Talk by Clay Shirky: Forking, Failing, and Open Source

Upgrade! New York presents: Talk by Clay Shirky: Forking, Failing, and Open Source

As an introduction to our Upgrade New York year theme we are excited to announce this month’s speaker, Clay Shirky. Clay will discuss the concepts of fork and failure in the open source process and will open them to discussion in the context of activism and the creative process.

Read about it here.

June 18, 2009
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
The Change You Want To See Gallery @ 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn

If you can’t make it live, the live stream is here.

Sadly, I can’t go or watch the live stream, but you can do either, tell me all about it.

Cities that shape

Last Friday I saw the movie Tokyo!, directed by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-Ho. It asks the question, do we define our cities, or do they define us?

Today, while checking my RSS feeds, I eventually saw something related to this idea. “Theory of the Dérive”, by Guy Debord:

One of the basic situationist practices is the dérive [literally: “driftingî], a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.

He also writes:

In his study Paris et líagglomération parisienne (BibliothËque de Sociologie Contemporaine, P.U.F., 1952) Chombart de Lauwe notes that “an urban neighborhood is determined not only by geographical and economic factors, but also by the image that its inhabitants and those of other neighborhoods have of it.î In the same work, in order to illustrate “the narrowness of the real Paris in which each individual lives . . . within a geographical area whose radius is extremely small,î he diagrams all the movements made in the space of one year by a student living in the 16th Arrondissement. Her itinerary forms a small triangle with no significant deviations, the three apexes of which are the School of Political Sciences, her residence and that of her piano teacher.

It’s basically mapping someone’s movements over a course of time, and displaying this information graphically. I disagree with the quote on MoonRiver’s blog describing “the narrowness of the real Paris in which each individual lives and which, according to Debord, ought to provoke outrage at the fact that anyone’s life can be so pathetically limited.”

Pathetic seems unfair. This is just a map of someone’s movements for a year. It’s not a determination of the quality of those movements and interactions. Let’s not forget, the map is of Paris; I’m sure there are many who would have loved to trade places with this student for that year. I guess perhaps it depends on what de Lauwe means by “image”, above. To be less serious, here’s another example from a dad mapping the movements of himself, his 2 kids, and their cat for 1 hour in front of the TV, on Flickr. Interesting stuff.

To answer the question, do our cities shape us, or us them, I think it’s a little of both, but perhaps as much as we make it so. In any case, the movie was quite entertaining and quirky to say the least.

Tokyo! is playing at the Landmark Sunshine Theaters, in NYC.

What’s important

Last Sunday our graphic design homework was to create some type of visual representation of our possessions, splitting them into things we care about and things we don’t care about. When I imagined this homework, I could not think of excluding the things that I used to own, very recently, in Houston. I actually didn’t want to do the assignment, because I felt that I had recently lost so much, in terms of property, friends, salary, change of lifestyle…etc. So when I approached this assignment, I could not imagine doing it in some type of sentimental fashion. I could only see the final outcome as something cold or clinical.

What I came up with is essentially a mock computer screen, representing a MySQL database dump of 3 lists. The lists fade in terms of importance (or non-importance), and the most faded list is the list of stuff that I no longer have. I decided to use a green screen, like DOS(?), like a command-line interface because it’s basic and the least comforting way to use a computer.


ARCH DL V hosted by LVHRD

Last month I attended ARCH DL V, hosted by LVHRD, in Brooklyn. The event pitted two architecture teams against each other to create a moon-based, landing site/jail at Coney Island, using only the materials available in 5 boxes of Monopoly games.

I left before the end because it was a Tuesday and it was in Brooklyn (where I don’t live).

Then, right after that I came across this mixtape on FlavorPill on the 10 Best Architecture songs.

This weekend I will be attending another LVHRD event, WRK/PLY. Check it out and get your ticket.