Thursday, October 25, 2007

Container Culture (Ned Gazette)

When we start thinking about building a habitable structure, we usually don't start thinking about the use of a recycled 20-foot shipping container. 'Icons of globalization' Mass produced, salt stained, dark, windowless, solid steel, durable universal module, whose primary function is to be shipped. It is easily transported by road and rail and there is a global infrastructure which supports these modules. Easy to acquire, this is the next wave in modern architecture.

Shipping containers have been used for years to store and transport items, and now people are using them to create functional living and work spaces. A portable solution for an owner who is interested in an inexpensive eco-friendly modern alternative. With tens of thousands of empty containers cluttering global seaports, developers are starting to obtain them as literal 'building blocks' for a larger architectural projects.

"Future Shack is the prototype for mass-produced, relocatable emergency and relief housing." They provide custom, prefabricated storage containers to post natural disaster areas, to assist in relief efforts. Many companies around the world are now coming to life, and using the discarded treasures that sit on their docks.

Global Peace Containers, a non-profit organization creates sustainable housing, from retired international shipping containers. Building unique self sustained housing and emergency shelters are important for humanitarian efforts. Containers simply give people the ability to drop these ingenious mobile homes anywhere, and in any configuration.

San Francisco, California is home to the Shipyard, an artist community which was built from a collection of shipping containers. Many of the artist within that community are members of the Burning Man community and they make unique eco-friendly art projects for community events. For example the community built the three story steam-powered victorian house, yet unfortunate as it is, this community is currently searching for a new home, as they have recently been evicted by the city of Berkley because it has a new development plan that does not include the vision of the shipyard or it's artist.

Container City 1 was built in less that five months, and completed in 2001 in the heart of London at Trinity Buoy Wharf. Over 80% of the building was constructed from recycled materials, making it a very cost effective and environmentally friendly. Providing live and work studios affordable and available to almost anyone interested in alternative housing. Container City 2 is an extension of the first, bridged by containers and built even larger housing 22 additional studios. This project is one of the most successful container projects to date because developer worked so closely with the London Government. Now the UK is sponsoring these affordable container living projects throughout the Country.

For those living in the Mountains, harsh environments calls for solid structures that can help us sustain. maybe we should be considering how these containers can help us weather the winters in Nederland. They could be useful when building a home, a great storage container, but beyond that, in a time when materials are expensive, and recycling is a viable option in an alternative friendly community, why not start considering containers. With over 1.6 million containers arriving each year and only 688,000 full containers leaving the US, there is obviously a surplus of containers building up along the port regions of the US.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don’t Be Digitally Misrepresented (Ned Gazette)

When we hear about identity today, in the digital age, it seems we hear more about identity theft than anything else. But there is more to worry about than merely someone stealing our identity. What about misrepresenting it?

Daily, even several times a day, things happen to give us a digital identity. We make purchases using a debit card; we walk down Pearl Street, constantly watched on surveillance; we make a cell phone call, or buy something on E-bay, or e-mail friends, family, or lovers. You get the picture. This is the extent to which we leave a digital portrait, whether we intend to or not.

This digital description of us starts from birth and ends several weeks after we are deceased. When we’re gone, and someone attempts to create some history about us in the future, what will they find? Maybe some phone records, a few computer documents left behind, and an electronic digital history of our lives. But is that what any of us actually intended?

Today people create several different kinds of digital identities: for instant messenger, for e-mail, for work and for leisure. People work online globally, for companies and people they have never seen or touched, purely through their digital identity. People everywhere are creating media and data that is a very valuable part of their identity. Blogs, online photo/video galleries, and network profiles like Myspace and Tribe are all huge content producing monsters, full of digital identities.

Possible employers, business partners, lovers and others use the internet to search for info on you, and what pops up on Google is often very interesting. How do you protect and promote yourself on Google at the same time? You can protect yourself by knowing your technological enemy through education. You can start by utilizing the free and or open-source tools available to the general public. Start creating content your proud of, that is reliable and can be backed up with facts and sources. Participate in online forums and groups, to learn about others who share your interests. Become a part of the online communities and mold your digital identities, yet, Always use caution when becoming a part of any online community, and be cautious when molding a digital identity. Cautious about what information your releasing, and to whom. Also be cautious about whom you interact with, how, and where.

Maybe we should be thankful that Nederland is a step behind. Or maybe it is just moving in the right direction, when it comes to invasive data mining and surveillance of its citizens. In a world where everything is documented, it’s nice to know there are places like Nederland where we can take refuge from the digital documentation of our daily lives. A place where we can step lighter, still participating in the future of technology, and yet not let it overwhelm us in our peaceful mountain town. Nederland might just be one of the last places to find solace from these kinds of invasive technologies without cowering in the face the future.


As an experimental electronic artist, it is my lifelong art project to create a more accurate digital identity of myself. I don’t want to erase the ‘day to day’ data; instead I try to create new data daily, that is both personal and relevant to me. I also try to hack data created by others about me and use it in my digital art. The creation of a new media biography will become my dominant history, utilizing my skills as a digital artist. Building blogs, creating digital art and narratives, creating music, video and photography gives me the chance to tell my story with a unique format. Users whom google ‘Jane Crayton or JanedaPain’ find relevant info about me. I am taking over my public/published media, and this control is key when you’re trying to market yourself as an artist and a producer of content. Of course, figuring out how to fund it and keep it live, long after I’m gone, is the next big question!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

EDITORIAL: More than movies at the backdoor Theater?

After visiting the community Center last week to discuss the possibility of throwing an event in the Theater, I was very disappointed to find that the Backdoor Theater has gained a monopoly over this important community space. I have also learned that the Backdoor Theater no longer holds nonprofit organizations status. this concerns me deeply as a Nederland resident and as a person who would like to see other local events thrown in that space. Projects like the Carousel are going to Boulder to the Dairy Center for the Arts and the Boulder Theater for their events because they can not gain access to the Community Center Theater on Friday or Saturday nights. I think that the Community Center should give access to all parties interested in having events and performances in the Theater, and those interested parties should not have to negotiate with the Backdoor Theater to have one of the weekend nights for use. I realize that the Backdoor theater has a lot of community support, they have been here a long time and that their events have the right to be there too, but they do not have the right as a 'private business' to monopolize a 'community space' for the entire weekend. I also know that they do not fill the house each and every night, and this does not suggest that they actually need that much space, for the weekend. The misuse of this space is limiting Nederland greatly in the kinds of cultural events that could be frequenting our community theater. I would like to suggest that the Backdoor Theater consider operations one night a week or one weekday and one weekend night a week. I would like to see other events happening in this space, I would like to see Nederland use this community center to it's fullest potential. I would like to see a fair and just lease with the Backdoor Theater. the Backdoor Theater's lease with the Community Center is up for renewal this December, and I encourage others to speak out before a new lease is signed. I believe this community event should continue without limiting the access of other community events in the same space. Saturday should be a community day the most popular day of the week should be available to the widest possible variety of events. Lets see what Nederland is made of, lets see what we can bring to this great new theater and community space, I'm counting on YOU! Come to the Town Counsel meeting next Tuesday to help discuss this issue, it should be on the agenda.