Bookmarked The Goshiwon – Human Parts by Julladonna Park (Human Parts)

The bizarre thing about living in 50 square feet of space was that it didn’t change me; rather, I became the most extreme version of myself.

So much of how we know ourselves depend on how we adjust ourselves to the outside world, and live as others live. But in the goshiwon, there was no room for anything — or anyone — but myself.

Juliadonna Park provides some insight into life lived in a goshiwon:

A typical goshiwon unit is roughly 50 square feet, almost a tenth of a North American studio apartment. Communal kitchens are usually stocked with the basic necessities of survival — kimchi, rice.

The legal definition of a goshiwon is this: “A siloed space built to accommodate a scholar, with the facilities to feed and house them.” The “goshi” in the name quite literally means “test” in Korean; hence the goshiwon is a place in which test-takers reside.

In some ways, this reminded me of Beau Miles’ junked video about sleeping in a pod.

Liked ‘There’s only so much time left’: Bruce Springsteen on life, love and voting out Trump by David Leser (The Age)

But I visit with him every night. It’s a grace-filled thing [because] the soul is a stubborn thing. Souls remain. They remain here in the air, in empty space, dusty roots and sidewalks. And in the songs that we sing. That is why we sing. We sing for our blood and for our people because that is all we have at the end of the day. Each other. – Bruce Springstein

James Michener’s Space was a novel about more than just the exploration of the universe. It was also an exploration of the concept of space itself. Whether it be the creation of a space for ideas to thrive, being in a political space to make a difference, being in the right place at the right time, working in a pragmatic space where lies and truth do not matter, making clear a place of race within space, and manipulating space to own and control it.
I was reading about Aaron Dessner’s work with Taylor Swift and how he kept the news from his daughter. This made me think about Tom Waits and putting songs in the shed to grow and mature, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s album buried in the backyard. I wonder what other albums have been produced, but for a range of reasons, have not made the light of day?
Read novel by James A. Michener

The story begins in 1944 and covers more than 30 years in the lives of four men and their families: Dieter Kolff, a German rocket engineer who worked for the Nazis; Norman Grant, a World War II hero turned U.S. Senator from a fictional mid-west state; Stanley Mott, an aeronautical engineer charged with a top-secret U.S. government mission to rescue Kolff from Peenemünde; and John Pope, a small-town boy turned Naval Aviator who becomes a test pilot and then an astronaut. Randy Claggett, a rambunctious Marine Corps aviator and astronaut, is considered by Michener to be the most important supporting character (the first two parts of the book are entitled “Four Men” and “Four Women”). The lives of the fictional characters interweave with those of historical figures, such as Wernher von Braun and Lyndon Johnson. A group of trainee astronauts are introduced to fly fictional but plausible Project Gemini and Project Apollo missions; the intensive training and jockeying for position among the astronauts forms much of the background of the middle of the novel, reminiscent of a fictional version of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and the movie as well.

I remember growing up with bookshelves filled with James A. Michener’s novels at my grandparents, but never really taken to picking any up. Although there are key characters, they are books tied together around a concept.

For me, Space was more than just about the exploration of the universe. It was also an exploration of the concept of space itself. Whether it be the creation of a space for ideas to thrive, being in a political space to make a difference, being in the right place at the right time (see Cory Doctorow), working in a pragmatic space where lies and truth do not matter, making clear a place of race within space, and manipulating space to own and control it.


I. Four Men

Always remember, John, that you and I live on a minor planet attached to a minor star, at the far edge of a minor galaxy. We live here briefly, and when we’re gone, we’re forgotten. And one day the galaxies will be gone, too. The only morality that makes sense is to do something useful with the brief time we’re allotted. (Page 77)

It takes sixty-five thousand errors before you’re qualified to make a rocket. Russia has made maybe thirty thousand of them by now. America hasn’t made any. Therefore, men like you and me and the general, we’d be a hundred times more valuable to the Americans than to the Russians.’ (Page 93)

II. Four Women

It was now that she exhibited her devotion to the principle she had expounded at college: The test of a woman is how she organizes space. In the Mott rooms at the motel she established a place for everything and rigorously discarded any object that was not essential; as a consequence, the Motts lived in constructive order, whereas most of the other young couples, many from places like Vassar and Harvard, lived in chaos. (Page 147)

She was both amused and impressed by General Funkhauser, for he was an obvious fraud but one determined to please his new American masters. (Page 158)

The clerk at the Bonn embassy who handled such routine matters was a black man, assigned there to prove to the Germans that America did not want to go the way of Hitler’s racism. He was, of course, the only black in the embassy and vastly overeducated for his job, but he was effective; (Page 172)

She looked at him but did not smile appreciatively, as he thought she might. She frowned, for she saw in this young man with the close-cropped hair, the dark blue suit, the highly polished black shoes, America’s version of the perpetual policeman: the SS who knocked on doors at night; the French Sǔreté men she had known while waiting for her boat at Le Havre; the Russians whom she had escaped. They were the same in all nations, essential but to be avoided (Page 179)

III. Korea

For an additional medal, men would lie, exaggerate, falsify, support friends in hopes that friends would support them on some later claim; above all, they would take the most outrageous risks in order to qualify for one more ribbon. (Page 205)

They don’t shoot you in Huntsville. They do worse. They cut off your funds.’ (Page 240)

‘Don’t you see?’ he asked Mott as he engineered him toward the exit. ‘I depend on you. It’s the explorations you men at NACA conduct, the pronouncements you make, that agitate my clients and send them running to me. The more you succeed, the more confused the world becomes, and the more I’ll be needed. Now you go back to your test tubes and rockets and do my work for me.’ (Page 287)

When he produced his snapshot of the mean quarters, Mrs. Grant refused to look at it; instead she smiled slightly, her lips primly together, as if she held a secret that these two men could never comprehend. And as he proceeded with his deflation, introducing more and more evidence, her smile persisted. No matter what he said, she had anticipated it and erected her defenses against it; in the end he accomplished nothing. (Page 287)

IV. Pax River

Car became a cathedral-in-motion in which two worshippers convened to settle family questions of the highest moment. (Page 298)

V. Intellectual Decisions

It lay along an edge of the constellation Coma Berenices and was about twenty million light-years distant, which meant that what Mott was seeing in 1961 was what the galaxy had looked like 2 × 10 7 years ago, and it awed him to realize that in the multiplex of years since that moment, the galaxy could have modified totally, or moved … He was seeing an echo of some great thing that had once existed, and wherever he looked in the outer universe he was seeing the same type of thing: evidence that greatness had once been, but no proof whatever that it still was. (Page 392)

We’re not sending a monkey to the Moon. That was a terrible mistake. Ran the risk of people laughing. And we’re not sending a machine, because people can’t love machines. And we’re not sending scientific instruments, because people are interested in them only in Boris Karloff movies. What we are sending is brave young American heroes, and don’t you forget it.’ (Page 420)

VII. The Moon

X. Mars

He had started with little green men, moved on to the founding of a bogus university and now to a religious temple, but what not even his wife Marcia had detected, he planned soon to surrender his basilica in Los Angeles and acquire several thousand acres in the suburbs to house a temple and a real university based on the Bible. (Page 770)

‘An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.’ (Page 772)

XI. The Rings of Saturn

The old professor would not permit this question. ‘You must break the habit, in your thought if not in your speech, of saying “up to the Moon” or “back down to Earth” or “up to the stars.” There is no up or down , no above or below. There is only out to and back from in reference to the center of the Earth. If you use the plane of the Galaxy as reference, we’re clearly off the central axis, but whether we’re up or down, who knows? I don’t even like the phrase out to the edge of the universe. We may be the edge, so that everything we see exists between us and the opposite edge. More likely, the edge is everywhere, for I think that space is without direction or definition. You can’t express it in words, I suppose, but you must induce that concept among your students, for otherwise they can never become astronomers.’ ‘Look!’ one of the girl st (Page 818)

Instead of trying to defend himself, Strabismus leaned forward eagerly to explain. ‘A lot of people in this country believe we never got to the Moon. They believe it was all a government hoax, and I was speaking to reassure them.’ ‘So you gather all the mind-weary dissidents—the anti-everythings—and you build a great constituency. And one day you’ll find yourself the new Jim Jones … but in a more devastating arena.’ (Page 826)

Man is the measure of all things, he admitted to himself, but it matters greatly what he measures. (Page 842)

Are we the ones who are at fault? he asked himself. Have we failed to bring the world along with us? Why did Mrs. Grant retreat into her cocoon, denying everything that her husband stood for? Why does Strabismus receive such thundering approval when he turns the clock back? (Page 842)

When you rebuild starting from scratch, you adopt only the most modern concepts. This means those countries whose factories weren’t dynamited are burdened with old-fashioned ways. They must fall behind.’ ‘Would you recommend that countries like England and the United States blow up their factories every thirty years?’ ‘The world would be a much better place if we did … periodically.’ ‘Why don’t we?’ (Page 848)

What do you do about Reverend Strabismus and his ilk?’ ‘I think you bear with them. Admit that if society did not yearn for them, they wouldn’t achieve the power they do. And hope that like Savonarola, they pass quickly without doing too much damage.’ (Page 849)

i recently started reading Space by James A. Michener. After searching for books about ‘space’, I found it (who would have thought.) Whilst reading today I came across the following quote:

In the Mott rooms at the motel she established a place for everything and rigorously discarded any object that was not essential; as a consequence, the Motts lived in constructive order, whereas most of the other young couples, many from places like Vassar and Harvard, lived in chaos.

This follows on from an earlier quote on order and creativity.

It establishes who’s boss, that’s why. Because when the space is ordered, you’re free to live creatively.

It left me thinking about the idea of space as a non-human actor. I was also left thinking about the power of constraints. Something that Tom Barrett and Austin Kleon have touched upon.

I was left feeling slightly envious of Doug Belshaw’s office setup wondering how I could make my own working space at home better. Some of the problems I have is that in part I share my space with my wife and daughter. I am also still working solely from my laptop. It then occurred to me that the difference between Doug and I was not necessarily our setup, but rather the uncertainty moving forward. If I was told that this situation was more permanent, then I would investigate getting a screen and better headset. However, until I am provided some clarity I hesitant in investing too much and will persist with my good-enough setup.
One of the interesting changes to music has been the space where it is created and recorded. On hold is Nils Frahm travelling to Spain to record in a well or Taylor Swift flying to New York because she woke up with an idea, instead most artists have been restricted to those resources they have at hand, something of a DIY approach. For some, this is fine, because this is the way it has always been. Take Jacob Collier for example, who seemingly has all he needs in his room, while for those artists he collaborates with, he connects remotely using Source Connect and captures their part that way.  For some the focus is about developing a space to flourish.
Liked The Day the Live Concert Returns (The Atlantic)

In today’s world of fear and unease and social distancing, it’s hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again. I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It’s not a choice. We’re human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other. I have shared my music, my words, my life with the people who come to our shows. And they have shared their voices with me. Without that audience—that screaming, sweating audience—my songs would only be sound. But together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again.

Bookmarked Why London’s National Theatre Is Hooking Online Viewers (The Atlantic)

The intimate camerawork of its web broadcasts gives everyone the best seat in the house.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner reflects on the pivot of plays online. He explains how such mediated experiences are different from the feeling of being their in the theatre.

As the performance scholar Sarah Bay-Cheng points out, “mediated theatre” that’s edited for a screen offers a very different sense of space, movement, and time than an in-person performance. Eight or so cameras get positioned around the theater, and there are two camera rehearsals before the broadcast. The show is recorded in a single take in front of an audience and broadcast live that night to movie theaters, with some delay for audiences in different time zones.

Speaking from a US perspective, Pollack-Pelzner also situates such broadcast from the perspective of the literacy canon and colonialism, suggesting that there is something to be said about the particular choices chosen to be broadcast.

broadcasts also reinforce a sense of the U.K. as the center of civilization, and cinematic outposts around the world as its fringes, a message reinforced by the particular plays NT Live chooses for export. Although the theater has, in recent years, become much more supportive of diverse artists, the broadcasts for NT at Home come straight out of the Victorian canon, a series of Shakespeare and 19th-century-novel adaptations: Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island. What the National sends out under its banner, “the best of British theatre,” is more or less the same culture that the British empire used to enforce Englishness around the world a century and a half ago. London is still the metropole; I’m still regarding it fondly from a colonial outpost. It’s the very coziness, the domesticity, of NT at Home that makes its imperial echoes both so pervasive and so hard to hear.

This can be understood as being a part of a wider push back on the limits of streaming. Although there is a plethora of content available, whether it be museums, zoos or concerts, there has been a growing sense of push-back. For example, Chris DeVille argues that musical performances are often underwhelming:

Livestreams suck. Livestreams have always sucked. There are exceptions — when your favorite artist logs on, when something incredibly charming and unexpected happens — but in general, watching musicians perform onscreen from home is underwhelming and sometimes depressing. By necessity, the format has become a mainstay of the music industry during the coronavirus pandemic, which has only underlined how much the format sucks. There’s a reason the streamed concert platform StageIt was in dire financial peril before COVID-19 struck and why the world’s best and most popular musical artists didn’t typically lower themselves to the level of YouTube struggle-folkies until they had to. Under normal circumstances, when the live concert experience is available and people can safely leave their homes, livestreams are clearly an inferior alternative. They suck.

While Peter Schjeldahl reflects on the mark virtual tours of galleries will  leave on us, accompanying us spectrally.

Online “virtual tours” add insult to injury, in my view, as strictly spectacular, amorphous disembodiments of aesthetic experience. Inaccessible, the works conjure in the imagination a significance that we have taken for granted. Purely by existing, they stir associations and precipitate meanings that may resonate in this plague time.

In the end, I am reminded of something that Audrey Watters‘ wrote a few years ago about virtual tours.

Virtual field trips are not field trips. Oh sure, they might provide educational content. They might, as Google’s newly unveiled “Expeditions” cardboard VR tool promises, boast “360° photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds — annotated with details, points of interest and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools.” But virtual field trips do not offer physical context; they do not offer social context. Despite invoking the adjective “immersive,” they most definitely are not.

Maybe the current crisis is not one of equity, it is still something to stop and consider I guess.

Listened Breathe Deeply: Music To Quiet The Mind And Inspire from

We premiere a new song from Roger and Brian Eno, plus the ambient sounds of Jon Hopkins, Skylar Gudasz and more artists who offer a soothing mix to slow the blood, calm the nerves and inspire the mind.Playlist:1. Jon Hopkins: “Scene Suspended” (Single)2. Roger & Brian Eno: “Celeste” from Mixing Colours3. Lambert: “Vienna” from True4. Ian Urbina & Teen Daze: “Reel In (Sea Slavery)” from Pure Water5. Niklas Paschburg: “Duvet” from Svalbard6. Skylar Gudasz: “Actress” (Single)

This collection of ambient tracks is a great example of the way in which music can capture space, but also set the mood as well.
Bookmarked [ #cefpi #tep10 ] Clicks & Bricks: When digital, learning and physical space meet – Ewan McIntosh | Design Thinking, Education & Learning (

School buildings as influencers of future practice, not responsive to existing practice.

Ewan McIntosh breaks down learning into seven different spaces:

  • Secret Spaces
  • Group Spaces
  • Publishing Spaces
  • Performing Spaces
  • Participation Spaces
  • Watching Spaces

It is interesting to consider that this was written nearly ten years ago.

Liked Set-up. It’s more important than you think. by sherrattsam (Time Space Education)

The scary thing about setting up for learning is that there are many educators out there who don’t do it, who don’t see the purpose or the power of it, who don’t take the time to ensure that their students are thinking, feeling or acting in a way that maximises their potential in each learning situation. Then, when their students are fidgety, when their students misbehave, when their students don’t produce what they’re capable of, when their students’ thinking doesn’t go as deep as it could, when their students make thoughtless choices, when their students struggle to find the materials they need, when their students become irritable… they point the finger at their students, not the fact that they didn’t spend 30 minutes setting up.

Replied to Extending The Spaces You Need To Innovate (Further considerations) by Tom Barrett (Tom Barrett’s Blog)

I am still not completely convinced you need a Digital Space for creative, innovative work. Although it has become a standard space for us to operate it in, a Digital Space seems a “nice to have” not a “must have”.

Rather than complimentary digital space, I like Dave White’s notion of ‘coalescent spaces‘.

In regards all eight spaces, I wonder if such a breakdown ignores the context associated with innovation. I prefer an assemblage as a means of making sense.

P.S. If comments are the cassette tape of the digital world, not sure what metaphor you would recommend for a comment syndicated from your own site?

Bookmarked The Spaces You Need to Innovate by Tom Barrett (Tom Barrett's Blog)


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When you don’t have the Physical space for innovation, the process takes longer. This might be true because there is less visibility of ideas and progress, fewer opportunities for working collaboratively and poorer communication between teams.

If our Cognitive space is crowded and overwhelming us, we will likely only engage at the surface level. The commitment to the work will probably wain over time as other competing agendas and projects take their toll. Mental energy is limited.

Time is a crucial ingredient for any creative or innovation work. Without enough quality time, ideas might become less ambitious and revert to safe bets.

Without the Emotional commitment to the work, we get projects that fizzle out. We don’t see the connection to the broader purpose and start to reduce our energy and effort as the drive is not there. Fighting our neurobiology is futile.

If we are trying to innovate without Agency in a culture that historically moderates heavily from the top-down, it creates apathy. Why bother getting invested in innovation when nothing changes? Why should we care when the decision is out of our hands?

Tom Barrett breaks down the different spaces in education: physical, cognitive, time, emotional and agentic.
Bookmarked Home Work (Audrey Watters)

I think Americans’ homes are designed for that – they’re designed in ways that encourage you to fill up the closets and garages and spare bedrooms with stuff. There are catalogs upon catalogs with products and websites upon websites with ideas of how to buy things and build things that transform rooms to your liking.

This is an insightful look into home spaces and the way we use it.

We have worked at home (and with great frequency, it feels, worked on the road) for about a decade now. And the typical home or apartment – no matter its size or location – isn’t really designed for that.

Bookmarked Flexible Seating: What’s the Point? by Chris Wejr (

There is little to no clear research of the impact of classroom design on student achievement and with so many variables to consider, I don’t think there is a single optimal classroom design for all students and educators. Having said this, based on what I have read and the conversations I have had with people I work with and online, I think I will try to keep the following in mind when I work with teachers to redesign or reflect on classroom design:

  • Be specific on the problem, purpose of the change, strategies to implement, and markers for success. Without doing this, how will we know our time, efforts, and money are making a difference?
  • Keep some desks*. I am not saying you need to keep all of them but before making big changes, switch up a portion of the class and leave a good number of desks for those students who need their own personal space. *Note that this is more for grade 2/3 and above as many early primary classrooms have not used desks for years and lessons/instruction take place at the carpet.
  • Use small tables. Large tables actually take away from flexible seating as they present only one or two options for students. With smaller tables, you can put them together or move them apart as needed. If you are buying tables, you can also get tables that can be raised or lowered based on the need to stand or sit.
  • Offer comfortable areas. When starting small (in elementary/middle), for quiet reading, students may enjoy a bean bag chair or a bucket chair. Be clear with students the purpose of these areas so that when there is instruction or individual or small group work occurring, these are not used.
  • Offer seating options (stools, standing desks). You need not change your whole classroom to offer some seating options for students who may benefit from self-reg tools. Start with a few stools and some standing desks (or small, tall tables) to and see if student learning and achievement benefits from this. If we have evidence of increased success for an individual with a certain tool from past years/teachers, please embrace this as to go back to a standard chair may make the learning more difficult for the student. We can build on evidence from past success/struggles.
  • Fail small*.  One of the most common mistakes I have made is making significant (large) changes and waiting too long to see if it is working.  If you have a clear understanding of the purpose and the strategies, use the defined success markers to see if what you are doing is effective. After a short time (weeks or 2 months), check to see how the strategy is working. If it is working… keep going, if it is not, stop and pivot.  I have tried and observed classroom design that actually hindered learning so it is important to know the impact of the strategy.  *HT to Simon Breakspear for helping me with this.
Chris Wejr reflects on his experiences in reviewing flexible learning spaces. This includes the reasons to re-design, as well as a series of thoughts associated with the process of re-imagining.
Bookmarked The anti-cottonwool schools where kids stare down risk in favour of nature play – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (

Mr Smith said whereas students would previously come to the office complaining of injury, they are now too busy to make a fuss.

“Students are becoming more resilient and getting on with it.”

The school has just three rules — no stacking milk creates, no walking on the large wooden spools and no tying rope to yourself.

This article from the ABC discusses a couple of schools in Western Australia that have reduced the rules on outdoor play. THis reminds me of Narissa Leung’s use of old bricks and Adrian Camm’s use of odd material to enage with play.