A poem, algorithmically made from [my] tweets.
A poem, algorithmically made from [my] tweets.
‘Did you have fun doing this exercise?’
Yes. I really did. Different tools and bits and bobs make things fun to play with. I think the cardboard was the most fun. Reminded me of building robots when I was a kid and, oddly, I felt the most was possible with the material.
Least favourite material would be the toothpicks and the gum: a) the gum tasted TERRIBLE and b) SO STICKY! ARRGH. Couldn’t get it to finish and/or stick on time.
I think the cardboard best expresses the original chair that I drew: I was able to add cushions and shape and, as I said, I felt most comfortable with it.
— per instructions I’ve just checked out the other contributions to #DSC03 and they’re AWESOME. I especially like Claire’s and Danielle’s (I have no idea how claire got her chair to stand like that – maybe I should’ve started chewing earlier).
The above post was written in 5mins. Per the instruction ‘Reflect on it‘ that I received in the latest package from Quarterly Co (itself a birthday present from the rather awesome Robbie Dale). The challenge? Five chairs: design and build one chair; and then prototype it four/five times, per the instructions, only using the equipment provided – all under 30mins.
I wonder if Robbie has done his yet…
by Makoto Kobayashi
I’ve been writing short stories on Instagram.
I’m not really sure why, but it’s just something that has started happening recently, since my last haircut in fact (which is an odd way for things to start but still). I remember the hairdresser handing me a copy of the latest GQ magazine and thinking ‘Ugh, I haven’t read this since I was a teenager’.
But then I opened it and started browsing – ‘I’ve got nothing else to do for the next 40mins, why not?’ – and I found an amazing and quite lengthy article about Philip K. Dick. Prolific science fiction author, futurist and drug user (I would be amazed if you’d never heard of him or of any of the films that are based on his works), I’d never read anything about him, the man, before and it was just completely mind–stretching.
I really can’t remember the full ins and outs of the actual piece (quotes etc) and you’re a better man than I if you can find anything relating to the piece on the GQ website but what I do remember is the way they described Dick’s imagination and the way he viewed the world in which we live.
It really did blow my mind.
The guy was a mental case, a drug-[ab]using* genius and yet, his imagination was – and still is – ridiculously inspiring. That article, on top of this additional piece from Warren Ellis, entitled ‘How To See The Future‘, is pushing my brain in new directions and it is awesome.
On the way home that afternoon, I was on the look out for a decent Empty Underground shot or three and I spotted this:
‘That’s cool’, I thought ‘reminds me of the use of amber, from [the TV series] Fringe‘. Then I boarded my tube and started typing. I don’t know what the character limit is on Instagram images, I’m yet to find it. But what I am finding is that being able to go over and above 140 characters is somewhat freeing.
My imagination takes me to all kinds of places…
Emergency tube closure.
Large rats, the size of cattle, have been reported roaming the tunnels at Oxford Circus. These orange panels, an emergency procedure in place since 1997, are actually made up of a thick orange sinew. Frequently mistaken as a deterrent to the unbelievably large rodents, the panels – also known as ‘honey squares’ – are actually covered on one side with a sickly sweet, yet dangerously poisonous, honey-like coating. This honey trap, if you will, lures the wildrats out of their dark dens and snares them with their hypnotic flavour.
Death occurs merely minutes after first contact. All that remains is for a clean up team to dispose of the captured carcass and reopen the station to the public. The whole process takes approximately one hour.
Quite remarkable really.
I’ve been writing short stories on Instagram. I’m not really sure why, but what I can tell you is that they’re inspired by Philip K Dick and Warren Ellis.
More short stories —
Emergency tube closure. Large rats, the size of cattle, have been reported roaming the tunnels at Oxford Circus. These orange panels, an emergency procedure in place since 1997, are actually made up of a thick orange sinew. Frequently mistaken as a deterrent to the unbelievably large rodents, the panels – also known as ‘honey squares’ – are actually covered on one side with a sickly sweet, yet dangerously poisonous, honey-like coating. This honey *trap*, if you will, lures the wildrats out of their dark dens and snares them with their hypnotic flavour. Death occurs merely minutes after first contact. All that remains is for a clean up team to dispose of the captured carcass and reopen the station to the public. The whole process takes approximately one hour. Quite remarkable really.
A bit similar to my N8 project from last year, this time it’s with Instagram.
*user or abuser? The word is undecided. He took the drugs to push himself, and his work, into new dimensions. Surely, for him at least, that’s not abuse; that’s using them exactly what they’re for.
Example one (real)
The Look for Longer campaign is a neat little competition from CBS Outdoor to encourage interaction with outdoor advertising. The game itself is quite cute, there’s 75 different tube stations hidden on a poster and you have to guess them all. Simple, right? Perfect brain fodder for London’s challenge-hungry commuters.
You can see the full poster on the campaign website, the version that I’m showing above however highlights quite a nice piece of joined-up thinking from the chaps behind the activity. Conversations around this sort of thing would normally go like this:
‘OK, so we’ve got our posters’
‘Do they have a clear call to action? Something like, ‘Text us on this number now!’ or similar?’
‘OK, so where are these posters going again?’
‘On the Underground.’
‘OK. Then make sure we add a QR code too…’
—- I’m not kidding.
But not this time ’round, oh no. This time the copywriters and creatives have actually applied context to their work and seeing this kind of relevant and in situ call to action actually put a smile on my face. Smart thinking tends to have that affect on me.
More of this please.
Example two (not real)
Walking onto the platform at Maida Vale back in July earlier this year, I was greeted with this fairly awesome poster for The Amazing Spider-Man. Now while the film wasn’t exactly awesome, the outdoor campaign really could’ve been.
Literally the first thing I thought when I saw this poster was ‘How cool would it be if this was an augmented reality (AR) execution?’. I walk onto the platform and the poster is exactly how you see it now except there’s no Spider-Man in it.
Instead, you download the AR app, hold up your cameraphone and voila, there’s Spidey, crawling around the other side of the platform on the underground.
Wouldn’t be ace if the call to action was something like ‘Seen The Amazing Spider-Man yet? Connect to Virgin Wifi and download app X to see him on this poster right now’ or, better yet, have the app on the Virgin Wi-Fi splash page.
I know a little bit about a little bit when it comes to AR markers (and marker-less markers too) and I’ve always thought you could do something cool with the actual tracks themselves (health and safety, what?) but now there’s internet down there, a whole new world of integrated marketing is wide open.
WiFi on the Underground is free until the end of this year.
Who’s going to innovate next?
There is a __ layer of thickness;
.a coating of caffeine.
//swim/ming in stodge; a heaviness –
Like wading through the swamps at the bottom of a giant cafetiere,
sticky in the rich – gooey mud of frustration.
The goodness is gone, t, h, e, r, e, -/ is only sludge.
– Sept 27th, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, when out for a few beers with some friends, my mate Kai and I got into a discussion about how we use our respective RSS Readers.
— this is the only picture of Kai that is ever worth using, ever –
The crux of the conversation came down to one thing: folders – Kai uses them, I don’t. Kai’s point was that he likes to choose what format to consume and when. For example, he may opt to read long-form content in the morning, and prefer visual / illustrative stimulation in the afternoon. A point that I both understand and recognise.
However, I prefer reading everything at random. It’s a habit I’ve kept for a long time but it’s something that’s recently been re-enforced by learning about the origins of the commonplace book, and its place in both history and the creation of serendipitous innovation.
What do I mean? Well…
In the book Where Good Ideas Come From, Stephen Johnson writes:
“Darwin’s notebooks lie at the tail end of a long and fruitful tradition that peaked in Enlightenment-era Europe, particularly in England: the practice of maintaining a “commonplace” book. Scholars, amateur scientists, aspiring men of letters—just about anyone with intellectual ambition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was likely to keep a commonplace book.
The great minds of the period—Milton, Bacon, Locke—were zealous believers in the memory-enhancing powers of the commonplace book. In its most customary form, “commonplacing,” as it was called, involved transcribing interesting or inspirational passages from one’s reading, assembling a personalized encyclopedia of quotations.
There is a distinct self-help quality to the early descriptions of commonplacing’s virtues: maintaining the books enabled one to ‘lay up’ a fund of knowledge, from which we may at all times select what is useful in the several pursuits of life.
Each rereading of the commonplace book becomes a new kind of revelation. You see the evolutionary paths of all your past hunches: the ones that turned out to be red herrings; the ones that turned out to be too obvious to write; even the ones that turned into entire books. But each encounter holds the promise that some long-forgotten hunch will connect in a new way with some emerging obsession.”
That, believe it or not, is what historians mark as one of the ways Darwin was able to come to his theory of evolution (he famously had no ‘EUREKA!’ moment, it came to him slowly – over months) and that, believe it or not, is exactly how I feel about my RSS.
It’s a big jump – from understanding nature’s beginnings to reading internet ponderings mixed in pictures of lolcats – but that’s how I see it.
Basically, you should use RSS. And if you don’t, why not try starting a commonplace book? I had one in school, and it was awesome. In fact, I think I still have it somewhere…
Commonplace book links of note –
The Commonplace Book – Brett Bolkowy
The Ecology of Thought – The Chronicle of Higher Education
Good Ideas and Notebooks – EVSC