Fuzzy quantum pop




WHAT DO FUZZY LOGIC, quantum physics and Pop Art have in common?

If I submitted that idea for a talk, would people want to hear it? Late at night. A form, online. Would I send it in? I would.

VOTING. The system I was writing into was a kind of popularity contest. You had to be voted up, and tell your friends to vote for you, and all that craziness that smacks of the things I don’t really like very much (pizzazz over content, so-called style over substance, marketing over delivering a great experience, etc). But anyway. Magically, it did get voted up. Maybe because Research Triangle Park is very nerdy. ‘Fuzzy Quantum Pop’ was the result. Just 5 minutes. A lot of fun. Bit daunting, being my first time talking in my rambly, somewhat esoteric and often obtuse way, in front of so many people. They were lively, though. Receptive.

To me, the conversation is the whole thing, and if the dialogue is good, if there’s a great jam, then whatever happens is just exactly right.

(You really did have to be there to feel the feeling, but this video gives you a sort of a taste of the experience.) So much of what we are about here at DK is creating a certain space for us to explore ideas, together. No one ‘wins’ in the ‘arguments’, and we don’t have a style of debate that is so popular with so many designers (‘let me push my ideas at you.’) Rather, it’s more like a jam session. A call and response. A conversation. Even in college, steps away from the Lincoln Theater (where this talk was presented), Design Kompany’s earliest aim was to foster an open forum style. Our dialogue formats have changed since then, but we’re still at it. Still making space. Salons. Workshops. Online forums…


NEW BOOK. Next month I’m launching a new book, Nostalgia Cà Phêwhich is science fiction, and since there are parts of the new work that reminded me of the old notes for FQP, I thought I’d dig it up and share this video, today. (If you already know me pretty well, this will be not surprising at all. High school friends already know about my forays into the sphere with radius Φ. But if we’re just getting started getting acquainted, I think this video is as good an intro as any. Or the book…

New book launches 1 September 2017

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Hoity toity jargon-happy boringness, academics and obfuscation


‘What? You always kind of start from left field, I feel, with no grounding, scene setting, stage, or the like.’

‘That’s… just clutter.’

‘No. It’s context.’


‘Not many people would be this patient, you know. Writing has to grab you, hook you in..’

‘You sound like a coach! And from the nineties, at that. I met someone just the other day who is stuck in the past, so it feels familiar. The disinterest in new forms.’


‘Putting it into plain words is hard.’


‘Well, OK. There are these really interesting people everywhere doing interesting things, like the fake grass on the tuk tuk, that is so cool, and those garden-y vibes with the plants poking up the sides, I love that! It’s so modern! I love it!’


‘Then, you get the researchers coming in somehow mucking about with opinions and so called objective data, I’m being influenced, okay, by the books we are reading in book club here in S P A C E, but yeah. Those people aren’t interested in intrinsic beauty, or the emergent. They can’t see it. They’re stuck with old rulers measuring things that no longer count. It’s obsolete. It’s a waste of time…. Of resources. I want to tell them… Look at it. What’s there. Really look.’

‘Is this looking and seeing and reflection stuff you are making lots and lots of posts about lately, is this related to the bad metrics?’

‘YES, it is.’

‘Go on.’



‘OLD IDEAS get in the way. The cutting edge is the not yet obvious. The inner circles want familiarity, something trustworthy, something they can say, This has been socially validated. “Therefore, it must be Good.” Trouble is, what’s Good is changing, changes all the time, based on what is there, what’s potentially there, and like I said, what’s emergent. This is systems stuff. Systems thinking. And no, I’m not co-opting a term from engineering because it’s fashionable if I wanted to do that I would expound for four paragraphs on holography, illusion, projections, mind and consciousness, wholeness and the implicate order, not-real things that sound like sci fi, and you know, well, yeah, believing in the existence of atoms. And that hoax.’

‘Huh? Hoax?’

‘Oh. I should talk about that some more. Maybe I will. Maybe in The Mirror, week 14 or something, after the last week? After Week 12’s New Geometries. I should, really. It’s so damn hilarious what those people did, what with these bollix academic writings and getting them published in a so called intellectual thing!’


‘Hoity toity journal of nothing really at all, because the words are bulky and the ideas are convoluted. Tell it clearly! Say it simply! Don’t cover it up with your pretentiousness and  cumbersome vocabulary! How do you do that? Know your subject! Know what it is about it that turns you on! If I can’t see the you in what you are saying, even if it’s fact-y fact-y, then I don’t care! A lot of thinkers and philosophers and politicians got where they did because they didn’t put up a bunch of jargon nothingness, they just said it! What it was! Why it mattered! The best artists i know aren’t afraid to answer the question, “What are you into, mate?” Cause!… Cause yeah. If you can’t explain it to a five year old, you don’t know what you are saying.’

‘Did you? Explain this to a five year old?’

‘Yes! O.’

‘What did she say?’

‘”There is no point climbing over walls when a door would do, nicely.”‘

‘Mmm. You sure you’re not just mad though?’

‘No! I just steer way clear, usually. Of the misoneists.’

Excerpted from the S P A C E edition of DK’s eBook Nostalgia Ca Phe (April 2018). This post is part of a series, 100 conversations, underwritten by members of S P A C E.

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What is the role of the artist? Haruki Murakami: To ‘exchange and understand’

Today, when the world is growing ever smaller through the spectacular development of the Internet and the increasingly rapid flow of economic interchange, we find ourselves in a pressing situation whereby, like it or not, our very survival depends on our ability to exchange cultural methodologies on an equivalent basis.

To turn toward a stance of national exclusivity, regionalism, or fundamentalism, in which nations become isolated politically, economically, culturally, or religiously could bring about unimaginable dangers on a worldwide scale.

If only in that sense, we novelists and other creative individuals must simultaneously broadcast our cultural messages outward and be flexible receptors of what comes to us from abroad.

Even as we unwaveringly preserve our own identity, we must exchange that which can be exchanged and understand that which can be mutually understood.

Our role is perfectly clear.

Haruki Murakami, 2006,  in an introduction to the collected stories Rashōmon and others, by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa