Activism Art Design

Wisdom Hackers launching October 6


Wisdom Hackers: An Incubator for Philosophers to Launch Oct. 6th

The 6th of October 2014 sees the launch of an exciting series of philosophical dispatches from young, edgy thinkers from major cities across the globe – Berlin, London, Mexico City, Nairobi, New York, Paris, and San Francisco.

Founded in the summer of 2014, Wisdom Hackers brings together fresh voices from art, activism, technology, and design to ask “ancient questions in modern contexts.” Over the course of eight weeks, participants (affec- tionately called “Seekers”) each explored a deep question and produced meditations on these questions in the form of dispatches. Questions related to the future of democracy, technology consumption, the inherent wisdom of children, the evolution of consciousness, and the nature of Enlightenment in the world today.

The community of “Seekers” includes British novelist Anna Stothard, actress and poet Grace Dunham, Occupy journalist Nathan Schneider, hacker and activist Brett Scott, and artist and TED Fellow Rachel Sussman. For a complete list of Seekers see:

The philosophical dispatches will be published through a new digital literary start-up called The Pigeonhole, starting on October 6th. The Pigeonhole harnesses 21st-century technology to bring back the serialized book, a format made famous by Dickens, Dumas and Dostoevsky. Through the Pigeonhole bespoke app and transmedia platform, Wisdom Hackers will publish their dispatches direct to readers.

“Our aim in partnering with the Pigeonhole is to create new markets for self-expression outside of traditional publishing,” says Wisdom Hackers Founder Alexa Clay. “Our very real challenge is to understand how philosophy and wisdom can be adapted for our digital age. We want to create a learning community of the future where spirited inquiry into life’s burning questions are actively encouraged and shared with a wider public.”

Wisdom Hackers participant and journalist, Nathan Schneider offered his own observations on the experience, “It’s such a relief to be able to have an excuse to put the quest for wisdom at the center of one’s work for a spell. Even if we wouldn’t say it out loud, it’s that quest that secretly motivates so many of us. Wisdom Hackers has been a much-needed coming-out party for clandestine mystics, dreamers, wanderers, and guerrillas in a world that ordinarily prefers not to make a place for them—for us.”

For more information contact:
Alexa Clay
Founder, Wisdom Hackers
+ 49 (0) 176 8473 8303

Kelly Pike
Hello Public Relations
+44 (0) 7824 812520

Relevant links:

Activism Brazil Design PURPOSE

History of the Meu Rio Brand

Last Sunday I published my first blog post in Portuguese for the Meu Rio blog, in which I tell the story of how we developed our brand identity. Here is an English translation of that post.


Hi, I’m Lee-Sean, and this is my first post. I’m going to tell you the story of the how we developed the Meu Rio logo and identity, but first I would like to confess something. Maybe it’s obvious, but I’m not from here. I’m neither a Carioca (native of Rio) nor a Brazilian. I was born in Taiwan, grew up in Arizona, and lived in various other places since: Boston, Barcelona, Nakatsu (Japan), New York. I consider myself a citizen of the world, and now an honorary Carioca.

I arrived in Rio for the first time in 2010 along with Alessandra, co-founder of Meu Rio, and our Purpose colleague Emmy. We came to do, among other things, the preliminary research for the development of the brand identity. Before coming here, I had already made an effort to better understand Brazilian and Carioca culture: I studied Portuguese, I read books and watched movies about Rio, I listen to Brazilian music, I play capoeira.

Beach Boardwalk, Rio

But as a gringo, I also had many stereotypical and touristic images of Rio in my head: the big Jesus statue, the Sugarloaf, the wave-patterned pavement designed by Burle Marx, the beach, Carnaval, Carmen Miranda, etc. I knew I had to avoid clichés and create an identity worthy of the Marvelous City. The challenge was to create a brand that respected and celebrated Rio’s cultural heritage.


The first phase of our research involved total immersion. We travelled all over the city. We interviewed many Cariocas. We conducted observations and took hundreds of photos. All of this might sound like sightseeing, but really it was tiring work. Rio is full of visual delights and a city of stark contrasts between mountains and ocean, urban grey and rainforest green, modern and old, “asphalt” and favela.


We found abundant sources of inspiration: the colors of tropical fruit and plants; urban street art with its rough aesthetic and perceptive social critique; the sensual curves of nature, modern architecture and the bodies of Cariocas at the beach; and the first meeting of Donald Duck and Zé Carioca.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

After finishing the first phase of research, we began drawing. I made several sketches. See some examples below. I tried to capture the “ginga” (swing) of the Carioca lifestyle and express the popular spirit of DIY.



After deliberating, we ended up picking the current logo.

Our logo subtly evokes the form of a coconut. Coconuts hydrate and nourish Cariocas and serve as an icon of Meu Rio. The irregular shape and imperfection help encourage popular participation.

The “Folk” font we used for the logo was created by the Brazilian type designer Marcelo Magalhães and is licensed for reuse under Creative Commons..

By definition, a brand identity is a system of visual and stylistic rule, but at Meu Rio we aim to be more than just that. Our intention is to create a “living system” brand identity that is open to participation and remix, a brand that will grow and evolve over time, and that can easily live in online and offline contexts, in two and three dimensions. This post is about the history of the Meu Rio brand, but the story is not yet finished. We continue moving forward along with your participation.

What do you think of the Meu Rio brand?

Meu Rio Lazer Printing

Meu Rio Stationery

Protesto da Roleta


Activism Design Innovation Internet Media New York NYC

Impact is what you can get away with

Here is a panel presentation proposal we put together for Internet Week NY. It would be a panel presentation with Stephanie, Alnoor, and Alessandra from Purpose. Special thanks to Nicholas and Colby for the feedback and support.

Impact Is What You Can Get Away With
Brands and organizations looking to make real social impact should go beyond the app to “do good” or “give back.” Impact isn’t an app, it’s an uprising. It’s not just a meme, it’s a movement. Warhol and McLuhan both said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Riffing on this provocation, we challenge social innovators to get away with more. What can change makers learn from artists? How do you channel cultural power to achieve deep structural change? How do you stimulate promiscuous participation? How do you turn social innovations into social movements? This session is for makers, thinkers, and doers looking to level up their understanding of the art of mass mobilization and achieving transformative impact. We will present from our experiences building 21st century movements at Purpose and engage in dialogue with fellow “movement entrepreneurs.”

Vote for our panel proposal. Thanks!

Activism New York

Clay Shirky tweets about Occupy Wall Street

My additions to Clay’s commentary:

“Coherence” as a concept has inherent class and cultural biases skewed in favor of those in with more power in the social and economic hierarchy.

Our socio-economic operating system doesn’t exactly making any f@#$ing sense to a many people in the 99% either.

#OWS is hardly radical. It is inherently a conservative response to the loss of a social contract from the 20th century. It seems like a call to return to the spirit of that post WWII-1980s social contract.

Activism PURPOSE Video

Mona Eltahawy Speaking on Revolutionary Women

Mona Eltahawy Speaking on Revolutionary Women from lee-sean on Vimeo.

Mona Eltahawy speaking at Purpose on women in the Egyptian Revolution.
Video documentation sponsored by Hepnova Multimedia