The celebrated filmmaker and designer Olympia Le-Tan Co-create a tale to ‘Pierce the Heart.’ Take a few minutes and enjoy this inspiring dose of creative storytelling.
If technology and human evolution is inevitable, where can we take our next great invention?
How do we design that next great product to thrive in our human ecosystem?
We are only limited by our imaginations.
“Lev Manovich says that the 21st century will be defined by the database, and I think there is some truth to that, maybe even going beyond the database and into the interface, cause I think that’s really the intersection between all the rich data and rich stories we are wrapping our heads around and the ability to say something about them.” – Aaron Koblin
I think like a lot of us, we have been scratching our heads watching this entire #OccupyWallStreet brew-ha-ha going in New York City. Sure, I bet most of you out there could give a hoot about those crazy hippies congregating in Zucotti Park in downtown New York City. Yet, they’ve gotten a lot of attention from leaders, media, and citizens as they are poking and prodding at the conversation we all don’t want to have but need to demand – what is the future of our American ethos, modus operandi, and the plan to achieve a healthier economic climate.
Like many of us, I have no idea what in the heck is going on here. This is when I turn to people who are super smart, and think about these types of things often.
First, Jeff Jarvis, a very successful business person, professor and sharp thinker when it comes to journalism and the network effects digital enables had some interesting thoughts in his “#OccupyWallStreet & the failure of institutions” piece.
#OccupyWallStreet is a hashtag revolt. As I learned with my own little #FuckYouWashington uprising, a hashtag has no owner, no heirarchy, no canon or credo. It is a blank slate onto which anyone may impose his or her frustrations, complaints, demands, wishes, or principles.
So I will impose mine. #OccupyWallStreet, to me, is about institutional failure. And so it is appropriate that #OccupyWallStreet itself is not run as an institution.
But they are practicing the politics of place, the politics of building a truly public space. They are explicitly rejecting the politics of narrow media, the politics of the shopping mall. To understand #OccupyWallStreet, you have to get that it is not a media object or a march. It is first and foremost, a church of dissent, a space made sacred by a community. But like Medieval churches, it is also now the physical center of that community. It has become many things. Public square. Carnival. Place to get news. Daycare center. Health care center. Concert venue. Library. Performance space. School.
What is this public space Matt speaks of?
Jeff had this to say in his piece as he believes we are beginning to see us revising our public spaces and ethos.
What’s happening is an attempt to define a new public, now that we can. Iceland, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya are all countries being reimagined and remade: start-up nations. Hear Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir talk about building a new constitution, using Facebook, on the principles of “equality, transparency, accountability, and honesty” — liberté, égalité, fraternité, updated for the networked age.
In the end, this is why I wrote Public Parts, because we have the tools and thus the opportunity to rethink and reorganize our publics and decide what they stand for. The power and freedom that Gutenberg’s press brought to the early modern era, our networked tools now bring everyone in this, the early digital age. “They empower us. They grant us the ability to create, to connect, to organize, and to aggregate our knowledge…. They lower borders, even challenging our notion of nations.” That’s what the youth of these countries are doing.
Then, this morning it kind of started to hit me. These people in New York City have started a bonfire of American discourse. More and more folks, no matter who or where they are, are starting to weigh in. Each time they do, it is like them taking a stick of wood and throwing it into the fire to make it bigger and bigger. The fire burns bigger and brighter and demands we look and have a conversation. This is the beauty of the new, highly networked, highly public world we are living in. The reason a many folks don’t get it is because as Matt Stoller so eloquently laid out, the #OccupyWallStreet doesn’t make sense because it has absolutely no place in “shopping mall politics” that dominates our country.
This dynamic is why it’s so hard for the traditional political operators to understand #OccupyWallStreet. It must be an angry group of hippies. Or slackers. Or it’s a revolution. It’s a left-wing tea party. The ignorance is embedded in the questions. One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering “get a job” line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to “help” by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.
Jon Stewart’s covered the events in a piece the other night this week; showing how the media is portraying the event which illustrates how absurd and just off-target our American media is when it comes to representing the voice of the general public.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Parks and Demonstration|
No matter what side you are on, #OccupyWallStreet demands a conversation is to be had about the way we don’t just conduct our business or the way we treat each other or the direction our country is heading. It demands we have more intelligent thought and more collectively thinking when it comes to our American discourse as a whole, because the system, as it stands today, is just not working for everyone and the people will not stand in the shadows as genuine American discourse sits in the dark while the fortunate ones pretend, make use of public relation tactics and watch from the ivory towers above.
As Jeff Jarvis put it
What #OccupyWallStreet has done with considerable success — as the best hashtags and publics do — is open a conversation, one we must have, about the shape of our nation and society and future. If you don’t like their manifesto and demands, fine: What are yours?
At the end of Public Parts, I present mine, knowing they aren’t the right ones but urging people to enter a conversation not about complaints or demands but instead about the principles of our new and open society.
On a personal level, it’s been interesting to observe my own day-to-day social network of friends and colleagues. Some friends have even been surprised by people’s lack of awareness of the entire event. What I’ve been telling people is that #OccupyWallStreet is a bonfire that has swelled. To pay attention to it and analyze to yourself and with others “what is happening here”, is to pick up a stick and acknowledge a fire is burning in front of your eyes. To have an opinion, a say in the conversation, is to throw the stick in the fire and let it burn as we dictate how bright and magnificent the discourse can be. But, to not look at the stick on the ground or see the fire burning in front of your eyes is to ignore the big picture and only see the world through the eyes in which comforts your consciousness and not the consciousness of the community. I’m not for this movement or against this movement, yet it is a movement of fellow citizen and I’m interested in what they have to say.
For example, I’d never see this type of interview on television and why is that the case and why aren’t we having these type of conversations? (Note; this was taking by someone’s personal camera and not a news outlet that showed a proper interview in it’s entirety, after all the man interviewing him is with the Fox News propaganda machine.)
This posting isn’t an attempt define what is going on. It just an attempt to make an informed observation based on Jeff Jarvis and Matthew Stoller’s insights in spirit of making sense of what’s going on in my own head because everyone around me, on TV, leaders, the papers, and such are all so very much confused.
This is what happens when smart mobs swarm and makes its presence felt. This is what happens when people start a community bonfire and the fire is forcing us all to look within our hearts and demand we talk about our collective future in more intellectual way. Yet, living in this space is not the most comfortable ethos for humans to be in, especially us gruff and tough Americans who would rather hide from emotion, and empathy and the truth of our own current and future problems versus meeting them head on with the same determination our four fathers did when they took on the British to fight for the independence we share today. We are so uncomfortable with this form of American discourse we send out cops to beat and harass peaceful protesters and the 5:00 news won’t take a few seconds to acknowledge the injustice, but instead makes the editorial decision to dismiss the people’s bonfire as insignificant and inconsequential.
Nevertheless, no matter what you think you can’t get away from the fact that these people meeting in downtown New York are Americans, they are our fellow citizens, they do live on our soil, and they have right to start a bonfire of American discourse in any public place they may please. This is America. This is what we do. This is democracy.
As Stoller ended his piece.
The premise of their politics is that #OccupyWallStreet isn’t designed to fit into your TV or newspaper. Nothing human really is, which is why our politics is so utterly deformed. It’s why they don’t want to be “on message” – what kind of human society can truly be reduced to a slogan? I’m not sure I agree with their political premise. But in the carnival they have created, in the liveliness and beauty and art and fun and utter humanity of it all, they make a damn good case.