While too many forces — most of all family and advertising — try to pass the idea each one of us is special or different and that we should 'express ourselves' or something, it’s always worth reminding that we are not so special. Nobody is; and there is a very real sense of safety in numbers in embracing the possibility of being trite and the clichéd, and in recognizing people similar to us most certainly had the same ideas. This seems like a recipe for conformity, but therein lies the real challenge: not in expressing our (not so) unique selves, but in maintaining critical freedom from the twin desires of fitting in and of being unique.
While we’re on the subject, here’s an amusing scientific paper titled The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same (PDF). And so it may be asked, why shouldn’t anticonformists look the same? And why should we care — as long as the anticonformists are true anticonformists? Boing Boing
A couple of weeks ago I led a workshop on ‘analog software’ during the FuturePlaces media lab here in Porto. Influenced by Casey Reas’ articulation between creative coding and conceptual art I had expected participants to be interested in sketching procedural graphics on paper or canvas. Instead, I seemed to have struck a deeper chord by mentioning in passing SocialFiction’s .walk. Participants became more interested in ‘coding’ performative behaviour and questioning the way software is eating the world, which was a very welcome surprise.
A more detailed debriefing is up at the FuturePlaces website. Please also be sure to read Sara Moreira's Coding as Cooking essay which is a very interesting personal testimony, relating the Analog Software workshop with the great Frugal Food Challenge we had both attended and had a lot of fun at.
The Tilde Club no longer accepts new members, which is unfortunate but understandable since this is not supposed to be Ello but rather something like an doomed-utopian Geocities, webrings included. And I do think there’s something wonderful about randomly clicking through the webpages Tilde members have been “making on the web” (eg. this page that pulls you beyond the 1990s cyberspace event horizon). As Ford tweeted, it’s refreshing to see people doing things rather than just saying things — which, coming to think of it, would be the core difference between the Early Web and the Centralized & Appified Web of nowadays.
A triumph for the Indie Web!
I spent a week in residence with the Teatroensaio company in the countryside, recording landscapes and interviewing locals in the villages of Famalicão da Serra, Fernão Joanes and Videmonte deep near Serra da Estrela. Some of the material was for the video projections of the Transumância play, and the rest will be edited into a documentary film. More soon!
Katerina Kamprani has imagined a series of objects with the worst possible user experience. Quite evidently, Katerina’s renderings bring to mind Jacques Carelman’s Impossible Objects made popular by the cover of Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things.
Jim Leonard’s (aka Trixter) 8088 Domination, a PC demo that makes use of some neat tricks to display fullscreen color video on a 1981 IBM PC. Keeping in mind that these thirty-three year old machines are orders of magnitude less powerful than today’s electronics, you can see how today’s software is incredibly bloated stuff built atop piles upon piles of abstraction.
If three decades later someone can figure out how to display video using a modest early model PC, what kind of applications will someone build, three decades hence, extracting every bit of capability from today’s computers bare metal?