Archive for February, 2011

Solitary Confinement

I have been gravitating towards this idea of time as a commodity, as outlined by Bauman in “The Culture of Waste”. I want to consider the prison system in terms of commodity production as well as “waste” pushed to the margins of  tangibility.  Firstly the prison systems operates essentially as a slave economy under the guise of social rehabilitation.  It is common knowledge that the prison system functions as an industry, providing labor and commodities at costs well below market value.  Solitary confinement has become normal practice in prisons across the United States to maintain this economy. This practice of confinement alienates the prisoner from human interaction and arguably from the sense of being human. In a piece aimed to raise awareness about political prisoners sentenced to solitary confinement, Rigo 23 created the facsimile of such a space in the New Museums stairwell.  A more elaborate description can be found here:  It seems that when a person is stripped of their potential to produce, they are stripped of the ability to waste time. Is solitary confinement a space where wasting of time is impossible, given that the intention of the space is to invisiblize and dehumanize the captive?

(99) Faustian Waste

“It appears that the very process of development, even as it transforms a wasteland into a thriving physical and social space, recreates the wasteland inside the developer himself.”  Marshall Berman on the Tragedy of Gothe’s Faust (from “All that is solid melts into air”)

Human sacrifices bled,

Tortured screams would pierce the night,

And where blazes seaward spread

A canal would greet the light.

Faust, lines 11127 – 30

The Gowanus Lowline

Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation / Gowanus by Design are sponsoring a High Line-inspired contest to re-imagine the Gowanus canal.

Gowanus Crossings is an inaugural international ideas competition, which invites speculation on the value of urban development of postindustrial lands, and the possibility of dynamic, pedestrian-oriented architecture that either passively or actively engages with the canal and the surrounding watershed. This competition, the first of a series, focuses on the design of connections in and around the canal, and the residual moments around these connections.

Registration deadline is April 1 (it costs $50) and entries are due a couple weeks after. First place gets $1000. Huh.


Jen mentioning Lifehacker made me think of David Allen’s GTD which I discovered on their site. I think it was mentioned in one of our first classes but for those unfamiliar, Allen developed an organizational system on how to Get Things Done that deals with time management by way of prioritizing and the drives the importance of planning. It’s interesting that he doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know which is essentially to prioritize, write things that need to get done down, and plan before you get started to save time. However, it seems our mind needs a ‘method’ to follow in order to put these ideas into action. The idea that we need to be conscious of not wasting too much time. Like when I sit in front of the computer all day, I often allow myself a couple hours to cruise the Internet and read or watch tidbits about things I find interesting and limit myself so I don’t spend the whole day procrastinating/being unproductive. So it seems the ultimate efficient productivity tool would be a clock, the idea of time itself. If you waste too much time, it will run out and the day will be over before you would have accomplished anything you were supposed to do. The idea of procrastination is also an interesting one, as you seem to be drawn to wasting time doing everything you can think of except what you’re required to do. On that note, here is a fun video on procrastination:

Procrastination is..watching this video?


this week / next week


I’m thoroughly enjoying wandering through everyone’s posts and comments this week, and I will be responding here and there. In the meantime, I want to let you all know that the course schedule has been updated with next week’s readings and sites on the topic of Informal Cities. It will be very interesting to carry our discussions in that direction from where we are now. But don’t let me interrupt you. Continue!

Apps save time?

By Lara

I typed “productivity” into google just for the heck of it to see what came up. I had never even thought of “apps” as being a new sort of productivity platform and yet here it is- a list of apps that have successfully been approved into the category of things to make better use of your time (barcode scanners, battery doctor, file scanners, pocket informers….) or simply to make sure preemptively that it’s not wasted (remember the milk, Calengoo).

I wonder how these apps made this list, and also how much time they actually end up saving…


by Ran

Although we live in the age of digital, we still use paper as a productivity platform.

franklin planner