A mock-up of Gong Szeto's YOUROWNDEMOCRACY.org platform
My friend Gong Szeto is intimidatingly brilliant. He's an amazing designer, a thinker, a dreamer and one of the kindest, most idealistic people I know. At the dawn of this new political era, he's started cooking up an ambitious plan for an online platform to be called YOUROWNDEMCOCRACY.ORG.:
This past week I decided to sit down and concretize some thoughts on how to make democracy more transparent, efficient and participatory. I spent 5 days around the clock developing the designs for a new online platform called YOUROWNDEMOCRACY.ORG, and submitted it to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. It embodies many of the ideas that I have been working on in the capital markets space, and I seek to merge that domain with my passion for politics and economics, as well as my favorite pasttime of blogging and Facebook. Basically, I think democracy itself needs to be a really kick-ass app.
I am impressed and inspired by Gong's desire to build something to "make democracy even better" in this country, but what's most amazing is that he believes that he CAN, and I believe he's right to do so. I have spent my entire adult life feeling indifferent, alienated, angry and/or powerless about how our country was being run. Over the last few months of this ugly, ugly campaign for the presidency I saw what a lot of other people did: things can be different. Our ideals have not been defeated.
Gong's naming inspiration came from this quote, shared with him by his wife Bonnie:
"But most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again." --President-elect Barack Obama, 2008
I've really been enjoying Cathryn Horyn's posts about Paris over on the NYT's fashion blog On the Runway. I like the fashion reportage of course, but her travelogues are incredibly charming. From her post Paris, Saturday:
Then I pushed on to the Marais–I thought I’d drop by to see Azzedine Alaia. When I got there, he was working on the right side of a jacket for the new collection and wanted to finish it with the atelier. I stayed for lunch: baked chicken and mashed potatoes. Carlyne Cerf was there with her dog Jack, a big, great-looking Jack Russell. The conversation around the table was about the French film awards, the American election and the Milan shows. Afterward, Alaia came out to the street with me. He was worried that my shopping bags, in the metal basket of the bike, would spill open, so he stopped and tied them. Then I peddled toward Les Halles.
Reading this rrrrrrrrrreally made me want to get back there, oh-so-badly, even if lunch with Azzedine Alaia won't be on my agenda when I do.
A meal (not the one Ms. Horyn describes) with Azzedine Alaia, photographed by Alec Soth.
With little original content of my own to offer for the time being, I suggest these recently added Interesting, Elsewheres:
C-MONSTER.net. manages to be both irreverent AND informative. And: great links. J'taime!
Another good add to you feed reader would be Art Observed which does a good job of taking the business side of art seriously. (Without being humorless or dull.) They also break news, and consistently offer excellent original content and events coverage.
Me? I got nuthin'. Well I have lots, just elsewhere. Check out my beginning of the next five years (whohooo!!) update over on the Jen Bekman Gallery blog, and stay up to date with 20x200 via the mailing list or blog. (The list, which announces editions in advance of their appearance on the homepage, is a better bet if you are in the market for the $20 editions, which are selling out faster and faster.)
And me? I'm hitting the road and talking the talk.