And somehow, we as a culture may have stopped or are afraid to teach ourselves that pleasure is dangerous and that some kinds of pleasure are better than others and that part of being a human being means deciding how much of active participation do we want to have in our own lives. … It is a really (sort of) exciting opportunity to decide whether our relationship to the world is going to be fundamentally passive and infantile or one that is (sort of) active and hard and takes more work.

— DFW, in conversation with Wisconsin Public Radio’s “To The Best Of Our Knowledge” program, 1996.

The way we represent ourselves online has devolved from the quirky, personalised, HTML webpage-homepage of the 90s to the somewhat modular but still strange presence of a MySpace page, to the completely formatted and market-friendly presence of a Facebook page… What we’ve done is [we have] moved from personal, human, open-ended self-expression to completely market and computer-friendly, regimented and conformist expression. And that is because we have turned the net from a venue for self-expression to a way to render ourselves up onto the market.

Douglas Rushkoff, from Stare Into The Lights My Pretties

Also,, the quirky, HTML home to an email newsletter I willingly receive and look forward to.

See La Belle Verte (The Green Beautiful) and Down from the Mountains, from 1996 and 2017.

The Green Beautiful explores the idea of an utopia holding a fine mirror to our broken reality. The film is silly and self-aware. Down from the Mountains is the tale of a family separated by mountains and money. A mother in Verte quips ‘but they don’t have lipstick’ in a moment that refuses to linger with delusions of grandeur. In Mountains, the mother of six holds banknotes against the light as she double-checks the sum she is paid for peppercorns and wonders if it wouldn’t be great if she didn’t have to.

In an Umebayashi induced comagasm, the ATM queue snakes along the half unpainted chain-link fence, off absentminded Cuticura tracks and lucid dreams of a two-thousand-Rupee paperback, freshly minted. The girl in faded jeans and white dress-shirt and unintended RayBans finds a glass of black tea (or was it coffee) in the third canteen she terrorises. Everybody is happy, sings the last two stanzas of whatever they remember off Virinjuninna Parilum and goes their parallel ways. Sometimes they meet for clandestine shopping complex combings and sing Partisookthangal to each other over Parippuvadas and black tea they find in the third canteen the girl terrorises.

4 in the morning. This plus ginger tea off campus. All the right kinds of weird.

BBC Radio 4 (Desert Island Discs) interviews Douglas Adams. Hearts and Bones (Paul Simon), All of Me (Ella Fitzgerald).

JNU Students have a YT Channel up and the lectures are worth an all-nighter, if not a last-minute train journey to Delhi.

Burned through Eternally Yours: Time in Design and Vision in Product Design (design by Irma Boom, to boot) over multiple late-nighters in luxurious loneliness at the IDC library; we have on an 2030 to 2230 experimental extension. Eternally is, among other things, a set of monologues (and dialogues) on the dimension of time as applied to product (read interaction) design. It discusses the Long Now Foundation’s many projects, talks to artists/designers from across disciplines—the one on fashion is particularly worth reading twice, especially for like-minded cynics who end up here and read all the nonsense—and not-so-lightheartedly peddles Vivian, a non-object object that embodies the ideal of a product that steals time from others around. ViP is, on a too practical it hurts level, a how-to-guide on approaching the design process with a foot in the future. The focus is on interactions between products and people, more than the eventual product itself. Eternally has interesting parallels, where it takes apart this notion of planned interactions for a more realistic view on the place of things in the lives of people. Together, I wish these were appended in the reading lists for IxD courses, still largely concerned with glass surfaces and artificial intelligentsia.

Listen to Anab Jain talk at the NEXT conference, about what it means to be alive in the future. She has a blog post up walking through the talk, too. Happy to see her reflect at length and much more critically on some of the pet peeves of mine, with technology and non-removable batteries and the whole paying with data shebang. Discovered Magazine B.the brand-videos are such nice propaganda. Maybe it was too early to quit ello afterall.

Acquired a mildly inoffensive fixed gear, and the thing still throws up a mighty surprise on descents, even after all thse years of riding around Gurgaon and its nemesis.