Productive Procrastination #18

Revue
 
Welcome back.I’m sitting on my balcony in the sun, listening to the livestream from republica. This i
 

Johannes Kleske

May 2 - Issue #18 - View online
A combination of recommendations, observations, and personal updates

Welcome back.
I’m sitting on my balcony in the sun, listening to the livestream from republica. This is the first longer stretch of sun and warmer days, which marks the final end of Berlin winter. And as it turns out, I seemed to have suffered from an episode of winter depression over the last weeks. This is not surprising to me. Ever since I’ve moved to Berlin, the winter here that is usually not very cold but very gray for a very long time has caused me problems.
Since I’ve found out about winter depression, I’ve been trying to battle it every year, mostly by walking us much as I can and using a daylight lamp (wrote an article about it in German some years ago). But somehow, maybe because my focus shifted to cycling, I’ve stopped commuting by foot (40 min one way) earlier this year. It’s fascinating how in hindsight, it all makes sense. I’ve been moody and melancholic, had trouble to concentrate and lacked energy. Within days of picking commuting by foot up again, it all changed. This newsletter is one result of that.
It seems strange how you can be aware of a thing that is quite important for your life quality, and then just forget about it. Well, thankfully, I have a partner who reminded me.
So, take care of your community, folks. This is all much harder to do alone. And it will only become more so. 

Nicola and I spent the weekend at the Baltic sea. It's becoming our happy place.
Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower
I’ve finished Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, finally. It took me a bit because it is so fucking bleak. It describes a near-future United States that has fallen apart and abandoned almost any rule of law. People are fighting for survival. Butler has no pity for her readers and describes a future dark age in harsh detail. What makes it especially bleak for me is that it’s not a post-apocalyptic world. As far as I can tell, nothing concrete had happened to push the world (of the United States) into this situation. It seemed to have slid into it, which strikes me as much more realistic. As I described in #16 about picking it up, I’ve predominantly read it as a description of a post-Trump U.S. That might have made it a little too real for me. I’m quite sure I will never read it again.
Having said that, there’s also a lot of beauty in it to counter the description of the world. That beauty comes from the main protagonist, slowly developing her own faith-system. It features a lot of the aspects I love about spirituality.
So, with all that said, I’d recommend reading Parable of the Sower, even if it’s hard to read. It’s a very helpful what-if scenario, which never gives up hope.
I bought the second book in the series, already. 
Theorizing the Web – Part 2
First off, I promised more pointers to the good Theorizing-the-Web-stuff. So here it is.
The first session I attended was on Transitioning Identity and featured topics like Transgender Selfies, Counterpublic Strategy and Prismatic Identity. All of that had no meaning for me before listening to the speakers. They did a fantastic job of filling this words with observations and ideas. That whole session left me with a general excitement about where that whole topic of gender identity is heading and how broad it really is. Unfortunately, the video from this session seems to be only the second half of it. 
The second session was about our posthuman nature. I want to point our two talks especially. Carmel Vaisman talked about how Cyborg & Transhuman discourses are reconfiguring disability, and Minka Stoyanova argued that 21st Century Feminism is Cyborgism. All around great insights and provocations. Here’s the video of this session. 
The third session of day one was about wearables and the quantified self. With this one, it’s even harder to point our a highlight. Just watch the whole thing. Special feature: the back of my head at the bottom of the video.
To not make this part too long, I will keep the recommendations for day two for the next issue. 
Reading Recommendations
Bodyhackers are all around you, they’re called women
Why free money beats bullshit jobs
Mika Model, a new short story from Paolo Bacigalupi.
Favorite Quotes
“The real sinner in this is IBM, which is reducing the options of what cities can do with their data.”
– Richard Sennett at republica, providing some promising ideas on what his next book will be about
Elsewhere
Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel asked me to write an article for their debate platform on the topic of ‘Work 4.0 – Curse or Blessing?’ In my article that was published last weekend (the weekend of May 1st), I’m calling for a new digital worker movement to fight for a new balance: Wir brauchen eine neue Arbeiterbewegung (in German).
Together with our client Elisabeth Ruge, I gave an interview for a book on experts and their role in the 21st century: Auf dem Markt der Experten.
Making of
Turns out, Grammarly believes in the neoliberal dream of smart cities…
Thank you
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Carefully curated by Johannes Kleske with Revue.
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