"the soul of man has been given wings"

final speech of the great dictator

found via institute for ethics and emerging technology who also posted the text of the speech


Artist Kristin Lucas

Break Out (2007) digital print on light box

On Monday the 12/3/07 I attended a wonderful lecture given by Kristin Lucas on her own work for the Arts, Technology, and Culture Colloquium at UC Berkeley (all lectures free and open to the public). As the flier accompanying the lecture states "Kristin Lucas is an artist working in the realms of digital art, video, performance, intervention, sculpture and installation." She lives in Oakland and currently holds a position at California College of the Arts.

Lucas describes herself as working with the feeling of time, space and digital media and I found particularly enlightening her feeling of inbetweeness that these elements cause in contemporary life. With the constant accumulation of digital and physical material she feels lost in the everyday space of her life. This is at once a boon because when one is lost one doesn't know what one is looking for and open to new discoveries, but also a demobilizing clutter. In regards to the accumulation of technology she is not critical of the technology itself but the systems deploying it. Here, she feels demobilized between the magic of technology and its massive, yet some times invisible, force it plays on her life. She sites the toxic Superfund sites of Silicon Valley to exemplify the negative forces technology creates in her life.

To navigate, or perhaps deal, with the life's overwhelming accumulation, Lucas uses her art to become a hunter-gather of physical, cyber and or imaginary spaces all of which she considers as equally real. This can be seen in the gathering of a self portrait photo, digital game like images, and make-up derived imaginary illnesses as seen in her 2007 digital print on a light box, Break Out, or with her residency with the John Erickson Museum of Art (JEMA), a brief case sized museum that she traveled around Wiemar, Germany with in order to enlist a search party to find the "outside." She talked a wide variety of people on where to find the outside but unfortunately has not yet enlisted a single person to search with her.

In one stroke of genius, Lucas adopted a digital method into her physical life in order to give herself a clean break in a world of accumulation and being lost. That is, in her project Refresh, she legally changed her name from Kristen Sue Lucas to Kristen Sue Lucas thus giving herself a restart in her legal and mental world. This required to appearances before a judge and a month long notice in the newspaper. She had audience members reenact her courtroom appearance at the lecture. Which was great because we felt closer to this kind of art as intervention into legal space.

Lucas's is work is an incredible reflection on our lives in the contemporary age. In her lecture she warned that cyberspace is becoming control space in both our physical and virtual lives. And so with her work she brings together the physical, digital and the hard to commoditize imaginary, in order to explore and delineate their borders and, in my view, prepare for a more open future.

Ms. Lucas does some great work and seems to be a wonderful person. You should really check out her homepage.

Be sure to look for one great example of the power of gathering as a sense making tool: Her Decryption Poem Series where she takes corporate annual reports and turns them into poetry!

Also, soon you will be able to listen to lecture through the Berkeley Art Museum.


internet servers environment

I wrote this for work, earthscreen[dot]com

This past week I was struck by two opposing headlines. One from ecogeek proclaiming "The Internet Will Save Billions of Tons of Carbon," and the other from New Scientist, "Computer Servers as bad for the environment as SUV's." It seems while use of the internet will prevent a dramatic amount of CO2 emissions via reduced shipping, commuting and paper needs, the servers that hold all the data on the internet belch out enormous amounts of globe warming gas.

As a staunchly green telecommuter and believer in the power of the internet, the conflict hits close to home (not that I live next to a server farm) and really puts into question how my lifestyle and worldview effect our planetary health. To help gain perspective lets take a closer look at the reports.

According to Ecogeek, the American Consumer Institute predicts that "operating on the internet" will prevent 1 Billion tons of emissions over the next ten years with the following breakdown:

  • E-Commerce will reduce emissions by 200 M tons

  • Telecommuting will prevent 250 tons of carbon emissions from reduced driving, 30 tons from reduced office construction and 300 tons of energy savings

  • Teleconferencing could prevent 200 M tons of carbon emissions (if it replaces 10% of face-to-face meetings.)

  • Shifting newspaper from print to digital could save 60 M tons of carbon

  • Digitally shipping other goods, such as music, movies and books would also contribute.

However, New Scientists posted results from Global Action Plan saying that the Information Technology Sector produces 2% of global emissions. At a total out put of 49 billion tons of CO2 a year, thats almost a billion tons a year. It far outstrips what the net will save in ten years!

Now, I don't think we should all shut down our computers and take down our websites, I certainly believe the galvanizing network effects of the internet probably do enough to promote greener lifestyles and advocacy to compensate. Also, large strides in making more efficient servers have been accomplished but are in dire need of mainstream adoption. But it is yet another example about how green is almost never black and white.


The Future is Now!

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AFD Communique #1

This blog is for a just, sustainable and beautiful tomorrow.

In Solidarity,


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