This week felt covered by a bit of a fog. Let's see if I can cut through it a bit.
- I put in some back-end work on this site. I'm using the Gridsome static site generator to build this site now. I did take some time to yak-shave over the weekend and port the design and content to eleventy. Eleventy is a more straightforward platform and a bit "closer to the metal." I'll have some room to do more experimental publishing on this site. Nobody will notice or care, so perhaps it was not the best use of time.
- Of course, I've continued work on the Polaroid Project Online. We have quite a rich set of audio that we are integrating into a virtual model, and it's coming along fine, but slowly.
- We're tossing around interesting ideas about museum-wide content strategies that smash our stories through the walls of galleries and into the real world. The team is getting closer to articulate what I've been advocating for since I started at MIT (i.e. a hackable museum, the museum as API, experience platforms, etc). We're approaching Big Ideas about the future of our museum, but I'm concerned about a lack of a coordinated approach across departments that would be required to pull some of these ideas off.
- Relatedly, I think we've some seeds for good ideas for storytelling support on our Online Collections Portal.
- I was rather affected by the Beirut bombing this week. I wrote a lengthy essay about it and how the way we are conducting life through screens has made the world feel less real.
Our reality bubbles have closed in on us as we hunker down in our homes, peeking out at the world through pixels in a glass portal. It's not normal. We're not wired for this. I empathize with people who desperately and recklessly ignore socially distancing and stay-at-home orders.
This isn't how we evolved. Our animal instinct to forget and ground ourselves in reality are too strong. We need each other in to know that we are real.
We are experiencing a global derealization. I've named it for myself, but I don't like the looks of this ride. The fall is going to kill us. We just might be living in a simulation that is winding down. I have no way of knowing if anyone of us is real or not.
- In response, also, over the following couple of days, I put a little extra effort in my project, Sorry I Was on Mute, a software intervention for Zoom meetings to increase the bandwidth of our human communication. Mmhmm turned into a really helpful shortcut. I ran experiments during my meetings today and already gathered some useful feedback. Given how fast Zoom and Teams and others are evolving their software, I feel like I have a small window to say something about these fundamentally inhumane interfaces; I've moved this project further up in my "content pipeline."
- I've been working through a more intentional relaunch of this site and also planning the launch of a weekly email newsletter (sign up below). I have somewhat aggressive targets for publishing frequency and word counts. To be honest, it feels refreshing to have an ambitious and difficult creative project outside the ambitious, difficult, and creative project that is my day job. I'm not sure how sustainable a pace I've arbitrarily set for myself, but I've made a 100-day pledge to myself to keep plugging away before I reevaluate.
- I'm pretty confident I'm burnt out. My sleep has been pretty awful this week. I'm going to scan ahead and plan for an extra lengthy break later this month.
- Some favorite tweets: