lia petronio

visual and language arts

January 20

EMP Building in Seattle




Centre Georges Pompidou



Smart Cities

Lia Petronio

January 20, 15


Are ‘Smart Cities’ Smart Enough?

Stephane Roche, Nashid Nabian, Kristian Kloekl, and Carlo Ratti


Urban Computing and its Disconnects

Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard

To what extent does an effect need to be unpredicted to be a response rather than reaction? How many alternative effects need to be possible? If an effect is one of many options to a condition is it a response?

As city populations grow there need be new systems to organize, house, and govern people. The significant expansion of peoples cannot necessarily be adequately responded to by the structures of existing government. The cultural individualization of peoples using portable personal computers can be compatible with acts of self-monitorization through self-sensing, however, the result of self-sensing can not necessarily be significant unless the results of a populations health conditions be pooled together with corresponding data for environmental conditions in order to find patterns for causes so that solutions can be more properly rooted. But how can people feel comfortable giving their bodily and locational data to a ruling party without feeling vulnerable? Can systems of collecting data be made transparent? If the city is run by data, societies will need to be educated in the matter as they are in other subjects. If a society is educated about environmental and bodily data inputs can it be more aware if its impacts? owHow How can the presence of “ambient informatics” benefit rather than distract society?


Whether ambient informatics and city sensing will benefit or endanger society, or both, it is an inevitable condition of humanities evolution as cultural interconnectedness with personal computation and communication devices rises. Information designers, architects, media analysts, technologists, and other thinkers and makers of society a like need to confront their potential role in the revolutionization of humanity.

Analogy of Distraction: Response to Oliver Reichenstein’s iA articles, particularly Improving the Digital Reading Experience

Oliver is very convincing in his dialogues about type design for digital screens, and more specifically digital reading experience on the iPad. He argues that the digital realm is not an extension of the paper as it is ideally an extension of human thought. Paper has set dimensions where as the iPad may be infinite in scale beyond its black frame. The screen is far too different to be treated and handled like a piece of paper and so paper typographers are untrained in designing for the digital realm, and therefore, are doing the digital reading experience no justice. Columns are for paper, not the iPad. A good digital reading experience requires less attention on the design and interaction and more attention to the reading. Fancy design layouts must be sacrificed to create a smoother reading flow, which means less jumping around the screen or site, less distractions, and longer concentration for the user. A topic I find most interesting is brought up in Oliver’s Improving Digital Reading Experience. He brings about the idea of humane functions in computers. He says, “As long as our tools are recognizable as analogies of our body, the form and function of these tools are easily comprehensible.” Just as “text editors are an analogy of type writers, type writers are an analogy of writing with pen and paper, writing with pen and paper is , initially, a substitute for memory.” So, generally, a computer is an extension of our head which controls the tools, and the tools are analogies of analogies. With this said, what happens when the computer does not function as an extension of our minds, when it no longer relates to our physical function? A tool that is analogous to our bodies may empower us, where as a tool that is not, likely is not a tool at all, nor an empowerment. To this regard, social media is a not-tool of a particular relationship. For example, Twitter is a site in which you can select a button to ‘follow’ people, of whom you do and do not know. What is the act of ‘following’ an extension of in relation to our bodies? Perhaps physically following a person to see what they do and where they go? Perhaps even what they are thinking? Does this virtual realm of information allow us to enter peoples minds passively, where we would otherwise need to actively and physically engage in the person in order to retrieve his or her individual thoughts? How does this tool empower ourselves? What is the benefit to knowing what people are doing in their everyday lives whereby in order to do so one must focus and browse through a screen in his or her everyday life, more or less frequent depending how addicted he or she is. Does this not-tool affect the frequency of our physical relationships with people who are physically around us? Does it displace users from their relationship to their physical environments and therefore create a dependency on the ‘tool’, which has no analogous function to the body or mind and therefore is not a tool? If the digital realm typically breaks analogies then it is no lounger a tool but a distraction.

Response to: Made to Measure by Allen Tan for Issue No. 4 & Default Systems in Graphic Design: a discussion between Rob Giampietro and Rudy VanderLans about guilt and loss in graphic design. By Lia Petronio

The two essays discuss the systematic implements of computer programs graphic and web design. The concept of “default” system is reoccurring, Rob describing its actuality and Allen providing a solution called “tailoring” or editorial design. This idea sort of agrees with Rob, in that is suggests a program that is made to be overridden. A way of designing, similar in process to consumer engineering, that is to be altered optimally. The thing is, however, that this still does not get so close to confronting the issues Rob brings forward about systems of the design programs themselves, such as InDesign, Illustrator, etc. So Allen’s case gets half way there with “tailoring” individual web pages to suit its own content, and creating a system that can be tailored conveniently. It is the tailoring that may still be individually subject to default systems of design, and therefore is but a small solution that will not satisfy those who think more radically and passionately. Allen makes logical points but it seems these points are not nearly innovative enough to empower design and the designer and free him from the grid, nor template design, which I believe is default by nature. It is skeletal and barren of the very empowerment design is in need of, if it is to ever break free from advertisemental cliché and democratic surrender. The democratization of art, and design, degrades it to a point of amateur visuals designed by anyone who can get others to agree to actually use it. From there the billboard effect comes into play, and the viewers become passive and the views become hollow enterprises, like the face of a dictator decorating the streets where air used to be. A classic way to address the conservation of safe democratic design, would be to analyze it from within. To begin with the program which today, is the heart of design. When are we defaulting? What is not default? What happens when design is separated from exterior content and becomes its own content?

Manifesto 13


It is year 13 of the Digital Age and I a digital daughter summon you, reader. The earth is defunct, economies breeding new species of permanent waste[1], obsoletism[2], and starvation across borders and obesity within. We have been registered to screens- conductors of a capital workforce. A chain of indirect cause and disowned effect, like designing “criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year” or “choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breath,” [3] crimes not so indirect, really. There is no stabilization and culture degrades us through advertisements in magazines. People buying and selling answers. Standardized obedience in pursuit of a broken system. Bags to put my bags in-waste, laziness as luxury. Laziness is not a luxury but the entropy of humanity–the deathbed of curiosity. As a designer of this digital age, I call forth a collaboration of curious persons in the destruction of all cannons and styles that prove incompatible with the needs of people. What a bore have the street signs become, public sculptures permanent like tombs, and advertisements insulting to all levels of human intelligence. The manifesto of a movement unnamed.

1. Declaration of a War on Inhumane Design and Business Practice in America

Industry calls for design in its totality, technologies that make technologies that make goods that are to be advertised for stores and sheep. The sales industry, mass-produced-blue-collar-ideals of buying and selling unnecessary contraptions, refined and re-advertised, re-distributed. The buying and selling of wasteful lifestyles. Idiotic fashion thesis’ and standardized awareness for and of the media. Consumer Engineering. “Any plan which increases the consumption of goods [made] justifiable” in the name of free market and unauthorized prosperity and obsoletism in which products are designed to go out of style and people are persuaded to abandon the old in a wasteful disownment of material property in order to buy the new “up-to-date” [4] things “they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care”[5]. Automobile “bumer configurations [which] tend to force the adult pedestrian’s body down” beneath the car upon contact, inflicted by the stylist’s sacrifices in the name of perception and sale.[6] Design is slipped into every mode of production, communication, and broadcasted culture. As designers, for those who care about such idiocies, we have a responsibility towards our societal infiltration of designed goods and services. Design—to reveal the interior through the exterior.

2. The Conventionalized Aesthetics and the Artists Practice

Any attempt at pursuing a standardized style or cannon is destructive to the nature of art, and I will not be so easily convinced of the need for a style or conventional artistic practice. Other people can follow directions and conventions and the fables of design and contemporary culture. History is an excuse for implementing rules on the present for economic and social conservation. History as a basis for the continuance of convention, the desire “to see a standard type come into being before the establishment of a style is exactly like wanting to see the effect before the cause”[7]— is the death of flailing liberation. It is the death of logic, absurdity, and the eternal bliss of weightlessness, eternal inaccuracy.

3. The Anti-Art as Nothing But Art and Everything Else.

What is it, they will ask, and it will forever reject understanding[8], the bore of aesthetic expectation and laws made by people mistaken as scriptures of some larger logic, reason misused for certainty, design treated like a soulless pit of advertisemental mal practice and untreated waste. I want the uncertain, liberation through uncertainty—an awe for something we conceive only in its conceiving, “the realization of design through the use of worked material”[9] –demonstrative pathologies of curiosity[10]. The mixture of freedom and responsibility as an absurd state of contradiction of which I form my basis for this renovation of society. It is a movement for which awareness is to be spread of collective individualism- a motion spun by the youth of society who value curiosity above other things. And so my thesis inevitably becomes Curious Design- the infiltration of absurdity through logical designed constructions for the liberation of persons capable of becoming liberated.


Ephemeral moments from the index of consciences. Time crucified but not captured, forever unattainable, lost and eternal. There are so many curious things in this landscape, this home life. History has taught us that we may always be surprised, and that is the glory of evolutionary consciousness. We are but eternal fleeting presences and I will iconize all that I deem holly. Hold their iconic photographs up in a screen of sight, constructions of trapped actions—bazzarecyclicals, uni-cycles. Robotic structures, assemblages held in the illusion of digital time lapse. Time trap. Nostalgia for a history unknown, present un-happened. Look at what I have written for you, reader of my landmarks, receiver of the messages my conscious set beside you. So much to say, I have, there are barely words to describe it all. These words are not convincing, their definition too uncertain. And I may not know what it is, why try to say, let me show you through an action. There are no events without action—no opposite to doing.

With so much to do, what do we do? Which actions more inviting? Some actions have been advertised–exposure at its finest. Tame the land, brainwash the children, make the cars that kill the children, designers you are summoned to the hearing at the courthouse where you’ll be tried for killing all the people. Let us rinse out the old glory of the stock marts, build a new way of making money out of nothing, though were working all the time. I believe in change of structure, building, breaking, change grows faster. Majority is but a façade built for terror. If art can do a thing at all to make the people liberal, then I will think up a pan to offer.

The infiltration of design today can lead the world astray, if advertisement does what it’s believed to. And if it does, there is so much paper to recycle. Is there no concern for landfills in a land that runs on cycles, there is a choice in ruining all the land. So society I will not abide by your poor standards. I put forth my own scriptures, my own words letters and pictures–the New Design constructed for the dis-utility of society. And my perceptions are as follows:


  1. Rules that suggest there is something real to know about spacing and margins and the exemption of subtle differences within a whole are to be regarded as fable. There will be no grid to dictate my page space, the lovely white where it begins, with no context nor dimension, a flytrap of the minds eye, to be utilized and destroyed in an act of dis-clarity.
  2. Modernism is over, Contemporaryism dead– its overabundance, arbitrary assemblages of unnecessary parts.
  3. Rejection of any “rule that might prevent him from thinking his thoughts through to their own free end, or that attempts to drive him into a universally valid form, in which he sees only a mask that seeks to make a virtue out of incapacity.”[11] To follow the rules of design is to reject design as art.
  4. Destruction as freedom-destruction of convention, denial of the majority in pursuit of individualcollectivism.­


  1. Making of concrete designs through the build up of individual parts. The page or plane as a construction rather than a screen providing androgynous material. Or its opposite.
  2. Inject your own icons of interest, digital cabinets of curiosity organized like a collection in pursuit of distribution.
  3. Shed light on your folly, and the folly of others.
  4. All material under construction must be stolen, acquired, or recycled.
  5. Projects must be inserted into the world of humans or animals where they may function optimally.

6. Magazines will be published and resourcefully distributed monthly.

7. The cause is primarily curious, enthusiastic, generous, and sarcastic with a highly social hypocritical nature


[1] Papanek, Victor, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[2] Calkins, Earnest Elmo, “Device for simulating consumption.”

[3] Papanek, Victor, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[4] Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (New York: Bantam Books, 1971): 14-16.

[5] Earnest Elmo Calkins, “What Consumer Engineering Really Is,” the introduction to Consumer Engineering, by Roy Sheldon and Egmont Arens (Copyright 1932 by Harper and Brothers; Copyright renewed 1952 by Roy Sheldon and Egmont Arens): 4-8. 

[6] Ralph Nader, “The Stylists: It’s the Curve that Counts,” chapter six of Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile. New York: Grossman, 1965; 226-7.

[7] Henry van de Velde, Statements from the Werkbund Conference of 1914 (quoted from Bauwelt 27 (Berlin: Ullstein, 1962): 770f., translated by Michael Bullock, in Programs and Manifestos on 20th-Century Architecture, by Ulrich Conrads (Copyright 1964 by Verlag Ullstein GmbH, Frankfurt/M-Berlin; English translation copyright 1970 Lund Humphries, London, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Camebridge, Mass.): 28-31.

[8] Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918.”

[9] Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova “Programme of the first Working Group of Constructivists,” Ermitazh no. 13 (August 1922):3-4, translated by Christina Lodder for the Open University, 1983, and reprinted in Art in Theory 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (Oxford, U.K. and Camebridge, U.S.A.: Blackwell, 1992): 317-8.

[10] Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918.”

[11] Henry van de Velde, Statements from the Werkbund Conference of 1914 (quoted from Bauwelt 27 (Berlin: Ullstein, 1962): 770f., translated by Michael Bullock, in Programs and Manifestos on 20th-Century Architecture, by Ulrich Conrads (Copyright 1964 by Verlag Ullstein GmbH, Frankfurt/M-Berlin; English translation copyright 1970 Lund Humphries, London, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Camebridge, Mass.): 28-31.

A Virtual World; Finite Systems for Infinitum

Cyberspace is a real place. How close to reality must it become in order to be indistinguishable? If people are to enjoy virtual worlds more than the origonal world, can they stay there? It is evident the goal of virtual reality and cyberspace is to continue to evolve forever, or until it reaches a stage that requires something else entirely. When cyberspace becomes livable will people be responsible for their actions towards cyber people? Or cyber nature? Could people begin to go to work in these places? Could different realities be for different people with different ways and different government? Can you die in cyberspace? Can you experience feelings that are unfeelable? This type of virtual reality, on a simpler note, could allow for a whole new genre of art. Pursuing the motif of viewer to artwork/artist interaction this medium allows for the artist to express himself in ways previously unconceivable. But if the artist is not writing the program, but simply using it, is he less responsible for the artwork than otherwise? Being it takes decades for these programs to be developed, and they continue to build perhaps infinitely, this question may have a simpler answer. The artist is responsible for the product, which is the artwork. The program is an artwork in its own right; separate and interconnected to every product it produces. Products of the virtual programming are different from other artistic products. It is a different experience, one in which the viewer becomes completely and literally submerged in the work in the form of experience. In this way, the interactor is completely connected to the work. Because these technologies develop gradually, the audience becomes accustomed to the advances and do not feel alienation towards its capacity. Even if the interactor has no idea how the program functions he can enjoy it anyhow. The physical interaction and hyper-sensory experience of a cyberspace reality is enough to engulf the participants. It may ironically be a different case for the earlier invention of Harold Cohen’s AARON. Because this little robot creates drawings that recall primal visual language or doodles, there is juxtaposition between form and function. A robot, which serves as a futuristic icon, takes on the activity of a primal being, or even a human. In the cyberspace realities, the program does what a human cannot; reach the intangible, pursue function infinitely. In this case, cyberspace becomes exactly what it seems a computer should do, whereas the AARON does the opposite. I find this contrast between form and function magnificent. The activity of the robot is performative, unexpected, and visually compelling. Perhaps the doodles become more valuable when made by the AARON than if they were made by a human. Although the human made the AARON, they both become responsible for the outcome. Similarly, as Sol LeWitt created a process for an outcome and presented it in the form of directions, which a group of artists would follow. The directions were designed to have seemingly infinite variations, depending on the draftsmen’s decisions. In order to do this Sol LeWitt had to make the directions specific in some areas and open-ended in others. For example he designated a location for a point to be located in relation to the wall, such as to make a line from the center of the right edge of the wall to the point in the middle of the center of the top edge of the wall. Depending on the dimensions of the wall, this line would vary. He would also often specify the starting point of a line or shape, but not where it ends, leaving it up to the draftsmen and therefore allowing chance to become part of the final product. This is similar to the nature of AARON, in that it is developed from combinations of information that can be performed in almost infinite ways. Both are structures for spontaneous systems of action. Each drawing is fresh and self reliant, unraveling nature and turning it into something concrete and systematized to produce spontaneous results—like the universe.

Unavoidable Repition

A Theory On The Universe

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a theory on the systems of the universe. The theory I will interpret will be applicable to all we know to exist. And in regard to the human race, I believe, it proves most accurate, the nature of our social beings. We are social beings governed by implicit and explicit social laws; these laws create social constructs and it is from this sort of order that we derive definitions for a democracy. I will pursue our current historical condition and, further, the state, or order, of our ‘democracy’, focusing on the case of Citizens United. By observing larger picture, I deduce and apply my reason to the smaller that is the people, and when there are people, there is justice to be conceived and demanded. As human beings it seems most evident that our social and cultural influences tend to dominate how we interact with our environment. The role of instinctual behavior has become second-rate to the demands of us as social beings. This can be recognized in the proliferation and overwhelming presence of the news media and role of digital and social media platforms in our daily life. We have become, in a sense, global beings, in that we can travel quickly and communicate globally almost instantly. The interconnectedness of our world should imply a certain responsibility. That is to say, if we are to minimize the geographic gap of our neighbors, should not our actions reflect an ever more important recognition of moral understanding and communal attitude. In an increasingly ‘social’ world, it should be our duty to maintain a kindness and generosity and support, be it economically, politically, socially, to all of humankind. There is, however, a supreme instinctual factor that can be argued, governs human response to his or her environment. According to evolutionary scientists this claim would be ‘survival of the fittest’; in this case one acts to ensure survival. Of course, as highly developed beings, survival isn’t limited to circumstances of life or death. Pleasure and desire can be considered versions of our survival. And in the achievement of such pleasures or desires it is sometimes the case that one individual will sacrifice the needs of another. So, here are two conflicting natures, that to be communal, and that of the individual. And it is upon these opposites that a system functions. And so, the nature of a system is that of positives and negatives, common and solo, and so ultimately, creation and destruction. As a basic theory of science states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed but changes form- as plants turn to soil in a compost or water to vapor in the sky. The world is fed on the energy of destruction, therefore that matter must be destroyed to be created, can be applicable by its opposition. With this understood, it would seem that matter can cease to exist in its particular composition as we can know it to be, but upon doing so is transformed into another, which is perhaps no longer identifiable as the former. For reasons such as theories of evolution and survival of the fittest, and what history can tell us about natures of men, some most horrifying, in cases that can turn men and women faithless for their kind, such as those who have lived to see war, it seems evident another factor of our common being is the division between good and evil, or more simply good and bad. This distinction is perhaps the most instinctual of any other and the most essential to survival, because it enables one to respond in pursuit of the good and prevention of the bad. It is the particular experiences a person has and how he or she responds to them in respect to context that constructs the disposition of an individual, and because people have infinite accumulations of experience that are unique in absolute perspective, individuals may assume complete and special characters, true to only themselves. This can be only partly true, however, in regards to an absolute persona, because although we can come to understand a particular identity as a result of our response inclinations, this identity is a construction of the limited conditions in which the person experience, and so because each encounter occurs within unpredictable contexts, no person can be identified as absolute, but rather malleable through time, and therefore not confound by the pre notions of him or her self, but boundless as far as he or she can understand the nature of the self, which is ultimately free and experientially spontaneous. In regards to this, I will add that knowledge and reason can alter how a person observes and reacts to a given contexts. And because I can now speak unreservedly on the topic of religion, the liberty we now have, my dear ladies and gentlemen, to develop our beliefs as information is fed to us, cumulatively and advancingly, and because we are not bound to believe that a God Almighty has power over beings and that it is to him we serve, but that we have the power to choose how we conduct our selves and we can serve and love each other rather than a God who evidentially has become an outdated belief amongst our youths, for knowledge and freedom of belief and speech has allowed them to perceive with reason. And to know that we are not pure and constant beings but a continuing result of experience whose actions are a result of contextual factors which deems us free, in an ultimate way, not restricted by a character we assume or come to understand, only our experience, but that freedom presents itself in all that we can come to experience in our presents and futures, and therefore we can change and grow limitlessly, and ultimately evolve as individuals, and communities, and as a species which is bound to evolve and perhaps ideally for the better rather than the worse so that human existence may persist rather than destruct into extinction. And it is here that lye a system that runs on spontaneity and a certain balance positives and negatives of all it encompasses, that is not guaranteed to exist at any length in the identifiable form as it is known to us, but may destruct and subsist in another construct of formulated matter. And so it is when a system becomes defective that it is possible to revive, which can be paralleled to that of a social system, in that when its condition becomes deficient for the means of the people and begins to fail, such as economically or unjustly, that enables and encourages a reform. For when a system demises another can arise. This relation of positive and negative can be applied in just the opposite way, as well. As in, the nature by which a recession can harm a system, as can inflation. Either extreme can lead to a crash, and so inevitably to a restoration. Depending how severely a system has deconstructed, it will be more or less recognizable in its resemblance. This applies to that of the social system, on a collective and individual basis, in the condition of our United States today. A country that is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy, in which the ruling minority of wealthy politicians and corporations hold the power and act to benefit them selves and acquire more than can satisfy their inflating desires. It is not as simple as this, of course, for I do not deny there are good individuals amongst this group that have and continue to serve our country and others nobly and bravely, which is why our system is still functioning. The conflict of interest amongst all people is a natural entity of our species, and it is the ruling party’s inherent responsibility to pursue what is good for a common interest, that which can be seen as food, shelter, health, and happiness. It is not, however, a responsibility of the instinct, for the instinct is not communal, but personal, and it gives liberties and can justify actions that are against a social conduct. I believe that justice is a concept we can comprehend and fight for but it only exists upon attaining it, in parts, and likely does not exist, in this definition, unanimously, though it can be dreamed of in this way. And for our government, of which I believe should be destroyed and recreated, has deemed itself corrupt and unworthy to rule, acting for itself and the gain of individual wealth rather than the people, the many. And has gone so far to do so as to pass legislations that give advantage to none other than itself and large corporations, so we are no longer a democracy but an oligarchy, ruled by large and grossly wealthy corporations and corrupted politicians, where the president no longer has the power to make moral decisions for they are vetoed by senators who have been bribed. And on this note, ladies and gentlemen, I shall discuss the Citizens United case in which these large corporations can be treated like an individual person, which is not true, in terms of donations, or rather bribes to politicians in return for legislative favors that could benefit the companies in acquiring more wealth and misused power. It is this combination of government and business that has lead to the demise and corruption of our democracy no longer. So with this current situation, one may question whether a person truly have any obligations to others, and I would respond that an individual have not any responsibility other than his or her self, and therefore neither do any individuals of a ruling party as well. With this said, any man or woman can conduct life as he or she pleases and as a result can expect any revenge upon his or her self or loved ones as the opposing person or persons see fit. And when this disruption occurs in a social system, when enough people are affected and there is a common interest, they may ban together and fight for their justice. So it would seem that this desire to help ones self in spite or disregard of others would make a person’s instinct overrule that of social beings. Our ability to feel, perhaps, is what unites men and women and makes harmony attainable. For example, what is it that makes a person feel good when doing a good deed for another? Do good feelings transcend themselves from person to person, in the act of helping? I believe they do. For if this wasn’t so, I do not see why anyone would help those who need it, unless it ensured their own survival or welfare. Which is likely the case for some, who others would deem selfish or cruel individuals. If a person can feel the happiness and good feelings from another, then he one can also feel the pain or bad feelings of another. And this ability to feel what others feel, which becomes a personal feeling from that of others, is what makes us social beings, with inflicted emotions from the observation or knowledge of the condition of others. And with these feelings people reach out to those in need and the people’s struggle becomes our own and their antagonist alike. And it is these people who fight for justice, those who can hear the cries from the ghettos and forests, people hidden in the shadows of cities and commerce, and begin to grow angry until their heart is flaming and demand justice for they cannot rest until the cries, which grow louder and louder in the soul, cease, and this effort becomes their own, for the justice of others and themselves for as these people can feel the pain of others, it becomes their pain and therefore in fighting to relieve the others, they are fighting to relieve their own and it is this that holds the most power. It is the cries that scream and burn the loudest in the presence of anger. And when enough people are screaming with raging souls, a war for justice ignites and if the war is won a revolution can occur, making the pursuit of justice possible yet again, but if they do not, the system continues, wounded but never defeated, for a system can be neither created nor destroyed, but transformed.


Since its invention, the computer has increasingly become an essential part of this world. It is a device that runs on a language of its own, quantifiable only by its own doing. Of course, people wrote these programs, but ever since the invention of numerical representation, the computer has taken on a mind of its own. Numerical representation can be compared to the standardization of parts. Paradoxically it was thought that this would allow for “individual customization” rather than “mass standardization.” It is relatively unclear which has occurred. This is because it is interwoven so deeply into our lives. Computers have become virtual realities disguised as tools for our manipulation. Modularity has reduced data to its smallest element allowing for information to be dissected and manipulated without affecting other information. Information becomes self sufficient and free from hierarchical reins. Data is now non-linear, allowing for users to brows through information seemingly infinitely. This sounds like “individual customization,” but is it? Perhaps it would be if it was not pre-existing data the user is roaming through. Perhaps a software program that invented data only when it was in use would allow for true individual customization and free choice. The internet is so interlaced with the data of the physical world that is becomes indistinguishable. All activity on the web acts differently than activity in the real world. There is no decay, information is stored, analyzed, and used to determine future activity. Chance becomes manipulated. History is active and present is reactive upon it. By programming software to adhere to peoples past actions limits people to choices that confine them to calculations based on the past action, making customization impossible. If something is customized it is chosen from all possibilities, rather than subjective ones. However, this subjective nature of the computer is not much unlike our own. The difference is unified programming. If people wrote their own programs to create data through use, then the data would be free of mass subjectivity and be instead personally subjective. This would allow for individuality of the most extreme sorts. That is, if people need computers for this purpose. Would it be safer for a computer to be lucidly impersonal? Is the façade of personalization the danger to mass culture standardization? For example, older video games did not try to pass for real life. The difference between video game and reality was clear. With virtual reality games it is unclear how much responsibility players have in the outcome of the game. Players can feel empowered by the results they achieve because it is comparable to real life situations. But it is actually not, and this is where culture may become infected. It is when people feel personally attached to their technology and attempt to simulate life through it that culture becomes digitalized and therefore becomes part of the pre-programming through participation. The illusion of ‘personal customization’ as the product of interactive programming feeds society with the belief that they have excessive wants and only more pre-determined choices can free them from the boredom of less pre-determined choice. Perhaps if society was able to control its excessive material fetish, digitalization could allow for more accurate production of goods and services based on the needs of societies, converted to digital form that functions separate from human manipulation eventually allowing for people to cease capital labor. Could digitalism be more suitable for new media culture than an obese oligarchy?

Death and Dragon Love

an animated poem based on a short story I wrote for my lover