Category Archives: feeling

shazbot

robinWilliams

now you are free, my friend, finally free — and you are with all of us, in all of our hearts and thoughts and in the energy that feels good and alive and light and happy

thank you

you gave us so much

a little game

info_art

my art can sometimes feel a little ‘all over the place’

i don’t like to limit myself too, too much when it comes to my vehicles of expressive delivery — that combined with my natural tendency toward a scattered but exciting sense of ADHD plus my rather lengthy and continually-expanding collection of influences and inspirations makes for a rather eclectic body of work that i sometimes try to organize into threads or streams of my work

in my design thesis from Dynamic Media Institute, ‘confounded: future fetish design performance for human advocacy,’ i purposely chose the term ‘streams‘ for a few reasons:

  1. i feel like my subconscious is a far more present and powerful force in my creatively expressive, personal work;
  2. i enjoy following my subconscious — my streams of subconscious — to archeologically mine for the deeper, personally-symbolic inner significance that i’ve accumulated like a patina over the course of my life;
  3. i know that i naturally tend to bury certain emotions, memories and stories in the strange style that a chipmunk saves away little morsels for the long winter ahead — these might be feelings that are far too shocking and powerful for me to handle in any conscious manner in the current moments i am living in, and i am almost certain, for the most part, that a significant amount of people partake in this similar activity as a mere means of surviving the ‘day to day‘ dysfunction and chaos we all encounter along our life’s journeys;
  4. i also tend to hide away from time to time, sometimes for large spans of time, greatly depending upon my mood and certain life events — i can nicely attribute this behavior, to sort of tuck myself away inside my shell, to being born under the sign of Cancer — the symbol for Cancer, of course, is the crab — and after spending many an afternoon tide pooling with my wife and son, flipping rocks along the shallow shoreline out at Lynch Park in Beverly among other beautiful Atlantic coastline seaside retreats, i’ve developed an observational understanding of not only the ‘tough, outer exterior’ of the crab and the notion of ‘crabbiness’ that might be somewhat symbolically mapped to the drastic shift in moodswings i experience on a fairly regular cycle, but i also now better ‘get‘ how these little pinchy critters live — tucking themselves away, a bit under the sand or between the rocks as the tide ebbs and flows — its an interesting lifestyle to study and reflect upon, especially knowing that there are definitely some similarities between my own behavior and that of these amazing little moody crustacea;
  5. i guess i’ve veered away from exploring why the term ‘streams‘ so nicely captures the nature of my work and certain categories of recurring episodes in my work — this last enumerated bullet point, to get back to the concept of these streams of subconscia, pertains to the rather interesting evolution within certain streams of my work — as i tend to, at times, act more like a chess player than an artist, as i move and follow both the journey of certain objects and installations from literally geopolitical ‘place to place’ as well as the state of its existence into the next, and sometimes even beyond itself out into the metaphorical afterlife of the piece or its sub-componenture

today’s update on the information kiosk i purchased from Border’s Bookstores prior to the closing of the bookseller chain brings us just a few yards away from where it previously resided over the last 6 to 9 months or so — i don’t think this will be its final destination, by any means, however, i can see an interesting new stage in the piece’s evolution coming together in my mind’s eye

i original purchased the kiosk to build out a prototype for my Laugh Observation Library back at DMI @ MassArt — the LOL included a bookcase collection of 100 bottles containing a variety laughter samples per bottle along with this oddly orange information booth housing a laughScan Station to actually activate each sample for further faux-scientific research into humor and the human phenomena behind laughter

the original and only installation of the Laugh Observation Library appeared in The Pooka Lounge in Bakalar Gallery at MassArt as part of forensicEvidence — the name of my final showcase of work in the 2011 MassArt Thesis Show from my DMI @ MassArt experience

in retrospect the statement that my micro-installment made perfectly fit the bill regarding my discoveries around both MassArt and gallery exhibition in general — and this particular piece, although not exactly aesthetically matching the clinically sterile environment of a traditional scientific laboratory setting, especially that of a forensic investigation crime lab, really seemed to appropriately comment on my personal feelings regarding what Brian O’Doherty describes as the ‘white cube‘ controlled context of the gallery space associated with High Art

in fact, this installation and my personal aesthetic not only provided a silent and polite, subtle sociological commentary on both Art and Science as rather haughty professions, but the rather organic, make-shift style of my work also appropriately mocked the institutionalized aspects of high formality associated with not only Art and Science, but even with Design itself for encouraging a somewhat exclusive attitude within its highest of the high socio-professional, pseudo-political circles

the pieces i presented in forensicEvidence were the dead remains from my work at MassArt — the physical evidence of my work, but also of the pretend criminal activity i either partook in or witnessed while researching and working on my art at MassArt — now, of course, art-making is not exactly a criminal activity, although sometimes it can feel like such an endeavor when living and working outside of the inner protected sanctum of academia and its related artedness, but in some ways i felt like i definitely witnessed what i came to call ‘Crimes Against Creativity‘ — i won’t elaborate too, too much here on these crimes i witnessed, but i definitely felt a bit disappointed in some of the people and vibes i encountered while working toward my graduate degree at MassArt and unfortunately these were events, policies and behaviors that i will not soon forget and nor would i ever expect an institution of higher learning to simply grin and bear without pursuing some follow-up activity to properly set the record straight and rectify unacceptable, malicious and ignorant behavior

… anyhow …

following forensicEvidence — the kiosk remained in the back of my truck, nicely sheltered from the elements, but definitely getting in the way of any sane semblance of life

a month or so after i took the information booth out of my truck and left it at the head of my driveway — although a bit silly-looking in its now more ‘natural’ surroundings in this highly wooded area of Boxford, i actually loved seeing this ugly, orange desk-like fixture from a typically highly-corporate retail environment now planted in the midst of trees and lush, green ferns and other fertile elements of the great outdoors — and i was extremely happy not to have followed my original bad instinct to just leave the kiosk in a nearby cemetery { after, of course, taking some choice photodocumentation of this potentially-strange, satiric gravestone tribute to The Information Age — which would’ve certainly been bound to be an entirely illegal but hilarious act of vandalism or refuse disposal in the eyes of the court, i’m sure }

but now, many months later, after surviving an Autumn, Winter and Springtime out in the driveway, i decided to drag the information kiosk up the steps into our backyard and set it out just at the edge of our deck

here i hope to festively decorate the kiosk with some simple crushed stone around its base — maybe arranging some beautiful potted plants on the tabletop and around its stable and heavy periphery — perhaps this Summer and into the Fall, this will be our funerary preparations for the kiosk before finally allowing myself to emotionally let go of a piece that never quite got beyond the prototypic stage — this might be a truly wonderful way to commemorate the short lifespan of this mysterious object that i’ve carried around with me from place to place, an object that has come to symbolize the weight of the personal information we carry around with us in life

its time for me to prepare

these are the last few months i will live with this bizarre physical manifestation of my memories, feelings and unnecessarily burdensome set of heavy experiences i still find myself hanging onto

i will be certain to document these last arrangements i make with the kiosk — i hope to focus on growing something positive and beautiful on, around and through the information booth — to evolve some of the confounded emotions and energies that remain into / toward a blossoming garden of new vegetal information for further maturation and growth and positive seed for the future

a rainyday vision from America

rainyDay_street

it was a typical New England crawling rainyday commute this morning

i live up on the North Shore — not on Cape Ann or anything cool like that, but over in Boxford on that side-smirk curl of 95N that bends its sarcastic way up to Newburyport and eventually into New Hampshire — and it almost seems inevitable at this point that my commute, no matter what the weather now, is going to be an hour or more to just get 30 miles south of where i live into Burlington

in the rain though, as anyone living in Massachusetts hates to admit but fully knows, the snail-pace stop-n-go of the aqua-commuter nightmare seems to slow to this echochamber timestillness that can only really be humanly dealt with through pure zen meditation mindtricks among other pleasant distractions

needless to say, i despise being caught in traffic — but — at the tender age of 44 i’m finally learning how to cope

today, for instance, there’s this little area on the commute down where 95 and 128 meet to create this wonderful bottleneck of confusion — this is where the grand slowdown typically starts in a big way and this is where my mind takes me high above the Google Earth view of what i’m actually experiencing as the bug inside my metal trap on the highway

today is a special day, though

its Thursday

i love Thursdays, don’t you?

time seemed rather frozen and so i decided to get out for a while, you know? and stretch my legs a bit and maybe wander around between the cars

the natural coolness of the air and the raindrops on the skin of my head between my thinning hair felt really refreshing and i felt more alive than i normally do and, strangely enough, more free than when i’m traveling at 80 to 90 mph on an open stretch of highway on what feel like better days to drive

i guess embracing my stuckness now made me appreciate the moment in a new way

i could move around in the moment, across the 4 lanes of people all cozily tucked into their cars, and get an entirely different perspective on the wild collective, transpersonal simultaneity of our everyday post-humanic experience as a loosely-connected living organism

i guess that i essentially see people and other animals as no better-differentiated in the grand taxonomy of life and death than the virus

but we’re such an invigorating virus, are we not? we’re just fucking electric

motors humming; radios blasting with morning shows and music and djs talking to callers and little snippets of the news beaming in from gawd knows where; some commuters on their mobile devices, talking with loved ones or checking their work calendar to then text or email in their up-to-the-minute status of potential lateness as if the world wouldn’t move on without their invaluable, important input into the universe; normally i’m in my car sing-screaming with some Tenacious D, partially working out the angry energy of feeling so fucking stuck in my car and utterly helpless and partially anticipating the frustrations of the day to come at Corporation X { you fill in the blank as its a fairly unremarkable and familiar unfortunate universal experience of disempowerment, awkward team fumbling, animal kingdom domination psychopolitics and the like that all boils down to the futility of theatre and bullshit and ennui and trying as hard as you can to keep sane like some sort of Cuckoo’s Nest clown McMurphy trying so hard, oh so hard, to just keep my lip zipped and take my daily dose }

but the sensation and feeling of the rain between the cars and the slowness of the cars around me feels so good, oh so good

my normal frustrations almost feel like they’ve stayed somehow in my car parked on the side of the road with the 4-way flashers blinking like sin and evil and hardship

at this point i realize i’m actually walking through the 4 lanes of creeping traffic in search of something

i’m not exactly sure what it is, but its something like poetry or humanity or the very heartbeat soul of humanity Herself

but its so hard to hear it

that is, if its even here at all anymore

shells-sea

the laughterLife

little child baby

i so wanted to already unrealistically be done with my re-written thesis by now, which i realize is simply ridiculous

one of my main issues — both my biggest challenge and my greatest attitudinal asset as an artist and designer, actually — is my utter lack of any sense of realism

i am Surrealistic through and through

and with my previous thesis work, too, i’ve contextualized my work and personality as that of a cyberSurrealist

but this was the distracting pull that veered me away from what i now feel should have been my main thesis focus — laughter

confounded — as nicely expressed by my überStrong and somewhat out of control subconscious interior — was just that on SO many levels

confounded

confoundedCoverNew_WV.indd

i love the work i did out at DMI to death — really i do — but i completely understand some problematic issues of my own struggle between focus and blur — i even had very specific slides in my performative review presentations that visually depicted my tendencies to ebb and flow from one mode into the other

of course, there’s nothing wrong with pushing and pulling between more focused work and blurry brainstormy fun — but then, when trying to research, design, test, reflect and articulate on a meaningful topic, that’s when its important, of course, to try and pull something reasonably understandable together as a final product with important conclusions for an audience’s considerations

i got excited about founding a movement of one { which i now find hilarious } — this soft revolution of sorts that gave me the good excuse to ‘act out’ a little bit and experiment with psychoSocial boundaries that are now beyond blurred due to an increasingly fleeting technohumanic evolutionary ecosystem — there’s no guardrail to this shit at all — and the lack of rules or standards opens up plenty of opportunities for us all to exploit as cartoonish iCapitalists set loose on the world

wdwwwtd

 

there are little to no consequences for acting more and more emotionless and robotic — for approaching the previous dotted-line boundaries that were once oh so clear to us all but that are now very easy to step across in the most silly, passive-aggressive ways imaginable

and, of course, we’re all well aware that these things happen every day — corporations seem to lead the way by transgressing what we all know is the territory of wrong and then either asking forgiveness later or somehow making the bent or broken rules officially and permanently forever bent in the way of corporate favor

but now, back to laughter

The-Power-of-Laughter

i’ve got to get back to laughter

both as a topic to finish my research, prototyping, reflection and reporting on and as a lighter way to live my life over these last 30 to 50 years or so

i’ve been feeling heavy lately

i’m physically heavy — or as they say, obese

i’ve always gone up and down in weight, its been an ongoing life challenge for me — and every once in a while i put my best effort into getting healthy by starting up jogging, watching what i eat, going to the gym, staying away from sweets, all that, ya know? 

but that kind of life is just SO boring — the vigor and fun gets just sucked right out of every minute when you’re watching every little morsel you eat — and SO many options at restaurants and even at the supermarket are simply off the table — life becomes a little less flavorful

and, on top of all that drop in the joy of eating, exercise is just dead boring to me — hamsterwheel cardio in front of a row of vapid television programming while listening to the current piped in muzak poppedness feels like such a waste of fucking time — i mean, i know it isn’t — its a little road to recovery and all, but jeez, wtf? ya know?

so, besides being physically heavy, i’ve also been extremely spiritually heavy as of late

i feel that at the tender age of 44 i’ve accomplished enough in life, but i don’t feel like i’ve done anything all that ‘great,’ if you know what i mean — and now that times a tickin’

i mean, besides being a relatively decent dad at times and a semi-decent person { mostly by comparison, which i guess isn’t saying all that much at the end of the day … hmmMMmmm } i’m not feeling like i’ve made a dent in some of the big challenges we face in the world

but then again, who am i? right?

what can one person possibly do to make at least a minor portion of some of this shit we deal with ‘right’ for our future generations?

 

at times i’ve described my thesis — my previous thesis, confounded: future fetish design performance for human advocacy — as being about ‘laughter, humor and the area inbetween’

my contextual history from confoundedsomewhere between humor and laughter — at least captures different definitions for the word ‘funny’ as a way to establish the uncanny valley of humor i typically situate myself within — as a sometimes amateur comedian, i am actually quite bored with comedy and often plant myself as a performer, or even as a member of the audience, as a bit of a virus — at this point, comedy is a commodity and so much of it just isn’t funny at all in the ‘ha ha’ sense of being genuinely funny — humor is now vastly flattened, predictable and unsurprising and much of the time a stand-up comedian or even the actors in a situation comedy vastly depend upon the magic of the setup of a comedy club or televised comedic show to land the laughs

i get the sense that we’re practicing the ghost-rhythm of the previously established comedic delivery and ultimately leveraging the tickle-theory basis of something like Peter McGraw’s Benign Violation as a delivery strategy to make people laugh — but i’m still not convinced any of it is truly ‘funny’ per se

what i’m finding lacking in the research right now is a lack of openness to many perspectives

in order to understand laughter as a human phenomena i think we also need to study and research laughter, humor, comedy, funniness and the lack of funniness to better analyze the entire milieu of these built-in forces within us all

what makes something funny? what makes something unfunny? why do we laugh? what’s laughter all about? why do we need a joking comment or a television canned laugh track or the wonderful trappings of a stand-up comedy club as the contextual ‘space’ that gives us permission to laugh?

these were areas i lightly focused on in my 4th stream in confounded — the last stream, too — but one that still feels somewhat incomplete, hurried and waiting for continued work and revelation

i touched upon a lot of important thought and research around laughter but didn’t give myself the space and time to properly focus this vastly important area of my research

this is the page i’ll now turn to — i want to re-open this stream of research, work, prototyping and reflection to finish the work that i started and finish it up in a far more rewarding manner

i don’t know if this will end up feeling like something ‘great’ to offer up to the world, or at least not ‘great’ enough, but i think this work deserves to be finished in a decent manner

i will treat the topics of laughter, humor, comedy and funniness { and even lack of funniness } with dignity and respect

and then i will eat them

Norm_small

Sara June @ Woodstock4

i absolutely LOVE this clip of Sara June’s collaborative, improvised public intervention performance with Endguys out in Boston Common for Woodstock4

Sara June Woodstock4 from Uncle Shoe on Vimeo.

Movement artist Sara June in performance at Woodstock4, presented by Whitehaus Family Record on the Boston Common August 18-19, 2012. Improvised music by Endguys (Steve Norton, bass clarinet / Matt Samolis, flute). Video by Douglas Urbank.

Merry Christmas

st-nick-santa-origins_74676_990x742

looking into Che

greenpeace-che-guevara-original-50060

i don’t know that much about Ernesto “Che” Guevara — no more than you can read up on Wikipedia with just a quick Googling of the nickname Che that most people know him and his iconic image by — but its really interesting to see how much he’s been creeping up in my subconscious lately, as you or anyone can witness in my last 2 — and now my last 3 blogPosts { if you’re including this one }

i believe in embracing my subconscious, in going with my gut — and its not just because i’m typically overweight or officially obese as some physicians might point out at a check-up

its interesting, too, that on many levels i’m very much attracted to learning more about people that are considered to be counterCultural

if you take a quick peek at his Wikipedia entry you’ll notice that he seemed to accomplish an awful lot during the course of his lifetime — and sometimes his involvement in political arenas were influenced by the direction of US government, at other times he acted and spoke on his own behalf and on the behalf of the people he loved

in many ways Guevara’s political ideologies were actually formulated by his direct participation in the sort of strange global manipulations our US Government involves itself with as a means to push and pull power — instead of working in more diplomatic and authentic ways as part of a diverse and healthy international community, one might say that The United States constantly strives for a sense of total global supremacy and alignment

i think of it as The MacDonaldization of The World

macdonalds-worldwide

lots of the companies i’ve worked for, too, seem to push toward The Concept of One

and its not about The Myth of The Melting Pot, unfortunately

its more of a total control thing

{ for the most part, its almost always a way to save money by reducing corporate costs through human downsizing, sometimes including an attempt to simplify an organization and maybe increase efficiencies — there’s a lot of corporate speak and ‘business logic’ behind all of this Oneness, i’ve practically heard it all and its a very predictable, unsurprising internal brand trend, believe me }

and its all pretty transparent to everyone at this point

we can just smell it now

anyone that can’t feel the current and increasing creepiness over the years — this push toward Total US World Domination — is probably:

  • totally delusional;
  • completely mesmerized and hypnotized;
  • doesn’t want to admit its happening and its been happening for quite some time now;
  • just doesn’t care or isn’t paying critical attention to our current events in the news;
  • is just a vampire, zombie or robot { ever wonder why our entertainment is currently so obsessed and oversaturated with allusions to the undead? its probably because we’re all feeling that way — like a nation of citizens that’s only allowed to wander the earth in search of sweet bargains at the mall — either that or it might be a bit of a subliminal suggestion for how to actually best behave as part of our society };

and this MacDonaldization of The World — or as some might say, this One World we’re pushing for — is definitely more about homogeneity over inclusion or mutual betterment for all The Peoples of the World — we’re trained for robotic agreement and quasi-involvement through mere complicity and laziness

the push of American Consumerism for our citizenship only allows The People to participate in government and major decision-making through a dream-like Freedom of Choice — that’s the new American Dream, that we are free to choose between this elected representative or that one, both of which, are in fact, basically the very same choice

they’re not that different actually

and the other Freedom of Choice we’re so graciously allowed is which corporate brand of products or services to purchase — unless, of course, you get more directly involved and somehow keep your moral standing along the way

i really like this Greenpeace poster depiction of a little boy portraying the marxist revolutionary Che that i put up as the standard intro-visual at the top of this post

there’s no way we look at this little boy as evil or marxist or dangerous, right? if you do, you’ve affiliated some sort of US public relations-driven fear of The Other with this remarkably innocent-looking image — if its not something you can make in the MacDonald’s production line, it must be different, evil and anti-American, right?

its not really that simple, though

and i hope we can all see that this dynamic has been vastly oversimplified for political reasons — there are personal motivations that go far beyond the desire to protect The People of a nation from the big, bad world of terrorism and evil

power and profit reside at the core of our current issues in the world

we need more inclusionary and respectful, collaborative means of working with the world and not against it any longer — and that world that i speak of not only includes the beautiful variety of people we live with in the world, with all of their interesting and eclectic perspectives and ways of seeing the world, but also includes the world itself — we need to literally work with the world to behave in better accordance with the limits we’ve been given, with the rules and regulations of a higher power that has nothing at all to do with God or what Republicans want, but all to do with the realities of our Mother Earth

yes, i said it

Mother Earth

{ you don’t hear that phrase all that much lately — and i’m not exactly sure why, but i have the sneaking suspicion it might have something to do with sovereignty of a Christian maleness established and promoted during The Age of the Enlightenment over the more supposedly Pagan femaleness of our pre-Christian beliefs and behaviors }

we need to start listening to Mother Earth and start working with her again

happy-pregnant-woman

our energy needs to move away from the power of man over natural destiny — this sort of destructive set of energies to control each other and conquer the natural world at all expense — and move toward the collaborative creative destiny and positive potential energies alive in all of us, in all of The Peoples of The World

i don’t think the answer resides in one ism over another

its more of an individual, ethical choice we all need to consciously make and then act upon on a daily basis

we can have no faith in our representatives and the dangling choices we’re given as a means to participate in how we’ll ultimately really change and govern the world

let’s just stop pretending

the experiment in all of these isms show us nothing but failure and pain and corruption so far

and there’s no longer any need to force it — it does us no good

let’s not put any more of our faith and energy into any of these shadowGames and pretenses

if you see me at the mall, just give me a smile and a nod — let’s just acknowledge we’re part of the same open and inclusionary humanness { no new isms, please } and that we’re all now individually fighting the good fight to do right by The People, not just of our nation, but for The Peoples of The World living in collaborative destiny with Mother Earth

design equity

apple-design-god-jony-ive-has-an-auction-at-sothebys--and-the-items-are-awesome

how much do you value Design?

as a designer — a human-centered storyFirst experience designer, to be more specific — i sometimes have to unfortunately question my value, or at least my perceived value to the people that hire me or collaborate with me on the project work i’m involved with

value is a relative thing

in a lot of ways value is as nebulous and conceptually faith-based as other terms like respect, trust, belief and other similar energy-guided principles that guide our daily decisions and interactions as we make from the head, heart and gut

most people simplify the concept of value to some sort of financial equivalancy

value becomes a purely monetarily-evaluated thing

but this is a perversion of what value really means, because value in actuality is a far less static force in the world, and one not really as directly associated with money as its been made to feel and as it is promoted to be by our larger societal systems

its all a vast oversimplification

but from a design standpoint in general — its actually an unfortunate and unnecessarily cluttered perversion of the term itself

wrap-bg

i can feel that my value as a designer
changes from collaboration to collaboration

from full-time engagement to full-time engagement there is really no standard equivalency that a corporation needs to adhere to from a purely monetary, compensatory standpoint in the hiring process — its all comparative and competitive market ballparking that also involves basic negotiation and ultimately the individual decisions of each party involved — which is fine, this is a free market system we deal with on a daily basis, but don’t forget to defend your value as an employee or independent professional and to actually also stand for and stand up for the other definition variation for the term in its plural values

all that said

your value as built up over the years and as you and your colleagues and collaborators perceive you’ve accumulated through experience, expertise and the daily work you do creates a certain brand equity

in my case i own my own Design Equity

at this point in my career i just simply know what i’m doing — but what i do as a designer might be valued more or less { not just in the monetary sense of value } depending on the company i keep

if i perceive that the company i keep during my day gig doesn’t appreciate my value and the level of contribution i bring to the team and to the company, i start to get a little confused

as much as i typically want to continue with the company i keep — as much as i want to continue to innovate and collaborate with the team i’m working with by bringing the power of my design knowledge, processes and know-how to the table each and every day, if it feels like i’m being kept by the company in some way — maybe kept from leveraging my full potential talent — or kept from contributing the most i can to the business strategies, initiatives and needs of the organization

i guess i just never quite understand that particular dynamic within a corporate business setting

why would a company want to compensate you a substantial amount — after quite rigorously interviewing you and assessing what you can contribute to their business — to just keep you locked up at a desk like an collectable or something and ask you to contribute to the typical mediocrity they suddenly reveal as their real business objectives once you’ve crossed over into the company after the interview process to just be another one of their employees? 

i would automate the timepunch workforce, let go of the half aSses that keep the company { and the country, for that matter } at that well-established level of mediocrity and hire more of the go-getters and game-changers to actually maybe get some real shit done

doesn’t that make a whole lot more sense?

i think if you analyze it from even that pure economic monetary value perspective, which most companies supposedly do, it definitely makes for just better business practice

if i feel like my company is merely keeping me, that’s when i consider taking my Design Equity elsewheremy LinkedIn Profile reflects this mentality, which is a bit more than a mentality, its my personal business and career methodology and i actually recommend more people think about and conduct their careers and their lives following this more aggressive set of personal business policies that place more accountability and responsibility on the corporations that choose to engage with us

in Massachusetts we’re all considered employees at will — basically meaning at any point the company you work for can decide to let you go without any real reason whatsoever

but that decision actually goes both ways

its a ultimately bisexual decision — or at least its a two-way street

and you as the employee at will can also decide to let the company go, too

but there is a little bit of a stigma that comes with the terrain, of course, if you do choose to live by the ethical standards and values i allude to so far — and this stigma i speak of is very much not in as kind to the individual as an employee as it is to the companies that hire them

i assume its because the financial power
typically resides with the company

they decide on our relative worth and value or devalue us

although those that defend their value and fight for their real value set up and enforce a dynamic where we can ultimately at least influence and fend for what we know our real Design Equity and general workforce worth is in the world — there’s simply still more power in the hands of the corporations, for recruitment and for just about every other facet of our current capitalist, consumer-based socio-economic systemic setup

making corporations a bit more accountable when they don’t properly empower you is just another way to move our culture away from our econoRuled world to a more humanistically-beneficial, and maybe even a far more truly democratic new roadmap for the future world 

Design is one of many very powerful ways to better participate at the larger level and maybe even help change our world for the better

and i choose to use my own Design Equity to actively work toward making the world a better place for actual peoplenot to simply promote new technologies to just drive better profit margins on somebody’s fucking Excel spreadsheet — and definitely not to contribute toward the mere survival of a legal entity that doesn’t in actuality even exist in the world as anything real and that doesn’t ultimately care in any way for actual people, including: their employees; their partners; their clients; and the people of the world

i Design to imagine and help create a better world

i leverage my Design Equity for people over corporations

i am not against corporations or anti-American, though — i just think corporations need to be more accountable for their actions and behavior and for what they promote — and corporations need to be babysat a bit more through actual government-driven policies and services that put The People at the core of what this nation and the world is all about

i hope you weren’t previously confused by who i am or what i stand for, but if so — i hope this blogPost clears things up for you

let me know if you have any questions, aight?

quote-democracy-cannot-consist-solely-of-elections-that-are-nearly-always-fictitious-and-managed-by-rich-che-guevara-234135

being a transitional

laEvolucion

one of the fun parts about being human is that we are always evolving

like it or not — the only thing we can truly count on actually staying the same is the fact that things always change — and we are a species that is very much under the influence of things — so, following that logic, to some degree, as our things change, we change, almost purely as a means to adapt to our things

this concept, in many ways, is in direct conflict with my very purpose as a human-centered designer — my job and daily activities are focused solely on driving and guiding the design process, mostly aimed at creating technology-based experiences, to hopefully result in interactive and dynamic software and interfaces that: intuitively make sense to users { or people as i prefer to call them }; that are usable and valuable and user-friendly { or ‘easy to use’ and understand with a minimal learning effort }; and that largely serve the actual human goals and business goals of the overall technohumanic experiences being delivered

we now live in a world population increasingly geared toward the digital natives

 

the other day my son Maceo was taking a bath and, with Maceo being extremely social and fun-loving but also a bit co-dependent, he invited me to come in to the bathroom to talk with him while he relaxed and washed { before settling in to read and eventually fall asleep in his bed on this typical school night }

Maceo is 10 years old

he’s definitely a digital native, meaning, he’s grown up in The Digital Age and for the most part has never been in a world without computing machines, as we used to call them — he understands computers and our mobile devices in a much different way than my wife or i do because he’s grown up with them as a simple and accepted set of objects within his natural living environment — and he’s grown up in an era when, for the most part, the information-based, interactive experiences delivered via the medium of our digital technologies already have a lot of the kinks worked out of ’em — due to Steve Jobs and the iUniverse he’s created through his prosumerization of our computers and devices, through Jobs’ efforts to make these relationships we have with our modernday technologies ‘just work,’ Maceo’s never really had to deal with the first 3 or 4 generations of the rather krudgy software and digital experiences we previously had with our devices in the first few decades on the new digital island

needless to say, he probably doesn’t have the same amount of frustration and associated psychological baggage that i have with these technologies that were invented to somehow serve humanity but also somehow typically don’t ‘just work’ the way we were promised they would in our non-native explorations of the digital island

with Maceo sprawled out, his body submerged under under the warm water of his bath, we discussed his daytime learning activities out at Spofford Pond School in Boxford — i asked him if today’s special { as they call all non-core classes at his school } was gym and he said, ‘No, today was Art’ — i asked him what special he’d have in school tomorrow and he said, Media’

‘Media? What’s Media?’ I asked him — i kind of knew what the term implied, of course, but wanted to know what the school system teaches him about media

i wanted to know what media now means
to a third grade student living in our modern Digital Age

he started laughing and said, ‘they teach us things that we all already know, like how to save a document,‘ and then he really started laughing pretty hard, which of course made me laugh

i could tell the whole idea of teaching media to the new breed of our digital natives seemed totally preposterous to him, almost like they were trying to teach him how to breathe or something so innately embedded in our humanness to feel like futile effort or even farce

we were laughing for quite some time

he went on, ‘its like, go to file and then move the mouse down and click on ‘Save”

he was like a little bathing stand-up comedian, delivering the ultimate punchline to the most hilarious joke i’ve heard in years, and i was both his receptive, laughing audience and an instant co-writer to these new jokes that almost seem to write themselves now

‘what are they gonna teach you next week, Maceo? how to log off of the computer?’ i quipped back — we were both laughing even harder than ever now, he returned the volley with, ‘i know, its like, here’s how we right-click on a mouse’ — he was kind of saying the entire little phrase with an intentionally slow delivery, mocking how remedial and silly this class must feel to him and his fellow student colleagues sitting through each special weekly session of Media at Spofford Pond

i haven’t laughed that hard in about half a year

as a digital native, Maceo just gets it

and, if the technology does live up to its original promise — this high-level promise from Steve Jobs and other pre-Apple visionaries that promised these technologies will ‘just work’ and that they’ll actually be helpful, useful and valuable for us all to use — if the experience isn’t living up to our expectations, well, quite frankly, Maceo’s ready to dive in under the hood and actually make the technology do what he needs it to do for him

i, on the other hand, get immediately hung up on my overall, continual disappointment with the promises that are never quite met from my standpoint as both a user of these technologies and a designer that’s constantly trying to devise ways to improve the human experience of our digital technologies

and i get frustrated rather easily, i might add

i actually want the technology to ‘just work’ the way we were promised it would

but it doesn’t

9 times out of 10, from my own personal lifelong experiences with computers, devices and technologies, these experiences fall extremely short of the expectation

maybe i’m more aware of these discrepancies between the promise and what we really experience from our technologies right now because i remember the promise, whereas Maceo doesn’t have the same context at all — and, unlike a lot of people that will spend a lot of time jerry-rigging these experiences like some sort of delusional Digital MacGyvers that just want so desperately for the technologies to be so cool as to ‘just work’ that they paperclip and chewing gum back together the actual, shitty and broken experience design in an attempt to sort of pretend perfection or merely band-aid a nearly-usable hackensteined-up app or something — unlike those folks that are drinking the digital koolaid with wireless ice, play-acting like everythingz all too cool for school an’ all, i like to tell it like it is and assess these experiences at some sort of reasonably realistic and honest scale

macgyver

 

if we can’t evaluate the current-day experiences we have with our technologies with at least a reasonable sense of honesty then we’ll never be able to: level set where we are; identify critical areas for potential improvement; and then iteratively work toward any real sense of improving our overall human experience

now, unlike my son Maceo, who is considered a digital native, i am what’s called a digital immigrant — i don’t particularly like this terminology, but this is what anyone can Google up in a few seconds as a definition of who i am and what it means to be in my demographic in relation to the introduction to our interactive technologies and my particular abilities and views about the technologies and experiences we all use and deal with on a daily basis

i think by including the term digital in the semantics, definition and language so nicely weaved around these digital demographics, we almost immediately begin to think of absolutely everything as needing to be associated with the term digital — which in itself is quite interesting, this power of language to sell a movement

but i would like to think of myself in an entirely different way and perhaps affiliate my personal demographic less around the technologies and more around the actual times we’re talking about — or, better yet, it might even be nice to entirely decouple the term for my demographic from both the technologies and the times

let’s agree on at least one thing up front, though

we live in The Age of Information

we might also consider this to be The Digital Age, too, but for the most part the way that most of humanity views the entire world today is through an almost frighteningly pure informational lens

back to self-identification, though

so, instead of considering myself to be a digital immigrant, i would prefer to be called a transitional person, or just a transtitional

the term hints just a little bit toward our eventual post-humanity, which, like it or not, we’re already embarking on the journey to — i hope that its not an entirely inevitable place we’re heading to, but its pretty much nearly guaranteed just through the economics quite purposely confounded with our innovations through information and inventions — we’ll most likely just keep driving ourselves deeper and deeper into the human-machine-integration that futurists like Ray Kurzweil foretold decades ago in books like The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

i guess, then, i consider myself as transitioning from a mediated yet mostly analog time in the world we live in to one that is heavily dominated by: digital experiences; computing machines and devices; and datasets of information

where there is no transition necessary for Maceo — he was born with computers and smartphones in the household — i’ve needed to learn entirely new ways of doing just about everything i do in life just to fit in, and to perform and survive within our increasingly more and more digitalized culture

i think of the world we live in now
as our technohumanic ecoSystem

we live among the machines

and the machines outnumber us at this point, too, if you think about it

and, i guess one could even say even the culture we live in itself is still mostly transitional by its very nature, too — its not necessarily just a demographic set, but its also a way to categorize life in the modern age as we move to more and more digitally-mediated interactions and experiences

as much as the current trend shows us as a humanity moving closer and closer to merging with machines to evolve to a supposedly higher place, i would like to think the kind of design story we should be more focused on should center a lot more on developing a better sense of human and environmental awareness that really is totally unrelated to our technological inventions altogether

but how do we design for something like greater awareness?

this isn’t one of those ‘there’s an app for that’ results we’re looking for — there’s no real profitable product or service that i’m aiming for as a human experience designer, actually, which probably leaves me in a bit of a bind, right? i personally believe that we can invent a lot of amazing and innovative technologies that will help us survive or make our lives seem somewhat more comfortable or enjoyable, but at the end of the day i would like to do more than merely survive

i would like to see humanity start to grow again

and i don’t mean growing as in growing a user-base or expanding a knowledge set or some other similar information-based endeavor we get distracted by along the real path of where our human evolution should be headed — in this case, its not about the information

we need to start feeling the vibe of the universe again — we need to stop dissecting everything so much and mapping it all to some fictional, self-serving, data-related set of attributes that we as people invent to make sense of our chaotic universe to only feel somewhat in control of our little destinies — we need to start focusing in on our emotionality, our spirituality and our purpose

someone or something else designed these things for us, however, and we can only discover, shape and guide these interesting topic touch points in the story of our lives

we cannot truly control them

i don’t want to leave this planet to the next generation with my contributions merely being the design and delivery of a bunch of apps and experiences — i want to leave the future people of tomorrow with a sense that we helped change the direction of our destiny toward something more meaningful and real, and something far more valuable than the code for an information-based set of experiences, but maybe instead, the code for how to better behave and interact with each other in the world in which we live in together as we all move forward toward a more holistic, harmonious and humanistic civilization

more things i am grateful for this year

little-boy-laughing

i think i can finally return to laughter now — to a bit of a lighter life now that i’ve made it through another rough spot in life

i am a lucky man in SO many ways, and i am truly grateful this Thanksgiving { and on a daily basis beyond official holidays and occasions } for all of it, for both the badness and the goodness i’ve experienced throughout my lifetime

i’ve been out of work now for 2 months — even while employed at my previous workplace, as much as any of us are totally grateful to even have a job in this economy, the environment was not exactly a kind one and i was not set up for success within an antiquated, low-vision establishment — needless to say, i was frustrated and the energies i had to deal with were not helpful in guiding me the right way, toward a more successful way of living and working within a very cliquey and xenophobic, rookie team

a burden was lifted a little when we decided that ‘it wasn’t a good fit’ and i moved on — i was happy to move on, too — i don’t believe in wasting my time or a company’s time just sucking a paycheck from an organization that doesn’t appreciate my talents and what i can do for their business like some sort of societal leech — i’m not going to ‘lay low’ and keep it all inside just to supposedly be a good employee, and if that’s what an organization wants out of their employees, then its definitely not a good fit for me — it just doesn’t seem productive, and the level of contribution an individual contributor is allowed to produce suffers both qualitatively and quantitatively, and not by the fault of that particular employee

anyhow — i just landed a new role at a fantastic company with people that i’ve worked with in the past that truly appreciate both my soft skills and the expertise and capabilities i bring to the table — i was empowered to lead and contribute at a MUCH higher level at the organization i’m joining and i know that my new aim to truly live up to the words i set out to own as a story-based force to guide my behavior and my participation and personality throughout my career moving forward

i have a deeper understanding of myself recently due to rigorous self-reflection and personal analysis, which will completely help me with everything i do both career-wise and otherwise along my life’s journey as well

i’m a better man now

and i am thankful for this downtime opportunity to do this difficult work and really dig into myself and learn and face big mysterious internal and external energies that have held me back or stifled me in the past

i’ve basically rediscovered pieces of myself

i’m re-assembling myself little by little, day by day by day

i feel lighter — not just in a physical weight kinda way, but also spiritually, emotionally, mentally

i enjoy my family more and more, and i enjoy even the dysfunctional dynamics that are sometimes quite naturally embedded in who we all are as human beings in the world

we live in a complicated place

we live in a broken world

and i’m even thankful for the opportunities and challenges this broken world offers up to me as a designer, as a father, as a husband, and ultimately as a citizen of the world

but i am most thankful for my family at this time of year — we all usually are — my family and my friends and my ability to almost find and rescue myself — to rediscover the person i am, who i was, and who i want to be

1471231_556424104435953_386967322_n