Art & Design
In connection with the sculptures I am currently working on, there is plenty of literature looking at the phenomenon of todays social network structure, the technical and human aspects of it, its dynamic movement of content, the new possibilities it brings to the individual and his/her peers, but also the responsibility and effects of this lightning-fast churning engine of data and interaction. This is just a first selection of books on this subject that were very inspiring to me in one way or another, more might be added as I have time to update the list.
"Here Comes Everybody" (2009) by Clay Shirky is one of the first ones I read, and it is also one of the most general, encompassing a lot of examples of the in-reality cases where the networking community has made an impact on the way problems are handled. The focus is on how people use the new tools to get together and achieve something. It also covers the social psychology background of what makes people act one way or another, and he does so without necessarily succumbing to passing judgement on the wide-ranging effects that new technology inevitably has.
From the political statement of a flash mob in Belarus, the advent of the free weblog for anyone, to the Wiki co-op, to the group organization of Stay-at-home-Moms, the book looks at the details and background of all of the dynamics that have changed through the arrival of the digital network. Very diverse in the coverage of the subject and entertaining to read.
And here's a B&N blurb about Clay Shirky:
"Clay Shirky teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, where he researches the interrelated effects of our social and technological networks. He has consulted with a variety of Fortune 50 companies working on network design, including Nokia, Lego, the BBC, Newscorp, Microsoft, as well as the Library of Congress, the U.S. Navy, and the Libyan government. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, Harvard Business Review, Business 2.0, and Wired, and he is a regular keynote speaker at tech conferences. Mr. Shirky lives in Brooklyn."
"The Cult of the Amateur" (2008) by Andrew Keen on the other hand takes a very pessimistic view of the new technology that enables basically anyone to be a musician, photographer, writer, and ultimately publisher. As the title may already hint, he sees the mass blogging, tweeting, status updates, reporting and publishing as an erosion of the controlled environment of the professionals, who 'protect' us from the cacophany of mediocre noise that ensues from every 'untalented amateur' making themselves heard/read. Keen is viewing the advent of self-publishing as the doom of culture itself, and in that narrow view point he seems to miss many of the broader positive undercurrents that are happening at the same time.
Are the music industry and newspaper agencies under pressure to conform to the challenges of the day? Yes. Is it harder to find facts and truths in the jungle of cultural and political bloggers and corporations manipulating the image of grass-roots? You bet. Is it mind-boggingly difficult to fact-check a barely informed fanatical podcaster and hold him responsible for inaccuracies and falsehoods he/she might (inadvertently or purposely) publish? Absolutely.
But at the same time, the new digital tools enable small start-up businesses to compete against the established industry structure, and among all the mediocre work being put on the web by the casual dabbler, the true works of art seem to gain traction in the end. Interesting read, but a bit single-minded
And more on the author as written on B&N:
"ANDREW KEEN is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose writings on culture, media, and technology have appeared in The Weekly Standard, Fast Company, The San Francisco Chronicle, Listener, and Jazziz. As the
Founder, President and CEO of Audiocafe.com, he has been featured in Esquire, Industry Standard, and many other magazines and newspapers. He is the host of the acclaimed Internet show AfterTV and frequently appears on radio and television. He lives in Berkeley, California.."
That's the beginning of the list for now, but since I am working on art on the subject and can use all the inspiration I can get, there will be undoubtedly more - there are at least 10 more on my "to-read" list. If you have a good book to recommend on the topic, please do! CJ
When the mood of the season grabs me this way, I like to sit back quietly with my cup of tea and watch a stick of incense burning, sending its smoky curls into the air, folding the wind into its layers like ribbons flying in the breeze. And it seems for just one second, as if I am watching a sped up version of our earths layers folding all the dust, objects, and other earthly remains into their arms to become a melting pot of history. The drawing to the upper right is a 'true' doodle reflecting that moment. Stay dry. CJ
Art in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is an inspiring experience, both artistically and spiritually.