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Dr Divine

At this year’s Burning Seed Festival in the Australian bush I played my alter ego Dr Divine. I can’t really say any of this was planned, but it’s a perfect example how some things just emerge bit by bit and they come together in a much more coherent way than I could have ever thought up.

2015-09-15 13.51.54-1Meet my belly box. We found all materials at the Bower in Marrickville, a junk yard, reverse garbage type of shop. The best place to find odd little things. And we were so lucky! Found the suitcase, a children’s harness that I could easily fit and attach, a small drawer that fitted perfectly into the side, a candle holder, and all kinds of small items and curiosities that gave me first ideas for a love charm and some other games. Then I added velvet curtains behind which I hid some special tools and the magic book.

On the left I put a wooden tray, which turned out to be a sweet bowling lane for my story dice. Next to it fitted a colourful chest that was just big enough to hold a stack of superhero cards that I had made for another occasion. Then I added some random objects that I’d just embue with meaning if someone would point them out. Five dark jars have incense, ear plugs, condoms, which I handed out when someone wanted to shut themselves off to the messages of life (ear plugs), or pay it safe (condoms). In the drawer on the right were oracle cards. It’s an animal totem deck. All of these things I had at home, they just fitted the belly box perfectly. At this point I didn’t really know what exactly all of this would be, so I kind of surprised myself with what happened next (blatant upworthy cliffhanger).

2015-09-19 14.16.27 I asked the first girl who came up to me if she had anything in her life she wanted a comment on. She did, so I asked her to think on it while I took both her hands. I locked eyes with her, and asked for her name. Then I introduced myself as Dr Divine. I almost laughed. I had not thought of a name before, but it was perfect. I continued with her saying that I didn’t know anything that she didn’t know herself, but that this suitcase held tools that can help her see. I was astounded by what came out of my mouth.
Sweet. I got into my role.

I offered her to ask me about any object in the suitcase. And I told her about the three main attractions: dice, superhero cards, and  the oracle. She wanted the oracle. I shuffled, and told her to bring her attention to her heart. From the deck she drew blindly. The card was Antilope. The Antilope stands for action. I read out a few lines from the animal magic book and she started crying. Damn. I didn’t expect to make people cry?! What? I dropped out of my role and turned to her, asking if I should stop. She was half joy, half suffering. She smiled and cried some more and asked me to continue. That moment was amazing. The card had just struck something in her, and she said it was spot on, the thing that her family needed to understand to solve a situation. I felt floaty. How nice was that!?

2015-10-02 17.23.11Meanwhile a small crowd had gathered around me and I started feeling self-conscious, but, … wow, did I enjoy this. There was something profound taking hold of us. When I took my guests’ hands and we locked eyes we made a contract. It was significant. For the time of our interaction, we were in a magic circle, a safe zone, in which it was just us, and the belief that something wonderful would happen. I could see it in their eyes.

I had about 15 interactions that night and I remember all of their faces. One German guy chose the storytelling dice. He rolled them and got three images he couldn’t really connect. I got a bit nervous, because I hadn’t really thought this through, but then collective consciousness switched on and gave me me the right questions that prompted all these profound insights in him. The story became the thing that he had asked about but also reflected his attitude towards life in general. The details of the symbols made him connect dots he hadn’t connected before. He probably stayed with me the longest. He just didn’t want to leave again. We ended up sharing details about our PhDs and how both tapped into intuition as a neglected source of life making.

While I was playing with my guests I noticed that most women chose the oracle while men chose dice or superhero cards. The superhero skills were pretty popular with anyone and I gave one to each guest at farewell even if they had chosen another game to play. With each explanation of the suitcase I got clearer that the dice were a game of chance, the superhero cards were banking on your skills, and the oracle was about faith. Chance, skills and faith. Ha. Three major way in which we as humans try to get a hold of our future. What a colossal insight. And none of this was planned. It really just emerged little by little by just starting with a vague idea and chipping away on it whenever it felt right. That’s a good way to work and bring meaning and joy into our lives. I like it.

Calabi-Yau and pendulum

No idea if this makes any sense. It’s an experiment in feeling deep knowledge.

I just came across the Calabi-Yau principle while I read up on Cosmogeny. “Cosmogony (or cosmogeny) is any model concerning the coming-into-existence (i.e. origin) of either the cosmos (i.e. universe), or the so-called reality of sentient beings.[1]” The Wiki article refers to Calabi-Yau manifolds and string theory. Click.

Calabi-Yau“A Calabi–Yau manifold, also known as a Calabi–Yau space, is a special type of manifold that is described in certain branches of mathematics such as algebraic geometry. The Calabi–Yau manifold’s properties, such as Ricci flatness, also yield applications in theoretical physics. Particularly in superstring theory, the extra dimensions of spacetime are sometimes conjectured to take the form of a 6-dimensional Calabi–Yau manifold, which led to the idea of mirror symmetry.”

Don’t understand a thing, but feel that it’s a further development of topology, which can be thought as cultural topology. If the cosmos is a Calabi-Yau formation, then our ecosystems would be, too.

Its characteristics of holonomy and elliptical curves reminded me of what I had sent my PhD supervisors once. At the time, I was deeply immersed in a chapter about exploitation and violently (foolishly) rejected the notion of power. This is what I sent them:

“And I forgot to delete my blasphemic sentence on power midway through the chapter. I just get so tired of it and wished it was something else that lies at the base of everything…. what if it’s dynamics and not power? what if the gravity of your life’s weight is let go at birth and then you rove in multiple swings, in all kinds of directions at the same time, but those swings reach a peak and then they swing back towards their opposite passing by occasions of balance and depending on where all the swings are at any given occasion they form new conditions but because at birth we are let go at certain positions and conditions the swings always happen around the same pivotal point, one we cannot escape and one that keeps us in check. It’s then kinetic force that keeps on going but declines gradually until all pendulums stop. it’s not power then but attention/focus that changes the swing. haha, but then what are the boundaries? they lie in the capacity of energy we got at birth. power is then only released once and the residual energy keeps us going, and depending on how much we got at the beginning we’re limited in our reach (as in how far and how many pendulums swing)… but how does growth work then? I suppose every pendulum swings leaves a trace, like a synapsis once built. And this synapsis trace strengthens every time a pendulum swings along. practicing.

Oh… that was a rather long spontaneous thought.

Oh and what about magnetism, like every endpoint of a pendulum swing is magnetic, that’s the attraction! And it’s activated by attention…ahm maybe not always, but ok, I don’t have to make this work. … I’M FEELING MAD TODAY!

And somewhere there’s Foucault in there. Ok, it’s all about power.”

I have no idea where I’m going with this. Yet. But it’s going to reveal itself to me some day.

Notes on the blockchain

I recently went to the Sydney Blockchain workshops and took some notes for beginners (like me). Overall it is about digitizing value transfer by cutting out the middle man, but new middle men already emerge (those who enable the blockchain).
  • two functions for blockchain: register ownership and rails for transfering items
  • function of smart contracts: machine 2 machine consensus protocol
  • economists have largely overlooked blockchain tech, BUT blockchain is not an info tech but a governance tech, fundamentally changing the nature of our economy by offering new coordination systems
  • tracking and ensuring providence, enabling makers to receive royalties from each step that their work gets passed on and/or remixed. I felt reminded of the academic referencing system, just in tech.
  • In order to implement trust into the technology, companies, such as ethereum provide “smart contracts”, which are programs/codes that rule/exercise which action can and cannot be performed with items on a specific blockchain. This reminded me of creative commons, just digital.
  • arguments are about open and closed ledgers (blockchains), close ledgers being referred to as the AOL of the blockchain.
  • debates around hacking and control, about repeating the same mistakes as with the internet when capitalist companies co-opt the technology (and we don’t have as much unattended time as we had with the internet, because big banks are already capitalising on the blockchain, reinventing their identity in order to become the new middle man). So, the audience was quite divided between coders/anarchists and managers/bankers.
  • no consensus yet how to scale
  • problems with efficiency versus capturing the actual complexity of an item (Joi Ito, MIT)
  • balance if inclusion and efficiency also relevant in terms of WHO and HOW MANY take part
  • blockchain as an opportunity to move away from basic double entry bookkeeping
  • too many laws still pre internet time
  • tussle between privacy and security, what are the relevant decisions and negotiations
  • ICANN for blockchain needed to counter Gov
  • very early stage still
  • blockchain as a way to consider context (smart contracts)
  • ethereum can create markets, these can then be markets in markets
  • offline and online economies can integrate (catallaxy)
  • ethics of autonomous systems a huge question (do devices have rights like companies? whats human responsibility?)
  • law is centralised at the moment, can smart contracts decentralise the law? (asks Ele)
  • beware of network imperialism, commones are selfish too
  • Merkle Tree interesting model to understand how blockchain can be politically and architecturally decentralised yet logically centralised
INSTITUTE FOR THE FUTURE – Bettina Warburg (Palo Alto)
The IFTF just announced the blockchain futures lab. Keyword Crypto economy. Research into Practical applications of blockchain principles with commercial value w/ Boston consulting. Viable experiments w corporate sector. Interested in universities.
ASCRIBE – Greg McMullen
Ascribe creates an ownership later of the Internet attempting to give IP back to digital creators. We could use their technology for emerging idea that staff worry about giving away. I know there are other platforms for this too. Ascribe also helps finding infringing copies of the registered IP. Imogen Heap tiny human is an example for how it works. License content on blockchain and invite people to remix. One can track derivative work. (Like academic peer review?)
Also monegraph a platform like this.PLANTOID – Filipa de Primavera (Harvard)
digital certificates a problem because international jurisdiction is different on what’s public domain and what can’t be. Individual can use blockchain as a registry to ascertain what other people have said what the legal status is. Cc.ascribe.io. Blockchain enables tracking who is using your assets.
Ccrypto equity interesting keyword
“Pay for production not for consumption”PLANTOID is a platform for Blockchain-based art: people fund artists for a specific art piece, based on open source software, copyleft, another artist can remix the work and original author is rewarded and recognised. It’s not about IP protection but about maximise dissemination of artwork to be remixed because then more funds are collected. Royalties go back to original artists and new artists.COLONY.io
is a collaboration platform based on a new business model or game principle of micro transactions or micro tipping, giving reward for contributions.

BACKFEED
another platform that tries to improve trustless interactions by building on ethereum

The Tech Pentagram Collaboration Game

Group size: 40 – 200 pax

Playtime: 1h

Purpose:
2015-09-14 12.18.27The workshop is designed to give participants a visceral experience of just how quickly small teams of people can come up with world-changing ideas. It’s a possibility engine for your organisation.

Description:
This workshop explores and excavates the landscape of where technological innovation meets established industries such as media, manufacturing, energy and health. It’s a living, thinking event that uses game mechanics and future scenario design to unleash the imagination of its participants while teaching how to integrate concepts in relation to the systems they span.

2015-09-14 12.17.48We begin by giving a broad overview of the technological intersections and their potential impacts on a specific sector. Then the true fun and creativity starts! Up to 200 people from mixed sectors prototype some potential agents for change. In groups of 2 we dive into a technology of your choice. In groups of 4 we prioritise relevance of different aspects you discussed. In groups of 8 we begin integrating different technologies in order to come up with radical new possibilities. Throughout the workshop – like by magic – you will create a geometric shape containing the peaks of your thinking. In this workshop, expect spontaneity, bouncing messengers, human knots, inspiration, and mind expanding ideas.

Be. Poietic. Punks.

Yoke Magazine and SW/TCHFest recently published a little piece I wrote.

BE.POIETIC.PUNKS: WHAT IF YOUR REBEL HEART RAN FREE?

Yoke mag picWe are at a point of transition. Of many transitions. Global politics, business, and technologies are shifting shape. And we are shifting with them. The question is: do structures form us, or do we form structures? The Italian Operaismo movement of the 1960s believed that it’s ultimately the people who change systems. So, we should look at our own agency and wondering – how can we shape the world around us?

Understanding poiesis is key to influencing this global transition. Poiesis simply means “becoming” or “bringing forth.” It means to act from the heart – heroically even – to contribute to something larger than oneself. In philosophy, the concept describes the poetic and aesthetic realities that surface through human reflection and emotional expression. What comes about through poiesis are subjective truths that are ethical, humanistic, and spiritual. Being in poiesis can be a liberating, even ecstatic, sensation of congruence between body and mind. Imagine what the future of work would look like. A future in which you do what you love, with people you like, towards something meaningful that protects resources and ourselves.

Sound like a fantasy? As a design ethnographer I have dedicated countless hours to exploring poiesis and social innovation through storytelling, collaboration and hands-on education. As part of my PhD, I co-founded a collective called Learn Do Share, a group of collaborators sharing their minds, hearts, and hands to invent new ways of working and learning. The collective’s poietic work has gained momentum and attention from people and organisations wanting to join the movement. We have worked with the United Nations, UNICEF, Columbia University, and Google Creative Labs, and recently ran games at OUIShare Paris and Re:publica Berlin.

www.open-strategies.deRecently, some of us developed Be.Poietic.Punks, an anarchic game all about exploring poiesis. This culture hacking game is designed to give people an experience of their political agency with the aim to elicit associative ways of co-creation. Part 1 is a sci-fi card game employing anarchic collective problem solving fusing sci-fi storytelling, speculative design and rapid prototyping. In part 2, participants create an “exquisite corpse” style wall carpet, representing a remixed story of the project that was prototyped in part 1 of the game. At the end, dancers and musicians perform an ad-hoc choreography based on the wall carpet story. The process throws everyone into disorientation, intense time boxing, and lots of laughter. We simulate process as something largely unplannable, and I’m interested in testing how people react to embracing such chaos, giving up their instinct to control the environment. The whole game is a mad challenge to trust intuition and associative reasoning.

MOOC_PosterAnother project is called Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things (IoT). This MOOC (which we call a Massive Online Offline Collaboration) is an ongoing prototype developed and run by Learn Do Share at Columbia University. With meet-ups in close to 20 cities, 1000+ collaborators from over 60 countries, the pilot MOOC creates a massive connected crime scene consisting of smart storytelling objects. Teams take on roles from the novel to create, design, build and test prototypes in local and global groups. They explore the ethical and political implications of IoT. By creating shared assets collaborators raise questions on shared authorship and ownership, which ultimately leads them to engage with new concepts. A transition to the commons as a way of exchange is one example.

Termed “commons transition”, the concept is associated with a movement and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organisation. Business and social researchers alike articulate what such an economy would look like and which policy recommendations would be required. These ideas of a “social knowledge economy” is based on free an open access to knowledge as well as circular modes of exchange. Our goal with Sherlock is to introduce as many people as possible to options that help them rethink their Ayn Randian neoliberal parameters.

All this may sound a bit unattainable, but as Margaret Mead famously said: 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 

MOOC Sherlock and the Internet of Everything

MOOC_PosterI’m lecturing a rad MOOC! It’s called Sherlock Holmes and the Internet of Things (IoT) and because of its experimental setup we renamed MOOC a Massive Online Offline Collaboration. The MOOC itself is an ongoing prototype developed and run by Learn Do Share at Columbia University. With meet-ups in close to 20 cities, 1000+ collaborators from over 60 countries, the pilot MOOC creates a massive connected crime scene consisting of smart storytelling objects. Teams take on roles from the novel to create, design, build and test prototypes in local and global groups. They explore the ethical and political implications of IoT. By creating shared assets collaborators raise questions on shared authorship and ownership, which ultimately leads them to engage with new concepts.

Here‘s an overview of the program.

I have created two brief video lectures that I shared in two separated posts here and here . They’re super DIY, though.

On Commons Transition and Mutual Value

For the MOOC that I lecture in (Sherlock and the Internet of Things) I created two short vids. The focus is on a few interrelated topics I have been researching for a while. Here’s the second vid and a short intro below.

In our Sherlock MOOC, we create shared assets and raise questions about shared authorship and ownership. That means we’re dealing new concepts of society, such as creative commons.

In this clip I briefly introduce the underlying concept: the commons. It has a long history, meaning public owning and sharing, and it has often been deemed as tragedy. I explain why that is and give some aspirational reminders what it takes to overcome this obstacle. My main point is that the key to success lies within everyone themselves as much as in between two or more people. To consider someone else’s interest as much as your own is not altruism but a smart way to accomplish a life of poiesis, which we talked about in session 1.

The term “commons transition” is associated with a movement and policy proposals aimed toward achieving a more humane and environmentally grounded mode of societal organization. Business and commons researchers alike articulate what such an economy would look like and which policy recommendations would be required. These ideas of a “social knowledge economy” is based on free an open access to knowledge as well as circular modes of exchange. Sherlock wants to train as many people as possible to rethink their Ayn Randian neoliberal parameters. This transition is tricky, because we’re doing “poiesis” which is easily confused as Randian, so we need to clarify how these two work together.

On Poiesis and Collaborative Spaces

For the MOOC that I lecture in (Sherlock and the Internet of Things) I created two short vids. The focus is on a few interrelated topics I have been researching for a while. Here’s the first vid.

In this part of our Sherlock lecture, I provide a meta reflection on the way we collaborate. One goal of Sherlock is to remind us of our political agency and to elicit associative ways of co-creation. In this MOOC we ask you to bring yourself into the process, your individual talents, skills and wishes. And we ask you to find ways to realise your own d through finding mutual benefit.

Why is this important? Global politics, business and technologies are shifting shape. And we are shifting with them. The question is: do structures form us, or do we form structures? The Italian Operaismo movement of the 1960s believed that it’s ultimately the people who change systems. So, we are looking at our own agency and wonder – how can we innovate the world around us? This is poiesis. My philosophical introduction to poiesis explains the concept in more detail, and how we can actualise it in collaborative spaces.

See second vid here.

PhD Creativity Unbound

TITLE
Creativity Unbound – An Analysis of Open Collaboration between Experience Design and Poietic Practice

ABSTRACT
This thesis concerns social engagement at the intersection of open design and media technology. The study reflects on the practice of a group of creative entrepreneurs, who seek new methods and contexts for collaboration both online and offline. My case is an international collective called Reboot. They co-produce games, narratives, and workshops that aim at engaging others to become activists for social innovation through experiential learning and applied creativity. I investigate what drives them, what they desire, how they learn, and how they co-create. The core problem is: how does a focus on innovating process shape the way individuals approach work and life? Ethnography forms the central research method. It tracks the exchange and performance values expressed by members of the Reboot collective. I use an experimental enactive research design, which enriches current academic practices in media and design ethnography.

As a theoretical framework, I draw on cultural topology. More specifically, I focus on three characteristics of topology – contiguity, continuity, and poiesis. Headed by these three pillars, my chapters include theories on performativity, affect, and free labour. My data substantiates the workings of these three topological characteristics individually and across chapters. Firstly, in terms of contiguity, I investigate performativity as a theoretical possibility within a topological framework. Reboot offers physical spaces for collaborators to connect. Here, I argue, the group facilitates productive contiguity. I scrutinise their experience of interaction enabled by design in order to make an assessment about performative agency. Secondly, with respect to continuity, I examine affect as a driver of relationships and activity. Reboot facilitates remote collaboration through digital online technology. I show that affective interaction helps to re-establish connection and build relationships to foster further engagement, and that these practices corroborate continuity. Lastly, regarding poiesis, I discuss the notion of free labour against the backdrop of commons-based peer production. I show that collaborators frame their free labour in an emancipatory fashion that reflects high hopes for virtuous behaviour among collaborators and ignores worries of exploitation. I identify this practice as poiesis.

This matters, because these collaborative producers are found to act upon their hopes that they can co-create long term systemic change in society; they experiment with new tools to do so; and they spread their techniques by engaging others. This thesis thus locates itself amongst – and adds insights to – current debates on human passion that drives socio-technical innovation.

CONTENT

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1. A QUESTION OF DEVIANCE AND PASSION?
1.2. CASE OVERVIEW
1.3. APPROACH
1.4. CHAPTER OUTLINES

2. METHODOLOGY: EMERGENT ENACTIVE RESEARCH
2.1. INTRODUCTION
2.1.1. GAINING ACCESS
2.1.2. FROM STUDYING PRACTICE TO STUDYING DESIGN PRACTICE
2.2. ENACTIVE MULTI-SITED RESEARCH
2.2.1. MEETING THE TEAM ONLINE AND IN PERSON – WHAT CHANGED
2.2.2. IN(TER)VENTION AS DATA: LEARN DO SHARE BOOKSPRINTS
2.2.3. DESIGN AS DATA: WISH FOR THE FUTURE OPEN DESIGN GAME
2.2.4. USAGE OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS
2.3. EMERGENT RESEARCH FROM FIELD TO THESIS
2.4. TOPOLOGY: CONNECTING DATA, RESEARCH, AND OUTCOME

3. CONTIGUITY: PERFORMATIVITY IN NARRATIVE CO-DESIGN
3.1. INTRODUCTION
3.2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.2.1. PERFORMANCE AND PERFORMATIVITY
3.2.2. NARRATIVE DESIGN AS PERFORMATIVE AGENT
3.3. EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
3.3.1. IMPERFECTION: INCOMPLETE BY DESIGN
3.3.2. INTERVENTION: HACKING AS METHOD
3.3.3. APPROPRIATION: CONTIGUITY AS CATALYST
3.4. DISPERSED PERFORMATIVITY: WHAT DRIVES TOPOLOGICAL CULTURE?
3.5. CONCLUSION

4. CONTINUITY: AFFECTIVE ENGAGEMENT
4.1. INTRODUCTION
4.2. METHOD: AUTO-ETHNOGRAPHIC ENACTIVE RESEARCH
4.3. THEORETICAL PLACEMENT
4.3.1. AFFECT AND EMOTIONS
4.3.2. REASONED AND EMOTIONAL VALUES
4.4. EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
4.4.1. PRINCIPLE 1 – HOW AFFECT ENGAGES: APPRECIATION
4.4.2. PRINCIPLE 2 – HOW AFFECT ENGAGES: PASSION
4.4.3. PRINCIPLE 3 – HOW AFFECT ENGAGES: PROMISE
4.5. DEEP, FLEETING, AND ALLURING AFFECT
4.6. CONCLUSION

5. POIESIS: FREE LABOUR AS EMANCIPATORY ACTUALISATION
5.1. INTRODUCTION
5.2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
5.2.1. CAPITALISM CRITIQUE
5.2.2. COMMONS-BASED PEER PRODUCTION
5.2.3. CONSIDERING POIESIS
5.3. EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
5.3.1. FREE LABOUR AS ENTREPRENEURIAL AGENCY
5.3.2. FREE LABOUR AS ALTRUISM
5.3.3. FREE LABOUR TO BUILD SOMETHING BIGGER
5.3.4. FREE LABOUR AS ENTREPRENEURIAL TRAINING
5.4. A POIETIC NON-LABOUR SYSTEM?
5.4.1. BELONGING TO SOMETHING LARGER THAN YOURSELF – REVOLUTION
5.4.2. KINDNESS AND ALTRUISM – SELF-EXPLOITATION
5.4.3. GIVING LEARNING EXPERIENCES – VIRTUE
5.4.4. EMANCIPATORY AGENCY – ENTREPRENEURSHIP
5.5. THE DO GOODERS
5.5.1. GAINS
5.5.2. LOSSES
5.5.3. TOPOLOGICAL ACTIVATION
5.6. CONCLUSION

6. CONCLUSION
7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

#Monsterproud
Download a copy here
And see a rawer wilder transdisciplinary version here.

The Tech Pentagram

This workshop explores and excavates the landscape of where technological innovation meets established industries such as media, manufacturing, energy and health. It’s a living, thinking event that uses game mechanics and future scenario design to unleash the imagination of its participants while teaching how to integrate concepts in relation to the systems they span.

2015-09-14 12.17.48Group size: 40 – 200 pax
Playtime: 1h

What:
Combined with a futurist talk by Future Crunch, this workshop is designed to remix the use of different technologies. It gives participants a visceral experience of just how quickly small teams of people can come up with world-changing ideas.

How:
We begin by giving a broad overview of the technological intersections and their potential impacts on a specific sector. Then the true fun and creativity starts! Up to 200 people from mixed sectors prototype some potential agents for change. In groups of 2 we dive into a technology of your choice. In groups of 4 we prioritise relevance of different aspects you discussed. In groups of 8 we begin integrating different technologies in order to come up with radical new possibilities. Throughout the workshop – like by magic – you will create a geometric shape containing the peaks of your thinking. Expect spontaneity, bouncing messengers, human knots, inspiration, and mind expanding ideas.

The Unorthodox PhD

This is the raw version of my thesis, which I changed quite a bit after I got the feedback that it’s a bit too creative and wild. Both versions are fully written. This one is more eclectic and transdisciplinary, the other is more orthodox and less complex (see other version here).

TITLE
Creativity Unbound: Parables of Co-Creative Process Under The Premise to Open Everything

ABSTRACT
This thesis examines the intersection of social technology and open storytelling. At its core is what drives experimental co-creation among creative entrepreneurs. Open storytelling is a field of interactive arts that seeks new methods and contexts for co-creation. Opening access raises questions around promises and discomforts of such seemingly unplannable co-production. A central theme is self-organization through performance and exchange. The core problem is: How does a focus on innovating process shape the way individuals approach life and work? Answers can be found in this ethnographic case on the design and performance values expressed by members of the Reboot collective. Reboot attracts collaborators, who come to learn, imagine, do and share.

Each chapter indicates a field of tension in which principles of co-creation are discussed and evidenced by practice and design examples. Chapter B takes [play/labour] as a framework and looks at civic engagement and project organization (learn). In chapter C, the bracket [discipline/affect] offers a view on aesthetic reasoning through the principles passion and empathy (imagine). In chapter D, the bracket [story design/performativity] highlights principles of incompleteness and synaesthetic mimesis, poiesis and kinesis (do). In chapter E, the bracket [potential space/affordance] delineates community cultivation and project-based co-entrepreneurship (share). At a meta-level, five axioms can be derived: (a) practices corroborate synaesthetic reasoning to make sense of the digitized world; (b) activities are situational and ephemeral, defying systemic stabilization; (c) online and offline practices open up an omnidextrous third space through which techniques flow across from one domain to the other; (d) if constraints are not outside the body they come from inside (self-discipline) and in-between (empathy); (e) incomplete designs invite engagement.

As a theoretic framework, the author develops a dyad concept drawing on Kress and Leeuwen’s multimodality and Lury et al. and Lash’s notion of topology. Her methodology uses a rigorous and multi-layered activity research design, which adds new perspectives to current academic practices in media and design ethnography. Spanning media, arts, design, social sciences, cultural studies and anthropology, the thesis is placed amongst – and adds rich insights – to current debates on human activity in socio-technical environments.

CONTENT

Screenshot 2014-02-16 15.23.03

// INTRODUCTION
1. A QUESTION OF DEVIANCE AND PASSION?
2. WHAT’S AT STAKE: CO-CREATION
2.1 Reboot Creativity
2.2 Creativity as Play
2.3 Creativity as Remix
2.4 A Taxonomy of Co-Creativity
2.5 Co-creativity is Emergent
3. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK: THE 3RD SPACE OF CULTURAL TOPOLOGY
3.1 Considering Design and Process
3.2 Cultural Topology
3.3 Topology as Abstract Language
3.4 A Fledgling Pattern Language
3.5 Style and Reflexivity in a Topological Approach
4. PLACEMENT AND SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

// LEARN – Subversive Play: Free Labour as Civic Engagement
1. INTRODUCTION
2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Pervasive Play and Free Labour
2.2 Serious Play and Experiential Learning
3. SUBVERTING NORMS THROUGH INFINITE PLAY
3.1 Principle 1 – Deviate: Disruption and Intervention
3.1.1 Trad-Schooling
3.1.2 Alt-schooling
3.2 Principle 2 – Improvise: Speculation and Grit
3.2.1 Contingency
3.2.2 Complexity
3.3 Principle 3 – Augment: Iterate and Transform
3.3.1 Prototypes
3.3.2 Dehabituation
4. PLAYING REALITY
5. CONCLUSION

// IMAGINE – Affective Reasoning: Heuristic Sense- And Decision-Making Through Empathy And Passion
1. INTRODUCTION
2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Affect
2.2 Self-Discipline
2.3. Between Affect and Discipline
3. SENSE-MAKING: NAVIGATING THE SOCIAL IMAGINARY THROUGH EMPATHY
3.1 From Meme to Theme
3.2 Conceptual Language
3.3 Balancing Literal And Associative
3.4 Empathy As Compass
4. DECISION-MAKING: HARNESSING PASSION
4.1 “Choosing” Intensive Engagement
4.2 Hurdling the Arduousness of Self-Discipline
4.2.1 Deep Affect: The Personally Meaningful
4.2.2 Fleeting Affect: Collective Momentum
4.3 The Power of Oscillating Discipline and Affect
5. CONCLUSION

// DO – Performative Storytelling: Narrative Design As A Purposeful Utility
1. INTRODUCTION.
2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Performativity
2.2 Purposeful Storytelling
2.3 Design
2.4 Narrative Design as Performative Agency
3. APPLIED PRINCIPLES: USING STORY TO “DESIGN WITH AND FOR”
3.1 Focus on Poiesis: Incomplete By Design
3.1.1 Science-Fiction, Otherness and Imagination
3.1.2 Story Beats
3.2 Focus on Kinesis: Intervention by Design
3.2.1 Messiness
3.2.2 Hacking
3.3 Focus on Mimesis: Appropriation
3.3.1 Transportation and Transformation
3.3.2 Declining Performativity?
4. CONCLUSION: OPEN STORIES AS PERFORMATIVE INTERVENTIONS

// SHARE – Community Cultivation: Co-Entrepreneurship By Affording Project-based Micro-Businesses
1. INTRODUCTION
2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Potential Space
2.2 Commons-Based Peer Production
2.3 Affording A Common Potential Space
3. PRIMARY PRINCIPLES: FRANCHISING AND INCUBATING
3.1 Franchise: Network and Change over Income
3.2 Incubation: Social Good over Monetization
4. SECONDARY PRINCIPLES: SHARING AS CO-ENTREPREUNEURS
4.1 Power Share: Letting Go of Control (Individual)
4.2 Goal Share: Balancing Self-interest & Commonality (Collaborative)
4.3 Skill Share: Lending Talent (Collaborative)
4.4 Knowledge Share: Circulating Assets (Public)
5. SCALING AND BRANDING POTENTIAL: A TRIPLE BIND
6. CONCLUSION

// CONCLUSION – Learn, Do, Imagine, Share: Towards A Collaboration Methodology
1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Recap Cardinal Principle 1: Learning
1.2 Recap Cardinal Principle 2: Imagining
1.3 Recap Cardinal Principle 3: Doing
1.4 Recap Cardinal Principle 4: Sharing
2. ON DESIGN, AESTHETICS AND ROMANTICISM
3. OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

Tags: outside the box, design fiction, purposeful play, participatory storytelling, design thinking, media ethnography, new media, new commons, indie punks, share culture, networked economy, collaboration, co-creation, experiential learning, liminal threshold, activity based learning, DIY, peer production, social innovation, artistic research, digital boheme, crowdsourcing, crowdsharing, social experiences, agile management, social entrepreneurship, collaborative entrepreneurship, Gen Flux, creative entrepreneurship, media commons, labeling, digital humanities, human-centered design, storification, avant-garde

learn do share #5

It amazes me every time how much love and imaginence DIY Days participants give to make these books happen. This edition is special as we evolve our format. It features the 1st out of 4 steps of our EDIT co-design process: E stands for Empathy, the following books will cover Define, Ideate and Test. In L.A. we collaborated with the Goldhirsh Foundation to substantiate the empathy phase. Looking into an extensive report on the status quo and trends for L.A., our group discussed, mapped and created 9 new projects that are well and truly underway now. You can get in touch if you’re keen to shape the world around you!

LearnDoShare_LAbook_5Another treat are the metamaps that are scattered throughout the book. The entire event, and most importantly, our design challenges, were mapped as browser-based amplified mindmaps on metamaps.cc. If your work is related to sense- and decision-making, you should check it out!

Lastly, a big shout out goes to Designful Studio for giving the book an absolutely loveable design and helping us re-brand Learn Do Share. We think they captured LA’s “diversity as identity” in every aesthetic stroke.

You can open the book by clicking on the image. And see our previous books here.

On Performatism

Writing about the opacity of project documentation with respect to the sensational rhetoric that surrounds them, I searched for an essay I had written a few years ago. Raoul Eshelman’s book Performatism or the end of Postmodernism is at the heart of my argument. Apologies, my writing style follows a German narrative arc, in which the academic resolution comes at the end and is not revealed in the intro. 

Here’s how it starts.

The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.  
Sydney Smith 1771-1845

It seems as if Sydney Smith had already looked at performance from a postmodernist and performatist perspective long before both had been conceptualized. I can only speculate if ‚the infinite possibilities within ourselves’ refers to the interpretative volatility of postmodernism or the author-centered transcendence of performatism. Both explanations make sense, although Eshelman contains that postmodernism contradicts performatism. In this article, I will try to assess ‚performance’ within theoretic classifications, starting with classical concepts that link theatrical and everyday behaviour.

{Essay_101010_Performance}

Rationale

Everyone who undertakes the massive endeavour to write a thesis in the social sciences will relate to how hard this is: formulating what exactly are the most important findings you made. Just wrote them down for my introduction and, this is it:

The rationale of this thesis is to show

a)     how online and offline are not separate but open up a hybrid conceptual third space through which techniques flow across from one domain to the other (becomes visible across the whole thesis);

b)     how emotional and synesthetic principles are used to drive creative productivity and harness uncertainty (chapter x);

c)     how co-creative process designs are applied performatively to change behavior among many (chapter x);

d)     how new transnational communities are cultivated through principles of scale and mutual benefit (chapter x).

e)     how altogether these ideologies, designs and practices indicate a trend to amalgamate imaginative and analytical ways of knowledge creation in order to innovate and make sense of the digitized world around us (conclusion).

Flip flop slap slop. Work done fore today.

learn do share #4

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With no resources, just passion and purpose an amazing group of people created another book, and we remain stunned by the impact of open collaboration.

Learn Do Share is a book, a documentation, reflection and learning resource about narrative experiments and social innovation efforts ventured at diy days New York City. We explore participatory systems, collaborative spaces, share culture, and self-propelled creativity. Written and designed by volunteers, the aim is to spread storytelling, empathy and collaboration as a way to “learn, do and share,” and to have a positive effect on creative communities within an open design environment both locally and globally.

Diy days is a social innovation hub and a vehicle for creative sustainability. It is an internationally roving gathering for those who create, free to participants and run by volunteers in the spirit of collaborative culture. Reboot stories designs these gatherings around sharing ideas and resources that help creators to fund, create, distribute and sustain their work. its experimental elements are attempts to explore the future of co-creation embedded in talks, networking and collaborative activities that are meant to spark the imagination of many.

[click image to download book]

 

urban game: enter the tengu

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Enter the Tengu is an urban game, a digital scavenger hunt that uses technology and other objects to lead two players from a mysterious starting point to a locked treasure box at the end of the journey.

Tengu are a class of supernatural creatures. Long held as demons and harbingers of war, their image softened into one of protective, if still mischievous, spirits of the mountain forests. Tengu have been called arrogant, mischievous, self-centered and dangerous; their appearance being a bizarre combination of human and bird with fearsome eyes shining with the mischief. They enjoy spreading chaos and confusion among humans, punishing the vain, kidnapping the foolish and playing on the weak.

However, the Tengu’s way – as resentful as it seems – bears an important lesson. They serve as mentors to humans they find worthy. They remind us that we should be free to do what we want, be playful and take ourselves and out surrounding not too seriously.

This game was designed by myself and Claire Marshall as a surprise for Jordan Bryon for her 30th birthday. It began White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney – and lead the participants through the back streets of Chippendale to visit unusual locations, meet interesting people and encourage their inner Tengu to break free.

[click image to download walkthrough.]

a case in design and behaviour: generation 20+

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How do millenials use media? And how do they produce media?

Generation 20+ answers parts of these questions and explains an unusual ethnographic process developed to find deeper answers to recent media developments. The year-long project was developed at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in conjunction with Raimo Lang, Head of Content Development at Finnish Public Broadcaster YLE. The program included a conference, focusing on emerging media formats in a converging media landscape, and workshops, diving into qualitative research done by students on user profiles and media habits. I documented and interpreted the whole process and am very excited to share the results.
{click image to download pdf}

premiering the world’s first story-led open design game, maybe

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Imagine a neighbourhood being collectively evicted. Councils have tried and failed to come up with a solution that alleviates gentrification; urban planners have given up, other authorities shun responsibility. What if the answer can be found in a simple game that can be applied to any problem? A fun game that can be downloaded and printed at home, a collaborative game that ignites the greatest power we all have: our imaginence (imagination + intelligence). Could local solutions created by friends and neighbours trigger landslide change?

Vivid Ideas in Sydney invited us to play the game with a groups of 19 participants from policy, social housing, and areas such as architecture, filmmaking, arts, media, and social work. They joined us in the ambitious endeavour to co-design solutions to developments issues in Australia’s social housing policy.

Inspired by 1-hour prototyping workshops, the game itself works like a handbook that guides players and can be applied to any problem. Combining storytelling, collaboration and game mechanics, the concept uses absurdity to inspire divergent thinking, and applies design principles to ensure realistic outcomes. By also creating a collective narrative that explains the solution, it can be easily explained to outsiders, so the ideas can travel. Results are creative commons and can be shared on a website to increase chances that solutions are implemented widely. We premiered in June 2013 at Vivid Ideas in Sydney.

The game was developed to help neighbourhoods, friends and other communities to come together for a social night to ideate and create around shared concerns. Therefore, the game itself is released under a non-commercial share-alike creative commons license, so you can download, print and play, no pay! (Warning: at the moment the game still needs facilitators, who know a bit about open design. We’re working on it.)

The concept was created by Ele Jansen and Lance Weiler, both Reboot Stories. Additional game mechanics were designed by Deepti Raavi and Purnima Iyer, Pinaka Interactive. Graphics by Northern Army (wishforthefuture logo) and Monique Coffey (game boards, moniquecoffey.com). The specific session at Vivid was co-created with Jordan Bryon, who works with members of Sydney’s housing communities in a participatory storytelling project called TURF.

This game is part of Reboot Stories’ www.wishforthefuture.com and will be available on the site once it is ready to be played without a facilitator.

The game can be downloaded at www.learndoshare.net.

keynote at diydays new york

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These are slides I made for my first ever keynote. At diy days New York City 2013 we shared a day around the themes creative entrepreneurship, open design and foster care. In my talk I’m walking through my PhD approach, doing ethnography on open design, using pattern language to detect dynamics and relationships between collaborating creatives. With a look towards power I discuss what it means to balance introvert and extrovert. Suggesting new forms of work organization, I conclude listing collaboration fundamentals, suggesting that my observations indicate the need for new social contracts.

THNKR filmed the entire event and will publish the talks on their channel soon.
[click image to open prez in a new tab]