I’m no master magician but I do know how wonder feels. There are many good things about magic and I feel that it’s my job, as a parent, to make those things so ridiculously awesome that my kid never loses the feeling of awe that the world can provide.
Magic is a predecessor to science. It provides hope where there is the mundane.
"Daddy, will you still have magic when you get old?"
"As long as you believe in daddy’s magic, I will have magic"
"Even when you get tired?"
"Especially when I get tired" —
The Origin of Magic
I’m not yet a parent, but this is stored in my parenthood file. I’m also all about this for all of the young people I work with. Never lose the feeling of awe. With this in mind, you might say poetry = the flavour of magic that I practise.
We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave. — ~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
Do the work. It’s a stay against paralysis, against the descent of dread. It’s less dramatic than “seize the day!” more affirming than “stop overthinking everything!” It is functional, and that’s what she’s trying to be. Do the work. — The Weird, Scary and Ingenious Brain of Maria Bamford - NYTimes.com (via dc-via-chicago)
At the core of Pollen is an argument:
First, that digital books should be the best books we’ve ever had. So far, they’re not even close. Second, that because digital books are software, an author shouldn’t think of a book as merely data. The book is a program. Third, that the way we make digital books better than their predecessors is by exploiting this programmability.
That’s what Pollen is for. —
Pollen: the book is a program
Pollen is a publishing system that helps authors create beautiful and functional web-based books. Hallelujah.
No secret— I like the idea of self-tracking and quantified living. My set up is less than ideal right now. Although I’ve experimented with capturing different datasets, I’ve never really managed to get the balance right between the effort required to establish and maintain a self-tracking discipline, and the actual return offered through points of learning derived from the data. Or to put it another way— I haven’t managed to satisfactorily reconcile the cost transforming captured data into meaningful information.
The Jawbone UP24 captures activity passively. That, and Moves on the iPhone are my longest running tracking efforts. Beyond those, I’m currently focusing on a set of Q&A style applications and intiatives, searching for correlations. Each of the following apps demands your attention at random points during your day, and asks you a series of questions.
Reporter (iPhone app)
You get to determine the questions you’re asked. The app itself offers some pretty attractive charts, and there are some interesting conduits to visualisations of the data you capture. It’s the most attractive app of the bunch, and the one I’ve had the longest, but the one I respond to least.
Mappiness (iPhone app)
Yes, another iPhone app, part of a research project at the London School of Economics that’s specifically interested in happiness in relation to specific places. There’s a useful set of charts and correlations built-in, and while they’re not as easy on the eye as Reporter’s, they’re probably more informative, at least out of the box. I’ve been a little more consistent with answering Mappiness whenever it calls for attention…
Track Your Happiness (web app)
I’ve just started using this one. It’s very reminiscent of Mappiness— some of the questions and categories are eerily similar, although attributed to a research project out of Harvard. That said, I like the variation in questions that are offered up. Although the base questions remain the same (Do you have to do what you’re doing right now? Do you WANT to do what you’re doing right now? Are you alone? And so on…) each call to respond throws up something slightly different, and this novelty makes it a little more interested to answer the call, pushing beyond the drudgery of capturing data and making each mini-interview an opportunity to pause and reflect.
Early days yet, but I’m really curious to see what I’ll learn from each of these, if I use them for long enough…
…looking back at some of his earlier work, Bailey is now the first to admit that pushing too hard and being too bold is an occupational hazard. “People have said, ‘White boy, you are messing with my culture. You have no right to tell the story of our spiritual practices or our history, because you are getting it all wrong.’ And I can’t defend those works today in the same way I could back then. For all I know, I could look back at Exhibit B in 10 years and say, ‘Oh my God, I am doing exactly what they are accusing me of.’ But that’s the risk you take. It comes with the territory.” —
Edinburgh’s most controversial show: Exhibit B, a human zoo | Stage | The Guardian
Exhibit B is coming to the Barbican, later in September.
I received a request to participate in a petition via Facebook against the work (insert love letter to social media here) on the basis that, with black people presented in cages for the benefit of an audience, the work was, at its core, racist.
I can appreciate the knee-jerk. And the parallels between this and the kind of “human zoos” of the past that this work seeks to make comment on. That said, the entire enterprise is predicated on that notion: making comment upon a way of viewing people of colour and otherness, and to challenging the thinking behind viewing “the other” through the lens of spectacle.
I wonder how many of the protesters took a stand against it before they knew what the work is about, and what its intentions are?
How many contemporary portrayals of “otherness” are essentially leveraged in a similar, spectacular way, made more suspect for the lack of interrogation or challenge? How much is swallowed without question because the cages and bars that once separated us from “the other” have been replaced by (television/computer) screens?
Rather than joining the call to protest about the work before its staged, I’m planning to experience it first, then attempt to decide for myself how “successful” it seems to be.
The teens are calling it CADcore, a more aggressive variant of renderscape. Mostly, it’s bewildering. —
This Japanese music video is quite strange | The Verge
Oh descriptors, how I love you.
Also: desire to write a poem like this (the twinned audio-visual experience that this video offers). Hm.
Readers don’t want something that merely rehashes outmoded styles, but are interested in how authors react to – and distill – the times in which we live. The best new books are written in a form appropriate to our lives as we experience them now, not as we did 100 years ago. —
Hard books for hard times: literary experimentation gains popularity | Books | The Guardian
Dear poet— this applies to you as well.
Protesters bearing witness in Ferguson, MO (Scott Olson/Getty, via Front Page)”>Rhizome | Rhizome Today)