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Community Shapes

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Social Diagrams: Tractor

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Machines like the tractor are incredibly complicated systems. I marvel at both the order they can create and the destruction they can leave behind. Machines don‘t exist in a social vaccuum. They are extensions of our values systems and beliefs, for better and worse. 

Economic Ecologies 

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            Cattle egrets are a migratory bird that like to land on different types of livestock and eat the insects nesting in their hair. The relationship is mutually beneficial as the cattle is rid of annoying pests and the bird gets a free lunch. Meanwhile, the cow is drained by a human for its milk. The milk is so valuable to the human that it keeps the cow suspended in a world-wide economic system. A new ecology emerges, for better and worse.

Social Structures (2020)

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If Our Bodies Were States

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            Don’t we all wish our bodies were like states? The way we usually see it on maps, states have nice clean lines defining where one ends and another begins. Sometimes they even have right angles. Imagining boundaries makes us feel sure of where we are, and what is around us. But as a disease spreads around the earth, our imagined boundaries between states, between bodies, have become increasingly uncertain. Distant places are infinitely connected – through air, water, and all the creatures that move between them. Similarly, our bodies are connected even when we don’t seem to touch.


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Usufruct is a legal term that roughly translates to “use the fruit”. It is a figurative phrase that describes a person’s relationship to property, usually land, wherein ownership is not concerned with privatization but rather collective benefit. In order for everyone to get the maximum benefits - the fruits – collective decision making and labor are essential. In an ideal circumstance, by working together everyone gets more than they could get by working alone.

                        This unusually large banana can only exist if everyone peels their banana and puts them together; in the commons the sum is greater than the parts. Today, our technologies and abilities are greater than ever, the banana is bigger than it has ever been. But when it is enclosed, the fruits of collective labor begin to rot.

Physical Computing

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  I feel that when I do work on my computer I am participating in nature. Through one way or another, my computer is connected to large buildings in Utah or Belgium, and these buildings interact with their surroundings, through heat, through their volume in space, the humans that work there.

  Some computers can disembody us, by mediating our experiences through virtual space. But really, they are very physical tools that we use across all scales. Tractors that work the land are guided by GPS, and our bodies can even be sustained by breathing machines.

  “Physical Computing” is meant to embody a contradiction within the power of computing. Their ability to help us organize and coordinate on massive and minut scales is matched by their ability to help us make a really big mess.