Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Google. the Power and the Glory

A few nights ago I watched a Dutch documentary on Google; "Behind the Screen". It was an interesting 47 minutes. Not a lot of surprises but the issues raised by the film were poignant. Google's approach to work reminds me a lot of the IDEO Lab's so called Deep Dive technique from the late 1990's. This is not surprising considering they both share a close relationship with Stanford University, which is made apparent in "Behind the Screen" (online at GUBA) The main concern I came away with from "Behind the Screen" was a result of the interview with the very wise Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive among other things. I paraphrase it something like this; if Google Books succeeds in scanning in a billion books using its secret patented technology it comes to own these books in their translated form. It now controls a significant manifestation of human knowledge. At the moment Google seems to be being very generous with its assets. But how do we know this will continue?
The other issue raised in the film is about privacy. This is not a unique situation regrading Google, it is a shadow falling across the knowledge/information based economy worldwide. Surveillance Theory should be taught at High School, but it won't be because then it wouldn't be as easy to monitor people as it is. Critical thinking is the solution to many of the 'problems' discussed in "Behind the Screen". In digitally literate cultures people are aware of the pitfalls before they happen.
There are many online search engines available (here are 54) but Google gives a large return with a high relevance. Here is a search on Google Images for 'Fake Google':

Here are the first results for a search on Microsoft's Live Search for 'Fake Google':

The Google return is much greater (six times) and, in the early returns at least, more relevant (maybe this drops off dramatically). Nine of the top ten are about fake google sites compared to six of ten on the Microsoft search. I suppose that's why Google has 70% of the north American search engine market in its extensive archives.

Friday, January 26, 2007

HUMlab Seminars Spring 2007

The Spring Term 2007 series of HUMlab seminars has been announced. Here is the list with details of content and online live streams available on the HUMlab website (doesn't the new website look great!). While you are in the HUMlab neighbourhood be sure to check out the short courses for the Spring term. I am teaching two; Copyright Commons and Creativity on 12 April and Ditt andra liv: att bygga och leva i Second Life (Your Other Life: To Build and Live in Second Life) on 17 May. Here are the Seminars:

[14 februari kl 13.15]
Träd-baserad musikgenerering
Johanna Högberg, Datavetenskap

[19 februari kl 13.15]
Designing Culture: A Work of the Technological Imagination
Anne Balsamo, University of Southern California
I samverkan med Kulturanalysprogrammet, CSVOV och Designhögskolan

[3 april kl 13.15]
Located media and the Question of Manifestation in Archaeology
Christopher Witmore, Brown University
I samverkan med Arkeologi

[18 april kl 15.15]
Visuella vändningar i Kerstin Ekmans författarskap: skönlitteratur, film, hypertexter och datorspel
Cecilia Lindhé, Blekinge tekniska högskola och Uppsala universitet
I samverkan med Litteraturvetenskap

[3 maj kl 13.15]
Burning Man: Participatory Rituals, Dangerous Beauty, Public Grieving, Dust and Celebration, Co-Creating the Present
Galen Brandt, DigitalSpace

[7 maj kl 13.15]
Will Bona Fide Life Evolve from within Human Technology (and what are the consequences of this happening)?
Bruce Damer, DigitalSpace

[15 maj kl 13.15]
Beyond the Desktop Metaphor
Victor Kaptelinin, Informatik, Umeå universitet

[22 maj kl 13.15]
Robot Ethics
Peter Asaro, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
I samverkan med Filosofi

[29 maj kl 13.15]
Nya media - från papyrus till cyberspace
Mikael Hörnqvist, Uppsala universitet och Högskolan på Gotland
I samverkan med Idéhistoria

Exhibition at MACRO - Contemporary Art Museum Rosario/Argentina

The sound archive I submitted to last year, SoundLAB edition 4 Memoryscapes, is to be included as part of ://selfprortrait a - show for Bethlehem - a show for Peace at MACRO - Contemporary Art Museum Rosario/Argentina oepning on Feb 9th. My sound piece, Thursday Morning in London, is in M'scape 03 (pictured above).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Graffiti Research Lab

The Graffiti Research Lab is dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers, artists and protestors with open source tools for urban communication. The goal of the G.R.L. is to technologically empower individuals to creatively alter and reclaim their surroundings from commercial and corporate culture. G.R.L. agents are currently working in the lab and in the field to develop and test a range of experimental technologies for the state-of-the-art graffiti writer.This site documents those efforts with video documentation and DIY instructions for each project.

MEDIA SOUNDS: Towards a New Aesthetic of Music and Art

I got this as an email this morning. It is the outline of a course PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY is teaching this summer at the European Graduate School. I wanted to archive it as it includes a great reading and listening list.

MEDIA SOUNDS: Towards a New Aesthetic of Music and Art

Class notes: In Brief – “Media Sounds: Towards a Philosophy of Aesthetics in Music and Art” is a course I’m teaching at the European Graduate School as a mini residency during the summer. The school is kind of a 21st century update of the Black Mountain College: it brings together a wide variety of people from radically disparate philosophical and aesthetic backgrounds to teach and enjoy ideas outside of the academic norms.

My class focuses on sound, sound art, and their relationship to compositional strategy across different forms of contemporary art and digital media. This is the syllabus.

These materials will be excerpted and made into copies and handed out as PDF files with accompanying sound. The 100 songs will be distributed on data DVD’s and or downloaded from the European Graduate School’s Sound Bank that I’ve set up.

Media Sounds: Towards a Philosophy of Music - Syllabus
By Paul D. Miller

Afro-Modernity: Composition in Collision

1. Adorno vs Duke Ellington

2. Technologies: a time line

3. The role of sound in the culture industry

4. The Nation’s “Media Landscape” – control networks in the era of mass media 2006, Orson Welles “War of the Worlds,” Entarte Musik, Entarte Kunst: definitions of “purity” versus Hybridity.

5. Compositional Strategy:
Hildegard Von Bingen
John Cage
Lionel Mapleson and the bootlegs of the Metropolitan Opera House
Thomas Edison
William Grant Still
Amy Beach


Nina Simone
Scott Joplin
Bert Williams (blackface) - blackface
Lee “Scratch” Perry
Walt Whitman
The Beatles
Toshiro Mayuzumi
Grand Master Flash
Arthur Rimbaud
Comte De Lautrémont (Isidore Ducasse)
Duke Ellington
Ornette Coleman
Pamela Z
Sussan Deyhim
Sun Ra
Yoko Ono

6. Philosophy of remix: Mcluhan, Eshun, Duchamp, Hegel, Glissant, Lessig, Dada Cinema, hip-hop cinema, Griffith, Ruttman, Luigi Russolo “The Art of Noises,” Eclectic Method – multimedia and the sound of “modernity.”

7. Multimedia/New Media: Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Scanner, Billy Kluver/Rauschenberg, Harry Smith, Nam Jun Paik, Amiri Baraka, Orson Welles

8. Sound of Science: Frequencies – the cell phone symphony, Marshall Mcluhan’s record version of “The Medium is the Massage,” The Happening – Harry Smith, Allan Kaprow, Andy Warhol, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Amiri Baraka, Ben Rubin’s “Listening Post.”

9. Standardization: The Architecture of Frozen Music: Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace vs Muzak, Norbet Weiner “Cyborg Narratives,” Vannevar Bush and the simulation of the human spirit, the world of “large numbers.”

10. The Rise of Mass Culture: 18th-19th century mass media encounter the digital world. Accumulation of multiple recording formats vs the “copy” and “found object” in the fine arts. Ontological uncertainty – Mary Shelley, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and E.T.A. Hoffman.

11. Biological Surrealism: Towards a Vision of the Sonic Future: David Hammons, David Tudor’s “Rainforest” electronic music compositions, Pauline Oliveros “Quantum Compositions,” Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “Hip Hop Symphony, ”Brian Eno’s “Bell Studies for the Clock of the Long Now,” Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle and the artist as logo-centric producer, Dj Spooky’s remix of D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation.”

12. The Experience Economy: libidinal networks and the decline of geography. Nurture versus Nature – how we hear digital sound. Valentine De St. Point’s Futurist Manifesto of Lust, 1913, and the Muzak phenomenon: acousticc banality – General George Owen Squire and the rise of musical Taylorization.


Media Sounds: Required Reading:
1. Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky – Rhythm Science
2. Michael Nyman – Experimental Music
3. Joseph Lanza – Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy
Listening, and Other Moodsong
4. Clinton Heylin – Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording
5. Simon Reynolds – Generation Ecstasy: Into The World of Techno and
Rave Culture
6. Lloyd Bradley – Bass Culture
7. Christoph Cox (editor) – Audio Culture Reader
8. David Toop – Rap Attack
9. Jeff Chang: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
10. Luigi Russolo – The Art of Noises
11. Kodwo Eshun – More Brilliant Than The Sun
12. Ken Jordan and Randall Packer – Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual
13. R. Murray Schaefer – The Soundscape
14. Allen S. Weiss and Gregory Whitehead (editors) – Wireless
Imagination: Sound, Radio and The Avant Garde
15. Saul Williams – The Dead MC Scrolls
16. Lewis Hyde – The Gift: Imagination and The Erotic Life of Property
17. Norbert Weiner – The Human Use of Human Beings
18. Lawrence Lessig – Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity
19. Roselee Goldberg – Performance Art: 1909 to the Present
20. Andy Warhol – The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back
21. Yve Alain Bois, Rosalind Krauss – Formless: A User’s Guide
22. Gilles Deleuze – Difference and Repetition
23. Alain Robbe Grillet – Topology of a Phantom City
24. Rudolf Arnheim – Film as Art
25. Theodore Adorno – Essays on Music
26. John Corbett – Extended Play: From John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein
27. Leroi Jones aka Amiri Baraka – Blues People: Negro Music in White America
28. Alfred Appel – Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to
Matisse and Joyce
29. Ralph Ellison – Invisible Man
30. Jacques Attali – Noise: A Political Economy of Sound
31. Edmund Burke – A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas
of the Sublime and Beautiful
32. Octavia Butler – Parable of the Sower
33. Sheree Rene Thomas (editor) – Dark Matter
34. Russell A. Potter – Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the
Politics of Postmodernism
35. Tricia Rose – Black Noise
36. Norman O. Brown – Love’s Body
37. R.D. Laing – The Politics of Experience
38. James Snead – White Screens/Black Images + (essay) Repetition as a Figure of Black Culture
39. Donald Bogle – Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mamies and Bucks: An
Interpretative History of Blacks in American Cinema
40. Anthony Appiah – On Cosmopolitanism
41. Mark Coleman – Playback: From the Victrola to MP3, 100 Years of
Music, Machines, and Money
42. Ferruccio Busoni – Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music

Required Listening:
1. John Cage – “Imaginary Landscape 1” (Original + Dj Spooky remix)
2. Ludwig Van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: Allegro Con
3. Pierre Schaefer - “Edtude Pathetique”
4. Karheinz Stockhausen – “Kontakte”
5. Pierre Boulez – Pli Selon Pli (Portrait de Mallarme) track 1
6. Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 2 In C Minor: 3. “Resurrection” III.
Scherzo: In Ruhig Fliessender Bewegung
7. Luciano Berio – (Sinfonia) III In Ruhig Fliessender Bewegung
8. Charles Ives – Three Places in New England
9. Ernst Toch – Der Fuge Aus Geographie (Geographical Fugue for Speaking
10. Marshall Mcluhan – The Medium Is The Massage (record version)
11. Hildegard Von Bingen – O Virga Mediatrix
12. Pierre Henri – Psyche Rock
13. John Cage – Roratorio (Ein Irischer Circus uber Finnegans Wake)
14. Richard Wagner – Vorspiel Zum 1. Aufzug
15. Amy Beach – “Gaelic” Symphony in E Minor Op32 I. Allegro Con Fuoco
16. Igor Stravinski – The Rite of Spring, Part II The Sacrifice –
Sacrificial Dance (Chosen One).
17. Arnold Schoenberg, Ein Überlebender aus Warschau op.46
18. Elvis – Jailhouse Rock
19. Hector Berlioz – Symphony Fantastique Op. 14
20. Luigi Nono – Ricordia Cosa ti fatto in Auschwitz
21. Richard Wagner – Rheingold Prelude
22. Woody Guthrie – This is Your Land
23. Alexander Scriabin – Prometheus, The Poem of Fire
24. Dj Spooky + Chuck D – B-Side Wins Again
25. Johan Sebastian Bach – “Little” Fugue in G Minor
26. Orson Welles – War of the Worlds radio broadcast
27. Danger Mouse + Jay Z – Encore
28. The Doors – Soul Kitchen (Dj Spooky remix)
29. Hive – Experiments in Synthetic Rhythm
30. Iannis Xenakis - Analogiques A + B
31. Edgar Varèse – Poème Èlectronique
32. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (Part 1)
33. Philip Glass – Concerto For Saxophone (Quartet version)
34. Steve Reich – Come Out (1966)
35. John Adams – Shaker Loops: 1. Shaking and Trembling
36. Duke Ellington - A Tone Parallel to Harlem (The Harlem Suite)
37. Lee “Scratch” Perry – Black Board Jungle Dub (Version 1)
38. Pauline Oliveros – Butterfly (1968)
39. Charlie Parker/Rob Swift “Cheers” (remix)
40. Madonna – Hung Up
41. Brian Eno/David Byrne – Regiment
42. Kurt Weill – The Three Penny Opera – Die Dreigroschenoper: Moritat
Von Mackie Messer
43. Olivier Messaein – Livre D’Orgure: IV. Chants D’Oiseaux
44. Meredith Monk – Atlas – Part 1: Personal Climate – Travel Dream
45. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
46. Ryuichi Sakamoto/Yellow Magic Orchestra – Riot in Lagos
47. The Winstons – Amen, Brother!
48. Brian Eno/David Byrne – Regiment
49. Fela Kuti – Zombie
50. Abdullah Ibrahim – Mindif (Original + Dj Spooky remix)
51. Ornette Coleman – Free Jazz
52. John Coltrane – Om
53. Saul Williams – OHM
54. Amiri Baraka – Black Dada Nihilismus
55. Allen Ginsberg – Howl
56. William S. Burroughs – Breakthrough in Grey Room
57. Asha Bhosle – Rang De
58. Laurie Anderson – Oh Superman
59. Sun Ra – it’s after the End of the World
60. Max Roach – We Insist (Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace)
61. Charlie Parker with Strings – Summertime
62. George Antheil – Ballet Méchanique
63. Eric Satie - Vexations
64. Claude Debussy – Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra in
E Flat Major, Op 109
65. Claude Debussy – La Mer
66. Raymond Scott – Music for Babies: Tempo Block
67. Toshiro Mayuzumi – Works for Musique Concrete X (1956)
68. Rahzel – Wu Tang Live Medley
69. Yoko Ono – Rise (original + Dj Spooky remix)
70. MC5 – Kick out the Jams
71. Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express
72. Afrika Bambaata – Planet Rock
73. Grand Master Flash – Adventures on the Wheels of Steel
74. Jack Kerouac – The Subterraneans
75. Ella Fitzgerald – Mack The Knife
76. Louis Armstrong – Mack The Knife
77. Scanner – Structural Loss
78. Talvin Singh with the Master Musicians of Jajouka – You Can Find the
79. James Brown – Coldcut Meets the Godfather Megamix
80. William Grant Still – Afro-American Symphony – Moderato Assai -
81. Scott Joplin – The Entertainer
82. Double D and Steinski – Lesson 3 (The History of Hip-Hop)
83. Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At
84. DeeeLite – Groove is in the Heart
85. NWA – F*ck the Police
86. The Last Poets – White Man’s Got a God Complex
87. The Beatles – Revolution #9
88. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
89. Herbie Hancock - Rockit
90. The Beastie Boys – Sure Shot
91. The Police – Reggata de blanc
92. Wayne Wonder – Sleng Teng
93. Count Machuki – Oh Carolina
94. George Gershwin – Porgy and Bess: 1. i (summertime)
95. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Bass Culture
96. Pete Rock – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
97. Jeff Mills – Metropolis Soundtrack (Convicted to Paradise/Maria)
98. Gloria Jones – Tainted Love (1965)
99. M.I.A. /Dj Diplo – Piracy Funds Terrorism
100. Nina Simone – Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Wikileaks primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but it also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. The aim is for maximum political impact; this means the interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. Wikileaks has received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

Micheal Franti and Spearhead

In 1993 I saw The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy on their last tour before splitting. It was obvious that Micheal Franti was gifted. I saw him again in 1995 in a spoken word performance which was held in an abandoned strip club in Sydney. This shows where he is at now. The embedded player comes from Fabchannel which archives and streams online performances from the Melkweg and Paradiso in Amsterdam. Dozens of full length concerts are available for streaming, free. I can hear the Youtube bubble slowly splitting, making millions of tiny bubbles that grow slowly.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I noticed that since adding tags to this blog I have only included pictures of youngest son in the Family tag. So here is a picture of the older one, Silas (ya ya ya):

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sickness, Childcare and de Quincey

This week I have had a case of food poisoning and the flu. The food may not have been contaminated but maybe just really bad. It was soya sausages and when I was cooking them they smelt like petrol; always a bad sign. The flu is still with me, like a telephone seller who won't take no for an answer and I find myself unable to hang up the phone.
In other news we have a daycare place for Benyamin:

But not until the 19th February so I am home for another month on father leave (to all those colleagues who may be wondering as to my time table).

Finally, I finished reading The English Mail Coach by Thomas de Quincey yesterday. It is included in the post-everything media reader XXXXX, the central theme of which is the crash that is coming (popular topic at the moment). The Mail Coach begins as a reminisce of the glory days of the Royal English Mail coach system during the Napoleonic wars and ends is a kaleidoscopic hallucination of Miltonic proportions:

"Having mounted the box, I took a small quantity of laudanum, having already travelled two hundred and fifty miles–viz., from a point seventy miles beyond London, upon a simple breakfast. In the taking of laudanum there was nothing extraordinary. But by accident it drew upon me the special attention of my assessor on the box, the coachman. And in that there was nothing extraordinary. But by accident, and with great delight, it drew my attention to the fact that this coachman was a monster in point of size, and that he had but one eye. In fact he had been foretold by Virgil as–
“Monstrum. horrendum, informe, ingens cui lumen adempium.”"

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Fine Line

In the past two years Australia has hosted a variety of forms of racially motivated violence: the death of T.J and the Redfern uprising (I lived for several years in Redfern), the Cronulla riots, the Palm Island murder and riot, the murder of Andrew Farrugia and two days ago in Aurukun. This last location is home to some close friends of mine. I phoned them yesterday and they are alright but are worried for the future.
The discourse that surrounds these tragedies is disturbing. In the Sydney Morning Herald Paul Sheehan wrote of a "feral underclass that exists in many rural towns with large Aboriginal populations." In the Courier Mail outright hatred was expressed in the (monitored) comments.
The entire course of what could be termed 'race politics' in Australia disturbs me. In recent examples, starting with the commentary on the net concerning the Aurukun violence, it generally concerns chastisement and appeals to the perceived degeneracy of Aboriginal people and their inability to observe the morals of virtuous society at large. The ethics and morality of racist discourse are a major theme in David Theo Goldberg's book Racist Culture.
There are very few Aboriginal voices heard in the debates around the crimes committed by police or by protesters. When they are present it is usually as an explanation of why their people are 'failing' or dissatisfied with the agenda set for them by those they see as separated from themselves; the Australia of John Howard.
A recent protest in Brisbane seemed to express an anger (but also a pride) that I do not remember being present in 'my Australia' where I lived from 1969 until 1996. When I lived in rural Australia, sharing the school bus and the classroom with Aboriginals in the 1980's there was always a divide, but not the anger there seems to be now. As for the fear of Islam, Sydney was a very harmonious city in the early 1990's when I lived there.
What worries me is the possible truth behind what Murrandoo Yanner stated;
"This is a sure sign of things to come, not just in the Cape York and lower Gulf, but throughout Australia."
I despair............

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Second Life is Open Source

Now things are going to get very interesting:

"San Francisco, CA – January 8, 2007 – Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life® is releasing the code of its Viewer application to the open source software development community. Developers can now access the source code to the Second Life end-user software in order to make modifications, enhancements and to add new features."

As the press release goes on to explain the code is available online for anyone to develop but it is not yet open slather:

"Linden Lab intends to incorporate certain code changes and enhancements into the official version of the Second Life Viewer, which will only be available from the Second Life website. All code developed outside Linden Lab’s in-house engineering team will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure quality standards, stability and security. Support will continue to be given for the official version of the Viewer only, with third party projects unsupported by Linden Lab."

The source code is available here:
Get to it people!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Our Own Tempest

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hz #9 presents

Hz #9 presents:


by Nobert Herber
Composer and sound artist Nobert Herber explores the question "What kinds of compositional technique can be used to create a music" in the field of computer games and interactive digital media where the line between "composition" and "instrument" is increasingly blurred.

by Domenico Quaranta
"Software art is conceptual art's acknowledged son" is the hypothesis around which art critic and curator Domenico Quaranta builds his anyalisis on genealogy of software art: "Is the history of conceptual art relevant to the idea of software as art?"


by Miguel Álvarez Fernández
Composer, musicologist and curator Miguel Álvarez Fernández deconstructs the reading of history of electroacoustic music through the concepts of dissonance and noise.


by Sachiko Hayashi
With sampling as starting point, artist Sachiko Hayashi relocates several issues relevant to the culture of digital media.

By Ewa Wojtowicz
"New media artists, notably net artists, analyse the issue of time. Their field of interest includes time as a whole, their own time and the viewer’s time....If there is a navigable cyberspace – does it imply navigable time as well?" New Media Art historian Ewa Wojtowicz examines net art practice that employs time from various perspectives.

By Art Clay
Sound artist Art Clay's "China Gate" is a music project which utilises GPS to coordinate musicians whose physical presences are dispersed throughout a city. By "using wearable computing technology within global ubiquitous networks as an art tool," "China Gate" tries to open up civic space for "one of the most important functions of public performance: social interaction. "

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007

I welcome 2007 and hope it is a good year for you; regular reader, old friend, family member, colleague or just a passer-by. This is the 500 entry on this blog which will be 4 years old in February. As well I have just passed 4000 links on del.icio.us and I will be reflecting on the beginning of my 38 year here on planet earth (in this incarnation anyway) in March. I have been married for (unofficially - voodoo blood ceremony) 9 years and legally for 8 years. I have shed 13 kilograms in weight since the birth of my second son who is now 15 months old. I am 190 cms tall and take a size 12 shoe. I am vegetarian although I do eat (occasionally) fish and eggs. I am not baptized and at the age of 8 decided that Buddhism was the coolest religion on offer. Since then I have developed a sincere respect and interest in Hinduism. I am a very light sleeper but have very vivid dreams. Give chance a piece. Happy 2007!