Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Downstream (Swimmin)

The offerings this week are once again rich and right for free media on the web. Let us begin:

Mary Ellen Solt, Concrete Poetry: A World View (1968, Indiana University Press)
Mary Ellen Solt, née Bottom (b. July 8, 1920, Gilmore City, Iowa - d. June 21, 2007) was an American concrete poet. Her work, most notably poems in the shape of flowers such as Forsythia, Lilac, and Geranium, was collected in Flowers in Concrete (1966). With Willis Barnstone, she edited Concrete Poetry: A World View, which the New York Times said was "considered one of the major anthologies of the form". She married Leo Frank Solt, a historian. They both taught at Indiana University and she was director of the university's Polish Studies Center.

Grattons-labeur - Le bal des sorciers ,LP,1977.France
An early project of famous French folk singer Danielle Messia.Released privately in 1977 this lp,mixes traditional celtic folk with psychedelic and rock influences,all in a sad mystic mood.Excellent and much underrated.

Kawabata Makoto-Private Tapes 1-8,CDrs,1999-2003,Japan
The lead seer and sourcerer from the Acid Mothers Temple collective gives us a series of 8 cdrs released in very limited quantities (from 50 to 200) between 1999 and 2003.There are 2 more releases in this series (9 and 10),both still in print.The music is totaly spaced out electronic psychedelic improvisations.

Otto Preminger Skidoo (1968)
The infamous and almost mythical, bizarre, trippy, quasi-psychedelic, hippie, anti-establishment, counterculture, weirdo comedy movie. Starring an unbelievable cast which includes, amongst others: Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing, Groucho Marx (in his final movie starring role although not his last screen appearance), Alexandra Hay, Frankie Avalon, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, John Phillip Law, Harry Nilsson (who also composed the soundtrack and sings the entire credits at the end of the film!), Richard Kiel, Slim Pickens, Mickey Rooney, Arnold Stang, George Raft, Peter Lawford, Michael Constantine and the brilliant Austin Pendleton.

TV FREE Burning Man
It started last week on the playa, the Burning Man Festival is the premier gathering for the heart and minds of the world that is possible. This is its television channel.

The Illuminiods
Some of the best mashups Ive heard for a long time. Thanks be to erik.

When I was about 15 years old my father gave me a copy of Really the Blues, the unrelaiable autobiography of 1920s jazz star Milton 'Mezz' Mezzrow. Not a parenting technique I would necessrily recomend, however it was like a new world opening up for me. Suddenly I became aware of something called 'Cool'. Just take a look at the opening dedication:

"To all the hipsters, hustlers and fly cats tipping along the Stroll. [Keep scuffling] To all the cons in all the houses of many slammers, wrastling with chinches. [Short time, boys] To all the junkies and lushheads in two-bit scratchpads, and the flophouse grads in morgue iceboxes. [R.I.P.] To the sweet talkers, the gumbeaters, the highjivers, out of the gallion for good and never going to take it low again. [You got to make it, daddy] To Bessie Smith, Jimmie Noone, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Zutty Singleton, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier. [Grab a taste of millennium, gate]"

More on Mezz:

Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow was a white Jewish kid who was born in Chicago in 1899. In his late teens he discovered the jazz music that was being played around the south side of Chicago. Mezz fell in love with the sound of early jazz and with the excitement of the music scene. Chicago was a jazz center then, and Mezzrow heard many of the great pioneers of the music including Freddie Keppard, Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Noone and many others. Soon he bought a clarinet and began trying to play like his heroes.

Here is a track by Mezz, Send in The Vipers taken from the fine audio blog Motel De Moka.

At last, I notice that Warren Ellis is listeing to Muslimgauze. here is some of the beats from the Mullah of Manchester; Muslimgauze

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Your Guide, Didge Burroughs

May I be of service?

I have just learnt that I have been appointed as a guide to work at the Second House of Sweden, the Swedish Embassy in Second Life. I will be one of two English speaking guides at the Second House of Sweden. There will be six guides working there, each doing four hours a week. I have my training session tomorrow night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fans as Tourists

A report by the United Kingdom Film Council has found that literary tourism is worth over £6 billion a year for the UK. The report, Stately Attraction: How Film and Television Programmes Promote Tourism in the UK (PDF 816 KB) describes a cross between fan fiction and cosplay where tourists 'step into' sites of fiction and, of course, spend money. Some of the figures are amazing:

Alnwick Castle, the location for Hogwarts, saw a 120% rise in visitor numbers following the release of Harry Potter. The films are estimated to have brought in £9 million in tourist revenue to the area. The trend was mirrored in other locations used in the film: Gloucester Cathedral’s visitor numbers rose by 50% following the release of the first of the Harry Potter films.

Burghley House saw a 20% rise in visitor numbers following its use in the film Pride and Prejudice while coach tours at Basildon Park went up 76%.

Lyme Park – the scene of Mr Darcy’s wet-shirt scene in the TV series of Pride and Prejudice - saw visitor numbers almost triple from 32,852 in 1994 to 91,437 in 1995. Ten years later the tourism effect remains.

Lincoln Cathedral saw a 26% rise in visitor numbers, Rosslyn Chapel a 33% increase and Temple Church, London, a five-fold rise following the release of the The Da Vinci Code.

Notting Hill gave international prominence to an area of London relatively unknown outside the city. The film provoked a huge and lasting influx of tourists searching for the famous ‘blue door’ and inspired a number of specialist guided walks.
Gosford Park sparked a renewed interest in Victorian and Edwardian historic houses. Pollok House in Glasgow where guests can dine in Victorian kitchens recorded a 20% rise in visitors and Beningbrough Hall which has a fully equipped Victorian laundry saw numbers increase from 10,218 to 94,032 in a year.

Children’s programme Balamory had a dramatic effect on the village of Tobermory whose permanent population is just under 1,000. 2003 brought 160,000 extra visitors to the island, a rise of 40% on the previous year with Oban’s Tourist Information Centre topping 700,000 enquiries – the busiest in Scotland. VisitScotland estimated that the series contributed £5million a year to the tourist economy of Mull and the Western Islands. Businesses had to adapt from the senior market to toddler tourism with child-friendly menus and nappy changing facilities. UK Film Council

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


12 - 14 October 2007
De Montfort University Campus Centre
Leicester, UK
De Montfort University’s Institute of Creative Technologies will host the 2007 European Machinima Festival, the first Machinima festival to be held in Europe. The festival, which will take place at the University’s campus centre from 12 – 14 October, will show case the latest Machinima films and will attract Machinima makers world-wide.

Machinima, a fusion of film-making and computer gaming, which is increasingly being used as one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways of creating animation, has a rapidly growing following, fuelled in part by the enhanced visual quality of many of the most popular computer games.

The festival, which is supported by the Academy of Machinima and Arts Sciences (AMAS), will attract both professional and enthusiast creators of animation and is likely to encourage more people to try Machinima for themselves. Workshops will cover many of the key aspects of making Machinima and an awards ceremony will recognise some of the best talent of this quickly growing phenomenon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Herzog and Posthumanism

Werner Herzog - Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) Klaus Kinski as the doomed Aguirre in the final scene of the film.

In his thoughtful and perceptive intellectual biography of Turing, Andrew Hodges suggests that Turing's predilection was always to deal with the world as if it were a formal puzzle.2 To a remarkable extent, Hodges says, Turing was blind to the distinction between saying and doing. Turing fundamentally did not understand that "questions involving sex, society, politics or secrets would demonstrate how what it was possible for people to say might be limited not by puzzle-solving intelligence but by the restrictions on what might be done" (pp. 423-24). In a fine insight, Hodges suggests that "the discrete state machine, communicating by teleprinter alone, was like an ideal for [Turing's] own life, in which he would be left alone in a room of his own, to deal with the outside world solely by rational argument. It was the embodiment of a perfect J. S. Mill liberal, concentrating upon the free will and free speech of the individual" (p. 425). Turing's later embroilment with the police and court system over the question of his homosexuality played out, in a different key, the assumptions embodied in the Turing test. His conviction and the court-ordered hormone treatments for his homosexuality tragically demonstrated the importance of doing over saying in the coercive order of a homophobic society with the power to enforce its will upon the bodies of its citizens. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics by N. Katherine Hayles (2005)

More on the Herzog Kinski experience on Soul Vlog.

Myopia and Second Sight

Reports are being posted about the third annual Second Life Community Conference. From the media it seems like Linden Lab is aware of the short falls in the system but are pushing on regardless. I think that is the best thing to do:

At this weekend's Second Life Community Convention, Philip Rosedale--founder of Second Life creator Linden Lab--ambitiously declared as he often does that "this is something that everybody on Earth is going to use," that the virtual world will be "bigger than the Web."

But minutes earlier, Rosedale had been jokingly boasting over PowerPoint graphs showing the extent of Second Life's problems with server lag time, maintenance both planned and unplanned, and glitches that occasionally make users' virtual inventories disappear. "Second Life is still very early and very small," he said, hinting at his disapproval of the media buzz that swarmed the virtual world several months ago. "Everyone in the media (jumps ahead) a lot more than the people here," he said, gesturing to the audience of loyal metaverse residents. "Everybody wants to jump ahead and say, 'Oh my God, the future's alive!'...It's the natural myopia of emerging systems like this."

Just imagine if Steve Jobs bought Linden....we would be living in Second Life within four years!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ålidhem Festival Videos

I played twice at the Alidhem Festival yesterday. Once as part of a presentation Australia Land and People in the library (about 15 people in the audience) and then at night in Krogan Krogan bar. The night performance went well but there is no video of it. Here are two short videos from the library presentation, complete with Silas and Ben:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Because its Friday Downstreams

From the psychedelic to networked teens to the counterinsurgency and the tribe, its media for the weekend:

Talking Meadow by Atman and other Carpathian sounds
Atman (often Theatre of Sound Atman) was founded in 1975 in Cracow (PL) by Marek Styczynski and Jacek Zadora, from 1982 it was basiclly a trio: Styczynski, Marek Leszczynski & Piotr Kolecki but many musicians, dancers were invited to perform together with group. Atman was not only a band but a kind of alternative movement with their own label - FLY Music, workshops and festival Music in Landscape. Their sound is defined by using traditional, sometimes exotic, instruments, many flutes, different small percussions, violin, mandolin, cimbalom, didgeridoo, acoustic guitars and vocals also. Apart from obvious “ethnic” attitude Atman also didn’t forget about spontaneity of improvisation.

Joel Vandroogenbroeck, Meditations Vol.1
Belgian Joel Vandroogenbroeck, currently residing in Mexico, has been the leader of legendary kraut progressive band BRAINTICKET. Aside this project, he traveled around the world doing musical research of ancient world musics. The culmination of his ethnic studies have been the albums he issued on the german library Coloursound label between 1979 and 1985, before retiring to South Pacific islands and then Mexico. Here is his third album for Coloursound and debut for the 4 meditations series; a perfect example of his atmospheric outworldly musical instinct, a study on ethnic ambient dicipline hinting at early Stephan Micus.

The American Song Poem Music Archive
The song-poem process begins with those enticing little ads, placed by song sharks in any publication for which they perceive a large and credulous readership: movie mags, comic books, supermarket tabloids, even such relatively specialized journals as Popular Mechanics. Running these ads is like dropping a baited hook into a well-stocked lake. When the song-poet responds by sending her (for most song-poets are female) verse in for "evaluation," the shark mails back a barrage of promotional literature in which he (for most song sharks are male) lays out a more sophisticated round of deceptions than can be squeezed into the ads. The verse, no matter how hopeless, is invariably given a top rating, thus inflating the song-poet's ego and expectations. When such puffery is supplemented with anecdotes of just how much money there is to be made in songwriting, and hints of how "anything can happen" and "you never know," the fish starts to nibble at the bait.

danah boyd Australian Education.AU seminar talks
This is something work related for me but it also comes from Australia so that's cool. boyd is a very knowledgeable researcher in online social networks (myspace, know them). This is a large amount of streamed materials from her recent lecture gig in Australia. from the comments you even get to witness the wonder of morning/mourning television down under, something that scared the hell out of me when I was back there recently. Someone posted a link to danah from the Today Show.

U.S Military Counterinsurgency Manual
If you are fighting a war and need a manual then this "manual is designed to fill a doctrinal gap. It has been 20 years since the Army published a field manual devoted exclusively to counterinsurgency operations. For the Marine Corps it has been 25 years. With our Soldiers and Marines fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is essential that we give them a manual that provides principles and guidelines for counterinsurgency operations. Such guidance must be grounded in historical studies. However, it also must be informed by contemporary experiences." Of course anyone anyone can access this manual, including those you are fighting your war against.....DDDUUUUHHHHHHHH!

Memory of Clubs and Maracas [Part 1] (Japan 2004) 42 mins.
Presented at Globians Film Festival 2005: This extensive documentary by Tokoda Kazutaka shows the performance of very rare initiation rites by the Xavante tribe in the Sangradouro region of Brasil (north of Mato Grosso). This initiation rite of the Xavante men endures for about 30 days and is performed every 12 years only. Japan film maker Tokoda Kazutaka was given permission to film the extraordinary procedures. This film comes in 2 parts. This is part 1. It begins with the theatrical trailer of 2 min. (without English subtitles) which proudly states the world premiere of this work had been at the 2005 Globians Potsdam world and culture documentary film festival.

Video Review of Facade

A video review of Facade. Interesting to get a gamers response to the text. "These graphics would make carpet blush".

Ålidhem Festival

Tomorrow Saturday 26th August and Sunday 27th the area in which I live here in Umeå is holding a culture festival. From midday Saturday the Ålidhem Festival will showcase the many different traditions that live in the suburb of Ålidhem with music, dance, food, stalls and seminars. I will be giving a 30 minute talk in the Ålidhem Library (in the Ålidhem School) at 14:30 (2:30pm) on "Australia Land and People". I'll show some film sequences of contemporary Aboriginal culture, talk about the situation how I see it at the moment for Australia in terms of land, environment and indigenous cultures and play a little didgeridoo. In the evening at 20:30 (8:30) I will be playing a half hour set of sampled sounds, effects, percussion and digeridoo at the Krogen Krogen night club under Ålidhem Central Shopping Center. The overall music program at Krogen Krogen starts at 19:00 and goes until late.

Out of Body Experience by VR

The latest issue of Science has three research texts on out of body experience (OBE) being induced or simulated by virtual reality technology. The idea of being able to experience sensory perception from outside the physical body seems to have created a wave of interest in the press:

Scientists have induced the age-old phenomenon of out-of-body experiences in healthy volunteers for the first time.

The technique, which uses a virtual-reality-style set up of cameras linked to a head-mounted video display, will help researchers understand how the brain assimilates sensory information to determine the position of its body.

The technique could also improve virtual reality games and remote surgery by creating the illusion that a person is somewhere other than in their own body.The Guardian

An out of body experience is

an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, seeing one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy). About one in ten people claim to have had an out-of-body experience at some time in their lives.

In some cases the phenomenon appears to occur spontaneously; in others it is associated with a near-death experience, use of psychedelic drugs, or a dream-like state. It is possible to induce the experience deliberately, for example through visualization while in a relaxed, meditative state. Recent studies have shown that experiences somewhat similar to OBEs can be induced by direct brain stimulation. Relatively little is known for sure about OBEs. Wikipedia

The articles in Science are

The Experimental Induction of Out-of-Body Experiences
H. Henrik Ehrsson
Visual and sensory stimuli that mimic subjects viewing themselves from a distance produced a center of awareness (or sense of self) outside their bodies.

Video Ergo Sum: Manipulating Bodily Self-Consciousness
Bigna Lenggenhager, Tej Tadi, Thomas Metzinger, and Olaf Blanke
Visual and sensory stimuli that mimic subjects viewing themselves from a distance produced a center of awareness (or sense of self) outside their bodies.

Out-of-Body Experiences Enter the Laboratory
Greg Miller
Out-of-body experiences are associated more with tabloid newspapers, New Age Web sites, and large doses of hallucinogenic drugs than serious scientific discussion. Yet they're often reported by reputable people who suffer from migraine headaches, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions. Intrigued by such accounts, some researchers are trying to figure out how the brain creates an aspect of human consciousness so fundamental that we take it for granted: the perception that the "self" conforms to the borders of the physical body.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Leijon 2000-2007

I have just heard that out cat of 7 years Leijon was killed an hour ago by a bus. I am so very sad. A friend and companion has left us. My son will be so upset. I will have to pick him up early today. Funeral this afternoon, in the forest near our home.

Graffiti Art Goes Digital

Is it still considered graffiti if it doesn't stick to a wall? Scottish scientists have created a program for mobile phones that allows users to uncover virtual artworks posted around their city. Unveiled at the Siggraph computer-graphics show in San Diego, the technology, called Spellbinder, operates using image-matching algorithms. As the title suggests, the graffiti is invisible to the naked eye. When a digital image of a building is sent via MMS to a special server, “powerful image-matching algorithms” determine which building it is and send back an image with a bunch of added digital content - the “graffiti.” NYC street-art group Graffiti Research Lab has been running its own experiments with digital graffiti.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is Facebook Evil?

"Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them."
About two weeks ago I received an invitation to join Facebook. I had heard a lot about it, mainly from sources in the USA. I have been on many online social networks beginning with Orkut, then Friendster, Myspace (still using it), and the ones like and Last FM that share interests and objects as well. Now I have joined Facebook and it is without doubt the most addictive of the lot. This is digital crack. I have found people I have not heard from for 17 years on Facebook, old friends are re-entering my life with amazing stories of what they have been doing during the last decade. Facebook beats reality TV by a long shot as those people who I re-connect with were once part of my own drama and now we have TWO DRAMAS to compare and contrast; my life and theirs. As well there is the groups aspects where news and information flows through channels of association (and therefore geographical location) rather than just subject interest. The backlash against such immersive narratives has to come soon, and it seems it has already started:

Richard Cullen of SurfControl, an internet filtering company, estimates the site may be costing Australian businesses $5 billion a year. "Our analysis shows that Facebook is the new, and costly, time-waster," he said.

I may send Dr Cullen a friend request.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

PixelVÄRK Festival – 5-6th October 2007

PixelACHE is a festival for electronic art and subcultures. The first festival was organised in Helsinki in 2002. Since then it has become anannual event at Kiasma and additional festivals have been arranged in NewYork, Bratislava, Montreal, Paris and Colombia. PixelACHE presents projects experimenting with media and technology from a broad range of discipline: artists, engineers, designers, researchers and architects. There is a focus on grass-roots networks and communities such as VJ Communities, media activists, open source communities and demo scene. The overall aim for PixelACHE is to bridge between traditional creative disciplines and electronic subcultures.

Mejan Labs is together with the PixelACHE founder Juha Huuskonen organising the second PixelACHE festival in Stockholm as a part of the Game Art exhibition in September and October. The Stockholm version, PixelVÄRK, will this time concentrate on seminars discussing aesthetic qualities and a club event with Dj and Vj performances.

The PixelVÄRK programme will be announced in early September.

Plague Management in a Virtual World

Corrupted Blood Plague in Action

In September 2005 Blizzard released Corrupted Blood Plague into World of Warcraft and thousands died. If the previous sentence was a cause for panic or confusion, don't worry the plague has been removed after it spiraled out of control infecting huge numbers of avatars in the massive online game WoW.

"At first the "patch", as new elements such as the disease are called, worked as expected: experienced players shrugged it off like a bad cold, and weaker ones were left with disabled avatars.

But then things spun out of control. As in reality, some of those carrying the virus slipped back into the virtual world's densely populated cities, rapidly infecting their defenceless inhabitants."SMH

Now to the interesting bit, epidemiologist Eric Lofgren from Tufts University in Boston, was playing the game when the plague struck. He and Prof Nina H Fefferman have just published a paper based on the Corrupted Blood Plague incident:

The untapped potential of virtual game worlds to shed light on real world epidemics
Simulation models are of increasing importance within the field of applied epidemiology. However, very little can be done to validate such models or to tailor their use to incorporate important human behaviours. In a recent incident in the virtual world of online gaming, the accidental inclusion of a disease-like phenomenon provided an excellent example of the potential of such systems to alleviate these modelling constraints. We discuss this incident and how appropriate exploitation of these gaming systems could greatly advance the capabilities of applied simulation modelling in infectious disease research.

Most interesting I think. Further related to the The Untapped Potential of Virtual Game Worlds to Shed Light on Real World Epidemics, today is the day I got a copy of Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Video Games by Ian Bogost. I think I will read it with great pleasure:

Videogames are both an expressive medium and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. In this innovative analysis, Ian Bogost examines the way videogames mount arguments and influence players. Drawing on the 2,500-year history of rhetoric, the study of persuasive expression, Bogost analyzes rhetoric's unique function in software in general and videogames in particular. The field of media studies already analyzes visual rhetoric, the art of using imagery and visual representation persuasively. Bogost argues that videogames, thanks to their basic representational mode of procedurality (rule-based representations and interactions), open a new domain for persuasion; they realize a new form of rhetoric.

Bogost calls this new form "procedural rhetoric," a type of rhetoric tied to the core affordances of computers: running processes and executing rule-based symbolic manipulation. He argues further that videogames have a unique persuasive power that goes beyond other forms of computational persuasion. Not only can videogames support existing social and cultural positions, but they can also disrupt and change those positions, leading to potentially significant long-term social change. Bogost looks at three areas in which videogame persuasion has already taken form and shows considerable potential: politics, advertising, and education. Bogost is both an academic researcher and a videogame designer, and Persuasive Games reflects both theoretical and game-design goals.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reception and Digital Texts

As GTxA points out, The current issue of the Iowa Web Review (TIR-W Volume 9 no. 1)is devoted to the work and ideas of Jason Nelson and Donna Lieshman, guest-edited by Stephanie Strickland and Marjorie Luesebrink. Titled “MultiModal Coding: Jason Nelson, Donna Leishman and Electronic Writing,”

Nelson and Luesbrink are "electronic authors" whose work forms part of my thesis corpus. A particular area of interest for my research is taken up in the interviews with Nelson and Leishman, that of reception and the role of the reader (the three Rs). Nelson voices a somewhat Romantic conceptualisation of text reception:

"Perhaps one of the strongest draws many find for e-lit is its relative lack of rules, existing forms, or established meanings and methods. It is quite freeing as an artist to simply explore one's imagination and texts with only technical constraints limiting the possible creatures birthed."

The emphasis on "technical constraints" is an interesting point, leading into contemplation of the materiality of digital texts´and the associated large body of scholarship. I would debate the "lack of rules" hypothesis, with technical innovation (or fetishization) not necessarily removing the contexts for these works. The social and cultural understandings and definitions (and "rules") for digital text reception is something I explore in my thesis research.

It seems Leishman approaches digital text authorship from the perceptive of the ideal reader, even down to the gender:

"I hope it is simultaneously visually alluring and difficult in terms of reaching clear understandings of the narrative. I have both a sense of making for someone else (a notional female) and needing to compel an encounter that is emotional."

In the language of both authors reception is, as one would expect, about the work being understood as an experience. The Iowa Review has done an excellent job of presenting both authors, with comments from the editors , examples of their work and them commenting on each others work.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Conspiracy!!! Wikipedia Manipulated by CIA, FBI and the Vatican

US hacker Virgil Griffiths 'Wikiscanner' points to CIA computers as the sources of 300 edits to subjects including Irans president and Chinas nuclear arsenal...

A US hacker’s homemade program to pinpoint origins of Wikipedia edits indicates that alterations to the popular online encyclopedia have come from the CIA and the Vatican.
Virgil Griffith’s “Wikiscanner” points to Central Intelligence Agency computers as the sources of nearly 300 edits to subjects including Iran’s president, the Argentine navy, and China’s nuclear arsenal.
A CIA computer was the source of a whiny “Wahhhhh” inserted in a paragraph about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s plans for the office.
“While I cannot confirm whether any changes were made from CIA computers, the agency always expects its computer systems to be used responsibly,” CIA spokesman George Little said in response to a question.
Wikipedia is a communally refined Internet encyclopedia that taps into the “wisdom of the masses” by letting anyone make changes.
Its founders believe people who know better will quickly correct inaccurate or misleading information.
Griffith, a university graduate student and self-described hacker, says his software matches unique “IP” addresses of computers with Wikipedia records regarding which machines are used to make online edits.
“I came up with the idea when I heard about Congressmen getting caught for whitewashing their Wikipedia pages,” Griffith explains on his website.
Most edits listed at Wikiscanner involve minor changes such as spelling. Some alterations involve removing unflattering information, adding facts or inserting insults.
From the Deccan Herald

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Downstreams

This has been a non-downstreams week. I have been working a lot and nobody has been posting much good stuff online. Perhaps this is a sign that summer is drawing to a close. Anyway the Amen Break video above comes from [neverthought] and it is a good watch/listen. Also the only thing I found this week that I thought may be cool was this CD from WMFU: Pure Will, Without The Confusions Of Intellect (MP3s):
"For all the hours Nietzsche must have spent hunched over his notebook, many of his most important revelations occurred to him in the great outdoors. For instance, his theory of the eternal recurrence dawned on him while he stood beneath a boulder. In one letter to a friend, a young Nietzsche describes another moving experience in nature: to avoid a storm, Nietzsche stayed for a few hours in a small hut. While lightning struck around him, Nietzsche watched as the owner of the hut slaughtered goats. "I felt an incomparable upsurge; I realized that we actually understand nature only when we must fly to her to escape our cares and afflictions. What was man and his restless striving to me then! What was that endless 'thou shalt,' 'thou shalt not'! How different the lightning, the wine, the hail - sovereign powers, without ethics! How happy, how strong they are, pure will, unclouded by intellect!"

"I can't quite claim that the musicians on this comp are as powerful as lightning, but there are definately some sounds here that inspiredly defy tradition. Released by the Japanese Livevil label in 1991, "Pure Will, Without the Confusions Of Intellect" features international experimental veterans at a time of explosive growth in electronic technology."

Check it out. Have a good weekend. Peace.

The Reality Community Speaks Up

Yesterday I encountered a contradiction which I thought much about. First, over breakfast I read conservative American figure William 'Bill' Kristol commentary Inside Iraq in Time magazine. It is Krsitol makes several major claims as to the situation in Iraq and the future for the political system in the USA. These include:

"That the soldiers who have done well in Iraq will be major figures in American life for the next couple of decades. These men and women are no less suited to national leadership than are entrepreneurs, lawyers or local community leaders. In fact, they've had to show more courage, they've had to operate in a more fluid and volatile environment--and they've risked their lives for their country."


"In fact, in most civilian communities there appears to be pretty unambiguous admiration for the military."


"After the ceremony, the young man returned to his dorm room in full dress uniform and received a spontaneous round of applause from classmates. A campus police officer took him aside to shake his hand. The young man's father observed, "It was like something out of a movie."

Out of a World War II--era movie, to be precise."

Pretty wacky stuff really. The commentary of Kristol was put into perspective for me when I was cooking dinner in the evening and listening to the radio. In a segment on sverige's radio P1 Studio Ett (Studio one) program a phone interview was conducted with a young woman who is a resident of Baghdad and blogs under the name Chikitita (the bi line of her blog reads; "They say there are hardly any bright sides in Iraq. That's not true, I managed to see some.... Now I'm running out of hope."). I dont think Chakitita is a member of of the "liberal élites" which Kristol claims are infecting the Iraq situation with "mistrust, resentment and misunderstanding". You can listen to the broadcast with Chakitita HERE (she speaks English but there is a Swedish translation dubbed over, both come through fine).

Chakitita's situation is bad. She says in the interview she has not been able to go out and meet friends and relax since 2003. The house next door was taken over by an Iraqi Army Battalion recently so Chakitita and her family can no longer sleep on their roof, something that is necessary when the day temperature is 47 degrees in the shade and there is no electricity. Because they have a military installation next door the neighbourhood is now a target for bombing. There is a curfew in Baghdad so when one of Chikitita's friends went into labor with her child she and her husband had to sneak to the hospital to give birth and she almost died as a result. There is little available in the way of food in the street markets.

What does it mean for the USA if, to quote Kristol, "the Iraq vets will have every chance to rise to the top of American public life". The type of society that is functioning in Iraq under American occupation is not the sort of society I would ask anyone to live in. According to the Huffington Post:

At least one-in-three Iraq veterans and one-in-nine Afghanistan veterans will face a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). About 25% of those who committed suicide [99 soldiers last year] had "a history of at least one psychiatric disorder."

Posted on the HUMlab Blog

Just posted some mumblings on Second Life over on the HUMlab blog. This is the intro:

Simulation and Critique in Second Life: Reading the Space for Wholes
By Jim on Digital Arts
I have been out of Second Life more than in it since returning to formal research after the summer break. However, my mind is still very much engaged with SL. I am planning some building for the HUMlab island, have tested out the new voice chat application (not so impressed but maybe I made mistakes), been watching the blogosphere dialogues and thinking about a.......

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Australian Gothic: Film Weirdness from Down Under

"Two days ago, I saw a vehicle that would haul that tanker. You want to get out of here? You talk to me."
(Gibson only had 17 lines of dialogue in Mad Max 2, for many the epitome of Australian Gothic)

This became a longer post than I intended but that's the way it is with me and Australian Gothic film. I fell in love with what is termed Australian Gothic films in the late 1980's when I was a teenager. Australia does not have a strong tradition of making genre films but we do have a strong sense of the land and environment (for better or worse) which is also a major theme in our creative arts.

"Long before the fact of Australia was ever confirmed by explorers and cartographers it had already been imagined as a grotesque space, a land peopled by monsters. The idea of its existence was disputed, was even heretical for a time, and with the advent of the transportation of convicts its darkness seemed confirmed. The Antipodes was a world of reversals, the dark subconscious of Britain. It was, for all intents and purposes, Gothic par excellence, the dungeon of the world. It is perhaps for this reason that the Gothic as a mode has been a consistent presence in Australia since European settlement. Certainly the fact that settlement began in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, during the rise of the Gothic as a sensationalist and resonantly influential form, contributes to its impact on the literature of Australia. There may be other reasons for its appeal. It is certainly possible to argue that the generic qualities of the Gothic mode lend themselves to articulating the colonial experience inasmuch as each emerges out of a condition of deracination and uncertainty, of the familiar transposed into unfamiliar space. It is this very quality which Freud identified as the condition of the uncanny, where the home is unhomely — where the heimlich becomes unheimlich — and yet remains sufficiently familiar to disorient and disempower. All migrations represent a dislocation of sorts, but Australia posed particularly vexing questions for its European immigrants. Nature, it seemed to many, was out of kilter. To cite the familiar cliches: its trees shed their bark, swans were black rather than white, and the seasons were reversed. And while these features represented a physical perversion, it was widely considered to be metonymic of an attendant spiritual dis/ease." Turcotte, G, Australian Gothic, in Mulvey Roberts, M (ed), The Handbook to Gothic Literature, Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1998, 10-19.

The heart of the Gothic in Australia is 'the outback', terrifying expanses of seeming wilderness (to the fragile European eye) populated by fear and disappointment. An article on the recent spate of Australian horror films in the Sydney Morning Herald today describe Australia as "a scary place. The size of the United States, but with only the population of greater Los Angeles, its outback means you can get about as far away from civilisation as it's possible to get." Getting lost, disappearing, being trapped or escaping from the outback are three staple themes in Australian Gothic.

"We call what we do 'Australian Gothic'," says Everett DeRoche, a key figure in Australian horror who wrote the scripts for classics such as Patrick (1978), The Long Weekend (1978) and Razorback (1984). The term was coined to describe Razorback, and anyone who has seen this smoky, heavily backlit tale of a giant pig terrorising the outback will understand why. "Australia doesn't have that iconic 'haunted house' that we are familiar with from American movies. But it does have the outback, and people's fear of that, that agoraphobia."

The Herald article mentioned a few classic works of Australian Gothic on film, I thought I would expand on it:

Wake in Fright (1971)(Outback)
"Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have some dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here."

John Grant, a young teacher, looks forward to a holiday in the outback but instead finds himself trapped in a nightmarish small mining town where everyone seems to have some sort of mental instability. Succumbing to alcoholism and male rape, the teacher starts to lose his grip as his city ways are stripped away and a new, more brutal, self emerges.

The Cars that Ate Paris (1974)

Peter Weir's first full-length feature length film, this film has something of a punk aesthetic to it.

A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Written by Mark Thompson {}

A man's car breaks down in a country town, somewhere in New South Wales. His brother has been killed, and his fear of cars has returned full-blown, yet accidents around here are more common than strict coincidence would allow, and just leaving the town becomes a problem all of its own. Especially when the various factions in town start a feud that has been brewing for a long time... Written by David Carroll {}

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Three female students and a school teacher disappear on an excursion to Hanging Rock, in Victoria, on Valentine's Day, 1900. Peter Weir's break though film is simple but beautiful and disturbing tale. Underlying subtexts of sexual longing and innocence are played out among the ancient basalt of the Australian bush. Despite a David Hamilton style to some of the photography this film really works on a symbolic level with just enough mystery to involve the viewer in the horror of it all.

Inn of the Damned (1975)
The tale revolves around the mysterious vanishing of guests from a hostel deep in the Australian rain forests of Gippsland, Victoria in 1896, run by the Straulles, an Austrian couple. Unfortunately the owners of this wayside inn are simply not as sinisterly menacing as Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates in Hitchcock's classic, `Psycho'. Originally an outstanding stage actress, Dame Judith Anderson (Caroline Straulle, who is obviously fussy about the social standing of her guests/victims, bemusingly objecting to a whore) gave a more convincing performance as the chillingly malicious housekeeper Mrs Danvers in Hitchcock's 1940 version of Daphne Du Maurier's `Rebecca', for which she was deservedly nominated an Oscar. Her co-star (Joseph Furst) prior to this, seems to have made a career out of playing caricature mad Austrians, as in the Bond movie `Diamonds Are Forever'. There is an attempt at an ominous moodiness in the guesthouse but it is hardly developed to any great level and the various murders are weakly staged, accompanied by Bob Young's strangely clonkingly unsuspenseful music, which at other times can be jauntily, and even eerily, melodic. One wonders why the victims didn't just simply get out of bed rather than screaming hysterically whilst waiting to be crushed by the slowly descending canopy?

Patrick (1978)
We open in classic exploitation style as a mature couple have sex, to the hostility of her adult son (Robert Thompson), whom we later find out to be the Patrick of the title. He throws an electric heater into the post-coital bath, and then we flash to the future. Whether by the "accident" that killed his mother or sheer mental shutdown, Patrick has been in a coma for three years. His new nurse, Kathy (Susan Penhaligon), is sympathetic to a being everyone else, from Doctor Roget (a bizarre Robert Helpmann) to the other nurses, call a pathetic piece of dead flesh. Kathy senses something is amiss when Patrick displays a seemingly deliberate spitting behaviour.
As the story unfolds we find Kathy's separated husband Ed and new lover Brian, both who have her in their sights, being victimized by a telekinetic Patrick, who strikes out from behind his coma in many different ways. He tries to drown Brian, and Ed is stuck in a lift for what seems like days. Then things really get rough, when Doctor Roget starts giving ol' Patrick shock therapy in his experimentations to rouse Patrick. To protect himself, Patrick electrocutes the Matron down at the generator plant, and begins flinging furniture around as Roget mounts an all-out attack with an axe. Patrick is too strong though, and locking Roget outside his hospital room, confronts the woman he loves with a terrible choice.

The Long Weekend (1978)
When a suburban couple go camping for the weekend at a remote beach, they discover that nature isn't in an accommodating mood.

Razorback (1984)
A wild, vicious pig terrorizes the Australian outback. The first victim is a small child who is killed. The child's granddad is brought to trial for killing the child but acquitted. The next victim is an American TV-journalist. Her husband Carl gets there and starts to search for the truth. The local inhabitants won't really help him, but he is joined by a hunter and a female farmer to find the beast.
The pig is played by a Volkswagen Beetle in leather. It was directed by Russell Mulcahy who made videos for Duran Duran and other early MTV stars. A full sized, fully animatronic model razorback cost $250 thousand to build and is seen for a single second in the movie.

Dead End Drive In (1986)

"There's a party every day, a movie every night, and all the junk food you can eat. What more can a kid want... except to get out."

Dead En Drive In is a personal favorite of mine. Adapted from a Peter Carey short story (Crabs, 1972). A review from IMDb:

After the world's economy collapsed, Australia was turned into a wasteland where the unemployed youth uses the street as a battlefield and the law is forgotten. To fight this, the Government uses a Drive-In to lock them and keep them controlled using fast food and movies. A young man named Crabs (Ned Manning) is trapped in this way, but instead of becoming a conformist member of the nihilistic youth, he decides to fight back and escape no matter the cost.

Hidden under this sci-fi/horror tale of an apocalyptic society is a very well-written plot with social commentary included. "Dead-End Drive In" is a great story against the conformism. Crabs is trapped in an apparent paradise where he can get all the fast food he wants and do nothing but live each day, but instead he chooses to fight back and try to escape from the Drive-In and to return to his family. He knows this "paradise" is false, and that the only thing worth fighting for is real freedom.

Stretching the budget to the max, Trenchard-Smith manages to create very well done scenes with the very few resources he has. He makes a great use of his locations and the film is packed with high-octane action and a healthy dose of humor. Still, the film remains focused on its message and Carey makes a portrait of present-day society, as racist, conformist and violent as the youth depicted in the film. It is not a horror movie in the sense of being scary, but it is haunting in the sense that even when it is a fictitious scenery, it is not hard to believe that humanity will behave the way the conformist teenager do in the film. Author: José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) from Mexico

Smoke Em If You Got Em (1988)
Atomic war has destroyed human society. The survivors wander in the ruins slowly dying of radiation sickness. Two men stumble upon a bomb shelter with music coming from it. They have found the last party on earth. Admission to the party depends upon being able to donate some form of intoxicant. Our two wanderers find a bottle of wine in the wreckage. once inside the 80's Australian Blue Ruin are the house band to a anarchist autonomous zone of freaks and the dying. The film is a brilliant essay in black humor.

Ghosts....of the Civil Dead (1988)
I heard that it took inspiration from In the Belly of the Beast: The Prison Letters of Jack Henry Abbott. Also that it is based on the testimony of David Hale, a warder at USP Marion, Illinois, USA. This is an intense film. Nick cave was once of the scriptwriters and he stars in it with an amazing performance as the deranged child murderer Maynard ("Officer, come here. I wanna spit in your fucking eye!"). A high tech top security prison in the desert of central Australia is in lockdown, with the hardcore inmates confined to their cells. The film unfolds slowly on how the lockdown came about and the culture of the prison with sex, drugs and violence all for sale. It culminates in a scene of extreme and graphic violence. The music is done by Blixa Bargeld, Mick Harvey and Nick Cave with great singing by Anita Lane.

Body Melt (1993)
Starring Ian Smith who played Harold Bishop in Neighbours as the evil Dr. Carrera this is B grade horror at its best. Residents of peaceful Pebbles Court, Homesville, are being used unknowingly as test experiments for a new 'Body Drug' that causes rapid body decomposition (melting skin etc.) and painful death. The suburbs have never been so horrible.

Bad Boy Bubby (1993)
Fantastic film. The first thirty minutes of "Bad Boy Bubby" are great horror. Bubby (Nicholas Hope), a strange, retarded man-child, has been imprisoned by his mom (Claire Benito) for thirty years. He hasn't left the house, can't leave the house, because mom's been busy having sex with him and perverting his sponge-like mind. She tells him the world outside is filled with poison gas and because they only have one gas mask he can never leave the room they are in. Early on, the film alienates viewers by throwing in a scene involving the killing of a cat. After an act of violence which frees him Bubby ventures into the outside world and has a series of amazing, hilarious adventures in which his outsider status is often misinterpreted. He dresses as a pastor. He fronts a rock band, gets intimate with a real disabled woman (Heater Slattery), and discovers life beyond the walls of his prison. The film is extremely original and daring, and Hope's performance as Bubby is totally believable. It was shot over a long period by a number of cinematographers.

The Proposition (2005)
Again written by Nick Cave. A brilliant piece of work that I would describe as a coming of age for Australian film. The Proposition is our interpretation of Heart of Darkness, with lines from John Hurt as Jellon Lamb echoing Charles Marlow ("But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad." p. 66) ;

"We are white men, Sir, not beasts. Oh, he sits up there in those melancholy hills; some say he sleeps in caves like a beast, slumbers deep like the Kraken. The Blacks say that he is a spirit. The Troopers will never catch him. Common force is meaningless, Mr. Murphy, as he squats up there on his impregnable perch. So I wait, Mr. Murphy. I wait."

Rural Australia in the late nineteenth century: Capt. Stanley and his men capture two of the four Burns brothers, Charlie and Mike. Their gang is held responsible for attacking the Hopkins farm, raping pregnant Mrs. Hopkins and murdering the whole family. Arthur Burns, the eldest brother and the gang's mastermind, remains at large has and has retreated to a mountain hideout. Capt. Stanley's proposition to Charlie is to gain pardon and - more importantly - save his beloved younger brother Mike from the gallows by finding and killing Arthur within nine days. Almost unbearable violence is used like a paint brush, spraying us with the cruel colonial process as it destroys the oppressed (Aboriginal, Irish, Women) and uses those who believe in it to achieve ends they don't understand. The soundtrack is also a masterpeice. The trailer is HERE.

Wolf Creek (2006)
In 1999, Ben Mitchell (Nathan Phillips) and his two British girlfriends Liz Hunter (Cassandra Magrath) and Kristy Earl (Kestie Morassi) buy an old car to travel through the outback of Australia with little money. Their first stop is to visit a meteor crater in the isolated Wolf Creek National Park. When they go to their car, they find that it does not start and without option, they decide to spend the night in the car. Later, a local friendly man, the hillbilly Mick Taylor (John Jarrat), stops his truck, offers to help the trio, finds that they need to replace the coil and proposes to tow them to his camp, where he could fix the car. When they accept the proposal, their dreamy vacation turns into a scary nightmare. the website for the film is HERE.

More Australian Gothic Horror films can be found at The Encyclopedia of fantastic Film and Television site for Australian Horror.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Paper Abstract

To be presented at The Virtual 07: Interaction in Haninge, Sweden 20-22 September:

Performing Interaction: Copyright and Remix in Online Digital Literature
Interaction with online digital literature is centered upon how texts are responded to by those who engage with them. One field of responses to a digital text is the widespread practice of remixing. Remix is regulated materially by the codes used in text construction, storage and distribution. Copyright law also attempts to regulate possible responses made to interactive digital literature. A comparative reading of copyright and remix provides an image of how one is both authorized and expected to interact with a digital text. Copyright authorizes response and the properties of the text's materials imply response. By taking into consideration both remix practices and copyright’s legal paradigms we gain a broader understanding of how digital literature functions in terms of interaction and reception.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tintin and Politics

An investigation has begun into whether or not Tintin in the Congo (1931) is a racist work. A Congolese student in Brussels Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu has lodged a complaint with the public prosecutions office claiming it was "an insult to all Congolese." Having read several Tintin adventures in recent years to my 7 year old son I could imagine, (having not read 'Congo') that it does carry racist images as most of the Tintin books seem to. Bloodthirsty Indians, fiendish Chinese, violent Africans and hideous Arabs abound in Hergé's works. I have had my doubts about exposing my son to all this but they are good stories and I figured that if he sees the stereotypes now (as clumsy and out of date as they are in Tintin) he can recognize them for what they are, rather than when he is older and meeting more complex images of racial hatred as a teenager and refusing to listen to me (the voice of wisdom). Maybe in a year of three Ill slip him a copy of The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, where our young hero leads an anarchist revolution in Britain. Much more interesting than blowing up hippos in the Congo.

Google Censoring Sydney Images (Again)

The fine line between censorship and security lies between the forecourt and the botanical gardens in Sydney, Australia. This image was taken this morning with Google Earth and shows the border between the forecourt of the Opera House and the walkway to the Botanical gardens. There have been suggestions that Google has cesored sattelite images of Sydney around the Opera House due to the upcomming APEC summit to be held there (21 world leaders including George W. Bush). Google replied to the allagations with:

"This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with APEC," said Google Australia spokesman Rob Shilkin.

"We're re-sourcing our imagery for parts of Sydney as a result of a commercial issue with one of our suppliers, so some of the highest-res images have been temporarily replaced."

Looking at the above image it seems like a thick fog has descended over the Opera House, not so much a resolution downgrade.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Sailor Returned from the Sea

-lines upon the finding of a lego man
(Zandvoort 2007)
he lies between the lip of land and brine
his shore is found and his journey done
as the sun dips down in this glad hour
all spill forth across the sand in joy


we watch as the waves drag him near
still the body of our hero rocks still
too late the tide has his soul too late
a sailor not returned from the sea

Friday Downstreams

This Friday mixed media is the theme with books, films and music. So let's get the downstreams flowing:

The Cape Experiment
This report from the Australian Broadcast Corporation's (ABC) Four Corners current affairs program gives an excellent picture of the situation in many (not all) Aboriginal Communities. There are other models for social recovery in Aboriginal communities and the conflicts with the community of Aurukun that are mentioned in this documentary may be the result of disagreements with the process of recovery being offered to them. Aurukun is a very traditional community in many ways and while it also has desperate problems it has also been a politically active site.

American Experience: The Summer of Love
This documentary from American PBS screened on April 23, 2007 looks back at the summer of 1967 in San Francisco. It is accompanied by teaching materials, extra interviews and whole lotta love.

The Endless Forest
The Endless Forest is a free, constantly evolving 3D deer simulation game that can be played both alone or in massive multiplayer online mode. Everyone plays a stag (male deer) and there is only non-violent interaction. To enhance the immersion, there is no chat function, but only deer-body-language instead. You can rub trees, sniff other deer, walk, jump, rest or run. The game was originally developed as a screensaver, but a standalone launcher was released afterwards. When you connect to the network, the game seamlessly introduces the other deer online. Inactive deer, but still online (in screensaver mode), are shown sleeping. If you are all alone in the forest, you can roar to try and wake them up.

Panda Bear People Party DVD
(Features nearly 2 hours of material including a song by each opener, full Panda Bear set edited from 3 nights, sound checks, other random footage, and an exclusive interview with Panda Bear. The DVD also comes with a fully functional chapter selection mode so you can cruise right to the parts you want to see!), plastic casing, and a personalized card which details which number DVD you own as well as authenticates your DVD.
Price: FREE (if you want to donate you can get even more)

V/A FLOWERS FROM THE DUSTBIN – A SYDNEY COMPILATION- Comp. LP (Aberrant Records, Australia, 1983)
THE KELPIES- Television.mp3
POSITIVE HATRED- In tune with living.mp3
WORLD WAR XXIV- Heart Attack.p3
BOX OF FISH- The good, the bad, the ugly.mp3
WHAT?!!- Toys out of control.mp3
QUEEN ANNE’S REVENGE- 25 hour hoods.mp3
POSITIVE HATRED- No one you can trust.mp3

Side B:
WORLD WAR XXIV- 5 to 9.mp3
WHAT?!!- Campbell’s song.mp3
THE KELPIES. My wall.mp3
BOX OF FISH- Our father.mp3
QUEEN ANNE’S REVENGE- Cathode ray gun.mp3
WHAT?!!- 20 t-bones.mp3
VELLOCETTE- Black cloud.mp3
POSITIVE HATRED- Think about tomorrow.mp3
THE KELPIES- Truro murders.mp3

Diaspora RomaA collection of Sinti- and Roma (/ -inspired) tunes, ranging from Paris to Bucharest and several places in between.

1: Intro to Ludo Luda - Csókolom
2: Improvisation sur le 1er MVT de J. S. Bach - Stéphane Grapelli & Django Reinhardt
3: Les Yeux Noirs - Django Reinhardt
4: Les Yeux Noirs - Mandino Reinhardt & Tchavolo Schmitt
5: Turceasca - Hurlak
6: Ando Tyire - Csókolom
7: Pusztĺtó - Besh o droM
8: Underground Čoček - Goran Bregovic
9: Intro/ Cocoro/ Branjsko čoček/ Nikolin čoček - Boban Markovic Orkestar
10: Bubamara - Goran Bregovic
11: Bubamara - Emir Kusturica & The Non-Smoking Orchestra
12: Corfu - Emir Kusturica & The Non-Smoking Orchestra
13: Gross (featuring Boom Pan) - Balkan Beat Box
14: Bivaly - Besh o droM
15: Carolina - Taraful Haiducilor
16: Lullaby/ Mahala - Csókolom
17: Anii Mei (intro) - Csókolom

Hanadensha: Narcotic Guitar
Japanese psychedelic noise gods Boredoms side project. This is a monumentally spacey album, all echoing synthesizers with any drums or guitars processed and made part of the overall groove. The metallic-printed cover art could not be more psychedelic.

Against The Grain by J K Huysmans (1885)
The best-known example of fin-de-siècle decadence, this novel has been banned and expurgated for years.

Là-bas by J.-K. Huysmans
In his later novels Huysmans recorded the spiritual quest of a man named Durtal, a writer, his fictional alter ego. Là-Bas was a highly stylized novel of black magic practiced in contemporary Paris. In the story Durtal decides to write a biography of Gil.

Lugwig Wittgenstein Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Hypertext of the Ogden bilingual edition. Endless fun with Luddie and his amusing mind.

U B U W E B :: Mike Kelley
Performed with Sonic Youth, Live at Artist's Space, New York City, December 5, 1986 with Molly Cleator and Adam Rudolf. Recorded by C. Parkinson. From the cassette Tellus #18: Experimental Theater.

Impressions de la Haute Mongolie - Hommage á Raymond Roussel (1974-75)
Salvador Dalí's romance with film and the visual arts is a relatively well-known chapter in the life of the original and controversial Spanish (Catalan) artist (1904-1989). His collaboration with Luis Buñuel in the writing of Un Chien Andalou (1929) and L'Age D'Or (1930) has been extensively examined and documented. However, his explorations of video art with the production of the "documentary" Impressions de la haute Mongolie. Hommage a Raymond Roussel (1974-75) remain an episode of his long and successful creative career only acknowledged by the specialist. The fact that the video production has not been commercialized by, more or less, vague reasons related to copyright disputes did not help to make this innovative work better known. The "videografía", written in collaboration with its director José Montes Baquer and produced with Sony-Cologne and WDR, narrates the exploration of Dalí to the remote land of Mongolia in search of the Great White Mushroom. Salvador Dalí, a consummate expert in media manipulation, invites the spectator to become his accomplice and partner in what it seems a drug-induced "trip" to a faraway and distant land where wonderful treasures are hidden. By means of advanced technology in film and the visual arts of the time (video, electronics, macro photography), Dalí strives to reveal optically the metamorphoses of matter with the purpose of revealing a new artistic reality. The journey --inspired by the psychedelic aesthetic of the seventies and narrated by Dalí in French, with English subtitles that roughly translates his words-- will offer the possibility of exploring the cosmos through the observation of a small metal piece magically transformed by Dalí's secret techniques. The adventure concludes in a Catalan town where the crowd participates in a public ceremony of communal painting (a true "happening") conducted and directed by Dalí. The multitude will worship him as a king (or so he intends) who does not shy away from acting as a clown

Kenji Siratori & GX Jupitter-Larsen collaborations: Noise Boy (2006) + Noisismo TV (2006).
"GX Jupitter-Larsen's paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator corpse feti=streaming of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM in the surrender-site of the living body junk feeling replicant where turned on the ill-treatment of a chemical=anthropoid to the super-genomewarable reptilian=HUB****GX Jupitter-Larsen outputs the terror abolition world-codemaniacs that was processed the data=mutant of the drug fetus of the trash sense to the hunting for the grotesque WEB=joint terminal of the biocapturism nerve cells murder-gimmick of a clone boy GX Jupitter-Larsen's murder game to the insanity medium of the hyperreal HIV=scanners brain universe that compressed the acidHUMANIX infectious disease of my ultra=machinary tragedy-ROM creature system DNA=channel of the corpse city." - Kenji Siratori


French Translation Genius Arrested

A French teenager suspected of posting his own complete translation of the latest Harry Potter book on the internet has been arrested.

The 16-year-old, from the southern city of Aix-en-Provence, has been released but could face charges for violating intellectual property rights.

The official French language version of the final book in the Potter series is scheduled for release on 26 October.

Police have closed down the website it was found on and are investigating.

Aix prosecutor Olivier Rothe alleges the unnamed youth had compiled the entire translation of JK Rowling's 759-page book and posted it online within days of the 21 July release of the English original.

It is believed he did not gain any commercial profit from the unauthorised work

The 'unnamed youth' should be given a job in translation, 759 pages in "a few days"!!!! Of course it could be a very bad translation, but at 16 years of age would that really detract from the achievment?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Australian Digital Media and Politics

The digital battle between political parties in the run up to the Australian federal election continues. Today, following an interest rate rise, the opposition Labor Party employed a technique from machinima cinematography. Because they are not allowed to use recordings from parliamentary proceedings they got an actor to impersonate the voice of the Prime Minister John Howard, saying "Working families in Australia have never been better off." The video advertisement can be seen here.
The Prime Minister did take part in a webcast last night but he shared the screen with the leader of the opposition Kevin Rudd, as they both appeared before an estimated 100 000 Christians gathered in churches around the country.
The digital divide between the two parties was most obviously manifest in the discovery by Federal Member for Corangamite Stewart McArthur that someone had posted a fake MySpace site slandering him. The site has been online for THREE MONTHS!! Not a fan of social software applications, Mr McArthur (pictured) said "Good people, whether they be public figures or private citizens, should not be at risk of having their reputation harmed on the Internet." It seems it is the uncontrolled ability for ordinary citizens to create media content that troubles the Australian government with one newspaper report stating:

The Web 2.0 phenomenon which includes sites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube has come under increasing fire from government and industry due to its largely user authored content which is notoriously difficult to regulate

So far in the digital campaign it seems to be the opposition Australian Labor Party that is gaining ground. While the government is using digital media such as Youtube, it has not successfully embraced the more powerful opinion forming aspects of digital media such as forums, live chat and viral media. Maybe its on its way.

The Baiji, the Chinese white dolphin, is gone.

"This extinction represents the disappearance of a complete branch of the evolutionary tree of life and emphasises that we have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet." Sam Turvey of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The Baiji, the Chinese white dolphin, is gone.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

kevin, rudd, secret, society

A Google cut up. If you enter the words kevin, rudd, secret, society in Google the fifth return is my blog with this summary:

Now for Kevin Rudd's videos. Rudd is also adopting the format of television but ..... of putrid waste) as well as secret societies and forbidden knowledge. ...

What does it mean??? For Kevin and for me.......

No Real than You Are.

I have a feeling that No Real Than You Are will be joining All Your Base Are Belong to Us. How a 2.5 meter tall lego man made it to the beach at Zandvoort may be explained here. His name is Ego Leonard.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Feel Good?

Do you Feel Good?

Digital Politics in Oz: The Rhetoric of the Image

While the use of digital media in a political campaign is well worn ground in the USA, the concept has just taken off in Australia for the upcoming (not yet announced) Federal Election. According to the Sydney Morning Herald in "Campaign '07 ... baby kissing is out and hip websites and video clips are in". Yesterday the opposition candidate and leader of the Federal Labor Party Kevin Rudd launched his own website, complete with forums, blog, a shop and archive. Both the Prime Minister and Rudd have been releasing videos on YouTube, to somewhat mixed responses:

But professionals who specialise in web marketing have criticised Mr Howard's approach, saying he has tried too hard to control the message when the main benefit of online campaigning is to actively engage the audience.

In Howard's Youtube message on Climate Change comments were deleted and spam took over the site. At the time of writing the comments have been completely disabled. The visual image of John Howard sitting at a desk in a suit and tie flanked by the Australian flag and beginning his message with "Good Morning" seems little removed from the TV appearances of politicians that began in the 1960s. Such an arrangement is an interesting example of intermediation that attempts to fit the digital format back into an analogue box.

Now for Kevin Rudd's videos. Rudd is also adopting the format of television but in a far more engaging style than Howard. His Australia Day Message video is a slick piece of mini doco and personality piece. It is clear he has taken to the medium assisted by some people who know what they are doing. Visually rich and integrating music, voice overs and cross fades. The comments section is not exactly overflowing (35 at the time of writing) I suspect they are being managed but there are some particularly negative ones ("kevin rudd and gillard are left wing communists, put them on the first plane to russia." Crompton58) so it is not being done that heavy handed.

A third example of political messages on YouTube comes from the Green Party. In somewhat more imaginative approach, "Australian Greens climate spokesperson Senator Christine Milne joins forces with Eskimo productions and comedian John Clarke to reflect on climate change action." in video entitled The Polar Bears. It is surreal and humorous with a parable like message for viewers.

The Polar Bears was posted on February 17 2007 and has had 10,884 views. The Rudd video was posted on January 25, 2007 and has had 2,867 views. The Howard video was posted on July 16, 2007 and has had 58,204 views. Ratings for each are four stars, three stars and two stars respectively.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Stop that Thought: Digital Rhetoric, Bibliographies & Knowing when to Stop

It has taken a week or two but it has hit me now; I am back at work. On Friday I got a reply from one of my supervisors on my first attempt at an academic paper. Considering it was the first draft it was not too bad a response but it was nevertheless not good news. Problems seem to be trying to say too much, or saying to much and not getting to the point or having too little analysis in too much text. An economy of words is what is needed. Words should not just tumble out but rather I need to slow down and consider a) what it is I am trying to say and b) What is the best way to say it. This leads me to my increasing interest in rhetoric. Why oh why was I never taught rhetoric?
To the library...must read rhetoric! While the ancient texts would be interesting I thought to look into digital rhetoric, which seems to be developing as a field of study. Here are three good bibliographies:

wra 415: digital rhetoric

Digital Rhetoric A Selected Bibliography

An Idiosyncratic Bibliography for Working with the Visual & interactive Aspects of Texts, whether the texts be on screen or on paper

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Downstreams

Its amazing what a bag of old photographs will do for one's nostalgia. Witness me in 1991 looking out the window of the Atcherley Hotel (soon to be demolished) in central Brisbane. The Atcherley was built around the turn of the 19-20th century but by 1990 it was basically a huge squat with a venue in the basement for bands; usually of the punk variety. I stayed there a few times when visiting Brisbane. The underground scene in Queensland's capital city for art, music and living space blossomed in the first few years after the fall of the very right wing National Party state government in 1989. Such memories brings me to the downstreams for this week, lots of Australian punk inspired sounds from the early 90's and late 80's.

Fresh From the Womb 10"
This is a free EP that was given away at concerts featuring Tumbleweed, Swirl, Crow & Nunbait. I shared houses with members of Nunbait and saw them play many times. Nunbait was a great band and should have received international success but they imploded in the chaos that was Newtown before it became completely trendy. The download comes from the blog Antipodean Underground which is packed with great music from the Australian and New Zealand post-punk scene.

No Night Sweats Sydney Post Punk Mp3s
A collection of Post-Punk music created in Sydney during the years 1978-1987.

Australian Rare and Live Music Video Downloads
Cosmic Psychos, Hard Ons, Magic Dirt, Screamfeeder, Six ft Hick (Hi geoffrey) and Cunnigham were some who crossed my path in life in the distant past.

Rev. O. W. 'Bud' Spriggs - What The Bible Says About Flying Saucers (mp3s)
OK we have left Australia behind and are now in the realm of the Rev. Bud.

Erik Satie: Conceptual Works
Something different. I like Satie...he's Surreal.

Some Assembly Required
Assembly Required features work by a variety of artists and groups who work with bits and pieces of their media environments, giving something back to the cultural landscape from which they so enthusiastically appropriate.The genre is young, despite examples dating as far back as 1961, when James Tenney constructed a tape collage borrowing heavily from cut-up fragments of a recording by Elvis Presley. Both provocative and surreal, this style continues to evolve and to challenge.Since its inception in 1999, Nelson has produced over two dozen artist features, interviewing everyone from John Oswald and The Evolution Control Committee, to Christian Marclay and DJ Spooky - providing a variety of unique perspectives on the nature of this daring and creative style of expression.

Storynory: Children's Audio Stories and Books For Free
Welcome to Storynory where Prince Bertie the Frog brings you an audio story every week. Each one is read specially for him by his friend Natasha. But Bertie likes to share - so you can hear them too, ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Twisted Subterranean Death Trap
From Adelaide, Australia. I like the name, no other reason.

Ramellah Underground
Ramallah Underground is a Musical collective based in Ramallah/Palestine, bringing together Producers, Mc'ees, Photographers, Visual artists and Freedom Fighters. RU has collaborated with arists across the globe including countries like Lebanon, UK, Switzerland, USA, France and much more. RU members have also performed live shows (hip-hop & Dj sets) in Ramallah, Vienna, London, Amman, Lausanne, Amsterdam and Washington DC. Ramallah Underground was founded by artists Boikutt and Stormtrap , and Aswatt , who is also their sound engineer/manager.

Psychic TV perform live in the studio WFMU
Following the release of the first Throbbing Gristle studio album in over 25 years there has been a lot of press lately devoted to the group and particularly its fearless spokes person Genesis P-Orridge. Here is the other side of TG, Psychic TV in their first ever radio appearance (Streamed RealAudio). Includes music from Brian Jones Presents the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Velvet Underground, Rolling Stones, Incredible String Band and a live performance by Psychic TV. Goes for over 3 hours.

The Atcherley Hotel in 1927

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ten Year Aniversary of Burroughs' Death

Ten years ago today William Seward Burroughs II died at the age of 83. Since then conditions have developed according to so many plans outlined in the mangled body of work he left behind. The virus, cut ups, langauge clouds choking us in simulacra, the electronic revolution and the need for space - space beings, space filled with all manner of organisms living in the ruins of their dreams. Burroughs is by now no doubt running the biggest slunk racket in the Western Lands and planning the next great novel.
A fine video is now online Burroughs: A Document.