“Flower of Life”, by Marisa Papen, is the first NFT of a vagina. Learn more here. Or go here to buy it on the blockchain.

To see this image, aptly named “Flower of Life,” is to see it multiple times at once.

At first, we think we know what’s happening as we feel that immediate tinge of familiarity. That’s a vagina! And then: It’s out of place! But there are many ways to be out of place, most of which are not out of place but are actually all too familiar. Which is to all to say, seeing a vagina where we don’t expect a vagina—whether we’re shocked, aroused, or bored—is nothing novel. On the contrary, it’s disappointingly banal.

But this—this vagina, this image, this…

This painting is a condensation of Phil King’s work: squiggles and nothing but. (See Phil King’s work on Instagram, Artsy, Aleph Contemporary, and Rise Art.)

All painters are cartographers. A line — even as a drip of paint — demarcates space, creates boundaries, some version of here and there. But as these worlds don’t exist outside the canvas, our criteria of assessment isn’t accuracy. Artists don’t represent the world; they create worlds—the map becomes the territory and vice versa. When we see art, the question then becomes: What world is this? How do things operate here? How am I, as this viewer, situated in its world? And how, in turn, does this world inflect the other worlds in which I live?

As Michel Foucault argues…

In my lifetime, there is no contest about who has dominated quality television — programs that push the medium, that reinvent what TV can be, shows that have a shelf life beyond the buzz and first viewing: HBO. For me, it started with The Larry Sanders Show which premiered in 1992. Since then, consider the shows it has helped create and bring to the world:

  • Oz, Six Feet Under, Carnivale, and Big Love — all of which, even with their flaws, reveled in complexity of story and character and humor
  • A series of David Milch series which introduced a level…

Watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/358238055

One of my favorite sequences in “I Wish You Would,” Ryland Walker Knight’s short(ish) new and deeply affective film, finds the camera following the lead character, Stanley, as he walks down an Oakland street drinking a case of Pabst. The camera moves with him as if it’s there with him — as if, perhaps, we’re there with him.

The great Stoic, Epictetus, urged people to imagine their future as a way to move through it gracefully. Say you’re going to a friend’s party. Imagine who will be there, what things you’d say that might offend (for better or worse), that might inspire, how you’ll pace your drinking, how much you’ll eat. For Epictetus, imagining a future helps us navigate who we are, what we want, and what we’ll become.

A system that has to rely on philanthropy to fix the outcomes that that system creates is, well, insane — and obviously not sustainable as a quick look around reveals. So let’s use our clever tech — decentralized smart contracts — to engineer a different economic engine with better outputs.

I saw this a few months ago and, I have to admit, I thought it was a joke: “UC San Francisco launched a new research initiative aimed at discovering the root causes of homelessness — and solutions to end it — thanks to a $30 million gift from Salesforce (CRM)…

This episode eloquently articulates the violence — the fascism — at the heart of “sides.”

Which side are you on? It seems like a fair question. There are arguments and battles everywhere. So, c’mon, which side you are on? Pick one!

But that’s one of those insidious questions that behooves us to interrogate it. Most conspicuously, the question can only come after the terms of the discussion have been established and sides drawn; otherwise, there’d be no sides to choose from. To ask the question, then, is to assume that we all agree to the establishment of a) the terms…

Photograph by Paula May

The internet has of course decentralized communication. News and information no longer flow through few centralized sources: they come every which way. And this has inaugurated all kinds of changes in how we understand information, how we interact with each other, how we live day to day.

But the internet remains centralized. Companies build server farms that act as storage and way stations for the flow of this information. This creates security risks as all your data is sitting on servers that are waiting to be hacked. It also creates an ease of censorship: YouTube can pull videos as it…

In “The Leftovers,” knowing and identity come from the stories we tell on the personal, societal, and cosmic planes and the ways those stories intersect and resonate. Life is competing narratives of sense without resolve.

So, yes, this essay has spoilers. But what’s a spoiler, exactly? And do they matter? “The Leftovers” is an odd beast that is at once highly expressive, leading with affect, sentiment, and feelings. In fact, its affective intensity is downright relentless even, or especially, as it’s inflected by strong, incongruous music choices.

“The Leftovers” deploys strong music choices that inflect the action and feeling in endlessly surprising ways. The music rewrites the story we’re seeing, another “fact” within the epistemological and ontological act of storytelling.

At the same time, the show is fundamentally driven by narrative twists and turns. In…

Privacy as a Red Herring

So I recently watched the Netflix documentary, “The Great Hack,” which purports to reveal the nefarious things Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have done with our data. It seems these companies used our information to sell us things — in particular, to sell us a world view that supported a certain candidate in an election. Egad!

What the film, in its achingly obvious and predetermined sanctimony, fails to talk about is that these companies — Facebook and Cambridge Analytica along with Google, 23andMe, etc — sell our data without sharing any of the wealth with us…

Daniel Coffeen

Former Berkeley Rhetoric prof turned…what? Anatha Comms. Wrote this, too: https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Way-Things-Towards-Technology/dp/1785354140

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