Blog archive September 2005
like i said somewhere in the photo album, it reminded me of the installations of the 90s such as HG and self storage. a warehouse in a decaying part of town, wondering whether you're at the right address, trying to find the actual entrance; following a trail through a musty warehouse or cellar, wondering whether what you find is art or just left by squatters... i learned that narrative was more important than technical polish; that discovery and lack of explanation were good; that time should be taken to gather meaning... so all this prepared me for alt worship.
except alt worship is still mostly too tidy and too church. we should be in warehouses. or ruined churches.
and then it would be an event, not a 'church service'. so you'd run it every day for a month, and then do nothing for six. forget all this 'how do you do it every week' nonsense. why would you want to go every week, if you're going to remember it for ten years after one visit, like art?
spent the weekend making a presentation on alt worship for the monthly staff get-together at work. it seemed to go pretty well - i think people were surprised by my presentational skills but if you're reading this you know that already. it was my first time explaining this stuff to a notionally secular audience so i had to find a storyline through it that would work. they're architects and interior designers so i concentrated on the church-environment aspects - photos off smallfire.org themed into sections [urban mass, stations, projected environment, installation etc] - plus some network church slides at the end. sparked loads of good questions - nice to get an appreciative response from avowed atheists [does that mean i was doing it right or doing it wrong? ;) ].
somebody said, "you mentioned god twice and christ twice but spirituality and church were in every sentence". i could have gone further on the god stuff than i did, but i was feeling my way. and i don't do the god talk much anyway. a lot of it's personal to me, and i think the declaration that i'm a christian should cover it. i'd rather leave people wanting me to talk more about god than less! [i talked more about it later when i was drunker].
i've got mild rsi as a result of all the image-processing.
for some reason i was thinking about early 70s tv series ace of wands on the way home. i could only remember a couple of bits but the theme tune's been stuck in my head since forever. on googling it i find i remember more of ace of wands than i thought. and it's spooky to hear that title theme again for the first time in 33 years. who needs memory when you have google?
said googling led me to tv ark the television museum's cult tv section which is great for people like me who saw this stuff first time around and love its dated futurism. many of these programmes were profoundly imaginative and weird - was it the times or the drugs of the times?
we were discussing, apropos the next grace service, that people told to create worship out of nothing tend to resort to religious cliches, because that's what comes to hand or it's all they've got. then jackie said, liturgies are cliches. which i thought was a thought worth holding. a cliche is something that, repeated often enough, becomes original.
was just thinking about applying semacode to greenbelt. if each venue had tags outside for the events taking place therein, you could wander round and the tag reader on your phone would tell you what was happening then or later without having to consult a programme. you could make choices based on where you happened to be. equally if every event in the programme had a tag, your phone could read it into its organiser and then tell you where you should be. or tell you what was available if you were unexpectedly free. as happens when you run into someone and miss the thing you were heading for.
by the by, the semacode site links through to small pieces loosely joined by david weinberger, which is a book from 2002 that i missed. but the title seems to me to be paradigmatic, not just for the web, but for what we're doing with church.
The old model is about control: a team works on a document, is responsible for its content and format, and releases it to the public when it's been certified as done. Once it's published, no one can change it except the original publisher. The Web ditches that model, with all its advantages as well as its drawbacks, and says instead, "You have something to say? Say it. You want to respond to something that's been said? Say it and link to it. You think something is interesting? Link to it from your home page. And you never have to ask anyone's permission." By removing the central control points, the Web enabled a self-organizing, self-stimulated growth of contents and links on a scale the world has literally never before experienced.
The result is a loose federation of documents - many small pieces loosely joined. But in what has turned out to be simply the first cultural artifact and institution the Web has subtly subverted, the interior structure of documents has changed, not just the way they are connected to one another. The Web has blown documents apart. It treats tightly bound volumes like a collection of ideas - none longer than can fit on a single screen - that the reader can consult in the order she or he wants, regardless of the author's intentions. It makes links beyond the document's covers an integral part of every document. What once was literally a tightly-bound entity has been ripped into pieces and thrown into the air.
What the Web has done to documents it is doing to just about every institution it touches... The Web isn't simply empowering groups, such as consumers, that have traditionally had the short end of the stick. Rather, the Web is changing our understanding of what puts things together in the first place.
Technically, a semacode is an optical barcode that contains a URL internet address. Practically speaking, it's a system that allows you to build applications that connect the real world with the virtual. Using the Semacode Reader technology, a user can scan a semacode tag and then with a single click connect to the web page or other internet resource right on their portable camera phone.
Semacode is a practical way to implement ubiquitous systems to perform a wide variety of functions including augmented reality, remote presence, interpersonal mediation and location tagging.
Application developers and general users can create their own semacode tags using the Tagger tools. It's a simple matter of typing in a valid URL and then posting the barcode wherever you like. Anyone is free to create as many different semacode tags as they like.
When you have semacode tags to read, the solution is the semacode Reader tools. The reader tool is available in many forms to suit the needs of different audiences. For example, there is Reader software for common Java Phones, smartphones, and also for PCs and internet servers. The Reader takes advantage of the camera that is found in most contemporary mobile phones.
The reader scans a digital photographic image and locates the semacode tag that's in the image. Then it reads the barcode and extracts the URL. Finally, it presents the URL to the user, and with the user's approval, loads the URL into the browser on the phone.
kubik are experimenting with this stuff, they say it works well...
lots of stress at work as a number of people are made redundant [not me] - not just contract or lower people but right through. won't know all the names until monday but it looks like a few long-term people have gone. there isn't enough work in the pipeline, though right now some of us are very busy. i wish there was a way to even this out.
it's strange how redundancies hit everyone hard emotionally, and not just the people losing their jobs. people come and go in our practice all the time, and not just at the lower levels. hire and fire is the norm in our industry, you will lose your job, there's not too much of a stigma [though there is some, for why did they choose you?]. yet it's still a blow, like a bereavement - i guess it's the severing of relationships that have not come to a natural end.
my stress is compounded by the job i'm working on running into major obstacles, politics etc which threaten to undo all our work so far. next week could be torrid.
andrew's father leo is selling his house on umina beach where we spent a couple of days in june. follow the title link to the pop-up window and then the small links to pictures of house and surroundings [my photos are here]. makes me sad because i won't see it again unless i can find two million australian dollars.
the rebuilt version of alternativeworship.org is now up. much easier for me to handle now. reviews will appear in the reviews section in due course. the lists are being checked through - haven't finished the job, but i wanted to get the new site up rather than wait for perfection. churches to be added and subtracted, blogs to be added.