Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Downstreams (the warm waters of revolution)

The first week of the new government in Australia draws to a close and I wish I was there to enjoy it. In today's national Swedish daily Dagen Nyheter a half page story was run on the fact that the lead singer from Midnight Oil is now Australia's Minister for Environment, Heritage and Arts; Peter Garrett. Will it make a difference? We will have to wait and see. I saw Peter Garrett speak in 1990 on the lawn at my university and I remember being very impressed by his intelligence and commitment. To begin this weeks downloads we have an Australian selection:

Australian Screen
australianscreen is a look at the Australian film and television industry, from its earliest days to the present. You can view clips from Australian feature films, documentaries, TV programs, shorts, home movies, newsreels, advertisements, other historical footage, and sponsored films produced over the last 100 years, with curators’ notes and other information about each title. The site currently contains 2,003 clips from 799 film and television titles, and is constantly being added to. You can also visit our education page for educational content provided by The Le@rning Federation. All clips with teachers’ notes are marked by the symbol.

Film Australia Digital Learning
A free, quick and easy-to-use search engine for teachers and educators. The Resource Finder features free for education video clips from Film Australia's remarkable archive - one of the nation's largest and most historically significant collections.
You can view or download these resources by simply choosing to search via curriculum, topic or keyword. No log in required.

The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Pinochet’s coup in Chile. The massacre in Tiananmen Square. The collapse of the Soviet Union. September 11th, 2001. The war on Iraq. The Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Award-winning investigative journalist Naomi Klein brings together all of these world-changing events in her new book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” In her first national broadcast interview since the publication of “The Shock Doctrine,” Klein joins us in our firehouse studio for the hour. Klein writes, “The history of the contemporary free market was written in shocks.” She argues that “Some of the most infamous human rights violations of the past thirty-five years, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the deliberate intent of terrorizing the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for the introduction of radical free-market reforms.” [includes rush transcript]

Lee (mp3)
"This recording is from a cassette recorded by a fellah named Lee. He was, or still is, a mental patient in the state of Nevada. He had a lot of money from an unknown source, and would buy expensive bass guitars from the guitar shop where I was working. I would talk to him and try to get info as to his life and such but he was too shy. Nice guy, mid 40s, 6'2, 170 or so pounds, Hungarian/Slavic features, fairly gray line short hair. Lee spoke very slow with a midwestern accent. I'm guessing Kansas or Nebraska. He always rode a bike everywhere and carried an expensive bass guitar on his back. He said that he wanted to start recording songs that he had written. We all looked at each other like there was no way.
One day in 2001 when I was at work, a co-worker had run over from the large recording studio next door. Breathlessly he said that Lee was next door recording and that I had to go check it out."

This sells for up to $300 for the vinyl original. Here you have an Mp3 downlaod of "One of the original albums on the Silence label, Handgjort play an almost all instrumental acoustic Eastern world music, similar to the Third Ear Band or Aktuala. More underground and primitive though, reminding me of Furekaaben. Years later, Embryo would produce a more professional variation of this sound on “Reise” (the non rock pieces that is).In the Träd Gräs tribal filkish freaky vein."

Jonathan Kane (ex-Swans)
Jonathan Kane's February, "Pops" (mp3, 15 holy megs) - live at Southpaw in Park Slope Brooklyn, April 28 2007 as part of WFMU's Free Music Concert Series. "Pops" being Pops Staples, of course. I also recomend Kane's Myspace site, just to listen to I Looked at the Sun.

Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy
The complete writings of Hakim Bay aka Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Mustafa Ali Bey of the Moorish Orthodox Church of America (MOCA). I brought The Temporary Autonomous Zone T.A.Z in 1991 and it changed my life....nuff said.

De Kift
The soundtrack to my year in Amsterdam in 1998 was De Kift's Krankenhaus (1993) where they took the First World War poetry of Erich Maria Remarque and added the dark brass blues of the lunatic assylum. It is a rich and rewarding disturbance of a record.

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (a novel)
The first bit of dumb luck came disguised as a public embarrassment for the European Center for Defense against Disease. On July 23, schoolchildren in Algiers claimed that a respiratory epidemic was spreading across the Mediterranean. The claim was based on clever analysis of antibody data from the mass transit systems of Algiers and Naples.
CDD had no immediate comment, but in less than three hours, public-health hobbyists reported similar results in other cities, complete with contagion maps. The epidemic was at least one week old, probably originating in Central Africa, beyond the scope of hobbyist surveillance.

The Kitchen Presents Two Moon July (1986)

Warm Up (July 1985)

Philip Glass "Mad Rush"

Laurie Anderson "Difficult Listening Hour"

David Byrne "Report From L.A."

Dara Birnbaum "Damnation of Faust" (1983)

Kit Fitzgerald & David Sanborn "Olympic Fragments" (1980)

Director: Tom Bowes. Producer: Carlota Schoolman. Camera: Ed Bowes. Lighting Director: Stan Pressner. Sound: Bob Bielecki, Connie Kieltyka. Editing: Tom Bowes, Steve Giuliano. Associate Producers: Robin O?Hara, Mary Perillo. Assistant Director: Matthew Geller. Post Production Facilities: Broadway Video through the Media Alliance. Produced for The Kitchen by Carlota Schoolman. On-Line Program and Sync Sound, Inc.

Lost of strange and interesting things from Russia- music, films and the like.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Arrested for Stealing Virtual Furniture

"It is a theft because the furniture is paid for with real money" Sulake spokesman

A Dutch teenager has been arrested for allegedly stealing virtual furniture from "rooms" in Habbo Hotel, a 3D social networking website. The 17-year-old is accused of stealing 4,000 euros (£2,840) worth of virtual furniture, bought with real money.

SVEN: Surveillance Video Entertainment Network

SVEN CV - the computer vision software used for SVEN (Surveillance Video
Entertainment Network
) - is now available to the public. The features and interface were designed specifically for the SVEN project, so the interface isn't what you might expect from user-friendly, general purpose software. However, we hope it can be useful for other public space projects, as it is specifically designed to track people in uncontrolled settings, as opposed to a gallery or stage where lighting, background, clothing, etc., can be controlled.

SVEN is a piece of tactical software art. Tactical software art comes out of traditions of tactical media and software art. It’s a logical mix: tactical media is a response to the way mainstream media influences culture; software art is a response to the ways mainstream software influences culture.

Tactical media often involves a combination of digital actions and “meatspace” – or street - actions. In SVEN, these are one and the same - digital actions that take place on the street (just off the curb in this case).

Surveillance is already scary.

Sure, surveillance is scary - but you’ve probably heard that before. We’re being watched all the time, and we don’t know by whom, or what they’re doing with the images and other data they’re gathering. Scared? You bet - there’s a bogeyman under the bed, so we’d better not look. But remember, we’re supposed to be scared – people are trying to scare us. Foucault pointed out that not knowing when the bogeyman is watching you can scare you into changing your behavior. But not knowing how the bogeyman is watching you can scare you too. SVEN’s purpose is not to point out that surveillance is scary. People are scared enough as it is.

Software shouldn’t be scary.

From the SVEN CV website.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Free TV and the Monkees

At the moment the Swedish public television station SVT is running an advertising campaign about how it is politically and economically independent and therefore 'Free'. I am not sure it is as simple as that (i.e. the people pay therefore we can say anything), but I agree there is an integrity to the public broadcaster in Sweden that is important. However, I have encountered similar levels of 'Independence' in other state run media services in other countries that while they do not favor individual concerns such as business' they do follow national agendas and conform to concepts of 'common sense'- which leads me to my next topic.

The soundtrack to one of the ads being run by SVT is Circle Sky by the Monkees from 1968. Not only is it a great tune, it comes from one of the most surreal psychedelic films produced in the 1960's. An underground classic that rates with other psychadelic films produced which involved Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Roger Corman; Wild Angels, The Trip, Psych-Out,

Head (1968) begins (without any opening credits) at the dedication of a bridge. After a politician struggles with constant feedback with his microphone as he tries to give a speech, the Monkees suddenly interrupt the ceremony by running through the assembled officials, to the sound of various horns and sirens. The rest of the film is essentially plotless, a seemingly stream of consciousness stringing-together of musical numbers, satire of various film genres, elements of psychedelia, and references to topical issues such as the Vietnam War. Trailers for the film summarized it as a "most extraordinary adventure, western, comedy, love story, mystery, drama, musical, documentary satire." Some film critics[citation needed] now consider the film to be an allegorical deconstruction of the Monkees' experiences as pawns of the Hollywood starmaking machine that, like their real-life story itself, contains some sinister truths lurking underneath what appears to be a colorful, entrancing facade. Wikipedia

I watched Head many times as a young student in Australia in the late 1980s (along with Easy Rider and a lot of Al Pacino films), as we had a cheap VHS copy of it someone had bought in some closing down video rental. Thinking about it now it was a cut-up or remix and looking at the imdb it seems to have been constructed as such:

The movie's origin was in Ojai, California, where the foursome [the monkees], Bob Rafelson, and Jack Nicholson spent a weekend in a resort motel verbally tossing story ideas into a tape recorder. This became the script for this film.

The SVT campaign today is getting a lot of attention based on its criticism of other media outlets and their ownership structures. However, Head is a strange source for a state broadcaster to appropriate material from, as it depicts a lifestyle that, shall we say, is not really legal in Sweden today. I wonder if the perceived freedom of the 1960's (and the now wealthy demographic that can remember that time) is the target for Circle Sky, "We were free and we can be free again....with SVT." To get some idea of 'where Im coming' here is the theatrical trailer for Head from 1968:

EA's Medal of Honor Airborne by Yahtzee

How to crtique a computer game by Yahtzee.

Meanwhile in Second Life

"Fire and the Story"

The documentary "Fire and the Story" developed by Cape York Elders and Clan Groups regarding traditional fire knowledge and the problems with it's absence in the environment and urban areas in Australia today. The film is a product of the grass roots Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways (TKRP) project and is a bid to educate the broader public, nationally and internationally, in the benefits of reapplying Indigenous burning techniques. The range of chapters and stories that make up the film are based on real experience with Elders on country assessing the issue first hand.
Preview (Film)
Read More (PDF)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Just getting 11 years 8 months and 22 days of John Howard off my chest......

"I left the keys under the mat." John W. Howard has left The Lodge

The opposition Australian Labor Party has won the Federal Election by a massive majority. Prime Minister John Howard is expected to loose his own seat of Bennelong, the first serving Prime Minister to do so since 1929 and only the second Australian Prime Minister to do so ever.

I am very glad for this result. I grew up in a labor voting family and while I lean more towards Green Party policies, the abandonment of the Howard vision for Australia is long overdue. While obsessive economic growth and soft nationalism may seem to be a formula for successful governance on the surface it just does not provide for all levels of society. As well, many of the key ingredients for sustainable development are ignored when popular opinion and fiscal performance become the sole measure of success. I would like to list a few of the issues that have troubled me over the last 11 1/2 years of Howard.

Australia since 1996 has committed its citizens to armed conflicts in Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, and Iraq (with fatalities in each). Austraian peace keeping military have been deployed Bougainville (1994)(1997-2003), Guatemala (1997), Yugoslavia (1997-),Kosovo (1999-), East Timor (1999-), Solomon Islands(2000-),Ethiopia/Eritrea(2000-), Sierra Leone (2000-2003), and Sudan (2005-). As well military excercises have expanded considerably; Rim-of-the-Pacific 1996 (RIMPAC 96), Crocodile99, WESTPAC Exercises, Tandem Thrust 2001, Talisman Sabre (biannual), Exercise Albatros Ausindo and PN-RAN Exercise Lumbas 2007 being some of the more major war games conducted under the Howard administration. All this gun play costs money and military spending has increased considerably since 1996:

Since coming to power in 1996, the Howard Government has increased spending on the military by 46 per cent in real terms. Spending for the current financial year will reach $19.9 billion. Thanks to Costello’s 12th Budget, next year it will be $22 billion or around 2 per cent of gross domestic product. By 2016-17 it is expected to rise to $29.9 billion. The Guardian

International aid on the other hand is stagnant or has fallen slightly in real terms under the Howard government, 0.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 from 0.36 in 1996/97 (ABS Australian National Accounts Series 5206.0). This is despite a booming economy that is being driven hard by mining and exports (coal, oil, gold, aluminium, wheat, beef, wool, passenger motor vehicles, natural gas and other base metal ores being the top 10). I believe that as the energy demands of global society change over the coming decades (due to peak oil, altering cost structures and changing attitudes to non-renewables like coal) then what is driving the Australian economy today will cease. That the country has not contributed to international aid as reflected its prosperity will also not assist it in the future when countries such as Indonesia and the micro-Pacific states are needing more help as a result of climate change. It is then that histroy will judge the Howard government. History will also take stock of the social policies of the Howard government.

One of the most interesting books I have read in the last few years about politics in Australia is God under Howard: The rise of the religious right in Australia By Marion Maddox (Allen & Unwin, 2005):

God Under Howard makes it clear that this growing electoral base needs to be satisfied, policy-wise, and the Coalition is delivering. Maddox presents a persuasive argument that shies away from demonising individuals of faith. They are not her target. Instead, she highlights the ideological similarities between conservative churches such as Hillsong and Howard's Government. A denomination that celebrates wealth as God's blessing and supports personal satisfaction fits Coalition dogma perfectly. "Such theology is a neat fit," writes Maddox, "for a government that stresses market capitalism and privatised economics over social welfare and collective responsibility for one another."
The recently revitalised abortion debate provides ample support for Maddox's disturbing thesis. It is evident, despite the obsequiousness of those suggesting otherwise, that a number of conservative, Christian men in the Government are determined to make women's bodies their domain. Maddox warns us that unless we want to enter the realm of America's decaying democracy, where the line between church and state is hopelessly blurred, we must fight to reinstate our democratic traditions.SMH

Maddox builds a convincing argument that while Howard himself has always shied away from evangelical admissions in political contexts, he has fostered a climate of right wing evangelical christianity in his policies and those he appoints to positions around him. The power asserted by the secretive Lyons Forum in the Federal Coalition Government is discussed at length in God Under Howard. The Lyons Forum is:

"A secretive Christian faction of the Federal Coalition which attempts to influence policy in areas such as censorship and other so-called "family" issues. It is widely regarded as the equivalent of the American religious right. The forum has about 50 members, including about 15 members of the front bench, and meets once a fortnight. Membership is restricted to coalition MPs" Electronic Frontiers Australia

One example of the catering to right wing agendas by Howard has been the rediculous levels of censorship that have been excercised in Australia under his government. Not only has sedition been made a crime again (Federal Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005) but dozens of books, films, audio, websites and computer games have been banned (A short list I complied recently). Australia, under Howard, has slipped regarding freedom of the press to a level that one usually associated with non-democratic countries;

“Two international studies ranked Australia 35th and 39th on a world press freedom index,” News Ltd chairman and chief executive John Hartigan said. “We should be up there with other democracies that are way in front of us." The Australian

Race is discussed by Maddox in God Under Howard and it is difficult to forget the feelings I had when I read about the Cronulla Riots:

On Sunday 11 December 2005, an estimated crowd of some 5000 people had gathered at Cronulla beach. In the week leading up to the incident of the 11th, this confrontation and the subsequent circulation of anonymous calls to gather at the beach — spread via SMS text messaging ("Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb and wog bashing day.") and other means — were the subject of much publicity and media commentary.

The mob appeared to be of non-Lebanese ethnicity. The assembly occurred after elements in the local community had called for a public showing in response to the previous weekend's confrontation between a group of Middle Eastern background and some local Cronulla beach surf lifesavers. Police had earlier stated that they believed this previous assault had been racially motivated.

A number of the rioters wore clothing bearing racially-divisive slogans such as "We Grew Here, You Flew Here", "Wog Free Zone", "Aussie Pride", "Save 'Nulla" and "Ethnic Cleansing Unit". Chants of "Lebs out", "Fuck off Lebs", "Lebs go home" and other discriminatory expressions were continuously shouted out by the mob. Wikipedia

Howard responded to the riots by saying "I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country. I have always taken a more optimistic view of the character of the Australian people. I do not believe Australians are racist." The increasingly racialised atmosphere in Australia was made apparent by the riots and while I don't think Howard had much to do with the violence in Cronulla directly, the society that has developed during his 11 years of government is one where race is now a part of identity to an extent it has not been in Australia for several decades. Eleven days before the election which saw the end of the Howard government the special police powers granted after the Cronulla riots(including the ability of the police to close bars and hotels, to stop and search vehicles and people, to seize cars and phones and to disperse mobs) were made permanent in New South Wales.

I was in Australia in July this year when the so-called Northern Territory 'intervention' was announced by now former Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough. To combat an 'epidemic' of gross sexual abuse of children the military were to be sent in to take over Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. Because of the federated structure of the Australian state and national system, the Northern Territory is the only state level administrative area that the federal government has the legal ability to do such a thing (although the Australian Capital Territory around Canberra and national parks can also be 'intervened' with if they had to I suppose). Having lived in Redfern and having friends on several communities, I know that there are very unpleasant realities behind the apparent concerns of Brough and Howard. However, they situation for even the government run legal and social systems in Aboriginal communities has been dire for years, let alone any projects or programs run by locals. Prior to the intervention there was only one child welfare officer working in Katherine in the Northern Territory. Katherine is at the crossroads for serveral Aboriginal communities and support for the young there has not been sufficient for a long time.

Watching the slow death of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Council (ATSIC) in 2004 and 2005 as it drowned in its own isolation and mismanagement is typical of the attitude of the Howard government to the indigenous peoples of Australia. ATSIC was

an elected body whose constituency was indigenous Australians. This included: people from the many Aboriginal communities on the Australian mainland, Tasmania and other off-shore islands, and the ethnically distinct people from the many Melanesian communities inhabiting the islands of the Torres Strait, collectively known as Torres Strait Islanders. Later the Torres Strait Regional Authority took over responsibility for programs in the Torres Strait Islands. This body continues to operate.

While it (again) seems clear there were problems with ATSIC, the fact that it was the only elected representative body for and by indigenous Australians made it an important part of the structure of a demoracatic and just Australia. Because its chairman was charged with criminal offences seems like a strange reason for disbanding the entire organisation. Instead, all the roles and duties of ATSIC passed back to the federal government's representatives:

The policy and coordination role is now the responsibility of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination in the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 27 January 2006 (previously with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs). wikipedia

With the loss of his seat in the Federal Senate in 2005 by Aden Ridgeway the last elected Aboriginal officer during the Howard Government was gone.

With the Australian military active overseas, and in the marginal parts of Australia, one would only expect that immigration would reflect a reaching out to the world in need. The image of people living behind electric fences and razor wire in the desert is not something I would have associated with the Australia I grew up in (although at school between 1974-86 we were told nothing about the stolen generation, genocide, or anything really). While immigration detention was begun by the Keating labor government it was it 1999 that the Woomera Immigration Reception and Processing Centre (IRPC) opened:

The Centre was opened in November 1999, with a capacity of 400. This capacity was very quickly exceeded, as the boat arrivals continued. Nursing and administrative staff working there at the time have since complained that facilities were totally inadequate, and that it was impossible to provide proper medical care.

Most detainees applied for refugee status, and had no possibility for release until their claim had been finalised. Men, women, and children were detained at The Centre. The highest number of children detained at any one time was 456, out of a total population of 1442, on September 1, 2001. As at 26 December 2003, the average length of detention for children was one year, 8 months, and 11 days. An unaccompanied child refugee had this to say:

"I believe you [Australians] are nice people, peace seekers, you support unity. If you come to see us behind the fence, think about how you would feel. Are you aware of what happens here? Come and see our life. I wonder whether if the Government of Iran created camp like Woomera and Australians had seen pictures of it, if they would have given people a visa to come to Australia then."

The detention centre was a source of much controversy during its time of operation. There were a number of riots and escapes, as well as accusations of human rights abuses from groups as diverse as refugee advocates, Amnesty International, the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, ChilOut, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations.

In March 2002, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, said:

"It is obvious that the prolonged periods of detention, characterised by frustration and insecurity, are doing further damage to individuals who have fled grave human rights abuses. The detention policy has failed as a deterrent and succeeded only as punishment. How much longer will children and their families be punished for seeking safety from persecution?" Wikipedia

Then Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone turning on the electric fence at the Villawood Immigration Detention Center

The razor wire has come down - but the electric fence is going up. After months of battering over a string of departmental bungles and growing public concern about the effects of mandatory detention, the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, took personal carriage of a rare pleasant duty in her portfolio last week: removing the razor wire around the Villawood detention centre.

All the children had been let out, along with some of the longest-held detainees. Senator Vanstone thought of the idea herself, viewing it as symbolic of the shift she hopes to see in the departmental culture.

"OK, let's go and have a snip," she said to media crews, doing away with three coils of the wire.

The decision to remove the perimeter wire and leave razor wire in only one area for criminal detainees went further than reforms introduced after the inquiry into the detention of the mentally ill Australian resident Cornelia Rau, she said.

But what the Government cuts with one hand it apparently builds with the other.

Immigration officials admitted yesterday the razor wire was being replaced in some parts by an electric fence.

Over the next three months an "electronic detention system" will be built on top of one-quarter of the fences in higher security areas at Villawood.

They said it would deliver "a short, harmless shock" to anyone coming into contact with the fence but stressed it would be more than three metres above the ground and that warning signs would be put on the fence itself. SMH Date: September 15 2005

I could go on.....Children overboard and the Tampa, the Tas RFA Logging Deal, Cubby Station, the Pacific Solution, Mohammed Haneef and detainment without trial..but I won't. It will take a generation for Australia to move on from the Howard Government. The time to get over all this has begun. Goodbye John....goodbye!

Bye Bye!

2057 The City

Educational video about what scientists and technology developers have accomplish and may have accomplished by 2057

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Downstreams (Ringing Like Bell)

The week ends and the weekend will be. A scattered batch today with more places to store and find than things themselves. Watching for a result tomorrow in the Australian elections. The former singer with Midnight Oil, Peter Garrett could well be the Environment Minister on's a song for (from) Peter for change in Australia:

Space Prison by Tom Godwin (novel, 1958)
Space Prison is a story of exile. A race of humans inadequate to be kept as slaves are left by their captors to perish on an barren and harsh planet. As they die from fever, animal attacks, starvation and sheer stress all that is left to keep the remnant going is the desire for an impossible revenge.
Free Online File Storage, Internet File Sharing, Online Storage, Access Documents & Files Anywhere, Backup Data, Send Files. With the new OpenBox Services, you can bring the power of web applications directly into your existing Box account. Edit photos and images online with Picnik, work on your Word and Excel files using Zoho, publish documents for the whole world to see.

Something for the Swedes out there. One of the more obscure projects involving a member of Sweden's brilliant and legendary R.I.O. madmen Samla Mammas Manna, Nya Ljudbolaget (New Sound Company) was a sort of supergroup comprised of members of Ramlosa Kvallar (another Samla-related unit, albeit one proffering much more straight ethnic folk moves) alongside Samla drummer Hans Bruniusson and Arbete Och Fritid cellist Ove Karlsson and the gorgeous sounds here sit squarely between all those poles. Anyone with an emotional investment in the various permutations of Sweden's underground music culture is sure to find much here to, as an old pal of mine like to state "tingle your tangle". Some of it's liltingly beautiful and reserved, some kicks up an ethno-rockin' storm worthy of Alamaailman Vasarat and some of it takes you to a place unique in Swedish underground music, via "Continuum Prometheus"'s 12 minutes of devastatingly lovely and trance-inducingly systemic gambits.

Australain Election Debate 2007 (ABC Feed)
Its a slow torrent but I am wanting this to use in teaching an Australian culture course next term. This is a debate between Prime Minister of Australia (for the next 48 hours anyway) John Howard and leader fo the Oppposition Kevin Rudd. The election is tomorrow and I will be blogging about it here. At this stage Id just like to quote former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating in his assessment of the Howard Government's 11 year history:

Cynicism and deceitfulness have been the defining characteristics of John Howard and his Government. They were even brazen enough to oversee the corruption of a United Nations welfare program. And when they were found out, not one of them accepted ministerial responsibility. Not Alexander Downer, not Mark Vaile and certainly not Howard. What they were doing was letting the cockies get their wheat sold through the AWB, while turning a blind eye to the AWB's unscrupulous behaviour - illegally funding a regime Howard was arguing was so bad it had to be changed by force.

Howard took us into the disastrous Gulf War on the back of two lies. One, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, capable of threatening the Middle East and Western Europe; the other, that Howard was judiciously weighing whether to commit Australian forces against an evolving situation. We now know he had committed our forces to the Americans all along.

Free Music MP3 Downloads to Sideload Into Your Locker @ is a website that aggregates popular free music tracks on the web that have been sideloaded into Oboe, the online music locker from MP3tunes. is an easy way to find great MP3 files from bands all over the internet. You can quickly preview tracks and store them permanently in your Locker with one click!

Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Video Games (2001)
Trigger Happy is a book about the aesthetics of videogames — what they share with cinema, the history of painting, or literature; and what makes them different, in terms of form, psychology and semiotics. It was first published in 2000; this is the revised edition with the Afterword written in 2004 2001. (Update: as requested in comments, the 2004 Afterword can now be read here.) The book is offered under a CC license, for a limited time only. I’m not sure how limited that time will be, so grab it while it’s hot.

Keneth Rexroth Essays
Kenneth Rexroth (December 22, 1905 – June 6, 1982) was an American poet, translator and critical essayist. He was among the first poets in the United States to explore traditional Japanese poetic forms such as haiku. He is regarded as a chief figure in the San Francisco Renaissance.
As a young man in Chicago, Rexroth was heavily involved with the anarchist movement (and was active in the IWW), attending and participating in politically charged readings and lectures. He was a regular at meetings of the Washington Park Bug Club, a loose assemblage of various intellectuals and revolutionaries. Such relationships allowed him to recite poems by other writers as well as gain experience with the political climate and revolutionary currents of the day.
His ideas later fermented into a concept of what he termed the "social lie:" that societies are governed by tactics of deception in order to maintain a hierarchy of exploitation and servitude. He saw this as pervasive in all elements of culture, including popular literature, education, and social norms.
Rexroth was a conscientious objector during World War II and was actively involved with helping Japanese-American internees.

Terminus Movie

Welcome - Music India OnLine
Welcome to MusicIndiaOnLine, the largest Indian music resource on the internet!

Japanese Eye

If you are in Copenhagen this weekend, tomorrow night there will be a showing of the documentary Japanese Eye, on young Japanese video and film artists. Institute for Contemporary Art, Overgaden Neden Vandet 17.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Thesis at the Moment

"Cultures of Reception in Digital Literature: Implied Response In(ter) Action"

Keywords: Digital Textuality, Response Theory, Digital Literature, Reception Theory, Remix, Spatiality Theory, Digital Cultures.

My thesis works from a corpus of six digital texts; a three dimensional interactive drama, three Flash websites, a blog and a CD-ROM novel. By looking for networks of implied response in the prefaces (copyright, storage, distribution, and instructions), design, and narratives from the corpus texts I propose a hybrid model of interaction. What is implied as interaction in often the ideal image of the digital literary text. I argue that such a concept of interaction is best described as Remix. However, by examining implied response in the prefaces and materials of the corpus digital texts, it becomes clear that what is often termed interaction is an authored system of guided responses. The overall network of implied response is comprised of particular cultural values. I adopt a series of values; property, appropriation, time, space, use, exchange, communication and domination (Lefebvre, 1991: 356, 370) and using Bakhtin's concept of dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981, 2002) I look at how the corpus digital texts embody their own responses. In reading multimedia texts for networks of implied response I build an image of interaction. Such an image, when tested against a defined concept of remix, provides a model for digital text reception, authorship and comments on the idea of digital literacy.

ETA: (Northern) Spring Term 2009.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My News and the Myth of Media Transparency

The Swedish public service television has begun a new format for news broadcast. In an effort to bolster lagging ratings the SVT 9pm broadcast has done away with ties on men and now show long shots (5-10 seconds) of camera men scurrying around as presenters move about the scene, dominated by a huge plasma screen, chroma key video screen and a warm orange and red backdrop set.

Notice necktie missing. Here added by the SVT editorial to draw attention to the fact that it is missing.

So far nothing so extraordinary about a news broadcast reskinning. What is interesting about the 'new' SVT news is the ’Open Editorial’ broadcast that is now available on the website. Here, through a series of short videos 'we' are shown something of the processes behind the 30 minutes of news sent nightly by SVT at 9pm. The composition of these videos is interesting:

"But the question is, what will the editorial team achieve. Will Anna Hedenmo record a false direct (live on tape) with a Danish Police officer or will he [sic] go direct live with a link. It depends upon that he [sic] must translate."

To me these rhetorical questions suggest reality TV, which in a sense it is. What I find more interesting is the concept of transparency that is implied by ‘Open Editorial’. I agree with Jay Bolter, that media transparency is not only a myth; it has the potential to be dangerous:

The problem was that the operators [of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in 1979] did not question their interface. They treated the valve indicator as if it were a transparent window on the level of water inside the reactor. The operators should have been prepared for that possibility; they should have looked at the indicator rather than through it. Under the pressure of an emergency, however, they made the assumption of transparency. (Jay David Bolter and Diane Gromala Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency, 54), ( taken from The Myth of Transparency)

While we are looking through the ‘Open Editorial’ at the scene of the news making, we are perhaps being encouraged to believe that it is not being 'made' but rather is happening. We join our presenters at the scene:

Meanwhile at the desk side, a discussion of possibilities unfolds

In this image one should notice that we are at eye level with each of the participants and sharing the space with them from that perspective. All of the videos are constructed in a similar fashion. If the participants are sitting down then the camera is shooting from the eye height of someone sitting down (usually from the chair next to them).
In the next shot we gaze upon a reporter hard at work and the computer he is using is clearly branded. The national television network SVT is non-commercial, and has a policy against branding. But when we go behind the scenes we become aware of a level of branding that is probably inevitable in such a form:

The news is brought to you by Dell Computers

Finally, I would like you to compare SVT 'Open Editorial' with another form of 'open' news broadcasting. 'OhmyNews' is a citizens news network based in South Korea but that reaches all over the world:

"OhmyNews is a South Korean online newspaper with the motto "Every Citizen is a Reporter". It was founded by Oh Yeon Ho on February 22, 2000.

It is the first of its kind in the world to accept, edit and publish articles from its readers, in an open source style of news reporting. About 20% of the site's content is written by the 55-person staff while the majority of articles are written by other freelance contributors who are mostly ordinary citizens.

OhmyNews was influential in determining the outcome of the South Korean presidential elections in December 2002 with the election of Roh Moo Hyun. After being elected, Roh granted his first interview to OhmyNews.

OhmyNews International is an English language online newspaper that features "citizen reporter" articles written by contributors from all over the globe. Its content is almost 100% citizen reporter.

On February 22, 2006, OhmyNews and Japanese firm Softbank signed an investment contract valued at US$11 million. In 2006 OhmyNews started to build a Japan-based citizen-participatory journalism site called OhmyNews Japan, launched on August 28 with a famous Japanese journalist and 22 other employees working under ten reporters. These journalists' articles were the object of much criticism, on Nov. 17, 2006, the newspaper ended the citizen-participation aspect of the paper. The South Korean newspaper admitted that OhmyNews Japan had failed.[1]

The 2nd Citizen Reporters' Forum was held by OhmyNews in Seoul, Korea from July 12 to 15, 2006.

The 3rd International Citizen Reporters Forum was held by OhmyNews in Seoul from June 27 to 29 in 2007." Wikipedia

While the differences between 'Open Editorial' and 'OhmyNews' are clear and not surprising, it seems that the ambition of the former is to be more like the latter.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Electonic Literature Archive

The United States Library of Congress is archiving 300 electronic literature web sites in collaboration with the ELO (Electronic Literature Organization) and To suggest sites to be included in this project, please see and note there is a FAQ linked on that page,

Electronic Literature: Collections of Works: Sites that aggregate works of electronic literature by multiple authors, such as online journals and anthologies.

Electronic Literature: Individual Works: Individual works of electronic literature and collections of works by a single author, as opposed to collections of works by multiple authors.

Electronic Literature: Context: Sites related to the critical, theoretical, and institutional contexts of electronic literature.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Remediating Banksy

Now..this is cool. (Quicktime 2.9MB)
More Info From DigitalUrban

55 Free Texts for Download

Download Free Books and E-X-P-A-N-D Y-O-U-R M-I-N-D

Al-Ghazali - The Qualities Required in Kings
Aquinas - Against Gentiles
Aquinas - Summa Theologica Part 2 (incl. Treatise on Law)
Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics and Politics
Augustine - City of God
Averroes - Conclusion and On Proving God
Bentham - Anarchical Fallacies
Bible RSV - Matthew and Romans
Burke - Reflections on the Revolution in France
Cicero - On Buties and Orations
Darwin - Origin of Species
de Gouges - Vindication of the Rights of Women
de Las Casas - Apologetic History of the Indies and Thirty Juridical Propositions
Declartion of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (French Revolution)
Descartes - Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
Douglass - The Claims of the Negro and What to the Slave is the Fourth of July
Du Bois - The Souls of Black Folk and The Souls of White Folk
Epictetus - Enchiridion
Freud - Anxiety, Feminism, Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis, Some Psychological Consequences, and The Psychical Apparatus and the Theory of the Instincts
Galileo - Letter to Madame Christina
Haitian Constitution (1805)
Gegel - Philosophy of History
Hobbes - Leviathan
Hume - Inquiry on Morals
Introduction to Antifederalist writings
Jefferson - Notes on the State of Virgina
Kant - Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals and What is Enlightenment
Locke - A Letter Concerning Toleration and Second Treatise of Government
Machiavelli - Discourses and The Prince
Madison - Federalist 10 and Federalist 51
Maimonides - The Guide of the Perplexed
Marcus Aurelius - Meditations
Mill - On Liberty
Newton - Rules of Reasoning
Nietzsche - Ecce Homo (incomplete)
Plato - Republic
Polybius - Histories
Rousseau - Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and Social Contract
Rushd (Averroes) - On the Harmony of Religion and Philosoph
Sepulveda - Democrates Alter
Sieyes -What is the Third Estate
Smith - Wealth of Nations (Vol I & II)
Tocqueville - Democracy in America (Part I & II)
US Constitution - The Bill of Rights
Vitoria - On the American Indians
Wollstonecraft - Vindication of the Rights of Women
Woolf - Three Guineas and To the Lighthouse

Thanks to FreeCulture@Columbia

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Downstreams (Dedicated to Bonniers AB)

Media magnate Carl-Johan Bonnier

This morning in Dagens Nyheter, Carl-Johan Bonnier has a 'debate' article entitled "Ett efterblivet paradis för olagliga IT-pirater" (A Backwater Paradise for Illegal IT-Pirates). It describes Bonnier's perception that Sweden is awash with P2P file sharing networks dealing out copyrighted material with little chance of reprimand. I understand Carl-Johan's concerns as he does lead one of the largest media empires in Europe with 150 companies in the stable. However, for such media where 'content' is seen as the primary product, the future is not looking so bright. In the United States

Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet could be considered Content Creators. They have created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations. Pew

So, while Rupert Murdoch is trying to capture some of the natives on MySpace (via services rather than content), Carl-Johan is arguing for a strengthening of copyright law:

"De som motarbetar en fungerande upphovsrätt på nätet anför ibland att den olovliga fildelningen till och med gynnar kreatörerna. Detta resonemang saknar helt logik. Internet skapar fantastiska möjligheter för musiker, skribenter och filmare att producera och distribuera sina verk till låg kostnad. Men att en artist väljer att lägga ut sin musik på nätet förändrar på inget sätt varje enskild kreatörs rätt att själv välja hur hon vill erbjuda andra att ta del av sitt verk, och om hon vill sätta ett pris på det eller tillgängliggöra det gratis."
(Those who work against the function of copyright on the net suggest occasionally that unlawful file sharing actually favours creators. This reasoning lacks all logic. The internet creates fantastic possibilities for musicians, writers and film makers to produce and distribute their work at a low cost. But that an artist chooses to put their music on the net does not change the right of every artist to invite others to partake of their work, and whether or not she will put a price on her work or distribute it for free.)


"Det gäller möjligheten att via domstol få uppgifter om den som har gjort ett upphovsrättsintrång för att exempelvis kunna sända informationsbrev eller agera civilrättsligt."
(It concerns the possibility for a court to obtain information on those that have infringed copyright and could, for example send a cease and desist letter or begin civil proceedings.) Carl-Johan Bonnier, "Ett efterblivet paradis för olagliga IT-pirater"

I am still trying to understand what "But that an artist chooses to put their music on the net does not change the right of every artist to invite others to partake of their work" means. But look what Carl-Johan was saying two years ago about media and democracy, compared with his perception of digital media networks today:

I dag tycker vi att det är helt okej med övervakningskameror överallt och ungdomar vill vara med i dokusåpor. Detta återspeglar en samhällsutveckling […]Förtroendet för alla medier har dock minskat kraftigt och detta måste branschen ta på allvar. Jag tror inte att fler regler är lösningen."
(Today we think that it is completely OK with surveillance cameras everywhere and the young want to be in reality TV. This reflects a social development...The confidence [of the public] in all media has certainly decreased greatly and this the industry must take seriously. I do not think that more rules are a solution.)
Carl-Johan Bonnier om Demokratirådets rapport om mediernas integritet

It also seems he does not like the idea of regulation when it comes to cross-media ownership and publication. But he does today think that more rules can help protect the industry from file sharing, which is essentially a form of citizen's publishing. I am not sure if the "social development" Carl-Johan has in mind can be titled so. He proposes a society of surveillance and punishment for copyright infringement and of deregulated media when it comes to ownership. The Swedish parliament has today said no to the proposals supported by Bonnier. Sweden seems doomed to remain a pirate backwater......

This all coincides with the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Rio de Janeiro, 12 - 15 November 2007. The summary of the IGF chairman is now online, which includes the passages:

It was also pointed out that law was always a product of society and reflected commonly held standards. With regard to the protection of intellectual property and copyright, it was always possible to make exceptions, as in the case of education. One of the speakers pointed out that open access to scientific knowledge was an essential element in the development process and therefore very important for developing countries. Movements, such as Creative Commons were mentioned in this
There was also a discussion on open standards and free and open source software. It was pointed out that they may lower the barriers of entry and promote innovation and were therefore important for developing countries. It was underlined that there was no contradiction between free and open source software and intellectual property. It was also recalled that in the WSIS outcome documents, both open source and proprietary software were seen as equally valuable and both models had their merit.

I detect some conflict with the views of Carl-Johan Bonnier and the idea that "law was always a product of society and reflected commonly held standards." If Sweden is "A Backwater Paradise for Illegal IT-Pirates" one must ask why?

Anyway on to the free (and aware) media for this week:

A Marine's Iraq Experiences (Video, 28:30)
Marine artillery sergeant Joel Oyer initially supported the war as he entered Iraq with the 2003 invasion force. He tells of his gradual disillusionment with the war and the continuing occupation.
Please help get this video aired on your local community access television. See for more information about this series and to have DVDs mailed to the station. Thank you for your help.

CBS Uncovers Startling Iraq Veteran Suicide Rate
"There were over 6,000 war veteran suicides in 2005 in the USA. The highest rates are among veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their suicide rates are 2-4 times higher than non-vets their age." (via Think)

Soundcloud is a site for sharing and making music over the net. Members can upload tunes, work on them and collaborate with others. It is up and running but one needs an invite to participate. I have been asking for one since yesterday but without result....anyone want to invite me?

Audio Selections from the Sackner Archive
The rift is embedded in the nomenclature: Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. Visual Poetry seems plain enough: language that is evident to the eye in unexpected senses. Concrete is not so transparent: "verbivocovisual." The schism is inscribed in the sign.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell
Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at

201 Stories by Anton Chekhov
Constance Garnett translated and published 13 volumes of Chekhov stories in the years 1916-1922. Unfortunately, the order of the stories is almost random, and in the last volume Mrs. Garnett stated: "I regret that it is impossible to obtain the necessary information for a chronological list of all Tchehov's works." This site presents all 201 stories in the order of their publication in Russia.

5 Songs from Alien Virus
Alien Virus is a Sci-fi punk band from Brisbane 1988-present... Napalm sticks to Kids was voted into the 4ZZZ Hot 100 for 7 years in a row. Alien Virus also does Escape from Toytown and Acid World songs. I saw them play several times in the late 1980s in Bris vegas. Boulder Lodge, Small World Experience, Omniscient Gallery, Queer, The Target building in the Valley, ZZZ market days, the FunkYard, Livid festival.......aaaahhhhhhhh

CD Baby: let's find you some great new music
CD Baby is a little online record store that sells albums by independent musicians.

The America Project Radio Documentary
A public radio documentary series funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and created by producer and reporter Alix Spiegel. Programs from the series air on This American Life and All Things Considered. Alix Spiegel was a founding producer of the public radio program This American Life, where she is currently a contributing editor. She contributes to NPR's All Things Considered and the New York Times Magazine. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and lives in Washington, DC.
The America Project recommends...

This American Life
Radio Diaries
Hearing Voices
Sound Portraits

Legal Download
When you make use of our services you can sell your music through and your own website(s). Besides that, Legaldownload has agreements with multiple major websites where music enthusiasts can be found. These websites together have more than three million visitors each month. Most of these websites aim for a specific musical audience. This way your music can be offered to the right people.

Finally, a tip for any pirates in the area of Årsta Folkets Hus, Årsta torg tomorrow:
WMAOYW Who makes and owns your work?
The project Who Makes and Owns Your Work has grown out of a year-long discussion held during the Open Content meetings which centred on ownership, distribution and forms of sharing within contemporary cultural and knowledge production.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HUMlab Slide Presentation

Most of today I was working on this slide presentation for visiting Science and Technology Studies scholars who came to HUMLab. It is my story about HUMLab, mostly featuring activities and projects I have been involved with. Going over the history of HUMlab was interesting. I began working there in 2003 and it has developed so much since then.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time Commanders

Time Commanders is a series of programmes made by Lion TV for BBC Two that ran for two seasons from 2003 to 2005. The programmes, originally hosted by Eddie Mair and more recently by Richard Hammond, features an edited version of the game engine behind the real-time strategy game Rome: Total War to recreate famous battles of the ancient world. The battles are replayed by 4-player teams from diverse backgrounds. The teams are unfamiliar with computer games, to make sure their gaming skills do not influence their success. After a brief introduction of the battle, including an overview of military units, terrain and available forces, the players have to develop a strategy and then deploy their forces. Two of the players are selected as generals, who will direct the battle and have access to a strategic map. The other two players are designated lieutenants in the first series, and captains in the second. The units are indirectly controlled by the lieutenants, who issue commands to program assistants, who in turn use the game interface to control the units. Troop deployment and battle follows, although in the second series, there is a small skirmish conducted as a separate event, to acquaint the players with the game mechanics and their units. In the second series the team also get strategic pauses where they can refine their strategies.

During each game, a pair of military specialists analyse the performance of the players and explain how the real historical battle unfolded. One of these observers is often Dr. Aryeh Nusbacher and others have included Mike Loades (in the earliest episodes), Saul David, Mark Urban or Dr. Adrian Goldsworthy, the series' historical advisor.

Notably, the series as televised contained no reference to the origin of the software powering the 3D visuals of ancient battlefields that were the show's mainstay. This is due to the BBC's rules against product placement. Wikipedia

Monday, November 12, 2007

Welcome to the Virus

I am revisiting Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin's excellent work Remediation: Understanding New Media from 1999 to try and develop some perspective and depth to my use of Remix for digital literature. While reading through Remediation (which must be considered a foundational text in the areas of digital media, literacy, narrative studies, and game studies) I came across references to the Emergency Broadcast Network (Bolter and Grusin, 42). A memory awoke and I thought there must be stuff by EBM on Youtube now...and yes, I was so happy to see there is. I first encountered the EBN in the late 1990s with videos shown at anarchist occasions in Sydney. According to the Wikipedia the EBN were:

Emergency Broadcast Network is the name of a multimedia performance group formed in 1991 that took its name from the Emergency Broadcast System. The founders were Rhode Island School of Design graduates Joshua Pearson, Gardner Post and Brian Kane (author of the Vujak VJ software). Kane left EBN in 1992.

Josh Pearson [more vids from link], EBN's charismatic front man and principal performance artist, was also EBN's music composer and main video editor. The music and video editing techniques he personally developed and refined have been hugely influential on a generation of advertising and music video editors.

The first EBN video project was a muscial remix of the Gulf War, created in 1991 as the war was still ongoing. The VHS tape of the remix project, which contained the George H.W. Bush "We Rock You" cover, became a viral underground hit, and was distributed widely by fans as bootleg copies. In the summer of 1991, EBN traveled with the first Lollapalooza tour, distributing tapes and showing their videos on a modified station wagon with TVs on the roof. The group also became well known for their media sculptures and stage props which were created by Gardner Post.

The EBN Live Team included DJ Ron O'Donnell, video artist/technologist Greg Deocampo (founder of CoSA, and founding CTO of, artist/designer Tracy Brown and technologist Mark Marinello.

As remix and mashup artists the EBN set the standard that many have followed since. Many of the EBN projects have been hosted by the Guerilla News Network, another media arts collective working with remix and social action on the fringes of Intellectual Property.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Speed of 24

Over the weekend I have been reading Interface://Culture - The World Wide Web as Political Resource and Aesthetic Form (so far a great introduction to the subject that would suit a mid to uppper level undergrad course as a text, the Introduction is online). One of the essays in Interface://Culture is A Hard Day's Work: Reflections of the Interfacing and Transmedialization and Speed of 24 by Bo Kampmann Walther. The article argues that "the television series itself is structured according to a logic of games, which revolves around speed - speed could even be considered the the main character or "I" of 24." (205) In light of this idea the video 24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot: Jack Bauer saves the world with AOL 3.0. is a brilliant manipulation of the concepts of speed used in 24. The question being, could it work if Jack was relying on a dial-up modem and 0.1 Ghz? For me it also provoked ideas about Fan Fiction and remix and the proximity between the two forms. Here is the video:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poets: Osip Mandelshtam

"Perhaps my whisper was already born before my lips."

While I wished to write of a women poet and intended to take up the genuis of Gwen Harwood today. It is rather I turn to another who has so provoked me in my own life to the point of my making life decisions based on the poetry that he wrote. I refer to Osip Mandelshtam, a poet of such high standing that he is perhaps one of the greatest of all time.

Osip Emelievich Mandelshtam was born in Warsaw, Poland on January 15 [O.S. January 3] 1891 to well-off family of Jewish merchants. He attended university in 1908 at the Sorbonne but moved to the University of Heidelberg in 1909 (Old French literature). In 1911 he returned to St Petersberg University (Philosophy) where is family had moved shortly after his birth and he had grown up.

Mandelshtam's first poetic compilations were Stone, published in 1913, Tristia published in 1922, and Second Book, published in 1923. In 1925, a collection of prose entitled Egyptian Stamp and a collection of critical articles On Poetry were published. In the next seven years, from October 1930, to July 1937, Mandelshtam wrote more than 200 compositions. His last two books: Voronezh Notebook (1966), and Conversations on Dante (1967), were published after his death in 1938.

While the Acmeist movement had been underway since 1911 it was in 1913 that an attempt at a manifesto was written by Mandelshtam. In 1919 The Morning of Acmeism by Mandelshtam was published. Looking at it today it seems to hold a great amount that is worth considering:

If one is thus to regard the sense as the content, then one must consider everything else in the word as a simple mechanical appendage that only impedes the swift transmission of the thought. "The word as such" was slow aborning. Gradually, one after the other, all the elements of the word were drawn into the concept of form; up to now only the conscious sense, the Logos, has been erroneously and arbitrarily regarded as the content. Osip Mandelshtam Utro Akmeizma p1

We do not wish to divert ourselves with a stroll in the "forest of symbols," because we have a more virgin, a denser forest--divine physiology, the boundless complexity of our dark organism. Osip Mandelshtam Utro Akmeizma p4

Form and content is united within the "boundless complexity of our dark organism" as all we can read is all we understand in what constitutes a potentially endless system of meaning. The product in the individual from such a situation is surprise, wonder, the marvellous of the everyday that makes life poetry and poetry life.

The Age

My beast, my age, who will try
to look you in the eye,
and weld the vertebrae
of century to century,
with blood? Creating blood
pours out of mortal things:
only the parasitic shudder,
when the new world sings.

As long as it still has life,
the creature lifts its bone,
and, along the secret line
of the spine, waves foam.
Once more life’s crown,
like a lamb, is sacrificed,
cartilage under the knife -
the age of the new-born.

To free life from jail,
and begin a new absolute,
the mass of knotted days
must be linked by means of a flute.
With human anguish
the age rocks the wave’s mass,
and the golden measure’s hissed
by a viper in the grass.

And new buds will swell, intact,
the green shoots engage,
but your spine is cracked
my beautiful, pitiful, age.
And grimacing dumbly, you writhe,
look back, feebly, with cruel jaws,
a creature, once supple and lithe,
at the tracks left by your paws.

Osip Mandelstam 1922

Such an attitude was not going to get you far in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s. Mendelshtam, I read somewhere, performed his poems in public readings, in the sense of the shaman, in rituals of spontanous catharsis. He travelled as well and the 1933 text Journey to Armenia is a masterpiece of free prose as travelogue:

"To see, to hear and to understand - all these notions were once blended in one semantic bundle. At the most initial stages of speech there were no definite notions, but only directions, fears and desires, needs and apprehensions. The notion of "head" had been shaped in the course of many thousand years out of a bundle of hazy notions, and it's symbol became "deafness". However, you will get it all confused anyway, my reader, and it's not for me to teach you..." Notes to Journey to Armenia

Mendelshtam did not take regular employment but lived from writing and teaching, translating and earned a small income as a published poet. He gave many of his manuscripts away to friends and it was only because his wife memorised many of his poems that they were later published in the 1960's and 1970's. In November 1933 Mendelshtam wrote 16 lines of verse. Osip Mandelstam's poem on Joseph Stalin (the Kremlin mountaineer) was written in November, 1933. Ossette was a reference to the rumour that Stalin was from a people of Iranian stock that lived in an area north of Georgia.

We live, deaf to the land beneath us,
Ten steps away no one hears our speeches,

All we hear is the Kremlin mountaineer,
The murderer and peasant-slayer.

His fingers are fat as grubs
And the words, final as lead weights, fall from his lips,

His cockroach whiskers leer
And his boot tops gleam.

Around him a rabble of thin-necked leaders -
fawning half-men for him to play with.

The whinny, purr or whine
As he prates and points a finger,

One by one forging his laws, to be flung
Like horseshoes at the head, to the eye or the groin.

And every killing is a treat
For the broad-chested Ossete.

He was soon arrested and exiled to Cherdyn. Stalin was interested in Mendleshtam personally and ordered he be "isolated but protected". He was allowed to return to Moscow in 1937, and starving, homeless and unemployed he wrote an Ode to Stalin in an attempt to be given some work and a place to live, but he was arrested again in 1938. The terror of this time so effected Mendelshtam that he attempted suicide (by jumping out of a window, his wife tried to stop him, grabbing his jacket which came away in her hands while he lept, leaving her holding the empty garment).

Mandelshtam under arrest 1934

The final arrest in 1938 was the end. He was sent into exile to a labor camp in Siberia. The Soviet government reported that Osip Mandelstam died at Vtoraya Rechka, on 27th December, 1938. His body was placed in an unmarked mass grave somewhere in the snow. He had a letter smuggled out of the camp shortly before he died:

My darling Nadia - are you alive, my dear?

I was given five years for counter-revolutionary activity by the Special Tribunal. The transport left Butyrki on September 9, and we got here October 12. My health is very bad, I'm extremely exhausted and thin, almost unrecognizable, but I don't know whether there's any sense in sending clothes, food and money. You can try, all the same, I'm very cold without proper clothes.

I am in Vladivostok. This is a transit point. I've not been picked for Kolyma and may have to spend the winter here.

The Final Arrest 1938

On the Web there is much of Osip Mendelshtam

A Collection of Poems

Books and Writers

OSIP EMILYEVICH MANDELSHTAM (1889-1938) Russian Poet by Vitaly Charny

20 Poems

Author:Osip Mandelstam on Wikisource
A large collection of texts by Mendelshtam

Friday, November 09, 2007

Some Indigeneous Culture

I just opened my email and go two images of Australian Aboriginal culture sent to me:

Group of Dancers in Darwin. These men are in jail but have formed a dance troop in the prison and get work outside at cultural events and conferences.

Zorba the Greek Yolngu style. Amazing video from Arnhem Land

Friday Downstreams (Emerging with the Guards Absent)

Hitodama by Toriyama Sekien (1712-1788)from Hyakki Yakō (lit. "Night Parade of One Hundred Demons")

The above image comes from my researching the very large field of Pokémon Studies with my son. One of the characters is based on the Hitodama, a Japanese night spirit of the dead. I myself have just come from the Oil 21 workshop which I enjoyed enormously. Spending days in the company of digital artists who are political and cultural activists is a great thing. So, now to the media for the week. I am posting here several sites that exist in the grey zone between what is legal and what it not. I do this in the spirit of research and the inquiring mind. You use it at your own disgression, which is what it means to be an adult anyway....enjoy:

Download Finished
Download Finished transforms and re-publishes films from P2P networks and online archives. Found footage becomes the rough material for the transformation machine, which translates the underlying data structure of the films onto the surface of the screen. The original images dissolve into pixels, thus making the hidden data structure visible. Through DOWNLOAD FINISHED, file sharers become authors by re-interpreting their most beloved films.
Download Finished is just one of the delights given to the world by Sven Konig. The rest of his genius, including the brilliant ScRambLed hackz is HERE.

Steal This Film II
I have it on disc. It is being premiered tonight in Stockholm. Part One is also available from the link and Part two should be up there in the next few days:

Steal This Film is a film series documenting the movement against intellectual property and was a talking point in the British Documentary Festival. Part One, produced in Sweden and released in 2006, takes account of the prominent players in the Swedish piracy culture: The Pirate Bay, Piratbyrån, and the Pirate Party. This film includes a critical analysis of an alleged regulatory capture performed by the Hollywood film industry to leverage economic sanctions by the United States government on Sweden through the WTO. Alleged aims included the application of pressure to Swedish police into conducting a search and seizure against Swedish law for the purpose of disrupting The Pirate Bay's BitTorrent tracker.

The Last Ripper
TheLastRipper can save streams to mp3's, while downloading album cover, appending ID3v2 tags and organizing you music after Artist/Album/Track. TheLastRipper will also help you generate playlists from the data available from you account.

DJ Danger Mouse, The Grey Album (2004)
One of the more talked about artifacts of the Oil 21 sessions. DJ Danger Mouse remixed the vocals from Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' White Album and called his creation The Grey Album. He sent about 3,000 promo copies out, and was soon served with a cease-and-desist notice from EMI, who owns the rights to the White Album master.You can get it here. The grey Video as also worth checking out.

The hacks, the cracks, everything you need to understand and use DVD.

You have to be invited to this one...but what a treasure house if you love art film.
From its inception, KaraGarga was designed as a source for non-mainstream and off-beat movies. We try to distance ourselves from the pervasive and easily available Hollywood (and Bollywood) mainstream and show people that a huge and exciting world of cinema exists beyond that. Therefore we do not allow any mainstream movies on the tracker.

Mac the Ripper
MacTheRipper is a free DVD ripper (extractor) for Mac OS X. It can extract commercial DVD movies to your hard drive, minus all the copy protections and region controls put in place by DVD publishers. You can then use various tools to burn the movie back to DVD-R for use in DVD players, or convert the movie to different formats for playback with a variety of devices. MacTheRipper is intended to backup DVDs you have legally purchased for personal use. Any copyright-infringing activity you choose to perpetrate using this application is illegal, immoral, and beyond our control.

Florian Cramer my site
Unless stated otherwise, my writings can be freely used
under the terms of
- the GNU Free Documentation License, with no invariant
sections, no front-cover texts, and no back-cover texts;
- the GNU General Public License

Copy Me
kopimi (copyme), symbol showing that you want to be copied. use kopimi in your own fancy. kopimi may be put on homepages or blogs, in books, in software, as sound logos in music or whatever.

1. copy one of these kopimi symbols, or make up your own
2. put it on a homepage
3. link the logotype to:

Vox Vulgaris - The Shape of Medieval Music to Come (2003)
Medieval music from Rasmus Felischer's (piratbyrå) band.

Happy Birthday to John by Jonas Mekas (b. 1922)
16 mm film, 24 min

October 9, 1972 an exhibition of John Lennon/Yoko Ono's art, designed by the Father of Fluxus movement, George Maciunas, opened at the Syracuse Museum of Art (curated by David Ross, presently director of the Whitney Museum). Same day an unusual group of John's and Yoko's friends, including Ringo, Allen Ginsberg and many others gathered to celebrate John's birthday. This film is a visual and audio record of that event.
We hear a series of improvised songs, sung by John, Ringo, Yoko Ono, and their friends,--not a clean studio recording, but as a birthday singing, free and happy. This is the only recording of that event.
There are other images that are included in the film that develops like a "music video": the John & Yoko party at Klein's /their agent/ June 12, 1971; August 1972 at the Madison Square Garden; the Central Park Vigil on the day John was shot; and some other rare footage that I have taken on different occasions of John and Yoko.
The soundtrack, besides the unique recording of the Birthday Party singing, contains John's comments on his own film-making, his "home movies" he did on 8mm. The most catchy song, sung in an improvised manner, in the film, is the Attica Blues. The drummer for the last part of the film is Dalius Naujolaitis.

Concrete by Sara Sackner
Ruth and Marvin Sackner share their love of words and images with an intimate tour of their Miami Beach home/museum -- the worlds largest private collection of concrete/visual poetry from such twentieth century art movements as Italian Futurism, Russian and Eastern European Avant Garde, Dada, Surrealism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Ultra, Tabu-Dada, Lettrisme, and Ultra-Lettrisme. Over sixty-thousand objects from around the word speak volumes about a compulsive and joyful life of collecting art, poetry, and artist books.
With art by Guillaume Apollinaire, Allen Ginsberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Matta, Bob Cobbing, Tom Phillips, Katharina Eckhart, Gertrude Stein, Ben Vautier and many, many more... and with music by Terry Riley, Arnold Dreyblatt and more
Ruth and Marvin Sackner founded the Archive in Miami Beach, Florida in 1979. Its initial mission was to establish a collection of books, critical texts, periodicals, ephemera, prints, drawings, collages, paintings, sculptures, objects, manuscripts, and correspondence dealing with precedent and contemporary, internationally produced, concrete and visual poetry. The antecedent material had at its starting point, Stephane Mallarme 's poem, "Un Coup de Des" (Cosmopolis, 1897).

Postsingular A Novel by Rudy Rucker
Postsingular takes on the question of what will happen after the Singularity—what will happen after computers become as smart as humans and nanotechnology takes on the power of magic?

Luis Buñuel - French documentary
Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française
37 min 25 sec French with English Subtitles
'Cinéastes de notre temps' (April 4, 1964). Focuses on Luis Buñuel, surrealist filmmaker, his exile and his early career.

Good Copy Bad Copy
Documentary about copyright and culture, directed by Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke. It features interviews with Danger Mouse, Girl Talk, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Lawrence Lessig, and many others with various perspectives on copyright.

sucking on words: Kenneth Goldsmith (2007) a film by Simon Morris
"If every word spoken in New York City daily were somehow to materialize as a snowflake, each day there would be a blizzard."
The words of Kenneth Goldsmith, described by Juliana Spahr as 'the world's leading conceptual poet', and by himself as 'the most boring writer that has ever lived'. His ideas are being brought to the screen by artist and director Simon Morris in a film to premiere at the British Library in London on Friday 26th October. Christian Bök, one of Canada's leading poets and the winner of the 2002 Griffin poetry prize, said: "Goldsmith is our James Joyce for the 21st century."
'sucking on words' introduces 8000 of those daily words - a flurry of excitement as the climates of conflict and admiration come together around Goldsmith's pioneering conceptual poetics. Shot on location in Manhattan in February this year, 'sucking on words' features interviews with the leading critics and poets Bruce Andrews, Barbara Cole, and Robert Fitterman.

William Gibson Rolling Stone Interview, November 7 2007.
What are the major challenges we face?

Let's go for global warming, peak oil and ubiquitous computing.

Ubiquitous computing?
Totally ubiquitous computing. One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real, the virtual from the real. In the future, that will become literally impossible. The distinction between cyberspace and that which isn't cyberspace is going to be unimaginable. When I wrote Neuromancer in 1984, cyberspace already existed for some people, but they didn't spend all their time there. So cyberspace was there, and we were here. Now cyberspace is here for a lot of us, and there has become any state of relative nonconnectivity. There is where they don't have Wi-Fi.

Have a joyable week.