loose threads

Qual Maxxing

Under, over

The underworld advances more quickly, and dates faster, than the overworld.

Martin Amis


Interface matters to me more than anything else, and it always has. I just never realized that. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years desperately trying to think of a “thing” to change the world. I now know why the search was fruitless – things don’t change the world. People change the world by using things. The focus must be on the “using”, not the “thing”. Now that I’m looking through the right end of the binoculars, I can see a lot more clearly, and there are projects and possibilities that genuinely interest me deeply.

Bret Victor


We don’t know much about Masks in this culture … because this culture is usually hostile to trance states. We distrust spontaneity, and try to replace it by reason: the Mask was driven out of theatre in the same way that improvisation was driven out of music. … Education itself might be seen as primarily an anti-trance activity.

I see the Mask as something that is continually flaring up in this culture, only to be almost immediately snuffed out. No sooner have I established a tradition of Mask work somewhere than the students start getting taught the ‘correct’ movements, just as they learn a phoney ‘Commedia dell’ Arte’ technique.

Keith Johnstone

Niche Instincts

“What else?” was the question that would punctuate every conversation with him. What were you working on? What did you think of this or that political event, show-business caper or piece of office gossip? How was your family? What were you thinking? This was sincere, friendly curiosity, the expression of a naturally gregarious temperament. But it was also the operation of a tireless journalistic instinct. David was always hungry for stories. He was a collector of personalities and anecdotes, a shrewd and compassionate judge of character. A warrior for the truth.

A.O. Scott on David Carr

Niche Imaginations

Carr was a master at activating the journalistic imagination. He was constantly imploring his writers—many of us under 25—to do something different, to tell stories differently, to break the form. He would have stories from Esquire or The New Yorker photocopied. He would distribute these photocopies to his writers, like the blueprints of imperial-army weaponry, and charge us, his rag-tag militia, with the task of reverse engineering. Then he would assemble us around a long table in the conference room, and quiz us on what, precisely, we’d gleaned from the future-tech of our enemies, and what of it we might use to turn the tide in the great war.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on David Carr

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