Film/Video/New Media · Human-ities · Philosophy · Videos

Omar Khayyam: The Poet of Uncertainty – Full BBC Culture Documentary

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Social/Politics · Technology

Silicon and surveillance: A tale of big data and bigger conspiracies


Thomas Pynchon’s novels have several recurring themes: paranoia and conspiracy, pastiches of high and low culture, synchronicity and coincidence, shadowy networks lurking around every corner, and the impact of science and technology. With the coming of the Internet age and the surveillance society that sprang up in the wake of 11 September 2001, it seems as though reality has finally caught up with his vision. In his latest work, Bleeding Edge, Pynchon takes full advantage of this convergence.

The first question asked of a new Pynchon book is: is this one of the sprawling, spiralling, time-tripping monsters with innumerable characters and a plot that is tricky to bring into focus, like Gravity’s Rainbow or Against the Day; or is it one of the fun detective stories with a well-defined protagonist, like The Crying of Lot 49 or Inherent Vice? Bleeding Edge is definitely in the latter category. There is a colourful cast of memorable personalities, and high jinks often ensue, but the tale is told linearly, from the point of view of an acknowledged main character, with something approximating an explicit goal.

Excerpt from an article written by Sean M. Carroll at Nature. Continue THERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

Does Europe Exist?

The Hungarian philosopher Agnes Heller, in a chapter she contributed to a book published in 1992, stated with some confidence her view that there was no such thing as European culture. There was certainly, she wrote, Italian and German music, and Florentine and Venetian painting, “but there is no European music and no European painting”.

It is true that the history of art and culture was not really Heller’s field, but it would seem that those who, in the same year as she wrote her essay, framed the Maastricht Treaty, signalling the transition from European Community to European Union, at least partially agreed with her. The treaty was the first time the community had taken for itself significant powers in the cultural field. European cultures (note the plural), the relevant article stated, were to be understood as requiring “respect” – by which one understands freedom from too much supranational interference (“The Community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity …”). At the same time however, the Community was to be entrusted with the task of “[b]ringing the common cultural heritage to the fore”.

Excerpt from an essay written by Enda O’Doherty at DBR. Continue THERE

Human-ities · Philosophy · Science · Technology

What Transgender Means for Transhumanism

Bridging transsexuality and transhumanism makes sense. It’s possible that transgender people may become the first normalized transhumanist class. I use “normalized” loosely of course, drawing the line at doping athletes and plastic surgery junkies—a moral assertion that gives meaning to this conversation, but something for another time.

So, what exactly is transhumanism? Some label it a religion. I see it as something between a philosophy and a cultural movement.

To paraphrase philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce, co-founders of the World Transhumanist Association and authors of the Transhumanist Declaration, transhumanism affirms the possibility of improving the human condition through applied reason and technological advancement—the idea being to eliminate aging and suffering, and enhance human capacities across the board. Another key element of transhumanism is the motivation to overcome “fundamental” human limitations. According to Humanity+, an international membership organization that “advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities,” transhumanism is about man and technology, taking a “multidisciplinary approach to analyzing the dynamic interplay between humanity and the acceleration of technology.”

Excerpt from an article written by C.Delatorre at C.Delatorre. Continue HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Digital Media · Education · Social/Politics

Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia (History and Foundations of Information Science)

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is built by a community–a community of Wikipedians who are expected to “assume good faith” when interacting with one another. In Good Faith Collaboration, Joseph Reagle examines this unique collaborative culture.

Wikipedia, says Reagle, is not the first effort to create a freely shared, universal encyclopedia; its early twentieth-century ancestors include Paul Otlet’s Universal Repository and H. G. Wells’s proposal for a World Brain. Both these projects, like Wikipedia, were fuelled by new technology–which at the time included index cards and microfilm. What distinguishes Wikipedia from these and other more recent ventures is Wikipedia’s good-faith collaborative culture, as seen not only in the writing and editing of articles but also in their discussion pages and edit histories. Keeping an open perspective on both knowledge claims and other contributors, Reagle argues, creates an extraordinary collaborative potential.

Wikipedia’s style of collaborative production has been imitated, analyzed, and satirized. Despite the social unease over its implications for individual autonomy, institutional authority, and the character (and quality) of cultural products, Wikipedia’s good-faith collaborative culture has brought us closer than ever to a realization of the century-old pursuit of a universal encyclopedia.

Foreword by Lawrence Lessig
Publisher MIT Press, 2010
History and Foundation of Information Science Series
ISBN 0262014475, 9780262014472
244 pages

Text via MITPress

Download HERE

Architectonic · Design · Photographics · Social/Politics

Underground Cities

For decades, we have reached for the skies with bricks and mortar, steel and glass and have literally built places in the clouds. But the only way is not up: a few adventurers are airing out the dark corners and infusing contemporary culture and a new lease of life into forgotten underground spaces.

Every space erased from human memory, boarded and bricked up, and consigned to oblivion by us, hears the resounding echoes of Wim Wender’s words: “In a million years when no one will be around anymore to even remember us faintly, some of these places will. Places have memories. They remember everything. It’s engraved in stone…”

Yet a few souls remember the abandoned, the forgotten, and the buried residuals that contemporary architecture inevitably creates. These visionaries see the potential and beauty – and gradually, such spaces are infused with a new lease of life.

Excerpt of an text written by Gabriel Tamez, mb! by Mercedes-Benz. Continue HERE

Art/Aesthetics · Events · Social/Politics

dOCUMENTA (13) Resources

This area of the website gathers together and articulates throughout a series of subsections, the materials that constitute the various sources from which dOCUMENTA (13) gradually came into being, as well as the different accounts that are being recorded during its making.

It is in an attempt to bear witness to the process in its multifaceted, contingent and inhomogeneous nature, as well as to the individual and common trajectories of those who took, are and will be taking part in the project. The texts, images and videos that constitute the different entries of this resources area are listed chronologically here, and further organized around the subcategories “100 Days”, “Glossary”, “Minutes”, Projects”, and “Materials”.

Text via dOCUMENTA (13) Resources

Photographics · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Fingerprints of Drinkable Culture

Fingerprints of Drinkable Culture is a photo series by photographer William LeGoullon that explores what popular beverages look like under a microscope. He writes:

“In this series, I treat the world’s top five most consumed man-made beverages like scientific specimens, allowing each liquid sample to dry before photographing them using a microscope. The resulting images provide us with a chance to analyze these fingerprints of drinkable culture as an act of art consumption.”

Expresso, wine, and tea above. See +++ HERE
Text via PetaPixel

Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Podcast · Science · Technology

Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks

Maximilian Schich, Isabel Meirelles, and Roger Malina discuss the contents and creation of the new article collection, Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks, which explores the application of the science of complex networks to art history, archeology, visual arts, the art market, and other areas of cultural importance. Listen to Podcast HERE

Text and Image via MIT Press

Human-ities · Sonic/Musical

The New Elitists

YOU can tell a lot about people by looking at their music collections. Some have narrow tastes, mostly owning single genres like rap or heavy metal. Others are far more eclectic, their collections filled with hip-hop and jazz, country and classical, blues and rock. We often think of such differences as a matter of individual choice and expression. But to a great degree, they are explained by social background. Poorer people are likely to have singular or “limited” tastes. The rich have the most expansive.

We see a similar pattern in other kinds of consumption. Think of the restaurants cherished by very wealthy New Yorkers. Masa, where a meal for two can cost $1,500, is on the list, but so is a cheap Sichuan spot in Queens, a Papaya Dog and a favorite place for a slice. Sociologists have a name for this. Today’s elites are not “highbrow snobs.” They are “cultural omnivores.”

Omnivorousness is part of a much broader trend in the behavior of our elite, one that embraces diversity. Barriers that were once a mainstay of elite cultural and educational institutions have been demolished. Gone are the quotas that kept Jews out of elite high schools and colleges; inclusion is now the norm. Diverse and populist programming is a mainstay of every museum. Elites seem more likely to confront snobbish exclusion than they are to embrace it.

This was not always the case.

Excerpt of an article written by SHAMUS KHAN, NYT. Continue HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Social/Politics

Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics

Arguing that an anthropology that confronts the politics of academic knowledge can transcend its colonial origins to challenge enthnocentrism, Power and Its Disguises explores both the complexities of local situations and the power relations that shape the global order. The book begins by analyzing the politics of societies without indigenous states and non-Western agrarian civilizations in order to confront the politics of domination and resistance within the colonial contexts that gave birth to the discipline.The author then examines the contemporary politics of Africa, Asia and Latin America, showing that historically informed anthropological perspectives can contribute to debates about democratization by incorporating a ‘view from below’ and revealing forces that shape power relations behind the formal facade of state institutions. Examples are drawn from Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sri Lanka, amongst others.Emphasizing the need to avoid both romanticism and blanket pessimism, the book shows how the study of micro-dynamics of power in everyday life coupled with sensitivity to the interactions between the local and global offers critical insights into such issues as state terror and ethnic violence, the emancipatory potential of social movements and the politics of rights, gender and culture. The book ends with discussion of the politics of academic research and academics’ efforts to play a critical role.

Text by the publisher, Powell Books.

Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics (Anthropology, Culture and Society) by John Gledhill

Bio · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Performativity · Science · Videos · Vital-Edible-Health

Center for PostNatural History – Outreach Program

The Center for PostNatural History is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature and biotechnology. The PostNatural refers to living organisms that have been altered through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering. The mission of the Center for PostNatural History is to acquire, interpret and provide access to a collection of living, preserved and documented organisms of postnatural origin.

The Center for PostNatural History addresses this goal through three primary initiatives:

The maintenance of a unique catalog of living, preserved and documented specimens of postnatural origin.

The production of traveling exhibitions that address the PostNatural through thematic and regional perspectives.

The establishment of a permanent exhibition and research facility for PostNatural studies.

Text via The Center for PostNatural History

Performativity · Podcast · Sonic/Musical · Technology

Cultural Morphing: Klaus Filip / Nicolaj Kirisits / et al.

Statement:

Cultural Morphing is an experiment in creating a multi-perspective image of reality from the simultaneous experience of a geographic line by the individual expression of a perceived personal reality. Twelve invited artists traveled by train from Vienna to Shanghai, and selected stops along the route served as their workspace where they would meticulously work out an project that outlined various aspects of cultural transition experienced on the journey. Stopovers at Ulan-Ude, Ulan Bator, Beijing and Shanghai were used to exhibit the works that were created en route.

China emerged as the focus and destination for Cultural Morphing because of the mutual, cooperative, and also oppositional status of digital art between China and Europe. Europe and China are two antipodes in cultural history that have been in steady interchange, but have also developed differently and independently from each other. This cultural deviation is the starting point and the ultimate potential of our project. Adequate to the technology of morphing, the realization of the individual artworks will be a consummation of the artistic interpretations of many keyframes on the tracks between Vienna and Shanghai.

The broadcast for Radius will feature a score developed through filming a dinner at a Chinese rotating table. The images captured through filming from above the table during the course of the dinner were sonified with data and acoustic recordings collected along the journey. The artists involved created individual sound files based on a video score that were later combined into one stereo track.

Via Radius

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Theory

To Predict Dating Success, The Secret’s In The Pronouns

“People who are interested in and paying close attention to each other begin to speak more alike.” James Pennebaker, a psychologist interested in the secret life of pronouns, has counted words to better understand lots of things. He’s looked at lying, at leadership, at who will recover from trauma.

But some of his most interesting work has to do with power dynamics. He says that by analyzing language you can easily tell who among two people has power in a relationship, and their relative social status.

“It’s amazingly simple,” Pennebaker says, “Listen to the relative use of the word “I.”

What you find is completely different from what most people would think. The person with the higher status uses the word “I” less.

To demonstrate this Pennebaker pointed to some of his own email, a batch written long before he began studying status. First he shares an email written by one of his undergraduate students, a woman named Pam:

Dear Dr. Pennebaker:

I was part of your Introductory Psychology class last semester. I have enjoyed your lectures and I‘ve learned so much. I received an email from you about doing some research with you. Would there be a time for me to come by and talk about this?

Pam

Now consider Pennebaker’s response:

Dear Pam –

This would be great. This week isn’t good because of a trip. How about next Tuesday between 9 and 10:30. It will be good to see you.

Jamie Pennebaker

Excerpt of an article written by Alix Spiegel at NPR. Read it HERE

Images via Yale Scientific

http://www.secretlifeofpronouns.com/

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

Our complex, difficult & fragile enlightenments. Katerina Deligiorgi interviewed by Richard Marshall

3:AM Magazine: Katerina Deligiorgi is a top Hegelian philosopher. She is a top Kantian philosopher. She philosophizes on history, on art history, on creativity, on literature, on the Enlightenment and what it means today. And what it meant back in the day. And how it has things to say about education. She wonders about action and how we intend to do things. She wonders about morality and autonomy and has a podcast on the theoretical challenges from cosmetic neurology. She has written a cutting edge book on Kant and the Culture of Enlightenment, and edited a book on Hegel: Hegel: New Directions. She has a new book coming out in June, The Scope of Autonomy: Kant and the Morality of Freedom which will dazzle us. She hasn’t burned her armchair like Josh Knobe, but is still a groove sensation.

Read Interview HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Science · Theory

A CULTURAL HISTORY OF PHYSICS

An excerpt from a new book by Karoly Simonyi.

INTRODUCTION
by Freeman Dyson

A Cultural History of Physics is a grand monument to the life of its author. Karoly Simonyi was teacher first, scholar second, and scientist third. His book likewise has three components. First a text, describing the history of science over the last four thousand years in a rich context of philosophy, art and literature. Second, a collection of illustrations, many of them taken from Hungarian archives and museums unknown to Western readers, giving concrete reality to historical events.Third an anthology of quotations from writers in many languages, beginning with Aeschylus in “Prometheus Bound”, describing how his hero brought knowledge and technical skills to mankind, and ending with Blaise Pascal in “Pensées”, describing how our awareness of our bodies and minds remains an eternal mystery. Different readers will have different preferences. For me, the quotations are the most precious part of the book. Dip anywhere among these pages, and you will find a quotation that is surprising and illuminating.

I have a vivid memory of my one meeting with the author. I came with his son Charles Simonyi to visit him in his home in Budapest. He had an amazing collection of books that had survived centuries of turbulent history. Several of them had bullet holes from the various battles that were fought in the neighboring streets. Many of them were historically important relics from the early days of printing. He proudly showed me these treasures, and even more proudly showed me the German edition of A Cultural History of Physics, which he had recently translated from the Hungarian original. I had only a few minutes to explore the beauties of this work, but I recognized it at once as a unique and magnificent achievement. Now it is finally available in English, and we can enjoy it at our leisure.

Thank you, Charles, for making this happen.

—Freeman Dyson
April 5, 2012

KÁROLY SIMONYI was a Hungarian scholar-educator and physicist, whose lectures, and the trilogy of his great books The Foundations of Electrical Engineering, The Physics of Electronics and Electromagnetic Theory founded an international invisible college in electrical and electronic engineering.

FREEMAN DYSON is Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study; Author, Many Colored Glass; The Scientist as Rebel; Essayist, New York Review of Books.

More Info via EDGE

Art/Aesthetics · Blog-Sites · Performativity · Projects · Social/Politics

State of Sabotage

Official designation: State of Sabotage, Abbreviation: SoS

SoS is a secular, sovereign and democratic state.
All citizens of the SoS state are to adhere to these principles.
The Constitution is the highest law of the SoS state and is binding for all SoS state authorities. The SoS State Constitution was publicly recited and resolved on September 4, 2005 and has been valid and legally binding since that time.
The SoS state symbols are the colors black and white, the coat of arms in the state flag, as well as the state anthem. The two official SoS state and diplomatic languages are German and English. The assets of the SoS state are the creation, protection, mediation, and positioning of art and culture. SoS is the first sovereign cultural state according to international law. SoS fulfills all criteria required of a sovereign state (territory, population, and state organization), as well as education and training in terms of artistic freedom.

State of Sabotage


State of Sabotage CONSTITUTION – A Free Fall Address.
Airfield Ottenschlag, Austria 2005
Video by Harald Hund, 2006

Architectonic · Human-ities · Public Space · Social/Politics

Cities as Constellations: A Conversation with Matthew Gandy

Matthew Gandy is an urbanist and academic who writes and teaches about cities, landscapes and nature. He directed the Urban Laboratory at University College London (UCL) from 2005 to 2011 and has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Humboldt University, Newcastle University and UCLA. His extensive writing and knowledge of urban landscapes bring together culture, politics, environment and cinematic representations to produce prescient and alluring research.

What do you think are the highlights and limitations of recent media productions about cities and urban change, particularly in the Global South?

Some of the best writers on cities are journalists. Examples are Jonathan Raban’s “Soft City” about London in the early 1970s and Siegfried Kracauer’s vignettes about everyday life in Weimar-era Berlin. In terms of recent art about cities, there are classic examples such as Hans Haacke’s “Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System” (1971), as well as works by Gordon Matta Clark from the same period that remain very influential.

Recent examples of really important representations of cities include cinema: a film that really stands out is Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” (2009). Arnold uses an architectonic eye to explore landscapes of alienation on the edge of London. Another great urban film is Robert Guédiguian’s “La Vie Est Tranquille” (2000) set in Marseille. It reminds me of other “cross-section” narratives such as Robert Altman’s depiction of Los Angeles in “Short Cuts” (1993), where we learn about the city through intersecting story lines and chance encounters. Examples of this genre from the Global South include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s striking use of Mexico City in “Amores Perros” (2000) and Dev Benegal’s Mumbai in “Split Wide Open” (1999).

What aspects are not being explored in the media?

Cost constraints, distribution problems and so on constantly militate against the possibility for more diverse forms of cultural production. We need space to allow new things to be created and experienced across all creative media.

How do these compare to past cultural representations of cities?

There was undoubtedly a very intense period of creativity in the 1970s, but I think creative production comes in waves, particular conjunctions of time and place: New York in the 1970s, Berlin in the 1990s and early 2000s, arguably London in the 1990s.

Excerpt from a conversation with Andrew Wade from Polis. Continue HERE
Image above: Los Angeles River (2003). Source: Matthew Gandy

Architectonic · Design · Performativity · Projects · Public Space

Instant favelas: the low-tech street lab for urban intervention

They say: “The Instant Favelas Project means the constant research and dialog between disciplines and Art. We base the project in our own exploration and concerns. Those confluences create, and this provoked the first pilot project (Piloto Kamikaze) where we explored interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary elements such as urbanity, culture, esthetic, music, environment, etc.

Instant Favelas creates a nomad city in open spaces of Zürich. These cities develop during one, two, or three weeks, and are normally built with free-hand collaborators-Favelanders. Our mobility or nomadism plays as much with external and natural factors as with the urban rules of the city where we play.

Inside of our Restless Doubts we attempt to achieve that the viewer’s role will be active, not merely looking at the process of construction, but also asking oneself, What is going on? Why here? Why this? Is it safe? What does it cost? What does it say? And of course, Is this Art? Hopefully we will arrive at the point where the viewer translates himself into a Favelander — free-hand – mind collaborator, who will perhaps create further interventions…

Instant Favelas as an open Art-Lab Experiment collaborated with interventions inside of our constructive structure. While building and networking our city-within-a-city, we try to understand cities. Our simulation becomes a laboratory where we invite other people to make an intervention—in the sense of a collaborative response to our project—so that we can reflect together about different aspects, such as space, economy, society, demography, spirituality and so on, that shape and define a city.”

instantfavelas.org

Bio · Human-ities · Science · Theory

Nature, nurture and liberal values

Human beings are diverse and live in diverse ways. Should we accept that we are diverse by nature, having followed separate evolutionary paths? Or should we suppose that we share our biological inheritance, but develop differently according to environment and culture? Over recent years scientific research has reshaped this familiar “nature-nurture” debate, which remains central to our understanding of human nature and morality.

For much of the 20th century social scientists held that human life is a single biological phenomenon, which flows through the channels made by culture, so as to acquire separate and often mutually inaccessible forms. Each society passes on the culture that defines it, much as it passes on its language. And the most important aspects of culture—religion, rites of passage and law—both unify the people who adhere to them and divide those people from everyone else. Such was implied by what John Tooby and Leda Cosmides called the “standard social science model,” made fundamental to anthropology by Franz Boas and to sociology by Émile Durkheim.

More recently evolutionary psychologists have begun to question that approach. Although you can explain the culture of a tribe as an inherited possession, they suggested, this does not explain how culture came to be in the first place. What is it that endows culture with its stability and function? In response to that question the opinion began to grow that culture does not provide the ultimate explanation of any significant human trait, not even the trait of cultural diversity. It is not simply that there are extraordinary constants among cultures: gender roles, incest taboos, festivals, warfare, religious beliefs, moral scruples, aesthetic interests. Culture is also a part of human nature: it is our way of being. We do not live in herds or packs; our hierarchies are not based merely on strength or sexual dominance. We relate to one another through language, morality and law; we sing, dance and worship together, and spend as much time in festivals and storytelling as in seeking our food. Our hierarchies involve offices, responsibilities, gift-giving and ceremonial recognition. Our meals are shared, and food for us is not merely nourishment but an occasion for hospitality, affection and dressing up. All these things are comprehended in the idea of culture—and culture, so understood, is observed in all and only human communities. Why is this?

Excerpt of an essay by Roger Scruton at Prospect. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science · Theory

When the Transmission of Culture Is Child’s Play

Abstract
Background

Humans frequently engage in arbitrary, conventional behavior whose primary purpose is to identify with cultural in-groups. The propensity for doing so is established early in human ontogeny as children become progressively enmeshed in their own cultural milieu. This is exemplified by their habitual replication of causally redundant actions shown to them by adults. Yet children seemingly ignore such actions shown to them by peers. How then does culture get transmitted intra-generationally? Here we suggest the answer might be ‘in play’.

Principal Findings

Using a diffusion chain design preschoolers first watched an adult retrieve a toy from a novel apparatus using a series of actions, some of which were obviously redundant. These children could then show another child how to open the apparatus, who in turn could show a third child. When the adult modeled the actions in a playful manner they were retained down to the third child at higher rates than when the adult seeded them in a functionally oriented way.

Conclusions

Our results draw attention to the possibility that play might serve a critical function in the transmission of human culture by providing a mechanism for arbitrary ideas to spread between children.

By Mark Nielsen, Jessica Cucchiaro, Jumana Mohamedally
Early Cognitive Development Centre, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Read paper HERE

Human-ities · Performativity · Science

Cultural Ties

While debating culture and cognition in a psychology lab at Northwestern University, five scientists noticed a striking diversity in the way people tied their shoes.

Eco/Adaptable · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Theory

The New Science of the Birth and Death of Words

Can physicists produce insights about language that have eluded linguists and English professors? That possibility was put to the test this week when a team of physicists published a paper drawing on Google’s massive collection of scanned books. They claim to have identified universal laws governing the birth, life course and death of words.

The paper marks an advance in a new field dubbed “Culturomics”: the application of data-crunching to subjects typically considered part of the humanities. Last year a group of social scientists and evolutionary theorists, plus the Google Books team, showed off the kinds of things that could be done with Google’s data, which include the contents of five-million-plus books, dating back to 1800.

Excerpt from an article written by CHRISTOPHER SHEA at WST. Continue HERE

Blog-Sites · Design · Human-ities · Projects · Public Space · Social/Politics

Designing Economic Cultures


Designing Economic Cultures is a research project by design duo Brave New Alps that sets out to investigate the relationship between socio-economic precarity and the production of socially and politically engaged design projects.

The fundamental question that the project poses at its outset is: how can designers, who through their work want to question and challenge the prevalent capitalist system, its organisational forms and its problematic consequences, gain a satisfying degree of social and economic security without having to submit themselves to the commercial pressures of the market?

In other words, how can designers, who have a critically engaged practice, keep on developing this practice without selling themselves off or being crushed by the market?

Designing Economic Cultures
is an attempt to articulate, develop and share a wide range of tactics and structures that allow designers to produce work that contributes to the development of a more autonomous, democratic and heterogeneous society.

Art/Aesthetics · Blog-Sites · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Philosophy · Social/Politics

ARPANET Test April 1976 with Jim Henson, Ayn Rand, Sidney Nolan & Yoko Ono

17 April 1976 – The transcript presented here records a conversation between four figures from the broad spectrum of culture: puppeteer Jim Henson; Russian-American writer, philosopher and playwright Ayn Rand; painter Sidney Nolan; and artist and musician Yoko Ono. A few months after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, The Agency’s tests with the ARPANET convened these four individuals, each with a distinct sense of, as well as the potential means for, a competing world-view. These individuals, who cross different hemispheres, were to help with considerations towards the viability of broadly implementing Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.* Please note that the respective computer terminals for each participant were identified by the names of gods from Roman mythology and have here been changed to reflect the actual names of the participants. The application, still in its early stage of development, had limited syntax capability, thus punctuation was limited to the full stop. Also, the original timestamps for each transmission have been removed for the sake of legibility.

Via ARPANET

ARPANET Test March 1976 with Joseph Beuys, Juan Downey, Rosalind Krauss & Henry Moore.

Human-ities · Social/Politics · Theory · Vital-Edible-Health

Is Your Language Making You Broke and Fat?

Keith Chen, an economist from Yale, makes a startling claim in an unpublished working paper: people’s fiscal responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices depend in part on the grammar of their language.

Here’s the idea: Languages differ in the devices they offer to speakers who want to talk about the future. For some, like Spanish and Greek, you have to tack on a verb ending that explicitly marks future time—so, in Spanish, you would say escribo for the present tense (I write or I’m writing) and escribiré for the future tense (I will write). But other languages like Mandarin don’t require their verbs to be escorted by grammatical markers that convey future time—time is usually obvious from something else in the context. In Mandarin, you would say the equivalent of I write tomorrow, using the same verb form for both present and future.

Chen’s finding is that if you divide up a large number of the world’s languages into those that require a grammatical marker for future time and those that don’t, you see an interesting correlation: speakers of languages that force grammatical marking of the future have amassed a smaller retirement nest egg, smoke more, exercise less, and are more likely to be obese. Why would this be? The claim is that a sharp grammatical division between the present and future encourages people to conceive of the future as somehow dramatically different from the present, making it easier to put off behaviors that benefit your future self rather than your present self.

Article written by Julie Sedivy, Discover. Continue HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Design · Vital-Edible-Health

Delicate: New Food Culture…You are HOW you eat

About This Book

You are HOW you eat, as much as what you eat. Now, more than ever, eating is an expression of our mindset, identity, spirit, culture, and aspirations. Against this background, this book is an entertaining visual exploration of a diverse scene of young entrepreneurs that see eating as a creative challenge. They are united by a passion for making food an experience and are striving to deal with eating and nourishment in more imaginative, more sensuous, and more responsible ways.
Delicate is an inspiring collection of people, places, projects, and products from around the world that are blazing trails for a new passion for food and the ways we share it.

Eating is so much more than merely fulfilling a fundamental bodily need. Eating appeals to all of our senses; it boosts our well-being on every level. Now, more than ever, it is an expression of our mindset, identity, spirit, and culture.

Around the world, a scene of young food entrepreneurs is developing that brings together creatives, tradespeople, and activists. This scene aspires to deal with both the food that we need, and the food that we enjoy, in more creative, more sensuous, and more responsible ways. It is united by a passion for making food an experience as well as by a high appreciation for the quality, origin, aesthetics, and workmanship of food.

Delicate introduces the protagonists at the forefront of this current movement along with the projects, places, and products associated with them. The book documents a wide spectrum from small brewers, coffee roasters, and chocolate-makers to artists, event managers, and creators of zines.

Event concepts are shown that use food to facilitate communication and social interaction in tried and true, as well as surprising new ways. Locations such as shops, markets, and restaurants become meeting places for everyone who would like to learn, participate, sample, and enjoy.

The experimental projects featured in Delicate are blazing trails for a better understanding of nourishment and a new passion for food.

Text and Images via Gestalten

Performativity · Public Space · Social/Politics · Vital-Edible-Health

Conflict Kitchen

Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront, which rotates identities every 6 months to highlight another country. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each county we focus on. We are currently presenting the third iteration of Conflict Kitchen via La Cocina Arepas, an Venezuelan take-out restaurant that serves homemade arepas, grilled corncakes served to order with a variety of fresh fillings. Developed in collaboration with members of the Venezuelan community, our arepas come packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Venezuelans both in Venezuelan and the United States on subjects ranging from Venezuelan food and culture to issues of geopolitics.

www.conflictkitchen.org

Art/Aesthetics · Education · Events · Performativity · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Individual ecstasies: the revelatory experience conference

On March 23rd London will host a unique conference on the neuroscience, psychiatry and interpretation of revelatory visionary experiences.

Mental health professionals frequently encounter people who report experiences of God or supernatural beings speaking or acting through them to reveal important truths. In some cases it is difficult to know to what extent such experiences are best explained as ‘illness’, or represent experiences which are accepted and valued within a person’s religious or cultural context. Indeed, revelatory experiences form a key part of the formation and development of major world religions through figures such as prophets, visionaries, and yogins, as well as in the religious practice of shamans and others in traditional smaller scale societies. Why are revelatory experiences and related altered states of consciousness so common across cultures and history? What neural and other processes cause them? When should they be thought of as due to mental illness, as opposed to culturally accepted religious experience? And what value should or can be placed upon them? In this one day conference leading scholars from neuroscience, psychiatry, theology and religious studies, history and anthropology gather to present recent findings, and debate with each other and the audience about these fundamental aspects of human experience.

Who should attend: This one day interdisciplinary conference will be useful to academic psychologists, neuroscientists and humanities scholars interested in understanding the possibilities for interdisciplinary understanding of complex human behavior; as well as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses and any professionals whose work requires them to make sense of the relations between culture, religion, and mental health.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Quinton Deeley, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London, and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, SLAM

Professor Stephen Pattison, Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Practice at the University of Birmingham

Dr Mitul Mehta, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London

Dr Eamonn Walsh, Post doctoral Researcher, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London

Professor Chris Rowland, Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture from Oxford

Professor Roland Littlewood, Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry at University College London

Professor David Oakley, University College London
The Very Rev Dr Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral San Fransisco

Dr Piers Vitebsky, Head of Anthropology and Russian Arctic Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

Professor Geoffrey Samuel, Religious Studies, University of Cardiff

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Architectonic · Education · Public Space · Social/Politics · Videos

Richard Sennett: The Sociology Of Public Life

Speakers: Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Bruno Latour, Alan Rusbridger, Professor Judy Wajcman, David Adjaye, Professor Geoff Mulgan, Lord Richard Rogers, Polly Toynbee.
This event was recorded on 14 May 2010 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

In this exciting half-day conference two panels on ‘Public Life and Public Policy’ and ‘Cities and the Public Realm’, discuss these themes in the context of the work of Professor Sennett, the eminent sociologist whose recent books include The Culture of the New Capitalism and The Craftsman.