I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the impact of vehicles on livable “place”. I’m pretty sure that vehicles are profoundly disruptive to enjoyable, compact towns and villages if their circulation is not well managed. Vehicles bring with them a set of priorities that are not intrinsically good for dense population centers, the […]

In Jonah Lehrer’s recent book, Creativity, he dives into the scientific understanding of creativity – as a process, and its neurological roots. One of the interesting discussions centers on the finding that, “our thoughts are shackled by the familiar.” In other words, the farther we are from a problem (but not too far!), the more […]

Most of us have enjoyed, at least once, the serendipitous confluence of wandering and delight. We’ve bumped into something utterly transfixing, without really trying, and come away enriched – with the added sense that “it was meant to be.” Maybe that’s how we met a lover (we say bonjour in a cafe, against our intent […]

Photo: MakerFaireAfrica2012 Make for a great weekend of learning and creativity. This Thursday the Population Institute and Vermont-based Population Media Center will host the 32nd annual Global Media Awards in New York City. “Each year PI honors journalists, filmmakers, radio and television show hosts, and editorial cartoonists from around the world who write about population […]

Following up on my “10 Things to Love about DC,” I’m also trying to grab some photographic “sketches” of the city in transition. Washington is evolving at a tremendous pace – you could almost imagine a space port to the east in 50 years. Anyway, I like this photo captured today for a bunch of […]

What I thought, and what they are. Rube – green, inexperienced? As in, “Chances were, this rube would never be able to crack the safe in time to get out.” (Actual: bumpkin) Scow – battered boat? As in, “The old man’s scow bump against the bastion on the rising tide.” Probity – caring interest? As […]

DC is a fantastic city. Its coming up, reversing a long back-sliding history. It has weathered British sacking, Civil War encampments, a heavy-handed Eisenhower-era sweep-up, and plunging fortunes after Dr King’s assassination. Things are looking up today, and the design laid out by L’Enfant (1791) and later updated by McMillan (1901) have stood up remarkably […]

The BBC reports today on the incredible surgery by which a man’s toe became his lost thumb – much less disabling, life without a big toe than a thumb, especially for a man in his line of work – a plant operator. Asked, “Does a toe make a good thumb?” Mr Byrne replied, “Yes, I […]

By page 400 or so I couldn’t put down China Mieville’s vibrating, seeping, crackling “Perdido Street Station” – its spell was cast and the web of wounded, brave, unearthly, mishapen characters drew me with them toward their final act. Mieville’s second novel, set on the artfully constructed continent city of New Crobuzon, is executed in […]

No, I haven’t had that but it is the theme of an imagined piece of artwork that I put together for the subscription art service Papir Masse. Back in July PM issued a call for submissions, “summer postcards” – whimsical, sultry, true or imagined, PM was looking for some steamy summer reading and art. I […]

There’s a mindblowing insight early in James Gleick’s “The Information” I wanted to share and fix in my mind: A mondegreen is not a transistor, inherently modern. Its modernity is harder to explain. The ingredients – songs, words, and imperfect understanding – are all as old as civilization. Yet for mondegreen’s to arise in the […]

Okay, off the cuff. Can television, specifically evening programming that targets women, have an impact on behavior at the population level? Can these lessons be applied to other domains? The September 2011 National Geographic makes a compelling case that, when other conditions are right, television can have broad social and economic impact. Consider the case […]

I’ve been having alot of fun playing around with the macro setting on my rinky-dink Nikon CoolPix (after watching some Tom Lowe timelapses I feel…hungry!). OUCH is a juicy example. Here’s another, wherein a little friend has a brief an unglorious encounter with my Lettera.

They say here in Vermont, every four days a barn collapses. Our barn here in Cabot Vermont comes alive in the summer. No doubt this is a common Vermont experience and I’m come lately to its recognition! Favorite barn visits have included the “gallery” at American Flatbread, the Bread and Puppet museum, and Jennifer Ranz’s […]

Continuing to work on wood panel I’ve been trying to loosen up from a conventional texture-collage approach. What else can be done with a rich and varied texture as background? Instead of a intentional color what happens when you go completely loose and forget about whether it makes sense from a composition standpoint? What happens […]

A friend recently asked if I could make a “cat sarcophagus” for her daughter’s upcoming eighth birthday party. Along with the proposal she included a snapshot of a “cat mummy”  from London. Coincidentally, a few months prior, National Geographic had a cover issue dedicated to pet mummies of ancient Egypt, which my family had loved. So plenty […]

Since the early ’90s I’ve occasionally experimented with multitrack recording and arranging. Somewhere around 1998 I put this piece together from clips from the early George Lucas film, “THX1138″ using Cakewalk, a bunch of analog inputs, a Macbook, and Berkeley software. Still holds up – barely! Click here to take a listen.

Gertrude Stein once wrote about ‘the flowers of friendship faded friendship faded.” I’ve always been struck since by puzzling constructions of repetitious word use. This is one I thought worked mysteriously well with images. In no particular order.

A bit of Magritte along with a humorous dose of techno-reactionism, whipped together this piece for Howard Rheingold, who long ago (think “SmartMobs”) got me excited about the large-scale social potential of mobile devices. He once lent me a vintage copy of Whole Earth Review for a paper I was putting together with Robert Cavalier […]

Hey friends I’d love your take on this short story I wrote. Its intended for youngish readers, perhaps high school. I hope the older and more worldly among you will enjoy it as well!

For family, friends, and kindred spirits

For a while I’ve been working to “blow up” my collages – break out of the small-scale mold that has been impressed on me by the Peace Tiles work. Recently, the folks at the Green Mountain Film Festival created an opportunity to go large – with the necessary level of risk involved to really push […]

About a year ago a friend I’d met at Goucher College during a Peace Tiles workshop I’d run provided me with an opportunity to push forward an idea I’d had for a while: reproduce children’s artwork produced in a Peace Tiles workshop in a way that would be appropriate to a lively public environment and […]

A few weeks ago I had a dream in which I visited a friend in Georgia at “his father’s home.” I’d never been there. In fact I’ve never met his father. Nonetheless, the dream was surprisingly vivid and I was able to recall the basic – and I thought later – very interesting design of […]

One of the delights in taking a meander to – and through – a good antique or salvage shop is the discovery of once functional objects that have been shorn, busted, unmade and unusable. Yet a glimmer of their former utility is there – something to suggest that it should, or once would, do something. […]

The poem that is the subject of this box – a steamy summery kind of musing, complete with blueberries, olympics, and humidity – is taken from the Fall 2006 ESOPUS magazine. Even though the poems, written in the ’80s by Vincent Katz, are about a breakup, I found them to be much more immediate, intimate, […]

A friend recently asked if I could make a “cat sarcophagus” for her daughter’s upcoming eighth birthday party. Along with the proposal she included a snapshot of a “cat mummy” from London. Coincidentally, a few months prior, National Geographic had a cover issue dedicated to pet mummies of ancient Egypt, which my family had loved. […]

Around the holidays last year I’d made a promise to knock out a washboard table with a collage top for a family member. I’d gotten the basic idea from the remarkable Victoria Romanoff in Ithaca, New York at a meet up we’d had years ago.This go around, I’d found a couple of pricier washboards with glass rubbing plates. Cleaning […]

During a brief family holiday along the Erie Canal last week, I had the pleasure of stopping in at the Western New York Book Arts Collaborative. What a thrill! Why? Several reasons:  Its a bright open physical space in the heart of a city ready for a rebound. Artists know what that feeling is like: […]

I’m settling into my new role here at MIT as the IDEAS Competition coordinator. Its a great place to be – the Media Lab, Arts department, Architecture and Urban Studies – all contained within this vast engine of applied research. My role here is to support student interest in applying their ingenuity to community development […]

Today I’m headed to Ithaca, New York to give a talk, run a workshop and in other ways participate in Earth Day celebrations that take place there each year through the Center for Environmental Sustainability (CES) which will sponsor,”GREENING THE ARTS.”  They’ve asked me to be part of an informal panel on Friday morning exploring […]

I’m excited to be part of an advisory group to new effort to look at the way the evolving landscape of media channels and content impacts the contemporary democratic experience in the U.S. Its something I’ve thought alot about since carrying out a research project for the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation about 5 […]

April, T.S. Elliot famously wrote, is the cruelest month. Like an inconstant lover perhaps, at least in the northern climes, it teases with hints of warm days to come, then retreats to separate quarters, letting the cold slip back again. Even without the early Crocus and Skunk Cabbage, the sweet smell of burning wood and […]

One of the fun pieces of work for the last couple of years is participating in the Green Mountain Film Festival – as an Operations Committee Member, a film viewer and as a participating artist. This year, working with two friends/colleagues who are both gifted – one is a clothing maker/costume designer and the other […]

Mine is the bottom right. The “cloud” text says, Children of the earth moulders of clay, movers of rock. In making the tile, I was struck by how well the lighting worked between the girl and the cloudy background I’d painted. That was a pleasing result. The concept continues my interest in the representation of […]

These days I am occupied – nearly obsessed – with an idea for a new social venture start-up in Vermont – a state that thrives on individual pluck within an awareness of the whole.  With luck, you would join a very small, very accomplished group of advisors to this new venture, all of whom have […]

Begins tomorrow morning. I’ve worked hard to develop a set of materials that I hope can effectively guide classrooms into thinking about the topic, “What is my place,” while not taxing teachers. Tomorrow morning I spend the day making 45-min presentations to all of the grades. Its a bit like a charrette. In K-4 we […]

Remember when we were kids, how we’d be eager to get to the baby sitter’s early before school so we could catch 15 minutes or a half hour of Speedracer, Marine Boy, or Underdog? Then afterschool we’d rush back to catch Banana Splits, later it was He Man? By the time we were in high […]