About the Avery Transmissions

Stepping back and breaking the fourth wall, I wanted to share some thoughts on the Avery transmissions which I’ve been dropping in my podcast amongst the more “regular” interview episodes. You can listen to the Avery-specific episodes here:

These started as design fiction-adjacent musings on what street furniture might look like in the near future in collaboration with MidJourney so I could stay aware of what’s happening in the image generation space. These really weren’t true design fictions as they weren’t embodied, so they were more speculative design using fiction and images to paint vignettes.

I’ve done a bunch of vignettes which I would post amongst the various social spaces, and they live here:

I became inspired by what Julian Bleecker was doing with AI-generated poems converted to audio/video to create…things:

And Drew Wiberg was playing around with using AI created voices, poems, and narratives with Gnome School, a futurist narrative for progressive animists, mystics, and conjurers that imagines into possible worlds where chaos magic, near-future technology, design fiction, mycology and solarpunk utopian aspirations converge.

I realized that Descript’s built-in AI voices were becoming…passable as I was editing the more normie interview episodes. Then Julian shared with me this PBS Newshour segment on podcasting, with a bit of a challenge to get “weird” with things.

As I had an existing corpus of text and images and a place to put them, I figured…why not get a little weird with it?

So I started to publish the normie episodes of the podcast on Tuesdays/Wednesdays and the Avery episodes on Thursday. Without warning or preamble.

I’m…not sure they are good or interesting to anyone else, but to me I love the challenge of how to make a standalone narrative in three or less minutes, using a very limited set of tooling. I’m restricting myself to Descript-based AI voices, MidJourney for image generation, and when I have to summarize things I use OpenAi Chat GPT-4. There are higher fidelity tooling out there which I’m aware of, but I’m not willing to spend the time learning for something like this. Someday. But without these tools I wouldn’t be able to make this…whatever it is. I don’t think it’s art, more just sketching into the future.

So.

I *think* I’m going to continue to explore this space and publish more transmissions. These episodes are fairly lightweight to produce, and they scratch an itch around narrative, storytelling, and exploration into the different generating tools we have right now. And I already have about 20 written, so it is a nice forcing function to keep me moving on the more normie episodes.

The episodes are also short, so I don’t mind if people skip them, and I haven’t seen any drop-off in downloads and subscriptions the last three weeks.

You can listen to most of the current Avery transmissions here: