Jun 022018
 
Technology View mid-2018

In 2018 you can build your own website in 5 minutes, with no technical skills. You can edit video in your phone. You can do rudimentary graphic design with Powerpoint. You can run your own advertising campaigns. A slew of professions are kicked to the curb, along with their middle-class incomes and expertise. I use a professional video editing software on my computer, but I would never claim to be a video “editor”. Because I […read the rest]

Jan 042018
 
Data Sovereignty Movement

They were wearing [mostly] black. After 10 minutes in the room I asked myself “is this the new left?” I was pretty sure they wouldn’t agree with that term, but they were talking about dignity, privacy, human rights, sovereignty, poverty, democracy, security, marginalised communities, accessibility. The password for the wifi was “itstartshere”. I liked them. They had a lot more skills and a lot less ideology that the Old Left. It was a conference in […read the rest]

Nov 132017
 
GlasSatisfaction

“I worked as an art director inadvertising for 29 years. First as a consultant and then for more than 10 years in Sennheiser. On my 10 years anniversary, they gave me candlesticks as a present. This was too much. I had saved a lot of holidays, so I used them to go study ice cream in Italy and then I quite and opened Favvo Glass. I used to have sleep problems and pain in my body in my back, arms. Now I’m on my feet all day, but the physical pain is gone.”

Sep 252017
 
John Long

I had written my dissertation about this seeming convergence of movements. Everyone thought I was completely crazy. I didn’t think it would happen so soon. None of us realized in advance what Seattle would be. No one knew we would make history that day. But one my students, John Long, walked into my office and said ‘Dr. Starr, we have to go to Seattle.’ I said ‘I can’t go there! I have to teach classes!’. […read the rest]

Aug 172016
 
The body is not a pipe

Nutrition “science” is so unreliable that it can hardly be trusted, and for this reason, I sympathize with people who resign themselves to mystery unaided by modernity. Despite the lack of clear information and uncontradictory advice, we face the choice between [1] believing that what we eat does indeed directly affect our health and [2] seeing the body as a pipe. Many people eat only to quell the annoying hunger pangs or for the taste […read the rest]

Aug 092016
 
Farm Tour with Martin Ott

As part of the ETH World Food Systems Summer School 2016 I had the honor of 3 hours tour of the Fintan farm and Sativa Seed Production facility with farmer Martin Ott. Fintan is the largest organic farm in Switzerland, a country whose organic agriculture regulations forbid heating greenhouses. We had a chance to hear about 5 aspects of the farm. Own sorts Our first stop was at a small field which is devoted to the […read the rest]

Aug 232015
 
Current research interests

the future of work Neither the alterglobalization movement nor the Left have a coherent vision of liberated work, other than less of it with bathroom breaks. I am interviewing artisan producers (people who produce autonomously something that can be produced industrially) to investigate their decision-making around: the experience and conditions of work; use of materials (sustainability and ethical issues); and transactions. I am interested in Marxist philosophical questions regarding the recovery of labor from alienation, […read the rest]

Aug 052015
 
Symbols and certification schemes

I’m hanging out with my friend Aimée Schreck at the ETH World Food Systems Summer School, discussing symbols and certification schemes for packaged food. Her dissertation examined small-scale banana producers’ experience of the fair trade system. Together we decided some years ago that fair trade was best understood as a gateway drug and that really the consumers ought to be certified, not just the producers. There are several definitional dimensions, which are rarely synonymous: social movement […read the rest]

Jun 232015
 
New heroes ... New masculinities ...

A few days ago I was sitting at Maso A Kobliha in Prague (at the recommendation of the excellent Taste of Prague Blog), savoring a plate of superlative house-smoked meat, three donuts, and tea. By way of entertaining my vegetarian and already sugar-shocked friend, I told him about the return of butchery, a new generation, typified in The Real Meat Society, mothership of Maso A Kobliha, sister of Sansho Restaurant. (If you aren’t familiar with the […read the rest]