July 10, 2007

Andrew Keen:


Rescuing 'Luddite' from the Luddites

"[...] A Luddite argument is one in which some broadly useful technology is opposed on the grounds that it will discomfit the people who benefit from the inefficiency the technology destroys. An argument is especially Luddite if the discomfort of the newly challenged professionals is presented as a general social crisis, rather than as trouble for a special interest. (“How will we know what to listen to without record store clerks!”) When the music industry suggests that the prices of music should continue to be inflated, to preserve the industry as we have known it, that is a Luddite argument, as is the suggestion that Google pay reparations to newspapers or the phone company’s opposition to VoIP undermining their ability to profit from older ways of making phone calls.

This is what makes Keen’s argument a Luddite one — he doesn’t oppose all uses of technology, just ones that destroy older ways of doing things. In his view, the internet does not need to undermine the primacy of the copy as the anchor for both filtering and profitability.

But Keen is wrong. What the internet does is move data from point A to B, but what it is for is empowerment. Using the internet without putting new capabilities into the hands of its users (who are, by definition, amateurs in most things they can now do) would be like using a mechanical loom and not lowering the cost of buying a coat — possible, but utterly beside the point.


The internet’s output is data, but its product is freedom, lots and lots of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, the freedom of an unprecedented number of people to say absolutely anything they like at any time, with the reasonable expectation that those utterances will be globally available, broadly discoverable at no cost, and preserved for far longer than most utterances are, and possibly forever.

Keen is right in understanding that this massive supply-side shock to freedom will destabilize and in some cases destroy a number of older social institutions. He is wrong in believing that there is some third way — lets deploy the internet, but not use it to increase the freedom of amateurs to do as they like.

It is possible to want a society in which new technology doesn’t demolish traditional ways of doing things. It is not possible to hold this view without being a Luddite, however. That view — incumbents should wield veto-power over adoption of tools they dislike, no matter the positive effects for the citizenry — is the core of Luddism, then and now." From Andrew Keen: Rescuing 'Luddite' from the Luddites [posted by Clay Shirky on Many-to-Many]. Also see "The internet's output is data, but its product is freedom".

Posted by jo at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2007

Nina Czegledy reports on Media Forum 2007


Nudity:_Game Console_

Between June 25-28, Media Forum, Moscow in collaboration with the Moscow International Film Festival, presented Nudity/Game console - a series of events including a Vito Accoinci retrospective, round table discussions and a video art competition. The theme of this year was: Nudity/Game console. The ERA Foundation hosted the Media Forum events in their centrally located, elegantly renovated gallery space.

In this report I would like to focus on the round table discussions - especially as the majority of the presenters happened to be women working with research & practice in digital fields/communities. Instead of lengthy descriptions, links are provided below for further information.

"Cultural cooperation online", the first discussion on June 26th was presented by Angela Plohman, content developer of Labforculture. The organization provides extremely useful tools for those in the arts who wish to collaborate across borders. The constructive, practical value of this information and knowledge platform was very much appreciated by the audience as attested by the numerous questions and comments.

On June 27, Anne Nigten of V2 lectured on "Research and development in the interdisciplinary field from an art perspective" followed by Dmitry Bulatov on "The third modern - denuding the media. The technobiological art work." Last but not least Margarete Jahrman showed us "Pong Dress" and Ludic Society. All of these presentations were very well received with lively Q&A periods.

Next day, June 28, "Super-Embodiment of Woman Artists in Media Arts" was presented by Irina Aristarkhova, Nina Czegledy and Elena Kovylina. Irina noted in her introduction that "Nudity and the Nude - have become key issues in contemporary art, theory and politics. Women artists face what Foucault called 'hysteriarization of female body', while men artists face an issue of 'absent male body' (Kelly Oliver) and respond to it with various strategies. One might argue that both Western and Eastern European women artists have exhibited 'too much body', and to a certain extent find it difficult to leave "body" behind. However, we rarely discuss what impact socialist gender policies and practices have had on this process within aesthetics. If performance art leaves us with legacy of 'too much body' - 'super-embodiment', - one wonders of it morphs into (new) media art as question of 'machine' / 'cyborg' embodiment and its identity."

In the course of our presentations both Irina and myself emphasized that feminism and gender issues can not be separated from the particular history of the region. Lack of clarification of this issue leads to numerous misconceptions and miscommunication. Case histories of media art were presented including "I am a robot" by Boryana Dragoeva Rossa (Bulgaria) and "Reality Resonance" by Erika Katalina Pasztor (Hungary), followed by the outstanding Russian performance artist Elena Kovylina, showing her "Pick a Girl" video performance featured at the Sydney Biennale 2006. The questions and comments at the end of our panel revealed that controversy and strife are still embedded in this discourse.

The schedule left room for us to visit some artists studios, participate in the mega-retrospective by Oleg Kulik and Vinzavod and old factory converted into a mixed use art center and luxury boutiques - where hopefully the Media Art Lab will have its future home. There is so much more including Art4 the private contemporary art museum, Moscow Rolls Royce, the electroboutique, traffic jams, night life etc. etc -worth a visit!

nina [via Spectre]

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July 03, 2007

Luke's Binoculars


Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains

"U.S. Special Forces may soon have a strange and powerful new weapon in their arsenal: a pair of high-tech binoculars 10 times more powerful than anything available today, augmented by an alerting system that literally taps the wearer's prefrontal cortex to warn of furtive threats detected by the soldier's subconscious.

In a new effort dubbed "Luke's Binoculars" -- after the high-tech binoculars Luke Skywalker uses in Star Wars -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is setting out to create its own version of this science-fiction hardware. And while the Pentagon's R&D arm often focuses on technologies 20 years out, this new effort is dramatically different -- Darpa says it expects to have prototypes in the hands of soldiers in three years...

The most far-reaching component of the binocs has nothing to do with the optics: it's Darpa's aspirations to integrate EEG electrodes that monitor the wearer's neural signals, cueing soldiers to recognize targets faster than the unaided brain could on its own. The idea is that EEG can spot "neural signatures" for target detection before the conscious mind becomes aware of a potential threat or target." From Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains by Sharon Weinberger, Wired.

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Digital Borders


National boundaries have survived in the virtual world

"... [W]hat we once called a global network is becoming a collection of nation-state networks—networks linked by the Internet protocol, but for many purposes separate.

The bordered Internet is widely viewed to be a dreadful development that undermines the great network's promise. But the Net's promise was not fulfilled by the 1990s vision of an Internet dominated by the English language and the idiosyncratic values of the American First Amendment. People who use the Internet in different places read and speak different languages, and they have different interests and values that content providers want to satisfy. An Internet that accommodates these differences is a more effective and useful communication tool than one that does not. [...]

To understand the virtues of a bordered Internet, consider the opposite: an Internet dominated by a single global law. When you choose a single rule for six billion people, odds are that several billion, or more, will be unhappy with it. Is the American approach to Nazi speech right, or is the French variant? To what degree should gambling and pornography be allowed? Should data privacy be unregulated, modestly regulated, or heavily regulated? A single answer to these and thousands of other questions would leave the world divided and discontented..." From Digital Borders - National boundaries have survived in the virtual world—and allowed national laws to exert control over the Internet, by Jack Goldsmith and Timothy Wu, Legal Affairs.

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June 25, 2007

The DIY Guide to Becoming a (Real) Cyborg


Getting a Futuristic Life Now

"A scientific duo at Tel-Aviv University discovered this past month that the injection of a chemical stimulant into an artificial culture of live neurons at crucial points in time could create an environment that can store multiple rudimentary memories. While many individuals might be disturbed about the fact that artificial intelligence has become a reality, advocates might applaud the scientists' conclusion that chemical stimulation may be crucial to learning about memory formation in living organisms. Still other individuals might wonder if a middle ground in this debate about artificial intelligence is possible, or if any semblance of humor can be injected into a serious subject to lighten the atmosphere.

Individuals who resist the artificial intelligence development often believe that this technology bodes nothing but evil, especially if research falls into nefarious hands. Others are grateful for this research. Witness Jesse Sullivan, an electrician who accidentally touched an active cable that contained 7,000-7,500 volts of electricity in 2001 and, as a result, lost both arms at the shoulder. Since then, he's become the recipient of a 'bionic arm' created by scientists at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. His experience, while truly unique, may help others lead active lives in the near future with these life-like prostheses..." Continue reading The DIY Guide to Becoming a (Real) Cyborg.

Posted by jo at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2007

Will Web 2.0 Kill Cyberspace?


"[...] These days the boundaries between reality and cyberspace are becoming increasingly blurred and the activities on the Web are becoming more two way and integrated with reality ... With going into cyberspace no longer being a discrete step (folks are more and more always there now) and with the primary activity often being to interact with other folks transparently, and you have a folding of cyberspace so severe that it just disappears into the ether." From Will Web 2.0 Kill Cyberspace? by Dion Hinchcliffe.

Posted by jo at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2007

Mapping the Internet


Peer-to-Peer Networks could stave off Congestion

"The increased use of peer-to-peer communications could improve the overall capacity of the Internet and make it run much more smoothly. That's the conclusion of a novel study mapping the structure of the Internet.

It's the first study to look at how the Internet is organized in terms of function, as well as how it's connected ... The researchers' results depict the Internet as consisting of a dense core of 80 or so critical nodes surrounded by an outer shell of 5,000 sparsely connected, isolated nodes that are very much dependent upon this core. Separating the core from the outer shell are approximately 15,000 peer-connected and self-sufficient nodes.

Take away the core, and an interesting thing happens: about 30 percent of the nodes from the outer shell become completely cut off. But the remaining 70 percent can continue communicating because the middle region has enough peer-connected nodes to bypass the core..." From Mapping the Internet: Routing traffic through peer-to-peer networks could stave off Internet congestion, according to a new study; by Duncan Graham-Rowe, Technology Review.

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May 11, 2007

Sherry Turkle


Can You Hear Me Now?

"Thanks to technology, people have never been more connected--or more alienated.

I have traveled 36 hours to a conference on robotic technology in central Japan. The grand ballroom is Wi-Fi enabled, and the speaker is using the Web for his presentation. Laptops are open, fingers are flying. But the audience is not listening. Most seem to be doing their e-mail, downloading files, surfing the Web or looking for a cartoon to illustrate an upcoming presentation. Every once in a while audience members give the speaker some attention, lowering their laptop screens in a kind of digital curtsy.

In the hallway outside the plenary session attendees are on their phones or using laptops and pdas to check their e-mail. Clusters of people chat with each other, making dinner plans, "networking" in that old sense of the term--the sense that implies sharing a meal.

But at this conference it is clear that what people mostly want from public space is to be alone with their personal networks. It is good to come together physically, but it is more important to stay tethered to the people who define one's virtual identity, the identity that counts. I think of how Freud believed in the power of communities to control and subvert us, and a psychoanalytic pun comes to mind: "virtuality and its discontents."

The phrase comes back to me months later as I interview business consultants who seem to have lost touch with their best instincts for how to maintain the bonds that make them most competitive. They are complaining about the BlackBerry revolution. They accept it as inevitable, decry it as corrosive. Consultants used to talk to one another as they waited to give presentations; now they spend that time doing e-mail. Those who once bonded during limousine rides to airports now spend this time on their BlackBerrys. Some say they are making better use of their "downtime," but they argue their point without conviction. This waiting time and going-to-the-airport time was never downtime; it was work time. It was precious time when far-flung global teams solidified relationships and refined ideas.

We live in techno-enthusiastic times, and we are most likely to celebrate our gadgets. Certainly the advertising that sells us our devices has us working from beautiful, remote locations that signal our status. We are connected, tethered, so important that our physical presence is no longer required. There is much talk of new efficiencies; we can work from anywhere and all the time. But tethered life is complex; it is helpful to measure our thrilling new networks against what they may be doing to us as people." From Can You Hear Me Now? by Sherry Turkle, Forbes.

Posted by jo at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2007

Electronic Loneliness


Change the world; stay home

"Post-sociologists disguised as trend tasters are projecting all their reborn enthusiasm onto the home. Their concern is directed at the army of out-of-action white- and blue-collar workers, who will be taken out of their state of anomie and unproductivity thanks to home terminals. Individual enthusiasm for techno-gadgetry is being transformed into the hope of a new economic élan. It turns out that installing new media in your own home provokes a labour situation. The combination of data highway and enhanced television will inevitably lead to the return of cottage industry in the form of virtual looms. The countryside will bloom again, traffic jams disappear, the environment will be spared and the family restored. And in all reasonableness, who wouldn't want that?

In the age of the shop floor, the open-plan office, the canteen and the meeting room, a political work climate still existed. One could still speak of spatially proximate and visible hierarchical relationships within a technically integrated division of labour. Engagement in material production fostered a compelling solidarity. This laid fertile ground for the corporate dreams of the 20th century, from Fordism and Taylorism to Japanese management and New Age. Labour unions ensured the pacification of always-latent labour unrest. After World War II in the West there thus arose a configuration which guaranteed a manageable social dynamic. Until the perpetual restructuring finally resulted in empty factories. Passion for socialism and communism disappeared just as soundlessly. The social question thus shifted from the factory gates to people's front doors. The home has thereby become the object of fantasy for political economists and other social visionaries..." From Electronic Loneliness by Adilkno with Martin Buber, Laura Martz, Mediamatic, 1995.

Posted by jo at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2007

April 2007 on -empyre- soft-skinned space:


TechnoPanic: Terrors and Technologies

April 2007 on -empyre- soft-skinned space: TechnoPanic: Terrors and Technologies with Horit Herman-Peled (IS), Brooke Singer (US), Paul Vanouse (US), and Sean Cubit (AU); moderated by Tim Murray (US) and Renate Ferro (US).

From surveillance and mobile technologies to fears and public panic, the ambivalent attraction of technologies of terror shifts registers between post-cold war and post 9-11 sensibilities, whether from international or cross-generational zones of engagement. We will discuss how panic, paranoia, critical resistance to, and appropriation of technologies of terror are mediated by the threat and fear of violence in the interlinked networks of mobile media, domestic space, and the public sphere.

Horit Herman-Peled (IS) is a media artist, theorist, and feminist activist in Tel Aviv, who teaches art and digital culture at the Art Institute, Oranim College, Israel.

Brook Singer US) is a Brooklyn-based digital media artist and arts organizer who lives in Brooklyn. A member of Preemptive Media, her most recent collaborations, both as an artist and curator, utilize wireless (Wi-Fi, mobile phone cameras, RFID) as tools for initiating discussion and positive system failures. She is Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase.

Paul Vanouse (US) makes data collection devices that include polling and categorization (for interactive cinema), genetic experiments that undermine scientific constructions of identity, and temporary organizations that performatively critique institutionalization and corporatization. He teaches in the Art Dept. at the University of Buffalo (SUNY).

Sean Cubitt (AU) teaches media and communications at the University of Melbourne. Among his numerous books on cinema and new media are EcoMedia, The Cinema Effect, and Digital Aesthetics. Sean has curated numerous exhibitions and is Editor in Chief of the Leonardo Book Series for
MIT Press.

Renate Ferro (US) conceptual artist, visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Cornell University, and Timothy Murray (US), curator, the Rose Golden Archive of New Media Art and Acting Director of the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University. Their most recent collaboration has involved Renate's installation "Panic Hits Home" for the The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival in Marchl 2007. (FLEFF) is a one-week multimedia inter-arts extravaganza that reboots the environment and sustainability into a larger global conversation, embracing issues ranging from labor, war, health, disease, music, intellectual property, fine art, software, remix culture, economics, archives, AIDS, womens rights, and human rights. This year's festival will focus on new content streams: Maps and Memes, Metropoli, Panic Attacks, and Soundscaping.

Subscribe for participation at: http://www.subtle.net/empyre/

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December 17, 2006

[iDC]: Tom Sherman


Transmediation is the name of the game

TRANSMEDIA: The term transmedia is often used to describe the way a corporation establishes an idea by implanting similar messages across a range of media concurrently. An idea (or image or sound) is implanted simultaneously in video, television, radio, print and through the Web, thoroughly infecting a media environment. Audiences make connections between multiple representations of the same idea. Ideas are reinforced as various content sources resonate and are firmed up through redundancy. The goal is establishing a presence, and ultimately a saturation of the environment. Logos, slogans, and simple narratives often emerge as dominate messages in transmediated media environments. Content with reduced complexity is easier to recognize.

A transmedia approach to pushing information across and through media can also be employed as a strategy for artists, whether artists are working as individuals or in cooperatives. Today many artists choose not to specialize in a particular medium. In fact, increasing numbers of contemporary artists choose to work in a range of media that effectively embody the ideas (or images and sounds) they want to convey. Artists are free to choose media that will effectively convey particular ideas and forms.

For instance, e-mail and the Web are extremely effective for conveying messages in written texts (as are books, magazines, and most recently cell-phones). Radio and telephony are excellent media for the spoken word. Magazines, websites and billboards are great platforms for photographic images. Galleries and museums are wonderful places for art that looks like art.

Artists in the 21st century are information providers. They must understand media environments, knowing how media function and overlap, and be able to create information that moves easily from one medium to another. No medium is pure and discrete. All media overlap and shadow each other. Digital media technologies shout out this interconnectedness. The translation and migration of ideas from medium to medium is a generative process. Ideas moving across media change shape and transform into new ideas, often flourishing in new contexts. Audiences associated with particular media, say radio or blog audiences, are assembled through transmediation. An audience that likes to listen is mixed with an audience that prefers to read and write, etc., etc.

Many individual artists work in multimedia or engage in intermedial strategies. Individual artists with limited media knowledge and skills may cooperate with others with different knowledge and assets to form transmedia collectives. The goal is to assemble teams of people with a broad range of expertise and skills. Collaboration across a range of media makes social and political goals attainable. Whether a single individual is as psychologically complex as a 'society' of minds, or a dozen people choose to indulge in a unified, disciplined version of group-think, intent is permitted to build and sweep into action in an environment ripe with transmedia activity.

The key is to understand a media environment as an ecological context. Transmedia artists, whether operating individually or cooperatively, must recognize opportunities to plant ideas and adopt strategies to orchestrate the presence and growth and evolution of ideas in local or global media environments. Whether one works conceptually or perceptually, it is important to study the way a message moves through and resides in various media. The amplification, replication, distortion or dampening that occurs when ideas are placed in various media is the result of content becoming form.

An aesthetics of transmedia must consider environmental factors. An artist is not only responsible for the balance of content and form in his or her messages (how visual and sonic and symbolic languages are formed to transmit ideas), but for the contextualized impact of these messages in a media locale and throughout all adjacent media. The actual place where an audience experiences an artist's work has always been a defining aspect of the work. Whether one encounters the work in private or public, in an art gallery, on a personal computer screen, in a book, on the street or through a network, the context of exposure is part and parcel of the work.

When environments are considered, issues like pollution and waste must be confronted. Artists can be guilty of excessive packaging, or of distributing empty messages, an art devoid of content. Corporations barge into media environments by purchasing space and time and bombarding audiences with redundant, obnoxious messages, saturating environments with brute force. Artists seldom have the financial resources to buy their audiences. Instead artists must craft elegant, efficient messages and maximize opportunities to place these refined, but generally underfinanced 'objects' of thought and perception within niches in environments that will foster their growth and replication. There is no guarantee that artists will take the high road. Seduction and exploitation are synonymous with seeking and holding attention. Self promotion is an art form in this era of identity theft and zero privacy.

Artists must think about ways of maximizing the impact of content and understanding economies of form. When it is advantageous to recycle, do so with a twist. Create value out of discarded waste. Update or spin the media all around us. Always be suspicious of copyright legislation. Access to the media environment is critical. Cannibalize your own work--multi-version it whenever it makes sense to do so. Survival is diversity. Diversity is survival. Transmediation is the name of the game.

The environment you inhabit and work in will always determine your media. Why limit yourself unnecessarily as an artist specializing in a single medium? If you want to effectively interface with your environment, drive your form with content, and look for opportunities to connect with audiences. Make the most of every opportunity to effect the environment as an author (active literacy in all media involves reading and writing). Work across and through media. Consider taking a transmedia approach to creating an effective presence in your local and global media environment.

Professor Tom Sherman
Syracuse University
Department of Transmedia
102 Shaffer Art
Syracuse, New York 13244-1210

tel) 315-443-1202
fax) 315-443-1303

e-mail: twsherma[at]mailbox.syr.edu

iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity iDC[at]bbs.thing.net http://mailman.thing.net/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/idc

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December 15, 2006

Bruce Sterling's


Final Prediction

"The future of the Internet lies not with institutions but with individuals. Low-cost connections will proliferate, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and telecommuting. The Net itself will recede into the background. If you're under 21, you likely don't care much about any supposed difference between virtual and actual, online and off. That's because the two realms are penetrating each other; Google Earth mingles with Google Maps, and daily life shows up on Flickr. Like the real world, the Net will be increasingly international and decreasingly reliant on English. It will be wrapped in a Chinese kung fu outfit, intoned in an Indian accent, oozing Brazilian sex appeal.

One upshot is that futurism itself has no future. Once confined to an elite group, the tools and techniques of prognostication are all widely available. As for pundits: The world used to be full of workaday journalists, with just a thin sprinkling of opinion mongers. Now a TypePad account is a license to deliver nose-to-the-pavement perspective with an attitude. The very word futurism is old-fashioned, way too 1960s. Today's Internet-savvy futurist is more likely to describe himself as a strategy consultant or venture capital researcher. That development doesn't surprise me. Frankly, I saw it coming." From My Final Prediction by Bruce Sterling, Wired.

Posted by jo at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2006

at Empyre list in October


Amateur, Craft & DIY

This month on -empyre- the focus will be on a dialogue between Ryan Griffis and De Geuzen, that will provide an opportunity to explore themes underlying their participation in the Chicago chapter of Under Fire project based on Jordan Crandall's work . Also by Griffis, you and new genics and temporary travel office serving to identify sub rational connections between mobility and technology.

Posted by michelle at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Seeing Machine


Accessing Texts, Visual Poetry and Architecture

MIT researchers have developed a portable Seeing Machine, a system that could aid some blind people by projecting images directly onto the retina of the eye. Project leader Elizabeth Goldring first conceived of the device ten years ago when she was blind in both eyes due to hemorrhages in her retinas. (Surgery has since enabled her to see with one eye.) A physician examined Goldring with a scanning laser opthalmoscope (SLO), a $100,000 diagnostic medical device that uses a laser to project an image on the retina and detect damage. The Seeing Machine is based on similar technology but the prototype cost just $4,000. (The image here depicts Goldring looking at "an image she created to approximate what she sees when she looks through her seeing machine at an image of a staircase.") From MIT News Office:

Recently the machine received positive feedback from 10 visually challenged people with a range of causes for their vision loss who tested it in a pilot clinical trial...

Participants used the machine to view 10 examples of Goldring's visual language. A majority -- six -- interpreted all 10 "word-images" correctly. "They responded really well to the visual language," Goldring said. "One woman told me she would love to see recipes written that way."

They also used the machine to navigate through a virtual environment, raising the potential for "previewing" unfamiliar buildings a person wants to visit...

All of the participants reported that the machine "may have the potential to assist their mobility in unfamiliar environments," according to the Optometry article. Concluded Goldring: "A couple of them said they'd tried every seeing aid available (magnifying devices, etc.), and this was by far the best, even in this rough, rough shape." Link [posted by David Pescovitz on Boing Boing]

Posted by jo at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

Delft University of Technology


World’s Largest 3D-Display

Electrical engineering students at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created the world’s largest 3D-display. The display consists of 8,000 suspended ping pong balls that each contain a red LED light. It play games of 3D snake, 3D pong, and 3D duckhunt, as wll as displaying SMS messages and simple animations.

4 kilometres of copper wire, 3 kilos of solder, a couple of hundred metres of aluminium and eight printed circuit boards. [blogged by Ruairi on Interactive Architecture dot Org]

Posted by jo at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2006



LEGO Flockhart + BINARY Elliot

"Eric Harshbarger is serious. About LEGO. He does “Professional LEGO Sculpting and Mosaic Building”, with some serious building credits to his name. He also has an obvious obsessive streak, most likely a prerequisite for any dedicated LEGO builder.

Harshbarger’s LEGO mosaic of Calista Flockhart uses a quarter million LEGO bricks of the diminutive Modulex variety with letters. Using time-honored ASCII graphic techniques, he was able to turn his multiple bags of bricks into a physical ASCII mosaic, using different letters to create shades of gray. Modulex turns out to be a LEGO curiosity, as Harshbarger explains:

One has to admire the sheer tenacity of anyone willing to assemble an ASCII mosaic out of bricks so small they can barely be handled without special tools. But ultimately the question should be asked: Why Calista Flockhart? Why a photograph? The representational approach seems a waste of (a lot of) good bricks. more... [blogged by marius watz on generatorX]


The Waste Land--by Sai Sriskandarajah--is the product of a program that encodes text as binary and represents the resulting code visually. Each of the thousands of little squares in the images represents a 1 or a 0 -- smaller squares are 0s, bigger squares are 1s; every five squares represents a character of the alphabet. Through this simple system, one of the masterpieces of Western literature is both reduced and expanded, its meaning shifted as it moves from the realm of symbolic interpretation into the realm of visual absorption. The image not only allows the viewer to experience a familiar work in a new context, but also demands that she explore the connection between the text and the image, and the way that meaning is conveyed both symbolically and visually.

The text-encoding program itself is extremely flexible. The coding system remains constant, but both the source text and the manner of visual representation can be easily modified. The letter T, for example, is always encoded as 10011; however, these 1s and 0s can be displayed as black and/or white squares, squares of varying sizes, fields of color, or using any other visual system that allows for organization and differentiation. At the moment, the program generates rectangular images that are long and narrow (the exact size being determined by the length of the source text), which are printed on rolls of paper like ticker tape. However, the output can easily be switched to a more traditional landscape or portrait aspect ratio and printed as a large-format poster.

The program was written in Processing. Images are exported as .ai files with the Adobe Illustrator Export Library and printed manually on a large format printer. [via WRT]

Posted by jo at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2006

The Future of the Internet


Net will dig deeper into our lives

“One expects there to be much more organic connection between people and technology,” says Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf, who is widely known as one of the “fathers” of the Internet for his role in co-designing the TCP/IP protocol and the Internet’s architecture. [...] If Mr. Cerf and about two dozen other pundits Red Herring interviewed about the future of the Internet are right, in 10 years’ time the barriers between our bodies and the Internet will blur as will those between the real world and virtual reality.

Automakers, for instance, might conceivably post their parts catalogs in the virtual world of Second Life, a pixilated 3D online blend of MySpace, eBay, and renaissance fair crossed with a Star Trek convention. Second Life participants—who own the rights to whatever intellectual property they create online—will make money both by using the catalog to design their own cars in cyberspace and by selling their online designs back to the manufacturers, says Danish economist and tech entrepreneur Nikolaj Nyholm.

Today’s devices will disappear. Electronics will instead be embedded in our environment, woven into our clothing, and written directly to our retinas from eyeglasses and contact lenses, predicts inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil. “Devices will no longer be spokes on the Internet—they will be the nodes themselves,” he says." From The Future of the Internet, Red Herring, April 10, 2006 Print Issue. [via pasta and vinegar]

Posted by jo at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2006

The Technocultural Imagination:


Life, Art, and Politics in the Age of Total Connectivity

"Abstract: For the past twenty years, the United States has been experiencing a significant cultural, social, and political shift of which we are only now taking account. The very presence of powerful personal computers, loaded with easy-to-use editing and production software, connected to millions of others at high speed at all times of the day has changed the cultural and political environment radically and irreversibly. Distributive information and communication technologies have enabled this shift by amplifying the effects and possibilities of long-established practices. Clearly, Americans have experienced a radical change in expectations when it comes to culture and information. I call this change the rise of technocultural imagination. We are on the cusp of a truly democratic cultural moment. But all is not open and free. Nor should we celebrate this technologically enabled, radical cultural democracy for its own sake. It's messy and troublesome. It’s risky and disruptive. But it's also exciting and fascinating." Vaidhyanathan, Siva, The Technocultural Imagination: Life, Art, and Politics in the Age of Total Connectivity. [via Off Center]

Posted by jo at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2006

Bruce Sterling's


6 Trends in Technology

"...I think there are 6 trends in technology which all have something to do with physical objects and they all end up to a new kind of cultural sensibility for objects:

Interactive Chips: we now have objects can be labeled with interactive chips, that can be labelled with unique identity - RFID, electronic barcoding, arphids (rf-i-d for french).
Geolocation: positioning systems for physical objects in the cartesian environment.
Powerful Search Engines: we can actually find things digitally, it's not a project for google, we will end up googling objects pretty soon.
3D Modeling for objects, virtual design, computer-aided design, computer aided manufacturing.
Rapid Prototyping of objects: fabricators, computer fabricators, moving making objects from virtual design in a single manufacturing step: fabjects, blogjects.
Cradle-to-Cradle recycling: transparent production, watching objects move digitally from the moment to which the design to the moment when they're torn apart and recycled.

These are 6 big trends, all put in one bag. The outcome is that people will interact with objects in an unprecedented way; essentially we will end up with manufactured objects those information support system will be so extensive that there will be regarded as material extension of immaterial systems (we see them as hard copies of data-support systems). This would take 30 years away. I tend to try to describe what it would be like to live in these circumstances.

So I came up with a neologism to pack those concepts: I made up the word "spime", it's a noun, I don't expect it to stick or pass the general usage but as a novelist and a journalist and design critique I need a single syllable noun for an object that is plannable, findable, trackable, recyclable, uniquely identified that generates digital histories.

That's what a spime is and building this concept into a single verbal package, it's a kind of victorinox knife, a swiss multi-tool.

I want to say things like "that's a spime, she's spimable, it's too spimmy, that is not spimmy enough..."

From Spimes and the future of artifacts by Bruce Sterling,
LIFT06, February 3, 2006, Geneva [via pasta and vinegar]

Posted by jo at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

SNAil-based data transfer Protocol


Data Transfer via Snail is Faster than ADSL and Pigeons

KinnerNet, co-founded by former ICQ chairman Yossi Vardi, is an Israeli geek camp-out modeled after Tim O'Reilly's amazing Foo Camp. At the recent KinnerNet 2005, Vardi and his pals Shimon Schocken and Ami Ben-Basat demonstrated that snails can be faster at data delivery than both ADSL and pigeons, a method tested last year. From the description on Ami's blog (photo by Herbert Bishko):

The system called SNAP (SNAil-based data transfer Protocol), uses biological carriers, and, for the first time, taking advantages of the unique merits of the wheel for data transfer...[It's] constructed of a back end - a carriage, Ben-Hur movie style, which is made of a yoke made of light Balsa, and outfitted with two huge wheels - 2 DVD wheels, 4.7 Giga each. The front end, to which the carriage is harnessed consist of a Giant snail (Achatina fulica), known also as Giant African Snail (Africans are known as the world fastest runners ). These giant snail are of the GastroPod family (G-pod. We will reserve this name for transfer of music, and the name: G-mail for transfer of emails by snails SMTP –snail mobile transfer protocol)

Packets transport: Data is transported in 2 packets in parallel, 4.7 Giga each packet. Results: Calculations that were conducted after the experiment, explicitly proved that in spite of the relatively, very slow, speed of the biological carriers, the Snap system succeeded in transferring data faster than any other conventional technologies, existing today. [posted by David Pescovitz on Boing Boing]

Posted by jo at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2006

SMS Sugar Man


First Feature Film Shot Entirely on Cellphone Cameras

"...They’ve been shooting for over a week now, mostly nights. Everyone’s dead tired, so this particular scene is taking a bit longer than usual to get in the bag. “Action!” says the director for at least the 20th time in as many minutes, prompting the two female leads to start doing their thing at the pool table. As the girls hit the balls, chat and flirt, their movements are recorded by the cameras embedded in two of Sony Ericsson’s slick new W900i cellphones. That’s right: once this film, SMS Sugar Man (by Aryn Kaganof), is completed, it will be the first feature film in the world to be shot entirely on cellphone cameras...

...SMS Sugar Man is emblematic of what anthropologists refer to as the "leapfrog effect". This is when people in developing nations adopt new technology and use it in ways that allow them to overtake users in developed nations. To extract maximum value from leapfrogging, however, you must be an early adopter.

The ways in which people consume entertainment media are undergoing rapid changes...South Africa...is hungry for new content...The future is right here, right now." From Phoning it in by Ryan Fortune, sundaytimes.co.za (via)

Posted by jo at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2005

The Eyeborg


Hearing a Colour Wheel

Neil Harbisson is, quite literally, a man who has always viewed life in black and white. The 22-year-old Spaniard, who moved to Totnes in south Devon in 2003, was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition that affects only one person in 33,000 and causes monochromatism, or complete colour blindness.

But last year, he was able to see – or, more accurately, hear – colours for the first time. Neil has been fitted with a machine that turns colours into soundwaves, with a different sound representing each hue. The Eye-Borg, as it is known, features a head-mounted digital camera that reads the colours in front of Neil and converts them into sound. A scale of musical tones represents the spectrum of colours – light hues are high-pitched, while darker colours sound bolder. It is, in a way, forced synaesthesia; its creator, 24-year-old digital multimedia expert Adam Montandon, describes the invention as "like hearing a colour wheel".

Posted by jo at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

network culture


or Transcontemporaneity

"Fredric Jameson's classic description of Postmodernism as the cultural logic of late capitalism is now well over twenty years old. Jameson's analysis is crucial for understanding late twentieth century thinking, but in the intervening years, culture has changed radically.

As part of my Networked Publics fellowship at the Annenberg Center for Communication, I am preparing a series of documents about the cultural dominant that succeeds postmodernism. This material was developed over the last four years with new media architecture collaborative AUDC.

Instead of a theoretical piece, I'll open this discussion with a table outlining some empirical observations about this new condition which we can term "Network Culture," or perhaps "Transcontemporaneity.": [blogged by kazys on varnelis.net]

Posted by jo at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2005

Two-Legged Molecule


Molecule Walks This Way

"Armies of the molecular walkers could be used to store large amounts of data in relatively small spaces or to do blazingly fast abacus-style computation."

Scientists making molecular-scale mechanical devices have been mining the past for ideas. This makes sense because things move much faster at the molecular scale. The enhanced speed opens up new possibilities for mechanical computation devices like the ancient abacus.

Researchers from the University of California at Riverside and Kansas State University have created a two-legged molecule that can walk in a straight line on a flat copper surface without a track.

The structure of the molecule ensures that only one leg at a time is in contact with a surface, and as the leading leg lands the trailing leg lifts from the surface and swings forward. Copper is a crystal, and a copper surface has three directions of symmetry, or orientations where copper atoms line up. Energy supplied by a heat source or a nudge from microscope probe starts the molecular walker (representing an abacus bead), which then follows one of these directions of symmetry (representing an abacus line).

Armies of the molecular walkers could be used to store large amounts of data in relatively small spaces or to do blazingly fast abacus-style computation.

(Unidirectional Adsorbate Motion on a High-Symmetry Surface: "Walking" Molecules Can Stay the Course, Physical Review Letters, October 14, 2005) [via Technology Research News]

Posted by jo at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2005

Three Threats to the Survival of New Media


version 1.4 by Jon Ippolito

"... To be a historian of new media art is a precarious career choice. It's a lot easier to be a historian of old media, if only because the artists you study are no longer likely to turn around and contradict your theories; Picasso historians had a much easier time talking about his work once he was pushing up daisies instead of painting them. But if dead artists are a boon for historians, dead media are not. In fact, as soon as the media you study become obsolete, it's a bit of a stretch to call yourself a "historian of new media."

The bad news I have for new media historians is that the objects they study are in danger of evaporating out from under their studious gaze. On three separate battlegrounds, dinosaurs fattened on broadcast economies threaten to trample the newer species evolving in today's electronic networks. In some cases this attempt is deliberate: Microsoftus Rex and TimeWarnerSaurus have little interest in encouraging the unimpeded evolution of media. In other cases, as I hope to show, even new media advocates--including many of you in this room--unwittingly buy into hierarchic models of preservation, property, or professorship that endanger the unfettered evolution of digital art..." From Three Threats to the Survival of New Media by Jon Ippolito.

Posted by jo at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2005

Emerging Technology:


Web 2.0 Arrives

"Some technological revolutions arrive as revelation...Other revolutions creep up with more subtlety, built of tweaks and minor advances, not radical breakthroughs. E-mail took decades to gestate, but now many of us can’t imagine life without it. There’s a comparable quiet revolution under way right now, one that is likely to fundamentally transform the way we use the Web in the coming years. The changes are technical and involve thousands of individual programmers, dozens of start-ups, and a few of the largest software companies in the world. The result is the equivalent of a massive software upgrade for the entire Web, what some commentators have taken to calling Web 2.0. Essentially, the Web is shifting from an international library of interlinked pages to an information ecosystem, where data circulate like nutrients in a rain forest..." From Emerging Technology: Web 2.0 Arrives by Steven Johnson, Discover, Vol. 26 No. 10. [Related]

Posted by jo at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2005



Portable Augmented Reality

Computer monitors are by no means an endangered species, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that they will soon be replaced for many uses by floors, walls and table tops. The latest evidence: a Microsoft Research scientist has developed a projector and computer vision system dubbed PlayAnywhere that projects interactive computer-generated images without the need for specially mounted cameras.

Researchers have been reducing the cost and complexity of the augmented reality systems in recent years. (See PCs augment reality, TRN June 26/July 3, 2002). The PlayAnywhere system goes further by packaging the components into a single portable unit that doesn't require calibration. The system consists of an NEC tabletop projector, an infrared light source, an infrared camera and a computer. The device projects a 40-inch diagonal image onto the surface it stands on.

Computer vision techniques allow users to use their hands to move, rotate and scale projected virtual objects. The system tracks shadows to determine where fingertips touch the surface; frame-to-frame pixel-level changes determine hand motion. The system also keeps track of sheets of paper in its view and can project images onto them.

The projector system could be used for games, educational software and other interactive graphical computer applications.

(PlayAnywhere: A Compact Interactive Tabletop Projection-Vision System, Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2005), Seattle, October 23-26, 2005) [posted on Technology Research News Roundup]

Posted by jo at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

My Mother Was a Computer


Digital Subjects and Literary Texts

"Mathematician Stephan Wolfram has recently proposed that many different kinds of complex systems, including human thought and action, can be modeled using cellular automata. These very simple computational systems have demonstrated that they are capable of generating complex patterns using simple rules. According to physicist Ed Fredkin, cellular automata underlie physical reality on a subatomic level; in his view, nature itself is software running on a Universal Computer. This presentation will look critically at these claims, asking whether we should consider them as physical models or as over-determined metaphors that would inevitably emerge in a historical period when computation is pervasive. This issue, and its proliferating implications, will be explored through Greg Egan's print novel Permutation City, which imagines a world in which it is possible to simulate a person's consciousness inside a computer, creating a Copy that has all the personality and memories of the original." My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts [RealAudio] by Katherine Hayles, University of California at Los Angeles. Presented at HUMlab, Sweden.

Posted by jo at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005



Exploring User Centred Applications for NFC and RFID

Touch is a research project at the Interaction Design department at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Touch takes a user-centred approach to Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC is a technology that enables connections between mobile phones and real-world objects: bridging the gap between the real and the virtual. The project offers the possibility of radically simplifying existing applications and providing a new spectrum of local services through the mobile phone. At AHO we have multiple disciplines, including interaction design, industrial design, urbanism and architecture; a group with significant interest in the areas possibilities of NFC technology.

Posted by jo at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2005

Systems Esthetics

Technological Shifts

"A polarity is presently developing between the finite, unique work of high art, that is, painting or sculpture, and conceptions that can loosely be termed unobjects, these being either environments or artifacts that resist prevailing critical analysis. This includes works by some primary sculptors (though 0 some may reject the charge of creating environments), some gallery kinetic and luminous art, some outdoor works, happenings, and mixed media presentations. Looming below the surface of this dichotomy is a sense of radical evolution that seems to run counter to the waning revolution of abstract and nonobjective art. The evolution embraces a series of absolutely logical and incremental changes, wholly devoid of the fevered iconoclasm that accompanied the heroic period from 1907 to 1925. As yet the evolving esthetic has no critical vocabulary so necessary for its defense, nor for that matter a name or explicit cause.

In a way this situation might be likened to the "morphological development" of a prime scientific concept-as described by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Kuhn sees science at any given period dominated by a single "major paradigm"; that is, a scientific conception of the natural order so pervasive and intellectually powerful that it dominates all ensuing scientific discovery. Inconsistent facts arising through experimentation are invariably labeled as bogus or trivial-until the emergence of a new and more encompassing general theory. Transition between major paradigms may best express the state of present art. Reasons for it lie in the nature of current technological shifts." From Systems Esthetics by Jack Burnham. Reprinted from Artforum (September, 1968). Copyright 1968 by Jack Burnham.

Posted by jo at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

iGrid 2005


Eye-Popping Streaming Film Debuts

"What do high-definition video of seafloor volcanoes and avant-garde Japanese digital cinema have in common? They're both examples of the kinds of bandwidth-intensive information that can be streamed live from remote locations, over ultra-fast optical networks.

And both were demonstrated this week at iGrid 2005. The week-long computing conference, which showcases research in high-performance, multi-gigabit networks, was held at UC San Diego's new Calit2 (California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology) facility.

"When you can stream content this high-resolution, you can start thinking about movie theaters as a place where live events can be displayed -- sports, fashion, politics, anything," said Laurin Herr of Pacific Interface, an Oakland-based tech consulting firm that produced the demonstration. "What color film did to audiences used to viewing black and white, what stereo sound did to audiences used to hearing mono, high-definition digital cinema will do to us."" From Eye-Popping Streaming Film Debuts by Xeni Jardin, Wired.

Posted by jo at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2005



translation and minding the gaps

"...The most basic of which is this puzzlingly persistent notion that the net itself is a borderless state, a kind of endless public domain, open to intervention from anyone, anytime, any place. I think it's important to think through the ways in which this utopian ideal is in fact less than true: the net is amorphous but it's not limitless. Forgive me if all of this is extremely obvious.

First: how many web programming languages exist that are not based in the English language? Almost every web page out there, no matter what its surface linguistics (or how dynamic they may be in the service of hyperconsumerism), has an understructure with some percentage of English through which it must pass before entering machine translation and passing its packets to the network. Its programmer has had to learn some percentage of English in order to master the technical skills to communicate through the network.

It's no accident that in Lebanon, for example, a once rabidly Francophile and Francophone country has become almost totally Anglophone (and bi- instead of tri-lingual) in one generation - the IM generation.

Second, as we all probably know from our own experiences, as online communities grow and build up histories, they develop their own border policies and politics of exclusion. It's not just the governmental and corporate web that's under watch, but also each little group building fences and policing itself.

Third, cash limits access to domains, domain names, server space, and so on for web producers, just as it limits access to computers, training, high-speed service, good cable and phone lines, and so on for web consumers. People without economic resources can contribute to communities or collective projects like wikis or folksonomies, but may not be able to work as individuals.

I bring all this up not to be depressing and cynical, but to suggest that perhaps the most productive way to bring the idea of site-specific or community-based practice online is to engage with the places, communities and histories of the net itself - or to make a deliberate effort to discover the gaps in the network - the sites of absence, where voices are missing or elided, or the online border zones, places of transition, translation and in-between, parallel to sites like San Diego/Tijuana - and use those spaces to launch mediations between on and offline practice."--Mariam Ghani [read entire post >>; read entire September archive >>]

Posted by jo at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2005

The Singularity is Near


Merged with Our Technology

"Ultimately, we will merge with our technology. This will begin with nanobots in our bodies and brains. The nanobots will keep us healthy, provide full-immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system, provide direct brain-to-brain communication over the internet and greatly expand human intelligence. But keep in mind that non-biological intelligence is doubling in capability each year, whereas our biological intelligence is essentially fixed. As we get to the 2030s, the non-biological portion of our intelligence will predominate. By the mid 2040s, the non-biological portion of our intelligence will be billions of times more capable than the biological portion. Non-biological intelligence will have access to its own design and will be able to improve itself in an increasingly rapid redesign cycle." From Human life: The Next Generation by Ray Kurzweil, New Scientist (subscription required). See The Singularity is Near. [via smartmobs]

Posted by jo at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005



The Creative Economy is Launched

At the AIGA National Design Conference held in Boston this week, the PLW announced our new OPENSTUDIO project. OPENSTUDIO is a system we've been working on for three years now that combines "creativity, collaboration, and capitalism" in an experimental online art exchange system. Our goals are to provide simple, extensible, creative tools for free in an open, web-based environment.

Underlying OPENSTUDIO is a currency system we call the "Burak" (named after the trustworthy Burak himself) that pervades our model of online exchange. If you like a piece created in OPENSTUDIO by a friend, you can buy it with Buraks. You can sell your own as well. What are ownership models of purely digital art? This is one of the important questions we hope to experiment with in OPENSTUDIO. And if people make a few Buraks in the process, that can't be all that bad ...

As of 2AM on September 16, 2005 OPENSTUDIO had its first gasp of air and appears to look like it will make its first step forward next month. Burak, Annie, Kate, Brent, Martini, Amber, Kelly, Isha, Connie, Mariana, and Nikki seeded the AIGA conference on Friday with specially marked cards given out to visitors with "100 Burak" credits for when OPENSTUDIO becomes online to a limited audience. A total of 20,000 Buraks seed the core of the first test of OPENSTUDIO and we are curious how these Buraks will flow within the system. I have 97.20 Buraks myself, how many do you have? [blogged by John Maeda on Simplicity]

Posted by jo at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)



Final Call for Submissions

Trampoline is dedicated to the promotion of new technology art and artists and aims to present cutting edge art in an informal atmosphere; encouraging new artists to exhibit work to a real audience, whilst providing a platform for established artists working in new directions. Trampoline began life in 1997 as Nottingham's first ever platform event for new media art.

This one day/night event is based in Broadway Media Centre, the creative hub of Nottingham. The facilities/spaces which Broadway has to offer include: large lively bar/café space, a smaller bar space, foyer, cinema screens and projection onto the outside of the building.

In the two forthcoming events we hope to expand the reach of Trampoline, no longer restricting it to one venue but encouraging participating artists to explore the potential of public spaces around Nottingham too.

October Trampoline – in conjunction with PLAN. This Trampoline event will focus on locative and pervasive media. There will be an examination of how new media is entering the fabric of our everyday lives, installing itself into to every part of our environment, the new dimension of our reality, the dimension of data. Site will also be a particular concern, in order to investigate notions of locative and pervasive media more fully we would encourage artists not only to consider the space of Broadway cinema as the site for their proposed work but to also examine spaces beyond this, in particular public spaces around Nottingham. Extended Deadline for Submissions: September 23rd

1st December Trampoline – Opening event for Radiator Festival December’s Trampoline event will reflect the core concern of the Radiator Festival this year, the relationship between performance and new technology. How can the body and new media connect with each other? We are calling for work that not only investigates the relationship between the performer’s body and new technology but also the body of the viewer, the audience. Deadline for Submissions: November 7th

We encourage proposals of work in all formats, as long as they reflect upon elements of new media. Video, installation, performance, web art, computer programmes, music and more are all welcome. We would also like to encourage initiatives which give the Trampoline audience an insight into the workings of new media and an opportunity to develop their own small creative works, for example in the format of workshops/group activities.

If you have any queries please contact Emma Lewis, Trampoline Coordinator emma[at]trampoline.org.uk +44 (0)115 9559956

Download an application form, and send submission material to: Trampoline Submissions Broadway Cinema 14 - 18 Broad Street Nottingham NG1 3AL UK (include stamped addressed envelope if you wish your material to be returned).

Posted by jo at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2005



Issue #53 - September 15, 2005 [excerpts]

Techstyle News is a free monthly newsletter providing summaries and commentaries on stories related to the next generation of mobile technology and style, produced by Thinking Materials.

APPLE UNVEILS NEW WEARABLE MP3 PLAYER: Apple has introduced the iPod nano, a completely new iPod that’s thinner than a standard #2 pencil and weighs only 1.5 ounces. The iPod mini replacement is available in 2GB ($199) and 4GB ($249) capacities in either white or black designs. The ultra-compact device features a high-resolution color screen, Click Wheel, and offers up to 14 hours of battery life. Apple has announced several new accessories for the device, which the company calls the “most fashionable and wearable iPod ever.” The new gear includes lanyard headphones, which integrate the headphone cables into the lanyard; armbands in five colors, including gray, pink, blue, red and green; a set of silicone “Tubes” in five colors, including pink, purple, blue, green and clear; and dock.

PHILIPS SHOWS PHOTONIC TEXTILES: Philips Research has shown prototypes of its photonic textiles—fabrics that contain lighting systems and can therefore serve as displays. The researchers have managed to integrate flexible arrays of multicolored LEDs into fabrics without compromising the softness of the cloth. The LED substrates are also capable of displaying Windows Media Player-style visualisations and feature responsive sensors so that the patterns of diffused light displayed can change according to how they are handled.

SIRIUS ANNOUNCES NEW WEARABLE MUSIC PLAYER: Sirius Satellite Radio has unveiled its first wearable music player. The new device includes enough storage capacity for up to 50 hours of recorded Sirius content or audio files. Unlike XM's portable device, MyFi, Sirius's product will not be able to receive satellite signals on the go. Rather, it must be plugged into a docking station. The move comes as satellite radio players try to expand from the auto market. Both Sirius and XM have online streaming music services and "plug and play" devices that let users hook up to Sirius both in their cars and in their homes.

RESEARCHERS CREATE POWER BACKPACK: Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a backpack that can actually generate electricity as its wearer walks. The suspended-load backpack can generate about seven watts of power solely via the motion of the person carrying it, which is achieved by detaching the pack’s frame from the load it carries and harnessing the energy generated as the load moves up and down on vertical springs. The actual energy generated depends on the weight of the load and how fast the person walks, but is usually enough to charge several handheld devices at the same time. The pack is reportedly comfortable to wear, and doesn’t weigh significantly more than a conventional pack.


ISMAR 2005 IN VIENNA: Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality are highly interdisciplinary fields involving signal processing, computer vision, computer graphics, user interfaces, human factors, wearable computing, mobile computing, computer networks, distributed computing, information access, information visualization, and hardware design for new displays and sensors. MR/AR concepts are applicable to a wide range of applications. The International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, ISMAR, is the premier forum in this field and will be held in Vienna on October 5-8.

WICON AMERICAS IN SANTA CLARA: Wireless Connectivity (WiCon) Americas, to be held in Santa Clara on October 5-6, is the one stop shop for wireless connectivity solutions in the US. It's a high-level conference and exhibition to address leading wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, NFC, UWB, Wi-Fi, WiMax and ZigBee and the huge potential of the wireless networking applications they enable. The conference will focus on the convergence and co-existence of these technologies and their integration into mobile and computing devices. In addition the show will highlight some of the real life applications of these technologies in key vertical markets.

SIGDOC 2005 IN COVENTRY: SIGDOC 2005, to be held in Coventry on September 21-23, will provide an opportunity for the exchange of information related to exciting new research and empirical results in areas such as documenting mobile, pervasive and component-based systems, information design for delivery in a pervasive-computing environment, design for new communication media, culture and communities communicating in a pervasive environment, gathering and presenting information from pervasive computing networks and usability of information in a pervasive environment.

MOBILE HCI 2005 IN SALZBURG: MobileHCI provides a forum for academics and practitioners to discuss the challenges, potential solutions and innovations towards effective interaction with mobile systems and services. It covers the analysis, design, evaluation and application of human-computer interaction techniques and approaches for all mobile computing devices and services. The conference will be held in Salzburg on September 19-22.

CEATEC JAPAN 2005 IN TOKYO: CEATEC JAPAN is the largest international exhibition in Asia for the technology and electronics sectors, including the fields of imaging, information, and communications. Experience all the recent trends in IT and electronics, from technologies that showcase futuristic lifestyles to products that will be on store shelves during the upcoming winter season, including several new wearable devices. The fair is held in Tokyo on October 4-8.

Posted by jo at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2005

Digital Photography Hack:


A Hands-Free Shooting Rig

"...The rig I came up with uses Mac OS X, and depending on the accessories you already have, will cost you from zero to a few dollars. Mac OS X is perfectly suited for this project, as it offers powerful standard tools, such as AppleScript. These tools have helped me think about new ways to record images, not to mention that the Mac platform is easy to work with. In fact, it only took me about an hour to design this system. Before describing how I built it, let's take a look at the final result.

This rig allows you to take photographs by saying "Take shot" into the microphone of a Bluetooth headset. The picture itself is taken by an iSight fixed on my shoulder. As voice recognition is not always perfect, especially in a noisy environment like a city, you'll hear "Picture taken" in the headset if everything went fine. Both the headset and the iSight are connected to a 12" PowerBook tucked into the backpack..." From Digital Photography Hack: A Hands-Free Shooting Rig by Romain Guy.

Posted by jo at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

Hacking your Xbox



What is an Xbox? The answer seems pretty obvious… A game console...?

Apparently not. Those responsible for the Xbox Linux Project state that "The Xbox is a legacy-free PC by Microsoft that consists of an Intel Celeron 733 MHz CPU, an nVidia GeForce 3MX, 64 MB of RAM, a 8/10 GB hard disk, a DVD drive and 10/100 Ethernet. As on every PC, you can run Linux on it. An Xbox with Linux can be a full desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, a web/email box connected to TV, a server or router or a node in a cluster. You can either dual-boot or use Linux only; in the latter case, you can replace both IDE devices". It is possible to hack your Xbox and turn it into much more than a plain product for playing games.

What was done here, the modification of an Xbox so it can work as a personal computer running Linux operating system, is one of many examples of an increasingly frequent activity, the personalization of technology. Actually it can be thought of a cultural activity within digital culture. Gameboys as musical instruments, personalized AIBOs, the list could go on forever…

Electronic products using computer technology are open to modification and such activity has become very interesting to observe. These products are now seen more as processes than plain objects and thus, easily transformed into something different of their initial purpose, something that suits better their owner’s purposes.

This meaningful use of technology allows the development of communities and a political involvement of its members. It is stated on the Xbox Linux Project: “Welcome to your Xbox. For the first time the box you paid for can do what you want it to do. As the owner you are where you should be – in control”. This last sentence also points to another aspect of user-personalized technology: being an author as part of owning the technology. Authorship in the sense that the object has been transformed into something different, the raw material is the technology before the author’s action upon it and the finished product (“the work”) is the user-altered, hacked, technology.

So if you’re the proud owner of an Xbox and are tired of playing the same games over and over again, go on, visit the Xbox Linux Project and transform your console into a Linux operating computer. Own it to the limit.

The Xbox Linux Project

Posted by luis at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2005

Community Media:


People, Places, and Communication Technologies

While transnational conglomerates consolidate their control of the global mediascape, local communities struggle to create democratic media systems. This groundbreaking study of community media combines original research with comparative and theoretical analysis in an engaging and accessible style. Kevin Howley explores the different ways in which local communities come to make use of various technologies such as radio, television, print and computer networks for purposes of community communication and considers the ways these technologies shape, and are shaped by, the everyday lived experience of local populations. He also addresses broader theoretical and philosophical issues surrounding the relationship between communication and community, media systems and the public sphere. Case studies illustrate the pivotal role community media play in promoting cultural production and communicative democracy within and between local communities. This book will make a significant contribution to existing scholarship in media and cultural studies on alternative, participatory and community-based media. -- Community Media: People, Places, and Communication Technologies, Cambridge University Press, 2005

Posted by jo at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

The Future Internet:


Open or Closed?

"Many in America's creative community have assumed that the rapidly approaching Internet of tomorrow -- high-speed, low-cost, and utterly pervasive -- will empower media creators to directly reach their audience, eliminating the corporate middleman distributor...

That hoped-for panacea of seemingly unlimited creative power and freedom on the future Internet may never come to pass as a result of the Supreme Court's June 2005 decision in the Brand X case. Despite its underwhelming name, according to Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm specializing in media issues, Brand X "will, quite literally, determine the future of the Internet as we know it." It is nothing less than the opening shot in what promises to be an ongoing war between media goliaths and independent entrepreneurs, including creative media artists, over whether the future Internet will be "open" or "closed." What's at stake is whether a consumer will retain the freedom to access any website, as is the case today, or whether he/she will be restricted to visiting sites approved by – or in business with -- the "gatekeeper" providing his/her high speed Internet access..." From The Future Internet: Open or Closed? by Jonathan Rintels, Cultural Commons, August 2005.

Posted by jo at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Immersive 3D TV

Baird stereotv3.GIF

Watch, Sniff and Feel the Big Game

Almost 77 years after the first demo of stereo TV in 1928 by John Baird, there's evidence of a strong resurgence of interest and research in immersive TV:

"The Japanese Government is quietly throwing huge financial and technical weight into the development of three-dimensional,virtual reality television",reports the Times.It "has obtained an interim report from the Communications Ministry’s "Universal Communications" study group detailing the work in progress.Three-dimensional images apart,the ministry wants to develop the ability to send thousands of different odours through the new television to enhance the sense of reality.Its plans also call for the "recreation of tactile sensations",a hitherto elusive concept that would give viewers the ability to reach out and "feel" what they were seeing.Current projects are working on electrical stimulation for the fingers, ultrasound and air pressure." From The Times Online (via smartmobs) [blogged by sfisher on USC Interactive Media]

Posted by jo at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

TECHSTYLE NEWS: Issue #52 - August 15, 2005


Next Generation Mobile Technology

Techstyle News is a free monthly newsletter providing summaries and commentaries on stories related to the next generation of mobile technology and style, produced by Thinking Materials.

In this issue: (1) Hardwear News: Motorola and Oakley announce cellphone sunglasses; Texas Instruments launches mobile single-chip solution; MP3 sunglasses from Global American Technologies; Digital locket from Beatsounds; Digital picture pendant from Spectare; (2) Softwear News: IBM software lets you carry your PC around your neck; and (3) Events: Mobicom 2005 in Cologne; Ubicomp 2005 in Tokyo; Wearable Futures in Newport.



Motorola and Oakley has announced the expected availability of RAZRWIRE Bluetooth eyewear in early August. The Bluetooth module is designed to complement the overall look of the sunglasses, creating truly wearable technology. The controls include two volume buttons and a single button used to handle incoming and outgoing calls. RAZRWIRE allows you to carry on phone conversations while up to 30 feet away from your compatible Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. Bluetooth Sniff Mode technology increases the battery life of RAZRWIRE, offering continuous talk time of more than five hours and standby time of up to approximately 100 hours.



TEXAS Instruments has announced the launch of its single-chip mobile solution. Manufacturers such as Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson are expected to launch handsets based on the solution in nine months. Mr Tom Engibous, Chairman, said: "The single-chip solution will bring down power and space consumption by 50 per cent and cut costs by 30 per cent". With this, he said, there is the possibility of $20 cell phones on the horizon. The small chips can be easily integrated, bringing phone technology to all kinds of products.



Global American Technologies have launched the Fio MP3 sunglasses. The retail prices are $200 to $400 at storage capacities of 128MB up to 1GB, include 3D stereo sound earbuds in each arm, support MP3/WMA/ADCPM and have a reported battery life of 8.5 hours. Transfer is via USB 2.0 to either a Mac or a PC, with an integrated microphone providing digital voice recording capabilities.



The Digital Locket EMP-Z II Plus from BeatSounds tries to be more than just a wearable MP3 player. This tiny music player has a small, oval color screen that can display a photo. The Digital Locket measures 2 inches by 1.8 inches, weighs 0.9 ounce and has a battery that lasts up to 16 hours before it needs recharging. It can play digital audio files in the MP3 or Windows Media audio formats and comes with its own software for transferring photos and music from a computer over a USB connection. An FM radio tuner and a voice recorder are also tucked inside. Prices start at $80 for the 256-megabyte version and go up to $150 for the model with a full gigabyte of memory.



The Pixi Digital Picture Pendant is a necklace with a 1-inch, 96 x 64 pixel LCD screen and enough memory (512 KB) for storing up to 54 extremely low-res digital photos. For viewing up to 2 hours in slideshow mode, or longer in manual mode. The pendant is USB 1.1 compatible and compatible with photos in JPEG format.




Researchers at IBM are testing software that would let you tote your home or office desktop around on an iPod or similar portable/wearable device so that you could run it on any PC. The virtual computer user environment setup is called SoulPad, and consumers install it from a x86-based home or office PC. SoulPad uses a USB or FireWire connection to access the network cards for connecting to the Internet, the computer's display, the keyboard, the main processor and the memory, but not the hard disk. After the person disconnects the system, SoulPad saves all work to the device, including browser cookies or other digital signatures that a PC keeps in its short-term memory.




ACM MobiCom 2005 is dedicated to addressing the challenges in the areas of mobile computing and networking. This single-track conference serves as an international forum addressing networks, systems, algorithms, and applications that support the symbiosis of mobile computers and wireless networks. It will be held August 28 through September 2 in Cologne. Speakers include representatives from Bell Labs, Daimler Chrysler, NTT DoCoMo and MIT. Particularly interesting could be the panel on Wearable computing with, among others, Steve Mann.



UbiComp 2005, the Seventh International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, will be held September 11-14, 2005 in Tokyo. The conference provides a forum in which to present research results in all areas relating to the design, implementation, application and evaluation of ubiquitous computing technologies. Papers include submissions from Intel, NTT, Nokia, Microsoft and IBM. There are also thirteen workshops to participate in.



Wearable Futures is an interdisciplinary conference, to be held in Newport on 14-16 September, which aims to bring together practitioners, inventors, and theorists in the field of soft technology and wearables including those concerned with fashion, textiles, sportswear, interaction design, media and live arts, medical textiles, wellness, perception and psychology, IPR, polymer science, nanotechnology, military, and other relevant research strands. We will be examining how some broad generic questions will be explored in relation to wearable technology including but not restricted to: aesthetics and design, function and durability versus market forces; the desires, needs and realities of wearable technologies; technology and culture; simplicity and sustainability; design for wearability.


Posted by jo at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005




An Official Robot Holiday to be Celebrated on the THE FRYING PAN: Pier 63 North River, NYC; 12th Ave, Between 22ND & 23RD; Wednesday, August 31, 2005.

ROBOT: derived from Czech robota, "servitude, forced labor," from rab, "slave." Czech robota is also similar to another German derivative of this root, namely Arbeit, "work" (its Middle High German form arabeit is even more like the Czech word). Arbeit may be descended from a word that meant “slave labor,” and later generalized to just "labor." (www.answers.com)

ASK THE ROBOT is a platform that gives artists working within and across different media a chance to present their work on an open stage. Whether you use your body, your voice, or strange technical gadgets to perform – all analog, digital and just plain human media are welcome!

that shed light on the mechanics of being human.

submission deadline: August 25


submission guidelines:

Live Acts: 3-12 minutes long... email a link to a sample of your work to ophra@pursuethepulse.org (if it is available online) or send a short video/audio sample to: Pursue the Pulse, 369 St. John’s Pl #15, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Videos: are being curated by Kelly Shindler. Please direct all video submissions to Kelly by either sending a link to an online version of the movie with the subject heading 'Ask the Robot submission' to kmshindler@earthlink.net (no large attachments please!), or mail a CDR or data DVD to 191 Court St #3R, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Installations: email a clear description of what you intend to do to ophra@pursuethepulse.org, including how much space and set up time is required, and photos of the work if available. Site specific installations are especially welcome!

Written Work: email the document to ophra as a pdf or word attachment.

brought to you by Pursue the Pulse.

Posted by jo at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005



Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture

In Media Ecologies, Matthew Fuller asks what happens when media systems interact. Complex objects such as media systems -- understood here as processes, or elements in a composition as much as "things" -- have become informational as much as physical, but without losing any of their fundamental materiality. Fuller looks at this multiplicitous materiality -- how it can be sensed, made use of, and how it makes other possibilities tangible. He investigates the ways the different qualities in media systems can be said to mix and interrelate, and, as he writes, "to produce patterns, dangers, and potentials."

Fuller draws on texts by Félix Guattari (and his "serial collaborator" Gilles Deleuze) as well as writings by Friedrich Nietzsche, Marshall McLuhan, Donna Haraway, Friedrich Kittler, and others, to define and extend the idea of "media ecology." Arguing that the only way to find out about what happens when media systems interact is to carry out such interactions, Fuller traces a series of media ecologies -- "taking every path in a labyrinth simultaneously," as he describes one chapter. He looks at contemporary London-based pirate radio and its interweaving of high- and low-tech media systems; the "medial will to power" illustrated by "the camera that ate itself"; how, as seen in a range of compelling interpretations of new media works, the capacities and behaviors of media objects are affected when they are in "abnormal" relationships with other objects; and each step in a sequence of Web pages, "Cctv -- world wide watch," that encourages viewers to report crimes seen via webcams.

Contributing to debates around standardization, cultural evolution, cybernetic culture, and surveillance, and inventing a politically challenging aesthetic that links them, Media Ecologies, with its various narrative speeds, scales, frames of references, and voices, does not offer the academically traditional unifying framework; rather, Fuller says, it proposes to capture "an explosion of activity and ideas to which it hopes to add an echo."

To order this book and to learn more about other titles in the Leonardo Book Series please visit the Leonardo Book Series website.

MEMBER DISCOUNT! Leonardo/ISAST Associate Members are eligible for 20% off all Leonardo Book Series titles and also receive a number of other membership benefits! Visit http://leonardo.info/members.html for more details.

Posted by jo at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

Remote-Controlled Humans


What Men and the Military Really Want

NTT has demonstrated a remote-control system for (women). The researchers outfit their subject with two electrodes behind the ears that “pull” her in one direction or another. As you can see in the video accompanying a Forbes article on the technology, the subject walks (and laughs) like she’s just hammered. This reminds of the Tele-actor, a project I worked on with Ken Goldberg, Eric Paulos, Judith Donath, and others several years ago. (Link to PDF.) One big difference is that we just asked our human robot to respond to our wirelessly-transmitted wishes. The NTT system is more, er, demanding. From Forbes:

This sort of electrical stimulation is known as galvanic vestibular stimulation, or GVS. When a weak DC current is delivered to the mastoid behind your ear, your body responds by shifting your balance toward the anode. The stronger the current, the more powerful its pull. If it is strong enough, it not only throws you off balance but alters the course of your movement…

The most persuasive commercial applications of (NTT researcher Taro) Maeda’s GVS device will most likely be in gaming; researchers put together a crude virtual racing game to demonstrate how GVS heightened the perception of centrifugal force as users watch the car wind its way around the track on a video screen. Manabu Sakurai, NTT’s marketing manager, says the company is currently investigating whether or not gamers would be interested in the device. Flight simulators are another area of interest.

“Many people talk about that,” Sakurai explained. “Because GVS causes you to feel the same kinds of motion as a large-scale flight simulator, it could be a much simpler and more cost-effective way to train people.” [via boingboing]

Posted by jo at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)



Peeking and Booming: Teaching Computers to See

Peekaboom Basics: you and a random partner take turns "peeking" and "booming." While one of you is peeking, the other is booming. The booming player (Boom) gets an image along with a word related to the image, and the peeking player (Peek) gets no image (see Figure below). Booming consists of clicking parts of the image; when Boom clicks a part of the image, it is revealed to Peek. The object of the game is for Peek to type the word associated to the image -- from their perspective, the game consists of a slowly revealing image, which has to be named. From Boom's perspective, the game consists of clicking on areas of the image so that Peek can guess the word associated to it. Once Peek guesses the correct word, the two of you move on to the next image and switch roles.

You and your partner should go through as many images as you can in 4 minutes. Every time Peek guesses the right word, both of you get a certain number of points. You can also choose to pass, or opt out, on difficult images. If you click the pass button, a message is generated on your partner's screen; you cannot pass on an image until both of you have hit the pass button. Boom can see all of Peek's guesses and can indicate whether they are "hot" or "cold."

Pings: In order to help Peek, Boom can also "ping," or point to, an area of the image. Pings tell Peek that the word is related to that particular area. In the Figure to the left, for instance, Boom has already revealed enough of the image for Peek to see that it is an elephant, but Boom still needs to point to the trunk, since the associated word is "trunk" and not "elephant."

Hints: Boom can also help Peek by giving hints about the word in question: does it refer to a noun in the image, to a noun related to the image, to a verb, or to text appearing in the image? Using the hint buttons gives you extra points. [via smartmobs]

Posted by jo at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2005

Sim Civics


Public Participation in Regional Planning

Sim Civics by Jeff MacIntyre, The Boston Globe, August 7, 2005: New game-like computer software is empowering ordinary citizens to help design better cities. Can the professionals and the public learn to play well together?

[Image: SIM ISLAND--This 3-D image of Honolulu was created using GIS software from the company ERSI, as part of Honolulu's six-year planning initiative. (Courtesy of ESRI/City of Honolulu).]

"FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, the future of urban planning arrived in the form of a wonkish but strangely addictive new computer game. In SimCity, a player assumed the twin roles of mayor and city planner, creating elaborate cityscapes, managing zoning, transportation, and growth, while fighting off poverty, crime, traffic, and pollution..."SimCity...has probably introduced more people to urban planning than any book ever has."...Today, a new generation of GIS applications, known as ''scenario planning" or ''decision support" tools--which allow users to visualize, project, and manipulate a wealth of environmental data--have made citizens into major players in the gaming of urban futures. Across the United States...these tools are enabling an unprecedented level of public participation in broad regional planning initiatives..."

Posted by jo at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2005

Social Machines


Continuous Computing

"...After a decade of hype about "mobility," personal computing has finally and irreversibly cut its bonds to the desktop and has moved into devices we can carry everywhere. We're using this newly portable computing power to connect with others in ways no one predicted--and we won't be easily parted from our new tools...

There is something different about the latest tools. They are both digital, rooted in the world of electrons and bits, and fundamentally social, built to enable new kinds of interactions among people. Blogging, text messaging, photo sharing, and Web surfing from a smart phone are just the earliest examples. Almost below our mental radar, these technologies are ushering us into a world of what could be called continuous computing--continuous in the usual sense of "uninterrupted," but also in the sense that it's continuous with our lives, in all their messy, social, biographical richness..." From Social Machines by Wade Roush, Technology Review, August 2005.

Posted by jo at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2005



The Pattern You See in our Art Comes from [the Real] You

DNA11 creates unique DNA portraits through an extraordinary combination of science and art. The process begins with the DNA being collected using a patented, non-invasive technique: depositing your saliva into a tube. This sample is then sent to our highly secure, certified laboratory, where the DNA is extracted to create a unique genetic fingerprint, using a technique that takes advantage of the variation that occurs among the DNA sequence of every individual.

The end result is a group of different sized pieces of DNA (unique per individual), which we "run" on a gel, such that each strand of different sized DNA is separate...The DNA is then stained with a fluorescent dye and illuminated by UV light, which then glows, giving off a fluorescent signal.

A special camera captures the image which is then digitally enhanced, cropped, color adjusted, adding colors and filter effects.

Each piece is carefully processed to ensure the highest level of quality, and is then printed as a Giclee fine art piece. The art is made using high quality acid free polyester-cotton canvas, using pigmented inks designed to resist fading. It is then sealed with a non-yellowing protective varnish to further prolong the print life.

Each piece is then visually inspected and signed in the back by the artists at DNA 11, ensuring authenticity. The result is a high-end piece of art that can never be replicated, and is as unique as you are - no two pieces will ever be the same. When asked “who is the artist?” the answer is simple: you are. We take your life code and create a one-of-a-kind art piece, but the uniqueness is yours alone.

Each DNA 11 art piece is 100% unique. No two pieces will ever look the same, (unless you are an identical twin.) and the pattern you see in our art comes from you.

Whether you are purchasing a DNA 11 art piece for your home or office, for yourself, a friend or loved one including your children, for a special occasion or for your own personal pleasure, you will be purchasing a truly one-of-a-kind work of art that is the ultimate conversation piece for any modern art lover.

Beyond creating beautiful art, our mission is to bring the power and mystery of DNA out of the labs and into people’s lives. As well, our mission is to help others by contributing a portion of every sale to charity.

See examples of size and color options here

Learn more about our creation process works and learn more about our product

Explore our gallery to see real-life examples of our finished and framed art

Purchase your own DNA art here. [via]

Posted by jo at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Fragmented Places and Open Societies


Space as the Material Basis of Time-Sharing

"Human life unfolds simultaneously in three environments, biological, built, and informational. Analytically, they can be distinguished, but in practice they are inseparable. The way we construct our houses reflects as much our bodily as our cultural determination. The relationship among these environments, however, is unstable. They mirror and penetrate each other in historically specific ways. Much of the turmoil of our present period can be understood in terms of a realignment of these three environments, driven by a profound expansion of our cultural capacities as information technology is expanding into an all-connecting internet. In the following, I will to look at how physical space is affected by this process and the challenges this poses to the future of society as an open political system." From Fragmented Places and Open Societies by Felix Stalder, NOEMA. [This essay was written for the catalogue of the exhibition “Open Nature”, ICC Tokio, April 29 - July 3, 2005]

Posted by jo at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

Information Rain


It's Quite Natural...

"Researchers are working on "information rain", taking advertisements to the realm of mock meteorology. A projector on a tall tripod shows images of raindrops hitting the ground and making ripples, in hopes that people will enter the "rainy" area and hold out their palms.

A camera tracks the entrants' movements and sends the data to connected computers. Then the projector shoots out a round-shaped advertisement -- which can post words such as "SALE" -- right onto their hands. NTT Cyber Solution Laboratories, run by telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in the port city of Yokosuka south of Tokyo, believes the "rain" can be a perfect draw for customers.

"It's quite natural that you hold out your palm when it starts raining," said Yoko Ishii, a chief researcher in the human interaction project." Continue >> [via]

Posted by jo at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005

Co-opting the Creative Revolution


50 Years of Chaos Ahead

"Digital technology is providing people with the tools to produce and share content like never before, and it is set to throw the relationship between them and institutions into turmoil, say experts. Shirky talks of an explosion of creative collaboration "I am predicting 50 years of chaos," says leading digital thinker Clay Shirky. "Loosely organised groups will be increasingly given leverage.

"Institutions will come under increasing degrees of pressures and the more rigid they are, the more pressures they will come under. "It is going to be a mass re-adjustment," he says, addressing delegates at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Oxford, UK."" Continue reading Co-opting the Creative Revolution by Jo Twist, BBC.

Posted by jo at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2005

Report from Wired Nextfest


Jonah Brucker-Cohen + jonCates

Report from Wired Nextfest: Chicago, Illinois; June 25-26, 2005

In the sweltering heat of the Chicago summer, Wired Magazine's NextFest took place on Navy Pier, the city's entertainment center. Billed as "the next world's fair", the 2nd annual Next Fest (last year's event took place in San Francisco and next year's will be in New York City) was a mixture of corporate ecology culture and artistic interventions into visions of the future.

NextFest was split up into 7 categories examining projects in the future of "Exploration, Transportation, Security, Health, Entertainment, Design, and Communication." Notable projects in this year's fest included the "Entertainment" category's "Kick Ass Kung Fu", a full body Kung Fu game where participants step on a platform and fight 2D assailants. Camera tracking on movements puts players into the game screen. Other projects such as Robot Lab's "Jukebots" were repurposed car manufacturing robots that spin and scratch records on turntables.

It was nice to see a combination of hi-tech robotics next to the very "low-tech" medium of vinyl (especially since many of the kids attending the event might not even know what a "vinyl record" was. Also on the floor was "Musicbox", a souped up version of the classic music windup toy where instead of metal pins, used bright LEDs.

On the subject of kids, the Future of Exploration pavilion featured "STINKY" a submersible robot built by the Falcon robotics team at Carl Hayden High School in Arizona. Their project was featured in WIRED in an article called "La Vida Robot", as their hand-crafted robot beat MIT researchers in the "national underwater bot championship". Nearby, in the "Transportation" pavilion, was the "Moller Skycar", a flying car that looks like a 1950s red baron bomber. Videos playing beside it showed the car in action, but I have a feeling you have to be present at a test flight to really believe in it as the future of transportation.

The "Future of Health" pavilion was perhaps the most bizarre of all the collections of projects on display. Here you could see a set of real-live "cloned" cats. Also on display was Luminetx's "Veinviewer", an infrared light that when projected on the patient identifies which veins are suitable for injection or blood withdrawal. Also the "Power Assist Suit" by Japan's Kanagawa Institute of Technology is a full-body hydraulic outfit that assists senior citizens or handicapped people by calculating how much air to release to the "muscles" based on sensor input from the wearer's limbs. There was even a cyborg of Science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick that understood natural language enough for visitors to ask him questions. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to ask what the next Hollywood inflated-budget remake of his novels would be? Oh well, maybe next time.

Across the room from Health was the "Future of Design", which featured projects that attempted to seamlessly integrate technology into everyday experience. Sweden's Interactive Institute showed their "Energy Curtain" an augmented curtain that stores energy from the sun on flexible solar panels during the day and lights up the opposite side at night. Also integrating technology into fabric was "Urban Chameleon", a set of computationally enhanced skirts that monitored air quality, movement, and touch and displayed them on the surface of the garments. Adding interaction into the mix, the "Future of Communication" featured projects that examined how technology will (and has already) change (d) the way we connect to people over distance and within close proximity. The "Acceleglove" by students at George Washington University, is a glove that translates sign language into written characters and speech to allow for a type of "dictation tool" for the deaf. Also here was "Mobile Feelings" by artists Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. The project consisted of two gourds that that allowed each user to share their pulse rates with each other across a minimal distance.

Finally, the "Security" pavilion focused on projects that demonstrated how "secure" we might be if we had devices that could detect unwanted visitors from miles away and conduct automated background checks on them as they approached. One of the more interesting projects was "Brain Fingerprinting", a device with electrodes that monitors brain activity and can detect when the person recognizes an image they had previously seen. Forget lie detectors, in the future nothing will be a secret.

As this year's NextFest came to a close, the question remained as to how much of this "techno fetishism" stuff will ever make it to market? When will I be able to walk into my local car dealer and take a test "fly" in the Moller Sky Car? If the future is closer than we think, this might be something that will happen in our lifetime. If not, we might find out what's "next" by dreaming it up in a bathroom stall. In any case, Wired's world fair of sorts was a good reminder that we are heading towards the future at an accelerated pace. The question that still needs addressing is: What will we do once we get there?

-- Jonah Brucker-Cohen

// jonCates
Message 2 of 2 in thread
2005-07-08 06:52:14 PM

On Jul 6, 2005, at 5:19 PM, Jonah Brucker-Cohen wrote:
>There was even a cyborg of Science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick

it isn't rilly a cyborg. it's an android (as in it dreams of electric sheep). or robot (as in it is a slave w/o the ability for autonomous behavior or creativity). or _very_ primitive replicant (as in "you see a tortoise laying on it's back...").

>that understood natural language enough for visitors to ask him questions.

"understood" is def'ly debatable. the droid {parsed|processed} natural lang well enough to generate replies. i talked to the droid after it had been rebooted but it was often _very_ oblique, abstract + inexact in it's replies to queries. i spoke w/the developers @ length + found their effort to be very sincere in their desire to both recreate a likeness of Dick + well intentioned in their densely multilayered approach to simulation + simulacra. they expressed that the droid was to be evaluated as art.

as art, the Dick droid did not reinforce a technopositivist view of inevitability of these futures but rather reinscribed the fallibility of these current + futuristic desires. the Dick droid undermined perfection, seamlessness + flawlessness not only in it's estranging replies + faltering mechanics but also in it's exposed "brain". the back of the Dick droid had a suicidally huge hole from which colorful bundles of cables + blinken lites bleed out connecting the puppet like body of the droid to it's software systems housed in boxes a few feet away. exposed in the Dick droid's skinless skull.bak were plastic cogs, servo motors, cables + blinken lites that were mainly visible thru the window from the room's exterior.

Philip K. Dick did not commit suicide. he died of a stroke in 1982:

but the way in which the Dick droid was left w/a skinless skull or rather a giant hole in his head keeps me thinking of self inflicted wounds such as those. i wonder about the reasoning for this detail (evaluating the droid as art or artware). functionally speaking, i assume that access to the components in the head must have been operationally crucial to the development team. sill, i can't help wondering how this hole fits in the field of resonance in relation to the Dick droid as art. did the development team hope to help ground the Dick droid in the nonhuman by exposing the materiality of the components in it's head? was this unfinished feel meant to minimize potential alienating effects of the droid? does exposing the computational clockwork electro-mechanics lessen or heighten a horror filmy zombie like identification?

representatives of Hanson Robotics, the FedEx Institute of Technology's Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Automation + Robotics Research Institute at UTA + Dick's friend Paul Williams who collaboratively [built/developed] the Phillip K. Dick robot told me that the bot + their efforts are cleared w/the Dick family. apparently Dick's daughter(s ?) had visited w/the bot in CHI IL .US before NextFest opened. when we were discussing this a person next to me commented that their conversation must have been strange + amazing. based on my experience w/the bot i wonder what if anyThin they could have discussed + sustained any sort of linear or logical path.

Hanson Robotics:

>Finally, the "Security" pavilion focused on projects that demonstrated how "secure" we might be

actually, the entire NextFest was extremely militarized. the military-industrial-academic-entertainment complex was well represented in celebratory + uncritical terms.

>Forget lie detectors, in the future nothing will be a secret.

on 2005.06.24 @ the Army's Full Spectrum Warrior exhibit booth, Stone, an Army representative, showed a video + distributed nfo on the Army's Future Combat Systems program. the video Stone showed (which is also available online) is set in 2014. this future war takes place in mountainous computer generated wintery landscapes (as in definitively not the desert, assuming for the moment that the war + occupation in Iraq will have been concluded before 2014). this CG'd military engagement is populated by live actors realizing networked war games as their interfaces play across the screen like the simulations of success they [imagine/fantasize].

in this future, a .US .MIL Army military-industrial-academic-entertainment dream of 2014, the Orwellian + Foucaultian [fascist/totalitarian] {surveillance|police} state apparatus will not only prevent secrets but also erase borders between nonexistent nation states allowing a decentralized nodal network of hyperlinked systems operated by young soldiers who have been pre-trained, pre-screened + pre-tested on games + systems such as Full Spectrum Warrior. currently the Army's minimum age for enlistment is 17 + the maximum age is 35. today's 6 to 26 year olds will be Full Spectrum Warriors in the Future Combat Systems' scenarios of 2014.

Army Future Combat Systems representative Stone told me that the goal of the Future War Systems is to get them (as in the enemy as in the binary opposition of us vs. them) before they even know we know about them. or perhaps he said before they even see us coming. i am paraphrasing from memory b/c i was too {taken|shaken} by the sheer honesty of Stone's comments + his seemingly solid assumption of righteousness to ask him for clarifications or to take notes while we talked. Stone was very interested in why i was so interested + began to recruit me, telling me about all of the wonderful job opportunities that exist in the Army for talented young artists like myself.

the videos Stone was showing in the Full Spectrum Warrior

exhibition booth for the Army's Future Combat Systems are available online w/nfo about the program: http://www.army.mil/fcs/

>As this year's NextFest came to a close, the question remained as to how much of this "techno fetishism" stuff will ever make it to market?

for me the questions remain: what about the techno fetishism that are the military industrial academic entertainment art design markets? which techno fetishes are already [in/on] these markets? how do we personally develop, connect, organize + resist these + numerous other techno fetishes? to what extent are we [in/on] these markets? to what extent are we able to mobilize [in/on/against] these markets + techno fetishes?

representative Bill Walker of Northrop Grumman watched me amble around in the sprawling Northrop Grumman "booth". this booth was an open air semi-circle of model airplanes (actually autonomous Killer Bee aircraft + scale models of larger autonomous weapons, surveillance + network systems in the shape of aircraft), mockups of existing command & control war rooms + glossy promotional materials. Walker watched me snap digi picts for awhile + then said looking @ my t-hirt "SIMS?". i replied yes, it was a SIMS t-shirt, Kevin Staab to be exact + when this was met w/a cold unknowing stare i just said "old skool skateboard stuff." to which Walker replied sumThin along the lines of "i build unmanned aircraft." "ok" i thought "that is perhaps the most amazing nonsequeter of the day..."

the UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) + UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles) of which we spoke are currently on the market + in the field (as in killing people today). the Northrop Grumman surveillance systems that Walker enthusiastically explained to me are on the market, in use in Iraq + (@ least tested if not currently operational) in the continental .US integrating realtime + cached cybernetic command & control systems that surveil (as in attack) subjects (as in the subjecated) thru nodal nets containing autonomous agents in the shape of tiny stealth bombers (w/the nifty name Killer Bee) as well as full sized aircraft. Walker whipped out a PDA + clicked thru hi rez imgs of "a palace in Baghdad" while explaining to me the flexibility + scaleability of the system + how intelligence like this was now available to soldiers (as in Full Spectrum Warriors) on the ground. when i saw that almost all of the video footage playing on their monitors was from the continental .US, i began to ask about their use in the States.

Walker explained to me that of course it was technically possible to fly autonomous intelligent machines in the continental .US (while my mind reeled conspiratorial hystories up + prepared to hyperthread them into the projector, played back thru a filter of my memories of Manual De Landa's War in the Age of Intelligent Machines) but that the FCC was just being cautious + slow to regulate what is permissible in the .US b/c of the implications this would have on industries such as air travel. while i was wording sum sort of question that would engage hypothetical scenarios for weaponizing unmanning aircraft on the scale of commercial airliners, Walker happily continued to relate how all of this happens everyday when pilots switch auto-pilot on @ the beginning of a flight + switch it off @ the end + how he (as a representative of Northrop Grumman) has a dream of the control tower contacting an autonomous system rather than a human pilot. Walker was quite clear that this dream is not futurist as it is exactly what is currently operational in Iraq + Afghanistan but that the FCC is currently the only barrier to making this dream a reality. when i continued to press on about if these systems were currently in use in the .US by police agencies or the .US .MIL (+ let me reiterate that much of the footage was from the .US + that Walker had gleefully told me that the people in the footage had no idea that they were being surveilled) Walker only smiled + moved on to the next ppl ambling around saying sumThin to them on the order of "you like aircraft?" i walked away allowing my signed Kevin Staab old skool pirate deck t-shirt to have the last uncomfortable [look/laugh] @ Walker + the Northrop Grumman systems.

the Cyber Warfare Integration Network, Killer Bee aircraft + the Advanced Information Architecture + ISP In The Sky from Northrop Grumman are all detailed online: http://www.northropgrumman.com

>If the future is closer than we think, this might be something that will happen in our lifetime.

again, these futures are happening + in fact (as in the case of the Northrop Grumman weapons systems) are ppl's present moments. we are in this future now but we can contend w/it if we take the time to unpack assumptions, critically question those ppl that are developing these moments + their monumental rhetorix, [decode|decompile] their systems + create our own systems, sayings + trajectories.

>If not, we might find out what's "next" by dreaming it up in a bathroom stall.

the bathroom stall doesn't seem like a great place to dream to me. maybe the bathtub if we are going to stay in the bathroom.

>In any case, Wired's world fair of sorts was a good reminder that we are heading towards the future at an accelerated pace.

this rhetorix disappears over the horizon site lines @ a Virilio like rate. Wired's NextFest did not remind me of or pull me into a vortex of accelerated futurism on the scale of a bygone world's fair era. it was instead like standing in the present moment or perhaps just slightly like the recent future of the Universe Next Door. but the futures (+ it is crucial to keep this term plural rather than singular in order to prevent ourselves from the fallacies of monolithic progress towards a single mythically inevitable technopositivist future) depicted @ Wired's NextFest were very familiar, perhaps in part b/c most have been or are [featured/marketed/technofetishized] in Wired itself + elseware.

>The question that still needs addressing is: What will we do once we get there?

the question is ware are we going? ware is these contentious futures? in the future? in the present? solid? abstract? self-justifying? lived? dead? injured? killing? on what grounds? on whose neighborhoods, streets + homes? w/or w/o justification?


what engines drive + power sources fuel this hypothetical time machine of NextFest or other futurist fantasies of worldly importance? how mini time machines are there? do they flower out, radiating in bifurcating branching multiverses [+/or] bubble up in quantum foamy indeterminate patterns, recursively mirrored in the net of Indra once mentioned?


who will we be then + there?


how do we anticipate, effect, shape, detourn, remix, remodel, develop, map, route, root + question these futures + our future selves?

mini Q's mini A's mini futures...

// jonCates

// an illustrated (img + mpg4) + hyperlinked version of this reply exists on
// my newMedia(now&&then) blog:

[via Rhizome]

Posted by jo at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

God's Little Toys

Confessions of a Cut & Paste Artist

"Our culture no longer bothers to use words like appropriation or borrowing to describe those very activities. Today's audience isn't listening at all - it's participating. Indeed, audience is as antique a term as record, the one archaically passive, the other archaically physical. The record, not the remix, is the anomaly today. The remix is the very nature of the digital.

Today, an endless, recombinant, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of creative product (another antique term?). To say that this poses a threat to the record industry is simply comic. The record industry, though it may not know it yet, has gone the way of the record. Instead, the recombinant (the bootleg, the remix, the mash-up) has become the characteristic pivot at the turn of our two centuries.

We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan fiction from the universes of Star Trek or Buffy or (more satisfying by far) both at once, the JarJar-less Phantom Edit (sound of an audience voting with its fingers), brand-hybrid athletic shoes, gleefully transgressive logo jumping, and products like Kubrick figures, those Japanese collectibles that slyly masquerade as soulless corporate units yet are rescued from anonymity by the application of a thoughtfully aggressive "custom" paint job." From God's Little Toys: Confessions of a Cut & Paste Artist by William Gibson, Wired.com

Posted by jo at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Art and Computer Programming


Process or Product?

"Art and hand-waving are two things that a lot of people consider to go very well together. Art and computer programming, less so. Donald Knuth put them together when he named his wonderful multivolume set on algorithms The Art of Computer Programming, but Knuth chose a craft-oriented definition of art (PDF) in order to do so. Is Programming Art?

What the heck is art anyway, at least as most people understand it? What do people mean when they say "art"? A straw poll showed a fair degree of consensus--art is craft plus a special degree of inspiration. This pretty much explains immediately why only art students and art critics at a certain sort of paper favor conceptual art. Conceptual art, of course, often lacks a craft component as people usually understand the term." Continue reading Art and Computer Programming by John Littler, ONLamp.com.

Posted by jo at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

June 24, 2005

The Infome


The Ontology and Expressions of Code and Protocols

"...(C)omputers are no longer interesting because they can simulate reality, but because they transform the written word into reality, a reality whose ontology is to be found in and between 'environment' and 'organism,' and even if the complexity of the network of networks and their data have not yet reached a threshold where the network actually transforms from merely a set of connected nodes to an entity worth describing as a totally new category, form, or dimension, a rich and fascinating set of issues and areas of research open up by claiming and solidifying it by giving it a name. I propose the term 'Infome' to denote this all-encompassing network environment/organism that consists of all computers and code. The term is derived from the word 'information' and the suffix 'ome,' used in biology and genetics to mean the totality of something as in chromosome or genome.

Within the Infome, artist programmers are more land-artists than writers; software are more earthworks than narratives. The "soil" we move, displace and map is not the soil created by geological processes. It is made up of language, communication protocols, and written agreements. The mapping and displacement of this "soil" has the potential of inheriting, revealing, and questioning the political and economical assumptions that went into this construction..." From The Infome: The Ontology and Expressions of Code and Protocols by Lisa Jevbratt, Crash, London 2005.

Posted by jo at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Computer Vision


A Survey of New Applications in the Arts

"ABSTRACT: "Computer vision" refers to a broad class of algorithms that allow computers to make intelligent assertions about digital images and video. Historically, the creation of computer vision systems has been regarded as the exclusive domain of expert researchers and engineers in the fields of signal processing and artificial intelligence. Likewise, the scope of application development for computer vision technologies, perhaps constrained by conventional structures for research funding, has generally been limited to military and law-enforcement purposes. Recently, however, improvements in software development tools for student programmers and interactive-media artists — in combination with the rapid growth of open-source code-sharing communities, predictable increases in PC processor speeds, and plummeting costs of digital video hardware — have made widespread artistic experimentation with computer vision techniques a reality.

The result is a proliferation of new practitioners with an abundance of new application ideas, and the incorporation of computer vision techniques into the design vocabularies of novel artworks, games, home automation systems, and other areas. This article attempts to demystify computer vision for novice programmers, through a survey of new applications in the arts, system design considerations, and contemporary tools." Computer Vision for Artists and Designers: Pedagogic Tools and Techniques for Novice Programmers by Golan Levin

Posted by jo at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2005

The Ghost in the Network


Off the Grid: Adhocracy Rules

In discussing the difference between the living and the nonliving, Aristotle points to the phenomena of self-organized animation and motility as the key aspects of a living thing. For Aristotle the "form-giving Soul" enables inanimate matter to become a living organism. If life is animation, then animation is driven by a final cause. But the cause is internal to the organism, not imposed from without as with machines. Network science takes up this idea on the mathematical plane, so that geometry is the soul of the network. Network science proposes that heterogeneous network phenomena can be understood through the geometry of graph theory, the mathematics of dots and lines. An interesting outcome of this is that seemingly incongruous network phenomena can be grouped according to their similar geometries. For instance the networks of AIDS, terrorist groups, or the economy can be understood as having in common a particular pattern, a particular set of relations between dots (nodes) and lines (edges).

A given topological pattern is what cultivates and sculpts information within networks. To in-form is thus to give shape to matter (via organization or self-organization) through the instantiation of form--a network hylomorphism.

But further, the actualized being of the living network is also defined in political terms. "No central node sits in the middle of the spider web, controlling and monitoring every link and node. There is no single node whose removal could break the web. A scale-free network is a web without a spider" [1]. Having-no-spider is an observation about predatory hierarchy, or the supposed lack thereof, and is therefore a deeply political observation. In order to make this unnerving jump--from math (graph theory), to technology (the Internet), to politics ("a web without a spider")--politics needs to be seen as following the necessary and "natural" laws of mathematics; that is, networks need to be understood as "an unavoidable consequence of their evolution" [2]. In network science, the "unavoidable consequence" of networks often resembles something like neoliberal democracy, but a democracy which naturally emerges according to the "power law" of decentralized networks. Like so, their fates are twisted together.

Rhetorics of Freedom

While tactically valuable in the fight against proprietary software, open source is ultimately flawed as a political program. Open source focuses on code in isolation. It fetishizes all the wrong things: language, originality, source, the past, status. To focus on inert, isolated code is to ignore code in its context, in its social relation, in its real experience, or actual dynamic relations with other code and other machines. Debugging never happens through reading the source code, only through running the program. Better than open source would be open runtime which would prize all the opposites: open articulation, open iterability, open practice, open becoming.

But this is also misleading and based in a rhetoric around the relative openness and closedness of a technological system. The rhetoric goes something like this: technological systems can either be closed or open. Closed systems are generally created by either commercial or state interests-courts regulate technology, companies control their proprietary technologies in the market place, and so on. Open systems, on the other hand, are generally associated with the public and with freedom and political transparency. Geert Lovink contrasts "closed systems based on profit through control and scarcity" with "open, innovative standards situated in the public domain" [3]. Later, in his elucidation of Castells, he writes of the opposite, a "freedom hardwired into code" [4]. This gets to the heart of the freedom rhetoric. If it's hardwired is it still freedom? Instead of guaranteeing freedom, the act of "hardwiring" suggests a limitation on freedom. And in fact that is precisely the case on the Internet where strict universal standards of communication have been rolled out more widely and more quickly than in any other medium throughout history. Lessig and many others rely heavily on this rhetoric of freedom.

We suggest that this opposition between closed and open is flawed. It unwittingly perpetuates one of today's most insidious political myths, that the state and capital are the two sole instigators of control. Instead of the open/closed opposition we suggest the pairing physical/social. The so-called open logics of control, those associated with (non proprietary) computer code or with the Internet protocols, operate primarily using a physical model of control. For example, protocols interact with each other by physically altering and amending lower protocological objects (IP prefixes its header onto a TCP data object, which prefixes its header onto an HTTP object, and so on). But on the other hand, the so-called closed logics of state and commercial control operate primarily using a social model of control. For, example, Microsoft's commercial prowess is renewed via the social activity of market exchange. Or, using another example, Digital Rights Management licenses establish a social relationship between producers and consumers, a social relationship backed up by specific legal realities (DMCA). Viewed in this way, we find it self evident that physical control (i.e. protocol) is equally powerful if not more so than social control. Thus, we hope to show that if the topic at hand is one of control, then the monikers of "open" and "closed" simply further confuse the issue. Instead we would like to speak in terms of "alternatives of control" whereby the controlling logic of both "open" and "closed" systems is brought out into the light of day.

Political Animals

Aristotle's famous formulation of "man as a political animal" takes on new meanings in light of contemporary studies of biological self-organization. For Aristotle, the human being was first a living being, with the additional capacity for political being. In this sense, biology becomes the presupposition for politics, just as the human being's animal being serves as the basis for its political being. But not all animals are alike. Deleuze distinguishes three types of animals: domestic pets (Freudian, anthropomorphized Wolf-Man), animals in nature (the isolated species, the lone wolf), and packs (multiplicities). It is this last type of animal--the pack--which provides the most direct counter-point to Aristotle's formulation, and which leads us to pose a question: If the human being is a political animal, are there also animal politics? Ethnologists and entymologists would think so. The ant colony and insect swarm has long been used in science fiction and horror as the metaphor for the opposite of Western, liberal democracies. Even the language used in biology still retains the remnants of sovereignty: the queen bee, the drone. What, then, do we make of theories of biocomplexity and swarm intelligence, which suggest that there is no "queen" but only a set of localized interactions which self-organize into a whole swarm or colony? Is the "multitude" a type of animal multiplicity? Such probes seem to suggest that Aristotle based his formulation on the wrong kinds of animals. "You can't be one wolf," of course. "You're always eight or nine, six or seven" [5].

Ad Hoc

Unplug from the grid. Plug into your friends. Adhocracy will rule. Autonomy and security will only happen when telecommunications operate around ad hoc networking. Syndicate yourself to the locality.

Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker

[1] Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Linked (Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2002), p. 221.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Geert Lovink, My First Recession (Rotterdam: V2, 2003), p. 14.

[4] Ibid., p. 47.

[5] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 29.

[via Rhizome via nettime]

Posted by jo at 01:37 PM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2005

Space, Place and Technology:


Human Presence in Mediated Experiences

"The current issue of Psychnology [PNJ] proposes an emerging framework to look at mediated environments, the framework of Space and Place. This dichotomy dates back to the Seventies (Tuan, 1977, 2001), but probably due to the appearance of new, original spaces supported by digital technologies, it has been appropriated now with renewed enthusiasm by scholars interested in mediated relations. This theme attracted our attention several years ago, and the success of the call for papers confirms its current resonance. Borrowed from Human Geography, where these philosophical concepts have been heavily used, Space and Place seem to have filled a gap in current reflection on the human relationship with technologies." Continue reading Editorial Preface.

Posted by jo at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005

Beyond the Archive: Bit Mapping


Privileging Mapping

"Let me get right to the point. A «spatial turn» has recently been announced in Cultural Studies: privileging mapping. [1] There is a difference between the culturalogical notion of «mapping,» which refers to cartography, and the technological and mathematical use of the term, which means «mapping one content on another.» Do the respective media in which mapping takes place make a difference for the notion of mapping? In digital operations, «space» is nothing but a metaphor. There is space in the physical world, but a map is just a model of space, not space itself. And this model itself is not spatial, but logistical: anaesthetic; not for physical experience, but for cognition, for our mental computing. Why then is there such an abundance of metaphorical representation in cyber‹space›? This is for users, i.e. human use, because the human capacity for data navigation is bound to spatio-temporal metaphors, whereas communication between computers, operating in discrete states, does not need mapping metaphors at all." Continue reading Beyond the Archive: Bit Mapping by Wolfgang Ernst [via]

Posted by jo at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Liquid Information


Words >> Hyperwords

Liquid Information is a research project at UCLiC in London in cooperation with Doug Engelbart in California. We are aiming to make text more interactive - turning words into hyperwords. Why? Most electronic communication has focused on the production of information, not the digestion of information. In order to make informed decisions in our work, it's not enough to rely on automated systems - we need to get the right information into our heads.

We believe in giving the professional user a more flexible work environment in which he or she can more flexibly navigate through information, change the way it's portrayed and relate it to other information. Extending the user in this way will help the user digest important and useful information. The web is a great step forward in information access and you can think of this project as an effort to turn web 'browsers' into web 'readers'. This is not about 'links' it's about interactive text - text you can issue commands on, such as 'highlight this word in red' or 'look up the dictionary definition of this word'. [via Clippings.reblog]

Posted by jo at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005



Immersed in Radical Shifts

Two UCLA professors--media and net artist Victoria Vesna and nanoscience pioneer James Gimzewski--are at the forefront of the intersection of art and science. Their groundbreaking project, NANO presents the world of nanoscience through a participatory aesthetic experience.

The project seeks to provide a greater understanding of how art, science, culture and technology influence each other. Modular, experiential spaces using embedded computing technologies engage all of the senses to provoke a broader understanding of nanoscience and its cultural ramifications. The various components of "nano" are designed to of scale and sensory modes that characterize nanoscience, which works on the scale of a billionth of a meter. Participants can feel what it is like to manipulate atoms one by one and experience nano-scale structures by engaging in art-making activities.

Posted by jo at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005



Networked Art Staple

The new printed English edition of Neural is out. Inside this issue: Ubermorgen (interview) . Jonah Brucker Cohen (interview) . Infection as Communication . Videogame Art . news (Wimp, mirrorSpace, Fenlandia, Panos, txtkit) . reviews (Media Art Net, Future Cinema, The Cinema Effect, Frags, net.art generator, Understanding Media Theory, First Person, Windows and MIrrors) . Staalplaat Soundsystem (interview) . Cronica (interview) . The Sequencer Paradigm . news: (Shadowplay Reanimated, Spinalcat, Sonic Fabric, Let Them Sing For You, Tectonic Plates) . reviews: (P. Glass S. Reich, DJ Spooky, Delaware, Bianco-Valente, D.Cope, Pure Dekam, Dextro - A/Turux-B) . reviews cd: (Duran Duran Duran, The Loop Orchestra, Kinetix, Richard H Kirk, Robot Friend, Rennie Pilgrem, Radboud Mens, A Guy Called Gerald, Venetian Snares...) . Molleindustria interview . Lawrence Lessig interview and more...online NEURAL.

Posted by jo at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Homebrew WiFi on Sounder Train


DYI WiFi Train

"Sounder commuter rail service from Tacoma is getting a technological boost from its own passengers. SeattleWireless member Casey Halverson is giving a not-so-subtle hint to Sound Transit by offering WiFi in the cars he rides in to and from Seattle every day.

The open wireless node can be found in the first car of the last morning train and in Car 403 on the 5:10pm return trip." [blogged by Dan on Seattlest, via MAKE:BLOG, via feedonfeeds]

Posted by jo at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005



What a Tangled Web

"While viewers of net art are used to layered reading and articles enhanced by visual and interactive components, Vectors, a new online journal published by The USC Annenberg Center for Communication in Los Angeles, is one of the first to introduce complex interactions into academic writing. While each of the eight projects presented in the inaugural issue of Vectors has a unique look and approach to the subject of Evidence, all are linked--graphically and conceptually--through numerous thematic threads. These threads are explored in the 'Vector Space,' an interactive section of the journal where viewers can draw lines on the screen to illuminate where the various contributions intersect. There are numerous ways to enter into, explore, and visualize Vector's and although those who would rather download a text may be disappointed, those enthusiastic about expanding forms and of academic discourse will find Vectors a winding and welcome addition." - Jody Zellen, Net Art News, Rhizome.

Posted by jo at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Where The Action Is:


The Foundations of Embodied Interaction

"Where the Action Is--by Paul Dourish--draws on recent research trends in interactive systems to explore the foundations of a new model of using and experiencing computer systems -- what I call "embodied interaction."

The idea of Embodied Interaction reflects a number of recent trends that have emerged in the area of Human-Computer Interaction. For instance, "tangible computing" (as conducted, for example, by Hiroshi Ishii and colleagues at the MIT Media Lab), is an area of HCI research where people are exploring how we can move the interface "off the screen" and into the real world. In this model, we can interact with physical objects which have become augmented with computational abilities. This lets designers offer new sorts of metaphors, or take advantage of our physical skills (like being able to use two hands, or to rearrange space to suit our needs), or even to directly observe and respond to our physical activities in the world (perhaps by knowing where we are and who we're with, and responding appropriately).

A second trend is what I call "social computing," which is the attempt to incorporate sociological understandings into interface design. This approach to HCI design recognises that the systems we use are embedded in systems of social meaning, fluid and negotiated between us and the other people around us. By incorporating understandings of how social practice emerges, we can build systems that fit more easily into the ways in which we work.

These two areas of research -- tangible and social computing -- have been conducted largely as independent research programs. However, I believe that they have a common foundation, and that that foundation is the notion of "embodiment." By embodiment, I don't mean simply physical reality, but rather, the way that physical and social phenomena unfold in real time and real space as a part of the world in which we are situated, right alongside and around us.

The reason that the idea of embodiment is an important one is that it isn't new. In fact, "embodiment" is at the centre of phenomenology, an important strain of philosophical thought beginning at the end of the nineteenth century. Phenomenology rejects the Cartesian separation between mind and body on which most traditional philosophical approaches are based. The idea of disembodied rationality, phenomenologists argue, arises because we think about cognition only in those immediately apparent problem cases where some problem appears in the world that needs to be solved. This ignores 99% of our daily lives, the mundane everyday existence in which we simply go our about business. In place of the Cartesian model, phenomenology explores our experiences as embodied actors interacting in the world, participating in it and acting through it, in the absorbed and unreflective manner of normal experience.

Since the phenomenological tradition has taken the idea of embodiment as a central one, it seems like a good place to turn for help in developing an understanding of the role that embodiment can play in interactive systems. Drawing from the writings of a number of phenomenologists, and especially from Heidegger, Schutz and Wittgenstein, Where the Action Is develops an understanding of embodied interaction organised in terms of the creation, manipulation and communication of meaning, and the establishment and maintenance of practice. Rather than embedding fixed notions of meaning within technologies, embodied interaction is based on the understanding that users create and communicate meaning through their interaction with the system (and with each other, through the system).

On the basis of this understanding, we can set out a range of design principles that are reflected by systems exploiting embodied interaction. This principles not only reflect important issues for design practice, but they also provide a framework for analysing embodied interaction in existing systems."

Posted by jo at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005



Skin Transmission

RedTacton is a new Human Area Networking technology that uses the surface of the human body as a safe, high speed network transmission path. It uses the minute electric field emitted on the surface of the human body. Technically, it is completely distinct from wireless and infrared. A transmission path is formed at the moment a part of the human body comes in contact with a RedTacton transceiver. Physically separating ends the contact and thus ends communication. Communication starts when terminals carried by the user or embedded in devices are linked in various combinations according to the user's natural, physical movements. Communication is possible using any body surfaces, such as the hands, fingers, arms, feet, face, legs or torso. RedTacton works through shoes and clothing as well. [via TECHSTYLE NEWS, Issue #47 - March 15, 2005] [Related]

Posted by jo at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Interaction in Art and Technology



Abstract: The interest of artists and art theorists in audience participation with artworks has been particularly active since the 1960s. Interactive artworks that could transform viewers into participants were envisaged and created using the media available at that time. Today the opportunities for including audience participation have been increased significantly by the widespread availability of digital technology. The degree of collaboration between technologists and artists affects the necessary interaction between artist and computer. This paper discusses the role of technology in interactive art and the complex ways in which the artist can interact with computers and digital media in order to specify artworks. Categories of interactive art systems defined earlier as static, dynamic-passive, dynamic-interactive and dynamic-interactive (varying) are brought up-to-date and illustrated by examples of work from the Creativity and Cognition Research Studios. Read Interaction in Art and Technology by Linda Candy and Ernest Edmonds, Crossings: Electronic Journal of Art and Technology, Issue 2.1

Posted by jo at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2005

digital cities project


urban database as feedback loop

The Digital Cities Project is a collaboration between several Canadian research insititutions exploring digital technologies inthe urban environment. As part of the Mobile Digital Commons Network they presented at the Pervasive and Locative Arts Network [PLAN] workshop at the ICA in London on February 01-02.

The project research basis: Over the past two decades, several nations have embarked on a “digital” strategy to become key players in the new information economy. Interestingly, despite the heralded innovations these technologies promise, most nations have pursued a similar use of space and place to build isolated multimedia cities. Our research project investigates and analyzes four such multimedia initiatives beginning with the Cité Multimédia and Technoparc in Montreal. This project investigates traces of the “digital city” and its networks, from multimedia districts to virtual environments and mobile devices. The role of technology in the city has been an important focus of cultural research.

While earlier studies have concentrated on urban infrastructure such as electrification and transportation routes, new communications media have given rise to technological systems and networks that re-order the city. Through the workings of new communications media, the social and technological apparatus of cities is transformed, altering the terms of urban theory and representation.

This type of feedback loop not only expands the site of the "interface" from computer terminal to the city, but also multiplies types of input to encompass both physical and virtual data. Our research asks what would happen if the feedback loop were inverted, such that the city controlled the data, and the data's performance were always measured against the changing tides of urban life. Such a circular interplay challenges the discrete status of data, and instead requires a process of continual re-situating and adjustment within urban context. In this sense, we are reversing the logic of the feedback loop, which attempts to maintain system equilibrium in the face of disturbance. By privileging urban dynamics as the "command signal" that guides the data, the database becomes doubly urban, both documenting and being shaped by activities in the urban environment to form an expanded feedback loop.

Posted by michelle at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005



From Double Gaze to Telenoia

Double Gazing: Just as we see, hear, and feel in ways unknown directly to biological man, we also now live in an environment which increasingly hears, sees and feels us. With computer laser tracking of our retina, the artist's gaze is returned. The walls will indeed have ears, and buildings will speak volumes.

Interactivity: Trivial and non-trivial. The first is a closed system with a finite set of elements. The second is open ended and infinite in its capacity to accommodate new variables.

Telematic Imperative: When there's no more geographical boundaries, territorial aggression is as irrelevant as polarised politics. The only imperative is to connect. Nowadays even the self is permeable.

Telenoia: Computer-mediated, distributed mind-at-large: asynchronous global connectivity. In celebrating telenoia we reject the individualism of the old industrial culture- solitary, anxious, alienated, neurotically private. Telenoia replaces paranoia in the telematic culture.

From THE A - Z OF INTERACTIVE ARTS by Roy Ascott, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 3, No. 11, November 1995

Posted by jo at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

From A to D and back again:


The Emerging Aesthetics of Interactive Art

"...Screen-based 'hypertextual works', 'instrumented physical spaces' and 'mapped virtual and real environments' are three new genres. Another 'dimension' can be added to each of these by the inclusion of fast, wide bandwidth digital communications technologies. We might call this tele-interactivity. There are identifiable sub-genres, in which the interaction is: between people geographically separated; between a person and a machine, geographically separated; or between people geographically separated at a virtual site.

The first we might call 'teleconferencing art'. Paul Sermon has produced provocative works in this vein, such as Telematic Dreaming...A second sub-genre utilises the idea of teleoperation. Eduardo Kac and Ed Bennett's Ornithorinco allows a user to teleoperate a robot (over phone lines) to explore an environment.

More provocatively, Stelarc's recent Fractal Flesh project allows his body to be teleoperated over the net. In both these works some aspect of the user (vision, volition) is extruded over the communication network to 'be' in another place. A third sub-genre (exemplified by Agnes Hegedus' Fruit Machine) allows multiple remote users to cooperate in tasks in a shared virtual environment.

The sudden explosion of networked multimedia (via the World Wide Web) has finally realised the dreams of the pioneer network artist of the mid eighties, (though this realisation has a decidedly commercial cast to it). A recent network project by the Berlin based Art+Com group, T-Vision is on the one hand chillingly panoptical, on the other it demonstrates coordinated global data retrieval in a way that the WWW only hints at. "T-Vision" offers a radical new paradigm of computation. In this work, a user rolls a beach-ball sized trackball, and a globe of the world presented on the screen, rolls correspondingly. This image is made up of a patchwork of satellite and aerial photos. This world can be zoomed. In some cases one can zoom from the entire globe down to a city street in one smooth swoop. In one case, one can zoom into the Art+Com office, and look through a video camera pointing out the window, and see real time video action! "T-Vision" can utilise the entire internet, drawing on dispersed databases for its images, so that the globe is continually updated, even to the extent of real time video, if available..."

From From A to D and back again: the emerging aesthetics of interactive art by Simon Penny, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 4, No. 4, April 1996.

Posted by jo at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2005

The Horizon Report


Six Big Trends

The Horizon Report from New Media Centers is a annual project identifying key technologies that will inform teaching and learning in the next years. This year's edition highlights six areas: 1. Extended Learning 2. Ubiquitous Wireless 3. Intelligent Searching 4. Educational Gaming 5. Social Networks and Knowledge Webs 6. Context-Aware Computing/Augmented Reality.

The report includes a thorough discussion of each, plus links and other resources. Just a great resource. Go for it in PDF. [blogged by John on ratchet up!]

Posted by jo at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2004

Questioning the Frame


Thoughts about maps and spatial logic

"...Terms such as "mapping," "borders," "hacking," "trans-nationalism," "identity as spatial," and so on have been popularized in recent years by new media theories’ celebration of "the networks"—a catch-all phrase for the modes of communication and exchange facilitated by the Internet.

We should proceed with caution in using this terminology because it accords strategic primacy to space and simultaneously downplays time—i.e., history. It also evades categories of embodied difference such as race, gender and class, and in doing so prevents us from understanding how the historical development of those differences has shaped our contemporary worldview.

..." Read full article Questioning the Frame: Thoughts about maps and spatial logic in the global present by Coco Fusco, In These Times, December 16, 2004. Responses to the article culled from Locative and nettime:

Responses to the article culled from locative and nettime:

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 22:26:27 +0000
From: Pall Thayer
Subject: [Locative] Questioning the Frame
To: locative@x-i.net

hmmm.... I just wish she would mention some of the mapping projects she's talking about. She really seems to have a narrow understanding of what artists are doing with locative media. She seems to suggest that one of the problems is that the artists have too much control over the social picture that the maps portray. And other artforms don't? I'm going to have to read this through a couple of times to make sure I really understand what she's saying but after a couple of scans it really looks rediculous and I almost get the feeling that she regrets not being a "hacker".


Ewen Chardronnet wrote:

well, she always comes with interesting art critics and post-colonial discourses, but use same dialectics each time. I remember reading same dialectics in her critics on "art and science" hipe and "critical art ensemble trial" hipe. And now the "locative media" hipe... You can be sure there will be a critic on "pervasive arts" and "space arts" soon, etc. and of course better if those arts are done by white male artists


Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 17:08:14 +0100 (CET)
From: Brian HOLMES
Subject: [Locative] A Reply to Coco Fusco

As a critic it's important to read your peers, and try to assess the pertinence of your own work in the mirror of theirs. So I was curious to read Coco Fusco's recent article on mapping [www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/ questioning_the_frame]. However, I must say that her continuous assertions of cultural authority leave me feeling highly ambivalent. On the one hand, the threads of historical memory she brings up are extremely welcome. On the other, her unwillingness to engage with current conditions and projects tends to reduce the past to a complaint: Why isn't it the present anymore?

It's true that the raw fact of being older than the majority of the people in a given crowd can make you feel uncomfortably lucid. When I went to a conference on so-called "locative" or GPS-based media at the RIXC center in Latvia, I found most of the projects quite naive, developing a few stylistic traits of situationist psychogeography in the absence of any geopolitical critique of power relations, or any philosophical critique of instrumental rationality. In effect, a Cartesian worldview has been built into the computerized technology of graphic information systems, which are undergirded by megaprojects of military origin, or what I call "imperial infrastructure." But rather than just giving a disciplinary lecture with all the answers stated in general terms, I tried to show how changing conditions had made the once-subversive traditions of psychogeography quite superficial, to the point where the aesthetic forms the artists were using seemed to render the very infrastructure of their projects invisible. And when I recently published that paper out of context in Springerin, I took the time to name all the artists and projects in question, so as to establish the precise referents of the critique [springerin.at]. I wish Coco Fusco would make that kind of minimal effort, as it would bring her sharp observations into contact with actual projects, and open up a space of possible transformation.

More to the point: When I began my work on mapping, about four years ago now, as a direct result of involvement in demonstrations against the policies of the WTO and IMF, I too felt that the most important reference was the history of the Third World movements of national liberation, in their relations to the Western civil rights and new left movements of the 60s and 70s. In an early text that was finally published in the book Moneynations, I tried to show how the very concept of the Third World, and then above all, the reality of the Movement of Non-Aligned Nations, acted to open up new imaginary and real spaces within the dominant bi-polar map of the Cold War [http://2002.memefest.org/en/defaultnews.cfm?newsmem=15]. I asked the question whether the emergence of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre could be compared to the Bandung Conference in 1955. Obviously, the answer was that it could not: both because the current antisystemic movements do not (yet) have the strength that Bandung represented, and because the operative modes of opposition may well have changed fundamentally since 1955.

The global importance of the Third World movements lay in the new kinds of international solidarity that they helped provoke. But something important remains unstated in Fusco's references to these movements, and this is the fact that the major links that tied them to the First World do not exist anymore (nor, indeed, do the movements themselves, for we are talking about specifically national movements in the period of decolonization). One of these links was an aspiration to create a non-Stalinist form of communism, according to the examples given by the successful Cuban and Vietnamese guerrilla insurgencies, and also by Yugoslav self-management (one must remember that the non-aligned movement came officially into existence in Belgrade). Another powerful link was the notion of cultural authenticity, or inherent difference from the Western norm, as a liberating foundation upon which newly independent nations could be built. This Third World concept served as a basis for the struggles toward a multicultural society in the First World. Today, however, the egalitarian aspiration to a self-managed communism has no objective touchstone in reality, leaving those who feel its lack in a deep state of ideological disarray. At the same time, the notion of cultural authenticity has been largely usurped by nationalist or fundamentalist projects which, although they have fortunately not eradicated all work towards equal rights in a multicultural society, have nonetheless made it very difficult to raise the banner of cultural or ethnic difference as a rallying-point for international solidarity.

Instead of relying on the old internationalist slogans (Third Worldist or proletarian), the transnational movements of dissent that gathered strength throughout the 1990s tried to use the communicative power of the discourses of human rights that had gained currency in the 80s, largely through the resistance of people in the former Eastern bloc to totalitarianism, and in Latin America to dictatorship. It was subsequently necessary, in the late 90s, for the Western participants in these transnational movements to take the further step of putting their own bodies on the line, of taking direct action against the international economic institutions, in order to go beyond the abstract character of the human rights discourse. This was a way of responding, in the overdeveloped countries, to the sacrifices of the many "IMF riots" that had been held, often at great cost of life, in what was now being called the Global South. Anyone who believes this step was taken by middle-class white kids acting on internet fantasies, in the absence of direct input from social movements around the world, quite obviously didn't go to any of the demonstrations and paid no attention to the planning process or the reports.

The point, however, is not to suggest that a brief flare-up of worldwide protest has brought about any substantial change. It is rather to recall what a difficult and long-term effort is really needed, both to grasp the way that transnational state capitalism now functions, and to articulate large-scale resistance. When Josh On [www.theyrule.net] or Bureau d'Etudes [http://utangente.free.fr/index2.html] make their complex charts of contemporary power relations, one can be assured that the cold and abstract character of the results is very painful to them. I can testify, particularly in the second case, that they are acutely aware of what is missing from such documents: namely, some affective indication of resistance from below, who does it, how they work and why. What has been achieved in such cartography projects, however, is a contribution to the very large-scale effort to rebuild a critical grasp of the oppressive forces that create the dominant map of the world. This kind of power-mapping is a necessary prelude to any effective resistance or counter-proposition. The fact that the difference between such efforts and the current military maps used by the Pentagon does not appear clearly on American TV is hardly something you can blame the artists for! There is a difference between general culture critique and constructive critique directed toward people carrying out specific projects.

Somewhat like Coco Fusco, I often wonder why contemporary artists appear so broadly unable to infuse the dominant map with representations of - or even better, direct links to - the many and diverse dissenting groups and alternative philosophies that are now emerging in the world, or that have remained active over decades. Unlike Coco Fusco, however, I don't think it's useful or necessary to berate artists today for not having been born earlier. The great philosophical frameworks of national liberation and egalitarian self-management that were able to articulate far-flung resistance movements in the past are inoperative in our time. The urgency is for real individuals of all generations, on all continents, to put their heads and hearts together and create new articulations. The specific job of writers and organizers is then to give those articulations conceptual clarity and popular currency, so that they can effectively challenge the absurd world-views presented on American TV.

As to artists, for whom the naked power structures of the contemporary world must now be quite visible, I encourage them to delve more deeply into the diverse efforts that are being made to resist the imposition of a homogeneous control structure on the entire world. This requires looking outside the boundaries of class, ethnicity and nationality, as certain artists and intellectuals of previous generations effectively did. To live up to the great examples of the past then means imagining something quite different for the future. Need it be said that certain kinds of imagination can serve as the first steps towards a transformation of reality?

Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 04:13:32 +0000
From: Saul Albert
Subject: Re: [Locative] A Reply to Coco Fusco
To: Brian Holmes

Hi Brian,

I read both Coco Fusco's piece and your response with interest and a little bemusement. You addressed the lazy generality of CF's rant very well, and touched on a couple of things that provoked me to write back:

Firstly, can we please get away from technological determinism?

Yes, the use of military-industrial technology can be problematic, but that criticism in your text is as widely and as targetlessly applied as Coco Fusco's. Many people are using these technologies (GPS/mobile phones/internet/high-tech gizmos), the social movements that you use as your reference points as much as anyone. In fact, it's not like we really have the choice about using these technologies , being subjects in a technocracy... and it's only out of the appropriation and reuse of these technologies that critique can form and attempt to reconfigure the social and political relations that produced them in the first place. Even on a non-technical level, using these technologies and observing their effects and deployment has been instrumental in the development of a number of political discourses: information and affective labour, precarity, [cyber]feminism etc. The critique develops as much from practice as practice develops from critique.

example: London Free Map - http://uo.space.frot.org/?node=LondonFreeMap


Jo Walsh and Schulyer Erle have been working on the 'London Free Map' This project encourages participants to walk, drive, cycle or skate through city streets with GPS units and then use the 'traces' of points representing latitude and longitude that these devices generate to help create publicly licensed geodata. They are also working on adapting existing open source software to enable people to annotate and extend these maps in a very flexible way. The example linked to above shows straight lines representing GPS traces made wandering the streets of Limehouse, East London, an area undergoing a huge urban regeneration process in preparation for the proposed Olympic games in 2012. The labeled points are the locations and names of approved planning permission applications made to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the last five years, automatically retrieved from the council's website and plotted onto a scanned out-of- copyright historical map of the area from 1916. This is just one potential use of the London Free Map, a way of visualising physical and historical changes to a space undergoing a huge social and economic upheaval. The potential for further uses and the development of new, as yet unimagined maps from this project seems evident.

Secondly, I found the distinction between these technologically specific, less overtly political projects, and the 'power-mapping' practices of (the wonderful) Bureau D'Etudes and many many others to be a bit thin. I know you share their frustration at having to use the language of power to map power, but the problem is not just in the inability of this form to represent the fertile heterogeneity of the social movements. 'Power mapping' deals in the currency of power, and its representational structure can reinforce the dynamics of the relationships it represents. More worryingly, the unnerving coherence of these representations can also become ised easily - the currency of power made visual, or (worse) 'data visualisation' knits neatly into artistic and authorial currencies and relationships that can become as reactionary and totalising as the military-industrial technologies you were warning against earlier.

I know you know this, your descriptions of the playfulness of the Bureau's maps illustrates the path they choose out of this bind : 'solidarity with aliens'. But people using similar or derivative techniques seem to embrace the solemnity and darkness of their maps without having the escape pod provided by their humour.

What encourages me about initiatives like the London Free Map and many of the projects in the orbit of the 'locative media lab' is that they often work, on a very basic level, to avoid totalising representations. To some extent this is emerging as an informal agreement on technologies, open Semantic Web standards and other esoterica that I'm not really equipped to explain. Also, many of these projects are based on public workshops, working with people and groups on producing representations of themselves, spaces, movement and relationships. Of course none of this is inherantly interesting. Public workshops and 'open' technologies carry their own wealth of dead ends, vices and travesties, but they certainly are politicised - and politicising, in a very different and more subtle sense than that of 'power maps'. The contingency on input from the map-users is the most obvious distinction between these forms of mapping and the two examples of 'power mapping' you mentioned. Of course this aspect of 'participation' in the making of the map is just as worrying in terms of which currencies it evokes, auteurship and the 'framing' of 'public use' in the interests of pseudo-ehthographic artistic value creation etc. etc.. But the locative media lab's engagement with corporations, the way some of it is like cheap corporate R&D in exchange for getting to use fancy devices, the links with 'community groups' funded and instrumentised by arts bodies, and with governments for use of geodata is all messy, difficult, and suspect, but necessary if the technology, and the discourse are going to develop.

This probably warrants more examples, which I'm too tired to start with now.

I guess the problem is that criticising something is difficult because you have to explain why, whereas blithering pleasantries about things you like is not so demanding.

keep up the good work brian!



Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 23:48:54 -0800
From: John Hopkins
Subject: Re: [Locative] A Reply to Coco Fusco
To: locative@x-i.net

>>Firstly, can we please get away from technological determinism? Yes, the use of military-industrial technology can be problematic, but that criticism in your text is as widely and as targetlessly applied as Coco Fusco's. Many people are using these technologies (GPS/mobile phones/internet/high-tech gizmos), the social movements that you use as your reference points as much as anyone. In fact, it's not like we really have the choice about using these technologies , being subjects in a technocracy... and<<

Why no choice? If no choice, isn't that technological determinism to the extreme degree?

It is an incremental process -- each mile you drive onwards in your fossil-fuel burning device, or crank open the thermostat in the house, that drives the social system further onward in its dominance. (it propels the US military machine a bit further in its desparate mission to secure the true power/energy-base of the social structure that is is an integral part of). each time you don't do those things de-poweres that same system.

each time you watch one minute of centrally organized media you give that structure more power. each time you cross social-structural boundaries and engage an Other human directly, you depower those ordained structures.



Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 11:32:20 -0000
From: "Armin Medosch"
Subject: Re: [Locative] A Reply to Coco Fusco

Hi Saul, Hi Brian,

let me first make some sort of disclaimer: I am happy that Coco's article (which I have not read, but can roughly imagine what it contains) triggered this discussion about locative media which was long overdue. I think many people have felt uncomfortable with the unarticulated political 'content' or 'meaning' of locative work but have not spoken in public. One reason for that might be that they felt, as I did, that there is a lot of potential in that field and that the (mostly young) people involved did not deserve to be bashed for all their good intentions, even though those intentions sometimes gave relatively weak results. Finally the lid has been blown off and that is a good thing. I now do neither want to argue for or against Saul or Brian but just throw in my two-pence. I also have to say that writing something really meaningful about that whole area would take at least a day and I simply don't have that time right now. So please excuse the immaturity of my words which are quickly written in a sort of email improvisation which I guess was once the spirit of internet discussions which is now often sadly missed.

Saul said at the very beginning of his reply:

>> Firstly, can we please get away from technological determinism?

What does this statement mean? It is indeed important to 'get away from technological determinism'. But what this statement should not mean is that we should not consider or discuss technological determinism.

Saul continues:

>> Yes, the use of military-industrial technology can be problematic,

I would go further and say that 'can be problematic' is not strong enough. It _is_ problematic, always. The instrumental power that is contained in those technologies is a central issue of our time, and by 'our time' i do not only refer to the last couple of years or so but to the last 50 or even 100 years. Therefore I think such statements about technological determinism and military-industrial technology should not be used to quash any discussion about those issues. Those issues should exactly be the starting point of any discussion about 'locative' projects and indeed media art and net art projects. This is where the media art community has failed over the last 20 years which I was able to witness as a grown up person. It is one of the big failures of that community and possibly one of the reasons why it made so little real progress over that period of time. When I say 'real progress' I of course don't mean technological progress, of which we have seen plenty, but a progress in the social use of those technologies, in their accessability and applicability, in their ability to have an actual impact on the improvements of the situation of people.

I am arguing from a point of view of art that is based on a definition of art whose main reason to be is political. Such an art should be able to transcend the current power system. By 'transcending' i don't refer to metaphysics but to the actual socio-historic situation. In this situation and its projection of possible futures it should open up spaces, spaces for alternative ways of thinking, spaces that offer people different opportunities, for instance to realise alternative viewpoints outside the dominant system, or, more practically speaking, to be able to develop ways of resistance and at least limited ways of autonomy. Of course we cannot ask too much from art and the current level of oppression is so high, the ideology of technological determinism so deeply entrenched that it has become very hard to imagine anything that makes a real difference. But at least people should try. I am afraid I could not see that in most locative projects and in most of the discussions that have been had about the topic so far.

Most of the projects (I am aware that such generalisations without reference to particular projects are always lame but simply have not the time to go through bookmarks and list archives now) simply continue the master trope of the narration of hypermodernity, which is about expansion of technological mastery, coupled with economic growth, all under the banner of 'usefulness' for the people. This is how new communication technologies are being advertised. The mobile phone gives you freedom, it improves your social life, you can use it to form Rheingoldian Smart Mobs and if you put a little FOAF into it you can even realise alternative politicised virtual communities with it. Of course you can do all this stuff, it is even true. But by doing so, you are not leaving the established playing field, a field that has been established by the forces of techno-rationality in the service of capitalism.

I know it is a bit unfair to mention that here but the most significant 'locative' projects in that regard are Blast Theorie's mobile games. The critical content of those projects is nil. The whole thing blew up at futuresonica last year but most people could not read the signs on the wall. Of course their projects are resourceful, maybe well programmed, maybe even entertaining. But they are fundamentally affirmative of the world we live in and completely one-dimensional.

Now, to come back to the core question: it is simply wrong to ask if we are allowed to use military-industrial technologies. of course we should use them (and I do that by simply typing an email) but if we do it matters how we do that. do we contribute to the disguise of the political content of those technologies and thereby continue the positivistic narration of expansion and 'usefulness'? or do we use them to expose that which is always subconsciously present, that in this system, as Herbert Marcuse said 40 years ago, power is transferred into technological systems and that our dependency on those system makes us to their reified subjects? It is a general trait of this society that the powers that be try to cordon off the political. The positive side of things (technological things, gadgets, gps, pda's) gets highlighted but not what comes with it, not this hard to pin down element of power that has become nameless and faceless because
it has been inscribed in, is contained in the technological system.

Now, coming back to locative per se, I think Brian is right to say: "In effect, a Cartesian worldview has been built into the computerized technology of graphic information systems, which are undergirded by megaprojects of military origin, or what I call "imperial infrastructure."

Maybe he ment to say Geographical Information Systems (GIS). GIS combined with GPS and so forth truly signify the victory of Cartesian space over real space. Of course this victory is only a fake victory and never a final victory but it defines the current state of the arts in 'mapping'. Is it therefore forbidden for artists to use GIS? Of course not. The project by Jo Walsh and Schulyer Erle that Saul mentions, 'London Free Map' is a very good example. It is maybe not an art project but that does not matter. It tries to democratize GIS power, democratize in the sense of direct bottom up democracy and not fake vote rigging mind manipulating democracy (oh, that word, can someone suggest a better one?). It is experimental and utopian, it relies a lot on FLOSS and is probably difficult to use for people who are not tech-savvy, but that does not really matter at this point; it does not entertain in the way Blast-ed projects try to but that is effectively its strength. It involves fun, but of a different kind. We need more projects of this kind and we need a discourse that is better able to differentiate between projects that open up those other spaces and projects which simply fall into the technological deterministic trap.

I hope we can begin conversations that are critical and constructive and not about our personality disorders of which we all suffer to a certain degree, necessarily, because they are a function of that system we are subjected to. In this sense I agree that a lot of the 'psychogeography post-situationist' talk sounds naive. But at least it shows a desire to get away from Cartesian space and to reconceptualize the highly regulated spaces we live in. It makes a lot of sense to link FLOSS, art and the history and presence of liberation struggles, but that debate needs updates and rejigging too.

Hoping to be able to talk about those issues in a more elaborate way soon and also hoping to hear from other people now


Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 02:21:22 -0800
From: karlis
Subject: [Locative] Don't be shy
To: locative@x-i.net

...Executive Summary:

While studying locative media projects, a computer user realizes the value in talking to people.

Extended Commentary:

A romance of the aesthetic of the internet. Be somewhere, anywhere, it doesn't matter, "jack in" to the internet, and you're home, with your office and your contacts and connections. The presently inhabited city, be it Riga, Ljubljana, or Vancouver, is like wallpaper or decor in a restaurant. The principal interaction with the world is through the internet, and the information available there, the rest is somehow peripheral. So naturally when we approached the ability to make computing mobile and location aware, there seemed to be an answer of integration; finally the drift and nomadism would be informed and fulfulled with the power and potential of the network computer. All your revolutionary fantasies come true. Except the devices are retarded and complicated and expensive; they don't work properly, and they make you into a Steve Mann cyborg, someone more appopriately dressed for a mid 1990's DefCon hacker fair in Las Vegas than any part of life in public.

We tried to simplify the gear and determine what it was supposed to do, which was connect us to the network, make us contextually aware within that network, and informationally aware within that spatial context. The equipment had to be "naturally human", so that it is still possible to interact with the environment and the local culture without handicap.

No cyborg head displays or cybergloves, or star-trek tricorders. It also has to be inexpensive and uncomplicated and break-proof.

A beautiful natural language interface was developed (using selective evolutionary algorithms, no less). Billions of client terminals connected to a global information network have been deployed, planet-wide, that use this natural language interface.

They're called people.

Sitting behind my computer and obsessed with the internet for ten years, I totally missed the obvious connection that local people are connections to the whole network, the network of all information connections which includes the internet but also "old Joe Smith" with whatever he's got to offer. It's the same reason why I haven't needed a watch since I was 15 - someone around me always knows the time. The connection to the network is not limited to a GPS satellite signal reciever and a 2.4GHz wireless internet supercomputer laptop. Rather it's just a link to the next node with different information that what you can access on your own. The easiest, most locative way to access that network is by talking to people, and if these studies are urban, there's going to be people. Forget WiFi and GPS. Ask for directions. Ask the nearest person, or if you're aesthetically driven, ask the nearest good-looking one. If they don't have the answer, they might know someone who does, or can suggest an alternative. If they don't speak your language, they'll likely direct you to someone who does.

Maybe that's should be obvious. But as a bedroom caveman computer hack, to look around and find that this perfect system has already been implemented is amazing. It's multi-modal with multiple redundancies. Ubiquitous. Reliable. All-weather. Fuckable.

Maybe an internet legacy of the military paradigm has poisoned our preconceptions about the reliability and desirability of technology vs people. But if we are nice and friendly and not locally despised imperial soldiers, we don't have to bring all our knowledge in a computer. We can talk to the nearest person.

When I was in an busy new space I formerly looked around and saw great potential for overlaying great collections of information and data or media texture in location, if we could develop the system to realize it.

Now I see that this network is already in place, mobile info nodes are walking all around, ready to be engaged, connected to vast networks of people and information. Standard APIs. It's amazing. Sometimes you have to ask a bunch of times, even before you realize the right question to be asking. But if the information is there, someone has it, and you can find it.

The mention of technological determinism and political action, brought up in the context of locative media, seemed to make this "amazing" revelation relevant again. It has been called a serious political action to find ways beyond the gap between people in the very technically-focused and alienated population. Techno-fetish locative media projects made me realize how important and powerful it is just talking to people.



Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 14:15:32 -0800 (PST)
From: coco fusco
Subject: Questioning the Frame

In response to Geert's request, below is my commentary that was published in IN THESE TIMES recently. The comments were based on my lecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in November, 2004. The series is entitled:


and the school's description of the series is:

"This lecture series examines the work of artists, artist-collaboratives, and film/video makers whose works address or proceed from shifts in articulations of global culture, politics of the border and dilemmas of transnational or diasporic identities--identity as a spatial concern. Special attention will be given to artists who use the gesture and organizational logic of mapping, cartographic sciences and the grid to locate identity as well as its displacements."

I found this description so baffling and overladen with jargon that it prompted my response.

I have not had a moment yet to respond to Holmes's post. I found it a bit surprising that he would locate a response to an article in a left-wing Chicago newspaper on a list-serve with a primarily European readership (of his allies, I would add). A decision to locate his response HERE as opposed to THERE seems more like a rallying cry to his nettime readership than an address the substance of my argument or to the public in Chicago, a city with a long and venerable history of community and labor organizing, activist media, and radical black politics.


Posted by jo at 10:19 AM | Comments (4)

December 27, 2004



Emerging Infrastructures of All (Inter)net Research

Dr. Reinhold Grether's network research | netzwissenschaft site maps the "emerging infrastructures of all (inter)net research endeavours. net.science as an anthropology of connectivity is trying to overcome the constraints of specialist method transfers on net matters. the protuberance of technical networks necessitates a professionalization of human net knowledge. neither the isolation of concepts as in basic research nor the encapsulation of processes as in applied sciences will ever be able to adequately describe the complex autopoiesis of networks. net.science is undoubtedly developing into a scienza nuova of its own right."

Check out his Mobile Art and Virtual Performance research areas.

Posted by jo at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Thinking of art, transparency and social technology


Art. Object or Process?

From Liza Sabater's post on Rhizome Raw today:

"There are different concepts in our work, like when you think of the computer tree, which is basically a stage that we built for people online to perform on, it's trying to figure out a different audience relationship. A lot of what net art is interested in is the communication back and forth, the net being the space in-between, so the printer tree in some ways is also the space in-between. With this tree, it’s audience, and some of the other things we’ve done is trying to separate and move that relationship between performance and viewer just slightly so that the relationship becomes a little fuzzier. I don’t know if people need to know that when they see the piece to understand the relationship." [M. River]

"But let me bring another issue to the table, one I think other net creatives have brought to light pretty well. It's the issue of TRANSPARENCY.

Artists have always kept notes, some way or another, for their ideas and process. But it is not until they are dead (or made an offer they cannot refuse) that people can take a peek at them. If ever. But not just artist as in Art makers. Most people involved in creative work will keep some kind of record of their discoveries and obstacles. The problem, again, is that these are mostly kept tucked away in private libraries or bedroom drawers.

I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that Levin/Simon/Napier is not an animation. It's software creating the art." To which they most inevitably get the "deer in the headlights" look on their faces. Ugh.

MTAA was interviewed for Petit Mort and it's worth the reading (great pics of the sexy beasts and a fantabulous one of EndNode AKA Printer Tree). This is the part that mostly caught my attention:

“Q: I’ve notice that your updating of art is similar to the way corporations are updating their services these days; for example banks make you transfer funds, make you fill out forms, make you find customer service, and sometimes even make you responsible for their quality control. Technology now a day has passed on a lot of duties to the customer. It has really become a self-service type of system. And although this would seem like cost cutting measures on the way they do business, we still don't see a decrease in their fees or cost of their products or services. It is helping them save money I’m sure, but as consumer we are loosing our time in performing their services. Is that shift what you had in mind when you started these updates?

TIM: We never spoke about it, but I definitely considered that being a change in the way the people interact online -a lot of the labor has been passed back to you.

MARK: There are different concepts in our work, like when you think of the computer tree, which is basically a stage that we built for people online to perform on, it's trying to figure out a different audience relationship. A lot of what net art is interested in is the communication back and forth, the net being the space in-between, so the printer tree in some ways is also the space in-between. With this tree, it’s audience, and some of the other things we’ve done is trying to separate and move that relationship between performance and viewer just slightly so that the relationship becomes a little fuzzier. I don’t know if people need to know that when they see the piece to understand the relationship.”

[The whole article is at Petite Mort]

This is an AMAZING insight. For one, I feel that one of the interesting failures of net art has been its inability to communicate OUTSIDE of its immediate clique. Not even people in the art world know or have even heard of net art/software art as we discuss it here in Rhizome. To most people NA/SA is what happens when you photoshop photography or make a video and put it on the net.

So without even knowing it, MTAA has hit it over the head. For the one part, the technology used in net/software art--from the computers to the software or even the coding language--passes unto you the onus of R&D, QA, and usability (we're not even touching cost). The technologies of canvases, stretchers, brushes, pigments, hammers and nails do not need any of those added costs to the process of art making. It's completely the opposite with anything involving digital technology.

This is apparent with computers and software but what about the other art "corporations"?

Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and "the market" as corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of making an art "object" out of what is basically electricity, falls unto you as well. So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that is then what we call "software art", but nobody--not even your peers--know about it because you've been focused on showing the final object and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art as object motif, your work--because it moves on a screen--is still being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves. You can't blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the "proven" art forms, why should people understand what your work is about?

Net Artists have been so caught up in the metaphor of the internet as a space for communication and social interaction that, ironically, most have not really used it as so in their own art spaces. Yes, there is Rhizome and all those artsy lists. But you cannot bring Rhizome Raw into your site and this is what each and every one of you should be doing. Let the flaming begin. There, I have said it.

I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward, but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly pursue.

The net is not just a space, and the web is not just a canvas. They are processes as well. They are because humans use them. Art Websites should not be just galleries or studios. They need to be salons as well; places where each artist can reveal their work and play, their expertise and discoveries, their trials and tribulations.

Yes people, I'm talking about the four letter words. Whether it is a wiki or a blog, I am talking about bringing social technologies into artists sites. And not just the tech but the practices of communication as well. We need to make your sites as dynamic as your art process. Why? By not doing it you are missing out on the opportunity of connecting with peers in other net cultures who, may not be artists but have the answers to your questions. Or you may miss the opportunity of having one more piece of information ready and available for your future audience to read and learn more about you and your process as an artist. Or who knows what other things are in store.

It's been almost two years now since I wrote an art proposal, and quite frankly, I don't miss it. Those things are ghastly especially because software art, being a subset of a subset of art in most foundations, never fits all the requirements for documentation. So they want a video or slides of Shredder (I kid you not). In part because they are working with old paradigms of art, and in part because they most of the time do not have the "right browser" or the "right OS" or the "right hardware" to run most net/software art in the first place. So they go with what they think will be easy for them to use to judge the work--misunderstandings and hilarity ensues. UGH.

I've blogmothered potatoland.blog. The intention? For the Head Potato to post some code and start conversations around it. Rant against the machines. Maybe even get some people to work out a bug or two. That sort of thing. I'm even fixing to have guest writers write about their favorite pieces. And in due time to raise resources for new projects.

I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See what opportunities are opened up with this "new" socialization. Find out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook to salon, all in one swoop of technology."

Posted by jo at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2004



BiReality: Mutually Immersive Mobile Telepresence

BiReality uses a teleoperated robotic surrogate to visit remote locations as a substitute for physical travel. The goal is to create, both for the user and the people at the remote location, the sensory experience relevant for face-to-face interactions. The second-generation system provides a 360-degree surround immersive audio and visual experience for both the user and remote participants, and streams eight high-quality video streams totaling almost 20Mb/s over wireless networking. The system preserves gaze and eye contact, presents local and remote participants to each other at life size, and preserves the head height of the user at the remote location.

Posted by jo at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2004

Leaders or Followers?


State of the Artists

"Do we drive technology or have we become just passengers? How do we navigate a reality where the lines between the virtual and real are blurred? What is our relationship to our environments, and each other, in an increasingly mediated world?

These questions have been at the heart of electronic art since its birth in the 1960s. It was then that Bell Laboratories Telephone engineer Billy Kluver collaborated with future-minded artists like John Cage and Jean Tinguely on groundbreaking works incorporating, and often critiquing, technology's state-of-the-art. Of course, that tradition continued through the dawn of the digital age and the emergence of the Web. And now it's rising in the vast spectrum of wireless telecommunications." Continue reading David Pescovitz's article at TheFeature.

Posted by jo at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

No plant left behind


Flower Sound

A Japanese company has developed a way of turning plants into audio speakers, USA Today reports.

"Called Ka-on, which means "flower sound" in Japanese, the machine consists of a donut-shaped magnet and coil at the base of a vase that hooks up to a CD player, stereo or TV. Place the flowers in the vase, turn on Ka-on and the magnet and coil relay the sound vibrations up the stems through the plant's water tubes."

And the plant trembles.

Later on this month (the company says) you'll be able to carry on a telephone conversation with the plant. And soon a wireless connection will be available for piping music to the Ka-on.

This is not nature speaking a computational language and answering questions of fundamental theoretical and experimental interest, as Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, speaks of it. It's us doing what we want with nature yet again. No wonder the poor plant trembles!...

Posted by newradio at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

more on mobile

Here are a couple of books on mobile phones:

1. Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communications, Private Talk, Public Performance, edited by James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus. This book deals with the impact of mobile phones on contemporary society from Finland to the Phillipines. Published in 2002, its information probably needs an update.

2.The Mobile Connection: The Cell Phone's Impact on Society by Rich Ling. Howard Rheingold calls it "a sound introduction to the social study of mobile phones, arguing among other points that SMS faces a bleak future. Published in 2004.

Earlier posts on the impact of the cell phone include: Ketai and Yo kidda NuOK.

Posted by newradio at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Pedestrian Cinematic Experience


Pedestrian by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser

February 13 - March 23, 2002:

Pedestrian is a public art project of site-specific, projected installations presented simultaneously in three locations in New York City - in the galleries at Eyebeam in Chelsea and at two outdoor venues; at Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Created by artists Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser and co-produced by Eyebeam and Art Production Fund, Pedestrian presents miniature, computer-generated moving figures projected directly onto the ground from above, providing a bird's-eye view of pedestrian traffic. These projected "pedestrians" interact to form patterns, crowds and streams that evolve unpredictably, almost organically, as if having lives of their own. Figures stand, watch, meet, sit, push, move away, sometimes run, or perhaps even lie down according to spontaneous rules of motion and engagement. Pedestrian builds on advanced technology, combining motion-capture, 3-D modeling software, texture mapping to visually enrich surface detail, behavioral rules devised by the artists to drive the action, and an overarching cinematic framework.

Pedestrian depicts a solid and almost tactile world within the pavement you walk upon. It's medium is that of a projected image directly onto the pavement. Instead of a sober rectangle, spectators form a dynamic human perimeter around the work. These are conscious choices to emphasize the work's physicality, and to have our own presence essentially complete the artwork; we and Pedestrian generate a unique crowd footprint in the real world.

By projecting Pedestrian onto public sidewalks, the artists experiment with cinematic experience in the context of public sculpture. Viewers see a bird's eye view of 3D modeled plazas and figures that are mapped with texture samples gathered and scanned from the real world. All movement is built from a library of motion-captured data that is mapped onto synthetic characters. The final projection shows a miniature depiction of real - life motions and the daily public interactions of figures representing various urban archetypes. The distorted foreshortening of an aerial perspective of doll-like figures and plazas are suggestive of surveillance or video games in which we play out constantly changing narratives and dialogue that will continue outside of our current viewpoint

Featured in the ZKM book Future Cinema.

Posted by michelle at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)