Jun 29, 2012

an equivocal and cautious age

But megalomania can be a useful counterbalance to our own equivocal and cautious age. Judd, whose work looks better as time goes by, reminds us via his Marfa empire what it is to care unreservedly, even maniacally, about art, which he regarded as synonymous with life, not peripheral to it.
this is what i saw in marfa two years ago (even more).

part one

robert irwin at pace (east 57th st, extended til 7/13/2012): a small show worth seeing. also the first retrospective i've seen featuring only new work. this is possible only if the work itself is an evolution of principles and approaches (the refinement of style or a function generator), rather than an accumulation of concrete pieces (a set of works or fixed points). in this way of thinking about development, late work is better for being both more and less: more comprehensive in representing elements of a style and including fewer elements that are extraneous.

the front desk was unamused by my suggestion that one of the white panels could stand a more rigorous cleaning. more on irwin here and here, and a nice little film about the retrospective here.

Jun 27, 2012

stone barns

the grass is indeed greener when there are no sides.

point source


Jun 26, 2012

surf shot

surf evolution, a retrospective of art brewer's surf photography, is on show until the end of june at SVA (e 23rd st, between 3rd and 2nd aves). many are the unremarkable shots taken for surf clothing advertisements. but there are also a few gems, like the photo above of matt archbold in the curve of a wave off the coast of sumatra. worth a visit.

Jun 21, 2012


a tablet and a laptop are two conceptually separate things which will probably have to evolve separately as long as keyboards are our primary method for entering text data. on a laptop, writing is possible, even easy (we do it all the time). on a tablet, regardless of the quality of the attached keyboard, writing is a pain. a tablet is primarily and optimally a device for consuming content, not for generating content. a laptop or desktop is relatively better for generating content and is okay for consuming it.

the tablet's native text input device is a virtual keyboard and other interactions occur through a touch-screen interface. this pulls the hand away from the keyboard even for minor navigation, as anyone who's ever tried to move a cursor in a block of text knows. worse, as implemented in the major tablet operating systems, virtual keyboards don't persist when users switch applications or views (nor should they persist, given the size of current virtual keyboards relative to tablet display sizes).

when entering and editing text is a major use case, both a keyboard touchpad (as on a laptop) or a mouse next to the keyboard (as with a desktop) are superior to touch interfaces for non-text entry interaction. i've brought only an ipad and a keyboard with me on several trips of various lengths, leaving the laptop at home. if i have to do any real work at all—writing, editing, really anything more than reading feeds and emails that require only short responses—the combination of ipad and keyboard is intolerable: it remains a tablet that needs you to touch its screen to navigate, except with a keyboard attached.

now, how about a tablet (with exclusively touch-oriented interaction) that might convert under some conditions to a keyboard- and touchpad-oriented tablet device? (such conditions being: a keyboard + pointer combination being attached, whether directly or over the air.) this would work, but only if the OS successfully switches interaction logics completely, from virtual keyboard+touchscreen to keyboard + pointer device. something like this is probably unlikely to come from accessory manufacturers, since it requires significant OS integration.

this means that surface is potentially quite interesting. but i am ready to have my heart broken again by technology and dumb UX decisions.

Jun 18, 2012

stuff moves around

from now on, posts related to food (like these) and drink (like these) will be on hydration is our highest priority. i'll start by having pointers to those posts here but in a few months the sap also rises will focus entirely on other stuff.

of late, this has been mostly:

  1. longer writings about the design of work, of things, of cities, of groups, of technology.
  2. short explorations of pieces of my research on innovation and ambiguity. 
  3. extracts from books or articles, with and without commentary.
  4. photographs taken in the course of daily life, invariably with a "smart" phone. what i will do with photographs of everyday food or drink remains an open question.
it feels good to clean up, trim down, reallocate. this may happen again.

Jun 8, 2012


from kay van vree (found thanks to jenny white).

Jun 6, 2012

scomber scombrus

is the atlantic mackerel (also the boston mackerel). being low on the food chain and a habituĂ© of cold waters, it is both rich in flavour and poor in mercury (though some disagree). on a whim (and spurred by the serried ranks of gleaming and bright-eyed fish at the lotte market), i picked up a few and caused them to be gutted on the spot but left otherwise whole.

last summer in denmark, there was much mackerel. (they were making a nordic version of garum.) i ate raw filets of it right after the whole fish were broken down, i ate it fried in richly flavoured unfiltered rapeseed oil on top of toasted rye bread, i ate it pickled in apple cider vinegar with paper-thin radish slices. mackerel is one of the best fish around: it loves acid and/or high heat more than leaner fish do.

at home, the mackerel turned quickly into long, thin filets. mackerel has a toughish skin, which can be removed neatly: with a sharp, narrow-bladed knife, skin-side down, cut just under the tail end to make a little tip of skin and flesh to hold on to. slide the knife along, pressing it down to the board, while pulling on the little tip. easier done than said. (this skin does become nicely crisp when grilled or pan-seared on high heat, but is distractingly chewy otherwise.)

the head (halved medially) and all the little trimmings went into a pot with water to cover. after gentle simmering, this produced a sweet, briny fish stock with a 1/4" thick layer of fish oil on top, worthy of the name fumet. soup tomorrow!

some of the filets went into a rice wine vinegar/salt/sugar pickle solution (with some garlic and ginger), some others went into a cider vinegar/cilantro pickle solution.

the last filets went, after a brief turn in a very hot pan and a squeeze of lime, into me.

Jun 3, 2012

hydration is our highest priority

the unrecorded experience is the unremembered experience. and if a good beverage is drunk, the experience should be remembered.

hence, hydration is our highest priority. please forgive the purple prose.