Saturday, March 31, 2007

Crew down with Miasma

Terrible conditions. Whole crew down with miasma. I alone steer the ship. Hope all is pukka by Monday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Humanist Offensive

Today I had no time to blog or read or write. Today was spent listening to the dean for my faculty outline the plan to bring the budget back into balance. It involves a 30% reduction in costs...not a fun subject. The whole faculty was supposed to be there (300 approx) but maybe 2/3 turned up. We saw the plan as it is at the moment. The admin is going to be cut, teaching is going to share the admin and research is going to be encouraged. From my perspective as a PhD it will be relatively painless (but somewhat chaotic as it will be implemented in one term: next term) but the chances of employment once I finish my thesis look very patchy. was nice to meet new people as we did group feedback and I was put into a group with people I had seen around a lot but had not spoken to so much. I can't help but think of the (marginal??) place the humanities take in contemporary society, how important critical thinking, langauge, history, literature and the economy of ideas are and how little they receive. Our suggestions were passed on to the higher orders. Not sure if they will ever see the light of day again. Rationalization makes me sad......
As a consolation: I told some of my group about the Best Online Documentaries, dozens (so far) of films online for free. My pick so far in the doco on Arundhati Roy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John Perry Barlow on The Colbert Report

This video does not make a lot of sense really. It could be a parody but Colbert works for Viacom so who knows (they sort of discuss parody but not really). John Perry Barlow is looking well and seems relaxed. "Librarians are hiding something" comes up. The interview is over just as he managed to express an opinion in the face of Colbert's babble satire.

Steina Vasulka in HUMlab 11 April.

YouTube Viacom the Net and Freedom

I will blogging a lot about copyright copyleft remix commons and mashups over the next two weeks in light of the course I am running in HUMlab on 12 April (see entry below). Today I wanted to inscribe a few thoughts on the case that is forming up YouTube vs Viacom. This will be an important case, if it goes that far. Because of the huge sum involved (over 1 billion US dollars) it is more likely that it is the beginnings of a bargaining process. This process will allow the industry groups, here represented by Viacom (owner of MTV -serious financial problems at the ol´ Empty-V at the moment - and Nickelodeon) to bypass law reform in the legislature (Congress in the USA) and use the courts as a arena for precedent. I quote from Lessig:

This case — if it is really intended as a law suit and not a move in a
bargaining game — should be decided on the meaning of s512(c). The question will be whether YouTube has the “ability to control” uploads before they are identified as infringing. Viacom complains that YouTube shifts to it the burden of identifying infringing content. Not true. The DMCA does. Until at least Congress amends it, or the Supreme Court adds some new common law of copyright to the statute books

This is important for everybody who uploads and shares content on to the Net. The opening shots in the public debate were fired by Micheal Fricklas, general counsel of Viacom, yesterday:

YouTube defends itself from copyright infringement based on one narrow slice of the copyright act: protecting service providers who store copyrighted material solely and simply "at the direction of a user." This defense is available only to users who do not have "knowledge" of infringement or who "expeditiously" take down material when they find out they are infringing a copyright. The defense is not available to someone who "derives a financial benefit" from copyrighted material he stores if he has the "right and ability to control" it.

The case for Viacom is based on authorship, a very old concept of authorship, but one that is current due to the nature of copyright law. To cut a long story short, I again quote Fricklas (2007):

Protecting intellectual property spurs investment and thereby the creation of new technologies and creative entertainment.

And then John Stuart Mill (1848)

We cannot, indeed, foresee to what extent the modes of production may be altered, or the productiveness of labour increased, by future extensions of our
knowledge of the laws of nature, suggesting new processes of industry of which
we have at present no conception. But howsoever we may succeed in making for
ourselves more space within the limits set by the constitution of things, we
know that there must be limits.

The future of shared content will be affected by Viacom vs YouTube, even if the client is outside the United States. To illustrate this I can mention that I got a message from Tom of Myspace (166388562 friends....."Send me a message if you're confused by anything"....the Malboro man of the Myspace generation) stating that Myspace UK has started but all rules are US copyright orientated. The content is stored in the US:

" lawyers told ME what I have to tell YOU: now that MySpace is looking more UK-ish, you should know that we are still running our site from the US, all your data still resides in the US, and that MySpace’s data management practices are still governed by US laws."- Tom

Borders falling... New are rising. Nationality is a genre.

Monday, March 26, 2007

"our attempts at copyright control have not been successful"

Bruce Lehman U.S. Assistant Secretary of
Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks 1993-98

Copyright Commons and Creativity (VT07) 12 april 2007 kl. 09:00

If you recognise any of the components of this image, you should come to my course in HUMlab:

Copyright Commons and Creativity (VT07) 12 April 2007 kl. 09:00
This short course introduces some of the basic structures of international copyright regulations and practices. How can the creative digital individual use the technology available today and still live within the present system/s of law? One way to do this is the Creative Commons (CC) system of licences. What are they and how do they work? Finally, the Remix/Mash-up phenomenon is fast becoming a part of mainstream cultural production. What is it? How does it work? What does it mean for media in the future? By looking at both academic sources and practical examples, including some of the tools used, we will spend three hours exploring and discussing Copyright, Commons and Creativity.
Kursen hålls på engelska men det går utmärkt att ställafrågor på svenska.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Four interesting texts online from Bev Skeggs

Four interesting texts online from Bev Skeggs, visiting researcher in gender studies here at Umea University. I saw her seminar "Ambivalence and Class: Bourdieu's Gender Troubles" and it clarified a lot about Bourdieu's work for me. Four texts from Professor Beverly Skeggs:

Ambivalence and Class: Bourdieu's Gender Troubles

Respectability – Becoming a Proper Person

Making Class Through Moral Extension on Reality TV

The Value of Intimacy: Moral Economies on Reality TV

All this material comes via the morally decent and respectable Center for Gender Studies at the Facualty for Medicine at Umeå University.

Data-storing bacteria

In keeping with the ecological theme established by the bee swarm search entry I thought I would put this here as well:

A Japanese university announced scientists there have developed a new technology
that uses bacteria DNA as a medium for storing data long-term, even for
thousands of years. Keio University Institute for Advanced Biosciences and Keio
University Shonan Fujisawa Campus announced the development of the new
technology, which creates an artificial DNA that carries up to more than 100
bits of data within the genome sequence, according to the JCN Newswire.The
universities said they successfully encoded "e= mc2 1905!" -- Einstein's theory
of relativity and the year he enunciated it -- on the common soil bacteria,
Bacillius subtilis.

I wonder how we are going to download information from a bacteria?

Purposive behavior of honeybees as the basis of an experimental search engine

If you can access Springer Link (academic affiliated needed or subscription) you can read this interesting paper:

Reginald L. Walker, Purposive behavior of honeybees as the basis of an experimental search engine (Springer Berlin / Heidelberg)

Published online: 20 July 2006
Abstract The foraging behavior of active honeybee colonies serves as a model for Web explorers that are reactive, proactive, and robust. The Web explorers are developed to forage a simulated information ecosystem—the Internet—for useful information. Each explorer is designed to detect and report dynamic changes within the infrastructure of the Internet to its Web explorer dispatcher, which is responsible for coordinating thousands of explorers. Experimental results are presented.
Keywords Honeybee search strategies - Information ecosystem dynamics -Evolutionary computation - Information sharing

I have always been a bee fan myself.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Roots of Creative Remixing

This is a simple story about remix. My son is learning to read and write and he is very keen to get on with it. He copies words out from things he finds around the flat. This is one of his latest efforts, copying from a book in Swedish about writing film reviews, a Disney book (appreciate the irony here) on the latest incarnation of the 101 Dalmations and his beloved Optimus Prime, well the box it came in anyway. So as he was working on this page of script it struck me that this is an example of creative remixing. He is learning by appropriating the older material and creating his own interpretation of it. This is very important to him and he enjoys the learning that comes from it. To be able to control the text is to be able to use it for your needs.

Wildbirds and Peacedrums

The new best music I have heard for a while. Wildbirds and Peacedrums are from Gothenberg. They make wild music; earth driven rhythms with ecstatic vocal gymnastics. Hear them here on P2 Live Jazz (I suppose you could call it jazz, maybe the sound of life as well).

Dogs Sniff Pirates

These are dogs who are trained (by who?? The man in the picture?) to locate pirated DVDs. Apparently they sit down when they "smell plastic". Not only this but a 'contract' has been put on their lives by the local "movie pirates"- It is all beyond me.
It is part of Malaysia's attempt to get itself off a "U.S. [read MPAA] watchlist on piracy". The dogs are the property of the Motion Picture Association of Malaysia (difficult to find information about) which was formed as part of Operation Trident. It is interesting that so many parallels between drugs and media copyright infringement are made in this story:
Lucky and Flo are not the first dogs to have attracted a bounty. In 2004, a drug
cartel in Colombia placed a US$10,000 (RM35,000) price on the head of a golden
Labrador Retriever named Agata, one of Colombia’s best drug-sniffing dogs. She
began her career in 2003 and has since helped track down 300kg of cocaine and
20kg of heroin.
Should we be panicking?

You Only Life Twice...Cliché but Informative

This is me..
The Australian current affairs program Four Corners has an online edition on Second Life, You Only Live Twice. "The way into a virtual world is through a computer......" A good introduction to some of the practices and understandings around SL.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chapter Next

On the 24th April 2007 between 10:00 and 15:00 I will be one of two doctoral candidates in literature presenting a draft chapter of their thesis: This is what I am working on at the moment. I have almost 10 pages done and it is coming along very slowly. I think this is a good sign. For the first time in my (short) post grad life I am putting a text together in stages, like a jigsaw puzzle done according to a recipe. Before this I would write furiously, trying to fit all the things I had to say into the got very messy at times. I am not "there" yet, but it feels like I am on my way (wherever "there" is?).
Here is the introduction to the chapter which has the working title The Thousand (Pre)faces of the Implied Respondent:

All digital works are situated in contexts of storage and distribution. Even before a particular text is opened it has to be located and installed on a computer. The process of text location and installation is framed by the figure of the implied respondent as much as what is regarded as the center or ‘inside’ of the text. Pre-texts, such as the systems of copyright applied to the text, imply (in the case of law they attempt to compel) a particular set of responses to the text. Foundations for the implied respondent are laid here in the pre-texts. Such pre-texts I shall refer to collectively as the preface. The preface of the digital text makes claims to be separate by treating the story text (the interior or center of the text) as its subject, but at the same time the preface qualifies and joins the ‘main’ text. In remaining with the text I will not discuss here in detail those pre-textual conditions that may have existed in regards to its primary manufacture such as authoring software, previous work/s of the author/s or external text materials[1].
I begin with how storage and distribution of the text proposes a figure of the implied respondent. The legal claims made upon the text are prevalent at this stage. The more overt preface forms, such as author introduction, that comment on and qualify the text are then discussed. Finally a general figure of the implied respondent will be sketched out from the preface examples of the corpus texts used throughout this chapter. Cultural meanings in relation to the preface can be assembled based on the figure of the implied respondent. The implied respondent of the preface will be compared to the implied respondent of the ‘main’ texts in following chapters.

[1] The choice of authoring software in the manufacture of the digital work does, of course, establish the contours of implied response to the digital work. However, this is represented only in the text and discussing the authoring software would require a separate examination of culturally motivated responses to the digital artifact.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Indigenous Peoples and New Media

Last year I spent a considerable amount of time advising a Masters student working in HUMlab. Billy Marius is from Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and he spent several years working and living with some groups from the Pygmy peoples. Last year we spent time working together on his D Paper An Experimental Dialogue Between the Sami and The Pygmy Peoples. It is online now on the HUMlab papers website. I am proud to have been involved with this project as it compliments other work I have done, with the Sami in the Jokkmokk 2004 project and my support and some work with the Traditional Knowledge Recording Project in Aurukun, Australia with the Wik Aboriginal People.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

An old man remembers.......noise arts

Now for a little walk down memory lane...careful, it is a dark and twisty lane......The sound art/performance/noise scene in Sydney, Australia between when I moved there in 1992 and when I basically left in 1996 was fantastic. So many places to perform and see others make their art. Today ten years later I find stuff on the net about Lucas (who performs these days as Justice Yeldham And The Dynamic Ribbon Device), Jasmine Gufford, Phoebee Jeebee (the band Seven Golden Vampires was one of the best) and the now becoming quite famous Oren (who with Robbie and the truly Artaudian Nik blew our minds with Phlegm). Plus there is the group with which I still have close contacts, many of which were lurking down the side streets of Newtown in 1993.

From this time "before everyone on stage was a careerist" (to quote Dr Jim Glaspole) there are also available many Mp3 for download, some not so old and some harking back to a time when rents were cheap and noise was for all:

Dr Jim's Mp3s
Dr Jim's Records closed down in 2006. Although based in Melbourne they worked with many experimental sound people from Sydney as well. I spent time with the Dr Jim crew when I accompanied Phlegm and the Mu Mesons on a tour of Melbourne in 1994.

The Mu Mesons
Under the shaky guidance of Jaimie Leonarder (the same SBS movie critic and founder of the Mu Mesons Archive) the mu mesons gave the world something that is difficult to describe really. Part free form sound installation, part punk rock concert, part art brut event.....they changed my life as I saw them perform maybe 10 times over my years in Sydney.

Dual Plover
Started in 1995 by many of the artists involved in the first What is Music? festival in 1994. Dual Plover offer a selection of Mp3 sounds from 12 years of audio salvation as well as video evidence.

Hallo Excentrico
A web music label that does not seem to sell anything but rather gives it all away.
A huge selection of experimental sound and noise music including a whole CD by Justice Yeldham And The Dynamic Ribbon Device (Lucas).

Among the many gems here is a live Volvox set. I witnessed Volvox in 1994 in Melbourne and it was like giving you mind a bath.

LARM – Nordic sound art festival

LARM – Nordic sound art festival

Exhibition, performances, festival, a book and a double-CD

LARM works to highlight and document women’s work within sound art in the Nordic region. Today, a lively sound art scene exists of which women are a natural part. But if you take a look back historically, few women are mentioned. Why? How did the pioneers sound? What happened to them? Which ones are active today? How do they sound?
Now, a Nordic manifestation is being created and LARM is taking a collective hold on women’s work within sound art by publishing a book and a double CD, launching an Internet archive and arranging a sound art festival at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.
March 30–April 22
Exhibition of sound art installations and a sneak preview of the book and CD at LAVA, Kulturhuset

April 4 & 10
LARM is a guest on Monitor at Sveriges Radio (Swedish Radio) P2. LARM will host the show in collaboration with Erik Mikael Karlsson.

April 13–15 Festival at Kulturhuset in Stockholm
The highlight of the sound art manifestation is the festival at Kulturhuset in Stockholm,
April 13-15. Twenty or so artists from the Nordic region will be participating, including: the Norwegian voice equilibrist Lisa Dillan; her fellow-countrywoman Natasha Barret with her 16 channel work ”Trade Winds”; the Japanese harpist and noise musician Emi Maeda, who works in Finland; electromusic from Kira Kira from Iceland and performance art from Hugger Mugger from Sweden. Kristine Scholz from Sweden plays a duet with Mats Persson on a prepared grand piano; and from Denmark comes Birgitte Alsted, who composes music for electronics and violin. The festival will kick off on Friday, April 13 with the Icelandic violinist and video pioneer Steina Vasulka and her performance ”Violin Power”. During the festival, a video screening will also be ongoing.

Exhibition and sound art installations
On March 30, it’s time for the première of advanced sound art installations at LAVA, Kulturhuset. Don’t miss the chance to experience works of artists like Ursula Nistrup from Denmark, Sachiko Hayashi and Anna Karin Rynander from Sweden, Hekla Dögg Jonsdottir from Iceland and the U.S. born Camille Norment, now living in Sweden.

Book preview: LARM from mouth cavity to laptop: sound in Nordic art
On March 30, it’s also time for a sneak preview of the book LARM from mouth to laptop: sound in Nordic art. The book presents different perspectives of sound art, with rich imagery and text material, in a number of thematic texts and artist presentations. Read about what inspires the Nordic musician Maja Ratkje for example, and what the Swedish architect Catharina Dyrssen writes about sound and space. The Danish electro acoustic music pioneer Else Marie Pade describes her work and the Finnish/French artist Marianne Decoster-Taivalkoski presents her interactive media installation Aquatic, where advanced technology reacts to visitor movements enabling them to create a water soundscape.

The book also contains texts and sound compositions, as well as the sound poem Neeijjj by the Swedish poet Sonja Åkesson. You will also find exclusive images by contemporary sound artists such as Hanna Hartman from Sweden/Berlin. The book contains two CDs distributed by Kning Disk, the book is published by Kabusa Böcker. Release date: April 13

Double CD: LARM from mouth cavity to laptop
The record company Kning Disk is releasing the book’s double CD as a separate edition, with an accompanying booklet. 24 tracks that span 60 years, including both unreleased tracks and new material from Lisa Jeannin, Ruth Bakke, Hertta Lussu Ässä and Kukkiva Poliisi, Ebba Moi and Anna Carin Hedberg, Annika Ström and more. Release date: April 13.

Internet archive
The Internet archive is unique and contains information regarding the people that LARM has been in contact with. Artists, composers, musicians, performers and producers from the entire Nordic region present themselves. The archive will be available from March 30 at LARM – Nordic sound art festival.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Virtual Worlds Real Choices

Another notice of something posted on another blog. On the HUMlab blog I wrote an entry on the relationships between so called Virtual Worlds and the one that we believe ourselves to be living in...It reminds me now of Baudrillard's "desert of the real" which is a hot topic on the IDC list at the moment in relation to 3D worlds.:

Virtual Worlds Real Choices

The Trial

I just posted a long text and video on my other blog, SoulVlog. It concerns one of the founders of the Critical Art Ensemble, Steve Kurtz and his outrageous situation in regards to charges of bioterrorism. Please check out "A portrait of Steve Kurtz as he awaits trial for mail fraud". It reminds me very much of Kafka's The Trial.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Office 2.0 Database

Office 2.0 Database
A database of roughly 250 Web 2.0 applications, including 29 bookmarking applications, 13 calendar applications, 5 contacts managers, 17 CRM systems, 11 database managers, 17 desktops, 14 development tools, 8 document managers, 11 feed readers, 16 file managers, 7 photo editors, and a partridge in a pear tree. (via Stephen Downes)

Rhizome Commissions Program

Founded in 2001, the Rhizome Commissions Program makes financial support available to artists for the creation of original works of Internet-based art. Commissions are awarded by jury, and by Rhizome's membership through an open community vote.
In 2007, Rhizome will commission eleven new art works with fees ranging from $1000-3000. You can submit a proposal below, or read more about our submission and voting procedures
This year, we are accepting proposals in two categories.
1) New works of Internet-based artThe works must use the Internet as a primary component. They can manifest offline or on a mobile device, as long as the final work is accessible online, whether through a web browser, software, or some other use of internet technologies. There is no required theme.
When evaluating proposals, the jury will consider artistic merit, technical feasibility, and online accessibility. Although we will provide some technical assistance with final integration into the Rhizome web site, artists are expected to develop projects independently and without significant assistance from Rhizome.
Ten commissions will be awarded in this category.
Submit at
2) Community projectIn 2007, Rhizome will also award one commission to an artist whose project will benefit our community, by enhancing communication, participation or user experience on the website. Artists will be asked to execute the Community Project independently and be prepared to work with Rhizome to integrate the work when complete. Projects must be feasible, and manageable for up to one year. Precursors include Rhizome's 'alt.interface' which provided alternative interfaces, or visualizations, for Rhizome's online archive, the ArtBase.
One commission will be awarded in this category.
Submit at

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Brett Whiteley, The Balcony 2, 1975

I will be travelling to Australia for a month from 9th June-12 July this year. It will be an epic as we are travelling with Ben (18 months on Monday) and Silas (7 years in April). Its been 2 years and six months since I was last in the mother country. This animation of The Jacaranda Tree (on Sydney Harbour) by Brett Whiteley evokes something of the nature of Oz. Something I miss quite often. Above is another painting by Whiteley, who once said that the inside of police stations (he'd seen a few) were very Matisse..."Its the blue...."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Virtual Beggar in Second Life

Hall Igaly: "hallo Mister,give me L$1,please"
Today I spent some time in Second Life assisted by my Portuguese speaking friend from Rio, Jorge. He told me SL is huge in Brazil and there was an island devoted to Brazilians. We found it and with 8100 avatars on it we teleported over. He slipped into conversation with some of the crowd gathered. It was interesting to see someone else interacting in world . After a time we were approached by Hall Igaly (pictured above) and in him I met my first virtual beggar. Jorge told me Hall even dressed like a Rio street kid. Hall did nothing else but approach other avatars for L$1.
I wonder who is operating Hall, I have an image of a tech savvy young person who spends time in Public Libraries and cheap Internet cafes. Or maybe a teenager logged on in their bedroom raising extra cash for a hectic lifestyle. Maybe they work for Linden Labs to add authenticity to the space.

Jumpcut video of Virtual Worlds

I am still playing with jumpcut, an online video editing and social network site. Here is a video I made from images I imported from my flickr site. It is screenshots of two 3D worlds I made a few years ago. The music is 100% Rio Baile Funk.

jumpcut movie:Virtual Worlds

Friday, March 09, 2007

Interactive Videos

Here is a collection of 'interactive video' student projects from Södertörns högskola outside Stockholm:

A nice way to end my first week back at university.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thoughts on Baudrillard

I have been thinking about Jean Baudrillard a lot today. He is another of the major postmodern philosopher theorists who have really moved my thinking to die in recent years (Derrida, Sontag, and Iser are others). I read Simulacra and Simulation for the first time in the early 1990's but really did not understand it. They sold it at The Black Rose anarchist bookshop in Sydney so it had to be cool.....and it was, but not for the reasons I thought. I had a copy with me for a long time and then when I finally started serious post-grad studies here in Sweden in 2002 I read it again as part of the third term special project. This is when it hit me.
Now he is gone.

Open Lecture given by Jean Baudrillard after his seminar for the students at the European Graduate School in 2004. He was expected to teach his next seminar in April 2007, this time in Paris.


Baraka is streamed in its entirety (1 hr 36 min 30 sec) on Google Video. A beautiful film that does not use narrative techniques in the traditional sense, but rather has more in common with a Virtual World experience as a story event. I recomend it to all.

Jean Baudrillard (June 20, 1929 - March 6, 2007)

Jean Baudrillard (June 20, 1929 - March 6, 2007)
" Eh bien, je suis hors de moi, dans tous les sens du terme !"
" Well, I am outside me, in all the meanings of the term! "

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Parody Copyright and Mining

A tale of two websites:

The first is created by the New South Wales Minerals Council, a lobby group for the mining industry. The second is by Rising Tide, a Newcastle (Australia) group dedicated to climate change issues. The Minerals Council has challenged the parody website on grouds of copyright. It has had the parody legally removed twice and the site is now hosted on a server in Afghanistan (!!???). The similarities are striking, beginning with the URLs: (original) (parody)

However, it seems clear that each has a very different intention and they in no way share authorship. The parody site is commenting on the original and it does not make sense unless the original is taken into consideration it its reading. Freedom of expression over rides the right of the authors here I would argue.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Riots in Copenhagen

This is a 1944 riot in Nørrebro, Copenhagen during the German occupation of Denmark
I have been watching the present situation in Nørrebro in Copenhagen with interest. For the past three days police and activists have been battling in the streets of the suburb around the 'Young Peoples House' that has been a thriving center for culture for over 20 years and is now being closed as the recently acquired property of a Christian sect. The new owner of the house decided to evict the young people when they used the word "Hell" in a banner they hung from the wall of the building.
It seems this is not the first time Nørrebro has seen civil insurrection on a mass scale. In 1944 the Danish people resisted the Nazi occupation on the same spot. A large collection of videos on the 2007 riot are being amassed on YouTube. As I write several thousand activists have assembled at Rådhuspladsen and it seems there will be another night of action in Copenhagen tonight. With the G8 coming up in Berlin in June this year we could be in for a European summer of anti-fascist street actions.

Friday, March 02, 2007

People of earth. The Spacious Mind have a new CD for all.

People of earth. The Spacious Mind have a new CD for all. I quote from the source:

The Spacious Mind - Gentle Path Highway (Countryman010)

There’s this thing in the minds of real enlightened folks, which is called the mental backbone of complete vision. As the story goes, the first recorded evidence of this phenomenon occurred aeons ago when an old Mexican man took his walk of life just a bit too far & lost himself on the way to the sacred site he was heading for. Trying to find his way back to both his own self & that piece of holy dirt n’ soil hidden in the land of Peyote proved too much, and he was eventually found all dried up, dead as a raven with a heart pierced by an arrow. So obvious was the marks & footprints on the ground where he’d been stumbling along, that people in the area soon gave it a name: the Lazy River Road. This was then & now is now & now the name is the Gentle Path Highway. You can see the reason for the change if you’ve been far enough down that road yourself, be it in your soul or on foot. If not, well, sorry but I won’t tell you.
Another day, another lifetime, and another record by The Spacious Mind. They’ve been at it for 16 years, and this new CD, by weird circumstances entitled Gentle Path Highway, is their tenth proper release. Who would’ve thought that back in 1993 when their debut was unleashed in full glory? Snotty-nosed kids then, not quite middle aged now & while that seemingly has nothing to do with wise men in Mexico, think again. Is it not true that the revolution I like to speak of comes from the inside? Is it not true that the music we hear is the music of the spheres & thus from the outside? And is not that outside what we were born out of – of earth and sky? Is that not the same mother of all that has given birth to seas, trees, holy men & bees? Of course it’s so & there’s the clue – in the light, man!
The music of The Spacious Mind is only a fraction of that of the spheres, they share their part of Land of the notes with everyone else, but when encapsuled like this, on an ugly silver shining disc you might be forgiven for thinking, if only for a moment, that they’ve actually tapped in on some ancient musical mystery that only they know of. Hah! Only kidding you – this is everyone’s music just like all other music & you might wanna reconsider the thought of that music as something you can sell or buy or understand or read about in glossy magazines sold by the devil. Or that that music is up for grabs when men in suits hide inside the hearts of ‘independent’ artists and labels, because that’s not music in the first place. Real music is something else. It’s not a scene & it’s not a dream – it’s life, man & it’s talking to you all the time. Let it go & let it shine, let yourself out of the box & do your thing but don’t do theirs. DON’T DO THEIRS!
Yeah, losing it a bit, am I? So glad to be out of here in a minute – I’ve got important stuff to deal with. Life affirming reality’s knocking on the door, and that’s my kinda music. You may give this disc a spin & see what you hear in there – might be your life & your reality coming to groove with you all through the wintery sunshine. Now I’m done. Bet you ain’t.

B.C. Wolff
(B.C. Wolff wears stained pants that smell of woodsmoke & he walks through the morning light for hours. He’s a brother of the fox & and a guardian of dreams.)

Back to Work

Today I officially finished parent leave. Benyamin has started at day care, although it will be short days for a while as he settles in. It feels like I have emerged from a dream in a way. For the past six months I have been in a fairly small world. This world had a directness about it that I like; eating, washing, shitting and so on. He smiled at me when he was happy and screamed when he was not. Taking a walk was a major undertaking and often he was so equally impressed with his surroundings to warrant the wonder after the dressing, packing etc. Many days at the play drop-in-center spent crawling aroud on the floor or playing with blocks. Ben also now looks to me for comfort when he is upset, whereas before it was mum who was the provider of that. Now it is both of us. I think of my six months at home with Ben as a turning point for me in some ways. I feel a new calmess and confidence. However, this is sure to disappear in few days back at uni. I have a chapter of the thesis to write by April when there will be seminar to present. Plus two short courses I am teaching in HUMlab, one in April and one in May. There will be other seminars, guest lecturers and the usually duties.
Time to work.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Nazis Attack Second Life Liberation Army HQ

This is an image of my avatar amidst a code attack mounted against the headquarters of the Second Life Liberation Army last night. The Nazi Flags and the giant Marios bombarded the SLLA area for at least an hour. I happened to be at the inworld screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show when someone spoke of the attack at the SLLA. It seemed more interesting than the film that was not actually working for me so I teleported over. I met the 'leader' of the SLLA and had some interesting chats with the group around him. The code attack cleared after a while. It seems the SLLA is despised by the neo-fascist element in SL. I will follow up this lead and try and get some research material on the movement.

New Thesis by Joel Anthony Flynn

. The abstract:

“Travels in Intertextuality aims for what John Berger would call “ways of seeing” digital media artifacts and interacting cultural texts. Using Lev Manovich’s Language of New Media, these “new media objects” are seen through the metaphorical “coordinated set of lenses” of Michael Cole’s Cultural Psychology. In addressing issues of “writing” and identity in the digital age at the intersection of technology, art, and commerce, this highly exploratory work looks for ways to perceive “value” in remix culture through ecological models of sociocultural systems. The thesis “follows the problem” of remix through “pioneering research”, “reflective practice”, and shifting contexts for expansive learning. Emerging from significant pools of digital media, “remix value” is analysezd through cultural-historical perspectives, as well as through the autopoietic perspectives of “self-making” biological and sociolinguistic systems.”

(via Remix Theory)