Author: Christina Kral
The more you touch, however, the more strange the rain becomes: layered skies, visual anomalies and shifts in speed and color, even the occasional cataclysm if you’re not careful. Before your eyes and beneath your fingers, the familiar becomes strange, and the strange, familiar.”
WHAT MAKES RAIN STRANGE? WHEN IT’S FALLING ON YOUR SCREEN—FROM THE INSIDE.
Also a bit of a promotional tool. If you choose the story mode, you have to read what Erik Loyer wrote. You can also choose the Feed mode and that’ll retrieve twitter messages of a certain theme. It didn’t work with mine.
From the Q&A section:
“1. What is New York Writes Itself?
“New York Writes Itself” is an ongoing series of creative productions fueled by the real people of New York – what people see and hear in the city is recorded as a ‘script’, which forms the inspiration for music, creative writing, art exhibitions and more.
2. What is a Scribe?
Scribes should be observational and in touch with the people of New York, ready to capture amazing moments of creativity. Scribes are people who record their observations of people in the streets of New York – great characters they see, scenes they witness, or quotes they hear. Scribes write down their observations in the ever-growing ‘script’, housed at newyorkwritesitself.com
3. Who can be a Scribe?
Potential scribes can be students, writers and generally creative individuals. To be a scribe you must be at least 18 years old and the age of majority in his or her state of residence.
4. If I am a Scribe where does my writing live?
A Scribe’s writing lives in the main ‘Script’ on the NYWI website and in your Scribe profile. You can share your submission with your personal networks thru social media outlets.
5. What is the “Script”?
When Scribes see or hear something of interest in New York, they record it on the ‘script’. The Script is a constant record of all the Scribes’ submissions. We consider the script to be the fuel that drives the creative nature of New York Writes Itself. Check it out here.”
Consider New York :)
“Lapham’s Quarterly in association with the Institute for the Future of the Book answers the question with a new form of discussion and critique–an annotated edition of the report on a website programmed to that specific purpose, evolving on short deadline into a collaborative illumination of an otherwise black hole.
We invited a quorum of informed sources (historians, generals, politicians both foreign and domestic) to add marginal notes and brief commentaries at any point in the text seeming to require further clarification or forthright translation into plain English.”
“The ISG Report is an experiment along the way. The form in which it is presented is an early prototype of a new style of Internet document that puts the conversation of readers on equal footing with the text.”
Consider annotation (open)
When we talk about dumb phones we still have to distinguish between basic phones (just call or text) and feature phones (limited access to the internet and some apps). I believe at the dumb store they mainly serve feature phones.
According to Allison Burtch and Ramsey Nasser, the authors of Dumb Store, “The Dumb Store is a demonstration of what can be done using dumb phones. It’s an exploration in resisting planned obsolescence and using current technology to its fullest capacity.”
In the online store you can get stock prices delivered to your phone, turn it into a flashlight, play rock, paper, scissors, have access to the first three sentences of wikipedia entries, you can tag or view a public wall, get your TV program, quotify, see if the L train is fucked again or receive random Haikus.
Extra resource on dumb phones here.
In Media Res, a project by ‘The Institute for the Future of the Book‘ put out a call for curators (here: academics, journalists, critics, media professionals and fans) to contribute to Everyday Archives. It’s due 2nd of September.
About In Media Res:
“In Media Res is dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts.
Each weekday, a different scholar curates a 30-second to 3-minute video clip/visual image slideshow accompanied by a 300-350-word impressionistic response. We use the title “curator” because, like a curator in a museum, you are repurposing a media object that already exists and providing context through your commentary, which frames the object in a particular way. The clip/comment combination are intended both to introduce the curator’s work to the larger community of scholars (as well as non-academics who frequent the site) and, hopefully, encourage feedback/discussion from that community.”
This project re-imagines established roles in creative production such as ‘the curator’ which allows to appropriate these roles and apply them to other disciplines (see Joseph Vogel on Rhizomes). And in a more applied sense it reminds me of projects such as clipkino.
Let’s look at a few rapid knowledge production initiatives. Let’s look at book sprints, experimental writing, and political declarations. And for a little detour let’s include also a pop up library (art project) and a book art project.
Speed seems to be key to all of these initiatives—a quick turn around with immediate outcome. To most, Volume is also important (how much has been written within only a short period of time). Often the works are conceived while writing together into a digital pad. Still the work sessions are hosted in one physical location where the participants can share thoughts and discuss live, in person. For the first three examples, the writing also serves as live protocoling the very event.
The act of writing is central to thinking, processing and manifesting. The editing is usually done after the event has taken place and done so remotely via digital communication. Speed, again: the brainstorms and heated discussions turn almost immediately into themes or chapters. Decisions about layout and structure are instant. Formatting is simple and straight forward and style is partially predetermined due to the limitation of the pad. What needs to be agreed upon before typing away are things like: “if it is a quote, we put the credit right after,” or “if you write something that is meant for other people to work on or consider introduce that part with ‘//’ and close with ‘\’.”
The material is usually available in digital form online (mostly for free). Yet, it is in those sessions where the physical manifestation of the work done, becomes important once more. There are usually books or booklets published after the editing phase.
These events have something promotional about them as well. They can be viewed as a performance and since so compressed and compact, the writing process can even be filmed.
“This book was first created by 6 core collaborators, as an experimental five day Book Sprint in January 2010. Developed under the aegis of transmediale.10, this third publication in the festival’s parcours series resulted in the initiation of a new vocabulary on the forms, media and goals of collaborative practice.
In June 2010, the book was rewritten as a part of the Re:Group exhibition at Eyebeam, NY. This second edition invited three new collaborators to challenge the free culture sentiment underlying the original writing. The result is a deliberately multi-voiced tone pondering the merits and shortcomings of this new emerging ideology.”
“Psychoeconomy is a platform for discussion and artistic research that proposes an alternative approach on various global issues, taking advantage of the particularities for reflection and diffusion generated by the field of art. […] Psychoeconomy proposes the revision of citizen participation on a global scale in the resolution of conflicts in which citizenship as a hole is largely excluded from decision-making but certainly suffers the consequences.”
A declaration was written up (following a long discussion) in only two days.
How to pop up a library within a public library and install a temporary publishing house inside an unusual place. The Pop Up Library project uses the blank booklet as container to collect immediate knowledge.
Spontaneous Book: 06.01.2010 / 14:07 >>>> 08.01.2010 / 16:22
“The spontaneous book series seeks to engage in a group thinking and doing process that produces a result in a short period of time: capturing, processing and producing content simultaneously.
Spontaneous Book: 06.01.2010 / 14:07 >>>> 08.01.2010 / 16:22, on the occasion of a 3-day workshop that included exercises such as walks in public spaces, perception and time experiments, and studio visits.”
Consider speed, volume
Consider manifestation of knowledge
Consider performance and writing as an event
Consider limitations of technology as design choice
Consider the blank book as container
Below are a few excerpts from Bob Stein’s opinion piece and thoughts on the links between book development and society.
In 2005, Bob formed The Institute for the Future of the Book. “With a group of young people, just out of university and coming of age in the era of the social web, we carried out a number of experiments under the rubric of “networked books.”
This was the moment of the blog and we wondered what would happen if we applied the concept of “reader comments” to essays and books. Our first attempt, McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory, turned out to be a remarkably lucky choice. The book’s structure — numbered paragraphs rather than numbered pages — required my colleagues to come up with an innovative design allowing readers to make comments at the level of the paragraph rather than the page. Their solution to what at the time seemed like a simple graphical UI problem, was to put the comments to the right of each of Wark’s paragraphs rather than follow the standard practice of placing them underneath the author’s text.”
CK: A question of placement and re-ordering existing text; a side-by-side.
“We started to talk about “a book as a place” where people congregate to hash out their thoughts and ideas.”
“Follow the Gamers! And lest, you think this shift applies only to non-fiction, please consider huge multi-player games such as World of Warcraft as a strand of future-fiction where the author describes a world and the players/readers write the narrative as they play the game.”
CK: When considering the future of books very often the focus also is on public engagement, education and development in learning and gaming. They seem interconnected.
“Following McLuhan and his mentor Harold Innis, a persuasive case can be made that print played the key role in the rise of the nation state and capitalism, and also in the development of our notions of privacy and the primary focus on the individual over the collective. Social reading experiments and massive multi-player games are baby steps in the shift to a networked culture. Over the course of the next two or three centuries new modes of communication will usher in new ways of organizing society, completely changing our understanding of what it means to be human.
Consider the book as place
Consider placement and arrangement
Consider the gameing, learning and public engagement as strongly tied to dynamic publishing
Consider the nation state and capitalism
“The idea of “the book” guiding design of e-books has been a commonplace, grotesquely reductive and unproductive. No single book exists, so no “idea” of “the” book could be produced in any case. The multiplicity of physical structures and graphic conventions are manifestations of activity, returned to book form as conventions because of their efficacy in guiding use. The notion of a metaphor applied to an element like a table of contents is highly misleading. This is not a metaphor at all, but a program, a set of instructions for performance. By looking to scholarly work for specific understanding of varieties of attitudes towards the book as literal space and a virtual e-space, and to artists and poets for evidence of the way the spaces of a book work, we realize that the traditional codex is also, in an important and suggestive way, already virtual. But also, that the format features of virtual spaces of e-space, electronic space, have yet to encode conventions of use within their graphical forms. As that happens, we will witness the conceptual form of virtual spaces for reading, writing, and exchange take shape in the formats that figure their functions in layout and design.” —Johanna Drucker
“This digital edition of Utopia is open: open to read, open to copying, open to modification. On this site Utopia is presented in different formats in order to enhance this openness. If the visitor wishes to read Utopia online they can find a copy. If they want to download and copy a version, I’ve provided links to do so in different formats for different devices. In partnership with The Institute for the Future of the Book I provide an annotatable and “social” text available for visitors to comment upon what More – or I – have written, and then share their comments with others. Those who like to listen will find a reading of Utopia on audio files, and those who want to watch and look can browse the user-generated galleries of Utopia-themed art and videos. For people interested in creating their own plan of an alternative society, I’ve created Wikitopia, a wiki with which to collaborate with others in drafting a new Utopia. More versions for more platforms are likely to be introduced in the future.” —Stephen Duncombe
“[…] the overall effect is one of poetic parataxis, disjunctive but coherent.
I’d feared the stochastic arrangement might lessen the overall thrust of the piece—why read to the last page when any page could be the last?—but I hurried to reach the ending. Another reader may have ended on a note of circularity. (“The couch, along the wall, is covered with a Mexican serape. Dagmar is sitting there with her legs folded under her. Above her head, contrasting violently with her blond hair, the dark abstract painting with clots of color that seem to be on fire is still unfinished. It is called Composition No. 1.”) My Composition ended with a bloody ambush of a hideout by the Germans, while two French fighters, sitting quietly out in the woods, listened to the screams. The last line—“A tall German woman with queenly bearing nonchalantly crosses the barnyard. She would be beautiful without her uniform.”—might have had little significance elsewhere, but here I was stunned by its eerily flat tone and sculptural asymmetry. It was not so much what the author did that was impressive, but what he, deliberately, did not.” —Robert Moor