Author Archive for Steven Swinney

Real-time times two

Recently I have been hooked on two websites which are (un)related real-time updates of digital (mis)communication.

The first is a site created by Norse, an internet attack intelligence agancy (very Neuromancer but without the rastas in space). The site is a real-time visualisation of a small percentage (apparently <1%) of cyber attacks. It shows where the attacks originate, where is being targeted and the type of attack. It is pretty incredible. If you watch it for long enough you’ll see the map quieten down and then, boom, a massive coordinated attack will fire off. Usually against the USA.

The second site is a real-time visualisation of every emoji being used on twitter. I find it mesmerising. It follows on from an article I read in The Observer last weekend which was interested in the popularity of Emoji and how it has become a ubiquitous virtual language, with pictograms replacing words and combinations of these symbols replacing whole sentences but adding a multitude of increased interpretations. As the author of the article writes at the end of the article, “Barthes would have had a field day.”

Both of the sites are socially interesting and although at first glance I think it seems that the Norse one is the more ‘important’ of the two, I am fascinated by the Emoji one and by the questions it raises about how we communicate digitally, why are we always more drawn towards using pictures (pun intended), what does this mean for words and writing, is the majority of written language superfluous to communicative needs, can we call emoji a recognised language in its own right, and how would a shift towards a pictorial-based language system affect things like journalism, poetry, books etc, and physical interaction? Its a highly unlikely thing to happen but it is interesting to think about.


A future beyond capitalism?

The always great Dan Hancox talking about an alternative to capitalism by looking at the social-democratic and cooperative village of Marinaleda, Spain. Worth a listen if you have any interest in ways to address inequality and redistribution of wealth within society, both globally and nationally.

(was) the sound of the future

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there is scope for a beautiful symphony here.


2001: a typeface odyssey








space, typography, kubrick, and biscuits* are all great.


*biscuits not supplied

WIP replacement

image (2)

opening 31st january at 134 renfrew street

after party in the new old vic

we look forward to seeing your faces

told it slint

thought this could be of interest to some / few / many / none.

details are minimal but there’s wine and printed matter at the opening on the 13th (quality of both not guaranteed).

i’ll take this opportunity to tenuously link to some nice music

big up the nosferatu man

Preserving Sound

Preserving Sound: A documentary on the British Library’s Sound Archive


excellent short documentary from The Wire that is worth watching if you have even a passing interest in sound, digitization, libraries, curating, archives, the minute technical specifications of turntable stylus


The Wire takes a tour of the British Library’s Sound Archive, deep below its London residences on the Euston Road, to talk about sound conversion and conservation, and take a tour of its collections with some of its key sound curators.

The 20th century was about audiovisual material, our memory of the 20th century is heavily audiovisual, but our sense of the 21st century is going to be a different kind of audiovisual… archiving is not going to be so much about what we can bring in, but about what we can exclude,” says Will Prentice, British Library Audio Engineer and Conservation Specialist.


watching us

this is a fantastic resource that has a wealth of information on topics relevant to modern society and globalised culture.

“There’s already a lot of information on the Internet, so our goal is to cut through the noise and garbage, to present valuable information in a clear way, so it’s accessible, useful and easily digested. This still may not be an easy undertaking though, and we can understand that — especially considering the complexity and interconnectedness of the topics, as well as the crossing over of sources; but also for the fact that the information here can be incomplete, sometimes contradictory or even controversial. But this is the point. It’s all part of what we’re trying to do: provoke critical thinking, questioning… and doing.

We’ve fundamentally built this resource to inform and inspire action — and no, we’re not talking about clicking the stupid ‘Like’ button on Facebook, signing online petitions or letter writing — we mean informing and inspiring real-world action; taking this information away from the computer to rejuvenate the strong networks with the people around you in the real world, to discuss, plan, act. This is not a symbolic action or clicktivism website, nor is it a simple collection of popular content, like the other websites available. It’s a resource that aims to inform, inspire and provoke action; to generate a multitude of responses and reactions. This is just some of what is needed to break paradigms, subservience, acquiescence, and to cultivate inspiration to continue work on the plethora of puzzles and problems addressed in the information published here.”

adam curtis documentaries

Re-Brand hype

POW if you don’t know about me

POW better ask someone quickly

’cause POW!

energy flow

just downloaded this app from field.

not had a chance to play around with it but it sounds pretty exciting.

Energy Flow – A non-linear film experience from FIELD on Vimeo.

the (old) cage aesthetic

whilst doing some research on ‘the (not so new) new aesthetic’ i found a link to this interview with john cage by morton feldman.

their thoughts on politics, society, art, culture and music. interesting to consider whilst thinking about the current (ish) debate on the new aesthetic.

“I: July 9 1966
On intrusions – is it reality or culture? The role of the artist – deep in thought.
Is it possible to avoid the environment around us? Being constantly interrupted? Larry Rivers, Bob Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Boulez, Black Mountain College. On boredom and Zen, Buckminster Fuller.”


Stumbled across this project that is being curated by Graphical House.

I thought it held quite a bit of relevance in subject matter and continued on from the LUST feral studio workshop that some of us attended, which certainly threw up some interesting opinions and work on the same subject.

and this somehow seems relevant