One of our values as a design team is to make moral and responsible choices in our practice. Last year, we held an event to deepen our awareness and understanding of what this means.
It seems that, for every darling of Silicon Valley, every successful Wall Street debutante, there’s a story of scandal, of intentional wrongdoing or — at the very least — unintentional, unfortunate consequences. Facebook’s disregard for user privacy, particularly as it relates to advertisers, was revealed as early as 2007, when companies were able to track and share the purchases of Facebook users. From the Cambridge Analytica catastrophe to the continued and consistent refusal to take accountability or to implement material changes, Facebook has become the poster child for unethical tech. Amazon’s mistreatment of warehouse workers is notorious, and last summer, Prime Day inaugurated global strikes. Airbnb was accused of removing thousands of illegal apartment listings in New York City in 2016 before releasing a report to demonstrate that it was abiding by city regulations. …
There were sixteen of us on the study abroad. We were an eclectic amalgamation of hippies (a graffiti artist; an Environmental Studies major), jocks (a squash player; a man with the chiseled, prominent jaw of Ryan Gosling), and crunchy (a tall man we nicknamed Mountain Man for his preference for sleeping on mountains over in beds), strung together by an appreciation for alcohol and a bias for lightness of being. We ate too much and drank too much, immersing ourselves in the Czech tradition of having a beer with every meal and having six meals a day. …
i think of people as bodies of water
(we are made of water after all)
with some people, upon first meeting, you can see an approximate depth,
you have an idea of what to expect
with others, you can’t tell how deep the water runs
the surface is murky
you step in, dip your toes, feel your way, one foot in front of the other
some waters are much shallower than you first expect
you reach the bottom much faster, surprise at your throat
and some waters, you can’t seem touch the bottom of, no matter how deep you sink — feet after feet, (marine) layer after (marine) layer
it’s dark and delicious
and the deeper you go, the more there is to marvel at — coral and jellyfish and baby sharks
and you could stay here forever
i’ve always been careless with my possessions. i don’t believe that possessions have any value after they’ve been purchased. the monetary value — the cost — is no longer applicable once it’s yours and the tags are removed. the only value left is the value that you yourself imbue in them. …
i’m a top, multicolored stripes spinning in unison
i’m excitement expired, left out too long on the kitchen counter, curdled, turned into anxiety
i’m the sensation of street smells, a mix of sewer and urine and gasoline
i’m the heartbeat that feels the way a car alarm sounds
a five-year old at Disney world, holding on to metal bars, walls, anything my hands can touch, before i throw up outside, onto the damp concrete sidewalk
i’m the aftermath of looking into the sun for too long, the kaleidoscope of colored splotches in my eyes matching the Christmas lights we never took down
i fall a lot in my dreams. it’s a kind of falling that you could look forward to; it was so infinite. there’s no destination, no end, and so, no pain and no fear. i would fall and keep on falling and it felt heavenly, like waking up from a delicious dream when your mind and your body feel like cotton candy, slowing untangling itself and stretching out. it felt a little like flying. if there is no end to the up or the down, no top or bottom, no barriers or borders, nothing but freedom and space, is there really a difference between falling and flying? does flying necessarily come with a direction? are you broken if the only direction you can fly in is south? what about if you can only fly in place? i guess the same question can be asked about life. …
capacity \\ noun.
1. the ease with which you forgive but cannot forget.
2. when you stretch a rubber band until it runs into a wall, but before it breaks in two / a clay jar of water, the ones women carry on their heads in National Geographic magazines, that are filled, that overflow, that empty, and are filled again / the opening of your heart chakra, head back, chest skyward, the reach of your hands behind you, as far as they can go — you are a mountain, a bridge, a half-moon, but you will never be a whole moon. you will never be whole again.
Sometimes she thinks about all the things that they’d promised each other, years ago. She desired the feelings behind those promises, even as she desired him with only a vague conviction, a shrug, a distracted hand wave.
He cringed as the door opened, a sliver of light drifting in. She stood in the doorway, a halo around her. Even though he had come to accept the likelihood of death, his body responded to unfamiliar cues, cowering instinctively when his state of defeat was interrupted. He’d lost track of time, lost count of days, run out of poetry. …
To the girl I used to be
When you think back to those years in Indiana, there are splotches of black on the images. The memories are faded now, fraying at the edges, unraveling into dust. They’ve become weary artifacts, preserved because they mean something — they will mean something. They have to mean something.
In this frame, you see a man raising his arm and a woman running. The woman runs outside, into the pure summer night. The door swings back and forth, too agitated to know where to stand still.
The man runs after her and she screams, a howl at the strand of moon in the velvet sky. No one can save you now, the moon whispers, retreating further into the darkness. He chases her into the backyard. …