Towards a Body of Work (1)
It’s probably my Christianity that gives me a slightly unhealthy obsession with death. I look forward to it in some ways, and I think about it often.
Who is it that I become on this journey? What do I leave behind… and how long will that last, stay relevant, and where?
Yesterday I went to the Virgil exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Walking around and through some of his work. Flirting with museum lines, putting my face as close to the objects as possible. “QUESTION EVERYTHING” printed on a white flag hung above my head, while the original Pyrex video played above a table of Off-White x Nike sneakers.
Virgil leaves behind a stunning body of work. From architectural pieces - collections at Louis Vuitton & Off-White - DJ sets - talks / presentations - and more. We can take it off the shelf, rotate it, listen to it.
Equally as important, he was a chronic documenter. Open sourcing the references that fed into his frameworks, designs, and collaborations.
Walking throughout the Brooklyn Museum, this was all on display. Both awe inspiring and leaving us with the definitive feeling that we can do it too. Not only that, we are doing it currently.
I think that software can be too abstract. Too under the hood. Too inviting to be touched and reworked. Where other materials have an end point in their pliability. The paint drys. The hem is sewn. The ribbon is cut.
It presents a very interesting problem. How does a technologist begin to look at their body of work... can they even without hardware phased out like Apple. An investor looks at their portfolio and memos. Founders hopefully get one long lasting organization… incredibly rare. For most, it’s a resume of contributions.
Naturally this is the course of 99%+ of working lives. But this isn’t about holding ourselves to those confines, it’s about having your own multidisciplinary portfolio while coming from an entirely different starting point. It’s not the resume, it’s the retrospective.
When constructing something large, when constructing something reallyyyyyy big ~ are you thinking about the one chair, the room, the car ~ or are you thinking about the framework in which you might build each one of these things through.
It reminds me of when Ye was frustrated with the wider flow of capital in an interview. In short lamenting “these guys in Silicon Valley, they wanna fund a guy that has one idea. I have a non-stop flow of ideas.”
Towards a body of work.
What is it supposed to speak to? It should be, I hope, beyond the scope of scaling one app. It should be, I hope, in constant dialogue of bridging past, present, and future.
I think, at least what I’ve been meditating on for the past 7 months, is that we have to look towards designing an organization that allows the ability to build out that body of work. Still venture back-able. Not just a design studio reliant on client work or a large art practice.
Cracking this holds an entirely new model for intersectional work. Not just scaling the big blue app. But creating software as infrastructure. Media disseminating a stance on cultural construction. A chair. A speaker system. All sharing a through-line opinion.
Towards a body of work.
I want to publish this before midnight so I’ll pause here…
I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.
Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.
Live in the light
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