“One of the paintings just has the two words BAKECAKE 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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
“In this game, you move around the space by looking at butts.”
Yang on the gay club VR simulator he’s making. Deciding to base movement on the act of looking is a stroke of genius, because that is what the technology of VR goggles is optimised towards.
“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.
“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).
“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.