Welcome to Jesse Damiani's Reality Studies newsletter

Explorations into the evolution of reality in the Postreality era.

Photo by Nancy Baker Cahill

Welcome to Reality Studies.

Reality has become very strange. Every day, something triggers the sensation: a piece of news that feels more satire than truth, an overheard snippet of conversation, yet another new community or technology to keep track of. The more I chat with other folks, the clearer it becomes that pretty much everyone feels (at least a little) bewildered by reality.

“Reality…one of the few words which mean nothing without quotes.”
—Vladimir Nabokov

I’m a poet who landed in tech—and while it’s fair to assume all my work lives between those two poles, that’s especially true for Reality Studies. Since grad school, my career has taken me from Hollywood to Silicon Valley, from journalism to new media art, with no small share of zany side quests. As a journalist, I cover the intersection of art, media, and technology on Freethink and Forbes, but you can find me lots of other places, like Billboard, The Verge, and WIRED. I’m also a founding curator at Nxt Museum, the first new media fine art museum in the Netherlands.

Reality Studies is where I synthesize what I’ve learned (and continue to learn!) across these experiences—and what I’ve learned researching my book on the same subject. The future of reality will be defined by convergences and intersections, and it is in this spirit of curiosity and consilience that I dive headfirst into unpacking our past, present, and future realities.

My hope is that this newsletter makes reality feel a bit more manageable. In Reality Studies, you’ll find feature-length stories, analysis, Q&As with subject matter experts, and other smaller bites. It’s an interdisciplinary endeavor that brings together unexpected concepts across technology, philosophy, art, and current events. There will be complex ideas, but always in accessible language. I’m also excited to learn from the community that might emerge around this never-boring topic. So stick around, say hi, and tell your friends.

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