Richard Nash: “a strategist and serial entrepreneur in digital media,” according to his website biography. Mr. Nash works in developing a number of start-ups, primarily in digital media. Additionally, he is an award-winning independent publisher who once ran Soft Skull Press. His short book, What is the Business of Literature?, offers a thorough and provocative examination of literature and the publishing industry. In a lecture given to a publishing-related workshop at the University of Southern California, Mr. Nash provided a more detailed account of the history of the book, its role in our culture, and its relation to technology. In his words, “Content isn’t king… culture is.”
Sammi Grant: a dialect/vocal coach and voice over artist based in Chicago who was recently featured in a Buzzfeed video to share tips on achieving certain accents. In the video, she demonstrates twelve accents, including London, Irish, Brooklyn, French, and Russian accents. Ms. Grant has experience in both television and theater.
Georgia Sanders: the Founder of Culture Honey, an online magazine focusing in travel and culture. As she describes, “Culture is sticky and sweet,” and it is this concept which drives the magazine to cover a wide range of topics and function as a humanitarian- and justice-focused publication and online community. She told HDP that, if she could dine with anyone, she would dine with Sylvia Beach, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.
Ray Kurzweil: a widely-recognized inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, futurist, philosopher, and best-selling author. For several decades, he has invented valuable technologies such as devices for optical character recognition (OCR), according to a 2005 TEDTalk. He is notable, as well, for presenting predictions about the future trajectories of artificial intelligence and the human species.
Chas Edwards: a co-founder and publisher of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine. The latter is a “live magazine,” an experience that unites writers, filmmakers, photographers, and other professionals at an event where they perform stories. These stories address a wide range of topics—including politics, science, sports, art, music, business, technology, and food—using a multi-media approach. The magazine visits various cities to produce shows that sound similar to an old-fashioned variety show but are much more. Mr. Edwards is the president of Pop-Up Magazine Productions as well.
Rima Baransi: a Palestinian-born dancer and choreographer. Ms. Baransi’s dancing went viral in an unchoreographed video on Facebook and other online media outlets. In the video, she dances to accompany a violinist on a street in Trieste, Italy According to her Facebook page biography, she is enrolled in a three-year professional contemporary dance program at DanceWorks in Berlin, Germany. Currently, the young dancer has over 17,000 followers on her Instagram account.
Jason Silva: a filmmaker and media artist, futurist, philosopher, keynote speaker, and the host of National Geographic Channel’s TV series Brain Games. His work focuses on themes similar to those of interest to Mr. Kurzweil. As mentioned on his website, Mr. Silva creates what are referred to as micro-documentaries, Shots of Awe, which expose explorations of technology, innovation, creativity, and complex concepts regarding the human condition and its future.
First of all, HDP apologizes for the delay in posting. This particular guest list was curated with the utmost care. In fact, two of the guests were added after Hannah, Creator of HDP, met them in person at a summer publishing workshop, hosted through a partnership between the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) and the University of Southern California.
There are some evident ties between these guests, such as between Mr. Kurzweil and Mr. Silva. We imagine that, although they have reputations predominantly related to technological fields and futurism, other guests would engage in a riveting discussion on those and similar topics.
Again, a theme that arises amidst this cohort is the concept of culture. We observe an intriguing intersection between two primary sectors, one being the humanities and arts and the other being science and technology. That intersection, we posit, is culture and from culture, we can extract the type of predictions made by Mr. Kurzweil in some of his works. We hope that each of these guests would contribute their perspectives regarding our assertion and synthesize distinct concepts.
Ms. Sanders, for example, would offer a well-rounded perspective, as her publication analyzes culture from several angles. The same seems to be the case with Mr. Nash and Mr. Edwards, in relation to their wide-range of knowledge. We imagine that these three individuals would have a direct exchange about the convergence of multimedia and its functionality in delivering culture. Perhaps their views would be in stark contrast to the views of the aforementioned technologically-oriented minds.
Quite honestly, each guest is related to the other. In our minds, they would be placed on a sort of spectrum; perhaps for simplicity’s sake, a linear model would display their relationships, based on our perceptions. Perhaps the model would demonstrate a shift from those that are left-brain-oriented to those that are right-brain-oriented.
If we were to use broader categories to explain the primary roles of these guests, they would be as follows (bearing in mind that the categories often overlap): The Creators of Culture, The Deliverers of Culture, The Innovators of Delivery, and The Prophets of Culture. Yet, essentially, everyone fulfills of these roles.
The theme for this week is “Defining Culture,” a difficult task but one we think provides exceptional food for thought.
Follow HDP on Facebook to see posts throughout the week and join the conversation (or, we should say, “table talk”).
Nash, R. (2014). What is the Business of Literature? [Kindle]. Retrieved June 25, 2017, from https://www.amazon.com/What-Business-Literature-Richard-Nash-ebook/dp/B00IODNL7E