Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Google Social Networking Platform Launches Tomorrow

I have a feeling this is going to be big:

Google is launching their answer to Facebook tomorrow and it is called OpenSocial. The URL for the site opens then.

"OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:

Profile Information (user data)
Friends Information (social graph)
Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

Hosts agree to accept the API calls and return appropriate data. Google won’t try to provide universal API coverage for special use cases, instead focusing on the most common uses. Specialized functions/data can be accessed from the hosts directly via their own APIs.

Unlike Facebook, OpenSocial does not have its own markup language (Facebook requires use of FBML for security reasons, but it also makes code unusable outside of Facebook). Instead, developers use normal javascript and html (and can embed Flash elements). The benefit of the Google approach is that developers can use much of their existing front end code and simply tailor it slightly for OpenSocial, so creating applications is even easier than on Facebook.

Applications can have full functionality on profile and/or canvas pages, subject to the specific rules of each host. Facebook, by contrast, limits most functionality to the canvas page, allowing a widget on the profile page with limited features.

OpenSocial is silent when it comes to specific rules and policies of the hosts, like whether or not advertising is accepted or whether any developer can get in without applying first (the Facebook approach). Hosts set and enforce their own policies. The APIs are created with maximum flexibility."

Does it Get any More Real Than This?

If anyone doubts that shared online worlds like Second Life and the world we share here in Real Life are not blending, check out these two videos:

The Second Life video seems to pay more attention to traditional concepts associated with the ritual of a wedding (church, heterosexual, christian, vows, and so on) than the Real Life ritual does. Could it be that we will come in future years to preserve our traditions in high resolution immersive media, while in real life we live out our desires and identities according to our own particular preferences and beliefs? The holodeck of Startrack will come to be where we preserve our ideals in a sort of laboratory of "Truth" and the mission of the starship (our real bodies) is to find out who we are becoming rather than who we once perhaps were or could be......

Not Blogging Here

The last few days have been busy with writing for me and having nothing much to say that suits this particular blog. Instead I have been making short entries on the HUMLab blog and posting a couple of cool videos on Soul Vlog. Maybe something will happen today that is worth never knows.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A New Bakhtin Text

Today is not one for blogging. I sit in my office watching the dark grey day outside. It is now almost four in the afternoon and already it is dark. The November of our discontent is upon us once again. BUT, there is one ray of sunshine in all this, winter offers perfect working conditions to the computer bound doctoral student and I am writing a lot at the moment. Over a page done today which is high level production. In the course of my work today I stumbled upon a paper on Bakhtin written by a Russian, T.V. Akhutina (Department of Psychology,. Moscow State University). This paper, The Theory of Verbal Communication in the Works of M.M. Bakhtin and L.S. Vygotsky (Trans. 2003) contains references to a text by Bakhtin that I do not think has been translated into English yet: The Aesthetics of Verbal Creativity (1979). Apart from this gem the paper is a very interesting read as well and presents Bakhtin's theory of addressivity very well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Remembering Steven J. Bernstein

"The stars were much more valuable when I was a boy"

Steven J Bernstein was a 40 year old poet when he died by his own hand in 1991. In 1992 a CD of him reading some of his poems was released on Sub Pop Records called Prison. The aural accompaniment to Bernstein's verse was done by Steve Fisk. In 1991 I lived next to a busy 4 lane highway and opposite a hypermarket where misshaped families filled station wagons with junk food and plastic in huge numbers daily. I obtained a copy of Prison and drank in the work of Steven Jesse Bernstein like it was a virus which made me immune.
Bernstein's work is not going to make you happy. If you like the "I wondered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills" type poetry then stay the hell away from this, it will hurt you. Bernstein's word horde is a hostile swarm of black insects that assaults you as they show you how people suffer and struggle and try to love each other but inevitably end up breaking something...or someone. It is not pretty, but it is real and gritty and has a truthfulness about it that makes it beautiful. For a taste check out the first half of Morning in the Sub-Basement of Hell:

The black rubber tires of four a.m. pulling their heavy truck over my skull and bones. I remember the bottle as I lay awake but I'm too scared to touch it. A green cloud hovers in the air above the bed. Kiss the radio and smoke, wondering where all the sweat comes from. Ate two cans of soup, one after the other, and feel health. Now the crumbling artifice of the black sky cracks into orange lines, the traffic is a conveyor belt of brown candy bars. I put my mouth to the road and suck. Can you cry? I cannot cry. I do not cry. Instead I thank my lucky stars for the load of blankets. A glass of milk and shave in bed. The old gangster in me comes out and my hands are two pistols, aimed at the miserable ceiling. I unload all my fingernails into the chipped cream paint. Also with a pair of buzzing clippers I give myself a haircut, short like a vicious terrier or a Nazi, and stroke my mustache lovingly. Put that one on the table and let's see what's inside her stomach!

If you can feel the rhythm of the lines then you will gain an idea of how it sounds on the Prison CD (I could not find a stream for it anywhere on the web). More texts can be found at The Zealot's Law. There is a video or two (actually just film of the man himself, just stills combined with a track from Prison) on Youtube. Here is No No Man Part 2:

Bernstein wrote novels, plays, poems, recited at concerts and jazz clubs. Most of his stuff in currently out of print, which is a shame, but I know that he will be making a huge comeback any day now. He was a writer of quality and he speaks with the same voice of the human condition and of the absurd, bound, star gazing, gutter dwellers that we all are. You can order I am Secretly an Important Man from Amazon, it is the only one of his texts currently in print. There is a site on Myspace for Steven J Bernstein and the blog for it is an excellent source for info on what is happening with his body of work. The blog for the Myspace site includes The Best of Bernstein on the Web.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Downstreams (I got millions of images and they are all free)

Late today due to an afternoon and evening of HUMlab open house and dinner. A great way to end the week. Media this week is from the strange to the sublime. Several films from the great social documentary drama genre that is strong in Sweden and exists elsewhere as well. Whilst I do not agree with the entire content of all media here, I think it is all worth considering. Let turn our heads towards the sun and open wide our eyes:

Lawrence Lessig on Corruption, Networks, Technology, Information and Democracy
Lessig is drawing a broader theme on law. He has recently moved his focus from just copyright and IP law to the corruption which exists in policy making. He has a wiki where a book is being put together and this is a video excerpt of an interview from Danish TV where he explains his recent change of direction.

The Corporation Part 1
The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film critical of the modern-day corporation, considering it as a class of person and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychologist might evaluate an ordinary person. This is explored through specific examples.

Manufacturing Consent
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) is a documentary film that explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, a linguist, intellectual, and political activist. Created by two Canadian independent filmmakers, Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, it expands on the ideas of Chomsky's earlier book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which he co-wrote with Edward S. Herman.
The film presents and illustrates Chomsky's and Herman's propaganda model, the thesis that corporate media, as profit-driven institutions, tend to serve and further the agendas of the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society. A centerpiece of the film is a long examination into the history of The New York Times's coverage of Indonesia's invasion and occupation of East Timor, which Chomsky claims exemplifies the media's unwillingness to criticize an ally.

Surplus: Terrorized into Being a Consumer
Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers is a 2003 Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg. It opens with footage of the protests at the 27th G8 summit in Genoa and prominently features the views of anarcho-primitivist John Zerzan.
Zerzan argues that peaceful protest has almost no impact because people don't take it seriously. He advocates "property damage" and "property destruction." While condemning violence against people, he claims "you can't violate a building or a window." He favors dismantling technology and returning to a way of life in-tune with nature.
The documentary relies heavily on fast-paced audio-visual collage techniques, resembling MTV videos and commercials. It uses lip-synching in a distinctively Swedish attempt to subvert the ideas of those in power, like having George W. Bush speak for Adbusters or Fidel Castro mouth the words of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: "I love this company! Yeah!" It also uses music to emphasize action.

You Ain't Going Nowhere Compilation
Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra: Sand
The Beatles: Tomorrow Never Knows
Santana: Soul Sacrifice
Nina Simone - Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter
Bo Diddley - Elephant Man

Alice's Adventures Under Ground: Being a facsimile of the original Ms. book afterwards developed into "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"Book from Project Gutenberg: Alice's Adventures Under Ground: Being a facsimile of the original Ms. book afterwards developed into "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" Note: With 37 illustrations by the author.

The Last Supper by da Vinci (16 Billion Pixels)
Tomorrow October 27th at 09:30am CEST a 16-17 giga pixel scan of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (1498) will be posted on the linked site. Located in a former monks' dining hall adjacent to a church in Milan, the 500-year-old mural by Leonardo Da Vinci depicts Jesus Christ when he predicts that one of his apostles will betray him. In the Gospels, the Last Supper (also called Lord's Supper) was the last meal Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci. In the course of the Last Supper, and with specific reference to taking the bread and the wine, Jesus told his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me", (1 Corinthians 11:23–25). (The vessel which was used to serve the wine is sometimes called the Holy Chalice.) Many Christians describe this as the institution of the Eucharist.

The Dialect of the Black American (mp3s)
This 1970 public service disc was produced by Western Electric for libraries and schools. Essentially a long essay on how American society deals with Ebonics, The Dialect of the Black American is fairly radical in its message...and very entertaining in its presentation. That one of America's biggest companies produced such a document is testament to how liberal the country had become. Decades of agitation from Labor, the Civil Rights Movement, and the New Left had brought the country to its most enlightened state since anarchists, socialists, Wobblies, and labor forced FDR into the New Deal. Two years after this record's release, the Conservative Rollback, ushered in by the election of Richard Nixon, had begun, bringing us to the mess we are in today. The thought of Citigroup, Exxon Mobil, or Walmart-Stores producing anything like The Dialect... - either in style or content - is nothing less than absurd.

V/A:Sex & Bestiality,4xtape,1984,France
Four tapes of industrial/ synth/ noise/ experimental madness ,gathering the most important acts of this scene .Released in 1984 by the cult Bain Total label packaged in videotape box,it was dedicated to Mr. Genesis P. Orridge and was limited to 666 copies.For T.O.P.Y. enthousiasts note that the code number of the tape is K23!

Context Free Media
Context Free Media as the name suggests disregards the context(s) within which it exists. A California-based record label, Context is a platform for music which presents the listener more musical questions than answers. While Context has strong roots in dance music, most notably techno, it explores uncomfortable areas where this definition makes no sense. With disregard to the name itself, Context is more interested in sonic expressionism and the structures that it might lead to rather than conceptualism superimposed on sound.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Video Remix Getting Attention in Australian Election

A remix star has been unearthed in the Australian election:

Hugh Atkin, 23, a law student at Sydney University, has scored a big hit on the internet with his clip that depicts Kevin Rudd as a Chairman Mao figure in a video styled on Chinese propaganda films. SMH

Youtube is being used by all the major parties in the campaign for the election due on November 27th. An election was called yesterday in Denmark and Lisbeth Klastrup has blogged that she will posting on the use of video network sites in the election (only a few weeks away on November 13...the Danes are fast!!).

More from the Australia Remix Front at the Youtube site of Hugh.

Tongues in Second Life

In case you ever wondered; yes avatars in Second Life have insides. I don't much like the look of the tongue as it has a distinct demonic tip to it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Signs of Empire: John Akomfrah at Umeå Museum of Visual Culture

Thursday 1.11 kl 18.00 - 20.00
Kl. 18.00 Film: 7 Songs for Malcolm X (1986) by John Akomfrah
Kl. 19.00 Seminar: John Akomfrah

The Academy of Fine Arts in Umeå, in collaboration with Bildmuseet Umeå, proudly presents the rare opportunity to hear John Akomfrah introducing the work of the Black Audio Film Collective. Formed in 1982 by students of Sociology and Fine Art in London, the Collective produced some of the most experimental documentaries in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s. Their explorations of belonging and intimacy combined a montage aesthetic with personal reflection to invent a new genre of moving image challenging traditions of British documentary and drama. They have profoundly influenced contemporary avant-garde film-makers and artists. The group also shared their knowledge of film history, practical techniques and theoretical approaches with working class audiences through workshops and screenings. The evening will begin with the screening of 7 Songs for Malcolm X, 1986, 60 min, at 6pm, followed by a 1h talk of John Akomfrah explaining the practice of the collective. The Black Audio Film Collective was formed in Hackney, London in 1982 by John Akomfrah, Reece Auguiste, Edward George, Lina Gopaul, Avril Johnson, David Lawson and Trevor Mathison.

Signs of Empire
Handsworth Songs
Twilight City
7 Songs for Malcolm X
A Touch of the Tar Brush
Mysteries of July
The Last Angel of History
3 Songs on Pain
Light and Time
Martin Luther King: Days of Hope
Memory Room 451
Gangsta Gangsta: The Tragedy of Tupac Shakur

Florian Zeyfang, Professor, 090 - 786 68 64

Information R/evolution

The future isn't what you think.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Open Info for All

Tomorrow I will be giving another presentation to a group of librarians about Second Life. This time I will talk a bit about online virtual worlds generally as being applicable for libraries. Today I spent over an hour trying to organise an account for two 16 year work experience students visiting HUMlab in Teen Second Life. It was basically a fiasco and unless one lives in the USA it is not possible to log into Teen Second Life. We used ActiveWorlds instead (felt liek going back in time for me), which looks good (and loads super fast) but is totally empty (600 worlds and 54 accounts active). I tried to log into adult Second Life today 4 times and the computer crashed every time, with 39 000 accounts active.

The vision of the Internet Archive led by Brewster Kahle is one that online virtual worlds such as Second Life (and Google for that matter) ignore at their peril. In two years Second Life could easily become the ActiveWorlds of today as some other new platform is overrun with accounts. But a completely collaborative network project such as the Internet Archive will continue to grow as its users build it. According to this video the archive has managed to scan in 250 000 books with libraries paying for doing it so as to keep their collections truly open. While the catch cry with Second Life is that all the content is "user owned and created" where else are you going to take it as there is nowhere else to run the LSL script outside Second Life? The servers are all run by SL and the contents are theirs. I believe an open system is a distributed system.

Thanks to Jill for the word on the Archive video.

Youtube Video RSS Feed

After only using RSS since last year I now cannot understand how I survived so long without it. This morning the tool tip is RSS for Youtube favorites. Once you have created a list of Youtube video favorite users you can subscribe to a feed that keeps you updated with every time they post something new. Saves from logging in and checking sites or your favorites list which is not so update friendly anyway. Make a Youtube video feed HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Music Networks a Threat to Static Management

Record company executives must be finding it difficult to get up in the morning and go to work some days I reckon. This morning the news that Radiohead have earnt an estimated few millions pounds in the first day of offering their new album for download 'by donation' from their own website must have made a few record executive a little bit grumpy. The need for a record deal is becoming less and less as each month goes by. According to the Sydney Morning Herald with 1.2 million downloads from the Radiohead website on the first day:

A poll by The Times of 3000 fans who bought the album found the average price paid was £4 ($9.20) - about half the usual price of an album on iTunes. On those figures, on the first day alone, the band would have collected more than $10 million, and by cutting out the middle man - the record company - the band will receive every cent of it.

If contracted to a record company, the band would have had to sell 10 times that number of physical albums to collect the same profit.

Yesterday on local radio I heard an interview with David Sylvian (does anyone remember Gentlemen Take Polaroids?) who is now doing more interesting things with music. He has abandoned the idea of needing a recording studio and having the musicians in one place in order to make a recording. In the interview (streamed from the link) Sylvian says he is part of a global network of musicians who send files to each other over the net (sounds familiar to me). Each contributes to the recording process in their own time and place and then it is all mixed down at the end somewhere else by someone else.

The use of Internet by both Sylvian and Radiohead seems to me to make recording contracts, and the companies that offer them, irrelevant. Unless the companies can offer something more than manufacturing and distribution they are doomed. I think companies that work with musicians, if they want to continue making profit, need to move into touring, venue management, experience design using musical concepts and the manufacture of more trans medial artifacts (DVDs with books and interactive media components).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Computer Games 1979

New Zealand band Mi Sex with their hit from 1979 "Computer Games".

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Downstreams (the moving image)

A week of accomplishment passes like the winds. Lots of interaction and writing for me this week. On the media front lots of videos- shall we begin. Media I have picked up this week includes:

A lot of what is mentioned on the title page I am not familar with but it does feature an article on Jennifer Gentle (if you have not heard their live album, The Cage with Makoto Kawabata on Silly Boy records, I recomend it). From the site:

There are so many music/entertainment websites that copy one another, scrambling so fast to “discover” or present something new to the world. And just because you get there first, it doesn’t really make you an explorer. We did poke a stars and stripes into the moon, but we could always see it. We knew it was there. It wasn’t new. We can always come along and say we did, saw, heard something first, but we’re never right. What Daytrotter is attempting to do is to not kid around with you and tell you that we found something that you never knew existed. We are going to contribute to the musical landscape, not just toss it around like a used book or a stolen pick-up line. We’re going to give you something that you truly have never heard.

FLCL (all episodes strung together - 2 hr 16 min 57 sec.)
FLCL is an anime OVA series co-produced by Gainax and Production I.G.. The series was created and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, and written by Yōji Enokido.

Furi Kuri follows Naota Nandaba, a twelve-year-old boy living in the fictional Japanese suburb of Mabase. The industrial town houses the Medical Mechanica building, the reason for Haruko Haruhara's visit to the usually quiet suburb.

Naota's life is confined to going to school and living with his father and grandfather. The usually tranquil life in Mabase in interrupted with the arrival of Haruko Haruhara, who burst on the scene by running Naota over with her Vespa motor scooter and hitting him on the head with a Rickenbacker bass guitar. Later, Naota finds Haruko working in his house as a live-in maid.

Haruko's search for Atomsk puts her at odds with Medical Mechanica. At the same time, Naota is being watched by Commander Amarao. The Commander believes Haruko is in love with Atomsk and Medical Mechanica is out to conquer the galaxy. The fortuitous circumstances get Naota involved in a three way battle between Haruko, Amarao and Medical Mechanica.

Popper's List
BBC PBS UKTV Discovery Channel History Channel A&E TLC Great Documentaries
An ocean of Documentaries: Roman History, English & British History, Egyptian History, World War II Documentaries, Favorite Series & Hosts, Other Documentaries and Drama.

TV Links
Welcome to TV Links, for your viewing pleasure we have compiled various links from the latest to some long forgotten TV shows, classics, films, documentaries and much more. How much does this cost you? Nothing, its all Free of charge! Please sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Grey Lodge Review #17
I may have featured this before but twice may be enough to read it all:
Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti By Maya Deren,Disinformation TV The old disinfo streaming video/audio collection,Titicut Follies By Frederick Wiseman, HWY
An American Pastoral By Jim Morrison, The Cut-Ups By Antony Balch with William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) By Hermann Hesse (zipped - rtf), Codex Seraphinianus , Hallucinatory Encyclopedia By Peter Schwenger, The Code Book on CD-ROM By Simon Singh, A Most Unusual Cast of Characters
By Allen H. Greenfield (zipped - doc), Brave New World By Aldous Huxley (pdf), Brave New World Revisited By Aldous Huxley (zipped - rtf), The Three Impostors
By Arthur Machen (zipped - html/pdf), No Exit By Jean-Paul Sartre (zipped - html), Un Chant D'Amour By Jean Genet.


"Linux is a Cancer"

"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, during a commercial spot masquerading as a media interview with the Chicago Sun-Times Friday. (The Register)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Soldier of Fortune: Pay Back" Banned in Australia

Blitz: The League, BMX XXX, Manhunt, Reservoir Dogs, 50 Cent: Bullet Proof and now Soldier of Fortune: Pay Back. All banned recently in Australia. The reasoning behind the banning of Soldier of Fortune is interesting. According to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) the game was banned because

"Successfully shooting an opponent results in the depiction of blood spray,"
"When the enemy is shot from close range, the blood spray is substantial, especially when a high-caliber weapon is used, and blood splatters onto the ground and walls in the environment."
"The player may target various limbs of the opponents and this can result in the limb being dismembered."
"Large amounts of blood spray forth from the stump with the opponent sometimes remaining alive before eventually dying from the wounds."

Gory stuff no doubt but the tone of the OFLC report seems to be one of stark realism, to the point of suggesting that people are dying here (what does that "in the environment" mean??). This was the same approach to Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, a graffiti game banned in 2006 in Australia which the OFLC reported being due to

the realistic scenarios whereby the central character Trane acquires his knowledge of graffiti tips, techniques and styles - including meeting with five real graffiti artists who pass on details of tips and techniques

How did they manage to fit the 5 real graffiti artists into a computer console???

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Second Life as an Archive and Social Space

Tomorrow I will be giving a half hour presentation on Second Life to the local chapter of the Swedish Association of Information Specialists. My presentation is part of a Fall seminar with the title Libraries in Another World. I will be talking about Second Life as an Archive and Social Space. Preparing for tomorrow I feel like in the 30 mins allotted to me I will barely be able to do the subject justice. I just spent half an hour chatting with a librarian inworld at the InfoIsland in Second Life:

Info International is a place where Second Life residents from around the globe can find Second Life resources. Info International is home to Info International House, an open, inviting house for residents to meet and chat; Mi Pueblo, a Spanish Language cafe; the China Cafe, a Chinese Language resource center and cafe; and an exhibit on Stateless (displaced) peoples. It is also the world headquarters for Alliance Library System, the founders of the Info Island Archipelago.

From my short conversation with librarian Peaches (who was also a cat) I realised that the archive side of SL has to work in conjunction with a real life library and the real strength of Sl is as a complement to other services. As a social space in the library context SL is just exploding. The 30mins I spent on InfoIsland was busy with visitors.

The slides for my presentation are online(mostly just a photo album of some of my favorite moments in SL during the last 12 months).

The New Bohemians 1959

Silent footage of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and others in New York, Summer 1959. The location is in and around the Harmony Bar & Restaurant at E 9th St. and 3rd Ave. Others seen are Mary Frank (wife of film-maker Robert Frank, who made Pull my Daisy with Kerouac, Ginsberg and Corso the same year) and children Pablo and Andrea, as well as Lucien's wife Francesca Carr and their three sons, Simon, Caleb and Ethan.
I think it is interesting to read the body langauge between the figures in this film. Kerouac the slouched smoker whose eyes seem to move constantly but whose body is already bloated and sagging. Ginsberg a wire like pivot to the whole arrangement, around him the small crowd rotates on the hot street corner. Women who do not seem to be the accomadating mothers/saints/whores of Beat Generation mythology, rather they seem to be taking issue with the males, responding sharp and quick to their words and leading the talk and action.
Another nice Beat related video is HERE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Digital Ethnography

This should put things in perspective somewhat. Student numbers are dropping and it is not just due to demographics. Those students that do turn up are are in classrooms that manifest a 100 year old learning system and are often badly resourced. The technology is not going to solve the problem rather the situation has to be modified to accommodate the technology in terms of what the culture/s can teach us. Check out digital ethnography blog at Kansas State University.

Matt Magazine #2 Mobility and Surveillance

Matt Magazine #2 Mobility and Surveillance:

2 Duncan Campbell
"Inside Echelon"
Photos: Found Footage

20 Tim Cresswell
In Place/Out of Place
Photos: Guersoy Dogtas

36 Carl von Clausewitz
Vom Kriege
Photos: Guersoy Dogtas

72 Ariel Merari
Attacks on Civil Aviation
Videostills: Natalie Jeremijenko
Bureau of Inverse Technology (BIT)

92 Carl Schmitt
The Theory of the Partisan
Videostills: Surveillance Camera Players

92 Imprint

Net neutral...Think again.

Everything you wanted to know about net neutrality but were afraid to ask. The video is a bit old (12 months ago) but everything is still on the button. An federal election in Australia on November 24th and not a mention of Net Neutrality in any election platform. The situation in Australia where ISPs are 'responsible for' or basically control content is the dream of many policy makers around the world (In Sweden it was suggested just a couple of months ago by a government appointed inquiry). Service provision in Australia provides an idea for what ISP controlled content (as is mentioned in the video: "just like television") would look like:

Look at what happens in Australia. The biggest ISP (BigPond) is part of the biggest telco (Telstra). Telstra owns the copper network that connects most homes and business premises, so ADSL providers have to use Telstra's facilities. Some install their own DSLAMs in Telstra exchanges, others act basically as retailers of Telstra's service.

Largely due to its size and deep pockets, Telstra is able to out-market most ISPs. The 'mums and dads' market - and BigPond has been running a 'your kids need broadband' campaign for months - would probably be hard pressed to name an alternative broadband provider. IT Wire

As Lawrence Lessig points out in the video, and has written about in Free Culture (2004), radio began in a similar fashion with unregulated broadcasting up until the 1920s. Citizen broadcasting now amounts to less than 5% of broadcasting in the USA.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sigur Rós - Glósóli

A new week. Anything is possible!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Remains of Aboriginal Australians to Return

The Swedish Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm has been given permission from the Swedish Government to return the remains of ten Aboriginal Australians to their country. On the 22 October 2007 a delegation of representatives from various Australian Aboriginal groups will visit the museum and take possession of the remains.
The remains come from the Kimberley region of North Western Australia where in 1910-11 a Swedish expedition plundered graves. The expedition was led by Eric Georg Mjöberg (1882 - 1938), who’s relative Lotte Mjöberg followed in Eric’s footsteps in 2004 and met the people of Kimberleys in an attempt to right the wrongs of the past, as documented in this radio broadcast.
In 2004 the remains of 15 Aboriginal individuals were returned to Australia by the Ethnographic Museum with an emotional ceremony performed when they reached their home country.
Aboriginal remains from British museums are also being returned.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Downstreams (a thin sleepy gig)

Maybe it is being an expat person in Sweden but when one of my kids get the seasonal cold (twice a year, usually early spring and late fall) I get it ten times worse. At the moment my body is preparing for winter; aches, pains and head cold. Ive been sleeping a lot the last two days. So, I usually post links to interesting media (Mp3s, videos, texts) on the web on Fridays but today there is not exactly a bounty on offer. While there was plenty posted on other sites, I did not find much that suited my tastes. Just this: downloadsA list of 198478 sites that use the term downloads in their referents (the page takes a while to load, be patient).

VUKZID01 - V/VM - the death of rave (the source)
An expanding series of rave flashbacks spread over a massive ten zip-files. This is the sound of a distant Northern warehouse a now abandoned venue. A celebration of the death of the original rave movement.

A discussion of NYC live music recording, sharing and archiving. Includes archives, forums and links. Hundreds of concerts can be downloaded from here. To use the nyctaper site properly you need to be using Mozilla Firefox browser (I now think this is the best browser available at the moment) and download the amazing DownThemAll plugin. DownThemAll (or just dTa) is a powerful yet easy-to-use Mozilla Firefox extension that adds new advanced download capabilities to your browser. I am starting to feel sorry for IE.

Voices of Resistance from Occupied London.
Anarchist online zine with good articles, artwork and reviews. Issue Two just out. here's the spiel:

And it's 2007. Eighteen years have passed since Fukuyama proclaimed the "End of History" and his arrogant statement never fails to deliver a good laugh. When did history end? It certainly did not go up in the flames coming out of the Parisian suburbs last year. It was not trampled under the feet of the Latin American populations rioting against president Bush's visit to their continent last week. It did not disappear in the fields of the Chinese rural populations constantly uprising against their masters, nor did it collapse along with the twenty-four year old now evicted Ungdomshuset social Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark - an eviction only made possible after seven hundred youths were arrested, spectacularly marking the end to the country's social consent model. How could history end? Capitalism's contradictions, it's very own integral accidents make for a promising future. We live in exciting times: gone are the depressingly quiet nineties, ours could truly be an era of resistance and revolt.

Cybertext yearbook 2006 - Ergodic Histories Publisher: University of Jyväskylä (2006) Editor(s): Markku Eskelinen & Raine Koskimaa
For me this is a work related site. I am ploughing through the theory of digital texts at the moment, plotting my own argument for the thesis that is well underway (one chapter done, introduction half done, four chapters to go and about 16 months left). The Cybertext year book 2006 offers a collection of great articles on German Proto-Cybertexts from the Baroque Era to the Present, Catalan I: Ramon LLull. An Ergodic Literary System, Catalan II: Catalan Poetry of the Modern Age (Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries). Some Examples of Artifice and Visuality, Nonlinearity in Mediaeval Arabic and Persian Poetry, and Culture as a Role-Game. The Warburg Community. I really should read the last one......

Back next week when I hope to be in form......enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doris Lessing gets Nobel

"So now they've decided they're going to give it to me. So why? I mean, why do they like me any better now than they did then?" Doris Lessing, Nobel prize laureate in Literature 2007.

I read Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971) when I was about 20 and fund it one of the most disorientating experiences I have ever had from the printed page. It is an amazing novel and while it is the only one of Lessing's 30 books I have read I think she is an excellent choice for the prize. Her first words when she heard; "Oh Christ!"

Myself...I have the flu and am at home reading Warren Ellis for amusement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Katherine Hayles at Umeå University

On Friday 19th October at 14:10 in Humanist Lecture Theater F, Professor Katherine Hayles will be giving the address for her honorary doctorate from Umeå University. It is open to the public so if you are in the area and want to witness a great mind in action come along. The topic is Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary.
In case you are unfamiliar with the work of Katherine Hayles:

. Katherine Hayles (16 December 1943 - ) is a noted postmodern literary critic and theorist as well as the author of How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics which won the Rene Wellek Prize for the best book in literary theory for 1998–1999. She is currently the Hillis Professor of Literature in English and Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Other Books:
My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts, 2005
Nanoculture: Implications of the New Technoscience (ed.), 2004
Writing Machines, 2002
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, 1999
Chaos and Order (ed.), 1991
Chaos Bound, 1990
The Cosmic Web, 1984

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What a great Idea....

Platial enables anyone to find, create and use meaningful maps of Places that matter to them. We hope it can connect people, neighborhoods, cities and countries through a citizen-driven common context that goes beyond geopolitical boundaries. We are building it, because we adore Places.

Platial allows uses to build online maps of anything. Wired reports:

Platial, a social mapping a site that collects the "personal atlases" of its users. They launched in December, and they've now mapped 200,000 places, and Platial users have generated over 5,000 custom maps.

Platial users can add photos, comments, and tags to their personal maps. Users can also tag places with "been there" and leave a comment, providing a way for people to find others with common interests.

The most popular uses for Platial members are autobiogeography maps (map your life story), travel maps and common interest maps. There's even a map for the "Lost" TV series that maps all of the locations shown on the program. One user created a "Where I Was on 9/11" map that many have contributed to, adding their own personal stories.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Joost Now Opens Window for All

The Internet TV platform Joost is now open for all (well, all who use Windows). So I've removed the invitations widget from my blog. Anyone can now download the software from the Joost website. As well Joost will begin streaming all post-season baseball:

Joost the rights to make on-demand game broadcasts and highlight clips from the 2007 MLB postseason, including the World Series, and Daily Rewind, an produced daily highlight program, available on its streaming video distribution platform to a global viewing audience.

Survival Research Lab Documentary

"Virtues of Negative Fascination" (Runtime: 75mins) is a documentary covering the performance activities of Survival Research Laboratories, Mark Pauline, Matt Heckert and Eric Werner, from 1985-1986. The performances are organized around the interactions of menacingly reconstructed industrial equipment, scientific devices and a wide variety of "special effects" devices which are used to develop themes of socio-political satire. The tape includes performances from New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle in front of a audiences of 2-3,000 people. In addition to the performances, "Virtues of Negative Fascination" features incisive interviews and illuminating non performance footage.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Its All in the Hands

Neon Bible by Arcade Fire is online as the first interactive music video clip I have seen. The instuctions are simply "click around".

Some Sunday Morning Avant Garde

The avant garde is dead, long live the avant garde. Three essays (Roland Barthes, George Kubler and Susan Sontag) and two films by Debord on ubuweb:



The scene changes to an empty room.
Rimbaud has gone to Abyssinia to make his fortune in the slave trade. Wittgenstein has first chosen schoolteaching, then menial work as a hospital orderly. Duchamp has turned to chess. And, accompanying these exemplary renunciations of a vocation, each man has declared that he considers his previous achievements in poetry. philosophy, or art as trifling, of no importance.
But the choice of permanent silence doesn't negate their work. On the contrary, it imparts retroactively an added power and authority to what was broken off; disavowal of the work becoming a new source of its validity, a certificate of unchallengeable seriousness. That seriousness consists in not regarding art (or philosophy practiced as an art form: Wittgenstein) as something whose seriousness lasts forever, an "end," a permanent vehicle for spiritual ambition. The truly serious attitude is one that regards art as a "means" to something that can perhaps be achieved only by abandoning art; judged more impatiently, art is a false way or (the word of the Dada artist Jacques Vaché) a stupidity.

Guy Debord, Hurlements en faveur de Sade
The spectacle is permanent. The importance of aesthetics still makes a very beautiful subject for pleasantries after drinking. We are leaving the cinema. The scandal is only too legitimate. I will never give explanations. Now you are all alone with our secrets. AT THE ORIGIN OF A NEW BEAUTY and later in the great liquid desert and limited to l'allee des Cygnes [the Boulevard of Swans] (all of the arts are mediocre games and change nothing) its face was discovered for the first time in this infancy that it calls its life. The specific conditions of the cinema permit the interruption of the anecdote by masses of empty silence. All the perfumes of Arabia. L'Aube de Villennes. AT THE ORIGIN OF A NEW BEAUTY. But it will no longer be in question. All of this isn't truly interesting. It is a question of losing oneself.

Guy Debord, In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni/We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire (1978) 100 mins.
Debord's anti cinema statement might be considered repellent in his first film (when it is extremist innovation); but in this one, the use of stills upon which the discourse progresses from the evocation of the mechanisms of the society of the spectacle, the alienation by consumption, the oppression of modern society to the deception of imbecile propaganda cinema, transmitting falsehood, to considerations about Paris, the loss of its true spirit and about himself, Guy Debord, is not only an illustration of détournement. It is a beautiful work in which the relation between the image and the narration is incessantly questioned; the two expressions interfere enigmatically, in a secret game of analogies, they collide, complete each others, combine to produce a third element that a linear use of cinematic images produced for the narration would fail to achieve. Not only the political content is pretty up to date but it is simply a beautiful work of modern visual poetry.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music: 1930 - 1973

If you are interested in Australian culture beyond the irritating cliches of beer, barbie (as in outdoor grill..not the doll) and hysterical bloke in khaki shorts assaulting some poor animal then check out the CD compilation Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music: 1930 - 1973. With free postage for online orders (anywhere in the world):

Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music: 1930 - 1973 is a landmark in the historical research of early Australian innovative and exploratory music created and recorded in Australia .

Over three years of research by Clinton Green has resulted in this compilation CD that stretches over four decades, a time previously thought by many to be barren of experimental activity in Australian music.

I just ordered my copy from the amazing Shame File Music. Shame File Music also offer many free downloads from their website, like the Terra Australis Incognita - Unknown Southern Land mp3 series.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Downstreams: The Week's Weirdness Floats to the Surface

Video document of a performance of Fau Ferdinands and Gazira Babeli's "All n00bs are Sailors", performed by Fau Ferdinand in Second Life, 28th June 2007, for the PgUp exhibition

Księżyc-s.t. ,10" LP,1996+Nów,7" e.p.,1993,Poland
Unique ethereal avant ritual folk with female vocals, not to be missed by anyone interested in music of strange & exquisite beauty.Relesed by Poland's Obuh label. This is the finest you will hear.

Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light - Namkhai Norbu
"The book Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light was first inspired many years ago by a series of dreams I had of my teacher Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. It has now been well over a decade since the publication of the first edition of the book, and it has been officially translated into more than a dozen languages. It was also bootlegged in Russian before the fall of the communist Soviet Union, and distributed in diverse countries such as Turkey and Mongolia. In 2004 a second edition was published with material, which expands and deepens the first editions emphasis on specific exercises to develop awareness within the dream and sleep states."

Wire (mp3s)
Since their formation in London in 1976, the four members of Wire have maintained and advanced a musical project which treats the creative potential of a rock band as a fluid, amorphous medium. As removed from self-conscious intellectualism as they are from the inherent conservatism of much rock music, Wire employ their unique, endlessly restless and risk-taking creativity to question every aspect of songwriting, recording and performance. They delight and disturb in equal measure, troubleshooting the circuitry of perfect pop, or patrolling the limits of focused experimentalism. In terms of working together as Wire, the group's members disbanded in 1980, reformed in 1985, disbanded in 1992 and reformed for the second time in 2000. Such sabbaticals from their career as Wire have served to sharpen the group's edge and focus, updating the tactics with which they pursue this shared project.

Beard of Bees
Beard of Bees is an independent, free press in Chicago, Illinois. Beard of Bees is committed to publishing quality chapbooks by liberated poets from Anywhere. We do not discriminate against non-human or post-human artists. The following Beard of Bees publications are available for download in PDF format

The Konstrukt
We start with a very simple assumption - that SecondLife is far more than a game. It is rather a social construct, a new way for people to live and communicate, a drastically different environment to have fun, romance and make yourself known.
We get together people who have something to say, and are not afraid to make their voice heard. We work hard to make every issue unique. So don't forget to download your copy! After all, it's free, so what do you loose? 13982 readers can't be wrong.

Lumiere Vidoes
A lot of videos and some of them are good.

Finally does anyone see anything wrong with this image:

The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes, the barracks at Coronado amphibious base, looks like a swastika from the air.L.A Times
I wonder if GoogleEarth has prompted the remodelling, as the barracks were built in the 1960's and nobody has done anything about it until now.

Enjoy the weekend! It's all we have between us and a slave society.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Free Burma!

When I woke up this morning the newspaper had a long report about what can be gathered to be now occurring in Burma. Thousands of monks have just disappeared. Public gatherings banned, media closed off, mass arrests, bodies being found and military on the streets. Some of the reports on the net are too horrible to repeat.

After going to work today I spent two hours having one of the most interesting conversations I have a had for a long while. A visiting South African artist and curator came down to HUMlab to see what it was about. This artist was very intelligent and a sceptic when it came to digital technology. We spoke about what is the meaning of online virtual worlds, facebook and where all this mass of commodified representation is taking us. I came away from the meeting with a head full of thoughts; Is it possible to help the underprivileged and oppressed by buying or using digital media products from huge companies? Probably not. Should we avoid digital technology? Definitely not. I think we both came away from the conversation with some new perspectives. The way the military oppressors have closed down SMS and Internet in Burma shows that it is a threat to dictators. However, is the $100 laptop the best way to help impoverished children in Africa? I have my doubts. There is no replacement for meeting real people, but communication can take many forms and distance, no matter how small (or metaphorical) needs to be overcome if anything is going to change. It was apt that one of the major themes of HUMlab is meetings, our discussion today took place in a meeting and much of the struggle in Burma at the moment is about the right to meet and act out the will of the people.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reading the Collective Text: facing up to Facebook

From a long post I just made on the HUMlab blog:

About a week ago I was approached to help out in a project being developed as part of the annual awards ceremony here at Umeå University. I had blogged about the social network phenomenon Facebook and the post had given the impression that I was familiar with its uses. For this reason I was asked to give advice about the setting up of a Facebook group for the honored guests who will be attending the ceremony in late October. Since agreeing to do so I have been learning a lot about Facebook. In fact I have been close reading Facebook from the perspective of use as a collaborative text, investigating its contours and textures. Here are some of observations.
Continue with Reading the Collective Text: facing up to Facebook

Call for Papers

Interaction Design in Pedagogical Practice
Digital Kompetanse/Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy

Call for papers
The Research platform M3 [man medium machine]/the School of Communication, Technology and Design, Södertörn university college & ITU, Oslo university hereby invite you to a workshop on the theme Interaction Design in Pedagogical Practice, November 1-2 2007. Based on the workshop we will produce a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Digital Kompetanse/Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy based on the workshop.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Seminar Today

Tuesday October 2 at 15.15 in the Conference Room

Jim Barrett:
Frames for Interaction: The Implied Respondent of the Digital Preface

Seminar language: English

All are welcome

The text is available in E202.

Introduction (revised after the seminar...ouch):

The term ‘interaction’ is frequently associated with digital media artifacts that are used to convey stories. Terms such as ‘interactive media’, ‘interactive fiction’ and ‘interactive art’ have been used to describe contemporary digital media. Interaction in the context of digital media is commonly understood as the audience being granted some degree of authority over the story and becoming involved by mechanical or representational means in its outcomes. I term specific examples of computer based digital media as texts. I begin critically analyzing the six digital texts of my corpus by reading their prefaces for implied responses to the texts. The preface is that which “goes before”, the “fore-word” that advances the contents of the text on the terms of its creators, owners and/or publishers in a future tense. The preface introduces and frames the text and ultimately positions the reader in relation to it. The preface’s subject is the digital text that is about to be taken up by the reader. In such an analysis, by mapping out the contradictions and consistencies of implied response in the prefaces, it becomes possible to discuss the broader cultural and social significance of each text.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Welcome to the Blogosphere Nicke

I would just like to welcome Nicklas Hållén to the blog world. Nicke is a new PhD candidate with the Department of Modern Languages/English Literature at Umeå Univeristy. He started a blog, Nicke's Tea Party on the weekend and I'm sure it will be an interesting read over the coming four years of PhD work..

Two Gigs in Virtuality

I have two presentations coming up:

4th October
Gender and Space in Online Virtual Worlds
This is a short presentation as part of the ongoing co operation between the Umeå Museum of Visual Culture (Umeå Bildmuseet)and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. We will be presenting HUMlab and some of the things we do.

18th October
"Biblioteket i en annan värld" - Libraries in another world
I will be presenting "Second Life as Archive and Social Space", an introduction to Second Life from the perpective of a library. I have not put this together yet but it will follow the line that SL is a 3D representation of information and how that can be used to promote and work in conjuction with a RL library.