stockholm: life

dahiya tore-down my burgeoning prejudice against recent forms of first word art: when i tried to criticise AR/VR, he cut me off, pointed at a light-switch, and wondered how ‘flicking a mechanical switch to fire electrons that illuminate a bulb far away’ is no less crazy than ‘wearing a virtual-reality headset’.

was gifted, and read, a book about crazy people and their brains: helen thomson’s unthinkable ; learned to appreciate quirks, mistakes and weaknesses even more. deprived of light-and-sound, our brains easily lost sense of time in krakow’s salt mines. felt at home among the misfits at håkan lidbo’s rumtiden. met anne skoug-obel, and helped with her podcast, birth of living code (on apple, spotify).

while several swedes had shown me immense kindness, elsewhere, i noticed finely-veiled discrimination in several walks of swedish life ; like how swedish girls rarely, if ever, date coloured boys. watched the science of racism. went to berlin again: to the islamic art section at the pergamon, and to the topography of terrors. on journeys to-and-fro auschwitz, read the dalai lama’s call for revolution: he spoke of how non-violence takes more courage than violence, and how he would rather us live without religion than lose our compassion. wondered how militant vegetarianism—or perhaps any uncompromising stance—can seem violent. was introduced to radiolab, through tit for tat.

was honest to my work ; lost my job.

lots of bret victor: principle-led; history; and future. genevieve bell’s talk, magical thinking: fear, wonder & technology. consequences of your code ; like, crashing planes. on software architecture, throwaway code, and a big ball of mud. many social-robotics companies might’ve failed because they prioritised tech over design, lacked artistic vision, and didn’t know how to convert attention-grabbing features into long-term human–machine trust; and how building useless social-robots might be a good thing. wondered whether researchers-and-developers would build better machines if designers-and-artists first assigned identities and backstories to them ; read magicleap’s manifesto for mica (pdf).

a sort-of a history lesson; on our relationship of, with and through technology; about magic and storytelling, and about fear and wonder; with quotable-quotes like: "can we make things that look real, and what are the consequences of doing that?" and "the machine was only as good as the first program(me) that was written for it", perhaps said by ada lovelace; with special appearances by robin hood, frankenstein, astro boy, and buddha; and a brief look at a non-western-centric cultural responses to technologies; delivered by an anthropologist, who was then the director of interaction and experience research at intel.

family toured northern europe. was gifted a hand-drawn cookbook : finally learned to cook (a bit). remained thankful to wth ; and rob said, “Your destiny is both in your hands and outside of your control”, while we discussed the professional and geo-political uncertainties in the life of my life as a working migrant. photographed humans, and their hands. watched the hogfather (and was thus introduced to terry pratchett’s genius). visited krakow (poland) and lombardy (italy).

pergamon museum, berlin.



dawes — a little bit of everything