Creative Conflict

Eric Zimmerman wrote a manifesto declaring the 21st Century to be the “Ludic Century.”

When information is put at play, game-like experiences replace linear media. Media and culture in the Ludic Century is increasingly systemic, modular, customizable, and participatory. Games embody all of these characteristics in a very direct sense.

When you go out of your way to call it a manifesto, of course people will have responses. And in the Ludic Century, apparently you’re allowed to take yourself down in a sort of rhetorical self-frag.


Steve Albini wrote a letter to Nirvana before the recording of In Utero. It’s part project pitch, part producer’s manifesto.


If the Albini letter doesn’t make you feel old, how about this: If you’re looking for Riot Grrrl zines, the place to look isn’t your local alternative bookstore — it’s in library archives and coffee table books.

The Riot Grrrl Collection received its first item in 2010: a two-drawer filing cabinet covered with stickers and filled with the notebooks, letters, and handmade zines donated by Kathleen Hanna, who played alongside Fateman in Le Tigre, and also in the band Bikini Kill. A photograph of this cabinet appears on the cover of a book of essays and selections from the archive, also called The Riot Grrrl Collection, that was published by The Feminist Press in June.

ESPN’s ombudsman looks into why the network backed out of a collaboration with Frontline on concussions in the NFL.

So what just happened? Beats me. At best we've seen some clumsy shuffling to cover a lack of due diligence. At worst, a promising relationship between two journalism powerhouses that could have done more good together has been sacrificed to mollify a league under siege. The best isn't very good, but if the worst turns out to be true, it’s a chilling reminder how often the profit motive wins the duel.

Stephen Schieberl of Wieden + Kennedy provides a guide for new-media artists working with agencies, but Igor Clark doesn’t want to hear the term “creative technologist:”

Outcome: “creative technologists” who think that their daily use of social media, “passion for digital” and pile of half-baked ideas about QR codes, mobile integration and Facebook apps constitute an entitlement to have those ideas brought to life by the still-downtrodden developers, still languishing in the dungeons of overworked production companies and in-house development teams. As a result, “Creative Technology” has become watered down to the point where people fresh out of “creative tech” courses need only sprinkle some of that digital ninja-dust on their resumés, and those without the requisite background, know-how and experience to sort the wheat from the chaff are none the wiser.

Unpacking mealy-mouthed statements of “culture” in Silicon Valley.

Culture is not about the furniture in your office. It is not about how much time you have to spend on feel-good projects.... Culture is about power dynamics, unspoken priorities and beliefs, mythologies, conflicts, enforcement of social norms, creation of in/out groups and distribution of wealth and control inside companies. Culture is usually ugly.

Finally: Andre Torrez reminds us to avoid dark patterns and move towards delight.