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Field Study

An Unedited view of design and thought process:

work, experimental and otherwise by Keenan Cummings

Why We Do

"Building things for the internet is a righteous endeavor." 

~ Ben Pieratt

It’s embarrassing. But then maybe embarrassing isn’t quite the right word. It’s sensitive? That sounds a bit wimpy. Maybe it’s precious. Nah — too Golem. It’s just damn deep. It’s the stuff at the root. Root — that’s a good word. That works. It’s the core. It’s something you pull up or dig down to. It’s rarely seen and hard to get at. And when you do, it can be delicate and fall apart right there in your hands.

It’s the *why* we do what we do. There is nothing that nourishes me more than talking about why I do what I do, and hearing other people do the same. It’s soul bearing, nerve shaking work. It really takes work to dig that deep-down raw stuff up from your gut and show it off.

Yesterday was day one of Brooklyn Beta. The is a group of folks with rich, fertile goodness deep down in them. And the conference is a safe place to bring some of that out and share it, show it off, and feel the goodness of approving nods and empathetic responses.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while now. The work I do, the creative work we do, can be a lot of fun, project to project, problem to problem, inspiration to inspiration, form to form. But the orchestration of so many interesting little things into an impression on an impressionable world (more on that later) is something I take very seriously. Those are the things of the gut. They take guts, they are born of the gut. They are deep, sensitive, precious, and yes, sometimes embarrassing (I teared up a bit when presenting to a group of 16-19 year old art students. I fully expected a swirly after that presentation).

A few of the speaker’s today fumbled with articulating this depth in our work. Aaron Draplin, that big burly bear of a man, got teary eyed talking about the privilege to make good things for good people, and for the power to put a part of himself into an artifact or a message that he can share. It is all these projects, problems, inspirations, and forms, those little inconsequential step that come together in relationships and results, that he could only describe as “cosmic”.

Ben similarly stumbled when he came to a final point in his presentation. Having come from a religious family, he drew parallels to his own realization of faith — faith in the innate goodness of people, faith in the internet to influence behavior for good, faith in his access and power to design for and influence those human behaviors. He ended his humble sermon with the sentiment that “building things for the internet is a righteous endeavor”.

The potential and influence of my work is something I take very seriously. It’s hard to articulate and harder to share. Today I am grateful for a community of people that are willing to hear it.

File under: Designin’, Makin’, Doin’, Livin’

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  3. teaim said: keep writin’ man, it’s great readin’.
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