Many thanks to the good people of The Flirble Organisation.
The conversation is over it seems, unless I do some work on this place to get ahead in the arms-race. Gah.
With so many stories in the media about individuals being sued for blogging, and big corporations cracking down on their blogging employees, it’s heartening to find big Euro-ISP Wanadoo have set up Pixelbox for their designers, researchers and developers to share their interests.
From their ‘about’ page:
"We intend to raise the profile of design across the Wanadoo Group,
drawing together design professionals from across Wanadoo’s European
businesses, Orange, France Telecom, Pages Jaunes and the wider design industry. We seek to create a vibrant design
community from these interests – sharing expertise, curating our
knowledge and sharing work, ideas, inspiration and initiatives."
UPDATE: Just found out from one of the designers there who is a friend of ours that they are incentivised for posting to the blog! Her bonus is tied to how much she posts…! Fantastic!!!
^ Comparison of YRM/Tom Carden’s ‘Destinations’ (Detail) with Ron Herron/Archigram’s ‘Walking City’ (reversed out-of-black by me)
Congratulations to Tom Carden on getting a piece selected for the architecture section of The Royal Academy’s prestigious Summer Exhibition this past year. It’s called ‘Destinations’ and is a beautiful simulation of passenger movements through an airport terminal over a day.
Many things notable about this: that an artifact that is a simulation of flow through architecture is included in a celebration of the aesthetics of architecture, that these complex simulations of ‘people weather’ are not only working tools of large-scale architectural practice, but also now boundary objects that communicate to wider audiences, and that as David Gelertner put in his mid-90′s book MirrorWorlds, that now we have the power to make magic mirrors of what might be, how does that inform our actions – as architects, designers and citizens.
I was fortunate to sit down and have a chat with Tom this week in London, where we talked about simulation, visualisation, cities and agency and if those sorts of fields fascinate you, too, I recommend subscribing to his blog, Random Etc.
The other thing that struck me about Tom’s image was it’s superficial resemblence to Ron Herron’s iconic Walking City – appealing, as it’s an image of that peculiar 21st century transient city: the airport and it’s inhabitants – walking…
…like you find on this site could never generate the wealth of visual evidence that Tom posted on his 5 years of writing at Plasticbag.org.
Apologies: a couple of things on weblogging and the liberalisation of publishing.
Rushkoff thinks that the “real threat of blogs” (sounds like an advert for pesticide: ‘protect your crops from the real threat of blogs’) is that they represent unpaid cultural production:
“I believe the greatest power of the blog is not just its ability to distribute alternative information – a great power, indeed – but its power to demonstrate a mode of engagement that is not based on the profit principle.”
“Can we just reinforce what we believe by reading only those blogs and web press that agree with us, up to the point where our beliefs cascade away from any doubts and are reinforced. Long ago, Jack Snyder and Karen Ballentine argued that pathological politics (in their paper, an agreessive nationalism) was enabled by a segmented media market and poor or absent norms in the press.
Historically and today, from the French Revolution to Rwanda, sudden liberalizations of press freedom have been associated with bloody outbursts of popular nationalism. The most dangerous situation is precisely when the government’s press monopoly begins to break down.(4) During incipient democratization, when civil society is burgeoning but democratic institutions are not fully entrenched, the state and other elites are forced to engage in public debate in order to compete for mass allies in the struggle for power.(5) Under those circumstances, governments and their opponents often have the motive and the opportunity to play the nationalist card.”
My favourite group blog, 3 Quarks Daily got a ‘blurb’ from Stephen Pinker!
“I couldnât tear myself away [from 3 Quarks Daily], to the point of neglecting my work. Iâve already bookmarked it for times when I donât want to work. Congratulations on this superb site. Best wishes.”
âSteven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Blank Slate, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, and The Language Instinct.”
This week marks four years of this weblog. I started in June 2000, while working still at Sapient’s London office, using blogger. The longest I have been in a job has been around 2 years, my architectural education was 5 years; so this weblog is one of the things I have stuck at the longest.
It’s been useful, it’s been fun, it’s given me opportunities and problems (sometimes at the same time) and for not much effort. It’s a testament to the tools that make such a rewarding format so low effort: I’ve progressed over the 4 years from Blogger, Greymatter, Moveabletype to Typepad.
While I’ve had a procession of tools, in review, I’ve come full circle from posting links and effectively establishing a commonplace for notes and bookmarks using Blogger, through writing more and more discursive and long-form stuff about design for technology, to publishing experiments like warchalking and back again now to mainly links, notes and social bookmark hoarding using del.icio.us.
It seems that the “outboard brain” model is the one I’m most comfortable with, and get most utility from, and now this memory prosthesis is becoming more mobile and less textual. I’ve been trialling Nokia Lifeblog for the last month or so, and along with del.icio.us I’m finding that it’s filling many of the roles of memory prosthesis that this blog used to.
So, the question is what to do here other than to write more self-indulgent bitkipple about design and social technology and comics and science and cities and games and most importantly, magic for another four years?
Wait a minute. I like doing that…