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It’s kind of challenging to live and document the living at the same time. You need to have your full focus in two places at once — one, on actual life, and the other, on creating a meaningful record of the actual life. I was never the kind of person who was able to take photographs while on vacation. I’d return home with a roll (or memory stick) with about a dozen photos from the first two days, and not much else. You’d think I’d lost my camera.

The question becomes, for me, how do I leave a trail — one that I can annotate — of a process like running for public office? How do I — but only inasmuch as I need to to earn a degree — document something that is fraught with emotional and intellectual investment, without losing that sense of investment, while at the same time conveying a convincing, affective sense of how the process worked?

The first great thing is that I can create an archive of every email I sent and received about the electoral process. This is relatively easy — I just need to find a place and a way to store this stuff (preferably online) that gives me the tools to annotate it. We’ve been looking at Omeka for another project, but making an Omeka site as the comprehensive documentation of what has been happening to me lately seems like a really good possibility, as well.

This is also useful because eventually we might make a book about this. Filled with reproductions of campaign ephemera, transcripts of speeches, and early drafts of official documents (including those scrawled on by friends and such), and ideally bound with a version of our campaign poster, I’ve been thinking about this book for a while now.

The other thing of it is — I need a little help parsing what happened these past few months. I feel a little like I took everything I understood about what I am and what I’m doing with my life, upended it, and shook it. A lot of stuff fell out. A lot of stuff got rearranged. The future today looks different from the way it looked at the beginning of the semester. That’s good, in a way. It’s also frightening. But, as Shasti said, say hello to the new normal.

(On that note this site is going to be getting an overhaul soon. Might be offline for a few weeks.)

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This is sort of a question and sort of a proposal for a project.  The other day it occurred to me that wikis are just like giant diagrams with a lot of text, so why can’t we build wikis that are literally giant diagrams that rely more on images rather than text?  I think that it would be interesting to put together a program that allowed users to manipulate images and link to them by creating image map hotspots within the wiki.

I see several obvious applications of this.  First, it would be really cool to be able to create a diagram of something and be able to add infinite detail.  From a design standpoint, what if you created the floor plan of a house, and then you could click on each room to get a better picture of the interior design elements, and then click on a specific object, like a chair, to get an image of the upholstery pattern or specific item that the interior designer wanted to use.  Then, maybe, the colors or motifs in the design of that item could link to other items that might be used in the rest of the room.

Second, I think there is an interesting potential for collaborative art-making.  If I could post a piece of work that I had created (either intentionally for an art collective wiki or otherwise), it could serve as a kind of prompt.  If another artist created something in response to that piece, or maybe just using motifs or elements from it, they could upload their image, define a hotspot around something specific they are responding to or using in their own work, and create a web that way.  It would be possible to link from multiple images and link to multiple images.

I did a little research and I found wikimapia.org, which uses Google Maps to create a giant tagged map of the world, and if you zoom in you can get smaller regions, too.  I tried zooming in on my neighborhood and there was even a tag for the Mexican restaurant next door to my house.  As far as I can tell, though, there doesn’t seem to be anything which allows users to define hotspots within specific images and link to a page of new images.

Does anybody know of a site that will allow you to do that?  I’d really like to see it and maybe use it for an art project.  If there isn’t one that exists, then why the heck isn’t there one?  Do you think this would be a useful tool?

The website for the zine I’m on staff for, the Naked Riot, is now live.  Go check it out and let us know what you think.  Also, if you have contributions, feel free to send ’em in.  New issue is due out before the end of the month.  Theme: self-love, in all its forms.

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