Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orwell's Diaries as Blog

The diaries of George Orwell ( born Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) are to be published as a blog:

From 9th August 2008, you will be able to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face from reading his most strongly individual piece of writing: his diaries. The Orwell Prize is delighted to announce that, to mark the 70th anniversary of the diaries, each diary entry will be published on this blog exactly seventy years after it was written, allowing you to follow Orwell’s recuperation in Morocco [recovered from a life-threatening lung haemorrhage], his return to the UK, and his opinions on the descent of Europe into war in real time. The diaries end in 1942, three years into the conflict.

The Link is HERE for the Orwell Diary Blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Solar Ecplipse in Second Life and On the Web

This Friday August 1 there will be a full solar eclipse over Siberia and Western China. For those of us who cannot be there, the internet provides. The Exploratorium website will be running a live stream of the eclipse opening at 12:00 PM (CET Paris 12:00 PM)
If you are interested in a more three dimensional experience there will be a live stream in Second Life as well:

On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse will occur as the new moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. The moon's umbral shadow will fall first on Canada, then zoom across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and into China, where an Exploratorium team will be waiting. Our fifth eclipse expedition brings our team to remote Xinjiang Provence in northwestern China, very close to the Mongolian border, where we'll Webcast the eclipse live. Please check back, as the date nears, for more details about our Eclipse webcast viewing party in Second Life.

The Exploratorium Island in Second Life can be accessed directly from HERE.

Teach us a Story

With Superstruct launching on 22 September you may want some background on ARGs (Alternate Reality Games). In the online Guardian there is an article with a brief history and some ideas for the future of the ARG:

An ARG is an interactive narrative in which players work together to solve puzzles and co-ordinate activities in the real world and online, using websites, GPS tracking devices, telephones, newspaper adverts and more. All of which sounds as if it must require even more effort and resolve than a public holiday gym session, but ARGs employ media - text messages, blogs, social networking sites, video-sharing - that many people already use every day.

The concept that an alternate reality can be developed at game level and used to solve problems and change thinking is central to the Superstruct game and is taken up in the online Guardian article:

"The fact that the genre is growing up is exciting. The opportunities are limitless. You can easily see how they might be used in a training setting in business, or in a medical environment to teach doctors how to cope with large-scale crises. What will be really exciting is when biometric information can be more easily integrated into gameplay. For instance, a real-world game that delivers challenges based on heart rate or other physical criteria." Siobhan Thomas, a research fellow at the University of East London and ARG design lecturer.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Images from Past 18 Months of Blogging

And here is a slideshow of 299 images from this blog since December 2006...A trip down memory lane.

Media for the Weak

Here are a two things I found on the web this week that I think I like. Not much as I am really starting to devote all time to my thesis. I even put a bread toaster in my office the other day. I shall emerge in 6 months.

Dementia 13 (1963)

Dementia 13 is a 1963 horror thriller released by American International Pictures, starring William Campbell, Patrick Magee, and Luana Anders. The film was written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Roger Corman. Although Coppola had been involved in at least two nudie films previously, Dementia 13 served as his first mainstream, "legitimate" directorial effort. The plot follows a scheming young woman who, after having inadvertently caused the heart attack death of her husband, attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law's will. She pays a surprise visit to her late husband's family castle in Ireland, but her plans become permanently interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family.

Psychedelic Being

New blog with lots and lots of amazing psychedelic classics from the 1960s and 70s.

Venture well time travelers.......

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Avatara (2003)
Video 1 hr 11mins

An amazing journey into the community that inhabited the OnLive! Traveler world.

'AVATARA' is a feature-length documentary consisting of interviews with the (mostly American) inhabitants of the voice-chat environment OnLive! Traveler, which has been in existence since ca. 1993 and is now accessible through The Digital Space Commons as DigitalSpace Traveler. The documentary was recorded entirely 'in-world,' that is within the Traveler environment and, according to its creators, is one of the first docudramas done in Machinima style -- displaying its content from within a virtual world. The interviewer and guide Kalki (a blueish horse head) and the inhabitants of the Traveler environment he talks to mostly appear as torso-size avatars in their natural virtual surroundings and comment on the topics Community, Identity, Art, Wars, and Loss.
Review of the DVD.

What I am Listening to: Junior Wells

Junior Wells (December 9, 1934 – January 15, 1998), born Amos Blakemore, was a blues vocalist and harmonica player based in Chicago.
He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Arkansas. Wells moved to Chicago in 1948 and first made his mark at age 18, briefly replacing Little Walter in Muddy Waters' band. His first recordings were made in the early 1950s for States Records; in the later '50s and early '60s he also recorded singles for other local Chicago labels. He worked with Buddy Guy in the 1960s and recorded his first album for Delmark Records. His most memorable songs are "Messin' With The Kid" and "Little by Little," which were written and composed by Chicago blues producer Mel London. His best-known album is 1965's Hoodoo Man Blues on Delmark Records, which featured Buddy Guy on guitar and evokes the smoky atmosphere of the era's Westside Chicago blues bars.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An Aaahaa Moment with Oulipo

Today I experienced a moment of pleasant surprise while doing the thesis slog ( was heavy...lots of deleting took place). I had read of the Oulipo poets in relation to all this digital textual stuff I spend my time with. I thought it was some ancient use of random data generation (valves and magnetic tapes??) to create permeations that were then called 'poetry'. It appears I was wrong. After spending some hours looking into Oulipo it actually seems way cool. Ill start with a short definition and the wikipedia link:

OuLiPo, the "Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle" or “Workshop for Potential Literature,” was co-founded in Paris the early 1960's by mathematician and writer Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais. Oulipian writers impose constraints that must be satisfied to complete a text, constraints ranging across all levels of composition, from elements of plot or structure down to rules regarding letters. OuLiPo thus pushes a structuralist conception of language to a level of mathematical precision; technique becomes technical when language itself becomes a field of investigation, a complex system made up of a finite number of components. (More from Dr Harris on the Oulipo)

Now, while I was previously hung up on the generative and structuralist side of the Oulipo, what I missed (and what is actually the most interesting I think) is the constraint-based text creation. The setting up of constraints in the creation of a text has enormous potential (I suppose it seemed that way in 1960 as well...I just a bit slow). In a sense a city could be constructed as an Oulipo work in progress. A text has the potential to become a performance with Oulipo. Found objects and cut-up language or images can be incorporated into a text network according to the constraints of the algorithm imposed to organize it.
In a general reference to the Oulipo poetic, I remember reading about the first printing of William Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch (1959) which was typed up and each chapter was sent off to the printers at random. The pattern of streets between rue Gît le Coeur and the Olympia Press office and the printers became the constraint to the order of the text. When the galley proofs were returned to Gît le Coeur the party involved in the typing decided it was good enough and the rest is history.
There is not a lot of literature on Oulipo is seems. My university library returns no hits for a search on the word. There are a number of books an essays listed on Google Scholar. I shall begin ordering tomorrow. I suppose it would help if one spoke with many things in life.
There is a site for the generation of Queneau's hundred thousand billion poems:

Queneau's Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes is derived from a set of ten basic sonnets. In his book, published in 1961, they are printed on card with each line on a separated strip, like a heads-bodies-and-legs book. All ten sonnets have the same rhyme scheme and employ the same rhyme sounds. As a result, any line from a sonnet can be combined with any from the other nine, giving 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. Working twenty-four hours a day, it would you take some 140,000,000 years to read them all.

I Tag Therefore I am

Following a lead from Jess, I have produced a 'Wordle' (the langauge theorist in me cringes) from my links (see the link on the left). I think it is an insight into who I am....I like free stuff on the internet :-o

Monday, July 21, 2008


I have about 15 original downloads available on the Internet Archive and enjoy finding new music and films from other people there as well. I joined Ourmedia soon after it launched and have uploaded music and videos I have made there as well. The past two years have been hectic for me with university so I have not been publishing much outside this blog. On the weekend I happen to log in to Ourmedia and look around, for the first time in a while. I am glad I did as I discovered SpinXpress. SpinXpress is a tool for unlimited upload and sharing of files for collaborative online media creation. As well SpinXpress is a search tool for Creative Commons material that is free to share in media creation. The thing that appeals to me is to be able to make multimedia over distance with artists collaborating anywhere in the world that have a good enough ISP connection.
I have been since thinking about how a tool such as SpinXpress could be used in the classroom, as a extension of group work. I think this has possibilities with the idea that assignments been created using Spinexpress and archived either with a group created for the course on Ourmedia or a site in the Internet Archive. The bonus is that it is all free and can now work with unlimited file sizes.
I really want to finish my thesis so I can get back to making things.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Downloads (A Load for the Weekend)

This week has been quick. I have written a lot and I am happy. Here is my finds on the net for music and vision this week. Enjoy the weekend.

Maja Ratkje live Paris 2008
Personal recording at Maison de Radio France,
During GRM 2008 ‘Présences Electroniques’ festival
Vocal sounds only+live electronic processing by an enchantress of the genre, Norvegian Maja Ratkje. Expect undecipherable utterings, abstract sound treatments, extreme dynamics, and total mastery of up-to-date audio trickeries (real-time sampler, sound effects a go-go and what not). Beauty arises amid chaotic voice samples, from angelic whisperings to grotesque Karius & Baktus impersonations. But let it be said, this is more in concrete music territory than sound poetry or improvisation. As with many young musicians touring Europe nowadays, the level of technicity is impressive, but virtuoso Ratkje has her own agenda and never forgets what makes music unforgettable: to be moving and to be going somewhere.

Hugh Cornwell 's Torture Garden
I used to really like The Stranglers. The singer is still going strong and is offering his recorded material for free download from his website. Excellent. Hooverdam is the latest.

Meadow Music
New music from Sweden as free and legal Mp3s.

A delightful new blog with lots of weird downloads. Seems to specialise in obscure 70s albums. I noticed "The Incredible String Band-U-1970 UK" and was happy.

Four Corners - Undercover in Tibet

When the Olympic torch and its harried security detachment finally reached Tibet last month, all went peacefully and according to script… traditionally-dressed locals danced, waved flags and cheerfully applauded, with not a protester to be seen.
Rewind three months and contrast the scene, as the streets of the capital Lhasa erupted in brutal clashes between protesters and police and attacks on Chinese-owned businesses.
Was this outpouring of violence – arguably the biggest challenge to Chinese rule in two decades – an aberration, or was it perhaps a sign of more turmoil to come? And what did it say about life for Tibetans under Chinese authority?
There is no simple answer; foreign journalists cannot freely report from Tibet. But this film from Britain’s Channel 4 gives a unique glimpse into the heavily controlled lives of Tibetans, especially those who chafe at such control and dare to question it.

Black Eye Records Jukebox: Kim Salmon And The Surrealists - Just Because You Can't See It... ...Doesn't Mean It Isn't There
A great record from the 80s Australian garage swamp punk scene. Its all here:
This title has been out of print since 1989 and was the 2nd LP for Kim Salmon And The Surrealists on Black Eye. These tracks were taken from the Black Eye Records
1: Melt Pt. 1
2: Measure Of Love 3: Undying Love 4: Sundown, Sundown 5: Melt Pt. 2 6: Weren't We Bad 7: Sunday Drive 8: Je T'Aime 9: Your Viscous Omnipresence 10: You're Gonna Die 11: An Articulation Of The Thoughts Of One Of Society's Bastards

Tribe of Noise
Tribe of Noise was co-founded by Hessel van Oorschot and Sandra Brandenburg in January 2008.
They had been considering the idea of a free and open music community for two years, but were convinced that the market was not mature enough for this innovative approach.
Both of them were inspired by the open source community in IT, which they embraced during their eight years of creative knowledge sharing. With their books, interaction workshops and films, they inspired entrepreneurs to put new technology and business models into practice. Now it was time for a new challenge.
In 2006, all the pieces of the puzzle fit together: social networks, consumers becoming producers, the negative spiral in the music industry, a massive lack of content, the development of alternative intellectual property approaches, a worldwide increase of bandwidth, peer-to-peer sharing. But they felt the market was not ready yet for their idea. And admittedly, they could not believe the idea had not taken root yet.
Alongside their regular work they began putting together a strong worldwide team to address the technical, legal and creative issues. In the course of 2007 they saw the market change rapidly, and they decided to give Tribe of Noise the green light in 2008.

YouTube - Non Profit Channels
YouTube has started a not-for-profit channel which seems to make for more intelligent progamming. But then again that may be just my impression.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We in the Diamond Age

"A constable from the Shanghai police, legs strapped into a pedomotive, was coming down the street with the tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices, escorted by a couple of power-skating Ashantis." Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age.

I am reading Stephenson's The Diamond Age (1995) in between bouts of thesis writing. I know it is old, but Stephenson is the one holy trinity psycho-si-fi author (the others being Dick - my favorite- and Gibson) that I had not read...until now.
The Diamond Age has been cited as a source of inspiration for Second Life, somewhere I have been spending quite of bit of time over the past year. I am 50 pages in and am enjoying the understated steampunk aesthetic and the expected (post)cyberpunk noir.
Then this morning on the front page of our national daily of choice the above image was prominently featured. These are security guards for the 2008 Olympic village. And it was then that I realized we are now in The Diamond Age.....

Superstruct:: Humans have 23 years to go

Super-threats are massively disrupting global society as we know it. There’s an entire generation of homeless people worldwide, as the number of climate refugees tops 250 million. Entrepreneurial chaos and “the axis of biofuel” wreak havoc in the alternative fuel industry. Carbon quotas plummet as food shortages mount. The existing structures of human civilization—from families and language to corporate society and technological infrastructures—just aren’t enough. We need a new set of superstructures to rise above, to take humans to the next stage.

From September 22 and going for six weeks people can play Superstruct, a alternate reality game that is being presented as a simulation and problem solving exercise. Designed by game god Jane McGonigal (a past guest in HUMlab) working out of the Institute for the Future, Superstruct intends to build upon concerns for the future of human society on earth. Here is the brief:


SEPTEMBER 22, 2019

Humans have 23 years to go

Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS) starts the countdown for Homo Sapiens.

PALO ALTO, CA — Based on the results of a year-long supercomputer simulation, the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS) has reset the "survival horizon" for Homo Sapiens - the human race - from "indefinite" to 23 years.

“The survival horizon identifies the point in time after which a threatened population is expected to experience a catastrophic collapse,” GEAS president Audrey Chen said. “It is the point from which it a species is unlikely to recover. By identifying a survival horizon of 2042, GEAS has given human civilization a definite deadline for making substantive changes to planet and practices.”

According to Chen, the latest GEAS simulation harnessed over 70 petabytes of environmental, economic, and demographic data, and was cross-validated by ten different probabilistic models. The GEAS models revealed a potentially terminal combination of five so-called “super-threats”, which represent a collision of environmental, economic, and social risks. “Each super-threat on its own poses a serious challenge to the world's adaptive capacity,” said GEAS research director Hernandez Garcia. “Acting together, the five super-threats may irreversibly overwhelm our species’ ability to survive.”Garcia said, “Previous GEAS simulations with significantly less data and cross-validation correctly forecasted the most surprising species collapses of the past decade: Sciurus carolinenis and Sciurus vulgaris, for example, and Anatidae chen. So we have very good reason to believe that these simulation results, while shocking, do accurately represent the rapidly growing threats to the viability of the human species.”

GEAS notified the United Nations prior to making a public announcement. The spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Vaira Vike-Freiberga released the following statement: "We are grateful for GEAS' work, and we treat their latest forecast with seriousness and profound gravity."

GEAS urges concerned citizens, families, corporations, institutions, and governments to talk to each other and begin making plans to deal with the super-threats.

This is a game of survival.

Super-threats are massively disrupting global society as we know it.
There’s an entire generation of homeless people worldwide, as the number of climate refugees tops 250 million. Entrepreneurial chaos and “the axis of biofuel” wreak havoc in the alternative fuel industry.

Carbon quotas plummet as food shortages mount. The existing structures of human civilization—from families and language to corporate society and technological infrastructures—just aren’t enough. We need a new set of superstructures to rise above, to take humans to the next stage.

You can help. Tell your story. Strategize out loud. Superstruct now. It's your legacy to the human race.

Want to learn more about the game? Read the Superstruct FAQ.

Superstruct Now

Get a head start on the game. It’s the summer of 2019. Imagine you’re already there, and tell a little bit about your future self.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Solution Found for Copyright Infringement

The site Dear Rockers is paying back musicians "five bucks at a time". The solution to the reported "millions" that is being stolen by file sharing music downloading is simply write to the musicians you love and send them cash. Here is an example from a guilty Oasis fan:

Dear Noel,
Here goes. Confession time.

I pilfered the vinyl of Definitely Maybe from Salford HMV in 1994. I don’t even live round there - I’m a “soft southern twat” lol - but I needed to prove how hard I was to my mates so I got a saver return for the day and travelled “oop north” to commit the crime. I was going to hitch, but it was a bit blowy out that day, plus I’d heard there were dreadful roadworks around the M6 area.

Anyroad up (as you Mancs say !) I’m now a comfortably off Exec in the music promotions business and I’ve seen first hand what havoc such foolish actions as my youthful misdemeanour can wreak upon the welfare and profits of the often under rewarded artist, such as your goodself.

Soooo…*deep breath*…here’s recompense. Only minor, but it’s something, eh?

Enclosed, please find:
and one Indian Rupee (Liam can probably fob this off in the fag machine in his local boozer)

All this ought to add up to the fair and princely sum of US$5 if we’re going by the current exchange rate of 1.946871. You can do the maths yourself.
Actually, you probably can’t, can you?

Yours Empathetically,
Phil. M. Riot

If you have guilty feelings about an Mp3 file you selfishly pilfered from one of your favorite stars, then go to, show them some love and take a load off your conscious.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Distracted: Questions Around Attention in Digitally Mediated Cultures

Interesting discussion from the Australian ABC radio program Late Night Live on the interupt culture and problems with critical thinking and attention span in the digital media age. It touches in places upon the concept of literacy and ends in a semi-positive light, however the consensus seems to be we are heading for a "Coming Dark Age". The voices belong to Phillip Adams (Interviewer) and Maggie Jackson (Interviewee)

In America a study has found that workers not only switch tasks every three minutes during their work day, but nearly half the time they interrupt themselves. Moreover, once someone's been interrupted it can take up to 25 minutes to return to the main task.

Maggie Jackson has been researching this syndrome and other ways we get distracted and has written a book about it. The premise of her book is that the way we live is eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention. In other words it's attention that is the greatest casualty of our high-tech age.

Maybe the 'syndrome' is a boring job? Comes via the excellent Peoples Geography (who host the player...thanks guys)

Video Games Do Not Kill II

I am crossposting this from my video blog as it is a very interesting piece (I think the video):

Doctors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson speak with X-Play about their book, Grand Theft Childhood.

In their 2008 book, Grand Theft Childhood, Harvard Medical School psychiatrists Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson warn about video games. The gist of their warning: don't jump to conclusions.

Video games have a dual reputation as harmless, exciting fun and as home training systems for mass murderers. Dr Kutner and Dr Olson's book shows that neither characterisation is true across the board, although one is much closer to the truth.

Using a $US1.5 million ($A1.56 million) grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the US Justice Department, the two set out to explore what kinds of video games children aged 12 to 14 play, how they play them, why they play them, and what relationships there might be between game habits and other behaviour.

The couple, who are also the parents of a video game-playing teenage son, surveyed more than 1200 US school students aged 12-14 and 500 of their parents.

Their survey did not directly ask about serious criminal behaviour, in part to avoid children incriminating themselves, but their book uses statistics published by the Justice Department to conclude that "videogame popularity and real-world youth violence have been moving in opposite directions.

Violent juvenile crime in the US reached a peak in 1993 and has been declining ever since."

Mass shootings at schools are the ultimate juvenile crime nightmare, but Grand Theft Childhood cites a US Secret Service study concluding that only "one in eight school shooters showed any interest in violent video games".

Shooting holes in gaming theories

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Downstreams (hypnosonic ragas)

Baba Ram Dass

I include here what I have found that is good on the net this week, as is the custom every Friday on this blog (a tiny drop in the Internet universe). I have spent most of the week working on my thesis and I must admit, working during the summer holidays is brilliant. I am working much faster than I usually do and I think it has something to do with almost being alone at university and having no extra duties; teaching, seminars, marking, workshops, visits, demonstrations, meetings, conferences, and so on....
Now for the media, I loved the Sun City Girls (Torch of the Mystics changed my life), and still do. Despite the passing of Charlie the drummer (sadly) the Bishop brothers are still playing and we begin this week's downloads with two acoustic versions of SCG classics (one of them is The Shinning Path from the Mystics album of 1990).In fact here's a video of Richard Bishop doing the title song recently:

Alan and Richard Bishop (Mp3s)
The Bishop Brothers from Sun City Girls doing acoustic versions of two SCG songs, Rookoobay and The Shinning Path. "The dual acoustic style fits easy to a catalog built on a lack of fidelity and a street side recording quality and though Goucher will definitely be missed its comforting to know that the spirit of Sun City will live on into the future."

Open Culture
What a find this blog is.
Open Culture explores cultural and educational media (podcasts, videos, online courses, etc.) that’s freely available on the web, and that makes learning dynamic, productive, and fun. We sift through all the media, highlight the good and jettison the bad, and centralize it in one place. Trust us, you’ll find engaging content here that will keep you learning and sharp. And you will find it much more efficiently than if you spend your time searching with Google, Yahoo or iTunes.

70 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTubeThe first gem I found from OpenCulture. Smart video collections keep appearing on YouTube. But rather antithetical to the ethos of its parent company (Google), YouTube unfortunately makes these collections difficult to find. So we’ve decided to do the job for them. These enriching/educational videos come from media outlets, cultural institutions, universities and non-profits. There are about 70 collections in total, and the list will grow over time. If we’re missing anything good, feel free to let us know, and we’ll happily add them.

Films - Umeå 2014
The students who study digital media production (DMT) at Umeå University (my place of work) have created films for Umeå 2014. Umeå is aiming to be the Cultural Capital for Europe in 2014. Six groups of DMT students were asked to make a short film showing what is unique about Umeå- these are the films. Some nice footage of where I live.(everything after the link is in Swedish but the pictures are not)

Audio Anarchy Archive
Audio Anarchy is a project for transcribing anarchist books into audio format.
Hopefully, this can help make anarchist texts and ideas more accessible. Beyond the obvious appeal for people who don't like to read (or don't have time to read in this busy on-the-go world), hearing a book read aloud can also be enjoyable.
The Audio Anarchy project is organized in a distributed way. Instead of having a single person or group of people read an entire book, different people read separate chapters to distribute the work load. Ideally, this site will do more to help facilitate that kind of organization in the future.

Garden Of Delights: V.A. - African Scream Contest - Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s (2008)
After releases by Zimbabwean 70s bands the Green Arrows and Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, the Analog Africa label now delves into the amazing history of music from 1970s Benin and Togo. This compilation highlights forgotten raw and psychedelic Afro sounds, and the well-researched liner notes tell fascinating stories to accompany the mind-blowing music. The essence of Analog Africa is clear; searching in dusty warehouses for forgotten music to keep the sound alive. Label owner & vinyl collector Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Cotonou, Benin, "without any special expectations, just hoping to lay my hands on few good records--what I found in the process cannot really be described in words".
Like most modern music in French-speaking West African countries, the music of Benin and Togo was influenced by a few main musical currents: Cuban, Congolese and local traditional music, as well as Chanson Francaise. Additionally, the geographical location of Benin and Togo--sandwiched between Ghana and Nigeria--exposed Beninese and Togolese musicians to Highlife music.

U B U W E B - Film & Video: Nam June Paik: Edited for Television (1975)
Produced for public television station WNET/Thirteen in New York, Nam June Paik: Edited for Television is a provocative portrait of the artist, his work and philosophies. This fascinating document features an interview of Paik by art critic Calvin Tompkins (who wrote a New Yorker profile of the artist in 1975) and ironic commentary by host Russell Connor. Taped in his Soho loft, with the multi-monitor piece Fish Flies on Sky suspended from the ceiling, Paik elliptically addresses his art and philosophies in the context of Dada, Fluxus, the Zen Koan, John Cage, Minimal art, information overload and technology. "I am a poor man from a poor country, so I have to entertain people every second," states Paik. Excerpts from his works include Suite 212 and Electronic Opera Nos. 1 and 2; Charlotte Moorman performing TV Bra for Living Sculpture, and Moorman and Paik performing excerpts from Cage's 26'1.1499" for String Player in 1965. On a guided tour of his loft, Paik discusses the prototype of the Paik-Abe Synthesizer and demonstrates his early altered television sets and video sculptures.

U B U W E B - Film & Video: Tracey Moffatt two films: 'Nice Colored Girls' and 'Night Cries - A Rural Tragedy'
Tracey Moffatt (b. 1960 Australia) is an artist who continues to challenge the social construction of Aboriginality and how it is nationally and internationally viewed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Online Journal Hz #12 is HERE

Subject: Hz #12


#12 presents:


Spectral Memories: the Aesthetics of the Phonographic Recording by Dugal McKinnon
Sonic artist/Composer Dugal McKinnon examines the aesthetics of the phonographic recording: "how is the record, as a technology with a well-documented history, also a signifying medium that has generated certain meanings, and modes of aesthetic production and reception?"

_Augmentology Extracts_ by Mez Breeze
Futurist and cyber poet Mez Breeze explores concepts that shape and are shaped by an extensive range of online/synthetic encounters through the phenomena Reality Mixing, Game Addiction and Avatar Formation. Three extracts from

Sound Art and Public Auditory Awareness by Ariel Bustamante
Ariel Bustamante explores the connection between Sound Art and public auditory sensibilities by reviewing works by Max Neuhaus, Sam Auinger and Bruce Odland, Christina Kubisch, and Scout Arford and Randy Yau.

Second Lives, Virtual Identities and Fragging by Matthew Board
"The use of the virtual identity, whether through Second Life, the persona of the hacker or an online identity gives the digital artist the freedom to explore creative strategies that would otherwise be much more difficult to realize." Matthew Board investigates online art practice.

YMYI - You Move You Interact by João Martinho Moura and Jorge Sousa
"YMYI (You Move You Interact) is an interactive installation, where one is supposed to build up a body language dialogue with an artificial system so as to effectively achieve a synchronized performance between the real user's body and the virtual object itself."

Pixelgrain by John Grande
Writer John Grande's essay on "Pixelgrain" project by the artists Michael Alstad and Leah Lazariuk, an online repository of documents and ideas linked to the fading symbol of the Canadian prairie grain elevator.


Spamology by Irad Lee

Self-Portrait by Ethan Ham

All The News by Jody Zellen by Alan Bigelow

Nothing At All (Here) by Jeremy Hight


The Shandean Way

--But for heaven's sake, let us not
talk of quarts or gallons -- let us take
the story straight before us ; it is so nice
and intricate a one, it will scarce bear
the transposition of a single title ; and
some how or other, you have got me
thrust almost into the middle of it --

-- I beg we may take more care.
Tristram Shandy Vol VIII, Chapter VII

Happily I declare, "There is a good hypertext version of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman online."
I am using the design features of Tristram Shandy as an example of the antecedents of the virtual text object (nothing major, just a footnote), where presentation takes over from representation in a narrative, conveying meaning in a 'real' sense.

Design Devices in Tristram Shandy.
Plot ; we get no Life and little of the opinions of TS who appears only in volume 4, is breeched in vol vi, and then disappears. Walter Shandy of Shandy Hall, his brother, Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim. Yorick the Parson, Dr.Slop and Mrs Shandy. The tradition of Learned Wit, Cervantes and Rabelais. "We'll not stop two moments, my dear sir - only, as we have got thought these five volumes (do Sir sit down upon a set - they are better than nothing "

1. The diagrammatic intervention to describe narrative and movement.
2. The sudden advancement of the marbling.
3. Experiments in punctuation.
4. Attempts to render dialogue.
5. The presence of the page, and its echo in the illustration.
6. The parallel text.
7. The depiction of silence and humming.
8. The blank pages.
9. Evoking the other arts in the form of the printed book, theatre, painting and music.

Brain Damage Sound System

As I sit down once again at my station in a deserted university to continue the inscription process (T.H.E.S.I.S) I reflect on the tunes I listen to this summer. The soundtrack for my summer is becoming the French dub unit Brain Damage Sound System and their CD Spoken Dub Manifesto. I recomend it for a literate but completely twisted take on the society we live in and the sounds that can change it. Some videos:

BRAIN DAMAGE - Mistaken (Foreztival 2007)

Brain Damage - High Again - 04/06/06

Brain Damage is a French dub band from Saint-Étienne. The band is made up by Martin, sound engineering, and Raphael, bass. Created in the year 1999 by two members of the dub collective and label Bangarang, Brain Damage play a very personal and particular dub music: dark, like their home city, and emotional. The band defines it like an emo-dub-ambient. On stage, Brain Damage is a very awesome sound-system in a dub bass/machine spectacular. (

Google Launches 3D World

Google has launched a 3D world application, called Lively. The press release goes like this:

Lively Google

Here is a list of twenty seven other online 3D worlds that are active at the moment (just in case you have more time that I do at the moment).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday is Saturday for Recommended Media

A few pieces of online media for this week's Downstreams. A CD, three books, an interview and an archive. I am off to the forest for the day. Not much else to say. Enjoy.

WFMU's Beware of the Blog: Free Music Archive Sampler CD (MP3s)
WFMU presents Selected Sounds from the Free Music Archive vol. 1. This compilation previews 21 of the thousands of tracks that’ll be freely available under Creative Commons licenses when the fully interactive Free Music Archive website launches this November. We’re working with a group of fellow curators to fill the library with great music, and this sampler represents a piece of what WFMU brings to the table.

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

This film (in French with English subs) records an in-depth interview with Duchamp which took place five years before his death, at the time of his first ever one-man show (at the Pasadena Art Museum). It records for posterity Duchamp talking about his life, his ideas on art, why he chose to continue living in America after fleeing France in 1915, and why he virtually abandoned his work as an artist in 1923. An engaging dialogue takes place between Duchamp and film-maker Jean-Marie Drot as they go around the Pasadena show, with the artist commenting on the exhibits and using them to explain the various stages of the development of his work. This is punctuated by the games of chess, which were for Duchamp a passion and a metaphor for the mental discipline he applied to his art. In this film we gain a rare glimpse of him talking with humour and insight about his ideas, and living up to the myth of the artist-philosopher that has grown up around him.

B'Tselem Video - Shooting Back
B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.
B'Tselem in Hebrew literally means "in the image of," and is also used as a synonym for human dignity. The word is taken from Genesis 1:27 "And God created humans in his image. In the image of God did He create him." It is in this spirit that the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights."

The Pirate's Dilemma
The Pirate’s Dilemma tells the story of how youth culture drives innovation and is changing the way the world works. It offers understanding and insight for a time when piracy is just another business model, the remix is our most powerful marketing tool and anyone with a computer is capable of reaching more people than a multi-national corporation.

Little Brother by Cory Docortow» Download for Free
Little Brother is a scarily realistic adventure about how homeland security technology could be abused to wrongfully imprison innocent Americans. A teenage hacker-turned-hero pits himself against the government to fight for his basic freedoms. This book is action-packed with tales of courage, technology, and demonstrations of digital disobedience as the technophile’s civil protest.

WFMU Free Music Archive
Coming soon: an online digital library of music that will allow music fans, webcasters and podcasters to listen, download, and stream for free, with no restrictions, registration or fees. And it will all be legal.
The Free Music Archive is being directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America, and is funded by a grant from the New York State Music Fund.
We take inspiration for the Free Music Archive from Creative Commons and the open source software movement. Both are based on the idea that there is merit in waiving certain rights to intellectual property. Radio has always offered the public free access to new music. The Free Music Archive is a continuation of that purpose, designed for the age of the internet.
The Free Music Archive will also be a platform for collaboration between established curators of music, including other non-commercial radio stations and music venues. Partners will participate in collective licensing for the archive, and will be given control of web portals that will help them build communities around the music they choose to share. The site will combine the curatorial approach that stations like WFMU have played for the last few decades, and the community generated approach of many current online music sites.


I was busking during the week in our town square when a man left a note in my coin hat with the URL for this online book. Its in Swedish.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Some Summer Reading

While I am supposed to be writing I have also been reading. I love reading and don’t seem to be able to stop so what the heck. The three above are what has been read so far this summer. Ramapuri's text is an account of travelling to India in 1970 from the USA, joining a group of Hindu yogis and never going back. It is travel writing with a difference but it is also religious philosophy and counter culture with a difference. A clear no-bullshit telling of a remarkable story (Baba Rampuri is still in India as I blogged about recently).
A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History is not a new book (1997) but it reads like the cutting edge even today. Manuael de Landa adopts many of the best concepts from Deleuze and Guattari (Body without Organs, striated and smooth space, meshworks, deterritorialization, collective assemblages and sedimentation) to construct a swirling but coherent account of 1000 years of mostly western history. I found it a stimulating example of how to read complex systems (although it does not have an index, which may mean something).
Finally I have just started Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word, Edited by Charles Bernstein (1998), so I can't say much except that the introduction is very promising (and online).

Close Listening and the Performed Word brings together seventeen strikingly original essays, especially written for this volume, on the poetry reading, the sound of poetry, and the visual performance of poetry. While the performance of poetry is as old as poetry itself, critical attention to modern and postmodern poetry performance has been surprisingly slight. This volume, featuring work by critics and poets such as Marjorie Perloff, Susan Stewart, Johanna Drucker. Dennis Tedlock, and Susan Howe, is the first comprehensive introduction to the ways in which twentieth-century poetry has been practised as a performance art. From the performance styles of individual poets and types of poetry to the relation of sound to meaning, from historical and social approaches to poetry readings to new imaginations to prosody, the entries gathered here investigate a compelling range of topics for anyone interested in poetry. Taken together, these essays encourage new forms of "close listenings"--not only to the printed text of poems but also to tapes, performances, and other expressions of the sounded and visualized word. The time is right for such a volume: with readings, spoken word events, and the Web gaining an increasing audience for poetry, Close Listening opens a number of new avenues for the critical discussion of the sound and performance of poetry.From the Publisher

Back to the thesis.......

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Too True

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Pool and The Mirror

The Pool
Bacchus Marsh police contacted the FBI so MySpace could be ordered to close the false account.

Detective Sergeant Coxall said the investigation was ongoing and parents should discuss with their children what they were uploading about themselves to sites like MySpace and Facebook.

"One act done on the internet creates a record that is not only traceable but the likelihood is that the images are never actually erased."
FBI called in over teen sex clip

The Mirror
A 44-year-old father and three children have been found dead in a suspected murder-suicide in a car on an "old hippy commune'' in a remote bush property 50 kilometres west of Eden after police were called to the scene by a neighbour.
'Valley of Failure' murder-suicide: father and three children found dead

These two recent news items are taken from the Sydney Morning Herald website. The murder suicide story, a horror of isolation, violence, abuse and power ran for few days as the police put together the pieces to the puzzle of how the event came to take place. The linked story above is the final entry for the story so far, which summarizes the previous two or three accounts. No doubt lives have been destroyed in the wake of such an event, not to mention the loss of three children. The MySpace story is from today. Most obviously the MySpace story is not of even similar emotional dimensions to the horrible murder-suicide story.

What struck me about these two news stories is the connotations in relation to media. As the investigating police officer points out:

"One act done on the internet creates a record that is not only traceable but the likelihood is that the images are never actually erased."

The potentially 'eternal' nature of the MySpace images has distinct resonances with the horror of the murder-suicide story. How could anyone touched by the events recounted in the news item forget such a thing? But the news sites on the net (and I assume in the printed form) have 'forgotten' the terrible events recounted in the story. I read this as a variation in media form, one that I metaphorically term the 'Pool' and the 'Mirror'.

The Internet and other digital media formats are like a pool. Liquid that reflects and can immerse and hold representations, that ripples when touched, issuing out impressions over its surface. The larger the impact a story has upon its surface the larger the ripples. The more often the imprint is made on the surface of the pool, the more often the event comes again 'to life'.
On the other hand the recording device of the paper newspaper, and other non-digital media, are like a mirror. Fixed in form and function, able to exhibit highly defined representations of events but only for a short amount of time. The newspaper follows a story while it is current, 'alive' and then when it ceases to be so, it is not longer part of the surface of the mirror.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Digital Scholarship Reflections

I am back at work. The summer holidays are in full swing around me but I have but seven months left of my doctoral appointment and not finishing is not an option. So I am sitting in my office in an almost abandoned university working on my thesis. It is actually great; quiet, no distractions, no extra duties. I am getting work done and most importantly of all, I think I understand what I need to improve on in my writing.
I have for a very long time thought that the objects of study should comply with the theory that has already been constructed on the subject. I therefore was using theory as my springboard into the texts that I am writing about. I now see this was not the best way to approach it. I am now working with the digital texts and only using them to formulate my findings (I know this soounds very dumb not to have realised this before, but I also think it is related to self-confidence). The theory (I suppose) is for clarrifying, supports and explaining what the objects raise in the discussion. This approach seems to render my writing clearer for all those poor people who live outside my own head (where all the vast babble that I have cast out makes perfect sense).
Today a crisis moment washed over me that may be special to digital textual sholarship; the text disappered and seemed to be gone forever:

Alleph: Off Line.

So when they are not changing before you eyes, being attacked by viruses, getting lost or in need of an upgrade or translation interface, the online digital text can be removed. I spent some minutes looking for an address for the creator of Alleph to request a disc copy, but he seems to be as almost invisible as his text now is. I then looked through my records and conducted a search on the internet. The search revealed yet another copy of Alleph as a mirror still online (I am not spreading it). I rushed to take screenshots of everything.

Only seven months to go...I will be so glad when this is