Saturday, June 28, 2008

Arthur Needs Money

Arthur Magazine needs money. Arthur is one of the best sites/blogs/stations/magazines I know of. Not only does Arthur sell a magazine, it allows people to download PDFs of each issue for free. Arthur has a video site which is really really good. As well Arthur offers Mp3s of fine sounds for free. The Arthur blog Magpie is also brilliant. Arthur Magazine needs $20,000 by July 1 or it will die. This can not be allowed to happen!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Downstreams (Drifting through Days of Sunshine)

So rarely do I have so little to do. This week has been blissfully empty. Blogging, spending time with my sons, reading, listening to music, tending to our allotment, experimenting with Ital cooking, and trying to avoid thinking about my thesis...which I will have to return to soon. Maybe next week? In the meantime, here are the fruits of the web that I can recommended for this week:

From Political Prisoner to Cabinet Minister: Legendary Brazilian Musician Gilberto Gil on His Life, His Music and the Digital Divide (Video, Audio, Text)
Forty years ago, the legendary Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil was a political prisoner. Today, he is a cabinet official in the Brazilian government. As protests raged across the globe in 1968, Gil was at the center of a cultural and political revolution in Brazil known as Tropicalia. The movement was seen as such a threat to Brazil’s military dictatorship that Gil was jailed, then forced into exile, where he would become one of the world’s most celebrated musicians as well as a spokesperson for Brazil’s emerging black consciousness movement. Today, Gil remains one of Brazil’s best known artists, as well as the country’s Minister of Culture. He is now spearheading a different kind of anti-establishment revolution. This time it’s about democratizing the distribution of intellectual property rights. We spend the hour with Gilberto Gil in a wide-ranging interview on his life, his music, the black consciousness movement and the future of the internet. [includes rush transcript]

Marcel Broodthaers - Le Corbeau et le Renard (1967)
In 1957 Marcel Broodthaers made La Clef d l'Horloge, an eight minute, 16 mm film about the work of Kurt Schwitters. In 1967 he made Le Corbeau et le Renard, a seven minute color film that was shown at Knokke, although the selection committee had turned it down.

Broodthaers: I don't believe in film, nor do I believe in any other art. I don't believe in the unique artist or the unique work of art. I believe in phenomena, and in men [sic] who put ideas together.

UbuWeb Sound - Janek Schaefer
Janek was born in England to Polish and Canadian parents in 1970. While studying architecture at the Royal College of Art [RCA annual prize], he recorded the fragmented noises of a sound activated dictaphone travelling overnight through the Post Office. That work, titled 'Recorded Delivery' [1995] was made for the 'Self Storage' exhibition [Time Out critics choice] with one time postman Brian Eno and Artangel. Since then the multiple aspects of sound became his focus, resulting in many releases, installations, soundtracks for exhibitions, and concerts using his self built/invented record players with manipulated found sound collage. The 'Tri-phonic Turntable' [1997] is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the 'World's Most Versatile Record Player'. He has performed, lectured and exhibited widely throughout Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, ICA], USA/Canada, [The Walker, XI, Mutek, Princeton], Japan, and Australia [Sydney Opera House]. In 2007 he was Nominated for a British Composer of the Year Award.

The St. James Sessions Songs - Lynn Point
Most of these 1920's recordings were copied from 78 rpm onto cassette tape. From there they were transferred into a computer using the Polderbits software program. Nothing was done to enhance or clean these recordings as they were transferred. Finally they were converted to MP3's at a setting of 192. A special thanks to Bradley Reeves for researching and obtaining these recordings and to Todd Eaton for transferring them to digital format. As well as to the many musicians and people who were there at the time.

Busted Wonder - by Kieron Gillen & Charity Larrison
Web comic of strange intensity. Don't let the cute pastels fool you.

Kemialliset Ystävät Live at WFMU (Mp3s)
Kemialliset Ystävät's improvised jam consisted of Jan with Niko-Matti Ahti, Jaako Tolvi, Sami Sänpäkkilä (whose excellent Fonal label put out several KY releases), and some American pals in tow Spencer Clark (the Skaters), Dave Nuss (No Neck), and Jersey City ex-pat Karl Bauer (Axolotl).

Girl Talk: Feed the Animals
Featured in the great documentary Good Copy Bad Copy, Girl Talk is giving his latest CD away over the net. You can download it here. Girl Talk is the stage name of musician Gregg Gillis (born October 26, 1981). Gillis, who is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has released four CD albums on Illegal Art and vinyl releases on 333 and 12 Apostles. He began making music while a student at Case Western Reserve University. He specializes in sample-based remixes, in which he uses at least a dozen elements from different songs to create a "new" song. At his early shows, Gillis became notorious for his exhibitionist antics on stage, spontaneously removing most or all of his clothing mid-performance. He has given different explanations for the origin of his stage name, once saying it alluded to a Jim Morrison poem and once saying it alluded to an early Merzbow side project.

Pissant: The Story of 80's Australian Underground (A Multimedia Essay)
Reminiscences (from someone who wasn't there) from the late 80s music scene that existed in Australia around a handful of independent labels and venues:

"The notion of the underground being taken seriously by the mainstream or perceived as any kind of a threat was still several years away. During this era, dozens of independent acts on labels such as Au-go-go, Waterfront, Red Eye, Phantom, Aberrant, Citadel, Missing Link, Mr. Spaceman & Grown Up Wrong were all quite content with remaining independent and free of hindrance."

Video Games for Teaching and Stories

Two particles from the spheres that are interesting. First Virtual Learning: 25 Best Sims and Games For the Classroom:

Video and computer games aren’t always associated with their educational value, but as virtual media grows and develops, educators are finding that games are a great way to get children engaged in learning while still allowing them to have fun in their classes. Not every game is well suited for the classroom, but there are loads out there that have something of value to teach, guide and grow the interest of kids both inside and outside of school.

and the [online] world waits for Spore, the next big thing from the creator of The Sims, Will Wright. An interesting analogy in connection with Spore has been made by the New York Post; "Spore is anticipated as much as James Joyce's Ulysses was in the 1900's." While this statement is inaccurate in many ways (think Katherine Mansfield's infamous reaction and this statement: “but Ulysses was a moral thunderstorm, with a universal world war and the noise of all its engines of destruction shocking through it." - The Irish Statesman 4 July 1925: 529), the correlation between a now canonical literary text and a massive simulation computer program indicates a discursive direction in the medium. Wright himself elaborates on the possibilities as he sees them in an article on Gamasutra:

"I do believe that games can be a form of artistic expression," Will Wright said, "a co-collaboration between player and designer. We have yet to prove we can do meaningful things with this form of expression, but I believe we are at the cusp of a Cambrian explosion of possibilities [referencing the geological era in which complex life flourished]. We are a couple years away from being respected as a form of expression, but it's not a battle we need to fight. We'll win anyway."

Wright betrays a technofile and essentialist position (marketing??) towards what has already been done with "this form of expression". It is, has and will happen Will. But not as a sudden "Cambrian explosion of possibilities " (which actually lasted over 100 million years).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A (Small) Rally Against Swedish Surveillance Laws


Swedish lawmakers voted late on Wednesday 18th June 2008 in favour of a controversial bill allowing all emails and phone calls to be monitored in the name of national security.

The FRA law (FRA-lagen in Swedish) is the common name for legislation with the stated purposed of fighting terrorism in Sweden, including a new law put forward by the government as well as several modifications to existing laws, formally called proposition 2006/07:63 – En anpassad försvarsunderrättelseverksamhet (proposition 2006/07:63 – An intelligence agency accommodation). The law, taking effect in 2009, gives the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA, Swedish Försvarets radioanstalt) the right to intercept all Internet exchange points that exchange traffic that crosses Swedish borders, though experts argue that it is impossible to differentiate between international traffic, and traffic between Swedes.
The law was passed by the Swedish parliament on June 18, 2008, by a vote of 143 to 138, with one delegate abstaining and 67 delegates not present.

Since then there has been the beginning of opposition to what is soon (January 1st 2009) to become law. In Umeå today there was a small rally, mostly made up of young people opposing the so-called FRA-Law. The rally was addressed by representatives of the youth wings of three major parties and an independant 'cyber person' (see video below with bad audio - soon).

The rally ended with people breaking up into smaller groups for discussions on encryption and VPN-tunnel techniques. Another rally is planned for Saturday in Umeå (as well as Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö and Örebro).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Paris Poem

Pigalle La Fountaine

Suns crawl over blinds
White washed walls
Cobble stone narrow strays
Hills bend before prostitutes,
Bored and waiting
For their laundry.

Puddles explode from drain ways
Absent from rain for days
Bones crust the architecture
As cars thread through
The rich embroided city,
A telescope of history.

Collapse in feeled works
An aperture behind vision
Lifting the torn corners
Of the street peeling back
The texture of absinthe
Mixed with sand and melting.

I have lost the recipe
For sleep passed over womb doors
Dreams and wishes revealed
In the arcane wisdom of bacteria
A shell which prevents entry exit,
Breathing the city has its own sense.

Of traction provided by the lips
Of strangers spilling forth from bars
Of traffic feeding angular meetings
Of a sound that issues from the solar plexus
Of chains and pistons; rods for the back
Of man and woman.

(Paris, June ’08)

Tällberg Forum 2008

On June 26, 2008 the Tällberg Forum will gather thinkers and leaders from seventy nations for four days of conversations and workshops related to the opportunities and challenges of global interdependence. Tällberg conversations have increasingly focused on the systems problems emerging from the growing imbalance between nature and human activity. Can we design, govern and manage the sustainable interaction between natural systems and the systems of human activity? Can we negotiate among ourselves the resolution of the planetary crisis? Can we find better ways to integrate the work of governments and institutions with the actions of other actors from civil society, business, finance, philanthropy or technology when tackling sustainability? The Forum will explore boundary conditions, prioritize “counter-tipping points” and generate concrete ideas and proposals for policy, strategy and institutional development that work in the interests of the whole.

The live web stream opens tomorrow (June 26) at 15:00 CET from HERE. All sessions are going to be streamed over the net. The participants include:

James E Hansen, Director, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA, USA, Diana Liverman, Director, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden (moderator), Will Steffen, Professor, Australian National University, Australia, Tariq Banuri, Senior Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Asia office, Thailand, Ismail Serageldin, Director, Bibliotheca Alexandria, Egypt, Anders Wijkman, Member of the European Parliament, Elisabeth Salander Björklund, Executive Vice President, StoraEnso, Sweden, Ruud Lubbers, Chairman, Supervisory Board of The Netherlands Energy Research Center (ECN), The Netherlands and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, United Kingdom, Lailai Li, Director, Institute of Environment and Development, China, and young leaders and Kofi Annan, President, Global Humanitarian Forum, Geneva and former Secretary-General, United Nations, New York.

The remaining days (26th to 29th June) of the Forum read like a who's who from the areas of environmental change, activism, philosophy, ecology, public policy, archival and education. The entire program can be downloaded HERE.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paris Sans Papiers

I am back from ten hectic days in Pigalle, Paris. For a holiday it is quite an experience staying basically in the red light district of Paris with two small children, my wife and my mother. Days spent living not touring; we had a flat so we cooked and cleaned, shopped for food and joined the crowds on the metro and in the streets. I have quite a few stories to relate but perhaps the most interesting was what occurred after climbing the Eiffel Tower with my son (his tourist wish, not mine). We had used to stairs to get to the second platform:

So we climbed back down from there and were leaving the area below the tower. We walked into a crowd of school kids visiting the monument who were surrounded by young men selling tacky Eiffel Tower key rings, thousands of them on huge metal rings they carried around their arms. Suddenly the sellers fled in a mass panic, maybe fifteen of them just suddenly bolted, some dropped the metal rings of cheap souvenirs they carried. A group of about eight or ten police appeared from behind us chasing the fleeing sellers. Some of the police picked up the fallen rings of souvenirs and broke them open and started passing them out to the crowd watching the spectacle. The sellers had stopped running on a small hill (see the pictures below) and were yelling in French to the police as they passed out handfuls of the tiny Eifel Towers to foreign tourists. One policeman near us laughed as he did this. He approached me and my son with about five of the key rings and gave them to me, whereupon I threw them towards the sellers standing on the small hill. One of them yelled ‘Bravo’ and I did this. I felt that this was truly bizarre that if these people were indeed 'sans papiers' (as I had once been myself when I first came to Europe) why should they be humiliated in this way? The police seemed angry when I did this and they yelled at me in French (I did not understand) but they then seem to decide to do something more about the sellers standing on the hill. They ran towards them and sprayed them in the face with canisters of teargas (I am glad they did not do this to me). One policeman missed his intended target and sprayed another policeman in the face (see picture).
Out of the approximately fifteen sellers the police managed to arrest one. We continued walking out of the area and on the road there were three vans of police and in the park around the tower there were five or six soldiers with machine guns. All this for some guys selling souvenirs!!

Some of the police after the initial charge and before the use of spray. They seemed uncertain what to do.

The only arrest made was one of the sellers who had dropped his stock. He seemed extreamly concerned about it and stopped running. I assumed he would be in debt to his bosses, which could be nasty for him.

Policeman tries to wash out the gas (or spray) that his collegue hit him with.

Military were nearby but did not participate.

Three police vans waiting to receive their single prisoner.

I picked up one of the many key rings scattered on the pathway as we were finally leaving and I kept it. It is a memento of the sad incident.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Breeding Pixie Stories (an old man remembers)

The Pixies: Where is My Mind (1988)

In 1989 a friend came back from Sydney with a bag full of records. That summer we absorbed them. Meditating on every note. One of those albums that continues (now a CD), almost twenty years later, to be played at my place is The Pixies' Surfer Rosa.
The thing was that we were in this hick town in the hickest state of Australia (Queensland) and we had no idea who The Pixies actually were. The records arrived with our good friend returning from a mission to the big city 1000kms away (older siblings having already escaped the town we lived in) and like some cargo cult we worshiped these records as divine. It was Mudhoney, Butthole Surfers, Green River, Jane's Addiction (plus more) and as mentioned, The Pixies. I remember we decided that The Pixies were Spanish, as they sang in Spanish (well, we thought it was Spanish, we had not heard too much on the Darling Downs). They also seemed a bit deranged (this was Surfer Rosa's producer Steve Albini's fault I think).
I was just thinking about The Pixies today. How we did not know that they were huge in the world outside our town (nobody else seemed to be listening to The Pixies where we lived). We made up stories about other bands we were into as well, to compensate for the total lack of information we had beyond the amazing records we were listening to (this was pre-Internet kids). It was a magic time.
And now we have the Internet. Here is an entire concert by The Breeders (Mp3s) from a few days ago in Boston, featuring Kim Deal, who after seeing Frank Black (also a Pixie) play a long time ago solo (BORING!!) I now believe was the brains behind The Pixies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Disconnection and Reflection

I presented material at a doctoral seminar today. It was actually one of the best seminars I have ever had, but the feedback boiled down to that I have a lot of work to do. The clock is ticking on my appointment as a PhD candidate. So, I am going to Paris for a couple of weeks. When I get back then it is going to be 8 months of hermit-like devotion to my text and nothing much else. I just cancelled presenting a paper at the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Copenhagen in October as I will be writing thesis :-(
I will have wireless Internet in Paris but not sure how much I am going to use it. So here are some gifts to mark what may be a couple of weeks of inactivity on this blog. Au revoir et salut.

Pissin' In the Providence Place Mall Escalator (MP3s!!!)
This is a post sampling Providence music that will be on WFMU's Free Music Archive. Some of the mp3s can be traced back to Fort Thunder, the live/work/performance space on the border of Providence's Olneyville neighborhood, a former textile factory that was appropriated by a colony of artists in 1995. In 2001, the city evicted Fort Thunder residents, and the warehouse was demolished to make way for a Staples parking lot and a Shaw's supermarket (which is now, ironically, closed).
Providence's urban landscape is changing. But music continues to thrive, nurtured by Fort-Thunder-inspired spaces, community-focused cultural institutions like AS220, and a proud sense of localism that withstands rising rent, transient students, and lovingly corrupt politicians.
This mp3-post previews some (but not nearly all!) of the music from Providence that will be on WFMU's Free Music Archive when the full site launches this fall. All the mp3s in this post have been made available for free non-commercial use by the artists. MP3s from Black Pus, BoneDust, The Butcherings, Fanatic, Shawn Greenlee/Pleasurehorse, Landed, Lazy Magnet, Mudboy, Olneyville Sound System, The Polyps, Alec K Redfearn and the Eyesores/Amoebic Ensemble/Barnacled, Set of Red Things, Six Star General, Snake Apartment, Teenage Waistband, Vincebus Eruptum, What Cheer? Brigade, White Mice, Work/Death, and ZZ Pot after the jump.

The Violence of the Image a video lecture by Jean Baudrillard (1974)
Jean Baudrillard thinking and talking about the violence of the image,aggression, oppression, transgression,regression, effects and causes of violence, violence of the virtual, 3d, virtual reality, transparency, psychological and imaginary.
An open Lecture given by Jean Baudrillard after his seminar for the students at the European Graduate School, EGS Media and Communication Program Studies Department, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Europe, in 2004.

Bo Diddley - Rare & Well Done (MP3s)
An album of Bo Diddley and in the pounding guitar rhythms you can hear a hundred other bands that are trying to sell CDs today.

Mary Shelley Overdrive - Hideous Sexy
Mary Shelley Overdrive has all the attitude expected from a hardcore metal/post-punk group. From the name to the high velocity music to the gloriously exploitative artwork on their new free and legal EP, this is a band that is not afraid to look you straight in the face and sneer.
Their EP, Hideous Sexy, is a short 15 minutes album of cover tunes ranging from Bo Diddley to The White Stripes. There are also some nice versions of songs by Black Flag, Devo, The Vaselines and others. Some of the better tracks include The Vaselines’ “Molly’s Lips”, Blue Oyster Cult’s “This Ain’t The Summer of Love” and Black Flag’s “Wasted. However the real stunner is “Who Do You Love” in which the band manages to take the blues rocker by the late great Bo Diddley and turn it into a Gothic nightmare. This is a neat brief EP of cover songs that will please your inner punk.
Hideous Sexy is available as 192kbps MP3s in an album zip off the somewhat clunky 2shared web site (see the link below). If you would like hear some of Mary Shelley Overdrive’s original music, go to their Myspace page and listen or download a few tracks.

Astounding blog with a collection of drone freak-folk post-everything assemblage fake-ethno tranc-acoustic improvised shadow monster deprogramed Mp3s free hymns way past their bedtime, viciously evoking the inner troubadour.An almost cosmic resurrection of ancient rites. Molten jewel-cases under the hoof & a six-pack gettin' warm next to the campfire. "The Spells We Know" passes 14 minutes as a relatively few number of brethren create Native American-esque drumming out of a few pots and pans as bellowing, droning notes fill the background. As the pounding picks up pace and structure, the other instruments start to stir the pot, creating a soft tonal drone - sounding to my ears what a bug-zapper must look like to a fly. As the mind focuses on the tone, rock drumming explodes outward!. This one is definitely worth picking up. The band has other new releases which are more accessible and more mind-fuck experimental, but this one may be the closest to who they actually are." (Fakejazz)

Sea and Field - Sea and Field
Sea and Field is a French ensemble of six musicians specializing in Celtic music. While traditional in style there is a strong influence from the more rock-oriented purveyors of this music such as Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Nonetheless, traditional music fans will surely enjoy this self-titled album. The vocals are strong and the instrumentation of guitar, violin, accordion, bass and percussion remains enjoyable throughout. The opening “Les Livres” has a powerful vocal but I especially like “Le Phare”, the only totally instrumental track on the too brief 5-track, 19 minute EP.”Matelot” is also a favorite and shows off that strong rock influence I mentioned. “Casse Oreilles” and “Eglantine” round out this lively romp of traditional and not-so-traditional world music.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Ya can take tha boy outta tha country but ya cant take tha country outta tha boy.....(or somethin like that)

"Last round, a bull jumped on me guts and pierced me kidneys and broke seven ribs and I've been out for six weeks then and then come back. Get on a buckin’ bull again, he knocked me out, broke my nose, broke a leg and a few ribs and I was in hospital for a week." JOSH BIRKS, 18 year old bull rider.

I just stumbled upon a story from the ABC in Australia from the area I grew up in. Kingaroy is a few hours drive from where I was born and not so far from where I went to High School. The ABC piece, Former Champion Helps Young Cowboys (video and transcript) is an intense insight into the masculine culture (and English dialect) of my 'home country'.
I went to a rodeo (Oakey Rodeo, my one and only time) when I was about 17. Being the soft type I was horrified by the whole experience, but being 17 and going to school with many seriously disturbed young men who were built like brick outhouses I kept my sensitives to myself.
Young Josh quoted above wants to be world champion bull rider. If he lives that long I wish him luck..

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Virtual Worlds Projects

I just updated a collection of images from my five years of working with online virtual worlds.

Friday Downstreams (A Few Seeds for the Sleeping)

A few pieces of recomeded online media for the weekend. The weather is warm here and the days long, summertime is so fine. - Videos about the psychedelic trance culture
Here you can watch free videos about global awareness , spiritual transformation and psychedelic culture..
We produce documentaries, video interviews, video lectures and workshops, music- & party videos and VJ movies.

Music For Maniacs: MUSIC FOR WEIRDOS
Chris S., a very kind and generous Maniac, has compiled four-count 'em-FOUR cds worth of wonderful tuneage: novelty, outsider, garage rock, celebrities, New Wave oddities, mashups, space age/Moog, and general weirdness, including plenty of songs posted here that have since gone off-line. He put these together just for his friends and fave bloggers, but has agreed to make it available for all y'alls. Be sure to thank him in comments!

WNYC - Music - The Wordless Music Series on WNYC
Four 1-Hour Specials Hosted by Radio Lab’s Jad Abumrad
The Wordless Music Series pairs rock and electronic musicians with more traditional chamber and new music performers, to create an entirely new concert experience. As Wordless Music opens on a new season, WNYC presents four one-hour specials that highlight and underscore the ground-breaking '07-'08 season, hosted by Radio Lab's Jad Abumrad.

Manguina - Ot Azoi
Manguina is an impressive ensemble of musicians specializing in primarily Jewish traditional folk music . I say “primarily” because other world musics tend to blend in occasionally, including Flamenco and other European traditional styles. The thirteen tracks offer both instrumentals and vocals but I find the instrumentals, such as the opening “Dettmar’s freilac” and the title tune to be the most exhilarating. Of the vocal tracks, I really like “Kholem et airs russes” which sounds quite Middle Eastern to me. If you are looking for that Flamenco influence, try “Yo m’enamori d’un aire” or “Cuando el rey Nimrod”. This is an exceptional traditional music album.

Om Shalom Salaam....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Online Composition By Colin Black

Colin Black and Friend. Black is an Australian composer, sound artist and musician. You can hear his 2008 composition Longing Love and Loss (53 min.) on the Swedish online radio program Monitor (broadcast 4 June if you look in the archive, where each show is kept online for 30 days). Here is some background:

“Longing, Love and Loss” is a major musical radio art feature work that searches through classical text, contemporary text and contemporary Australian oral histories of love. It weaves together love stories in a sonance of text, musical composition, electro-acoustic composition and sound design to reflect our deepest human desire, our core emotional need… the constant inner cry to find, to hold and to keep love. Apart from the fictional character of ‘The Falling Man’, all of the text of this script has been gathered from real people, past and present. This work explores this theme in three movements; Longing, Love and Loss, or, the search for love, being in love and the inevitable loss of love.

“Longing, Love and Loss” is also a scored musical work that can be preformed live to a pre-recorded backing tape. It is the artist/composer’s ambition that in a further development of this project a synchronous video projection, that includes video of all interviewees, would be developed as a filmic dimension to the performance of this live work.

Longing Love and Loss is beautiful piece and I recommend you listen to it while it is online over the next 30 days.

My First Cafe Session

I am sitting in a cafe doing some work with a drink and wireless Internet. A band is getting ready to do a sound check. I have some colleagues who rejoice in the cafe environment for working. I have always been skeptical as I have found peace and quiet helpful. But it appears I was mistaken. While there is quite a bit going on around me, I feel actually quite centered and the action in cafe is sort of soothing. As I will be in Paris next week, I may take up cafes in a professional sense there, and continue with it as a working environment. Maybe not a thesis writing space (I need a big desk with lots of books and articles scattered around on it) but the cafe is good for writing an abstract (what I am doing at the moment), blogging, articles, mail, and the sort of smaller scale stuff.
Another drink I think.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mad Game Art from Mark Essen, a.k.a Messhof

(Contains flashing images which may cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.)

The screen is constantly rotating and the games left-right controllers keep switching valences without warning. The more visually-minimal titles in the Messhof back catalog are even thornier. The abstracted Flywrench necessitates navigating a mere flapping line through neon-piped geometric environments using a maddeningly arbitrary array of button-combo protocols, while Punishment and its sequel Punishment: The Punishing are two seemingly simple platforms that become very difficult, very quickly. In his work, Essen combines the essence of old 2D arcade games-- misleadingly cute single-player titles that did everything they could to make you choke on that twenty-five cents-- with the viewer-challenging puzzle-logic of avant-garde cinema. He's currently working on a suite of new works that include a western-themed side-scroller, a bow-and-arrow shooter, and a stenography simulator, tentatively titled Stenography Hero. - via Rhizome

Monday, June 02, 2008

Gion Project

Cheery Blossom Dance Festival 2008. From the Gion Project in Second Life. Although most of the information is in Japanese Gion seems to be similar to the Second House of Sweden project (celebrating one year of existance on May 30) but with a stonger historical theme, centering upon old Kyoto.

A teaser for Gion

Both Gion and Second House of Sweden are great examples of how a 3D virtual environment can be used to visualize cultural forms and create dialgogue and information.