Mental Detox Week

Mental Detox Week

Adbusters have changed their Turnoff TV week into Mental Detox Week, its tagline is Escape the Fantasy. It’s a pretty interesting challenge for someone like me.

It’s running from 21st-27th April. That’s next week. Eeek.

The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult – yet also how life-changing – a week spent unplugged can really be.

When you read the details I like the fact that they’re not being silly about it. They realise that there’s a degree of ‘essential use’ in terms of work that uses computers.

Today you’re not going to listen to your iPod. You aren’t going to stare at a computer screen any more than you absolutely have to. Today you won’t worry about unanswered email, and you’re not going to login to Facebook. You’ll cut the time you spend on digital devices right down to the bone.

I feel like I’ve had a few weeks of extreme screen staring, so this has come at a perfect moment for me.

For a couple of days you might feel like an addict in withdrawal: peevish, agitated, and distracted. But then something will happen. Your over-stimulated brain will cleanse itself. You’ll relax. You’ll feel calmer, more grounded.

I just want to give it a go and see what happens to me. Maybe I’ll miss it all so bad I’ll crack. Or maybe I’ll learn to love life without all the screens and turn my back on the glassy monsters forever…

Here’s how I’m planning on doing it:

  1. I need a mobile phone for work. But I’m going to downgrade from my iPhone to a very basic old model that I’ve got lying around the house. I won’t make any outgoing calls from the mobile unless absolutely essential. And I mean properly essential.
  2. Computer use is limited to between 9am and 6.30pm weekdays only. But with a massive reduction in usage. I’ll check email a couple of times a day. And I’ll only use a computer when the job can’t be done some other way. I might stop just short of sending faxes again.
  3. TV is off.
  4. I’ll go back to listening to CDs, or Vinyl. Not sure if this is cheating or not. Or where the radio fits in? But I’m interpreting the rules my way, and I’m about cutting out looking at screens.
  5. I was going to say ‘no blogging’, but I think I might ease up on that. However, I’m only going to blog hand-written notes about what’s going on in my mental detox, via email, during the 9-6.30 window – minimising screentime.

The thing I’m most interested in is whether I feel like I’m more or less productive, and also whether I feel like I have more or less brain time. It’s very different from going on holiday and leaving it all behind because all the expectations and contexts of everyday life are still hanging about…

Anyone else up for it?

I’m Chatting at Under The Influence

Under the Influence Logo

Iris are putting on an interesting event next week in London. It’s totally free so go and sign up if you like the look of it.

It’s called Under the Influence and it’s 20 talks spread around 5 pubs in Borough Market. Each one has a different theme. I’m in the boozer talking about ‘immersive experiences’ and that jazz. There’s a greeny one, a ranty one and one about content and stuff (at least I think that’s what it’s about)

My talk is provisionally entitled: “The Use of Magic in Countering Human Adaptive Tendencies“. I wanted to make it sound really pretentious and grand. But it’s just another talk about the blinking internet and the stuff I know some stuff about. I’ve just bought a magic kit though, so you never know what I might be able to do by next week…

I’m a bit nervous being as the talks are in pubs and everyone’s allowed to drink all day. And I’m at the end of the day. So I’m guessing heckling might be more of a hazard than normal… ;-)

Some top speakers spread throughout the day. Hope to see some friendly faces there :-)

KDDI Eye Project

Massive morphing movie shapes featuring UCG films and photos. Very very slickly done. Eye project from KDDI.

And the ‘blog this’ widget (above) is nicely executed too (although I think ‘join’ is a pretty harsh call to action that would put me off – but it could just be a language thing). Bits of the site are in Japanese, but it’s easy to follow and well signposted in English.

The Next Creative Revolution

I liked this thought piece by Nick Law from R/GA. The Next Creative Revolution at Creativity-online.

It’s a thoughtful (yet slightly empassioned) piece on the evolution of advertising. For a taster:

This, we are told, is integration. For the web guy, who was recruited with the promise of a seat at the Bernbachian table, it feels more like integration at gunpoint. Instead of spending his time shoving a square-peg concept into a round-hole medium, web guy should look to his own patron saint, Marshall McLuhan.

He uses better words that what I would. But I think we’re on the same team ;-)

Worth a read.