Photo by Matthew Wiebe I’m a researcher at the Imaging Research Center at UMBC. We explore new forms of storytelling…
In the digital world, space is pretty cheap these days. I can backup my laptop for 6 months for what it costs to spend an evening out. I don’t care about Google’s storage issues so I don’t even bother to delete emails I’m not interested in; I just ignore them. But I do notice that when I take the time to actually select a file and trash it, it feels good. In fact, it feels increasingly good…
So, Istanbul. Decades after the Ottoman Empire said goodbye to its last Sultan in 1922 the population of Istanbul was what it had been at the end of the 19th century—hovering around a million. That’s not a lot for a city that big; it must have felt as empty as Baltimore does sometimes. Since then, Istanbul’s population has grown thirteen fold, and like its income, it’s still growing fast compared to metropolitan areas in other industrialized nations. How does this happen?
Leaving my world behind allows me to experience other cultures, and also helps me see my own. I’m in Istanbul at the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA) to find out what others are doing, see the Istanbul Biennale, and talk about prosocial media research. Istanbul is cool. Baltimoreans would love it, as does everyone here, it seems. Since I arrived I’ve been scribbling down notes, trying to better understand my sense that Istanbul and Baltimore are similar in some significant ways, and so are Turkey and the US.
The big hope for Westerners in the past few centuries was the idea that things would just keep getting better and better for us. Unfortunately, unless I’m missing something, that curve of well-being has stopped bending and started sagging—badly. While a great mass of humanity has gotten out from under the thumbs of some kings, the only way for many to pay the rent now may be to work for the king whose first name is “Burger.”
It seems to me that would be pretty unusual to judge yourself as the one in 1,000 artists who will be able to live on your work. What kind of person would believe that they could do that? (Incidentally, I don’t necessarily associate making a living off your art with being an artist.)
It reminds me of what we expect a lot of people to do. We look at people who come from tough circumstances—people who might be one in 100 or even 1000 if they embraced their education in the way we might like them to. But who would be that person? And that person who judges others who can’t find that kind of strength, you just want to ask them, “are you that person. Are you that exceptional? Where would you be by now if you were?”
Despite that the data on the cost-benefit ratio for using vaccines to stall pandemics is overwhelmingly in favor of vaccines—those data aren’t driving Ms. Huffington’s thinking. What does? Hard to say, but mistrust is rampant. I googled the word “vaccines” and 4 of the first 5 listings were anti-vaccine sites. One was a rock band—great name: Vaccine.