Last November my 11 year old cat, Crowley, passed away due to renal failure. He was a wonderful cat. Almost immediately, I started making a book for him and I got it back from the printers a few weeks ago. As requested by my boyfriend, I am posting it here.
Labels: lifeSunday, December 20, 2009 // 0 Comments
For most of the morning, I've been reading about Phil Agre; partially because a potentially tragic mystery (shamefully) raises my rubbernecking senses, but also because some of his publications are tangentially relevant to my thesis. They are excellent reads.
What has me personally invested in this Agre narrative* is the fact that he's been missing for over a year and his family just filed a missing persons report in October; he used to have a mailing list of 5,000 subscribers and nobody noticed he was gone; he abandoned his job and apartment sometime last year and still nobody realized he was not there anymore. I would say I don't know how someone so seemingly connected could phase out so easily. But that's not true, I totally know. I'm sure it's quite easy.
I originally wanted to do my thesis project on the replace-ability of people. That is, people increasingly have the ability to exist independently. This diminishes the functional need for community and connection. It becomes easier to move in and out of communities and interpersonal relationships without making any kind of commitment because those communities and relationships can simply be replaced with new communities and new relationships. That entire system tends to devalues human life. This vague phenomenon is still somewhat of an obsession for me.
So when I read about Agre, I think that whatever role he must've played in peoples' lives–as distant as it may have been–was easily replaceable with another person. His disappearance went unnoticed for quite some time. In my mind, he planned it that way. It seems like a large amount of work to stay in touch with people but it also seems like a large amount of work to keep people away.
It is strange to me that not too too long ago, you could move across the world and your family would never expect to hear from you again. There are few places one can go now and achieve that level of silence. If that is what Agre was seeking, I hope he found it. For me, for now, I am definitely using his papers in my thesis project. Thanks Phil!
*I would just say Agre but I don't know this person and have only been vaguely aware of his existence until the announcement of his disappearance, a funny thing in itself.
Labels: lifeWednesday, December 16, 2009 // 0 Comments
Our Futurism class is broken into three sections: materiality, context and time. For materiality I made a spinning cat, context was the vibrating gloves and time I ended up making a kind of memory orrery. My first thought, though, was to make a radio sound lapse file/time line thing. I started by collecting recordings of radio waves from space, the recording from that Frenchman's phonautograph, the fascinating spit and spin of Edison's phonograph recordings and recordings of radio shows from the early part of last century.
Then I spent a ridiculous amount of time splicing together Billboard's top song of the year from 1958 to 2008. I only used this obliquely in the final project (i.e., not really at all) so I'm posting it here in all its copyright offending glory. It's not an amazing mix, the quality of the recordings is pretty crappy and I'm no dj but somehow I think it's funny. Also, billboard has abominable taste in music.
Top Song of the Year 1958-2008Tuesday, December 8, 2009 // 0 Comments
So for my thesis project--which I've narrowed down to a design exploration of future physical forms of email--I've begun an empathy experiment of sorts. To better understand why people are so compelled to check email constantly, I've decided NOT to check my email at all for a week. I'm writing about it on my thesis blog (which I need to rename), but as it's wrapping up, I figured I'd mention it here.
General thought: not checking email made me deeply anxious. I couldn't take it so I caved for a moment and scanned my inbox for work-related items. I found two requests for the same files (oops) so I uploaded those and sent a message to my employers via IM. I also had to send a file to myself via email because the laser cutter studios would not allow use of a flash drive to transfer a file.
On the other hand, the lack of email--or more aptly put, the lack of twitching my eyes and fingers to look for new email every 5-15 minutes--has noticeably created space inside my cranium. At first it felt a little empty and isolated, but now, despite my growing anxiety, that space feels nice. Quiet.
Labels: school work, thesisSunday, December 6, 2009 // 0 Comments
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The quote at the top of this page is from the March 25, 1893 Newark Daily Advocate via Nick de la Mare..
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