We are excited to announce that we will be opening The Interval at Long Now in May. We have our first event scheduled for May 27th, but our doors will open prior to that. In June we’ll present Rachel Sussman, a previous Seminar speaker, at the Salon. We will announce that as soon as the date is finalized. Details on a series of opening events in May–including some member and donor-exclusive ones–will be forthcoming.
We are offering some special thank you gifts to charter supporters who give during this critical phase of the project, in the lead-up to opening. Everyone who donates prior to opening will be considered a charter Interval supporter.
Here are some of the benefits, besides the gifts you may have already received:
If you have been waiting for the right time, this is it – every donation counts. We really need your support now to finish this project: please spread the word. And if every one of our existing donors can inspire a friend to give at the same level, then we will exceed our goal.
At Long Now we have high standards for design, and we wanted to build a venue that we’d be proud to put our name on – a venue that would inspire and welcome both our members and the general public. We think we’ve done it. Here are some of the highlights of what we are all building together:
The Interval building also serves as Long Now’s headquarters. It is a place where anyone can come for some long-term thinking and conversation; a place to be inspired and surrounded by the long-term ideas that have sustained global civilization; and a place to hear (and talk) about new ideas coming from the fields of science, technology, art, and culture.
With that in mind, we ask you to take part in this project, whether at the $10 or $10,000 level. Every gift helps as we approach opening day. You’ll gets lots of benefits, including the Manual for Civilization master list, and your name will appear at this unique venue that you helped make a reality.
Thanks for your support of Long Now! We hope we continue to inform and inspire you.
Jem Finer, composer of the 1,000 year long composition Longplayer and a founding member of the band The Pogues, will be performing at the Exploratorium on Thursday, April 10, 02014. The event will be the fourth installment of Resonance, a new music series that explores “distant realms of musical possibility.” The Exploratorium describes the upcoming performance as follows:
The evening will feature a conversation with Finer and host Sarah Cahill and performances of “Original Soundtrack #5″ and “Starfield.” Finer’s “Original Soundtrack #5″ is an inversion of the usual supporting role of the soundtrack. Finer gathered sound using a video camera, then draws upon this raw material to compose improvisational films whose visual component is a byproduct of these sound juxtapositions. The Exploratorium performance of “Original Soundtrack #5″ will also include new material recorded in San Francisco. In addition, Finer will perform “Starfield.” Each star shines with a unique spectrum of light frequencies. By translating these into sound, Finer generated the raw material for this celestial composition.
The event will be held at the Exploratorium’s Kanbar Forum, which features a Meyer sound system – similar to the one Long Now will have at The Interval. This performance is part of the After Dark series; tickets to Resonance can be purchased here and include admission to the main After Dark event after the performance is over. Seating in the Kanbar Forum is limited and on a first come first serve basis, so it is recommended to arrive before the show time of 7:00pm.
Previous performances can be viewed on the Resonance website; you can expect to see Jem Finer’s added here in a few weeks.
Long Now hosted a performance of Longplayer and a Long Conversation event in 02010 in San Francisco. Audio of Jem Finer’s conversation with Stewart Brand from that event is in our Seminar section (video available for members).
Can a successful company and a run-down downtown vitalize each other?
Tony Hsieh, CEO of the phenomenally successful Zappos, is betting exactly that in Las Vegas. He moved his company headquarters into the former city hall and is integrating the Zappos campus into the surrounding neighborhood, meanwhile investing millions to provide a dense urban experience for the locals as well as his employees. His “Downtown Project” declares: “We’ve allocated $350 million to aid in the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. We’re investing $200 million in real estate, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in education, and $50 million in tech startups.”
The fantasy is well along into impressive reality, according to a January 2014 article in Wired. What is being learned may change how cities and companies think of themselves—and of each other.
Hsieh’s theory of urban vitality comes from Edward Glaeser’s book The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. His theory of company vitality he has spelled out in his own book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.
Today we continue the series of posts featuring the books suggested for the Manual for Civilization with a list from a couple of guerrilla archivists here in San Francisco, Megan and Rick Prelinger. In all, we hope to develop an ever-changing collection of 3,500 volumes to form a corpus which could sustain or rebuild civilization. To broaden our selection process we’ve asked Long Now members and Interval at Long Now donors to suggest books for the list. Please join us and make your suggestions; we are just weeks away from opening.
Rick Prelinger has the distinction of giving more presentations in our Seminars About Long-term Thinking series than anyone. The last six Decembers he’s presented a vintage film collection in his “Lost Landscapes” series, usually centered on family home movies and other non-professional sources. Megan is a cultural historian and archivist in her own right and is the author of Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957–1962. Megan’s knowledge of the US space program is encyclopedic and nuanced. Together they began the Prelinger Library in 02004 which is open to the public and focuses on their mutual interest in “ephemeral literature.” Megan came up with a unique organizational structure for their collection which is sorted by geography. As you will see, the collection has particularly great resources on the built landscape and the space program.
The Prelingers personally walked us through their library to select some singular additions to our Manual for Civilization collection. Like the others we have posted, their list is intended as a component of a larger corpus. Each subset of books represents a perspective, sometimes a highly specialized one, that will help to document and sustain this complex system we call Civilization. Enjoy.
Many thanks to the Prelingers for taking the time and care to recommend these books for our collection.
Their list adds to suggestions from Kevin Kelly, Maria Popova, Violet Blue, Stewart Brand, Brian Eno and dozens of Long Now members and supporters.
You can visit the Manual in person and drink coffee, tea, or a cocktail while reading up on rabbit raising and bamboo cultivation at The Interval at Long Now. Or follow Neal Stephenson’s suggestion…
— Neal Stephenson (@nealstephenson) June 28, 2013
You’ll see Neal’s list of books here soon, as well as lists from Danny Hillis, Neil Gaiman, Mark Pauline, and others. And not long after that you’ll have the chance to visit The Interval in person. Construction is nearly complete, and the Interval will open later this Spring in San Francisco.
Thanks to many of you we have raised over 3/4 of our “brickstarter” goal. So we are asking for your generous support to help us finish construction and complete this project, including acquiring books for the Manual for Civilization.
photos by Catherine Borgeson (except where noted)
We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about the Manual for Civilization and all the books we are adding based on suggestions from Brian Eno, Kevin Kelly, Maria Popova, Violet Blue, Stewart Brand and others (see the lists). Now we can start to show you where those books will go at The Interval, as the first of our floor-to-ceiling library shelves are put in place.
But it gets really exciting when we can compare the design to what the space looks like today. There’s been huge progress recently, you can see the new venue starting to emerge from the concrete dust and tool-strewn worksite. Here’s what it looked like in January when Brian Eno visited the site:
Brian Eno visited The Interval construction in January
photo by Alexander Rose
We have come a long way since the photo above with all the electrical, plumbing and walls done now.
We have featured the original concrete and steel as a tribute to when this space was the blacksmith shop in the days when the US Army ran Fort Mason.
Just this week the built-in seating was installed:
And here are the same booths in cardboard and in concept….
Soon. Not yet days. But weeks not months or years. It won’t be too long… Help us build it.
In October 02008 Edward Burtynsky spoke for Long Now on The 10,000-year Gallery. Burtynsky, an internationally-recognized photographer, presented his ideas for a gallery of images to accompany the Clock of the Long Now.
Burtynsky’s The 10,000-year Gallery talk includes a formal proposal for a permanent art gallery in the chamber that encloses the 10,000-year Clock as well as the results of his research into methods of capturing images that might have the best chance to survive in the long-term.
From Stewart Brand’s summary of this Seminar (in full here):
On the stage Burtynsky showed a large carbon transfer print of one of his ultra-high resolution photographs. The color and detail were perfect. Accelerated studies show that the print could hang in someone’s living room for 500 years and show no loss of quality. Kept in the Clock’s mountain in archival conditions it would remain unchanged for 10,000 years. He said that making one print takes five days of work, costs $2,000, and only ten artisans in the world have the skill, at locations in Toronto, Seattle, and Cornwall.
Edward Burtynsky‘s photographs are collected in museums all over the world. He is known for his large-format photographs of industrial landscapes which include mining locations around the globe and the building of Three Gorges Dam in China. His work has been noted for beautiful images which are often at odds with their subject’s negative environmental impacts. In recent years his work has focused on water including oil spills around the world.
The Seminars About Long-term Thinking series began in 02003 and is presented each month live in San Francisco. The series is curated and hosted by Long Now’s President Stewart Brand. Seminar audio is available to all via podcast.
Today we continue the series of posts featuring the books suggested for the Manual for Civilization with a large list from Long Now Founding Board Member Kevin Kelly. In all we hope to have as many as 3,500 volumes to form a corpus which could sustain or rebuild civilization. To broaden our selection process we’ve asked Long Now members and Interval at Long Now donors to suggest books for the list.
Last week one of our members, Maria Popova, who writes the great blog Brain Pickings, gave us her list of 33 books. We are big fans of her work, and we are honored to include her excellent selections. They join about 1,800 other books suggested so far by Long Now’s members, donors and friends. There is still room for a few thousand more suggestions…
To add your own recommendations of books to include in the Manual for Civilization and vote on which suggested titles should find a place on The Interval’s shelves, just make a donation to support the project. All donors, at any level, can suggest and vote on books. We have raised over $35,000 in the last month, but still need your help to complete this “brickstarter” funding campaign.
For this week’s update Kevin Kelly gave us a tour of his personal library as he made his choices for the Manual for Civilization. Among his many accomplishments, Kevin has ridden a bike or walked across several continents, has written for the Whole Earth Catalog, was founding editor of Wired, and has himself written several books–most recently the New York Times acclaimed Cool Tools.
Kevin has a knack for finding the most useful books in the world. In fact, he gave us the largest list of suggestions yet: nearly 200 in all. Pulled directly from the shelves of his own library, he gave us books that document practical skills, how to make useful things, and that teach and improve those who read them. Many of these books also appear as tools on his Cool Tools blog (now co-edited by Mark Frauenfelder).
A few choice selections at the top include his own comments on some of the books (you may need to hit the more below to see the full 200).
Practical Bamboos:The 50 Best Plants for Screens, Containers and More:
“I own a lot of bamboo books, but Practical Bamboos is by far the most useful of all. Other bamboo books are more encyclopedic; this one focuses on “only” the 50 most useful bamboo species, spelling out what types are good for fence rows, which are drought resistant, which work well in containers, and how to identify those variants from lookalikes. There’s very specific growing tips for each variety and solid advice about the principles of growing bamboo plants in general.”
“The sound of modern life has a 60 hertz hum in the background because that’s the frequency of electricity (in North America). Add to that all the other vibrations of technological artifacts and all the sounds made by nature and you get the soundscape of the world. I learned to hear this sonic environment from this master observer. He gave me ears.”
The Backyard Blacksmith by Lorelei Sims
A Museum of Early American Tools:
“A story is told by each tool archived in this paper museum. The tool reveals the amazing things that can be done with your own body’s power, regulated by your eye and mind. Listening to the tool, you can understand how things are made. Not only do these tools run without electricity, they can be made with other hand tools. There’s enough information in these packed drawings by Eric Sloane to enable you to make them yourself, to use to make other things. It’s kind of magical.”
Civilizations: Ten Thousand Years of Ancient History by Jane McIntosh and Clint Twist
Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits:
“For nearly 40 years this guide has introduced boy scouts, 4H-ers, homesteaders, survivalists, and pet keepers to the practicalities of raising rabbits. Now in a new 4th edition, it’s still the best manual for getting started with rabbits for food or show.”
On Friday March 21st, the Executive Director of The Long Now Foundation, Alexander Rose, will be speaking about The 10,000-Year Clock at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland. The talk is part of their Future Fridays speaking series, which brings science and technology leaders to the Bay Area for conversation with the community. Past speakers include Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, and Robert Weiss; upcoming 02014 speakers include former SALT speakers Ed Moses and Will Wright.
The Chabot Space & Science Center is offering Long Now Members discounted advanced tickets for this talk. Tickets can be found here, and the member discount code is “RSVP1014”.
For more information on the talk and the series, please visit the Future Fridays website.
We hope to see you there!
Viktor – 5000 Years of Chairs, by Jürg Lehni
One of the features we’ve included in our design for The Interval at Long Now from the very beginning has been a chalkboard robot. To be located next to the presenter screen, we imagined it could be used live in presentations, write Long Bets challenged at the bar, or write live messages and menu items. We had thought that we would be developing this robot ourselves, until we were introduced to the work of Swiss artist Jürg Lehni. With support by Swissnex, Jürg recently visited San Francisco to participate in shows with SOMArts and the SFMOMA with his very own chalk drawing machine called Viktor (shown in the video above). We contacted Jürg while he was in town, and as chance would have it, he was just then including references to Stewart Brand, the Well, and the Whole Earth Catalog into the live drawing event he would be participating in that evening (click on the image below to see what it drew that night).
We invited Jürg to Long Now the next week, and discussed how we might work together. We are now pleased to announce that we have commissioned Jürg and his team in Switzerland to build a custom version of his chalkboard robot for our space, as well as the software to interface with it. We will also be working with Jürg to develop content for the robot and figure out how to make it a platform for use by visiting speakers and artists.
The design is extremely elegant and robust, using an unconventional system of pulleys that is driven by high-quality Maxon Swiss servo motors to triangulate the drawing tool. The motors are coordinated by an open-source controller developed by Jürg himself. We will be bringing Jürg back to San Francisco for installation and commissioning of the robot this spring. All we need now is your help to finish fundraising for the space, so we can make this happen.
We are in the home stretch. Every donation counts! Please donate to help us raise the last $100,000 and create an amazing place for us all.
You can see more about artist Jürg Lehni and his amazing robots at his site here.
Continuing our series of posts highlighting books suggested for our Manual for Civilization library at The Interval, today we have a specialized list selected by Violet Blue. As a library designed to help sustain or rebuild civilization, one of the first categories that came to mind were sexuality and reproduction. A civilization cannot have a future without either.
We asked Violet Blue to curate a set of books on sexuality as she is an award-winning sex author & blogger. It also turns out that in her past she was a book reviewer for Good Vibrations selecting books related to sexuality for their library, much of which is now contained at San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture.
The 16 books on sexuality that Violet Blue recommended are below with her comments on each selection. They will become part of the 3,500-volume collection. We will also soon be publishing a list of books on birth and reproduction suggested by midwife and nurse practitioner Ami Burnham.
The Manual will serve as the library for The Interval at Long Now, our new public space opening this Spring. Recently we’ve shared Brian Eno and Stewart Brand’s Manual suggestions, and we have more lists to come including those from Neil Gaiman, Kevin Kelly, Neal Stephenson, and Megan and Rick Prelinger. Our Interval donors and Long Now members can also recommend books and vote on those already suggested. Please help us raise the remaining funds required to fill our shelves with these thoughtfully chosen books.
Violet suggested reference books, science books and erotica; volumes on gender, how to talk to kids about sex, and even robots. Titles below marked with ** were suggested for inclusion by fellow sexuality expert Susie Bright. Here’s the list:
Long Now would like to thank Violet Blue for these considered selections.
To add your own recommendations of books to include in the Manual for Civilization and vote on which suggested titles should find a place on The Interval’s shelves, just make a donation to support the project. All donors, at any level, can suggest and vote on books. You can be a part of giving long-term thinkers a beautiful place to gather, full of amazing books.
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