Apr 15, 2008
The future is freer, smaller, mobile. This is not news in terms of design and consumer products. But what about other aspects of culture?
I predict a revival of the novella in literature. Perfect for our small attention spans and mobile demands. Or maybe the American pulp "novelette" of the 1940s and ’50s? Not only are novellas small, but in many ways they were the original blog or communal autoblography: stories and news from urban life worth repeating for amusement and edification.
This image was taken at Melville House, which has published a series "THE ART OF THE NOVELLA", helping prove my theory.
Apr 14, 2008
We need a new word for how we, as urban dwellers, live, work , love, relate and engage with the world. In the article "Nomads at last", the Economist coined the term "techno-Bedouins" to describe 21st century nomads. But I think we are in need of a better aggregate word as we seek to understand ourselves, our interactions and the way we shape our world.
We vibrate with a hum of constant connectivity, not external motion. Simultaneously localized and global, we participate in the rewards and consequences of an ubietous and ubiquitous culture. We are both rooted in our local communities and constantly connected to the larger trends and happenings of the planet.
Apr 8, 2008
The distracted self. Disembodiment and dislocation are consequences of the way we browse and parse information in our busy, overloaded lives. This is bad when we lose the context as Bell argues. But what about when we glimpse the beautiful, connected patterns of ideas in the array? Isn't this why we do it--traverse all the connections? Why we design, invent, evolve?
Many of the new innovations that are considered "technologies" are much more than that. They are interaction patterns, behavioral developments, evolutions of our senses.
As we evolve into twittering, snapping cyborgs, who are we really and what do we lose along with the context?
This paper by Brian Whitworth (crazy New Zealand physicist) explores the idea that the universe is a giant virtual-reality construct created by information processing. It's an interesting read, even if Occam's Razor--science should strive for the simplest theory--makes this argument fairly implausible.
But this paper and the ideas associated with it have arisen repeatedly over the last few years as we try to deconstruct and contextualize our real/virtual beliefs, philosophies, lives. It seems important to make note of ideas that get recycled and re-blogged.
Libraries are places of experimentation and truth, where we and our users put ideas to the test. In the age of ubiety and ubiquity, location and place matter. The here and where. With new technologies (see my post) we will be able to see who and what is checked in, who/what was there earlier, and what or where they/it will be in the future. We don't really understand yet how people feel about this, and what it means for usage, access and interaction. Let's find out.
Apr 7, 2008
Apr 6, 2008
Michel de Certeau, in ‘Walking in the city’ from The Practice of Everyday Life, describes the act of urban walking (or cycling) as an articulation of the language of the city. It is how we understand the boundaries and particulars of our urban consciousness, community, and self. The body as text vocalizes the unseen textures of urban interaction.
It is once again the time for exploration and exposure, leaving our winter havens for the unpredictable city streets. Walking, I get pulled into the minutiae, jolted into a new awareness of the urban landscape and my body. Slowly traversing the streets of Brooklyn late on a spring night, I know exactly where I am, it's locative. Stepping into the awakened verdure after a rough winter, I fall in love again with the city.
The physics of crowds, self-organization phenomena and the effects of this on urban ecology are a fascinating read in the Dynamics of Crowd Disasters: an Empirical Study.
Those with asperger's or a fondness for structured repetition should try algorithmic or generative walking, pioneered by the Dutch art collective Social Fiction. Just imagine where you might end up.
Check out Conflux (happening September 11-14 this year), an event that uses art and technology to explore urban public space. Projects often highlight the physical consciousness of cities and use walking, mapping and psychogeography to ask "who are we?"/"where are we?"
Go there, get lost, the city is there for you to wield.
Cyclists: head over to Grand Army Plaza on April 12th (11:00-3:00), where the DOT will distribute free NYC bike helmets and volunteers will offer tune-ups (bike not body).
Apr 2, 2008
- Collaboration is the key. Multiple people working and engaging in a shared space.
- Information is here. A librarian/curator/information person will always be present to act as a guide and connector of people and ideas. Through social software, users can share books/media.
- Community is at the center of this experiment. It is both local and virtual. The space is dictated by us, the users.
- Workable and non-invasive. Working can be anything: building software, plotting a new business, writing, reading, telling stories to kids.
- Accessible and usable, it will endeavor to create both a financially, physically and psychologically accessible space.
- Open and free for everyone. What happens here will be transparent and open. People working in collaborative spaces and talking about their ideas.
- Sustainable and ecological because sharing space is better for the planet.
- Beautiful and flexible because this makes it desirable to be there. Art will be incorporated in the space and change regularly.
The community decides what else happens here: movie nights (aka CitiCinema), openings, book clubs, demoshackathons (like Mash Pits), meetings, non-profit events, seminars’, salons’, art shows, book launches, meetups, etc.
This space will be downtown, in an accessible urban area, wireless (with laptop locks, etc), welcoming, friendly and serious.
It will NOT be a crashpad, library, lounge, restaurant, private, exclusive, remote, sterile.
Most important, there will be good people here and therefore good things will happen because this is a coworking environment.
Are you with me?