Category Archives: nature

some definitions to consider

ocean

i look back lately — at my previous research and active design work at Dynamic Media Institute

i am re-opening my book — my design thesis book, that is — to once again take a look inside my veryOwn openContainer, and my intention to continue my investigative research into laughter, cyberSurrealism and the human experience swells and motivates me with a newfound retrospective clarity that i just frankly wasn’t ready to tackle back then

as i delve deeper into the investigation — an investigation that brings me to new areas of dangerous confrontation and heightened, intense self-awareness — i ready myself and my future audience of readers and participants with these 3 crucial definitions stolen from — or, uhm — cited from the Wikipdedia as core concepts for your consideration — important terms of reference regarding the underlying purpose and nature of my work

 

awareness
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception andcognitive reaction to a condition or event.
Read more about Awareness on the Wikipedia

consciousness
Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined as: sentience,awarenesssubjectivity, the ability to experience or to feelwakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”[5]
Read more about Consciousness on the Wikipedia

mindfulness
Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”,[1]which can be trained by meditational practices[1] derived from Buddhist anapanasati.[2]

The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati,[3] “mindfulness”, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassanasatipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati.

Mindfulness practice is being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorderanxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction.[4] It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions.
Read more about Mindfulness on the Wikipedia

 

All preceding definitions from this blogPost came from the infamous Wikipedia out there on the webz. Go check it out { as if you’ve never heard of it, right? } and don’t forget to occasionally donate a bit to keep the project funded and smoothly movin’ along — we all learn soOOoOoo much from our little Wikipedia that could now, don’t we?

 

wikipedia1

 

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

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

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

some thoughts about leadership in a democracy

obama

we’ve been trained well, haven’t we?

i don’t know how many countless times i’m out at some family thang or a company function or just in some random conversation with folks, but we’re all these sort of armchair citizens, you gotta admit

and for the most part, no matter who’s in office, we unfairly get to simply sit at home behind the big blue screen in the living room and point at Congress or The President or The Government and blame all of the chaos and uncontrollable issues of our nation and the world on them

but this is a democracy, is it not?

some would argue the United States government is no longer a democracy

a loose definition for democracy would be a government by the people for the people of that democratic nation — so, my estimate is that we’re no longer a democracy, unfortunately

but who’s fault is that really?

we can’t point fingers there — at least, not unless we’re looking directly at ourselves and looking in a mirror

if we’re no longer a democracy,
what are we now in The United States?

we’re basically some sort of government led by pure economics — financial Darwinism — mostly pushed and pulled by numbers in somebody’s Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

corporations run their numbers that way — if its not profitable for the business then we need to cut it away and figure out a cheaper, more efficient and semi-legal way around whatever challenges are making this particular quarter unprofitable

after all, we don’t want to look bad in the eyes of The Board and our investors, right?

and then, corporations also ultimately push and pull our government around as well, mostly through lobbyists and their closer relationships to their affiliated counterparts on the other side of the fence in whichever house of government they might currently reside

its all about The Benjamins

eatingProfits

our founding fathers would be so proud of us and what we’ve become, although at this point i’m not so sure they were exactly doing all that much better with their own dichotomous talk about freedom and justice for the landowners — er, ehm — i mean for ALL, right?

anyhow

so, i think what the world needs now isn’t love, love, love, but something more in-line with some better systems

we need to redesign the system entirely

i’m talking system overhaul

we can no longer count on or even begin to place blame on our fearless leaders, because unfortunately, in the way our current Capitalist Consumer-Based Corporate-Led Purely Economic government rule works — or doesn’t work — is much-like the very catastrophic and dystopian results we read about in the amazing fictional speculation of Golding’s Lord of The Flies

and we all know how that turned out, right? remember? 

not so good

lordFlies

and i don’t know about you, but i personally want the world to get better

i see what we’re going through as a supposed civilization as something akin to world drug addiction or global alcoholism

we’ve been set up with:

  • a junky dependence on constant consumer purchases to try and attain some level of momentary happiness
  • utterly preposterous dependence on gas and oil and other natural resources that are vastly diminishing
  • a sedentary and compliant lifestyle where we’re encouraged to remain edutained, quiet and obedient — be a good follower and you’re a valuable American citizen
  • minimum life and survival training disguised as our government-run and tax-funded education systems that merely, for the most part, provide a quasi-babysitting service to keep the kids busy while you and i drive back and forth to work { spending money on gas and auto repairs to support the automotive and oil industries } to do invaluable, meaningless busywork that keeps us all sufficiently distracted from thinking about or acting upon the real, important issues
  • a strangely powerful economic system that thrives when we’re at our most destructive but suffers in a big, big way when we no longer got our war on

so thanks to the set up and a special thanks to people that just want to live a comfortable, happy life without being bothered by the mad illusion we’re all living, our world is riddled with rather immense challenges — and our nations start to represent some sense of archetypal versions of Ralph, Piggy, Sam, Eric and the other characters we recall from Lord of The Flies

we’re left on an island and its survival of the fittest for the most part, with no real true guidance, less and less regulations and rules, mostly providing a valuable set of services that ticket you, pull you over, check the shit in your trunk while some real criminal activity that is far more dangerous might be happening in just the town over

so how do we change all this?

i want a happy ending { not that kind silly }

i need a different way — one that has some sense of hope through collaborative, active participation for humanity

i don’t want our children and our childrens’ children to grow up and look back and read the stories about: who we were; how we wasted the time and energies and resources of this beautiful planet; how we lived completely irresponsibly as a supposed civilization; and how we left the world in an increasingly more desperate and dangerous place for the generations to follow us

that’s not the legacy i want us to leave behind

and i personally am going to do everything in my humble power to contribute in a positive and productive way to change the dysfunctions of our current systems while also imagining and facilitating the creation of new ways to guide the people of the world to a better tomorrow

i have no idea how i can do this

i guess i’ve never tried to do this before

but i can definitely say i’ve never been this hyper-aware of the scary realities of the world in which we live in and the general trends, forces and energies that got us to the state we’re currently experiencing in the world

we need to re-design all of this

there is SO much work to do

its at once overwhelming and exciting and impossible and hopeful and challenging and happy

i don’t even know where to begin

i guess we all need to begin with ourselves — and i’ve been working on myself and my own dysfunctions — i’ve been tackling my own misused and poorly guided internal energies to try and harness them, turn them around and use them for something good — and its difficult work, but its work that is SO worthwhile and important

instead of pointing a finger at someone else today and externalizing some major world issues or the personal issues you’re facing on a daily basis, i want you to take an honest look at yourself

do not accept the blame for the state of the world, but realize its people like you that are going to need to take some reasonable action to help turn it all around for the betterment of our society

don’t think of it as a burden

its heavy stuff, for sure

but think of it as more of a personal mission

we’ll meet more people like us along the way, people that want to make the world a better place, people really trying to make a difference by listening and learning and attempting to actually do something positive

stop listening to people that just gripe about everything — and stop listening to people that have no individual thought of their own anymore but just pontificate on the part of ignorant and self-righteous, unimportant radio personalities that can barely wipe their own asses forget about give us an accurate depiction of the world or some sense of how we can productively start to solve these tremendous and serious issues we’re facing as a people and a planet

and let’s think of the work we do
to better the world
as a gift

as a beautiful act of giving a gift to the peoples of tomorrow

leafRain

from the spiritual to The Machine Age and back again

seance

my previous post here made a comment on an interesting quotation from the Bauhaus artist and philosopher László Moholy-Nagy about a temporal and experiential transition within our history of humanity from a previous era of transcendental spiritualism to a Machine Era

once again, a detail from this quote from Moholy-Nagy says:

To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century.

… which, to me, doesn’t feel much-like a human spirit at all

as far as i know from reading up on him, Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus as an practicing artist and educator promoting new practices working toward a more intense integration between what we consider traditional Art and the fields of Science, Industry and Technology { which frankly seems to me to be a return to the originally more unified forces between the Arts and Sciences one might recall from other periods in Art History like The Italian Renaissance, for instance — nothing new, really — a rebirth or return to a more unified conceptual feeling toward all of The Creative and Expressive Arts }

here’s more about the artist’s involvement with The Bauhaus according to Wikipedia:

In 1923, Moholy-Nagy replaced Johannes Itten as the instructor of the foundation course at the Bauhaus. This effectively marked the end of the school’s expressionistic leanings and moved it closer towards its original aims as a school of design and industrial integration.

so, as much as we could interpret the full Moholy-Nagy quote from my previous blogPost as perhaps being interestingly facetious in some way, perhaps knocking this transition from the previous era of a more directly-human transcendental spiritualism to a new era whereby humankind must reach the spiritual by becoming a user of machines — a Freudian Slip, perhaps? — i think Moholy-Nagy, instead, meant to state something more positive about this transition into the spirit of this century as mediated through our machine inventions

but we no longer live in The Age of Machines

we’ve transcended the previous epochal trends once again

we’ve moved from a time-trend of inventing and manufacturing the tools to self-ascend us into our new levels of spiritual progress to what we all deal with on a daily basis

welcome to The Information Age

we now worship data

if moving from a transcendental spiritualism to a new century of the spiritual machines distanced us from a more direct sense of the human spirit — the new trend to put both the economic value and previously-humanistic spiritual emphasis on the very meta-material of information pulsing and moving through our machines, our inventions, our devices as a second level of removal from the more mystical and original sense of our spirit reduces everything down to the over-simplified perspective that the entire natural-born universe can be entirely predicted through quantifiably measurable and humanly-understandable means

which, of course, we know is complete horseshit

despite our obsessive-compulsive and rather futile attempts to, quite literally, scientifically dissect and analyze the mystery and wonder of our universe to data-death — we, as a holistic, collective human organism — with all of our slowly-evolving new scientific powers to comprehend everything we encounter in life through logic, reason and mathematics — still very much face the ultimate crazy, chaotic entropy and relative unreason of a universe that is bigger and better than all of our meager endeavors to even think we can control our mutual destiny

we may be able to shape the destiny of humanity

but we should know by now that our efforts to completely comprehend and literally control our destiny as people on a planet in our universe is quite simply beyond the realistic control of mere mortal men and women

and i think we now need to think of better ways to work with the universe instead of continually pushing for further and further removal from the spiritual core of the universe in which we all live and can never, ever control or escape

we can only influence our destiny in some way

and the universe in its subtle and beautiful ways seems to be asking us as unwilling participants in our natural-born environment to behave a little nicer and maybe follow some of the rules of the universe without so much resistance to who we really are as participants in The Bigger Picture of everything

more about machines and data and spiritualismafter these messages … 

motherMary

Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise — Saturday, June 8

on Saturday, June 8th — Lee Todd Lacks, Tom Swafford and i will appear at Matt Samolis‘ ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise,‘ a new and interdisciplinary performance works events out at Nave Gallery in Somerville

Check out more info up on The Book, aight?

we’ll perform a new composition of Lee Todd’s written in A flat minor with relative wholetone flourishes and micropolyrhythmic, purposely dissonant percussive undertone accompaniment with a slightly woody taste wildly reminiscent of 1984 or so aptly entitled ‘Ghost Mall’ — you won’t want to miss it — i’m serious — well, okay, i really have no idea who you are right now, right? the technology i used to put this blogpost together can’t really dynamically detect who might be reading this post in the moment and then, based upon your innermost desires and personal likes or dislikes in music then assess whether you might or might not want to miss it, this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ that Matt Samolis is putting on out at that wickid cool Nave Gallery in the general Somerville districts of Massachusetts and all, but, hey, i have the write to pretend and play and let’s pretend for just a second that WordPress allowed for that post-humanic, überCreepy and simulated predictive functionality, okay?

woah

yeah

that’d be, like, kind of simultaneously amazing, this kind of stuff we dream up and invite, but also a little bit annoying and probably a little bit broken

like

it might not get it EXACTLY right, right?

but we’d kind of ignore the fact that it’d be a little ‘off,’ right? like we normally do — and we’d probably think, like, woah — oh my gawd, that’s pretty fucking awesome — who the hell dreamt this cool, new innovative trick up? how’d they implement that? was there some sort of direct emotional sensor that somehow reached out via webcam into my retina to pull out my wants, needs and personal tastes in music and performance art?

probably not

i bet it’d just be kind of random, but we’d believe there’d be this wonderfully creative and epically smart algorithm of pure genius behind it all — that somehow data answers every question we have and that any tiny miraculous event can be somehow utterly dewonderfied through scientific conjecture and fully quantifiable proof of anything seemingly magical, real or exciting

hey

i’d go out to this ‘Synthesize, Improvise and Otherwise’ — ‘sGonna be off da hook ‘n shit

i can tell it is

probably the best way you can spend your Saturday night { unless, of course, you’re going out to that competing Mobius event happening on the verySame night — jeez! }

some of the things i’ll miss about Stoneridge

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our son Maceo attends Stoneridge Childrens Montessori School in Beverly, Massachusetts — he’s studied there since kindergarten and my wife Carol and i truly love the school, the faculty, the other parents and students, and the warm sense of community that makes Stoneridge all that its been to us

but now its time for us to all say our goodbyes as Stoneridge goes away in the Spring of 2013

these are just some of the things i’ll miss about Stoneridge
{ and already do }

  • walking up the sidewalk to bring Maceo in and politely saying ‘good morning’ with a smile and direct eye contact with every child and parent you meet along the way — at first, i hate to admit it, the utterly positive vibe kind of freaked me out — it seemed like i had stepped into a 50s vision of a wholesome America that i’ve never encountered anywhere else except for New Hampshire — but after a while, after a few weeks of the cheery hellos and smiles, you come to expect this sense of happiness and sharing, you open up a little more and realize there’s a friend or 2 living life along with you
  • the official Stoneridge website { although i didn’t design it, i did help maintain and update the site with Val and others on staff at Stoneridge — and the original design as created by Mad*Pow nicely expressed the warmth, community and sense of spirit the school had }
  • interesting afterhour talks put on by Stoneridge faculty to help parents better understand Maria Montessori and the learning methodologies and materials as they pertain to each house or classroom of the school — Charles Terranova and Diane Sullivan definitely made amazing first impressions and lasting impressions with their passion and discourse about Montessori
  • Valentine’s Breakfast for the parents — a very special way to start off the day, oh, and the Mother’s Day Tea that I never attended but seemed to hold the same warmness for family and the entire social community around the school
  • Musical Mondays — although I missed so many Musical Mondays early on at Stoneridge, these and so many other celebrations of music and performance led, coordinated, orchestrated and sound engineered by Hannah really shine as amazing little talent showcases for students, parents, faculty and other musicians associated with Stoneridge
  • the yearly fieldtrip to that pond out behind Gordon College — that and so many other fieldtrips to see Maple Syrup Barns and Peabody Essex Museum and so many wonders of nature by the ocean, in our backyards, in forests living all around us — this focus on the discovery of nature and research and understanding the self by exploring and observing the world around us still continues to delight and inspire our family and always will
  • the many friends and acquaintances we’ve made over the years — i know we’ve all been through many ups and downs, and here i will only mention the ups { i’ve learned a LOT over the years, right? }, but its been exquisite fun getting to know each other, getting to know each others’ children and the lives we all live — i know we’ll keep in touch with many people from Stoneridge, probably more than in previous lifetimes of academia for our children, etcetera — i really hope to keep in touch with as much of the community and extended Stoneridge family as humanly possible
  • the fundraisers and celebrations and ceremonies and fun — The Dance of the Cosmos comes to mind, of course — such a wonderful performance all of our children got to participate in, so amazingly cute and memorable in every way — and even when the ridiculous and inevitable politics of any organization might’ve put a damper on getting things done and just having collaborative fun together, well, that just became another funny bump in the story we created along the way

i could go on and on, i’m sure — but these are some of the high-level items that come to mind, the big picture items i’ll miss about the school

its been a fantastic place for us to work with the faculty at setting up Maceo for a life filled with the wonder and joy of learning — i wouldn’t change a thing now that i look back and reflect a bit — and i hope that, as much as i will miss these wonderful experiences i memorialize here, that i also get the chance to continue on in the spirit of Stoneridge and hold dear these first years of our child’s education and bring forward the lessons Maceo, Carol and i have all learned along the way

congratulations to all the students, parents, teachers, staff, administration and faculty for making these first years of Maceo’s education so beautiful and warm and nurturing — and for doing the same for so many families up here on the North Shore of Massachusetts — you have truly touched us all and i am forever grateful for everything you’ve given us over the years

thank you

the anatomy of a pinecone

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i think i found yet another connection to some previous threads in my work as a fine artist and designer, this time an interesting cosmological coincidence deriving from my lifelong obsession with pinecones

these photographs of a pinecone on my notebook at work inspired me to finally take up Joseph Liberty’s suggestion to look into the natural geometric wonder in the structure of these reproductive artifacts that quite literally litter the landscape surrounding our home in a fascinating, ubiquitous way

according to a Wikipedia article on the conifer cone, there are both male and female pinecones, both made up of essentially the same spiralling configuration of rigid plates that are more officially known as scales — the reproductive materials of the conifer, either pollen sacs or ovules, are tucked up inside each of the scales, with the actual act of reproduction almost seemingly performed by a miraculous happenstance fertilization of the ovules by airborn or insect-carried pollen from the male pinecone

interestingly enough, as in previous pieces where i purposely confounded the notion of a phallic object with overall feminine qualities, the female pinecone in some strangely personal and symbollic way represents this interesting crossing of male to female energies, a female object that looks and feels very hard, rigid and almost uttelry male — the other aspect of pinecone anatomy that i am focusing in on today, however, is the interlocking connetion of the scales around this almost spinal central, linear object — there is, in a sense, an implied relationship between the pinecone and the human { or at least mammalian } nervous system, and in fact further Wikipedia research for the initial surface information reveals that the pinneal gland located at the very heart of the brain is named for the pinecone and actually connects the left and right hemispheres, ‘tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join’ 

i am still very consciously looking for certain psychological and mystical connections in the subconscious themes and imagery that rise to the surface during periods of active, unthinking creative exploration and making — besides the fact that Carol and i are quite literally surrounded by a soft wooded forest of fir trees, pinecones, needles and plants, besides the sheer convenience of immediate material availability, i believe i’ve been obsessing on the vessel, the actual container of natural objects like the pinecone or the seashell for emotional and spiritual reasons — i think its time to dig a little deeper