Monday, March 31, 2008

Two films from Slavoj Žižek Online

I saw the documentary Žižek! last night, and enjoyed it. Today I found both Žižek! and The Perverts Guide to Cinema online so they are now cozily embedded on SoulVlog for your ideological viewing pleasure.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Happened to the Pirates?


you teacher used teach about Pirate Hawkins
you teacher used teach about Pirate Morgan
And you said he was a very great man
you teacher used teach about Christopher Columbus
And you said he was a very great man
you teacher used teach about Marco Polo, so

You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youth of today


In a recent radio program on Swedish National Radio, "Pirates and Money" (I have blogged about earlier) the leading lawyer with the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau, Henrik Pontén made the following statement:

"Engelskmannen var dem som besegrade piraterna till slut, med nya taktiker och nya fartyg lyckades engelskmannen besegra piraterna i 1700s."

(The English were the ones which defeated the pirates in the end, with new tactics and and new ships the English succeeded in defeating the pirates in the 1700s.)
Henrik Pontén, SR Radio "Media", 22 March 2008


I thought about this statement for a while after I first heard it, as it seems altogether too one dimensional and certain to accurately reflect 1. History, and 2. the mass of events, peoples and actions that became the British Empire. At the moment I am reading Niall Ferguson's Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, not by choice (I actually set some of it for reading on a course I am teaching) and I am critical of it (Mr. Ferguson chooses his examples well in a sort of Boys Own Annual meets The Economist). However, Ferguson writes well and much of his (carefully selected) source materials do have a significant bearing on how "an archipelago of rainy islands off the north-west coast of Europe came to rule the world" (xi) How this happened began with, and depending on who you ask continued for quite some time, with piracy.

This is where Henrik Pontén is mistaken in what he believes he is fighting, that is what has been come to be termed piracy today (aka file sharing over Internet). I believe the similarities are minimal with the violent acquisition of land, property and human life that was the practice and profession of the pirates to which Pontén refers to in the above quote. But he has drawn the parallel, and we should explore it somewhat. In Ferguson's book there are several references to pirates and piracy, which includes:

"The buccaneers called themselves the "Brethren of the Coast" and had a complex system of profit sharing, including insurance policies for injury. Essentially they were engaged in organized crime. When Morgan led another raid against the Spanish town of Portobelo in Panama, in 1688, he came back with so much plunder - in all, a quarter of a million pieces of eight - that the coins become legal tender in Jamaica. That amounted to to £60 000 from just one raid. The English government not only winked at Morgan's activities, it positively encouraged him. Viewed from London, buccaneering was a low-budget way of waging war against England's principle European foe, Spain. In effect, the crown licenced the pirates and 'privateers', legalising their operations in return for a share of the proceeds. Morgan's career was a classic example of the way the British Empire started out, using enterprising freehand as much as official forces." (2)

"Morgan's career perfectly illustrates the way the empire building process worked. It was a transition from piracy to political power that would change to world forever." (12)

"Once pirates, then traders, the British were now the rulers of millions of peoples overseas - and not just in India.[...] But if British rule in Bengal was to be more than a continuation of the smash-and-grab tactics of the buccaneers a more subtle approach was needed." (38)


The "new approach" was supposed to be the appointment of Warren Hastings as the first Governor-General of British India in 1773. In 1788 Hastings was on trial in London for, among other things "gross injustice, cruelty and treachery" as well as "impoverishing and depopulating the whole country of Oude". (49) As the British East India Company was what the Governor-General really managed it was "the state of near perpetual warfare" (44) waged by the Company in India (and their potential profits) that had resulted in it being taken over by the British Government under the new India Act of 1784. According to the Act:

  • the work of trading had to be separated from
    the work of ruling India

  • a six-man Board of Control from the Privy
    Council, headed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was to be appointed. This
    meant that the Board of Control would change with the government.

  • the ministerial board was to have sight of all the papers of the Company and was to issue orders to the directors
    of the Company which they were bound, in practice, to obey. The Board of Control
    could, in case of emergency, transmit the orders direct to India.

  • the appointment of offices in India was retained
    by the Company subject to the king's over-riding power to veto or remove

  • the Governor-General in Calcutta and his council was given absolute power with regard to foreign policy over the other presidencies
    in Bombay and Madras

  • the Governor-General had the power to over-rule
    his council (this came with an amendment in 1786)

  • British subjects were made responsible to
    English courts for wrongs done in India. All returning "nabobs" were to declare
    their fortunes


  • It was never the case, as Pontén hopefully supposes (repeatedly), that Britain simply "defeated the pirates in the end, with new tactics and new ships the English succeeded in defeating the pirates in the 1700s." Rather it was a complex series of moves and counter moves, where the actions of pirates were used to the advantage of the British government when it suited. The pirate/privateer Morgan himself ended up becoming Lieutenant Governor Admiral Sir Henry Morgan of Jamaica in 1673. Those pirates that went against what was expected of them or began getting too independent, such as Edward Teach (Blackbeard -who bought a pardon once from the British Governor Charles Eden of North Carolina but then abandoned settled life and the offer of subsequent pardons), met with violent deaths at the hands of their former business partners.

    My own Great Great Grandfather in 1859 was part of an expedition that left Sydney and sailed up the east coast of Australia with 12 muskets and a cannon in response to "The New South Wales Government [which] in 1859 has posted a reward of 2000 pounds to anyone who discovered a suitable harbour north of Port Alma (near Rockhampton)." They found one, Port Denison at Bowen and while they did not get the reward the township of Bowen was founded by Captain Henry Daniel Sinclair, his partners James Gordon (my ancestor) and Benjamin Poole in 1861. From 1861-1866 the area around Bowen was closed to Aborigines, with none allowed to enter its boundaries. Today the area is a vibrant tourist location and source of primary produce. It began as a 'claimed' territory in the tradition of all great piracy.

    If history is to be our teacher in regards to the debates around file sharing and intellectual property, I diverge considerably from the position of Henrik Pontén. I think the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau should be offering jobs to those involved in the Pirate Bay, BitTorrent, Pirate Bureau and so on. It is the only hope they have of solving this problem if the lessons of the past still hold true today.

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Friday Downstreams (Matted Eye Meets Sky)


    Tibetan Buddhist monks cry as they surround foreign journalists at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa on Thursday. (The Central News Agency, via Reuters)


    I just emerged after three days of hibernation. Sun is shinning and snow melting. Three days ago when I became possessed of a strange alien lump in the center of my crown, stuck by fever and pain, it was minus 10 degrees and snowing. This evening people wander happily along forest paths with flasks clinking in plastic bags. It's Friday in the student quarter. Spring is not too far away. Here is some joy to help you along.

    Adobe Photoshop Express - Made You Look.
    This link is probably moving around the web faster than grainy pictures of celebrities doing weird things to each other. Adobe's new Internet version called Photoshop Express is available for free at www.photoshop.com/express. It's probably the most sophisticated Webware product we've yet to see, adding even more online power to applications like Google's suite of Web-based word processing, spreadsheet and photo sharing programs.


    WFMU's Beware of the Blog: The Field Guide to Staying Inside: The Hurdy Gurdy (Mp3s)
    The hurdy gurdy is some thousand years old, a sort of imploded and rosined-up bicycle that was used to make a single note last way long in the days before electricity. Its design, a wheel that turns against depressed strings housed inside a wooden box, is far more economical than its predecessor - an early viol de gamba with a bow of several furlongs in length that required several grown men or a team of oxen to play. By the Donovanian Era, however, it had been contained in a small crank case and employed a second bridge, called a "dog" but crafted from raccoon bones, that lifted against the spinning wheel to create a buzzing sound thought to be pleasant.
    As musical instruments got better with time, the hurdy gurdy came to be seen as an instrument for poor people, and was called the "Bettlerleier," or "beggar's lyre" in 17th Century Germany. This was long before the European Union, however, and other countries were free to like it. The French decided there was something fancy about it, and Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi went so far as to compose for it.
    In later years, the barrel organ, popularly played by street vendors with monkeys, came to be called by the same name, and, unrelated, popular singer Sting appeared on the 2004 Grammy telecast holding one, setting off a short-lived air-hurdy-gurdy craze.
    Popular musicians other than Sting and Vivaldi have also worked with the hurdy gurdy, and TFGTSI is pleased to present an A-Z digest of some of the more notable vielists of the hurdy gurdy.


    Stereogum Presents... Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk's Post
    On Monday 3/31, Stereogum releases Enjoyed, our song-by-song tribute to Björk's Post. Perfect material for a compilation by 11 different artists, no? Log on Monday to download the full album for free in MP3 format, read our new interview with Björk, and check out liner notes and videos from the contributing artists. Here's the album cover (designed by Scott Hansen), tracklist, and an early listen to Dirty Projectors' "Hyperballad."

    Tracklist
    Liars - "Army Of Me"
    Dirty Projectors - "Hyperballad"
    High Places - "Modern Things"
    Bell - "It's Oh So Quiet"
    Pattern Is Movement - "Enjoy"
    Evangelicals - "You've Been Flirting Again"
    Xiu Xiu - "Isobel"
    Final Fantasy & Ed Droste - "Possibly Maybe"
    White Hinterland - "I Miss You"
    El Guincho - "Cover Me"
    Atlas Sound - "Headphones

    What Can Universities Do to Promote Open Access? (Event Video/Audio)
    Peter Suber discusses “What Can Universities Do to Promote Open Access?”. strong>Runtime: 01:34:59, size: 320×240, 290MB, .MOV, H.264 codec. Everyone working in higher education should watch this.

    U B U W E B - Film & Video: Maria Anna Tapeiner - The Body as a Matrix: Matthew Barney¹s Cremaster Cycle
    The Body as a Matrix: Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle Video. With the five-part Cremaster Cycle of films, multi-award-winning artist Matthew Barney invented a densely layered and interconnected sculptural world that surreally combines sports, biology, sexuality, history, and mythology as it organically evolves. In this program, Barney, Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector, and others deconstruct the Cycle's filming and subsequent translation into sculptural installations. The locations, characters, and symbols that organize the Cycle films; the Cycle installations as spatial content carriers and extensions of the performances; and objectification of the body and undifferentiated sexuality are addressed, as are the intricacies of costuming, makeup, and sculpting with Barney's signature materials: plastic, metal, and Vaseline. Contains nudity and mature themes. (53 minutes.) The Arts, Art and Photography 2002

    U B U W E B - Film & Video: Henry Miller - "Dinner With Henry"
    Dinner With Henry is a rare, 30-minute documentary about Henry Miller. It is exactly what the title implies: footage of Henry having dinner. With him at the table is the film crew, and actress/model Brenda Venus, to whom Henry was enamoured in the final years of life. Henry - at age 87 - spends the majority of his time speaking on a number of subjects, the most persistent of which is Blaise Cendrars. Occasionally, he complains about the food. That is all. It may not be of much interest to a general audience, but is a curious "slice of life" for any Miller fan who likes to imagine being at the table with him.

    UbuWeb Sound :: Tellus #10: All Guitars! (1985)
    Includes Lee Ranaldo, Butthole Surfers, Bob Mould, Blixa Bargeld, Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, Glen Branca and more. Mp3s all free to download. Take me back to 1985......

    MUTANT SOUNDS: Blue for Two-st,LP,1986,Sweden
    Blue For Two were a Swedish synth band from the 80s,consisting of Freddie Wadling (of Cortex fame) and Henryk Lipp. The word synth pop or minimal synth though is not the exact word to describe the music here.Electronics are combined great with rock,jazz,ethnic music,cabaret influences and all this combined with Wadling's deep dark voice a unique atmosphere is created. Sometimes it reminds Low -era Bowie ,especially in the vocal part.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Safer Children in a Digital World

    The Byron Report: Safer Children in a Digital World was released today by the United Kingdom Department for Children, Schools and Families. It is a large and fairly comprehensive report based on 'evidence' and not 'emotions' according to its author, Tanya Byron, most famous as the host of the TV parenting reality programs Little Angels; Teen Angels; House of Tiny Tearaways; Panorama; How to Improve Your Memory - with Professor Robert Winston. Dr Byron has also some heavy academic qualifications and the report Safer Children in a Digital World on the surface seems to be a very good account of the possibilities and problems associated with digital media. Some of the conclusions are:

    Risks associated with online gaming
    Content.Both static (commercial developers) and UGC.
    Contact. Giving away personal details.
    Conduct. Abusive or threatening behavior.


    Benefits associated with online gaming
    Rather than isolating and alienating, the report suggests that online gaming enables greater sociability.
    Quote: ‘One of the reasons I enjoy playing video games online, is that I can interact with people from all over the world and make friends. Most online games have groups of players working together to complete objectives, which can improve team and leadership skills, or just for socialising while playing the game. Some of my best friends are online ones.’
    Learning potential. Online gaming is an important part of the lives of many children with specific accessibility needs.


    Recommendations from the report (a summary)
    Creation of a single set of standards to manage the risks.
    A sharing of expertise between the emerging online gaming sector and existing social networking/UGC sites.
    Awareness raising, age verification, risk informing.
    Player responsiblity, reporting, excessive use of management and monitoring.


    The solution of monitoring for the dangers of a digital world seems to be inline with much of the discourse that is apparent at the moment when it comes to digital (read 'Internet') media. That being control by monitoring. The Byron Report, however seems to achnowledge that it is not a simple situation and there is a need for freedom on the net, it draws on some credible sources from academic circles as well as interviewing parents and young people.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Culture and computer games: Studying online activities

    Today in HUMlab there begins a symposium on video gaming. I am at home not feeling the best - cold snap has wrought havoc with my body (I am a tropical being). Anyway, I am saving my strength and will crawl to HUMlab tomorrow if I have to as there are some excellent seminars being offered as well as a two part workshop on machinima. The time table is online as well there are presentations that will be streamed live online (from a very funky new interface), beginning today at 13:15:

    Wednesday the 26th of March
    13.15 From social games to social systems, Lecture by Luca Rossi, University of Urbino, Italy

    16.15-16.45 Leadership in World of Warcraft, Lecture by Peter Zackariasson, Gothenburg Research Institute, Sweden


    Thursday the 27th of March
    9.15 Following the White Rabbit: A Comparative Analysis of Identification mechanisms in American McGee’s Alice, Lecture by Jan Van Looy, Umeå University, Sweden

    11.00 Identity formation, Lecture by Jessica Langer, Royal Holloway, University of London, England

    12.30 Audio as support for gameplay, Lecture by Kristine Jørgensen, University of Bergen, Norway

    13.45 Character advancement, game progression and learning, Lecture by Jonas Linderoth, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


    Friday the 28th of March
    10.15 The Cultural Practices of Cheating in Digital Games, Lecture with Mia Consalvo, the School of Media Arts & Studies, Ohio University, USA

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Gonzo Works to be Streamed Simultaneously with Airing

    In my post from yesterday on the piracy situation in Sweden, nobody in the radio broadcast spoke about the velocity of the media allowing for so much piracy to take place. A cinema release in the USA can be on hardrives in Helsinki within a few hours. So this innovative approach from the Japanese animation studio GDH is very interesting:

    The Japanese media company GDH has announced that the YouTube, Crunchyroll, and BOST online video services will be streaming new titles from GDH's Gonzo animation studio — worldwide and on the same day as their Japanese broadcast. The video streams, which will be in Japanese with English subtitles, will start with The Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk and Blassreiter anime series. Druaga will premiere on April 4, and Blassreiter will premiere on April 5.

    All three video services offer their content via streaming, although GDH also mentioned "fee-based download of high-resolution movie files" in its press release. America's Viz Media offered NTV's Death Note episodes for download within half a year of their Japanese broadcast, but GDH's new initiative is the first global, simultaneous streaming of multiple series from a major anime studio.

    GDH added that its "decision to provide its content globally in parallel with Japanese broadcast is an effort to offer equal accessibility and new viewing opportunities to fans around the world, while at the same time showcasing a legal online alternative to illegal file-sharing and downloading." GDH also emphasized that these services are for foreign viewers only; the company already has deals in place to stream its content through services within Japan.

    From Anime News Network via Warren Ellis

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    An Easter Radio Special on File Sharing in Sweden

    If you can understand Swedish you may be interested in listening to the Swedish National Radio special on Pirates and Money (Streamed online for the next 30 days and available as a Mp3 download). It is an attempt to present the so many diverse opinions around peer to peer file sharing in Sweden, which is done by 1.3 million Swedes. Money is a central concern, innovation and new media models is another. Swedes pay around 6-7 billion crowns (around $1 billion US) per year for broadband connection, plus what is payed for Mp3 players, blank CDs and all the rest of the gear that goes with file sharing. File sharing is not free. Money is the prize not the music.
    "Inte jaga en hel ungdomsgeneration" (Not hunt down a whole youth generation)is the quote repeated from the politicians from the major Swedish parties. However, they seem at a loss regrading how they are going to please the industry and be able to give consumers a model they are happy with. "Creative solutions" are needed but there are few being offered. Politicians admit they have problems with their own children and downloading of copyright protected material in their own homes. One film maker was telephoned to ask about file sharing, Hannes Holm, who has campaigned against file sharing. His daughter answered the phone and explained that "pappa gets angry with me when I download films", and that "grätis är gott" (free is delicious)- it is clear that the model of P2P file sharing is one that fits with the consumption that is taught to the young in our society from the earliest years of their lives. Why shouldn't they do it?
    Another interesting point mentioned in the broadcast but rarely taken up is how the Internet relies on localised sub networks, P2P sections, to run. At the beginning of the broadcast the journalist mentions how when the Pirate bay torrent tracker was taken offline briefly in 2006 there was a noticed decline in Internet traffic. Imagine if all torrent networks were closed down and information generally went through the main channels at the center of the network. The congestion would be severe, as a 2007 study pointed out:

    Three distinct regions are apparent: an inner core of highly connected nodes, an outer periphery of isolated networks, and a mantle-like mass of peer-connected nodes. The bigger the node, the more connections it has. Those nodes that are closest to the center are connected to more well-connected nodes than are those on the periphery. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
    Interesting. A review of the study in The Technology Review summarized the findings as; "Routing traffic through peer-to-peer networks could stave off Internet congestion, according to a new study." (previous post)

    2007 NMC Conference Proceedings

    The 2007 NMC Conference Proceedings features sixteen papers on topics from virtual worlds and gaming to streaming media technologies, digital storytelling, and more. The topics were ones nominated by attendees at the 2007 NMC Summer Conference held in June at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

    The Proceedings include these papers:

    The Arts Metaverse in Open Croquet: Exploring an Open Source 3-D Online Digital World Ulrich Rauch and Tim Wang | University of British Columbia
    Beyond World of Warcraft: the Universe of MMOGs Ruben R. Puentedura | Hippasus
    ClevelandPlus in Second Life Wendy Shapiro, Lev Gonick, and Sue Shick | Case Western Reserve University
    Out of the Cave or Further In? The Realities of Second Life Gregory Reihman | Lehigh University
    Pleasure, Play, Participation and Promise: Socio-emotional Dimensions of Digital Culture Which Are Transforming the Shape of New Media Literacies Angela Thomas | University of Sydney
    Teaching Field Research in a Virtual World Ed Lamoureux | Bradley University
    A View from Second Life’s Trenches: Are You a Pioneer or a Settler? Cynthia Calongne | Colorado Technical University


    Download (2.6Mb, 133 pp)

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Friday Downstreams (the Green Man returns)


    For my schooling between the ages of 5 and 12 I went to a Lutheren Church of Australia primary school. We had a lot of bible study and prayer. I remember they had Salavador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross (1951) in the assembly hall where we had church services and I spent a lot of time looking at it trying to work it out. Getting lost in it I suppose. It really had an effect on me as it seemed like Jesus was flying away on his cross and the two fishermen, who seemed to be very baroque, were ignoring him. I still consider it a very hallucinogenic painting (like many of Dali's). I included it here as an Easter gesture. And now to the few nice things I found on the web this past week:

    UbuWeb Sound - David Cronenberg Presents Andy Warhol
    Recorded at The Art Gallery of Ontario
    Friday, May 19. 2006
    In July, he is curating an Andy Warhol exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. "Andy was making underground films when I was making underground films," the director said. "And I was more inspired by him than by Hollywood. He created himself: He was an outsider, a Slovakian, Catholic, gay, an artist, poor; an outsider in his own family, a triple outsider like Kafka, with his nose pressed against the New York window. And, he became the ultimate insider, the center of his own world, and drew people to him. He became a huge example of the invention of an identity." In fact, a Cronenberg character.
    Conceived and narrated by renowned filmmaker David Cronenberg to accompany the exhibition Andy Warhol/Supernova:Stars Death and Disasters, 1962-1964. Commentary by David Cronenberg, Mary-Lou Green, Dennis Hopper, David Moos,James Rosenquist and Amy Taubin

    UbuWeb Sound :: Tellus #23 - Paul Bowles
    Curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey
    Released 1989
    Till the age of 40, Paul Bowles (1910-1999) was a composer and music critic, composing for Broadway musicals, Hollywood movie scores, incidental music for ballet. He once aknowledged to be a composer of ‘hotel music’, though his serious music calls to mind that of Copland, Virgil Thomson, Francis Poulenc or Satie. It is actually when he get tired of writing easy music that he turned to writing literature.
    Curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey, ‘The Voices of Paul Bowles’ is an audio portrait combining some of the composer’s music with readings from his own texts, Morrocan traditional music and location recordings from Tangier and Morroco where he lived from 1947. The most striking device is the handsome and warm voice of Bowles reading through his writings. Also notable are the lively field recordings of folk local music Bowles made himself in 1959 (tracks #01, 03, 06 & 09). The simoon (my conjecture) heard at the end of ‘The Garden’, track #08, is a short but evocative recording of a North Africa typical wind. Bowles own compositions are exquisite vignettes full of humour and wit.
    A microcosm in itself, a day in the life of Paul Bowles, the tape starts with the muezzin’s morning call to prayer and ends with dogs barking at sunset, an amazing barking chorale recorded amid the rising desert wind. A poignant conclusion to an utterly beautiful tape.

    UbuWeb Sound :: Tellus #13 - Power Electronics
    Maybe Mental - Look At The Clown (3:50)
    Merzbow - Gamma-Titan (6:05)
    Amor Fati - Will To Live (3:40)
    If, Bwana - Umm... (2:35)
    Rhys Chatham - Excerpt From XS (2:20)
    Psyclones - Excerpt From Between Space (5:00)
    Blackhouse - One Nation Under God (3:00)
    Joseph Nechvatal - How To Kill (0:50)
    Master/Slave Relationship - The Heaviest (3:30)
    Maybe Mental - Memories Of My Birth (4:37)
    Architects Office - AD 301.5 (1:00)
    Controlled Bleeding - Clotage (5:15)
    Mojo (3) - The Fighters Distance (Excerpt) (2:40)
    Coup De Grace - Your Children (2:40)
    Le Syndicat - Putrefied Brain (Excerpt) (2:10)
    Mitch Corber - The Sirens (4:50)
    F/i - on off (8:30)

    UbuWeb Sound - Michael Taylor on Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi [55:25]
    Recorded on March 6, 2008 at The University of Pennsylvania.
    Includes Q &A with Penn students.
    Michael Taylor was born in London in 1966, and received Master of Arts degrees from both the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Courtauld Institute in London. Dr. Taylor also received his PhD from the Courtauld Institute where he wrote his dissertation on Marcel Duchamp's Fountain and the critical reception of the artist's readymades from the period of 1913 until 1968. He is a key member of the curatorial team responsible for organizing the upcoming major retrospective Salvador Dali (February 16-May 15, 2005), working with the distinguished British scholar Professor Dawn Ades, as co-editor of the major volume that will accompany the much-anticipated exhibition in Venice and Philadelphia. Dr. Taylor has recently organized the exhibition Jacques Lipchitz and Philadelphia (July 27- August 22, 2004) and is author of a new Museum Bulletin devoted to the eminent 20th century sculptor. Previous exhibitions organized by Dr. Taylor at the Museum include Henry Moore: A Centennial Salute (July 30 - November 29, 1998), and the critically acclaimed Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne, (November 1, 2002 - January 5, 2003) which traveled to the Estorick Museum, London, and examined more than 60 works drawn from all phases of the artist's career. He was also curator of Howard Hodgkin in Philadelphia (March 22 - May 20, 2001) and co-curator, with Ann Temkin, of Dorothea Tanning: Birthday and Beyond (November 24, 2000 - January 7, 2001).

    Red vs Blue- Season 1 1 hr 11 min 20 sec
    The entire first season's episodes of the machinima classic Red Vs Blue. It can be downloaded from the site as well so its the ideal gift. Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, often abbreviated as RvB, is a machinima comic science fiction video series created by Rooster Teeth Productions and distributed primarily through the Internet and DVD. The series chronicles the story of two opposing teams of soldiers fighting a civil war in the middle of a desolate box canyon (Blood Gulch), in a parody of first-person shooter (FPS) games, military life, and science fiction films. Initially intended to be a short series of six to eight episodes, the project quickly and unexpectedly achieved significant popularity following its Internet premiere on April 1, 2003. Rooster Teeth therefore decided to extend the series; the fifth and final season ended with episode 100, released on June 28, 2007.

    Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas
    Nick Mamatas's 2004 novel Move Under Ground. He decided to release it under a Creative Commons license for a number of reasons. The first is simply that he wishes his novel to be more widely read. The second is that he is currently a student at Western Connecticut University's MFA program in Professional Writing, and this site is a project for its class on publishing technologies. The third is a bit more mercenary: if you like this book, perhaps you'd like to buy either the hardcover or the trade paperback. You may also wish to check out his most recent book, a novel for young people called Under My Roof, which is about neighborhood-level nuclear proliferation.

    First Paragraph:
    I was in Big Sur hiding from my public when I finally heard from Neal again. He had had problems of his own after the book came out and it started being carried around like a rosary by every scruffy party boy looking for a little cross-country hitchhiking adventure. They'd followed him around like they'd followed me, but Neal drank too deeply of the well at first, making girls left and right as usual, taking a few too many shots to the face, and eating out on the story of our travels maybe one too many times. Those boozy late-night dinners with crazy soulless characters whose jaws clacked like mandibles when they laughed are what got to him in the end, I'm sure. They were hungry for something. Not just the college boys and beautiful young things, but those haggard-looking veterans of Babylon who started shadowing Neal and me on every street corner and at every dawn-draped last call in roadside bars; they all wanted more than a taste of Neal's divine spark, they wanted to extinguish it in their gullets. Neal was the perfect guy for them as he always walked on the edge, ever since the first shiv was held to his throat at reform school when he was a seven-year-old babe with a fat face and shiny teary cheeks. He wanted to eat up the whole world himself like they did, I knew from my adventures on the road with him, but I didn't learn what was eating him 'til I got that letter that drove me to move under ground.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Paper submitted for a Pedegogy Course

    The Classroom as Dialogic Space:
    Questioning How Space Effects Learning


    The spatial arrangement of physical learning and teaching environments is an important part of how behavior and attitudes are negotiated in it. Outcomes from teaching and learning sessions are argued here as having degrees of relation to the space the session is conducted in. Following Bakhtin (1982) it is possible to build a relationship between discourse and dialogism, whereby the centrifugal (hierarchical, ordered, centralized) and centripetal (dispersed, horizontal) forces at work in a communicative act or assemblage (i.e. a classroom) are made apparent through analysis of the exchanges which take place in such a textual and discursive environment. The ‘authoring of space’ can be a way of discussing architecture and design in relation to teaching and learning practice and it is upon this premise that the paper is grounded. The paper discusses a small action research based study comparing spatial arrangements and dialogic interaction in learning and teaching environments where heightened dialogic learning is seen as the optimal state for all participants.



    Introduction
    The dialogic classroom (Galin and Latchaw 1998) is a space where teachers and students dedicate themselves to re-seeing their situations by “disbanding their habitual orientations” and learning to “restructure and re-examine” conflicting sets of “perception and understanding”. Dialogic teaching and learning involve, in part, openness to the unknown and a rejection of stale or habitual approaches to education, especially within contexts that involve technology. (Galin and Latchaw xi) In relation to dialogic learning Koschmann (1999) describes it “as the process of multiple voices coming into contact, both within and across speaker-produced utterances”. It is reasonable to equate the classroom with the spatial arrangement implied by Koschmann in that voices are situated spatially (“coming into contact”, “within and across”) in relation to each other.
    Over a time period of one week research was conducted in four learning sessions within particularly defined spaces on the campus of Umeå University. An overall assessment of each session was undertaken using criteria from Taylor et al (1997) regarding constructivist learning environments that exhibit dialogic qualities. In these environments students are able to

    * Negotiate with the teacher about the nature of their learning activities
    * Participate in the determination of assessment criteria and undertake self assessment and peer-assessment.
    * Engage in collaborative and open-ended inquiry with fellow students.
    * Participate in reconstructing the social norms of the classroom.

    The criteria from Taylor et. al. in conjunction with those of the dialogic classroom listed by Galin and Latchaw ( “disbanding their habitual orientations”, “restructure and re-examine”, and “perception and understanding”), were used to evaluate the dialogic qualities of four learning spaces at Umeå University where the design of the physical space is questioned.

    _____________________________________________________________

    First pages of a paper presented as part of a pedegogy course I have taken in the last months or so.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Stand with Tibet - Support the Dalai Lama


    Tibet: End the Violence.


    After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China's leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.

    We can affect this historic choice -- China does care about its international reputation. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get the government's attention. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world's people to support him. Fill out the form below to sign the petition--and spread the word.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    A RADICAL BLACKFOOT TEACHES THE ECONOMICS OF GLOBALIZATION



    Jim M. Craven (Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi), Professor of Economics and Business Division Chair at Clark College/Vancouver, speaks at the Globalization of Homelessness and Poverty Community Lecture Series, Washington State University/Vancouver. January 27th, 2005
    Thanks to Nick for the tip.

    News and Video Roundup on Tibetan Uprising



    An excellent summary of links and sources for what has been happening in Tibet and the reactions and actions taking place around the world is available at Intercontinental Cry. Please send it out.

    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Remember Tibet



    “Self-determination is an inalienable human right. It cannot be denied the Tibetan people.”
    Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa, Nobel Peace Laureate

    Today police have fired teargas to disperse Buddhist monks and others staging a second day of protests in sympathy with anti-Chinese demonstrations in Lhasa that has left at least 30 dead. Unconfirmed reports say the figure is closer to 130. (Guardian)

    The demonstrations in several Chinese, Tibetan and Indian cities marked the 49th anniversary of the failed uprising against the Chinese occupation that led to the Dalai Lama fleeing to India.

    The protests this week targeted Han Chinese immigrant businesses and property in Lhasa and as many as 160 fires were started in the central part of the city (Pop. 255,000). The Tibetan people have been waging a struggle for cultural and ethnic survival with a settlement strategy on the part of the Chinese administration posing a grave threat to their survival as a cultural unit. According to the Free Tibet Campaign:

    The 1990 Chinese census claims a Chinese population of 4.2 million, and a Tibetan population of 4.59 million. Free Tibet Campaign estimates the total number of Chinese in Tibet as 5 to 5.5 million (New Majority)


    I spent two months with Tibetan people in Ladakh and Dharamsala in 1996. I attended lectures and meetings which dealt with the situation as it was then on the Tibetan plateau and it was very very grim. Over a million people have died since the occupation began. A thousand years of cultural and artistic heritage has been vandalised.



    The Tibet Autonomous Regional Government (aka the Chinese administration) has today announced those hundreds of Tibetans involved in the protests of the last few days have until Monday to give themselves up to police. If they do so the authorities will ``lighten the punishment''. If they do not it will ``severely punish'' those who don't comply or people who aide them. Being arrested by the Chinese police in Tibet is a terrifying prospect with torture and death part of regular penal administration. Mass arrests are likely next week.


    Tibet The Story Of A Tragedy

    In Lhasa this weekend people will be hiding, scared, injured, trying to escape, looking for missing friends and family. The fact the Olympic Games is taking place in Beijing in 5 months makes me sick. The 2008 Olympics is a farce and should be boycotted by all. I am not even going to watch it on TV and I don't think anyone should.

    "We have no human rights there, governments around the world should speak out. It is about people's lives, not business. People are fighting for freedom and the truth." Ngawang Sangdrol, a Buddhist nun, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for her beliefs.


    An Eyewitness Account of Yesterday in Lhasa (Mp3 pop up)

    Remember Tibet!

    IP Number Access for Sweden

    The Swedish Culture and the Justice Ministers made a joint announcemnt yesterday that they would be soon introducing legislation into the national parliament that would allow copyright holders (i.e. publishers and artists) to obtain the IP numbers throught the courts for those which either download or distibute copyrighted material,which the do not have the rights to, over peer to peer networks on the internet.
    The coalition parties in the government have agreed in prinicple to the legislation proposal, following debate over whether or not it should be possible for the authorities to close down internet accounts (and therefore access) of those that continue to distribute and download after having recieved a warning. It was decided that closure of accounts would not be the goal and legal proceedings with fines and jail time would be.
    When asked about the details of the plan the Justice Minister Beatrice Ask replied:

    "Vi har inte gått in på detaljer än, men det går att få fram att en IP-adress använts för fildelning. Hur det tekniska ska gå till är inte helt utarbetat. Men självklart har inte rättsväsendet tid att hålla på med vilka småärenden som helst."

    (We have not gone into details yet, but it is possible to obtain the IP-address that is used in file sharing. How the technology shall be organised is not completely worked out. But obviously the legal department does not have the time to go through every small detail.)


    The reaction in the blogosphere concerning the announcment has been for the most part silent. At this stage there are no details for the plan and with well over a million Swedes currently sharing material over P2P networks (out of total population of 9 million) the proposal itself seems somewhat top heavy.
    The spokesperson for the anti-pirates Henrik Pontén said he welcomed the decision because he beleives it will provide the creators with a degree of protection ("kreatörerna får ett visst skydd"). However, how an artist would go about obtaining the hundreds of thousands of IP numbers used in distributing a popular download like the recent most downloaded DVDrip on BitTorrent "The Mist" remains to be seen.

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Friday Downstreams (the vision of emptiness)



    The week has gone and I am near empty handed when it comes to media for the Friday downstreams. This week has been poor for my blog and my ears and eyes. Due to an insane amount of work done at university I give you but a few pieces that may make the time pass easier;

    John Frusciante - two albums: Songs From Shadows, From The Sounds Inside
    John Frusciante is in my opinion the most interesting of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, mid you the competition is not exaclty overpowering. He is quite active in putting out his own solo albums. He gives away a very generous amount of demo and acoustic tracks at his web site.

    Some words from the mighty psychedelic wonderland that is Finlandia:

    Kek-w explores the music of Finland's forests and decaying post-industrial towns, finding a wealth of electronic pop innovators and some damn-fine horse-hair lyre playing, and catches up with Kompleksi for an exclusive interview. Videos, reviews, and images.

    Sound sculpture (August 22, 2006)
    Here we are a fresh mix from this " active guy " in the netaudio scene : DJ L' EMBROUILLE esclusive for deepindub.org .
    Please peepz, enjoy.
    Cheers.
    Produced by deepindub.org (fine internet radio with much - CHECK IT).

    And if you want to enrich you life with some of the best from the contemporary art scene in India check this out.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    New Media Writing and Digital Art

    The New River journal of digital writing and art Fall 2007
    All the News That’s Fit to Print by Jody Zellen :: The Wave by Heather Raikes :: Digital Paintings by Karin Kuhlmann :: A Sky of Cinders by Tim Lockridge :: Marginalia in the Library of Babel by Mark Marino :: Semantic Disturbances by Agam Andreas :: (NON)sense for to from Eva Hesse by Carrie Meadows.

    New Media Writing and Digital Art

    In the new tradition of including the realm of digital art in the journal, there are several pieces in this issue that can be considered solely digital art, and those that bridge the line between art and hypertext. Karin Kuhlmann’s three-dimensional algorhythmic works create a similar satisfaction to viewing a traditional canvas, but are amazing in their digital method.

    Digital writing rarely appears in such a way that demands the reader remain within a sequential order of screens. Hypertext relies on surprising associations and non-linear linking to keep the reader’s interest. There are several pieces in this issue that bridge the distinctions of new media writing and digital art. For instance, Jody Zellen’s “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” uses text from The New York Times to create a beautiful and effective piece of interactive art. Zellen’s work incorporates a type of found poetry consisting of juxtaposed headlines which the reader can keep clicking to create new lines. This is work that is both visually satisfying and pertinent. The reader is able to create her or his own meanings with each new page. In a similar way, Heather Raikes’ “The Wave,” uses choreography and visually stimulating links along with original text to create the world of the piece.

    The work of A. Andreas also functions as digital art. Andreas’ pieces do not move from node to node, as the aforementioned works, but exist as artistic compositions that use movement and color to create the tone of each work. Words appear unexpectedly, in a less linear fashion, and contribute to the associations the viewers make for themselves.
    Lauren Goldstein, Managing Editor

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    The New Tool

    After struggling for the last few years to be happy with the Sony MZ-NH900 mini disc player I have finally given up. The advantages of using the mini-disc were finally all wiped out by the horror that is Sonic Stage. The DRM enabled software Sonic Stage basically renders the MZ-NH900 unusable for anyone wanting to do field recordings, sound work or archiving of their own sounds. So yesterday I took possession of a new tool that I think will make me very happy:



    The Samson Zoom H4.I think I am in love.........

    Apart from that. Its work work and more work. At the moment I am teaching, writing a paper on The Classroom as Dialogic Space: Questioning How Space Effects Learning and working on a thesis chapter. Not much time for blogging and the recording on the Zoom is going to be a Summer long experience. Back to the books....

    Saturday, March 08, 2008

    Collaborative Authorship and Networked Archives

    The image of the author is not a stranger to us. But at the same time asking someone what is an author can bring replies ranging from personal names (“Stephen King is an author”) to a description of what an author does. In the domains of digital media an author is not what it used to be. In shared media forms such as blogging, vlogging, webzines, wiki-ing, internet radio (and television), podcasting and digital storytelling we find examples of the “increased diversity of these participatory practices, or for the increased technological interrelatedness often referred to as technological convergence.” (Carpentier and De Cleen 8). The boundaries between what is an author and what is a reader/consumer are blurred and often non-existent. At the same time boundaries between media forms are also collapsing as new forms of representation find us reading ‘books’ that are actually 3 dimensional images of books reproduced electronically. A ‘page’ can have a radio station embedded into it and the source code for the entire arrangement is easily copied and pasted into a new document to be uploaded to another URL as a mirror site. Due to the complexities of new media creation I prefer to equate Author with authority and the authority over a text can be passed on to or shared with the next person for content creation or revision if the architecture of the work allows it. The shared responsibility for the text and the simultaneous creation-distribution-storage of the work is what I call collaborative authorship and networked archive.
    The best way at the moment to assure a text can be passed on for growth and value creation is by using open source and creative commons style licensing.

    The Open Source Canon
    But at some point, if you keep inviting people into your world, you have to give them a stake in it. When consumers stop consuming and start creating, the energy and ideas they feed into these worlds have to change it. All geeks get the concept of "the canon," which defines the history and rules of a fictional world. But to take advantage of the new media landscape, we have to start talking about open source canons. The fans who bring the best ideas, the most energy and the sharpest sense of where the world should go will win the ears of the producers back in Hollywood.


    Authorship in the Digital Age a talk by Howard Rodman

    Let me throw out a bunch of questions:
    •The person who takes pen in hand and writes an essay, is that the author? Well, yes.
    •A medieval monk who copies a manuscript, is he the author? He’s the one wielding the instrument; he’s the one leaving the mark– But is he the author? Most of us instinctively would say, no. Because authorship involves more than the reproduction of a work—it seems to involve the creation of a work.
    Each technological change brings about a new confusion of the concept of authorship.
    Now, in the digital age, authorship is more and more diffuse. More fugitive. More difficult to locate.
    Let me throw out some examples.

    Building the Cathedral: Collaborative Authorship and the Internet
    The World Wide Web is, quite possibly, the most collaborative multi-cultural project in the history of mankind. Millions of people have contributed personal homepages, blogs, and other sites to the growing body of human expression available online. It is, one could say, the secular equivalent of the medieval cathedral, designed by a professional, but constructed by non-professionals, regular folk who are eager to participate in the construction of a legacy. Such is the context for projects like Wikimedia and the Semantic Web, designed by elite programmers, built by the masses.

    Japanese Mobile Phone Novels
    TOKYO — Until recently, cellphone novels — composed on phone keypads by young women wielding dexterous thumbs and read by fans on their tiny screens — had been dismissed in Japan as a subgenre unworthy of the country that gave the world its first novel, “The Tale of Genji,” a millennium ago. Then last month, the year-end best-seller tally showed that cellphone novels, republished in book form, have not only infiltrated the mainstream but have come to dominate it.

    GOOD COPY BAD COPY - a documentary about the current state of copyright and culture

    Is the Web Good for Writing?
    Now the web — and its democratizing impact — has spread for over a decade. Over a billion people can deliver their text to a very broad public. It's a fantastic thing which gives a global voice to dissidents in various regions, makes people less lonely by connecting other people with similar interests and problems, ad infinitum.
    But what does it mean for writers and writing? What does it mean for those who specialize in writing well?


    Metavid:Democratizing the Archive

    Metavid shows how contemporary archives impede democratic access to the production of meaning around context specific online [re]presentations of elected Representatives. Contemporary archives act as gatekeepers to meaning production by; implementing costly permission based access to public media assets; promoting the production of static, opaque consumable mediations; and engaging in proprietary encapsulation for self-preservation. These problems are traced to the application of restrictive broadcast production metaphors to the internet, where less restrictive forms of participation are possible. The conditions of contemporary archives are generalized as a consequence of operating in a culture of consumption; a culture where meaning is produced to be consumed. We present an alternative to the consumer based broadcast model in the online context by making source documents freely available for reuse, alternative modes of archival engagement are possible.


    Online Archives


    Web 2.0 story telling

    Wikis


    Podcasting: A Teaching with Technology White Paper

    Abstract: Sharing audio and video files on the Web has been possible for most of the last decade. Why, then, in the past two years has podcasting exploded onto the scene and become such a hot topic in educational technology? How does this new technology and its widespread adoption create new opportunities in education? Is it just a passing trend, or is there genuine potential to improve the quality of the educational experience and learning outcomes? This paper attempts to answer these questions through the exploration of educational podcasting in three realms: the creation and distribution of lecture archives for review, the delivery of supplemental educational materials and content, and assignments requiring students to produce and submit their own podcasts.


    Getting Students to Use their Mobile Phones as Learning Tools


    Podcasts

    See:
    Nick Carpentier and Benjamin De Cleen. "Participation and Media Production: Critical reflections on Content Creation". Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publication, 2008.

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Friday Downstreams (The Family Gladness)

    The past week for me has been a family orientated one. Which has been nice, but what time I have spent at the computer has been using Word and typing words. Not so much media this week but a few pleasant surprises. A CD, a novel, some sound art and poetry. The copyright debate is further contrived by the release of free to download CDs by two major commercial players in the music market - Nine Inch nails and The Charlatans latest works can be downloaded from their own websites. One can almost hear the sighs from the majors. Take the time to feel fine and enjoy the weekend.


    Karlheinz Essl - SNDT®X

    Karlheinz Essl’s free online album SNDT®X is one of the more exciting releases in the electronic/electro-acoustic field that I’ve heard in a long time. Surprisingly easy to listen to yet avant-garde, it is a primer on experimental electronic music complete with drones, found sounds, sampling and much more. The title alludes to the cinematic texture of this sound art. Most of these tracks were created to accompany a film, performance, or art piece.

    THE MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS A novel by Levin A. Diatschenko
    If you take thought as a tangible thing, imagine the clouds of thought hanging about our heads.
    Imagine the roof of thought-fog hanging over our cities.
    Beginning as a murder mystery the story unravels until it gradually unveils the origin and purpose of an organization so esoteric that it doesn't even have a name.

    Lars Yenin is an overworked family man, who never gets enough sleep. When he loses both his job and family, he lies down to sleep and doesn't wake up. The mysterious coma continues for years. Two weeks into the sleep, another man who looks identical to Yenin arrives and takes over Yenin's life. Within a short time, he becomes a world-famous occultist.

    This new Yenin never sleeps at all.

    UbuWeb Sound - Yoko Ono
    Seven peices from Fluxus artist Yoko Ono. One of them features her husband...what's his name?

    UbuWeb Sound: Jaap Blonk - Vocalor (1998, Staalplaat Records)

    Like its predecessor ‘Flux-de-Bouche’ (STCD 046, 1993), Vocalor features a number of versions I made of texts by great pioneers of sound poetry. Velimir Khlebnikov’s Kolokol Uma, from the teens of this century, is written in his invented language ‘Zaum’ (‘Outside Reason’). It is made up of a repetition of the word ‘um’ (‘reason’, ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’), furnished with many different prepositions to create neologisms like ‘downreason’, ‘byspirit’ and the like. The harmonics seemed to me a nice image for the bells inside the mind. Canto VII is the last poem of the cycle ‘Altazor, or the Parachute Voyage’, written 1919-31 by the Chilean surrealist poet Vicente Huidobro. It is probably the earliest published example of South American sound poetry. On my previous recording I included ‘Axtherastical’ by Guy de Cointet, which I knew from Richard Kostelanetz’ great anthology ‘Text-Sound Texts’. Last year in Los Angeles I discovered De Cointet’s 70s book ‘Espahor ledet ko uluner!’, of which ‘Axtherastical’ turned out to be the second chapter. So what else could I do now but record the first chapter, Nonomotihur. As with ‘Flux-de-Bouche’, I chose to end this new album with a piece for the more seasoned listener. It is Man Ray’s 1924 Lautgedicht (Sound Poem). To me it looks like a poem crossed out by a violent censor, that’s how I found the sound.

    I.B.M. 7090 - Music From Mathematics
    "Music From Mathematics" was an album of early electronic music, programmed by the boffins (very likely in authentic period white coats and glasses) at Bell Laboratories way back in the early 1960s, using the then-new IBM 7090 computer and an "electronic to sound transducer". The music on the album, about half of which is included here, is a mixture of strange, other-worldly blips, rushing white noise, tootly reworkings of classical pieces. Full marks to Decca Records for releasing the record - remember that in 1962, these alien sounds would have been totally new, and suitably space-age in their sound.

    PennSound
    PennSound is an ongoing project, committed to producing new audio recordings and preserving existing audio archives. For an overview of PennSound--including a discussion of the project's pedagogical implications--we invite you to listen to PennSound podcast #6.
    We intend to provide as much documentation about individual recordings as possible; new bibliographic information will be added over time (please contact us if you can supplement the information already provided). As part of the PennSound project, the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image (SCETI) in collaboration with the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at the University of Pennsylvania is developing a sophisticated cataloguing tool for all our sound files; this should be available in about one year. Click on "search," in the header to any PennSound page, for a demonstration.
    We express our thanks to Penn's English Department, the Annenberg Rare Book and Ms Collection, the wonderful staff of the Kelly Writers House and of School of Arts & Sciences Computing; to UbuWeb and the Electronic Poetry Center. We are grateful to Tom and Lindy Gallagher and Paul Williams for their generous support of PennSound.
    PennSound is a project of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing.


    Free Albums Galore :: The Charlatans - You Cross My Path
    NIN: Ghosts I-IV - new instrumental album available NOW!

    Lubricated Goat "Nerve Quake" (Live)
    From Martin Bland:
    Like most musicians in Australia and the US, I was in Lubricated Goat on and off from the late 80's thru the early 90's. I was lucky enough to see the "classic" Goat lineup that had Brett Ford playing drums. Was sad to hear of his recent passing.
    This was recorded at a ghastly subterranean rock dungeon called the Kardomah Cafe in Kings Cross, Sydney. Perhaps it was a cafe during the day although I never heard of anyone ordering food there. I believe we were opening for Mudhoney this particular evening. Guy, who is playing bass for the Goat here later joined Mudhoney, replacing Matt Lukin.
    It's a pretty raggedy old version but this is what we sounded like and I guess I rather enjoy it...

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Entire First Monday on Web 2.0

    First Monday: Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0
    Volume 13, Number 3 - 3 March 2008

    (Full texts online)

    Preface: Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0
    Michael Zimmer

    Market Ideology and the Myths of Web 2.0
    Trebor Scholz

    Web 2.0: An argument against convergence
    Matthew Allen

    Interactivity is Evil! A critical investigation of Web 2.0
    Kylie Jarrett

    Loser Generated Content: From Participation to Exploitation
    Søren Mørk Petersen

    The Externalities of Search 2.0: The Emerging Privacy Threats when the Drive for the
    Perfect Search Engine meets Web 2.0
    Michael Zimmer

    Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance
    Anders Albrechtslund

    History, Hype, and Hope: An Afterward
    David Silver

    Exhibition in Skellefteå



    Reading a blog feed from California State University Monterey Bay USA tonight I got a notice about an interesting exhibition that is opening next week 100 kms north of where I live in Sweden. Nothing in the local press about it (???):

    The Space Between: Bas Jan Ader - Latifa Echakhch - Maria Lindberg - Adrian Piper - Mark Raidpere - Gabriela Vanga :: March 16 - June 1, 2008 :: Opening: March 15, 2008; 2 pm :: Museum Anna Nordlander, Nordanå, Skellefteå, Sweden :: Curated by Mats Stjernstedt.

    The exhibition The Space Between addresses certain dynamics where simple gestures suggest an alteration and a politicization of temporal and spatial conditions inherent in the work and between the artwork and the viewer. This is manifested both in the content and in the formal structure of the work. The artworks presented involve aspects including the politics of identity and language reinterpreted in concepts such as dimension and distance, spatial transformation and temporal shifts but also psychological distances in the form of flights of fancy, changes in mentality and reverie.

    The exhibition presents experiences of social solidarity as well as isolation and marginalization, translated here into spatiality: into a kind of architecture of emotions where the works of the artists also turn a spotlight on the more unexplored regions of psychogeography. This can be seen converted into a multitude of different formats – moving pictures, text, sculpture, animation, linguistic translations and musical interpretation – transforming the slightest object, image or everyday situation into a subject of sociological debate.

    The Space Between attempts to raise issues of the construction of identity in transit, in rupture, between different cultures in a globalized reality and, furthermore, as examples of emotions of alienation in a complex, contradiction-filled world. Nevertheless, The Space Between consists of equal proportions of humour and melancholy. The works often play on inequalities and claims to power in relations, and on failures primarily based on misunderstandings of the mind, the deceptions of language and the limitations of the body.

    Participating artists: Bas Jan Ader (The Netherlands/USA), Latifa Echakhch (Morocco/Switzerland), Maria Lindberg (Sweden), Adrian Piper (USA/Germany), Mark Raidpere (Estonia), and Gabriela Vanga (Romania/France).

    Museum Anna Nordlander is a meeting-place for gender issues and contemporary art. The Space Between will inaugurate Museum Anna Nordlander Konsthall on occasion of the opening week of Nordanå, March 14 – 19. During these days a wide range of creative activities, lectures and performances will be offered.

    Nordanå is a cultural center and recreation ground in Skellefteå with art galleries, museums, theater, museum shop and café.

    Happy Birthday Hearing Ben


    philip glass: metamorphosis 2 (piano by branka parlic)

    This day, 5th March is my birthday. I was born in 1969...sounds like a while ago when there is a one and a six and a nine involved. But honestly I have stopped paying attention. As long as my body holds up everything is OK and when it stops then I will go back to self-medication meditation. In the meantime there is so much to see and do. Today for example was a special day and not because of another year on Mother Earth rolling over me.
    As mentioned Benyamin James is my 2 year old son who has been having some attention drawn to him by daycare and then health professionals due to a lack of hearing. Today we woke early (the whole family) and went to the local public hospital (a hive of a place with tunnels and doorways and people everywhere) for Ben to be given a general anesthetic and have his hearing probed, tested and examined. It took between 9am and 3 pm to get into and out of the hospital. A birthday I will not forget. To remove the future fluid he had surgery to put tubes in the eardrums. We will know on Monday the details of what was found with Ben's hearing but it seems that was the problem. This is the best birthday present I think I have ever been given. While we have been preparing ourselves for the possibility that Ben was/is hearing impaired (and in a way that was fine because so is he..so fine) it seems most likely now that he is not hearing impaired (he is still so fine). Today I remembered the important things.
    UPDATE: It seems that my positive interpretation of the situation was not so accurate. Ben, we were told on Tuesday by the doctor is severely hearing impaired. While this is of course a difficult thing to deal with, it is also about who Ben is. We are getting a lot of support from the health care professionals and Ben himself is a happy and healthy little boy. The future looks filled with possibilities and we will be taking one step at a time.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    God is Place and So is Second Life



    "But God? Here is no object of fallen speech but a supreme object of thought and will. In contemplating God, it might seem that we pass beyond place into meta-place, into the ethereal realm ("heaven" "svarga" "pure land") in which the earthbound configuration of place, and above all its limits no longer obtain. Yet we need to think only of the fact that the Hebrew word Makom, the name of God, means precisely Place. "'Place' as a synonym for God," writes Shmuel Sambursky, "became a generally accepted expression in the Hebrew language from the first centuries of the Christian era onwards. If the Archytian position is correct, this is not an anomalous but an altogether expectable development. A rabbinical commentary on Genesis exclaims, "Why is God called place? Because He is the place of the world, while the world is not his place." Philo of Alexandria follows suit in words that could have been written by [Greek Pythagorean] Archytas, "God Himself is called place, for He encompasses all things, but is not encompassed by anything." Philo's creative conjunction of Judaism and late Neoplatonic thought is carried forward by the Cambridge Platonist Henry More, a correspondent of Descartes and an important influence on Newton;

    "There are less than twenty titles by which the Divine Numen is wont to be designated, and which perfectly fit this infinite internal place (locus) the existence of which is nature we have demonstrated; omitting moreover that the very Divine Numen is called by the Cabalists, MAKOM, that is Place (locus)."

    God as Place - well, why not? Surely this conception generates fewer problems that the more usual idea of God as divine Person. It allows us to depersonalize God and turn God into a cosmic occasion, or rather the place of every occasion. But as such, God remains a limit of all that exists: Its (not Her or His) celestial status and divine being (not to mention the role of that status and being in worship) change nothing when it comes to the fundamental fact that, as a place, God is a source-limit, both limit and source, of the universe. From God's Place the universe proceeds – and comes continually to end."


    Edward S. Casey, Getting Back Into Place: Toward a Renewed Understanding of the Place-World. Bloomingdale: Indiana UP 1993. 17-18

    As well there is already a Svarga Island in Second Life.

    Eleven Terms You Need to Know to Talk VWs

    That's VWs - Virtual Worlds - not the German auto manufacturer. Ren Reynolds at Terra Nova has blogged a short taxonomy of common terms related to virtual worlds. The post is followed by some interesting comments(one with a link to a similar list made in 1999! - historical). The terms are: Game World, Metaverse, MMORPG, MMO, MOO/MUSH, MUD, Synthetic World, Social World, Thick Social World, Thin Social World and Virtual World. Do you know the differences?

    The Hermit of the Open Laptop

    I have sort of gone into hiding this week. Well physically anyway (I am still blogging and the mobile is on). It is the first week for a long time where I don't have anything booked to do at university. At the same time my youngest son is going to be tested on Wednesday to see if he may be partially deaf (long story..he does not seem to hear so well and it involves a general aesthetic). As well my oldest son is at home for most of the week with a week's 'sport holiday'. Erika (partner, wife, mother to the two already mentioned) is also suffering from a back injury. So I am working at home. Not easy in one sense as there are always other things to do but at the same time I tend to find many distractions at university as well (coffee and biscuits - 'fika' in Swedish, the library, talking to colleagues, writing in my blog, reading RSS, cafes, bookshop, more talking to people and so on). Today I have actually managed to get quite a bit of work done (found some good sources on iteration in narrative, planned out the whole chapter and began revising the first draft of 13 pages). I am writing a thesis chapter on design and implied response in digital literature (Seminar 8th April). It is supposed to deal with the bits of a work of digital literature that contribute to the story but are not directly part of it as language. Like the way sound or the visual layout is used to address the respondent to the text. I am really enjoying it, in fact it is the first chapter so far (my third.......well fourth if you count the first misadventure) where I feel sort of like I know where it is going. How it is going to get there is another matter.

    Monday, March 03, 2008

    Blogging is Good for You (Part 23)

    Blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face, new Australian research has found.

    The research, from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, found after two months of regular blogging, people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who didn't blog. (ABC)


    The paper Distress, Coping, and Blogging: Comparing New
    Myspace Users by Their Intention to Blog
    , is published in CyberPsychology & Behavior and is available for free.