Category Archives: awareness

minor personal shifts

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although the idea of a ‘title’ in my professional life never quite gets me to a phraseology i am ever personally satisfied with, i do think that i may want to adjust my own personal, interdependent brand to something more aligned with who i really am as a creative individual

i typically come into a corporate organization in roles like:

  • experience designer;
  • Senior UX Designer;
  • UX Visual Designer;
  • UX Lead;
  • or UX Architect

marketingfacts

my own little tweaks to my titles in the past include phrases like:

  • Lead Designer;
  • Senior User Experience and Innovation Architect;
  • interdependent artist and user experience design consultant;
  • and most recently, just DESIGN

through these improvised and hyperbolized adjustments to who i am as a designer within the context of a company or contract, i can definitely now see i have been having an identity issue over the years — through my title, i guess i am striving, in some way, for a better-empowered and more-important contributing role within the organizations i engage with as a designer

 

pay-as-you-drive-300x243on the drive into work today i took a photo of the sky

less than a mile from the office i noticed a particular patch of clouds, the sun burning a brilliant white hole through the darker, floating materiality and wonderment suspended in a slow crawl across the sky ( as shown at the top of this post )

i tend to look up when i need inspiration or a meditative moment to bring me back to me in a calming, reflective way

i guess i couldn’t help but thinking about all the nonsense of titles and roles and the sort of self-bending, -twisting and -shaping we put our minds, behaviors and speech through just to fit into the context of our work environments

you play a role, after all

and you can never ever be truly honest ‘out loud’ regarding your thoughts, expectations and desires in the workplace — even those honest aspects that directly pertain: to the surface veneer around your particular skills and expertise; and the growth, direction and potentially improved capabilities you can drive to through your daily work, collaboration and training, thereby increasing the value and integrity you ultimately offer the business and it’s clients and customers

believe me — any sense of pure honesty can easily offend your work colleagues in an off-putting and detrimental way

 

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i’ve been let go on a few occasions for cutting through the bullshit in several of my efforts to guide teams and businesses through:

  • revelatory critique;
  • honest assessment of distracting dysfunctional dynamics residing within teams;
  • questioning the status quo around processes and workflows;
  • and suggesting hypotheses that could re-direct group dynamics to more fruitful interpersonal behaviors and smoother, more collaborative ways to work together

anyhow

 

long story short

with a subtle personal shift to thinking of myself as lou suSi DESIGN, i wanted to establish a mood and mindset for myself that consistently stayed with me from job to job along my career path, regardless of what company i chose to engage with for either full-time employment or consulting-based work

i also used the personal title shift to simplify who i am for myself and for the people i interact with in my career and in my personal life

 

This confusing diagram could probably use a bit of a re-design

UX design is difficult to explain to people outside of the industry

hell, its even difficult to discuss UX with other professionals working in the field as there are so many varied titles that overlap with one another and that provide all of these implied niche-variations that just feel utterly confusing and meaningless to me at this point

as a human-centered designer — and as a designer that primarily focuses on story to drive and guide every part of my process — its more direct and honest to simply say i am a designer and then go into the details about what and how i design if the conversation goes to a deeper place

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — as an actual embodiment of a character: a persona, if you will — i can properly position and center myself around who i am within my daily workaday context

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — i clarify my thinking about: what i do and how i do it; as well as how i relate and communicate and collaborate with people in the most human way possible within the set-up and on the stage of these corporations

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — i can also better focus who i am on the job as well as the perspectives, and the value of those perspectives, i bring into all of my collaborative work

 

here come the clouds again

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because i make my living ( meaning the money that supports my family and i in this capitalistic world of democracy, consumerism and darwinian daily social survival ) almost solely through design ( i also get to teach design, which is a wonderful way to share and deepen what i offer to my profession ), i oftentimes forget that at heart i am really an artist

i began to draw every day as a child of 3 or 4 and i have always cherished creative and expressive work across any medium

so to better suit who i am in the world — and how i am in the world — both professionally and personally — i want to assume a new role and a more honest, holistic description of myself, mostly for myself

instead of all of those complicated titles prescribed by corporations and business and UX and design, i instead will now think of myself as a practical dreamer

of course, this might not be what i say to people i meet at a professional networking event, at least not on the first handshake introduction

but maybe in curatorial and art-affiliated circles — that community might get it and accept me as i am

to make this stream of subconsciousness a little less passive-aggressive-wishy-washy, i want to end on this set of statements for today

i am an artist and designer

i am a practical dreamer

and its so nice to meet you

have a wickid fun weekend!

hope to see you again soon

writing on the wall

appreciations

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this year for Thanksgiving ( and why not also for each and every day ) take some moments to simply appreciate life

life is such a mysterious experience

one which i hope we’ll never Scientifically truly understand in the least

to try and understand life too much is to miss out on: the actual experience; and actually tuning in well enough to appreciate that experience of human ( among other forms of ) life

see if you can appreciate, too, all aspects of our experience together

up and down

good and bad

we are wed to life in all of its wonder and chaos, in all of its highs and lows — so try and appreciate and accept all that life offers us, even when it feels unfair or broken or wrong

this year i appreciate life — i choose to tune into that channel of human energy in a personally meaningful way

 

we almost lost our mother this year

i have a lot of questions for her, about her behavior, about her constant struggles with mood and escape and negativity and then manic joy

not all of these questions will be exactly smooth or supportive

i can feel ( in an unfortunately negative and low / sad way ) the immense power of our socially collected energies as a human organism — my mother’s purposefully-chosen attempts at the ultimate escape can be nothing but a dark and dreary ripple of hopelessness and confusion — a horrific example to ‘put out there’ for anyone in the world

it shows a lack of appreciation for life, for people, for anyone and anything beyond herself

my empathy for her obviously wanes at this point in the aftermath

but, for the rest of us at least, let’s hold on to life

we are all very vulnerable and life can escape us all on its own at any moment

there are no logical systems or reasons, either, that death needs to adhere to

so let’s appreciate life together

let’s set a good example for the world and the people we love

let’s appreciate each other with a new sense of closeness and humanity

tune into little things when time gets dark

tune into life

Stand-Up

onStandUpi just wrote and posted some of my recent thoughts On Stand-Up Comedy and UX up on LinkedIn — go gander a bit and read if you’ve got some minutes to spare, i think i’ve bumped across a lot of interesting similarities between the 2 fields by taking Amy Tee’s Stand-Up Comedy course out at North Shore Community College this Summer and some of the work i’ve done by learning about stand-up — through the process of writing and refining a set of stand-up comedy — enlightened me about various aspects of my life ( both personal and professional ) on SO many levels

its been a fascinating journey

that said — in less than a week i will perform my very first serious set of stand-up comedy out at Timothy’s in Danvers — here’s a link to the Facebook Even Page in case you’re interested in seeing more about the event or maybe even purchasing tickets for dinner and the show — its gonna be a lot of fun with over 10 comedians breaking out their material to friends, families strangers and frenemies, i really can’t wait

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after this week’s debut stand-up performance i will most likely head back to Laughter at the End of the World, Outloud Open Mike and other similar, wonderful events to perform and test my material and hopefully augment this initial 6 minute set into a fuller body of work to keep pushing my comedy

after that, i gotta get back to focusing on building out and working with the team of Comedy Catalysts i’ve rounded up for TEDxBeaconStreet this November — SO many amazing TED Talks goin’ down for a big weekend in midNovember, and SO many talented comedic professionals expressing interest and comin’ on board — ‘sGonna be SO much fun!

 

 

on laughter and control

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Laughter is a loss of control.

— Walter Ness, Energy Theater

play

play

return of the stumpheads

please forgive me

its just my inner cyberSurrealist escaping me for a bit

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for a pocket of tiMe i wrote more freely — almost straight from the subConscious to the interwebz

the content seemed to come from some other place & far more directly published itself to some other place all of its own volition

my creative flow, back then — which i actually considered to be an uncreative process of sorts — felt inspired by the automatic writings of the original Surrealists with their delicious parlour games, these wonderful ways of tapping into the subconsciousness we all contain in very public environs like The Cabaret Voltaire — i almost felt as if i too could go back there, not only tapping into my own inner elf but also somehow simultaneously sip from the poetic well that surely continues on in this strange afterlife the Surrealists left for us as their rather trippy legacy to our modernday culture

its so obvious, too, to see — & it needs to be very publickly declared from the wifi-connected rooftops at the top of the overpopulated hilltops of every major city skyscraper … yes, yes, indeed …

the Surrealists win!

and now, in this New Age of Surrealism — an age in which we are all individual cyberSurrealists conducting our own little semi-fictionalized movements of one — we continue in the tradition of revolution of the unconscious

mission accomplished!

with our new over-mediated & over-technologized culture of technohumanity we walk around with heads held up high, the vast societal assumption is our augmented humanness puts us as a people at such an advanced competitive edge against The Animal Kingdom and against Nature — we, the thinking animals with our special, clever tools — we will surely afford ourselves an almost self-created ability to live beyond our natural lives, to smartly achieve our lives everlasting here on Earth, due to our superior intellect & our ability to trick our found systems, these systems of Nature

we somehow think we can game the rules of Nature to thereby, somehow live eternally, leveraging our technologies as the tools to get there

but these beliefs { & yes, our over-trust in Science & technology — this so-called STEM kind of bullshit — are merely a new set of Belief Systems a la Religion }, that we will somehow overcome the limits of Nature Herself, are utterly preposterous, of course { so obvious to those of us who proudly keep our heads amidst the powerful encouraging forces to adopt the newest, latest, bleeding-edgiest of the latest, newest, bleeding-edgiest of our technologies }

these technologies cannot really extend our lifespan

these technologies cannot really further advance our intelligence or our competitive advantage { since we are merely competing with ourselves at this point anyways — and really only solving the challenges our new advancements present in a reverse evolutionary manner into the cybernetic aftertrail of all of this Progress }

these technologies are not really good for these things — the things that our leading technologists & neo-futurist thinkers actually aim to accomplish

instead — i would like to humbly suggest we take a few steps back & re-evaluate what our technologies really help us do as a supposed civilized society

our technologies, during this transitional point in history { as we continue to move from a manufacturing, industrial-focused era — deeper & deeper in to The Information Age } — these technologies become far more effective devices for self-analysis

yes, in the continued tradition of The Surrealists with their fascination on our extremely human & mysterious aspects, our technologies bring that tradition of psychological self-analysis into the twentyfirst century — with our new found, readymade cyberSurrealism we can more deeply understand a far more honest sense of who we really are as individual people & as a more holistic social, world organism

unfortunately, for us,
we are far less advanced
than we believe ourselves to be

because we’ve been so hyper-focused on innovating our external reality as both individuals & as pockets of society, we’ve neglected the vastly more important aspects of innovation for our inner beings — technological advancement gives us an amazing ability to turn our subconscious out into the external world around us, but sometimes the most nasty internal energies usher out reminding us all of the intoxicating and ofttimes dangerous dualities existent within us all

we are capable of extreme good & extreme evil

& we know that the tools we develop cannot be held accountable on their own as inanimate & beloved manifestations of our genius in building communication platforms that, for the most part;

  • do absolutely nothing to facilitate any better sense of real communication;
  • do absolutely nothing to optimize our abilities to survive { or even bloom or flourish } the techno-humanic ecosystems we self-invent & evolve on a near daily basis;

the fact that we’re still so insanely focused on conquering Nature in the more Darwinian framework of natural selection by shifting our context instead of more rationally & wisely discovering new ways to better live within our given, natural context & to, hopefully, start taking better care of the more holistic, collective organism of humanity — shows how ultimately unadvanced we are on so many levels { psychically; emotionally; ethically; intellectually; socially }

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we need to somehow get better focused — we need to get back on track to evolving our species in a better way for not only all of humanity, but also for the natural world & for the future of the natural world & our existence within the context of where we really live, not just where we imagine or invent as our artificial accoutrements, our little playSpace pretend world that cozily sits on top of the underlying real nature of the planet we live on { the universe we live in }

its a life or death kind of thing, actually

isn’t it?

don’t get me wrong — i enjoy the inside-out cyberSurreality of our advanced societies — its all extremely entertaining & it usually reminds me that i’m not such a bad person at the end of the day { at least by comparison to what makes it to mass media televised reality } — its also interesting to see the sort of trainwreck status updates our social web affords my friends & family via Facebook, Twitter & these amazing new, evolving platforms for human communication { please note the facetious italicization } — once again, our iPhone { or other connected mobile devicery } transforms from our all-purpose, standard Swiss Army Knife for modern wireless communications { which most-times feel like mere echo-locative blips to self-affirm our relative importance to the people we love & care about } into a mystical, mini Pandora’s Box, a fascinating open container of sorts, tapping into the inner workings of the real human mind, the real psyche { noxious energies & borderline behaviors that we all somehow previously kept politely tucked away prior to these amazing new technological advancements }

we need to innovate our insides again, my friends

& we can also keep innovating our technologies, too — don’t take my lil’ rant the wrong way — please don’t see me as some sort of neo-Luddite, i don’t want to smash the machines & set them on fire { well, i do pretty much fucking hate my printer most of the time, though, hmmmmm }

i think i just see a need for better balance moving forward — we’ve been focused on innovation as a strictly external, object-based force for new business direction & all of that — but we also need to bring a newfound concentration on re-building our sense of inner innovation before it gets too late

a new crown of laughter

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this photograph examines the close-up details — the textural crunchy interior — from my ridiculously nonsensical piece new crown from American Dream: the introspection

like the fashion photographer from Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up, i keep looking at images from my past with a tighter and tighter cropping

i’m looking for clues

searching for meaning

meaning that might not even be there

i know that my subconscious is far more powerful than this waking state we’re all doomed to live out

since re-opening the case i’ve been trying to re-examine everything i do through the lens of the laughterLife — through my own personal life-long history with humor, laughter and the areas in-between

and so now this interesting re-look back at new crown surfaces a lot more than the textural magnificence of these objects i so dearly love quite improvisationally arranged inside of this kick drum carry case

i’ll get into the nitty gritty in a follow-up post, but i’d love for you to look at this particular image — this mess of pinecones and autumnleaves, twigs and chicken lobster with christmas lights … all of these things were supposed to ceremoniously represent my own personal crown of thorns, a rather cheesy homage to the crucifixion and my own suffering with technology and information — at least that was my unspoken intent and my retrospective analysis when looking at all of this through the lens of cyberSurrealism 

but now it all feels a little eerily different when looking through the lens of laughter

failure

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i’ve come to realize that i am not particularly good at anything

i mean, i’ve actually tried my hand at a lot of things in my life — and i feel fortunate to always be curiously distracted and experimental and exploratory in my pursuit of expression and life-long research in the world

so at least that’s cool

i think i’m slowly becoming okay with the fact that i’m mostly a really good failure

a theory about thoughts and feelings

Body 4

contrary to what popular scientific, mainstream belief tells us — i am convinced that we think and feel with our entire body

thoughts and feelings are not simply
processed in our brains

to think that our brain acts like some strangely mechanistic one-hour photo development lab for the way we experience and relate to the world is extremely preposterous, but this is the only way we as human beings can understand it because we are incapable of thinking beyond our current, known toolset

its got to be far more complicated than that, dontchya think?

we hate to admit it, but we’re far less advanced in our understanding of ourselves, each other and the universe than we’d like to be

we tend to oversimplify everything

because we know how to design and build machines that supposedly think, we also believe we can figure out the mysteries of the mind and the way everything in the universe works, but why bother?

i mean, don’t get me wrong, its all super-interesting to learn about — or at least to theorize about and then test to see how close we can get to some level of commonly acceptable belief system around these rather intensely amazing phenomena in life

and we don’t like to admit, i guess,
when we don’t know or understand something

but let’s just be fucking honest, now, okay?

maybe if we just accept the knowns and the unknowns — and if we also fully accept and appreciate the existential sense of being human and experiencing the world within the given found systems we’ve inherited — we might be far better off

let’s stop trying to explain everything to its ultimate, inevitably science-bled death and just enjoy it all, let it all soak in, and then see how we can live in a more interdependent and inclusively healthy and happy way together as a living, breathing collective organism of humanity

we think with our entire bodies

we feel with our entire bodies

and we also collectively think and feel as little batches of social presence in different pockets of the world

 

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

i guess we could do both

we should do both — both investigate and examine the world and try to figure it out while also enjoying the experience of these sometimes ungraspable areas of natural phenomenology embedded within our human experience

as long as we remember to come back to this sense of enjoyment, too

i guess then we don’t necessarily need to club every little thing to death with the Big Data stick

after all, i don’t think its our job as human beings to necessarily be able to explain everything in the universe — that’s a rather big and impossible job, right? 

it is, however, our purpose to live and breathe and enjoy our existence, to live a little and enjoy each other, and to potentially leave a few stories behind for the alien race that will eventually come down to Mother Earth and inevitably take us all away beyond the sky

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