Reflections on My First Year of Blogging

My blogging career began exactly a year ago today on a hastily-assembled Tumblr page called Boring from Within. The unexpected catalyst was the tragic death of my friend Aaron Swartz, the great activist to whom I also dedicate the present post.

I ended post #1 by saying that “I feel compelled to grieve with this, my first really public pronouncement [in close to a decade]. I’m not sure what’s next, but under the circumstances being quietly bereft and outraged doesn’t feel like an adequate response.”

As it turned out I mainly used that site for agitprop that I made in an effort to learn Adobe Illustrator. The first and most popular of these quoted Philip K. Dick’s advice for surviving in a surveillance state. Most of the other posts were likewise centred around freedom of speech and consciousness.

After splitting in June between Tumblr and this WordPress site I made a lot of what I called “meta-posts” on both sites—i.e. posts pointing to content on the other site. This strategy of being in two places at once is not unrelated to the PKD quotation imploring us to evade the state by way of various ruses.

While I agree with the sentiment I think that in the era of mass cyber-surveillance such evasion is no longer possible. So I find myself jumping into the fray, but in a way that resists committing to a single and stable identity—an evasion tactic that I address in an appropriately roundabout way in this post from last August. That being said, my most popular post on the current blog was about embracing the present in a fully embodied way. I’d like to do a lot more of that (the embracing, that is) in the coming year. I’m not sure whether blogging about it is part of the problem or part of the solution. It’s probably not that simple.

For the past few months I’ve been dividing my online publishing time (now with audiocast) between the present site and Slow Ottawa, which in turn have their own Pinterest and Twitter accounts. So today on my personal Twitter account I was retweeted by the Royal Society of Arts and favourited by Ram Dass, while over at Slow Ottawa I’m advocating to get the sidewalks fixed.

I suspect that a year from now I’ll remain fully divided in some such way. Frankly I wish the whole world was set up like the iPhone Twitter app, where I can toggle seamlessly between selves at the swipe of a thumb.

It’s one way to survive this madness.

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I'm a historian, curator, teacher and designer living in Ottawa. In 2003 I completed a Harvard doctoral dissertation on the 18thC origins of the catalogue raisonné. Then I taught at Stanford University in California from 2003 to 2005. For the next six years I was Curator of European & American Art at the National Gallery of Canada. These days I'm involved in a variety of research, teaching, advocacy and design projects. For more information visit my web sites, including my personal blog (grahamlarkin.info) that will take you to my other sites including Design Incubator (designincubator.info), Slow Ottawa (slowottawa.ca), Vision Zero Canada (visionzero.ca) and Love 30 Canada (love30.ca).

Posted in consciousness, design, experience, technology

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a little info

Art historian (PhD Harvard '03)

Founder, Principal >> smallmuseums.ca

Principal Researcher, Knowledge Design >> hpg.io

Executive Director >> VisionZero.ca / Love30.ca

McLuhan Scholar >> http://mcluhan.consortium.io/

DataViz Instructor >> designincubator.info

Sustainable Living >> slowottawa.ca | @slowottawa

If you don't like those interests, I've got others.

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