My Girlfriend Is an Artist Dot Com
Ana Santl, Laurel Schwulst, and Tiny Awards
Ana pauses to take notice. She rests her gaze with a mild angle as if listening to a poem recited in a soft voice. I rarely register her halt until she has photographed what she was eyeing: the sun ray on the apricots at the weekly farmer’s market, a detail of the ancient white-washed marble brought to life by the blue summer sky and the wind shadow-playing with the orange trees on our street.
The world changes when I walk with Ana. She is a photographer whether at work or not. For her, photographing is close to breathing. We move slowly, and I see the environment as I see her photographs: soft, warm, calm and poetic. It is the same filter I practice as I engage with the internet — and it is why Ana’s photographs are the first you see when opening this newsletter.
This week, Ana published a collection of prints with The Poster Club. It is an invitation for you to decorate your walls with the tenderness of Ana’s photographs. You’ll find the collection via mygirlfriendisanartist.com.
Overflowingardensofdecay is a confusing clicker with a wild navigation bar.
A Walking Poem is a prompt for discovering your neighbourhood.
Line falling is a beautiful scroll.
A twenty items manifesto for a holistic, playful, inclusive, curious and radiating understanding of computers published as a Google Doc.
“Programming” can conjure a computer-feeling, but it is not the computer-feeling itself. The sense that programming is the only way celebrates the tools, but not the experience. We want the experience. (…) The agenda is to advance the computer-feeling in devices, objects, and cultures. — Tim Hwang and Omar Rizwan
It is a pleasure to watch Brian Sholis showcase his excellent editing and writing skills on Frontier Magazine, a newsletter expanding creativity. In the linked post, Brian interviews the founder of Post and Read.cv, two of my favourite emerging places on the internet, offering design-driven alternatives to common name social internet giants.
Our “Highlights” feed is manually curated. The tone that is being set for the platform, the content people see first on Posts, is very intentional. It’s all hand-picked. It’s the same for the Read.cv homepage. Not letting an algorithm make those choices goes a long way toward setting the tone. — Andy Chung
The first issue of Byline is overall over the place, but given it is a love letter to the world wide web, it feels appropriate, like a reflection of the internet itself.
What began as a shared sense of optimism and excitement about the future of media became a project dedicated to those who have an experience, idea, or story to share. — Gutes Guterman and Megan O'Sullivan
Meet Laurel Schwulst
I dream of writing a profile about Laurel Schwulst that radiates the same generosity and curiosity as her work. For more than a decade, Laurel has planted poetic seeds on the internet and tended their environment to set their potential in motion. Laurel’s work is endlessly inspiring — and her thoughts are deeply woven into the poetic and handmade web.
Here are ten glimpses preparing you for her talk at Naive Yearly.
The first time Laurel moved into an apartment of her own, she turned it into the Firefly Sanctuary. The space is small, so each corner radiates intention, as illustrated by the evolving still life on the top of her fridge. No wonder BBC traveled to New York to visit her (starts at 5:40 min).
On the internet, many will know her design for The Creative Independent. She made the spiral logo, resembling the pilgrim journey of the labyrinth rather than the scientific experiment of the maze. Later she seeded the platform with her pivotal essay My website is a shifting house next to a river of knowledge. What could yours be?.
Motion reoccurs throughout her work. For The New York Times, she made a poetic guide for How to Build a Kite— or, how to make the invisible visible, just like she did with the dead space above the fridge inside her sanctuary.
Her play with wind continued with Wind Chime Festivals, a series of IRL and online interventions demonstrating how every being is windblown. Laurel invited 11 artists to create a wind chime and sent them a webcam so that each chime could be live-streamed. It was a real world wide wind festival.
Notebooks are faithful companions. Instead of organizing them chronologically like most of us, Laurel keeps multiple notebooks simultaneously, dedicating them to chaos time and specific practices. For example, she has a notebook she only writes in while she is in motion.
I’m unsure if stillness is the opposite of motion. But in Laurel’s work, they are often interplaying, like in Flight Simulator: a mobile application and an ode to airplane mode, celebrating the peaceful solitude you might experience while flying, but only if you switch off wifi and activate airplane mode.
The meditation of the online and physical world is another friend throughout her work. She designed Pentad.world, a site dedicated to the 72 Japanese micro-seasons and the winner of last year’s WWWonderful Award. She also developed a workshop for drawing still life paintings with HTML and CSS which has been taught at Yale, California College of the Arts and probably at Princeton, where she teaches.
Laurel rarely works alone. She brings harmony like the conductor and rhythm like the writer. You’ll encounter her in shifting constellations, like the colorful Fruitful School, the Abundant Blue flower and the glowing green HTML Energy.
Her play with names and colors invites the potential(s) in beings to bloom. If you click to image five, you’ll see how her friends are orbiting her phone as beautiful gradient spheres.
Recently, a blog post about the Age of average reached me through multiple channels. The post appears to be a (slightly) updated version of Kyle Chayka’s writings on AirSpace. However, what is common between the two essays is that Laurel’s work is central to the argumentation, just like it is for Naive Weekly.
Wednesday, June 14th, nominations for Tiny Awards close. Please consider to submit your favourite sites on the internet — also if they are made by you.
In August, when the sunflowers bloom, we gather people who expand what the web is and can be at Naive Yearly. It takes place in Copenhagen at the National Film School of Denmark.
Last week this letter was sent to 1626 inboxes. I’m keeping it donation-based and it will always be free for everyone. Currently, thirty-three people support me with a paid subscription. Logo by Studio Hollywood. Photograph by Ana Šantl.