Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Australians Against Pirates

Australia's biggest musical acts are crying poor in a new documentary that seeks to discourage people from obtaining music illegally and change the public's perception that they live a high life of riches and glamour.

Ironically, the 10-minute documentary, which was developed by the music industry and will be distributed for free to all high schools in Australia, has been designed so it can easily be spread virally across the file sharing websites that also hold much of the pirated music the industry is seeking to eradicate.

Artists featured on the video include Silverchair, Powderfinger, the Veronicas, Operator Please, Jimmy Barnes, Evermore, Gyroscope, Frenzal Rhomb, Grinspoon, Phrase, Human Nature, Mahalia Barnes, Damien Leith, Anthony Callea, Weapon X, Ken Hell and the Dawn Collective.

"The internet has been a godsend and a nightmare for the music industry," Jimmy Barnes says

"Only 100,00 more downloads to go and we might put these miserable sods out of a job. They are all past their use by date. The public don't need music forced down their throats through record company budgets, if it sounds good people will pay for it, simple. Viva la revolution." Commented one user on the YouTube site for the video.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Customers can use their Pipes to Access Pirated Content

And there is the word from Australia, coming down "the pipes":

While it is rare to find an Australian ISP hosting an illegal download site today - most are hosted in countries with relaxed copyright laws such as Sweden - the music industry is now targeting internet providers simply because customers can use their pipes to access pirated content.

Music industry opens new front on piracy, Sydney Morning Herald.

Friday Downstreams (anaxagorillaballirogaxana)

Ron English,

Video: POPaganda: The Art and Subversion of Ron English

It's interesting reading entries about Ron English on the net, he is given a negative tone even by wikipedia:

One aspect of his work involves 'liberating' commercial billboards with his own messages. Frequent targets of his work include Joe Camel, McDonalds, and Mickey Mouse. Ron English can be considered the "celebrated prankster father of agit-pop", who wrangles carefully created corporate iconographies so that they are turned upside down, and are used against the very corporation they are meant to represent. Ron English has also painted several album covers including The Dandy Warhols album cover "Welcome to the Monkey House". Some of his paintings are also used in Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me.

Other sources describe English' work as "billboard-liberation antics" and "an artist who offers an alternative universe where nothing is sacred, everything is subverted and there's always room for a little good-natured fun."
Why is it so difficult to understand that spending your way to happiness is not for everyone and junk food, sweatshop produced clothes, war, environmental destruction, and poverty are not good? Back to our regularly programed scheduale..........

And the best of the downloadable and streamed media for this week found by myself while trawling the tubes of net

Its Just a Plant
An illustrated children's book (partly available online) about marijuana. It follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the plant from a diverse cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer.

Double Happiness
all asian photo-op interrupted by oblivious asian walking crew.
I have no idea what this website is about but I do find it strangely interesting.
Dadaesque even.

Brian Amsterdam Live Ambient Set 02-29-08 NYC
February 29, 2008. Performed with a sampler and a macbook. Arpeggiated synthesizer drones over frequency bends, tied together with breakbeats and ethereal vocals.A disposable composition titled "Speculating Into The Minds of The Dead" arranged on the morning of the performance. Enjoy.

Rhizome on Vimeo
New videos from the Rhizome online artbase. Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Recent videos include, Continuing Education for Dead Adults and 5 videos from Nextcity: Art of the Possible.

The first issue of 'eartrip', a new magazine focussing on jazz and experimental musics. In this issue, there are articles on jazz blogs, on New York bassist and composer William Parker, on the recent collaboration between Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor, and on free improvisation, as well as extensive album and gig review sections, and an interview with British jazz pioneers Mike and Kate Westbrook. The magazine is available, in PDF Format, by going to the download link below:
Alternate link one:
Alternate link two:

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
This is incredible. Darwin's private papers online - the largest publication of Darwin's papers in history

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Some musical memories....

I just found an entry on a blog that asked readers to list their "best gigs of all times". While I notice that my 'best gigs' were all quite a while ago, I still remember them as important to me. Of course, there are many other great gigs I went to, many many local bands in small venues in Australia, but these were the big names-famous-people ones that changed my life (and that I can remember):

1. Butthole Surfers, St Georges Hall, Newtown Sydney. 5 March 1991.
2. Janes Addiction, Festival Hall, Brisbane 20 September 1991.
3. Mudhoney, Livid Festival, Brisbane, 12 December 1990.
4. Boredoms (+Phlegm), played twice Metro Theater, Sydney 15 June 1996.
5. Ravi Shankar, St Francis Xavier School, Bombay, India, 26 January 1990.
6. Beasts of Bourbon (last gig with Kim Salmon), Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney 29 January 1993.
7. Einstürzende Neubauten, Metropolis Bar under the Myer Centre in the city, Brisbane. 2  July 1991
8. Nirvana/Violent Femmes, Fisherman's Wharf, Gold Coast, 26 January 1992.
9. Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Mudhoney, Nick Cave, Big Day Out, Sydney, 22 January 1992.
10. Shellac of North America, Landsdowne Hotel, Sydney, 1993.

It wasn't always the music either that made the moment. Some of these concerts were not so good for sound (Nirvana was a disaster - oversold and the band just played and left, no speaking or movement) but the people I was with or the atmosphere of the gig, the time it happened in my life and decisions I made from it (No. 1 is there because it resulted in me moving 1000kms away from my hometown and basing myself in Sydney for 8 years) makes them the best. Some however, like Ravi Shankar or Einstürzende Neubauten were just powerful art.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The End of the Commonwealth of Englishes

In three weeks I have presented seven lectures on The Cultures of Commonwealth English. It has been a demanding time, but I have learnt a lot. I have been using a wiki to teach and administer the course. The wiki is the textbook, the lectures notes, the plan and the study materials for the exam. I am not sure how the students feel about the use of the wiki, but I suspect it may be positive. I will distribute a short series of questions to guage opionion during the last lecture tomorrow. I have been even teaching from the wiki in the classroom, using the embedded videos and images as learning objects in lessons. I have been spacing out the videos from between 10 an 20 minutes apart, as the students start to get bored listening to my voice after about that amount of time. I hope to be teaching the same course again next term and I will continue to develop the wiki as part of future teaching of the course. You can check the wiki out HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ben Visits the Hospital Part 2

Tomorrow Benyamin (2 years..pictured in dramatic jam sprayed close up) goes for his second visit to the hospital to see what's wrong with his hearing. He will be having a general anaesthetic and while he is out they will be doing an MIR scan and a conventional x-ray of his inner and middle ear respectively. Hopefully this will show why he is so diminished in his hearing in both ears. There is a nurses' strike that began today in Sweden (they are paid very low wages comparatively with what others earn following a similar period of time that is required to finish their education) so we were not sure if the procedure would be going ahead. But they are prioritising children so Ben is up for it tomorrow at 7:30am. I will be off the air for a time as a result. See you on Wednesday. Good luck Ben!
Update: We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 and the preliminaries began. It was decided that Ben had a slight cold with a slight fever and therefore it could not go ahead. We were home by 9:00am and the examination will take place later. Maybe after the nurses stike ends, which may be weeks away.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Downstreams (heavier than air)

The best of the free on the net this week. Well what eye came across anyway. Has a flavor of heavy sounds and psychic cohesion. Best of luck to all in the money jungle for the coming week.

DOWNLOAD: Earth - The Driver (MP3)
From "The Bees Made Honey in the Lions' Skull"
DOWNLOAD: Earth - Ouroboros Is Broken (MP3)
From "Hibernaculum"
More dark chords from the Southern Lord

"Ray of Gob" Madonna meets the Sex Pistols
Remix Video Collection from Remix Theory
The list is not by any means exhaustive, and is not linear in any way. The top links are mashups and the bottom links are early hip hop and rock videos. They were chosen in part because of the different approaches to video making, this was necessary for the class, because the students need to understand how music video language evolved throughout the eighties and nineties on to today.
Some of the videos also show early traces of sampling, for example, Trans Europe Express was sampled by Afrika Bambaataa for Planet Rock. Also, the remix of Tour de France juxtaposed with the early version shows how electronic music has evolved while acknowledging the important paradigms set by early electrofunk compositions. The now well known mashups of Christina Aguilera and the Strokes, Madonna and the Sex Pistols, as well as Michael Jackson, Britney Spears the White Stripes and Rick James are some of the most successful remixes in this genre. Part of me admittedly rejects them for their popularity, but the creativity that has gone into the audio remix as well as the video editing have to be noted, because they have at this point set a standard in Remix Culture.

Devour The Child
Devour The Child A weekly comic strip published in San Jose State's campus newspaper "The Spartan Daily" from August-December 2005. Now all 24 strips are available to read online!

Anthem of the Space: 5 albums for download found on the web.
Brant Bjork - Jalamanta (1999, stoner rock)
The Mushroom River Band - Music for the World Beyond (2000, stoner rock)
Greenleaf - Agents of Ahriman (2007, stoner rock)
Conrad Schnitzler - Rot (1973, electronic/krautrock)
Spiritual Beggars - Ad Astra (2000, stoner metal)

Psychic TV: Still on the Fringes : NPR Music
Formed in 1981 by Genesis P-Orridge after the dissolution of the industrial-noise band Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV has long been an artistic force on the fringe. The band fuses melodic pop, white noise, sound collages, spoken word, and ethnic instrumentation with a Dadaist aesthetic.
Members of Psychic TV have gone on to form other experimental music projects, including Coil, but P-Orridge kept working under the Psychic TV name (and many others) to explore more sounds. Most notably, the band took on the British rave scene, pioneering "acid house."
The latest incarnation of Psychic TV, re-assembled in 2003, features a revolving cast of musicians. The recorded result, Hell Is Invisible... Heaven Is Here, came out last year. It's a bit more conventional than past efforts, with nods to Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, yet still wildly inventive.

Decoder (MP3s, videos)
"Decoder", released in 1984, is a German low-budget paranoid proto-cyberpunk movie, based on ideas of William S. Burroughs, featuring FM Einheit, Christiane F., Genesis P-Orridge, and even Bill Burroughs himself. Here is a rough outline of the story:

Hamburg, 1983. F.M. is a youngster leading an idle urban life, totally alienated from his environment, and only active when making "sound experiments" in his home studio. Christiana, his girlfriend, works in a peepshow on Reeperbahn. A chronically depressed customer is infatuated by her and tries to get more closely acquainted. The relationship between F.M. and Christiana is cool and distant, except for the moments at breakfast, when they share the muddled visions of their dreams.

One day F.M. suddenly wakes up to the surrounding reality, as he notices how the inconspicuous background music at a hamburger joint may have some connection with the junk food. It dawns on him that muzak is designed to control and brainwash the masses, not unlike lobotomy. On top of its paralysing effects, muzak is also laced with subliminal messages. F.M. decides to go back to the bar and records the muzak for his own purposes. He starts to develop a form of "anti-muzak" in his studio, by playing the original material backwards, or at a wrong speed, or by mixing it with interfering factors like sounds of street riots or squealing frogs.

In a dream of his F.M. receives support for his one-man war from an old shopkeeper (William Burroughs) selling electronics spare parts. He gives F.M. a disassembled cassette with the advice "This is all you need!" While wandering around the city, F.M. runs into members of a shady cult, "the pirates", who have taken over an abandoned building in order to practice their nocturnal rituals of "black noise". The core of their high priest's (Genesis P-Orridge) message is: "Information is like a bank. Some of us are rich, while others are poor. It is our mission to rob that bank…" F.M. and the pirates decide to co-operate. They perform terrorist attacks in Burger Kings and McDonalds, armed with cassette players and anti-muzak. The customers get sudden nausea attacks and start rushing to the exits…

The action continues around the city, until the mighty Muzak Corporation intervenes by sending agent Jäger to track down the tape terrorists. Things get complicated when F.M. finds out that Christiana's secret admirer and regular peepshow visitor is none other than Jäger himself. All the while, F.M. and the pirates keep copying more anti-muzak cassettes and distributing them to people in the streets. Mass hysteria and general chaos ensue…

Furekaaben-Rode Roser(2nd LP),LP,1971,Denmark
This is an excellent recording, beautiful drone-scapes of improvised collaboration. Even rarer than their first LP, Prinsesseværelset,this is a masterpiece of experimental acid folk jams.

Furekaaben-Prinsessevaerelset ,LP,1970 ,Denmark
The first Furekaaben LP.Released in 1970 in 1000 copies,2 issues,one the regular plain sleeve and the other same sleeve handpainted.Also rumours of a handfull of copies in handpainted die-cut sleeve.Exotic trippy dreamy textures with tabla, zither, indian flutes, acoustic guitar, cello, etc.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Charalambides Play Umeå

Friday 18 april 21:00-24:00
Café Göteborg (fd Café Escape)
Storgatan 62B (beside the old Prison) Umeå, Sweden.
Entry: 60 Crowns.
Info: 073-7388819,
Arr: Moonshake & Kretsen

Be there or be outside the drowned drone power circle of threadbare bone beauty.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No Result is Still a Result

Lars Cuzner, an artist researcher working in HUMlab, has just created a project where

An invitation and call for rejected proposals will go out to artists, scientists, project coordinators etc. These proposals will be entered into the database and the process of recycling from the intellectual landfill of dismissed ideas can begin. Other calls for rejected proposals will be done online as well as similar exhibitions in other places.

The ideas that have been rejected are given new life in Fresh Out of Ideas,

If we view each rejected proposal as an individual within a population, the individuals consist of DNA; e.g. we can view each sentence as a gene. Some texts have a combination of genes that are more successful than others based on criteria specific to the grant or call. When the criteria change, so does the relative fitness of the individual. The fittest individuals have a better chance to reproduce and hence their genes have a higher probability of being represented in the next generation. Through this process of selection, reproduction and gene mixing, new individuals/proposals with potentially higher fitness than their parents will be generated.
The fitness function of the genetic algorithm will primarily be based on the criteria of the call for proposals in question. In addition, the selection pressure can be adjusted and refined by means of specific concepts that the applicant supplies interactively by mapping grant topics, themes, key words, shared metaphors etc.

If you think Fresh Out of Ideas is worth creating you can vote for it on the Rhizome 2009 Commissions after April 17. I know I will be :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Seminar: "Digital Literature, Bakhtin and the Dialogic Principle"

Engelska D, inr. 30 hp
12a Digital literature
12b Bakhtin and the Dialogic Principle

15th April 10:15-12:00 C203.

'Life knows two value-centers that are fundamentally and essentially different, yet are correlated with each other: myself and the other; and it is around these centers that all of the concrete moments of Being are distributed and arranged.' — Mikhail Bakhtin, Towards a Philosophy of the Act

What is Digital Literature?
The term refers to simulative and representational works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of digital literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

•Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
•Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
•Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
•Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
•Interactive fiction
•Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
•Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
•Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
•Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing
(Adapted from the Electronic Literature Organization)

Henry Jenkins, Game Design as Narrative Architecture
Jenkins' essay outlines a way of thinking about computer games, as digital communicative artifacts, some of which embody stories or narratives.
Central to Jenkins ideas about computer games and narrative are:

1. Spatiality:
“Before we can talk about game narratives, then, we need to talk about game spaces. Across a series of essays, I have made the case that game consoles should be regarded as machines for generating compelling spaces, that their virtual playspaces have helped to compensate for the declining place of the traditional backyard in contemporary boy culture, and that the core narratives behind many games center around the struggle to explore, map, and master contested spaces.” (Jenkins 4)

2. Environmental Story Telling:
“Environmental storytelling creates the preconditions for an immersive narrative experience in at least one of four ways: spatial stories can evoke pre-existing narrative associations; they can provide a staging ground where narrative events are enacted; they may embed narrative information within their mise-en-scene; or they provide resources for emergent narratives.” (Jenkins 5-6)

3. Enacting Stories:
“Spatial stories are held together by broadly defined goals and conflicts and pushed forward by the character's movement across the map. Their resolution often hinges on the player's reaching their final destination, though, as Mary Fuller notes, not all travel narratives end successfully or resolve the narrative enigmas which set them into motion. Once again, we are back to principles of "environmental storytelling." The organization of the plot becomes a matter of designing the geography of imaginary worlds, so that obstacles thwart and affordances facilitate the protagonist's forward movement towards resolution. Over the past several decades, game designers have become more and more adept at setting and varying the rhythm of game play through features of the game space.” (Jenkins 7)

4, Embedded Narratives
“According to this model, narrative comprehension is an active process by which viewers assemble and make hypothesis about likely narrative developments on the basis of information drawn from textual cues and clues. As they move through the film, spectators test and reformulate their mental maps of the narrative action and the story space. In games, players are forced to act upon those mental maps, to literally test them against the game world itself. If you are wrong about whether the bad guys lurk behind the next door, you will find out soon enough - perhaps by being blown away and having to start the game over.” (Jenkins 9)

5. Emergent Narratives
"The characters [of The Sims] have a will of their own, not always submitting easily to the player's control, as when a depressed protagonist refuses to seek employment, preferring to spend hour upon hour soaking in their bath or moping on the front porch. Characters are given desires, urges, and needs, which can come into conflict with each other, and thus produce dramatically compelling encounters. Characters respond emotionally to events in their environment, as when characters mourn the loss of a loved one. Our choices have consequences, as when we spend all of our money and have nothing left to buy them food. The gibberish language and flashing symbols allow us to map our own meanings onto the conversations, yet the tone of voice and body language can powerfully express specific emotional states, which encourage us to understand those interactions within familiar plot situations." (Jenkins 12)

Who was M.M. Bakhtin?
Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was born in Orel, south of Moscow, in 1895 and grew up in Vilnius and Odessa. He studied classics and philology at St. Petersburg (later Petrograd) University, then moved to the country, first to Nevel and then to Vitebsk, in the wake of the revolutions of 1917. During the 1930’s and early 1940’s, he completed some of his most important studies of the novel, including "Discourse in the Novel," "Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel," and "Epic and Novel." He also completed his major work on Rabelais, submitted as his doctoral dissertation to the Gorky Institute of World Literature in Moscow in 1941 (he was later awarded the lower degree of Candidate). A successful teacher in Saransk during the 1950’s, Bakhtin was discovered in the early 1960’s by a group of Moscow graduate students who had read his Dostoevsky book. He wrote notes titled "Toward a Reworking of the Dostoevsky Book" in 1961; published a second edition of the book, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, in 1963; published the Rabelais book, Rabelais and his World, in 1965; and published a collection of his most important essays on the novel, The Dialogic Imagination, in the year of his death, 1975. During the last twenty-five years of his life, he also wrote several essays later published under the title Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. His work spread throughout the West in the 1980’s and is the subject of vigorous debate and reassessment in Russia in the mid 1990’s (Emerson, First Hundred Years).

Bakhtin can be described as a philosopher, cultural and literary critic and theorist. In his large body of work, much of which has not been translated into English, Bakhtin provides several theoretical devices that can be used to critically analyze cultural and symbolic systems. Chronotope, Carnivalization, Heteroglossia, Polyphonic, Monologic, and Dialogism are all terms which Bakhtin applies complex meanings to, in a sense as analytical tools. The last of these, dialogism is what we will be discussing today, particularly in relation to a work of digital literature.

In the English translation of “The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays” by M. M. Bakhtin (2002 edition), dialogism is described as

“Dialogism is the characteristic epistemological mode of a world dominated by heteroglossia. Everything means, is understood, as part of a greater whole – there is constant interaction between meanings, all of which have the potential of conditioning others. Which will affect the other, how it will do so and in what degree is what is actually settled at the moment of utterance. This dialogic imperative, mandated by the pre-existence of the language world relative to any of it current inhabitants, insures that there is no actual monologue. One may, like a primitive tribe that knows only its own limits, be deluded into thinking there is one language, or one may, as grammarians, certain political figures and normative framers of “literary languages” do, seek in a sophisticated way to achieve a unitary language. In both cases the unitariness is relative to the overpowering force of heteroglossia, and thus dialogism.” (Glossary to Bakhtin,2002:426 by Holquist)

Key Words and Phrases

“Epistemological mode”
"A theory of the grounds of knowledge: how we ‘make meaning'." (Pearce 2)

“Many Tongues”
“Refers to the ‘internal differentiation’ and ‘stratification’ of different registers within a language in particular, the struggle between the official (ideological dominant) and nonofficial registers.” (Pearce 62)

“The base condition governing the operation of meaning in any utterance. It is that which insures the primacy of context over text. At any given time, in any given place, there will be a set of conditions – social, historical, meteorological, physiological - that will insure that a word uttered in that place at that time will have a meaning different than it would have under any other conditions; all utterances are heteroglot in that they functions of a matrix of forces practically impossible to recoup, and therefore impossible to resolve. Heteroglossia is as close a conceptualization as it possible of that locus where centripetal and centrifugal forces collide; as such it is that which systematic linguistics must always suppress.” (Glossary to Bakhtin,2002:428 by Holquist)

“Speaking alone”
“Monologue refers to those texts in which (to quote Lodge) ‘the authorial narrator does not merely impose his own imperative frame on the table, but makes the characters speak the same language as himself.’ (p19) Bakhtin, as we have already seen, associates this type of authorial hegemony largely with prenovelistic discourse, although it is also a tendency in the classic-realist novel fronted by the so-called ‘omniscient narrator’.” Pearce 51)

Not simply ‘turn taking’, but is perhaps better expressed in the word closest to that used by Bakhtin; dialogism. Dialogism is a state or condition, not just an activity but a quality of being.

“Dialogic relationships are possible not only among whole (relatively whole) utterances; a dialogic approach is possible toward any signifying part of an utterance, even toward an individual word, if that word is perceived not as the impersonal word of language but as a sign of someone else’s semantic position, as the representative of another person’s utterance, that is if we hear it in someone else’s voice. Thus dialogic relationships can permeate inside the utterance, even inside the individual word as long as two voices collide within it dialogically (microdialogue, of which we spoke earlier).” (Bakhtin, 2002:184)

In relation to a work of digital literature dialogism operates throughout the artifact. It is in the sense that the mechanics and design of the work of digital literature are also sources or sites of meaning. The materiality of literary works as dialogic systems, no matter what media, is well illustrated by a short video, “Learn the Book”:

What makes a book meaningful in the context of the ‘medieval helpdesk’ is learning the registers of its use. These registers are culturally, historically and socially situated. Because we are so familiar with books as a means of storing and transmitting information, culture, knowledge, and so on we do not question the dialogues that exist around such artifacts and how they are employed in the construction of meaning.

A well known and respected theorist of digital literature, Katherine Hayles writes;

“Let us begin rethinking materiality by noting that it is impossible to precisely specify what a book – or any other text – is as a physical object, for there are an infinite number of ways its physical characteristics can be described. Speaking of electronic text, for example, we could focus on the polymers used to make the plastic case or the palladium used in the power cord. The physical instantiation of the text will in this sense always be indeterminate. What matters for understanding literature, however, is how the text creates the possibilities for meaning by mobilizing certain aspects of its physicality.” (Hayles 2005 103)

So, how does the digital text create “the possibilities for meaning by mobilizing certain aspects of its physicality?” By observing the principles of dialogism as proposed by Bakhtin and applying them to a complex, one could say heteroglossic, example of digital textuality; we can gain some idea of how the possibilities are embodied in the assemblage.

Alleph is a complex labyrinth based upon seven depicted visual spaces; an overgrown garden, an abandoned school classroom, a brick wall, an abandoned workshop, empty prison cells, a landscape of menhirs and an abandoned medical theatre. From these dynamic, navigable spaces eleven texts of spoken and written prose, poetic and dramatic narratives and eight puzzles (game or toy like) can be opened from links in the spaces. Move your cursor around inside the images and when you come across a link a green mass will appear around the cursor. Click on the link and it will open a window of text, audio or graphics.
As well as the spoken audio texts; in Rasta Creole English, Persian, Urdu and Standard English, there are also several sound and music audio texts. Spoken and written works included within Alleph are by Maqapi Selassie, Farid al Din Attar, and are performed by Amjad Hussain Shah and coded by Irvine Saunders. Alleph was produced using Macromedia Flash by a production team from Emote Media Production Company in Birmingham England, led by digital artist Sakab Bashir. The work is described by Bashir as “A true interactive story” and “a self portrait” in “a patient labyrinth of lines tracing the face”.

The remainder of this seminar shall be devoted to looking at, interpreting and experiencing Alleph by Sakab Bashir.

Texts Referenced
Bakhtin M.M. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. 1981. Ed. Michael Holquist.
Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: U of Texas Press, 2002.

Bakhtin M.M. Towards a Philosophy of the Act. trans. and notes by Vadim Liapunov, ed. by Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov Austin: Texas UP, 1993

Hayles, N. Katherine. My Mother was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Pearce. Lynne. Reading Dialogics. London: Edward Arnold, 1994.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Make Your Real-ity)

Canvas Bags by Tim Minchin

"Any consumer good can likewise be made into an ideological sign. For instance, bread and wine become religious symbols in the Christian sacrament of communion.. But the consumer good, as such, is not at all a sign. Consumer goods, just as tools, may be combined with ideological signs, but the distinct conceptual dividing line between them is not erased by the combination. Bread is made in some particular shape; this shape is not warranted solely by the bread’s function as a consumer good; it also has a certain, if primitive, value as an ideological sign (e.g., bread in the shape of a figure eight (krendel) or a rosette)."
Valentin Nikolaevich Voloshinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language

Bach - The complete Brandenburg Concertos
The Brandenburg Concertos are probably the most successful unsuccessful attempt at composing “on spec” of all time. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote these concertos in 1721 and sent them to Christian Ludwig, the Margrave of Brandenburg, in an attempt to secure a position as musician to the royal court. He was not hired and Ludwig’s response to the composition is unknown. Nonetheless The Brandenburg Concertos are one of the cornerstones of Baroque music and about the only reason we even remember the name of Christian Ludwig.
Czech Radio presents a performance of all six concertos. The ensemble is Musica Florea, directed by Marek Strynci and was recorded in June of 2006. The work is played on original instruments of the Baroque era and is based on the original score. Here we have a recording close to what Bach envisioned and is just as good as any modern orchestral recording that I have heard. The first movement of the second concerto has always been a favorite of mine and the theme of the first movement of the third concerto will be familiar to any one who had watched a lot of BBC costume dramas. These are essential works for lovers of Classical music and an exceptional performance. The concertos are available in formats of 192kbps MP3 or FLAC.

Luc Ferrari - Rencontres Fortuites
Didascalies (Sub Rosa, 2007)

FATE Magazine is the world's leading magazine of the paranormal. Started in 1948, it has published expert opinions and personal experiences relating to UFOs, psychic abilities, ghosts and hauntings, cryptozoology, alternative medicine, and Fortean phenomena for a devoted readership worldwide.

Martin Archer - Live in Krakow :: April :: 2008
British composer and improviser Martin Archer presents an 80 minute performance from Krakow courtesy of the AudioTong net label. Armed with electronics, a barrage of sound loops and a sopranino saxophone, he explores every aspect of the avant-garde with ease and imagination. While utilizing drones, samples, and the usual array of tricks, this is no minimalist chill-out. Archer challenges the listener but is able to keep us interested through his wit, creativity and complexity. He starts with a looped statement, “All wars are lost” that seems to be not so much a political statement as a personal one. By the time he is finished, he has transversed industrial sounds, avant garde jazz, Celtic music, and much more. I especially enjoy his ability on the sopranino sax which makes me wonder if he have been influenced at all by the late great British saxophonist Elton Dean. This is an album that is best listened to in its entirely but if you want a track that brings the artist’s talents together, try “CC Loop”. This is a performance that never sits still and will endlessly fascinate.

The War 0n Drugs (Secretly Canadian) - FREE rock EP

Folkstreams » The Best of American Folklore Films
A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures. I found it vai the amazinf segments they ave on the archive of a 1976 doco "Born for Hard Luck: Peg Leg Sam Jackson" A film portrait of the last Black medicine-show performer, Arthur "Peg Leg Sam" Jackson, with harmonica songs, tales of hoboing, buckdances, and a live medicine-show performance.

UbuWeb Sound :: Tellus #15: The Improvisors (1986)
Excerpts from The Stephanie and Irving Stone Festival of Improvisors recorded at Roulette, NYC on November 8, 9, and 10, 1985. Participants in the festival included:

Gregg Bendian - Percussion
Jill Burton - Vocals
Chris Cochrane - Guitar
Anthony Coleman - Keyboards
Tom Cora - Cello
Judy Danaway - Guitar
Carol Emanuel - Harp
Bill Frisell - Guitar
Bobby Previte - Drums
Jim Staley - Trombone
John Zorn - Sax, Clarinets and Game Calls
Irene Schweitzer - Piano
Fred Frith - Guitar and Homemade Strings
Samm Bennett - Drums
Lindsay Cooper - Bassoon and Reeds
Bill Horvitz - Guitar
Guy Klucevsek - Accordion
Christian Marclay - Turntables
Denman Maroney - Piano
David Weinstein - Mirage etc.
Ikue Mori - Drums

Tellus #17: Video Arts Music (1987)
Numberous video pieces represented on this tape were originally produced in part at the facilities of the Experimental TV Venter, Owego, New York. This project is suppoerted in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Germany Dada: An Alphabet of German Dadaism (1969) by Helmut Herbst (b. 1934)
This documentary concerns the contributions of German artists to the Dadaist movement. Created in 1916, the organizers rejected previous convention and delighted in nihilistic satire in painting, sculpture and literature. Comparisons are made between the movement and the political and social upheaval at the time of the release of this feature (1969). - Dan Pavlides, All Movie Guide
Credit Helmut Herbst - Director; Helmut Herbst - Cinematographer; Helmut Herbst - Screenwriter

UbuWeb Sound - Tristan Tzara
1. Pour Compte (6.02), from Phases, 1949
2. L'amiral Cherche Une Maison à Louer
(Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Richard Hulsenbeck)
3. Dada Into Surrealism (1959)
"L'amiral Cherche Une Maison à Louer" is one of the best known examples of Dada tonal poetry, in which several voices speak, sing, whistle, etc. simultaneously in such a way that the resulting combinations account for the total effect of the work. The simultaneous poem demonstrates the value of the human voice and is a powerful illustration of the fact that an organic work of art has a will of its own. The piece was written in 1916 as a performance piece for the Caberet Voltaire by Tristan Tzara, Richard Hulsenbeck and Marcel Janco.
Janco (1895-1985), a Romanian painter and engraver, had become acquainted with Tzara in 1912, working with him on the magazine "Simbolul." Whilst studying architecture in Zurich in 1915, he met Tzara again and became involved in the Cabaret Voltaire, for which he made woodcuts and abstract reliefs, posters, costumes and masks.
The version featured here is not an original recording but one made by the Italian Trio Excoco: Hanna Aurbacher, Theophil Maier and Ewald Liska.
Some verses of Tristan Tzara, for example "nfoünta mbaah mbaah nfoünta", inspired by African singsong, seem to be analogous to Hugo Ball's work, but in general Tzara's poems consisted of absurd encounters of meanings, and not of sounds, such as the famous "La première aventure céleste de M.Anitpryine" (1916) and the poem that he composed in collaboration with Marcel Janco and Richard Huelsenbeck "L'amiral cherche une maison à louer" (The admiral looks for a house to rent). Tzara's dadaism is not phonic but semantic.

Dada Magazine (1917-1918) Please note that all files are PDFs.
Attempting to promulgate Dada ideas throughout Europe, Tristan Tzara launched the art and literature review Dada. Although, at the outset, it was planned that Dada members would take turns editing the review and that an editorial board would be created to make important decisions, Tzara quickly assumed control of the journal. But, as Richter said, in the end no one but Tzara had the talent for the job, and, "everyone was happy to watch such a brilliant editor at work."[10] Appearing in July 1917, the first issue of Dada, subtitled Miscellany of Art and Literature, featured contributions from members of avant-garde groups throughout Europe, including Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Delaunay, and Wassily Kandinsky. Marking the magazine's debut, Tzara wrote in the Zurich Chronicle, "Mysterious creation! Magic Revolver! The Dada Movement is Launched." Word of Dada quickly spread: Tzara's new review was purchased widely and found its way into every country in Europe, and its international status was established.
While the first two issues of Dada (the second appeared in December 1917) followed the structured format of Cabaret Voltaire, the third issue of Dada (December 1918) was decidedly different and marked significant changes within the Dada movement itself. Issue number 3 violated all the rules and conventions in typography and layout and undermined established notions of order and logic. Printed in newspaper format in both French and German editions, it embodies Dada's celebration of nonsense and chaos with an explosive mixture of manifestos, poetry, and advertisements‹all typeset in randomly ordered lettering.
The unconventional and experimental design was matched only by the radical declarations contained within the third issue of Dada. Included is Tzara's "Dada Manifesto of 1918," which was read at Meise Hall in Zurich on July 23, 1918, and is perhaps the most important of the Dadaist manifestos. In it Tzara proclaimed:

Dada: the abolition of logic, the dance of the impotents of creation; Dada: abolition of all the social hierarchies and equations set up by our valets to preserve values; Dada: every object, all objects, sentiments and obscurities, phantoms and the precise shock of parallel lines, are weapons in the fight; Dada: abolition of memory; Dada: abolition of archaeology; Dada: abolition of the prophets; Dada: abolition of the future; Dada: absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the product of spontaneity.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Words and Silence

Silence here has been due to a marathon 4 day writing session of a thesis chapter which I finished at midnight last night. The chapter, Ritualized Texture: Design, Materiality and Response in Digital Literature will be discussed in a seminar next Tuesday at 15:15:

Design is relevant to how digital works of literature are encountered, interpreted and responded to. The visual arrangement of a work on the computer screen (use of color and light, points of view etc), its structural elements (programming codes, server speeds etc.) and its functional qualities (spatial arrangements, linking systems, and sonic features etc.) combine to become the overall design of the digital text. It is argued in this chapter that patterns of implied response are present in the design elements of a digital work of literature. A recent popular work on the design of digital media describes the authorship of interactive texts where “the ratio of accessible states to conceivable states is a good measure of the quality of the interaction. Verbs are what make states accessible to your user. If you put lots of effort into the verbs, you’ll be giving more and more state accessibility to your user”. (Crawford: 95) Such a mechanistic approach to interactive design speaks of a lack in the understanding of how representations from multiple cultures often intersect in the authoring of digital textuality. However, there is present in the statement a suggestion of the relevance of response in the design of digital media works. It is such dialogic exchanges between design, the material artifact and implied response embodied in the digital literary text which forms the subject of this chapter.

Should be interesting.....

In the meantime there is much to do. I was sent a link today to The Eighth Day, "an online graphic novel created as a 3rd year Final Major Production for (BA) in Interactive Media Production by Arni Lochner".
There's a blog for The Eighth Day as well. It represents for me a further development in Flash as a narrative production tool. The Eighth Day is an interactive web comic with audio. Really nice use of animation in both visual composition and kinetic structures. Shading and colors are great as well. I question the need to maintain the folio form but it works fine.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Free Cortex Alignment)

“Ethnologists and psychologists have shown that the ‘oceanic feeling’ of belonging, ecstasy and total participation that many experience when ritualizing, works by means of repetitive rhythms sounds and tones which effectively ‘tune’ to each other the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex (see d’Aquili et al. 1979, Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1979, Fischer 1971, and Turner 1981).”
Richard Schechner, The Future Of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance, (1993) 20

And now for some of the “repetitive rhythms sounds and tones which effectively ‘tune’ to each other the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.”

M.A.Numminen - Taisteluni + In Memoriam, 1967, 1970, Finland
Mauri Antero Numminen (born 12 March 1940, Somero) is one of the best-known Finnish artists, having worked on several different fields of music and culture.
In the 1960s M.A. Numminen was known particularly as an avantgarde/underground artist, stirring controversy with such songs as 'Nuoren aviomiehen on syytä muistaa' (the lyrics of which were taken directly from a marital guide) and 'Naiseni kanssa eduskuntatalon puistossa'. He was also a member of the band Suomen Talvisota 1939-1940. In his early days Numminen often consciously tried to provoke people. Here he succeeded well, for example by his interpretations of Franz Schubert's lieds, sung with his own idiosyncratic singing voice, or managing to create a scandal at the Jyväskylän kesä festival of Jyväskylä in 1966 with his song lyrics taken from a sex guide. Numminen also did music to the writings of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. M.A. Numminen founded in 1966 with Pekka Gronow the record label Eteenpäin! ("Forward!"), which released Numminen's own music. Later on Numminen's records were published under the umbrella of the legendary Finnish label Love Records.

Philip Corner - 3 Pieces for Gamelan Ensemble, Fluxus
"'Gamelan' means for Philip Corner more than the name for Indonesian orchestras. The composer uses the word the way, apart from Europe, someone might say 'symphony'. A basis of making music, adding a few wonderful ideas from the Orient: a precise relation between the scale of time and that of musical space; a simple formal concept, expressed directly through sensual attractiveness; some freedom, or mystery, added to the precision. 'Gamelan' is the name of the first piece. In 1975 at Livingston College where Barbara Banary, who had just constructed the earliest instruments for Son Of Lion, invited Philip Corner to compose a piece. Its opening gong stroke and long resonance has gone through several revivals over the years since, and has come to seem like a 'classic'. This piece is the link to the composer's earlier works, particularly those of struck resonant instruments, like Metal Meditations, which are intensely focused on the immediate presence of the sounds. What is added here is counting, although counting so long a length dissolves again into the intuitive. The second track on this CD is titled 'The Barcelona Cathedral'. The composer Tom Johnson wrote about it in 1978: 'A few weeks ago I attended a rehearsal of New York's own gamelan ensemble, Son Of Lion. One of the works I heard that evening was a new composition by Philip Corner. Corner was conducting in big slow beats that fell heavily once every few seconds. With each beat about ten mallets fell onto the metallic percussion instruments with a tremendous clang. A variety of pitches resulted, and the general effect was much like a big church bell. The piece went on for nearly half an hour, always with that same relentless beat, but with slightly different effects.' These first two compositions, first issued on LP for Lotta Poetica, have been remastered for this CD edition that also features a previously unpublished major work entitled 'Belum'. The author wrote about it: 'There is improvisation within a structure that only reveals itself over many repetitions. The melody is quite difficult, with many syncopations and rhythmic irregularities. We have learned it well, but since no one knows exactly how each will play, there is individual freedom and group chance results. Bringing together different cultures in a new kind of harmony. ...It [the music culture of Indonesia] has added to my previous development sense of music as wonderful-sound, the sense of music as wonderful-measure. Thanks to this, I now love numbers and with no diminishing of the senses...'.-Forced Exposure

Nurse With Wound - Live in Vienna, 2005 (Bootleg)
This was recorded May 7 2005 at the Anatomical Museum in Vienna. There's only one track, a live rendition of Salt Marie Celeste. No cover as it is a bootleg recording.

Nurse With Wound Ensemble - Live in Portland
Recorded December 11th, 2004. As the NWW site says on this show: Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter appear on stage during the 4th Irr. App. (Ext.) performance for a rendition of "Cooloorta Moon". Colin Potter did a solo performance, whilst Steven Stapleton performed a unique DJ set. As it says, there's an Irr. App. (Ext.), Colin Potter, Nurse With Wound and Steve Stapleton solo set. Each is about 30-45 minutes. Again, there's no cover as it's a bootleg.

Terence McKenna Audio
I know how hard it is trying to find terence mckenna audio, and I think EVERYBODY should listen to what he had to say. Below is a list of links to some audio links, I recommend downloading them all and listening to them straight through(or until you acheive enlightenment).
They range in topics, from DMT experiences(the hyper space elves) to Ayahuasca stories and many other things like, time travel and novelty theory. Terence is at least the most advanced thinker of our time. Personally I suggest Metamorphosis to start(near the bottom of the list)

:: Hollow Earth Radio ::
We have two main goals. Our first emphasis is on exposing works that have yet to be unearthed or have long been dormant. We seek out content that is raw and undiscovered such as found sound from answering machine tapes scavenged from yard sales or bedroom recordings that have never seen the light of day or old gospel records found at thrift stores or stories from everyday life from people in our neighborhood, or music from bands that mostly play house shows.
The second part of our vision is to support programs that highlight human experience. We feel that the way we consume music is becoming more and more abstract, where, for instance, it is common to buy a 99 cent song from an online music store that distances us from really becoming connected to the actual people who create the songs. We want to talk to the musicians, reveal the stories behind the artists, and learn about the actual people involved.

Trio Lligo
My friend Erik sent me an email with lots of good music to be downloaded:
Dear web guest!
Thank you for listening to us. We have set up this web site because we want our old songs to be easily accessible. We have put the music into torrent files so that it can be found on e.g. The Pirate Bay. We have also chosen a licence which encourages all who want to share Trio Lligo.

A Tiny Window: Midsummer 2006
From the Dongas Tribe archive: Various lo-fi recordings of improvisational saz collaborations from the 2006 Sunrise Festival and the Avebury area a few days later. Some really beautiful soft trance arrangements here.

South Park Studios
The episode finder provides access to all episodes of South Park with links to watch full episodes and links to the episode guide.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Tonight Galleri Kari Cavén (behind Galleri Andersson Sandström), Umedalen Skulptur,
Aktrisgränd 34 Sculpture Park, Umadalen (Take the number 1 bus from the city). McCleod Zicmuse and Moonshake presents Terra-

authored by McCloud ZICMUSE

The TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is an installation which deals with the ideas of nationality, statehood and autonomy within the parameters of today's society.
The goal of the TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is to create, within the space and time of an exposition, a working micro-nation. The artists establish frontiers, create systems of communication, including symbols of the nation, such as a flag, crest, and emblems. The governmental structure of each nation in the TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is determined by the participants in each setting. Included in the project is the creation of local customs, economy, cuisine, and cultural events. These auxiliary items are determined by the agreed upon government, and the other factors determined at the debut of the exposition.

Throughout history, tribes, cities, and nations have adopted visual symbols to express the ideas or icons of the civilization. The TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT explores this issue using the built and natural environment surrounding the exposition space as a starting point. The minimum range of this aspect of the project is the following: a flag and a blason (coat of arms). The application of these symbols depends on the other factors described below

The government of each nation is determined by the participants in the exposition. All forms of government are possible, the goal of the TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is to explore them.

Boundaries establish the area in which a group must work together. They range from a well defined
territory with fences and guards, to a vaguely defined terrain. For the most part, the frontiers are established based on The government chosen for the project and the setting of the exposition.

Economy is another area of the TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT which is largely defined by the government, frontiers and duration of the exposition. The emphasis is always on local trades, and is again inspired by the location. The chosen economy will have the workings of the economy, such as a monetary unit or system of trade and will be expressed in accordance with the symbols chosen for the nation.

Each nation group will explore the possible cultures in the micro nations including: language, traditions, costume, cuisine

The United Temporary Nations is the archive that documents each nation, their structure, symbols, currency, system of government and duration. Each nation is added to the United Temporary Nations at the conclusion of its exposition.

The TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is an artistic and social installation that involves the artists, organisers and viewing public of the exhibition. It increases the perception of and expresses the various forms of human organization. The project works on a number of levels, it is educational, artistic, and fun. TEMPORARY NATIONS PROJECT is a fine addition to the oeuvre of any gallery, cultural centre or museum.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

News from the Future Now

March 2, 2008: Thanks to the genetic fusion of a DV camera and egg timer, Future News Network, the yet-to-be merger of Newscorp, Time-Warner, the Berlusconi group, the Picayune Times and the cryogenised body of Rush Limbaugh, is bringing back to your present news from the future that you're evidently looking forward to.
Traveling back in time to the year 2008 - a live video report from one of the newest competitions at the Beijing Olympics -- the Dissident Run For Your Life 100 Yard Dash, with much more Technicolor than Leni Riefenstahl's 1936 fair and balanced reporting could ever hope for.