Digital Gardening

What is a digital garden and why build one?

Why build this? #

I don’t want to limit myself to just “Joshua is a designer.” We are all multifaceted and I believe embracing this in ourselves and others is the key to richer, more rewarding lives and relationships. But it wasn’t being reflected in my online persona.

When Helvetica Blanc introduced me to the concept of digital gardening, it relieved some tension for me in how and what I express online.

My intentions for this site are as follows.

Embracing our full selves #

When we constrain ourselves to highlight only one thing about us, everyone suffers.

It’s like Procrustes’ bed—in contorting or stretching to fit an arbitrary space or role, we do great harm. This garden is an attempt to reclaim the fullness of my online identity. Some aspects of me will be stronger depending on what need arises.

Thinking longer term #

We also tend to throw things away and live a permanent state of now now now. I don’t see that being good for anyone in the long term. So this also acts as an archive of sorts. The design of this is intended to be lower tech with the idea of allowing you to meander through and discover (what I hope are) wondrous things.

I also took inspiration from Devine Lu Linvega, who says the following about sites such as this:

This type of website is a often referred to as a “memex”, a kind of archive and mirror of everything that one has done, that one has learnt. It’s a living document that outlines where one has been, and a tool that advises where one could go.

How’s this built? #

I use Hugo, a static site generator. There’s no fancy CMS, it’s just Markdown-powered text files and the site is served by GitHub pages. The only meaningful Javascript here powers a search feature, so that means no trackers here either. I reserve the right to add sparkling via Javascript.

There are other constraints. I won’t be adding flashy animations, adding layouts, and only allowing minimal imagery. I’ll indulge myself with nice typefaces though, because I love them so.

In the future, I’ll be focusing on making it even easier and greener to load, adding image dithering and hopefully attempting to most entirely to green, solar-powered hosting.