Mid-week martini…on the rocks please. (at The Red Door)
It is interesting that this came up in another class yet has similar appeal for our studies. As stated, these are adds not necessarily affiliated with the OWS movement yet they are pinging around the same network by virtue of message. The message finds itself a spokesperson in the movement as well as an antigroup. The lack of serious definition in the face of the antigroup allows OWS to opt for many forms of media and connect to many different points of view.
Darting out the door this morning he knew that forgot his mug. knowing that he only had enough change in his pocket for a refill and a small tip for the barista, his hopes of caffeination were dashed, then it became clear. There is a cafe on campus that will sell an empty cup for twenty cents. He could then go to the art museum (whose cafe has the cheapest refills) and obtain the coffee for the cup. After leaving a small tip for the barista, the student was able to obtain the same large coffee in a brand new cup for a seventy cent savings vs. completing the same transaction from start to finish at one cafe. This student’s narrative goes a long way toward explaining the economics of import and export as well as how non hierarchical problem solving can achieve the same result if not better. Knowing the connection points readily adjacent and possible reveals solutions that transcend the typical “path of least resistance” mode of operation. Thrifty.
This photo took me back to when we were discussing space in relation to work. By virtue of telecommuting we work from our homes. People like James Howard Kunstler argue that this removes the “chance office encounter,” a common driver for idea collaboration. Whether it is a typo or an incompetently slaughtered marketing ploy, this sign speaks to the dividuation of work and home. These two spaces are becoming merged more and more. This phenomenon an indicator of Situationist warnings about leisure as work. When we can no longer leave work at work the theory of any leisure - leisure as work or leisure as escape - becomes troubled.
Collaborative art at the 2012 Salt Lake Tattoo Convention after party. Several canvases were laid out throughout the night each canvas being manipulated by three to five artists. Some alliances ran along shop affiliation while others crossed shop boundaries for style or old friendships between artists. The meta community assembled through this convention then auctioned off these canvases benefit a local tattoo artist suffering from health problems.
I was getting coffee between classes today at the student union when I was confronted with a concept we had gone over in class. It was the way in which modernity had started to trend toward “bland” production. I am not saying the coffee was in some way watered down or awful to the pallet (though coffee snobs may disagree), the link to the flavor of the coffee and bland production comes in the way (ironically) they are marketing the flavor of their coffee- confused? I’ll try to clarify.
The Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC) company has left the brick and mortar coffee shops and have began working with distributors. One of the most popular purveyor of coffee (all taste aside) is the American convenience store. The grab and go mentality of the “patron in a hurry” has presented SBC with a problem, how to market the subtle and complex varietals of coffee to a consumer that has to make their flavor decision in 1.8 seconds. Dumb it down. Without even saying light medium or dark, the customer now chooses the coffee by a number system– one being the lightest three being the darkest. The urn itself still displays ambiguous terms like bold, aromatic and vibrant but now, the consumer does not have to guess what that means. One simply has to know that one is less than two and two is less than three.
Compare this to a mentality toward coffee espoused by local coffee houses like Nobrow or Caffe d’Bolla who are trying their best to inform EVERY customer on what kind of bean they are drinking, how it is cultivated, it’s specific flavor profiles like pit fruit and honey etc….It is a known fact the the owner of Caffe d’Bolla doesn’t believe drip coffee to be coffee at all, he doesn’t even sell it in his cafe. I sat in front of the row of thermos/urns imagining the vitriolic rage these specialty coffee purveyors would fly into over this cultural marker in the coffee industry. This craftsman approach to selling coffee makes the consumer aware of the various networks involved with the coffee they are about to enjoy versus the anonymity of the one through three system.
This example if bland production should not be shocking. If things happen through us not to us we could have seen this coming from a mile a way. In corporate culture the dress code functions as a number system for employees. We know you are a male or female because you fit into that category of acceptable office wear. It is as unifying as it destructive to individual flavor. Individuality is trouble for the corporate structure not merely in keeping people in line but, marketing their products to those same employees after they have been trained to your system. From the consumer perspective the options have been greatly simplified, reduced, and purged of nuance- just enough choice to feel that there is still a choice. Better make that choice quick, class starts in 1.8 seconds.
From a city planning perspective, Fordism essentially was the opening of Pandora’s box in considering the current state of the American city. Kunstler gives a very in depth view of the history of the ford motor corporation and the way in which it interfered with the natural urban growth of the city. A bombastic prose makes for an easy read that feels a little more up to date than Jane Jacob’s classic work The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs is mentioned in the Fordism reading and I would highly recommend this book particularly if you are interested in the way in which her sworn enemy Robert Moses “…took a meat axe to the Bronx.” Hint: there is a connection between Moses the Ford corporation. Big surprise. For more, read Geography of Nowhere, it is an eye opener.
This video speaks more to the culture that formed around corporate gains and the “Me Generation,” that resulted. It seems in contrast to the emerging theme of planning around worst case scenarios but, the repeated refrain of, “why should I care…” and, “nothing bad ever happens to me…” seems to reflect the vacuum created by this mode of thinking. It is the bi-product of keeping in line with how this affects me and me only. It is also a manifestation the box or prison we keep ourselves in by the fear of negative personal consequence. Occasionally a little empathy is required lest we create a society where anything goes as long as it doesn’t hurt me. This is still a poignant message in light of the rise of the Neo-Con and the Tea Party movements.
Last semester I was enrolled in a class that played with the ideas of the virtual and the actual. While there were many good texts in the class, some of the most interesting readings were on the consequences (actual) of living through the proxy of an avatar (virtual). The format of this blog definitely leans toward the latter of these concepts. While anonymity creates new potential for thought and speech one is left to wonder what the downside will be or, if this format will even follow the amplification/amputation binary.
Other themes that I hope to look at are the consequences of not being connected or networked, how these networks relate to posthumanism or human+ theories, Debord’s theory of the Spectacular society and Baudrillard’s theory of simulacra.
A few students in this class are very familiar with these concepts and I welcome them to the conversation. These topics are seemingly inexhaustible and new perspectives in contrast to course material should be fun. I look forward to working with everyone and will see you next post.