Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Full Body Joy(stick)

On Saturday 3rd May the Umea Institute of Design will begin the graduating show for 2006. One of the graduating MA students for interaction design has been working in HUMlab. Santiago Barriga has been working on game interface design and demonstrated his full body joystick in the lab recently. Here is a video stream of this demo in which I dance like a drunken robot about 1/4 of the way through the video. It is a bit heavy on the bandwidth so I recommend fast accessed machines.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Time and the Blog

My scholarship is about to finish so I have had to apply to my department for funding to finish the last 2 years of my PhD. This has involved listing my achievements for the past 2 years of the PhD (it feels like its been 6 months). To do this I went through my blog archives methodically from when I got the scholarship (June 2004) until today. There were lots of broken picture links and some embarrassing reading- I think I have changed a lot in the last 2 years. What was interesting was that I 'found' things: things I had done and had not remembered when first compiling a list for the PhD application. I also found links and entries about things that are still very relevant to what I am doing that I have little memory of or had looked for elsewhere but could not find. Here are some of my favorites:

Book (comes with instructions)
I had been looking for this. It summarizes in a humorous way many of the preconceptions and assumptions behind materiality and media.

Sydney City Rain
Recorded in 2004 with my friends Adil and Johan of Funkservice. I lost this when my hard drive destroyed itself and I did not think it was still online...but a link on my blog showed me that it was.

Berkeley Audio Archive
This is the only time I have heard a recording of Michel Foucault speaking English: two seminars he gave at Berkeley in 1983. As well there is Malcolm X, Margaret Mead, Aldous Huxley, Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky plus more.

Cybertexts Collected by Jim Barrett
This is a small collection of texts that Erika made into a webpage when she still worked in HUMlab. It was one result of my research for my D paper.

Finally a quote I found for Monday, August 30, 2004 that I still think is good:

"Truth is restored by reducing the lie to an absurdity." M. M. Bakhtin

Friday, May 26, 2006

Net Art on Show


As part of the sacrifier le Sacrifice sacrificing project by artist Tamara Lai I submitted a piece (above)for the database last year. It now seems that the database has been invited for a show:

The admission jury of the Eighth International Digital Art Exhibit has
included your net art in the selection to be shown in the program of the
event, from June 19 to June 25.

The link to your work will be included in the official web site of the Salon, that is now in construction: We invite you to visit it, and share with us this eighth edition of our International Digital Art Exhibit.

Facade Player Survey

The happy Facade couple, Grace and Trip.

If you have played Facade why not help the development process and fill in a short survey about your experiences. The survey is HERE. If you have not played Facade, its a free download and a great short piece showing a future direction for digital textuality. It is also a text I am using in my thesis corpus.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Guest on -empyre-

I am very happy and honoured to accept:

"Dear James Barret,

I would like to invite you to be a guest on the -empyre- mailing list during the month of June 2006 when the discussion will focus on liquid narratives.

The -empyre- list is a dynamic and well known international mailing list, running since 2002. It discusses media issues on a thematic monthly basis. -empyre- has a
subscriber base of around 900 artists, academics, archivists, curators, theorists and interested others. It is open to all but moderated so that it stays on topic. Discussions are always available online, as well as being archived by Pandora Archive at the National Library of Australia, and by The Rose Goldsen Media Archive at Cornell University.

What it would involve would be discussing your projects, the philosophy behind it, and their achievments as far as language and technology goes, in a collective online debate that will be running throughout the month. There will be approximately 4 guests working internationally on liquid narrative."

This will be fun......also this is the 400th entry on this blog!!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Reading Theramins and Goodbye Scholarship

The last few days have been rather hectic but really stimulating. I have finished the chapter on the reader and digital texts (said it before but I know there will be rewriting in the future so I'm enjoying the false sense of completing something just for now). I have also been spending some time talking with Sachiko Hayashi (name dropping??) who gave a seminar in HUMlab yesterday (I feature as the introduction speaker...5 seconds of fame). Topics of conversation have included interactive media, network cultures, grassroots media, serial killers, torture, Japanese noise music, art (and more art), wikis, and theramins. Her seminar is streamed HERE but there are a massive amount of interesting streamed seminars on the HUMlab blog....quite a library building up there.
Now I wait for the seminar on 31 May at 15.15-17.00 in the English library (E216)to see what has to be done to my chapter. Hopefully it won't be too painful. In the meantime I have to apply for an appointed position with the Department of Modern Languages for my doctoral post as my scholarship is about to finish. Two years already!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Interactive Performances: The Reader and the Digital Text

It is done. Ten thousand seven hundred and seventy one words and one picture (31 pages) of my first draft of my first chapter of what will one day be "my thesis". Its name is Interactive Performances: The Reader and Digital Texts and it will be dissected and criticized on the 31st May in a seminar.....Should be a hoot.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Terrastock 6 Mp3s

At a much faster connection has been made available to download all the performances from Terrastock 6:

Avarus (Finland) first ever USA appearance
Bardo Pond (PA)
Black Forest/Black Sea (RI)
Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood (Australia) first ever USA appearance
Charalambides (CA/MA)
Cul de Sac (MA)
Damon and Naomi (MA)
Fursaxa (PA)
Ghost (Japan) last ever USA appearance, maybe?
Glenn Jones (MA)
The Green Pajamas (WA)
Kemialliset Yst�v�t (Finland) first ever USA appearance
Kinski (WA)
The Kitchen Cynics (Scotland)
Sharron Kraus (England)
Landing (CT)
Larkin Grimm (RI)
Lightning Bolt (RI)
The Magic Carpathians Project (Poland)
Major Stars (MA)
Marissa Nadler (NY)
MV & EE with the Bummer Road (VT)
Paik (MI)
PG Six (NY)
Jack Rose (PA)
Salamander (MN)
St Joan (England)
Bridget St John (England)
Spacious Mind (Sweden)
Spires that in the Sunset Rise (IL)
Tanakh (Italy/Canada)
Thought Forms (England) first ever USA appearance
Urdog (RI)
Windy & Carl (MI)

Oh joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I am the Joystick Body

I am the joystick!

Last week I took part in a day of demos and discussion in HUMLab. The demo was of a project by Santiago Barriga-Amaya developing a full-body means of game interface. In light of Jerome McGann's call for a new textual analysis that treats “all the physical features of the document as expressive features” (Radiant Textuality 2001 p93) I am feeling my body as a part of the text. To play this game (it was 101 Dalmatians Puppy Rescue from 1991) I became immersed in the physical experience of manipulating my puppy avatar; the sounds and body movements overrode my ability to think about what I was doing and I became the game: a loop of reaction and observation. Where are the limits of the text here?

Monday, May 15, 2006

This Spartan Life

Really I don't know why nobody thought of it before. I remember being fascinated by Max Headroom as a teenager. Now there is This Spartan Life.
While shopping for condiments yesterday I ran into an acquaintance from the University who told me he had been looking into machinima film since attending a seminar I gave in HUMlab. He then told me about This Spartan Life....Sounds interesting I said (having never heard of it).
Well it is interesting and everyone should watch the three episodes so far and read the blog and enter the competitions and join the community etc etc etc.
This Spartan Life is a machinima talk show that deals with interesting topics and has interesting guests. Episode one is Malcolm McLaren, (sex pixels (ha ha), anarchy, money, talk, so on). Number one and two has Marty O'Donnell (sound design and music for a number of well-known games, perhaps most notably the Halo series, which has earned him many awards. The soundtrack for Halo 2 has sold more copies than any game soundtrack to date.) and the Ill Clan. Episode one is Bob Stein, founded the Voyager Company in the mid-80s which put out a steady stream of great CD-ROMs, including Art Spiegelman's Maus, Laurie Anderson's Puppet Motel, The Residents and other award-winning disks. Founded the Night Kitchen and developed the ground-breaking media authoring tool TK3) and Peggy Ahwesh f(filmmaker whose themes of female roles in life and media find their way to her audience through her humor and wit. Her interest in exploring new techniques, including using the game "Tomb Raider" to explore the identity of it's heroine).
Who needs bodies anymore?

Culture Night Umeå

Next Saturday 20th May I will be performing as part of the Umeå Central Culture Night, which means I will be busking outside Indah Imports in the Renmarkstorget at these times:

12.45, 14.30, 18.00, 19.30, INDAH IMPORT (33)
Didjeridu, Jim Barrett
Jim spelar på det australienska instrumentet didjeridu
Arr: Indah Import

The program and details (all in swedish of course) can be found Here. Go wild!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I have been involved in this 'network' for a while now. In the last 6 month it has really gathered momentum and things are looking pretty exciting. Such as this:

A workshop for doctoral students at Umeå University with the theme ”Interaction in Digital Environments” will take place on 21-22 August 2006. The workshop’s aim is to create a contact network between doctoral students who are doing research within this cross-disciplinary subject area. The workshop is primarily for doctoral students but we welcome anyone who is interested in this area.

This workshop will be arranged by a local doctoral student network (Digital Interaction Research Network – DIRN) at Umeå University. The network is composed of doctoral students from various departments and faculties with a common interest in the study of interaction in digital environments.

The workshop will consist of lectures given by guest speakers and supervised work-in-progress seminars in which each participant will have the opportunity to present his or her ongoing research. The workshop’s languages are the Scandinavian languages and English.

The workshop will give doctoral students the possibility to:
- present their research in a relaxed and constructive environment
- get feedback from established researchers and doctoral colleagues
- get an overview of what doctoral students within this subject area are currently working on
- establish contacts with fellow doctoral students

The invited speakers are:
- Jill Walker, Department of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen
- T.L. Taylor, Center for Computer Games Research, IT University of Copenhagen
- Patrik Hernwall, School of Communication, Technology & Design, Södertörn University College
- Patrik Svensson, HUMlab, Umeå University

The workshop arrangers will pay for traveling participants’ costs for food and accommodations. The number of participants accepted to the workshop will be limited.

The workshop arrangers will pay for traveling participants’ costs for food and accommodations. The number of participants accepted to the workshop will be limited.

If this sounds interesting to you, please follow these instructions:
1. Visit our Wiki to read more about the network and the workshop:
2. Indicate preliminary interst to participate in the workshop by adding your name on the wiki page that has been created for this purpose (”Preliminary workshop participants”).
3. Feel free to create a page of your own to present yourself and your research. This way, the Wiki will serve as a meeting point for everyone who has an interest in the subject area of the workshop, including those who cannot make it to Umeå for the workshop.
3. By June 16 you should send your formal application (1-3 pages – see below) to
4. Those accepted to the workshop will be notified by 23 June. Here, you will also receive information about accommodation and how you can make travel arrangements.

You formally apply for the workshop by sending a 1 – 3 page document in which you describe your thesis subject and ongoing research and bring up issues you would like to discuss. As some of the doctoral students and guest lecturers have English as a native language you are welcome to write this information in English. Of course you may also write in any of the Scandinavian languages and we can help each other with translation and oral interpretation if necessary. This document is the only writing you will need to produce for the workshop. All documents will be distributed to all participants and in preparation for the workshop each participant is expected to read and prepare comments on some of the other texts.

Questions can be directed to me or or

Those of us in the doctoral student network DIRN at Umeå University hope to see you in Umeå in August!

Alison Hudson, Department of Interactive Media and Learning
Camilla Jonsson, Department of Education
Daniel Skog, Department of Informatics
Elza Dunkels, Department of Interactive Media and Learning
Jim Barrett, Department of Modern Languages, HUMlab
Stefan Blomberg, Department of Culture and Media, HUMlab
Stephanie Hendrick, Department of Modern Languages, HUMlab
Therese Ö. Berglund, Department of Modern Languages, HUMlab
Van Leavenworth, Department of Modern Languages, HUMlab

This workshop has received financial support from many different working units and institutions at Umeå University. Money has been granted from Tvärvetenskapligt forum, HUMlab, The Faculty of Teacher Education, Department of Education, Department of Culture and Media and Department of Informatics.

For more information see:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

McPhee in Finland

From 9th May to 5th September 2006, CARTES Centre for Art and Technology presents a video retrospective installation at WeeGee,Tapiola, Finland, together with the debut of two new films, by multimedia artist Christina McPhee (US).

"As in a dream, the camera in media artist Christina McPhee's video.. roams across an enigmatic landscape gathering disparate images that tangle together as loosely twisted threads of a story. They never
fully knit together, but that's the point. Her themes are memory, trauma and the tumult of earthquakes, and the video functions as a dreamscape of layered and moving frames that mimic the way slips of
imagery flutter through our psyche, one quickly replaced by another..."
Holly Willis, "Carrizo-Parkfield Diaries," LA Weekly, March 2005

The current geologic epoch is sometimes called 'anthropocene' to emphasize the force of human-induced ecological and geologic changes. In response to the global crisis of climate change and environmental risk, contemporary media art moves across the liminal edges of landscapes, linking human perceptions with natural forces, in a cybernetic embrace. Along the San Andreas Fault in California, Christina McPhee explores topologies of memory, trauma and geologic presence, like a field guide in a psychogeographic landscape. She tracks seismic presence through intimate studies of site. Combining performance and documentary, her experimental films meditate on the
hidden and invisible forces of seismicity, and the shock of unpredictable trauma. Her topologic site studies hauntingly combine the poetics of memory with flashes of documentary and performance. Her work lives at the strange crossroads of scientific visualization and imaginative narrative in new media.

Christina's videos are presented courtesy the artist and Sara Tecchia
Roma New York

Terrastock 6 Mp3s Online

'Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood' doing it aurally at terrastock 6. More photos here and here.

I was not present when some of the musical brothers bent minds at terastock 6 but thanks to the net (and jeremy bergsman) we can all enjoy the sounds of what would have been a great three daze:
Ripped streams from the KFJC broadcast of Terrastock 6 (bless you Ripcast)

Translation 1½

Translation 1½
A one-and-a-half-day seminar about translation in culture, of culture(s); on conflicting and conflating topics such as cross-writing, hybridity, writing on the border, equivalence and power, migration, cannibalism … And a report from a conference

8 May
13:15 - 15:00 in C210
Janice Kulyk Keefer, Professor of English Literature, University of Guelph
"Translation Ethics and Aesthetics: from Waste Land to Waste Zone
and Visual to Verbal" Reading from The Waste Zone
15:30 -16:30
Hilda Härgestam and Van Leavenworth, Umeå University, School of English, report from and discuss the conference "From Orientalism to Postcoloniality" (Södertörn University College, April 27-30, 2006)

9 May
10:15 - 11:00 in C206
Raoul J. Granqvist, Umeå University, School of English
"Blasphemy as Translation in Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and Shalimar the Clown"
11:15 - 12:00
Anette Svensson, Umeå University, School of English
"Translating a Past Elsewhere"
14:00 - 14:45
Martin Shaw, Umeå University, School of English
"Trans(f)lating Theory, Projecting Fears; Warning Signs in Four 19th Century Texts"
15:15 - 17.00
Michael Keefer, Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph "Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and the Metaphorics of Translation"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Emperor's New Clothes

Gradually those gathered around the great four emperors of sound; Universal, EMI, Warner, and Sony-BMG came to realize that without their workers they were nothing.
The Canadian Music Creators Coalition says:
"Record companies and music publishers are not our enemies, but let's be clear: lobbyists for major labels are looking out for their shareholders, and seldom speak for Canadian artists. Legislative proposals that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans or increase the labels' control over the enjoyment of music are made not in our names, but on behalf of the labels' foreign parent companies."

The emperors stand naked before the retreating crowd.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Neil's Garage

The Map of Greendale

Neil Young has released a new album, "Living with War". It is being streamed from his website Neil's Garage. His site is an interesting mix of media and design. An image of a car is the main menu, the sounds stream out along with access to kinetic script for the lyrics to the songs. There is information about his book, Greendale which "has already produced a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed album, film and multimedia tour." There are videos from TV appearances and a link to Neil's blog Living with War (also on Blogger no less). There are links at previews to his new movie, Heart of Gold. You can also host the stream for the entire new album on your own site:

"The affiliate link creator allows partners to create custom links to the Neil Young -Living With War Player. To create a link to the Neil Young - Living With War Player please fill out the form below and click submit."

Neil is also on Myspace where he has 14 000 'friends' (how can he remember all their names :-)

This is the most interesting and intergrated use of media I have seen from a major artist for a while. Neil was born 12 November 1945 so while Keith Richards is falling out of trees at $10 000 a day holiday resorts at the age of 62, Neil seems to be using his remaining time more effectively (and doing it with digital media too).