These are my week notes, (semi) regular updates on what I'm up to along with the books, films, articles and other cultural flotsam that have caught my attention.

Week notes for week of May 30, 2022

May 15, 2022: Half-baked in just the right way

I've been a fan of the artist Tom Sachs for a long time. I think I discovered him in the same way many others did: through the Ten Bullets video, shortly after it found its way on to the internet just over a decade ago.

In the past few weeks my dayjob has given me a bit of an excuse to revisit Sachs' work and I guess what you'd call his philosopy, and I've really enjoyed dipping into his world again.

This time around though I think I've taken something different away from it.

Previously I think I was a little bit in awe to the regimented approach Sachs has to his studio - and that's something I do a lot: latch on to systems and rules. But I think the really valuable lesson Sachs offers is actually one of imperfection and 'doing things wrong'.

If you read enough interviews with Sachs you'll see that he talks a lot about doing the 'right wrong thing' and the 'perfection of 'imperfection'.

Coincidentally, Seth Godin published a blog post this week on the value of half-baked ideas, using Peter Jackson's Get Back flm and the interaction between Paul and John as an example: "Because the half-baked work, shared in a trusting environment, is the fuel for the system that created the works of genius."

Sachs' point and Godin's message are slightly different, but they hang on the same overarching premise I think: reaching for perfection (or even just 'the right thing') kills creativity and collaboration.

Week Notes 2021-17

Week Notes 2021-16

Week Notes 2021-15

Week Notes 2021-14

Week Notes 2021-13

These tools of coordination and cooperation make today’s Dark Forests far more than digital versions of the 1970s commune. They’re new experiments in decision-making, movement-building, and collective action. The continued evolution and growth of web-based, informal groups will impact not just the lives of their members, but society at large. As we saw with Gamergate, these are spaces where harassment campaigns will be planned and lies will be planted. But these are also spaces where people will cooperate and learn like never before. What the corporation was to the 20th century, the Dark Forest could be to the 21st: the organizational form through which much of culture is influenced, for good and bad.

Week Notes 2021-12

Week Notes 2021-11

Week Notes 2021-10

Week Notes 2021-09

Above, one of my favourite music videos of 2021, so far. Good track too. Can’t beat Stones Throw. The New York Times asks Is This the End of French Intellectual Life?. And that’s not just another lament for the loss of French ‘left bank’ culture, it’s a really interesting look at what ‘the left’ means […]

Week Notes 2021-08

Above, Stanley Tucci travels around Italy, eating great food, drinking lovely things, and generally looking cool; while also seeming a thoroughly nice bloke. We watched the first episode of this this week, and now I want to be Stanley Tucci when I grow up. Drive & Listen has been a great mood-saver this week. I […]

Week Notes 2021-07

Next week I’ll do a full week for the agency I work at (I’ve actually got a big pitch on the Friday). After that, I’m still working there, but I’m reducing my hours right down and spending the majority of my time getting some other projects off the ground. I won’t go into loads of […]

Week Notes 2021-06

Above, the trailer for the new Adam Curtis series. I know, Curtis can sometimes be criticised for being more style than substance; but damn it if I don’t love that style. It’s just nice to lose yourself in that heady mix for an hour or so. Even if afterwards you’re not quite sure what you’ve […]

Week Notes 2021-05

Above, Werner Herzog watches skateboarding videos. I missed last week’s Week Notes because we’ve had some family things going on (made worse with the Covid restrictions, obviously). As a result I’ve not done a lot of laughing recently, but this video brought a big genuine smile to my face. Thanks Werner, I can always count […]

Week Notes 2021-04

Above: Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian’s film reviewer) reviews Netflix’s Pretend It’s A City. Somehow this series completely passed me by until a few friends recommended it to me which doesn’t say a lot for Netflix’s algorithm. I love Fran Lebowitz, documentaries, New York and Martin Scorsese. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s a great […]

Week Notes 2021-03

My reading continues apace. This week I finished The Streets of Laredo and now I’m well into Duncan The Wonder Dog, a doorstep of a graphic novel that my brother bought me for Christmas. It’s not nearly as lighthearted as the title might have you believe. Here’s the blurb: “What if animals could talk? Would […]

Week Notes 2021-02

There hasn’t been much time for doing much other than work this past week. I have managed to keep my reading rate up. Did I mention I’m trying to read around a book a week this year? Last year I struggled to read much at all, and I know I feel better when I read […]

Week Notes 2021-01

Above: The Gift of Room Tone by Criterion. I love it when companies take ‘throwaway’ material like this and turn it onto something genuinely sweet and watchable. I spent New Year’s Day finishing How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee. A rather beautiful and sad way to end 2020/see in 2021. Now […]

Week Notes 2020-33

Above: Ed Wood meets Orson Welles. I looked this up this week because it got a mention on the Mark Kermode film podcast (the Citizen Kane episode, obviously). I love the film Ed Wood, even the Johnny Depp of 2020 cannot ruin this film for me. Also, that last line is really what I needed […]

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