Published on Medium: “Museums and Structural Change”

Posted on December 19, 2016

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Earlier today nikhil trivedi and I wrapped our long-form letter-based conversation on museums, the nature of institutions, structural change, and oppression. The conversation, which is our contribution to A Series of Epistolary Romancesincludes thoughts sparked by the election, and considers everything from institutional reform all the way through to the abolition of current institutions. It’s been a rewarding and challenging writing project that rolled out over several weeks, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to explore these ideas with such a generous correspondent. Below is a tiny snippet of nikhil’s writing to spark your interest… 

I appreciate you asking how my experience as a developer might inform this conversation, I hadn’t considered it. Because of the rapid cycles in which software has been changing over the past few decades, largely driven by the quick pace that hardware has been changing, it’s become quite common for us to completely rewrite our systems. We take what we’ve learned, save only what makes sense to, throw everything else away and rewrite the rest. But nothing is really built from scratch anymore. Most new software relies heavily on frameworks built on top of one another over the past several decades. We plug in frameworks where it makes sense, and write the rest custom. With this model in mind, it would make sense to completely abolish institutions that just aren’t working anymore and create something new, like police, prisons, the two-party political system, and so forth. How do you think a model like this might work for institutions like museums?

You should go and check out the whole conversation (although you might want to set aside a bit of time to do so… According to Medium, it’s a 38 minute read!)