Welcome to Outtacontext
Outtacontext has been the playground for Jeff Gates since 1999. Before committing, I spent some time thinking about an appropriate domain name, one that would convey just the right amount of irreverence with a hint to my world view. So, here I am and here you are. This is the third iteration of the site, a redesign and restructure long overdue. But I had to fit this in in between my day job, my art, my writing (both on professional and personal matters of interest), raising a family, and the normal 21st century distractions. (Wait! I’ve gotta Tweet this.)
I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a 21st century Meta-Narrator. So just what does that mean? Meta, according to Wikipedia is “used to mean about (its own category). For example, metadata are data about data…” So “Meta-Narrator” is a storyteller who tells stories about stories. People’s stories.
I like observing people all the time and everywhere. It’s no coincidence I am a photographer. A voyeur? In the best sense of the word. The Washington, DC Metro, which I use daily on my way to and from work, is prime territory. I watch people and if one looks closely, there are any number of stories they’re telling you: some out loud and others by context and nuance. People watching is the best participatory sport around. And it’s the only sport I’ve lettered in.
But I don’t watch only people, I watch processes. I watch how things work—not in the mechanical sense (I’m mechanically challenged). Instead I like to observe how people work, particularly at my day job at the Smithsonian American Art Museum where I am a new media producer. I grew up in the early days of the Internet; yes, I was one of those early adopters. And I’ve been following its progress for the last two decades. I am particularly interested in how technology not only changes how we work but how these changes affect our relationships with our coworkers. There’s a revolution going on and I’ve got a front row seat.