staring into the generation chasm.

I had lunch with my father on monday, which was a nice surprise, and a good conversation. We talked about a good many things, but focused mostly (shockingly enough) on media and advocacy campaigns, all in relation to discussions of my future. That, and my complete lack of prospects thus far for employment this summer. (Hint. Hint.)

He asked me what steps I was taking to 'get my ideas out there', and so I mentioned this blog to him, and filed away the (fairly obvious) good advice that I had somehow glossed over in the past. I finally got around to doing something about it today, nothing notable, just editing and fleshing out my LinkedIn and Emurse accounts, so that they actually show useful information, and attempt to explain why listening to me, talking to me, networking with me, etc, is of any value.

What was interesting was porting my contacts into LinkedIn, and finding out that my father had an account. It was fairly demonstrably one of those things that he had tried either on the suggestion of a colleague or friend (I actually have a few guesses on who) and then abandoned almost instantly. There was almost no information, excepting industry, name, job title and employer. And almost all of that was out of date.

There are a lot of possible reasons for this, and almost all of them are generational differences that I need to put effort into noticing. The first option is just differing stances on relevance for a service like LinkedIn. I could see someone of his generation assuming that basic business care information (sans real world contact info) was sufficient, or even more likely, that such a service has no real use, and then treating it as such.

Another possibility is the issue of privacy. I have no problem having a recent employment history available for all to see, because I assume that a little artful googling will track me down just as surely, and I want the control as to how the information is presented. I know my father well enough to assume that having that information sitting out there would make him uncomfortable. And I can understand why, his generation and that of my grandparents cherished privacy in a way that seems baffling today.

But looking at his profile, three or four outdated lines, I couldn't help but wonder how many middle aged, incredibly experienced and talented people, are completely invisible or misidentified online. How many people I should really be learning from have no real desire to be found? How many of them don't consider such things an opportunity, but instead an imposition?

I found myself, this afternoon, staring into the generation chasm, because gap makes me think of differences in popular culture, attitudes towards nudity in film, conservative approaches to alternative lifestyles, etc. The generation gap, as a label, makes it seem almost cute, and inherently comical. Like when my parents criticize the music I listen to, or the TV I watch. This seems larger, because it has created a gap in communication at what is becoming an inherent layer. And it's happening within the wider group that makes up the engine of society.

It's not that we don't understand one another. Now we have generations that can't even see one another. That's something that will take time to plan around.


oh thank god.

As expected, there was no truth whatsoever to the Radiohead / Starbucks rumour.

Please go about your day, no longer worried about the impending apocalypse.


ground war: fixing protest.

The pdf magazine is shoddily done, and I (yet again) have a new found respect for designers. If only I could be like you, you talented, aesthetically gifted few.

Well, by done I mean the version to be handed in to the prof is finished. The version for me, however, is going to go through several revisions before it is released. The first step in these will be for me to actually learn to use indesign WELL, as opposed to semi-adequately.

Anyone who knows me, and wants the ugly, but livable version, say the word, and I'll email it. Anyone who doesn't know me will have to be convincing.

Now to write a 6 page paper about a 22 page mag-ifesto.


move over iphone.

Apple won me with the iPhone. Pretty, new interface ideas, and smooth minimalist design. I won't buy one until I've had the chance to play with one, but I'm obsessed enough that my girlfriend rolls her eyes when I mention the thing.

At the same time, I've had an eye on Helio for a while, after I read a fold out ad on the inside cover of an issue of Spin (I think the one with Thom Yorke on the cover, but I could be wrong). This is the first I've seen of the Helio Ocean, but it impresses.

The thing about Helio that attracts me is the complete service they offer, including 3G and data plans that understand a multimedia phone is going to eat any limited service plan, or be underused. Frankly, I'm still kinda pissed that Helio isn't available in Canada. Then again, there's been no iPhone announcement for the True North strong and free, either. [EDIT: checking the comments thread, I am entirely incorrect. Rogers it is. Sigh.] This just in, technology hates Canucks.

Offering a complete suite, a service rather than a device, is ironically enough what attracts me to Apple products. Steve Jobs likes to point out at keynotes that if you want to make great software, you should be making hardware as well. Well, if you want to make a great cell phone, create the entire experience, under your own name. It doesn't matter if someone else is providing the network to run on. Don't attach yourself and your unproven design to someone as universally despised as Cingular (Rogers seems to be the best example in Canada, although everyone hates their cellular carrier.)

I still want an iPhone, if only to toy with multi-touch to my hearts content. But innovation as a selling point only works if it's across the board.

made of japan.

Onitsuka Tiger has put together this beautiful, artistic, and somewhat confusing ad. I think it was put best when Jean Snow posted 'I don’t really get what it’s promoting.'

In general, I support the just-google-it concept, letting the target audience interact at the basic level. I mean, information online is pretty readily available, and you immediately dial down the annoyance factor when you put the information behind even the smallest barrier. At the same time, when notable culture / design / style bloggers are confused by the ONLINE portion of your campaign, someone has screwed up royal.

It is undeniably interesting, somewhat original, and a great illustration of the strong Japanese heritage of the brand. But if it leaves anyone that in-the-know guessing, you've missed the importance of the user experience.

That, and the load times are for shit.


starbucks and lifestyle.

Starbucks sells a lifestyle. This should be fairly clear, because they have to be selling something other than coffee, considering what they charge. They sell a lifestyle of complex names, many options, euro-flavoured sizes, and extravagance. In less words, this is called exclusivity, or class. Taste, even. Which is ironic, because the few insanely dedicated coffee drinkers I associate with find the stuff middle of the road, whereas I love it.

Having taste is a big arrow pointing to your head that says you are better than other people. Music is a great aspect of your life in which to have 'good taste' because it's something that people can experience passively. If you have great taste in literature, that only helps you win people over if they ask what you are reading, or if you pretentiously drop it into the conversation (I know, because I do this all the time.) Music is overheard, it provides social outings (concerts) that have more cachet than a book reading (at least among youth) and it is often seen as a big indicator of personality. I cannot count the number of times a friend has found attraction or distaste based on the musical affinities of a potential love interest.

After that massive aside, the point. Starbucks, through Hear Music, has a music label. This isn't surprising, considering they have been selling CDs and exclusive versions for a while now, in the middle of the store. The issue at the moment is, they have managed to get one of the major cultural icons of our time to sign on. Paul McCartney is, as they say, kind of a big deal. This is something of a coup, considering he's the first signing for Hear Music. Considering these are the people who convinced Alanis Morissette to release an acoustic version of her good album, it makes sense to pick someone who, however talented, skews to the adult contemporary crowd.

What's more surprising is rumours that Radiohead might be up next. I really want to discount this, and am reiterating it is a rumour. But still, scary thing to see pop up in the RSS reader.

I guess the point of this post is that the need to sell a lifestyle is managing to turn the arts into a marketing approach for coffee. Because, at core, that is what signing to Hear Music would make someone, and unofficial promotion for Starbucks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and might even be one of those solutions to the 'failing' music industry's woes. Culture as a means of generating interest in material goods, rather than cultural content in object form.

I can't think about this without mentioning that Alexandra Patsavas, the person behind loading music into the OC and Grey's, is launching a record label. I will admit that I was swayed by her choices repeatedly, although I did lament the fact that bands I love would show up, poppiest song in tow, in shows that quickly lost my interest. (I was in the weird contingent that would turn on the OC more to see Dirty Pretty Things songs than for the adventures of Ryan Atwood.) Don't these things seem eerily connected to you? (Hilariously, I just noticed while writing this that the connection was also made in the comments thread to the linked post.)

Paul McCartney is making music, and indirectly it is about selling you coffee. Welcome to the future. Try not to vomit on anything nice.


love affair with paper.

While laying out the ground war pdf mag idea, I've began to appreciate paper more than I have in a long while. A blank moleskine and pens/pencils is pretty much the only way to work, when it comes to brainstorming layouts, both in terms of text/notes, and in terms of images and how they will be used. I'm starting to wonder if the complete lack of education I have in terms of design is evidence of horrible decision making abilities on my part.

At the same time, I cherish what I can do with words, and I suppose at least part of that is the english major experience. Still, fourth year university seems to be the time for 'what might have been', even more than previous years were.

Text on a page is a beautiful thing, and it makes me happy that I have found a way to present it which makes at least one of my theories a little bit more plausible, at least in my head. I have notebooks dating back years with the phrase 'text is a visual medium' scrawled in the margins. It's nice to finally take that and put it into anything resembling action.

Digital text makes white space a design choice, and not a waste of resources.

[If windows XP was willing to accept my card reader without nonexistant drivers, I'd even be including some pictures of my notes / layout concepts with this whatever-it-is. As it is, just trust that I mixed my major influences of hypertext, magazines, and comics together until something that worked for me, and is accessible, came up.]


ad commentary.

Nissan has an interesting idea here, so many kudos to the agency that came up with it. Surprisingly cheap to create a couple hundred thousand phony keys, and lose them in public spaces.

The cynic in me is wondering about the amount of waste which, though negligible in comparison with a lot of industries, seems somewhat unnecessary for a guerrilla-esque campaign such as this. Nine Inch Nails has come up with one of the most interesting virals I have heard of, but they manage to leave something behind in restrooms that people will keep (usb thumbdrives with music on them). This seems like a fair amount of waste for what will likely be a 30 second interaction with the key, it's message, and possibly one or two repeats to friends.

At the same time, it's a great idea, and that 30 seconds and two conversations, if even half the keys are picked up, is well, well worth the hundred grand.

[found via Agenda Inc.]


This is just kinda cool.

ground war snippet.

In general, subcultures worry about co-optation. Gramsci, Subaltern classes, etc. The issue, however, is not being co-opted, but what would be co-opted.

Subcultures are more or less defined publicly by the visual / auditory cues they throw out there in an attempt to 1) keep people of other groups at some distance; or 2) attract people of their own group. By this I mean that the clothes, hair, music, slang, and so on that is integral to the identity of a member of a subculture is the way they let people know they are special, different from the mass, and part of a group. It's a statement of value.

However, when co-optation happens, the only things that get taken are the clothes, hair, music, slang. This still manages to either damage or devalue the subculture in question, stripping it of it's cultural relevance and it's esteemed place among the hipster cognoscenti. People taking the outward cues kills the thing, at least incrementally. Sure, people will talk about the 'real' thing, and how it was ruined, but really, we live in a world where someone, somewhere, considers the first Avril Lavigne album punk, in some capacity. Punk, as a label, has been devalued in the public consciousness.

I find this interesting, because it either means that the ideology of a subculture is of less importance than the visual cues associated with it, or that there's no ideology to begin with, beyond 'we like this grouping of interests'. Ask someone within a subculture, and they will probably disagree with you on that point. I would have, at other points in my life. But I think it rings true, at least somewhat.

I base at least some of that on my inability to think of a subculture that doesn't separate itself in terms of appearance, but instead ideology. I guess there is a communist community out there, but most of the ones I encounter seem more involved in mentioning Marx constantly and adopting a brooding, minimalist, doomed, chain smoking aesthetic than anything related to the improvement of the human condition in their society. Oh, and often, bad haircuts.

Subversivity is most likely impossible if you are screaming 'I'm not like you' at the top of your lungs. And yet, the people who most want to change the system are usually the loudest voices in the chorus.

The interesting thing, is that if there was no outward sign that you were of a given group whose ideology is to affect change, you would be co-optation resistant. It would be hard for someone to sell a watered down version of 'I will play the game, but my goals are different.' Or, even better, co-opting an ideology would be the dream, because it means that people are actually listening, rather than just salvaging fashion.

The clothes and the hair and the music get taken. They get repackaged and sold with the same gloss, but with none of the ideas. So why let them be part of the message at all? The only people they are going to convince are the ones you don't want on your side in the first place.

[Maybe this will clarify some points of the 'conversation with singha' post. Anyways, I should probably try to clarify with my prof tomorrow that I'm exploring some of these points on my blog, lest he thinks I'm plagiarizing this 'broken gentleman' character. Academia really doesn't fit well with the new self-publishing paradigm.]


a conversation with singha. (artificials)

[Mostly because I have received my big 4th year seminar take home exam, and am only now understanding how fully I slacked off, there will not be a good exploration of the themes in this conversation. Note that it is very hastily edited, and the poor results are a reflection of that. But somewhere in there is the kernel of the artificials idea, which apparently most people aren't getting from my rambling crap posted thus far. I may delete this later, and replace it with a better exploration that isn't a pasted MSN convo. I may not. Now, to read tremendously boring autobiographies that I just went into debt to buy.]


Shaan: I have come to a weird realization about myself...
Shaan: I am a fan of Pop Sub cultures...
Shaan: not necessarily what they think of... but for the reason that they are an identifiable sub culture
Shaan: .. wait... let me rephrase
Shaan: Not to be them. but because of what they are and how they identify themselves... its all too fascinating...
crowley.] it is pretty interesting.
crowley.] I’ve been looking into that for my artificial persona idea
Shaan: I don’t know if I would fit into the artificials
crowley.] subculture is a great example of people picking up elements of a personality for personal gain, not necessarily because it genuinely describes them.
Shaan: this idea I came to though is making me try and do the impossible and define what I am...
Shaan: that is definitely true
Shaan: though the range in gain is varied
Shaan: it would even seem that in attempts to further the culture it is more importantly there to make them more of the culture
Shaan: sometimes as seen with music
Shaan: make their own self a culture as it would be
crowley.] what I think is interesting is ideas of cooptation
crowley.] because, if a subculture was defined by ideals, by any real identity, that couldn't be co-opted. however, outward cues of the culture (clothes, music, slang) are often co-opted, and this leads to the death or devaluation of the culture.
crowley.] basically, that phenomenon indicates to me that no subculture has real substance, that it is more important at the surface level than anywhere else.
Shaan: this is true
Shaan: as seen with punk
crowley.] it's not ideals, it's an attempt to differentiate between the mass. Which, to me, makes it douchey.
Shaan: and basically everything
crowley.] the artificials is a response to that.
Shaan: you need to make it a film
Shaan: I'm certain of this
Shaan: I want to make it a film with you
crowley.] the only ideal is self-interest, although it could be applied to wider interest. But everything else is a weapon.
crowley.] I think it might be a book.
Shaan: then do it
crowley.] I kinda have to graduate first.

[Special thanks to Singha for not getting irked whenever he finds out I posted this.]

low content post.

This is very cool. And will, I hope, actually add something I'd consider value to MySpace. We shall see how it pans out, but I thought it was worth posting.

(Disclosure: I don't much like MySpace, for reasons ranging from its current ownership, to the hideousness of the pages on average, to the irritating assumption that I immediately want to listen to the music on every page I access. (This is actually a pet peeve on par with automatically re-sizing my windows) MySpace offends me for user experience reasons, but still impresses me with it's community and the interaction it promotes.)

does no one oversee things like this?

I was scrolling through my rss items, and I cannot avoid commenting on this. Click it, trust me.

Can someone out there explain to me the logic of a campaign for Harley Davidson, which, at least in the experience of someone who has lived not too far from a dealership, is catering to a market of not-that-young people, other than a dedicated biker niche, that basically advocates statutory rape on a trip?

Look closely, those are goddamn army of pregnant grade 10 girls. Which is uncomfortable to say the least, because all I'm thinking about at the time is the middle aged retiree trying to buy back his youth (the Harley dealership I lived near is in deepest suburbia) with a sweet motorcycle and the virginity of an impressionable young girl. Horrifying.

Is this some kind of trend in our society these days? The conquest of the high school student by a very likely older individual? Because it seems like it, if you watch the news.

I guess the real question, other than 'oh-please-god-let-this-be-fake' is who greenlit this? Who looked at this and thought 'yep, knocked up high school girls. THIS'll sell some bikes.'?

Less baffled post coming later today, is the plan.


a thing of beauty.

Thanks to the wonderful people at CoolHunting, I discovered the work of Jonathan Harris.

Wow. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with what Angus labeled 'crossreferencillia', or in essence the interrelation of information. There's also a strong current of design related lust in my view of the world, so it should be obvious that I would love this. We Feel Fine, in particular, is beautiful for it's ability to make palpable the mass amount of emotional data that is thrown into the void, mostly to only be seen by a select few.

It's nice that some people remember that information can be art. The Ground War pdf magazine preparations continue, despite driver issues for my ancient digital camera's memory card. I may have to post some of the photos on here, just so someone other than myself can enjoy them. But that's at least a short while in the future.

Unrelated, but from the less than noble corpse of compassionate conservatism, I've been thinking about the label compassionate consumerism. It's far too obvious for me to have coined it, but, it has captivated me as a label.

If I believe that one can't change the world by burning everything down without having a solid plan for afterwards, then, at the moment at least, I am putting my stock in some facet of human nature that can be appealed to in the name of the good of us all. Given my cynicism, I suppose that greed and pride are my current bets on what will come out on top. Compassionate Consumerism (which apparently gets 174,000 returns on google, indicating my lack of originality) is a nicer way of saying that ethics only have a direct say in the running of our world if we make them a matter of status. There's a reason people are willing to pay so much for fair trade coffee, and I have trouble believing even the majority of them are doing it for ethical reasons, instead of the connotation that 'ethical behaviour' has for their perceived personas.

But that's for another day.


a nice real life proof.

It was with some hesitation that I switched from a massive list of blogs that I would read in tabs, to a single list of RSS feeds that I check, dealing only with new material. The reason against the switch was something vague about being a design enthusiast, and wanting to see content in it's original context. This is still true, to a point. But RSS is faster, easier, and helps me to avoid missing new content.

It has also made something clear to me.

One of the major anti-internet arguments I hear, in relation to news, is that endless niche production means that unless you want to, you will never have to hear something you disagree with. While I usually counter by saying the same applies to television, the switch to RSS has made it clear that there is some serious inbreeding in my information feed, specifically relating to design. Today I actually went back and checked to make sure that I wasn't just re-reading the posts from earlier in the day, as the images were exact, and the text was, though different, identical in meaning. On the plus side, the blogs I read are meticulous about linking back to where they found things, so I can see how the inspiration or interest spreads. At the same time, I've found a little network where I'm reading a bunch of people who are reading one another.

At the same time, I can hardly see a downside to only being exposed to good design.

I won't even go into the blogs I read that deal with politics, because, as mentioned earlier, no one reads the political coverage that they strongly disagree with, in the same way I wouldn't watch Fox news. The issue, in my mind, is more that I am running the risk of being trapped in a limited web of new material for inspiration. Obviously, I need to read more blogs. Or go outside. Maybe when the weather changes.


random desires.

I'm fully aware that I will not get an invite, but man do I want to try out 8apps.

It just looks useful, and I'm interested in the place of social networking in a business setting, which (other than Angus) is the reason I'm on LinkedIn.

The only reason I know anything about 8apps is a Pingmag article I've since de-bookmarked, written by the good people who later became jonkenpon.

Wow, that's a lot of links for no real content.

(Wait. Maybe my knowledge of this can be traced back to JeanSnow.net (see sidebar for link)

the flood continues.

This is wonderful. Although, I admit, it's only peripherally within this blogs mandate.

amon tobin's foley room.

I don't know if any of you are listening to this album, but it is one of the few things that justs sits on repeat for days, and never gets boring. But it got me thinking about a comment a prof made, either last term, or last year. He was trying to point out the special status that literature had, due to its age. He was saying that there has never been a musical equivalent to James Joyce. This was, in part, due to the massive intertextuality and metatextuality of works like Finnegan's Wake. Music usually only goes as far as to reference it's own genre, or the classics. A great example is the hip-hop community and the reference to the greats, and their lyrics, that percolate through a vast many songs. Each of those references brings both the gravitas of the original lyricist, and the context the line was extracted from. And I think that is extremely interesting, in terms of placing the music into context. On the other hand, there is the subtextual reference to reality, thinly veiled protest songs, etc.

Tobin manages, in my interpretation, to reference something wider. The example of 'Big Furry Head', off of Foley Room, took a completely different take. While the foundation of the song includes the growls of lions and tigers, they exist in a musical framework that is built both around the sound, and the sense / emotions /instinctual human reaction to it. This isn't just referencing the sound, but what it evokes, and complementary to the aural text he creates. On top of that, the whole package works as an insanely entertaining song. I think this is a genuine selectively dense experience, but at the same time, I suppose every song can be taken as one likes. I just feel as though this album in particular allows one to go deeper into the analysis, focusing on sound with it's own linkages and meanings, as opposed to lyrics.

I think this would have been impossible in any other genre of music. I also think this is why I consider this to be the new classical.

This is probably because this is one of the few artistic works without visual or text/speech content, that I can fall into analyzing. I'm beyond impressed. And that's my excuse for listening to it on repeat for a week.

ground war (update).

I was planning on expanding on the ground war philosophy, and what was laid out in fixing protest (2), but that is going to have to be delayed until the end of the month, as I may use the ideas in an assignment for a class this term.

At the same time, if all goes well, at the end of the month I'll have the base ideas and theory down in a PDF magazine for easy (and slightly more attractive) reading. This will also, I hope, be a chance to put some of my ideas on selective infodensity into practice.

So that, and stress, have led to the radio silence. Regularly scheduled programming, go.

Oh, and I'm slowly working on a LinkedIn profile. Ignore the mess, if you find it.


another interruption...

...but does this actually indicate gang rape to anyone? Really?

Am I just one of those ignorant oblivious people who doesn't see the obvious symbology? Because I caught sexuality, yeah. But gang rape?

Tell me what you think.

artificials manifesto: two.

Existence generates information. Information, if used properly, generates control. Control is a form of power.

This applies to everyone, but to make it simpler to explain, examine it applied to fame. Famous people, generally, are watched closely. Whether this is due to a perverse need to observe the failings they attempt to hide, or just a side effect of the adulation of the masses, is somewhat irrelevant. The point is basically, that if Britney Spears goes to rehab, it's very difficult for someone in the west to avoid learning about it, depending on how media-saturated their lifestyle is. If you or I were to enter a rehab facility, the people around us would know. The separation is one of scale, but in either fashion, it's a matter of anything you do generating information that people can use. With enough eyes on you, everyone can know everything you do. This is a fact of celebrity, and some protections have been developed over the decades to deal with it. From the major studios creating the image of their biggest stars dating to avoid suspicions of homosexual relationships, to a state where every major public figure has an individual or team working on image and public relations. But these protections are having trouble now. We've reached a place where putting the genie back in the bottle is becoming impossible. Democratised media outlets (i'm looking at you, blogosphere) and a rising demand for 'authentic' interaction with a celebrity persona leads to situations where those with the most eyes on them are forced to act on impulse, and held to impulsive actions. An example would be the reaction of K-OS to a poor review in NOW magazine by accusing the author of racism. Whether or not it was deleted from his myspace account, nothing disappears in a world of screenshots, cached pages, and easily distributed media. An individual has to live or die by their actions, because nothing can be taken back.

This isn't just true of the famous. I only went to them as an example because it's obvious in that case. If you participate in the modern world, someone is paying attention to what you read, what you spend, how much you wake, what you listen to and like, and what you say. It's not the same people, and I have a lot of trouble with the idea that it's for some kind of conspiracy to take away your freedoms. The point is that the information is out there, and people can find at least some of it with minimal effort. Have you deleted the blog posts you made in grade 9? Every account for every message board? I haven't. If people know even a little about me, the names I like to use online, etc, they could probably develop a pretty good profile for how I behave in conversation. (Actually, more than that, but projected persona will be discussed later) It's exceedingly difficult to opt out of participating in the modern world, even if it's just google targeting ads to the content of your emails. Think about how an individual could use this. Imagine the person who had coffee with you last night searching your name, or finding your blog or message board account, and just reading the volume of information. Would that make you uncomfortable, someone walking into the next conversation with that level of background? Likely. At the same time, have they really done anything wrong? The information was put there with the intent of being public, at least to the people who know you. Imagine how Britney feels.

This is why control, or at least awareness of the social persona you put forward, is so important. It would be worth reading PSFK's Red Coat, Black Coat approach to these ideas.

Your options, in terms of things actually worth doing, are to either act always within a controlled social character, and artificial persona, or to live a life of transparency. Both are more than a little daunting, but any other option is a half-measure to one of the two, and essentially similar to inaction. One of these options is about taking control, and the other is about taking ownership.

Ownership of oneself and ones actions, essentially being transparent, is exceptional in our society. However, it is also apparently becoming more common with those who live in this society. Taking ownership of ones trail of actions is to essentially deny the concept of shame. If you try to hide things, then anyone knowing them is in a position of power. Transparency creates a situation in which anyone who knows about your actions is immediately authorised to do so. It ties to the natural choice to 'be yourself', which may or may not be an honest desire of many. This choice, to accept that you are, in essence, being watched, and instead of changing behaviour, continue to live as you would otherwise, can possibly reduce the impact of the opinions of others on your self conception. At the same time, it's taking a passive role in the perceived identity that will guide the behaviours of others around you. As much as I like this ideal, it's based on the ideas that people can avoid factoring in the opinions of others into their lives. If that was true, behaviour would be a lot less standardised.

Artificiality offers the alternative of control, in terms of what information is made available for others to construct a perception of your persona / identity, and in guiding what interpretations are made directly and indirectly. This comes with the assumed cost of subjugating 'self'. Taking control, and working for access (via social connections and assumptions) is something that everyone does. I contend that it will only get more difficult when your potential employer starts the interview by questioning you about the myspace post where you talk about 'drinking all weekend and showing up to the big meeting on the verge of puking'. People become aware of technology and it's implications before it begins to change culture. The question is, will your hope of transparency as expressing a legitimate you, despite what anyone may think, do anything except hinder you further in life pursuits?

[Part three, which should be coming within the next week, we be discussing the sacrifice of the self, and the connection between identity and the subjugation of a presumed 'unaltered' self. Also, Baudrillard is dead. Moment of silence.]
artificials manifesto: one


artificials manifesto: one.

you are a channel, and reality is consensual delusion.

Starting with the latter, I mean that common belief determines what is true, at least within a society. While I recognise that truth is a less incendiary term to use, I choose reality, because truth is accepted as relative. Reality is supposed to be without bias, and I suppose, with enough people acting in determining it, it still can be. Reality is dictated by what most people believe. When everyone thought the world is flat, they were wrong, from a scientific perspective. But, in that society, the reality was of a flat world with edges you could fall off. Consensual Delusion.

As a consequence of this, you, as a person, are defined by the perceptions of others. This is the power of bias and stereotype; they decrease your involvement in the construction of your own identity, instead causing others to create all or some of it for you, without your input. The construction of your identity is arguably the most important thing about you, in the social world. Definitions set limitations. And you cannot escape being defined, in part, by others. All you can do is be a participant in the perception of your identity by others.

In this way, you are a channel. Who you are, in the social sense, is defined for others by the web of signifiers you carry with you and broadcast to everyone. The things you do, the things you say, how you say them, the references you use, how you dress, body language, who you associate with, facial expressions, the books and music you listen to and like, how much you tip, all of this meshes together in the interpretations of those around you. And, like it or not, those around you define who you are in at the least, a level comparable to that which you do. Your behaviour defines you, and everyone knows this. This is why behaviour changes with context, from small ways (pretending to like a band because you are trying to win someone over), to larger ways (defining your musical taste by the social group you wish to be a part of). I'd argue that everyone does this, to some extent. You essentially have to. You can't participate actively in society without finding, and at times creating, common ground with others.

That identity is contextual, that the person you strive to be perceived as is situational, doesn't mean that identity doesn't exist, or that people aren't real. Perceived identity is powerful enough that it shapes actual identity. Attaching this to the earlier point that reality is consensual delusion, pretending to be someone is functionally the same as being them, assuming a simulation of high quality. (This point ties to Baudrillard's Precession of Simulacra, if you're interested.) If identity is not a constant, if it is socially defined, then it has to be malleable. And this happens both consciously, and unconsciously. But it happens.

Persona, or perceived / projected identity, is a medium, and it can be used far more actively than most people bother to consider. Moreover, it doesn't have to be used in isolation, and it has benefits that almost no other medium does. However, in life, and in individual use of persona, we generally act on the assumption that persona are genuine, or are manipulated either visibly, or only partially. What makes this so? And beyond that, why are we so steadfast in the assumption that the truth of a person is in the projected signs and identity?

We live in a world where people hire entire teams to manage the public image of individuals, and of corporations. We are likely not far from living in a world where this is done internally, on an individual level.

[This was part one. I'll be expanding on this, and discussing other elements of my ideas in relation to persona as an active medium, in later 'artificials manifesto' posts. This is going to be edited and updated in response to critique, and as my own ideas shift. I am (I hope) open to being told where my rationale falls short, or falls apart.]

a brief interruption.

This is just a really good, really entertaining ad. I like the current thinking on the part of most advertisers, which is that if you want people to look, you are making content. So actually make your content worth staring at, and worth sharing.

Ten points for Levi's, and back to our regularly scheduled content.