One of the paint­ings just has the two words BAKE CAKE on it, no fur­ther expla­na­tion. But what I will be doing is bak­ing 40 cakes at East­side Projects (Vic­to­ria sponge or choco­late).

I will then draw a large cir­cle on a map of Birm­ing­ham that is pinned to the gallery wall. The cen­tre of the cir­cle is the gallery where I have baked the cakes.

Then I will dri­ve out to the edge of the cir­cle with a cake, knock on a ran­dom front door. If any­one answers I will say, ‘I have baked you a cake, here it is.’

If they don’t want it for what­ev­er rea­son, I will go next door and do the same. I will repeat this process 40 times until all the cakes have been deliv­ered to and received by com­plete strangers who had no idea what this was about or the fact that their home was on the Birm­ing­ham Cake Cir­cle.”

It’s been a while since I’ve read about art that is this play­ful. It puts a smile on my face.

(via Birm­ing­ham is first stop for Bill Drum­mond on 12-year world tour — Birm­ing­ham Post)

For Kingsnorth, the notion that tech­nol­o­gy will stave off the most cat­a­stroph­ic effects of glob­al warm­ing is not just wrong, it’s repel­lent — a dis­tor­tion of the prop­er rela­tion­ship between humans and the nat­ur­al world and evi­dence that in the throes of cri­sis, many envi­ron­men­tal­ists have aban­doned the prin­ci­ple that “nature has some intrin­sic, inher­ent val­ue beyond the instru­men­tal.” If we lose sight of that ide­al in the name of sav­ing civ­i­liza­tion, he argues, if we allow our­selves to erect wind farms on every moun­tain and solar arrays in every desert, we will be accept­ing a Faus­t­ian bar­gain.

The core of the demon­stra­tors’ com­plaints was not that the new high­ways would wors­en air pol­lu­tion, cause car acci­dents or frac­ture com­mu­ni­ties; it was that some things, like wilder­ness and beau­ty, were — despite, or per­haps because of, their “use­less­ness” — more impor­tant than get­ting to work on time.

Peo­ple think that aban­don­ing belief in progress, aban­don­ing the belief that if we try hard enough we can fix this mess, is a nihilis­tic posi­tion,” Hine said. “They think we’re say­ing: ‘Screw it. Noth­ing mat­ters.’ But in fact all we’re say­ing is: ‘Let’s not pre­tend we’re not feel­ing despair. Let’s sit with it for a while. Let’s be hon­est with our­selves and with each oth­er. And then as our eyes adjust to the dark­ness, what do we start to notice?’ ”

This was an intense read, but I’m pret­ty sure any­one who has giv­en some seri­ous thought to cli­mate change has at some points enter­tained some of these ideas. And between the lines, there are some inter­est­ing per­spec­tives on instru­men­tal ratio­nal­i­ty, play­ful­ness and (dare I say it) mind­ful­ness.

(via It’s the End of the World as We Know It … and He Feels Fine —

Indeed, Noon seems to take the “play” from lit­er­ary play and the “game” from writ­ing game and whorl the words into unique­ly dis­tilled forms. This strat­e­gy is not only com­pelled by the desire to exper­i­ment; that is, Noon asks in the “Post Futur­ism Man­i­festo,” “can’t we writ­ers have some fun as well?””

Noon’s writ­ing games are metaphor­i­cal exer­cis­es that give him license to play with text and sur­prise him­self. The approach has led to some of the most mem­o­rable weird fic­tion I’ve ever read.

(via “You are cor­dial­ly invit­ed to a / CHEMICAL WEDDING”: Meta­mor­phic­tion and Exper­i­men­ta­tion in Jeff Noon’s Cobralin­gus | Elec­tron­ic Book Review)

In this film I want­ed to look beyond the child­ish myth of ‘the cloud’, to inves­ti­gate what the infra­struc­tures of the inter­net actu­al­ly look like. It felt impor­tant to be able to see and hear the ener­gy that goes into pow­er­ing these machines, and the asso­ci­at­ed sys­tems for secur­ing, cool­ing and main­tain­ing them.”

Rarely has a dat­a­cen­ter looked this pret­ty.

(via Inter­net machine – Timo Arnall)

In this serie, the notion of game is being ques­tioned. I tried to expresse my fas­ci­na­tion with the rela­tion­ship between the play­ers. I asked myself what the par­tic­i­pants are look­ing for and whether they are try­ing to dis­turb, seduce or intim­i­date oppo­nents. These reflec­tions led to a series of pic­tures of a female mod­el wear­ing masks inspired by prim­i­tive trib­al art, yet cre­at­ed from ele­ments of the games being played in the cham­pi­onships.”

Picked up in Pieter’s Twit­ter stream, such strik­ing images in this series.

(via Marie Rime)

It is a small key box that presents the bike and the car, side by side. Through this it already hints at a poten­tial choice: bike or car? If one takes the bike key noth­ing much hap­pens. But in case one takes the car key, Key­mo­ment feels enti­tled to make a sug­ges­tion. It chucks the bike key to the ground. Obvi­ous­ly, one can sim­ply leave it there. But most peo­ple will pick it up, and through this will also “pick up” their inten­tion to ride the bike more often. With both keys in their hands, Key­mo­ment cre­ates a care­ful­ly designed, quite tan­gi­ble moment of choice. This is the trou­ble-mak­ing part of the Key­mo­ment.”

I like the idea of adding fric­tion to things as a way of affect­ing behav­iour. It’s a refresh­ing change from all the talk about seam­less, dis­ap­pear­ing design.

(via matthias laschke)

Bar­rett and his team are cur­rent­ly look­ing close­ly at how they can exploit more explic­it game mechan­ics in future pro­duc­tions. Ear­li­er shows like The Masque of the Red Death and Sleep No More exper­i­ment­ed with puz­zle solv­ing and trea­sure hunts, but Bar­rett feels these game-like ele­ments dis­turbed the bal­ance of the show too much. “I think we’ve learned that one dis­ci­pline has to be your lead — so with The Drowned Man, The Masque of the Red Death, it’s the­atre. We start­ed putting game mechan­ics into it, putting a square peg into a round hole, and it didn’t quite fit. So I think if we were to do a project using game mechan­ics now, it would be a game pri­mar­i­ly.””

Punch­drunk wants to make a prop­er game. I enjoyed “Sleep No More”, but I did have to sup­press a lot of gamer/larper reflex­es. Agency is incred­i­bly lim­it­ed. But this also makes it func­tion at scale and for a broad audi­ence. Beyond look­ing and mov­ing, I’m not sure what oth­er “verbs” a par­tic­i­pant could be giv­en before it breaks the expe­ri­ence.

(via At the gates of Tem­ple Stu­dios: Where gam­ing and the­atre col­lide •

Sim­i­lar to the Con­sumer Prod­uct Safe­ty Com­mis­sion Recall list, or the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol inves­ti­ga­tions reports, the Infra­struc­ture Report reminds you of just how many hor­ri­ble ways to suf­fer death, injury, or incon­ve­nience there are in our con­tem­po­rary times, and how we’re not approach­ing the brink of soci­etal col­lapse, but rolling around in the surf with it on a dai­ly basis.”

Always a good reminder: col­lapse is not dis­creet but grad­ual (although per­haps in some cas­es prone to phase shifts).

(via ele­ments of col­lapse | THE STATE)

For all the utopi­an hope that may have attend­ed their arrival, I think by now it’s clear that all too many exist­ing cowork­ing and “mak­er” spaces orbit ven­ture-financed tech­nol­o­gy start­up cul­ture too close­ly, bad­ly under­ful­fill­ing their poten­tial and repro­duc­ing con­di­tions I have no inter­est in per­pet­u­at­ing.”

Though for myself I tend to believe that all things have recourse to a broad­er per­for­ma­tive reper­toire than that set of rela­tions cur­rent­ly enact­ed, I take Anil’s (and Harman’s, and more dis­tant­ly Latour’s) point: we have to actu­al­ly do the work of forg­ing some link­age between things before we can know whether that par­tic­u­lar link­age was in fact pos­si­ble. And that work is an invest­ment, is nev­er accom­plished with­out some cost.”

Very good Green­field post on var­i­ous spaces which point towards ways of using spaces for ways of liv­ing and work­ing that are social­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly more just.

(via What I’m work­ing on late­ly: Prac­tices of the min­i­mum viable utopia (long) | Speed­bird)