seeing - a common thread through all of my interests
June's Curated Ingest
Hey everyone, hope everyone’s summer’s are going well! A lot of thoughts all related to ‘seeing’ this month. A lot of personal hobby intersections in this one, my hobbies are the headings listed below. I was particularly inspired by the articles mentioned in the ‘video games’ and ‘social cohesion’ sections below. Enjoy!
Eggleston essentially pushed a new form of photography into the canon art world - Eggleston held the first color-photography exhibit at the MOMA. He traveled across much of the U.S. and gained a deeply reverent artiste reputation. In the article linked above, he looks at photographs for a split second (like one of an arbitrary corner of a house) and knows exactly where he took it. Eggleston just had a different way of seeing…the video does a great job showing his work and the context around it.
Aesthetics and ‘the designer’
Technological Hypnosis - Very McLuhan
It’s interesting how one of Gallatin’s most popular first-year classes is literally called ‘Aesthetics on Trial’ and focuses on those who pushed the ethical boundaries of aesthetics through history. Surrealism is one of my favorite artistic movements. Thinking more about it now, it can easily be described as a different way of seeing, but not different enough to veer away from the precipice of ‘uncanny valley’ that the masters of surrealism tip-toed so well.
Murakami and Hesse, two of my favorite writers
I love both Murakami and Hesse so much because they see characters in a different way. They are both very aware that the narrator(s) are the lens the reader views the story through and play with this assertion. Characters merely operate in their narrative worlds, the author observing them almost sometimes from the POV of one or two narrators that operate like observers. I read Robinson’s Ministry for the Future earlier this year as well and think his structure fits this style. Do any of you have any recommendations for other books or authors who have a similar style? I’m currently trying The Unbearable Lightness of Being for the second time and it’s just not it. Graeber’s Utopia of Rules, Inventing the Future, and The Infinite Machine are up next!
Video games as mirror of society
Alright team, buckle in for this article: Our Artificial Wilderness.
“Whether attending a virtual Furcon, or navigating a hyperreal open world, we must consider ourselves as inhabiting not a real or online world, but a bridge between the two, one driven by politics and class and whose rules are not yet settled. As we gaze upon the open world, full of lo-fi creativity, or hyper-real uncanny detail, we must see these spaces and their interfaces as essential new frontiers and resist immature groupthink of the 90s’ vision of a virtual world.
Death Stranding uses the hidden, powerful role of interfaces in an open world to foster a form of solidarity to a global consciousness all playing together. At the same time, its limitations are a strong criticism of how digital interfaces shape and atomise us, as the game deliberately amplifies the separation between the individual and the global network.”
The way video games can be an eye to view society through (in a reactive and very classic media way) was argued well in this article IMO and really stuck.
TV Shows and Movies
Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino)
Some of my favorite movies and directors, all known for having a particularly unique ‘eye’ and approach to their topics. La Haine, American Revolutionary, and the White, Blue, Red trilogy are up next!
Another big time article: The New Frontier of Belonging.
Honestly such a tasty article - goes from Baldwin to DAOs and open source to what it means to be a New Yorker. Proposes a globalized identity is mainly attributable to the internet, which isn’t a hot take in of itself but interesting in the context of this piece - she brings this to our frontiers by looping in new forms of organizing, mainly through DAOs and open source funding! If those terms are still muddy to you, the author brings in a real world example of how it all comes together at the end <3. I have some of my favorite quotes below with some connecting comments in between:
“Now if we look around in the online world, we see a “software designer who likes to browse Twitter with her Matcha latte” town, a “mom who gets a chemical peel facial after Pilates class” town, a “newsletter reading market analyst who checks every hour whether $GME has been squozed” town. These towns emerge quietly but rapidly not because the platforms manufacture these demands in the name of “market expansion”, as many technocrats believe. Rather, these platforms are simply symptoms of massive pent-up demand to address the necessity of picking one’s own destiny in a time of hyper-individualism.”
As we navigate new ‘towns’ (read: socially normative groups), we are once again seeing the human’s default of ‘making sense of it all’ by generalizing in reductive ways. I’ve always been uncomfortable around discussions of tropes because of my own discomfort around being boxed in — I already struggle enough with my own interdisciplinary sense of self that I do not like being generalized, even if it is sometimes partially true.
Philosopher Zygmunt Bauman put it best: the deepest contradiction of our time is “the yawning gap between the right of self-assertion and the capacity to control the social settings which render such self-assertion feasible.”
“The question then is: without these platforms, can we still find our path to one another? If digital nativism becomes the new residential state of the Information Age, how do we build places that foster creativity, reciprocity, and freedom and not be concerned by the invisible hand of an omnipresent ruler? How do we build places that are understanding of our increasingly fluid identities and intolerant of malice?”
(read: how do we ensure public places of Quality exist online? 😉 )
“As cherry blossoms start to bloom and the skaters in neon green shirts showing off his backside 360 in Washington Square Park, I think to myself once again what it means to be a New Yorker. I think the answer is that being a New Yorker means being universally local. Walking south from Union Square to Greenwich to SoHo to Tribeca to FiDi. People’s outfits are changing, so is my pace. I feel at home through the change of pace, the same way that New Yorkers contain multitudes and different rhythms. By the end of day, we each return to what we call home, and we wish that as long as we’re here, we can contribute something to make the beauty last.
Localization has been a broader theme in the ‘anti-tech tech club’ movement, most broadly championed by Odelle. The pandemic has definitely inspired many to think more locally and actually engage with their neighborhoods, but I still feel that sometime’s it’s wrapped up in an air of performativity. It’s quickly becoming ‘the thing’ you’re supposed to do… something about it feels off to me. Relates to this piece:
Hustle Culture is a Scam. Thanks Lily! It’s honestly how I see busyness, put very well into words. I guess any movement in the right direction should be celebrated, as The Most Precious Resource is Agency.
I’ll end this section with a quote I found on an are.na board: (I know, truly poetic)
“Your job is mischief. Ideas change people and people change the world. This is the work of mischief. Most people don’t want to change and find ideas annoying because ideas make them reconsider everything and it’s easier to do anything else than to do that. You are a pain in the brain’s ass.”
Music alternative economics — BandCamp works? Cool design.
This short piece relates to the one Lily sent in: We Never Learn.
An NFT art community from what I can tell - thank you Julia!
A very well designed ‘State of Independence’ freelance report made by Contra.
Matthew Ball out with another instant classic: Nintendo, Disney, and Cultural Determinism.
That’s all for this month folks! I hope you enjoyed my ramblings, especially in the social cohesion section… there’s a lot there. Would love to hear your thoughts on any of this, hmu!