19 April 2018

Garage Bakker

One of my favorite things about being in non-English speaking places is signage. I don’t always understand what a shop is selling based on the name, so the entire concept of a sign takes on new meaning.

With the internet creating various new ways of communicating with one another, more and more language is feeling vaguely foreign. I have particular trouble with emojis—I’ve never found them easy to understand or useful to communicate with. But for the most part I can get the general point when I see them.

Walking around Amsterdam, the signage is basically at the level of emojis for me: with context and a few surrounding words in near-English, I can get the point.

Do Not Walk

Electric Bread?

As the next version of the world approaches fast, it would be easy to see a future where everyone is living in a state of vague understanding. As factions of all sorts seem to rise through the world, specific languages using combinations of multiple forms and styles of communication are bound to develop.

(This is pretty unfortunate, as a common language is essential for society to function properly. I’m of the personal opinion some of our societal breakdowns are coinciding with a growing difference in basic communication points like language and medium.)

Koffiehuis

Words On The Street

Afresh

Obviously, some forms of language will remain direct and easy to understand. Yet it seems the age of English as a global standard for communication is being challenged: not by Chinese or Russian, but by the technology allowing for that transfer of information. With visual invention so easy to publish, what communication is has become a subject of debate.

It can be worrisome but also fascinating, where letterforms and pictures are less about the strict rules of direct meaning and more interpretive and artistic. The abstraction of language, while probably not the best for social institutions, has marvelous potential for creative exploration and interpretation.

14 April 2018

Somehow this is all because of an anonymous sushi bar in Osaka, Japan.

Five years ago this month—this week, actually—I found myself in Osaka; a city that, to this day, remains one of my favorites in the world. Wayward and looking for something in a more residential part of the city known for its food, I stumbled in to a small building marked only by a black flag with a gold illustration painted on it. The room was tiny, with maybe six tables and four seats at the sushi bar.

Nobody there—the waiter, the chef or any of the few patrons—spoke any English. I was sitting at the bar when the chef said Sit, and after some gestures and repeating, I realized he said Set. As in, Let me prepare you a set of sushi. And there I sat, sipping sake, being presented with a 13-course, one-piece-at-a-time meal of his discretion and creation.

To this day it’s the best sushi I’ve had. It was more than just the perfect fish and well-crafted menu, but that throughout the experience we were able to communicate with forms of expression other than words. The human experience of art and culture completely pushing away the world at large and all the language barriers to express, to some microcosmic extent, exactly what it is we’re all doing here.

The Post-Local was created with experiences like this in mind. At a global level, humankind is experiencing shifts in language, social structure and overall awareness of ourselves down to an individual level. Yet existing institutions, many of which are outdated or inefficient, are working to maintain power. These movements of systems against the upheaval of their relevance have created a global social climate of unease and dismay.

I want nothing to do with that here. I have a website already to write about these battles. This one is for something different, something more abstract.

There are personal experiences and social interactions that can transcend the nature of our immediate conflict to represent the essence of our communal desire as living beings just working to survive. A few individuals among billions can create turmoil that, utilizing our now hyper-connected nature, can destroy the harmony we naturally try and build.

I’m not sure how exactly The Post-Local will try and present content to represent the more idealistic aspects of our nature, because American media is so nestled in negativity that most dialogue attempting to rise above that bleak cloud of poison is disregarded as either self-congratulatory or socially untenable. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I’ve invited a few other minds to collaborate with me on this project, with a relatively open-ended concept for publishing ideas. We’ll see how it goes; thank you for visiting.