Monday, March 31, 2014

My City is not Your City

UnSYSTEM: Wiki page on open-source cities.

Related? Brighton talk next week on an API for a city.

This week's purchase: Paris as Gameboard - Man Ray's collection of Atget's photos exploring another Paris.

What role do/can surrealism, psychogeography, street photography and haiku play in re-admitting and re-building the urban world? How can we reshape our economies, our lifestyles, our dependencies, through picking apart the routes we take every day and the cracks we prefer to ignore?

Here's one of my favourite graf pieces in Brighton:


It's on my way to work, if I choose to go up these steps. I doubt many tourists have ever seen it. But it exists. With a pipe through the middle, and surrounded by steps. It is beautiful. Legally, the steps are private property - there are warning signs.

(Digression: See the Sinna One site here.)

Are data, photos, haiku all just shards and aspects of how each of us see this single city, like the angle of incidence each of see a rainbow at? How can I be sure that if I go for a walk with you, we go for the same walk? Or more importantly, how can I be sure we go for a different walk?

What messages do we leave to each other? What subconscious signposts and invisible guides do/can we embed into the paths we take? How can I tell you which way to go; what I felt here; who I am now because I was here?

And to bring it back to where I set out, how can we make a better world from it?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Every Haiku wants a Partner - Submit Yours Now

It's time to re-generate Butterflies and Sand again, that slim tome that runs off Twitter haiku and entropy. (My haiku tweets are mixed together randomly in some attempt at algorithmic surrealist self-publishing mayhem whut?) Nearly 2 years after it started, it's nice to check in once every few months and have a bit of an egotistical retrospective.

(Half-joking. The seasonal production has taken over from a previous exercise of a roll of film for each quarter. I like the idea of moving from season to season, even if the notion of "4" seasons each with its own character is pretty abstract. Cycles are inevitable and intriguing.)

This time round, I want to do something slightly different for the book, so I'm inviting other haiku poets to contribute to the randomness. As well as couple my own haiku together, I thought it'd be fun to try it with completely different authors, and the contexts they inhabit.

It's an experiment, so there are no rules. Send me a haiku for inclusion via any means - leave a comment here, send me a Twitter mention/DM, or mail me. Whatever. The only rule is the haiku has to be your own work. Generally I prefer haiku that follow the 'ethos' rather than the syllable count, but we'll see how it goes.

I'll wait a week to see how many come in, then come up with a way to hook them together randomly - probably starting in pairs. I hear this is something like how Japanese poetry contests of old used to run. But this isn't a contest. Just an exercise in randomness.

If I happen to get more than 6, I'll probably only put 6 in. Anyone getting (self-) published will get a copy of this edition. Copyright etc all remains your own. All feedback is valid. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Send me! Send me!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Sending Reading Material through Time and Space

You know what's rocking my world right now? Apart from turkey sandwiches and books about Paris?

Firefox Sync - but, more specifically, sending tabs between all my Firefoxes.

After hooking Firefox on my Android phone up to my laptop browser, I noticed the ability to share links on the phone via Firefox Sync.

Not sync everything - screw that. Who wants to open 512 tabs on their phone after a long day's work? Who wants to read all that code documentation at home, or see all those "crazy Russian" videos at work?

But sending a particular page across contexts, through time, so you can read it when the time is right? Awesome. Link to share with colleagues? Hell yeah. Page to read on the bus home? Thanks.

And it's a bit hidden from the Firefox add-ons search, but here's a Firefox plugin to send a link from your browser to any other synced Firefox.

Every time you send a link, you get asked which browser to send it to. Easy.

Combined with the Send to Kindle Firefox add-on, I'm really enjoying moving content into other boxes of my life. I can queue stuff up for work, for the weekend, or whatever. And best of all, it seems to just work.

Extra: Read Contexts

What is it about different devices at different times and places? Does content suit a device, a surrounding, or does the device suit content and a surrounding? Why do we insist on cramming the wrong content into the wrong device at the wrong time?

Where are you reading this right now?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

London Road, in pictures and sound

Fantastic street photo series: A-Z of London Road in Brighton (via the Brighton Flickr pool). Stuff like this and the London Road sound map should be included in the new Visit London Road site.