Tag Archives: commentary

on wearables and beyond

wearables_oldskool

and with wearables, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic technologies we become even more immersed as human beings into the strange cyberSurreal otherSpace — a betweenSpace in our spectrum of new and ever-expanding realities — that exist between: the natural world we were born into; the artificial worlds we create; and the evolving technological realm of an alternative set of subconscious realities that our inventions open up to us ( both in realSpace + time as well as in cyberSurrealSpace + time )

for the machines — we become the wetware accompaniment to the technoHumanic symphonies developed through both our extensions and their extensions — whether purposefully created and developed or perhaps even unintentionally built mechanisms to escape our natural environmental context

at first these inventions allowed humankind to survive the elements — to brave and rise above the threats, the harsh realities of Nature

in fact, even the belief systems we invent, such as language, religion, mathematics, psychology and Science, to some degree, act as other tools to help us dominate the unexplainable phenomena of the universe that feel stacked up against us

these become methods for our survival at first

through measurement, logic, reason, discovery, explanation and blind faith — we get to reframe our existence toward an imagined superiority and rulership over everything we experience in life

but now the evolution of these tools into unexplored areas within — areas that reside within the subconscious, invented realities of our belief systems and our technological augmentations beyond the powers of Nature — these have become addictive forces that unfortunately begin to rule over our humanity

at this point, we are no longer able stop our continuing urge to technologically advance and ‘evolve’ ourselves

its become an addiction — an addiction that gets the full financial and emotional support from our official governments and corporations — after all, vast economic promise depends on the  hot streaming ever-inventive production and output of ‘the new’

but we no longer need to invent new tools for survival — at least not those of us born into the privilege and supposed leisure that The First World offers up to humanity

our escape from Nature and the feeling of sovereignty we fabricate through our tools, inventions and technologies now seem to only encourage a disconnectedness from our larger contexts within the world and within a greater holistic and collective sense of our humanity

the otherSpace we create tends to consume us

we subconsciously travel in our ethereal, cerebral thinking so very far away from those aspects of our social animal selves

we are distracted from, perhaps, a bigger purpose

how can we better channel our energies to best serve this bigger purpose?

i am not advocating for a suppression of our inventions through Science and technology

i’m just hoping we can leverage them — and the passion and energies that go into these sorts of development efforts — to optimize the larger, collective human experience of people all around the world

products like the Apple Watch distract us from working towards the greater good that we could potentially provide to our brethren world citizens

products like the Apple Watch feel superfluous, unnecessary and more for the benefit of companies, surface economies and governments than for the majority of actual people

frivolity

derivative

and ultimately unimportant in comparison the grander potential of what we can all be offering the world at this point in time

don’t forget

medium-is-the-massage

the wheel
is an extension of the foot
the book
is an extension of the eye
clothing, an extension of the skin,
electric circuitry,
an extension of
the
central
nervous
system

The Medium is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan

i think we can all interpret these effects, as McLuhan calls them, in various extremes, dimensions, and ways

one way i interpret some of our extensions as influenced by books like The Body has a Mind of Its Own and The Moving Body: Teaching Creative Theatre is that in some way, the tools we use become a part of us, and likewise the other way, too — we become part of the tools we use

i specifically think of the performance art and new media works of the Australian artist Stelarc — in his piece called Muscle Memory { seen in the image included in this post, below }, the artist installs himself into a robotic, spider-like structure that augments and extends his physical abilities as a human being through this strange, science fiction-like machine contraption

003_mm_stelarc

a question i think about a LOT recently is — well, what’s so controversial and different about this performance and the gadgetry involved and, let’s say, the average commuter driving to work at 6:34 AM?

in the case of Stelarc’s Muscle Memory, the artist demonstrates the sheer power and new capabilities afforded the machine operator to an audience in a gallerySpace — its a performance and a demonstration, and its very future-forward and cyberSurreal and interesting in a way that might inform the audience in both a positive and negative way — we might be able to very obviously see how Stelarc, now living and breathing within the confines of this ginormous metal robot, might start to behave, well, like a ginormous metal robot — he, in many ways, becomes the machine, and he learns and adapts and adjusts to both the new things he can do with it while simultaneously sacrificing his own human experience along the way — or, maybe i’m thinking far too much like a transitional, if that’s even a term — i’m not sure that he evolves in any literal way by using the robotic equipment as part of his Muscle Memory performance piece, but his discussions on the topic of this Singularity between man and machine, the combination of the biological and the technological extensions of the previously nearly-pure physical human form, put us in the typical uncanny valley of confrontational wonderment — what does this all mean for us as human beings — will we all need to put on a robotic suit in the near future to perform our on-the-job tasks and assignments? or are our human capabilities ‘man’ enough to get the job done? perhaps it depends upon the line of work you’re in, not sure though, but i’m sure we’ll find out in 10 to 15 years

now let’s take the case of driving to work in the morning — i embed myself into my maroon Honda Accord every morning and drive from Boxford to Waltham every day and i would like to argue that while i am in the car i actually become the car — i adopt the personality, the feelings and the mentality of driving to work, at least for 40 minutes to an hour, twice a day — and, depending on traffic and the flow of traffic and other automobiles on the highway as i drive down Route 95 South, and depending on my mood as a human being now living and breathing as a wetware organ beating inside the machine like a nearly obsolete heart of meat, i act quite differently than i normally do when we talk face-to-face in the office or when i’m at home playing with my son or my grandchildren on the floor — i really think i can become the car in a very literal way, at least if you let yourself follow the subconscious flow of desire that stands in front of you like the temptress you know she is

let’s say you’re in a hurry and you know that if you stay in your conscious state as a person sitting at the wheel that you’ll get to work in about an hour and 15 minutes — not bad, not bad

but why not trust you’re own muscle memory as a driver, as a commuter that’s gotta get shit done, as a worker bee that’s gotta shake the tree and make the magic happen today, ya know? that care now becomes far more than a mere vehicle for rapid movement across a peripherally streaked landscape of trees and jersey barriers and guardrails flying by at 80 miles an hour

that’s right, think about it

from a human-centered perspective, you’re not really moving at all — in fact, you may move here and there, adjust the ball of your foot to move from brake to gas, click the direction into the left position to send a signal to the 20 people behind you as you course like blood through the body that is the highway, but for the most part you’re parked solid and still on your ass, sunk into a quite comfortable chair that let’s you command your magic journey some 30 to 50 miles away from where you live

if you let go a bit and begin to think and behave like the car, you start to decipher new rules of the road that can be leveraged to your advantage — little openings in the flow of traffic beckon you to quickly shift lanes and push ahead of the losers driving slowly in the passing lane to the left — sure, they’re supposed to pass you, but for whatever reason the first and second lanes are wide open and you can make better progress by ignoring the implicit rules of the road — let’s get moving, right? and so on, and so forth

your a little less human when you drive, and more like the pilot of a zombie robot that’s bolting to the office, zipping in and out of the lanes that help you make it all happen

the wheel is an extension of the foot is what McLuhan said in the original quote from The Media is the Massage, but i beg to differ

with our newly adapted and evolved modern lives and our commonplace daily use of machines and devices like cars and trains and other vehicles, the person becomes and extension of the automobile — we become the force that operates a vehicle such as a car, a forklift or an airplane — we become a reverse-extension of it, or them, and we do all the adjusting and discover the new terrains now opened up by our technological progress

i’m not sure where that leaves us as human beings

but i think we should all exercise, at times, a little more conscious awareness and control over our newly-extended selves

cyberSurrealism is about looking at the self by psychoanalyzing the human element through our cybernetic machine influence back on the wetware components of our society — how do our machines change our behavior? how do they then influence: our culture; our interactions with each other as people; and our capabilities on a more holistic scale? as certain capabilities improve, is it inevitable for us to lose other very valuable skills and qualities as human beings? and, in all of this, these thoughts and experiments and explorations through progress and innovation, do we still have any control whatsoever over the evolution and invention of the tools we create and use? or do these things almost subconsciously invent themselves now? how do we keep focusing on the valuable potentials of these human ingenuities and foster more humanly helpful technologies and progress? and most importantly, what the fuck does 4G mean? 

snow day

Chris Brogan recently posted his reflections on the Snow Day … he says on his blog:

As kids, this became the best treat in the world. You know what was at play? We’d discovered unaccounted for time. Somehow, we never realized the absolute value of time from this simplest of transactions. Years later, after the fog of adulthood set in, we forget the value of time, especially “found” time.

He then goes on to more talk about time and the value of time and the fog of adulthood … read up here if you want … but I think he might be missing the point. Kids don’t give a sh!t about time and have an entirely different notion of time and what to do with time than we do as adults ( most of us, that is ;] ). They have entirely different roles and responsibilities than adults, and with that … an entirely different relationship with time. I think kids see a snow day as an amazing excuse to … guess what? … go outside and play in the snow. Yep, it might be that simple. To run, slide, slip, sled, throw, taste … to feel how cold it is outside ( and typically keep playing despite the ‘record low temperatures’ ).

Here is my Disqus comment and response to Chris’ ‘Snow Day’ post … see what you think:

okay … i’m not trying to diss you or anything here … in fact, i’m probably one of your biggest fans … but the value of the snow day is that you get the amazing excuse to stop and play … and the value of doing your own laundry is that, well, besides the clean clothes part, you also get to let your mind stop and play …

here’s where i’m coming from

our minds, no matter how ‘busy’ and amazing we are, need time to just gestate and let things sink in … especially for anyone in a creative field, that down time is critical … in fact, Disney Stuidos were notorious for factoring in that old fashioned notion of ‘the smoke break’ into the workaday existence of their animation team ( of course, it wasn’t called ‘the smoke break’, but it was that time that an animator or creative had to sit in the hall and vedge out for a while, to let their brain relax and maybe come up with some less-forced, more natural gestault solution to things )

the snow day … certain components of a typical snow day come to mind … trying to stay warm and watch the storm unfold … the need to shovel or plow or dig your family out in some way … and with that, the need to bundle up and go outside … which for kids means the opportunity to run around, make snow angels, throw and taste snow, have a snowball fight, build a snowman, play with parents even … which for parents means the opportunity to run around, make snow angels, throw and taste snow, have a snowball fight, build a snowman, play with children even … its an amazing opportunity that none of us should pass up … its totally fun and super fantastic for your mind, your body, your family or whoever else might get involved in snowplay

doing your own laundry … well, this is an interesting one … but most of the time, in today’s modern day ‘n’ age, we spend in front of a monitor with a keyboard under fingers hands pointed downward typing away … this is work … we spend less and less time using our hands to manipulate and craft things, but what’s interesting is that when we do something like knit, sculpt, fold, etcetera … when we use our hands to actually touch and not tap … well, parts of our mind open up and operate in an entirely different manner … a different awareness comes into play … and we free up parts of our mind to think differently … i think its the same thing Henry Miller describes when he talks about walking ( a repetitive, physical event he actually worked into his daily routine for most of his writing and living life ) … in fact, Henry Miller knew he was a writer because the words would come to him along walks through New York, Paris, wherever … if only he could capture those words along the way, right? well, anyhow, this is why i think we should all do our own laundry, sometimes wash dishes by hand, physically touch and handle actual materials in the real world … i know that Montessori, and now other schools, espouse the value of ‘manipulatives’ as part of a child’s learning and development … i personally believe that this is a basic human need … we need texture … we need to touch … its part of our bodies and brains … as much as we’d like to deny the animal side of our existence, this is essential stuff, this touch … this touch and the need to run around and chase each other in the snow

does the Hero have to be a leader?

Animation

Image via Wikipedia

Shep Bush recently asked folks on LinkedIn ‘In screenwriting, does the Hero have to be a leader?

interesting question … and one that i needed to answer

as much as the post pertained to the ‘ani-jobs’ LinkedIn Group called Animation and Film Jobs, i wanted to answer in a more general, life-oriented sense … specifically siting certain movie characterizations and examples to point out the answer here is definitley ‘no’

here’s my answer

The ‘hero’ of a story does not need to be a leader. I guess this greatly depends on your definition of ‘hero’, but I am thinking of the main character or the primary target of the film or camerawork.

Although the hero or main character does not need to be a leader, as passive watchers of a film, we are following that person and therefore they can oftentimes seem like a leader.

I hope that Pee-wee Herman is not considered a leader when we watch ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’.

The main character in ‘3 Colours: White’ … is he ‘a leader’? We follow his life adventure. We’re introduced to his world and his climb back into a productive and almost-happy life, but he is almost an anti-hero. A low movement in the symphony of life. An interesting character, but not a leader.

The characters in ‘Ghost World’ … they’re almost more like tour guides to a certain mindSet or vantagepoint of looking at the world. The tension comes about when the 2 friends begin to encounter other people in their town that have what most might consider a ‘more normal’ view of the world. Or at least a less imaginative way of seeing things. This movie is almost about absolutely nothing. And yet we follow the characters and empathize with one or the other girl in our own special way depending on which side of the fence we’re standing.

And then, more famously … ‘Pulp Fiction’. Are these horrific gangsters ‘leaders’? I feel there is SO much symbollic stuff going on in this movie … the sort of ‘difference between dogs and pigs’ … loveable pets vs filthy animals … they too become our tourguides into a timeless swirling indecipherable world where the sacred and profane mingle and blur. But there are definitely no heroes here that I can see. And there is definitely a gigantic void in the realm of leadership.

And this concept … a hero-less, leaderless environment … this might be the state of the world today. So don’t let them fool ya.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

RE: Salem ‘Witches’

i just saw this amazing Facebook Note posted by my good friend John Biebel … Salem ‘Witches’ … here is his original note and a very cyberSurreally crafted response … see what you think …

John posted: Salem ‘Witches’ on October 12 at 7:16am

OK, maybe someone can help me out here… for all those people fascinated by the famous Salem Witches of the 17th century, what’s your opinion – were they witches?

It gets confusing since there are so many practicing witches active today in Salem. Do these modern witches stand by the Salem witches and say ‘yes, they were witches and we support them’? It kinda doesn’t make sense since the whole controversy is that they were wrongfully accused and therefore innocent victims of a rush to judgement. It is MORE likely that these women WEREN’T witches, and just scapegoats for an over-zealous puritan community.

So… why do modern witches flock to this place, then? It would seem to be a relic that represents the evils and sins of man’s cruelty to itself…

One would have to gather, then, that those who believe there is special power in Salem DO believe that the 17th century witches WERE in fact actual witches, and that their sickness, convulsions and visions (aparently Satanic) were legitimate and to be emulated and applauded… but wait: is this the kind of witchery that they’re supporting? In order to believe that these women were witches but MISUNDERSTOOD witches, well, that’s asking us to believe HALF of the history of Salem, and toss the other half out (i.e., yes they were witches BUT they were not EVIL witches, as the assorted townsfolk said they were…)

Wait – this doesn’t make sense, especially for those witches now who practice ‘storefront’ witchery of White Magic, and who are trying desperately to legitimize Magic as authentic.

Can someone explain this inherent contradiction?
Or is it simply that Salem is a nice historic old New England town where people like to hang out and buy love potion candles?

 

… and then on October 13 at 5:07 am I posted …

I think the answer actually has something to do with the neighboring township of Danvers ( or as I say it, somewhat jokingly and somewhat w/ seriour New Englandesian cant … Danviz ) … Danvers was originally part of Salem and broke off following the horribly bad kamric energetics following the Salem Witch Trials ( or at least this is how I am recalling how the story goes ) … the strangest part of all of this is that Danvers ( and Peabody … aka Peeb’dy ) legend has it such that early Wiccans that fled from Great Britain to The New Land were actually Satanistically blessed by frequent meetings with The Greys … oftentimes, real practicing ‘witches’ would wander off into the thick wooded patches of the now-Danvers-area forestScape and meet with The Greys and discuss potential peaceful union ( and sometimes have intergalactic bacchanalian festivals out in nature ) of the human race with these pristine and oft misunderstood otherBeings … husbands, boyfriends and other curious ( and lustful ) men that lurked a bit along the periphery were so wrought with jealousy that they eventually brought the news of these bizarre events back to the Salem PD and there began the party raids and eventual arrests of numerous Wiccan women in the area, thus starting a wave of suspicious jailings and trials that came to be known as The Salem Witch Trials

horrible stuff

the potential promise for intergalactic union and peace was still thick in the air during the torturous questionings and imprisonment of a fairly innocent bunch of women ( and men, although the marketing of The SWTs tends to leave the male element out … I get concerned, as a man, to think our society is so terribly frightened by the penis … so much so as to only have it visually portrayed { or represented } in underground cinematographic film circuits of pornography … why is it we can see breast and ass, but never { or rarely } a prick? And then why, I need to know, is it only depicted { or depricked dead } in its flaccid and sad hangning state and never in its vanglorious ‘awake and ready’ mode of play? hmmmm? hmmmmmmMmmMMmM? ) that came to be known as The Salem Witch Trials

and the women never uttered a word of their provocative interracial relations in the woods … why would that be, one might ask? well, perhaps for the very same reason the government hides some of the debris from September 11 ( for further forensic investigation and study ) in hangers and other large mysterious warehouses like the ones found out off of 495 in Littleton … do a little investigative reporting … they won’t let you know what’s in there … they won’t even entertain the notion of being somewhat ‘matter of fact’ about what is being covered up there, how they can manipulate and hide the truth behind such an event … very mysterious

well, at a certain point the ones that were capable of keeping the deeper secrets of these orgies were rewarded by some of the upper crust of Danvers … they were given quaint shoppes and told how to help market the event in a more positive light ( as if early New England’s pre-echo of waterboarding and other torturous ‘freedom preservation’ activities could ever truly be spun w/ threads of positive gold ) … how to turn the horrible, horrible burnings, drownings and mutilation of those 13 teenage women into something more sublimely menstrual and fun … nothing, mind you, to celebrate the wonderful ‘Big O’ activity that really went down in the furtive forests of ‘Salem’ as we know it today … that would perhaps anthropromorphize The Greys a bit too much for our liking ( they are always depicted as these tall and rather cold somewhat sterile heady beings … great mystics from the sky … their visits here showing influence in some of the local nomenclaature … Mystic River Parkway … Ayer … Mass MoCA … iHOP … and perhaps the most famous, Pizza Hut ( this is more of a visualization … the roof and major logo brand depicting the now overGeneralized shape of their craft ) ) yes, we like to depict ‘them’ as being emotionless and remote ala The Vulcans from the original Star Trek television series … the aliens are awkward, strange ‘others’ that are ‘out there’ among us

end of summer update

so, yeah … heh heh heh … summer’s wrappin’ up quick now, aint’ it ;]

here’s what went down + what we learn from it alL

july 3 | my birthday … i turned 40 this year

july 6 | Monster let me go

july 6 | my first game a golf ever … seriously

july 7 | i start networking like a mnthafncka

july 14 | some amazing friends from Monster give me a send-off party

july 27 | we golf again … my second time golfing ever … no really!

july 30 | Carol, Lexi, Maceo + i go to Storyland for the day

july 30 | Strange voicemail from a good friend

july 31 | Jelly@Betahouse

july 31 | Return call to a good friend | Send a thread with some words of encouragement and inspiration to the old team

july 31 | Call my friend to make sure everything is now resolved, and you know what? It is! My words of advice, encouragement and inspiration in response seem to really stop the nonsense … Cool

august 3 | I start up work at a brand new company called Dimdim

august 19 | Boston Harbor Odyssey Cruise with Dimdim … such a friendly new culture, and a great way for my family to meet the team and the larger family at Dimdim

august 19 | i get an interesting email from a ‘famous’ brand with a document to read, but don’t even know it yet

august 20 | i see the email and read the attached PDF document

august 20 | i begin to ask friends, colleagues, enemies + strangers for advice about this interesting correspondence and the attached document

august 20 | i make a decision that i think is truly smart, unique + innovative … truly ‘lou suSi’ … good to be back on my game now, ain’t it?

august 20 | start to brainstorm on concepts for my new webinar series

august 20 | i ponder whether this entire episode could become part of my graduate thesis research + writing for my MFA … hmmmMMmmMMmmm? yeah, it could

august 21 | i continue to ask people for advice about this horrible situation … not so sure who it is more horrible for though, ya know?

august 22 | still need to get as much advice as possible

august 23 | more advice please, thanks

august 24 | just a little more advice, thanks … and now …

august 24 | i write + send a 6 page letter of response with an attached thread of correspondence that seemed to cause some dismay earlier on in this very vague chronology of retardedness

august 24 | i call the company to get confirmation that my letter, my requested response was received

august 24 | The company gets back to me, round 2 … done!

So, 1 thing I learned … don’t worry about this stuff. Crazy distractions in life happen all the time. And its not your fault, not due to your relative ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ in the world

Another thing … collect artifacts. Yep! Take screenshots of every interaction, collect all documentation, build your story ( while some are building a case, others start to have an interesting story to tell, right? ) … its fun, easy and free! So, why not take advantage of living each moment in life as it happens?

And another thing … use the potentially annoying events that come your way as a means to be more creative and expressive. This is inspiring activity. You learn more + more about the world and the ‘famous’ brands we choose to use or not use. If you are asked to do something, by all means try to accomodate that request. Its the decent thing to do. But remember, try to push it a bit further. Be extra accomodating. Give them all they hoped and wished for … but give ’em that extra mile, the whole ten yards, really give it them!

And 1 last note my friend and frenemies … have fun! Just be playful. You only live once. Sure, the human lifespan is now at least 3 times as long as it would be without chemicals, tools, weapons and ‘civilized’ society as we know it ( not sure we love it though, right? BC would have asked us all, ‘Define civilized’ ). We’re lucky. We’re alive. We win! And we have fun doing it! THAT’s what I’m fnckin’ talking about!

Do it for love

Do it for fun

Do it for what you know in your heart, mind, body and soul is the right thing to do

And remember, a little karma goes a long way … send some karma t’day ;]

Specimen A on the Behance Network

Specimen A

As society advances, our senses become less and less reliable as tools for discerning truth in our surroundings. A piece of fruit that appears wholesome and natural was most likely genetically altered to be larger or have a thinner skin. A piece of furniture which gives the impression of being hand-crafted and unique may have in fact been mass-produced in a factory.

“Specimen A” is a commentary on industry’s attempt to mask the true nature of products via external appearance. At first glance these cocoon-like structures appear organic, yet they are created from entirely man-made components such as thread, lace, handmade paper, burlap, and other fabric. Mechanical cogs and gears are visible as well, tearing through the outer shell to reveal the structures’ suggested identities as disguised machines. The uselessness of these creations, suspended indefinitely within a frame, highlights the perfunctory nature of so many manufactured objects in modern society.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

via behance.net

Tom O’Keefe of My Card, My Work tweeted this little deal up from Behance … amazing work by teegan white that appears to be a completely organic + nonsensical contraption … sculptural installation that reminds one of semi-purposeless marionettes … amazing texture … but hidden just below the surface, tucked away, are these low-fi aspects of machinery …