The new pornographers

February 20, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’ve been hearing more and more about this in the news over the past few weeks and it simply doesn’t make any sense…charging teens with child pornography when they it is they who are photographing themselves?!?
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What’s more disturbing — that teens are texting each other naked pictures of themselves, or that it could get them branded as sex offenders for life?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Life

Salon

Feb. 20, 2009 | The photographs show three naked underage girls posing lasciviously for the camera. The perps who took the pictures were busted in Greensburg, Pa., and charged with manufacturing, disseminating and possessing child pornography — and so were their subjects. That’s because they are one and the same.

It all started when the girls, ages 14 and 15, decided to take nudie cellphone snapshots of themselves. Then, maybe feeling dizzy from the rush of wielding their feminine wiles, the trio text-messaged the photos to some friends at Greensburg-Salem High School. When one of the students’ cellphones was confiscated at school, the photos were discovered. Police opened an investigation and, in addition to the girls’ being indicted as kiddie pornographers, three boys who received the pictures were slammed with charges of child porn possession. All but one ultimately accepted lesser misdemeanor charges.

“Sexting,” where kids trade X-rated pictures via text message, has made headlines recently after a rash of cases in which child pornography charges have been brought not against dangerous pedophiles but hormonally haywire teenagers — potentially leaving them branded  sex offenders for life. Just last week, there came news that a middle-school boy in Falmouth, Mass., might face child porn charges for sending a naughty photo of his 13-year-old girlfriend to five buddies, who are also being investigated. There’s been plenty of outrage to go around: Some parents are angry to see teens criminalized for simply being sexual, while others find the raunchy shots pornographic, another blinking neon sign of moral decay in a “Girls Gone Wild” era. In both cases, it amounts to a tug of war between teenagers’ entitled sense of sexual autonomy and society’s desire to protect them.

It’s rather stunning that in the same age of the Pussycat Dolls, Disney starlets’ sexy photo scandals, Slut-o-ween costumes for kids and preteen push-up bras and thongs, teenagers are being charged with child porn possession for having photographs of their own naked bodies. That noise you hear? It’s the grating sound of cultural dissonance.

According to these recent interpretations of the law, a curious teenage girl who embarks on an “Our Bodies, Ourselves” journey of vaginal self-discovery, and simply replaces a hand mirror with a digital camera, is a kiddie pornographer. The same goes for the boy who memorializes his raging boner or the post-pubescent girl who takes test shots of herself practicing the porn star poses she has studied online. Theoretically, this is true regardless of whether they share the pictures with anyone, and if they do share them, they could be additionally charged with peddling child porn.

There are plenty of examples of the moral and legal gray areas created as technology broadens our behaviors: cyber-cheating, MySpace bullying, online gossip, upskirting, employers’ Web snooping. When it comes to “sexting,” though, the potentially damaging implications — for child pornography law, free speech and kids’ sexuality — are abundant. And it’s not going away any time soon. A recent online poll found that 20 percent of teens have shared nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves, the majority with a boyfriend or girlfriend. (Sure, voluntary polls tend to be self-selecting, but the results seem obvious, maybe even understated.) Teens will, as they always have, experiment with their sexuality. But at a time when free hardcore porn is ubiquitous, technology is cheap and the Internet is a comfortable channel for expression and experimentation, is it really any surprise that this is a generation of amateur pornographers?

It certainly isn’t to 20-somethings like myself who came of age during the Internet’s youth. By the time I was 14, I had seen my share of online porn and late-night HBO and made frequent use of the phrase “U wanna cyber?” in early AOL chat rooms. In high school in Berkeley, Calif., at least two student sex tapes were rumored to be making the rounds. I didn’t have a cellphone camera or a webcam, thank god — though I did have a Polaroid camera, which, to be sure, my longtime boyfriend and I toyed around with.

This is all part of how kids initiate themselves into our sexual culture long before they actually have sex. At one time, that meant a boy would flip through his father’s stash of Playboys and a girl would try on her mother’s ample bra. For me, it meant privately mimicking the stripper moves I had seen on TV and having online chats with people who occasionally turned out to be aging pervs. It was the best way I knew to try on, test out and confirm my femininity without actually having sex. (And that’s having been raised by hippie parents who compared the spiritual magic of sex to “two star systems colliding in outer space.”)

That sexual rite of passage remains, but today’s teens have an entirely different notion of privacy than past generations. They grew up in the exhibitionistic Web culture of LiveJournal, YouTube and MySpace. They’ve seen girls on TV playfully jiggling their breasts for plastic beads, “Real World” cast members boldly screwing in front of cameras, Britney flashing her bald lady parts. These days, why would a girl be concerned about her silly topless snapshot circulating around school?

That’s certainly the case with 16-year-old Melissa, a student at a high school near Greensburg-Salem, who has never worried about any of the X-rated pictures she’s shared, because she cropped her face out of the photos, so “no one could identify me unless like [they] lifted up my shirt to figure it out haha,” she wrote in a message sent on the blog platform Xanga. On her profile page, a rap song with the lyrics “I jus’ wanna act like a porno flick actor” plays. It also exhibits a self-portrait she took with a cellphone camera of her reflection in a floor-length mirror; the sassy expression on her face matches the page’s background: a sexy hot pink and lime green leopard print.

Joey, an 18-year-old who graduated from a San Francisco high school last year, has gotten X-rated snapshots from girls on his phone, through e-mail and on his MySpace page since he was 15. Some were longtime girlfriends that he swapped photos with and others were girls he’d just casually met; some pictures were suggestive, others were explicit. (“How graphic do you want me to get?” he asks, cautiously. “I’ve had girls send me photos of them fingering themselves.”)

“Older adults have a short memory. There were things we did — people flashed each other and played spin the bottle,” says Elizabeth Schroeder, director of Answer, Rutgers University’s program dedicated to promoting sexuality education. “This is this generation’s way of doing that.” Heather Corinna, the 38-year-old founder of Scarleteen, a Web site that provides sex-positive education for young adults, agrees: “Before we had this media, we had video cameras, before that film cameras, before that the written word, and all throughout, public or semi-public sex, ways of proclaiming to peers that one is sexually active or available to become so,” she says.

But, clearly, there is a big difference between testifying on the wall of the boy’s bathroom about the toe-curling blow jobs the school’s head cheerleader gives and sending your buddies photographic proof. These digital offerings bring the potential for humiliation and blackmail if the photos or video get into the wrong hands — and, let’s face it, they often do. Acting as your girlfriend’s personal porno star is one thing; ending up a pedophile’s favorite child pinup is quite another.

There’s good reason to be concerned about teens being self-pornographers. But many, especially legal experts, are disturbed by the fact that a healthy horn-dog of a teenager could be grouped in the same criminal category as a clinically ill pedophile. “These cases are picturing these teenagers as both predators and victims of themselves,” says Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University who has studied child porn laws. “Child porn law was founded on a very different vision of what the major threat was.”

That major threat, of course, is supposed to be adults who produce and peddle child smut. Reed Lee, a Chicago attorney and board member of the Free Speech Coalition, says: “A law to protect victims shouldn’t send those very victims to jail.”

Typically, kiddie porn is seen as exponentially harmful because it’s more than the original sexual abuse: It allows for a reliving of the trauma every time another pervert gets ahold of the material. But “if the initial photograph was not taken as part of a traumatic episode and was, like it or not, part of a more normal teenage experience, the abuse rationale becomes harder to see,” Adler argues. Still, plenty of child pornography cases have been prosecuted where the original photo is awfully benign — for example, a family picture taken at a nudist camp that is discovered by a pedophile and then cropped to reveal only the naked kid.

But it’s tough to impress those kinds of nuances on kids, says Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Douglas. He once spoke to a high school class and tried to explain that, even though everyone seems to be “sexting,” it “can literally destroy your life.” The response? A boy rolled his eyes while making a grand jack-off gesture. “It’s just the bullshit that adults tell them when they come to talk to them,” he said. “It’s tragically funny.”

Douglas points out that the bungled law reveals fascinating cultural conflicts about childhood and teen sexuality. “I think the problem originates from the pathological fear that our culture, particularly the legal part of the culture, takes toward juvenile sexuality.” He has defended numerous child porn cases and says prosecutors will treat the exchange of trial evidence like “an undercover heroin deal.” Douglas says, “The fear is so enormous that it’s like you’re dealing with something radioactive. They don’t consider the context or the meaning.”

The context here is that teens are undertaking the sexploration that our porned culture at once dictates and forbids — in the same way that girls are taught that there is desirable validation in their sexuality and then are shamed for actually being sexual. Rutgers’ Elizabeth Schroeder says an example of this contradiction is that sex educators like herself have to fight an uphill battle just to get into schools, while all it takes is a click of a button and a kid can catch an episode of “G-String Divas.” She once asked a group of 12-year-old boys what they thought it meant to be a girl and the first response was: “Girls are here to give lap dances to boys.”

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/02/20/sexting_teens/


Spanish artist shocks with Damien Hirst gun sculpture

February 19, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Some trippy art coming out of the ARCO exhibition in Spain…
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For the Love of Gold

For the Love of Gold

For the Love of Gold

For the Love of Gold

A statue of British artist Damien Hirst pointing a gun at his head has caused a stir at the 28th Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair, known as ARCO.

Sculptor Eugenio Merino’s piece puts Hirst in a suicidal pose with blood pouring from a bullet wound to his head. It was unveiled at ARCO’s launch over the weekend.

The piece has already been sold for $41,290 Cdn to a collector in Florida.

“Hirst is always trying to think of ways to make his art the most expensive,” Merino told Bloomberg News.

“If he killed himself, then the value of his art would increase a lot.”

Called For the Love of Gold, the work of parody was produced over a two-month period and refers to Hirst’s For the Love of God — a diamond-encrusted platinum skull that was reportedly sold in the summer of 2007 for more than $100 million to a group of investors.

The life-size silicone sculpture uses real human hair and glass eyes. Hirst is posed on his knees with a Colt 45 in his right hand pressed against his temple wearing a skull T-shirt.

It’s in a tank that looks similar to the ones Hirst himself uses to display dead animals pickled in formaldehyde.

Hirst is known as the bad boy of art.

After capturing the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize in 1995, he’s created shocking sculptures including one of a 3.7-metre tiger shark and other animals preserved in formaldehyde, insect-encrusted canvases and pharmaceutical-inspired pieces.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2009/02/15/hirst-sculpture-spain.html

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In a sure sign of the state of the modern art world, the single artwork attracting the most attention at ARCO (the Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair) that opened today was not a masterpiece by DAMIEN HIRST, but rather a parody of the UK bad boy artist by EUGENIO MERINO depicting the master financial strategist encased in one of his own white display cubes, shooting himself in the head. Titled “For the Love of Gold” in reference to Hirst’s $100 million diamond encrusted skull “For the Love of God,” the hyper-realistic yet oddly contorted piece incorporates real human hair, glass eyes, and realistic blood pouring from a gaping hole in the cranium and was quickly snapped up on opening day by a Florida collector for $33,500 USD. Sounds like Damien’s busy decorating his Miami winter home…

http://urbanpromoter.com/newsart-gag-of-the-moment-eugenio-merinos-for-the-love-of-gold-damien-hirst-sculpture/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_Hirst


Yesterday’s CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD)

February 19, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

My abdominal muscles are so freaking sore and strained after doing this workout yesterday…
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Warmup:

8 Rounds of the following:

30 second Kettle Bell Rotations (25 lbs.)
30 second Gut Busters (situps where your upper body and legs collapse together in the middle = pain)

Technical Exercise:

15 minutes of Gymnastic Ring pushups (with arms extended in front of you and to the sides = more pain)

Workout of the Day:

Number of rounds in 20 minutes:
12 rolling medball situps (partners sit 5 feet away from each other with legs straight out in the splits. One partner takes the medball and touches it behind their head throwing it from the ground while doing a situp. When the other partner receives the ball they then touch it behind their head and throw it from the ground while doing a situp. This process is repeated until each partner does 12 situps.
9 Medball Sprawl Balls (one partner drops to the ground doing almost like a burpee but instead of doing a pushup dropping your chest on the medball with your feet kicking back into a plank position, then stand up with the ball and do a chest pass to your partner who will still be standing 5 feet away. Repeat the process until each partner has done 9 Sprawl Balls)
6 Partner handstand pushups (three each partner-assistance is allowed-ask the coach how to spot a handstand pushup if you are unsure).
3 Partner Pistols (stand facing your partner off centered. Right hand of one partner holds the right hand of the other partner and use each other as counter balance to do a pistol-you will both be doing the pistol at the same time. Do three on one side and then switch sides and do three on the other side.)

My partner and I were able to complete 5 rounds of this brutal workout – although I didn’t do the Handstand pushups, I did 20 lbs. dumbell shoulder presses with each arm instead cause my body was aching as it was!!!


Judge dismisses Google lawsuit

February 19, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Hello everyone, it’s Reading Week break here at Emily Carr, so I have been taking some time off from my blog and been relaxing a bit – although relaxing probably isn’t the best way to describe yesterday as I went to CrossFit and got my ass and abs kicked by the workout! But here is an interesting read about Google Streets that I thought you guys would like to check out…
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Street View car, PA

Google’s Street View has been criticised on several occasions

A legal claim by a Pittsburgh couple that Google’s Street View feature violated their privacy has been thrown out by a federal judge.

Christine and Aaron Boring sued the search giant after photos of their home appeared on the free mapping program.

The couple accused Google of privacy violation, negligence, trespassing and unjust enrichment.

In her ruling, Judge Amy Reynolds Hay said the Borings “failed to state a claim under any count”.

“We are pleased the judge agreed the suit was without merit,” said Google in a statement to the BBC.

Street View displays street level, 360-degree photographs of areas taken by specially equipped Google vehicles.

Failure

The photographs at the centre of the lawsuit, launched last year, were taken at the foot of Mr and Mrs Boring’s driveway and shows their house, a pool area and detached garage. Signs marked the road as private.

The suit alleged that Google’s Street View had caused Mr and Mrs Boring “mental suffering” and diluted the value of their home.

Google conference

Google removed the offending pictures after the lawsuit was filed

“While it is easy to imagine that many whose property appears on Google’s virtual maps resent the privacy implications, it is hard to believe that any – other than the most exquisitely sensitive – would suffer shame or humiliation,” Judge Amy Reynolds Hay of US District Court for Western Pennsylvania wrote in her 12-page decision.

The judge also suggested that the Borings’ lawsuit made it possible for more people than ever to view the picture of their home.

“The Borings do not dispute that they have allowed the relevant images to remain on Google Street View, despite the availability of a procedure for having them removed from view,” wrote Judge Reynolds Hay.

“Furthermore, they have failed to bar others’ access to the images by eliminating their address from the pleadings, or by filing this action under seal,” she said.

The publicity has actually perpetuated dissemination of the Borings’ name and location, and resulted in frequent re-publication of the Street View images, the judge concluded.

“The plaintiffs’ failure to take readily available steps to protect their own privacy and mitigate their alleged pain suggests to the Court that the intrusion and that their suffering were less severe than they contend,” wrote Judge Reynolds Hay.

The Borings had sought $25,000 (£17,700) in damages.

‘Removal tools’

Google said the company respects individual privacy and provides ways for that privacy to be maintained.

“We blur identifiable faces and licence plates in Street View and we offer easy-to-use removal tools so users can decided for themselves whether or not they want a given image to appear.

Street View

Photos of real world locations are tied to maps

“It is unfortunate the parties involved decided to pursue litigation instead of making use of these tools,” said Google in its statement.

Privacy concerns following the launch of Street View in 2007 prompted Google to start blurring faces of people caught in the photographs.

The company had argued earlier in response to the lawsuit that “today’s satellite-image technology means that even in today’s desert complete privacy does not exist.”

“Privacy claims are not easy to prove,” said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre.

“One of the challenges is showing what’s the damage, what’s the harm. But Google is more at risk here because there is always the possibility someone might prevail in one of these cases, so I don’t think the issue is resolved in terms of Google.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7898407.stm


Corrupted Blood brought about the end of the World…of Warcraft

February 10, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I never realized the extent of how far this affected players around the world – Here is how things spread like wildfire in the game and why doctors and scientists used it as a model for studying how real-life diseases can spread in a major urban environment – BBC News even covered it…see below!
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Corrupted Blood was a virtual plague that infected characters in the computer game World of Warcraft, spreading rapidly from character to character. Its resemblance to real-life disease epidemics drew international attention.

Corrupted Blood Plague taking place in Ironforge

The “epidemic” began on September 13, 2005 when Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of World of Warcraft, introduced a new instance dungeon called Zul’Gurub into the game as part of patch 1.7. Inside was a boss named Hakkar the Soulflayer, alluded to as the “blood god”. Players who fought Hakkar were affected by his debuff (a spell which has a negative effect over a fixed period of time). The debuff, in this case, was Corrupted Blood, a spell that caused 263–337 points of damage (compared to the average health of 2500–5000 for a character of the highest level, and with those at the mid-levels having about 1500) every two seconds to the afflicted character. The affliction was passed on to any characters standing too close to an infected character. While the curse would kill most lower-level characters in a matter of seconds, higher-level characters could keep themselves alive (via healing spells, having high stamina, or other means) long enough to spread the disease around the immense landscape inside the game. Death caused by the debuff did not cause any durability penalty, unlike most other causes of death in the game. The disease would eventually go away as time passed or when the infected character died.

The only way that a player was able to bring the disease outside of Zul’Gurub was by allowing a pet to get the debuff, dismissing the pet in less than five seconds, then summoning it in a populated area. (When dismissed, the pet retains the debuff and the timer of the debuff is paused.) This debuff transmission technique was first seen with the “living bomb” debuff from Baron Geddon in Molten Core. The plague was spread by players’ pets that contracted the disease and also by malicious players known as “griefers”, who found ways to bring the digital virus into heavily inhabited areas.

After a few days, Corrupted Blood had become World of Warcraft‘s version of the Black Death, rendering entire cities uninhabitable and causing players to avoid large clusters of others, and in many cases, causing players to avoid major cities altogether.

Due to the curse’s peculiar behavior—it was never meant to leave Zul’Gurub—the ability to infect pets and NPCs was a side effect unconsidered by the developers. The intended behavior involves the final boss fight with Hakkar. Every so often, Hakkar will cast this debuff on a random player, effectively forcing players to be spread apart, or in the case of melee classes, to move away from Hakkar before spreading it to the other melee classes. Blizzard Entertainment tried several times to fix the problem, including imposing a quarantine on certain places. This “plague” was eventually “cured” by restarting the servers, and changing the mechanics of the Hakkar encounter to eliminate the spreading of the effect from character to character. Hakkar still has an ability called Corrupted Blood, but it now takes the form of a red bolt launched at a random player fighting the boss. The player and those nearby take damage, and receive a heavy damage over time, but the effect no longer spreads further.

Due to the large scale outbreak of the “plague” (some servers had half of their characters infected), it drew wide attention from the media.

In March 2007, Ran D Balicer, an epidemiologist physician at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel, published an article in the Journal Epidemiology describing the similarities between this outbreak and the recent SARS and avian influenza outbreaks. Dr Balicer suggested role-playing games could serve as an advanced platform for modeling the dissemination of infectious diseases. In a follow-up article in the journal Science, the game Second Life was suggested as another possible platform for these studies.

In August 2007, Nina Fefferman, a Tufts University assistant research professor of public health and family medicine, called for research on this incident, citing the resemblances with biological plagues. Some scientists want to study how people would react to environmental pathogens, by using the virtual counterpart as a point of reference. Subsequently she co-authored a paper in the journal “Lancet Infectious Diseases” discussing the epidemiological and disease modeling implications of the outbreak, along with Eric Lofgren, a University of North Carolina graduate student.

In addition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested statistics on this event for research on epidemics, but it is unknown if they followed through with their request after learning that it was just caused by a bug.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrupted_blood

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Deadly plague hits Warcraft world

By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

Artwork for World of Warcraft, Blizzard

Players get the chance to be heroes in World of Warcraft

A deadly virtual plague has broken out in the online game World of Warcraft.

Although limited to only a few of the game’s servers the numbers of characters that have fallen victim is thought to be in the thousands.

Originally it was thought that the deadly digital disease was the result of a programming bug in a location only recently added to the Warcraft game.

However, it now appears that players kicked off the plague and then kept it spreading after the first outbreak.

Since its launch in November 2004, World of Warcraft (Wow) has become the most widely played massively multiplayer online (MMO) game in the world.

Its creator, Blizzard, claims that now more than four million people are regular players.

Last rites

Wow is an online game that gives players the chance to adventure in the fantasy world of Azeroth that is populated by the usual mixture of humans, elves, orcs and other fantastic beasts.

As players explore the world, the characters they control become more powerful as they complete quests, kill monsters and find magical items and artefacts that boost abilities.

Artwork for World of Warcraft, Blizzard

The Warcraft world is a familiar fantasy setting

To give these powerful characters more of a challenge, Blizzard regularly introduces new places to explore in the online world.

In the last week, it added the Zul’Gurub dungeon which gave players a chance to confront and kill the fearsome Hakkar – the god of Blood.

In his death throes Hakkar hits foes with a “corrupted blood” infection that can instantly kill weaker characters.

The infection was only supposed to affect those in the immediate vicinity of Hakkar’s corpse but some players found a way to transfer it to other areas of the game by infecting an in-game virtual pet with it.

This pet was then unleashed in the orc capital city of Ogrimmar and proved hugely effective as the Corrupted Blood plague spread from player to player.

Although computer controlled characters did not contract the plague, they are said to have acted as “carriers” and infected player-controlled characters they encountered.

Body count

The first server, or “realm” as Blizzard calls them, affected by the plague was Archimonde; but it is known to have spread to at least two others.

The spread of the disease could have been limited by the fact that Hakkar is difficult to kill, so some realms may not yet have got round to killing him and unleashing his parting shot.

Artwork for World of Warcraft, Blizzard

In World of Warcraft players can be orcs, humans or other fantastic creatures

The digital disease instantly killed lower level characters and did not take much longer to kill even powerful characters.

Many online discussion sites were buzzing with reports from the disaster zones with some describing seeing “hundreds” of bodies lying in the virtual streets of the online towns and cities.

“The debate amongst players now is if it really was intentional although due to the effects of the problem it seems unlikely,” Paul Younger, an editor on the unofficial worldofwar.net site, told the BBC News website.

“It’s giving players something to talk about and could possibly be considered the first proper ‘world event'”, he said.

Luckily the death of a character in World of Warcraft is not final so all those killed were soon resurrected.

Blizzard tried to control the plague by staging rolling re-starts of all the servers supporting the Warcraft realms and applying quick fixes.

However, there are reports that this has not solved all the problems and that isolated pockets of plague are breaking out again.

The “Corrupted Blood” plague is not the first virtual disease to break out in game worlds. In May 2000 many players of The Sims were outraged when their game characters died because of an infection contracted from a dirty virtual guinea pig.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4272418.stm


Future outcomes for the Personal Journeys project…

February 10, 2009

Hello everyone,

I wanted to take this opportunity to once again thank you all for participating in the Personal Journeys art project. The stories that I received from have been heartwarming, inspiring and tragic at the same time. For those of you who have not submitted their stories yet, there is still time to send it in as I am now in the process of compiling the information together. Furthermore, if anyone in the group has reservations about me publishing their names in the final piece, please let me know and I will post your story as anonymous.

To that end, the final piece will be presented to the public a month from now and will be displayed in a blog that I am creating, but I do not see that as the end of this process. My mind is simply on fire with ideas about how to push the envelope of this project further and further. We here at Emily Carr and the entire city for that matter on the verge of a once in a lifetime opportunity because one year from now, the eyes of the entire world will be focused on Vancouver for 16 straight days when the 2010 Winter Olympics begin.

What if we went to the Vancouver Olympic Committee and setup within the athlete’s village to record and document the Personal Journeys that each athlete had to go through in order to make it here to Vancouver. What a wonderful gift that would be to share not only within the village, but to the world as a whole.

Here are some other future project avenues that could be explored:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

>>> To be done for the in-class presentation <<<

1a. Create a blog to document, list and display incoming Journey stories along with the associated graphical line plots – to be then presented to the class and to outside viewers who are invited to participate virtually.

1b. Enlarge and print a few selected Journey stories and graphical line plots and put them on display for the class when the project is presented and possibly the school gallery at the annual student exhibition in the spring.

>>> Pitched the idea to several Emily Carr administration and faculty last week – waiting for results and will followup <<<

2a. Actively seek Emily Carr participation from an administrative level to fund, market or otherwise advance the project to greater reception and accessibility.

2b. Form a team of 3 to 4 dedicated Emily Carr students to go on a road trip to recreate select Journeys in order to document them and in the process request school administration to setup a self-directed co-op program so participating students can get school credits. Outside corporate sponsors in the region could be located to help fund the endeavour and the project scope can be expanded to create a documentary film, book, website or other type of media device.

2c. This team of students would interview the original Journey authors and document the sights, encounters, people, places and otherwise meaningful moments along the Journey. In addition, this team of student artists would cover a wide range of talents and disciplines in order to provide a greater canvas to document the process and scope of the Journeys (ie: Photographer, Videographer, Musician, Writer, Digital Artist…) Each member would add their own unique flavour to the project and allow for inspiration from the Journey itself to drive their own personal art and life experience gained as a result.

2d. Select Journey stories and graphical line plots can be enlarged, printed and put on display in major art galleries, providing greater exposure to the original and subsequent documentary projects. Journey authors could be invited to give guest lectures on their respective Journeys and input kiosks could be installed in galleries to allow viewers to enter their own Journeys and graphical line plots into the database as well, after being inspired from reading of the Journeys of others.

>>> Future possibilities down the road <<<

3a. Pitch the Google Journeys idea directly to Google themselves – seeing as though they have a tremendous budget to work from and http://maps.google.com/  only provides a singular and not immediately meaningful attachment to the graphical line segment produced by the mapping software (ie: it creates a graphical representation of a Trip, not a Journey and certainly not one that is easily linked to others) – whereas if both Google and we as artists could create an immense database of Collective Journeys for people to read through and visualize graphically and tied into other similarly meaningful Journeys.

3b. Google Journeys could become a living and breathing Artwork existing purely on a virtual level and being on display to people around the world 24/7 while constantly being added to and upgraded. Participants would continue to add their own Journeys to the existing project whole and the graphical line would get bigger and bigger. Visual representation of the immense Collective of Journeys could be displayed in real-time as either 2d or 3d display.

3c. Visitors to the Google Journeys website could browse through the database to look up individual Journeys or run searches based on input parameters. As mentioned above, the tree branch analogy is a fitting one, seeing as how jagged and random the waypoints turn the graphical line plot every which way. Individual or select group Journeys could display as being colour coded and then zoomed in on in the 3d display of the Great Tree Branch, where the viewer could then click on and then bring up the author’s individual Journey story.

3d. Similar to a blog setup, visitors could then leave comments for the Journey’s original author and a global dialog could be achieved along with new friendships and greater understanding for one another. Authors and visitors alike could formulate new Journey plans amongst themselves – Shared databases between Google Journeys and Google Video could be extrapolated and linked in order to provide video responses to individual Journeys – the project could become viral in its outcome and scope.

3e. The inherent search engine and search results would provide local companies, hotels, and travel services to be immediately directed to those particular areas covered in the Journey display, allowing ease of use in planning not just a regular trip, but a Journey of your own.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

There you go – these are the thoughts racing through my mind on how to expand this project further so let me know what you think of these options and let’s see how far we can push this because the sky is limit!

Sincerely,

John DeVeaux


Edward Burtynsky: An Uneasy Beauty – Photographs of Western Canada

February 8, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I went to view the exhibition yesterday and the images were incredible – take the time to go out to Surrey and check out Burtynsky’s work.
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nickel Tailings No. 34, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Nickel Tailings No. 34, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Nickel Tailings No. 35, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Nickel Tailings No. 35, Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Surrey Art Gallery
p. 604.501.5566
f.  604.501.5581
or email


13750 – 88 Avenue, 1 block east of King George Hwy.
in Bear Creek Park

Surrey, BC Canada V3W 3L

Exhibition reception: January 24, 2 – 4pm
Film Screening: February 1, 2:30pm
Artist Talk: February 12, 7pm

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Considered one of Canada’s most important living photographers, Edward Burtynsky creates photographs that are “reflecting pools of our time,” dramatically recording the impact of industrial progress and human development. This exhibition features large format photographs, many never previously exhibited in British Columbia. They show both the vast wilderness and impressive landscapes of western Canada, and the monumental scale of the resource Industries that underlie the Canadian economy.

Presented by Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

http://www.surrey.ca/Living+in+Surrey/Arts/Surrey+Art+Gallery/Exhibitions/Exhibitions+-+Current.htm

http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is a feature length documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky makes large-scale photographs of ‘manufactured landscapes’ – quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines, dams. He photographs civilization’s materials and debris, but in a way people describe as “stunning” or “beautiful,” and so raises all kinds of questions about ethics and aesthetics without trying to easily answer them.

The film follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country photographing the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. Sites such as the Three Gorges Dam, which is bigger by 50% than any other dam in the world and displaced over a million people, factory floors over a kilometre long, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai’s urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera.

Shot in Super-16mm film, Manufactured Landscapes extends the narrative streams of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our profound impact on the planet and witness both the epicentres of industrial endeavour and the dumping grounds of its waste. What makes the photographs so powerful is his refusal in them to be didactic. We are all implicated here, they tell us: there are no easy answers. The film continues this approach of presenting complexity, without trying to reach simplistic judgements or reductive resolutions. In the process, it tries to shift our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it.

2006, Canada, 90 mins.

http://www.mongrelmedia.com/films/ManufacturedLandscapes.html