Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Hear Voices (2008)

This audio collage is constructed by myself from live radio transmissions from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, from a record, How To Speak Hip, released in 1959, a cut up of George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, the soundtrack to a Walt Disney Cartoon, a record; “MENSTRUATION: Second of Four Recordings for Parents” from 1951, an audio recording of Dr Timothy Leary, President Harry Truman’s radio message to the American people following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima from August 9, 1945, a recording of Noam Chomsky interviewed by Ray Suarez for Talk of the Nation, January 20, 1999, and a dentist’s drill.

The recording attempts to create a satirical portrait of the United States from the perspectives of global politics and state sponsored violence, sexuality and reproduction and the counter-culture (which is really part of the culture itself). At the same time it tries to unnerve and irritate the listener by its materiality, with audio samples fading in and out of each other. This attempts to provoke an hallucinogenic effect for the listener that produces confusion while also producing new combinations of words and phrases.

In a single phrase; “Avoid Lower Manhattan!”

This piece is influenced, and makes homage to musique contréte. Musique concrète is a form of electroacoustic music that is made in part from acousmatic sound. In addition to sounds derived from musical instruments or voices, it may use other sources of sound such as electronic synthesizers or sounds recorded from nature. Also, compositions in this idiom are not restricted to the normal musical rules of melody, harmony, rhythm, metre and so on. Originally contrasted with "pure" elektronische Musik (based solely on the production and manipulation of electronically produced sounds rather than recorded sounds), the theoretical basis of musique concrète as a compositional practice was developed by Pierre Schaeffer, beginning in the early 1940s

 (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musique_concrete)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Narrative as Inteface: Digital Media and Pedagogy (Video)

A presentation of some of the work I have conducted in HUMlab, a digital humanities computing lab and studio at Umeå University in Sweden. The film is arranged according to three themes; Making Space, Media Places and Narrative as Interface. I present some projects I have been involved with in HUMlab and some of the thinking that goes into them. As well as suggestions for considering digital media and pedagogy in the future.

This film was shown at the Lärande i Fokus (Learning in Focus) conference at Umeå University, Sweden between 12-13 November 2013.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The I in M.I.A is Mathangi

We have new product from Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A. Mathangi was released late 3 days ago on 1 November 2013 after lots of stops and starts. It is now streamed online via YouTube. In a review for Vice.com, Ayesha A. Siddiqi states; M.I.A. is "sampling all the nonwhiteness of her global south palate. She doesn’t just traffic in Otherness, she revels in it". I totally get where Ayesha is coming from, and going to. The readership of Vice.com are the ones that need introducing to the global south. But I think describing M.I.A as part of the view from the palisades of Williamsburg is missing the fact that she is the window. Maya is bringing the noize and making it better for everyone.

The world M.I.A is reporting back from for the readers of Vice.com is so further on from what Ayesha terms "writing nursery rhymes for post-colonial angst", which she covers with a simple label: "diaspora". But the sins of origin live on in the scattering of souls across a map of borders and barriers, passports and facial identification.

In the audio of M.I.A we are moving through the sound window with the true migrators. The clandestine and digital of a global movement that are throwing their bodies against the walls of Europe, Riyadh and the Rio Grande and at the same time reading newspapers on free wifi in Singapore between shifts and begging on trains with an iPhone in the pocket in Stockholm. Against this movement, race is the post-state default of identity in the fragmenting USA. Post-colonial angst comes with passport stamps and the domestic staff sleeping in the garage. What M.I.A is giving us is a celebration of possibilities not a reflection of failures. This celebration is a fountain of original content beaten out on pirated software and broken instruments, the chaos and broken chains that inspire the likes of Vice.com. But such an organization cannot become part of this culture because that would destroy the barrier that makes exchange possible. So when Ayesha writes "The packaging doesn’t undermine the message; it is the message," this applies as well to the media pyramid that delivers "worldtown"  to the masses amid the meltdown of the reality they are always trying to second guess.  if you doubt this reading just witness the loss-of-context by Vice in Jihadists or Boredom? The Choices Aren't Great for Syria's Kurdish Refugees where civil war just seemed to happen -  sans the redrawing of the Middle East since 9/11 by the present Imperial Power.

I like to think I am part of this inevitable meltdown. I grew up a white male in a black country located in Asia (Australia). I latched on to the first global movement of transience I could find. Back in 1995 this was the Rainbow/Rave Coalition that recruited the disenchanted from all social classes and gave them a seasonal trail that stretched from Tasmania to Varanasi to Stockholm to Rio. Today this vision has been diluted in the west by the hipster herd. The voice of the anti-WTO riots of 1999-2001 was its political high water mark.

But today, if one steps ahead of the crowd, made possible by such windows as those created by M.I.A, then one can access and even participate in a growing culture of true Worldtown. Welcome to the post-state planet.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Learning in Focus

The focus in this presentation is on digital media as a dimension of formal learning at tertiary level. I first present a project that uses QR-codes, then a look at virtual worlds and finally a summary of how augmented reality is our reality.