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[Xmca-l] Re: Elaborations on Nissen's Could Life Be...

Hi Huw,

You know, I had the exact same experience at an Apple store when I asked how should I build a backup system that didn't involve putting my data in a cloud someplace owned by Apple? The fellow in the genius t-shirt told me he didn't know, but it sure was a good idea.

I am under the distinct impression you are our resident technologist, and so I'm glad the dishwasher piece by Cory Doctorow had meaning for you.

I've never heard the word "mookiness" in fact my autocorrect changed the word to "moodiness" just now! :)

Talk about smoothing over! 

I'm guessing perhaps it is a word something like moodiness but with a "K" to sound like "crazy" or "cracked" ?? Please expand on this word for me?

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand: I still am scratching my head to how this ties into the chapter on Humboldt? Have you a copy of this chapter available?

As far as the absence of art being a fad, it's been a fad that has likely been around since the 60s when folk songs and their connection to protests were seen as dangerous thinking in operation. Or even farther back, from the Beat Generation, that first generation to deeply feel the nausea of post-war America. 

I welcome your take on this and how you might link this to Nissen's paper Life Could Be…, as our resident propellor head who offends Apple store managers, but is still welcomed by Starbucks baristas.

Kind regards,


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2015 3:59 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Elaborations on Nissen's Could Life Be...

On 13 February 2015 at 19:56, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Gee whiz, xmcars! my previous post had a lot of typos and I'm sorry for
> that! Thinking is faster than writing sometimes.
> Huw,
> Help me make your connections? I'm not following.
> I'm not sure what you've posted has to do with aesthetic experiences, the
> making of art, and the removal  of these experiences and activities from
> public life. But I hope you'll let me know.


You mentioned a lack of support for self-sustaining ventures too.

Re the dishwasher-brainwasher piece, actually I think you can see an intent
to transfer the mentality of vertical design (apple's market) into social
mannerisms -- a way of speaking that conveys the smoothing away of wrinkles
(through design, of course).

I personally own some mac products and am pleased with them, but it wasn't
that mookiness that I was buying into.  When I needed a backup device -- I
really have no interest or recollection of what name their given -- I
walked into a local store, up to a guy who was free, who happened to be the
store manager, and asked for one of their "remote back up kits".  To a
technical guy this would have been perfectly reasonable, but the person I
spoke to looked pretty affronted.  Smoothness vanished and instead I got
waspish comments about where to find it.  On the other hand, whenever I
venture into a starbucks the staff never seem to mind when I ask for a
medium (sized) coffee.

Anyway, with respect to the absence of art.  I suspect this is more about
fashions in the similitude of art.  Which I suppose is equally problematic
if the fashion is to consider the similitude of art as art.


> After posting my thinking about this last night, I remembered how while I
> was in school, understanding from my own experiences, art was something
> anyone could learn, like learning history or math or chemistry. Yet it is
> marginalized even in the school. I don't think I was able to articulate
> that freely that at the time, because the marginalized artists seem to be
> the ones who were rewarded for living on the edge, in more ways than one.
> They would have been wasted words to which no one would have listened.
> The pressure to have to take on that cloak of marginalization as a young
> person can be intense, especially if the narrative is: to be considered any
> good, you have to shoot heroin and struggle with your addiction in order to
> make good art.
> What a great and effective way to systematically eradicate all the young
> artists in a society. Which controls the narrative as "making art is just
> breaking plates and putting that on a canvas." It's very different in
> Europe where artists are more valued members of society, and even loved,
> and there are means of sponsoring them interwoven into the society in
> different ways. Albeit not without flaws, but it's better than nothing.
> In the US there are diminishing contacts with art and aesthetic
> experiences in public spaces. The incidents for contact go up if you live
> in places like New York, but typically it's pretty barren. The only access
> for art is in an iPod or a laptop, or a movie theater, or a book or an art
> museum.
> All of these are mediated spaces that dictate our choices and how we are
> to experience them. Consider this recent article by Cory Doctorow:
> http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/13/if-dishwashers-were-iphones
> Art as a part of everyday experience seems completely absent and
> diminishes each day. Unless, of course, I want to interpret sitting in
> commuter traffic as a kind of performance art of modern living. The only
> other means for aesthetic experiences is to go out in nature, and that can
> be difficult or at best inconvenient.
> Artists by their natures are sensitive and independent thinkers, likely
> because of the way they sense to world. That is not to say that the rest of
> us are insensitive or dependent thinkers, but that they are the first
> identifiable group of "people like that." If we remove the sensitive types
> and marginalize them, that is one way to remove some of those independent
> thinkers from the mainstream, so they do not spread that heretical
> contagion of independent thinking.
> It seems the next logical target if one were to have an objective to
> incrementally remove independent thinkers from spreading contagion is the
> university. So I would invite all of you to examine the narrative of
> artists in society and their removal or their channeling into "safe spaces"
> like 30 second videos, 3 minute songs, 30 minute sitcoms, 130 minute movies
> (because we have to put them somewhere, we can't just kill them). Then
> please consider if something similar is happening in the spaces of the
> university and independent thinking.
> I would not at all be surprised to see there are parallels.
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa