Wednesday, August 31

The diaspora

I'm in the slow process of moving this page to a prettier Wordpress blog, which you can now visit here. I say slow because it feels like moving house: there is oddly something comforting and familiar with the ability to dump thoughts into one place that looks familiar, much like an actual physical space would be. I suppose that is another metaphor we have to "home" in the digital world. Unlike a physical space that can be upgraded, formatted virtual worlds don't allow much room for painting the walls or swapping out the bathtub.
I recently met a graduate student whose dissertation was on death in digital realms. (Not to be morbid, I'm just moving locations.) He was investigating what happens to our virtual presence when our physical self expires. In the process of moving this history to a new location, I wonder what the narrative is that we leave behind with all of the information that we hoard over the years (our saved emails, the iterations of papers and writing, the digital photos of meaningful people and meaningless events). Sorting through it now by moving backwards on these pages feels both as if these events are past and that they are happening now. There is no wear and tear on a blog post, only a dated style or use of code to make it. Time collapses here.
I sometimes wonder how important it is to keep this going, especially in light of the networking capabilities of other social networks like Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Yet I enjoy writing, and since I'm not a corporation, am not as concerned with the quantifiable results of this beyond it being a semi-public platform for some of my less focused thoughts. I hope, for those reading or following this site, you'll continue to visit me at my new home.

Sunday, May 1


One thing that never fails to instill a sense of awe in me is the morphing shape of a flock of flying birds. Apparently, birds have a 360 Degree field of vision, so while flying together, they can see the entire group and move accordingly. Beyond that, the formations are just beautiful.

Saturday, April 23

Working in the data mine

I've been a longtime fan of Bookforum's blog, Omnivore, an odd amalgamation of the day or week's news stories, blog posts, articles and scholarly writing on what is sometimes a very clear topic and sometimes a very large umbrella that some things are not exactly standing under it. It's like looking at Pitchfork's web content or visiting a Sephora: truly experiencing the hypertextual idea of drift.

The post I saw today was on doubt, either aptly named for the Good Friday/Passover season, or personally resonant as I look for a summer job. Links go to writing ranging from the "Narrative Immunity" of Footballers to sexual assault charges, to Godard's Cinema of Doubt. Some great content in this mish-mash; I was particularly liking the post from M/C Journal for an article called "Pragmatist Doubt, Dogmatism and Bullshit"  on the necessity of doubt in navigating our experiences.

Doubt is an interesting idea. It is a liminal state between truth and fiction, a way of dealing pragmatically with a perceived notion, a truth. It has also become a priori in how we navigate the world, in particular digital ones. As content is supplied by armchair philosophers and not those trained in traditions, we are both accepting of information as being somewhat factual, yet wholly skeptical of it as fully-researched fact. The "truth" is subjective, its facets as myriad as those writing it. It is somehow in doubt, in thinking and questioning to make sure what we're fed logically makes sense, that we sift through for what the truth is. Maybe this is the positive legacy of the information age: that increased doubt tests the mind to seek paths to truths.

Tuesday, April 19

Idle hands

Going back to analog for a bit....some explorations of drawn letters and code.

Sunday, April 10

Modern Laputa

Amikejo was the world's first and only state built on the Esperantist ideals, established in an odd wedge-shaped territory bordering Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. From the Big Think website: "In 1906, Moly and Gustave Roy, a French professor – both keen Esperantists – decide to establish an Esperanto state in Neutral Moresnet. Esperanto being an artificial language developed some decades before by L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish doctor. This language, devoid of nationalistic connotations, was supposed to transcend the linguistic divides crippling Europe." The region was annexed to Belgium through the Treaty of Versailles at the war's end.

Wednesday, March 30

I am sitting in a room...

A fascinating post over on BLDGBLOG on the company Airborne Sound's Borgesian library of royalty-free, everyday sound effects "for everyday scenarios like dishwashers, traffic noise, office ambiance, overhead helicopters, vacuum cleaners, elevator shafts, construction sites, and more." Because of the astounding specificity of the catalog ("Small metal military tin, empty, closing concisely," for instance, versus "Small metal military tin, empty, closing quickly and smartly,"), he imagines the possibilities for constructing a synthetic sonic environment á lá cut-and-paste culture. This could act as a spatio-acoustic form of therapy for those suffering from depression or loss, through creating a sensory spectre of the mundane.