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]

Apr 202015
 
"Many fights, and many kisses” lifetime tables by MBzwo

“We try to keep the distance between the customer and the workshop as short as possible…These are objects that I want to be used. And it should be used hard. That’s what they’re made for…Buying a table takes a long time. It takes months….Most of these people are buying the last table for their life…For me it would be a success if the grandchildren still like the table.

Apr 032015
 
The Future should be Durable

Interview with Stefan Schridde, founder of the Murks Center against planned obsolescence. Murks means “botch”, or “bad work”. “Products designed with planned obsolescence don’t meet the needs of the society.” He sees cheap consumer goods as “lonely” and the alternative is a “durable” future.

Feb 222015
 
Zagreus art/dinner

Dinner at Zagreus. Best €36 I’ve ever spent. Every bite was so delightful. Zagreus is an art gallery owned by a chef. Every exhibit inspires a meal, collaboratively co-designed with the artist. This time, the show was by a group of students in product design. The table, napkin, lighting, and servingware for each course were designed by different groups and Chef Ulrich Krauss invented fabulous flavors for each aesthetic experience. The serviceware was so compelling […read the rest]

Dec 122014
 
Why are the San Francisco street protests so robust? Interview with San Francisco Magazine

Historical evidence insists that oppression on its own does not produce social movement reaction. In places with little culture of resistance, there will be little social movement reaction to social problems, or occasional outbursts may not be sustained. San Francisco has had, regularly and recently over the last decades, a series of effective and sustained street manifestations, so there are people, organizations, networks, systems, etc. to make the next ones bigger and more robust.