Monday January 26, 2009: more than 65,000 job cuts were announced in the U.S. and around the world. This figure represents a staggering dislocation in human terms and instantly made me think of all the stories of human striving that are happening in real time as people struggle to adapt to these shocks. This led me to watch Jonathan Harris‘ video at TED about his ground-breaking work which combines art, science and storytelling. The last part of the video where he presents a series of portraits of people in Bhutan rating their happiness in balloons and depicting a wish on a balloon is deeply moving. The idea of using technology to make story bots which can be disaggregated and re-aggregated by computer programs is fascinating

Aside from watching the new blogs (eg laidoff2) being created around the subject of adapting to the economic crisis, it’s worth keeping an eye on the new digital storytelling tools that are out there to help people craft works of art from this exceptional moment in history.

In Ervin Laszlo‘s words, “As consumers and clients, as taxpayers and voters, and as public opinion holders we can create the kinds of fluctuations – the actions and initiatives – that will tip the coming chaos point towards peace and sustainability. If we are aware of this power in our hands, and if we have the will and the wisdom to make use of it, we become masters of our destiny.” This is why we need people like Jonathan Harris to harness the changing social myth and tranform it into powerful art work with popular appeal using technology.

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