We are all Fans

21 01 2010

But fans for differing reasons.

I love the San Francisco Giants.  Not so much because they are the world’s greatest baseball team.  Nor because they have the most incredible ballpark in the country (even though it really is amazing.)   No.  I like them because those around me do.  My husband and my son in particular.

Indeed, Julian and Ben’s love of the Giants was one of the only things that brought them together during the years that constituted Ben’s  journey through teen-hood.  And of course, their getting along often meant my home being peaceful, or not!

The apex of that fellowship was realized the summer Barry Bonds was chasing #756.

Praying that Bonds would hit the historical home run in front of  the Giants’ fans at ATT Park, Julian and Ben needed to figure just which days they should buy their tickets for.  There wasn’t a lot of extra money for attending ball games.

As they are both apt to do, they approached the task  mathematically.  A spreadsheet and educated guesses were made.  How many games are left in the season?  How many home runs does Bonds hit on average?  How many home vs. away games, etc.  And so, despite a limited budget, they were able to buy tickets for some precious “likely” game days.

I would have approached it mathematically too.  I’d have looked to see what days were even?  What days had either a 2, 4,6, 12, or 24 in them?  We’d have been out of luck.  Bonds broke the record on August 7, 2007.

But Julian and Ben’s teamwork paid off.  They were sitting in the stands when Bonds launched the record-breaking ball and shattering Hank Aaron’s record.  They were there together.  I was watching from home; hoping to catch a tiny glance of “my” guys having some fun together.

I was pretty appalled with how the Giants eventually treated Bonds.  They made a ton of money off him as he chased the record.  But still, they condescended to him amid whispers of performance enhancing drugs, removed the banners prematurely, etc.  To me it seemed like Management couldn’t wait to get rid of him.  I thought they were ungrateful, highly hypocritical and even prejudiced.  How very ironic that we recently learned about Mark McGuire’s steroid use.  McGuire could have spoken up as Bonds was pilloried.  But whatever.  I’m still a fan.  A fan because my family spent that summer, Barry “Bonding.”

Dancing with the Data

15 01 2010

As my fingers fly across the keyboard I rejoice in the dance that the tiny clicks of meaning create.

The bond between me and my keyboard is no less dynamic and artistic than a pianist playing a beautiful concerto, en-rapt.

I hope we all remember this joy while we work, design, play and communicate.  I think we are all very lucky to have this instrument, daily, hourly, at our fingertips.  When else in the history of humankind have we ever been able to Dance all day long? Our fingertips joyfully, angrily, softly, intently tapping out meaning: Dancing with the Data.

The Audience is the Artist

23 10 2009

I’m just back from Digital Hollywood.  This is the 17th year that I’ve attended.  Now that’s scary.  Thanks go to the ever-gracious Victor Harwood for including me, and keeping the rather large endeavor going.

Every panel seems to rotate around the same themes: Who is paying for what?   Ad vs. Subscription model?  Content or Technology?  Hollywood Execs are either stupid or Luddites, and Technologists are pirates.  This year (as last) it was mostly, Where’s the money…?

For me the ‘arguments’ blur into white noise.  It’s all a turf war, a battle of constituents vying for ownership.  Even the First Annual meeting of the Web Television Academy smacked of a land grab.   Early in, you get to help shape the platform, define the categories and most importantly, vote for the winning productions.  For me, if it isn’t a “people’s choice” award, than it won’t reflect the Web.  The Web is a bottom-up phenomenon.  Any voting should be open, any platform transparent.  Any Award of Web Television greatness shouldn’t be vested in the hands of the West LA’s power elite.  And, I’m born and bred Brentwood Country Mart.

The beauty of where we are today is that power is distributed and disintermediated.  Even artistic expression is now shifting to the audience.  Truly great artists will recognize this fundamental change, and embrace it.  Silently creating the structures that empower the expression and creativity of the user.

Speaking is overrated…

12 10 2009

With so much chattering going on, listening is a lost art.

The world has a way of re-balancing though.  And art as its reflection does too.  So as we move towards ubiquitous expression, we start to beg its opposite.  A statute is defined by negative space, and expression defined by its reception.

A statue can overconsume space; expression unheard/seen/met overconsumes as well.

In the future great artists will be mute.   They will be those who can listen supremely.  And in listening create space which embraces the expression of others into a balanced reverberating cohesive whole.  Their canvas is empowerment, and their paint the delicate emulsion that binds others together.

I recently learned about Relational Art.  I realize this what I have been pursuing my entire life.  I have pursued experiential art forms that create an interaction with “users” and the machine, and behind the machine I’m just another user.  While the resulting experience and conversation might be lopsided it is possible to envision it moving ever closer to the perfect balance of creator and user until they become one.  A harmonious Wiki-event where each participant contributes and receives in a steady state.  Never needing a moderator, a publisher, a creator.