The grid is fast approaching. It has been a pleasure to see the idea for grid blogging being mentioned and discussed across a variety of blogs, in different languages. Better still, has been the enthusiastic response and the intention to participate expressed by diverse quarters.
In the comments section of the initial invitation, there has been talk of the need for RSS-feed, trackback, etc. I must admit that I have made little (should I say no) progress in this direction. The first grid blog remains a rough and ready affair, technically speaking. Obviously, if anybody wants to set up something of this kind, they're more than welcome. For the time being I'm adding to this post a list of participants. I'll be renewing it on Dec. 1. and invite others to give some visibility to those taking part on the day. And if this sounds totally fuzzy, trust in the powers of emergence.
As a way of creating a distributed archive and for future reference of the material posted this coming monday, the idea proposed by Hal seems both simple and effective: add [grid::brand] to the title of each post. This way, they can be easily retrieved at a later date via search engine.
Here's a random list of those that expressed the intention to participate:
On 22 November 1963, that most mystic of English rationalists Aldous Huxley passed away in Hollywood, California, as his wife read him passages from the Tibetan book of the dead. Forty years on, in the corridors of power of today's Brave New World the warmonger seeks solace and sweet dreams by popping a pill. Abe asks why the media isn't asking any questions following this revelation by Colin Powell. Probably all asleep...
Over the last decade nearly 400 women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city on the border with Texas. In response to police apathy, Mexican graphic designers are drawing attention to this outrage through a travelling exhibition that was first staged in a metro station in Mexico D.F.
(The whole affair becomes even more disturbing according to a recent article which alleges a group of six businessmen is behind the slaughter. Their wealth placing them above the law.)
There are days when I feel like I'm suffering from an eating disorder ported to information consumption. Days when I sit in front of my screen and it becomes a door to a world wide-open fridge of stuff beckoning to be stuffed down my media gullet. The desire, the hunger to know drives me to uncontrolled content-binging. Never savouring what I'm reading, watching, looking at. Always ready to bite into the next link, a different book. Change that CD. Change that channel. A broth of unorchestrated tastes found in a miriad different subjects brings to the boil a sense of nausea. No pleasure, no gain, just my mind feeling overweight, saturated in cultural fat. Food for thought deep-fried into laxative dreams. My meta-nausea turns physical. Doubled over by data-cramps, I broadcast my bile and choke.
I came across this lovely headline yesterday:"El sueño de Internet es que cualquiera puede ser la CNN, pero eso, al final de cuentas, es mentira" ("the dream of internet is that anybody can be the CNN, at the end of the day though, this is a lie" - despite this, the voice of the article goes on to list the some of the successes of personal publishing on the web). The question here though is: who wants to be the CNN?
I sometimes visualise the blogger as a character out of a nineteenth century novel (most likely something by Maupassant or Turgenev), sitting by the fireplace chatting about what s/he has read in an (electronic) gazette. Often equated as a threat, a competitor of professional journalists, the blogger, in my opinion, is closer to the figure of the editor (although trends are also evolving in the direction of "real-life" reporting, but that's the subject for another post).
I write these considerations both as a blogger, and as someone who has paid his bills working as a journalist and as an editor. As someone who is keenly aware of the mutations that occur when an activity is transposed from one medium to another.
The idea for grid blogging came into being as a way of exploring potential new structures of communication and conversation implict in the rise of "We Media". Abe put it nicely: "sort of like taking a hyperdimensional slice of blog space and turning it into a distributed magazine". The special issue magazine, is a good analogy and a decent relative.
Grid blogging also subverts the "impulse-writing" of the blog post by setting a publication date. A way, if you like, of contrasting the unrelenting flow of information, by dedicating time to thought and elaboration. Which brings us back to the CNN quote. Mass media, especially in the format of TV news, ploughs on regardless of understanding or the creation of connections between events. Cluster media, on the other hand, could help draw connections, assist understanding. In short, grid blogging is a humble exploration of new ways of producing selecting delivering news. Tactics for contaminating commentary.This is simply one of the many attempts to understand the way our voice will sound, the language we will speak across the mediasphere of this infant century.
Massive Change - an international project on the future of design culture.
I've been thinking of ways of developing distributed collaborative projects and came up with the following idea: grid blogging - which I imagine as being a group of bloggers tackling a specific topic on a specific day/time.
Here's a mini-manifesto of sorts, a short text I sent out to half a dozen or so friends and bloggers I respect to gage interest:
"Grid blogging aims to investigate the potentials of a distributed media production model spread across blogosphere nodes. It seeks to ignite attention on specific topics at set times through variegated voices. A kind of decentralised flash mobbing for the mind, if you like.
Decentralisation is key here. Unlike single collaborative blogging structures that unite discussions under the same URL, Grid blogging is about synchronized guerrilla publishing attacks carried out across a series of online locations. It respects and heightens the individual voice within a media-wise choir. It allows for idea-jamming and mosaics of diverse perspectives to emerge unfettered.
Temporary in nature, the first grid blog is set to happen on December 1. The topic is the "brand". Interpret it as you like, from the comfort of your own blog. As critique, as recollection, as original content, as link-fest or visual interpretation. Whatever. Join in and help us discover where we can lead this dance."
The inital feedback has been highly positive, and I am proud to say that all those contacted expressed a desire to participate. These are:
Marianna (who will be launching her new blogging project later this month)
Abe of abstract dynamics (who helped kick-start the thought-process)
Anne of purse lip square jaw
Christina of glowlab
Fabio of freegorifero
Gary of junk for code
Jonathan of things magazine
Nicolas of icon's blog
This is very much a concept in progress, and totally open-source in essence. Many details, like if and how to visually represent the grid, are still to be hacked.
If you think this could be an exciting experiment, great. If you want to drop me a line or leave a comment, you have my thanks in advance. If you join in or spread the word that would be brilliant.
Instead of mass media, think cluster media!
(image by the blogger)
"It's time to build not burn, the taz can wait a moment or two. For real".
From the land of drive-by shootings come drive-in soup kitchens:
"Last year alone, another 1.7 million Americans slipped below the poverty line, bringing the total to 34.6 million, one in eight of the population. Over 13 million of them are children. In fact, the US has the worst child poverty rate and the worst life expectancy of all the world's industrialised countries, and the plight of its poor is worsening."
full article here.