Wednesday, November 23, 2011

how not to die

There is no difference between art and activism.

UCSD professor of visual arts Ricardo Dominguez cited in an EFE wire story and reported by Fox News Latino »

UCSD professor of visual arts Ricardo Dominguez was speaking about a smartphone application that he created using GPS technology to assist individuals cross the border from Mexico to the US illegally by sharing information about the location of aid stations where water, clothing and blankets are stockpiled.

Domingo spoke to cell phones as part of a "poetic system that can save lives."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

theory of relativity

In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?


That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.
Morgan Housel in the Motley Fool

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

desire lines

Desire lines generally refer to worn paths where people naturally walk – the beaten path that trails off the sidewalk, usually as a shortcut to a destination – but can be applied more broadly to any signs or traces of user activity in an object or environment. The implicit claim of desire lines is that they represent an unbiased indication of how an object or environment is actually used by people.

My grandfather introduced me to desire lines, but he didn’t call them by name. I can’t be sure that he knew what they were called. We were crossing the Quad at the University of Washington, cherry trees in bloom, and he pointed out the gentle ruts in the grass left by renegade feet in oblique purpose to the University’s imposed paths.

“Those are the paths they should pave,” he said, pointing out the bald earth. I think of him now whenever I see a transgressive groove slice through the corners of trim, paved plaza geometries.

Desire lines.

Rem Koolhaas oriented his IIT Student Center around the desire lines that students wore into the wasteland beneath the El tracks on their passage to class, long before the building was sited. In the belly of his building there’s a placard that maps the original paths so you can see at a macro level what you experience when you walk through the structure: his building breathes with a unique kind of respiration because it is so well-aligned with the passage of people through that place. It doesn’t obstruct their passage from point A to B: It shelters it.

spaces within

I’m surprised that I’ve only just discovered this name for the thing. It startled me when I stumbled across it yesterday, and left me to wonder if maybe I knew it before but didn’t notice it; am noticing it now only because of these first tentative steps off my trim path; this early attempt at letting my feet find the way they would prefer to go.

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