The problem today is that people don’t cherish good people, they try to use them.

– Bob Marley


Featured artist: Julia Zinchenko

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 194!

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Like I mentioned last week, I’m currently preparing to move into an apartment I bought ‘off the plan’ in 2019. Over a three-year period, I used a handful of floor plans and digital renders to picture myself in that space, exploring its potential in my head and constructing a stylised version of my future life.

Thinking about it now, so close to the finish line, I was reminded of a conversation with Craig Mod for Offscreen 18 where he cautioned against getting stuck in that potentiality space:

“It’s easy to be seduced by the world of potentiality. A book is always greatest before it’s written. You are intoxicated by what it can be. That’s very dangerous. You want to kill those seductions as quickly as possible, and one way to achieve that is fast iteration. Make known the unknown; murder your fantasies.”

Whether it’s a new creative project, a new relationship or a new apartment – they all exist in perfect, idealised versions in our head. We love to nurture their potentiality, because contemplating their flawless non-existence is much more fun than dealing with the compromises and imperfections the real world inevitably imbues.

As I’m stuffing moving boxes, I’m also mentally preparing myself to move from potentiality to reality, killing those fantasies one dent to the wall and scratch to the floor at a time… – Kai


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HolaBrief →

The first centralised & collaborative briefing platform

With HolaBrief, design professional-looking and interactive creative briefs, share them with your client, and centralise all your projects’ information. Put everyone on the same page, optimise your processes, and keep your clients happy, for longer. Sign up and try for free.


Apps & Sites

Podyssey →

Podcast listener community

Not unlike Callin (see DD191), Podyssey is a social network all about podcasts. Podyssey describes itself as an “online community where podcast lovers discover and discuss their favourite podcasts with each other and creators regardless of what podcast players they use”.

StoryGraph →

Goodreads alternative

If you’re looking for a smaller, indie alternative to the Amazon-owned Goodreads, StoryGraph may be for you: a book tracker and personalised reading recommendation engine. I love what Nadia Odunayo (who participated in our Worthy Five section back in DD107) has built with her small team! Friends of DD enjoy a 10% discount on the Pro account. Become a Friend to access specials like this.

Nook →

Team calendars

Another attempt at making managing one’s calendar in a team setting easier: with Nook you can view your team members’ schedule, share your availability, easily book time with others, and manage all your calendars (private, work, shared) in one place.

The Feminist Tech Principles →

Progressive tech policy-making

A great list of principles more tech companies should embrace – with a print-ready poster freely available. “The Feminist Tech principles are a set of guidelines for tech policy-making and technology creation. They are intended as responsive work-in-progress that reflect the evolving nature of our digital world... [to] advocate for digital rights and the rights of marginalized groups.”


Worthy Five: Stephanie Lepp


Five recommendations by producer and futurist Stephanie Lepp

A video worth watching:

Deep Reckonings is a series of explicitly-marked deepfake videos that imagine morally courageous versions of our public figures. In this video, an imaginary Brett Kavanaugh wrestles with the way he responded to the sexual allegations against him.

A concept worth understanding:

Integral thinking – developed by philosopher Ken Wilber – is a meta-theory that integrates different ways of thinking. It invites us to shift from ‘is X right or wrong?’ to ‘under what circumstances (if any) is X useful’?

An activity worth doing:

Eat with your eyes closed. When your eyes are open, you’re chewing one bite while preparing the next on your fork. When your eyes are closed, there’s no other bite than the one that’s in your mouth right now. Try one blind bite at your next meal.

A podcast worth listening to:

There’s lots of talk about heterodox thinking. The Unspeakable with Meghan Daum explores ‘unspeakable’ ideas, but in a way that’s refreshingly non-reactive, funny, and expansive.

A quote worth repeating:

In the words of Buddhist nun Pema Chodron: “If you want to attain enlightenment, you have to do it now.” The thing is, ‘now’ just keeps on evolving...


Books & Accessories


Ways of Being →

In search for a planetary intelligence

Artist, technologist, and philosopher James Bridle (whom we interviewed for Offscreen 21) with a fascinating new book that interrogates our current understanding of intelligence – plant, animal, human, artificial – and what it means for human’s place in the cosmos. “The animals, plants, and natural systems that surround us are slowly revealing their complexity, agency, and knowledge, just as the technologies we’ve built to sustain ourselves are threatening to cause their extinction, and ours. What can we learn from them, and how can we change ourselves, our technologies, our societies, and our politics, to live better and more equitably with one another and the non-human world?”


Normal Sucks →

Against societally enforced normalcy

Jonathan Mooney didn’t learn to read until he was twelve years old. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD when he realised that he is outside of what society deems ‘normal’. In this book, he explores “the toll that ‘being normal’ takes on kids and adults when they are trapped in an environment that labels them, shames them and tells them, even in the subtle ways, that they are the problem”.


Overheard on Twitter

Is she ‘difficult’ or is she inhabiting a body you are not accustomed to taking orders from?



Food for Thought

Value Beyond Instrumentalization →


Oh wow, this is just wonderful. It’s one of several essays in the collection Letters to a Young Technologist in which Jasmine Wang questions the instrumentialisation of our lives through technology and explores the ethical responsibilites technologists ought to recognise. It’s equally thought-provoking and useful. “Trying on different moral systems is a useful step in achieving post-conventional morality. For example, what if we applied deontology to technologist work? Kant’s first formulation of the categorical imperative says that you should only act in a certain way if it is possible and desirable for everyone in the world to act in that way. ... I propose, then, a revision of Kant’s imperative for technologists: do not work on something if you yourself do not want to live in the world where you are massively successful. With this reframe, we turn the question of unicorn status on its head, and interrogate the ends instead of the means.” I look forward to reading the other essays in the collection.

On Needing to Find Something to Worry About – Why We Always Worry for No Reason →


We all have at least one worrier in our life – perhaps we even are one: the kind of person that needs something to worry about or else life seems unbalanced. I certainly have a few of those in my family and therefore have inherited similar tendencies. It’s nice to have the source of this behaviour acknowledged: “Our feeling of dread is a symptom of an ancient sorrow that hasn’t found its target in the here and now; and our ongoing quest and alarm is a sign that we keep not finding anything in the outer world that answers to the horror of the inner one.”

They Did Their Own ‘Research.’ Now What? →


On the internet, the trend towards anti-intellectualism is often expressed as ‘DYOR’ – which stands for ‘Do Your Own Research’ – and is used by anti-vaxxers and crypto investors alike to signal not just a rejection of authority but often trust in another kind. “DYOR is an attitude, if not quite a practice, that has been adopted by some athletes, musicians, pundits and even politicians to build a sort of outsider credibility. ‘Do your own research’ is an idea central to Joe Rogan’s interview podcast, the most listened to program on Spotify, where external claims of expertise are synonymous with admissions of malice. In its current usage, DYOR is often an appeal to join in, rendered in the language of opting out.” (Possible soft paywall)


Aesthetically Pleasing

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The housing crunch here in Australia means that older apartment buildings have seen a renewed interest by people willing to renovate them. While they are often built with solid materials, they aren’t necessarily architecturally compelling. So I was surprised to see this early modernist block of old flats in Melbourne’s south having been lovingly restored to its original colour scheme, turning it into a real eye-catcher. Caringal Flats even features a sky bridge! What a beauty.

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Don’t open the free Townscaper demo unless you have a few minutes (or hours) to get lost in zen-inducing town building. Stunningly beautiful. “Build quaint island towns with curvy streets. Build small hamlets, soaring cathedrals, canal networks, or sky cities on stilts. Block by block. No goal. No real gameplay. Just plenty of building and plenty of beauty. That’s it.”

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I recently discovered the amazing work of South African photographer Pieter Hugo. Lots of great photo series to explore on his website, such as Looking Aside (portraits of people with albinism) or Californian Wildflowers (portraits of homeless Californians).

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Mind the ink traps! The beautiful Antípoda is a “grotesque sans serif display family that explores the opposites, obtaining very extreme weights and widths as a result”.


Notable Numbers


A journalist measured the PM2.5 particle pollution levels in her kitchen during cooking with a gas-powered stove and found them at times to be as high as 860 micrograms per cubic metre. For comparison, when thick smoke from Australia’s catastrophic Black Summer bushfires covered Sydney, the level of PM2.5 in the air fluctuated between 170 and 600 micrograms per cubic metre.


A European study showed that if one in five urban residents switched from driving to cycling for just one trip per day, it would cut emissions from all car travel in Europe by about 8 percent.


From 2010–2019, Black people in the US were struck and killed by drivers at a 82 percent higher rate than White, non-Hispanic Americans. For American Indian and Alaska Native people, that disparity climbs to 221 percent.



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