Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy New Ear

Banksy does it well at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Hippy New Year and peace to all.............

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reading Tracking Telling

For the last month or so I have been deeply immersed in the theories of reading. What it is to read, how we read and what we experience when we read? This will be the main concern for a chapter in my thesis (ohh so far away it seems). Anyway, something that struck me the other day was the idea of reading a game and playing a game. They are two different things I think. Then came the idea of the way a tracker reads tracks. In the 1860's my great great gandfather successfully tracked a man who had murdered someone from the Condamine River in central Queensland to the South Australian boarder, a distance of over a thousand kilometers. He read the signs all the way as he attempted to reach his goal, finding the man. This I can see as having similarities to a game.
Then today I saw this:

Ice Age footprints tracked in NSW national park

The world's largest collection of human fossil footprints have been found in a national park in western New South Wales.

The prints are 19,000 to 23,000-years-old and date back to the Ice Age.

They were found in the Mungo National Park at Willandra and the site contains more than 450 well preserved footprints of men, women and children.

New South Wales Environment Minister Bob Debus says the site shows a large group of people walking and interacting with one another.

"We see children running between the tracks of their parents, the children running in meandering circles as their parents travel in direct lines," he said.

"It's a most extraordinary snapshot of a moment or several moments in the life of Aboriginal people living on the edge of the lake in western New South Wales 20,000 years ago."
ABC News

This is reading the tracks to tell a story. Emotions are evoked in the running children, a "snapshot" is provided (just like the ones any family takes on holidays) but we will never find the makers of the tracks. We do however have their story, from reading the tracks.

Race, Culture and Livelihood

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a lecture by David Theo Goldberg, Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) and Professor of African-American Studies and of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California at Irvine. It was an intense experience as terms such as 'Race', 'Racilization' (a term we were advised not to use by Professor Goldberg), 'Racial' and 'Racist' were examined in the contexts of history, society and conflict.

The title of the lecture was Racial Europeanization. The title is a part of a five region study looking at racial regionaizations that also included racial Americanization, Latin Americanization, Palestinization, and South Africanization.
In the European context post-1945 race has been constructed as externaility. Such situations as the South African apartheid state and the segregation and inequalities of the United States provided the expression for Europe in regards to race. Meanwhile in Europe the "touchstone for race" was the Jewish holocaust of the 1930's and 1940's perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the often forgotten (and numerous)collaborators to the regime.

Goldberg explained a little of his method in 'reading' race in society. He stated that social structures often contain "inflections with racial meaning". In reading these inflections one must distinguish between the normative/evaluative and what is being intended.

This was expanded later in an answer to a question in regards to methodology:
1. Look at demographic representation (population make-up, groups, etc.)
2. Compare this with difference in representation of elite areas of the labor market. Also with representation at universities and within other institutional structures.
3. Look at where people live. Where they are being made to live and where they are choosing to live.
4. From this inferences can be drawn on who 'belongs' and who does not 'belong'.
5. Finally how to displace distanciation and overcoming exoticisation.

(more on Goldberg's Lecture Here)

Following the lecture I came home and in the course of the evening I watched the Swedish program Uppdrag Granskning ("Mission Investigate") about a local court case between the Sámi reindeer herders and land holders. It seemed to be a life example of many of the points David Theo Goldberg was making in his lecture earlier in the day. One of the land holders, when asked about the survival of the nomadic culture of the Sámi said that it was good if it survived just as long as he did not have their practices (particulalry the driving of reindeer to seasonal pastures) near him. He wanted it to be invisible but present. This seems like a contradiction and a racially based one. Indeed the example of nomadic life practice seems to cross over the boarders (pardon the pun) between race, identity and ethnicity. Maybe this is why the Swedish state is having such a bother with it. The governemnt has largely ignored the whole issue, refusing to legislate in regards to "ancient land use", and to help with the huge financial cost to Sámi communities when they must launch cases against the land holders (the situation is the reverse in Norway where land holders must initiate cases against the "orginal people"; the Sámi). The communiites must borrow money from their own funding bodies to protect their material culture. Several of these cases have already been lost by the Sámi communities.
Meanwhile the Swedish government refuses to become involved, even continuing to use paternalistic terms such as "our Sámi" in parlimentary debate, and refusing to sign the United Nations Charter Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (my homeland Australia has not signed either). Debate from the television documentary was large. Opinions expressed circle around themes of difference and likeness, who gets to say which is which and even non-Sámi peoples saying what is a Sámi (language, technology, and location seem to be important).

Some more links to David Theo Goldberg should be recomended to anyone trying to articluate a race based agenda:
Post-Racial States
Review of David Theo Godlberg’s lecture The Death of Race

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age

"The humanities provide the social and cultural contexts of the creation and application of knowledge, the critical reflections upon how knowledge is created and what its effects and implications are. The humanities promote a broad range of social and cultural literacies. They offer critical civic competencies, ways of comprehending cultural and technological values, and the worlds such values conjure; in short, ways of world making. A world without the humanities would be one in which science and technology knew no point of social reference, had lost their cultural compass and moral scope. It would be a world narrowly limited and limitlessly narrow."
David Theo Goldberg, "A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age"
Seminar, HUMlab 13:15 (CET) Tuesday 19th December 2005.
I will be watching the live stream from HERE beginning at 1:15pm due to a simultaneous medical appointment (child vaccination).

Friday, December 16, 2005

We are Family

From the local paper. How we are looking these day. Notice extra person to left of center. Benyamin James is his name.

24 Hour Blog Jam

To kick off the opening of the exhibition southwestNET: techno, on December 17th, 2005 (TOMORROW), artist Rick Silva will be in Scottsdale for a 24 hour, international "blog jam" event called 24 Hour Count. Along with artistic collaborators Mark Amerika (in Sydney, Australia) and Nathaniel Wojtalik (in Boulder, Colorado), Silva will record, mix, interpret and respond to current events using technologies that include the mobile phones, digital video, mini-disk recorders, musical instruments and numerous computer software programs. As the artists record images, sounds and other information, they will send their findings in the form of digital messages and files back and forth to one another, continually mixing sound, images and text, like DJs. Hour by hour their mixes will be uploaded onto a blog, which will document live their intercontinental "jam session."

Visit the website to read more about the project and explore the blog as it transforms!

EU data retention law passed

Well they did it. The European Parliament yesterday passed the law (voted 378-197, with 30 abstentions) which requires internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile phone operators to retain data such as "incoming and outgoing phone numbers, the duration of phone calls, IP addresses, which identify a computer's coordinates on the internet, login and logoff times and email activity details - but not the actual content of communications." (from SMH). The retention period is a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years. Poland wanted data to be stored for 15 years! There will be "effective, proportionate and dissuasive" penal sanctions for companies who fail to store the data or misuse the retained information (

This will be tough for many smaller ISPs with the costs for storing such large amounts of data being high. I cannot conceive how mobile phone operators with huge customer bases are going to manage it. Even a single day of phone activity in Sweden (a low populated EU nation) is enormous. These costs may be passed on to customers as the EU authorities have said they are not footing the bill for this;

"ISPA (Internet Service Providers' Association) cites estimates from one large UK-based ISP that it would cost £26m a year to set up data retention kit on its systems and £9m a year in running costs to service law enforcement requests." (from The Register)

So it looks like the users of the technologies involved will be paying for the surveillance. It does seem like the music business has been delayed in gaining access to the data, as they wanted to use it to prosecute file sharing:

"Only the competent authorities determined by Member States should have access to the retained data from phone or internet providers. Furthermore, each national government will designate an independent authority responsible for monitoring the use of the data." (

It does however raise questions regarding the commodification of information. Having just spent time at a data mining workshop I am coming to realize the value of "raw information" and how large quantities of demographic data can have great potential for modeling of correlations, patterns and trends. Would the EU authorities be prepared to ignore the fact that they have access to an enormous resource in the data retention system they have just created?

Finally with national boarders becoming increasingly transparent how effective will these laws actually be in monitoring communication traffic for those targeted ("the terrorists"):

"In a statement, the EU's electronic communications industry said it regretted the move and lamented that it did not take into account the Internet world and its global nature. "This directive will impose a significant burden on European e-communications industry, impacting on its competitiveness," said five major European telecommunications organizations in a statement. "However only a fraction of the email services used today would be covered by the EU directive as the world largest email providers are not in Europe, allowing criminals to easily circumvent the rules," they said." (discwrite)

On our local TV news last night Hans Wallberg said (in Swedish) that it is private people who are not committing any crime who will be most effected by data retention. Anyone who is serious about committing crime can easily circumvent these new controls but the average communication technology user would not bother. Once these vast bodies of data have been created they will need to be secured themselves as they provide a valuable resource for such things as industrial espionage, marketing demographics, and multinational business concerns. Not to mention any sort of oppressive state authorities that may come in the future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Screen Theory: The Early Years

Phantasmagoria (collection of phantoms)

Although I have vowed earlier to cease reading like a shark at a barbecue I could not stop myself when I came across Literature and Visual Media (David Seed, Editor). The first essay Optical Recreations and Victorian Literature by John Plunkett was a fascinating journey through a world of visuality, literature and the popular imagination of 19th century Britain.
Having long been interested in the sources of trope and meme in digital representations Plunkett's essay provided excellent background for early constructions around both the visual and the virtual. On the tromp l'oeil effect of the early panorama shows which were both traveling and stationary in specially built buildings (one from 1793 was 10 000 square feet of canvas!) William Wordsworth was already cautioning against "the opportunity for the spectator to become immersed in its virtual world" in the 1790's in The Prelude (Book Seven). However the caution of the lake bard did little to stem the tide from a cascade of visual entertainments. The relationship with gaming was also early in regards to the virtual:

"The success of large scale panoramas led to hand-held versions, children's games, and miniature toy theater panoramas that could be performed in the parlour. In the early years of the panorama's novelty small hand-held panoramas were published as luxury tourist guides-cum-commemoratives. Among the many produced were panoramas of Falmouth (1806), Brighton (1831), Sidmouth (1821), Weymouth (1820), and the Isle of Wight (1820). Scrolling panoramas were used also to portray public events such as the coronations of George IV in 1818 and Queen Victoria in 1838.. Numerous games based on the aesthetic form and instructional value of the panorama were also produced: examples include the Myriorama (1824), Panoramacopia (1824) and Nautorama (1832). The convergence between print and optical media was thus only part of the latter's capacious influence." (Plunkett:13)

Continuing the trace of material metaphor between such present day technologies such as GIS, augmented reality and the image, the Aeronautikon (1841) provided " images of Mr Marshall's flight from London to Germany in the Aeronautikon balloon, including: the balloon being inflated; leaving Vauxhall Gardens and ascending over London; flying across the channel by moonlight; and flying over the Rhine at sunrise. It also introduces panoramic views of China, Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass"

Advertisement for the Aeronautikon, Manchester, 23 December 1841.

It is clear from Plunkett's essay that the visual field was developing fast, coming out of Enlightenment concerns and thought. He goes on to cite examples of its influence on such authors as George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Amelia Opie and the works published by Dean and Son.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Struggle for Words When you have a Mouth Full.

Home is where the Books are.

In the last month I have begun working on my PhD thesis proper. For a year before this I had been reading the 'course literature'. Reading is something I am good at as I have been trained in it since I was a young child. To read long and deep, to read vivaciously, to read is never wrong. I was never denied a book when I was growing up, and I grew up in a house with thousands of books. This probably rings true for many and I am not saying it is a bad thing. Reading is good, but how you read is an important consideration.
Just now I am struggling to find my voice in the writing of thesis work. For the whole of my education I have been taking in and regurgitate the arguments and observances of others. I swim in the warm waters of sparkling words and adroit phrases. The mental gymnastics of French poststructuralism is something I actually enjoy (sad isn't it). I am a glutton of the reading world. But I have never really paused in my reading and begun thinking reflectively and critically, really divorcing myself from the avalanche of beautiful books and make my own word space in reaction to my reading. Although I do write from myself (poetry, stories) this is an easy recourse to an imagination that has been with me since childhood (like reading)and would have been so even without reading but perhaps expressed differently.
In a sense this reader spectrum is the difference between what could be described as active and passive reading. The active reader may read only one book a month (or even parts of books) but it is digested and sustains the mental life of that person for the whole time, the book is pondered on and recalled (perhaps read several times), and is recycled in thought and action. The passive reader can read several whole books a week, reading fast and even deeply but spend little time in the worlds of each book and have largely forgotten the book 5 or 10 books later. Both readers are reading but it is done differently. Neither is 'better' than the other, just different. Where I am at just now requires me to stop so much reading and start building with words my own "world of discourse" (there's that bloody poststructuralism) and just to make it that more difficult, it has to be based around the story worlds of other authors. So, as my supervisor says, focus, calm down, and build up your argument using simple terms of your own IN YOUR OWN WORDS. This last one, 'in your own words' is what really stumps me. Really trying to think for oneself is very very difficult, trying to describe it in a clear and concise manner is even harder. I think I have to stop reading and start thinking.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

HUMlab Nominated for EDUblogs

The Humlab Blog, for which I write and helped create, has been short listed for the EDUblog, educational blog awards. We are nominated for Best Designed/Most Beautiful Blog and Best Group Blog. Please vote for the HUMlab blog, cause it is the best!!! Ya ya ya!:-) The winners will be anounced on Sunday 18th December...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sedition and Technology

In 1901 the government of Turkey banned typewriters due to their power to produce anonymous seditious material with the rational "in the event of seditious writing executed by the typewriter being circulated, it would be impossible to obtain any clew [sic] by which the operator of the machine could be traced." Sedition and technology have played happily hand in hand throughout the history of media reproduction. Johannes Gutenberg completed a printing press technique in 1448. In Elizabethan England (1533-1603) the laws of sedition and treason were strongly enforced and enacted and included offences such as:

"writing or printing texts denying Elizabeth's ecclesiastical and temporal authority; advocating the rights of anyone else to that authority; advocating rebellion; calling her a heretic or usurper; slandering or defaming her. Writing, publishing or printing texts with rumors, libels or slanders against the Queen"

From 1997 MIT conference Technologies of Freedom we have this synopsis:

"Let me turn to the question of state control, the history of censorship. This relates to the question of state power and monopoly. The English government from the advent of printing is interested in controlling this new technology. There are various acts, usually called licensing acts, that impose control. You begin to read these statutes and your blood chills: sedition and heresy are common terms; anybody who imports or circulates a book will be drawn and quartered. And there are occasions when people are hanged or burned or their books burned.
But there is another agenda operating here as well, perhaps more centrally. The Licensing Act of 1662 begins with a series of ghastly clauses about suppression of freedom of thought, but suddenly it turns into a series of commercial privileges, guaranteeing a handful of printers a monopoly over the trade. The real issue is not sedition or heresy; the real issue is piracy. How can you prevent your competitors from printing your book, to which you have some right?"

Which brings me to the present deliberation of the European parliament, of which I have written below, on data retention, traceable information (remember the Turkish typewriters)and digital rights management (DRM).
Finally what inspired this brief tour through sedition and technology is that the Senate chamber of the Australian parliament began debate today on anti-terrorist legislation which includes 5 new sedition laws and a revision of the existing ones.
These are:

1. A person encourages another to violently overthrow the Constitution or any Australian government.
2. A person encourages another to violently interfere with federal elections.
3. A person urges a racial, religious, national or political group to use violence against another group, where the violence threatens; "peace, order and good government".
4& 5 Urging a person to assist organizations or countries fighting militarily against Australia; even if Australia has invaded another country unlawfully. Countries or organizations need not be formally proclaimed as enemies. Australians may be prosecuted for condemning illegal violence by their government, or for seeking to uphold the United Nations Charter.

Taken from the excellent review: BRIEFING ON SEDITION OFFENCES IN THE ANTI-TERRORISM BILL 2005 by Dr Ben Saul (University of NSW Faculty of Law).

I see a relationship between technology and sedition. The nature of sedition has changed considerable since the days of Elizabeth Tudor , the state is no longer a personality, but rather a set of documents and practices that may not even be necessarily revealed to its citizens. It exists over national boarders and within the private meeting places of organizations. Indeed Saul states the same in commenting on the 5 "good faith defences" placed within the sedition bills in order to "protect free speech":

"The defences are also anachronistic, since they are based closely on the defences to English common law crimes of sedition found in a famous English criminal law text book of 1887 (Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, A Digest of the Criminal Law, 3rd ed, 1887, article 93). They are defences for a different era; less rights-conscious, and eager to protect the reputation of Queen Victoria. Such narrow defences have no place in a self-respecting modern democracy."

This is a digital state. The defences set in place by the Australian and European attempts to guarantee right to information and expression are those largely based upon the state as a national representative body within defined geographic boundaries. While the attempts to control the flow of information and opinion are transglobal, such features as the absence of a United Nations recognition in the Australian legislation illustrates the focus for concerns in the laws. This is related to the difficulties of any sort of decisions regarding the free flow of information to be made at this level. I am thinking here Tunis, where the

"USA, Australia and Canada proposed that the FIG [Forum for the Internet Governance] be convened by the Internet Society; an association that supports the ad-hoc bodies active in the growth of the internet -- thereby suggesting that the UN should have absolutely no role and competencies in internet-related matters." (APEC-WSIS Blog)

So the debate continues. It is not always clear whose interests are being argued by whom, as is usually the case with power and media. There seems to have been some gains made at WSIS is regards to the flow of information but these are perhaps being countered by local legislation, such as the resort to sedition by the Australian government. Of course there are such things as terrorists, as there have always been. But as Dr Saul points out in his review of the sedition laws, most things that are outlawed as terrorist acts or intents are already illegal in civilized societies, including threats and planning. Surveillance may be necessary in this context, but sedition seems a bit out of date.......

Sunday, December 04, 2005

An Eye on Ma Ganga

In 1996-97 I lived in Varanasi, India for three months. It was an experience I will never forget and I hope to repeat some day. Here is a New York Times photo essay on the city and the river that brought back many memories for me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lennon Talks

John Lennon gave Rolling Stone magazine a classic interview in 1970 shortly after the Beatles had broken up. This has never been broadcast before.
John Lennon - The Wenner Tapes: 1900GMT, Saturday 4 December, BBC Radio 4

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shamanistic Homing Pigeons: Urban Eyes

This is wild:

Urban Eyes at V2_
"The urban rock dove (columba livia) is part of every cityscape. More hated than loved due to malnourishment based on fast food left-overs, the "flying rat" is very likely here to stay in our urban scenario. The urban pigeon population can be seen as an indicator of the city's atmosphere. Bottomline is, just as every other behaviour pattern and network in the city, we are connected to it as we share the same space. In a mixture of revived shamanism and panoptic view that might challenge the artificial network of CCTV cameras, the pigeon population's unpredictable movement patterns offer a set of eyes that could offer a unique view onto unknown places. Based on the Bavarian Pigeon Corps from 1903, where homing pigeons were equipped with tiny cameras to take aerial shots from behind enemy lines, Urban Eyes uses RFID and wireless technology to turn the once able urban pigeon into a chaotic agent and messenger of visual impressions from the road you never took. Perceived as a critical design concept and public art installation, Urban Eyes accesses the live network of pigeons to expand what you know about your own city and reclaim the exploring stage of citylife. In 2004 the project proposal of Urban Eyes won 3rd prize at Fusedspace, an international competition for innovative applications for new technology in the public domain.On Thursday 24 November at V2_, media artists Marcus Kirsch and Jussi Ängeslevä will present Urban Eyes with an introduction to the project's origins and concept and the findings of Kirsch' research during his V2_residency. The presentation includes an example run of the prototype built in and with the help of the V2_Lab over the last two months as well as perspectives on Urban Eyes' future".

Via Doors of Perception.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Media of the People

"Everything written today unveils either the possibility or the impossibility of reading and rewriting history. This possibility is evident in the literature heralded by the writing of a new generation, where the text is elaborated as theatre and as reading."
Julia Kristeva "Word Dialogue Novel" (1986:56)

Koulamata has made a machinima film based around the French riots this Autumn. This is the first film I have seen made using The Movies game by Activision. Interesting, I wonder if this will be the fanzine, handbill, political flyer of the future.

The French Democracy is set in a mediated state where information flows into the living rooms, through the internet and out of the mobile phones as "colored youth" struggle to survive in a society that seems to be trying to preserve a culture that no longer actually exists. Those of non-euro appearance are surrounded by identity checks, images of wealth while living in poverty, employment impossibility and racism (being referred to as "a monkey" make things somewhat difficult).One character states "it is impossible to live in such society". Drugs are an alternative that result in further violence and an opportunity for the police to take control and punish an individual. Computer and telephone networks are used by characters to organize violence against a faceless oppressor (represented on the street by the police). The riots are senseless and without any goal or direction. Those that benefit from the violence are those that wish to exercise further control over the "badboy" youth, who supply the media image of terror and anarchy for those worried citizens who vote for the oppressive regime. It ends with the myth of Freedom, Equality Fraternity now translated as Misery, Lies and Misunderstanding.

Obviously it is a statement. It is a moderately good film. It reminds me in many ways of a 3D animated flyer handed out by an anarchist/socialist activist in a public place. The issues are real and many of the points made in the film are very relevant. As a non-euro myself living in "The Europe" I see a lot of what is represented in the film, although not on such an extreme scale. It is the first piece of realist political machinima I have seen. This is something I believe we will see more of. As the review on Boing Boing says "it's also a stirring piece of political filmmaking, created using a $50 piece of software intended to enable its users to become one-person animation auteurs." The media revolution continues.........

Monday, November 28, 2005

PhD You are not as Great as You thought you Were.....

I wish I had seen this twelve months/years ago.

"Research can be very rewarding and very frustrating. Most students describe graduate school as a roller-coaster with tremendous highs and tremendous lows. Frustrations can come from not being able to solve a problem that you’re working on, or from having someone else beat you to the solution. Frustrations can come from loneliness. However, probably the biggest frustration is the realization that you’re not as great as you thought you were."
Applying to Ph.D. Programs in Computer Science by Mor Harchol-Balter, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Sunday, November 27, 2005

File Sharing, Terrorism and a Lot of Worried Multinationals

In Europe at the moment File Sharing, Digital Management Rights, Software Patents, Open Source Software and "Piracy" are hot topics. Almost daily there is a report in Newspaper, on TV or radio concerning the subjects. Running in scope from the greatest threat to civilization since Ghengis Khan to a utopian vision of a society where information and learning are ubiquitous. It is a complex mish mash of issues and interests and how one feels about it often is dependent on what one does for a living, how old one is and where one lives.

I myself seem to be one of Ghengis's crew (white male 30 something university technologue with a background in media and communications, languages and IT) and this is one point of the scenario which worries me (not my legal status, something deeper than that). But first another story:

Last night listening to the state radio news here in Sweden. A piece about a Council of the European Union meeting taking place in Brussels 12-15 December which will vote on the RETENTION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRAFFIC DATA. A lobby group acting on behalf of a large percentage of the major music industry manufacturers (Sony BMG, Disney, EMI, Warner, IFPI, MPA and Universal Music International and more) is campaigning for a widening of the scope of the original legislation. Intended to allow security organizations to gather data on mobile phone surveillance, internet use and other electronic communication by forcing service providers to archive data from media transactions by clients. The Creative Media Business Alliance (CMBA) is a lobby group within the structure of IFIP (International Federation of Phonographic Industries) and they have sent a letter to all members of the European Parliament urging:

1. The scope of the proposal should include all criminal offences
2. Internet data must be retained for a sufficient period of time
3. The access and use of data for law enforcement purposes must not be limited

A major issue with the CMBA is the Lisbon Agenda of 2000 for Europe to be "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010" and how it has "failed". They use the Kok Report from November 2004 as proof of this. I would argue they are reading the Kok Report somewhat selectively, particularly in relation to online information networks and Digital Rights Management. Two example I found after a very brief look at the Kok report:

"social cohesion and environmental sustainability can contribute to a higher level of growth and employment"
How is criminalising millions of Europeans for sharing what is essentially information going to encourage social cohesion? The environmental pressures from manufacture and transportation of CDs and other media products from the members of the CMBA are much less sustainable than the transferring of bits over the world wide web.

"ICT allows [for] more participation in democracy and public life"
But only if you pay for it according to the CMBA.

"The main issues for the realisation of the Lisbon agenda were:

the necessary investment in R&D, that is three per cent of GDP;
reduction of red tape to promote entrepreneurship;
achieving an employment rate of 70 per cent (60 per cent for women);"

There are clearly a conflict of several interests in the development of an information society. An excellent summary of this is by Peter Johnston in his European Commission online presentation The Knowledge Economy, Sustainable Development and Corporate Responsibility.

Returning to me riding with Ghengis Kahn. If the European Union is going to seriously criminalise (jail, surveillance, employment and travel problems due to convictions etc.) those who use file sharing networks then a large percentage of those who will be driving the knowledge economy over the next half century are criminals. The IFIP itself estimates that for the first six months of 2005 "Infringing music files available on file-sharing networks and websites rose slightly (3%) from 870 million in January to 900 million, while broadband lines installed grew four times faster at 13%." The discrepancy between broadband uptake and file sharing I would say is due to only certain sections of the online community sharing files, such as not in professional settings and they fail to measure it against legal sharing of non-copyrighted (open source) material.

A perhaps more coherent account than mine of the Digital Information Retention directive is available here at the Open Rights Group site. From them I take my closing paragraphs:

"So, why is this important right now, this minute?
Both Data Retention and IPRED2 are being frogmarched through the European Parliament at an alarming speed. Votes are being held by three committees over the next few days on Data Retention, with secret meetings going on in the background between the Council, the Commission and the Parliament, with the aim of reaching a tacit agreement on what this legislation should look like.

On 13 December 2005, the Parliament votes on the Data Retention directive. Usually, they get two stabs at it, with the Council having a say in between. This time, they get just one vote.

This time, MEPs will have just a few days between being presented with the proposed legislation as drawn up in the secret meetings and being expected to come to an informed, considered decision on whether it should become law.

Word has it that there are some MEPs who do not even realise that this is a single reading process - they are expecting the normal two reading process instead. Most MEPs have probably not been following the debate around Data Retention in detail, and giving them just a few days to absorb, understand, and analyse the proposals will ensure that, by the time they must cast their vote, they will through no fault of their own still not be in a position to make a reasoned decision.

This is not democracy.

What can you do?
Email your MEP now. Tell him or her that you oppose Data Retention, and that you are concerned about the way it is being rushed through the European Parliament. Read this pamphlet (sent to all MEPs by EDRI) for talking points to discuss.

Read up about IPRED2. With all the work going on with software patents and data retention, IPRED2 has not had the coverage it deserves. The FFII (the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure) has been doing a fine job tracking it, but it needs more exposure.

Blog about your concerns and encourage your readers to contact their MEP and particularly the Green Party, who may yet play a vital role in protecting your civil liberties by tabling a rejection of the Data Retention proposal.

The recording industry and the UK presidency are determined to get their way through stealth, not debate. We can't let the European Parliament sleep-walk their way into these statutes."

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Friday, November 25, 2005

That was the Week that Was

This is Friday and here is a few points from the week. I often think "I must blog this" as some interesting point is made by one of the many brilliant people I come into contact with around Umea University, and in particularly HUMlab. But then by the time I get around to blogging I have checked my email(s) or read a newspaper or another blog and I have some other piece of information to set into type and image.

Today I came late to a meeting of a research group of PhD students that has been going since the beginning of this year (I think). We are all involved in interactive digital media, internet, digital cultures, network cultures, and language in digital media (quite a broad spray but we are working on our commonalities). We don't have a name yet or a website but great things are afoot and it looks like we will be organizing a conference for PhD researchers working in similar fields in the Autumn term 2006. This was my most recent encounter with brilliant people.

Then yesterday was the Konst och teknik III course. I planned quite a bit of content for the three hours course time but was not so set upon the form of it. This seemed to work well and it ended up being quite discussion orientated. Three hours is not much time so I wanted to bring the course participants into contact with as much technological art (I suppose all art is technology in one way) as possible and let them explore it in their own ways. I wanted to instill in them or strengthen a sense of critical analysis in regards to art and technology and finally I wanted to show some of the possibilities that HUMlab has to offer in regards to the subject area. I think I succeeded!

On a more personal note my mother phoned me this morning to speak to me about a young Australian who is facing the death penalty in Singapore at the moment (she has never called me to discuss capital punishment before). She read to me a letter she is sending to the High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Australia to protest the planned execution of Nguyen Tuong Van and urged me to do the same. Nguyen Tuong Van is 22 years old and was born and raised in Australia, the child of refugees from Vietnam. Execution is by hanging in Singapore. We had a long conversation about the general evilness of both crime and punishment in the Asian drug scene, with hypocrisy and corruption never far away from any drug trial. I have travelled in several Asian countries and was so terrified by the 1986 executions in Malaysia of Australians Barlow and Chambers (I was 17 years old and remember it well) that I would search my own bags before going through customs in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Japan, and India. Anyone who smuggles drugs into countries with a legal "system" like Singapore is clearly not completely in touch with reality, but they certainly do not deserve to die. If you wish to register you disgust at the state killing of Nguyen Tuong Van planned for 6am local time next Friday write to Mr Joseph KOH, High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Australia appealing for a stay of execution:

Finally on a lighter note something very cool. Dust Echoes is a series of animations with original music designed to encourage children to experience Indigenous Australian culture. Not only are the animations very well done there is free study and teaching material avaiable from the website. Dust Echoes is a collaboration between Deakin University, ABC New Media and Digital Services, the Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, and the Beswick and Warmun communities. An encouraging example of what is possible with digital media, strong culture and a connection to country.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Art and Technology

This is a ballet. Survival Research Labs in Action

Well I have started getting seriously prepared for Thursday's short course Art and Technology in HUMlab. I have been teaching this course every six months for the last 18 months and the quantity of online material, the number of offline exhibitions and festivals, the access to collections and experimentation and emergence of new art forms is just getting bigger, more and better.
Of course anything to do with art and technology today should begin with, affiliated with the Whitney Museum of Modern Art and the greatest source of just about everything online. They are having a membership drive at the moment and it is well worth supporting them.
This time I will be following 5 themes; Narrative, Space, Interaction, Collaborative and Mixed (for more on the rational behind this see my HUMlab blog entry). So much to do with Art (or anything) and technology, tends to be defined from the emphasis of the material qualities. Looking at the list of Search Art by Keywords there is somewhat of a mix between concrete things and more abstract concepts (e.g. Social Space) but there are very few categories that are searchable as ideas or genres. Perhaps this is more of an archival issue than an aesthetic one.
Although this terms short course will be somewhat different than the last two there will be a lot of content from the earlier course. Here are some links from the earlier Konst och Teknik courses that provide good background for tomorrow. Looking over these old links as I cut and past them in, I see that I have also been very focused upon the material properties of art and technology and not from any sort of archival perspective, just from the point of view that what a work does or contains is what one thinks about when one focuses on the work. It is difficult to imagine the Survival Research Lab as a form of ballet, but really when you think about it, it kind of is.....

First Course Links.


Research as Art, Art as Research:

Bio-electric Media Artists:

Game Hacks and Reality Script

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Live Machines and Real Art

Performance Unconfined Body Machine

Multimedia Live Document:

3D World

2D Visual Arts


Net Art

Monday, November 21, 2005

Piracy of Life Sharing

The polarity of the file sharing, copyright, intellectual property debate is stunning sometimes. This mornig while going through mail and online news I found these:

1. "Illegal downloading, he said, is like stealing another person's clothes."
Dan Glickman, Chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America. While being laughed at by students at UCLA.

2."Share your knowledge and you will achieve immortality" Dalai Lama

File sharing

File sharing is the act of making specified data files accessible to others. File Sharing can be done publicly such as on the Internet, or privately within a network. The files to be shared can come from a pc or a server. Access can be controlled and vary amongst clients, and files can be restricted from editing.
Life Sharing (online real time art piece.

Sometimes one does not know where to turn for truth:-).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Virginia Woolf was not Mad, just very Annoyed

There is new Woolf biography out:

An Inner Life.
By Julia Briggs.
Illustrated. 528 pp. Harcourt. $30.

Since seeing The Hours in 2003 and reading A Room of Ones Own and Between the Acts I've been a fan of Virginia. The determination and the way some of the imagery and narrative plays with my mind, twisting it, reminds me of such later writers as Doris Lessing (especially A Briefing for a Descent into Hell) and even some of William Burroughs' works. One thing that I objected to in 'The Hours' is the hysterical nature of so many of the female characters, not the least Virginia. The impression I got from her writings is that she was psychotic at times but even when all the birds were speaking Greek she maintained her sense of values. This was the case right up to the end and it is visible in the text of Between the Acts, the desperation and frustration at the world Bloomsbury had made was being savagely destroyed.
So it was a pleasant surprise to read in the review of Briggs's biography:

"Although Briggs does not dwell on Woolf's eventual suicide in 1941, she offers the provocative theory that Woolf's breakdowns were not evidence of insanity, but rather a sensitive person's quite sane response to the darkness and cruelties of life, and particularly to the horrors of World War II."

I hold with this. The review can be found HERE.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

This Button Has No Function

"This Button Has No Function"

Friday, November 18, 2005

From Vandalism to Street Arts

It is interesting to watch the development or flux of artistic genres. I was part of a movement in Sydney Australia in the early 1990's and we called it Community Arts. It involved mural projects in public spaces, installation of art pieces in foyers and lobbies of public buildings (often without permission but if you looked professional enough delivering a sculpture often nobody asked any questions), performance art from the backs of trucks and on street corners, pubs and colleges campuses, sticker art, posters, mail art, and sort of happenings (such as "dress up in an animal costume and ride the trains for an afternoon"). Since then a lot has happened in urban space and how it is viewed by its inhabitants. We have violence, control, play and study. Over the last month or so I have been watching the development of Street Arts as an officially sanctioned (by Time no less) art movement which noticeably positions itself as resisting the gallery system while at the same time being prepared to enter the gallery space on occasion. It is an exciting thing with the potential to visually renew urban spaces beyond the contentious "Graffiti" paradigm that is growing dull and seems to lack much of the complexity necessary for such works as those by Banksey (his website is HERE) and the Wooster Collective. Not only is it painting but much more; installation, sculpture, assemblage, and posters. It all seems very politically orientated. It is also cross platform such as the stages in the OBEY process, as documented in their amazing Flickr site. It may feel like things are teetering on the edge at times in the early 21st century but there are also moments when one can glimpse the creative forces at work and the changing structures around us. Exciting stuff!
P.S Those who are resisting this new art force include Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman who has said that of those who paint in public space; "I'm saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb," the mayor said. "That may be the right thing to do." (CNN). There seems to be a bit of a way to go before the public space is liberated for all.....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Art and Technology III

Come on in to HUMlab and lets talk Art and Technology.

Next week on Thursday I will be teaching a short course in HUMlab called Art and Technology III (Konst och Teknik III). It should be a enjoyable and informative 3 hours, least of all for me. If you want to come along register (Anmälan) HERE.
A fairly detailed description of what we will be up to is HERE.

Benjamin and Me

I have actually been working quite hard, despite the relaxed ambiance of the image (Benjamin is two......Months old on Saturday. We may even have a party).
I have been reading a lot: some great texts:

Mark Gottdiener, Postmodern Semiotics: Material Culture and the Forms of
Postmodern Life

J Hillis Miller The Ethics of Reading (finally someone who can explain Kant in a way I can understand).
Umberto Eco The Role of the Reader
Julian Wolfreys Readings: Acts of Close Reading in Literary Theory
Jan Van Looy and Jan Baetens Close Reading New Media: Analyzing Electronic Literature
And other bits and pieces. The text is coming along in a surprising methodical way. The seminar yesterday (Martin has almost finished his hard slog...and had an interesting 'opponent' for his final seminar yesterday). I learnt a few things from the discussion.

Almost forgot....what am I listening to: Benjamin Zephaniah

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Found it......

Just want to say that it was some strange blogger, tag that was in the script that was slowing this down. Seems to be fixed now. Firefox helped me so much with their HTML diagnostic funtion. My ambition is to get the errors down to 5 or 10, at the moment it is running at 44 (down from 128 yesterday).

Blogger Blogging HTML and the Load that Takes Forever

I have been working on the template of this thing for quite a few hours now. It is still incredibly slow to load the page and I don't know why (Have written to and asked WHY?). It as been good to get things tidied up but anyway. I have decided to go minimal on this blog, well as minimal as possible (I still have too many links). Almost everything I know (very little) about coding I have learnt from this blog (and a couple of community college desktop publishing courses), a great way to become familiar with the stuff behind the screen. When it stared (almost 3 years ago) this blog looked completely different than it does now and I have never uploaded a new template, just mutated the one I started with. It is a sort of digital bricolage, layers of memories suturing one another together, holding the last three years of my life in a wonky patchwork of bad code and cut and paste functionalism.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Broadband technologies transforming business models and challenging regulatory frameworks

A report from the Royal Technical University in Stockholm into P2P file sharing as a business model has just been made available on the net. Broadband technologies transforming business models and challenging regulatory frameworks - lessons from the music industry looks like a balanced and thorough assessment of the situation. From my reading of it it seems to confirm the idea that what the global music industry is battling against is not "piracy" but rather new models for technological inovation and the subsequent markets created by such:

"Most of the rhetoric has come from the recording industry, where financial results have been sliding. Other sectors of the music industry, for instance the live /concert sector, appear to be in much better health. Evidence suggests that activities within digital networks have a marketing and promotion effect which has supported the concert industry. The global value of the sound carrier market reached a peak in 1999 (38 billion dollars), falling to 31 billion in 2002, but rising to 33 in 2004. This can be compared to the global value of music and event merchandising, concerts and touring, which Kusek & Leonard estimate at 25 billion dollars/annum, and music publishing (12 billion U.S. dollars). Certainly the live sector has seen spectacular rises over the part 3 years. According to the monitoring agency Pollstar, ticket sales in the U.S. rose from 1.7 billion dollars in 2000, to 2.8 billion in 2004. Music and Copyright (April 2005) estimate that global box office receipts, excluding classical music, opera and musicals) exceeded 10 billion dollars for the first time in 2004. Kusek and Leonard (2005) conclude that “the record business is suffering, but the music industry as a whole is alive and well”."

It will be a painful transition for many in regards to these new technologies, least of all the young technologues who are being arrested for using tools (PC, Internet, Mp3, MPEG, Broadband) that are being sold to them by the same companies that are lobbying governments to stop what the tools allow people to do.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Now Blogging from Qumana

This was a post via Qumana but it seems to have a few drawbacks so I have uploaded it again in Blogger and I will continue experimenting with Qumana. The short comings I have spoted so far is that Qumana does not upload pictures to an online server, only creates a file path to where you have them on your drive. So if my computer is not online, there is no image. Second, there is no preview function (that I have been able to find) so you don't know how it looks until you post. Finally you can't write entries in HTML...which makes thing very flat.

So here is the orginal post that was here.

This is a test as I have begun blogging from Qumana due to a desire to use technorati tags and being impressed with what looks like a very flexible blogging tool (thanks Steph). I have not much to say (spending my days close reading digital literature and theory) although I did want to recomend a film if anyone wants to come to a deeper understanding to what has been happening in France over the last week;
Mathieu Kassovitz
La Haine


Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Vindication of the Right of the Universities of Great Britain to a Copy of Every New Publication

A Vindication of the Right of the Universities of Great Britain to a Copy of Every New Publication (1807).

Is Revolution Dead?

Our household has recently subscribed to Time magazine. It is an insightful read into the fundamentals of a certain approach to society, culture and even history. I must admit I share little of the general 'small c' conservatism of the publication. A few weeks ago an article entitled Revolution in the Air Europe's old rebels had a good run, but the times they are a-changin' irritated me considerably with its smug "we told you so" tone. But then listening to the radio news this morning I wondered what exactly has been "a-changin" since 1968 and how:

"French police arrested 253 people overnight as gangs burned cars and buildings for the ninth consecutive night in Paris suburbs and rioting spread to cities including Strasbourg and Rennes. Almost 900 vehicles were set ablaze across the nation."

Summit of the Americas protest
Rioters clashed with police as an anti-US rally turned violent at the start of the Summit of the Americas in Argentina.

5.2 million unemployed in Germany (10.6%)and in France it is 30% for those under 25 years.

It occurred to me that we are still dealing with many of the same issues that could be gathered together under the title "Modernity": technologization of production (and its effect on Labor), a global economy, colonial appropriations, access to education and wealth, right of movement and assembly, and of course there is still war. This has been going on for a long time. The times have always been "a-changin" but events, relationships, struggles and representations go on and on.......

Friday, November 04, 2005

Walcott on Mind Time Language and Space

Derek Walcott on Mind, Time, Language, and Space

"Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of its original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments, the cracked heirlooms whose restoration shows its white scars. This gathering of broken pieces is the care and pain of the Antilles, and if the pieces are disparate, ill-fitting, they contain more pain than their original sculpture, those icons and sacred vessels taken for granted in their ancestral places. Antillean art is this restoration of our shattered histories, our shards of vocabulary, our archipelago becoming a synonym for pieces broken off from the original continent.

And this is the exact process of the making of poetry, or what should be called not its "making" but its remaking, the fragmented memory, the armature that frames the god, even the rite that surrenders it to a final pyre; the god assembled cane by cane, reed by weaving reed, line by plaited line, as the artisans of Felicity would erect his holy echo.

Poetry, which is perfection's sweat but which must seem as fresh as the raindrops on a statue's brow, combines the natural and the marmoreal; it conjugates both tenses simultaneously: the past and the present, if the past is the sculpture and the present the beads of dew or rain on the forehead of the past. There is the buried language and there is the individual vocabulary, and the process of poetry is one of excavation and of self-discovery. Tonally the individual voice is a dialect; it shapes its own accent, its own vocabulary and melody in defiance of an imperial concept of language, the language of Ozymandias, libraries and dictionaries, law courts and critics, and churches, universities, political dogma, the diction of institutions. Poetry is an island that breaks away from the main. The dialects of my archipelago seem as fresh to me as those raindrops on the statue's forehead, not the sweat made from the classic exertion of frowning marble, but the condensations of a refreshing element, rain and salt."

Derek Walcott – Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1992 (sound recording on site)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rooted by Sony

From the people who bought me the pain of OpenMG technology (TM.), which I have blogged bitterly about before, comes the rootkit. I came across this via OLDaily. Even considering that the Sony corporation is one of the major players in digital rights management (DRM) and other hindrances to innovation the rootkit is a an unexpected piece of nastiness:

"Rootkits are cloaking technologies that hide files, Registry keys, and other system objects from diagnostic and security software, and they are usually employed by malware attempting to keep their implementation hidden"
from Mark's Susinternals

These packets of evil are actually being manufactured under license and distributed by Sony!

"you simply drop your legally purchased CD in your legally purchased computer, and you are infected with DRM, no choice in the matter. Imagine if you happen to do something as criminal as taking your legally purchased CD to work, where it conflicts with a piece of software. Who is responsible for the cleanup costs?"
The Inquirer

I scanned my computer yesterday and found five negligible objects. Luckily they were all in the Cookies and Temp folders so it was easy to clear. I do not think they were actually rootkit DRM as I don't listen to any music that is manufactured by such people.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Northern Exposure

There are many bloggers this far north! Notice the shadow cast over northern Finland. From edubloggers at Frappr.

In the Darkness of the Mind........

I have been away from this blog for a while as we continue to deal with the unusual sleep pattern of a now 6 week old baby (who has gone up almost 1 kg in weight in 5 weeks) and what time I get is spent reading or preparing more urgent texts. Winter has begun to spread its arms around us here in the north and as I write this (in my just occupied office at uni) it is 4pm and as dark as night outside my window (no snow yet). It feels like I have embarked on a new journey with my belated and patchy return to university now being just research orientated. The crowds of young students in corridors and cafes who are finding their feet seem to be very distant as I move hurriedly around "my campus" (Office, Institution admin, HUMlab, Library).
I am working on what could become a chapter of a thesis....whhooo...Sounds so adult! Here is a rough abstract that I wrote to myself, just in case I forget what it is I'm doing:

"Works of digital literature are, like any work of literary imagination, only complete when read. How is this reading undertaken and by whom? The work itself creates the "Reader" by the intention of the code systems employed (verbal, visual, material, and audial). The construction of this reader may be understood in terms of interactivity as it is a common feature of literacy generally and digital texts themselves. What is the social nature of the reader which emerges from interactive reading?"

At the moment it is going by the title "The Interactive Reader".

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Seminar Podcast

There is a podcast of my seminar as well (I promise this is the last entry about my damn seminar):The Sims as Narrative Engine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks 1913-2005

"Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war"

- Bob Marley, "War"

Seminar Archived Stream

This is the link to the archived video of a seminar I did today in HUMlab. It was entitled The Sims as Narrative Engine and in it I talked about (and showed digital films and images) machinima film as a tool for interpreting computer games as texts and how stories are constructed using computer games as the source for images and some sounds.
I enjoyed the experience and got some great feedback from audience members.

seminar stream

From 1:15pm (Central European Time) Tuesday 25th October, my Humlab seminar The Sims as Narrative Engine, on machinima, computer games, and The Sims will be live streamed from HERE. If you can't make it to the HUMlab.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Sims as Narrative Engine Seminar

On Tuesday 25 October at 13:15 I will be performing a seminar in HUMlab, The Sims as Narrative Engine. It is open for all to attend and HUMlab is under the main library at Umeå University. I will be looking at the relationships between computer game play and machinima film. How a story emerges from game play is of primary interest to me.

How do stories get told with the world’s most popular P.C. game, The Sims? One way is through Machinima animation where visual content from game play is arranged into animated films, many of which are of very high quality, featuring advanced editing techniques, voice overs, sound effects, and soundtrack music. But what is interesting is that when a machinima film is being made in a Sims world the “actors” cannot be told what to do, but rather scenes are set up and the film maker(s) wait for what they want to happen to happen. Or maybe it does not happen and the story line changes as a result of the algorithms driving the software. This is a form of film making removed somewhat from traditional practice, and one which raises many issues regarding the role of narrative in computer game play.

The Sims as Narrative Engine can be viewed here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Christmas comes early: UBUWEB back

It has taken a while for it to reach full strength (some silliness about films and copyright) but UBUWEB is back and better than before. More texts, more recordings, more visuals, more films....This is an incredible collection, I am so happy!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Piksel 05

If I was in Bergen this weekend I know where I would be:

Piksel - is an annual event for artists and developers working with
free/libre and open source audiovisual software and art. Part workshop, part
festival, it is organised in Bergen, Norway, by the Bergen Centre for
Electronic Arts (BEK) and involves participants from more than a dozen
countries exchanging ideas, coding, presenting art and software projects,
doing workshops, performances and discussions on the aesthetics and politics
of open source.

NO Software Patent : European of the Year

A software patents law in Europe would threaten the open source movement and help close the global gap that many poorer countries need to educate and benefit their populations. As an example of what is possible look at Brazil. So now we in Europe have a chance to voice our opposition to a software patents act once again. This time in voting for the European of the Year:

There is now a new and extremely similar opportunity to make a statement
against software patents by taking a minute to fill out a simple Internet
form. The founder of the campaign, Florian Mueller,
is currently running in an Internet poll for the "European of the Year"
against such celebrities as U2 frontman Bono and politicians like
Schroeder, Merkel and Blair. For voting recommendations and further
information, please click here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Noise Explained

The post below was the result of an impromptu lesson to my five year old son on Microsoft Word. I was working (writing...That's work right?) when he came into the room and sat on my knee, watching what I was doing. He has become incredible interested in writing, letters, the alphabet and numbers lately. I showed him how one may change the font size of the words in Word. The last word I had typed was noise because I have been thinking a lot lately about Noise, especially in light of this statement:

"Thus, the grinding sound of power relations is heard here in the way noises 'contain' the other, in both senses of the word. Noises are informed by the sounds, languages and social position of others. It is only because certain types of people are outside any representation of social harmony that their speech and other sounds associated with them are considered to be noise. In the process of appropriation these others are subjected to forms of containment they have already known in other less semiotic exercises."
Douglas Kahn. Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Voice, Sound, and Aurality in the Arts (Cambridge MIT Press 1999) 47

So moving right along, I have as well become interested in Derrida's 'Trace', the movement created through that which is outside the subject is in fact that which defines the subject. (I read yesterday that blasphemy greatly strengthens the sacred). So noise in all its forms, as sound, as annoybehavioriour, as confusing advertising, as misunderstood phrases or unknown languages, are the shadows cast by our centers.

So after I had blown up 'Noise'to 125 points with it highlighted in black I thought I would show my son how a word can become a picture as well. A screenshot and over to photoshop and there it was. Noise. It bears thinking about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Monday, October 17, 2005

A Summary of Moments

I want to blog. I have an idea for an entry and I try and hold it in my mind until I can get to a keyboard and punch it in and then it is gone when I have finished what I am doing (changing, burping, walking, dressing baby) or it has been replaced by another idea that arrived when I was reading or thinking about my first "chapter" for my thesis....My life at the moment has taken on a bizarre "outside all time" quality that one may find in The Twilight Zone or a good video game.

So I will try and make a collage of all the things I can remember wanting to blog in the last few days.

First a book recommendation, I am half way through Mapping Benjamin The Work of Art in the Digital Age Edited by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and Michael Marrinan (2003), and it is a treasure. Not just for the critical take on the thoughts and philosophies of Walter Benjamin, but also as a plain digital theory reader. Short essays which flow into each other building a cohesive spectrum of relevant issues.

Next some exciting news from the outback. A good friend of mine (who I have blogged about before), Dan Bracegirdle has been working for about a year now as a Project Officer with the The Traditional Knowledge Recording Project (TKRP)at Aurukun, an isolated but dynamic Aboriginal community on Western Cape York in the far north of Australia. The TKRP is exciting as they are using new media technologies to record, archive and ultimately teach traditional knowledge. Much of this knowledge is based in and on the topology of the Western Cape so the knowledge bank is being created round the features of the landscape and this in turn is historical, cultural and social. I see it as a huge interactive map which many of the people there are already living in. To quote from the press release:

"The difference this time is that rather than non-indigenous academics writing down their interpretation of the traditional knowledge, local people are now creating audio-visual documents of the information, presented on location in the original language. As the Wik are traditionally an oral culture, audio-visual material is far more useful than text based information. These AV files are managed in the community and available to the people for whom they have the greatest value.

Ã?“What weÃ?’re doing is gathering the information on country, delivered by the individuals with the wisdom and the authority to transfer it,Ã?” says TKRP Project Manager Victor Steffensen. Ã?“This is the way indigenous knowledge has always been passed on to the next generation.Ã?”"

Senior Wik Elders George (Snr) Musgrave and Tommy (Snr) George

More info here.

Finally I have been initiated into the online music community (online since December 2004) and it has some features that are interesting in terms of virtual community and music sharing. Firstly, from my one week so far of experience, it aggregates lists of music files from community members computers when they play them. From this it builds community lists, groups and charts. It also has a radio station that seems to function by streaming files requested or by streaming files that are of simlar genre to that requested. There is no file sharing in the sense of swapping, and the broadcast is not general, rather within the specific confines of the community. After information has built up based on what you play on your computer the network makes suggestions as to music you may like and introduces you to "neighbours" who have similar taste to yourself. It even has a function whereby you can remove "embarassing" music (it suggests Brittney Spears) from your profile if you are trying to "create" a certain profile. I think will continue with my exploration of the network.

One last thing. a review from unbrokencircle out of the UK of my CD Ambient Time Arm:

"On their second release 'Ambient Time Arm', the primitive Australian soundscapes of NaDa BaBa take us back not decades but hundreds of years. This is not the comfortable ambience of living room hi-fi, this is the trance inducing, smoke haze of the desert. Chanting, pounding slow ritual percussion and the resonant pulsation of digeridoo take the listener into dreamtime on the first track. Fragmented spoken word and shards of guitar re-enforce that this is not our reality, but that we are trapped inside our dreams, as backward speech and screaming insects tear at our reason. 'Stone Fish Bone' intones a ceremony with jew's harp, metallic scrapes and overlapping, magical speech.

We hear disturbed and enthralled, escape forgotten for the moment. As the album progresses with lots of speech and field recordings, this moves from music into a kind of film for the ears. A surreal and strange film, but one with it's own odd structure. All the time, remorseless digeridoo constant and unyielding. It appears to make sense but without the listener grasping what it is communicating, the sound of language more important than meaning. Like a collaboration between 'Tape Beatles' or Negativland and Steve Roach this is a particularly unique and weird release. You have to admire how far out they have got, even if you can be grateful for not sharing the experience. Time in the desert never seemed so essential."

Nice hey!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Howl turns 50

On the 13 october 1955 the obscure poet Allen Ginsburg joined 5 other of his friends (Philip Lamantia, Philip Whalen and Michael McClure preceded Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder. Philip Lamantia replaced John Hoffman who had just died in Mexico) in reading their poetry at the Gallery Six in San Franscico, and a new era in verse was born. Well it was maybe not such a quick delivery but it never-the -less was the beginning of something. According to Literary Kicks it was the beginning of "the modern notion of a poetry reading as an ecstatic, spiritual and Dionysian affair (I think Rimbaud and Co. would agree with that).

Happy 50th birthday Howl (Part 1), which had its first public performance that evening. And thanks to Allen Ginsburg, for, as he said in Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home the self-empowerment that drove so much of the beat ideology.

Here is a free audio download/stream of Ginsberg reading Howl with Anne Waldman also reading "Fast Speaking Woman" and other poems.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Digital Writing on [-empyre-] soft_skinned_space

At the moment the email discussion network [-empyre-] soft_skinned_space is undertaking a networked manifestation on digital writing and it is the best thing I have read on the net this month. The ongoing archive can be found here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Some Useful Definitions

Some useful definitions/folksonomy from the ELO:

"Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

*Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
*Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
*Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
*Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
*Interactive fiction
*Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
*Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
*Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
*Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Introduction of Thesis Research

Institutionen för Moderna språk Engelska/HUMlab
Seminar Paper
Introduction of Thesis Research
11th October 2005
B207b 15:00-17:00


Ftrain by Paul Ford (1997-2005)
Ftrain is described as a blog fiction, a database and as a website. A work in progress since 1997, on the site itself it is described as: “a collection of interlinked pages, with text, graphics, and links to other digitally encoded media objects.” As a text Ftrain is held together by the subject/author as he (“Paul Ford and his pseudonyms”) constructs a rhizomic verbal and visual topography of large proportions. The reader is reassured that what they are navigating through is a unified work:

Ftrain is this complicated because it has over 1000 separate nodes, all of them connected to one another in some way, with something like 700,000 words between them, and all extensible. It was designed to make it possible to tell stories over time, so that a piece begun in one year could be resolved in the next, just like it happens in life, but with the added satisfaction of narrative completion.

Physically Ftrain is a hierarchal HTML document containing hundreds of layers. The complete taxonomy for Ftrain can be found at According to the Table of Contents there are three suggested ways of reading Ftrain; along the hierarchal or in chronological or reverse chronological order. There are of course other methods for engaging with the text. The content of Ftrain is the journalism, opinions, poetry, prose and creative narratives constructed by Paul Ford. He also publishes the writings of others which can be email sent to him or material appropriated from other published sources. Within the linking system there is included in/attached to the text of Ftrain web pages and other digital texts which exist outside the hierarchy as represented in the Table of Contents.

Façade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern (2005)
Façade is an interactive depiction of 3 dimensional space in which the user is a dinner guest in the Manhattan apartment of a young couple, Grace and Trip. Following a message left on your answering machine inviting you to dinner you choose a name. Using elements from digital games you interact verbally, physically and spatially with the two characters as they unburden their martial troubles to you. The entire story takes place in the visual field of the lounge room of their apartment. You are drawn into their arguing and anger as they ask you to take sides and make responses to their statements and questions. There are multiple endings depending on choices and statements made by you in the course of the story. The work is very narrative based and structurally does not resemble the normative concept of a computer game:

Façade doesn't give you a goal, which is why it's not a game. You can try to save their marriage, or you can try to split them up, or anything else you feel like. There's no way to win or lose, no value judgments about the quality of your play. By avoiding the “game” paradigm Façade also avoids a lot of baggage that games bring with them: connotations of strategy and competition, and the sense that it doesn't really matter.

Following the conclusion of a Façade session you can view and print out a transcript of the dialogue, actions and movements undertaken by all three characters. Façade was constructed using ABLE, a computer programming language written by the Mateas and Stern.

Last Meal Requested by Sachiko Hayashi (2004)
Last Meal Requested is a multimedia work which incorporates audio, visual, textual and kinetic animation around the theme of violence committed by the State and the place of ethnicity in that violence. It was created using Macromedia Flash a multimedia authoring program that can work with video, graphic, animation text and sound. Within Last Meal Requested referents include the Halabja massacre of 1988, the beating-up of Rodney King in 1992, and the public execution of a woman in Taliban-Afghanistan in 2001. Coordinated with these images are sound clips of various voices that include a female voice repeating “Last meal requested, justice equality and world peace". This is in reference to the traditional last meal given to those facing state execution in the prison system of the United States of America. Selected links open recordings of voices speaking on hate, the state, power, acts of organised mass violence and racial segregation and objectification, and the terror inspired by such violence. An eerie sound track loops constantly comprised of slow drawn out electronic frequencies which may be running backwards. Images include mass graves, emaciated and child corpses, mob violence against women, Afro-American lynchings, Flash video of the LAPD beating of Rodney King, and the beating of a burka clad figure by a male. Situated on the boarder between narrative and art Last Meal Requested establishes a complex progression of meanings concerning the individual, society and history in relation to ‘the other’ and violence.

Twelve Blue: Story in Eight Bars by Michael Joyce (1996)

She looked out on the creek and measured out the threads like the fates, silk thread in twelve shades of blue. (Is pink blue? Is yellow or purple? She supposed so, she believed in her stories.) The trimmings she saved and cast out on the water like pollen, all the pretty colors.
Twelve Bar Blue, Fates

The only first generation hypertext included in this corpus and the only full hypertext by early pioneer and theorist of the form Michael Joyce to be found online. Twelve Blue is very much a networked text of a complex physical form expressed largely in prose narrative. It was produced using the Storyspace hypertext authoring software from Eastgate Systems Inc. Twelve Blue contains “ninety-six segments of text bound by 269 links, contains multiple sequences that feed into other strands, crisscross them, loop endlessly, or arrive at points of closure, with no single reading exhausting the branching and combinatory possibilities of the text.” (Douglas 1999: 42). Visual imagery is minimal with a central graphic of twelve pastel coloured lines the navigational indexes for the twelve parts and below this are the links for the eight bars. There is as well the colour blue which is the background to every one of the ninety seven lexia (after Barthes’ "units of reading"). The remainder of the text is lyrical prose passages with strong imagery which includes the themes of colours, seasons, water, love, and betrayal. The abstract given by Joyce when it was first published in 1997 stated that it concerned

A drowning, a murder, a friendship, three or four love affairs, a boy and a girl, two girls and their mothers, two mothers and their lovers, a daughter and her father, a father and his lover, seven women, three men, twelve months, twelve threads, eight hours, eight waves, one river, a quilt, a song, twelve interwoven stories, a thousand memories, Twelve Blue explores the way our lives--like the web itself or a year, a day, a memory, or a river--form patterns of interlocking, multiple, and recurrent surfaces.--mj
Post Modern Culture Volume 7, Number 3 (May, 1997)

Clicking on the index links contained with the 12 strands in the graphic or the 8 bars or clicking on linked words in the various lexia opens further pages of fragmented prose or complete segments.

The Book of Going Forth by Day by M.D. Coverley (2005) (CD-ROM)
I am yet to receive the complete text of The Book of Going Forth by Day but I have negotiated the extract that is found on the internet. The work was produced using Macromedia Director and contains audio, written text, images, animation and calligraphic content. The text draws upon elements from the Egyptian Book of the Dead concerning the migration of the soul after death, diary and letter forms and a quest or mystery narrative. The story concerns the Californian narrator’s search for her brother Ross, who has been living in Egypt for some time, and in a letter he proposes a boat cruise down the Nile and she accepts. From her arrival in Egypt strange things begin to happen as she is surprised by the nervous manner and strange appearance of her brother, “He had gone native or something. He looked awful. Dirty smock, wild hair, eyes like the inside of a tomb.” Music accompanies each of the lexia in the text and with visual content both draw on often nostalgic constructions around things “Egyptian”. The Book of Going Forth by Day is the only text in this corpus which is not entirely online but is rather presented as a limited edition CD-ROM.

Alleph by Sakab Bashir (2004)

The whole is contained in all and many of the parts and all the parts are contained in the whole. No one part is better that the other part and there is not right order in which to read. The themes of the text are not so much illuminated and articulated by the images as they are planted but them and each is a seed of the other. A seeming Democracy of Choice is actually the invisible hand ~ guiding shaping and helping.
Taken from the splash page to

Alleph is a complex labyrinth based upon seven depicted visual spaces; an overgrown garden, an abandoned school classroom, a brick wall, an abandoned workshop, empty prison cells, a landscape of menhirs and an abandoned medical theatre. From these dynamic, navigable spaces eleven texts of spoken and written prose, poetic and dramatic narratives and eight puzzles (game or toy like) may be negotiated by the reader. As well as the spoken audio texts; in Rasta Creole English, Persian, Urdu and Standard English, there are also several sound and music audio texts. Spoken and written works included within Alleph are by Maqapi Selassie, Farid al Din Attar, Amjad Hussain Shah and Irvine Saunders. Alleph was produced using Macromedia Flash by a production team from Emote Media Production Company in Birmingham England, led by digital artist Sakab Bashir. The work is described by Bashir as “A true interactive story” and “a self portrait” in “a patient labyrinth of lines tracing the face”.

Dreamphage by Jason Nelson (2003)

“Perhaps the cure is hidden in the dreams themselves"
Medical Report: Dreamphage 7

Dreamphage is again a Macromedia Flash work but in contrast to it is constructed in formats visually closer to a traditional webpage or even a book. The text is concerned with the spread of an incurable and terminal virus, Dreamphage, which manifests as a series of repetitive dreams in a growing number of patients in “Bailee Henderson Lunatic Asylum”. This is initially presented to us, the readers, in the opening screen of Dreamphage as a virtual book, the eight page “Medical Report: Dreamphage”, which has ‘pages’ that can be turned by using the computer mouse. Turing each page is accompanies by clouds of virtual dust and an eerie synthesizer soundtrack. Beyond the introductory medical report there are individual patient reports accessible under the link “[distance viraltheory]”, and report style writings on viruses, which are opened by the links “[withindrom]”, [angry bovinedisease], [coupophage] and [chairaphage]. These virtual books contain, along with prose narratives, pixilated Flash animated illustrations, diagrams, maps, quotes, hand drawn pictures, and sounds. The link [introduce the virus] produces a countdown of 30 seconds and then the window “Dreamphage will be downloaded into the machine”. At 00.00 a binary code in red appears on the screen.

Foundational Theory:

“The conceptual changes that ushered in modernity, that is those changes that occurred between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, may be seen as a matter of learning to read in a new way. It was a matter of moving away from reading between the lines to reading what was on the lines – giving increased importance to the information explicitly represented in the text. New ways of reading gave rise to new ways of writing texts and both gave rise to new ways of thinking about the world and about the mind.”
(Olsen 1994:143)

“A close genetic relation holds between the book and the computer. For textual and digital forms alike, however, this historical continuity has brought questions and problems that have not been studied at all well precisely because the genetic relation between the two media has been too much taken for granted, as if it were simple to see and understand. The situation is emblemized in the dichotomy of enthusiasm and skepticism that marks so much of the current discussion – indeed that organizes the discussion along two sides.”
(McGann 2001:xii)

“My claim is that with significant exceptions, print has become transparent for us because it is ubiquitous, the sea in which we swim. Your own work on inscription technologies is one of those exceptions, of course, along with the criticism of theorists such as Johanna Drucker, Jerome McGann, and Matthew Kirschenbaum. The connecting point with [Becoming] Posthuman is an emphasis on embodiment, now understood as the interplay of a work’s physicality with its signifying practices. Now that electronic textuality is bursting on the scene, it seems we have a magnificent opportunity to think again about the specificities of both print and electronic media, which can illuminate one another by contrast. I hope to electrify the neocortex of literary studies into recognizing that the print book is after all an interface with its own presuppositions, assumptions, and configurations of the reader.” (Gitelman 2002:2)

“The theory holds two positions: first, that the apparitions of text – its paratexts, bibliographical codes, and all the visual features – are as important in the text’s signifying programs as the linguistic elements; second that the social intercourse of texts – the contexts of their relations – must be conceived as essential part of the “text itself” if one means to gain an adequate critical grasp of the textual situation.”
(McGann 2001:12)

“Computers are much more than hardware and software. In their general form, computers are simulation machines producing environments from objects that sit on desktops to networks spanning the globe. To construct an environment is, of course, to anticipate and structure the user’s interaction with it and in this sense to construct the user as well as the interface”
(Hayles 2002:48)

“…we may conclude that the literary work has two poles, which we might call the artistic and the aesthetic: the artistic is the author’s text and the aesthetic is the realization accomplished by the reader. In view of this polarity, it is clear that the work itself cannot be identical with the text or with the concretization, but must be situated somewhere between the two. It must inevitably be virtual in character, as it cannot be reduced to the reality of the text or to the subjectivity of the reader, and it is from this virtuality that it derives its dynamism. As the reader passes through the various perspectives to one another he sets the work in motion, and so sets himself in motion too.”
(Iser 1978:21)

“We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the message of the Author-God) but a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. A text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.”
(Barthes 1977:146)

“…all images are polysemous; they imply, underlying their signifiers, a ‘floating chain’ of signifieds, the reader able to choose some and ignore others.”
(Barthes 1977:38-39)

“With digital texts the dimensionality of the material realization of the text is a more complex issue, since the text exists both as data and code permanently stored in memory as a one-dimensional sequence of binary digits and as a temporary two-dimensional visual display on the screen when the code is executed. But the image screen may mimic spaces with different numbers of dimensions, just as a flat two dimensional painting may mimic three-dimensional space through the use of perspective. In addition to the material space actually taken by the text, there is consequently the virtual space that the text seems to occupy, the pseudo-materiality of it appearance.”
(Ryan 1999:13)

“Space is not a neutral and passive geometry but rather is continuously produced through socio-spatial relations; the relationship between space, spatial forms and spatial behaviour is not contingent on ‘natural’ spatial laws, but is the spatial product of cultural, social, political and economic relations; space is not essential but is constructed and produced. As such, space is constituted through social relations and material social practices (Massey 1994:254). Soja (1985) defines socially-produced space as ‘spatiality’, suggesting that not all space is socially produced but all spatiality is. Spatiality, then, I distinguished from space-time physics as it divides space as used and constructed from space as mathematically formulated. The process of (re)producing space, of its spatiality changing through time as a consequence of shifting socio-spatial relations and contestation, Shields (1997) refers to as ‘social spatalisation’.”
(Dodge and Kitchin 2001:29)

“Chronotope: Literally, ‘time-space’. A unit of analysis for studying texts according to the ratio and nature of the temporal and spatial categories represented. The distinctiveness of this concept as opposed to most other uses of time and space in literary analysis lies in the fact that neither category is privileged; they are utterly interdependent. The chronotope is an optic for reading texts as x-rays of the forces at work in the culture system from which they sprang.”
(Bakhtin 2002:425-426)

“First, the discussion operates with too narrow a model of narrative, one preoccupied with the rules and conventions of classical linear storytelling at the expense of consideration of other kinds of narratives, not only the modernist and postmodernist experimentation that inspired the hypertext theorists, but also popular traditions which emphasize spatial exploration over causal event chains or which seek to balance between the competing demands of narrative and spectacle. Second, the discussion operates with too limited an understanding of narration, focusing more on the activities and aspirations of the storyteller and too little on the process of narrative comprehension. Third, the discussion deals only with the question of whether whole games tell stories and not whether narrative elements might enter games at a more localized level. Finally, the discussion assumes that narratives must be self-contained rather than understanding games as serving some specific functions within a new transmedia storytelling environment.”
(Jenkins 2004).

“Thus visual culture opens up an entire world of intertextuality in which images, sounds and spatial delineations are read on to and through one another, lending ever accruing layers of meaning and of subjective responses to each encounter we might have with film, TV, advertising, art works, buildings or urban environments.”
(Mirzoeff 1998:24)

“The withering away of the state of being under the analysis of the political economy of the signifier finds its historical conditions of possibility for its deconstructive neurosis in the delimitation of the province of language by the image. Language just can’t process all that visuality – it is like trying to eat your way out of a whale, which, of course, is somewhere you don’t belong in the first place. That’s why ‘you’ is such a hard thing to be.”
(Beller 2004:68)

“For us art is born between individuals and communities and cultures in the process of dialogic interaction. Creation takes place not within the suffocating confines of Cartesian egos or even between discrete bounded cultures but rather between permeable changing communities. Nor is it a question of a mindless ‘anthropological’ levelling which denies all criteria of aesthetic evaluation but rather of historically grounded analyses of multicultural relationality, where one history is read contrapuntally across another in a gesture of mutual ‘haunting’ and reciprocal relativization.”
(Ella Shohat and Robert Stam 2004:56)

“New Critical close readings and conventional thematic analyses alike tend to position earnestness and stability at the heart of ‘serious’ literature. To constitute a literary text as static, truth telling object, abstruse, hieratic, and linear, however, not only mutes the roar Joyce called “soundsense” but also strands the text in a private, timeless, hermetic isolation, a seclusion that is not out of earshot of but antithetical to the acoustic technologies…[that] ground inquiry.”
(Morris 1997:5)

“Moreover, this mix is the very process through which some idea of a unity is brought to bear on the actual profusion and disparity of phenomena. In other words, it is through interruption that the semblance if a continuous integrity is established, it is only through noise that the framed ephemerality of music is secured as ephemeral.”
(Kahn 1999:43)

“Thus, the grinding sound of power relations is heard here in the way noises ‘contain’ the other, in both senses of the word. Noises are informed by the sounds, languages and social position of others. It is only because certain types of people are outside any representation of social harmony that their speech and other sounds associated with them are considered to be noise. In the process of appropriation these others are subjected to forms of containment they have already known in other less semiotic exercises.”
(Kahn 1999:47)

Framing Questions (In no particular order):

How does one undertake close readings of multimedial heterogeneous digital texts?

As emerging from close readings, explain and analyze the relationships between form and content within the texts?

How are they to be read critically as cohesive yet “fractal” or “tissued” networks of meaning?

Can a critical analysis of these texts address broader issues in regards to technology and culture?

How is an “ideal reader” produced by each of the texts and who is that subject?

Do these examples of “new media” embody radical or innovative narrative structures and what are the natures of these structures?

Does close reading reveal common narrative structures in the texts and are these dimensions of a generic ‘digital textuality’?

What are their features as networked texts?

How would one deconstruct, analyse and compare the spatial configurations found in each text?

How do the various orders of spatial configurations (visual, architectural, textual, diegetic) provoke the reader towards narrative coalescence?

Can we today look to historical and cross-cultural examples of spatial narrative forms in order to better understand the contexts and to analyse new media narrative forms?

Can one position the texts in relation to broader discourse analyses, considering such points as bias in materiality, bias in content, identity and power?

In each of these texts is the interplay between verbal text and image combined, parallel, complimentary or redundant and how is this configured in relation to narrative structures?

In what ways does audio contribute towards contiguity and immersion with the textual worlds for the reader?

Can these texts be seen as examples of a new digital literacy, which challenges such traditional conceptions as the connection in Western culture between writing and memory or permanence?

Construct critical analyses of the second-order means of expression, such as the computer language codes and the software tools that go towards creating the visual, audible and textual fields?

In regards to narrative and space is emotional significance as much a product of design as of narrative in the texts?

What is the function of design in the performance of digital texts such as these, especially in reference to Jenkins (2002) concept of narrative architecture?

Are established modes of text production, consumption and subsequently consciousness, disrupted or challenged by these examples of complex digital textuality?

In terms of visual theory what does critical reading of the visual sign as a ‘floating chain of signifiers’ reveal of their digital interactive contexts?

How are the material conditions of the primary texts to be represented in a paper based critical text?

Bakhtin M.M. The Dialogic Imagination. Ed. Michael Holquist. 1982. Austin. Texas UP. 2002.

Roland Barthes. Image Music Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York Hill and Wang. 1977.

Jonathan L. Beller Kino-I, Kino-World The Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Nicolas Mirzoeff 1998 London. Routledge. 2004.

Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin. Mapping Cyberspace. London. Routledge. 2001.

J. Yellowlees Douglas. The End of Books--or Books without End? Reading Interactive Narratives. Ann Arbor. Michigan UP. 1999.

Jim McClellan. How to write a blog-buster. Sept. 2005 The Guardian Unlimited April 8, 2004,3605,1187545,00.html

Jerome McGann Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web. New York: Palgrave, 2001

Lisa Gitelman Materiality Has Always Been in Play: An Interview with N. Katherine Hayles Oct. 2005 The Iowa Review issue 2 - mediation - fall 2002

N. Katherine Hayles. Writing Machines. Cambridge. MIT. 2002.

Henry Jenkins. Game Design as Narrative Architecture. First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, Game. Eds. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004.

Michael Joyce. Abstract to Twelve Blue. Oct. 2005 Post Modern Culture: An Electronic Journal of Interdisciplinary Criticism. Volume 7, Number 3. May, 1997.

Wolfgang Iser The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Baltimore. John Hopkins UP. 1978.

Nicolas Mirzoeff (Ed.) The Visual Culture Reader. 1998 London. Routledge. 2004

Adelaide Morris. Sound States: Innovative Poetics and Acoustical Technologies. Chapel Hill. North Carolina UP. 1997.

David R. Olsen The World on Paper: The Conceptual and Cognitive Implications of Writing and Reading. Cambridge. Cambridge UP. 1994.

Marie-Laure Ryan Introduction Cyberspace, Cybertexts, Cybermaps. Ed. Marie-Laure Ryan Bloomington. Indiana UP. 1999.

Ella Shohat and Robert Stam. Narrativizing Visual Culture. The Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Nicolas Mirzoeff 1998. London. Routledge. 2004.