Category Archives: Dispatches

Randy Adams (aka runran) – digital artist

Those who remember the trAce Online Writing Community (1995-2005) won’t have forgotten our fearless editor-at-large Randy Adams (aka runran). He was an indispensable part of the team, and an accomplished digital artist in his own right.

Randy died in 2014, way too soon, and is missed by many.  He was a man of contradictions – tough, spirited, and straight-talking, but endlessly kind, supportive, clever, and supremely talented. He always had time to help upcoming artists in the early years when the very notion of digital art and literature were too new to be taken seriously. We miss him a great deal.

His good friend and former colleague at trAce, the digital designer Chris Joseph, has recreated Randy’s blog  at https://remixworx.com/runran/site/ . The collection includes several of his early digital works, in addition to his writing, audio work and photographs. The bulk of Randy’s digital work is still available on the remixworx site he founded at https://remixworx.com/?cat=14 . Please visit and enjoy this fascinating collection.

Baba's Box
Baba’s Box: cloth-lined drawer from my grandmother’s travel trunk, rope, beeswax, rusted metal, burnt linen, manipulated/etched photographic print, tassles from iconostasis, cloth flowers gathered from cemeteries, cut-tin angel, star made from sardine tin, portion of a Christmas calendar, small granite rock, Christ medallion, red ribbon, spring. https://remixworx.com/runran/site/

Bringing the weather indoors #ophelia

Yesterday I spent the day in a weird world of weather.  Hurricane Ophelia barely touched Bournemouth, the seaside town where I live on the south coast of England, but what it did do was bring clouds full of sand from the Sahara Desert and dump some of it on my car.

It also filled the sky between me and the sun so, like many people across the UK, I passed the day in an eerie red-lit Martian world of dust and red light. Attached to this post is a picture of the view from my window that morning. It looks like the cover of a 1950s pulp SF paperback.  By noon the sun, still embedded in the pillow of dark sky, had turned deep deep orange We were all rather thrilled by this weather. We were physically safe where we were, but excited by this connection with something so much bigger than ourselves. What might this tell us in terms of biophilic design?

Continue reading Bringing the weather indoors #ophelia

Feel better without logging off

Excerpted from my new blog – read the whole page here

Nature is good for you (why technobiophilia matters)

“We are all made of starstuff”.  (Carl Sagan)

We know intuitively that nature is good for us. Those wonderful sensations of wind in our hair, sun on our face, cold snowflakes on our skin all need no explanation. They remind us we’re alive. That we’re part of the planet we live on. That our DNA contains the history of the Earth and perhaps even the stars too.

We know this in our bones. But, beyond a sentimental thrill, what evidence is there to explain why we feel such a powerful connection with nature?

Biologist E.O.Wilson has a name for this very deep emotion: biophilia. It is, he says in his book of the same name Biophiliathe innate attraction to life and lifelike processes. He first experienced it deep in a forest in Suriname, when  one day, all of a sudden, “in a twist my mind came free and I was aware of the hard workings of the natural world”. He believes that early humans survived by attuning themselves to their surroundings and ‘reading’ the behaviours of other creatures and landscapes around them. Then it was a matter of safety, food and survival, but even today, says Wilson, we remain deeply drawn to manifestations of life.

Architect Stephen Kellert agrees that biophilia was genetically encoded inside us when sensitivity to sensory signals was crucial to our survival. In order to stay safe, we needed to be able to read the messages conveyed by changes of light, sound, odour, wind, weather, water, vegetation, animals and landscapes.

Today,  our everyday lives are less dependent upon our physical surroundings but those sensitivities remain. They may lie dormant for a while until triggered by a signal from our bygone past, such as an encounter with animals, a visit to the countryside, even just the scent of a flower on a warm day. Suddenly we once again sense a glimmer of that ancient life in the wild. Biophilia connects us to nature.

Read the rest…