Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Downloads (Passing Over the Impossible and Settling In)

Media this week is both educational and transcendental. We go deep into the information nexus with internet theory and enjoy two classics of Japanese psychedelic rock. A discussion on rhetoric and the entire archive of the SXSW festival. Enjoy and have an uplifting weekend.

Rhetoric, part 1 (97) at The Word Nerds

Rhetoric, part 1: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore the difference between rhetoric and dialectic. They invoke Plato, Aristotle, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore. Rhetoric, dialectic, syllogism and enthymeme defined and illustrated. Howard’s major source is Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Edward P. J. Corbett.

Garden Of Delights: Flower Travellin' Band - Made In Japan (1972)
Flower Travellin' Band were an esoteric Japanese psychedelic rock/ heavy metal outfit active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, consisting of Akira "Joe" Yamanaka (vocals), Hideki Ishima (guitar), Joji "George" Wada (drums) and Jun Kozuki (bass). * Made In Japan (1972)-- More fully structured songs, featuring a stronger progressive rock influence, although the intense guitar workouts and longer song structures remain somewhat similar to Satori (1971). During this period, Flower Travellin' Band opened for many of the top rock acts of its day, including Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Jeff Beck Group, and others.

supercentral ,"go"

Go" from Supercentral. Each audio file contains a collection of separate speakers individually reading "Arthur the Rat". The story was originally created by phoneticians to study and compare regional pronunciations of spoken English. If played simultaneously, the 30 sound files contained in "Go" render "Arthur the Rat" nonsensical. I was unable to ReBlog the piece without compromising its shape, click the above image to hear and see "Go". - Ceci Moss

Kanal B - Replaces Ordinary Television
I stumbled upon this site a few days back and have been anxious to get back to it without having the time to do so. I have downloaded and watched the fantastic documentary on the Amsterdam squatting scene Table Bed Chair (in English) which features the music of the Propaganda And Information Network (P.A.I.N). Table Bed Chair is one of many excellent documentaries and videos on the site. Here's some more from P.A.I.N who are great:

Negativland - A Big 10-8 Place (1983)

Negativland is an experimental music and sound collage band which originated in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970s. They "lifted their name" from a Neu! song.
Long-standing band member Don Joyce produces a weekly interactive radio programme, Over The Edge, on listener-supported KPFA in Berkeley, California. A significant number of Negativland's recent releases have been formed from material which was developed by the band live on the show.
The core of the band is Mark Hosler, Richard Lyons , Don Joyce and David Wills (aka "The Weatherman"). Chris Grigg is a former member. Peter Conheim joined the band in 1997.
Negativland has released a number of albums ranging from pure collage to more musical affairs. These have mostly been released on their own label, Seeland Records. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they produced several recordings for SST Records, most notably Escape from Noise, Helter Stupid, and U2.

LMC London Musicians Collective Audio Archive
The LMC has just heard their funding is going to be cut which is not good. Thirty years of experimental music and collaboration is reason enough to continue supporting an organization that is also behind one of the best radio stations on the web Resonance FM (which thankfully is not going to be effected by the funding cut)
The LMC Audio Archive includes
15th LMC Festival
14th LMC Festival
30 year series
Mazen Kerbaj

SXSW Showcasing Music Torrents

The following are torrents that contain all the released music from the annual South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX 2005-2008.

south by southwest festivals + conferences Band List and Downloads for 2008

The torrent of the 22nd SXSW edition features MP3s from 764 upcoming, as well as established artists who are scheduled to perform at the festival. In total almost 3.5GB of DRM free music.

Floating Flower-Floatingflower 2 ,CD,1999,Japan
Great release from the depths of Acid Mothers Temple family tree.Actually a band formed in 1998 ,including Kawabata Makoto. Beautiful,spacey,ambient folk music with ethereal,wordless,female vocals,violin improvisations,tablas and guitar. Dark trip in the inner self.Reminds me Agitation Free,Kalacacra,and some Ash Ra Temple spacey psych excursions.Reissued in 2001 along with 1st,but long out of print.Don't miss this gem!

Hoola Bandoola Band-Discography 1971-75,1971-1975,LPs,Sweden

Hoola Bandoola Band was, together with Nationalteatern, the biggest band of the Swedish progg movement. And where Nationalteatern put social realistic lyrics to rock songs, Hoola Bandoola had more political lyrics and swerved further from traditional rock.
The name is inspired by a fictional language spoken by ants in a Donald Duck short cartoon, most likely "Tea for Two Hundred", directed in 1948 by Jack Hannah, with ant language spoken by Pinto Colvig.
The band was formed in 1970. In 1971, they had their first radio hit and were immediately contacted by two record companies, one commercial and one alternative, MNW. In the political climate of the 1970s, the choice of side was crucial, and by choosing the alternative company, Hoola Bandoola came to be the most well-known band on the alternative side in Sweden.
Their debut in 1971, Garanterat individuell, (Guaranteed to be individual) was hailed as the start of a new era for Swedish pop and was elected the album of the year. It was not overly political when it came to lyrics, but on the second album Vem kan man lita på?, (Who can you trust?) released the next year, the socialist message was clearer. It still sold very well and included long-lasting hits like Keops pyramid.
With På Väg, (On the way) recorded with a balalaika orchestra, Hoola Bandoola became one of the best-selling groups in Sweden. In 1975 they released the forth album Fri information (Free information), where the socialist message was more outspoken than ever before. And this time, Afzelius had written half of the songs, where before it had been Wiehe writing almost everything.
In 1975, the alternative movement gathered in opposition to a tennis game played between Sweden and Chile, which at the time was under the military dictatorship of Pinochet, and for that event, Hoola Bandoola released Stoppa matchen (Stop the game) as a single. This was to be their last studio recording. In 1976, the band broke up and Wiehe and Afzelius started very successful careers as singer/songwriters, both together and by themselves.
After 20 years' absence, Hoola Bandoola reunited in 1996, playing warmup for Bob Dylan and going on their own nationwide tour. On this tour, the live album För dom som kommer sen (For those who come later) was recorded. But in 1999, Björn Afzelius died, making further reunions more unlikely.
Retrieved from ""

THE FUTURE OF REPUTATION: GOSSIP, RUMOR, AND PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET by Daniel J. Solove (Yale University Press, 2007) Entire Book.
What information about you is available on the Internet?
What if it’s wrong, humiliating, or true but regrettable?
Will it ever go away?
Teeming with chatrooms, online discussion groups, and blogs, the Internet offers previously unimagined opportunities for personal expression and communication. But there’s a dark side to the story. A trail of information fragments about us is forever preserved on the Internet, instantly available in a Google search. A permanent chronicle of our private lives—often of dubious reliability and sometimes totally false—will follow us wherever we go, accessible to friends, strangers, dates, employers, neighbors, relatives, and anyone else who cares to look. This engrossing book, brimming with amazing examples of gossip, slander, and rumor on the Internet, explores the profound implications of the online collision between free speech and privacy.
Daniel Solove, an authority on information privacy law, offers a fascinating account of how the Internet is transforming gossip, the way we shame others, and our ability to protect our own reputations. Focusing on blogs, Internet communities, cyber mobs, and other current trends, he shows that, ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet may impede opportunities for self-development and freedom. Longstanding notions of privacy need review, the author contends: unless we establish a balance among privacy, free speech, and anonymity, we may discover that the freedom of the Internet makes us less free.

Popper's List: Links
Below is a listing of the documentaries I have up on Google Video & Guba. I won't be adding to the list you'll also notice some series are missing episodes. This isn't because I was trying to scam people into buying memberships. I originally had all episodes up but Google or Guba have deleted some. I'll put up a note if any additional documentaries are deleted to avoid confusion.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Atlas of Scandinavian Writers

Even if you cannot understand Norwegian, your Finish is rusty, or Danish non-existent The Atlas of Scandinavian Writers (Nordisk forfatteratlas) is an interesting example of the visualization of information. I translate (quickly) from the website:

The Atlas of Scandinavian Writers has as its goal to encourage interest for Scandinavian literature using an exciting visual mode. The Atlas informs about Scandinavian literature and provides inspiration for the reading of those works that are written in the North. It can be a source of inspiration for the user with tips on other writers in the same style or genre that the user has a personal attachment to, which the user has or has not encountered before.

(Nordisk forfatteratlas har til formål at fremme interessen for nordisk litteratur på en spændende visuel måde. Atlasset oplyser om nordisk litteratur og inspirerer til at øge læsningen af de værker, der er skrevet i Norden. Det kan derfor bruges som inspirationsværkstøj for brugerne med tips om andre forfattere i samme stil eller genre som brugeren personligt foretrækker, som brugeren ellers ikke ville være stødt på.)

It is a cooperative project between Scandinavian TV stations
Danish TV has been the leader of the project, but the Scandinavian Writes Atlas is a Scandinavian cooperation, that is initiated, produced and financed by the Scandinavian Broadcasters DR (Denmark), SVT (Sweden), NRK (Norway) and YLE (Finland). There over there has been support given to the project from Nordvisionens Kabelfond, Nordisk Ministerråds Kulturfond og Nord Plus Språk.

(Et samarbejde imellem nordiske TV-stationer
DR har været projektholdere på projektet, men Nordisk forfatteratlas er et nordisk samarbejde, der er udviklet, produceret og finansieret af de nordiske broadcast-stationer DR (Danmark), SVT (Sverige), NRK (Norge) og YLE (Finland). Derudover er der givet støtte til projektet af Nordvisionens Kabelfond, Nordisk Ministerråds Kulturfond og Nord Plus Språk.)

Its done in Flash (of course) but integrates video and text with a sort of mind map arranged along a time line going as far back as 1670 (Petter Dass). The 5 most popular writers from user's inquires so far are:

Karen Blixen
Tove Jansson
Per Petterson
Selma Lagerlöf
Søren Ulrik Thomsen

The Scandinavian Writers Atlas is also interesting due to who was left out. Do we have a canon here?

David Maybury-Lewis (1929-2007)

In 1992 I sat glued to the television screen for the entire 10 episodes of Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World hosted by anthropologist, author, ethnologist, educator and activist David Maybury-Lewis. I have just learnt that Maybury-Lewis died on 2nd December 2007 aged 78 years. For me Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World was a turning point in my life. Maybury-Lewis inspired for me through the PBS series (financed by the late founder of the Body Shop chain Anita Roddick) a deep interest in alternative social and cultural systems to those which I had grown up in or been taught at school. It was at around this time in my life I also was reading John Pilger's book A Secret Country and came to an alternative understanding of the Aboriginal history of Australia since colonization than that which I had been taught in school. Combined, A Secret Country and Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World formed a large part of the basis for beliefs I still hold today. Writing about his work Maybury-Lewis described it as being concerned with feelings, personal reactions and the day-to-day business which is mysteriously known as 'doing fieldwork.':

"My wife and I lived among the Sherente for eight months in 1955-56 and among the Shavante for slightly longer in 1958. This book is an account of our experiences; it is not an essay in anthropology. Indeed I have tried to put down here many of those things which never got told in technical anthropological writings - our impressions of Central Brazil, our personal reactions to the various situations in which we found ourselves, and above all our feelings about the day-to-day business which is mysteriously known as 'doing fieldwork.' The narrative is therefore intentionally anecdotal. To those readers who find that this book is not as thrilling as a book about the wilds of Brazil should be, I offer my apologies. I can only add by way of explanation that every incident is true"-Maybury-Lewis, Preface to The Savage and the Innocent. Beacon Press, Boston: 1956

In 1972, he and his wife Pia founded Cultural Survival, an organisation committed to guaranteeing indigenous peoples a voice in the policies affecting their lives, a sustainable means of livelihood, and the means of adapting their cultures to change. I believe the world is better for having had David Maybury-Lewis.
Unfortunatly Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World is not presently available as a DVD or online. I hope the program is republished soon in some way and more people can see it. Anyone have a torrent?

Monday, February 25, 2008

'The World'

I just watched a documentary on Dubai. Perhaps the most outragous feature of the tiny kingdom is The World:

The World Islands, are a collection of man-made islands shaped into the continents of the world, located off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. It will consist of 300 small private artificial islands divided into four categories - private homes, estate homes, dream resorts, and community islands.

Each island costs between 10-45 million US dollars to buy (without building, just the land). Of course it reminded me of Second Life´(in principle anyway...if not in magnitude).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

An Infernal Canon

There has been debate in local and international media recently that there should be a canon of texts decided upon and taught to the young (Denmark has one, Australia may need one and Sweden seems to have voted for one).
I find the canon a difficult concept to come to terms with as the texts I tend to like nobody else does - both Facebook and Myspace my 'favorite books and films' often leaves me the only one on the list when I click on the link to each of their names:-(
After listening to a swedish radio program where it was suggested we need to formulate and adhere to a literature canon as quickly as possible, I started making a list of books which have had a tremendous impact on me. I call it the Infernal Canon, not due to it's Satanic bent as much because it seems to center around the weaknesses of humanity and the dark depths of the soul. Welcome to my canon (I think everyone should have one). In no particular order:

Doris Lessing, Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971)

Junichiro Tanizaki, Diary of a Mad Old Man (1962)

Georges Bataille, The Story of the Eye (1969)

Yasunari Kawabata, House of the Sleeping Beauties (1961)

M. Ageyev, Novel With Cocaine (1934, 1984)

Paul Bowles, Let It Come Down (1952)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature (1884, 1928)

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (1945)

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959)

Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922)

Shohei Ooka, Fires on the Plain (1951)

Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen (1988, 1993)

Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory (1940)

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Devil on the Cross (1980, 1987)

Antonin Artaud, Heliogabalus, or the Crowned Anarchist (1934)

William Golding, The Double Tongue (1995)

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985)

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in High School (1984)

André Gide Strait is the Gate (1909)

Nick Cave, And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989)

Jean Cocteau, Opium: The Diary of a Cure (1958)

Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell/ The Drunken Boat

Allen Ginsberg, Indian Journals (1978)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Ö))) @vant g@rde)

Despite having a busy week (as I pointed out in the previous sleep deprived rave) I seem to have managed to aquire quite a bit of media for the weekly downsteam. I am so glad it is Friday. We are rather avant garde this week. (Wom)Man the barricades and lets begin;

Popper's List: Links
Dozens of online documentary videos from the famous Popper's List. The site seems to be going through some uncertainty at the moment with a recent shift to a new server and then a paid membership plan and now the scrapping of the membership plan and a move again. Nonetheless a great source of informative media on the net.

Muslimgauze Wish of the Flayed (at Fansite::Arabbox v1.0)
Soleilmoon record label that handles most of Muslimgauze recorded material has placed Wish of the Flayed on the fan site Arabbox v1.0 as a free and legal download. This is music from the last year of Bryn Jones' life when the sound has become very percussive and post-industrial.
Time to come out of the old dusty box for an album by Muslimgauze named 'Wish of the Flayed' that has for a long time remained under wraps. Bryn Jones himself gave this album on cassette tape to Steven Wilson (Bass Communion) during their first meeting on the 3rd of june 1996; the album having been recorded the day before. (One day for making a whole album is not so surprising for Muslimgauze..).

UbuWeb Sound :: Tellus #5-6 - Special Audio Visual Issue
TELLUS #5 & #6 Engineered by Gerald Lindahl. TELLUS is a bi-monthly subscription publication of audio art, new music, poetry, and drama. It is for people who are interested in the new, experimental and innovative sounds of the time. In this special issue of #5 and #6, our aim is to publish artists whose ideas are communicated within the audio and visual mediums.
TELLUS offers the public an alternative to established commercial means of distribution for audio material. Our usual format is a 60 minute cassette on which the work of artists are compiled, packaged and distributed.
Editors/Publishers: Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson.,
Contributing Editors: Brad Balfour, Bob Bielecki, Rhys Chatham, Mitch Corber, Bradley Eros, Barbara Ess, Owen Fisher, Kathryn High, Isaac Jackson, Gretchen Langheld, Gerald Lindahl, Kirby Malone, Carlo McCormick, Tom Paine, Verge Piersol, Kiki Smith, Anne Turyn, Tron Von Hollywood.

All Avant-Garde All The Time - UbuWeb Podcast #3: The Sound of Aspen Magazine
Produced by The Poetry Foundation, UbuWeb is pleased to announce the latest in its podcast series, focusing on Ubu's hidden treasures. This podcast gives a guided tour of UbuWeb's collection of audio featured on Aspen Magazine: the Multimedia Magazine in a Box, published between 1965 and 1971. Artists featured include Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, John Cage, John Cale and The Velvet Underground, Marcel Duchamp, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jackson Mac Low, Morton Feldman, Gordon Mumma and Angus Maclise.

UBUWEB, Aspen: Index (all the audio)
Beckett, Samuel Text for Nothing #8, read by Jack MacGowen
Bill Evans Trio Israel
Bowers, Faubion On Alexander Scrabin: Introduction to Three Preludes
On Alexander Scrabin: Afterword to Three Preludes
On Alexander Scrabin: Introduction to the Tenth Sonata
Burroughs, William Nova Express: "This, gentlemen, is a death dwarf..."
Nova Express: "Mr. Bradley Mr. Martin..."
Cage, John Fontana Mix – Feed, Nov. 6, 1967
Cale, John Loop
Cunningham, Merce Space, Time and Dance
Further Thoughts
Davidovsky, Mario In Memoriam Edgar Varèse
Duchamp, Marcel The Creative Act
Some Texts from A L'Infinitif
Feldman, Morton The King of Denmark
Gabo, Naum The Realistic Manifesto
Hucko, Peanuts and others St. James Infirmary Blues
Huelsenbeck, Richard Four Poems from Phantastiche Gebete
Lennon, John Radio Play
Logue, Christopher New Numbers: "This is the final statement..."
New Numbers: "A policeman is walking..."
New Numbers: "He was a youth from the suburbs..."
MacLow, Jackson The Young Turtle Assymetries
Mumma, Gordon Horn
Ono, Yoko Song for John: Let's Go Flying
Song for John: Snow Is Falling Everywhere
Song for John: Mum's Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow
No Bed for Beatle John, with John Lennon
Robbe-Grillet, Alain Jealousy (excerpt)
Scriabin, Alexander Prelude E Major, Op. 11, No. 9
Prelude G Flat Major, Op. 11, No. 13
Prelude D Flat Major, Op. 11, No. 15
Tenth Sonata
Standlee, Elsen and others The Joyous Lake
Tavener, John Three Songs for Surrealists: For Rene Magritte
Three Songs for Surrealists: For Max Ernst
Three Songs for Surrealists: For Salvador Dali
Tree, Christopher Spontaneous Sound
Walker, Peter and others White Wind
Young, La Monte Drift Study 31 1 69

Franklin Furnace Archives
Just discovered the existance of Franklin Furnace this month. While Franklin Furnace describes itself as an archive, this section of the website by no means reflects the depth and content of our physical archives. Rather, it serves as an online resource for those interested in our history, past (and evolving) projects, and old publications. For those interested in accessing Franklin Furnace’s extensive physical archives, which include documentation from all artists involved in our 30 year history.

motel de moka, Londonism II
Memories of inner city living and long weekends of everything.
My vision of London: Pulsing old city. High Ceilings. Dozing. Slumbering. Smoking. Drinking coffee. Cluttered lunch embracing the empty wine bottles on the rug. Fish bones. Thin china salad bowl drowning dying lettuce. Heavy ashtrays dealing with the afternoon shadows. Poles working as building painters spying on us when we shower through a hole in the wall. Afternoon indoors time listening to music. Four or five people around me lying on the floor. Gentle murmurs. Seeing the beautiful grey sky from the window. Bedrock bass booming. Pulse secure. Reggae chords nesting on hip hop beats. Londres sepultada bajo una capa de alquitrán.

Garden Of Delights: Brigitte Fontaine - Comme A La Radio (1970)
MUTANT SOUNDS: Brigitte Fontaine Et Areski- L'incendie,LP (1974)
Two records from Brigitte. Brigitte Fontaine was born in 1939 in Morlaix, Finistère, in the Brittany region of France, and is a singer of avant-garde music. During the course of her career she employed numerous unusual musical styles, melting rock and roll, folk, jazz, spoken word poetry and world rhythms. She collaborated with such celebrated musicians as Stereolab, Michel Colombier, Jean-Claude Vannier, Areski Belkacem, Gotan Project, Sonic Youth, Antoine Duhamel, Archie Shepp and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.

BBC World Service - Documentaries - Fading Traditions
Part One The Moroccan halakis' dying art of story-telling Part Two Will Georgia lose its 7000-year old wine producing tradition? Part Three Temple prostitutes - the clash of ancient and modern culture in India.

MUTANT SOUNDS: Michael O. Shea-st,CD,2001/1982,USA/UK
"Michael O'Shea was an eccentric, maverick world musician. He was a virtuoso of the Mo Cara, a 17-string instrument he invented and built, on which he created hauntingly melodic works combining elements of Celtic and Asian musics. Although primarily a busker, in the early '80s he enjoyed a brief legitimacy, releasing one album and even opening for Ravi Shankar at London's Royal Festival Hall.
O'Shea was born in Northern Ireland in 1947 but grew up in the Irish Republic. Keen to see the world, he joined the British Army at 17. However, military life didn't suit him; he went AWOL for two years and was court-martialed. On release from jail, he moved to London where he gravitated toward the folk scene, mixing with musicians like Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.

Dark Stars in the Dazzling Sky pt.8 at motel de moka
This list takes off where the slow and heavy grooving pieces of the previous instalment left us. Om is definitely one of my favourites within the genre and this track from their latest (and with drummer Chris Hakius leaving this duo, sadly enough, probably also their final) studio album Pilgrimage makes for a perfect bridge from the previous part of this series. But soon after, things get a little different. It’s darker and a lot more unforgiving than the previous one.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Week Weak Wheeeek

This week has been one of the most intense I have experienced for a long time. The amount of work I have had to do (and have managed to do) has been large. I am surprised by my ability to deal with it as while my body feels like it is filled with sandpaper and my brain is a bloody welt inside my skull (I am so tired) I don't feel the stress that used to accompany such avalanches of tasks. Lets review shall we:

Monday. Visit to HUMlab by Kempe Foundation. I attended while preparing conference abstract at the same time. Children sick at home so duties divided between partner and myself. I work morning and then with children after lunch. HOWEVER, I have a conference meeting in Second Life at 13:00 so I return home in time to make lunch and then log into SL. While preparing for the presentation I have to give in SL I also so a jigsaw puzzle with my youngest son ( I end up doing the jigsaw 5 times). The SL meeting is part of a research project that is described here. My contribution to the meeting goes very badly as my voice chat is not working. At one stage I try to speak to those gathered in SL though a mobile phone one of the moderators holds next to his microphone; nobody understands what I am saying. I eventually get to present some of my research via text chat. The next few hours after the conference is spent with the children and then after dinner I resume working on the wiki I am using for the culture studies course I am teaching this term. The class has their first meeting on Wednesday but i do not start teaching until March. I go to bed around 1am.

Tuesday. Up at 7am to take eldest child to school. No appointments for the day which I spend in my office writing. I mange almost 2 pages of thesis text, which is a lot but the first I have written for almost a week. Meeting in HUMlab in the afternoon where we discuss new research ideas. The evening is spent working on the culture studies wiki. Bed around midnight

Wednesday. Staff meeting at 8:30 after getting son to school. Meeting goes till 10am when I meet the class I will be teaching cultures of the Commonwealth with. Today is the deadline for a pedagogy project outline for a course I am doing (meets Friday) so I work on that. At 1pm I have a dental appointment which goes until 3pm- enough time to return to my office to gather my work materials for the evening before collecting my son from school. Once again the evening is spent working, this time on on the pedagogy project which I submit (3 pages with notes and bibliography) at 9pm online. The spend time working on the Association for Internet Researchers (AoIR) conference abstract which is due Friday.

Thursday. After the usual early start I spend two hours in HUMlab recording a set of instructions for part of the Qviz project website (actually fun but time consuming). While doing this I prepare another power point slide for a presentation in the video conferencing program Marratech which be run at 1pm today as part of the same research project that the SL session was. I also have to answer a set of questions about the session on Monday, as it went so badly I have no idea what happened. I spend the two hours between the Qviz session and lunch preparing for the research session. The video conference goes from 1pm till 3pm. I then rush to pick up my son as my partner has yoga class on Thursday. Upon arriving home there is no class today (sore back) so I can work on the AoIR abstract. I am to attend the open house at my son's school at 6pm (he is singing) so I work on AoIR until five and then cook dinner before going to the open house. Return at 8pm, put oldest boy to bed (bath, teeth, story) and then finish the AoIR abstract: Submitted and waiting (YYIPPPEEE). The I turn to the pedagogy course tomorrow; I have to give an 8 minute video presentation and have read about 30 pages of text. I do a quick visually orientated power point, take some preparatory notes and speed read the texts. It is not 11:40 and I have to get up in 7 hours and do it all again; lectures from 8:30-16:00,a presentation and a video conference during my lunch break........

I am really surprised I actually feel good, just so bloody tired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Download Online Book on Bakhtin and Pedagogy

The Dialogic Classroom: Teachers Integrating Computer Technology, Pedagogy, and Research. Galin, Jeffrey R., Ed.; Latchaw, Joan, Ed. (PDF 5353K)

The 12 essays collected in this book suggest both practical and theoretical approaches to teaching through networked technologies. Moving beyond technology for its own sake, the book articulates a pedagogy which makes its own productive uses of emergent technologies, both inside and outside the classroom. The book models for students one possible way for teaching and learning the unknown: a dialogic strategy for teaching and learning that can be applied not only to technology-rich problems, but to a range of social issues. This approach, based on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, understands language itself as a field of creative choices, conflicts, and struggles. After a foreword by Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe, essays in the book are: (1) "Introduction" (Jeffrey R. Galin and Joan Latchaw); (2) "What Is Seen Depends on How Everybody Is Doing Everything: Using Hypertext To Teach Gertrude Stein's 'Tender Buttons'" (Dene Grigar); (3) "Voices That Let Us Hear: The Tale of the Borges Quest" (Jeffrey R. Galin and Joan Latchaw); (4) "How Much Web Would a Web Course Weave if a Web Course Would Weave Webs?" (Bruce Dobler and Harry Bloomberg); (5) "Don't Lower the River, Raise the Bridge: Preserving Standards by Improving Students' Performances" (Susanmarie Harrington and William Condon); (6) "The Seven Cs of Interactive Design" (Joan Huntley and Joan Latchaw); (7) "Computer-Mediated Communication: Making Nets Work for Writing Instruction" (Fred Kemp); (8) "Writing in the Matrix: Students Tapping the Living Database on the Computer Network" (Michael Day); (9)"Conferencing in the Contact Zone" (Theresa Henley Doerfler and Robert Davis); (10) "Rhetorical Paths and Cyber-Fields: ENFI, Hypertext, and Bakhtin" (Trent Batson); (11) "Four Designs for Electronic Writing Projects" (Tharon W. Howard); and (12) "The Future of Dialogical Teaching: Overcoming the Challenges" (Dawn Rodrigues). A 76-item glossary is attached.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Commons and Fission

With an installed peak power capacity of 20 megawatts, the world's largest photovoltaic solar power farm has opened in Spain with the potential to produce enough electricity for 20 000 homes. (see Eyebeam)

There is (or rather has been since a referendum in 1980, the results of which are still to be implemented) a rather prolonged debate about nuclear energy in Sweden that has gained new momentum in the last few months. Like many rich countries, Sweden is looking for ways out of the industrial age energy system (fossil fuel based and import orientated), a way to wean itself off oil and to secure energy production to within its own borders. These aims have the extra benefit of opening the energy sector up to renewable sources of energy production. There are many people in Sweden who (after 28 years) still want to see a "stop to construction and phase out of nuclear power" but the present government seems, like many other governments in the post-industrialized world, to be fond of nuclear power in principle. Why this is so I have been wondering about for a few days now and I think I may have an idea about.

Alternatives to nuclear power are based on Common resources; wind, sunlight, geothermal, and the less eco-friendly but relatively sustainable methanol and ethanol projects based on household waste recycling. A Swedish company has plans to design buildings that use the body heat of occupants to heat the building:

Recently, a Swedish state-owned company, Jernhuset, declared its plans to harness body heat generated in the Stockholm Central Station to power a complex nearby. Each day, around 250,000 people pass through this building. Jernhuset plans to capture their body heat through the ventilation system and use it to warm water which will then be transferred through pipes to the new complex. This warm water will heat the new complex and is expected to lower heating costs by 20%. This is a great deal, considering the total investment for the project will only be $31,200.

Each of these proposed systems for energy production is based on a resource that is not owned by no one person or corporation in its raw unprocessed state. One could say that the commons is at play in each example:

The word "Commons" has now come to be used in the sense of any sets of resources that a community recognizes as being accessible to any member of that community. The nature of commons is different in different communities, but they often include cultural resources and natural resources.
While commons are generally seen as a system opposed to private property, they have been combined in the idea of common property, which are resources owned equally by every member of the community, even though the community recognizes that only a limited number of members may use the resource at any given time.
Commons are a subset of public goods; specifically meaning a public good which is not infinite. Commons can therefore be land, rivers and, arguably, money. The Commons is most often a finite but replenishable resource, which requires responsible use in order to remain available. A subset of this is a commons which requires not only responsible use but also active contribution from its users, such as a school or church funded by local donations.

The nuclear power industry occupies a zone of transition between what is considered 'post/modern' and what is considered 'pre-modern' in the sense of the new ecology movement that has developed in the past few decades. Nuclear energy, while considered by many to be unsafe (post-Chernobyl -the contamination from which incidentally passed over where I now live) is not generally considered polluting in the same way a coal fired power station is. The image of nuclear power I believe held by many is a high technological but unstable industry. The key to why it is a popular alternative to many post-industrial state's governments is that nuclear energy preserves a model of production that has its roots in high consumption industrialism. Such a model assists in a unitary commodity based economy where taxes are paid and present hierarchies maintained. While almost anyone can set up a windmill or a solar farm, nuclear fission is a tricky thing and not something anyone wants to be too close to. Nuclear power preserves the one-to-many model of industrial centralized property based markets. As Yochai Benkler explains in the essential text, The Wealth of Networks (Free Online of Course):

"However, the core characteristic of property as the institutional foundation of markets is that the allocation of power to decide how a resource will be used is systematically and drastically asymmetric. That asymmetry permits the existence of “an owner” who can decide what to do, and with whom. We know that transactions must be made— rent, purchase, and so forth—if we want the resource to be put to some other use. The salient characteristic of commons, as opposed to property, is that no single person has exclusive control over the use and disposition of any particular resource in the commons. Instead, resources governed by commons may be used or disposed of by anyone among some (more or less well-defined) number of persons, under rules that may range from “anything goes” to quite crisply articulated formal rules that are effectively enforced." Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks "Peer Production and Sharing" p61

I believe that so much of what is playing out in societies dealing with massive network systems being established below the official levels of administration, production and distribution of goods and services (think Peer to Peer file sharers, people smugglers, mercenary armies, Folksonomies, G8 protesters, SMS political sends - Burma, South Korea, Philippines, an so on and on) is part of a more general revision of practices based on networks. The solar farm pictured above is an example of a horizontal system based on a network. If one panel is taken out, the system continues. Solar farms can be built by communities and there is no need to involve the national electricity grid at all (unless the community chooses to sell their excess). The same can be said of wind generators. Where does this leave the large (or in the case of Sweden - state) energy producers which have enormous amounts of their capital tied up in present modes of production and therefore find it difficult to transition to networks that are less centralist than their present systems?
I believe the large one-to-many producers of commodities such as electricity will attempt to assert their dominance by maintaining outmoded systems of production and distribution for as long as is possible. We are currently seeing the same artificial protection in the music and film industries, where old modes of distribution, and to a lesser extent production, are being protected by the industry through their lobbying of governments using copyright laws.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Hayles Book on the Horizon

Released 1st March 2008:

N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (ND Ward Phillips Lectures)
A visible presence for some two decades, electronic literature has already produced many works that deserve the rigorous scrutiny critics have long practiced with print literature. Only now, however, with Electronic Literature by N. Katherine Hayles, do we have the first systematic survey of the field and an analysis of its importance, breadth, and wide-ranging implications for literary study.
Hayles's book is designed to help electronic literature move into the classroom. Her systematic survey of the field addresses its major genres, the challenges it poses to traditional literary theory, and the complex and compelling issues at stake. She develops a theoretical framework for understanding how electronic literature both draws on the print tradition and requires new reading and interpretive strategies. Grounding her approach in the evolutionary dynamic between humans and technology, Hayles argues that neither the body nor the machine should be given absolute theoretical priority. Rather, she focuses on the interconnections between embodied writers and users and the intelligent machines that perform electronic texts.

Through close readings of important works, Hayles demonstrates that a new mode of narration is emerging that differs significantly from previous models. Key to her argument is the observation that almost all contemporary literature has its genesis as electronic files, so that print becomes a specific mode for electronic text rather than an entirely different medium. Hayles illustrates the implications of this condition with three contemporary novels that bear the mark of the digital.

Included with the book is a CD, The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1, containing sixty new and recent works of electronic literature with keyword index, authors' notes, and editorial headnotes. Representing multiple modalities of electronic writing--hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry, generative and combinatory forms, network writing, codework, 3D, narrative animations, installation pieces, and Flash poetry--the ELC 1 encompasses comparatively low-tech work alongside heavily coded pieces. Complementing the text and the CD-ROM is a website offering resources for teachers and students, including sample syllabi, original essays, author biographies, and useful links. Together, the three elements provide an exceptional pedagogical opportunity.

Ive ordered mine already........

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Words from the Communities

In light of what I wrote on this blog recently regarding the very suspect documentary Historiens Fångar featuring the ideas and philosophies of Keith Windschuttle, there is an interesting article online from Mute magazine, titled Doing it for the Kids by Elizabeth Povinelli. I recomend it and quote from it here;

Here, we must remember that Failure, Normality, and Success are not Kantian ideas floating in space but ways of measuring the social world, norms for what is fair or not. Because they are making buckets loads of money, Native Americans able to exploit their sovereignty to establish casinos are considered not to be playing fair. Neoliberal discourse has transformed the organisation of responsibility and accountability. Anything larger than the individual is seen as an impediment to the enterprise subject. Social groups and collectivities as well as long standing federal and state commitments to indigenous social welfare are said to be the cause of poverty. When indigenous people cease to see their social worlds from the perspective of local cultural sense or as related to state-backed social welfare then they will, it is said, emerge from poverty and with this emergence gain the health that all other Australians have.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University where she is also Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Law and Culture. She is the author of numerous books and essays including The Cunning of Recognition (Duke, 2002) and The Empire of Love (Duke, 2006). She has served as a consultant for several indigenous land and native title claims in Australia

First Recording of 'Howl' by Allen Ginsburg Found

Allen Ginsburg in 1956

In February 1956, during a hitch-hiking trip from Berkeley to the Pacific Northwest with fellow-poet Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg gave a poetry reading at Reed College, Portland, Oregon at which he read “Howl” and seven other poems. Ginsberg and Synder were on campus for two nights, February 13 and 14; the recording unearthed recently in the Reed archives includes Ginsberg's “Howl Part I,” the longest section of the poem published six months later by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books with the initial title “Howl for Carl Solomon.” The reel-to-reel tape held by Special Collections at Reed's Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library is the earliest-known recording of Ginsberg reading “Howl.” The recording is of high quality, and does not include the entire poem, as Ginsberg stopped reading soon after concluding Part I of “Howl.”

Listen to the Recording

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Flying Fine in Frequency)

Something new, something borrowed and a few from the past. Welcome to the downloads and streams for the week that was. If you are a newcomer to this space every Friday I post the excesses of the week here. In my private and professional life I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet. As a result I find of lot of good things that one can listen to read or watch. Here is it for this week:

Derek Beaulieu, Flatland (2007) [PDF, 18.5 mb]
derek beaulieu's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions with an afterword by Marjorie Perloff
"As the Greenbergian modernists proclaimed the flatness of the canvas, so derek beaulieu reduces the page to a flat plane. The result is a new kind of flatness-call it non-illusionistic literature-a depthless fiction, one where image and narrative is reduced to line and shadow. In the great tradition of Picabia, Beaulieu creates a perfect work of mechanical writing with one foot in the concrete poetic past and another in the flatscreen future." – Kenneth Goldsmith

"In Flatland, Beaulieu excavates the fetile ground between form and content, gesture and geography and word and meaning. He challenges the physicality of the page as a bodily engagement in recuperating essential ideas embedded in writing as communication." – Marc Boutin, recipient of the 2006 Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award and 2002 Prix de Rome.

derek beaulieu is author of 3 books of poetry and publisher of the acclaimed small press housepress (1997-2004). A teacher in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, beaulieu's work has appeared in magazines, journals and galleries internationally. He is co-editor of the controversial, best-selling Shift & Switch: new Canadian Poetry (2005).

Marjorie Perloff is professor emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University and author of Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media.

Dependent Records Entire (Un)catalogue

Dependent Records, an independent record label from Germany recently decided to shut its doors and upload all its albums onto The Pirate Bay. Interestingly, a year ago the the CEO of the label mentioned piracy as one of the main reasons why they decided to quit.[Well maybe its true?].

Bruce Conner - Crossroads and Looking for Mushrooms (1956 - 1965)
Bruce Conner described Looking for Mushrooms in the 1975 Film-Makers' Cooperative Catalogue as a “[f]amous documentary containing full information. Special effects by Isauro Nava, Rancho del Cura, Huatla de Jimenez, Mexico. Sound by John Liniment and frenz”.
In 1962, Bruce Conner left San Francisco and moved to Mexico, apparently intending to “wait out the impending nuclear holocaust” (1). He spent about a year in Mexico before running out of cash and patience, and returning to the United States. During his year in Mexico, Conner hosted psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, who he had met on an earlier visit to New York. Conner and Leary occupied themselves with mushroom hunts in the Mexican countryside. It's not clear whether their hunts were successful. But Conner's staccato home-movies of their walks – combined with movies of previous mushroom hunts in San Francisco – became his film Looking for Mushrooms. The film rushes through the rustic landscape of rural Mexico, flitting past houses and through a crumbling graveyard. It's quite a contrast to Valentin de las Sierras (1967), Bruce Baillie's serene portrait of life in a Mexican village. But the quality of the image is similar, sun-blasted colours bleached to pastel.

Geir Jenssen of Biosphere, Cho Oyu 8201m: Field Recordings from Tibet

Two tracks from MiniDisc recordings taken at various stages of Jenssen's long trek up one of the world's tallest mountains.

Rainydayz Remixes

Download Amplive's Rainydayz Remixes, an 8-track collection featuring remixes of Radiohead's historic seventh album, In Rainbows. The songs are available in a zip file below and feature verses courtesy of Too $hort, MC Zumbi of Zion I, Chali2na of Jurassic 5, and Del the Funky Homosapien.
After a cease & desist put the breaks on Amplive's Radiohead In Rainbows remix project, the online music community reasonably wondered if the tracks would ever see the light of day. Well, here they are.
While the Oakland producer/DJ acknowledges that he probably should have contacted Radiohead (who were not involved in the project) to seek approval prior to making his interpretations publically available, an agreement has been reached between all involved parties and Amplive has been granted permission to release Rainydayz Remixes for free to the general public. Effective immediately, the eight-track record is available here.

Yvonne Rainer - Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980)
Rainer's fourth film, and some say her finest, an essay on radicalism and rehabilitation.
How are oppositional politics advanced by their partisans and neutralised by the State? Radicals are those who expose hidden repressive tendencies in a society. Their tactics are criminalized, politics psychologized and reforms bureacratized.
Rainer's film questions duplicitous rehabilitation (psychiatric care/control), the efficacy of radicalism, and conflicted political and personal motivations.
The collage essay technique of Journeys parallels the investigation of these conflicts on a formal level. She weaves the stories of 19th century Russian anarchists; the staging of identity as it occurs in therapeutic analysis, writing a diary or preparing a meal; and the fate of the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof gang), which exposed the precarious and enforced nature of West German democratic freedoms in the 1970s.
Featuring Annette Michelson, Amy Taubin, Vito Acconci, Cynthia Beatt, Ilona Halberstadt, Vernon Gabor, Yvonne Rainer and many others.
Journeys From Berlin/1971 (1980), her epic meditation on psychoanalysis, the Baader-Meinhof, feminism, and pre-revolutionary Russia. Berlin finds its unlikely star in plummy-voiced academic Annette Michelson, whose stream-of-consciousness shrink sessions unearth eggheady gems. "My cunt is not a castrated cock," Michelson protests. "If anything, it's a heartless asshole."

Tuli Kupferberg (b. 1923) No Deposit, No Return (1964)

As the inner sleeve says, this is "an album of Popular Poetry, Pop Poetry. Real Advertisements. As they appeared in newspapers, magazines, in direct mail, a company info bulletin, as a schoolroom flyer. No word has been added. Parts of some have been repeated. Parts of some omitted. But these are the very texts. These are for real!" These sound so weird and silly, particularly the ones for sexual aids, that you suspect that they were made up. However, the CD booklet does contain actual repros of vintage ads for "The Hyperemiator" and "The Sap Glove" that are recited word for word. On paper the album's concept sounds like it might not work, but Kupferberg's readings/interpretations are often sly and funny, whether he brings out the absurdity of the texts by using a poker-faced tone, or adopts mocking or ridiculous accents to draw out the ridiculous nature of the source material. It helps that there are a lot of ingenious sound effects -- by, one would guess, Gary Elton, credited with "various" -- to complement the prose (auto crashes on "Auto-Da-Fe," for instance). This, and particularly the sexually graphic material, isn't as shocking and funny as it was in 1966, but it's still amusing.

Mixhell XLR8 Remix (49.2 MB)

Fifty three minutes of mad beats from Uncle Iggor. Iggor Cavalera is recognized throughout the world as a master drummer and former member of none other than Brazilian heavy-metal band Sepultura. However, he is as much familiar with turntables and MPCs and he is with a drum kit, taking his credo of Hard Beat Beat and applying it to other projects. As Mixhell, he and his wife, Laima Leyton, combine dancefloor and hard rock sensibilities for DJ sets as unpredictable as Cavalera's musical career.

Peace and inspired dreams for the weekend!

The Third Screen: The Wave has Hit the Beach

In yet another indication that small screen media is developing, Isabella Rossellini is making a series of short (1 minute) films called Green Porno. Green Porno is a series of very short films conceived, written, co-directed by and featuring Isabella Rossellini about the sex life of bugs, insects and various creatures. The films are a comical but insightful study of the curious ways certain bugs “make love”. “Green” echoes the ecological movement of today and our interest in nature, and “Porno” alludes to the racy ways bugs, insects and other creatures have sex, if human, these acts would not be allowed to be screened or air on television, considered instead as most filthy and obscene.
Each film is executed in a very simple childlike manner. They are a playful mixture of real world and cartoon. Each episode begins with Isabella speaking to the camera “ If I were a…(firefly, spider, dragonfly etc.). She then transforms into the male of the species explaining in a simple yet direct dialogue the actual act of species-specific fornication. The costumes, colorful sets and backdrops as well as the female insects contribute to the playfulness of the films. The contrast of this “naïf” expression and filthy sex practices adds to the comicality of Green Porno.
Green Porno is an experiment specifically conceived with the third screen, namely cellular screens, computers and ipods.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joined to See Change

I must say. I am impressed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Australia Says Sorry...........

The Australian Government officially apologized today for the horrors inflicted on generations of Aboriginals through organized programs of physical and sexual abuse, forced integration and cultural indoctrination that were most often perpetrated upon children. Firstly, looking at the concept of an apology, the power relations of an apology are not always as straight forward as one would expect. A colleague and former teacher of mine published a thesis looking at the use of apologizing in British English, finding that:

SORRY is the subtlest word, especially for the middle classes. That is one finding of research into how the British apologise, which reveals that the middle classes say sorry twice as often as the working classes — but with different implications.
They may be “afraid” to admit it, they may “regret” being so, or they may simply “beg your pardon”; but the middle classes are clearly a very sorry lot when it comes to etiquette. They are more likely than anyone to apologise for lack of consideration and similar offences.
But at the same time, they are also the most adept at using apologies to minimise their responsibility for the offence, thus craftily re-asserting their superiority.
“The use or avoidance of apologies appears to be an important way of signalling class identity,” said Mats Deutschmann, who led the study. “Acts of politeness have traditionally been ways for social inferiors to show deference towards social superiors,” he said. “But now we are getting ‘downward politeness’.”
As class distinctions have blurred, social superiors are using apologies to give an illusion of humility when confronted by people they regard as inferior. The Times

In many ways sorry seems so small. The apology from the Australian Government, "For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations", has been an issue for such a long it seems a bit ridiculous that it did not happened at least a decade ago:

More than 10 years since the story of the stolen generations was told in the Bringing Them Home report, the declaration of the apology will usher in a new era of recognition and reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australia. SMH

While the emphasis was clearly on the past wrongs, there is a today a desperate need for action.


72% of Australia's Aborigines are living in poverty. Remote Indigenous communities face particular economic disadvantage, despite so-called benefits.
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

* In Australia the average income is $585 per week.
* The average for Aboriginal people is $364 per week.
* Aboriginal income in cities is $435 per week.
* Aboriginal income in remote communities is $267 per week.

and the killing continues;

Over the period 1997–99, the life expectancy at birth for an Indigenous male was 56 years, and for an Indigenous female, 63 years. Comparable life expectancies were experienced by males in the total population in 1901–10, and females in 1920–22. Today, males in the total Australian population have a life expectancy of 76 years and females 82 years.....In the age group 35–54 years, the Indigenous death rate was 5–6 times higher than expected. The Health and Welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (2001)

If something is not achieved in regards to the situations experienced daily by many indigenous Australians it seems likely the apologizing could go on for some time yet.......

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ian Bogost Seminar in HUMlab (Streamed Live)

Tomorrow in HUMlab (under the UB library, Umeå University):
12 February 2008 at 10:00 (CET)
Platform Studies, Creative Computing and Constraint: the Atari VCS (1977) and beyond
with Ian Bogost (Assistant Professor at The Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Literature Communication and Culture)

I have just read three chapters of Mr. Bogost's Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism (May 2006) and I am really enjoying its mix of philosophy, critical and tech theory, literary and cultural approaches to video games. I look forward to meeting Ian and listening to his seminar tomorrow. If you are not within reach of HUMlab during the seminar it will be streamed live over the net and there will be a Skype channel open to ask questions of make comments. The details for the stream and Skype will be posted on the HUMlab blog just before the seminar.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Information as Trade

Ancient Greek and Phoneciam Trade Routes(1200 BC to 900 BC)

Submarine Cable Systems for the Internet in the Mediterranean (2008 AD)

The recent series of cable disruptions for Middle Eastern Internet users highlights the similarities between ancient trade and information trade. The paths of exchange are well worn between the East and West.

Guy Debord's Kriegspeil (Wargame) Now Online

I suggest that game studies should...turn not to a theory of realism in gaming as mere realistic representation, but define realist games as those games that reflect critically on the minutia of everyday life, replete as it is with struggle, personal drama, and injustice."- Alex Galloway

In his book Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture, Galloway tackles the notion of "realism" in video games. By distinguishing between representational and social realism in contemporary game culture, he illuminates how militaristic, political and social norms are both reinforced and challenged. For his current project, with the programming collective Radical Software Group ("RSG"), Galloway and his collaborators (Carolyn Kane, Adam Parrish, Daniel Perlin, DJ /rupture and Matt Shadetek, and Mushon Zer-Aviv) address realism in war games by creating their own- based on "The Game of War" designed by French theorist, activist, and iconoclast Guy Debord. Debord attempted to realistically represent the basic rules and relationships of war through a simple board game known as "Kriegspiel", a variant on chess in which a third party, either human or computer, acts as a referee and mediates the movement of the opposing forces.

More at Rhizome.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Community Arts)

if you are going to have time to watch, listen to, read and play with all the exqusite media that I have found for this week's downstreams you are going to have to start NOW!

UbuWeb Sound - Richard Foreman MP3 loops from "Now That Communism is Dead My Life Feels Empty!" (2001)

Garden Of Delights: V.A.-Insane Times:25 British Psychedelic Artyfacts From The EMI Vaults (2007)
Psychedelic comps are ten-a-penny at the moment and many repeat the same tracks over and over and OVER AGAIN! Just how many times do I have to hear Green Circles by The Small Faces? Thankfully, the sixties most overrated group don't make an appearance on Insane Times - 25 British Psychedelic Artyfacts From the EMI Vaults with lesser known artists making the best moves... as well as some of the big hitters sneaking in.

Of course, Insane Times is a nod to Brit psych rag, the International Times... but does it manage to capture the weird and wonderful mindset of the swinging sixties of Britain? You'll be pleased to know that the answer is yes.

A free webcomics saga told in 5-page weekly installments, written by Warren Ellis with art by Paul Duffield. Launch date: 02/15/08.

U B U W E B :: Bern Porter - Five Books from the 1960s
Wisdom of the Questioning Eye
Five books from the 1960s, by found poet Bern Porter (1911-2004)
Mark Melnicove:
What to call Bern Porter? Found poet? Visual poet? Mail artist? Book artist? Pop artist? Concrete poet? He was each of these, and he will take his place in the histories of their genres (histories which have only begun to be written). And while it is true that the boundaries of these genres are permeable, allowing one to impregnate another, if we look for Porter's singular achievement, the one he delved into deeper and with more consistency than his contemporaries, it was as a found poet. As such, he is arguably the most significant found poet of the 20th century, if not all time.

Found implies lost. What others discarded he appropriated and claimed its authorship. He combed through trash (often at the post office, after sending off a fresh batch of mail art) to find new poems. In his life he scavenged for everything, not just language and imagery, but also food, clothing, and rides. (An ecologist before it was fashionable, he deliberately did not learn to drive or own a car.) He was living proof of his assertion, "Nuggets of value in the waste are everywhere for the looking, if only the viewer can develop his or her wisdom of the questioning eye."

U B U W E B :: Canada Inuit Games and Songs
Katadjak’, or throat-singing, is a form of vocal-verbal art common to many (but not all) Inuit (Eskimo) cultures. Banned by Christian priests for almost a hundred years despite its apparently secular nature, it is most commonly practiced by women – generally by two women facing off against each other in a form of friendly competition. Writes the musicologist Bruno Deschênes:

"Inuit throat-singing is not singing per se. Ethnomusicologists suggest that it should be viewed as vocal games or breathing games more than anything else. Traditionally, they are considered ‘games in which one makes noises,’ as the Inuit would say." And further:

Inuit throat-singing is done in the following way: two women face each other; they may be standing or crouching down; one is leading, while the other responds; the leader produces a short rhythmic motif that she repeats with a short silent gap in-between, while the other is rhythmically filling in the gaps. The game is such that both singers try to show their vocal abilities in competition, by exchanging these vocal motives. The first to run out of breath or be unable to maintain the pace of the other singer will start to laugh or simply stop and will thus lose the game. It generally lasts between one and three minutes. The winner is the singer who beats the largest number of people.

Originally, the lips of the two women were almost touching, each one using the other's mouth cavity as a resonator . Today, most singers stand straight, facing one another and holding each other's arms. Sometimes they will do some kind of dance movements while singing (e.g., balancing from right to left). The sounds used include voiced sounds as well as unvoiced ones, both through inhalation or exhalation. Because of this, singers develop a breathing technique, somewhat comparable to circular breathing used by some players of wind instruments. In this way, they can go on for hours.

BBC - Radio 4 In Our Time "At the Court of Rudolf II"
In 1606 the Archdukes of Vienna declared:

“His majesty is interested only in wizards, alchemists, Kabbalists and the like, sparing no expense to find all kinds of treasures, learn secrets and use scandalous ways of harming his enemies…He also has a whole library of magic books. He strives all the time to eliminate God completely so that he may in future serve a different master.”

The subject of this coruscating attack was the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, and his court at Prague. Rudolf had filled Prague with the wonders of the age – the great paintings of Italy were carried over the Alps, intricate automatons constructed, maps and models of the heavens unfurled and engineered. But Rudolf’s greatest possessions were people - the astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe, the magus John Dee and the philosopher Giordano Bruno had all found their way to his city. Far from the devilish inquisitor of the archdukes’ imaginations, Rudolf patronised a powerhouse of Renaissance ideas.

20 minutes or so on why I am 4 Barack by Lawrence Lessig
I wasn't going to do this, but then someone ask me to do it, and someone else told me (to my horror -- not that it would be insane for anyone, but insane for her) that she was for Clinton. So consider this my precinct captain duty for the lessig blog.

Playble – Paying Artists for Free
The Pirate Bay has started a unique collaboration with the members of the Swedish rock band Lamont. After lengthy discussions about the future of the record industry and its implications for the many talented artists and songwriters around the world, we discovered that we held the same vision. The shared insight that the record industry—with its current business model—is outdated inspired the birth of

This innovative music site will allow users to download music by artists for free and still support them financially. will give companies with strong brands the opportunity to support music and artists directly. Welcome to

Ryan Trecartin - A Family Finds Entertainment (2004)
From the New York Underground Film Festival website:

"Entertainment is easy… Fuck! I’m so ugly!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to meet the experimental people and ready yourself for "IDM up the rear end! But be careful listening… it’s very influential."

Directed/Edited/Starring experimental person Ryan Trecartin, AFFE is a fucked up digital bedtime story that indulges a drag-queen-dress-up-twist on the classic coming out melodrama. In this world, populated by about 50 of Trecartin’s outrageously costumed friends, every moment and sound is electronically manipulated or processed, and performances seem to be fueled by an Alice-in-Wonderland type drug that accelerates (and often reverses) every character’s movement. It’s like the internet, but it is SO HONEST.

"I believe that somewhere there is something worth dying for, and I think it’s AMAZING!"

Meet Skippy, a depressed suicidal "teen" who locks himself in a bathroom with face-paint, a Polaroid camera and a knife. Desperately in search of an identity—any identity—Skippy has settled on suicide as a solution. But after a failed attempt, he receives a message in a seashell telling him "Skippy, don’t do it!" and immediately leaves home to embrace a newfound queer life. It’s a revelation, a celebration, "Ye-ah!"

"You’re so revolutionary!"

Ryan Trecartin - I-BE AREA (2007)
WE’RE in a house of many tight, messy rooms. In the suburbs? Cyberspace? Hard to say. Anyway, it’s night. A door bangs open. A girl, who is also a boy, dashes in, talking, talking. Other people are already there, in gaudy attire, dire wigs and makeup like paint on de Koonings.

Everyone moves in a jerky, speeded-up, look-at-me way and speaks superfast to one another, to the camera, into a cellphone. Phrases whiz by about cloning, family, same-sex adoption, the art world, the end of the world, identity, blogging, the future. Suddenly indoors turns into outdoors, night into day, and we’re at a picnic, in dappled sunshine, with a baby. Then this all reverses, and we’re indoors again. A goth band is pounding away in the kitchen. The house is under siege. Hysteria. Everyone runs through the walls.

This is a highly impressionistic account of Ryan Trecartin’s sensationally anarchic video “I-Be Area,” which made its debut in the Elizabeth Dee Gallery in Manhattan last fall. The piece caused a stir, in part because most people had never seen anything quite like it before, certainly not in an art gallery.

Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo, by Richard F. Burton (1876)
The notes which form the ground-work of these volumes have long been kept in the obscurity of manuscript: my studies of South America, of Syria and Palestine, of Iceland, and of Istria, left me scant time for the labour of preparation. Leisure and opportunity have now offered themselves, and I avail myself of them in the hope that the publication will be found useful to more than one class of readers. The many who take an interest in the life of barbarous peoples may not be displeased to hear more about the Fán; and the few who would try a fall with Mister Gorilla can learn from me how to equip themselves, whence to set out and whither to go for the best chance. Travelling with M. Paul B. du Chaillu’s “First Expedition” in my hand, I jealously looked into every statement, and his numerous friends will be pleased to see how many of his assertions are confirmed by my experience.

The second part is devoted to the Nzadi or lower Congo River, from the mouth to the Yellala or main rapids, the gate by which the mighty stream, emerging from the plateau of Inner Africa, goes to its long home, the Atlantic. Some time must elapse before the second expedition, which left Ambriz early in 1873, under Lieutenant Grandy, R. N., can submit its labours to the public: meanwhile these pages will, I trust, form a suitable introduction to the gallant explorer’s travel in the interior. It would be preposterous to publish descriptions of any European country from information gathered ten years ago. But Africa moves slowly, and thus we see that the results of an Abyssinian journey (M. Antoine d’Abbadie’s “Géodésic d’Ethiopie,” which took place about 1845, are not considered obsolete in 1873.

The Dongas Tribe (and friends)
Extensive collection of musical jams from the Dongas Tribe and friends. The Dongas Tribe were a UK road protest group in England originally noted for their occupation of Twyford Down outside Winchester, Hampshire. This was a protest against the M3 motorway extension which destroyed some "government protected" rich ecological sites and ancient monuments there. The name Dongas comes from the Matabele word for "Gully". This had somehow been given by Winchester locals to the deep drovers' tracks on Twyford Down.

Following "Yellow Wednesday", when hordes of police and security guards invaded the camp to bulldoze the area, the Dongas left Twyford Down for Bramdean Common.

They constituted about twenty people in their early twenties. Some of the Tribe maintained an involvement in various subsequent road protests (Solsbury Hill, North Wales, Newbury bypass), but gradually morphed into a semi-nomadic "tribe", travelling the South West of England on foot, squatting various hill-forts and putting on seasonal gatherings in an attempt to reawaken a sense of connectedness with the land. The last of the nomadic Dongas were travelling in Cornwall until the end of 1999, after which some of them moved to France to continue their nomadic lifestyle

Fried Shoes and Cooked Diamonds
This video takes you on a whirlwind visit to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Colorado. It feels like a truthful, unfaked portrait. We have no host pointing things out and explaining.
The skill of this documentary is that the camera's perspective is wide enough that we can just follow and watch. We are shown classes at Naropa, which range from formal meditation sessions to anarchic lectures with Gregory Corso. We attend performances at the school, and an anti-nuclear demonstration where Corso and Allen Ginsberg read their own works and many people are arrested. Ginsberg, the late great poet and one of our last gentlemen, orients us a little bit - like a busy host at a wonderful party. Tim Leary and William Burroughs and Anne Waldman gossip about art, spirituality, and one another. Amiri Baraka critiques his friends and also reads his work.

We may linger overlong on some things - like Ginsberg singing "Father Death" tunelessly while accompanying himself on a squeeze box, but even there we are edified when we see Baraka looking on and, with us, a little bored. The documentary truly has a perspective of its own and shows us some legendary people without a speck of awe.

be the change you want to see in the world
Documentaries, art films, images, meditations, sounds

w00t Studios - Documentary Features w00t's Mindscythe
Nathan "Aniero" Bender recently created a documentary on the relationships players of MMORPG's create with each other and how they translate offline.

Five Pieces for Winter Morning at motel de moka
So here is a list of what she left behind: a husband, an abortion,
a mathematical education, and a black market career in
trading currencies. And what she brought: a gray poodle,
eight dresses and a fearful combination of hope, sarcasm,
and steel-eyed desire to which I have surrendered. And now
I know her secrets: she will never give up smoking.
She would have crawled across Eastern Europe and fed
that dog her own blood if she had to. And her mother’s secrets:
she would have thought, at last, that you were safe with me.
She hated men. Let me, then, acknowledge that last generation
of the women of the enemy: they are a mystery to me.
They would be a mystery even to my most liberal-minded friends.

MUTANT SOUNDS: Negativland-St.,1980+Points,1981,LPs,USA
Negativland is an experimental music and sound collage band which originated in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970s. They took their name from a Neu! song [1], while their record label is named after another Neu! song. The current core of the band consists of Mark Hosler, Richard Lyons, Don Joyce, David Wills, and Peter Conheim, but membership is considered rather irrelevant, in the usual sense of band personnel, and this list may be inaccurate or false.
Negativland has released a number of albums ranging from pure sound collage to more musical expositions. These have mostly been released on their own label, Seeland Records. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they produced several recordings for SST Records, most notably Escape from Noise, Helter Stupid, and U2. Negativland became involved in a lawsuit with U2's lawyers, which brought them widespread publicity and notoriety, but nearly destroyed them as a band.

MUTANT SOUNDS: Muslimgauze-Hammer & Sickle,7" e.p,1983+Opaques,tape,1983,UK
Muslimgauze was the one-man musical project of Bryn Jones (June 17, 1961 - January 14, 1999), a prolific British electronic music artist, strongly influenced by everything to do with the Middle East.
He first began making music in 1982, under the alias of E.g Oblique Graph, to protest the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He released three cassettes and a 7" EP as E.g Oblique Graph: Extended Play (1982), Piano Room (1982), the 7" Triptych (1982), and Inhalt (1983). After he changed his name to Muslimgauze, he released a 7" EP (Hammer & Sickle), his first full-length LP (Kabul), and another cassette (Opaques) in 1983. In 1990, the Australian record label Extreme signed him, but he left in 1994 for Dutch label Staalplaat and its sister American label Soleilmoon because his albums were not being released as promptly as he had wanted, and he was also not receiving payment. Since he had put out seven releases since he signed, money was becoming a problem. His output was always very high. In 1995, he had six releases; in 1996, fifteen; in 1997, nine; in 1998, sixteen. After his death, the many record companies he had associated with released unreleased material and re-pressed older, out-of-print material

Be Great!!!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Prisoners

Keith Windschuttle introduces Swedes to Aboriginal his-story

Between 22:00-23:00 on Monday 4th February 2008 the program 'Historiens Fångar' (History's Prisoners) (streamed online now) by Danish film maker Poul-Erik Heilbuth was shown on Swedish Television Channel 1 with a repeat planned for next Sunday 10th February 2008 at 14:25 on the same channel.

I have registered a complaint with the Swedish Broadcasting Authority about the way the program 'Historiens Fångar' was presented without any discussion or dissenting opinion to those expressed by the main figure interviewed in the film. This man is well known in his homeland, Australia as holding extreme and controversial opinions when it comes to the exact subject matter the film dealt with, indigenous peoples. While many of the opinions expressed in the program do have basis in the situation experienced by many indigenous Australians (the area I am most familiar with, although the program dealt with indigenous North Americans, Sami and Inuit peoples) they were presented to viewers without any counter arguments or alternate opinion.

The most notable voice in the program was from Keith Windschuttle, a controversial figure to say the least in the debate around the history of white colonization in Australia and the Aboriginal people. Windschuttle is widely recognized as being a revisionist historian with a political agenda that is inevitably fulfilled by his research. To quote the respected Australian journalist and critic Gerard Henderson:

The problem with Windschuttle's work is that, at times, you get the impression that he is a former Marxist - turned political conservative - who is waging a personal war on the very left-wing interpretation of Australian history that he once both embraced and proclaimed. His revisionism is essential reading for anyone who wants to join the debate on Australian history. Yet, because his history contains a substantial degree of personal polemic, it sometimes lacks empathy.
The Trouble with Windschuttle, The Age Dec 7 2004.

Due to the one-sided nature of Mr. Windschuttle's account of Black-White relations in Australia and the way this was presented as a general reference point in the program for indigenes of the USA, Greenland and even Scandinavia, there should have been some counter balance provided in the documentary 'Historiens Fångar'. There was not. I suggest that the Australian current affairs program Four Corner's edition The Cape Experiment is one example that could lend an element of balance to some of the more ideologically motivated claims made by Windschuttle in 'Historians Fånger'. Windschuttle's books are self-published through his Macleay Press. By a even a quick review of the total published titles from MacLeay one can easily detect the ideologically narrow approach taken by the company:

The Invention of Terra Nullius: Historical and Legal Fictions on the Foundation of Australia by Michael Connor

The White Australia Policy: Race and shame in the Australian history wars by Keith Windschuttle

Washout: The academic response to the fabrication of Aboriginal history by John Dawson

The Killing of History: How a discipline is being murdered by literary critics and social theorists by Keith Windschuttle

Corrupting the Youth: A history of philosophy in Australia by James Franklin

The Multicultural Experiment edited by Leonie Kramer

Remix: A Scenario on Kurtz

This is draft post I stumbled on this morning. I tidied it up a bit (sort of) and here it is, in the half light of day:

Ok, Consider this. I would like to try to follow a particle, an idea, an image through a sequence of narrative manifestations as remix. Lets take the figure of the lone rebel lost in the other, the man who knows morals but is immoral:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

T.S Eliot made references to Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness (1899) in his poem The Hollow Men. A central theme of both works is the morality that goes with (or is absent in) power. In Heart of Darkness power is contrasted with what is alluded to as the biblically constructed Agapē (IPA: /ˈægəpiː/[1]) (Gk. αγάπη):

We talked of everything," he said, quite transported at the recollection.
"I forgot there was such a thing as sleep. The night did not seem to last an hour.
"Everything! Everything, of love, too."
"Ah, he talked to you of love!," I said, much amused.
"It isn't what you think," he cried almost passionately. "It was general. He made me see things--things." (Heart of Darkness)

Kurtz, as we all know, 'lives' on:

T.S Eliot published The Hollow Men in 1925. In this video from Apocalypse Now Redux (2001), in a scene deleted from the original cut (1979), Kurtz (Marlon Brando) reads the first stanza of Eliot's poem. The themes of The Hollow Men are well known but can be summarized for the purposes of my narrative trace with a paragraph from Jeff Willard:

A full, line-by-line annotation of Mr. Eliot's poem is painfully tedious and, I believe, robs the poem of its intended final effect. The reader feels an overall mood of disgust laced with pity for these men, who, upon realizing their imminent damnation, make one final lunge at salvation. But the impetus of their effort is not a thirst after salvation for salvation's sake, but rather a fear of damnation. However, a general understanding of some of the more important allusions and the progression of the poem lends a great deal to the enjoyment of this masterpiece. Literary Allusion in "the Hollow Men" By Jeff Willard

Now we fast foward to The Proposition (2005) a film written by Australian cultural icon Nick Cave. In The Proposition three brothers are pitted against one another in the unforgiving space of the colonial Australian outback in 1880s. One brother, Charlie Burns, must find and kill his older brother Arthur if the younger brother, 16year old Mikey is to be spared execution. Arthur is the Kurtz of The Proposition having gone into the interior, befriended the natives and committed several acts of extreme violence. Arthur has taken on the near spiritual dimensions of Mista Kurtz:

Jellon Lamb: [speaking about Arthur Burns] "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.

Charlie has three opportunities to kill Arthur. The morality of the situation, institutional power over life and death, blood being thicker than water, the value of life and the power relations of colonialism are all themes in The Proposition.

The questions raised by The Hollow Men, the cavity left by the morally bereft, are answered in a soliloquy by Arthur to his brother, who has been sent to murder him by the allegedly moral forces of frontier establishment (the police):

Arthur Burns: Love. Love is the key. Love and family. For what are night and day, the sun, the moon, the stars without love, and those you love around you? What could be more hollow than to die alone, unloved?

Between the publication of Heart of Darkness (1899) and The Proposition (2005) 106 years pass. There are many other texts that take up the themes of humanity interconnected, the power of some over others and the morality of dominion (see The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda) and I think there of course will be more. The transmission of the narrative image of Mista Kurtz through the 106 years is not just intertextual as it develops and changes, takes on a life of its own. The questions raised by Kurtz/Arthur remain the same. A textuality that moves beyond the page or screen needs to be constructed for us to account for the life and legend of Kurtz remaining so powerful now in the 21st Century. This textuality I am tempted to call Remix.