Late into the pandemic, the University announced a new area on the top floor titled ‘Work&Relax.’ Made up of a set of interconnected rooms, the space is at the far end of the building and appears to have materialised out of nowhere. This area was unknown to students before. Apparently, it is a former daycare. …
We begin recalling a story from something seen online only to realize midway through that the facts are hard to retreive...
Originally published in MARCH Journal of Art & Strategy.
We begin recalling a story from something seen online only to realize midway through that the facts are hard to retreive. Where did I see that quote? What was the name of that author? Where did I find this image again? Who was it that posted that tweet? How long ago was I on that page? The communication of a point evades coherent oral transmission and we side-step ‘I’m not doing it justice’ with a reference to a source that seems to have become unlocatable, having slipped away into the endless online ephemera of the lost unknown. …
The following is an excerpt from my new book Offline Matters: The Less-Digital Guide to Creative Work, which can also be found in the current print issue of Amsterdam Alternative newspaper.
Shock Me. Please.
On Pervasive Boring Creativity
Who knew living ‘a creative life’ would feel so arid? Where is the joy, the excitement, the risk, or the shock? Nothing is shocking besides the diminishing sense of possibility – and the working conditions. The work is safe, predictable, and supposedly ‘predicted’. All conforming to predetermined directives.
It’s not a matter of standing out, it’s a matter of fitting in and doing that very well. Future Shock. Present Shock. The Shock of the New. Do we even know how to feel shock anymore? We’re talking real shock – confused, challenging, discomfort-at-oddity shock. Not the shock one is ‘supposed’ to feel. Not the play shock that follows looking around and see others acting shocked, then following along accordingly – hazarding a guess that it’s simply the correct reaction to be done.
Except, nothing is being done. What are we really doing here? What are we even creating now? More ‘engaging content’ to exasperate the masses, complicit in the contemporary zombie condition? More riffs on past styles, never-ending re-runs of previous cultural moments? More distractions and ever-cooler ways to say ‘spend, spend, spend!’ without quite saying it? Boring. …
When did creative work become so boring? When did ‘digital-first’ come to dominate everything? …and why is nobody talking about it?
Offline Matters with Jess Henderson
Interview by Charis Poon
This is the second part of an interview on serial media with Ryan Engley, Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College and one-half of the ‘Why Theory’ podcast.
In Part One we talked about the basics of seriality and Serial Theory, its connections to psychoanalysis, the centrality of ‘the gap’, and how streamed TV and binge watching fits into all this. This week we continue on the topic of serial media, discussing seriality in journalism, the wildly successful podcast ‘Serial’, and the mislead general sentiments towards Netflix’s algorithms and offerings.
With Ryan Engley. Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College, and one-half of the ‘Why Theory’ podcast.
To listen to the Why Theory podcast is to sit in a room with a warm professor-student-turned-friendship duo. With a palpable tone of fondness and special ability to translate complex concepts into understandable hour-long thought-snacks, Ryan Engely and his former professor Todd McGowen ‘bring together continental philosophy and psychoanalytic theory together to examine cultural phenomena.’ If you haven’t listened to Why Theory already, give it a go. It’s a blast.
This edition of my COVID-19 Diaries features a two-part
anecdotal poem on ‘not working’, combining fragments of conversations and dialogues collected over the past three weeks.
1st July 2020 – PART ONE
“I hate work.”
“I love working.”
“I love work but it’s killing me.”
“I hate work but it’s saving me.”
My friend is 30 and being awarded her ‘Ten Years of Servitude’ new year from the bread company she works for. “I don’t know what it means”, she said.
servitude /ˈsəːvɪtjuːd/ Learn to pronounce
1. the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful.
“you’ve got thousands of years of peasant servitude to make up for”
The Freelancer is receiving ‘Ten Years of Serfdom!’ from Fiverr. A special badge, shaped like a gold star and bursting with shards, that they can put on their platform portfolio to make it “really stand out”. For ten days it will appear as the top search result. After that, it’s back to the whim of the algorithm.
How many of us have toiled painfully at the task of writing a bio? To condense ourselves into a paragraph, let a lone a sentence, is a resounding task of discomfort. What’s key? What’s irrelevant? What’s interesting (as interesting to others as it is, or is not, to ourselves)? Essentially, how to say more with less?
Last week I received two emails, which felt like obtaining the two pieces missing from a 2000 piece puzzle sitting before you. The first was an issue of the bliss of the spam, a casual newsletter from radical curator Dalia Maini, and the second a shared article by economist Niko Paech.
Imagine being a teenager nursing soldiers during the 1918 pandemic. It’s near impossible. Six months ago, such a task of the imagination would have been of no interest. Just as an online exhibition held in early 2019 by the National Archives (USA) titled ‘The Deadly Virus’, which surfaced a letter from a 19-year old nurse named Lutiant Van Wert, would have been far less interesting. Or relevant.