Sunday, September 01, 2019

Sausalito Art Festival.

Man this show is so carved out. No one can tell me we aren't in a recession. Or - there are just no new ideas out there.

This was actually cute and new. The horses on carousels are boring. But put some dogs on there......


  1. "... there are just no new ideas out there ..."

    There are, but they aren't widely distributed yet.

    But I'll tell you a story about a little project (which may actually be classified as "functional art") that I want to do.

    No details, just the general outline of what's going on, of course.

    It's something completely outside my expertise except in terms of being able to slap pre-fabbed stuff together. It's not an electronics project and it's not a computer project -- it's a LoTek(tm) solution to a HiTek(tm) irritant.

    As for how low tech it is, I want pre-fabbed to mean that pieces can be produced by hand or done expertly with various materials printers, CNC machines, etc. that will fit this thing, and that none of it actually requires too much precision. As for the low techness of the materials, scrap from shipyards, cane fields, bamboo, all of that comes to mind.

    For the King Leonidas the First fans out there, these moose creatures do not possess projectile weapons. :-)

    My standard design criteria apply: this has to hold up under heavy abuse, even with sub-optimal parts choices, and it can't pose a risk of killing someone because of some crap design element. It also has to be maintainable instead of being some kind of lump that's made once and then rots slowly until it fails.

    So here's what's going on .....

    There are some people who have a small organization that would be helpful when it comes to putting this design together in a working form, especially since I am not actually planning on making any money from this.

    Twenty years ago, I approached their head honcho about this kind of project, but there was no money, no support, and I didn't have the means to fund this on my own as a lark, but there was interest.

    Now I can fund what needs to be done, but there's no interest on their part.

    That's because during the O'Bozo regime, they had their budget as a tax-deductible charity bulked up, and so they're more interested in collecting Fat Government Checks than doing the thing that their organization was created to help solve.

    The missed opportunity of someone else having a better idea that could be funded outside their organization? These people don't care anymore, because they're out of ideas now, can't imagine anyone else having ideas, and find the unlikely idea of someone showing up with ideas and funding to be highly threatening to their status quo.

    They're probably still OK at showing people how to build stuff that would have been adequate for 1989, which of course they regard as "winning by losing" ala the Communist Party and thus can keep their funding secured.

    And so one solution to this would require me to throw more money at this and hire the kinds of people who would have created their organization twenty years ago ...

    Nearly every part of me says this is a horrible financial idea but a fantastic political and social idea: organizations that have outgrown their usefulness, that have become parodies of the laws of organizations from Jerry Pournelle and C. Northcote Parkinson, deserve to be overthrown through revolutions that they are not cool enough to be invited to.

    I may yet find some Alternate Idealist Engineers out there who will like the "open-source mechanical engineering" aspects, but since I expect some push-back from some status quo types who will find the mere existence of this thing to be a threat, I've become convinced that this needs to stay under wraps precisely because of that.

  2. The hilarious part of the push-back is that it's coming from multiple directions within the American political spectrum ... and so, once again, I'm looking at how I can outsource even the engineering part of this so I don't have to deal with people who see an open-source project as a threat to "democracy" or some made-up bullshit like that.

    Jane Jacobs once wrote something to the effect that she didn't understand "lopsided" trade, such as when America sells stuff to Central Africa, but that she could understand groups selling things to each other who have comparable needs.

    I think there's a "third world aspect" to this project I hadn't appreciated, and so I may not be able to design this in America because it's probably going to wind up gritty, a little bit ugly, and more like something from the 1930s in actual practice than something from the upcoming 2020s.

    And yet I can see people acting like it's still going to be a threat because it's going to be useful despite all that.

    So ask this instead: Are the ideas you want to see thrive enough of a threat to multiple parts of the status quo that there are active gatekeepers who are already threatened by them?

    There is a point at which even the very well funded can't buy their way around a sufficiently large army of gatekeepers ... unless, of course, they go outside of that system.

    This is why there's an advantage to outsourcing despite all of the disadvantages, BTW.

    Now imagine what this does to the artist who needs funding ...

  3. "I'm looking at how I can outsource even the engineering part of this so I don't have to deal with people who see an open-source project as a threat to "democracy" or some made-up bullshit like that."

    I don't think open source is a threat to democracy........ I do however think it's code for "doesn't make money". I've seen it throughout my whole career. It does bring more people into the tent..... but more of those people don't make money. So as long as you have cash to burn.....

    It even happened with 3D printing. Once they started open sourcing it, more companies did come in, but none of them made money anymore because there were just too many of them.

  4. She said,
    Not all open source is a non maker. PLUS you have companies like Disney who like to make a trademark scream like a raped ape.

  5. Leaperman: "Not all open source is a non maker."

    Network effects matter, and you hear the same stuff every time someone works on something that's going to rely on network effects.

    Getting the thing done? That's just the start, but it's a start that has to happen for there to be anything that follows.

    Automobiles and road networks, mass electricity production, fax machines, E-mail, the Internet in general ... all depend on network effects.

    But I understand the reasoning of the disbelievers: they don't see the network effects directly or even at the first order, only as n-th order ephemera, and consequently they don't see these things as successful when in fact they become such successful enablers that they melt into the background.

    Snarkie: "I do however think it's code for 'doesn't make money' ..."

    Network effect things don't have to make money themselves.

    They just have to enable making more things, including money, and there aren't enough of these enablers out there.

    What 3D printing turned out to be was this kind of enabler, and now it's going to be one way in which this thing can get built.

    But this is also why life sucks for a lot of artists: mass art without network effects essentially devolves into an assembly line for hand-made wares.

    Hello, Sausalito! :-)

    So despite this seeming off-topic diversion, we've actually been on-topic the whole time. :-)

    It's like Etsy and its discontents, another round of the ever-popular civilization and its discontents culture battle.

    As for why?

    Consider it a public works project with private funding so there might be some interesting network effects.

    Once again ... you are not the intended market!

    That consensus bubble you're in is sorta cute ... sometimes, when the tech bubble you're in doesn't block seeing what's going on outside it.

    Maybe this phenomena acts as another front in the same culture battle of civilization and its discontents revisited.

    So then there's the artist reconsidered: die Ersatzk√ľnstlerin, the replacement artist who does the kind of art that survives the filters.

    I think this is why street art where you are is beginning to suck, BTW.

  6. "Network effects matter"

    Yeah... I am not invested in this at all. I understand network affects which is why I said it brings more people into the tent. I'm not saying open source doesn't have value. It just doesn't make money. Maybe I'm in a consensus bubble, but I don't think so because no one around here seems to care about making money these days. Not wanting to make money seems to be the consensus. But it's not my money and not my business. Everyone can just go on with their bad selves. You do you.