Monthly Archives: May 2010

objects of desire

the semester is over, you may go in peace

summers here + the time is right to go drinking in the street

analysis of the internationally still infamous Surrealist film ‘Un Chien Andalou’ … with a bit of simple subcutaneous research into concepts behind the storytelling … reveal some interesting insights into the fetish objects ofttimes automatically rendered through the lucid daydream creativities of the mad genius revolution started in the early 1930s

those familiar with the principle character, the ‘Chien’ himself, + the delightfully strange cinematic sequences of the film as they unravel + peel away, will recognize this satirical modernization of the classic Dalinian swarm of ants within the palm of the hand


i call my cyberSurreal iPhone automatic app suggestion ‘formis Andalou’ in homage to the original … Dalí affords the presence of ants special symbollic meaning … ‘ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire’ … from my previous research the inference is multivariate + deep + actually suggests a sort of societal decay

watching the passage from ‘Un Chien Andalou’ … the man + woman standing + staring into the palm of his hand … mysteriously mesmerized by the vision of these ants as they run in + out of a stigmata-like opening in the center of his palm … as a living, breathing witness of incessant + neverending myriad similar watchers, similarly hypnotized fiends visually engaged with all that dances in the palm of their hands … well, i cannot help but ask about the data that plays within these, our daily apps … ants, data, information … the device itself, perhaps this is the hole … our own informatic stigmata allowing this newfound, willingly self-afflicted weapon of our own societal decay … Dalinian ants reborn again as the very data that makes us dance around like ants in our own unstoppable puppetshow afterlife … we follow the data … we watch + check + cannot help but come back + gently stroke our shiny, beloved touch-interface objects of desire { thank you to Toby Bottorf for this brilliant description, the way we touch our device }

i am certain Buñuel + Dalí were not attempting to peer into the future … no, no … their purpose, as was the primary goal of much of the original Surrealist movement, was to explore the subconscious … to create a dreamlike expression of the Freudian worlds within us all … and perhaps, in doing so, unintentionally reveal some of the Jungian collective unconscious pertaining to our timeless existence

interviews with Buñuel helped decipher the metaphor of the diagonally-striped box … a box first carried by the bicyclist … a disembodied hand is placed into the box … later, the fashion remains of the deceased bicyclist are taken from the box … and from the fashion remains the female heroine of ‘Un Chien Andalou’ is able to bring our anti-hero back to life … she literally reanimates the man, the fiend

Buñuel calls the striped box an ‘object of desire’ … + many of the poetic objects imagined + realized by the Surrealists played with sexual tension + in some respects our inescapable human condition … our new ‘objects of desire’ are the machines … not the machines glorified by the original Futurists … not the automobile or steam engine … not at all … instead, our modernday equivalent to the striped box, to the ants in our hand … our machines, our ‘objects of desire’ are the computer, the laptop, the mobile device, the electronic reader … the ants go in + out … ‘death, decay, and immense sexual desire’

i wouldn’t say that the desire is directly sexual … but it can truly be addicitive … our need to phsyically interact with data becomes very obsessive-compulsive … i see it everyday … the most crowded room filled with the most amazing, intelligent + engaging people can become an instant information graveyard of stonefaced data-retrieval meatware … a ring, a buzz, all screens come out + suddenly the socialSpace we all exist in is swept away, everyone whisked into email, text, tweet + feed … the data rules supreme … + the desire itself, this is opportunity … the promise of a quick, witty message … maybe messages that will lead to an interesting conversation a few hours down the road … as most of us earn our living off from the new information economy, its difficult to not think of every ant as some new opportunity, some new chance … chance though that is far different from the joy of random, automatic expression through parlor games + madcap theatricality … chance that is totally unrelated to Duchamp + his chance procedure, a sort of zenlike appreciation for what destiny might bring your way … how unCagian is this new chance, this new chance is far less playful, utterly unSurreal …

i hope i am wrong … that my train of thought stops soon at the very next station up ahead

i truly hope that the word i am about to change, that our ‘objects of desire’ … that this chance, as i was about to say … well, it feels a bit desperate … our interaction with the data, with our technologies … its all flipped now at this point, hasn’t it?

the information, the data, the tools, the technologies … well, we originally created it to use … for the betterment of our human condition, right? to improve our standard of living … to help make the world light + playful + free … this was the original intention … the 1950s vision of what our technology could bring to humanity

but this addictive behavior … our relationship to our technologies … and our changing relationship with each other … there is something of desperation in it all from what i can sense + see

i need to sleep on this for now … get away from the monitor myself for a bit, right? after all, i might be writing more about myself, observations about myself, my own inner psychology + my own conflicts than about the universal change that might be going on in the world … maybe i’m imagining it all … maybe i’m putting more into what i think i see in my daily life { but i honestly don’t think so … which completely scares me } … yes, yes, for now i will go to sleep … but these are the thoughts i am left with after another year of research into cyberSurrealism … after a year of discovering what my personal motivations might be in wanting to explore the cybernetic + the Surreal … as Toby also pointed out, in a very Carlinesque sort of way actually, the material is all already there … i just need to point it out to people … to report on the state of things per se … to nurture a better awareness + live somewhere between … to mistrust things just enough + report on my experience

this is my story

these are my dreams

LinkedIn Answers: What is the worst website you ever saw and why?

Cookie cutters

Image by litlnemo via Flickr

Rich Kellerman of MarketAmerica posted the following question to LinkedIn Answers. I’ve included a link to the thread up on LinkedIn as well as my response for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

View the LinkedIn Answers thread here:

What is the worst website you ever saw and why?
This question pertains to active websites. Please exclude one page websites.

This is a tough question to answer. Some fantastic, classic examples of horrific website design were already posted and they totally make me laugh ( and thanks for posting them ).

As an accomplished and seasoned designer … and one that keeps up with all the current trends and terminology … I have to say there is currently a proliferation of bad websites ‘out there’.

After recently reading Jarod Lanier’s ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ I came to the guided realization that it is too easy for the average person to put together and release a blog, website or some online experience. I realize that not everyone participating on the web today might need a designer for what it is they are trying to accomplish with their online extension and expression, but I cannot emphasize how tiring it is lately to come across website after website that use the same cookie cutter out-of-the-box blog app theme … or some componenture from the same 4 to 7 Web 2.0 canned content widgets. Right now I could Google a topic, visit the top 10 sites that come up and probably discover most of the links lead us unto the WordPress ‘N’ Theme with modifications by ‘designer’ such and so.

Step back a bit …

That said, these are truly exciting times. I love the Web 2.0 world we live in. Social media. All that. We have a short window right now of near-democratized capabilities to really say what’s important, publish anything we want on the web, stand up for something good or stand up against those things we find frustrating or bad. But how many of us feel we can really put it ALL ‘out there’ without somehow hurting our public brand. How many people are really using this new democracy of expression to its full advantage? To say something unique and important? To find out what’s next, right around the corner?

From the conversations I find myself in these days, I have the sorry notion that the ability to freely publish to the web, to take advantage of this amazing space we have to form online and real world communities, to hold certain people accountable for their contributions to our newsScape, and to just put up your real, genuine feelings and point of view to reach out … that ability could be both underutilized and soon slipping away ( we need to stand up for net neutrality and keep our only people-driven means of communication open and free and clear ).

Anyhow, my point might be … there are many ‘worst websites’ online right now. In the great Dadaist tradition, I stand up and scream with a big:

Down with the cookie cutter websites!
Down with abandoned sites and those left out of date!
Down with experiences lacking any real content or meaning!
Down with the clone! The marching detritus of free and easy templature!
Down with the sites lacking direction, focus or feeling!

Let us now take a pledge to stop pointing our fingers. We know what is bad. What’s the worst. And the many reasons why. Let us come together with every bit of energy we can muster and collaborate. Yes, let’s work together to build an even brighter and beautiful web. A smart landscape of online experiences and websites that:

1. Consider an audience
2. Talk to that audience in a happy, human way
3. Provide something of value to that audience
4. Exist for some purpose … to make money, that’s a good one ( perhaps the lesson from bubble burst 1.0 would be develop a business plan ) and one that most sites might want to think about from the inception of their product, service or content. But there may be a myriad of purposes ( of course )
5. Connect people ( real people to real people, no pre-recorded, robotic and faceless organizations that text you in the night )
6. Serve some greater sense of goodness
7. Sing