It’s been a breakneck sort of week, pivoting from one hashtagged context to the next, without any real time for decompression. Life continues as a series of bubbles, loosely coupled.
Informal Economy Symposium. A Barcelona caught between the tightening plates of austerity and an impersonal, technocratic EU; an architectural Rubik’s Cube stuffed with inebriated twentysomethings; cosmopolitan capital of a pre-figurative nation.
A barnstormer of an opening keynote by economic anthropologist Keith Hart, remediating his work on ‘the informalization of the world economy’ for a wide-eyed, modish audience of designers, edgeworkers and collapsitarians.
SVA lecturer and innovation strategist Richard Tyson was also extremely good value, upending the dominant mythos of globalization, which he recast in terms of de- and re-localization. Pirate stock markets, terrorism, asymmetric power, and all that jazz; classic ‘Outlaw Planet’.
Scott Smith did his thing, with a set of slides on ‘Big Informality’ (cf. ‘Big Science’) somehow managing to conjure images of a black market Large Hadron Collider, paid for in BTC, and held together with recycled girders, Shanzai know-how, and the animal spirits of capitalism and ritual sacrifice.
Went for dinner and drinks with a bunch of strangers, as the (unexpected) outcome of an umbrella-sharing optimisation strategy. Staccato conversations, good food, and an ease and presumed intimacy that took me entirely by surprise.
On the Saturday, Near Future Laboratory’s Fabien Girardin gave me a kick-ass tour of Barcelona – crisis aside, a city doing a pretty convincing impression of the urban landscape envisaged in Dan Hill’s ‘Street as Platform’ back in 2008.
This, in turn, was a strange mirroring of Emile Hooge‘s half-day introduction to Lyon, back in February; and architect Bobby Zylstra‘s equivalent for Chicago, in August. Certainly, there’s a hell of a lot to be said for being shown around a city by net-native, ethnographically-minded residents; especially those with a disciplinary base in innovation studies, architecture, and/or urbanism.
*takes photo of innocuous, but culturally-revealing street furniture*
Newly returned from Catalonia, and wrestling with a course module on firms and markets, the en-Nobelment of economist Alvin E. Roth led me to his 2007 paper on ‘repugnance’ as a constraint on markets. Representative quote:
‘When my colleagues and I have helped design markets and allocation procedures, we have often found that distaste for certain kinds of transactions can be a real constraint on markets and how they are designed, every bit as real as the constraints imposed by technology or by the requirements of incentives and efficiency. In this essay, I’ll first consider a wide range of examples, including slavery and indentured servitude, lending money for interest, price-gouging after disasters, selling pollution permits and life insurance, and dwarf tossing.’
An energy drink company helped an Austrian man skydive from space. Some American businessmen dumped a bunch of iron filings into the Pacific, for money, angering the United Nations. The European Union won a Nobel Peace Prize. My university advertised a position to ‘develop and maintain a flying [honeybee] robot’.
I met my secondary PhD supervisor, Prof. Andy Stirling, for the first time. He’s thoughtful, friendly, and has an analytical approach with meshes closely with my interests. Convenient, that.
Newsnight’s Paul Mason interviewed Spanish arch-sociologist Manuel Castells about the crisis, and what happens next. There’s a podcast. It’s really good.
On Tuesday, I met a friend from my time at Goldsmiths to lend a hand with his pitch for a science communication residency in Bristol. We talked about superhydrophobic logic gates.
The fine folks at Demos Helsinki calculated my material footprint, ahead of a pan-European internet workshop on sustainable lifestyles, as part of the European Union’s SPREAD 2050 project. I’m slightly more environmentally-friendly than the average Finn, but, as you can see, there’s still a long way to go.
After a summer in Iceland, the US, and West Bengal, I’m (finally) back on solid ground. There’s a lot going on, so I’m thinking it’s best to get it all down here, in writing, before I wander off, distracted by other things.
Said summer was a fantastic experience, kicking off with a couple of days in Reykjavik – where I got to catch up with information activist Smári McCarthy, and was, at one point, woken by this. I saw a woman leave a live starfish at the reception of the changing rooms at an artificial thermal beach. Lacking appropriate day/night signals, I accidentally went for a hike at 11.30pm. From Iceland, I flew onward to Boston-Cambridge, to brunch with and cat-sit for the ever-excellent Deb Chachra.
From Massachusetts, it was down to North Carolina, for five weeks as a teaching assistant at Duke, as part of their TIP Programme, drilling gifted teenagers – both American and international – in the ways of technology foresight, innovation, leadership, and project planning. During my time at Duke, I helped Scott Smith formulate a set of four scenarios for 2025, mentored a Chinese student working on the hard sell for a state-supported ‘internet-of-water-sensors,’ saw Neko Case in concert; experienced temperatures upward of 40°C, slept too little, worked too hard, and was (briefly) an item in a scavenger hunt.
Recovering from Duke, I spent few weeks knocking around North Carolina and DC, hanging out with friends and colleagues, before grabbing a cheap video camera and joining Hilary Dixon, my internet pen-pal of 2+ years, for a super-dense two-week road trip, hitting Asheville and the Appalachians, Washington DC, Detroit, and Chicago, interviewing a smorgasbord of interesting futures-y people for a no-budget video about US regional identity, community, attitudes and expectations regarding the future. At the time of writing, I’m waiting for the final dregs of footage to sync to a Dropbox account, from which Hilary and I will begin picking and slicing. Keeping most of the details hidden for now, but many thanks, again, to those who helped and participated, in whatever form. We owe you.
I parted ways with Hilary in Chicago. As she headed back to DC, I continued west, to a Portland, for the start of a singular gathering of the internet tribes. Though addled by sleep deprivation and time zone distortions, enjoyed hanging out with host Adam Rothstein and chatting with a heap of spiky and interesting attendees.
From Portland, I flew down to Los Angeles, then back across to London, repeating my airborne ritual of listening to Stone Roses on the in-flight entertainment system while oscillating in and out of consciousness. Spending one night at my parents’ house in Sussex, the following day saw me taking another flight, to Dubai, and, from there, on to recently post-Communist West Bengal.
I was in Kolkata for a series of scoping workshops ahead of a PhD at Sussex’s STEPS Centre, focusing on the lived, everyday experience of climate-linked uncertainty in urban India. With my research forming only a small part of a substantially bigger project taking in work at a number sites across India, this was an opportunity for Sussex’s project team to touch base with their regional research partners, lock in some core themes and research questions, and make sure everyone was on the same page. Two days hashing out specifics in the hotel were followed by two days in the Sundarbans, a tidal mangrove swamp home to tigers, fiddler crabs, and any number of subsistence farmers still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Aila in 2009.
Being out in the field – however briefly and shallowly – and present for our team questioning entire groups of villagers about their experiences around climate, weather, politics and livelihood, was extraordinarily interesting. Ultimately, it gave me a bit more confidence around my capacity to stomach my own iteration of field research come 2014/15. It was also interesting to navigate the mix of state-subsidised mangrove plantings, tiny goats, satellite TV dishes, privately-sponsored water pipes, mobile phones, handicrafts, tiger-based ecotourism, and rice paddies.
Since returning to the UK, I’ve moved to a shared house in Fishersgate, just west of Hove, where suburban sprawl meets a smattering of business and light industry. Within flailing distance of our house, there’s a gas-burning power plant, an unexpectedly high density of rooftop photovoltaics, a surf shop, wind-battered palm trees, boarded-up pubs, and a fully-functioning port. I’ll be here for the next year, at least, studying for an MSc in Science & Technology Policy as a lead-in to the PhD. My first term looks like an stimulating, if dense, mix of heterodox economics and political sociology of science, and, though it’s still early days, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
Outside of the classroom, over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to find me at:
- Informal Economy Symposium, Barcelona, Spain (12/10-13/10)
- Rethinking Climate Change, Conflict, and Security, University of Sussex, UK (18/10-19/10)
- 3D Printshow, London, UK (20/10)
Further out, come February 2013, I’ve been invited to speak at Lift 13, in Geneva. I’ll be talking about 3D printing, as part of a session on noise, spam, and acceleration – particularly as linked to the diffusion of technological innovations. My first big-audience presentation is a faintly terrifying prospect, for sure, though it’ll be awesome to meet fellow presenter Venkatesh Rao in the flesh, catch up with futures stalwart Noah Raford, and touch base with the rest of the Lift crew.
In terms of inputs, I’ve been reading some short stories by Haruki Murakami, Jake Dunagan on designer governance, and picking at chunks of Rory Hyde’s Future Practice. While waiting for our house to be connected to the internet, I finally got around to reading SITRA’s Recipes for Systemic Change; and now that we’re back online, I’m keeping a close eye on Quartz News. I’m resisting impulse buying a heddle loom, after accidentally watching a TV programme on weaving; swallowing the jealousy incurred by the deluge of other peoples’ photos from this summer’s Unknown Fields expedition; and proselytizing on behalf of James Burke’s brain-meltingly awesome dConstruct talk, ‘Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll.’
In terms of outputs, I published a couple of deeply, deeply idiosyncratic counterfactual techno-geographical scenario sketches in the second volume of Emirati cultural journal The State, under the title “Chalice Flag, Hydroelectric Sublime.” I also have an uncharacteristically bombastic article in the September edition of Arc, ‘celebrating’ the Luddite bicentennial by taking a closer look at the peculiar ties between early-19th century machine-breaking, Alan Turing, and our very own economic crisis. Worth checking out, if I say so myself.
Design Material/Digital Real Life Science! Technology Writing
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It’s been a busy couple of months. In anticipation of a potential September return to London, I’d scheduled a marathon series of pints with interesting people, in the hope of reverse engineering a way to make enough money for rent, food, and a speedy internet connection. It seems to have gone well, and – as a result – I’m feeling a lot less fight-or-flightish about the prospect of a looming adulthood.
Roughly simultaneously, I’ve also been working with post-disciplinary design company Superflux; levering my newfound knowledge of cyborg anthropology to help with a project about (dis)ability and the post/transhuman sensorium. Here’s their enigma-drenched summary:
‘Between that, we are prototyping a series of ideas for our new Lab project titled ‘Song of the Machine‘, a mind-boggling optogenetics/neuroscience project in partnership Dr. Patrick Degenaar, Newcastle University and Dr. Anders Sandberg. This is a long-term project with different design aspects. But for now, our first short piece (to be done in less then 4 weeks!) is commissioned by the Science Gallery, Dublin, for their upcoming exhibition HUMAN+ The Future of our Species. Super exciting!’
It is, at that; and includes a trip to Ireland in mid-April – the perfect opportunity to collect some more material for a personal project on collapsonomics and European electoral politics.
In the meantime, some reading …
By me; hosted elsewhere:
- How should I design a trans-continental leisurely road-trip to maximize “literary potential”? [Quora; the seeds of what I'm tentatively naming 'Operation Cascadia']
- Counterfactual Confessional [Storify]
- Life Map, version 0.1 [Flickr]
By other people:
- “It’s not a war, it’s a rescue mission” [m1k3y, grinding.be]
- Nuclear Counterinsurgency [Nick Mirzoeff, For the Right to Look]
- Revolution from the Edge [John Hagel, Edge Perspectives]
- On Public Objects: Connected Things And Civic Responsibilities In The Networked City [Adam Greenfield, Cognitive Cities]
- Closing Keynote, IXDA 11 [Bruce Sterling]
- The Future is Here Today, and it’s Superdense [Scott Smith, Changeist]
- New Europe: The life of a German family [Stuart Jefferies, The Guardian]
- On the Very Idea of a Super-Swarm [Dr David Roden, enemyindustry]
‘I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear’
– Greg Lake / Peter Sinfield / Prokofief, ‘I Believe in Father Christmas‘
So, that was 2010? Already? Hmm.
Right, so let’s see what we’ve got here … *dunks head in pensieve*
~ The feverish activity of the blue hours of deadline day. Adrenaline and nausea. Pillow-over-head; attempting to sleep through the hour of strained mechanical whirring as my ageing printer struggled with 50-odd pages of Masters thesis.
~ Listening through the warm haze of Sunday night pintage, as my Italian then-flatmate and her brother span exotic tales of the hot winds and intra-family surveillance of small-town Sicily.
~ The increasingly windswept ‘city’ of Akureyri, Iceland. Three Germans, a French national, and myself. Instant cross-European, generational communitas. One of the single most joyful evenings of my year.
~ Lost in a maze made of maize in the fields of Surrey, flanked by an endlessly tolerant Karen Hancock; our small flag held proudly aloft.
~ Feeling sheepish about my (considerable) height in an acupuncture consultation with a diminutive Vietnamese doctor in Golders Green. Left for a full half hour, legs hanging over the end of the table, desperately struggling to suppress the urge to flex my en-needled right foot.
~ Walking from the British Museum to Deptford in the early hours of a weekday morning, as the aftermath of a friend’s birthday. No maps, navigating solely by Canary Wharf and the first third of the Shard. Despite everything, wasn’t stabbed.
~ The single greatest burger / jacket potato combination, cooked to perfection. Eaten from a moulded plastic container while sitting on a wall, on hipster safari with six Romanians in London’s Brick Lane.
~ Standing in the apocalyptic, ash-strewn foothills of Eyjafjallajökull; the volcano that — five months earlier — had stranded my father in West Africa.
~ A 45 minute walk through the Ballardian periphery of Heathrow, having totally failed at navigating airport buses to the Radisson Edwardian for 2010′s Eastercon.
~ That one, ill-advised game of football on Goldsmiths’ college green. Trainers and brown cords for the first act of voluntary team sport in over five years. Under half an hour from first kick to the inevitable groin impact.
~ At the end of a pub gathering, spontaneously serenading a departing Sarah Dobbs with a synchronised chorus of impromptu, awesome, and totally unreplicable table-drumming. Hell, there may have been counter-rhythms.
~ Hitting Chat Roulette with Josh Fry in the blue hour aftermath of a moustache-themed party, armed with alcohol and an acoustic guitar. Advising Californian teens on their romantic issues, then showing a Chilean dentistry student our teeth. Surprisingly low penis-to-human ratio. Again with the communitas.
~ The patio of a gîte in France’s Vendée region, a cool July evening. Sitting in the eerily calm eye of a massive storm, alongside my father, gigantic banks of angry blue-black clouds bearing down from all directions. Twilight sky the colour of a bruise; lightning crackling on the horizon, as we scratched the head of an increasingly deranged local cat.
~ Cait McFarland‘s ‘shark museum’ anecdote, delivered deadpan from the luggage-strewn bed of a Reykjavik youth hostel.
~ Finally finding that excuse to write an academic essay on Richard Kelly’s cult classic Southland Tales (2007).
~ Four books, read in quick succession as part of my return to reading-for-pleasure in the immediate aftermath of my MA. Unexpectedly complementary, providing four different cardinal directions for the compass of twenty-first century speculative fiction, they were:
- The Dervish House, Ian MacDonald. A tale of nanotechnology against the backdrop of a Europeanised/ing Turkey. For me, intricate plotting and his deployment of an ensemble cast elevated this far above his previous offering, Brasyl, while invoking memories of my own trip to Istanbul in the summer of 2007. Great eye for detail, even if it occasionally skirted the dubious territories of hokum-meister Dan Brown.
- Zero History, William Gibson. A work of linguistic precision and unparalleled poise. Having reread the two preceding books for my MA thesis, this was one of my most pleasurable reads of the year. Almost uncanny levels of personal pay-off for the inclusion of familiar London locations, and his decision to conclude the narrative in Iceland, where I myself chewed through the final chapters; tucked under a duvet in that Reykjavik youth hostel, as part of my campaign of guerilla warfare waged against unexpected (and probably unwarranted) jet-lag.
- Finch, Jeff VanderMeer. Alternate world fantasy as prog rock concept album, with mushrooms. At times baroque, sublime, and bitingly political, it struck me as an excellent companion to China Mieville’s The City & the City (2009), with that same sense of the almost-plausibly surreal. A really strange hybrid which shouldn’t have worked, it somehow pulled together into a cohesive whole. On reflection, I think I preferred the black humour and epistolary textures of its predecessor, Shriek: An Afterword (2006), but there was a whole lot to like here.
- Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shyteyngart. This book made me physically nauseous, in a way that I struggle to explain. Though messy and uneven, it transcended the details and specifics of its (many) flaws. Like the best science fiction, it wasn’t intended as prediction, but rather a commentary of the present state of the writer’s world; in this case, an America in post-imperial decline. By turn darkly comic and deeply sad, it had this unsettling quality — whether in its detailing of a post-literate society, or the specifics of social networking or US politics — that while the world he was detailing was obviously a satire; a piss-take or parody, it nevertheless rhymed with my own world. Tragic and discomfiting, it felt all-too-familiar. For me, this book induced some deep, gut-level future shock. If the Gibson was comfort food, this was some kind of violent ambush or mugging. High praise? I’m still not sure.
~ Didn’t see many films this year, but there were three that really stuck with me: Monsters (Gareth Edwards, UK), Skeletons (Nick Whitfield, UK), and The Social Network (David Fincher, US).
An eventful year, then, if not the most evenly spread. And what of 2011? I start the year in the shadow(s) of fifty cyborgs; musing on the future of education, of statecraft, of the firm; and with 20,000 words of the first draft of a full-length bookthing. Very much work-in-progress, but already a hell of a lot better than the sum of my extant writing. Occasional flashes of something readable. Just. got. to. keep. chipping. away. Which is, of course, far harder than it looks.
Meanwhile, interesting noises emanate from the Superflux shed, as Anab and Jon prepare to kick their activities up to eleven. There are pints owed to people whom I intended to catch before the spreading fungus of Yuletide burnout, and a graduation ceremony sketched in for mid-January (cue absurd snowfall). There may well be travel and adventure.
That’s the plan, anyway. Watch this space.
Built Environment Memory Museums/Curation Real Life Speculations
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Took this shot while walking a chunk of the Downs Link. Welcome to Southwater’s Lintot Square, part of my old stomping ground, and a definite non-place. Behold, the spooky semiotics of the ‘New Ruins of Great Britain‘; a final, desperate bulwark against the total evacuation of local history:
‘Some 153 years ago the world was awestruck as images of a concrete Iguanodon, designed by Hawkins, appeared in the Illustrated London News. Remarkably both events are linked, for the celebrated Crystal Palace Iguanodon was based on fossils found in Horsham in 1840, whilst the new bronze Iguanodon is based on fossils found in Southwater, a village 2 miles from Horsham, in the 1920s. (…)
The Crystal Palace Iguanodon became the icon of the Victorian era, inspiring New York to create its own prehistoric theme park. The solid concrete monster attracted visitors across the globe as it stood proudly on its man made island. Following on from its discovery in the 1920’s the Sussex and Dorking Brick Company used the Southwater Iguanodon as its logo. With the demise of that company the image disappeared from public consciousness, just as Crystal Palace did after the fire in the 1930’s. Now, thanks to Miller Construction (UK) Ltd. and Horsham District Council, the Iguanodon can become the icon for the new Southwater of the 21st century, an icon not made of concrete but bronze.’
– Horsham District Council, ‘A Tale of Two Iguanodons‘, October 2006.
Material/Digital Politics/Economics Real Life Speculations Travel
Not sure if I’m going to get around to finishing these for a few weeks yet, so I thought I’d post what I have. I was in Iceland from the 7th-19th September, in a half-assed attempt to avoid the psychic whiplash that would have resulted from me moving straight from postgrad halls in London back to the fields of rural Sussex. As a travel experience, it defied my expectations in all kinds of strange and unexpected ways. Here are some of my reflections:
The Iceland Notes, or What I Did On My Holidays
(Part One of Several)
So, you say you want to understand the emerging contours of the twenty-first century? Look to Iceland.
Fingers on keyboard. It’s 11.20 on a Saturday in mid-September, and there’s a small beer on the table – sitting unobtrusively to the right of my Chinese-made, grease-caked Lenovo ThinkPad. I don’t remember buying it. The beer that is; not the laptop.
Tomorrow afternoon, I take a bus to Keflavik and, from there, fly back to the United Kingdom in a half-empty plane, held together by insulation tape and Icelandic bloody-mindedness. The United Kingdom: a polity which, in a strange echo of the Holy Roman Empire, is anything but. The United Kingdom: a body politic with its collective breath held in anticipation of a socio-economic buggering – delivered enthusiastically by a coalition government of an entirely novel and interesting shade of malevolence.
Muted by my body’s desperate attempts to metabolise last night’s tidal swell of Viking beer, this nevertheless stands as a partial, halting answer to the eternal question; usually delivered with a near-imperceptible tilt of the head – ‘So, what are you doing in Iceland?‘
I take a quick swig of the beer. Though not overtly horrible, drinking-before-lunch and drinking-to-stave-off-a-hangover align in a way that floods my spine and stomach with a powerful sense of foreboding.
So, what am I doing in Iceland?
Ultimately, it all comes down to TINA – that lynch-pin of the Thatcher-Reaganite consensus and, later, of neoliberal globalisation: ‘There is no alternative.‘ My hypothesis: Iceland offers an alternative: albeit muted, partial, and – for the most part – virtual. But however much it is limited by the shrink-wrap legalese of Iceland’s IMF loans, there’s definitely something going on. Others have tasted it on the air; finding themselves lured as if by a siren to this volcanic outpost populated by knitwear hipsters, trolls, and abnormally small horses (not ponies). Though they would surely deny it, these exiles are the collapsitarians, and, for now, this is their Big Rock Candy Mountain.
However hungover I am currently, there’s a woman to my left who is surely an order of magnitude more so. She stirs beneath her jacket, shuddering slightly. I take a second mouthful of beer as a gesture toward focus.
Bear with me; I’ll return to you later.
The Icelandic National Concert and Conference Centre. Major icon/dream of pre-crash Iceland, with construction continuing at a much-reduced pace. Currently due to open in Spring 2011.
Time passes and the hangover fades. I’m now at Keflavik – Europe’s most beautiful airport – a full 30 minutes before my flight departs. I’ve stocked up on natural bath products, Nordic t-shirts, and dried fish. Starting to sense that this trip might be what games researcher Jane McGonigal refers to as an ‘experience grenade‘: the fuse is lit, and I’m working through ideas, keeping them circulating until the explosion.
Academics Material/Digital Politics/Economics Real Life
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Really need to get this post finished before heading back up to London for the ice-encrusted start of Spring Term. So, here’s a compressed summary of Weeks Eleven (30/11 – 4/12) and Twelve (7/12 – 11/12).
Notes, as ever, under the cut.
In the real world, it’s January 2010, and I really need to finish typing these up before I go back – allowed a massive backlog to build up over the last few weeks of term, so forgive the multi-week delay.
In the Ninth Week (23/11 – 27/11), I ventured out into London, with events at the RSA and Hackney’s SPACE. As the week drew to a close, attempts to pull myself back into some kind of life structure & emotion balance were destabilised by a (as it turned out, relatively minor) health issue … which I dramatically overanalysed, sending my mind spiralling inwards … leading to my abandonment of Friday’s classes in favour of a flight back to rural Sussex & the solace of family.
From before then, though, a photo of the most enjoyable part of the week – the epic quest to Hackney for Usman Haque & Adam Greenfield (on which, more below), and the surreal return via Canary Wharf. It’s always good to get out of New Cross, and check out different bits of London – keeps me sane!
This week’s notes follow, under the cut.
Rapidly losing grip on reality. Reading week disrupted normal time and space, propelling me into a whole world of messed-up circadian rythmns and academic guilt. I’ve was told the week after (the week before the one that’s just gone – confused yet?) was the Eighth Week (16/11 – 20/11), but I’m not so sure …
This week, one of my friends from undergrad was down in London. She’s studying for a PhD on the mating behaviour of massive scary ants, and was learning how to radio-tag insects as a guest of ZSL. Having been woken by the fire alarm test an hour after the start of my Wednesday morning American Lit seminar, I needed exciting animals and zoological facts to cheer me up – so legged it across town to meet her at London Zoo. Hence the photo, which is sufficiently odd to stand as an illustration of Week 8:
Course notes follow, below the cut.
Having penned a short definition of ‘the backchannel’ for December’s Wired UK (see subsequent celebratory arm-flailing), it was with a tightening stomach that I read this blog post from web researcher danah boyd:
“… I walked off stage and immediately went to Brady and asked what on earth was happening. And he gave me a brief rundown. The Twitter stream was initially upset that I was talking too fast. My first response to this was: OMG, seriously? That was it? Cuz that’s not how I read the situation on stage. So rather than getting through to me that I should slow down, I was hearing the audience as saying that I sucked. And responding the exact opposite way the audience wanted me to. This pushed the audience to actually start critiquing me in the way that I was imagining it was …”
An interesting discussion of the way an audience can rapidly become a mob, in all it’s pitchfork-waving, windmill-burning glory – full kudos to danah for being so open and honest about the whole thing. There’s also something interesting (and faintly disturbing) about the journalistic/political side of this.