ze's blog :: zefrank.com

« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

January 28, 2008

audience :: some answers

In addition to turning on comments for the little homunculi post (some great thoughts), i've also started to post some of the responses i've gotten via email: thoughts on audience

Posted by zefrank at 10:49 AM | Comments (3)

January 25, 2008

a fun time sink

Untangle :: sorry in advance , it took me about an hour to get through them all

Posted by zefrank at 12:27 PM | Comments (21)

What We Can Be

MORRY'S CAMP PROJECT: Many Voices :: songs written and performed by kids :: very touching project :: check out "What We Can Be"

:: update - because of all the folks that visited this link in the past week or so, the organizer of MORRY'S CAMP has emailed to tell me that he dropped the price of the album so that it could get out to more peoples ears :)

Posted by zefrank at 12:09 PM | Comments (3)

January 24, 2008

in the meantime

Blogothèque: les concerts à emporter! :: an excellent collection of dirt style videos, including some gems from the grizzly bears and beirut. make no mistake...this is a "scene" in the best sense of the word. One of my favs: Arcade Fire, make sure you check out the second half of the vid.

Posted by zefrank at 10:09 AM | Comments (11)

January 23, 2008

little homunculi

:: UPDATE ::

Here are some responses that i've gotten from people i solicited by email: thoughts on audience


I was wondering if you could do me a little favor. The favor involves a tiny bit of introspection and the writing of a short paragraph.

Here’s what I’m interested in:

When you make things with an audience in mind, do you have internal representations of that audience to help guide you in the process? Are you in dialogue with a cast of proto-audience members that somehow represent different facets of your perceived audience? Are there little homunculi that provide editorial voices different from your own? Do you interact with them verbally or do you bounce things off of some sort of an emotional surface? Did some sort of averaging form them or were they inspired by particular moments of feedback? Do they have a shape? How would you describe their points of view? What do they look like? Do they have names? Are there ones you trust more than others? Are there ones you avoid?

I’ve become fascinated by the initial creative process behind creating work for largely unseen and unknown audiences. Personally I have identified a cast of characters in my head that are constantly evolving, but play a very real role in my work. I'll try and write about them later.

I certainly don’t expect you to answer all of the above questions, but perhaps you could muse for a paragraph or two.

I will be compiling the answers and publishing them online with you permission.

Posted by zefrank at 2:17 PM | Comments (86)

Domestic Vacations

a stunning series of photos from Julie Blackmon

Posted by zefrank at 1:19 PM | Comments (5)

January 22, 2008

the guardian looks into the facebook conspiracy

With friends like these ... Tom Hodgkinson on the politics of the people behind Facebook

Posted by zefrank at 10:43 AM | Comments (19)

January 18, 2008

all my exes

Had fun with Chelsea Peretti, although Episode #2: Kenny, is my personal favorite.

Posted by zefrank at 5:49 PM | Comments (20)

a single thin line

Bridget Qualey left this comment in yesterday’s entry :

“We live in an age of "stuff". Stuff on our computers, stuff on our cell phones, stuff on our ipods, stuff in our homes. I'm of the generation ahead of you, Ze, so my stuff is mostly a plague in my home. Just plainly: TOO MUCH STUFF.

I'm not sure an operating system is what will cure it. I think it is deeper in our psyche, in our very souls. How to discern, how to let go, how to approach it, consider it, and leave it where it is rather than even 'putting it into one's cart' if it is not highly relevant and able to do good in our lives.

Ultimately, the discernment process is good work whichever 'cart' we are considering. Now I gotta go git rid of something!”

Yes! Perhaps we should place an ad on craigslist, “Wanted: One Billion Editors.”

Perhaps that ad has already been placed.

There’s a project by the designer/conceptual artist Ji Lee titled ”The Abstractor”, in which he places opaque material on a video screen, constricting the signal to a single thin line.

I think I have a natural tendency to restrict information when it becomes overwhelming. One way to do that is with hardware limitations, as Ji Lee does with the abstractor. Cell phones and PDAs provide restrictive channels. A small screen and limited bandwidth forces me to browse the web through a slit. The US is a bit behind in adopting the full force of cell phone culture , we still prefer our big screens and massive search results, even if we don’t use them. We like options. But we still need to restrict.

I wonder if these differences in display preference lead to other forms of restriction, ones that aren’t dependent on hardware. There’s much talk about the fracturing of the online audience into so many micro-communities; each with their own news sources, their own entertainment venues, all of them seeming to bathe in like-mindedness. Valdis Krebs illustrated this phenomenon beautifully in a study of political book purchases on amazon.com entitled ”Political Polarization During the 2008 US Presidential Campaign”.With big screens and more channels do we have less tolerance for uncomfortable serendipitous information?

Maybe AOL had it right all along. Maybe what we need are dumber, simpler version of the web - versions that aren’t ideologically bounded. Is that the real power of facebook: that its application sharing functionality edits the web: it forces content providers to truncate text and make thumbnails out of images, and forces you to pick and choose what to display.

Its interesting that, at a time when the portability of applications and web content would seem to challenge the place-based metaphor of the web, we all flock to one place to consume the portable content. But it makes sense. There were too many places. Restrict the signal.

Posted by zefrank at 1:06 PM | Comments (19)

two new dear mobby's

Dear Mobby :: Crowd Sourced Advice :: Stranded as Standard and Frustrated Frittata

Posted by zefrank at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

an interesting pair of short readings

begin with Geoffrey Miller's answer to last year's edge.org question "what is your dangerous idea?" (about one third of the way down the page)

then take a look at this BBC article from today: Nasa investigates virtual space.

and tell me what it makes you think of.

Posted by zefrank at 9:04 AM | Comments (13)

January 17, 2008

a clean well lighted place

This machine is filled with crap. Each time I buy a new one it asks me whether I want to move my old crap over. And I do. There’s no other choice.

It’s like a shopping cart.

I remember my first shopping cart. It was shiny and it squeaked a little. I’d put things in it carefully, arranging items so that I could keep an eye on them as I wheeled my cart around.

I loved my cart and my cart loved me.

The cart started filling up; it was a small cart. So I found a bigger cart and moved my things over. I’d find things that I had forgotten about , smile and play with them for a moment before burying them deep to make room for new things. "My cart knows me," I thought, "It’s a patient cart, waiting for me to dig through it when I have time. I’ll have time."

And then I got a bigger cart…and a bigger cart. And instead of carefully placing items and turning them over in my hands I just dump them all in. Once in a while I have to dig to the bottom, and my hands get all cut up from the jagged edges of unpolished, unfinished projects I started and aborted long ago. I push around this massive cart, muttering, and people ask, “What’s in the cart”. And I say “A bunch of crap” I say. I realize that the cart doesn’t know me. Its not trying to take care of me. The cart is me: a terrible version of me that has lost the ability to forget. And I’m helpless because it’s so hard to forget on purpose.

I just want a clean well lighted space. Instead I’m surrounded by all of these little icons and folders. Sure I can create a new folder, or a new document, but I’m keenly aware of all the clutter that lurks just behind the door. That’s where the bathroom is, and the kitchen…so eventually I have to open it and struggle as all the crap tumbles around me.

I want a different sort of desktop. I want a desktop that starts out clean and empty, and slowly discards things as time goes by. I want an operating system that has trouble remembering. Some days it would find nothing when I searched for “taxes”. Other days a folder might appear randomly on my desktop, reminding me to jump on the opportunity before it was too late. Files that surfaced would degrade over time, shrinking down, becoming fuzzy and round. Sometimes things would move to different folders, sometimes titles would be swapped, sometimes things would merge with other things in the strangest of ways. And whatever I had just made, or found, or stolen, would look so new compared to all of that.

If I am to have this mirror self, please let it be as broken as I am.

Posted by zefrank at 2:45 PM | Comments (42)

January 16, 2008


As many of you have noticed, zefrank.org was shut down on the anniversary of its birth a few weeks ago. The ORG, for those of you unfamiliar, was a social media playground created and maintained by supportandcomfort, who was an indispensable part of the show during its one year run. I was as surprised as many of you that it came to an abrupt halt, but am thankful that he put so much energy into supporting what I believe was a platform ahead of its time.

Using dozens of APIs (interfaces that allow one site to speak to and exchange information with other sites), the ORG allowed its members to collect, curate and display different media types from a multitude of sources around the web. For me, the core of the ORG was its “project” functionality, which allowed members to collaboratively create collections of media towards a common goal. The interface that drove the ORG as a whole was beautifully crafted and constantly yielded surprises: the ORGs reinterpretation of google maps remains the best I have used online. The astounding statistic of 17.3 pages per visit is a testament to the inventive and playful environment that supportandcomfort created.

Since media was not stored locally within the ORG, its closure didn’t mean the deletion of thousands of files; they remain on the sites that they were originally uploaded to. The closure does however mean that the community and personal connections that existed within the ORG have disappeared, and for that I am truly sorry. For those of you that would like to reconnect with the people that you interacted with over the last year, Awed Job (and others :: thanks for the correction) has started up a site at postorg.org to facilitate exactly that.

I can’t speak for supportandcomfort and therefore can’t tell you the exact reason that the ORG ended. I will however say that any community based project is costly to run, not only in terms of money and time, but also in terms of spirit. I’m thankful for the time we had.

Posted by zefrank at 12:50 PM | Comments (32)


people started asking for my raw footage so that they could remix my stuff. I was like 'UG your own damn C'

Posted by zefrank at 6:55 AM | Comments (11)