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alt7 : culture, media, politics, technology, edited by Dean Terry

January 31, 2006



You are not supposed to pay attention to the parking structures that sit next to (rather than under) suburban office buildings such as this one in Addison Texas. These structures built for automobiles are supposed to be invisible, not part of the official design of the primary structure. Sometimes it's hard to figure out which one is uglier.

While I was interviewing him in Addison Circle, Andres Duany looked at these structures and said "it couldn't have taken more than 15 minutes to design the whole facade."

Pretty generous of him, I thought.


Posted by Dean Terry at 09:12 PM Comments & Permalink (0)

January 28, 2006

Memory Bench

Benches and chairs have become decorative. They are like vestigial relics of a time when people really did sit in front of their houses.

Posted by Dean Terry at 05:56 PM Comments & Permalink (0)

January 22, 2006

Bubble 2.0

OK this is funny. I played a part in Bubble 1.0 and if we are in a Bubble 2.0 - there certainly is a frenzy over social software - then this image may have it down pat. One thing that was lacking in Bubble 1.0 was irony, not to mention doubt. We were all caught in this mass hallucination that looked something like the cover of The Robb Report, except younger and with email.

After the sales of myspace and flickr, a lot of people raised their heads from their gmail and went "hmmmm. So people really do want to connect with other people?" Well of course they do - at least via the mediation of a screen. Most of the built environment precludes opportunities for interrelations. We all get to have our stuff, our houses, and our cars, all of which keeps us at increasing distances from one another. And a good deal of recent technology is itself to blame for the spiral of disconnectedness.

As I finish my film Subdivided I am continually reminded how no matter how violently some societal forces push us away from one another, we always find ways to connect, even if it's just recreational groping in Second Life ;-)


Posted by Dean Terry at 09:08 PM Comments & Permalink (0)

January 16, 2006

A Little Tree on a Concrete Island

This is a sad little tree behind a new shopping center in Frisco, Texas. We can thank thoughtful zoning rules for this lovely scene. Everything was scraped away, paved and cemented, and then they made a little island for this lonely, pathetic tree.

Still image from the documentary film "Subdivided" - to be released this year.

Posted by Dean Terry at 12:55 PM Comments & Permalink (0)

January 13, 2006

Welcome to Second Life, Let's Grope


Second Life Online Virtual WorldWelcome to your Second Life, your new virtual world awaits you! The hope of a new life, free from all the real people you know and the sorry state of your own appearance. You can look like you've always wanted to look! Plus, no smells!

Oh, but wait. First this guy wants to put his hand in your pants.

And this is just what happened to a student of mine as he entered Second Life for the first time. Second Life is an online world that allows you to own virtual land and engage in various business and interpersonal activities: flirting, gambling, building things, groping, etc.

While I'm not opposed to groping in an of itself, and I'm certainly not against online worlds, this quite common event shows just how far these worlds still need to go.

In the near future most people will have multiple avatars in multiple, interconnected worlds engaged in all manner of activities - not just games and diversions.

And just as the pornography industry blazed many an Internet trail, so too will they work out the kinks (so to speak) in online worlds. In Second Life you can go to stripper bars and watch naked pixel women writhe before you in all their herky jerky, motion captured glory. If you give them Second Life currency, they will do other things for you.

One of the big problems with these worlds at the present time is that they are all privately owned, commercial ventures. Yes this will move the technology and the ecology of virtual culture forward, but certain areas will be ignored, such as shared spaces. The immersive digital commons.

For this we need an open-source movement in virtual worlds. One they are available, people will want virtual "rooms" and they will want to interconnect them, just the way they interconnect now with flickr and facebook, and all the other social software tools. People will connect their spaces organically, like the blogosphere, free from any overarching dictator - which is exactly how online worlds are governed now.

Once we have real public space in online worlds then we'll have an online world worth entering.


Posted by Dean Terry at 08:55 PM Comments & Permalink (3)




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