Rapid Response: Collapse!

I will be leading a discussion at Studio-X next Tuesday on the topic of the recent economic changes. This is part of the Rapid Response series at Studio-X, an open and undetermined platform for quick response to events that have transpired over the last thirty days.

Collapse! explores the spatial consequences of the "new" economy—the panic of 2008 as well as the last two decades, and the last two years—at a variety of scales: the NYSE trading room to Manhattan, the city to the suburbs, the United States to the world. I will lead a discussion with Daniel Beunza, Assistant Professor, Management Division, Columbia Business School and Micah Fink, Emmy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker. 

Collapse! is produced in collaboration with the Network Architecture Lab.

Refreshments provided by Barefoot Wines

RSVP: [email protected]
Free and open to the public

WHEN: Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 pm
WHERE: Studio-X, 180 Varick Street, Suite 1610
1 train to Houston Street

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networked publics and publicity

As I mentioned, the first of my three fall books, Networked Publics, is out. Initial reaction has been really positive and I am just thrilled.

If you are a member of the press, please contact me and I will ask MIT to send you one.

One of my goals in the next few days is to get the video section of Networked Publics back online after a year’s hiatus. I post a note to the site to that end when I’ve done that.

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whence and wither

I got back from teaching in Limerick yesterday and am slowly plotting my next steps. Certain things are in play. I continue to do new work with Robert at AUDC. The Netlab is going to launch a large project or two during the next year. But the foremost question in my mind now is: "what’s my next book?"

Fate conspired to make three years of edited books come out this fall. That’s not ideal, but we take what we can get, I suppose. Part of the fall will go to the inevitably necessity of promoting these books, but my clever strategy of having projects published in neat succession was undone by one slow publisher, one collaborator who wanted his project out by this Christmas, and one project that came out on on time. So a barrage of books will be followed by a gap as I gear up to the next project.

Originally, I had planned to write my network culture book, but now as the economy is tanking, I’m wondering how such a book will be received and where it would fit into such a rapidly degenerating condition. So another strategy may be to finally put together my work on Philip Johnson, add some more research, and publish that.

Now, as anyone reading this blog knows, I have been predicting the implosion of the markets for years. In any sensible world the market would have had a correction years ago so of course this one is much worse than expected. Well, I told you so. If anything surprises me about the world economy’s current plight it’s that anybody professes surprise. The signs of the collapse have been around us for a long time and, this will come as unwelcome news to many, but things are worse even than they might appear. My current bedside reading is Kevin Phillips’s Bad Money. Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Failure of American Capitalism, a harrowing account of how this collapse happened, written in 2007 (!). See the Bill Moyers interview with Phillips here. If the book is written in 2007 and the interview is from September of this year, they both anticipate and explain the current collapse.

Since the collapse is a key moment in network culture, once I can get a handle on its consequences, it would only make sense to continue that project. This strain of thought argues toward network culture as the next book and that’s likely to happen. There’ll be a lot of thinking aloud,  wondering, and asking you, my reader for advice along the way no matter where all this winds up.


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Acquia Launches

I’m buried in getting the last of my three books out the door today. Murphy’s Law always wins. I submitted our material to the publisher over a year ago and thought this book would be in print by Christmas of last year. Now its a rush to get it in print by Christmas of this year. It’s going to happen, but it’s going to be a tough few days getting it done.

In the meantime, I was delighted that Drupal, the software that powers this site is now available in a commercially-supported package at Acquia. Run by Dries Buytaert, the founder and benevolent dictator of Drupal, Acquia offers the core package as well as a stabilized set of key community-provided extensions. Installers seeking support can pay for it instead of hoping and praying that other people will do so at the Drupal forums (an increasingly unlikely event, as more and more new users descend on the forums and as developers get fed up with questions they’ve heard before). I’m planning to move all of my sites to Acquia (or at least the next version of Drupal) as soon as I get done with this last book and get back from teaching in Ireland next week.

Drupal’s been great software for me, running varnelis.net since 2006 as well as networkarchitecturelab.org, networkedpublics.org, docomomo-us.org, audc.org, and pavoni.varnelis.net (maybe I’m leaving something out?) Great news for Dries and for Drupal. I wish them the greatest success.

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