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Radio Silence (no more)

February 21, 2014

I’ve been awfully quiet. But things have been brewing. I just wasn’t sure what to make of them.

I’m sitting in the lounge of the Journalism School at Columbia University after a 12 hour bus ride. Tomorrow I’ll be taking part in ‘bit by bit‘, a “week-long exploration and reflection on the powerful pairing of story and technology and the roles they play in society—discovering and reimagining the poignant and the persuasive, the confining and liberating.”

I found the event on Monday (exploring the internet!), pitched it to a few friends in Studio Y on Tuesday (and as a result have the lovely Asad Chishti along for the ride!), finalized plans on Weds and was on a bus on Thursday. I’m staying for a week to be part of this because it’s exactly what I want to be skating towards: how can narrative and data hold hands? How can we make immersive models of alternative economies, hospitals, households or even old age homes that have statistical and emotional rigour? I’ll confess: I want to make them. I want to help make sure that it isn’t easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine us living differently. I don’t expect people I’ll meet here to give me all the answers, but I do think they’ll send me off in all sorts of new and fruitful directions. I am here to learn about how to represent complex solutions to complex problems in a way that is ALIVE and moving but also substantial. Or maybe just to tell stories.

I was afraid before to own up to this, this direction I’ve felt pulled in for a while, because I was waiting for someone to give me permission. To crown me, to open a door for me. Because then, at least, I’d have someone to blame if things didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

“There are two types of people in the music industry,” my friend Kiana told me. “The people that wait for things to happen and the people that make things happen for themselves.”

Well, now I’m trying to be type two. We’ll see what happens!Image

“Build your own future.” There’s something in that, eh?

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