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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