Supporter update 🤝🏻 June 30, 2023

Good things to read, watch, and listen to (for the long weekend!)

Supporter update 🤝🏻 June 30, 2023
View of Jace Clayton’s 40 Part Part (2022) at the MassArt Art Museum, Boston. Photo: Mel Taing

Hi everyone,

Thanks and welcome to the new paying subscribers who have joined us since the last Friday dispatch! We are now six months in to this publishing experiment, and we’re grateful for everyone’s attention and support. Including these subscriber-first digests, we’ve published twenty-seven issues that total about thirty-five thousand words, have shared several hundred links, and touched on many of the subjects in technology, the arts, and the built environment that obsess me. As we go into a holiday weekend in both Canada and the United States, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. It’s gratifying to have an audience for the stories I write, and your messages—curious, supportive, encouraging, questioning—make the effort special.

We at Frontier use the term magazine because, like a magazine and unlike many newsletters, we cover a range of subjects. Beginning soon, we’re adding another: education, very broadly defined. Though I’ve completed a graduate degree I also think of myself as an autodidact, and the balance of those two things—formal and informal education—has long fascinated me. (In fact, my master’s thesis was about whether non-institutional forms of education, like street oratory, lecture series, and anarchist “schools” contributed to the leftward push in Gilded Age New York City politics. I argued that it did.)

I’m curious about what’s happening to the traditional model of higher education, especially in the perceived tensions between the humanities and STEM subjects. I also follow experiments, whether it’s political conservatives setting up their own universities, tech startups “disrupting” elementary education, COVID-wary or public school–skeptical parents choosing to home-school their children, the opportunities and challenges facing public-library systems, or artist collectives radically reimagining how people come together to teach each other.

So, interwoven with my appreciations of people and projects at the forefronts of architecture, technology, and culture, you’ll soon find stories about how we learn and how that learning was, is, and can be structured. I hope that, as with my writing to date, I can help you notice how creativity in this realm also empowers efforts to accelerate positive change.

Love all ways,


More stories related to recent issues.

This week, I wrote about how three projects in London reveal the tension between continuity and change in art museums. I did not address issues relating to climate resiliency, which is a threat to our cultural institutions as much as it is to individuals and businesses, but it’s one that’s on my mind—not least because last week another London museum, the Hayward Gallery, opened Dear Earth, a group exhibition of “artistic responses to the climate emergency.”

Last week, I wrote about how people are rethinking car use in Paris, Tokyo, and London. I mentioned, toward the end of the essay, how that subject connects with broader ones, like housing. So I thought I’d share this long and thoughtful essay about how Washington, DC, and specifically the suburb of Arlington, Virginia, densified. “By concentrating apartments around transit, buying the most-affected locals in financially, and using the revenues to balance the budget, it has been able to permit more apartments than many of its peer regions over the past 50 years.”

Last month, when I wrote about conversations and interviews, I mentioned that CBC’s long-running literary-interview program Writers & Company was ending. The final episode aired this week, and here you can read or listen to the farewell messages sent by wonderful writers including Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, and Jonathan Franzen.

In that same Frontier Magazine issue, I linked to an interview involving artist, DJ, and writer Jace Clayton. Encountering his Forty Part Part at FRONT 2022 in Cleveland was perhaps my favorite artistic experience of last year. So I was pleased to see Rebecca Rose Cuomo’s appreciation of the “joyfully disorienting” “adaptable auditory self-portrait” in ARTnews.

Spread from Oliver Frank Chanarin’s A Perfect Sentence. Courtesy Loose Joints.

Even more

Links from the lists I keep for you.

  • 🛞 649 car chases from TV and the movies, with the cars identified (via things magazine).
  • 🇬🇧 A thoughtful profile of Oliver Frank Chanarin, working solo after two decades, and his new documentary photography project. “Amidst the humour, humiliation, tenderness and joy, there are people from all walks of life and all over Britain living wildly divergent lives.”
  • 🧺 “We wanted to bring together a whole bunch of people who saw how design had the power to shape conversations." A profile of Byron and Dexter Peart’s GOODEE, with product recommendations.
  • 🎥 A fourteen-minute excerpt from Astra Taylor’s wonderful 2008 documentary Examined Life, featuring philosopher Judith Butler and Taylor’s artist and activist sister, Sunaura.