Reverse Ouija

kitt peak - 17A few minutes ago, as my first cup of coffee still hadn't fully worked it's neurochemical magic, I found myself wishing my father could be around to see all the big changes happening in my life lately, and I wondered if there was a special blog or twitter-like social network i could post to that dead people can read.

Time Lapse of Cyclovia Tucson, April 28 2013

Shot with a GoPro Hero3 positioned at the intersection of Glenn and Mountain, facing north, for about 4 hours, shooting 1 frame per second.

Cast: steev hise

Tags: cyclovia, living streets alliance, bikes, bicycles, open streets, timelapse and car-free

On Paul Miller's Year Offline

 
A couple of days ago was Paul Miller's first day back on the Internet after being off it for one whole year.  Miller is a tech writer and senior editor at a hip web site called The Verge (which I'd only just barely heard of and purports to cover "the intersection of tech, science, arts, and culture.").  A year ago he was fed up and decided to quit, and quit the internet, but his boss said don't quit your job too, just go offline, and write for us about what it's like being offline.

The other day he wrote a piece summing it all up.  It's pretty interesting, though not, IMHO, fascinating. There's a difference. But if you find the idea interesting, I'd recommend reading the article, and also, if you're a meta type, or a film/media type, watching at least the first 5 minutes of the 15-minute mini-doc about his experience (at the top of the page).

Here's why:  The article goes into the real interesting depths of what he thinks he learned and gained and lost. That's the real content.  But, the video says less about that and more about The Verge, and about the current state of the craft of lifestyle web minidocs, and hipster-nerddom fashion, and video marketing. From the shot of his coffee table with the stack of stuff so perfectly placed (including "Eloquent Javascript", and a copy of "Infinite Jest" (of course) on his bookshelf in the background) to the artfully colorgraded cutaways of him punching away at his keyboard in the hip cubeland at his office, the video is really more of a commercial for The Verge, and for the stunt that Miller pulled, rather than a real substantive look at the ideas and results of the stunt.  It's moody, it's full of beautiful landscape shots out car windows, and weirdly wonderful blurry closeup beauty shots of him, even though he's kind of an average-looking, pudgy dorkboy hipster that would normally not be worth taking photos of.  It's backed with that weird moody jangly soundtrack music that everybody seems into using these days that sort of says "this is kinda vaguely sad but means basically nothing" and sounds vaguely like Sigur Ros (and maybe it is, there's no credit for the music anywhere I could find). So, because it's not really giving much content, you can get the formal lesson I'm talking about from just watching the first 5 minutes or so.  However, again, the text is much more informative about the topic - staying off the internet.

Now here are some of my thoughts about Miller's actual article and year offline:

  • A lot things he writes about I am totally on board with. Most importantly, he realized that a lot of his problems or flaws in his personality or life were not caused by him being on the Internet. He didn't fix them just by going offline. He was and is still a depressed, kind of unsatisfied, restless 20-something, adrift in the modern world.
  • Still, I would argue that some of his problems ARE indirectly and partially a result of the Internet - not so much him being on it, but the whole society being on it. These things stack up and are compounded by the whole culture, so just taking himself off it doesn't fix it.
  • And yet, there's a lot of good things in the Internet, especially about connectedness, that he observes and that I agree with.
  • All in all, I take the stunt and his writing to have one central lesson: You don't fix things by radical and sudden cold-turkey removals of one narrow aspect of your life. Moderation in all things, as some Greek philosophers once said. If you think you need to totally quit the Internet, you probably don't. If you think you don't need to quit the Internet, you probably need to at least reduce your use of it to some degree. And you probably have other things to work on too.
  • Miller's only 27! So young.  When the web began, he was about 7 years old. He likely doesn't remember a time when there was no Internet. I put to you that that is one of the most important things to think about regarding his stunt - he didn't "have a real life", because he had never had one (To some extent - though I agree with him that the Internet IS part of our real lives, and our life starts getting "unreal" when we forcibly remove ourselves from it, but that's only because we're part of a whole society that's on it, as I said above.  I think that what we really mean when we say "unreal" is that we feel our life has lost its balance - which gets back to moderation). On the other hand, if you're about my age, you'd lived til you were about the age he is now before the Internet began to completely take over all of life. When I was 27, there was no Google, people were just barely starting to buy stuff online, almost nobody had a blog and nobody called them blogs, there was no "social networking" other than the primitive bulletin boards and IRC chat rooms that a few geeks used. We'd lived somewhat full, interesting lives without ever "checking in" or "tweeting" or "yelping" or snapping any Instagrams. EVER.(and yet, also, we were still fucked up people, for other reasons.)
  • Depression and the ennui of modern life and the problem of the many ways in which you can fail at being a decent and good human is much deeper than the specifics of which alienating technology is running our lives. People wrote disturbed diatribes about the pernicious effects of television 50 years ago. It's all part of a general, steady trend that's much bigger than "the Internet".

Well, that's about it. I gotta get off my blog and go run some errands in "the real world". Read more>>>

Howlings In Favor of the Rhetoric of the Image

An edit of footage from the first Bring Your Own Beamer Tucson on April 20 2013, an instance of a globally happening event now and then in which various video artists do their thing all at once in one room. This focuses on the live video manipulation piece that I performed. When shown in the context of the other 3 projections on the wall, mine is the lower right one. Music by Los Macuanos, as DJ'd by Adam Cooper-Teran.
More info about BYOB: byobworldwide.com/

Cast: steev hise

Tags: byob, live cinema, live video, video art, tucson, arizona, beamers, collage, experimental, barthes, debord and rhetoric

Peter Young Conducts a Tour of His Paintings

On March 3, 2013, Peter Young took some lucky people on a tour of the exhibit of his work at Tucson MOCA. This is selection of moments from that tour.

Cast: steev hise

Tags: peteryoung, art, paintings, tucson, MOCA, artist, minimalism and abstraction

Sentinel Peak Brewery Kickstarter Video

Video I created for the Sentinel Peak Brewing Company kickstarter campaign.
see and support the campaign here: kickstarter.com/projects/547985313/brew-tucson

Cast: steev hise

Tags: beer, brewing, kickstarter, tucson, arizona, fundraising and crowdfunding

The Last Ten Years - of War and Indymedia

broken  nalgene - 5
Ten years ago today was the first morning of the Iraq War, after the "shock and awe" kickoff the night before with bombs and cruise missiles raining down on Baghdad.  Remember that? On this special occasion it's appropriate for me to look back on what that time meant for me (It's kind of astounding how little attention this anniversary has received, both in the media and amongst friends' social media posts. I may be just too busy this week to look hard enough, or maybe there's a lot of collective amnesia).

The importance of that time as a turning point in my life really can't be overstated - and I don't mean this simply as a sort of standard, progressive narrative, in an anti-war activist hand-wringing way, lamenting the many ways in which the Iraq War and the Bush Administration were a terrible move for the worse for the U.S. and for the world (of which I agree there are many of those ways).  What I have in mind is more personal:  simply put, the leadup to the war in early 2003 was a profoundly radicalizing experience for me, which led me for the first time to really get involved with Indymedia, and also led to me starting to see myself, and act as, a citizen journalist, and perhaps most important Read more>>>

The Fight To Not Work For Free

I'm a little late to the game on this little online kerfuffle, but it's still worth me weighing in.  A week ago, Nate Thayer, a freelance journalist/writer with a long and distinguished career on his vita, posted to his blog complaining about being asked to do some work for free by The Atlantic.  They wanted him to re-write and summarize a piece that he had done previously for another site, and then they wanted to put it on the Atlantic's website. He declined, and then publicised the incident.

A couple days later Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor of The Atlantic, responded on his blog to Thayer. They both have some good points, but they're both also guilty of representing their end of the debate with their own particular slants (of course). 

I think the original reporter, Nate Thayer, is speaking in his original post and other comments he had made, from a place of pain and hardship. He clearly is having a hard time making ends meet, and his frustration Read more>>>

Books

I think reading and books has been just about my longest-running vice. I've been into reading every since I actually learned how as a child.  It's one of my few weaknesses as a consumer, although I have learned to resist a little better the impulse to keep buying books.  

I definitely need to spend more time reading the ones I have already bought.
A while back I got into this site Goodreads, and if you've been reading my blog for the last couple years you've seen my reviews there get auto-posted here. I'm trying to decide if I should add this goodreads recent updates widget to the sidebar of my blog. That way people can see not only the occasional book that I finish reading, but also the endless flood of books I desire. I probably add one to my "to-read shelf" once a day or so.

Read more>>>

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