Links & Fun

In the streets, in the sheets

It’s been almost 3 years since my photobook “Don’t Go Outside” was released. The book was inspired by my ongoing visits to Japan for business and pleasure. A little over 2 years ago the whole family and I moved from Los Angeles to Tokyo and things that seemed exciting previously became normal. It’s an interesting shift that happens when you go from visitor to resident, and vice versa. Visiting Los Angeles now lets me see the city in ways I never did living there – but that’s a different story for another thing. I’m talking about Tokyo right now.

Not long after moving, Tara and I started talking about an idea, loosely based on our new surroundings and how they were making us feel. I made some new photos to try and convey how that felt. We liked them. We thought we’d like to have the photos on some things around our house, and thought maybe others would as well. We mapped out the idea, bought the URL, spent a few hours on it and then put it on the back burner. More than a year later we kicked each others asses and decided to finish it. So we did. Today we launched Street Sheets.tokyo.

Here’s some of the things we made:

There’s more now, and we’ll keep adding more as we go. I’m pretty happy with how these turned out, and am excited to hear what others think, and see the products out in the wild. Here’s a little more that I wrote about the idea behind the work:

After moving to Tokyo in 2017 we began to realize how the lines on the streets offered more than just direction. The bold, iconic lines served their purpose of helping millions of people to navigate the public space, but they seemed to help navigate interpersonal distance and interactions as well. The orderly placement and repeated patterns were soothing and almost comforting. At the same time, the cracks and decay as the paint aged told the story of how things might look beautiful and perfect at a distance, but upon closer inspection the flaws are revealed. This applies literally to the physical paint, but is also indicative of society as a whole. With this insight the stark black and white imagery becomes suggestive of the duality of humanity at scale – functional but inescapably flawed.

These products can be seen as a followup to the book “Don’t Go Outside” – a collection of street photography by Sean Bonner, a voyeuristic exploration of the public human interaction in Tokyo. This stylistic reinterpretation both forcibly minimizes the imagery by removing the people, the individuals, as well as putting full focus on the intention of the population at large. Stripped of the human subjects, all that’s left is their impact. The intention of bringing this imagery literally from the public streets inside to the intimacy of our own homes, living rooms and bedrooms further plays on this duality of intention.

Snuggle up with the struggle.

There was a time in my life when I was just cranking things out left and right. I’ve been feeling pretty stagnant for the last few years, and moving this from idea to shipped felt really good. I give all credit to Tara for putting her foot down and insisting we finish it and get it out the door. It’s exciting to see it materialize, and a testament to committing to just getting it done. I hope you like it.

Where is my mind

I’ve been low on motivation and inspiration recently and my creative output has been weak. This is a short term lull I assure you, and I assure me. In the meantime, this is where I spend my time on the internets. as me:

I have a mailing list called Just Another Crowd that I send emails out to from time to time, mostly collected links that I may have posted elsewhere along with some commentary, occasionally more commentary than links. I’m trying to use Path more often too, but that’s really for friends only.

I’m also “behind the curtain” so to speak to various levels on a bunch of projects which you may or may not find interesting:

I have a few other projects that aren’t quite ready for primetime yet. Once they are, I’ll post ’em.

Just Another Crowd

Part of deciding to put things online again requires sorting of where to put those things. One thing that I used to put on my blog way back in the day were links to things I was reading or to articles that had caught my eye for one reason or another. Bookmarking with delicious, sharing on google reader, tweeting the links and even posting them to Tumblr eventually took over this because it seemed easier, but upon talking to people for a while I realized it was easier for me, easier for others if they were paying attention right at that moment but much more difficult to go back and look something up later.

Yesterday in a conversation about this John Bracken said, jokingly I assume, that he’d subscribe to a mailing list of those links if I put something together. I’d been thinking about that for a while but that sort of gave me the nudge to go ahead and give it a shot. So I present, for your consideration, my new mailing list:

Just Another Crowd

This will be a daily, or daily-ish (or weekly depending) announcement only email list. It’ll collect the links I’ve posted throughout the day(s) from twitter, tumblr, google+, etc all into one place and I’ll aim to give a little bit of commentary about them as well. Maybe even some links I didn’t post elsewhere, we’ll just have to see. I make no promises to the topics, this will very literally be anything that caught my attention so could relate to politics or food or clothes or philosophy or rights or coffee or whatever. Sometimes links will be to news articles, sometimes to websites or companies.

This is an experiment, but I think it could be fun. We’ll see. Feel free to sign up if that sounds interesting.

And because I’m incapable of doing anything that doesn’t reference something else important to me…

Represent LA

Yesterday Tara, Alex and I announced the launch of Represent.LA. Longtime readers will know I’ve got a bit of a crush on LA and haven’t been very good about keeping that a secret. Earlier this year Tara wrote a bit about how LA’s tech scene kicks SF’s ass (with some rad quotes in there) and we started talking mapping out what was actually going on in town and brainstorming what that might look like. We pulled in Alex and got to work. I say “we” but in fact I did far too little for this project to get any credit, I helped with a logo and some sound boarding here and there, but Alex did all the serious coding work and it was really Tara’s initial vision so they should get the mad props. I give them my mad props anyway. It’s a super rad project and I’m delighted to have played even the smallest role in it, and can’t wait to see how it fills out and hopefully gives people doing technology projects in LA something to be a little more proud of and help show off how rad LA is.