The Institute of Network Cultures has had a site refresh, and it’s a good excuse, if any were needed, to look through their amazing resources for anyone with a critical interest in the internet and digital networked technologies. Many of the books are available as download.
Four days of exhibition, workshops, lectures, artist talks, panel discussions, performances, and screenings. Bringing together leading Asian and international talent to share, collaborate, and inspire. More: http://actcenter.kr / Site and identity by Moniker (check it out).
Monday 31 August, 6pm, Barnes Lecture Theatre.
A screening of The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.
Highly recommended. Chance for a monday night catch-up.
Make Works is an excellent directory of fabricators, factories, manufacturers and makers. Set up by GSA Product Design Graduate Fi Scott, Make Works is a fantastic resource if you need to get ‘stuff’ ‘done’.
“In a sense, an “immoral” and a “moral” approach to data attribution are equally difficult to justify. When we make anything in human culture, we’re using the whole damned apparatus. We should either thank everyone, or thank no-one and just get on with making the stuff and putting it out there. Bending the semantic rays as they pass endlessly though our machines.”
We did a Conditional Design workshop recently, as part of the Feral Studio *If,Then* events. And I just happened across this video, coincidentally, prompted by a couple of questions from Sam. I thought it was worth posting as it’s relevant in terms of the discussion that might, or could, be generated from the previous post about ‘craft’.
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.
«Approaching a practice then means approaching it as it diverges, that is, feeling its borders, experimenting with the questions which practitioners may accept as relevant, even if they are not their own questions, rather than posing insulting questions that would lead them to mobilise and transform the border into a defence against their outside.»
Isabelle Stengers, «Introductory Notes on an Ecology of Practices»
Mon 21st and Tue 22nd Oct
with Lizzie Malcolm/ http://lust.nl ‘Patterns and Parameters’
taking place in SWG3 studios
15 places, allocated on first come first served basis. Sign up (via the VLE) opens at 10am on monday morning (14th oct).
Starting from before computers, this workshop will introduce the relationship between code and creativity, specifically the concept of parametric design, and generative patterns.
We will look beyond software that has been made for design and explore ways to use computation as a tool in the creative process.
Beginning with a simple pattern generation program in the Processing language, we will manipulate input, process and output to build a generative visual system.
Sign up: opens, via the VLE design school community, at 10am on Mon 14th Oct.
Note: If you sign up for this event, you need to commit to being available 9am-5pm on both the mon 21st and tue 22nd Oct. 2013.
This event is mainly aimed at 3rd and 4th year undergrad students in order to fit around FOCI days etc, but there will be other events later in the year timed to suit other year groups.
I have some issues with Dr Aleks Krotoski’s BBC Radio 4 programme – Last Bus to Serendip, (but yes, we all have issues don’t we, hmmm, critical designers, hmmmmmm, sitting round, having issues with things). Anyway, despite these ‘issues’, there are a couple of good interviews in there – the best with James Burke, presenter of Connections, an episode of which you can see above.
Facebook Analog Research Laboratory is, well, odd. Wired magazine, the breathless pronouncers of all that is ‘new’, write about it here. At first glance it would appear that to enter this ‘research lab’ you need to be able to convincingly pretend to yourself that it is 1953, be comfortable with the idea of ‘self-help’, and have read all editions to date of The Little Book of Calm. From the image above, and those in the link, you’ll see that all boxes are ticked. Proofing press (with new lick of paint) – tick!, fixie – tick!, Miley Cyrus(hang on, is this some kind of topical bandwagon jumping? -ed), weird distinction between analog [sic] and digital – tick!…
I am on Facebook, but I really don’t get it, and all this makes me wonder what dynamics are at play here? If it’s a desire to seem human, handmade, authentic, then is that desperation or pure cynicism? Is the supposed reverence of ‘traditional’ tools and techniques an attempt to search for some inspiration, or filling a worrying void in someones life and experiences? I find facebook, from a user perspective, to be a strange combination of simultaneously compelling and boring experiences. This kind of cultish hipster fetishism pushes me one step closer to web suicide 2.0