Blogging Residencies

Resident bloggers explore a broad theme over the course of 4-6 posts  over the course of a year. This is the index page of active residencies. Here’s the page of completed residencies.

NOTE! Resident bloggers contribute to this site in their personal capacity. Their views do not reflect the views of their employers.

BC_Logotype Data Gardens by Sam Bhagwat of Moore’s Hand. Voltaire’s metaphor of “tending your gardens” reflects a fairly universal human desire to reduce the world’s complexity into a set of familiar, manipulable objects and metaphors (gardens).We all know frameworks and people who reductively map the world into data sets and generating/processing systems — inhabitants of what we’ll call “data gardens.” Posts will start with soil inspection; then examine the impact of data garden cultivation on other gardens; and finally explore the roots of sustainable “gardening” in the modern world.

Posts to date:

  1. Algorithmic Governance and the Ghost in the Machine
  2. Authors and Directors
  3. Replaceability and the Economics of Disequilibrium
  4. Playing Games to Leave Games
BC_Logotype Marginally Acceptable by Jordan Peacock (Google+). Jordan will be reflecting on the ways the promises of hyped new technologies fail to materialize, the reasons (and rationalizations) why firms and individuals stick with poor solutions, and the social ramifications of these decisions. Stepping away from the technology titans, he will be focusing on more quotidian concerns: invoicing systems, email to fax appliances, business forms processing, COBOL payroll applications and SCADA control systems; the workaday systems that we love to hate, but which lubricate our modern lives and persist despite all reason.

 Posts to date:

  1. The Poor Usability Tell
  2. Love your Parasites
  3. Power Gradients and Spherical Cows
  4. A Koan is not a riddle
  5. We have them surrounded in their tanks
BC_Logotype Consensual Hells by Kartik Agaram. Kartik will be exploring how our institutions (organizations, bureaucracies, markets, governments) reflect blind spots in human nature, with debilitating consequences. What would institutions look like in a hypothetical alien race without these blind spots? Might they conceivably work on Earth? This work will build on last year’s series by Mike Travers, in particular.

Posts to date:

  1. From Cognitive Biases to Institutional Decay
  2. The Legibility Tradeoff
  3. Geopolitics for Individuals
BC_Logotype Rituals in Digital Space by Ryan Tanaka.  Ryan will be exploring notions of rituals and culture in relation to the internet, technology, and social media, with an emphasis on time constructs as means of organizing content delivery systems.  In today’s visually-dominated web environments, time is a concept that often gets overlooked in the development of technological products and design, making it fertile ground for innovations and experimentations to come.

As a musician, Ryan also does a musical improvisation as means of formulating his ideas, and each post will be accompanied by a recording of a live musical performance.

Posts to date:

  1. Ritual and the Productive Community
  2. The Rhythms of Information: Flow-pacing and Space-time
  3. The Design of Crash-Only Societies

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathan Chattaway December 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Venkat, in your Gervais Principle part IV, you said:

“Here, Jim doesn’t need anybody else to get why this is funny, not even Dwight. It is pure Sociopath play, a cat-mouse “pushing buttons” exercise in viciousness for private pleasure. ”

As a mockumentary, the show regularly breaks the fourth wall, and Jim and Pam in particular are aware of the presence of both the film crew and the viewer, us. We the viewer are implicit in many of Jim’s jokes, and the above situation you quote is no exception. Jim has made a private joke with us at the expense of everyone else present. Does that mean Jim acknowledges the target audience as sociopaths? Or, using your definitions, this is Jim in Alpha Loser mode, making a joke with the viewing Losers. It is not Jim in sociopath mode making a private joke for his own amusement. I would venture that Jim is never unaware of the viewer.


Venkat December 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Hmm… interesting thought there :) I always thought that the 4th wall breaks, outside of the explicit out-takes, was not strong enough to include the viewer in the scene. But I can see it’s a possible angle.


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