Monday, November 29, 2010

Ignorant Food 1

Molly, who is the grandmother of Sarif and Rahul, once told this story to Nils.  Molly and Nils are like-minded in certain respects.  It is logical, then, that the story—a memory that Molly found quite moving—affected Nils in a similar fashion.

César Chávez was the legendary champion for the civil rights of migrant farm workers.  He co-founded the United Farm Workers union.  One source describes him as “a self-taught rhetorical genius”.  And so it was that Molly drove forty miles to hear Chávez speak.

Many things were spoken that day.  Of them all, a single thought lodged firmly in Molly’s mind.  You are about to receive this idea.  It is simple.  It has survived the eighty mile journey, the interval of two decades that passed until Nils heard it from Molly, and another ten years until Nils thought to share it here.  It still has the power to raise goose bumps on his neck.

“The ‘farmer’ comes to your table three times each day.”

There is more to this story.  Naturally, Nils shared this idea with Delores.  Her first reaction was, “I eat the labor of people.”  The idea cooked itself in her brain, and then food ignorance took another turn.  To be continued.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tag Enrichment

When Prudence gets down and low she knows not to wallow there.  She knows that the antidote—literally—is a behavior that’s incompatible with sadness: playfulness.

Imagine this game.  You can obliterate graffiti geometrically.  This is better than erasing it or painting over it.  That only creates a blank slate and invites more of the same.  But the geometric enrichment would add extra lines, curves, loops and dots to camouflage the original message.  To work most effectively the additions would have to be rendered using the same style, technique and materials as the original message.  Let’s see an example.

The original message is still there.  It cannot be read very easily, however.  (By the way, see Val’s comments, below.)

Another advantage to this is that doing this doesn’t require any special artistic skill.  (Prudence insists that she has no drawing skills whatever.)  Therefore, just about anybody could participate in such an enrichment activity.  Prudence is sure that kids would love doing it.

There is the possibility that a gang would take offense at its tagging being messed with.  Prudence thinks this consideration is just an opportunity for more creativity, and she goes at it with a passion.  Here are a few suggestions.

  • Find one letter that is common to the tagging of rival gangs.  Then enrich only that letter.

  • Or, contrary to what she said before, Prudence says you could specifically not use the same technique for the enrichment.  That way the original message remains readable.  Like this.
(Prudence wants to get technical on us.  She says that this variation can be understood as a slight reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio.  Big whup, as Grace might say.)

  • Protect the tag message by drawing a boundary around it.  Then do the enrichment outside the boundary.  (This assumes that the tagged surface provides the extra area.)  Here is an example.

VAL COMMENTS:  Val was waitressing at Sizzler where Prudence was working on this.  Val remarked that it made the graffiti look like art.  Then she suggested submitting this idea to the Pepsi Refresh Project for positively affecting your community.  Well, if it comes to that, guess who shares the credit for that?  Right, Val?