Thank you for all the outpouring of kind words for my newsletter last week. It was a huge catharsis to write it, and I was so touched that it seemed helpful to many of my readers. I'm still working through responding to the many of you who sent me a note. In the meantime, please keep your pandemic stories coming, and I'll keep trying to write back as soon as possible.
So I was tempted to make this week's newsletter about NFTs.
However, if I'm honest, at this point, I can't even be bothered to write anything about them: they and the people building NFT startups or trying to form "thought leadership" gross me out. I've been contacted by no less than three vendors trying to sell my museum some form of NFT snake oil. Besides, there's already plenty of writing on this topic. Here are just a few articles I've read.
- Jack Rusher wrote a really helpful explainer last year that helped wrap my head around the broad strokes early on.
- A robot made a self-portrait NFT which sold for almost $700K.
- A museum technology business concern, masquerading as an "art collective," attempted to pilfer publically accessible images from open access collections at museums. When they faced the inevitable outrage from museums and artists, they pretended it was all a joke. Nobody believes their story. (thanks to @GraceOnTheRun for the tip!)
- This whole thing has the hallmarks of either a grift or generalized market stupidity.
So this week, I mostly just wanted to share a couple of things I've made so far this year and haven't had the chance to tell you about. I'm following my instinct that making things feels a lot better than retreating in the face of global trauma. That seems more productive than trying to engage in discourse around a parasitic crypto-market that's quite literally destroying our planet, at any rate.
See you on the blockchain,
I made a YouTube video of the essay I wrote about Error 1202 on the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon.
For the MCN blog, I wrote an essay about how Zoom meetings are neurologically fatiguing, highlight inequities, and can cause our worst instincts to arise in our virtual workplace.
Have you had meetings with people you know who spent a lot of time and money crafting their backgrounds and upgrading their camera and microphone? They command your attention because we have been trained over the past decades to appreciate high levels of production value when watching media. Everyone judges the artwork and books you choose as part of your set design.
When we hold job interviews online, how unbiased can we be when a candidate just has a better lighting setup than another? Expensive cameras are unfair advantages, and we are all suddenly YouTubers, whether we like it or not. We have a lot of catching up to do, at any rate.
In 2021, cinematography and audio production became critical skills for basic digital literacy.
- From "When Museums Embrace Zoom Our Brains Suffer", MCN Insights, January 25, 2021
This was issue #19 of Soulful Computing by David Nuñez. You can find past issues on my website.
I listened to A Million Miles Away by FM Attack on repeat as I was writing this newsletter.