Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sylvère Lotringer. Capitalism, Leisure, and Potlatch. 2011

Sylvère Lotringer, literary critic and cultural theorist talking about Jean Baudrillard's "Symbolic Exchange and Death," Throstein Veblen and the leisure class. In this lecture Sylvère Lotringer discusses the concepts of potlatch, sacrifice and exchange through the work of Marcel Mauss, Georges Bataille, Antonin Artaud, Marshall McLuhan, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Public open lecture for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School EGS Media and Communication Studies department program Saas-Fee Switzerland Europe. 2011. Sylvère Lotringer.

Sylvère Lotringer, Ph.D., born in Paris in 1938, is Jean Baudrillard Chair at the European Graduate School EGS and Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University. He is based in New York and Baja, California. Sylvère Lotringer is a literary critic and cultural theorist, and as general editor of Semiotext(e) and Foreign Agents book series was instrumental in introducing French theory to the United States. His interests range from philosophy, literature and art to architecture, anthropology, semiotics, avant-garde movements, structuralism and post-structuralism.

Sylvère Lotringer studied at the Sorbonne and received his doctorate from the École Pratique des Hautes Études VIe section, Paris (1967). As General Editor of Semiotext(e) and of the "Foreign Agents" series, Lotringer was instrumental in introducing French theory to the United States. His teaching interests include Dada and surrealism, situationism, Mallarmé, Proust, structuralism and post-structuralism, as well as anthropology, semiotics, philosophy and art in relation to 20th-century literature.

Among the books Sylvère Lotringer has published, he has co-written with Paul Virilio: Pure War (1983), Crepuscular Dawn (2002), and The Accident of Art (2005), and with Jean Baudrillard: Forget Foucault (1986), Oublier Artaud (2005), and The Conspiracy of Art (2005). Sylvère Lotringer has also written extensively on Georges Bataille, Simone Weil, L. F. Céline, Marguerite Duras, and Robert Antelme, and is the author of Antonin Artaud (1990), French Theory in America (2001), Hatred of Capitalism (2002), David Wojnarowicz (2006), and Overexposed (2007). Silvère Lotringer frequently lectures on art and has published catalogue essays for the MOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Musee du Jeu de Paume, Modern Kunst and has edited numerous magazines and books such as Philosopher-Artist (1986), Foreign Agent: Kunst in den Zeiten der Theorie (1991), and Nancy Spero (1995).

For background reading on this lecture see "For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign" By Jean Baudrillard, Charles Levin, which includes The Ideological Genesis of Needs.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Call for Partners for a Teaching Project in Second Life.

As our initial partner has had to pull out due to institutional reasons, we make a new late call for collaborative partners for a project in sociolinguistics and teacher training in Second Life.

As part of the Euroversity network (http://euroversity.ning.com/), the Department of Language studies at Umeå University are looking for a minimum of 12 committed collaborative partners (preferably people with previous experience of Second Life and language teaching) from various universities or other educational institutions around the world in order to participate in a collaborative online project conducted primarily in the virtual world of Second Life. The activities are part of the ASSIS project: https://assis.pbworks.com

The subject of the activities relates to the topic of gender and language in education and is included as an activity under our English teacher-training programme. Our ambition is to expose our students to external contacts with professional experience in order to explore aspects of gender and language in a classroom context (physical and virtual). Providing a culturally mixed forum for such discussions will, in our opinion, bring new insights into these issues and hopefully widen our students’ horizons. In this context it is worth mentioning that many of our students will be working in schools of heterogenic cultural demography in their future professional lives.

Specific activities will be carried out during the autumn 2011. We have planned three such specific activities under the project:

  • A group discussion (in groups of four) of a ‘case’, which illustrates different aspects related to language and gender in a classroom situation.
  • A group workshop (in the same groups of 4) involving the creation a case based on real life examples and anecdotes, which illustrate/s various issues related to language and gender in an educational context. In the creation of this case we will ask participants to draw on the collective experiences of the all the four group members present.
  • An observational study of teacher behaviour related to gender and language, which will go on parallel to the two events above. For this part of the study the participants will be asked to observe the behaviour of our own lecturers/teachers who are assisting them in the collaborations. We have two teachers working in this capacity, one male and one female. The participants will be asked to fill in two online evaluations (one for each teacher) in order to produce a short observational report evaluating potential gendered behaviour of our teachers and in a debriefing meeting at the end of the project we will relate the findings to the theoretical frameworks studied in the course literature.

The collaboration will be conducted online, primarily in the virtual world of Second Life. We will also provide tools for asynchronous written collaborations in the form of a wiki, where each group will have access to their own space.

As experienced SL-users/teachers you will obviously hold a special role in the group discussions but the idea is that the collaboration should be one where all contribute. You do thus not have to feel that you have any special responsibility apart from being a collaborative discussion partner.

Suggested dates for meetings etc are as follows:

6th -16th of September:

Technical and social initiation (https://assis.pbworks.com/w/page/44744583/technical%20and%20social%20initiation): During this period we will provide all participants with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the tools (Second Life and the wiki). We will have group meetings for this purpose on the 6th of September (13.00-15.00 CET) and on Friday the 16th of September (13.00-15.00 CET) in Second life and we will also contact all who feel they need private one-to-one guidance on an individual basis in the ‘window’ 7-15th of September. We will also provide the participants with contact details of their partner groups and encourage them to meet up and get to know each other in Second Life or using any other tool they see fit (Skype, MSN, e-mail etc). Our ambition is thus that ALL participants should have entered the environment and tested the functionalities prior to the actual workshops. In addition, we hope that the participants also will have had a chance to at least get to know each other superficially prior to the planned events.

20 and 21st of September

Discussions of case: The discussion of a case provided prior to the event via the wiki will probably take about 1-2hrs and will be conducted in groups of 4. Since we are anticipating a total of 12 groups we have booked two days for this event but note that participants will only be committed for one 1-2hour-session. Because of potential time differences etc we cannot at this time specify exact times for the event yet but afternoons CET is a safe bet.

4 and 5th of October

Workshop – creation of case example: The creation of the case example will probably take about 1-2hrs and will be conducted in groups of 4. Since we are anticipating a total of 12 groups we have booked two days for this event but again note that participants will only be committed for one 1-2hour-session. Because of potential time differences etc we cannot at this time specify exact times for the event yet but afternoons CET is a safe bet.

Note that we will also ask our students to summarise their findings from each meeting in a wiki tool. As outside participants not being examined your participation in this activity is of course optional. The observational study on teacher behaviour will be reported using an online questionnaire tool and here we appreciate if all contribute to maximise the reliability of the data.

20th of October

Debriefing: During this meeting we will evaluate the activities together and also reveal the results of the evaluation of our own teachers and discuss these results. The meeting will take place in a face-to-face setting in a lecture hall at Umeå University with online access through U-stream or Adobe Connect.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in participating.

Thank you!

Mats Deutschmann mats.deutschmann [at] engelska.umu.se

(project leader)

Hanna Outakoski

(Euroversity coordinator, Umeå University)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Latest tracks by AcidFolk

I have been indulging in some music production this week. Of course it must stop and I need to get back to work but here are some of the results. The duo is called Acid Folk; myself and Erik, DJ Vänlig. Watch the bass!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SIGGRAPH 2011 : Cory Doctorow's Keynote Address

Cory Doctorow is an author, activist, journalist, and blogger. As a vocal advocate of copyright reform, he’s got clear ideas about how copyright could work to the benefit of creators and publishers.

Doctorow, a Canadian living in London, will deliver the keynote address at the SIGGRAPH 2011 conference on Monday August 8 2011 at 11 a.m. at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Summer Music Events

Dog's Breakfast

Music project with my son. Didgeridoo, Bells, Clap Sticks, Poetry and two Reel to Reel machines. Performed at Eine Kleine Disko 2011 a part of the ljudLYD soundfestival a dynamic art project that welcomes performance, noise, video and intervention with related art forms to create flux in EKD context. The announcement “come together” is the setting that creates the EKD́s coming to be. EKD is a nomadic art project in the sense that it is not a permanent screening, disco or performance festival with preset programs but a kind of cultural jamming journey from which the participants never returns to the starting point. Instead of requesting people to seek for art as experiences, EKD brings experiences as art to the spectator and invites people to meet each other within the original idea of a "party". EKD is a non-profit project and exists on the premises that are offered for taking EKD events from one place to another.

Acid Folk, featuring the Undersea Dancers.

Acid Folk, featuring Elfrida

First gig for a new music project that I think has great potential. Didgeridoo, beats and effects and trumpet.

Live in the park with Muslaban and the Friendly Giant

Call for Literary Works for ELMCIP anthology of European Electronic Literature

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP), a collaborative research project funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation, seeks submissions of electronic literature from European writers and practitioners for its upcoming anthology. We are looking for innovative literary works by European authors that take advantage of digital media and computation.

Submissions will be accepted to September 30, 2011.

The anthology will provide a sample of Europe’s diverse electronic-literature practices. It will include around thirty works along with teaching materials from educators interested in electronic-literary practices. The anthology will be published online and on a cross-platform DVD.

All content will be offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 License allowing the disc to be installed, duplicated, and shared by individuals, libraries, and educational institutions. The intent is to provide educators, students and the general public with a free curricular resource containing a variety of examples of electronic literary works.

Works will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • European diversity: to represent a broad cross-section of authors and artists from different European cultures.
  • Formal diversity: to represent a broad sampling of approaches to electronic literature demonstrating the influence of multiple modes of practice and different types of interdisciplinary art practice.
  • Pedagogical relevance: the committee will attempt to select a range of works appropriate for teaching in secondary and university classroom settings

Submission Guidelines:

  • Authors may submit two works.
  • Works may be in any European language.
  • At least one author should have been a resident of a European country at the time the work was created.
  • Previously published works will be accepted for submission.

Submissions will only be accepted via the ELMCIP Knowledge Base: http://elmcip.net/knowledgebase.

See detailed information: http://elmcip.net/story/call-works-elmcip-anthology

On behalf of the Anthology editors:
Talan Memmott, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH)
Maria Engberg, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH)
David Prater, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bruce Damer, Galen Brandt, Brenda Laurel, Rob Tow at Waag Society, Amsterdam

Cyberspace Salvations

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Chapter Two

Preface Control of Reading

(First Lines to Paragraphs)

The digital works examined in this study have prefaces attached to them, which function as textual thresholds for the reader.
I identify a number of specific strategies in the prefaces according to how they guide the reader toward the works.
Attention to the preface is not extensive in the study of digital literature.

The Prefaces and the Works
The preface is “every type of introductory (preludial or postludial) text, authorial or allegorical, consisting of a discourse produced on the subject of the text that follows or precedes it” (Derrida 161).
The authorial preface is an attempt of behalf of the authorities “to ensure that the text is read properly” (Genette 197).
The digital prefaces follow two overarching conventions in regard to the reading of the texts they refer to.
The reader is inserted into the narratives via the authorial preface, such as with the personalized name spell in the introductory preface to Egypt.
The legal preface differs from the authorial in the obvious motivations related to legal control, but it shares connections to print media and references to spatial tropes.
The reader is often identified as a user in the legal prefaces and as a participant in the authorial prefaces.
Depth is a spatial trope used in the prefaces according to their classification as either legal or authorial.
A depth model of the digital texts in the prefaces is an intermedial reflection of print media.
The references to print culture and spatial modes in the prefaces are examples of intertextuality.
The prefaces direct the reader towards the works and ensure they are read according to particular sets of discursive assumptions.

The Legal Prefaces and Reading
The legal prefaces are sets of rule-based instructions that take the digital works as their subjects, presented according to the Berne Convention in the form of Copyright ©, as a contract in an End User License Agreement (EULA) and the Open Source inspired Creative
Commons License (CC).
Remediation in the legal prefaces operates according to three orders; firstly as the digitized word of the copyright statement and contract of use (EULA). These are written documents presented digitally in order to define multimedia works.
When compared to the options described in the authorial prefaces, the possibilities for responses represented in the legal prefaces are much narrower in scope.
The legal preface are based on contract and copyright law, and thereby rely on intertextual references in order to frame how the digital works should be read.

The End User License Agreement (EULA) attached to Façade extends claims over the text beyond those that are possible under standard intellectual property rights, and includes the specific wishes of the publisher/s and other authorities (See Halbert 44-45).
The EULA adapts print media discourse in relation to the images of the Original Author, the Work and Titles.
Titles are a paratextual device that fulfils many of the criteria of the preface in the digital work, coming before, clarifying and guiding the reader.

Creative Commons (CC) License
The CC License of Dreamaphage, like the EULA, permits the reader to distribute the subject work.

Copyright ©
The Copyright © statement provides a reference to standard copyright that operates under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works according to the World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO) treaty of 1996.
The logic of the Copyright © statement of Last Meal Requested is tied to an analogue resemblance with the creativity of the artist.

Reading According to Legal Prefaces
To summarize the influence the legal prefaces have over reading the works, the compulsory nature of the prefaces must be considered.
Material and interpretive unity of the works is a major theme in the legal prefaces, whereby a prescriptive approach to reading attempts to focus and preserve the surface of each one.
The use of the Copyright © symbol in Last Meal Requested implies an authority over the authored text, not only in terms of ownership or production but as an account of reality.

The Authorial Prefaces
The authorial prefaces are those paratextual elements that introduce the work using an authorial voice that is descriptive, as opposed to the prescriptive discourse of the legal prefaces.
Narrative tropes in the authorial prefaces address the reader in terms of reading and agency by positioning her in relation to the story.
The spatial tropes of the authorial prefaces are concerned with the navigation of the works and introduce the reader to what is understood as the optimal way of achieving navigation.

Depth and Agency in the Authorial Preface
Inferences to depth in the works are common to the authorial prefaces of Façade, Egypt and Dreamaphage, which propose that the ‘deeper’ one moves into the text, through the choices offered in its design and narrative, the greater the degree of agency that can be attained by the reader in responding to it.
The promise of agency in the authorial prefaces comes to the reader as feedback via the linking and navigational structures in the works.
The goal of Facade according to "Behind the Façade" is to ‘go deep’ and gain knowledge of what is going on inside the AI, but much more in a narrative rather than a programming sense.
In "Behind the Façade" the programmed characters are given interior, even psychological, lives that involve the establishment of an exterior and interior in relation to the reader.
The movement towards an interior in the work introduces a depth that is promised to the reader as part of agency.

Narrative Tropes in the Authorial Prefaces
The authorial prefaces include narrative elements from the works that operate on the symbolic level of tropes. [1]
In an allusion to remediation, Egypt is composed of what the author calls “papyrus”, and in each example of the work one is dedicated to the reader and includes their personal name. .[2]
The Egypt, Façade and Dreamaphage prefaces guide the reader towards particular narrative and design elements.

Spatial Tropes in Authorial Prefaces
There are a number of spatial tropes in the authorial prefaces that direct the reader towards specific features of the works.
The authorial preface to Egypt features spatial tropes that present an architecturally defined image of the work.
The authorial preface of Dreamaphage draws on an image of the text as a structured spatial entity that is not linear.
Spatial tropes in the preface of Dreamaphage direct reader attention to the architectural aesthetics of the work.
Like Dreamaphage, the aesthetics of space in the Façade authorial preface exclude searching and finding.

Feedback and the Authorial Prefaces
According to the authorial prefaces, a ‘short-chain’ feedback system, similar to the one described above in relation to Murray’s definition of agency, where the results of inputs are immediately obvious to the reader, drives narrative towards the end-goal/s of the works.
The need for interpretation in the experience of the work takes it beyond the mechanical and into the aesthetics of a form of reading.
A significant portion of the authorial prefaces describes how the feedback systems of the works operate in terms of reader agency.
The simulation of movement and the physical engagement with the work is represented as mirroring each other in the preface.

Analysis of the prefaces provides important insights into the aesthetics of reading the works.
The legal prefaces for the works are the End User License Agreement (EULA) and the Creative Commons (CC) License.
The Façade and Dreamaphage legal prefaces depict any reading of the works as a public act.
The concept of visiting the works can be associated with the public reading of the legal prefaces.
In contrast to the legal, the authorial prefaces are more concerned with private reading, relying on the narrative components of the works to introduce and guide the reader, often from a personal perspective.
Feedback and interaction are interlinked in the prefaces by reader agency.


[1] Tropes are figurative use of language in the works that rely on comparative meanings in the sense of metaphor. Tropes in the prefaces include the digital work as a papyrus, the reader as a character, responding to the work as a quest and the architecture of the work.

[2] The plural of papyrus is papyri, something that is not acknowledged in Egypt.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Invading Present Time: The Politics of Simulation

Séminaire 2011 : Ken Hollings from erg on Vimeo.