[-empyre-] Imagining | Creating Collaboration

Jon Winet jon.winet at gmail.com
Sat May 5 03:06:58 EST 2012

On the fly,* With thanks to Anne for the opportunity to participate in
this panel:  in my first post, I have found it impossible to resist
including a link to a 1972 Xerox television commercial that turned up
last week on "The Verge."

"Xerox commercial from 1972 shows the computer as your personal assistant"**

So much to deconstruct in those sixty seconds created forty years ago,
but I will resist putting the ad up on the workbench and taking it
apart,*** but rather just reiterate that Xerox PARC is the shared
connective tissue for Anne and her five guests. So to, I believe is
our collective interest in collaboration, and a strongly held belief
that it's the best practice for the creation of design, public
humanities and art that matters.

* If this post had footnotes: the first would note that "on the fly"
is an all together too common a  turbulent state we live in.

** the  second footnote submits for your consideration Alan Kay's
quote about the future, uttered a year prior at a Xerox PARC  meeting
– according to wikiquote. I used to find the quote chilling, but now
increasingly find it practical, so long as the right people are
embracing it.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

*** the final footnote, linked to the first notes that while the Xerox
ad states that our most precious resource is information, I am
increasingly and unequivocally sure that our most precious resource is
in fact _time+. While I realize this may seem to many of the readers
on the empyre list as a Fred Flintstone kind of an observation, I do
think some of the challenges of designing culture must involve a basic
reconsideration of values, and this is something that drives our
research and Anne's book.

I look forward to the conversation ahead, and close with the
clarification that post below [Beginning with "As Crane/Winet ...] is
actually by our colleague and my longtime collaborator Margaret Crane,
who earlier in the week had some trouble posting to empyre, so had
Anne do so for her.

On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM, Anne Balsamo <annebalsamo at gmail.com> wrote:
> As Crane/Winet, Jon and I had collaborated on making art that revolved
> around language and photography‹tweaking practices from journalism and
> tabloid media to create narratives revolving around social issues, electoral
> politics, film and pop culture‹and originally fueled by our perceptions of
> American life under the Ronald Regan and GHW Bush administrations.  All this
> was before we met technology researchers Dale and Scott at Xerox PARC and
> the four of us launched a long-term collaboration, for PARC's PAIR Program
> after a series of meetings that were a little like a job interview and a lot
> like the Dating Game.
> I so much want to write about everything that is happening now. And the
> reason I find recent events so resonant starts with the years that the four
> of us collaborated on a series of art and technology projects at PARC. Our
> collective goal was to engage the public in gallery settings, on the
> burgeoning internet, in public spaces and through printed media. The mission
> was to explore the channels of communication that existed in the mid-90s‹to
> employ them to convey narratives about the world in which we lived and
> create new arenas for dialog and discussion.  This was early Web 2.0, of
> course, long before Twitter, Facebook.
> As I reflect on my years-long collaboration with Jon, Scott and Dale, this
> is what I think of: first we (by ³we² I mean the culture at the time)
> muddled along designing new technologies‹originating social media. Then,
> last year, consumer technology became revolutionary technology. The actions
> of the Arab Spring, propelled by social media, transformed a region of the
> globe. Activists deployed available technology and created a collaborative
> space for organizing dissent.  At this time, the outcome of these
> revolutions is uncertain, but the utility of their methods of communication
> is unquestionable.  And this powerful shift in the media landscape, allows
> me to think of the work we did together as a miniscule part of an enormous
> cultural shift.  And from the standpoint of design, provides a vital and
> renewable form to go with the function of our technological devices.
> For more thoughts on technology and activism check out this article in the
> current Atlantic:
> http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/so-was-facebook-respon
> sible-for-the-arab-spring-after-all/244314/
> <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/so-was-facebook-respo
> nsible-for-the-arab-spring-after-all/244314/>
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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