Mark A. Matienzo's Posts

Longer-form articles, like blog posts or presentations. They are distinguished from shorter-form notes.

Books read, January-February 2020

I’m trying to do a better job tracking what I’ve been reading. Here’s a start.

Key: ✅ finished; 👍🏽 recommended; 🤯 blew my mind; 🔀 non-linear reading; 😒 meh

  • Cynthia Cruz, Disquieting: Essays on Silence (Book*hug, 2019) ✅👍🏽🤯
  • Margarita García Robayo, Fish Soup (Charco Press, 2018, tr. Charlotte Coombe) 😒
  • The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks (Penguin Books, 2003, tr. Benedicta Ward) 🔀🤯
  • Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (Melville House, 2019) ✅👍🏽
  • Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge UP, 1990)

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Solidarity, logistics, and infrastructure on Prime Day

July 15 and 16th are “Prime Day,” Amazon’s attempt to drive up sales and artificial demand around things we don’t need at prices they’ve convinced us that we can afford. Thanks to Mar Hicks, many of us heard that workers at a Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center are holding a six-hour work stoppage on one of the busiest days of the year. Alongside, many have called for a boycott on Amazon and its subsidiaries (Whole Foods, Goodreads, Twitch, etc.), and others have called for a general strike to protest Amazon’s collaboration with Palantir in aiding ICE. With all of this in mind, I’ve been reflecting on what larger scale industrial actions could look like when we look at Amazon’s simultaneous leveraging of centralization and unreliability of single resources to provide critical infrastructure for the IT sector and its own operations.

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2018: a year in gratitude

This year was largely complicated and often felt like a massive garbage fire to myself and my crew. I didn’t accomplish a number of my goals and was inconsistent about others, so recapping awesome things I did doesn’t feel appropriate and also happens to be a soft reminder of either failure or things not going as planned. I also tend to hate “best of the year” lists but I find them helpful to remember about where I found joy or the ability to connect to something outside of myself. I suppose this is an attempt to reconcile those things, or perhaps more in line with the end of year spirit, a way to articulate gratitude to the people and things around me that impacted me.

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When basil has gone to seed: contemplative pesto

We are growing three kinds of basil in our garden: “regular” basil, purple basil, and Magic Mountain basil. The regular basil and Magic Mountain basil have been thriving quite a bit; the purple basil, less so, as it is growing at the base of the regular basil plant. But the other two, my goodness. The regular old basil was going to seed, though, much to the chagrin of my partner. I’d promised for weeks on end to do something with all that basil, as the stems grew woodier, and as the flowers turned from brilliant white to the brown of kraft paper. Meanwhile, the Magic Mountain basil also grew tall and bushy, went to flower, but only because that’s what it’s supposed to do.

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Evidence of Them: Digitization, Preservation, and Labor

This is a lightly edited version of the presentation I gave as part of as a part of Session 507: Digitization IS/NOT Preservation at the 2018 Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting. The session was overall pure fire, with thoughtful, funny, provocative, and challenging presentations by Julia Kim, Frances Harrell, Tre Berney, Andrew Robb, Snowden Becker, Fletcher Durant, Siobhan Hagan, and Sarah Werner. My heart goes out to all of them. All of the images used in the presentation were adapted from The Art of Google Books.

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Beyond hearing (one another): radical empathy in archives-as-workplace

I am writing this amidst being crammed into a seat flying back from New York City, after a few days of intensive meetings. Between a number of good and less ideal things, my mind has felt really unsettled lately, and I’m working through some professional malaise, and feeling a bit rudderless. In an attempt to give myself something be myself optimistic about and to set some direction, I reread Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor’s Archivaria article “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in Archives”. Part of their analysis outlines four affective shifts in archival relationships based on radical empathy - those between 1) archivist and records creator, 2) archivist and records subject, 3) archivist and user, and 4) archivist and larger community. Given a long list of topics on my mind (precarity, developing inclusive workplaces and cultures, my own uncertain pathway), it felt like there was plenty of space to identify other shifts.

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Sending WebSub notifications from static sites using Netlify functions

As part of my iterative intentions for 2018, I started a project to rebuild and simplify my website. I’ve used Jekyll for quite some time (either by itself or with Octopress), and as part of the latest iteration of the site, I’ve been working to align the site more with Indieweb principles, and to smooth the deployment path for my site by hosting it on Netlify.

One challenge with Jekyll and other static site generators is that “dynamic-ish” functionality, including sending notifications through protocols like WebSub. The trouble is knowing where these actions fit into the build process for your site: you don’t want to send the notifications before your site gets built, or pushed to the CDN hosting your site. Recently, Netlify announced a private beta for its new Netlify Functions service, which provides lambda-style functions deployed as part of your site deployment. One of the neat features that exists as of the beta is the ability to trigger the functions via Netlify events, like when your site successfully deploys.

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