have the effect of suggesting that you supply your own subtitle."
connections  seams  marynorris  2012  semicolons  language  communication  grammar  writing  semicolon  seamlessness  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
russell davies: On mending, mice and seams
"I've been writing a lot in googledocs recently… I wrote a longish piece about something, shared it with a bunch of colleagues and they swarmed all over it with really smart suggestions and improvements. It was brilliant…

…They weren't meddling, they were mending. I think it's something to do with the openness of it and the way that people can agree with each other. If one person says a sentence doesn't work - it's just their opinion, if a few do then it goes beyond personal and becomes fact.

Which talk of mending led me to notice this video when it raced past my social windscreen:

This is also about mending. Mending that celebrates the seams…

In essence - "Broken pieces are bonded and the line of the repair is decorated with gold".

Wouldn't this be a great way to represent editing and collaboration? - to show the seams, to illustrate how much writing is a communal process. And maybe it could be an inspiration for networked writing - how would you decorate these seams on the web?"
cowriting  editing  discussion  conversation  online  web  netwrokedwriting  collaborative  collaboration  annegalloway  mattjones  openness  googledocs  writing  collaborativewriting  mending  seamlessness  seams  2012  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
My problem with the “Internet Of Things” « Magical Nihilism
"The network is as important to think about as the things.

The flows & the nodes. The systems & the surface. The means & the ends.

The phrase “Internet Of Things” will probably sound as silly to someone living in a spime-ridden future…

In that sense it is useful – as a provocation, and a stimulus to think new thoughts about the technology around us. It just doesn’t capture my imagination in the same way as the Spime did.

You don’t have to agree. I don’t have to be right. There’s a reason I’ve posted it here on my blog rather than that of my company. This is probably a rambling rant useless to all but myself. It’s a bit of summing-up and setting-aside and starting again for me. This is going to be really hard and it isn’t going to be done by blogging about it, it’s going to be done by doing.

This is just what I what I want to help do. Still.

Better shut-up and get on with it."
spimes  2011  mattjones  berg  berglondon  internetofthings  doing  making  cv  lcproject  glvo  mindchanges  brucesterling  future  iteration  systems  unproduct  russelldavies  physical  digital  seamlessness  beautifulseams  mujicomp  fabbing  seams  iot  mindchanging  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Warren Ellis » A Sony Walkman, By God
"Clay Shirky’s line about how anything that ships without a mouse is broken — that’s her generation. (I still think he was just one foot behind the time...should have used is "touchscreen.") I found Lili crosslegged on her bed earlier, her guitar in her hands, earbuds in, watching something on her open laptop. I suspect it was either a guitar lesson, some tabs she’s been looking for, or listening to Theory Of A Dead Man and trying to detune her guitar to C-sharp to capture their tone. That’s how she treats the laptop — what else does it do? And the very conjuring of all those elements in the first line illustrates that her generation do not live with their heads in a laptop or a DS Lite or whatever. Less so, even, than the previous generation. It’s a fully integrated part of their lives, a Swiss army knife for the world. What else does it do?

If I tell her I have a YouTube app on the Sony Walkman I’ll never get the bloody thing back."

[related: http://www.openthefuture.com/2009/07/human_interfaces.html ]
society  future  warrenellis  netgen  swissarmyknife  technology  youtube  ui  touchscreen  walkman  generations  seamlessness  whatelsedoesitdo  integration  invisibletechnology  music  bbc  gadgets  audio  online  via:preoccupations  seams 
july 2009 by robertogreco
IDSA Western District - Wendy March on Being Boring - "Drawing on several years of investigation into way people use technology in India, Brazil, China & dozens..."
"...of other disparate environments...focused not on exciting & cutting-edge, but on ordinary."We keep trying to make things seamless and easy," observed March about this discovery, "but maybe people don't want it to be seamless and easy."
easiness  boringness  boiring  seamlessness  technology  wendymarch  research  ethnography  anthropology  user  experience  ux  seams 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Pasta&Vinegar » Blog Archive » "Remarkable hope in seams and scars"
“seams and scars point to where we have in the past made or become something else—and yet they also remind us that we can do so again in the future. If we treat them not as irregularities to be hidden but as indicators of our abilities to intervene in the world, seams and scars offer us glimpses of how we shape and re-shape ourselves, each other, and the worlds in which we live.
(…)
I find remarkable hope in seams and scars. But because liminal spaces, like all potentials, are also rather uncertain I find good reason to proceed with care.
(…)
Who is making the cuts? Who gets left behind? What goes forward? Who does the suturing and sewing? Has there been suffering? Healing? Are the seams ugly? Are the scars beautiful? What can we learn about ourselves and others by attending to the seams and scars our work creates and leaves behind?”“

[See also: http://www.purselipsquarejaw.org/2005/05/seams-beautiful-and-otherwise.php ]
history  future  design  imperfections  markers  evidence  change  seams  scars  build  glvo  annegalloway  2007  2005  seamlessness 
november 2007 by robertogreco

related tags

21stcenturyskills  1970s  2001aspaceodyssey  aarhus  ability  abnormal  abstraction  academia  accents  accessibility  adamgreenfield  adammichaels  adaptability  adaptation  advertising  africa  africaisnotacountry  africans  africanstein  agency  ai  airbnb  alanfoley  aldoushuxley  allisonhitt  allsorts  alwayslearning  amateurs  ambient  anarchism  anarchy  andréaciman  anilbawa-cavia  annaakhmatova  annegalloway  anthropocene  anthropology  appropriation  ara  architecture  archives  art  artificialintelligence  artists  artleisure  assemblage  assistivetechnology  assumptions  audio  authenticity  authority  autocorrect  autonomy  balance  bbc  beausage  beautifulseams  beauty  being  belatedness  belonging  berg  berglondon  bertoldbrecht  between  betweenness  billgates  blackswans  bldgblog  boiring  bookfuturism  books  borders  boringness  borisanthony  bots  brianarthur  brianeno  bricolage  broken  broken-tech  brookeparryhecht  brucesterling  buckminsterfuller  buddhism  build  canon  capitalism  care  caregiving  caretaking  centralization  change  charlieloyd  chinamieville  chrisberthelsen  cities  civilization  clacks  climate  clothing  cognition  cognitiveresources  cohabitation  collaboration  collaborative  collaborativewriting  collections  collectivism  colonialism  colonization  comics  communication  communities  community  complexity  computervision  computing  connection  connections  constraints  consumerism  consumption  contemplation  content  contentsmagazine  context  control  conversation  cooperatives  coordination  copywriting  couchsurfing  cowriting  cracks  creativity  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  culture  curiosity  cv  cyndirowland  cynicism  dansaffer  darkmatter  darkmountain  davidharvey  decolonization  democracy  denmark  departmentalization  deschooling  design  designfiction  details  differences  digital  digitalage  directinstruction  disabilities  disability  discovery  discussion  dispositions  distance  distortion  divisions  doing  domestication  douglasmeehan  dreaming  dreams  dualism  easiness  ebooks  ecology  economics  edges  editing  education  elcampodecebada  elitism  elves  emergence  emergentcurriculum  endings  engram  environment  ephemeral  ephemerality  ericscourti  erring  errors  españa  ethnography  europe  everyday  everydaylife  evgenymorozov  evidence  evreyday  exile  experience  experiencedesign  experimentallearning  fabbing  fabrication  fallibility  familiarity  featurecreep  features  fences  fiction  film  filmmaking  fisixing  fixing  flaws  flexibility  flow  forests  forgetting  fragmentation  fragments  frankchimero  frankenstein  freedom  friction  frictionlessness  furniture  future  futurism  gadgets  gambiarra  gandhi  gaps  gender  generalists  generations  geoffmanaugh  globalwaming  glvo  godbanen  google  googlecreativelab  googledocs  goranekvall  grain  grameenbank  grammar  grammars  gray  greed  grey  hacking  handmade  happiness  healing  henribergson  higherd  highered  highereducation  history  homesickness  homoludens  howethink  howtobe  howwelearn  howweteach  howwethink  howwework  howwewrite  human  humanism  humanity  humans  humor  iceland  idealism  identity  imagination  immigration  imperfections  independence  individuals  informallearning  infrastructure  innovation  inquiry  inquiry-basedlearning  instability  institutforx  institutions  integration  integrity  intellectualproperty  interactiondesign  interactions  interdependence  interdisciplinary  interests  internationalstyle  internet  internetofthings  interpretation  interrogativeworks  interstitial  intimacy  intrinsicmotivation  intuition  intuitive  invisibletechnology  iot  ip  italocalvino  iteration  ivanillich  japan  japanese  jaques-henrilartigue  jaydolmage  jeffreyschnapp  jennifercrupi  jennifernansubugamakumbi  jeremyrifkin  johnseelybrown  johnthackara  jugaad  julianbleecker  kampala  kintsugi  kintu  knowledge  knowledgecreation  knowlegeretention  labor  landscape  language  languages  laurenmccarthy  lcproject  learning  lebbeuswoods  leisurearts  leonardcohen  libraries  life  liminality  liminalspaces  liminalstates  limitations  linearity  literature  littoralzone  living  logic  london  losangeles  love  loving  macroscopes  madrid  maintenance  makerculture  making  maramills  marginalization  margins  mariamontessori  markers  marshallmcluhan  marvel  marvelcomics  marylalper  marynorris  mastery  math  mathematics  matthiasgommel  mattjones  mattrolandson  meaningmaking  meanings  mediation  melissahelquist  memories  memory  mending  mentoring  messiness  microinteractions  middleground  migration  mindchanges  mindchanging  mindfulness  minimumviableutopia  mistakes  modernity  monetssori  morethanhuman  motivation  mrkweiser  mujicomp  multidisciplinary  multimedia  multispecies  murraybookchin  music  myth  namwaliserpell  narrative  nature  nearness  neighborhoods  netgen  networkedlearning  networks  netwrokedwriting  newness  newsincerity  night  normal  normanfoster  nostalgia  objects  off-modern  omidsafi  online  openness  openstudioproject  options  order  ownership  pabloneruda  paradigmshifts  patternrecognition  patterns  patternsensing  pedagogy  peer-basedlearning  peers  persistenceoflearning  personality  personhood  personofinterest  perspective  philosophy  photography  physical  place  planning  play  playfulness  pockets  pocketsofresistance  poems  poetry  policy  politics  popculture  postcapitalism  postcolonialism  posters  powerlaws  practicalism  practice  print  problems  problemshowing  problemsolving  process  productdesign  production  productiveinquiry  prosthetics  prototyping  punctuation  quentinfiore  questioning  questions  rabindranathtagore  readymade  reason  reconstruction  regeneration  remkoolhaas  renatom  repair  repairing  research  resistance  resolution  resourcefulness  resources  retention  rims  risktaking  ritual  rituals  rolandbarthes  russelldavies  sarahendren  scale  scars  schooling  schools  sciencefiction  scifi  scottisaksen  seamlessness  seams  self-containment  self-organization  self-reliance  selflessness  semicolon  semicolons  sexuality  shadows  sharing  sharingeconomy  sheep  shells  shortshadows  signaturemoments  sincerity  singapore  sketching  sleep  slow  slowtechnology  small  smallpieceslooseleyjoined  social  society  software  solutionism  solutions  space  spain  speculation  speculativefiction  speech  spelling  spimes  squishynotslick  stability  standardizedtesting  stanleykubrick  statistics  stephanierosen  stimergy  stories  storytelling  streets  supernatural  surveillance  svetlanaboym  swissarmyknife  systems  systemsthinking  tagore  taxonomy  tcsnmy  teaching  technology  technologytransfer  teresaamabile  testing  thetoolsweuse  thinking  thirdculture  thresholds  time  timsherratt  tinkering  tokyo  toolmaking  tools  toread  touchscreen  trace  tradition  traditions  transdisciplinary  transience  transitions  translation  transparaency  transparency  trees  trickster  trove  trust  truth  tseliot  twins  ugnda  ui  umbertoeco  understanding  unfinished  universal  universalism  unlearning  unproduct  unresolved  unschooling  unstable  untothislast  upcycling  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  user  utopia  ux  values  via:ablerism  via:anne  via:preoccupations  via:vruba  victorhwang  victoriaocampo  video  visibility  vulnerability  wabi-sabi  walkman  walterbenjamin  warrenellis  web  wendymarch  wernerherzog  whatelsedoesitdo  wisdom  words  worldbuilding  writing  youtube 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: