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Fine Nonsense

In Adam’s post on reinventing cars, I had a little brainblip when I read the sentence:

“Bolt-on kits. Adaptive reuse. Provisional and experimental rezoning.”

I read it as something like Rezoning. Something like ‘reasoning’, but heavily-accented with the future.

Then again as Rezoning. Rezzing-up. Evoking the photon-lathing of Tron, or the synaesthesia-landscapes of Rez itself.

Of course, Adam actually means Rezoning. As in re-zoning what areas of cities are designated to be used for in urban plans.

Sometimes it’s nice to trip up on a word and see where you stumble.

"GET EXCITED AND MAKE THINGS" arrives in the Howies store,  Carnaby St

It’s fair to say this post is a little behind-the-times, but I finally want to get round to recording the story behind my “Get Excited & Make Things” image – and also releasing the files, which was always my intention…

I was a little frustrated with myself and the world one day, and went to sit in Hoxton Square to do the Guardian crossword as a remedy.

Flicking through the G2 section I came across a short article about the “Keep Calm & Carry On” WW2 poster phenomenon.

18/03/2009

It occurred to me that this was exactly the wrong sentiment for this age – and in fact the stoicism it recommends was been viewed ironically in the main by those who purchased it.

I started sketching on the paper a contrary statement, where stiff upper lip was replaced by a stiff upper arm from soldering…

GET EXCITED AND LASERCUT THINGS

The royal crown was replaced by one made of spanners (or wrenches, for our yanqui friends) – and Get Excited & Make Things was born.

Don't keep calm and carry on.

I posted it to flickr, where to date it has had over 90k views. It got turned into t-shirt of the week by my friends at Howies (and became their fastest selling shirt ever, apparently!) with the proceeds going towards their Do Lectures.

howies® - t-shirt of the week

Then, an art print by Jen and friends at 20×200 – with proceeds going to Creative Commons.

Along with that, It got featured in various press articles, and there’s a flickr pool for spottings in the wild.

Get Excited & Make Things Pool

It’s still available via my mates at Mule Design – with the proceeds going to Smallcanbebig.org.

Apparently "sullen" is a "thing" which can be "made"

I only mention it’s success (though gratifying personally, obviously – and I’m very happy that it’s provided some small contributions to good causes) – because it seems that it has resonated with so many people.

And that’s the really amazing thing – that there might be a determination, en-masse – to really get the blood pumping and make our way out of the messes we’ve created.

With that in mind, I’m offering the original files under a CC-non-commercial, attribution, share-alike licence.

If you want to use the images for commercial means, we can talk of course – about you giving some donation to a good cause in exchange. I say that, as it’s cropped up in a few places being used without prior permission for commercial ends…

So here they are.

Thank you to everyone so far who has bought a shirt, a print – or just printed it out and stuck in up in their work place or college.

Please stay excited, please stay making.

"The end of all things is near."

On the (27 hour) plane ride back from New Zealand, I watched a lot of movies, some unremarkable – some wonderful. Watching Happy-Go-Lucky was painful for some reasons, and beautiful for others – but it definately hit me with the pink laserbeam between the eyes.

Watching classics like The Apartment and Manhattan made me wonder at the romances we’d write about some cities, and Slumdog Millionaire bizarrely seemed like a continuation of that: a romance of the maximum-city.

But, beside that – everytime a movie finished, the entertainment system reset to it’s main menu, with one of those airline entertainment system pseudo-radio stations playing on a loop.

And I hit the same point in the loop everytime.

And at that point in the loop played the same song everytime.

The song was a romance of the city.

A romance of electricity and colour and life and density of opportunity.

Electricity so fine
Look and dry your eyes

The song was “Stepping Out” by Joe Jackson.

Go and listen.

Watch.

I’ll stay put.

In recent months I’ve definitely fallen into a Collapsitarian rut of sorts.

A comprehensive map of all possible human futures

We -
Are young but getting old before our time

This won’t do.

As Jamais Cascio says, quoting Evelin Lindner:

“Pessimism is a luxury of good times. In difficult times, pessimism is a
self-fulfilling, self-inflicted death sentence.”

The wave of stuff coming down the lightcone is for sure a Danmaku-like bullet-curtain of environmental, societal and technical challenges, but I like Danmaku!

That’s where the action is, where the flow is felt, and where design wrangling of the sweetest kind can be done.

So, more wrangling, less hand-wringing.

Big bets should be made.

Happy-gets-lucky!

It took at 27 hour flight to realise that 27 years ago in 1982, Joe Jackson knew this and planted a time capsule into culture to help me with 2009.

It’s The Anti-Collapsitarian Anthem.

We -
So tired of all the darkness in our lives
With no more angry words to say
Can come alive
Get into a car and drive
To the other side

That’s some foresight, right there. So if you are feeling a little collapsitarian, try stepping out.

You -
Can dress in pink and blue just like a child
And in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile
We’ll be there in just a while
If you follow me

Thanks Joe.

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