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it in and then it is gone when I have finished what I am doing (changing, burping, walking, dressing baby) or it has been replaced by another idea that arrived when I was reading or thinking about my first "chapter" for my thesis....My life at the moment has taken on a bizarre "outside all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!

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