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Home2017-12-28T11:40:53+00:00

You are what you repeatedly do.

Aristotle

About Me

My work is in performance and technology. 

When my university wanted to promote my work they took the picture above. Why does holding a sword represent my research? I have no idea, but the picture makes me smile every time I see it.

My work is the study of how we do, what we do, when we do, what we do. I believe studying performance technology should be one of our central practices. For me, ideas are not as important as action. We should study what people do, and not what they say. If we use this approach, we can reflect on our lives, rather than obsessing over what we think about life. It sounds simple, but I find most of us can benefit from exploring how we live.

Technology is my primary focus. When the Ancient Greeks debated the best way to live they spoke of techné. Techné refers to a practice of finding what you are best suited to do, and then dedicating yourself to developing that practice in service of others. It is an important legacy from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and the network of information in which they lived. Their school of thought is often labelled Western, but the idea of techné was part of a philosophical network developed over trade and travel routes belonging to both East and West.

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Tracing the development of techné is fascinating. Centuries after the first discussions of techné, the word technology entered the English language. It combines techné and logos, where the latter refers to words and meaning. Technology, or, the techné of the word, entered the dictionary as a result of a revolutionary invention: the printing press. The word technical showed up at the same time, because of another transformative development: the scientific method.

A few generations later, the word technique was added to refer to the refined practice of artists and craftspeople. Recently, the phrase information technology, was introduced to describe digital approaches to knowledge and communication. Using techné as a reference point allows us to explore ideas and practices extending throughout history and around the world.

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The Deliberately Creative Life

Speaking notes from keynote for the Writer’s Guild of Alberta 2018 AGM. I will begin by introducing the work I do, but before that I need to mention the word avuncular. My work focuses on performance. I love learning how people do, what they do, when they do, what they do. For me, Aristotle's “you are what you repeatedly do” is everything. I spend my life studying elite performance. It always seemed to me [...]

By |July 20th, 2018|Categories: Blog Posts, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Reading List

During several recent workshops and conferences, I was asked for a reading list for those who want more information about digital technology and its impact. Here it is. The list provides an intro to code, the big four critics, the relevant philosophers, two lawyers you should monitor non-stop, and finishes with some (computer) scientists. The Big Four Donna Haraway https://campusdirectory.ucsc.edu/cd_detail?uid=haraway Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto was one of the first theoretical engagements with new technology and [...]

By |July 20th, 2018|Categories: Blog Posts, Uncategorized|0 Comments

‘No dress rehearsal, this is our life:’ Gord Downie and the Canadian conversation

  Canadians are lucky to have the creative contributions of Gord Downie, frontman for the Tragically Hip, who passed away this week at the age of 53. He embodied a beautiful paradox in our conversation about Canadian culture. He wrote poetry about hockey and our complicated history, quoting both news and literature, and singing those poems to diverse audiences in hockey arenas. Where America’s poet, Walt Whitman, spoke of “containing multitudes,” Downie connected multitudes. Like Downie, [...]

By |October 27th, 2017|Categories: Blog Posts|0 Comments

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