Tuesday, April 2

mind/body remix

to this question I have no answers. now is too fleeting to ask questions about, isn't it? and as for what now?s cousin what next?... we just have to wait and see. there are always a million possibilities. too many to think about.

last year I happend to have some amazon credit come into my hands just before Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist came out, so I ordered it.

and it arrived in the mail and I skimmed happily through at least 6/8 of it before tucking it into neatly the clutter of my nightstand, where it gathered dust for about year.

yesterday I unpacked it, along with the rest of the books I'm not sure why I own.

oh ownership.

what does that even mean?

I came across this Wired article on all the crazy implications of a world so infused with the digital today (via a new friend and future-Purdue-colleague Cody, who--look--has a blog where he talks about games and things). owning intangible digital stuff gets pretty tricky, and in a lot of places, the tangible and the intangible co-exist. I'm tempted to liken this not-really-a-dichotomy to Descartes' persistent philosophy of mind/body dualism, which is probably more to do with the fact that I've been reading about Cartesian models and participatory design than with any real relationship Cartesian philosophy has with digital copyright debates... but you know...


Mr. Wiens, in the article, tells us that "the line between hardware and software, physical and digital has blurred." what use is a telephone without an operating system anymore? what's the point of all this plastic without some magic connectivity behind its screen? what use are all those ones and zeros without some buttons to push them around? what good are the pixels and code even, without people to  read and respond? the concrete and the abstract so often seem inextricably connected...

... hm... I wasn't trying to take this post in this direction, but surprisingly the Cartesian connection here is realer than I thought at first. there are plenty of posthumanists who would love to point out that the line between mind and body is getting blurrier and blurrier too. minds don't usually exist without bodies, do they? I need to read more posthumanist things. (and speaking of bodies and minds, I'm reminded all of a sudden about another grad school colleague, Brandon, who also has a blog.) I also just need to read more things. I could get ridiculously carried away talking about the awesome and variable materiality of ideas and the perhaps many and natural inadequacies of all immaterial ideas... but I might also not really know what I'm talking about.

before all this Cartesian nonsense popped up, what I was really thinking about this week was the fun of remixing, oldschool. like this kind of cut-sift-paste-paint collage art I used to spend time reveling in, long ago. repurposing one thing, deconstructing and recontextualizing it, into something just a bit different. Mr. Kleon suggests such cheap cleverness in the gif above, which I borrowed (or perhaps I should say 'stole,' like an artist) from this post.

I thought it was a cool idea.
so when Kleon's Steal Like an Artist resurfaced from the box it was packed in, I set it aside and made a note to attack it with scissors at some point.

the attacking happened this evening. all the best pages from Kleon's little autobiographical advicebook are now hanging willy nilly on my cork boards, among several other repurposed odds and ends.
I like them. especially the one that says
You will need:
_ curiosity
_ kindness
_ stamina
_ a willingness to look stupid
yeah. maybe I will find a little frame for that one.


akb said...

Love this :)
Especially love the small list of things you need! Agreed - that ought to be framed.

amelia chesley said...

:) yes!
thank you. I've got plenty of that first category... working on the rest...