robertogreco + things   22

Thinking with Things (FYS) CSPL 140F
"This course explores the ways in which we think and act in relation to things. At times provocations for thought, at times emotional companions or functional collaborators, things are not only symbolic carriers of the values and meanings that we assign, but are also actors with agency and subjectivity. We critically consider the implications of this and the role of things in a variety of contexts from the historical to the emotional to the sociocultural to the sacred. The course considers how we make, use, and consume things and how, in turn, things make, use, and consume us. Transdisciplinary in its orientation, this course draws insight from anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, material studies, art, and design. We will examine a number of projects dealing with objects and these will serve as inspirational, theoretical, and methodological models for the projects students will develop over the course of the semester."



"Major Readings: Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore
Readings include a variety of articles and excerpts including, but not limited to:
Sarah Ahmed, ORIENTATIONS: TOWARD A QUEER PHENOMENOLOGY
Hannah Arendt, THE HUMAN CONDITION
Jane Bennett, VIBRANT MATTER
Levi Bryant, THE DEMOCRACY OF OBJECTS
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, WHY WE NEED THINGS
Emile Durkheim, GENESIS OF THE NOTION OF THE TOTEMIC PRINCIPLE OR MANA
Martin Heidegger, THE THING
Georges Perec, THINGS: A STORY OF THE SIXTIES
Elaine Scarry, THE BODY IN PAIN: THE MAKING AND UNMAKING OF THE WORLD
Sherry Turkle, EVOCATIVE OBJECTS
Langdon Winner, DO ARTIFACTS HAVE A POLITICS?"

[See also:
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/channels
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/speculative-design-1519962911
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/misc-design-1519956499
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/sensory-ethnography
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/ethnographic-design-films
https://www.are.na/barbara-adams/design-methods-1519961030

http://www.wesleyan.edu/academics/faculty/baadams/profile.html
http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2017/10/23/taylor-07-teaches-design-thinking-workshop-at-wesleyan/
http://wesleyanargus.com/2018/02/02/fellow-barbara-adams-talks-design-ideas-minor/
http://www.wesleyan.edu/ideas/faculty.html
http://www.wesleyan.edu/ideas/index.html
http://www.gidest.org/barbara-adams/
https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/design-as-future-making-9780857858399/
https://nssr.academia.edu/BarbaraAdams ]
wesleyan  barbaraadams  things  design  designthinking  2018  sarahahmed  hannaharendt  janebennett  levibryant  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  emiledurkheim  heidegger  georgesperec  elainescarry  sherryturkle  langdonwinner  transdisciplinary  classes 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The Parliament of Things: Into Latour and His Philosophy
"Researching the conversations between Things, Animals, Plants and People and design the House of The Parliament of Things."



"The Parliament of Things is a speculative research into the emancipation of animals and things. It acknowledges that mankind has reached the end of an anthropocentric world. We can no longer maintain the distorted dichotomy between culture and nature. We share this world with many. Law should not be centred around Men, but around Life. We are just one party, among all animals, plants and objects. What if we welcome all things into our Parliament? What would be the plight of the planet? The reasoning of a fish? What claims would trees make, and what future would oil see for itself?

Do you you want to join? Send us an e-mail: info@theparliamentofthings.org

We at Partizan Publik have invented the Parliament and are playing the role of clerk by bringing it to you. The writer’s contest was a collaborative project that was organized by several partners. In the winter and spring of 2016 we invite several organizations to build the Parliament with us."



"We Have Never Been Modern and the Parliament of Things

Introduction

In We Have Never Been Modern (1991) Bruno Latour criticizes the distinction between nature and society. He states that our sciences emphasize the subject-object and nature-culture dichotomies, whereas in actuality, phenomenons often cross these lines. As an example, he mentions the hole in the ozone layer, and the different ways the sciences should look at it: ‘Can anyone imagine a study that would treat the ozone hole as simultaneously naturalized, sociologized and deconstucted?’ (6). With this mentioning of the hole in the ozone layer (as well as, among other things, computer chips, Monsanto, and aids) he gives an example of things or phenomena that are not merely objects, but that are hybrids between nature and culture.

With regards to the title of this work, Latour argues that this dualism between subject and object is a ‘modern’ mode of classification, and that this modern mode does not actually correspond with the practical ways in which we live. Thus, this modern dualism actually has never existed: we have never been modern.

The Constitution

‘Modernity is often defined in terms of humanism, either as a way of saluting the birth of ‘man’ or as a way of announcing his death. But this habit itself is modern, because (…) [i]t overlooks the simultaneous birth of ‘nonhumanity’ – things, or objects, or beasts (…)’ (13)

In this chapter, the question at hand is about the constitution. ‘Who is to write the full constitution?’, Latour asks (14). For political constitutions, this is normally done by jurists and Founding Fathers; for the nature of things, this is the task of scientists. But, if we want to include hybrids as well, who is going to write the complete constitution?

Latour calls this complete constitution the ‘Constitution’ with a capital C, to distinguish it from the political one. It defines ‘humans and nonhumans, their properties and their relations, their abilities and their groupings’ (14).

Hobbes & Boyle

When discussing the separation between science and politics, Latour uses the dispute between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes as an example. Boyle can be seen as the founder of modern science – he developed the methodology in which scientists observe a phenomenon produced artificially in a laboratory (in Boyle’s case, the workings of a vacuum pump, in our case, for example, CERN).

Hobbes, on the other hand, rejected this manner of analysis, and focused on theorizing social and political order in terms of human conflicts and agreements. ‘Boyle and Hobbes, then, jointly constructed the program for purifying the discourses of nature and society – expunging from each the traces of the other’ (Pickering). This distinction between science and politics is not just typical for ‘modernity’, but actually defines it, as Latour argues: ‘they are inventing our modern world, a world in which the representation of things through the intermediary of the laboratory is forever dissociated from the representation of citizens through the intermediary of the social contract’ (Latour 27).

Hybrids

Latour established that the modern constitution ‘invents a separation between scientific power charged with representing things and the political power charged with representing subjects’ (29). However, he states we should not think that subjects are far removed from things. Even though Hobbes and Boyle create this distinction, they still speak about the same things: God, the politics of the King of England, nature, mathematics, and spirits and angels, to name a few. It becomes clear that in practice, this separation between science and politics, and nature and culture, does not hold. As Latour states:

Here lies the entire modern paradox. If we consider hybrids, we are dealing only with mixtures of nature and culture; if we consider the work of purification, we confront a total separation between nature and culture.’ (30)

The paradox of modernity, thus, is that we divided the world into two groups –

nature (science) and culture (politics) – but at the same time, in our daily lives, we constantly deal with hybrids between these two groups. But this division renders ‘the work of mediation that assembles hybrids invisible, unthinkable, unrepresentable’ (35). As Latour succinctly puts it: ‘the modern constitution allows the expanded proliferation of the hybrids whose existence, whose very possibility, it denies’ (35).

We Have Never Been Modern

‘Modernity has never begun’, Latour argues. Instead, he calls himself a ‘nonmodern’: ‘A nonmodern is anyone who takes simultaneously into account the moderns’ Constitution and the population of hybrids that that Constitution rejects and allows to proliferate’ (47). He states that hybrids – also called monsters, cyborgs, tricksters – are ‘just about everything; they compose not only our own collectives but also the others, illegitimately called premodern’ (47). So only minor changes separate our era from the periods that were before, Latour states.

Revolution

In this part, Latour discusses the action that has to be undertaken to acknowledge the existence and the importance of hybrids:

When the only thing at stake was the emergence of a few vacuum pumps, they could still be subsumed under two classes, that of natural laws and that of political representations; but when we find ourselves invaded by frozen embryos, expert systems, digital machines, sensor-equipped robots, hybrid corn, data banks, psychotropic drugs, whales outfitted with radar sounding devices, gene synthesizers, audience analyzers, and so on, when our daily newspapers display all these monsters on page after page, and when none of these chimera can be properly on the object side or on the subject side, or even in between, something has to be done. (50)

Latour calls for the need to outline a space that encompasses both the practice of purification as well as that of mediation. ‘By deploying both dimensions at once, we may be able to accomodate the hybrids and give them a place, a name, a home, a philosophy, an ontology and, I hope, a new constitution’ (51).

Quasi-Objects

Latour tries to locate the position of hybrids, quasi-objects and quasi-subjects by first problematizing the status of the social scientist. He argues that the social scientist, on the one hand, shows that ‘the power of gods, the objectivity of money, the attraction of fashion (…)’ have no intrinsic value, but ‘offer only a surface for the projection of our social needs and interests’ (52). To become a social scientist, Latour states, ‘is to realize that the inner properties of objects do not count, that they are mere receptacles for human categories’ (52).

On the other hand, social scientists also debunk the belief in the freedom of the human subject: they show how the ‘nature of things (…) determines, informs and moulds’ humans (53). So, Latour states that the social scientist ‘see[s] double’:

In the first denunciation, objects count for nothing; they are just there to be used as the white screens on to which society projects its cinema. But in the second, they are so powerful that they shape the human society, while the social construction of the sciences that have produced them remains invisible. (53)

The solution to these contradictory beliefs is dualism, much to Latour’s disapproval. The nature pole is divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ parts, the same partition is made for the subject/society pole. ‘Dualism may be a poor solution, but it provided 99 per cent of the social sciences’ critical repertoire’ (54).

Latour, instead, states objects are society’s co-producters. ‘Is not society built literally – not metaphorically – of gods, machines, sciences, arts and styles?’ (54). He argues we should not focus too much on dialectics, as dialectics foreground the existing dichotomies; instead, he focuses on quasi-objects.

Quasi-objects are in between and below the two poles (…) [and] are much more social, much more fabricated, much more collective than the ‘hard’ parts of nature (…), [yet] they are much more real, nonhuman and objective than those shapeless screens on which society (…) needed to be ‘projected’. (55)

By focusing on the two poles rather than on that what is in between, ‘science studies have forced everyone to rethink anew the role of objects in the construction of collectives, thus challenging philosophy’ (55).

Relativism

In this chapter, Latour treats the function of anthropology and the role it might be able to play, as well as the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry. If anthropology is to become symmetrical, ‘the anthropologist has to position himself at the median point where he can follow the attribution of both nonhuman and human properties’ (96).

To analyse this new field of study, anthropology … [more]
multispecies  objects  plants  animals  brunolatour  robertboyle  thomashobbes  hybrids  modernity  nonmodern  modern  quasi-objects  law  biology  anthropology  entertainment  science  architecture  campainging  literature  things  theparliamentofthings 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Drink from the cup as if it's already broken - Everything2.com
"Advice from a zen koan. If you own a teacup that is very precious to you, you have two choices: you can be obsessively careful with it, and live in fear that you'll drop it, or someone will chip it, or an earthquake will come and it will fall out of the cabinet. This object, intended to bring you pleasure, can become a burden.

Or, you can imagine that it is already broken -- because in an important sense, it is. It's sure to break someday, just as you're sure to die and the universe is sure to come to an end. Then, every time you drink from the cup will be a pleasure, a gift from the gods, a special reunion between you and something you had lost. You will be sure to appreciate every chance you have to use it, but having already said goodbye you will not need to use it with fear.

This can be applied to personal relationships, to your job, to money... if you give up feeling that you need things, you can appreciate them more fully.

Some people worry that if they give up attachment to this extent, they will not have the will to get what they want; they'll end up living in a discarded refrigerator box and starving to death because they're so laid-back. In fact, there is substantial evidence that having a goal and enjoying a process is not the same thing as kicking your ass all the time, or being motivated by fear of failure or of becoming a bad person. You learn to act with what various groups call the original mind, flow, or True Will and do what you do because it's you, not because you're being bribed or threatened by an internal parent.

*****

In a now-deleted writeup, zgirll pointed out that you can effectively free yourself by giving the teacup away. This is an asymmetry between the possession issue and the relationship issue: giving away an object is an acceptable way to keep it. Giving away a person is stupid, unless your relationship (or the person) is dying on its own. The difference is that a possession is something you can fully know, and so your internal model of it can provide the same satisfaction as it can itself. Friends, on the other hand, are far deeper and we never really "figure them out." Ending a relationship that might otherwise have grown is a serious sacrifice which, I think, does not do any good in and of itself.
zen  koans  brokenness  fear  care  burden  pleasure  will  truewill  flow  orginalmind  process  peace  things  possessions  materialism  objects  time  satisfaction  presence  now  hereandnow  relationships  edg  srg  glvo  attention  friendship  listening  lightness  money  wealth  accumulation  needs  desire 
march 2015 by robertogreco
“The world is full of objects, more or less... - robertogreco {tumblr}
“The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.

I prefer, simply, to state the existence of things in terms of time and/or place.

More specifically, the work concerns itself with things whose inter-relationship is beyond direct perceptual experience.

Because the work is beyond direct perceptual experience, awareness of the work depends on a system of documentation.

The documentation takes the form of photographs, maps, drawings and descriptive language.”

—Douglas Huebler
time  place  documentation  cv  douglashuebler  art  experience  perception  awareness  belatedness  things  objects  cataloging  description  observation  photography  maps  mapping  drawing  drawings  systems  archives  noticing  collections  collecting  capturing 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Ursula K. Le Guin, Keynote 5/8/14 on Vimeo
[Starting at 7:00]

“My little talk is called “Deep in Admiration.” This conference is going to be thinking about how to think outside the mindset that sees the techno fix as the answer to all problems. Just this week, I heard a poet say that the essence of modern high technology is to consider the world as disposable: use it and throw it away. Well, we know that we don't need more infantile new technologies that demand throwing away all the old ones every Tuesday. We need adult rational technologies, old and new: pottery making, bricklaying, sewing, carpentry, solar power, sustainable farming. But after our long orgy of being lords of creation and texting as we drive, it's hard to stop looking for the next technofix. We have got to change our minds. To use the world well, we need to relearn our being in it, renew our awareness of belonging to the world. How do we go about it? That awareness seems always to have involved knowing our kinship as animals with animals. Darwin gave that knowledge a scientific basis and now both poets and scientists are extending our awareness of our relationship to creatures without nervous systems and to non-living beings, our fellowship as things with other things. Relationship among all things seems to be complex and reciprocal. It's always at least two way, back-and-forth. It seems as if nothing is single in this universe and nothing goes one way. In this view, humans appear as particularly lively, intense, aware nodes of relation in an infinite network of connections, simple or complicated, direct or hidden, strong or delicate, temporary or very long lasting, a web of connections infinite, but locally fragile, with and among everything, all beings, including what we generally class as things, objects.

Decartes and the behaviorists willfully saw dogs as machines without feeling. Is seeing plants without feeling a similar arrogance? We don't know. But one way to stop seeing trees or rivers or hills only as natural resources is to class them as fellow beings, kinfolk. I guess what I'm trying to do is subjectify the universe because look where objectifying it has got us. To subjectify is not to co-opt and colonize and exploit. Rather, if it's done honestly, it involves a great reach outward of the mind and the imagination. What tools do we have to help us make such a reach? Mary Jacobus, in a book called Romantic Things, wrote, “The regulated speech of poetry may be as close as we can get to such things, to the stilled voice of the inanimate object or the insentient standing of trees.” Poetry is the human language that can try to say what a tree or a rock or a river is, that is to speak humanly for it in both senses of the word for. A poem can do so by relating the quality of an individual relationship to a thing, a rock, a river, a tree, the relationship to or simply by describing the thing as truthfully as possible. Science describes accurately from outside and poetry describes accurately from inside, you could say. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the language of both science and poetry to save us from ignorant irresponsibility.”

[via: https://twitter.com/steelemaley/status/560283083430445057
"“To use the world well we need to relearn our being in it” -Le Guin http://vimeo.com/97364872 "]

[See also: “ARTS OF LIVING ON A DAMAGED PLANET”
http://anthropocene.au.dk/arts-of-living-on-a-damaged-planet/
https://vimeo.com/artsofliving

“Ursula K. Le Guin: Panel Discussion with Donna Haraway and James Clifford, 5/8/14”
https://vimeo.com/98270808

“Donna Haraway, "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97663518

“Inhabiting Multispecies Bodies: Panel Discussion with Donna Haraway, Margaret McFall-Ngai, and Jenny Reardon, 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97663316

“On Damaged Landscapes: Panel Discussion with Kate Brown, Deborah Bird Rose, Eric Porter and William Cronon, 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97852132

“Jens-Christian Svenning, "Future Megafaunas: A Historical Perspective on the Scope for a Wilder Anthropocene," 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/98751434 ]
ursulaleguin  plants  animals  art  2014  technosolutionism  via:steelemaley  things  objects  interconnectedness  interdependence  networks  systemsthinking  technology  jens-christiansvenning  donnaharaway  anthropocene  margaretmcfall-ngai  jennyreardon  katebrown  deborabirdrose  ericporter  williamcronon  jamesclifford  multispecies  objectification  subjectification  fellowahip  kinship  poetry  science  religion  morality  compassion  henryvaughn  maryjacobus  nature  humans  humanism  responsibility  environment  universe  interconnected  interconnectivity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt: Finally, the Museum of the Future Is Here - The Atlantic
"When I visited, I talked to the Labs team in their office and then toured the then not-quite-finished mansion. We talked about the museum first—the physical one we were in. Unlike leaders of other New York museums, who are investing in events, Chan (and the Cooper Hewitt generally) believe the heart of the museum is in its collection and its visitors. In other words: its stuff and its people.

“They don’t want to have the burden of this preservation forever,” he said of the increasingly event-focused Museum of Modern Art, 40 blocks south. “The beauty here is: We’re the Smithsonian. We don’t have a choice. No matter what other staff in this building might say, we don’t have a choice but to keep all this stuff forever.”

The museum will forever be committed to its stuff. But it has to have a more enlivening presence, he believes, than placards and shelves. Cope held up his smartphone at one point and pointed at it."



"Notice the trick the Labs team has completed. The API seems to be first for users and developers. It lets them play around with the collection, see what’s there. As Cope told me, “the API is there to develop multiple interfaces. That’s the whole point of an API—you let go of control around how people interpret data and give them what they ask for, and then have the confidence they’ll find a way to organize it that makes sense for them.” But who is doing the most work around the collection—the most organizing, the most-sensemaking? It’s the museum itself.

“When we re-open, the building will be the single largest consumer of the API,” said Chan.

In other words, the museum made a piece of infrastructure for the public. But the museum will benefit in the long term, because the infrastructure will permit them to plan for the near future.

And the museum will also be, of course, the single largest beneficiary of outsider improvements to the API. It already talks to other APIs on the web. Ray Eames’s page, for instance, encourages users to tag their Instagrams and Flickr photos with a certain code. When they do, Cooper Hewitt’s API will automatically sniff it out and link that image back to its own person file for Eames. Thus, the Cooper Hewitt’s online presence grows even richer.

The Cooper Hewitt isn’t the only museum in the world with an API. The Powerhouse has one, and many art museums have uploaded high-quality images of their collections. But the power of the Cooper Hewitt’s digital interface is unprecedented. There’s a command that asks for colors as defined by the Crayola crayon palette. Another asks if the snack bar is open. A third mimics the speech of one of the Labs members. It’s a fun piece of software, and it makes a point about the scope of the museum’s vision. If design is in everything, the API says, then the museum’s collection includes every facet of the museum itself. "



"Even if things do work, the model turns museum websites into museums themselves, catalogs of once-snazzy apps built for special occasions before being discarded forever. Exhibits go away, but those apps never do. A museum’s website—the primary face of the museum to the world—winds up looking like a closet of old prom dresses.

When Bill Moggridge became the Cooper Hewitt’s director in 2010, he wanted the museum to make its digital infrastructure more thoughtfully. Moggridge, it should be noted, is a legend. He helped design the first laptop computer. He founded the world-famous firm IDEO. And he invented the term “interaction design.” Moggridge died in 2012, not living to see the renovation project he began.

Moggridge created Chan’s position and hired him for it. And while Chan could have kept outsourcing projects to big outside firms, he instead lobbied for funding and hire a staff. The museum’s digital work was too important. It had to have in-house experts. “There's a lovely phrase we use a lot,” Cope said. “The guy who invented the Perl programming language talked about Perl as being there to make easy things simple and hard things possible.”

“That’s how we try to think about this. Not everyone’s gonna understand what we’ve built or the potential of what we’ve built right away. It’s gonna take some of the curators longer than others to figure it out. But the minute they get it, they should be able to turn around and be like, 'What if…? Can we do…?'—and if it’s easy, it should be live in 15 minutes.”"



"The team has accomplished so much largely by accepting imperfection. When the Labs launched the API, it was missing a lot of information. Cope called the quality of its metadata at launch “incredibly spotty,” before Chan clarified, “it’s terrible.”

But that was on purpose. Better to put the museum’s grand imperfection and incompleteness out in the world and let people make of it what they will, the team decided, then wait for it to be perfect. “It was a tactical play to say, don’t obsess about that stuff, because its what people do with it that matters,” said Chan.

“We could spend the next 50 years trying to make that data perfect and it still would not ever be perfect. There was 70 years of collecting that had different documenting standards. Museums only started collecting policies in the eighties and nineties. How can you retrospectively fix everything? It just can’t be done. So let’s move on and figure out what we want to do with it,” he said.

This attitude—popularized by Steve Jobs with the phrase, “Real artists ship”—extends to how the team thinks through media production, too. “I can’t sit on a video for six months, making these minute edits. I have to pitch it out door, so we can say: This interview got this many views, this thing got this many views, let’s keep going with this,” said Shelly.

The Labs’s work, as a whole, is an investment in a particular idea of cultural democracy. It’s a view where imperfect speech can always—and will always, and should always—be augmented by further speech. It trusts in the discourse over the perfection of the original work."



"And perhaps already, the Labs team believes, that digital information will be inextricable from the physical object. The Cooper Hewitt has long collected napkin sketches of famous logos and inventions. If it wants to collect the rough thoughts of today, it will have to work fast, because napkins last longer in files than sketch files do on iPads.

“To collect a Nest absent of any data, what does that tell you?,” asked Cope.“It tells you it’s a beautiful piece of industrial design. Well, maybe the museum should start thinking about some way of keeping that data alongside the object, and maybe it doesn’t need to be privileged in the way the object is.”"
robinsonmeyer  2015  cooper-hewitt  museums  collections  archives  internet  web  sebchan  aaronstraupcope  billmoggridge  design  interaction  api  data  digital  online  objects  things  applications  software  unfinished  imperfection  democracy  culture  culturaldemocracy  infrastructure  visitors  events 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Is it the Internet of Things?
"Does it visualize your social network?
Does it have an LED matrix display?
Is it an Alternate Reality Game played in the real world?
Can it give you a virtual hug?
Is it on kickstarter?
Is it RFID enabled?
Does it dispense bubbles or candy?
Does it stalk you?
Does it have ears?
Is it connected to the internet?
Does it have a face?
Is it wifi enabled?
Does it augment your reality with digital content?
Does it connect you to loved ones at a distance?
Is it haptic?
Does it use Arduino?
Does it help you save on your energy bill?
Does it make your digital world more tangible?
Does it light up?
Is it the future?
Is it citizen science?
Was it created at a hackathon?
Does it knit?
Does it open new avenues for lighting?
Is it Quantified Self?
Is it attached to a helium balloon?
Is it a TED talk?
Did BERG make it?
Is it open source?
Can it make plants talk?
Is it 3D printed?
Does it have sensors that upload stuff to the internet?
Does it sit on your bookshelf?
Does it track your activity with numbers you don't understand?
Is it an ambient display?
Does it have an LED matrix display?
Does it use Big Data?
Does it tweet?
Does it alert you to emails, tweets, friend statuses without you having to open a computer?
Is it self-aware?"

[via: http://www.designculturelab.org/2012/11/17/but-is-it-the-internet-of-things/ ]
internetofthings  humor  berg  berglondon  haiyanzhang  things  iot 
november 2012 by robertogreco
A (Real) Conversation with Bryan Cranston - YouTube
"In the fall of 2010, a PR rep invited me to the set of THE HANDLERS (an Atom.com-now-Comedy-Central web series) to interview Bryan Cranston about the production and maybe sneak some BREAKING BAD questions in.

It might, to date, be the best interview I've ever done. NOT because of any interview skill I have, but because I expected to only get 10 minutes of his time, and so only had 10 minutes of questions prepared. However, when my 10 minutes were up, I expected the crew to pull him away, and THEY DIDN'T.

I don't know what you would do if you were sitting opposite Walter White without anything to ask, but my solution turned out okay: I asked him questions about his life. And he answered, and in doing so revealed himself to be the coolest, most genuine guy.

So please enjoy me being very awkward with Bryan Cranston. Who, at least in 2010, was very much the best."
aging  kindredspirits  cv  creating  groceryshopping  shopping  lessthings  whatmatters  making  living  life  breakingbad  interviews  2012  experiences  possessions  things  bryancranston  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost on understanding what it's like to be a thing. : Observatory: Design Observer
"“The alien isn’t in the Roswell military morgue, or in the galactic far reaches,” Bogost writes. “It’s everywhere.”"
ianbogost  alien  things  interview  2012  objectorientedontology  ooo  objects  books  designobserver  via:Preoccupations  alienphenomenology 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Object memory on Vimeo
“‘This trade’, he said, ‘was not the trade as you Europeans know it. Not the business of buying and selling for profit! Our people’s trade was always symmetrical.’

Aboriginals, in general, had the idea that all ‘goods’ were potentially malign and would work against their possessors unless they were forever in motion. The ‘goods’ did not have to be edible, or useful. People liked nothing better than to barter useless things - or things they could supply for themselves: feathers, sacred objects, belts of human hair.

‘Trade goods’, he continued, should be seen rather as the bargining counters of a gigantic game, in which the whole continent was the gaming board and all its inhabitants players. ‘Goods’ were tokens of intent: to trade again, meet again, fix frontiers, intermarry, sing, dance, share resources and share ideas.”

With Bruce Chatwins quote as a starting point, a group of friends got together to explore storytelling through the trading of objects…"
stories  things  possessions  brucechatwins  totems  tokens  richardhouguez  2011  objectmemory  memory  storytelling  trade  trading  objects 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Living with 100 items. No, 50. No, only 15. Screw it, just get beautiful, useful things – marks.dk
"Bruce Sterling’s “Last Viridian Note”…puts things into the following categories:

1. Beautiful things.
2. Emotionally important things.
3. Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently perform a useful function.
4. Everything else.

There are no numbers, no set rules for how much stuff you “must” own. I like the idea some have of only owning 100 things, or even just 50 things. But it’s only an idea. I couldn’t do it myself but I can, however, cut down on the stuff that I already own and don’t use.

DVDs go category 4…espresso machine in 3…couch, bed & chair in 3 as well…Half my clothes go in 4…& I need to buy after a pattern of 1 & 3 from now on.

…don’t think you can even buy after category 2 most of the time. That’s the kind of stuff that evolves over time…

Question yourself with everything you are about to buy; if there is a reasonable chance it will be placed in category 4 anytime soon, don’t buy it."
brucesterling  markjensen  possessions  consumption  minimalism  2011  lastviridiannote  things  simplicity  sustainability  consumerism  stuff  qualityoverquantity  viridianism  nomads  neo-nomads  materialism  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
The Viridian Design Movement
"The items that you use incessantly, the items you employ every day, the normal, boring goods that don't seem luxurious or romantic: these are the critical ones. They are truly central. The everyday object is the monarch of all objects. It's in your time most, it's in your space most. It is "where it is at," & it is "what is going on."

[I must have this bookmarked in some other way or with some other URL, but doing so again doesn't hurt. Update: Yup. Here it is: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/11/18/viridianisms-last-no.html ]
future  futurism  brucesterling  consumerism  culture  design  environment  simplicity  sustainability  happiness  life  lifestyle  technology  green  advice  2008  slow  stuff  qualityoverquantity  philosophy  things  viridian  viridiannote  viridianmovement 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Joho the Blog » [reboot] Bruce Sterling
"Reboot in power. Gen Xers running things. Cultural sentiment: “Dark euphoria.” Things are falling apart, everything is possible, but you never realized you would have to dread it so much...a) Top end: Gothic high-tech...b) low-end: Favela chic...practical advice on bright green geek environmentalism...“Stop acting dead.” You’ve been trained that way; it’s the default for your generation...How do you know...test: Would your dead great grandfather do a better job of what you’re intending to do...Think of objects in terms of hours of time & volumes of space. It’s a good design approach...possessions are really embodied social relationships: made, designed, sold by people...Relationships that happen to have material form...monarch among objects are everyday objects...you’re eager to tell someone about its beauty or meaning. Tools: Don’t make do with broken stuff. You’re not experimenting with it if you’re not publishing the results in a falsifiable form."

[video: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/07/video-from-reboot-11/ AND http://video.reboot.dk/video/486788/bruce-sterling-reboot-11 AND interview: http://video.reboot.dk/video/485250/bruce-sterling ]

[transcript: http://wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/02/transcript-of-reboot-11-speech-by-bruce-sterling-25-6-2009/ ]

"Now let me explain how you can go about doing this, and it really is a different material way of life than any in the twentieth century. It’s a geek-friendly approach to consumption.…

What you need to do is re-assess the objects in your space and time. And I’m going to explain to you how to do this. 00:32:30-6

The king of objects, the monarch among objects are not fancy objects. They’re not high-tech objects, they’re not organic objects, they’re not biological objects, they’re everyday objects. Things that you’re with every day…

Common everyday objects. You need to have the best possible common everyday objects. 00:33:11-4…

Get rid of it. Get rid of it, if you don’t use it! If you haven’t touched it in a year, get rid of it immediately. Sell it, buy real things you really use. 00:35:08-7

Now, you’re going to have a lot fewer things, but the actual quality of your life will skyrocket!…

I’m going to explain to you how you do this…

First you need to make lists. Hackers love lists. A chart. You can make a flowchart. Flowchart it if it makes you any happier.

Four variety of items: Beautiful things; emotionally important things; tools, devices and appliances that efficiently perform some useful function; and category four, everything else…

It’s not that beautiful? It’s not beautiful! Gotta go!…

And everything else. Category four, everything else. Virtualize it, store the data, get rid of it…

It’s not going to hurt you to lose all these things. You don’t need them. After you go through this particular discipline, you will look different, you will act differently. You will become much more what you already are."
gamechanging  future  genx  generationx  favelachic  brucesterling  design  objects  change  longevity  quality  reboot11  postconsumerism  postmaterialism  stuff  possessions  things  travellight 
june 2009 by robertogreco
5 Companies Building the "Internet of Things" - ReadWriteWeb
"The "internet of things" is a concept that describes a wireless network between objects. In a way, it parallels the current network of addressable web pages (aka the "world wide web"), except "the internet of things" would include addressable inanimate objects that could be anything from your home's refrigerator to the shoes on your feet. Although this world of web-connected things has been much discussed for years, we've seen little movement pushing the concept forward. At least, until now."
internetofthings  tikitag  arduino  microcontrollers  mir:ror  blogjects  rfid  nearfield  wifi  internet  future  web  twitchboard  objects  things  programming  hardware  webdesign  trends  innovation  nabaztag  pachube  zerog  spimes  iot  webdev 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: cheer up it's Archigram
"I’ve been particularly taken with the Botteries: The World’s Last Hardware Event by David Greene & Mike Myers ... a vision of returning to the English countryside, with everything you require brought by bots of all sorts: communication, rooms, walls, even pets. ... we’ve actually reached a place very similar ... rapidly seeing a world of use as needed, rather than purchase & storage. Blu-Ray is the world’s last media hardware event, it’s download from now on. Netflix & Lovefilm ... Spotify ... We’re starting to live in a world that would have been unimaginable 5 years ago, where ownership is severely debased as a good quality. We’re even seeing the world’s last physical retailers disappear. ... Russell ... was talking about how everyone has a junk room. What if you could ship that to Amazon or someone & pull bits back as you need them? We don’t want cloud computing, we want Big Yellow Internet Storage. & then you could have a smaller house or flat. It struck me as very Archigram-ish."
archigram  chrisheathcote  storage  postmaterialism  netflix  cloudcomputing  amazon  postownership  ownership  stuff  things  gamechanging  spotify  delivery  architecture  books 
january 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: from product to project
"So I've been thinking about how I can continue to projectise this product. And how this bag can have a 10-year + story. So I'm trying to add spimeiness to it and to use internet stuff as a memory aid for this thing. So, I've created a unique URL for it at thinglink, in the spirit of the skuwiki idea. And I've built a tumblblog for it at HMDbag.tumblr.com. That tumblr extracts things from flickr and delicious that I've tagged appropriately, so it's sort of self-generating. I imagine telling the story of the life of the bag that way, keeping it as a project not a product.

But what would be really nice would be if it could tell its own story more. Generate its own data. I could attach an RFID tag, but I'm not quite sure what would ever read it. I guess ideally it would have it's own GPS logging stick sewn in. Or something. The good thing though, about a 10-year + project is that you don't have to have it all sorted at the begining."
brucesterling  design  sustainability  russelldavies  manufacturing  howies  bags  rfid  spimes  brands  products  stories  gps  physical  things  unproduct  beausage  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  glvo  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: meet the new schtick
"1. Screens are getting boring. ... 2. There are a lot of people around now who have thoroughly integrated 'digitalness' into their lives. To the extent that it makes as much sense to define them as digital as it does to define them as air-breathing. ie it's true but not useful or interesting. ... 3. The stuff that digital technologies have catalysed online and on screens is starting to migrate into the real world of objects. Ideas and possibilities to do with community, conversation, collaboration and creativity are turning out real things, real events, real places, real objects. I'm not saying that this means that these things are therefore inately better, or that the internet has 'come of age' or any of that nonsense. I just mean that there are new, interesting things going on IRL and that they have some advantages (and penalties) that don't apply online."

[part 2: http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2009/01/meet-the-new-schtick-2.html ]
russelldavies  RFID  things  futurism  planning  advertising  marketing  computing  digital  culture  future  technology  ubicomp  design  spimes  post-digital 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Best Stuff
"an open, organic, polymorphous site which, depending on the user, could take on diverse forms and meanings. The site simply asks you to input your "best stuff" in the world: whether it be a song that inspires you, your favourite little Indian restaurant
community  social  sharing  books  music  socialnetworking  socialsoftware  ranking  ratings  recommendations  networking  network  collaboration  tagging  things 
july 2008 by robertogreco
aaronland.info - papernet
"If we imagine human language and computers as two equal and opposing forms of magic — never able to fully understand one another — then papernet can be seen as a bridge, and the papernet as the API, between the two"
paper  web  tangible  maps  mapping  digital  human  online  internet  things  artifacts  touch  papernet 
february 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: reskilling for an age of things
"I suspect it's my unconscious telling me that I'm not equipped for the world we're going to be living in. My core skill is probably using PowerPoint to persuade people and businesses to do their advertising slightly differently. That's an increasingly ab
learning  skills  russelldavies  future  things  objects  make  diy  gardening  powerpoint  change  adaptation  parenting  soldering  fabrication  gamechanging 
january 2008 by robertogreco
things magazine: uncertainty and uneasiness we have about the relationship between the city and the child
"firewalled zones...branded virtual spaces where adventure & discovery...carefully controlled, closely linked to consumption. Adult nostalgia blinds us to new realities, allows us to indulge in fond remembrance of past while keeping tight grip on present"
architecture  childhood  urban  urbanism  schools  schooldesign  children  cities  design  nostalgia  parenting  play  playgrounds  risk  sociology  gamechanging  society  lcproject  space  things  safety 
december 2007 by robertogreco

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