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October 22 2017

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The Boy with No Past, Amy Sherald, 2014

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The Great Piece of Turf, Albrecht Dürer, 1503 (via Rabih Alameddine, more here)

October 09 2017

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“Fun fact: rotating your profile pic 90º blocks most face detection algorithms” —Adam Harvey

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Hasegawa Tōhaku (長谷川 等伯, 1539 – March 19, 1610), Left panel of the Pine Trees screen (Shōrin-zu byōbu 松林図 屏風), c.1595m, six-fold screen, ink on paper

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October 08 2017

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“Knives made out of discarded electronics by Quentin Destieu and Sylvain Huguet” —Nicolas Nova

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Slide from Jessamyn West’s “Critical Librarianship approach to the library as classroom” (2016)

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“Somehow, in the midst of ruins, we must maintain enough curiosity to notice the strange and wonderful as well as the terrible and terrifying.” —Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Nils Bubandt, Elaine Gan, and Heather Anne Swanson (via and photo by Nicolas Nova, appears to come from the introduction to Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, (more))

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“Been working on a new #flag for #SanFrancisco. Liking this one so far.” —Tristan Denyer (2015)

Note the seven hills and the nod to the flag of Amsterdam.

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“Work Schedule, Black Mountain College, October 25, 1937” —David Silver

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Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media, by Shannon Mattern:

A breathtaking tour through thousands of years of urban life and its attendant technologies, rewriting the history of our cities

Offering powerful new ways of thinking about our cities, Shannon Mattern goes far beyond the historical concepts of origins, development, revolutions, and the accomplishments of an elite few. Her vivid prose leads readers through a historically and geographically broad range of stories and takes media archaeology to the city’s streets, revealing new ways to write our urban, media, and cultural histories.

From this flier:

A breathtaking tour through thousands of years of urban life and its attendant technologies, rewriting the history of our cities

For years, pundits have trumpeted the earthshattering changes that big data and smart networks will soon bring to our cities. But what if cities have long been built for intelligence, maybe for millennia? In Code and Clay, Data and Dirt Shannon Mattern advances the provocative argument that our urban spaces have been “smart” and mediated for thousands of years.

Offering powerful new ways of thinking about our cities, Code and Clay, Data and Dirt goes far beyond the standard historical concepts of origins, development, revolutions, and the accomplishments of an elite few. Mattern shows that in their architecture, laws, street layouts, and civic knowledge—and through technologies including the telephone, telegraph, radio, printing, writing, and even the human voice—cities have long negotiated a rich exchange between analog and digital, code and clay, data and dirt, ether and ore.

Mattern’s vivid prose takes readers through a historically and geographically broad range of stories, scenes, and locations, synthesizing a new narrative for our urban spaces. Taking media archaeology to the city’s streets, Code and Clay, Data and Dirt reveals new ways to write our urban, media, and cultural histories.

(via the author, Shannon Mattern)

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Franz Max Osswald, contact print of sound photographs in architectural models, from Osswald’s applied acoustics laboratory at ETH Zurich, 1930–33 (Image Archive, ETH Library Zurich) (via “A Visual Imprint of Moving Air: Methods, Models, and Media in Architectural Sound Photography, ca. 1930” by Sabine von Fischer, via Shannon Mattern)

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“Ji Qi with a circuit speaker” from “Hacking Manufacturing: research on the factory floor”:

So often, cool creations and research come from unexpected discoveries that happen while we play with processes rather than when we simply progress toward a planned goal. We found that to be the case in the Shenzhen factories: Having access to play with industrial-level machines gave us new perspectives on how things are made, and opened new operation spaces for innovation. In the Media Lab, we usually prototype with a laser cutter, a 3D printer, or other personal-scale digital and manual fabrication tools. While we’re able to make some tangible pieces with those tools, they’re not the kind that people typically use in the manufacturing process. The differences in tools create big gaps between outputs of lab-based research and those of factory-scale production.

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Burrito Justice on “Skeletons Beneath Our Feet”:

Archaeologists found both fresh and salt-water plant matter attached to the skeleton, indicating that our friend may have died in a creek or a marsh near the shore. She was found 26 feet below current sea level, which implies that sea level 5000 years ago was around that level.

San Francisco Bay as we know it is relatively new — as the ice age ended, sea levels rose dramatically. 18,000 years ago, to get to the beach you would need to take the N-Judah or the K past the Farallons, which were once hills by the sea. The Bay was a valley with a river running through it, and the Golden Gate was a waterfall.

“You could have stood on the headlands above the Golden Gate and watched the mighty flow of the river as it poured through the valley, tumbling over great cascades or waterfalls.”

Doris Sloan, Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region

San Francisco would have been Walnut Creek.

But as the waters rose the Farallons were cut off.

map [above] via Late Pleistocene to Holocene History of San Francisco Bay, Prof. Lynn Ingram, UC Berkeley

These once were hills, separated only by sand dunes.


Around 10,000 years ago, the sea breeched the Golden Gate and continued to rise rapidly, filling the valley we now know as San Francisco Bay. There must have been settlements by the water — imagine each generation having to pull back, each high tide greater than the last.

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Image pointing to Future as Fiction: Readings on Digital Futures [.pdf], from EyeMyth:

Exploring present and future cases of immersive storytelling and new media, EyeMyth brings together pioneering artists, performers and experts at the forefront of these fields.

EyeMyth’s 2017 edition, Future As Fiction, traversed multiple locations in Mumbai to create, discover and engage with new elements in the digital space. The festival featured an array of exhibitions, workshops and performances that explored various forms of expression through new media.

[Future As Fiction is an] EyeMyth publication that explores the potential, the opportunities and limitations of the digital revolution for the pluralistic, contradictory context of India.

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Great walk with @Subtopes yesterday covering a good portion of these peaks. Mt. Davidson was spectacular. (image via Urban Life Signs)

September 14 2017

Pichai doesn’t seem able to comprehend that the essence, and the joy, of parenting may actually lie in all the small, trivial gestures that parents make on behalf of or in concert with their kids — like picking out a song to play in the car. Intimacy is redefined as inefficiency.
— Nicholas Carr, “An android dreams of automation” (See also the previous post and the bookmark that ties them together.)
I believe that one ought to have only as much market efficiency as one needs, because everything that we value in human life is within the realm of inefficiency—love, family, attachment, community, culture, old habits, comfortable old shoes.
— Edward Luttwak, as quoted by Corey Robin in 2001, “The Ex-Cons Right-Wing Thinkers Go Left!” (via Jonahan Shainin via Cameron Tonkinwise; cf. a whole lot of things collected in this bookmark)

September 12 2017

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three Austin Kleon Instagrams tagged #owenandjuleskleonart, posted here because they are beautiful and because children + art

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