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a new news foundation

An idea that has been about a year in the noodling, you may have noticed some of my thoughts on re-inventing news or at least trying to approach the subject from some different starting points, outside of the existing, large news rooms.

To this end, I want to launch in March 2012 a ‘new news foundation’ along the lines of the Awesome Foundation, so I was thinking of putting this on pledgebank:

‘I pledge to contribute £100 per month for 10 months to the New News Fund if 9 other people also agree to do this. This fund will be used to support and help new ideas in news, journalism and communications.

The projects supported will be decided upon by the fund contributors, and the contributors will be able to vote for an ‘advisory panel’ made up of people we believe will be able to help us find and support the important and interesting new ideas in the continual evolution of the news industry.’

So my first question is does this make sense? In what form should the fund exist, should it be an semi-informal thing, or should it be set up as a proper organisation (which I would prefer to do, but we have to be careful about time available to run something more formal, also we have to make sure that costs to run the fund do not come from the fund).

In doing this project I am interested in being able to support new projects and ideas, but should the fund be able to ‘invest’ in ideas, in the aim of getting a return on the investment and thus able to make more money for the fund? This idea, which I think would be very interesting also has a lot of issues around legislation, since the fund would then be a financial service.

March is the month of launch, so that we can do a 10 month run for 2012. We should be able to produce a report on the projects supported over this period of time. This is both serious but also an opportunity to allow some more playful and esoteric ideas to maybe get more of a foothold than they would otherwise.

Also, any ideas for a better name?

calling international rescue

it is nearly christmas here in the west and then the new year according to the calendar that I currently use. When new year comes around it is a good time to create some goals for that coming year, so this year I am going to post some thoughts around some ideas and goals that I have for 2012, after all it is going to be a busy and interesting year.

Firstly, following on from my wish to curate a set of TED talks that could be shown to school kids in primary school and then getting them to do things inspired by said talks I want to suggest something else to get our children excited by.

The last few years have felt tumultous, disasters, war, cultural upheaval. We need to instill the idea of Preferable Futures now more that ever.

Warren Ellis wrote about ‘rescue fiction‘. Thunderbirds and the like, that excited us as kids. Technology and Engineering used for good to make the world a better place, (whilst still being exciting and adventourous in the process). Now, my son is happy when the ShelterBox his cub group helped fund goes out to help people but what if once a week each term we charged the children with a task, to imagine solutions to current problems.

Lets not hide the world from them, its something exciting to embrace and we can approach this from practicle, design a thing to iamgining a world that they want, why the current status quo is not what they want.

once a week each term, I want schools across the country to make their children ‘International rescue’ and unleash their creativity on the world.

(Mr. Gerry Anderson, please let us do this in the name of the Tracy family).


a new new art riot

this weekend just past (19th & 20th November 2011) Rewired State hosted a Hackday For Honda at The Guardian and I got to go along as one of the devs.

It was possibly the scariest hackday to do as what to build, what did Honda and their agency Amplify expect? It was a tricky event but the amazing Rewired State team did pull it off and some amazing ideas got built. You must check them out.

I planned to work with Chris Thorpe (@jaggeree) and originally we planned something on behavioural change but…

You turn up, you think differently, a hard week and you want to try something else. Art became our theme quite quickly and in fact, just making something that could be called art.

So we did.

Under the group name ‘This Is Our Algorithm’ we produced three pieces of art, pieces that had thought and ideas behind them, that should be provoking but playful.

‘The Watchful State’

At last I started my CCTV mapping project, if you have spoken to me in the last ten or more years you will know I have been interested in the idea of mapping our surveillance infrastructure. Over the weekend I started a project to actually start to realise that idea, albeit slowly.

I had discussed the fact that rolling up to a large surveillance installation with a camera and starting to snap would in fact interest the police. But what if the image of the installation was recorded with pencil and paper, or charcoal or even water colours.

The final triptych consists of:

A map made using (This is Michal Migurski awesome tool that makes a paper map of anywhere, but you add details to the map, then scan it back in and help add detail to Open Street Map)

A photograph of the CCTV installation in question and a pencil and charcoal drawing or sketch of the street scene.
First art

The other pieces were Karma,




and a Dream with a Dream

A Chain of Dreams #hondahack

All three pieces dealt with algorithms, code and control. They were as much about some strange desire we have to codify up our lives into possibly complex but ultimately meaningless algorithms, trying to reduce complexity to a point beyond understandable simplicity to end at a nihilistic pointlessness.

Reality is complex, understanding reality is hard.

That’s what makes it fun!

So we intend to make more art. We will tell you more about it all at This Is Our Algorithm.

UPDATE: 23/11/2011

You have to go and read Chris’ thoughts on the event and learn more about Dream with a Dream. He’s right, I miss it already too and want to build another chain. Possible Christmas decoration project if nothing else.