I have a fortnightly newsletter, in which I boringly discuss what I've just worked on, what I'm currently working on, and what I want to work on in the future. Given that this is the year end slow period for publishing, I thought I would take a couple weeks to reflect on things I had done the past year, and also things I haven't done in the past year. But this is the much more exciting variation on that theme: things I'd like to do over the next year. This is my mostly neglected website, which I mostly maintain in order to store my CV and as a thing to re-design as a way of procrastinating. I'm not saying that I'm turning over a new leaf here, and announcing some grand plan to make this site more active. But, I feel like maybe a list of projects I'd like to work on deserves a seat here.
More About Drones
My book about drones just came out "officially". I've also got this file of interviews with artists using drones that is super interesting and mostly un-utilized, though some of it has appeared here and here. But I'm not done with drones yet. I just got one, as a matter of fact--a small quadrotor with a pretty decent camera, and we're looking at how to utilize this for artistic purposes. Also, the topic has evolved quite a bit since I finished the manuscript last April. Amazon Drones weren't yet a thing. The FAA is supposed to release rules for small drones at the end of the month. The technology is rapidly evolving. Who knows what will come next. I'd like to stay abreast of the developments, and continue the general themes of the book: that drones are an evocative technological narrative that reflects a great deal of the way that we interact with technology, and represents both our hopes and our fears for it.
I've got a couple projects that I am trying to get grants for, which involve mapping. Like most archive nerds, I love maps. Just the other day at the library, the research librarian and I were gushing over the beauty of a 1908 sounding map of the Oregon coast, completely ignoring the teenagers at the table next to us telling a story of how they hoped their boyfriend would be found dead. Maps are great--not just for distracting yourself from the irritating people around you--but for displaying information. I'm working on learning how to use some digital mapping tools, hoping that I can use some immersive digital maps as a way of showcasing research into a number of topics. Looking at augmented reality as well, because as much as it bores me in its current incarnations, the idea of magically pulling a layer of imagery up from the landscape intersects a lot of my interests. Infrastructure, social history, landscape art, installation art--there's a lot of ways to work in maps. Just have my fingers crossed for the funding now--because as far as I know, there aren't any magazines that take pitches for interesting kml datasets.
I want to write more fiction. I do this near-future sort of speculative fiction, involving current technologies acting in unfamiliar ways. I have a whole host of ideas for this sort of stuff, the difficulty is finding a venue to place it. There are the usual places I know and love, but I would like to find a way to do more of it. Something I've been mulling over is the idea of releasing my own serial. Around 10k words a month, with twelve "episodes" coming together like chapters to form a story arc. Okay, I haven't just mulled it over--I've already mapped it out. It's a pretty interesting story I think, involving anti-capitalists in the Oregon woods. There's drones, streaming media corporations, vigilantes, radio magic, automatic weapons, post-climate change geo-politics, and some made-for-TV human romance. So should I just do this? It's kind of a big commitment, and self-publishing is kind of not-at-all-profitable. I don't know--would you subscribe to a book released over the course of a year? How much would you pay per chapter? What sort of terms would you choose? These are the questions I'm still wrestling with. In the meantime, selling short stories on occasion is pretty good too.
We've got a bunch of interesting art projects coming up this year. We're building a massive aeolian harp, that should also function as a long-wave radio receiver. There's this idea we came up with that involves "intervention into the supply chain", but that's kind of all I can say right now. Going to be doing more re-used material installations, of course. We were thinking about making an interesting representation of a philosophy problem with a Raspberry Pi and a table lamp… or maybe molding New Age healing materials into the shapes of highway equipment. Who knows. We've got a studio full of old traffic light lens, surplus industrial plastic, and several kilometers of copper wire. Let's get to work!
New Non-Fiction Book Project
Currently working on a couple of book pitches. I really liked the academic angle I went with on the drones project. Short book, high levels of facts, told in quick anecdotal chapters that came together to give the overall analysis. I'd like to write more history like this. I'm looking at a few different topics, some specific, others wide. One topic I'm looking into is electromagnetism and hertzian space. Another thing I've had notes on for over a year, is the history of the US highway system. A lot of interesting tie-ins between the history of drones and the history of automobiles, by the way. I've got another idea about an atlas for lost technologies, too...
Here's some other stuff that's on my list. "Bela Tarr film about Amtrak", "The Department of Interdimensional Land Use", "Paranormal Supply Chain", "Loose Aggregates of Pulverized Art", "What Are Transistors?", "Timelapse." What are these things? Will they ever come into being? Or will they be destined to be on next year's list of things that you're glad I never did?