This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

May-June 2011

This45: Navneet Alang on blogger-of-the-future Tim Maly

Navneet AlangWebsite

Tim Maly seems like he might be from the future.

Since 2007, Maly has, like so many others, written a blog on subjects he cares about. His is called Quiet Babylon, where he writes about technology, architecture and urban spaces. But in 2010, Maly made the brave and unusual decision to quit his regular job, dip into his savings, and set himself a deadline to turn Quiet Babylon into his livelihood. Now Maly spends his time collaborating, thinking, and “creating cool stuff.”

Some examples? He curated the “50 Cyborgs” project, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the term “cyborg” by gathering 50 blog posts on the topic from an array of writers—from fellow bloggers to the founder of Wired magazine. In April, he set up a design studio that will generate art and ideas about the concept of border towns.

Part of what enables Maly to do this is the web, which has allowed him to find and foster a community of like-minded people, while drastically cutting the risk involved in creating and publishing work. It’s an approach that in its collaborative, creative nature is eminently contemporary—futuristic, even.

In a sense then, Maly is sort of from the future. His practice speaks to the possibility that we will increasingly carve out careers in the spaces made by new technology—inventing ways to merge what we love with how we live.

Navneet Alang Then: This Magazine web columnist, 2009–present. Now: This Magazine web columnist, freelance writer, blogger, PhD student.
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