»Macht schöne Dinge. Macht Dinge, die man benutzen kann. Macht einfache Dinge. Hütet Euch vor zu viel Kunstfertigkeit. Hütet Euch vor zu viel Wissen. Das Werk sollte gesund sein. Achtet die Handarbeit. Seid darauf bedacht, den Preis niedrig zu halten. Macht Gefäße, die Ihr selbst gern benutzt. Das Werk sollte bescheiden sein. Innere Klarheit ist die Grundlage der Schönheit. Beachtet die Eigenschaften des Materials. Beobachtet die Natur intensiv. Das Gefäß zu formen entspricht der Formung der eigenen Persönlichkeit.«
As of now
Earlier this year I sent my personal blog on a hiatus before pulling the plug completely a couple of weeks later. Now that I’m bringing it back, here’s a bit of context.
Summer has become the season I like to pause and reflect on my personal and professional life a little. It’s a worn-out cliche, yet time flies –in particular as a parent– so it’s a smart move to have a specific timeframe every year to take a genuine look at the path embarked upon and, if necessary and possible, take action to adjust the direction life is heading towards. Not to sound too spiritual, but periodically meditating about the recent past, the present and the near future has proven to be a quite healthy ritual, especially in the age of overstimulation.
And since the blog was always meant to be closely linked to and infused by my personal life, it was only consequential to review its status as well then.
Persistence of vision
One thing was for sure right away, though; My core belief in the value of decentralized networks, self-hosted websites and independent online spaces for aimless experimentation and personal expression is as strong as ever.
Besides the infinite social media maelstrom¹ and the continuously growing commercialization of the web², we will soon have to deal with an avalanche of AI-generated content³ as well. The corners of the internet cultivated by individuals are important for its vitality and may even become critical to the very survival of a humane online ecosystem. Otherwise, we might get irreversibly trapped in the walled gardens of social media platforms with our content at the mercy of obscure algorithms buried between all sorts of synthetic output.
Speaking of content, lucasdidthis.com is still going to be an incoherent array of context-dependent personal chunks (think Tumblr) on top of a very subjective collage of creative work personally or even culturally significant as well as stuff I work on myself. I still envision a collision of different ideas, perspectives and industries, but as of now, I’m going to tighten the very loosely curated stream of consciousness a bit.
To put it short, the topics as such won’t differ much, but the treatment, structure and emphasis of the content are about to change a little.
Form and function
Alongside the editorial shift, I’m introducing a visual update to reiterate those ambitions. Given the intent and the operating principle of the website are left untouched, I kept the layout pretty simple. The new design is first and foremost an evolution of the previous one, with only subtle adjustments in sizing, spacing and colouring. After all, I’m not willing to ditch the raw look and feel completely, so the text size is still a bit too big for conventional websites and the lines run still a tad too wide in contrast to the established rules of typography.
I did replace the font⁴ and improved the text composition noticeably, though, resulting in a less “brutal”⁵ and more sophisticated overall appearance.
I am aware that at the time of its publication (late 2023) some of the basic components of the blog aren’t working properly yet. Basically, the whole website is in a vague in-between space right now with me bouncing back and forth between conceptual thoughts, the underlying code and the visual output.
Matters of reconstruction
If you’ve visited the blog before (first of all thank you, appreciated), you might also notice the absence of the “old” blog posts. That’s less of a deliberate choice and more of a side effect of the most profound, yet least obvious change; I’ve ditched WordPress and built lucasdidthis.com from scratch once again using Kirby CMS this time.
This means that the underlying code is organized considerably differently now and beyond that, I’m moving from a database-driven to a file-based content management system. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to incorporate the existing articles into the new system automatically and without considerable hustle as a result. I might revisit some articles and publish revisioned versions or archive selected ones within the new system instead, but for now, they are gone.
The former version of lucasdidthis.com was never truly finished⁶, but now it’s set back even further since I’ve started off from absolute zero again.
I really enjoy working on the construction of the interface in conjunction with the content in the open, though, and it might be the most instinctive way to handle the web’s grain⁷ to be honest. Ultimately, the limited functionality shouldn’t get in your way too much, so you’re invited to already tag along, while I iron out the remaining rough edges.
That’s all for now. Welcome back, I hope you’ll find something you can appreciate. If you’d like to reach out, please feel free to do so. See you around.
ps.: You look great today.
- The web is fucked, but there might be some hope that The Age of Social Media Is Ending
- An interesting (and extensive) essay about the role of technology in capitalism called “Surveillance Capitalism I: How digital platforms watch, track & control you”: https://wokescientist.substack.com/p/surveillance-capitalism-i-how-digital
- In the paper “Facing Reality? Law Enforcement And The Challenge of Deepfakes” Europol estimates that 90% of the online content might be generated by Artificial Intelligence by the time of 2026: https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-events/publications/facing-reality-law-enforcement-and-challenge-of-deepfakes
- If you’re interested, there are some useful “Guidelines for Brutalist Web Design” by David Bryant Copeland
- The former version of lucasdidthis.com was set in Inter, an amazing font by Rasmus Andersson, the new version is built with a beautiful font called Satoshi by the Indian Type Foundry instead. I’m still experimenting with the additional serif font, at least for now it’s Lora by Olga Karpushina and Alexei Vanyashin for Cyreal
- When it comes to finishing this website, I side with Arshile Gorky: »I don’t like that word finished. When something is finished, that means it’s dead, doesn’t it? I believe in everlastingness. I never finish a painting —I just stop working on it for a while.«
- “The web’s grain” is a concept described in an essay of the same name by the amazing Frank Chimero: https://frankchimero.com/blog/2015/the-webs-grain