Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

March 4, 2012

3D Printer Build – Part 1

by hstrykdiy

Just a little update from MakeHaven – The 3D Printer build is underway. In one day they got pretty far with the build, you can read the full post here by MakeHaven member John Scrudato. They have almost finished frame of the printer (a Reprap Prusa Mendel) and all 3 axes are working great. Next step is to build the extruder and attach the motors. As John writes, “Then we can connect a PC and start printing some plastic!”


December 8, 2011

Everyone should take a moment to read this…

by StefiaMadelyne

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water

water

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html

“(NaturalNews) Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials,that rain belongs to someone else..”

Utah news reports that collecting/using rainwater is ILLEGAL

 

 

December 8, 2011

Corporate Takeover of DIY

by StefiaMadelyne

Because I think we should start a running list of when/where DIY is being corporatized – the exploitation of DIY and DIT movements:

The above was a facebook ad in the corner of my screen this morning and it got me thinking… When corporations jump on board and mis-appropriate the terminology – what does this do to the REAL movements, what I consider to be the honest and subversive practices of DIY as I know and love them?
Any thoughts, examples, feedback?
December 5, 2011

from BrainPickings weekly newsletter

by StefiaMadelyne

 

The 11 Best Art and Design Books of 2011

From the Periodic Table to Craigslist, or what the greatest graphic designer of all time has to do with Moby-Dick.

>>> To keep this email manageable, you’ll only see a couple of sample images from each book – but there are many more on the site, so be sure to click through for a proper peek. <<<

After last week’s look at the 11 best illustrated books for (eternal) kids of 2011, this year’s best-of series continues with a look at the finest art, design, and creativity books of 2011 – tomes that capture your imagination and encapsulate the richest spectrum of what it means to be a thoughtful, eloquent visual creator.

RADIOACTIVE

Marie Curie is one of the most extraordinary figures in the history of science. A pioneer in researching radioactivity, a field the very name for which she coined, she was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize but also the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, and in two different sciences at that, chemistry and physics. InRadioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, artist Lauren Rednisstells the story of Curie through the two invisible but immensely powerful forces that guided her life: Radioactivity and love. It’s a turbulent story – a passionate romance with Pierre Curie (honeymoon on bicycles!), the epic discovery of radium and polonium, Pierre’s sudden death in a freak accident in 1906, Marie’s affair with physicist Paul Langevin, her coveted second Noble Prize – under which lie poignant reflections on the implications of Curie’s work more than a century later as we face ethically polarized issues like nuclear energy, radiation therapy in medicine, nuclear weapons and more.

It’s also a remarkable feat of thoughtful design and creative vision. To honor Curie’s spirit and legacy, Redniss rendered her poetic artwork in cyanotype, an early-20th-century image printing process called critical to the discovery of both X-rays and radioactivity itself – a cameraless photographic technique in which paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals. Once exposed to the sun’s UV rays, this chemically-treated paper turns a deep shade of blue. The text in the book is a unique typeface Redniss designed using the title pages of 18th- and 19th-century manuscripts from the New York Public Library archive. She named it Eusapia LR, for the croquet-playing, sexually ravenous Italian Spiritualist medium whose séances the Curies used to attend. The book’s cover is printed in glow-in-the-dark ink.

Full review, with more images and Redniss’s TEDxEast talk, here.

SAUL BASS

Saul Bass (1920-1996) is one of the most iconic and influential visual communicators of the 20th century – possibly the most famous graphic designer of all time – having broken out of the conformity of the 1950s to shape the aesthetic of generations of designers and animators with his bold and lively film title sequences and graphic design. (His insights on creativity and advice on doing quality work are also a timeless treat for any creator.) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design is the first and highly anticipated definitive monograph on the creative visionary. Designed by Bass’s daughter, Jennifer, and written by renowned design historian Pat Kirkham, the formidable 428-page volume features more than 1,400 of Bass’s illustrations, many never before published, that offer an unprecedented look at his legacy and the creative process behind his most celebrated posters, title sequences, and logo designs.

I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.” ~ Saul Bass

Publisher Laurence King put together this epic video of the making of the book, to give you a sense of the scale and ambition of the project.

From his iconic title sequences…

… to his unforgettable posters…

…to his legendary logos for mega-brands like AT&T, Quaker Oats, and United Airlines, the monograph contextualizes his most significant works and analyzes each film project individually to dissect its graphic elements and motifs. Had Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design been released before the publication of this selection of the 100 best graphic design books of the past 100 years, it would most certainly have been included, and quite possibly would have topped the list – it is, truly, one of the most beautiful, inspirational, important design books you’ll ever lay eyes and hands on.

Full review here.

MISSED CONNECTIONS

You might recall Sophie Blackall, known for her distinctive children’s book illustration, as one of the brains and brushes behind these brilliant design makeovers of the mundane. Since 2009, she has been capturing Craigslist missed connections in her delightful illustrations and unmistakable style of Chinese ink and watercolor, brimming with charm, romanticism and soft whimsy. Now, Blackall joins our running list of blogs so good they became books: Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Foundcollects the best of these poetic visual what-if love stories, each told in a shorthand “missed connection” ranging from the lyrical (I Gave You My Umbrella but the Wrong Directions) to the warm-and-fuzzy (We Shared a Bear Suit) to the shared love of the tragicomic (Ice Skating in Central Park We Collided).

Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.” – Sophie Blackall

Both playful and profound, Blackall’s delicate drawings – many of which are available on Etsy as prints – immortalize the ephemeral with a wink and a wand, breathing into these mundane encounters a kind of magic that transforms them into open-ended modern-day fairy tales.

Some of the illustrated messages were written by their smitten authors moments after the encounter took place, and others decades later. Some are written to an impossible love interest, a person famous or dead or forbidden for one reason or another, and some lament the loss of a familiar lover. Hopeful, pensive, lonely, drunken, optimistic – they span the entire spectrum of human emotion.

Original review, with more images, here.

CULTURAL CONNECTIVES

These days, news of the Middle East is a frequent staple of our daily media diet, but these media portrayals tend to be limited, one-dimensional, and reductionist. We know precious little about Arab culture, with all its rich and layered multiplicity, and even less about its language. Cultural Connectives, a fine addition to my favorite books about language from my friends atMark Batty, aims to bridge this gap though a cultural cross-pollinator in the form of a typeface family designed by author Rana Abou Rjeily that brings the Arabic and Latin alphabets together and, in the process, fosters a new understanding of Arab culture.

Both minimalist and illuminating, the book’s stunning pages map the rules of Arabic writing, grammar and pronunciation to English, using this typographic harmony as the vehicle for better understanding this ancient culture from a Western standpoint.

The book jacket unfolds into a beautiful poster of a timeless quote by Gibran Khalil Gibran, rendered in Arabic:

We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.” ~Gibran Khalil Gibran

Full review, with more images, here.

344 QUESTIONS

344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment was the most popular book amongst Brain Pickings readers this year – a delightful pocket-sized compendium of flowcharts and lists to help you figure out life’s big answers by ever-inventive designer Stefan G. Bucher, he of You Deserve a Medaland Daily Monster fame.

Besides Bucher’s own questions, the tiny but potent handbook features contributions from 36 beloved creators across various disciplines, including Brain Pickings favorites Christoph NiemannStefan SagmeisterMarian BantjesDoyald Young, andJakob Trollbäck.

Let’s be clear: I want this book to be useful to you. There are many great how-to books and biographies out there, and even more gorgeous collections of current and classic work to awe and inspire. But looking at catalogs of artistic success won’t make you a better artist any more than looking at photos of healthy people will cure your cold. You’ve got to take action!” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

(Sure, this may be somewhat remiss in overlooking the basic mechanism of combinatorial creativity, but it’s it’s hard to argue with the need to make ideas happen rather than just contemplating them.)

This gem is also one of my favorite creativity-catalyzing activity books for grown-ups.

Though Bucher designed the book as a sequence, it also works choose-you-own-adventure-style and, as Bucher is quick to encourage, asks for hands-on interaction – dog-earing, marginalia, doodles. “If you keep this book in mint condition, I’ve failed,” he says.

We are all different people, but we face a lot of the same questions. The point of this book is to give you lots of questions you can use to look at your life – in a new way, with a different perspective, or maybe just in more detail than you have before – so you can find out how you work, what you want to do, and how you can get it done in a way that works for you. Specifically.” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

Originally featured here.

VISUAL COMPLEXITY

Data visualization is a running theme of visual literacy here, andManuel Lima has been one of its biggest champions since 2005 when, shortly after graduating from the Parson School of Design, he launched VisualComplexity– an ambitious portal for the visualization of complex networks across a multitude of disciplines, from biology to history to the social web. This year, Lima released the highly anticipated Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information – a rigorously researched, beautifully designed, thoughtfully curated anthology of the world’s most compelling work at the intersection of these two relatively nascent yet increasingly powerful techno-cultural phenomena, network science and information visualization. It’s a winsome addition to these essential books on data visualization and a powerful tool in your visual literacy arsenal for navigating the Information Age.

Philipp Steinweber and Andreas KollerSimilar Diversity, 2007

A visualization of the similarities and difference between the holy books of five world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.

From the sacred meaning of trees and their age-old use as classification systems to the science behind network thinking to the stunning and visually expressive products of cutting-edge digital visualization, Lima – author, designer, and deep thinker – not only explores the multiplicitous allure of networks, but also crafts an important analog artifact to contain these rapidly vanishing digital ephemera. (You know, in case you were wondering why computational creativity should belong in a book.)

As the book gained shape, it quickly became clear that it was not just about making the pool of knowledge more accessible, but also saving it for posterity. As I reviewed projects to feature in the book, I was astounded by how many dead links and error messages I encountered. Some of these projects became completely untraceable, possibly gone forever. This disappearance is certainly not unique to network visualization – it is a widespread quandary of modern technology. Commonly referred to as the Digital Dark Age, the possibility of many present-day digital artifacts vanishing within a few decades is a considerably worrying prospect.” ~ Manuel Lima

From the Bible to Wikipedia edits to the human genome, the gorgeous and thought-provoking visualizations in the book will make you look at the world in a whole new way, and the insightful essays accompanying them will vastly expand your understanding of the trends and technologies shaping our ever-evolving relationship with information.

Stefanie PosavecWriting Without Words, 2008

A chart of the structure of part one of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957). Each splitting of the branch into progressively smaller sections parallels the organization of the content from chapters to paragraphs, sentences, and words. Each color relates to one of eleven thematic categories created by Posavec for the book (e.g., travel, work and survival, sketches of regional life).

(More on Posavec’s brilliant project here.)

Reviewed in full, with more images, here.

MAPS

Iconic designer Paula Scher is one of my big creative heroes, herthoughts on combinatorial creativity a perfect articulation of my own beliefs about how we create. Since the early 1990s, Scher has been creating remarkable, obsessive, giant hand-painted typographic maps of the world as she sees it, covering everything from specific countries and continents to cultural phenomena. This month, Princeton Architectural Press is releasing Paula Scher: MAPS – a lavish, formidable large-format volume collecting 39 of her swirling, colorful cartographic points of view, a beeline addition to my favorite books on maps.

I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. I wanted to list what I know about the world from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload. These are paintings of distortions.” ~ Paula Scher

(Cue in cartograms.)

A foreword by Simon Winchester contextualizes Scher’s maps as cultural objects, and an introduction by Scher herself offers a peek inside the mind and personal history that sprouted her cartographic creativity.

A Paula Scher map is both detached from reality and yet at the same time becomes an entirely new reality, one that manages to be useless and essential all at once. What follows here is cartography as living art – fun and whimsical, obsessively made, and knowingly offered, lovingly, to be read… Maps such as these are never ever to be replaced by the cold blinking eyes of the GPS. Use them, enjoy them, glory in their madness.” ~ Simon Manchester

Cherry on top: The cover jacket folds out into her legendary colorful map of the world.

NYT Transit, 2007 (left); Manhattan at Night, 2007 (right)

Tsunami, 2006

Artful and opinionated, MAPS is a beautiful antidote to the sterile objectivity of location-aware apps and devices, reminiscent of Ward Shelley’s analog data visualization and the poetic subjectivity of You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, but presaging both and shining with Scher’s own distinct, quirky, visionary voice.

Originally featured, alongside Scher’s fantastic 2008 Serious Play talk,here.

VISUAL STORYTELLING

“We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.”

These words of wisdom come from legendary inventor and futurist George Dyson, who in a recent interviewcontemplated the growing disconnect between information and meaning in the age of data overload. Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling – we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employedanimation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of thepictorial superiority effect.

It would be ridiculous to try to express by curved lines moral ideals, the prosperity of peoples, or the decadence of their literature. But anything that has to do with extent or quantity can be presented geometrically. Statistical projections which speak to the senses without fatiguing the mind, possess the advantage of fixing the attention on a great number of important facts.” ~ Alexander von HumboldtPolitical Essay on the Kingdom of Spain, 1811

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, from the fine folks at Gestalten, gathers the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling.

Vahram Muratyan: Paris vs. New York: L’obsession

From hand-drawn diagrams to sophisticated data visualization, by way of graphic design, illustration, photography, and information architecture, this magnificent volume of contemporary and experimental visual storytelling explores what it means to convey information with equal parts clarity and creativity, speaking with remarkable aesthetic eloquence about the things that matter in the world today.

Every field has some central tension it is trying to resolve. Visualization deals with the inhuman scale of the information and the need to present it at the very human scale of what the eye can see.” ~ Martin Wattenberg inThe Economist, 2010

Peter Ørntoft: Information Graphics in Context, a project illustrating a ranked list of social concerns in Denmark

Originally featured, with plenty more images and excerpts, here.

THE MAD FOLD-IN COLLECTION

Al Jaffee’s magnificent anti-authoritarian fold-ins, gracing the inside covers of every MAD magazine since 1964, have been a longtime favoritearound here. For the past half-century, Jaffeee, just as brilliant today at 90, has been poking fun at the established political order with his clever satirical cartoons that made no topic, ideology, regime, politician or pop star safe from skewering as the reader simply folds the page to align arrow A with arrow B and reveal the hidden gag image. Now, from Chronicle Books comes The MAD Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010 – the definitive treasure trove of Jaffee’s genius, a formidable four-volume set featuring 410 fold-ins reproduced at original size, each thoughtfully accompanied by a digital representation of the folded image so you wouldn’t have to actually fold your lavish book.

Covering up Whitewater (September 1994): The Whitewater scandal haunted the Clinton White House for years.

On the campaign trail! (December 1968)A nasty campaign, with Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon, in the midst of a nasty war.

Essays by Pixar animator Pete DocterNew York Times cultural criticNeil Genzlinger and Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist and authorJules Feiffer contextualize Jaffee’s work and the tremendous influence it has had on generations of artists, comedians and ordinary people.

Here’s Jaffee on how his iconic fold-ins began – and confirmation thatcreativity is combinatorial:

In 1953, TIME magazine referred to MAD as a ‘short-lived fad.’ And now, fifty-umpteenth years later, MAD is still around, and I don’t think TIME magazine is doing too well.” ~ Al Jaffeee

Explore some of Jaffee’s gems in this excellent New York Timesinteractive feature from 2008 – a fine teaser for the full glory you’ll find in The MAD Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010.

Originally featured here.

MOBY-DICK IN PICTURES

Since 2009, former high school English teacher and self-taught artist Matt Kish has been drawing every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition of Herman Melville’s iconic Moby-Dick, methodically producing one gorgeous, obsessive drawing per day for 552 days using pages from discarded books and a variety of drawing tools, from ballpoint pen to crayon to ink and watercolor. Kish’s ingenious project joins our running list of blogs so good they became books with Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page, collecting his magnificent lo-fi drawings in a 600-page visual masterpiece of bold, breathtaking full-page illustrations that captivate eye, heart, and mind, inviting you to rediscover the Melville classic in entirely new ways.

I’ve read the book eight or nine times […] Each and every reading has revealed more and more to me and hinted tantalizingly at even greater truths and revelations that I have yet to reach. Friends often question my obsession with the novel, especially since I am not a scholar or even an educator any longer, and the best explanation I have been able to come up with is that, to me, Moby-Dick is a book about everything. God. Love. Hate. Identity. Race. Sex. Humor. Obsession. History. Work. Capitalism […] I see every aspect of life reflected in the bizarre mosaic of this book.” ~ Matt Kish

Originally featured, with many more images, here.

FLOATING WORLDS

It’s hard not to loveEdward Gorey’s, mid-century illustrator of the macabre, whose work influenced generations of creators, from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Between September 1968 and October 1969, Gorey set out to collaborate on three children’s books with author and editor Peter F. Neumeyer and, over the course of this 13-month period, the two exchanged a series of letters on topics that soon expanded well beyond the three books and into everything from metaphysics to pancake recipes.

This year, Neumeyer opened up the treasure trove of this fascinating, never-before-published correspondence in Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer – a magnificent collection of 75 typewriter-transcribed letters, 38 stunningly illustrated envelopes, and more than 60 postcards and illustrations exchanged between the two collaborators-turned-close-friends, featuring Gorey’s witty, wise meditations on such eclectic topics as insect life, the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, and Japanese art.

In light of his body of work, and because of the interest that his private person has aroused, I feel strongly that these letters should not be lost to posterity. I still read in them Ted’s wisdom, charm, and affection and a profound personal integrity that deserves to be in the record. As for my own letters to Ted, I had no idea that he had kept them until one day a couple of years ago when a co-trustee of his estate, Andras Brown, sent me a package of photocopies of my half of the correspondence. I am very grateful for that.” ~Peter F. Neumeyer

Equally fascinating is the unlikely story of how Gorey and Neumeyer met in the first place – a story involving a hospital waiting room, a watercolor of a housefly, and a one-and-a-half-inch scrap of paper with a dot – and the affectionate friendship into which it unfolded.

There’s a remarkable hue to Gorey’s writing, a kind of thinking-big-thoughts-without-taking-oneself-too-seriously quality. In September of 1968, in what he jokingly termed “E. Gorey’s Great Simple Theory About Art,” Gorey wrote these Yodaesque words:

This is the theory… that anything that is art… is presumably about some certain thing, but is really always about something else, and it’s no good having one without the other, because if you just have the something it is boring and if you just have the something else it’s irritating.”

From the intellectual banter to the magnificent illustrations, Floating Worlds, is quite possibly the most heart-warming art-and-so-much-more book this year, and certainly among the all-time favorites of my personal library.

Originally reviewed here.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

See the 5 honorable mentions here.

* * *

A big part of what makes great art and design books great is how timeless they are – why not catch up on last year’s finest?

December 5, 2011

I was given a Flower today, from this Exhibition

by StefiaMadelyne

Brooklyn Museum ~

Exhibitions:

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden”

 Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden detail

Lee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden (detail), 2009. Installation view, Lyon Biennale (2009). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan

October 5, 2011–January 22, 2012

Rubin Lobby, 1st Floor

The Moving Garden comprises a forty-five-foot-long granite table with one hundred freshly cut flowers that appear to grow out of a channel running down its middle. Created by New York–based artist Lee Mingwei, the interactive installation also includes single blossoms arranged around the channel, which visitors are invited to take when they leave the Museum, on the condition that they make a detour on the way to their next destination and give the flower to a stranger as a gift. As the day wears on, the flowers on the table disappear, one by one. The next day, they are replaced, and the cycle begins again.

Lee’s piece was inspired by his reading of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, which explores the beneficial effects of gifts on both those who give them and those who receive. Another inspiration came on a spring day, when the artist was sitting along the banks of the Rhône River in Lyon and saw hundreds of flowers inexplicably floating downstream. This 2009 piece is one of many participatory works of art that Lee has been creating since the late 1990s.

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden” was organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, in close cooperation with the artist.

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden” is made possible by the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York and by generous support from Rong-Chaun Chen, Jane Lombard and Richard J. Lombard, Amy and Leo Shih, and Wen-Chuan Tseng.

Taipei Cultural Center logo

Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden installation imageLee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden, 2009. Installation view, Brooklyn Museum (2011). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan
Lee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden, 2009. Installation view, Brooklyn Museum (2011). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan
December 3, 2011

Collaborative Consumption

by StefiaMadelyne

Goodbye, Stranger-Danger: Meet Collaborative Consumption

By Digital Strategy — October 18, 2011 – 5:19 pm

Enter “the C-Factor”: in recent years, the concepts of communitycooperation,collaborationcrowdsourcing, the commons, and collective intelligence have circulated widely—see Wikipedia, a communal exchange of knowledge and information. However, the latest displays of self-motivated communal action have proliferated beyond this. The early ‘50s throwaway mode of living characterized by hyper-consumerism and the production/consumption of disposable items is turning in favor of repetitive consumption practices over ownership. This is collaborative consumption: new practices of “bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities” (check the book What’s Mine is Yours). As this year’s PSFK conference, speaker Micki Krimmel, founder of NeighborGoods, eloquently put it:  “Do you really need a power drill, or do you just need a hole in the wall?”

Collaborative consumption has gained increasing popularity since Time magazine declared it one of 2011’s Trends to Watch. But while most new media literature places a central role in the medium (one architected to foster collaboration), and others put too much weight on the effects of the economic crash (as was the case with Time), we may want to approach the subject from the lens of a mediologist (long live Regis Debray!). In other words, while the crisis may have triggered a need to be more open to new ways of accessing what one requires, the motivations to participate in collaborative consumption platforms extend way beyond cost savings. The success of these practices sits at the intersection of new technologies of cooperation, social modes of organization, and cultural transformations. More specifically:  a reinvigorated meaning of trust that emerges from the convergence of new technologies and social networking, coupled with a need to be more open to new ways of getting what one requires, powered by an increased consciousness around environmental issues, leads to a successful practice.

Of course, digital technologies also help facilitate these transmissions. Platforms such as NeighborGoods make technically possible what was previously theoretically unimaginable: reliable forms of collaboration among otherwise unconnected individuals. Other examples, just to illustrate a few, include the swapping sites SwapSquidooU-ExchangeOurGoods, and ThreadUp, where users exchange books, movies, games, and kids’ clothes. FreeCycle andReUseIt are sites where people give unwanted items away. The car sharing and per-hour car rental, facilitated through platforms such as RelayRideGetAroundWhipcarZipcar,ZimRideNuRide, and GoLoco, is predicted to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of the year.

Most literature agrees that all these examples share another common element: direct links between producers and consumers, bypassing the middleman.  However, what if we view these practices as the emergence of a new middleman? What about the story of Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, who was also a panelist at the PSFK conference in San Francisco?Airbnb intermediations present new characteristics, for sure. Yet, these new middlemen are in essence, connectors between a mutuality of wants and lacks.  What’s different this time is not just a matter of scale. The Internet’s architecture is designed to enable collaboration between non-related human beings who don’t even share a common locale. New notions of trust between strangers amend old definitions of collaboration, in particular, the idea that rules could mainly be enforced within tight circles of friends, families and acquaintances. Today’s examples of collaborative consumption, where reviews and ratings are published for the rest world to see, represent repeated plays of the prisoner’s dilemma. In other words, the incentives for defectors to pursue their goals are low when compared with the risks associated with being excluded from the game.

In sum, the Internet is built for cooperation. Transmissions in the form of collaborative exchanges circulate in a voluntary and self-organized fashion. Users are both transmitters and receivers of exchanges managed around centers of interest, and these transactions are activating collective intelligences by enabling new ways to access what one needs. As in the case of ParkAtMyHouse, these are creative and collaborative avenues of taking an object’s idle capacity and redistributing it among others in need, even when they are not a necessary part of one’s tight network. Goodbye, stranger-danger.

November 27, 2011

Building community, kneading dough.

by alexandrakellyg

Last month, Nadezhda Savova, founder of Bread Houses Network hosted a breadmaking workshop in Clinton Hill at MIMA Studios.  The space was beautiful – newly refinished wood floors, an area for performance and a perfect, long table for us all to sit around and knead the dough.

In addition to several people from class, there were also community members from the nonsense listerv who attended the workshop.  We all introduced ourselves, bringing our varied experience and interest to the table before we put our hands into the group work of kneading the dough.  Nadezhda opened up my eyes to a few key elements in event planning to promote group cohesion amongst strangers:

1.  Candles.  This may seem simple, but as Nadezhda said, “It would have been a completely different workshop if there were no candles on the table”  And, it’s true.  The candles contributed to the intimacy of the workshop – a tone established by lighting and the collection of people around the candles themselves; almost imitating the gravity of a circle of people around a campfire.

2. Getting back to our hands.  “We are all constantly moving away from every sense except for the sense of sight,” Nadezhda said.  By collecting as a group to use our hands, there is a powerful quality of togetherness that is facilitated.  We are building something and connecting with a part of our bodies that we do not often used.

Here are the photographs of the event below – I encourage anyone who is interested in hosting a breadmaking workshop to consult Nadezhda for her global experience and inspiring dedication to group building through breadmaking.

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November 26, 2011

from Brain Pickings (my new favorite site)

by StefiaMadelyne

7 Ways to Have More by Owning Less

by 

Inconspicuous consumption, or what lunching ladies have to do with social web karma.


Stuff. We all accumulate it and eventually form all kinds of emotional attachments to it. (Arguably, because the marketing machine of the 20th century has conditioned us to do so.) But digital platforms and cloud-based tools are making it increasingly easy to have all the things we want without actually owning them. Because, as Wired founder and notable futurist Kevin Kelly once put it, “access is better than ownership.” Here are seven services that help shrink your carbon footprint, lighten your economic load and generally liberate you from the shackles of stuff through the power of sharing.

NEIGHBORGOODS

The age of keeping up with the Jonses is over. The time of linking up with them has begin. NeighborGoods is a new platform that allows you to do just that, allowing you to borrow and lend from and to your neighbors rather than buying new stuff. (Remind us please, what happened to that fancy blender you bought and used only twice?) From lawnmowers to bikes to DVD’s, the LA-based startup dubs itself “the Craigslist for borrowing,” allowing you to both save and earn money.

Transparent user ratings, transaction histories and privacy controls make the sharing process simple and safe, while automated calendars and reminders ensure the safe return of loaned items.

Give NeighborGoods a shot by creating a sharing group for your apartment building, campus, office, or reading group — both your wallet and your social life will thank you.

UPDATE: Per the co-founder’s kind comment below, we should clarify that NeighborGoods also allows you to import your Twitter and Facebook friends from the get-go, so you have an instant group to share with.

SNAPGOODS

Similarly to Neighborgoods,SnapGoods allows you to rent, borrow and lend within your community. SnapGoods takes things step further by expanding the notion of “community” not only to your local group — neighborhood, office or apartment building — but to your social graph across the web’s trusted corners. The site features full Facebook and Meetup integration, extending your social circle to the cloud.

You can browse the goods people in your area are lending or take a look at what they need and lend a hand (or a sewing machine, as may be the case) if you’ve got the goods.

LANDSHARE

Growing one’s own produce is every hipster-urbanite’s pipe dream. But the trouble with it is that you have to actually have a place to grow it. And while a pot of cherry tomatoes in your fire escape is better than nothing, it’s hardly anything. Enter Landshare, an innovative platform for connecting aspiring growers with landowners who have the space but don’t use it.

Though currently only available in the U.K., we do hope to see Landshare itself, or at least the concept behind it, spread worldwide soon.

SWAPTREE

swaptree is a simple yet brilliant platform for swapping your media possessions — from books to DVD’s to vinyl — once they’ve run their course in your life as you hunt for the next great thing. Since we first covered swaptree nearly three years ago, the site has facilitated some 1.6 million swaps, saving its users an estimated $10.3 million while reducing their collective carbon footprint by 9.3 million tons.

Inspired by the founders’ moms, whose lunch dates with girlfriends turned into book-swap clubs, swaptree makes sure that the only thing between you and the latest season of 24 is the price of postage.

GIFTFLOW

Most of us are familiar with the concept of regifting. (No disrespect, but the disconnect between good friends and good taste is sometimes astounding.) Luckily, GiftFlow allows you to swap gifts you don’t want for ones other people don’t want but you do. The platform is based on a system of karmic reputation, where your profile shows all you’ve given and taken, building an implicit system of trust through transparency.

So go ahead, grandma. Hit us with your latest sweet but misguided gift. Chances are, there’s someone out there who’d kill for that kitschy music box.

ZIPCAR

We’re big proponents of bikesharing but, to this point, the concept has failed to transcend local implementations. While some cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Denver are fortunate enough to have thriving bikesharing programs, we’re yet to see a single service available across different locations. Until then, we’d have to settle for the next best sharing-based transportation solution: Zipcar, a 24/7, on-demand carsharing service that gives its members flexible access to thousands of cars across the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Zipcar has been around for quite some time and most people are already familiar with it, so we won’t overelaborate, but suffice it to say the service is the most promising solution to reducing both traffic congestion and pollution in cities without reducing the actual number of drivers.

SHARE SOME SUGAR

Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor. More than an Outkast lyric line, this is the inspiration behind share some sugar — a celebration of neighborliness through the sharing of goods and resources. Much like SnapGoods and NeighborGoods, the service lets you borrow, rent and share stuff within your neighborhood or group of friends

For more on the culture of shared resources, do watch Rachel Botsman’s excellent TEDxSyndney talk. Her forthcoming book, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, hits bookstores in two weeks and is an absolute must-read.

UPDATE: Botsman’s book, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, is now out and landed promptly on our best books in business, life and mind shortlist for 2010.

November 26, 2011

Mapping Social Issues, The Beehive Design Collective

by Natalia Guerrero


How can we use art as a tool to break down social issues by mapping out this contexts through symbolic organization and colonization of beehives? The Beehive Design Collective uses illustrations to map social issues or conflicts such as Free Trade in the Americas, Plan Colombia, and others to reach an understanding of the different dynamics that come into play. The collective facilitates workshops for communities who want to deconstruct complex and overwhelming issues that are shaping their society, by “using bio-regionally accurate depictions of animals and insects as metaphors to link cultural and ecological diversity.”

Their current graphic campaigns are working on the Free Trade resistance in Mesoamerica, Plan Colombia, The True Cost of Coal, among others.

Check out how these layers of symbolic narration are created in this link: http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/plancolombia.htm

November 24, 2011

Brain Pickings

by StefiaMadelyne

Thank You Deb & Farah for turning me on to this Blog!!

about

Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, a cultural curator and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UKThe Atlantic and Design Observer, among others. She gets occasional help from a handful of talented contributors.

Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.

Because creativity, after all, is a combinatorial force. It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will become.

Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology. Pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower you to combine them into original concepts that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful — a modest, curiosity-driven exercise in vision- and mind-expansion. Please enjoy.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/about/

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November 24, 2011

The Last Whole Earth Catalog

by StefiaMadelyne

A Crunchy-Granola Path From Macramé and LSD to Wikipedia and Google

Published: September 25, 2006

The pages are yellowed, the addresses and phone numbers all but useless, the products antique, the utopian expectations quaint. But the “Whole Earth Catalog” — and particularly “The Last Whole Earth Catalog,” published in 1971, which ended up selling a million copies and winning the National Book Award — has the eerie luminosity of a Sears catalog from the turn of the last century. It is a portrait of an age and its dreams.

Forward thinking: Stewart Brand in 1966, with a disc on his forehead.

A counterculture classic.

Deerskin jackets and potter’s wheels, geodesic domes and star charts, instructions on raising bees and on repairing Volkswagens, advice on building furniture and cultivating marijuana: all this can be found here, along with celebrations of communal life and swipes at big government, big business and a technocratic society.

Can this encyclopedia of countercultural romance have anything to do with today’s technological world, a world of broadband connections, TCP/IP protocol and the Internet? The Internet, after all, began during the cold war as an attempt to create a network of computers that would be resilient in case of nuclear attack. Its instigator, the United States Department of Defense, was at the very center of the culture being countered by the “Whole Earth Catalog.” How could the romantic, utopian culture of the 1960’s, with its deep suspicions about modernity and its machinery, be closely linked to one of the most important technological revolutions of the last hundred years?

Yet as Fred Turner points out in his revealing new book, “From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism” (University of Chicago Press), there is no way to separate cyberculture from counterculture; indeed, cyberculture grew from its predecessor’s compost. Mr. Turner suggests that Stewart Brand, who created the “Whole Earth Catalog,” was the major node in a network of countercultural speculators, promoters, inventors and entrepreneurs who helped change the world in ways quite different from those they originally envisioned.

Mr. Turner, who teaches in the communication department at Stanford University, is rigorous in his argument, thorough to the point of exhaustion, and impressive in his range. The basic premise, though, is not unfamiliar. A decade ago the cultural critic Mark Dery suggested in his book “Escape Velocity” that the PC revolution could well be called “Counterculture 2.0.” Other writers have also pointed out uncanny overlaps.

And some of the anecdotal evidence is familiar. Steve Jobs created and promoted Apple as a countercultural computer company, most famously in the 1984 television ad that associated it with the demolishment of a totalitarian Big Brother. Even I.B.M., in promoting its first PC, tried to undermine the computer’s association with corporate power, marketing its machine using images of Charlie Chaplin’s tramp, who had twitted the gears of industry in “Modern Times.”

Connections were even made by the participants. Theodore Roszak, whose 1969 book, “The Making of a Counter Culture,” popularized that era’s doctrines, later asserted that computer hackers — “whose origins can be discerned in the old Whole Earth Catalog” — invented the personal computer as a means of “fostering dissent and questioning authority.” Timothy Leary, the psychedelic maestro of that period, declared that “the PC is the LSD of the 1990’s.”

Soon after publishing “The Last Whole Earth Catalog,” Mr. Brand started to write about the computer scene, helped create the “Whole Earth Software Catalog” and, in 1985, became a founder of the WELL — the Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link — a pioneering online community. “As it turned out,” Mr. Brand once explained, “psychedelic drugs, communes, and Buckminster Fuller domes were a dead end, but computers were an avenue to realms beyond our dreams.” By the 90’s, those realms were celebrated by the magazine Wired.

It might be argued that so prevalent was the counterculture, and so experimental and energetic were its most vocal proponents, that it would have been surprising had many of them not found their way to the computer revolution. But Mr. Turner demonstrates something more essential in the continuity.

First, he suggests, we are mistaken in thinking that the postwar technological world was dominated by hierarchies and rigid categories. Under the influence of the mathematician Norbert Wiener, it became increasingly common to think of humans and machines as interacting elements of “cybernetic systems” — organisms through which information flowed. This also led to a different way of thinking about living organisms and their networks of interaction.

Marshall McLuhan wrote in 1964: “Today we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.” Buckminster Fuller proposed the idea of a Comprehensive Designer, a creator who would embody “an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.”

These writers were the patron saints of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” their books appearing alongside macramé and carpentry manuals, their ideas presumably brought to life in the commune, where the natural and human world would be bound together, creating a single organism from which new possibilities would unfold.

By the 1980’s, Mr. Turner argues, similar fantasies were inspired by the computer. It had freed itself from corporate control and ownership; it was also capable of connecting with other computers in communities like the WELL (which John Perry Barlow, a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, called “the latest thing in frontier villages”). The Internet, designed to be inherently nonhierarchical, suggested even more grand possibilities, even a revolution in politics and human consciousness.

In the 90’s, Mr. Turner says, the writers and editors of Wired believed “they would tear down hierarchies, undermine the sorts of corporations and governments that had spawned them” and replace them with a “peer-to-peer, collaborative society, interlinked by invisible currents of energy and information.” Cyberculture was to be the fulfillment of counterculture.

Ultimately, of course, such fulfillment was not to be had. But the consequences of the association were profound. One reason for the heady pace of innovation during the 90’s is that the motivation was never purely abstract, but was often accompanied by utopian passions. Software development occurred not just in the private realm, but also among collaborative communities that objected to corporate ownership. Even today’s Wikipedia — the online encyclopedia continuously being written by its users — can be traced to these ideas.

But there were also limitations of vision and imagination. For a long time, cyberspace advocates were reluctant to take the problem of mischievous hacking seriously and could look askance at the very notion of copyright in the cyberworld. There was even a strain of countercultural romance in the ways in which the corporate monopolist Microsoft became widely portrayed as an Evil Empire threatening the libertarian Internet. (This is also one reason that Google, which has turned out to be Microsoft’s most potent competitor, made its motto “Don’t be evil.”)

Moreover, so messianic were expectations, that many failed to see that cyberspace was not really a different realm from the hard-wired world of ordinary experience, but would become an extension of it: a place where banking, shopping, conversation and business transactions could take place, where the bourgeois world and an imagined frontier would again have to work out their uneasy relations, and would again face an uncertain future.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/25/arts/25conn.html?_r=1

November 24, 2011

2 Fabulous Street Art Sites

by StefiaMadelyne

Street Art Utopia

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November 24, 2011

Beware of “Sock Puppets”

by StefiaMadelyne

Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

Military’s ‘sock puppet’ software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propagandaGeneral David Petraeus

Gen David Petraeus has previously said US online psychological operations are aimed at ‘countering extremist ideology and propaganda’. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.

Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: “The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.”

He said none of the interventions would be in English, as it would be unlawful to “address US audiences” with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.

Centcom said it was not targeting any US-based web sites, in English or any other language, and specifically said it was not targeting Facebook or Twitter.

Once developed, the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with any number of co-ordinated messages, blogposts, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.

Centcom’s contract requires for each controller the provision of one “virtual private server” located in the United States and others appearing to be outside the US to give the impression the fake personas are real people located in different parts of the world.

It also calls for “traffic mixing”, blending the persona controllers’ internet usage with the usage of people outside Centcom in a manner that must offer “excellent cover and powerful deniability”.

The multiple persona contract is thought to have been awarded as part of a programme called Operation Earnest Voice (OEV), which was first developed in Iraq as a psychological warfare weapon against the online presence of al-Qaida supporters and others ranged against coalition forces. Since then, OEV is reported to have expanded into a $200m programme and is thought to have been used against jihadists across Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

OEV is seen by senior US commanders as a vital counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programme. In evidence to the US Senate’s armed services committee last year, General David Petraeus, then commander of Centcom, described the operation as an effort to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard”. He said the US military’s objective was to be “first with the truth”.

This month Petraeus’s successor, General James Mattis, told the same committee that OEV “supports all activities associated with degrading the enemy narrative, including web engagement and web-based product distribution capabilities”.

Centcom confirmed that the $2.76m contract was awarded to Ntrepid, a newly formed corporation registered in Los Angeles. It would not disclose whether the multiple persona project is already in operation or discuss any related contracts.

Nobody was available for comment at Ntrepid.

In his evidence to the Senate committee, Gen Mattis said: “OEV seeks to disrupt recruitment and training of suicide bombers; deny safe havens for our adversaries; and counter extremist ideology and propaganda.” He added that Centcom was working with “our coalition partners” to develop new techniques and tactics the US could use “to counter the adversary in the cyber domain”.

According to a report by the inspector general of the US defence department in Iraq, OEV was managed by the multinational forces rather than Centcom.

Asked whether any UK military personnel had been involved in OEV, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said it could find “no evidence”. The MoD refused to say whether it had been involved in the development of persona management programmes, saying: “We don’t comment on cyber capability.”

OEV was discussed last year at a gathering of electronic warfare specialists in Washington DC, where a senior Centcom officer told delegates that its purpose was to “communicate critical messages and to counter the propaganda of our adversaries”.

Persona management by the US military would face legal challenges if it were turned against citizens of the US, where a number of people engaged in sock puppetry have faced prosecution.

Last year a New York lawyer who impersonated a scholar was sentenced to jail after being convicted of “criminal impersonation” and identity theft.

It is unclear whether a persona management programme would contravene UK law. Legal experts say it could fall foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which states that “a person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice”. However, this would apply only if a website or social network could be shown to have suffered “prejudice” as a result.

• This article was amended on 18 March 2011 to remove references to Facebook and Twitter, introduced during the editing process, and to add a comment from Centcom, received after publication, that it is not targeting those sites.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/17/us-spy-operation-social-networks

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November 24, 2011

Buy Nothing Day

by StefiaMadelyne

 

#OCCUPYXMAS kicks off Nov 25/26

Let’s take back the season!

Hey dreamers, occupiers, rabble-rousers,

You’ve been sleeping on the streets for two months pleading peacefully for a new spirit in economics. And just as your camps are raided, your eyes pepper sprayed and your head’s knocked in, another group of people are preparing to camp-out. Only these people aren’t here to support occupy Wall Street, they’re here to secure their spot in line for a Black Friday bargain at Super Target and Macy’s.

Occupy gave the world a new way of thinking about the fat cats and financial pirates on Wall Street. Now lets give them a new way of thinking about the holidays, about our own consumption habits. Lets’ use the coming 20th annual Buy Nothing Day to launch an all-out offensive to unseat the corporate kings on the holiday throne.

This year’s Black Friday will be the first campaign of the holiday season where we set the tone for a new type of holiday culminating with #OCCUPYXMAS. As the global protests of the 99% against corporate greed and casino capitalism continues, lets take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts…the wallet.

On Nov 25/26th we escape the mayhem and unease of the biggest shopping day in North America and put the breaks on rabid consumerism for 24 hours. Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams! We don’t camp on the sidewalk for a reduced price tag on a flat screen TV or psycho-killer video game. Instead, we occupy the very paradigm that is fueling our eco, social and political decline.

Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. On this 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, we take it to the next level, marrying it with the message of #occupy…

We #OCCUPYXMAS.

Shenanigans begin November 25!

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupyxmas-kicks-nov-2526.html#.Ts5gVhzdlTo.facebook

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November 24, 2011

OWS is not playing the game according to rules of the Establishment (that’s the point)

by StefiaMadelyne

ANNALS OF INNOVATION

How David Beats Goliath

When underdogs break the rules.

by Malcolm Gladwell

MAY 11, 2009

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

A brief excerpt:

“Arreguín-Toft found the same puzzling pattern. When an underdog fought like David, he usually won. But most of the time underdogs didn’t fight like David. Of the two hundred and two lopsided conflicts in Arreguín-Toft’s database, the underdog chose to go toe to toe with Goliath the conventional way a hundred and fifty-two times—and lost a hundred and nineteen times. In 1809, the Peruvians fought the Spanish straight up and lost; in 1816, the Georgians fought the Russians straight up and lost; in 1817, the Pindaris fought the British straight up and lost; in the Kandyan rebellion of 1817, the Sri Lankans fought the British straight up and lost; in 1823, the Burmese chose to fight the British straight up and lost. The list of failures was endless. In the nineteen-forties, the Communist insurgency in Vietnam bedevilled the French until, in 1951, the Viet Minh strategist Vo Nguyen Giap switched to conventional warfare—and promptly suffered a series of defeats. George Washington did the same in the American Revolution, abandoning the guerrilla tactics that had served the colonists so well in the conflict’s early stages. “As quickly as he could,” William Polk writes in “Violent Politics,” a history of unconventional warfare, Washington “devoted his energies to creating a British-type army, the Continental Line. As a result, he was defeated time after time and almost lost the war….

This is the second half of the insurgent’s creed. Insurgents work harder than Goliath. But their other advantage is that they will do what is “socially horrifying”—they will challenge the conventions about how battles are supposed to be fought….The price that the outsider pays for being so heedless of custom is, of course, the disapproval of the insider.”

November 24, 2011

Street Art

by StefiaMadelyne

November 24, 2011

Use of Social Media in Revolutions

by StefiaMadelyne

The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world

Recent events in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt have been called ‘Twitter revolutions’ – but can social networking overthrow a government? Our correspondent reports from the Middle East on how activists are really using the web

The Guardian, Thursday 24 February 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/25/twitter-facebook-uprisings-arab-libya

‎”Precisely how we communicate in these moments of historic crisis and transformation is important. The medium that carries the message shapes and defines as well as the message itself. The instantaneous nature of how social media communicate self-broadcast ideas, unlimited by publication deadlines and broadcast news slots, explains in part the speed at which these revolutions have unravelled, their almost viral spread across a region. It explains, too, the often loose and non-hierarchical organisation of the protest movements unconsciously modelled on the networks of the web.”

November 24, 2011

The Revolution is Love

by StefiaMadelyne

A taste of the upcoming feature documentary, Occupy Love. This is a community funded film. Please support our crowd funding campaign athttp://www.indiegogo.com/Occupy-Love?a=315019&i=addr
“Love is the felt experience of connection to another being. An economist says ‘more for you is less for me.’ But the lover knows that more of you is more for me too. If you love somebody their happiness is your happiness. Their pain is your pain. Your sense of self expands to include other beings. This shift of consciousness is universal in everybody, 99% and 1%.” ~ Charles Eisenstein

This short film was Directed by Ian MacKenzie http://ianmack.com
Co-produced with Velcrow Ripper http://velcrowripper.com
Camera: Ian Mackenzie and Velcrow Ripper
Editing: Ian Mackenzie
Interview by: Velcrow Ripper

CHARLES EISENSTEIN is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution.

READ CHARLES BOOK
Visit http://sacred-economics.com to learn more about his ideas for a new economy.

Transcript:

“This movement isn’t about the 99% defeating or toppling the 1%. You know the next chapter of that story, which is that the 99% create a new 1%. That’s not what it’s about.

What we want to create is the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible. A sacred world. A world that works for everybody. A world that is healing. A world of peace.

You can’t just say “We demand a world of peace. Demands have to be specific. Anything that people can articulate can only be articulated within the language of the current political discourse. And that entire political discourse is already too small. And that’s why making explicit demands reduces the movement, and takes the heart out of it. So it’s a real paradox, and I think the movement understands that.

The system isn’t working for the 1% either. You know if you were a CEO, you would be making the same choices they do. The institutions have their own logic. Life is pretty bleak at the top too – and all the baubles of the rich are this phoney compensation for the loss of what’s really important. The loss of community, the loss of connection, the loss of intimacy. The loss of meaning.

Everybody wants to live a life of meaning. And today, we live in a money economy where we don’t really depend on the gifts of anybody. But we buy everything. Therefore we don’t really need anybody, because whoever grew my food, or made my clothes, or built by house, well if they die, or if I alienate them, or if they don’t like me, that’s okay because I can just pay someone else to do it.

And it’s really hard to create community if the underlying knowledge is “we don’t need each other.” So people kind of get together and act nice, or maybe they consume together. But joint consumption doesn’t create intimacy. Only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy and connection.

You have such gifts, that are important. Just as every species has an important gift to give to an ecosystem, and the extinction of any species hurts everybody. The same is true of each person, that you have a necessary and important gift to give.

And that for a long time our minds have told us that maybe we’re crazy, that maybe we’re imagining things, that’s its crazy to live according to what you want to give. But I think now, as more and more people wake up to the truth, that we’re here to give, and wake up to that desire, and wake up to the fact that other way isn’t working anyway – the more reinforcement we have from people around us that this isn’t crazy. This is makes sense. This is how to live.

And as we get that reinforcement, then our minds and our logic no longer have to fight against the logic of the heart which wants us to be of service. This shift of consciousness that inspires such things is universal, 99% and the 1% and it’s awakening in different people in different ways.

I think love is the felt experience of connection to another being. An economist says ‘more for you is less for me.’ But the lover knows that more of you is more for me too. If you love somebody their happiness is your happiness. Their pain is your pain. Your sense of self expands to include other beings.

That’s love, love is the expansion of the self to include the other. And that’s a different kind of revolution. There’s no one to fight. There’s no evil to fight. There’s no other in this revolution.

Everybody has a unique calling and it’s really time to listen to that. That’s what the future is going to be. It’s time to get ready for it, and contribute to it, and help make it happen.

November 16, 2011

A Different Take: Developing and Fostering Queer Youth Media

by Natalia Guerrero

The 24th New York Queer Experimental Film festival will take place Nov 15-20. On Saturday 19th at 2pm there will be a space held to show the work of youth who have participated in peer-based/ mentor driven workshop for media makers in the program A Different Take. The entrance is Free a there will be a space to engage with the participants in a discussion.

MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival’s “A Different Take” program is a free media training program for at risk LGBT youth. For more information, see http://www.mixnyc.org, or contact info@mixnyc.org

For those interested in youth media this could be another opportunity to see how this process is being facilitated  in this particular workshop.

November 8, 2011

Children’s museum!!

by diydonaldreed

Yesterday I visited a friend who works at the Children’s museum on 103 Charlton St. Its located in lower Manhattan, I think west village. Any who it was amazing, and surprisingly enough was very DIY oriented. What I thought was going to be art that children would like, or child themed, was actually children making the art and encouraged to make art on public spaces. There works were hung up everywhere, and some were remarkable. Here are some pictures I took of my experience.