Train vs Cow

June 10, 2009

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Quite possibly the funniest video I have ever seen.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, “Train vs Cow”
– FlashAddict

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Air India 182 – Trailer

February 7, 2009

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This is one of the films we were asked to review and possibly write an essay on for my Reading Media Culture course at Emily Carr. I viewed it on Wednesday afternoon and almost wept in the library while watching some of the most profound scenes. Please take the time to learn more about this tragedy as it provides a commentary for ALL Canadians to reflect on…
– FlashAddict

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On June 22, 1985, Air India 182 left Montreal, bound for New Delhi. Four hours after takeoff, a bomb ripped through the baggage compartment, killing all 329 people on board. It was the most deadly act of air terrorism in history before 9/11. The film counts down the final weeks and hours before Air India 182 disappeared off Irish radar screens and we sleepwalked into the era of international terrorism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_India_182


DIVA 202 – Tuesday at Emily Carr

January 13, 2009

CONTEMPORARY DIGITAL ARTS AND ARTISTS

John Wilhelm “Billy” Kluver 1927-2004
– curated 14 major museum exhibitons
– received Ordre des arts et des lettres awards from France (worked with Rauchenburg, Warhol, Johns and composer John Cage)
– he was an electrical engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories
– his work ranged from the TV antenna atop the Eifel Tower to an underwater video camera for Jacques Cousteau
– his artistic work reached pinnacle in 1996 with “9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering”
– John Cage – Variations VIII
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Kl%C3%BCver

Kluver believed that artists and engineers could go one step beyond what either would have done separately.
– absorbing new technology into art practice is persistent throughout the 20th century (futurists, dada, constructivists, fluxus, John Cage)

Fluxus movement is essentially a geocache without technology

John Cage – Water Walk

John Cage’s ASLSP / Organ 2 / Halberstadt,

World’s slowest, longest concert

The world’s “slowest and longest concert” resumed on July 5, 2008, when the Halberstadt church organ played the next – 6th – chord of John Cage’s As Slow As Possible. The weights holding down the organ pedals were shifted resulting to the 6th chord change, and accordingly a chance of hearing the final note being played in the year 2639 would be a possibility. In 1985, Cage opted to omit the detail of “exactly how slow the piece should be played.” Its maiden performance was 29 minutes, while a second version took 71 minutes. The piece is a 639-year-long version of Cage’s ORGAN2/ASLSP As Slow As Possible, first played on Cage’s 89th natal day at 1361 St. Burchardi on September 5, 2001. At 3:33 p.m., Saxony-Anhalt politicians, tourists and media led by Hans-Jörg Bauer, head of John Cage Organ Project, attended the chord change to C4-A flat4.

The former Church of St. Burchard was used as a pig-sty in the communist years of East Germany. Two more organ pipes were added alongside the four installed and the tone became more complex at 3:33 p.m. local time. The second of the new pipes, the next musical change in John Cage’s slow masterpiece will be in this November. A machine keeps the sound coming out.

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Video and satellites allowed artists to experiment with live performance and networking

Douglas Davis performance “Last 9 Minutes” (1977?) is broadcast to 25 countries live.
In 1977, at the opening of documenta 6, alongside Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys, Douglas Davis took part in one of the first international satellite telecasts with his live performance The Last Nine Minutes. His exploration of interactivity involving various media continued throughout the 80s and 90s. He is the author of one of the earliest art pieces on the world wide web, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Davis_(artist)

Keith Sonnier and Liza Bear

Robert Adrian – using 1979 Comtech, artists collaborated and exchanged multimedia artworks for 24 hours

1970’s Digital Art expands into multiple strands of practice
– object oriented
– process-oriented virtual object
– open structure and process that rely on flux of information, like a performance

1980’s
– the audience participates in the work
– the artist is not the sole creator, but a mediator or facilitator for audience interaction
– the creative process involves complex collaboration and collapses boundaries between disciplines

Concepts of new technologies are shaped by fiction, and are compelling enough to inspire their recreation in reality

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Or in Digital Art, what came first, the idea of an online universe or the realization of it?

William Gibson
(Vancouver based author) – invented the term “cyberspace” in his book Neuromancer

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

Neuromancer

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

Neal Stephenson

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

Snow Crash

– cyberspace, avatars, second life, mmorpg, internet…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash

10 Cube Gallery in Second Life = online avatar art gallery

Selling Digital Art
Precious/Scarce does not always apply in digital context
– printmaking model of limited editions scan work with digital items
– for installations or other software dependent art practice, museums are buying the source code and keeping it on their servers

Collecting Art
– Means you are responsible for maintaining the work
– is inherently ephemeral and may only exist in documentation
– ones and zeros are stable, but hardware and software are not – technology creates an obsolescence

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SELF-DIRECTED Project – due February 10
– Digital Tools (photo, print, high contrast digital picture, GPS,
– HIGH CONTRAST

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http://www.stuckincustoms.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging

– Digital Native (installation, conceptual, performance, projection, intervention, public)

GROUP Project – due March 31
– ARG
– Real-Time performance (acting on audience input) aka improv (Subsurvient Chicken)
http://www.subservientchicken.com/


Snow Crash and Alternate Reality Games

November 15, 2008

/ SNOW CRASH

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash
http://www.time.com/time/2005/100books/0,24459,snow_crash,00.html

– lethal text as popular fiction
– Neal Stephenson stared writing Snow Crash in 1989; published in June 1992
– in 1990, Tim Berners Lee began testing the ‘world wide web’ at CERN in Switzerland
– in 1991, the world wide web was released
– in 1992, there were 26 websites, mostly associated with the University of Illinois
– in 1995, traditional online dialup services like AOL began to provide access to “The Internet”
– cyberpunk / post-cyberpunk genre novel
– Time listed it on the 100 all-time novels written since 1923
– a graphic novel without the graphics
– cyberpunk is gritty (technology bad – like Blade Runner)
– post-cyberpunk = technology is good (Hiro Protagonist – technology is celebrated – young urban professional with more social status)
– Phillip Rosedale who created Linden Labs (aka Second Life) – Snow Crash was their business plan
– there is a video game company named Black Sun
– Are the characters governed by their ideas and origins or their feelings and emotions?
– popularized the word AVATAR- virtual world-ware named Blaxxun (after the disco in the metaverse)
– Google Earth / Google Knol – monetizing information = CIC

– video of Neal Stephenson speaking in London in 2008

– did Stephenson write a technical vision of the future or did techies take his ideas and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy
– Dr. William Gibson – wrote Johnny Mnemonic (invented the term cyberspace)
– memes are self-replicating units of culture – memes to genes as memetics to genetics
– memetics = the theory that cultural information comes in chunks, and are transmitted like viruses.
– Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
– principal thematic concern of Snow Crash is memetics – ideas are transmitted like code and are vulnerable to hacking
– the original Sumerian is analogous to binary/machine-level coding
– language and ideas are programs written by priests/hackers
– diversity in a culture is a good thing so as to not have everyone vulnerable to a single viral attack
– L. Bob Rife (metaphor of L. Ron Hubarb) seeks to control the media and UNDO the nam-shub and then recreate a lethal text that will control through hacking
– A TEXT THAT DISRUPTS OR DESTROYS THE MECHANISM THAT PROCESSES IT.
– a computer virus is a lethal text
– The Tower of Babel
– Die Laughing?

MONTY PYTHON – funniest joke in the world then die laughing

– lethal text paradox: no one can know the lethal text and remain capable of telling it (perpetual auto-responder computer paradox)
– many a malevolent computer in science fiction has been short-circuited by making lethal text queries that have no logical output (Wargrames)
– we can choose to lose at Tic-Tac-Toe – the WOPR in Wargames came to a rational conclusion about nuclear war by being force to play tictactoe

– “The only way to win is to not play”

– the brain can deflect paradox by ceasing to think about it, machines cannot – no one can win, so why play?

– is dystopic or futurist writing (in this case cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk) a form of memetic virus that infects the future?
– Mosaic and Google founders / CEO of Second Life / XBOX architect J Allard
– most prophetic aspects may not be the technology, but the depiction of a decentralized, post-statist social system
– has de-coupled the notion of land of sovereignty and redefined nations as people linked by values or interests

– posits an atomized, completely de-centralized future
– “Rhizomatic” structure; small, inter-dependent nodes, no central government
– the one nuclear power in the story  is an individual, Raven (the ultimate free-agent)

– Freidman wrote “The World is Flat” in 2005 – just won the Nobel Prize for economics
– international best seller – describes the mechanics of fungibility and out-sourcing
– documents flatteners like technology, workflow, the web, outsourcing…
– American economy needs to shift to a creative or value-added economy
– Blackwater = General Jim’s defense System and Admiral Bob’s National Security
– for-profit prisons in the state that has 3 strikes you’re out laws!

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ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES (ARG)

– an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform
– uses media and traditional game elements (like puzzles) to tell a story that may change or be otherwise affected by the participants’ actions or reactions
– the internet is the central binding medium for an ARG (cellphones, the web…)
– players are more actively ‘controlled’ by designers, as opposed to the AI-based characters in a video game
– does a game require an opponent?
– ARGs don’t necessarily have an opponent
– puppet master may change or engage players in real-time, but they want you to ‘solve’ things

ARG TERMS

The Curtain = a metaphor for the dividing line between the designers and the players (from Wizard of Oz – man behind the curtain)

Puppet master = the lead designer or producer of an ARG; directs or impedes the progress of the players through clues or puzzles

Rabbithole = AKA Trailhead, the Rabbit hole is the first clue or invitation to the ARG (Alice in Wonderland)

ARG DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Archaeology = not a single narrative, but a story that is assembled by player community from pieces scattered across multiple media

Platform Appropriate Media = using the best media to deliver pieces of the story (ie: download mp3, watch youtube, send txt / I Love Bees)

Crowd-source Solution = requires cross-discipline expertise within player community to solve

Whisper Rather Than Shout = present the entrance to the Rabbit hole with a whisper rather than a shout; get players to ‘pull’ out the story, rather than ‘push’ it on them

TINAG = this is not a game – actual phone numbers, URLs etc all worked – characters functioned like real people

NAH = Not A Hoax – at the same time, one has to be aware of creating panic, discomfort or a disturbance in players, public and civil authorities. It needs to be a game.

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CASE STUDY EXAMPLE:

http://ilovebees.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_Bees

– Halo 2 launch event website – they sent jars of honey to previous ARG players with ilovebees website and the countdown = rabbit hole
– around the same time, TV commercial showed a link to the ilovebees url
– these were not connected publicly for several weeks – curious players went to the website that had been “hacked”
– no direction or guidance was given – the community worked within itself to help this lowly beekeeper
– players were given 210 time codes and gps locations (turned out to be pay phones) which were when the pay phone calls would go down
– communications between puppet masters and gamers increased in scope – phone calls, emails
– the winners got to go to 4 theaters and play first edition Halo 2 game
– over 3 million people were playing the game
– game was designed and produced by 42 entertainment

http://www.42entertainment.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_Entertainment


Wednesday’s DIVA 200 class

October 10, 2008

Sorry that I have been lax in updating my blog, but I got food poisoning last Friday, which morphed into a lovely bouquet of influenza due to my immune system being shot to hell, so I have been a little under the weather of late.

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TROIKA + GLOWLAB

the cloud

tetris + knight rider on office building windows

– starbucks has the largest wireless cloud in the world – they are now an entertainment channel
– doing the same with internet connection as they did with music cds
– war chalking / war driving
– hobo culture / signs / graffity to communicate and warn one another
– marks on buildings to let people know where free internet access is around the city
– notion of privacy of how much of your life is public and how much is private
– google is keeping track of every single search that we do
– web crawler and cyber squatters flipping internet domains

drift.relay in san jose by glowlab
“information wants to be free” = guiding moto of open source movement
book called “The Long Tale” – by Chris Anderson who is the editor of Wired Magazine
– digital content (sitting on a hard drive) versus brick and mortar inventory in a store
– there will be a market for my work
– eventually you will be able to buy the license to a piece of content that you have already paid for (cd, dvd, blue-ray, next gen…)
– digital has transformed everything
– google is the single largest data mining enterprise in the world – save every search until 2038

– google knol – is this the precursor of the CIC (Central Intelligence Corporation – Snow Crash)?
– knol = unit of knowledge – go and get information and if you want more, you can pay for it
– Google is giving you information that they THINK you may want
– civil liberties = main concern: aggregation of personal data in commercial databases
– government databases are subject to privacy act
– commercial databases fall outside of privacy act, and the use of contractors has transformed law enforcement
– ChoicePoint or Seisint, aggregate data from commercial transactions with public records (prescriptions, groceries, travel plans, criminal records)

– potential for abuse
– concentrated target for hackers, identty thieves and authorities otherwise constrained by privacy act
– Seisint compiled a list of 120,000 based of a “terrorist quotient”, a profile they created including ethnicity and religious beliefs and handed it over to law enforcement
– Florida relied on ChoicePoint to identify convicted felons registered to vote – as many as 1 in 7 were wrongfully expunged from the voters list (voter margin in 2000 was 537 votes)

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification
– shock bracelets with EMD Technology (Electro-Muscular Disruption)

Privacy and Social Networks
Google’s Value Proposition – “is to figure out what people want, but to read our minds, they need to know a lot about us”
– will pull ads containing certain keywords, but will not state what those keywords are
– handed over user-records of Orkut to Brazilian government for an investigation
(orkut is a social networking service which is run by Google and named after its creator, an employee of Google – Orkut Büyükkökten. The service states that it was designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships.)
– censored and constrained its Chinese search-engine to gain access to that market
– the Chinese government is in the process of saving SKYPE messages that pass through mainland China and now SKYPE has ended their relationship with their Chinese affiliate

Google Streets – recorded some random kid who saw the Google van drive by and he ended up wiping out on his bike
“Don’t Be Evil”

Second Life Lawsuit
http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/005816.html

The Worst of Real Made Virtual
– the covenant of Extropia
– A Declaration of the Rights of Avatars – by Ralph Koster

189 Satellites that don’t officially exist (spy satellites CIA, KGB)
iridium satellite flashes – search when the satellite will flash on the web
– Russian town had 400 people show up in yellow raincoats and stood in the town square when the google satellite went overhead