Archive for the ‘art’ Category

How do the systems for sharing get to be more successful than the business of hiding?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

(When) Did we replace models of sharing with models of hiding? ie, (When) Did we create soul-sucking machines of progress? Television, wall st, military industrial complex, big box stores, etc. We think these systems should be trashed? Or upgraded slightly? Does open information solve their problems? What is the future of large American institutions such as the banks, automotive, pharma, military industrial complex, media publishing, etc. Do you actively work to take them down? Or do you build something better nearby and assume that you can design safe evacuation for the participants?

How do the systems for sharing get to be more successful than the business of hiding? Or are they already with facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, digg, reddit, craigslist, etc… Bill has left the building. Will Steve leave soon too? Will Linus or many others take over?
Do these ideas translate to physical domain already? Is the enlightened characteristic of “success” the ability to truly democratize content production and credit?
We believe in this thing, therefore we all should be engaged in a broader conversation about the process of sharing information, no?
Does frequency/unit of sharing affect reception and transmission? And when does knowledge “count”? Is it when one person knows? 5? Half? Or when we all know?

There are a bunch of people who are doing the sharing thing already so it shouldn’t be shocking for us to do it to, right? How can we be explicit about what is being done now in specific implementations and what is being done in meta analysis/trends? Should we use the tools of the ad agencies? Or we should invent new methods? What is the sustainable version of the superbowl ad that we use to sell news ideas and processes? Is “flat and peer-to-peer information transfer for all we do in life” the end goal? Does this allow both the capitalist idea of the market solving all with the communist idea of a public trust (all information)?

In terms of the practical and the now, what are the businesses or systems I am using that support sharing and have an ability to overturn an existing business leader?
I should mention that I regularly use firefox (vs safari or ie), openoffice (vs word, excel, etc), vlc (vs itunes, windows media player, etc). I am not using linux (vs windows/macos) but hope to have a linux machine soon. I use arduino and shop at adafruit. I am beginning to use gimp (vs photoshop) and inkscape (vs illustrator/corel). I have been a small user of processing, openframeworks, and codeblocks.
And corporate software I am using: I am currently happy with ableton live (~$400). I don’t like Solidworks (~$3500) and have looked for alternatives but haven’t found anything yet.

Can I actually make a living right now sharing? Or should I still be looking for work in the hiding businesses because that is the reality?

Not Art for Art’s Sake, Art for Life’s Sake

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

It’s been a century and a half since Darwin dropped the E bomb. It’s taken long enough, but people are starting to connect the dots of our gene culture co-evolution. Seventeen years ago, Ellen Dissanayake wrote a book called Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why in which she offers a species-centric view of art that digs deep into our evolutionary origins for answers.

She proposes that art, or what she calls making special, was an evolutionary adaptation. She frames art as a collection of activities that, by leveraging our innate aesthetic response, attached emotion and hence assured special attention to those things most vital to our survival as a species.

Art was a means of coping with an onslaught of existential anxieties that acccompanied consciousness. Artistic activities were a means of elaborating and shaping participants’ thoughts and emotions, providing an illlusion of control. In the context of ritual, making things special created a wildly positive feedback loop of group efficacy and cohesion.

There has been a hoopla of media attention surrounding Denis Dutton’s new book The Art Instinct. It’s heartening to see these ideas entering the popular sphere. Read Homo Aestheticus first, though. I will go so far to say that it is the most important art book ever written. Regardless of its pending verification by the scientific community, it opens our eyes to a deep trove of answers and understanding of the arts and emphasizes their integral place in the fabric of our species.

I Supposedly Wrote This When I Was 18

Monday, March 16th, 2009

The couch has become an impotent helm and the television, an empty sea unfit for exploration. As society gives us more external means of entertainment and exploration, we must look inward. We must unlock our potential for growth and search for an understanding of our world. In dealing with the various demands placed upon us by our schools, occupations, friends, parents, and most importantly, ourselves, we must also find constructive ways to vent our anxieties.

With the rapidly increasing power of the computer, electrical technologies are manifesting themselves in every aspect of our lives. There is no doubt about the benefits we receive from this technology. With the computer comes knowledge and power. The globe has become a smaller place where information spreads at unimaginable speeds.

As we increase our contact with the often commercial and generic nature of electronic media, there are things we must not lose sight of. We must not let the information age slowly devour our imagination. We must always have ways to express ourselves and strengthen our individuality.

In this spirit, and observer of advancing technology once noted, “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men, but no fifty machines can do the work of one extraordinary man.” One of the most important characteristics that distinguished a man as extraordinary is his ability to deal with the problems he encounters through spiritual means and this re-evaluation of himself.

The epitome of this spiritual evaluation is art. I have found artistic media to be the most effective outlets for emotion whether it is through music, writing, sculpting, painting, or design, art holds the keys to self-expression and a shaping of individuality. Art is a means by which to convey your ideas without limitations or restrictions.

In his relation of art to morals, Ruskin writes, “Life without industry is guilt, industry without art is brutality.” His statement describes the need for art in a technological society. It implies that without artistic distraction from the monotony of our daily routines, our lives will be filled with tedium and the void of civility. As Shakespeare once wrote, “Art is the imposition of order on chaos.”

Art has an enemy called ignorance. With its philosophical and sometimes quirky personality, are has been known to elicit ignorance. It is ironic that art also has the wonderful ability to make people aware of their society’s diversity by exposing them to new and foreign ideas. As we enter the next stage in our lives, we must keep an open mind to the unique experiences are can offer.

Art stares us in the face under its masks and churns within our minds under its chains. I cannot stress enough the importance of unlocking the creativity you all possess. Even for those of you who have already discovered constructive and satisfying means of venting your emotions and expressing yourselves I urge you to exercise your minds and unlock your potential through some artistic medium.

As states most simply by Longfellow, “Art is Power. Art is the power of understanding. It is the power to exercise the soul. It is the power to open your mind and speak you mind. It is the power to overcome ignorance and celebrate diversity.

(That was my Valedictorian speech from high school graduation.)

The Menu

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

We are open sourcing our process. More specifically, we are trying to put all our unfinished pieces and ideas online. We hope to encourage collaboration and strengthen our thinking process. We don’t claim ownership, we are just hoping to be a part of the greater dialog.

Is information free?

Plebian Design. 2009-02-25.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

2008.12.10: Plebian Design in 10-250

2008.12.10: Plebian Design in 10-250, MIT

Statement Update. 2009-02-25.
Attendance: Jeff, Dan.

::shortest story:
evolution

::short stories:
evolution increases information compression.
sharing information is free. this enables acceleration.

everything is evolution. evolution requires mutation.

next level of consciousness is universal awareness of the process of evolution in all things.

awareness creates feedback.
highly levels of feedback lead to ever accelerating

informational big crunch

does consciousness = memory = perception of time = feedback?

plebeian design: physical evolution overtaken by cultural evolution overtaken by ?

a full consciousness of evolution leads to enlightenment?

::how do we transfer/convert/etc:
knowing->learning
product->process
randomness->opportunity

::short storylines:
ev theory
information->big bang ->earth ->life ->consciousness->anxiety->intellect->?
information->big bang->earth ->life ->consciousness->anxiety->knowledge->learning->?
science
math ->physics ->chemistry ->biology ->psychology->religion->atheism->enlightenment
information theory(levels of consciousness)
big bang ->chemistry ->bio/life -> consciousness(cultural life/memes) -> digital consciousness -> energy
another storyline, art/aesthestics?

::medium story:
evolution
open source
process over product
broad rather than tall structure
appreciation of mutations
feedback loops
process documentation
unfiltered data feeds
conservative market economics
neurobiology
enlightenment
personal consciousness
societal consciousness
anxiety (personal and society)
religion -> atheism -> ?
time perception
randomness
desire to be in control
spike reward systems
boranj

UPDATE:
Plebian Design statement musings. 2009-02-25.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ybWFZwCKrc (see at 1:14 on so, abstract screencast)