Diigo Bookmarks 07/17/2008 (a.m.)

July 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm | In comments, newspapers | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 07/17/2008 (a.m.)
  • Much to think on in this great interview by James Bash with Douglas McLennan, the founder of ArtsJournal. “Curation” is definitely my word du jour — I’ve seen it come up again and again recently, in relation to *very* different products and businesses (clothing & retail, for example).

    It leads me to think that “curation” is something that’s evolving out of “filtering,” which in turn was something that sort of / kind of evolved out of (or related to) “gatekeeping.”

    The latter always struck me as something almost hateful, in the sense that gatekeepers protected the various walled gardens to which access was limited or even forbidden. Gatekeepers weren’t there for me, they were there for “them.”

    Filtering in turn proposed the notion that users (me, we) should set their own parameters — it’s potentially democratic, anyway, provided we don’t let overlords filter for us. DIY filtering can be smart, letting us develop efficiencies in how we access and consume information. But filtering done by censors is bad.

    Curation can be equally two-edged (like filtering), but it now introduces another aspect: perhaps trust? Some sort of acknowledgement of expertise, or sophistication? Good curation, however, done on a digital platform, is open, accessible, democratic, and transparent.

    Perhaps curation is an open, acknowledged re-insertion of the human aspect — which “filtering” can strive to eliminate via automatic settings and controls.

    tags: crosscut, artsjournal, douglas_mclennan, blogging, business, curating, curation, filtering, hyper_local

Roland Tanglao blogs about his Fido questions, I left a comment

July 15, 2008 at 11:49 pm | In business, canada, cities, comments | Comments Off on Roland Tanglao blogs about his Fido questions, I left a comment

Ok, so I ranted (again) about the state of wireless in Canada, and how (to my mind) it connects with the urban development issues (and even public transit issues!) I feel strongly about.  But today was a bad day to get me on cell phone issues, since I just got a $60 bill for basically bupkes.  “Surfing” in a Walled Garden of WAP makes a goldfish bowl look extravagant.

Go read Roland’s post: Ordered my 16GB iPhone 3G today from Fido, will receive it in August | Roland Tanglao’s Weblog.  My comment is attached.

Diigo Bookmarks 05/22/2008 (p.m.)

May 22, 2008 at 5:30 am | In comments, links | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 05/22/2008 (p.m.)

“Forgotten Architects,” and some thoughts on the creative class

April 1, 2008 at 1:53 pm | In architecture, comments, creativity, ideas | 1 Comment

Here’s a great blog post by BLDGBLOG‘s Geoff Manaugh, Forgotten Architects, where he details Myra Wahrhaftig‘s research project on German Jewish architects who were suppressed and banned from practicing in Nazi Germany. Some of Wahrhaftig’s work is now published by the Pentragram Papers (and here); there is also a German-language lexicon with 500 biographies, Deutsche juedische Architekten vor und nach 1933 — Das Lexikon.

In his commentary (and do surf over to BLDGBLOG to see the fabulous illustrations), Geoff Manaugh nails it when he writes “…frankly, it seems impossible not to look at these images and judge 20th century Germany in light of the catastrophic stupidities that led to its murderous exile of the creative classes, whether those were physicists, novelists, abstract expressionists, or even architect members of the Bauhaus.”

Invoking the phrase “creative classes” conjures Richard Florida, who we might think “discovered” the creative class as a slightly more recent phenomenon. But clearly there’s much to learn about the “creative classes” and their role in society by studying the consequences of Nazi Germany’s actions, too.  In effect, it modeled for the world what it really means to squeeze the creative class from a country’s economy and culture. “Purity” (in Nazism’s case, “Arian” purity) is the opposite of all those vital “Ts” that Florida advocates for (talent, technology, tolerance). To aim for a “purely German” architecture or science or math is as absurd as to label any architecture, science, or math “Semitic,” yet that’s what the Nazis tried to do. Stalinists of course also believed, like Nazis, that there could be Soviet technology or art. Absurdly, they all thought they were being creative in some “new,” virile way.

These histories teach the need for a more complex approach: we can’t get out of having to evaluate, case by case, whether something contributes or is creative …and it involves choices and judgments as to what individuals and societies believe is worth contributing to. As someone who intensely dislikes Nazi-style “purity” (or ideologically prescribed “correctness” of any kind), I (like so many others) have sometimes not been disinclined to court the opposite view: namely, that anything fun and freaky must be (should be?) good or creative. But sometimes fun is just …well, fun. And sometimes freaky really is a freakish temporary blip that doesn’t deserve sustained attention. (Tell that to the attention economy, though…) In other words, the opposite of Nazism (to use an umbrella term) isn’t “anything goes,” but understanding — of creativity, of what works, of tolerance, talent, and technology.

Daily Diigo Public Link 02/19/2008

February 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm | In comments, links | Comments Off on Daily Diigo Public Link 02/19/2008

Place Wars – Seattle vs. Silicon Valley (Richard Florida and The Creative Class Exchange)

tags: business, creatives, richard_florida, seattle, silicon_valley, technology

Florida points to two techologists, one SV-based (Michael Arrington), the other now once again Seattle-based (Glenn Kelman), having a bit of a dust-up over whether one region/ city is better than the other. Robert Scoble also weighs in, as do several others. Of particular interest is that Crosscut today also published Margaret Pugh O’Mara’s article on the Seattle – Silicon Valley comparison. I commented here (and in Crosscut).

We are not ‘the next Silicon Valley’ by Margaret Pugh O’Mara (Crosscut Seattle) Annotated

tags: business, creatives, crosscut, margaret_o’mara, seattle, silicon_valley, technology

Really interesting article from the historian’s perspective on what it takes to “be” Silicon Valley (hint: certain historical confluences helped) and why it’s unlikely that another place will “be” just like that. On the other hand, great places can build on their core strengths, and there are lessons to be learned in this. As O’Mara writes: “In this worldwide network, the most vital innovation centers are those that know their own strengths, provide exciting and dynamic environments for people and firms, and have the resources and institutions that provide a home for new and exciting ideas.” I added a comment to this article, particularly as it jives with something Richard Florida also posted today.

“Yikes” – Richard Florida and The Creative Class Exchange

tags: american_stupidity, fame_seeking, narcissism, purposeful_ignorance, richard_florida, youtube

Florida quotes from a NYT review of Susan Jacoby’s book, “The Age of American Unreason,” which describes the spectacularly stupid Kellie Pickler, who claimed on television that she had never heard of Hungary, didn’t know what country Budapest is the capital of, and believed that Europe was “a country.” Her performance has earned her a wildly popular view rank on YouTube. But you have to wonder, as I did in my comment to Richard’s entry, whether it wasn’t a purposeful exercise on Pickler’s part. If you can’t win prizes for being smart, what better way to ensure your 15 minutes of YouTube fame than by being the absolute stupidest of the moment? I’m sure it’s a growing trend and we’ll see plenty more people competing in this …”category.”

Daily Diigo Public Link 02/18/2008

February 17, 2008 at 5:39 pm | In cities, comments, creativity, heritage, links | Comments Off on Daily Diigo Public Link 02/18/2008

We’re afraid of everything, for crying out loud, by Christopher Hume (Toronto Star) Annotated

tags: change, christopher_hume, fear, toronto, urbanization

Hume is on a rant against the Chicken Littles here. I can relate only too well… His description of the fear of change and how this is different from the 60s & 70s relates, I think, also to what I wrote for toward the end of last month (January) for the March issue of FOCUS Magazine. See also my blog entry, Concrete Plans.

Great cities recycle buildings, by Christopher Hume (Toronto Star) Annotated

tags: christopher_hume, cities, toronto, urban_renewal

This echoes very much what I’ve said elsewhere, eg., in response to Spacing Reads: Consolation regarding the use of natural light. Adaptability and re-use of buildings is crucial. See also my blog entry, Concrete Plans.

Daily Diigo Public Link 02/12/2008

February 11, 2008 at 5:40 pm | In comments, links | Comments Off on Daily Diigo Public Link 02/12/2008

» Toronto Prairie: Our (almost) missing style • Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape

tags: architecture, frank_lloyd_wright, prairie_style, spacing.ca, textile_block_system, toronto

Short post by Spacing Toronto’s Thomas Wicks on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style, specifically one lone example of same in Deer Park, a suburban T.O. neighbourhood. I added a comment, re. the house’s use of what looks like the textile block system.

» One Book: Natural Light • Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape

tags: adaptability, architecture, lighting, spacing.ca, toronto

Essay reflecting natural light usage in Victorian architecture by Spacing Wire’s Dylan Reid. “Perhaps, in their appreciation for and management of natural light, our Victorian predecessors can remind us of an important consideration in city-building.” I added a comment to his entry.

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