on the work of jenny odell

While watching Jenny Odell introduce here how she simply goes and walks around to observe her surroundings, to internalize her new environment– I found myself recognizing how I have a similar method of observation. I resonate with this idea that sometimes, it makes more sense to just step out and have a look around with a general curiosity for things whether they be about design or people or location. My mind remembers more about a place or city when I can stand on a corner and register that “this is the corner I live on” versus looking at it’s digital counterpart on google maps.

“Place” carries meaning when I am in “it,” and usually only thereafter. By this method is how I “map out” and discover fully, any new place that I enter. I can read maps and understand them, but they give me no more than indication or generalization of a certain space. All frame of reference on a map is suddenly lost when I turn 180 degrees… so I prefer to be up close, to know what it means to “enter a new space and suddenly all of the buildings look different” because that gives me sense of place by feel and movement, by color and mood or language and style. I can recall the size of a building, the shape of that one tree, or type the patio furniture of a cafe much easier than I could give you an intersection or address.

Ex) Despite traveling through South America IRL, as I moved across its 3D images on google for our most recent project, I became frustrated because I knew the image I wanted to harvest, but I did so with great difficulty; not fulling knowing how to navigate from “up above” or north to south rather than “by and through” in car or on foot, by sight and sense.


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In another talk, Odell speaks to the experience of “using technology to augment elements of the human experience rather than flattening it or replacing it.”

I am inspired by her point here– how so much of technology can be easily criticized but she chooses, instead to let it empower her artistic drive. To provide the world with a more conscious reaction to these “media effects.” I believe I am in media studies for a similar reason. By understanding media & technology and how it functions to serve us (or not serve us) I am able to “re-enter” the world in a more informed way. I become more comfortable with technology because I know that it can be perceptible and detectible.

I immediately drew the comparison to my experience of wearing a hybrid prosthetic-orthotic piece of technology, my exosym. This device enables me a physical experience of the world that I might not otherwise have without it. It enables me a new identity. It enables me a new point of advocacy for people with disabilities. Technology is a perceptual prosthesis in every sense because it can provide us with the means to subject ourselves to new realities and new experiences. The same goes for my exosym. I am more abled-bodied as I wear it and when I put it on, I enter a new space and a new category of “disability” according to how others perceive me. I am “recovering” versus “congenital.” I am an “injured athlete” versus “one with CP.”

Had I “escaped” this new, bionic reality the moment it became too hard and difficult to process, I might never reached this comparison with Jenny Odell’s work and understanding over her own artistry.




the other one, the one whose name ends in f as in frank -ett e r s, graces the sidewalks of santa monica with endless legs and smooth hair; she is quite instagramworthy though she does not know it at the time. she is in various places throughout the day, destined to awaken brightness within another and she moves with a softness unfamiliar to me; i am mindful of her temperament as it is effortless unlike mine. i fight with the day & burdensome thoughts and confess that i need a dose of cafe to peel off enough energy to begin. i confess she is my superior in poise and modesty but she is not me and i am not her. it cannot be. so what am i to make of my self on days when all is quiet? i read and ponder and probe. i move slowly and i travel slowly as one should do and little by little we have rhythm in opposing places. but i find that i long for her tempo (instead of fine tuning mine.) i wonder where she is and what is she doing? as one does when they are in love. i carry these thoughts around with me when i wonder what it is must be like to be one of a kind.

when we are on the same geographic plane, life is enchanted, she & i are exuberant! a force of identical nature: we walk with the kind of confidence only she possesses (though she never realizes). we are tantamount in humanness, exactness. yet we are mutually exclusive, me & her. i am the other one, the one with crooked legs and no softness.

who am i apart from her, and she apart from me?

If Walt Whitman Vlogged

“I’m interested in marketing, but I’m mainly interested in marketing the moon. Do you love the light of the moon, sir? And if you don’t, can I convince you?”

I love the light of the moon, the pale kind with yellow spilling out of it; an aura for the half-world to witness…

Isn’t it odd that while you gaze at the moon, someone else down unda is squinting at the sun? What do Aussie’s and Kiwi’s call us?


steve roggenbuck is in in a constant state of remixing: words, ideas, video, tweets: somehow microblogging, live-streaming-live tweeting cosmic wonderings for the world wide web with effortless finesse. i am interested in his approach to producing digital content and open source-ness and hope to revisit him often….

The Rhetoric of Presentation: The Death of Aaron Swartz

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In addition to my previous post about MIT’s involvement and questions concerning Swartz’ case, I am including several articles that I found worthy of investigating. The following information depicts Aaron as yet another human interest piece…a tragic, lost soul who committed suicide after a long and heart wrenching investigation that did not looking promising. Using Media Master Marshall McLuhan’s Theories of Media Control, we are left with a series of political, social, and cultural questions that we must probe in order to rise above the phantasmagoria of the media.

A series of accounts in reference to the historical moments that led up to Aaron Swartz suicide and free culture movement:

Cowritten by Swartz himself, read the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto (2008)


(March 2013)

NY Times Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: A Questionable Narrative


Rolling Stone Magazine’s Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: A Tragedy


The Atlantic Wire Coverage of Aaron’s Life & Death: The Unknowable Truth




Injustice for New Media Activist: Aaron Swartz


Newsworthy indeed… after an extended hiatus, I am finally enthralled enough to engage in dialogue on the free culture movement that began not long ago.

For those familiar with the death of Aaron Swartz, and his previous involvement with “illegally” accessing and downloading thousands of JSTOR academic articles to the public domain, his sudden death and the months leading up to it are full of both mystery and tragedy. JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz for releasing information. That much is true. So who is to blame? Was he targeted by federal authorities? To what extend should his actions been punishable? What role did MIT play in his arrests and prosecution & even his suicide?

The supposed “neutrality” of MIT in this case is upsetting…is this the money talking? What does the 180 page report on MIT’s involvement really suggest?  What does Aaron’s death say about the rhetoric of news presentation? So many questions have gone unanswered. I feel a sense of duty to his free cultural movement, and to the Millennial Generation– we need to inform others about this suggestively abusive case. I know where I stand as a new media & free culture activist; I am under the impression that I have much to learn about the history behind this case, but I am still certain that as a member of the digital age, we are all entitled to share information. I am fulfilling that purpose.

“In an open letter, the M.I.T. president, L. Rafael Reif, applauded the “careful account” that he said set “the record straight by dispelling widely circulated myths.” The report, he said, “makes clear that M.I.T. did not ‘target’ Aaron Swartz, we did not seek federal prosecution, punishment or jail time, and we did not oppose a plea bargain.” -NY Times

As unclear as everything may seem, it is imperative that we decide what is right….each of us have as much power as Aaron once did..

What do you believe?

NY Times Full-Articlehttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/us/mit-releases-report-on-its-role-in-the-case-of-aaron-swartz.html?_r=0

180 page MIT Report: http://swartz-report.mit.edu/docs/report-to-the-president.pdf