Completed Residencies

This is an archive of completed blogging residencies by Drew Austin, Kevin Simler, Mike Travers, Jordan Peacock, Kartik Agaram, Sam Bhagwat, Ryan Tanaka and Greg Rader. For currently active residencies, check this page.

Metropolitan Vapors by Drew Austin of Kneeling Bus. Drew’s series of guest posts will explore various ways that rapidly changing technology has altered the ways that people inhabit cities, which architectural historian Spiro Kostof called “amalgams of the living and the built.” The physical form of cities, found in their buildings, roads, and monuments, cannot possibly be rebuilt fast enough to keep up with the people and information that flow through them, and the lag between the two creates fascinating problems for which refactoring is often the best solution. Technology changes the ways that humans live in cities, as well as the reasons why we continue to need cities, and whether those reasons are as vital as the reasons of previous eras remains to be seen.
  1. Navigating the Holey Plane
  2. Machine Cities and Ghost Cities
  3. The Wave of Unknowing
  4. Civilization and the War on Entropy
  5. Freedom in Smooth Space
  6. The Networked Narrative
  7. The New Human Wilderness
Biology of Human Behavior by Kevin Simler of Melting Asphalt. Kevin will explore how society is anchored to biology — how we use body language, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, and synchrony to show affiliation, dominance, and submission (ritually or otherwise). Though the industrialized world is increasingly Cartesian (split between mind and body) and our public lives governed mostly by the mind, our bodies still play a fundamental role. Topics will include: body->mind effects on individuals, pairs, and groups; honest signalling; territory as a metaphorical extension of the body; the economics of status; and political ethology in the workplace.
  1. Anthropology of Mid-Sized Startups
  2. Honesty and the Human Body
  3. The Economics of Social Status
  4. Consciousness: An Outside View
  5. Projected Presence
  6. UX and the Civilizing Process
  7. Technical Debt of the West
First Person Plural by  Mike Travers of Omniorthogonal. Mike will be exploring a variety of refactoring of minds, persons, social relations, institutions, and the ways they are being transformed by technology.
  1. Patterns of Refactored Agency
  2. Solidarity and Recursion
  3. So I Shall be Written, So I Shall be Performed
  4. War and Nonhuman Agency
  5. I and Thou and Life in Aspergerstan
  6. The Government Within
  7. Morality for Exploded Minds
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.
  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
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.
  1. From Cognitive Biases to Institutional Decay
  2. The Legibility Tradeoff
  3. Geopolitics for Individuals
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.
  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
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:

onthespiral Individuality and Decision-Making by  Gregory Rader of On The Spiral ( on the Tempo blog). In his guest posts Greg will explore the role of individual differences in decision making.  Is narrative rationality a perspective available to everyone?  How do mental models differ in form and structure from one individual to another, and how do these differences translate into enactment styles?  Is it possible to distinguish potentially generative mental models from those that will eventually prove subtly disorganizing?  And ultimately, what is the point of it all?  Can personality types (“psycho-typical” archetypes) play a role in differentiating healthy ambitions from compulsions?
  1. The Cloistered Hedgehog and the Dislocated Fox
  2. Allowing Personality to Flow
  3. Deliberate Practice versus Immersion