Under the Hood Again (or: Know Any Web Designers?)

Much is afoot, fellow Conversators.

The latest interview now trails laughably far behind my actual location–Denver, Colorado and Cleveland, Ohio, respectively–and this isn’t going to get any better as I head into the Northeast. I spent two weeks in southeastern Michigan in the hopes of catching up on editing, just as I spent two weeks in Chicago in the hopes of catching up on editing. No luck. Taping interviews, scheduling travel, social media, researching and wooing interviewees, and searching for couches all absorb my editing time like a sponge. A really huge sponge. But you know this sob story. Here’s the new stuff.

Micah, who has a real job, has understandably been too busy to co-produce an overgrown side project like this. He’ll be co-hosing the rest of the series but we’re realists: the site won’t get overhauled until I can brainwash a designer/developer to take it on. The site you’re looking at now was supposed to be a brief placeholder and The Conversation was supposed to be navigable by a visual representation of how the interviewee’s ideas related (like this). A redesign would make everyone happy because 1) it would create new data from audio, an old medium, and allow us to see the intellectual links between interviewees 2) it would make The Conversation into more an interactive web project and less a passive radio series, and 3) the eye candy could be delicious. But I don’t have time to learn web design or the money to hire people, so if you can recommend anyone who might be interested in helping out because they value the concept, shoot me an email and we’ll dial this thing up to 11. You can reach me at info at findtheconversation dot com.

There’s a lot more to write. Ready for bullet points?

• In Chicago, I spoke to Frances Whitehead for 7.5 hours over two sessions and enjoyed every minute of it. This is definitely a new Conversation record. The editing will be a devilish challenge because she is an incredible thinker and elegantly connects a swarm of ideas. Also, she offers an incredible vision of what art may become… and it doesn’t look like art. If I survive the editing process, you’re going to have fun with this episode.

• I taped four interviews in Detroit and two of them aren’t usable. Another Conversation record, but not the kind I wanted. One simply ran out of time before I made the jump from the tangible project to the philosophical foundation. The other, with 97 year-old civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs, was my first interview to qualify as an Epic Fail. I may post the unedited audio on the blog at some point because the last ten minutes are so surreal and awkward that they almost rival a Christopher Guest movie. Almost. The other two interviews, with Jenny Lee of Allied Media Projects and Patrick Crouch of the urban farm Earthworks, are simultaneously wide ranging and rooted in Detroit.

• The date isn’t confirmed yet, but I’m probably going to be interviewing one of the guys over at Grindhouse Wetware in Pittsburgh. Puzzled? You should start by reading this article. If this works out, transhumanism is going to rush back into The Conversation with guns blazing, which makes me very happy. Nothing sparks a livelier discussion except, perhaps, John Zerzan.

Signing off for now. I’ll have Wes Jackson posted in a few days.