For the Noisebridge event tonight we’re trying something new that we’ve been thinking about for a while. We laid out a design for a neighborhood called Nosebriidge (spelling intended :)) and Larry drew it out on paper. Anyone who buys land tonight will go in the Nosebridge microhood and can draw on their land. We’ll upload the drawing onto the map on Hello World so the handmade marks will show up on the map.
If you’re in San Francisco, hopefully see you at one of these events!
"I want you to be there." Micro Meetups in Detroit and San Francisco this week!
OK first off, the new blog I tried to make is being a jerk, so long live this one for now! It’s good to be back in the neon green. :)
This week there are 2 informal micro meetup micro parties for LOVELAND micro real estate, one in Detroit THIS WEDNESDAY and one in San Francisco THIS SATURDAY. Mary and I have the honor of being flown out to west side for a talk about the project at a conference by the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto and want to make the most of our trip there.
My cell is 908-343-1981 if you get lost, want to talk, or anything else.
Here’s generally what to expect: We’ll have some refreshments and things like that, and we want to share a short interactive presentation on the adventure-in-progress that is LOVELAND, brainstorm cool ideas, hang out and help connect some cool peops. It’ll be nice and casual.
LOVELAND rolls pretty punk rock and mysterious as far as startups go because we’re trying to create a culture and a brand that can constantly transform itself, and I can’t wait to share the more comprehensive and complete story of where this came from, where it’s at, what we’ve tried and learned so far, and where we see it going as we continue leveling up and adding definition.
It’s gonna be fun and interesting. We hope to see you there! : )
Begging For Batteries: What We Need To Make The Solar Streaming Property Camera Work
Update: Wow, great news! Phillip Cooley has stepped in and purchased the battery we need to stream the property. You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar, and very worthy of Mary Lorene Carter's newest trademark compliment: “You are a good person, and people say nice things about you.” We will do you proud, and you have made us and many inchvestors happy. Now everyone go eat at Slow’s Bar-B-Q. :)
Battery down. Everything else still applies:
Alan has been nailing it on our Project Lemon Battery solar powered web cam ++. We have the solar panel, we have the first camera (an old iPhone that streams over 3G), we have the working software that automagically posts pictures to Flickr every 10 seconds, we have the 21 foot tall poll cemented in the ground with wires running through it, and we have the birdhouse in which the camera will sit.
What we don’t yet have is the battery we need to install at the base of the pole to make sure that the camera will be recharged by the solar panel and ensure the camera stays on even when the sun is hiding. The price of this badboy is $342 plus $98 shipping, for a grand total of $440. Look at this beast:
Check out the videos we’ve made using Lemon Battery so far. Both of these show us terraforming Plymouth, the first LOVELAND property of 10,000 inches for 588 people.
Here’s digging out the shape of Plymouth and digging the hole for the pole:
Here’s planting the pole in the ground, tying it in place, and filling the hole with concrete:
Further, Mike R has been working to layer graphical magic on top of the Lemon Battery stream like this:
So we have an awesome AWESOME package in place but we need help affording the battery. If you want to see this system happen sooner than later please buy some land in the new property, Hello World, or get in touch about becoming a sponsor of the battery.
You can buy micro real estate in Detroit here at $1 an inch, and you can call me at 908-343-1981 to talk. Remember, LOVELAND has been entirely bootstrapped from tiny inchvestments (inch sales) rather than large investments, and we’re doing our first grant program where we’re splitting money from inch sales with other projects in the city.
If you’re a Plymouth inchvestor, chipping in will get your land online faster and help get this unique system up and running. We’ve been getting interest from other projects in Detroit that want to use the system, and we’re down for that. So let’s get this battery and spread the love, sunshine, streams, and lemons.
These past couple of rounds we’ve offered a new inchvestor reward and feature. If you own a square foot or more of LOVELAND (144 inches) you’ll get your own Neighborhood that you’ll be able to control with the similar tools to what we use behind the scenes, allowing you to give away or sell your land to friends or anyone and lay out their property lines. We’ll feature Neighborhoods alongside the full property map, encouraging people to explore them in particular. It’s your own little Sim City.
As we build the Neighborhood tools we’re paying attention to how the tools could be applied to human-scale macro real estate. We’ve had some meetings with groups interested in using the mapping tool in their neighborhoods. So cool. Larry has been rocking it, and the first map like that we put together is of the second floor of building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center. This map represents all the studios and I’m just sending invites out to all the occupants so they can log in and fill out what they do there. See the interactive version here.
We’re also working on bringing back an older idea and implementing an Inch Services section. What’s an inch service? Well, hopefully it will be an immediate answer to the question, “What do I do with my land?” LOVELAND itself will offer a few basic services like, for example, if you’d like to pay for a seed to be planted on your land, we’ll go do that for you. And if people want to offer their own services to inchvestors, they can do that. For example, miniature model maker John Bell has been thinking about a new micro car factory called Packard II. Want a miniature car for your micro real estate? There’s There will be an app inch service for that. Want to offer a service of your own and make money if people want to buy it for their land? Get in touch.
We could also use more monetary support to keep going strong. Funds are always super tight, and it makes sense to offer a way for people and businesses to support the project without having to buy land. We’re working on a new map interface that will feature Neighborhoods, inch services, and property sponsors. Here’s a sketch Alan made as we work out the design:
If you’re interested in supporting the project and becoming a sponsor we can work that out. We’re not totally sure what to charge or how to handle it yet so I can’t be specific on what we’re asking for yet, but that’s all the more reason to get on the phone and talk about what’s fair.
As always you can call me at 908-343-1981 or email jerry[at]makeloveland[dot]com. And as always you are encouraged to buy land and have fun. :)
"@makeloveland Chicken!" My Short Talk On Augmented Twitter at The 140 Characters Conference
Mary gives the fuller story, but the panel I was on at the 140 Character Conference was rocked by volcanic eruptions that stranded Josh and Rita in London while Tish Shute and I carried on in condensed form. Here’s my supershort superfasttalk that touches on inspiration for bringing elements from virtual worlds out onto the realtime web and the really real world:
Here’s the link to the @thekotel project I mention (Tweet Your Prayers — apparently my tweeted prayer for peace and pizza is on its way to the wall in Jerusalem, how crazy is that??) and the 3D Mailbox website (alchemically turning words into graphics = best concept ev-ar). Aaand here are some Augmented Reality pics Mike Rugnetta put together on inchvestor land in Detroit as we work on getting Project Lemon Battery humming with LOVELAND.
It’s been an inspiring trip to New York. Now headed back to Detroit all pumped up on passionate internet movers and shakers, with a few new ideas up the ole sleeve. <3 Got more to say about this stuff, but once again need more time. :)
First Day of Plymouth Construction and Lemon Battery Time-lapse
Yesterday Alan, Mary, James, and I (joined by two students shooting documentaries in Detroit) broke ground on the site of Plymouth, the first 10,000 square inch LOVELAND property. We dug out the shape of the grid so we can pour a concrete border and path into the middle and run the property lines for 10,000 square inches, and a 3 foot deep hole to plant the pole for our Lemon Battery solar panel and camera.
Alan brought the solar panel and the camera to record the work. Over the course of 2 and a 1/2 hours Lemon Battery snapped 636 photos and automagically posted them to its Flickr account. The photos were then pulled into a time-lapse video on Youtube:
Blows. My. Mind. We’ve got quite a powerful live and archival documentation tool to play with now, and we’ll be able to overlay the physical property installation we’re constructing at 8887 E Vernor Highway:
If you want to see one of the cooler, weirder, more surprising transformations on the popular internet, this is what Flickr the photo sharing site looked like when it started out as an open-ended virtual world called Game Neverending (2002 - 2004):
Now co-founder Stewart Butterfield and friends are working on a new game called Glitch coming out later this year, which, if history is any guide, will somehow morph into something that saves the publishing industry (or something like that :)). Here’s the trailer:
And! He also has himself 12 shiny new inches in Detroit, saying the project is too weird for him not to. This bodes well for LOVELAND in a not so weird way. I wonder what we’ll hatch into in the future, too, having created sufficiently weird conditions that hatching can happen. :)
I put Stewart on an open space of the map figuring there are some people who’d want to self-select to be his neighbors. So, who’s in? He probably doesn’t mind if you play your music loud at night or check the mail in your underwear. Become Stewart’s neighbor right here.
☛ We’re beginning to fill in the new 50,000 square inch Hello World property. Please inchvest here at $1 a square inch. We have a goal to hit over the next few days. 1/2 of the inchvestment money goes to 7 other grant projects in Detroit. The rest goes to us building rad stuff for you. Not that we’ve been prying into your affairs, but we have heard through the grapevine that you like RAD STUFF!
☛ People are logging into the new site Larry made and saying Hey! Definitely try it if you haven’t yet and see who your neighbors are. You definitely see some interesting activity. :) Here are some clips I captured:
☛ The transformation of the Plymouth property begins this week! Here’s the property, pre-mowing, as modeled by Mary.
☛ Here’s what we’re constructing to define the 10,000 square inch property: a 9 x 9 foot grid with foot wide border and path into the middle. The pole is for the solar powered camera that will stream it online:
☛ We got our solar panel in the mail. Look at that badboy! (I’m talking about the panel, not Alan):
☛ Mike R is working on an Augmented Reality overlay for the camera feed so you can toggle the property lines on and off (by the way, he just did A Ticket for Rush ;)):
☛ And even overlay imagery of your choosing:
☛ We had a meeting with The Villages Community Development Corporation last week (Plymouth is in the East Village area of Detroit) which was very encouraging as regards scaling LOVELAND up in the future. Imagine that the property map you log into on the website wasn’t only for inches, but whole neighborhoods or whole cities. We’re going to meet again to see if maybe we can share some tools and data.
☛ Maybe we’ll try one out with the Russell Industrial Center first. They kindly sent over their floor plan and occupant map to us today. The RIC suffers from the same problem that a lot of communities do: How the heck do I know who’s here that I might like to meet or collaborate with, and how can we talk about what’s going on around us? Almost like a social network for space. Maybe we can use this as a real life test case, starting with the floor that LOVELAND’s studio is on.
☛ We’re also starting to look seriously at grants and alternative forms of funding for the project. It’s become hard enough paying for everything we need to, let alone want to. To support LOVELAND you can inchvest in land here, but also if you want to support at a higher or different level, or sponsor or assist with gaining additional resources so we can keep things going at the speed and scope that they should be, please call Jerry at 908-343-1981 and we can talk it out.
Much appreciated. Spread the word, spread the love, spread the inches. Back to it… <3
Oh man, we got event LOVELAND stuffs coming up in San Francisco, New York, and Detroit (The Third Coast!). On the presentation end:
☛ On April 20-21 I’ll be speaking on a panel at the 140 Characters Conference in New York. As they say, “This event is shaping up to being the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and “we” the people.” Tickets are, appropriately, $140 for the two days.
☛ On May 17-18, Mary and I will be in Palo Alto, CA at a conference by the Institute for the Future where we’ve been invited to give a keynote talk about LOVELAND with the title “Persuading People To Care”. This one is a private conference for invited members of the IFTF network.
☛ On the 19th or 20th (to be determined) we’ll be in Mountain View, CA to give a talk at one of the Acceleration Studies Foundation's Future Salon meetups. This one's totally free and open.
And of course, more importantly, on the PARTY end we’re planning 3 events. Tellem, Andrew:
♥ LOVELAND Party West: San Francisco, CA When: Saturday, May 15th Where: Noisebridge hacker space What: Drinks, hangage, a short talk or two over the course of a few hours
♥ LOVELAND Party East: New York, NY When: sometime in June, date to be determined Where: Rita King and Josh Fouts’ Imagination Age Salon in the Bronx What: BBQ, hangage, and general awesomeness over the course of a weekend
♥ LOVELAND Party North (The Third Coast!): Detroit, MI — THE MAIN EVENT When: Saturday, July 17th Where: The Downtown Synagogue with Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy wide open nextdoor and peops boppin’ on the street What: Bands, video projections, a short talk or two, a video booth where people can record creative ideas for vacant land use in Detroit, all sorts of free-flowing awesomeness
If you want to travel for any of these events and need a place to crash, let me know and we’ll try and hook it up!
Breaking Ground On A Ground Breaking Work of Staggering Inches
Hear ye, hear ye. This coming Sunday we’ll be at 8887 E Vernor Highway, the site of Plymouth, the first 10,000 square inch LOVELAND property, to break ground on the construction of the grid, and the property lines for LOVELAND’s initial 588 inchvestors will be set in place.
Here’s the location again (google map) on Detroit’s east side, in The Villages.
Here’s Mary doing her trademark Motor City Badass pose. The other day Mary, Alan, James, Mary’s dad, and met there to finalize the construction plans
One of Courtney’s friends should be out there this week to mow the grass and then on Sunday we’ll be out there with some shovels, some bags of cement, a pole (gosh willing) for the solar camera, and some stakes, tiles, and wood.
Here are some great images that Alan made in Sketchup (flickr set) of what Plymouth will look like.
We made an executive decision (love those) when we were on the property to ditch the metal grid in favor of a wire grid strung between eyelets all around the interior frame. That will make the grid itself more fluid and inchvestors won’t have to deal with bars of metal on their land. If anyone wants to help volunteer in digging up some ground, setting some cement, or any other handiwork, please let us know!
If you’re an inchvestor in Plymouth, get your mind fired up for what you want to have happen on your inches. You can mail things that fit on your property (flag poles, models, pictures, seeds, etc, anything PG and safe) to:
LOVELAND at The Russell Industrial Center c/o Jerry Paffendorf 1600 Clay St Detroit, MI 48211
You can see the online property map of inches along with inchvestor’s who’ve logged into their land right here.
See the original time-lapse of Plymouth being designed in tape form on the floor of the Russell Industrial Center:
Which was scraped up and displayed as an art piece:
And then reincarnated in the form of Russell tiles (which will ring the installation on Vernor) in the new studio at the Russell:
So the on-site installation will be maybe the fourth incarnation of Plymouth. Wow. Thank you for your patience, all Plymouth inchvestors, as we’ve worked through this process. And don’t forget we’ve got a new grid to fill in on a new property (the exact location of which is still a secret, even from us :)). You can get inches there via the big green Get Inches! button on makeloveland.com.
Man, what a week. We’ve grown a bit, and you can take a look at LOVELAND’s people page to see the crew behind the curtain. Krista and Nicole are the newest entrants and over the last week we’ve been getting everyone up to speed and setting up our collaboration tools and responsibilities.
We invited Krista onboard to lead outreach for inch sales in Season 2, with our ambitious new goal of a 50,000 square inch property, and an ambitious new grant program where we’re splitting inchvestment money 50/50 with 7 other great projects in Detroit. Half of your inchvestment goes to help them level up, and the other 1/2 goes to helping LOVELAND level up, giving us the fuel we need to become awesomer and awesomer.
So far I think we’ve done a really great job being super interesting and laying the foundation of the project and the community, and proving concepts. Now we’ve got to level up on our resources and outreach to people and organizations who want to help build LOVELAND, because there’s more work to be done than we can currently do, and more to pay for than we can currently afford.
It’s super exciting to be at this point, and I want to thank everyone again for believing in and supporting the project as we progressively continue to evolve and realize this vision. As they say in France: le y’all rock!
OK! We’ve got a new site at makeloveland.com for the start of Season 2. Check it out!
We’re still getting some things into place and stacking and re-stacking words, but Larry rocked it, and we got it up just in time to see the end of the first full day of spring like we’d hoped.
Some very notable notes on the site and season 2:
First, if you’re an inchvestor, you can now log into the site, fill out a profile, see your neighbors, make yourself available for contact, comment on things, etc. Let me know if you have any issues, this is all new.
Second, we’ve set a new goal of 50,000 inches on a new property called Hello World. The name of season 2 is Building The Bridge To Everywhere, and the side story to that is LOVELAND is building a bridge across the Detroit River, which just happens to be 50,000 inches across in parts. Look out for more illustrations and cartoons and fun stuff about that.
Important and awesome to know, we’re trying out the first LOVELAND grant system. We selected 7 projects in Detroit that run along the spectrum of practical to creative land use: farming, community gardens, architectural rehabilitation, and art. The plan is to split the season’s inchvestment with these projects and follow along with what they’re doing and how they use it.
Our site is now about 3 trillion times cleaner than before and I’m eyeing that wide image spot at the top of each page as a place to frequently update wild images from the season 2 story. Keep your eyes peeled.
Working on a new video for the homepage now. Send us feedback on the site and have fun!
"I've Never Heard Of Logging Into Property Before"
Yesterday was the first day that some inchvestors started logging in and poking around the new site. If you’re an inchvestor and want to test it out and give feedback before we replace the old site, let me know. I’m sitting here right now with a piece of paper and a pen trying to condense the simplest bestest feedback directions for Larry.
Here’s the homepage after you log in right now, with some peops starting to fill things out. Full-size image. Almost there for season 2! :D Mary and Alan and I were at an Open City meeting last night and met a nonprofit working on vacant land development in the area of the first property. It was awesome to connect and see eyes light up at the idea of PEOPLE LOGGING INTO LAND. To be continued…
The new website is alllmost ready! We need some inchvestors who want to login early to come test it out and refine things over the next few days. Get in touch if you want the access info. Basically, Larry has been kicking butt at it and it looks great. What we need are peops who want to poke around and send us feedback for the things they want added or clarified before it goes live. I’m jerryp[at]gmail[dot]com or 908-343-1981.
We’ve got a great list but we’re still finalizing all the grantees we’re sharing inchvestment money with during season 2. If you have or know of a project in Detroit that is somewhere on the spectrum of practical or creative land use (farming, gardening, parks, building restoration, or pure art work) please let us know ASAP.
Since I’ve been traveling for the project the last couple weeks I haven’t been able to do much on the physical installation of the Plymouth grid (besides make a breakthrough on materials via my dad), but now that I’m back and I hear the birds chirping and the bees buzzing, well let’s finalize the budget and get that badboy in the ground.
I need to buy art supplies for the 9- and 11-year old neighbors of the first property.
I need to coordinate with Jen about getting flowers and other things planted on the property.
I also need to get back into the database and move some people around to finalize the layout of Plymouth and stamp it with my seal of might (or something like that :)).
The illustration for The Bridge To Everywhere needs to be completed. (This is a virtual bridge that will progress inch by inch across the 50,000 inches of the Detroit River, measuring out progress through season 2.)
Mary and I need to go back to the city office to confirm the address of the season 2 property so we can buy it (you wouldn’t believe — or maybe you would — how difficult it can be to isolate exactly what property address is where: it would be embarrassing, but completely plausible, to think you’re getting something but actually get something else).
Mary’s rocking it on mailings and other creative and organizational work. She’s got her new (and first!) blog going at I Do Something. Likewise, Alan is rocking the camera at Project Lemon Battery.
Next week we welcome to Detroit from San Francisco to train for her job as Global Director of Inch Sales (or some title like that :)) for LOVELAND season 2. As a Canadian, she will be able to gaze fondly across the river at her Mother Land, and then we will lash her and say get back to work! (keeeding, Krista!)
And other stuff. But who’s got time for other stuff when there’s this stuff?! Well, I’d better, because I’m sure I forgot to list some things I need to do right quick.
LoveMachine Collaboration: Can 10,000 Inches Become A Person?
OK, so I don’t know if 10,000 inches can become a person, but I’m modifying that from LoveMachine Inc's provocative self-description:
Right now we have three projects, in different areas and stages of development:
Work. Software for companies to work better and faster. Money. A digital replacement for world currencies. The Brain. Can 10,000 computers become a person?
LoveMachine is a new project run by friends Philip Rosedale, creator of Second Life, and Ryan Downe, creator at Second Life. I got a call from them last night asking if I was at SXSW to come hang out. (Nope, though I hear the Detroit Ice Potato may be making an appearance during the music portion, looking for an album deal…) We did catch up though about doing something together. I love LoveMachine’s live workroom and list of instant jobs that are constantly available for anyone to do on their site.
Those are both things we need on LOVELAND's new site. It's just a better way for us to keep things transparent and invite collaboration and build a creative army like we want to but can't using traditional methods. I'm writing this post to make sure we hook that up together, and whatever else the machine has cooking that the land could use (virtual currency etc). Plus they need to come to come visit us in Detroit!
Isn’t this great? Again from their site:
We are also a different kind of company. Instead of interviewing to work here, you just get to work. If you’d like to join our team, first sign up at the worklist, where you can see and bid on the jobs we need done, then enter our live workroom and talk to other team members!
The Continuation of The Ghost Inches and Project Lemon Battery Test
Yesterday was the big St. Patrick’s Day parade in Corktown, Detroit. Thousands and thousands of people don their greens and go marching down Michigan Avenue right outside our house. It’s a pretty crazy all-day party.
Not to give anything away (EPIC SPOILER ALERT :P) but the little lemon dude who pops out at the end is the mascot for Alan’s Project Lemon Battery, which is the solar powered web streaming camera that we want to use to help record the properties.
Where Alan has it now, it’s a web service attached to an iPhone camera app that automagically takes and posts pictures a viewing page and to Lemon Battery’s Flickr every 10 seconds (note this will be very random and very down very often as it’s worked on). He attached the camera to his jacket and went walking around the parade while it captured and posted pics all by itself. Here’s a great time-lapse movie Alan made of all the pics:
Huh? You’re not posting this to the internet are you? Too late! :D
I had maaaybe a little bit too much fun drinking pineapple Faygo and vodka (it’s good, I swear :)) with peops that came over, crashed out pretty early, got up at 3 AM and watched more of the Jim Henson Storytellers series from the ’80s that Mary's been introducing me to. Good times!
Larry just sent me the framework for the clean new LOVELAND site, where I was able to log in for the first time. Awesome! So pretty soon inchvestors will all have accounts where you can create a profile, link to things from your property, meet the neighbors, and so on.
I’m currently going through the site updating content and making notes for Larry. ¡Viva la inchvolucion!
Oh and look. The properties will still adjust placement a little more before they’re locked down (for example I need to give away some of the 288 inches I kept for myself to other people who came in at the end), but right now one of my neighbors is listed as my grandma.
There goes the neighborhood. Grandma, stop fixing my hair! You’re embarrassing me in front of all the inchvestors!! And yes I brought a sweater!!! :D
50 inch inchvestor Nicki Manchisi models her new LOVELAND shirt in San Francisco:
We were just catching up about the project and Nicki was reminiscing about its origins and all the inch grids I was leaving around the house back in the day, which are still hanging up on the walls. <3
w00t! Just Commissioned A Functional 8-Bit Map of Detroit Via Kickstarter
Awesome! I saw this pop up on my radar and went for it. It’s too perfect.
Brett Camper is making fully accurate 8-bit maps of real cities. His Kickstarter project advertises that for $200 he’ll make any city you want (there are also cheaper rewards, check it out). 8-bit New York City is live right here (also pictured above), and he’s got a list of the usual suspect cities he’s planning:
- San Francisco - Los Angeles - Boston - Chicago - Washington D.C. - Seattle - London - Paris
Obviously Detroit needs to be on there! Whoever commissions a map can be credited as its “mayor”. This one is dedicated to LOVELAND's inchvestors. Hopefully we can really functionally use the map in the project too, linking to LOVELAND properties etc.
Cameras and Robots, Oh My: LOVELAND Special Ops Update
There are two LOVELAND special ops projects in progress: Project Lemon Battery led by Alan Languirand in Detroit, who is creating a solar powered web cam, and Project Pico Mover led by Mike Mayfield in San Francisco, who is creating a web controlled robot that can manipulate a grid.
Alan has a new update on the camera as he pieces together the components for more testing. The goal there is to create a simple off the grid video live video and/or photo stream that can be used to show inchvestor properties.
And I just met up with Mike to get the latest and greatest on the robot. During the meeting he showed me an awesome website called TeleToyLand which has several simple robots you can control over the web with live video streams so when you interact with them you see them move right away. The robot mike is building is very much like this one, a sort of arcade claw machine that can move and draw and drag. Check it out, you can click on the top box to set waypoints and then click GO! to see the robot arm draw things in the sand. Here’s a video from their site, too.
We had a funny experience playing with the rolling ball machine. After clicking a few buttons we saw someone’s hand reach into the frame and reset something. I had my phone out and was able to snatch a picture. This definitely cracked us the heck up. Hello TeleToyLand team! :D
Here are Mike’s hands, just to be fair. He’s hoping to ship the bot to Detroit by (*garbled voice*). He’s hoping to ship it soon enough! :)
The guys at TeleToyLand also made the amazing TeleGarden.
It looks like at least some of the TeleToyLand work is coming out of the University of Michigan. We’ll have to come pay a visit!
One of the components of LOVELAND Season 2 is that we’re building a bridge from Detroit to Canada. What? Yep. Well, it’s an imaginary bridge that will be visualized inching across the Detroit River (all 50,000 inches wide of it) as inchvestors move into the second property. I’m giving some images to Pierce so he can create an awesome new illustration and visualization based on reality, but up a notch. If you know of any iconic Detroit-to-Windsor pictures, for inspiration, preferably showing the Ambassador Bridge, please send them on, either linked in the comments or to jerryp[at]gmail[dot]com.
Asking The Creative Crowd Nicely: The Itty Bitty Chainpaws Case Study
OK, brief backstory. Chainpaws are animals with chainsaw hands. It’s a storyverse concept I worked on a while ago. That is all. You may proceed… :)
Last year I put a few dollars into Mechanical Turk to commission images of chainpaws for $0.20 each from total strangers. People were given an example chain paw. I told them not to take a lot of time, and just get it done, either photoshopping or drawing the image. As long as it showed an animal with chainsaw paws, it would work and be accepted.
What I got back was interesting! I sort of viewed it as a creative distraction from what I was focused on doing at the time so I didn’t dig too far into what it meant that I quickly got back new content after a small request like that. Here are some of the chainpaws, and here’s a flickr gallery of chainpaws, some made on Mechanical Turk, with a few ringers in there at the top and bottom (like the awesome drawing up above by my friend Erin Ellis):
This whole batch plus more came back from multiple different people in just a couple of days, with many of them wanting to do more. It’s pretty darn cool, especially when you consider how little effort and how little reward there was at the outset.
Man, if we can set up a better system for this, we’ve got a powerful force on our hands, and it’s the sort of thing any modern radical asking system(tm ;)) would enable in spades.
Maybe all you have to do is ask and credit, ask and credit. Here’s to finding out.
"Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to."
Catching Up With Loved Ones, Players Of The Game, Oh The Places You'll Go
I’m in San Francisco until the 10th catching up with friends and collaborators on the project. First let me say that Larry Sheradon is *killing it* on the map and website updates. We met up right when I got in to go over plans, and he whipped out pages of drawings and pulled up prototypes on his computer that had me drumming the table in joy. Dude’s good. Real good. Hello World indeed (placing isometric inches):
I also met up with Mark Wallace, and got down with Pierce P and Christian Westbrook. Here’s an old photo of us at the end of 2007 on the first day we set up desks at our office in Brooklyn for our too-sekret realtime social web startup called Wello Horld (left to right: Pierce, Christian, and Mark).
Some of you know the backstory on that. We ran into irreconcilable cultural conflict with our investors about how new things are supposed to be made and released (and, I’ve come to realize, owned), and we were eventually replaced after a long and painful ordeal that saw none of our work released to the world.
Afterwards we all split up to do our own things. Christian went to Co-Tweet (which was just bought the other day — drinks on Christian!) to write code that makes their realtime system scale, Pierce went to a social gaming company called The Broth where he writes code and makes art for popular Facebook games like Barn Buddy, and Mark returned to his virtual worlds origins to help manage community for Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life. I, of course, threw myself into starting the hybrid beast that is LOVELAND. rawr. That’s an interesting split!
In true Mark Wallace style, that conversation will have to remain secret for a while, but it was good. ;) Christian and Pierce and I are getting down deep, sharing problems we’re working on, and things we could do together. That’s pushing me even harder to get a proper (radical) Credit system going where people can work together without Working Together(TM) at a company with an overly constrictive ownership structure.
Topics of interest include easier payment systems, virtual currencies, augmented reality and graphics on top of video streams, better investment visualizations (seeing investment come into something in ways radically different from a progress bar), and the finer points of Chat Roulette. More on that to come.
All this brings to mind an old song (cuss word warning):
Mystery Is Strength: Lost, LOVELAND, and The Mystery Box
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.
Here’s something I think about a lot while working on LOVELAND. Because many aspects of the project are necessarily and openly improvisational, and there’s an evolving storyverse alongside the reality (think ghost inches…what’s up with *that*?), there are fundamental uncertainties and abstractions as to what LOVELAND is and will become. I want to make that mystery as interesting as possible, and set the tone that anything is possible (because it really is).
One inspiration here is definitely the television show Lost. Above is a great TED talk by its creator on his concept of “the mystery box” and how it informs his work. At the same time as we strive for enough clarity that there is no false advertising and people get what’s going on, we want to embrace the mystery and make it as fun and as valid and as compelling anything else, and keep the surprises going. People should be able to watch and follow and enjoy LOVELAND as a story, at the same time they do anything else with it.
Check it out, earlier today NPR aired a story about LOVELAND called Inchvesting In Detroit: A Virtual Realty. Click here to listen to it.
They interviewed Rita King (who has her own write-up here), a project skeptic (hi, you know I’m available at jerryp[at]gmail[dot]com or 908-343-1981 if you want to talk rather than snipe, I’m more than happy to connect about the project, as a real person), and Ricki Collins, a 9 year old neighbor to the first property who’s excited about the project and having neighbors. Go Ricki (and Celeste, her sister)! :D
Reason Number 1,337 Why Everything Is Awesome: Virtual Turtles And Crowd Controls Maps
When LOVELAND first went online, the earliest inchvestors were friends of mine, and then it started spreading out to friends of friends or people who know me by reputation. And then it started flipping over to people I don’t know at all, and that’s awesome.
A little while back someone from Hoboken, New Jersey bought a square foot of Plymouth (144 inches). I wrote back to say thank you and welcome aboard, and that I wanted to meet to talk about the project next time I was in New York. Well I just got back from meeting up with Matthew who, it turns out, used to work for MTV’s virtual worlds department and now […drum roll…] makes and sells virtual turtles in Second Life (that hatch and mature and interact and replicate and stuff). His company, Petable, celebrates its six month anniversary tomorrow. So expect to see virtual turtles in Detroit in the months ahead. :)
That just blows my mind. LOVELAND is like a box of chocolates. And that’s all I have to say about that.
And, as fate would have it, while walking into the coffee shop to meet Matthew I bumped into my friend Brian Chirls who I haven’t seen in a long time. He’s got 16 inches in Plymouth so we all caught up together.
A while back Brian created his own custom map interface for independent filmmakers, where fans who wanted to see a film come to their city could leave their mark on a world map, showing where there was enough interest to do a screening. In fact, that’s how we met, when I got in touch with him and the creators of Four Eyed Monsters to see if they’d do a screening in Second Life back at the beginning of 2007.
Well, since then he’s formalized the system for other people to use, which is now called Crowd Controls and in private beta. Some of you may remember a while back that we had a world map of where all the inchvestors are coming from, but it got too labor intensive with everything else so I took it down until we could find a better solution. Now it looks like maybe we have one. We’ll definitely take Crowd Controls for a spin so we can show where in the world everyone is coming from.
Two healthy forces are colliding that are leading to a big change in LOVELAND operations. 1: LOVELAND, while still very early stage, has more demand and has grown larger than what I working mainly as an individual am able to sustain, and 2: more of the friends who have informally worked with me on the project are starting to bang their shoes on the table and say GIVE ME MORE CREDIT AND LET ME DO MORE!
In the words of the immortal Zohan (who is not to be messed with): So let’s go!
See, since the project started I knew I wanted to be transparent and put ideas and problems up right away before they were complete or solved (which we did), and to make a system that invited creative networks of people to make things like crazy (not up yet). But when the project started it was necessarily, I felt, a personal job to lay a foundation. Along the way many, many friends and people reached out to give feedback and offer to make things, and there’s a smaller circle of friends who have been very involved, including Rita King and her 1000 Inches In LOVELAND project, Larry Sheradon on the map, Alan Languirand with Project Lemon Battery, Mary Carter on keyboard, drums, bass, and x-acto knife, and Pierce P who’s done some great art work. And that’s not even including the 600 inchvestors who are invited to participate and to create on their land.
Obviously, individuals do not scale past a certain point, and enough foundation has been laid to start turning things inside out. The question is how to do it most effectively, and with nearly zero budget to start with. Ah, yet another uncertain stage in life’s journey. :)
A model that very much interests me is radical asking and radical crediting. Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life, has a brand new company called Love Machine (of all things) that’s caught my attention here. Love Machine is currently run by Philip and partner Ryan Downe. They haven’t hired any employees, rather they’ve been posting giant lists of things that need to be done, with modest cash rewards on some, and inviting people to do them for credit.
I think this is a really awesome approach and something we’ll start doing in LOVELAND season 2. For as open and collaborative as I aspire to be, and for LOVELAND to be, I probably have had a bit of a hangover from the last startup I co-founded where we were ridden very strongly by our investors to keep everything secret, and there was no way in heck that someone who wasn’t on the payroll and who hadn’t signed an iron-clad contract could ever have created anything for us. Too many ownership and conflict-of-something issues involved. It creates a desire to reach out, but also a fear of doing so with conviction.
Well, if there’s one thing LOVELAND already has in spades, it’s ownership issues, so that horse has already left the barn. :D I believe one of the categories for the new website needs to be Credits where we clearly showcase everyone who’s made a contribution, and to let their work stand as their distinctly as their work. It can be a fine line on how much credit to give to individuals versus entities (“Steven did this” versus “LOVELAND did this”), but we’re not really, nor do we aspire to be a traditional organization, and as it stands now at this stage, “LOVELAND did this” is too synonymous with “Jerry did this”. Do not want!
So we’re on the edge of a much more credit-driven system where people are invited to “own” various parts of the project and to be truly featured (and directly accountable!) for their contributions. Already for Season 2 we’re working on our first grant program where we’ll share some of the money we make with projects already happening in Detroit. In many ways that grew out of the problem of “OMG how are we going to pay people to make cool things in the city for LOVELAND?” to which the answer became, “Duh! There’s already tons of people doing there own cool things in the city who we can support.” In that vein, here it’s like, “OMG how are we going to get everything done on our side of the ball?” to which the answer is becoming, “Open it up and feature people, dummy!” :D
I’d be very very very interested to hear more thoughts on this.
Check it out, Alan’s got an update and video showing more early progress on the DIY solar powered web-streaming camera we’re going to try out on LOVELAND properties: And then there was light…
Incremental progressing being the name of the lemon battery game, here’s a big upgrade and good news for the project. Gone are the days where stabbing a lemon with nails and pennies gave us our scarce bits of power. We now have a working scale model for Project Lemon Battery solar powered web cam.
Yep, keeping with the LOVELAND theme of scaling up from inches, Alan literally started out by lighting up LEDs with a lemon (hey, they look like little suns!). Part mad scientist hacker, part elementary school science fair. I love it. As they say (in auto-tune, no less), Science is the poetry of reality:
Sweet, we got another shipment of shirts for inchvestors from crazycompany.spreadshirt.com! I really like spreadshirt for the options it gives on shirt styles, and printing just one at a time works out very well for testing and for individual buyers. But for this to work at scale for a poor startup who wants to distribute them to inchvestors we still need to get a bulk silkscreen going.
Thanks again to Pierce P for the Inchy with ruler and magnifying glass drawing and Connor for the ice potato. Shiz be hot.
Hokay, so. I have an open question. When I started working on LOVELAND I incorporated an LLC in Michigan called Why Don’t We Own This? as the legal entity behind it.
A lot of people have asked why LOVELAND isn’t set up as a nonprofit. Well, I have experience working at a nonprofit and two early-stage for-profits (one from scratch as a co-founder working directly with venture capital). While I never got terribly deep down into the technical guts and limits and loopholes of each, I know the broad strokes, and I know the way they feel and how they operate and what they value and what the shareholders want in either case.
I knew that with LOVELAND I wanted to be commercially self-sustaining, to be free to advertise and sell things and entertain and make money etc etc. I also knew that I wanted to be artistic and educational and cooperative and charitable etc etc.
So basically I wanted both worlds (my mind does this a lot). Legally, it seems the best way to do this is to be for-profit, like an LLC, and “just be cool, maaannn”, but then you don’t get some of the advantages of a nonprofit (which range from the soft stuff like how people view you and your intentions, to the hard stuff like eligibility for foundation money).
But recently I was introduced to a third option between the two called an L3C, or low-profit limited liability corporation. You can see it on Wikipedia here. A couple quick points:
[An L3C is] a hybrid legal structure combining the financial advantages of the limited liability company, an LLC, with the social advantages of a non-profit entity.
As of September, 2009, an L3C can only be formed in the states of Michigan, Vermont, Wyoming, Utah, the Crow Indian Nation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. On August 4, 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed Illinois’ L3C Bill SBO239 and the law will take effect on January 1, 2010.
So it’s a combination structure, and it’s brand spanking new and untested (Michigan, Vermont, Wyoming, Utah, the Crow Indian Nation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe? Jeez, I’ll bring the cheetohs and see y’all in my living room at 8!).
In common English what I understand, and what intrigues me, is that you’re allowed to make and sell things and do business like an LLC (but you can only make a certain amount of profit on top of operation costs, and you have to follow some sort of social mission or guidelines in your actions) and in addition to customers in the marketplace, you can also raise money from foundations and other donors who would normally give to nonprofits with similar missions (but it seems like the taxes don’t work out quite as well for you or your donors — I’m a little unclear here).
I’m very interested in hearing more stories about and from people who’ve started L3Cs. If it looks good, maybe LOVELAND will jump in that direction and fly the nascent L3C flag. I’ll keep poking through the information, but I don’t see any lists of established L3Cs. If you’ve got knowledge, connections, or run one of these bad boys please get in touch. I’d love to talk.
Til then I’ll be reading out the corner of my eye and watching these videos:
The snow is coming down in New Jersey, with about 12 inches on the ground [badumbumching].
I was talking to my dad about the latest plans for the physical grid on the first property. I told him how we were working on individual square foot tiles that would be gridded and installed in the ground, and why in the matrix of tradeoffs between cost, clarity of division between spaces, durability and looks, I thought that was the best most doable solution to start out with.
That got him thinking, and he disappeared down into the basement with an idea to prototype.
It’s pretty sweet! I need to talk to James about it, but basically he took 1/8 inch steel rods and welded them together into a grid of square inches. The idea being that the grid would lay directly on the ground and serve the same function as the tiles in showing a clear grid and letting people build on top of it, being sturdy and cheap, but also keeping the ground and dirt visible and open for maximum landyness and for people who want to plant things.
So now I’m thinking this might be the really great solution that could be put together cheaply, quickly, and (importantly) very well. Dad’s got ninja skills.
Last week Philip brought me to his friend’s silkscreening lair and we made a square foot screen for silkscreening inches on the tiles.
We could use this for screening 51 tiles that could go around the edges and on the inside walkway of Plymouth, around the wire grid, and also mark a key on them so it’s easy for inchvestors to find their spaces, and for visitors to identify who’s got what space. Magical Mystery Sketch (the rainbow area represents where the tiles and map key would go):
Nothing Functions Like A Deadline: Preparing for March 21st
I’m writing this from my parent’s house in New Jersey, where I’m spending time with the fam on my mom’s birthday. Tomorrow I’m speaking to my sister’s social media class at Centenary College before busing it to New York for a few days and then flying to San Francisco on Thursday, then back to Detroit on the 10th.
Along the way I’m fitting in as many meetings and as much brainstorming and as much work as possible for LOVELAND season 2. Besides the birthday and the joy of seeing some friends, that’s the point of the trip.
I think I tend to function like a printer. I slide across the page and leave a bunch of tiny dots that don’t look like much by themelves, and then I move down just a little and slide across again, and again, and again, and sure enough a picture starts to show up. Hey! Look at that!
And lord knows I could print all day, spitting stuff out behind an infinite progress bar, but if you really want to make a picture you gotta gitter done, and nothing helps done like a deadline. The deadline I’m targeting is the first day of spring, which falls between March 20th and 21st. That’s when the picture of season 2 will be done and up.
Of course, a lot will unfold after the start of season 2, but that’s when the functional framework will have to be in place by. The look and the feel and the goal and the invitation to participate.
At the same time, we’re still catching up on the end of season 1. There are still way more things to mail out and emails to get back to than I thought there’d be, and the budget is tiiight. I think a normal person would be scared witless about everything left to do and all the uncertainty.
Fortunately, this is where being a crazy person who’s comfortable with an elephant’s dose of chaos and uncertainty really pulls through for me! haha. Obviously not crazy-crazy, but comfortable being improvisational and figuring things out as we go along, and letting that be part of the fun and interestingness.
As part of the push for spring and getting things done for the deadline, I’m going to start doing a more complete job of updating goals and tasks and questions and difficulties over the next 3 weeks right here on this blog.
As always, my number is 908-343-1981, my email is jerry[at]gmail[dot]com, and I’m usually totally visitable in Detroit, though for the next week+ you can find me in New York and San Francisco.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to talk to a business school class at U of M-Dearborn about LOVELAND and some of my previous experiences with startups. Afterwards a few students came up and were interested in helping out and getting involved as interns.
As Janine says in Ghostbusters: “WE GOT OOONNNEEE!!”
Nicole will be in the office at the Russell for a couple of hours a couple of days a week. Her first order of business is location scouting for the season 2 property and researching grants. Her hazing initiation is to be turned into an animated gif.
Welcome, Nicole! The LOVELAND motto: have fun, get stuff done.
A solar panel for outdoor camera testing (rock on, Alan):
Property law spam (I think — either way, we’re a little past this already ;)):
A sample of green cleaning products for a possible (very wild) product placement story line:
I can’t wait to have a real mailbox set up for the property. I’m rediscovering the joys of snail mail. And also the *snail* of it. Sheesh. Inchvestors who haven’t gotten deed packages yet, I swear they is comin’. For season 2 this process has got to be streamlined.
Question: What did the snail say when he rode on the turtle’s back?
[old relativity joke, right up there with “Excuse me, flight attendant, what time does Detroit arrive at this airplane?”]
I’m going to try posting some of my to do’s here on the blog, maybe every other day, and cross them off as they’re completed. Why? Well, first there’s a lot to be done, and I think I’m doing a good job at it all, but by making some of my to do’s public it gives added incentive to be efficient and cross them off fast; it lets people and inchvestors see some of the scope they might not otherwise see and know i’m not laying on the couch all day, and maybe it’ll lead to some help and ideas for better ways to get certain things done. If you see something, say something!
So, first up, here’s what I’m looking at right now before I’m allowed to have a cookie:
*Post new Kickstarter round, The Legend of The Ghost Inches *Buy more envelopes, cut more deeds, and work through mailing out 30 more inchvestor packages [update: crap, need to print more cards to put in the packages]
*Order and ship more I’VE GOT INCHES IN DETROIT shirts for 50+ inch inchvestors [update: spreadshirt.com is great, but trying to order multiple shirts in different colors and sizes from my own design in one order is driving me nuts…will call them tomorrow for phone assistance] DONED *Print square foot grid on transparent paper for Plymouth tile silkscreening [update: done and ready for silkscreening setup thursday night in royal oak with dr lauri] *Schedule another meeting about landscaping the grid *Return remaining voicemails about project [update: if you’re the one who called me about selling small pieces of your barn, i got your message but accidentally deleted it without getting your number. sorry and please call back!] *Update the inchvestor database with new emails and addresses *Send updated outline to season 2 grant projects *Write back to intern candidates *Write back to investor candidates I’ve met with *New wireframes for season 2 website *Email 10 more people who’s work I admire about the project [update: 9] *Contact galleries about LOVELAND inchvestor show *Set up new tumblr blog for The First Winter Is The Hardest sketches
Last week I had some fun making the Detroit Ice Potato. Basically, after seeing the creation of the Ice House I was inspired to point the concept in a different (and very Jerry) direction. I put a potato in a cup, froze it, and put it on the street corner.
An anonymous art blogger found it, took some photos, and wrote a very nice review. I knew I liked the ice potato, and it definitely made the house smile, but that review encouraged me to think that maybe, crazily, playfully, we may have something here.
Shortly after, my friend and artist Connor Goodman got in touch through Facebook. We’d been talking about collaborating on something, and I thought maybe we could do something for LOVELAND. Then, a lightbulb: something tangential to LOVELAND, an illustration of the Detroit Ice Potato. A creature from a parallel universe.
What follows is an animated gif of the brief lifespan of the first Detroit Ice Potato as it’s poured, frozen, placed on the street corner, melts a little, gets snowed and plowed over, becomes a t-shirt and pops to life as a character with eyes.
If you’re interested in a Detroit Ice Potato shirt with or without eyes let me know. Connor’s still tweaking the image a little bit, but they’ll be available through spreadshirt.com when he’s done, because as they say in the motherland: go ice potato, or go home.
PS the other day an anonymous suitor sent a Detroit Valentine Ice Potato. He’s very flexible, that ice potato. I wonder what he’ll get up to next…
A quick update on the construction of the 10,000 square inch Plymouth grid that will be physically installed for inchvestors on the first LOVELAND property.
I had a breakthrough the other day after meeting with James Willer, an architect in Detroit and early inchvestor who I’ve been consulting with on how to put a durable grid into the ground, the right way.
I like to create meaningful historical threads throughout the project, taking and referencing things that have happened before and bringing them into the future.
When I moved studios I scraped up the tape as best I could and kept it, even using it in a recent art show where we installed a model of Plymouth and a vending machine that dispensed inch deeds.
After talking to James about terraforming the grid on the property and installing it as a series of square foot tiles, I suddenly saw the hallway floor of the Russell with new eyes. A number of tiles have been torn up over time and replaced, with a stack of old tiles piled up in a corner.
Earlier today I brought a stack of the tiles into the studio and laid them out in the shape of Plymouth: 9 x 9 feet with a foot wide public pathway up the middle with a 3 x 2 standing space, allowing people to stand in the middle and reach any part of the grid.
My plan as of right now is to stencil a grid onto the Russell tiles, laminate them, and install them on newly mulched ground on the property. The tiles are really great. Sure, you could get new clean ones, but these ones have character and reflect both the history of the project and some of the history of the Russell: you can see wear and tear and foot prints and scuff marks and all of that accumulation of time and activity.
Here are some pics of what I laid out in the studio, in present work-y form, and, of course, an animated gif up top. Because, why not animated gif up top? :)
Plymouth Is Full! WDET Radio & The Detroit Free Press
As they say in France, now le fun really starts. Plymouth, the first 10,000 square inch LOVELAND micro real estate property is now fully occupied by 588 inchvestors from around Detroit, the country, and the world. This is a huge first milestone for the project that we’ll build from for season 2 in the spring. Join the Facebook group to follow along with updates.
I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the inchvestors and the people who’ve believed in it and supported it and given me the confidence to know there’s a light on the other end of the tunnel of this idea if we keep going and growing. Y’all know who you are. Oh to be in on the back-of-the-napkin days when things come in a storm and bend in a breeze:
On raising awareness and moving forward, the other day I was interviewed by Craig Fahle on WDET radio which you can listen to here:
LOVELAND map master Larry Sheradon made a tool for rearranging the properties you see on the Plymouth map. Basically now I make little neighborhoods and change the shape of inch lots, putting whatever property wherever. So cool. If you’re an inchvestor with a neighbor request, holler at me. Progress continues inch by inch…
Bruce Sterling’s keynote at the Transmediale conference caught my ear as regards work process and problem solving now that we’re all in Internet Land. He compares the late great scientist Richard Feynman’s straight forward problem solving process to how his problem solving process might work today. This hit home as a pretty clear articulation of my own work process (the atemporal part), so chalk this up under work notes.
How the linear Richard Feynman worked:
step #1: write down the problem
step #2: think really hard
step #3: write down the solution
How the atemporal Richard Feynman of today works:
step #1: write problem in a search engine, see if someone else has solved it already
step #2: write problem in my blog, study the commentary, cross-link to other guys
step #3: write my problem in twitter in 140 characters, see if they can get it that small, see if it gets retweeted
step #4: open source the problem, supply some instructables that get me as far as i’ve been able to get, see if the community takes it any farther
step #5: start a ning social network about my problem, name the network after my problem, see if anybody accumulates around my problem
step #6: make a video of my problem, youtube my video, see if it spreads virally, see if any media convergence accumulates around my problem
step #7: create a design fiction that pretends that my problem has already been solved, create some gadget or application or product that has some relevance to my problem and see if anybody builds it
step #8: accacerbate or intensify my problem with a work of interventionist tactical media
step #9: find some kind of pretty illustrations from the flickr looking into the past photo pool
the old feynman would naturally object. you have not solved the problem, you have not advanced scientific knowledge, there is no progress in this, you didn’t get to step three solving the problem. the atemporal feynman would respond: you know it’s worse than that, i haven’t even done step one of defining the problem and writing it down, but i’ve done a lot of work about its meaning and its value and its social framing combined with some database mining and some collaborative filtering which is far beyond you and your pencil.
That last part brings to mind Marcel Duchamp: “There is no solution because there is no problem.”
For my part I like me my Feynmans:
and I like me my Duchamps:
And I have an atemporal faith that the rest will sort itself out.
Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: The End of Season 1 & The Start of Season 2
There are only 390 inches left in the first Plymouth colony. 575 people from around the world have inchvested in 9,610 inches in Detroit. Awesome. Get them while they’re hot right here and join the inchventure at its earliest stage — not least because you will kick yourself later if you do not. ;)
When the remaining inches go, that will mark the end of LOVELAND season 1 and the site will hibernate for a hot second. Then the doors will blow open again with LOVELAND season 2 in the spring. Fresh face, fresh features, “new trapper keepers”.
Part of the plan for season 2 includes LOVELAND giving grants to fund 5 other projects making creative and productive use of land in Detroit: buy inches, fund worthy ventures. Boom. This marks LOVELAND’s turn towards “entertainment fundraising” to make more cool stuff happen by supporting people in the city who are already doing cool stuff. It all. Makes. Sense.
Between now and then LOVELAND’s work is happily cut out for it. We’re installing the Plymouth grid of 10,000 square inches on the property so that everyone’s space is clearly delineated. The solar powered camera attempt for the property is in the works. There are more deed packages to ship. There are more cartoons and graphics and stories to make.
Detroit Ice House Is Up! (And Introducing Detroit Ice Potato)
Well, the awesome crazies did it. The Detroit Ice House has been frozen and it looks beautiful. Read about it on the artists’ blog and visit it at the corner of McCllelan and Mack if you’re in Detroit (while it’s still froze). These are just a couple of my dinky pics:
I had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with one of the artists, the photographer Greg Holm, randomly, on a Craigslist rideshare from Detroit to New York months back when this was but a glimmer in his and his collaborator Matt Radune’s eyes. As such I got to follow along some on the process and poke around the site as they froze over the course of a week and lit it for their photo (in development). It was an inspiring thing to see and I’m super proud of them.
In fact, as art has a way of doing, I was inspired enough by the ice house to try my own hand at Detroit Ice [blank]. My mind raced: Detroit Ice Shoe? Detroit Ice Tooth brush? Ah! Ladies and gentlemen, if you head to the corner of Bagley and Brooklyn streets off Michigan Avenue in Corktown, next to the fire hydrant you will see the [drum roll… drum roll… wait for it… wait for it…] Detroit Ice Potato:
lol Greg and Matt, serious congratulations on a job well done, and for forcing me to meme-ify you. Detroit Ice Everything! :D
Playing Towards A Unified Theory of Alternate Reality Entertainment Fundraising Whilst Blowing Up Stuffed Poodles
Here’s a little glimpse into the LOVELAND studio as we prototype some ideas for season 2. I’ve started creating a tiny environment on the floor so we can do some Augmented Reality camera tests. Basically that means a web cam in the corner of the room looking down where a streaming video image like this:
Can become a graphically layered image like this:
While I was setting things up I couldn’t help but imagine a little story taking place on the map. I started brainstorming with studiomate Joe Kraus about a sort of choose your own adventure game driven by micro-payments. The concept we came up with was that Inchy and (new character) Inchette are driving from Detroit to Canada. The first leg of their trip is 101 inches long, from one wall to another down the taped path in the pic above. It costs $1 to move them each inch, every 20 inches there’s a planned encounter (or “story point”), and there’s a menu of actions that people can choose from ($5 bottle rocket, $6 cat attack, $10 earth quake, etc etc). As people purchase actions, they’re acted out, recorded, and posted as quickly as possible, and credited to the buyer right in the video.
While we were all brainstorming I drew out these sketches:
And from them the next day I very very quickly made this video as a down and dirty illustration (with, yes, an exploding evil killer poodle):
Now what gets me really excited about this is that I can see the bones of something I’ve started calling Entertainment Fundraising. Say you have a sales goal or something you need to raise money for. Let’s use a LOVELAND example and say you need to raise $5,000 to build out an awesome community garden farm thinger in the city (technical term). Through an entertainment fundraising lens, you could chop that goal into subsections and wrap it in an entertaining narrative and online visualization. Every dollar coming in drives something in the story (so even a small amount has an immediate impact — you put a quarter in the machine, something cool happens, and you clearly leave your mark), and there are epical story points along the way where significant things happen (say, every 1,000 unlocks an engaging cut-scene that really makes you want to get to the next one to see what happens). So something like a video game that’s part real and part unreal, that makes the thing you’re raising money for more interesting to a wider audience with collectively wider pockets that will fuel the development of a project, and make it that much more magical.
We’ve already been stumbling around this idea with Plymouth. Expect to see more of it coming out of the LOVELAND factory…
Project Pico Mover Update: Making Robots Is Like Making Sausage
Mike Mayfield writes to check in on the status of Project Pico Mover, the LOVELAND robot that can zoom around and manipulate a grid or tiny landscape:
Just wanted to give you an update on the pico mover…
This weekend I was able to fully assemble the first drive system and was a little underwhelmed with the performance. My current design requires the rotation of a 6’ threaded rod at least 100 times a second in order for the robot to reasonable speeds (1-5 inches per second). I am finding that the cheapo threaded rods from Home Depot generate way to much vibration at those speeds, so I am rethinking my design.
The hardest part, as always, is trying to keep costs down…
Also, I am a little concerned about the design working well in the vertical or outdoors. So lets chat when you have a sec!
Wishing Mike good robot luck as the edumacation continues. Here’s a Japanese character set I will take to mean just that:
＼| ￣ヘ￣|／＿＿＿＿＿＿＿θ☆( *o*)/
Perhaps a proper Kickstarting of old Pic-y is in order soon to fund non-cheapy rods and such. Stay tuned…
Being a Vice production, I was not surprised to see American Apparel ads gracing the margins. However I was surprised to see the model:
Thanks to Michael Byrne for a great interview. I like the style. We basically just talked for 45 minutes and he edited the transcript down to a very representative free-flowing conversation about the project. Cool beans.