McQuarrie on finding creative success, the Influencer scam hustle, Rocket Science Issue 8 plus more!
For my current project on pedestrian infrastructure, I have a list of destinations around the city that I plan on visiting multiple times over a yet to be determined time period. I typically plan a 10-12 mile walk that connects and covers several locations, recording it with Strava, making notes along the way and then doing a recap when I get home. I’ve become more interested with data collection the last few years because holy smokes we are collecting data on everything and it’s overwhelming but also creatively interesting. I like finding connections in data.
On Saturday, I started my walk in the Bronx, with my first stop at the Highbridge, the oldest bridge in New York. It was originally part of the Croton Aqueduct and has been a pedestrian bridge since 2015. The views are brilliant and it takes you into Highbridge Park which makes for a scenic walk. I didn’t cross over into Manhattan on this trip, instead I walked south to the Macombs Dam Bridge, stopping by a couple of pedestrian bridges on the way.
At one of the bridges I planned on creating some footage with the Osmo Pocket but when I turned it on the battery was basically depleted. I laughed and was a little disappointed at myself for wasting the opportunity. But I’ll be back, and that’s part of the point of the project. Each visit I’ll learn something new, and hopefully see an angle that I didn’t before. It’s one of the reasons I find these type of long term projects interesting. Once you start working, you never completely know where it’ll take you, and for me, that learning curve is what keeps me pursuing creative projects.
The Creative Brain on Improvisation
“Everyday improvisation is about being cognizant of those small moments when you’re dealing with something unplanned or unscripted. Navigating your way to work and having conversations are things you do naturally. But once you frame them within the context of improvisation, it may be easier to build on and leverage that kind of creativity, not unlike how musicians get better at improvising during a set the more times they do it.”
New to me podcast ‘Creative Conversation’ explores the neuroscience of improvisation in creativity. Way back in my Minneapolis days I studied Improv at the Brave New Workshop and was about as bad at it as one can imagine, but it was also one of the most creatively inspiring things I’ve done. And the Improv maxim of ‘Yes and….’ applies to just about anything that you’re doing creatively.
The Job (or Scam) of Being an Influencer
“As digital journalism has converged with influencer culture, a whole genre of coverage has sprung up to account for it, including breathless book-launch coverage around star authors that feels more like celebrity voyeurism. We want to know what and how writers eat, which skincare products they smear on their faces, and what they’re reading when they’re not writing.”
Interesting deep dive on the ‘journalist as influencer’ in The Guardian. We’ll always be interested in the lives of artists but I think we’re reaching a tipping point with influencer culture. Bellamy Hunt, the Japan Camera Hunter rants on the fraudsters he encounters on Instagram. I’m not sure shaming people is right tactic but it does demonstrate the desperation at the core of the influencer hustle.
“All of these roots together form the skeletal structure of the dunes which protect the beach, and all of the other plants and animals which call Fire Island home. I imagine my ideal artistic communities in this same light. I imagine the pooling of resources, the trading of nutrients throughout our root systems such that stability does not come from the loose and inhuman pursuit of wealth, but from the warm and caring pursuit of each other. I need money to survive, which is why I work my day job. But the fulfillment I get from participating within the arts, the joy of working with you and with others on such gratifying and frivolous pursuits as understanding the material world, is both radical and stabilizing.”
Artist Kelsey Sucena writes about pursuing art while working as a park ranger at Fire Island on Long Island for the summer in issue 8 of Rocket Science Magazine.
“A solo walk through an unfamiliar swath of urbanity will usually invigorate me, no matter how unappealing the environs or weather. During the decade that I lived in Edmonton, which has among the most frigid winters of any large city on the planet, and an orderly grid of numbered streets, shifting my commute by a single block would reveal small wonders.” - Dan Rubenstein, Born to Walk
- Hollywood producer Brian Medavoy says the ‘The Secret To Learning A New Skill Is To Treat It Like A Language’
- Satirical piece in Medium about treating cars as if they were startups —> San Francisco to End Disastrous Dockless Vehicle Pilot
- Kyle Chayka writes in Vox about how tourism is being influenced by social media and algorithms
- Instagram Holds Closed-Door Roundtable with Artists on Art and Nudity