Thursday, December 11, 2008

Donna Harraway

Hey everyone, I know this probably doesn’t do much good now, but here is my Donna Harraway Precies

In this beautiful am amazing essay Donna Harraway expands many of her other most famous concepts, especially those mobilized by the cyborg and on the proliferation of hybrids.

She begins this with a discussion of “nature”`stating that it is a “commonplace and a powerfully discursive construction.” Harraway is attempting to work through a model and understanding of nature (and really existence, especially embodiment,) which is not caught in the unproductive crosshairs of Modernist or postmodernism, arguing (after Latour,) that we have “never been modern.”

She movingly describes bodies as material semiotic generative nodes” which materialize in social interaction among humans and non-humans, including machines and other instruments.

She introduces, and later in the article, fleshes out a model based on the human-immune system, writing: “So while the late-twentieth century immune system, for example, is a construct of an elaborate apparatus of bodily production, neither the immune system nor any other of biology’s world-changing bodies-like viruses or an ecosystem – is a ghostly fantasy.

Movingly, Harraway discusses the corporeality of theory, that it is necessarily material, bodily, and literal.

Using a semiotic grid of A. Real Space: Earth; B. Out Space: The Extraterrestrial; Not B. Inner Space: The Biomedical Body; and Not A. Virtual Space: SF, Harraway’s essay weaves through close readings of technological advertisements, t-shirt logos, and space chimp narratives to flesh out her thesis on nature, artificiality, embodiment and technology.

Whether it is a read contrasting the relationship of fetuses to mother’s bodies to Amazonian inhabitants to the Amazon jungle (who is speaking thus?) and the assumptions from which such arguments are made or an unpacking of the misogynist- racist-imperialist under girding of a photograph of Jane Goodall holding hands with a monkey (the chimp touches her, anointing her as science to speak for it, nature, wrapped un in complex (and very visible) histories of miscegenation.)

One of the most lovely stretches (beside its entirety) is Harraway’s personal tale about the intervention and controversy of Surrogate Other’s, their infiltration into a government testing site (using a floral-print polyester snake-worm with “lovely dragon eyes,”) and the unpacking of the semantics, and images of their name and shirts (describing the world as an amniotic sac and mother simultaneously, the kind of descriptive “monstrous” hybrids, the spaces of the margins, that Harraway works.

Finally at the end emerges her discussion of the cyborg reading in the Lynn Randolph painting Cyborg (1989) “the full circle of the noisey semiotic square, finding it a rainbow of political semiology for wily transnational techno science studies as cultural studies.”

I am interested an always very moved at her reads of visual imagery, like ads, and the extreme importance it carries for her theoretically and politically, what, as cultural produces do we make of her reads and its implications for our practice.

Donna Harraway

Hey everyone, I know this probably doesn’t do much good now, but here is my Donna Harraway Precies

In this beautiful am amazing essay Donna Harraway expands many of her other most famous concepts, especially those mobilized by the cyborg and on the proliferation of hybrids.

She begins this with a discussion of “nature”`stating that it is a “commonplace and a powerfully discursive construction.” Harraway is attempting to work through a model and understanding of nature (and really existence, especially embodiment,) which is not caught in the unproductive crosshairs of Modernist or postmodernism, arguing (after Latour,) that we have “never been modern.”

She movingly describes bodies as material semiotic generative nodes” which materialize in social interaction among humans and non-humans, including machines and other instruments.

She introduces, and later in the article, fleshes out a model based on the human-immune system, writing: “So while the late-twentieth century immune system, for example, is a construct of an elaborate apparatus of bodily production, neither the immune system nor any other of biology’s world-changing bodies-like viruses or an ecosystem – is a ghostly fantasy.

Movingly, Harraway discusses the corporeality of theory, that it is necessarily material, bodily, and literal.

Using a semiotic grid of A. Real Space: Earth; B. Out Space: The Extraterrestrial; Not B. Inner Space: The Biomedical Body; and Not A. Virtual Space: SF, Harraway’s essay weaves through close readings of technological advertisements, t-shirt logos, and space chimp narratives to flesh out her thesis on nature, artificiality, embodiment and technology.

Whether it is a read contrasting the relationship of fetuses to mother’s bodies to Amazonian inhabitants to the Amazon jungle (who is speaking thus?) and the assumptions from which such arguments are made or an unpacking of the misogynist- racist-imperialist under girding of a photograph of Jane Goodall holding hands with a monkey (the chimp touches her, anointing her as science to speak for it, nature, wrapped un in complex (and very visible) histories of miscegenation.)

One of the most lovely stretches (beside its entirety) is Harraway’s personal tale about the intervention and controversy of Surrogate Other’s, their infiltration into a government testing site (using a floral-print polyester snake-worm with “lovely dragon eyes,”) and the unpacking of the semantics, and images of their name and shirts (describing the world as an amniotic sac and mother simultaneously, the kind of descriptive “monstrous” hybrids, the spaces of the margins, that Harraway works.

Finally at the end emerges her discussion of the cyborg reading in the Lynn Randolph painting Cyborg (1989) “the full circle of the noisey semiotic square, finding it a rainbow of political semiology for wily transnational techno science studies as cultural studies.”

I am interested an always very moved at her reads of visual imagery, like ads, and the extreme importance it carries for her theoretically and politically, what, as cultural produces do we make of her reads and its implications for our practice.

CLIPART COMICS



Final Project by Peter Max Lawrence
http://petermaxlawrence.com/PWP/CLIPARTCOMICS/01/0101_00.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Locative media and the city

Ran across this, and it peaked my interest.

"...locative and mobile media and how they relate to urban culture and questions of identity...“MySpace urbanism” – the condition of cities saturated with media networks, where physical space is intersected with layers of personalised, spatial orientation."

Reminds me of the Debord, the Situationists and their exploration of psychogeographies.

Final Project!!!!

Hi Everybody!! For my final project I did some illustrations for "Maneki Neko", by Bruce Sterling...Also, at the bottom is an advertisement of my take on the Pokkecon mentioned in the story.....Please Enjoy!! Good luck with finals everybody!













My site BAMTRON.COM

Recently I have been really interested in HTML or the Internet as a tool and medium. I have some issues with using the web as a space to show one's work but still see the practicality or inescapable accessibility. The artist websites I have seen use it like a business card, usually really cut and dry information with strict parameters. What you don't see a lot is artists approaching it from the another angle and treating it like they would their work. Seems simple enough but it was really hard for me to throw out my impulses to make my site "readable" and "understandable." I feel that this attempt is a step in the right direction because it's a compromise between conveying information effectively while still keeping my conceptual ideas in tact.

Please check it out, feedback appreciated:

www.bamtron.com

Garfield minus Garfield



http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For my presentation

Good Evening everyone.
On Thursday we will be participating in the show Let's Paint TV with artist John Kilduff! A live webcast from www.stickam.com
We will be tuning into his show at 11 or as close to that time as we can.
Check out his website!
http://letspainttv.com/

Here's a cool video of John in action!
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/4c8244ff76/mr-lets-paint-get-a-pie-s-in-his-face-from-letspainttv

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Facebook and the Social Dynamics of Privacy

Clay Shirky posted on Boing Boing, an article by James Grimmelmann entitled Facebook and the Social Dynamics of Privacy. Thought someone might be interested.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The drug war...

more reports from more failed war...

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2008/12/03/einstein-insanity-and-the-war-on-drugs/

eye see you!

Film maker implants camera into eye...

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/12/eye-spy-filmmak.html

Thursday, December 04, 2008

James Boyle's "The Public Domain"

Oh, and James Boyle has a new book out called The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Boing Boing has more here. Free download here.

Benkler on Infrastructure Investment

Ran across this article by Yochai Benkler about investing in information infrastructure.

Ubuntu Studio

Since we talked about it, this is the open source operating system of creative apps, Ubuntu Studio.

Update: For those interested, there is also artsoftware.org which has a large resource of open source art focused software. And the list of software that you install with Ubuntu Studio (if you don't want to install a new OS) is here. Of note on that list are GIMP, Blender and Audacity. I am also big fan of Pure Data (or PD) which is the open source Max/MSP, which was written by Miller Puckett, the original author of Max/MSP (and the MSP in Max/MSP).

A couple of other projects to mention are Processing and it's hardware sister project, Arduino. If anyone is interested, Chris Palmer teaches a class here on Arduino called Activating Objects (which I happen to TA. Funny how that works, huh?)

Enjoy!!

Just thought this would be appropriate....

....any ladies out there need $7,000?

Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket

In the article Bring Me My Philips Mental Jacket Slavoj Žižek takes a stab at tackling the complicated issue of bioethics and ends where we normally do, with more questions than answers. He begins with concerns of manipulating the human body and turning it into a nonhuman being, and in turn completely obliterating nature as we know it. This seems to be a recurring idea, and one of the most significant arguments in the article. Mr. Žižek simply cannot fathom a world where bioengineering is in practice. In fact he doesn’t have any positive feedback at all, and much of his argument seems to be fear based. He tends to hold on to the traditional definitions of life as we know it, and brings to light the issue of morality vs. not knowing. One of the reasons for arguing against not knowing is because in many cases science dispels many myths of past generations. Particularly of an argument which he brings up, the conflict between made and spontaneous, the more we learn in science the more we realize there is less and less spontaneity that we thought. I’m not arguing for bioethics, he makes good points, such as worrying about major corporations controlling the actions of humans through chip implants. But his fear tends to overbear his legitimate concerns and is distracting from many of the good points he makes.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lessig Launches Open Transition Principles for Obama

Lawrence Lessig, who wrote 'Code is Law' from our second week of readings this term, is teaming up with some folks from Moveon.org and others to present a set of principals for Obama's "open transition."

"President-elect Obama has made a very clear commitment to changing the way government works with its citizens. To this end, we offer these three principles to guide the transition in its objective to build upon the very best of the Internet to produce the very best for government."
http://www.open-government.us/

Its nice to know people are organizing in opposition to Legal Barriers that aim to prevent Sharing, but i did find one sentence in the opening paragraph a little telling of a certain "faith" in the Internet as the best fucking shit in the world.

I learned about the site on Slashdot.com where there is a good discussion on the topic in the comments box.

Laptops 4 children in developing countries

We have often discussed in class the issues of technology and the internet addressability. Here is an interesting organization that working with that issue. http://laptop.org.
I have some issues with organization manly hat it is sold through amazon but it is worth why to check out

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

TECHSPLOITATION

So the ol’ in and out is really just “a massive genetic engineering project known as patriarchy”? Huh? Annalee Newitz sarcastically, but also in all seriousness, argues in her article TECHSPLOITATION: Breeding the Future that so called “natural” breeding has lost anything natural about it because it has been skewed by the dominating patriarchal elite to control what kind of babies will be produced by women who have been handpicked. She also states that this hierarchy isn’t all that different or any worse than genetic engineering because it also uses the selecting processes doctors would use to create their perfect human species. So what’s all the hoopla about?

Her concern about this entire mess isn’t the means which life is brought into the world, but rather the problem of overpopulation. It’s a rather touchy subject- we wouldn’t be in such a global crisis for resources and space if there were less people in the world and we could consume and exist in a less devastating way. This is something I assume we have all thought about in reading this article and the reasons for the endurance of overpopulation are rather bleak for obvious reasons. 1) It’s little too late to deal with overpopulation immediately because the people who have been born can’t be unborn. 2) The people who intentionally or accidentally participate in producing babies believe, for the most part, in the fundamental right for two consenting adults to create life whenever they want to. Mandatory population control isn’t all that appealing, because it’s seen as a loss of the freedom of choice. In China, for example, the one child policy was implemented in 1979. Only 35% of the population is subjected to this policy and has been estimated to have prevented 250 million births. Some benefits have been economic growth, decreased environmental impact and better health care services. Some criticisms are that it has had effects on the female population, has created more abortions and infanticides, more abandoned and orphaned children and has created a “Four-two-one” problem in which the single child is put in a position to take care of both parents and four grandparents.

Newitz's solution seems like a reasonable one- to eliminate the stigma surrounding people who choose not to reproduce and to actually thank them for ridding us of the awful brats! More people could and should make a conscious decision, instead of a selfish or unconscious one, to do their part in saving our species. Some questions that arise from this are: How do you convince people to care about the survival of earth when they currently are doing nothing to resolve easy problems? Especially if they are not in a position to care. Is it selfish to have a lot of children? What is a reasonable number? And what would the solution be to eliminate peoples illogical, but instinctual desire to have children? Some solutions, all of which I can see immediate problems with but like the idea of, are to perhaps buy a permit to have a child, take a test to prove parental ability, be drawn in a lottery, be assigned a timeline with marked potential procreation periods so that not too many people are born at once, or share multiple children with multiple families.


"One-child policy." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 1 Dec 2008, 16:47 UTC. 2 Dec 2008

Keywords Wiki

We set up a wiki to collaborate on the keywords project. You can help collaborate at http://tecblog.pbwiki.com/

Monday, December 01, 2008

Making Art and Culture Thrive in a Hybrid Economy

Making Art and Culture Thrive in a Hybrid Economy -- Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig believes heavy-handed enforcement of intellectual property rights may quash creativity and innovation. He joins us to discuss his new book titled, "Remix: Making Art and Culture Thrive in the Hybrid Economy."

88.5 fm


http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R812011000

FINAL

Many of you will be presenting original work connected to the themes of our course on the last day as your final project. Please remember that together with this presentation you should hand in a short description of the project and its connection to a text or texts from our class that I can use as a reference in assessing your work.

Those of you who would rather not do such a presentation are welcome to produce a short (5pp.) final essay responding to the following prompt:
What is the shape and what might be the significance of a transformation from a mass mediated public sphere into more p2p networked public sphere? Choose any two texts from the course to describe how, in your own view, the emerging peer-to-peer networked public sphere differs most significantly from the mass mediated public sphere that preceded it.

I have no expectation at all about how sweeping, how deep, how hopeful, how fragile, how illusory you have come to believe this transformation truly is, nor do I have any expectation about what each of you will finally decide the significance of this transformation truly amounts to.

Berube

Well, I've looked all over the place, but to no avail. When Berube migrated his site some of the essays available on the old site vanished down the memory hole and the beautiful essay I assigned for Thursday is among them. I cannot find it anywhere else. Unless somebody has had luck finding it through some other route I suppose we'll have to confine our discussion to the remaining three pieces Thurs. The essay became the basis for a wonderful book by the same title that I recommend to your attention. Hope your holiday went well and that everybody is working on their keywords assignment. Word about the final forthcoming in my next post.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

new york times article on leaving a digital trail and privacy.

if you guys are interested... 
i thought it was pretty relevant.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Prayer

"You always were a headache, and you always were a bore." William Burroughs gives thanks. Director Gus Van Sant helps out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keywords!

1. accountability
2. basic income guarantee
3. body
4. California Ideology
5. canon
6. code
7. commons
8. control
9. credential
10. crypto-anarchy
11. culture
12. cybernetic totalism
13. cyberspace
14. democracy
15. digital
16. elite
17. end-to-end principle (e2e)
18. enframing
19. enhancement
20. filtering
21. finitude
22. free software
23. industrial model
24. linking
25. mass culture
26. media
27. neoliberalism
28. Netroots
29. objectivity
30. open source
31. panopticon
32. peer to peer (p2p)
33. popular
34. post-humanist
35. privacy
36. private property
37. professional
38. propaganda
39. public
40. publication
41. public good
42. reductionism
43. representative
44. retro-futurism
45. secrecy
46. sousveillance
47. spontaneous order
48. techno-utopianism
49. transparency
50. -- WILD CARD: Good for one term I've failed to include in the list.

Choose thirty Keywords from this list. Organize your chosen Keywords into three separate, conceptually connected, sets. You can use any criteria that seems useful to you to organize these sets. The only rule is that no resulting set can contain fewer than six Keywords.

Each set should have a title or heading that indicates the criteria governing inclusion into that set. Once you have organized your three sets in this way, briefly define each one of the Keywords you have included in each set in your own words. Ideally, your definitions should be as clear and as concise as possible. These definitions should be a matter of a sentence or two, NOT a paragraph or two. They are definitions, not essays or explanations. It should be clear from your definitions why each of the Keywords in each of the three sets are conceptually connected to each other, but it is also crucial that no terms within a set are to be treated as synonymous, and that your definitions distinguish Keywords from one another (even if the resulting distinctions are sometimes matters of nuance).

Once you have defined all these Keywords, provide a short quotation (feel free to edit and prune to keep your chosen citations properly pithy) from one of the texts we have read this term to accompany your definition. The quotation you choose can be a definition you found helpful in crafting your own definition, it can be an example or illustration you found especially clarifying, it can a matter of contextualization, framing, or history that you found illuminating, it can even be something you disagreed with so strongly it helped you understand better what you really think yourself.

Obviously, there are endless ways of organizing these sets, defining their Keywords, distinguishing them from one another, and connecting them up to the texts we have read. What matters here is that you follow the rules of the exercise, not that you arrive at some single "right answer" you may think I have in mind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey yawl,
I'm going to do my report tomorrow on Richard Kamler. He is a local artist who uses his art to challange current affairs, and believes that art is a powerfull tool to bring social change. His work can be placed in New Genras catigories, but can be very inspirering for all young active artist who are interested in staying active in political issues. Kamler has won many awards,including the Adaline Kent Award from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1996. Kamler is well know for his work with his collaboration with inmates of the San Francisco County Jail. Along side many other pieces wich we some might have hurd of, and we can descuss. If you get a chance to check out his web site it very intersting and easy to view. see you in the morning.
Rachel
http://www.richardkamler.org/buffalo.html
here is his artist statement for you to get an understanding...
RICHARD KAMLER
"For the past 30 years, that idea has driven me towards the practice of art engaged in worldly affairs. It has driven me towards an understanding that art is as much a part of our life as is the air we breathe and the water we drink. That art is an agent for social change. It is our fuel and our glue."


I practice art to communicate.
I practice art to make the world a better place.
I practice art because it is the most meaningful thing I can think of doing.
I practice art to come to the table and engage in dialogue.
I practice art to have fun.
I practice art to be part of the global community of artists and to participate in our common and creative struggle for freedom.
I practice art because I sing while I’m doing it.
I practice art to respect my grandfather’s request when he screamed at me to show him the face I had before I was born.
I practice art to have ONE un-edited activity for the full swimming of my imagination.
I practice art to say YES!

Unleash Your Inner Cyborg and Sousveillance!

Sousveillance, By Steve Mann



Sousveillance is the opposite of surveillance and means watchful vigilance from underneath or undersight. In other words, filming as opposed to being filmed. Putting the surveillance back in the hands of the people.

Mann starts off this paper by defining the true causes of terror. He believes that terrorism arises from the larger operating system that initiates the surveillance. Not from the individual who gets out of line. These closed looped operating systems such as powerful governments have no checks and balances unlike the lower end operations that create feedback. And what we need to do is look at these systems that “operate without scrutiny” (Mann). What Mann is saying here is not too radical. We need to question the government. Hey that's a great idea!

Mann then points out that citizens' rights to record the activity of these large and powerful operating systems are being taken away. This can be seen on the micro level in department stores or corporate spaces, where there are tons of planted cameras hidden from plain view. In these places the customer or citizen is prohibited to take pictures or film. This basically makes these spaces or systems totalitarian regimes that rely on secrecy and high surveillance. Liberal democracy relies on the opposite. High surveillance equals high terror.

That is where Mann offers sousveillance as a solution. He argues that it creates a feedback for these closed off operations. A feedback that is necessary to restore order, balance, and freedom. Those large operations that encourage sousveillance will actually benefit from decreased acts of violence and terror. Sousveillance makes everyone happy! He argues that while this may increase surveillance, it actually destroys the monopoly on surveillance, democratizing surveillance. My question is how do you put out fire? By fighting fire with fire? NOT. I think there has to be a better way.

I start to doubt Mann's argument even more when he begins to describe the ways in which we should carry out sousveillance. “I'm not suggesting that the cameras be mounted on the floor...I am suggesting that the cameras be mounted on people in low places.” (Mann). He kinda beats you over the head with his explanation of not “literally” but “figuratively.” Yeah, we get it, not on the floor, on low people.

Like this fashionable EXISTech personable security necklace:




He also describes a “simple experiment” in which you go into a regime and ask them “Hey Regime, why ya got all those gosh darn surveillance cameras around?” They will respond with “Only criminals ask those questions!” Then you should take a picture of this official and “observe reaction.” Oh yeah and don't forget to bring your friends along to prevent an “eruption of violence.” This guy is kind of nuts.

There is also World Sousveillance Day: Operation Python aka December 24 (the biggest shopping day of the year) where you have to take a picture (with your camera phone) of all the cashiers you encounter. This will help to prevent your cashier from running your credit card twice. Seriously do it. Biggest shopping day of the year, don't get charged twice.

You know she was totally going to rip you off on that latte if you didn't take a picture of her:



While I definitely think that we should be aware of the totalitarian oppression in closed loop operations, I don't necessarily think that giving them a taste of their own medicine is the answer. Surveillance destroys trust. We need to create systems of feedback and balance that encourage trust.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

sorry this is so late!!!

“Three cheers for the Surveillance Society!”

 

David Brin believes that ever increasing Surveillance technology is inevitable and that ultimately, it will be an increasing benefit.   I agree that in some ways, society could benefit from this technology.  However, who will benefit depends on who’s hands it is in.

Holding those with power accountable is a necessary safeguard.  Ideas such as chipping everything in our lives so we can locate lost or stolen property, missing children and “criminals” could as easily be abused as be used for the common good.  What is to stop “Big Brother” from tracking down dissenting or questioning voices?  We live within a capitalist society and this is the context that we must use when looking into the future.  How can we assume that power will be in the hands of the people?  Why is Brin so sure that surveillance technology will be used to serve the collective good?  Maybe the collective he is talking about isn’t the same as the one I am thinking of.  If tracking criminals is good, who defines the criminal behavior to be punished? Do we impose implants on corporate criminals in the same way we would to those committing crimes due to poverty? And unfortunately our current un-just “justice” system does not instill the hope that the purpose of our prison industrial complex will be dissolved though “chipping”.  Brin praises the RFID technology systems for their convenience as a social benefit.  This form of automation, like almost all corporate devised “advancements” will result in the deskilling and displacing of working peoples and jobs.

Not surprising many of the jobs eliminated due to “labor savers” (or self checkouts) have been union positions, Brin says “Does that sound simultaneously creepy and useful?” The question is, Useful to whom and at what cost?

Brin also uses the example of medical information. Is it more likely that universal access to ones medical information would result in insurance companies cherry picking who they will insure than the paramedics downloading the medical history of an average guy having a heart attack? Employers could also use medical information to discriminate.

Brin states, “In the short term, expanded powers of vision may embolden tyrants. But over the long run, these systems could help to empower citizens and enhance mutual trust.”  I don’t agree that constantly surveilling each other equals “mutual trust”.

 

Orwell said “the moral to be drawn from this nightmare situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen- It depends on you”. 

While Brin might feel that what Orwell is saying we should stop technology, I see it as a recognition that we need to hold each other and ourselves accountable and make sure that technology serves the people not “Big Brother”.  

Meditation on Cultural Violence

Number of views of Maya Deren's film Meditation of Violence Part One and Two: 5259 (combined)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYd7STccjN8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaYdqRUNd7s

Number of views of Mariah Carey's Touch my Body: 22,181,113

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzxR8OH-fDQ

Number of views of Adrian Piper's Foundational Conceptual/installation/video work: 1707
(combined parts one and two)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUJ8MhXTwtI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIkvjGq7VgM

Number of views of Beyonce's Single Ladies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mVEGfH4s5g 6, 933, 255

Monday, November 17, 2008

Losing ourselves in a sea of information?

After last week's discussion, I was thinking a lot about archiving and libraries (two things I'm interested and invested in) and how the internet, is some ways, pressuring our current traditional paper and media archives and information sources to go digital and online or die out. We can see this now with newspapers declining, going all online, publishers losing print sales and resorting to online publishing, filmmakers pressured by digital video, and many other physical sources all being pressured to go online or be obscured (in some ways) from view and access by others.
In one of our strands of talk in class, we passed briefly on the topic of the loss of our traditional sources of information and the seemingly chaotic and unfiltered pool of information and information sources we are seeing as the internet spreads further, encompasses more of our lives, and is moving in some ways toward a P2P reality (with blogs and commons, etc.). This all made me think about the future role of these traditional information sources and the need for a kind of filtering system to glean out a lot of the bogus or otherwise incorrect information (not that Encyclopeadia Britanica speaks the whole, unbiased truth) and more importantly, the 'who' and 'how' of preserving our digital information. When a technology is outpaced and obsolete within say 5 years, how can we hold on to the information locked inside of the outdated tech.? Who still has an old green screen that can read those giant floppy disks with the hole in the center, or even the smaller ones with the metal slider, or even an earlier version of a software?
The pace of our technological 'advancement' and volume of information becoming digital are absolutely insane and there is no way that the information can be upgraded as technology pushes further and leaves it's past behind.
So, to make a long ramble end now, I found a non-profit organization, Internet Archive who is working to create and maintain an archive on the internet. They are based in SF's Presidio and have been doing a shitload of work since 1996 to get the archive up, running, and accessible. They now have a massive database of all kinds of information; website searches, video and audio files, including old films and radio programs, news searches, text, and more. Although I'm not very convinced of the archival-ness of digital technology (even they say that a tape storage format they've used only lasts 30years), I'm glad to see an organization striving to weed through the mess being created and preserve and provide access to information the we cannot afford to lose.

Link to main page: http://www.archive.org/index.php
Also check out about us: http://www.archive.org/about/about.php

The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon

In this essay by Jamais Cascio, the panopticon is only briefly mentioned in reference to it's history as a prison model, but is described more thoroughly in reference to the rise in camera and recording technology today, making this idea of the panopticon,"a world in which all of us are under constant surveillance" much more personal and participatory (hence the title).

Cascio goes through a basic overview of the introduction of camera phones in Japan, and the way in which they so quickly became more popular than non-camera-bearing phones. This way, people who are able to afford phones with cameras on them are able to record snippets of daily life, can become much more active in their engagement with the telephone itself (who's functions are described as typically passive in the way the phone is an "always on network device."

The way this relates to the participatory panopticon is directly related to the growing uses of camera phones today. Doctors are diagnosing physical medical problems via cellphone-photos, and bar code scans from a phone can give consumers information about products on the spot. These changes in technological uses become even more closely related to the panoptic "watchfulness" when the group "video vote vigil" urged voters during last November's election to watch and record voting abuses. Changes like this "make it clear that every citizen with a cameraphone can be a reporter."

Here, "Sousveillance," meaning "watching from below", is introcuced, in contrast to surveillence, which means watching from above. This idea of everyday citizens being able to keep an eye on everyone else creates this system of the participatory panopticon. Abu Ghraib was an incident described in the piece to sum up sousveillence.

Unfortunately though, like reality television, skewed information can paint inaccurate pictures of an events, public quotes, etc. that have occurred. This skewing can come from a variety of sources, two of which can be selective recording, and editing of raw footage.

Technology is now permitting the early creation of memory saving devices. These will eliminate the need for hand held phones. They're currently being worked on in the form of wearable phones with computers (maybe like a wearable iphone) built into them. These soon to be "personal memory assistants" are said to be ways to record what you're seeing and hearing, and then through the wireless network you're connected to, show others what you're experiencing, as well as share what you think about what you're experiencing.

This recording of memory seems to be a bittersweet concept. While misremeberings of events (say, the fading of certain traumatic situations and emotions) are helpful to ones emotional self, it is frightening to think of a world in which you could recall such emotional events so easily and with such accuracy. For one thing, lying would be very difficult "It's a world where we can all be witnesses with perfect recall. Ironically, its a world where trust is easy, because lying is hard." This quote sounds romantic, but I'm still mildly uncomfortable with the rise in this ability. Would it create a safer world? I would think it would be safer physically (those who broke the law would not be able to get away with it, as long as there were (a) witness(es) wearing a PMA) but what about safer emotionally? I'm not really sure. I do know though, that this technology is on the rise, and while I can anticipate its introduction into our culture, I feel very torn about whether or not I feeling welcome to it (the PMA that is). I feel like I sound a bit like the main character in "The Gentle Seduction."

whats behind those logos?

Knowmore.org  is a website that is similar to wikipedia in some senses, but also not...

It is a website dedicated to providing informational data regarding the conditions of workers rights, human rights, environmental abuse, political influence, and business ethics of corporations and websites in order to raise awareness and hopefully assist in creating "ethically" responsible consumers. 

i suggest you go to the website, click on the tab "browse" to the left, and when you get to the logos, click on them to see how ethical the companies really are. You'll definitely be surprised.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Second Life Becomes Real Life!

Check out this article, Crazy!!! http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/11/14/international/i060826S39.DTL&tsp=1

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Political Economy of Peer Production

The Political Economy of Peer Production

By Michel Bauwens

I chose this reading with the intentions of receiving a better understanding of peer-to-peer techno science.
To describe the Political Economy of Peer Production, Bauwens had to begin to describe distributed networks as a new human dynamic. Which is emerging as peer-to-peer production. Describing P2P as a “third mode of governance” and the importance of widespread participation of the community. Bauwens also describes the peer-to-peer processes, with the free cooperation of producers, the importance of ‘third mode of governance’ and a ‘third mode of ownership’.
To allow this new mode of production with in a political economy, this WI-Fi movement needs to follow an infrastructure of requirements. Certain requirements to follow, for example, “existence of a technological infrastructure that operates on peer to peer processes and enables distributed access to ‘fixed’ capital.” Other requirements, such as alternative communication systems, and global trust, cooperation, and culture are all part of the infrastructure the p2p2 rests upon.
Important Characteristics of Peer Production is the process of distributed networks, which autonomous agents can freely determine their behavior. Also keeping projects open, to those providers who have necessary required skills to contribute to a project. This can also be described as Holoptism, or the process, which allows participants free access and ability of contribution. The best part is that there is “no obligatory reciprocity involved” each contributes and takes only according to their needs. With in the process of peer to peer, people voluntarily cooperative construction according to communist principle. Each volunteer contributes according to his or her ability, and according to his or her needs.
“In fact, the aim of peer to peer theory is to give a theoretical underpinning to the transformative practices of these movements. It is an attempt to create a radical understanding that a new kind of society, based on the centrality of the Commons, and within a reformed market and state, is in the realm of human possibility. Such a theory would have to explain not only the dynamic of peer to peer processes proper, buy also their fit with other inner-subjective dynamics.”
This is Bauwens’s way of describing The Political Economy of Peer Production, which allows a freedom of the contributor with in communal shareholding, and the highly dependence n the market for peer production through immaterial production. With peer-to-peer ability to allow such freedoms with in its community, “productivity is highly reliant on cooperative teamwork.”

The Political Economy of Peer Production

The Political Economy of Peer Production

By Michel Bauwens

I chose this reading with the intentions of receiving a better understanding of peer-to-peer techno science.
To describe the Political Economy of Peer Production, Bauwens had to begin to describe distributed networks as a new human dynamic. Which is emerging as peer-to-peer production. Describing P2P as a “third mode of governance” and the importance of widespread participation of the community. Bauwens also describes the peer-to-peer processes, with the free cooperation of producers, the importance of ‘third mode of governance’ and a ‘third mode of ownership’.
To allow this new mode of production with in a political economy, this WI-Fi movement needs to follow an infrastructure of requirements. Certain requirements to follow, for example, “existence of a technological infrastructure that operates on peer to peer processes and enables distributed access to ‘fixed’ capital.” Other requirements, such as alternative communication systems, and global trust, cooperation, and culture are all part of the infrastructure the p2p2 rests upon.
Important Characteristics of Peer Production is the process of distributed networks, which autonomous agents can freely determine their behavior. Also keeping projects open, to those providers who have necessary required skills to contribute to a project. This can also be described as Holoptism, or the process, which allows participants free access and ability of contribution. The best part is that there is “no obligatory reciprocity involved” each contributes and takes only according to their needs. With in the process of peer to peer, people voluntarily cooperative construction according to communist principle. Each volunteer contributes according to his or her ability, and according to his or her needs.
“In fact, the aim of peer to peer theory is to give a theoretical underpinning to the transformative practices of these movements. It is an attempt to create a radical understanding that a new kind of society, based on the centrality of the Commons, and within a reformed market and state, is in the realm of human possibility. Such a theory would have to explain not only the dynamic of peer to peer processes proper, buy also their fit with other inner-subjective dynamics.”
This is Bauwens’s way of describing The Political Economy of Peer Production, which allows a freedom of the contributor with in communal shareholding, and the highly dependence n the market for peer production through immaterial production. With peer-to-peer ability to allow such freedoms with in its community, “productivity is highly reliant on cooperative teamwork.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Insanely Destructive Devices

This short piece by Lawrence Lessig was about self-replicating, genetically engineered pathogens and how our futures and freedom could be effected by them. Lessig spoke briefly about an essay by Bill Joy entitled "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" and in that he expresses his fear of key technologies of the future. "In particular, genetic engineering, nanotech, and robotics because they are self-replicating and increasingly easier to craft- would be radically more dangerous than technologies of the past." Lessig sought out to question Joy's challenges by teaching a course on the topic. In his class he posed the question of how do we protect ourselves from "innovations that lead to pox viruses with 100-percent kill rates." Initially his students said that science must be controlled. In order to keep ourselves safe we must limit how much freedom we give to science. They also wanted communications to be surveilled by the government, but Lessig showed them that much would be lost if the government checked out everything as well as our general freedom would be surrendered if we implanted that idea. One of Lessig's students raised the notion of reducing the incentive to attack us. That is a great idea but Lessig points out that we have done only the opposite. "Our present course of unilateral coyboyism will continue to produce generations of angry souls seeking revenge on us." The most interesting point Lessig states is that there is a logic to peer-to-peer threats that we as a society don't yet get. "Crazies, of course, can't be reasoned with."

HURRY UP HURRY UP

hey guys, if i havent already sent this to you or you havent seen it yet, scurry over to this site and repeal the shit outta prop 8.
http://www.couragecampaign.org/RepealProp8

WORD
-weiss

Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC)

Hello All, this is the internet group I will be talking about in class. They have some of the same concerns as some of the other groups we've talked about earlier in the semester. I'll elaborate more in class, but if you want to take a peek before, here is there website http://gilc.org/privacy/ they also have a great list of member organizations that they affiliate with if anyone is having trouble finding a group.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tomorrow

Just to be sure -- we've nudged the syllabus forward a week, and so we're talking Thursday about another short story (Sterling's wonderful Maneki Neko), a short sharp editorial on WMD by Lawrence Lessig and a longer piece of political economy by Michel Bauwens that is a nice supplement/corrective to the Benkler we read at the beginning of term. I'm really looking forward to our discussion, and hope it is as engaged as last week's. Precises, reports?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Propaganda Model

I cannot help but think of the current election that just passed, and everything the media did to discredit Obama and his campaign. And some still thought that the election would be stolen again. Yet the people prevailed, giving new found hope to a nation who had lost it the past eight years.

We noted that the five factors involved--ownership, advertising, sourcing, flak, and anticommunist ideology--work as 'filters' through which information must pass, and that individually and often in additive fashion they greatly influence media choices.” While being in Colorado I came across a good mix of people. Some of which were aware of the happenings, others completely clueless, believers of the media, the propaganda they feed us to keep us dumb and quiet. Yet some how this election has shown us that the US is starting to wake the fuck up. It seems that people are starting to forget the old ways and wanting new ways of thinking, a better more sustainable society. Has the propaganda model failed or evolved? “In short, the propaganda model describes a decentralized and nonconspiratorial market system of control and processing, although at times the government or one or more private actors may take initiatives and mobilize coordinated elite handling of an issue.” We have seen something like this in the past with JFK. Will this feeling last?

“Coverage of issues like gun control, school prayer, and abortion rights may well receive more varied treatment than, say, global trade, taxation, and economic policy. Moreover, well-organized campaigns by labor, human rights, or environmental organizations that are fighting against abusive local businesses can sometimes elicit positive media coverage.” Just like replacing the world news with the stars lives.

 I do not really understand where the critique of Hallin fits in here. They quote a lot of people in this article.

 “The model does describe a system in which the media serve the elite, but by complex processes incorporated into the model that involve mechanisms and policies whereby the powerful protect their interests naturally and without overt conspiracy.”

 illegitimate functionalism! 

 Journalists reporting what the ‘elite’ want them to because they are more concerned about money than the reporting the news to the people, ‘professionalism.’

 “Although the new technologies have great potential for democratic communication, there is little reason to expect the Internet to serve democratic ends if it is left to the market” Hopefully this will not happen with Obama in office because the Internet is a truly democratic state.

 “There are, by one count, 20,000 more public relations agents working to doctor the news today than there are journalists writing it (Dowie 1995: 3-4).” This is an interesting fact to throw in at the end.

 It is hard to find out what is true in the media, or Internet because you can hear several different versions of the same story. How should we know what to believe? How to know what sources spit the most truth It’sreally hard to know.

Report

Hey all,

Tomorrow I'm going to give my report on the activist group Intersex Initiative.

http://www.intersexinitiative.org

From the site-
Intersex Initiative (IPDX) is a Portland, Oregon based national activist and advocacy organization for people born with intersex conditions. It was founded by Emi Koyama, a multi-issue social justice activist and former intern at Intersex Society of North America (2001-02).

I know this may seem somewhat out of left field to a lot of you, but I thought it was relevant to both our discussion tomorrow on commons (in reference to David Bollier's piece) re: equal and reliable access to information, as well as our soon to be (dec 4) discussion of biogenetic technology and its connection to medical conformity (interesting readings, check them out if you have time!)

See you all tomorrow!
Nicki

For Ling

Here is my precis for this week and report for next week

Precis:

I feel quite ashamed that I didn't fully understand what a "commons" is
until I read David Bollier's essay. I have a friend who works for Creative
Commons so I have been to their parties and a couple of their wristbands
have been sitting on my desk for the longest time. I have always thought of
them as an organization close to Archive.org, but apparently it's not.
Basically, according to Bolier, a commons is something that "arises whenever
a given community decides that it wishes to manage a resource in a
collective manner, with a special regard for equitable access, fairness and
sustainability" The goal for the commoners is to change how people do
things. He quoted from R. Buckminster Fuller "You never change things by
fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that
makes the existing model obsolete" I think that pretty much summed up what
the commons movements are all about. Commons are believed to be a new kind
of organism in our culture that can potentially out-perform conventional
institutions of government, business and media, thus encourage a great leap
forward in citizenship. Evidences proved that this new type of
Internet-enabled citizenship could increasingly play a direct role in
politics and self-governance. This citizenship has more reliable and more
timely knowledge than big institution. Free culture represents a new kind of
democratic polity and a new form of governance. People have access to a
larger pool of talents, the power to express our passions on a global
stage and to initiate political action directly. This challenges the
centralized bureaucracies of government and corporations.

One other thing that Bollier also points out is that commoners' fight
against market enclosure will face the challenge of the fundamental
difference between market closure of nature and market closure of culture.
This challenge is mainly because natural resource is depletable but the
creative works are not, which I think will definitely be a very interesting
test in the future to witness.

Report:

"Some Rights Reserved"

Here is the Creative Commons Website

They have an event coming up on Nov.7 and 8 in UC Berkeley:

TAKEOVERS&MAKEOVERS

It is a series of lectures on the issue of copyright and file-sharing in the
digital age. A huge part of it will also be focusing on the
artistic appropriation of intellectual properties

Monday, November 03, 2008

Has The LHC destroyed the Earth Yet?

http://www.hasthelhcdestroyedtheearth.com/

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Links Should All Be Hot Now

Don't forget to vote Tuesday -- and make sure everybody you know who is registered votes as well, whether you approve their taste in candidates or not. Remember, even if you think California's Presidential verdict is already baked into the cake there are Propositions on the ballot that mean quite a bit to lots of people and are balancing on a knife's edge at the moment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SHARING (AND STEALING)

Seriously, when is the last time you looked at a goddamn encyclopedia to retrieve information on something? For me it was Mrs. Kim’s 5th grade report on the sinking of the Titanic, which I’m certain that in 1997 hadn’t changed much since 1912. Today an elementary student can hot click away at titanic keyword sites and find anything from informational pages on the ship to Celine Dion’s buttery voice, maybe even the pseudo sex scene from the movie. Sweet little Jessica Litman acknowledges the absence of these informational aides as the internet provides all that and more (if you can decipher and dismiss the land mines of false statements.) She seems to be trying to find the best deal for those who peer-to-peer share everything from straight information to music, but she’s having a hard time due to the fact that people want to share for free and the top-dogs want to make cash. In introducing the idea of what the copyright stands for and promotes, she recognizes its existence as allowing vast dispersal of various work. Digitally, the dispersion of work becomes increasingly easier to do and receive by way of consumer interaction, leaving the chore of the middleman distributor unnecessary and inevitably alters the relationship of the author as head distributor (a bad thing?), its cheaper in the end result, and I got the idea that the copyright is unlimited in time/ will be considered copyrighted whether you like it or not. Litman seems all for file-sharing and putting a cesspool of music out there for pickins because first, she believes that in theory, music should be treated the same way factual information is with respect to copyright. I believe she refers to information as “unprotected fact” and things like music and art to be “protected expression”, so the question is still unanswered as to who decides what is original and what is simple fact, and how one goes about protecting it or using it. Second, if its good exposure for the product or work, that’s the point, ain’t it? It should be common sensical that sharing promotes the dissemination of work and should therefore be supported rather than stopped, let alone punished. But the ownership! Who owns it, whos making the dough, and wtf are they doing with it? Litman says no one really knows who digitally owns these rights, and that the recording companies don’t know what they even have dibs on (in the raging case against napster.) Lawsuits executed in the favor of the record company still hasn’t had enough of a profound effect to stop or even slow the actions of free sharing. Not to mention, though people have the option to strictly share by peer-to-peer, I know that many of my friends and me, myself still use itunes and make financially devastating visits to record stores. Some artists have even embraced the idea of a consumer paying what they deem fair and valuable, such as Radiohead’s In Rainbows album and Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals album. Unfortunately for us, some artists are insistent on seeing the obscene amounts of green yielded by our contributions. Litman comes up with her own theory in order to find a compromise in paying royalties, as she picks a little off proposals from Fisher, Gervais, Ku, Lessig, and Lunney. Her plan would be to start up another music sharing system that would be much like the free sharing one we currently use, except that there would be exceptions for artists able to refrain from letting their music participate, not that we should encourage that. Money made from the consumer’s purchase (which she notes should be individually on a smaller scale than it is now) would go directly to the creator of the music or recording, and if there were intermediates, the money would do a kind of trickle down. For money to be distributed among the creators, Litman has two suggestions. The first is a direct access to the money collected through performance rights organizations where peer-to-peer sharing would involve a small fee. The next is a tax, but she says since the music would ultimately feel like it was free, we’d be right where we started in thinking its not necessary to pay the creators for their music. In Litman’s perfect sharing world, she would allow freedom among the creator to withhold their music and freedom among consumers will to want to pay a fee. But what happens when a rebel consumer doesn’t want to buy into this new system and wants to freeload? I can’t help but think it could come back full circle, spawn another dilemma such as the one being discussed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Posted for kati kati

Anyway...here is the precis...awesome short story by the way. It gave
me and my friends something interesting to talk about all week! Dave
is sorry he can't come to class with me again to talk to everyone in
class about it.

Stiegler has certainly written a bizarre and beautiful story. What is
most unsettling about this story, I found, is the actual plausibility
of the whole thing! It is a story about a woman who works with trees
and flowers near Mt. Rainier, a nature woman. She sees this man
briefly, who works in the tech industry. They discuss the idea of
technological singularity and its effects on the future and the
possibilities in store for her. Being a nature buff she is (we
assume) not very technologically savvy... At first she is scared and
appalled at his predictions and the "wicked delight" in his smile
while disclosing these new possibilities technology will provide. At
first she is repulsed by the idea of immortality, of talking to
computers with her mind, of visiting distant planets and living on an
asteroid near Jupiter but like the title suggests she is "gently
seduced" by the new technology.
The seduction begins when she is confronted with the daunting tasks
of shoveling the snow off her walkway with her 82 year old back. Her
children who seem to be more comfortable with the new technology have
given her a "mechanical beast" that could shovel the snow, but she
finds the snow shoveling robot to be loud and offensive. Not as
offensive as the tiny pill of nanobots her children also gave her,
that could fix her back. I found it to be especially curious that she
would rather swallow a bunch of tiny robots that would fix the bones
in her back than have one big giant robot shovel the snow for her, but
I guess we all know that people love popping pills. So after her back
is repaired she goes on to fix her lungs and her brain, with this
newfound vitality she gets her appearance "stabilized" so that she
always appears to be around the age of 32. Then there is the crazy
headband that allows you to interact with distant computers with your
mind. This is when things got especially interesting to me with the
headband thing. With this headband or implant you are then linked to
these computers that allow you to view the world through cyborg eyes.
All you have to do is think about something and it appears in your
mind, an aerial view of Mt. Rainier, a projected view of a ski slope
to see the patterns of snow and ice, complicated math problems,
potential hazards on the mountain whatever really. She is also able
to communicate without vocalizing with other people and their head
implants! Amazing! So now she is able to talk to her family even
though they live on Mars. When she decides to go visit them on Mars
it emboldens her to travel to other planets and experience other alien
landscapes. After all being someone that enjoys the scenic route, she
should naturally want to explore the terrain of distant planets.
The interesting thing about visiting these other planets is that she
visits them outside of her body, through a robot that is receiving the
sensory information then feeding it back to her via head implant.
These new senses are transformed from her earthly senses. Now she can
"see ultrasonic vibrations" and "smell ionic changes" Enraptured by
all her new senses and abilities she is experiencing with her head
implant and her perfectly functioning brain, she voraciously begins to
explore the universe around her. She describes the "boundless
singing" in her head to be the most wondrous of all her new
abilities. At one point she describes the music in her head as
"rippling waves of love that never quite [go] away" This is the moment
where I start recognizing these metaphysical themes.
Here in this ecstatic moment: "As the melodies suffused her mind they
intermingled, sometimes playing upon one another in a concordance of
point and counterpoint. Once, such a duet evoked from several
masterpieces a harmony, which surged to drive the cadence of a grander
euphony, that captured and empowered an even greater polyphony,
filling her mind with a symphony of symphonies. And on a thousand
planets, with a thousand bodies and a thousand voices, she leapt in
the air and filled the sky with lilting laughter, a chorus of joy that
spanned the arm of a galaxy." Does this not sound like Nirvana to
anyone? Could the head implant not be akin to a "third eye"? Or how
about this traveling to different planets in your mind...astral
projection? Or the dream bound death being like heaven? Maybe I've
been hanging out in Fairfax too long...I found it interesting how her
body seemed to mean less and less to her. How technology had actually
turned her into a non-materialist and seemed to rid her of her basic
human instincts...did she even need to eat or sleep anymore? The
machines freed her from her body and in a sense she behaves less like
a robot and more like a free mind. Interesting indeed...
In the last part of the story, she is asked to make contact with the
alien intelligence one of the space needles collided with. They needed
her for her "elemental resilience and adaptability." They needed her
to open her mind to share her mind with others minds and the aliens
minds to make contact. After her experience in the minds of the human
team and the aliens, when she came back to herself, she asked "Was she
still herself?" This experience reminded me of "hive mentality"
Everyone sharing the same knowledge, the collective knowledge is the
hive, each person an appendage. "Of course you are. You are all you
have ever been, and more." She too realizes that she is merely an
appendage of something greater. "Expanded communion would not destroy
her; she was her own bubble no matter how frothy the ocean might
become." Is Stiegler then saying technology could be the catalyst for
human evolution on the level of consciousness?

Tomorrow --

Anybody giving reports tomorrow morning should provide links to materials we can look over before hand if you've got them. What about a precis from tomorrow's co-facilitators?

As you already noticed, tomorrow we're talking about about a strange short story (The Gentle Seduction), an old-school polemic by C.S. Lewis, and a lovely literary essay by Hannah Arendt. These are all quite fun to talk about, and I can't imagine anybody finding them too difficult. We're going to be missing some of our colleagues to a field trip tomorrow, so it's really important that everybody left behind be prepared to talk. These pieces are all enjoyable and and quite accessible so that really shouldn't be too difficult. See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Howard Finster

Howard Finster is a wonderful artist who believes he is recieving messages from God and communicating them in his artworks. Is he nuts?...or is he on the same page as Isaac Newton?
see his artworks at Finster.com

Photobucket
Photobucket

Stem Cell Map

Need you be reminded, Religion is blocking stem cell research from developing....
Photobucket

Precise!

It has always seemed to me that humans have their heads in the wrong places whenever spending money. It is especially easy to see this in America. Why are we building bombs and putting cameras into space and obsessed with leisure and products. Shouldn't we be spending our time and money worrying about the pollution of the Biosphere which surrounds the planet, and helping prevent people from getting painfully sick, then treating them in the most humane manner when they are? Educating people so that they can form their own ideas and know how they should spend their money? Why does every beverage you purchase come contained in something which will be disposed of in less than twenty minutes? Possibly it is because we are such a "progressive society" that we are allowed to drink from such sanitary containers, each sealed in a factory by a powerful and productive machine. Plus, we can give some lady in China a job who would otherwise be working in the rice fields! isn't she lucky we are giving her money? Who knows where these notions came from? It seems so out there and crazy to me,

The truth is that the ideals of man are based on the delusion that we are all going to experience an apocalypse one day. It may happen in your lifetime, but hopefully in the far away future, because we need to get ready! We need to send men on the moon to see if it is liveable after the Earth is destroyed. When you see how much technological development has been fuelled by the delusions of religion, it is easier to understand why certain areas of science have been pumped full of money, while others left on the shelf. For me, it is a little scary. Scary, because even though I know that religion is all a delusional distraction from reality, there are still a lot of people I know who are dead set in their beliefs. People are content believing these lies and what they do not realize is that are engaging in a completely selfish delusion that is supporting activities which are not helping the ecosystem of our Planet, but destroying it, because that actually is the delusion….The earth is going to burn up and we are all going to die! Only if we let this happen, at least.

Viva la Shiftspace!

I know this is pretty late for tomorrow's class, but I just came across this project and was so excited I had to share.

Shiftspace is a tool based activism art project that was developed by two media activists, Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv. The project is an open source layer that goes above any website and enables users to make changes and save them to a new public space on the web. Shiftspace attempts to subvert the Internet's growing trend of closed hierarchical systems and bring it back to a peer to peer network. This video explains it really well for us visual learners.

So basically you download this program, become a member of the network thus enabling you to change pictures, add comments, highlights, and edit the code over the site of your choosing. Your changes are made public and other users can choose to see your intervention or do an entirely new one. Check out the public square, it keeps track of all shifts.

Here is my graffiti using the picture swap tool:

Hello, everybody...

I'm posting this message to the blog and also sending it out as a mass mailing to many of your e-mail addresses. I suspect I'm going to miss some of you this way, so please forward or mention this message to folks you know who are in class but aren't listed among the recipients to this e-pistle.

I have noticed that no précis has been posted to the blog and that there are no new links posted to organizations or artists or events on the blog either, even though I do believe that there are co-facilitators and people giving reports for tomorrow's class.

This makes me very nervous.

It makes me especially nervous because last week's class was really terrible and I don't want a repeat of that tomorrow.

Let me make something very clear that I shouldn't have to make clear at all.

Attending this class is not optional if you are enrolled in it. Arriving to class on time is not optional if you are enrolled in it. Reading the texts assigned for our class meetings and being prepared to discuss them is not optional if you are enrolled in it.

An unbelievable number of you asked special permission to enroll in this class. I had assumed that this meant you had an enthusiasm for the topic or for the style of teaching or for the community of the classroom you were expecting. I let everybody into the class who wanted to be here. Now I fully expect you to repay that generosity by contributing to the class you have joined.

You all know that I am pretty anarchic when it comes to class structure. I tend to think your engagement with this difficult material is more productive for everybody when we grapple with it as peers.

But you all need to meet me halfway. And that is not yet happening in our class together this term in too many cases.

If you need to miss a class, let me know before hand or immediately afterward. I tend to be very affable about such things. If you miss the class more than three times, however, there may be a real question whether you are really even participating in the class in any meaningful sense, and if you miss without ever doing me the service of explaining why I have little reason or inclination to be generous with you.

I'm taking attendance from here on out and if you arrive too late I'm treating you as absent. It is a ridiculous and infantilizing sort of thing to do, in my opinion, and I truly hate that sort of thing, but that's how it's going to be until you demonstrate to me that I can dispense with this sort of idiocy by coming to class on time and ready to talk.

Again, I get it that many of these texts are alienating and dense. Critical theory is already unfamiliar and complex and many of these texts add the complexity of obscure technological details to the already weirdly complex attentions of a theoretical vantage.

But nobody expects you to spin crystal clear lectures on these topics after a couple of readings! If you don't understand a text, try to figure out what is making it especially difficult for you. Come up with actual questions to ask your peers and me about the text, rather than just giving up. or dismissing it, or whatever it is that you want to do instead of reading the text carefully.

We are reaching a place in the syllabus in which the texts deal with more general issues that apply to all sorts of issues, not just to the specific historical moment of the 90s digirati we've been focusing on up to this point. This is a perfect moment to reconnect with the course and try to dig in a bit.

There are a few of you who are excused tomorrow but there are so many more of you that I still expect a full house tomorrow. I'm not interested in excuses or explanations, just come tomorrow, find something you are prepared to talk about in these texts, and let's all move on.

That is all. Dale

Saturday, October 04, 2008

hacktivismo

heres the link to the group i was talking about today. also, heres a you tube video shortly describing some of the things i touched on...


http://www.hacktivismo.com/news/

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Geert Lovink

Geert Lovink, (b. 1959, Amsterdam) is a media theorist, net critic, and activist.

Check out his blog here. Also his essay Blogging, the Nihilist Impulse, might be interesting for discussion.

Report

I am going to give a presentation on Geert Lovink: bio
Blogging, the nihilist impulse: link

Brittany McCall
www.bamtron.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

.5 Manifesto

Jaron Lanier's One-Half of a Manifesto provides arguments against some of the tropes of a train of thought that seems to be stemming directly from previous documents we've read such as the Cypherpunks Manifesto and Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto. This line of thought continues the same ideas of technology being/becoming some kind of autonomous entity that has what could be described as a mind and purpose of it's own volition, not something necessarily controlled by humans. He defines this line of thought as 'cybernetic totalism' and explains a fear within this ideology, "cyber-Armageddon in our lifetimes, a cataclysm brought on when computers become ultra-intelligent masters of matter and life." He then goes on to provide arguments against the six main themes of this fear and provides alternatives to them from his own ideology.
I found many of Lanier's arguments interesting and useful in looking at not only the fears he outlines but also the arguments we've already heard from previous techno-elites that posit computers and the Internet as a massive, self reproducing, self-sustaining entity(much like a living organism). One of the first things that I noticed about the 'cyber-Armageddon' theory was the supposition that computers have an innate motivation for taking over the world and other anthropomorphic qualities. What seems to be missing here, and what Lanier later points out a number of times is the blatant fact that computers are machines created, supported, and operated by humans. Computer autonomy can only go as far as their electrical cords (unless of course they begin to generate their own power).
Another interesting idea that Lanier points at is the switching of human and machine roles within the ideology of the autonomous computer-run world; the idea that humans will eventually become subservient(in some fashion) to computers as technology matches then continues on to exceed human brain power. Although I think it's a little absurd, it feels slightly possible(at least some version of human-to-computer submission) based on our current dependence upon and full-time devotion to our tech devices.
Later, Lanier talks about Darwinian evolution as a parallel for the way that computer technology develops and, matched with biotechnology, the possibility of some post-human super species comes into the scope of the arguments. While the lines between computer and bio-technology are becoming blurred, it doesn't seem possible to look at the two under the same lens; biological evolution and computer science can't operate on the same premises unless organisms are just computers(which is an argument that Lanier argues with), which sounds interesting in a hypothetical pipe dream kind of way but just doesn't seem to make sense in the real world.
One last remark about Lanier's writings... In his last segment, Lanier brings up the idea that information systems serve the purpose of making capitalism far more efficient and that one reality to the whole idea of a techno-biological take over will possibly be limited to the super wealthy and will in fact facilitate the spread of the massive gap between wealth and poverty. Technology is not a democratically spread resource, just like every resource. It is created, controlled, utilized, and distributed largely by those who can afford it. It is true that there are programs to give laptops to education-starved children in third-world countries but where are those machines originating and who is designing and paying for them?
Maybe I'm a little less savvy on what is really going on with today's technological boom/push. And maybe I'm a little resistant to some of the ideas that are coming up in these discussions but I think Lanier brings up some really interesting challenges to the ideas we've been discussing for the last few weeks and the ideas he addresses directly here in his manifesto. (and maybe, ultimately, I just want to agree with a manifesto that is appealing to me, heh, heh, heh...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am going present info about the Electronic Disturbance Theater and Electronic Civil disobedience.  Here is the web sight link,  
http://www.thing.net/~rdom/ecd/ecd.html


Jill Magid, Artist Presentation


Jill Magid = www.jillmagid.net 
by Jarrett E.
Although this week's class is not explicitly on surveillance, this is an artist who's work gets to the heart of many techno-science issues.
Spend some time on her website, particularly with the pieces Evidence Locker, System Azure, Lobby 7, and Surveillance shoe (in that order.)
She spoke in the Visiting Artist Lecture series last semester, which is available in the library. 
I am interested especially in the way she employs imaging technology, explicitly associated with regulation by either a state or institution as a means of fostering interpersonal connection.
Evidence Locker is described on her website: In 2004, Jill spent 31 days in Liverpool, during which time she developed a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is citywide video surveillance- the largest system of its kind in England. 
The videos in her Evidence Locker were staged and edited by the artist and filmed by the police using the public surveillance cameras in the city centre. Wearing a bright red trench coat she would call the police on duty with details of where she was and ask them to film her in particular poses, places or even guide her through the city with her eyes closed, as seen in the video Trust.  Unless requested as evidence, CCTV footage obtained from the system is stored for 31 days before being erased. For access to this footage, Magid had to submit 31 Subject Access Request Forms - the legal document necessary to outline to the police details of how and when an 'incident' occurred. Magid chose to complete these forms as though they were letters to a lover, expressing how she was feeling and what she was thinking. These letters form the diary One Cycle of Memory in the City of L- an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself, the police and the city.
The project website is EvidenceLocker.net

Also, her early work KISSMASK, which brings to mind our issue of "Privacy" versus "Secrecy" and how those two things are reflected in institutional architecture (the intimacy of the mask, versus the MIT lobby of LOBBY 7, and finally the Liverpool streets.)

In a related note, to her piece System Azure, the current display window of Louis Vuitton make a terrible and unwitting similar correlation between fashion, sexuality, and surveillance.  

Look forward to the discussion in class.

J

Precis: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration

Barlow’s text: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration is essentially a reactionary text due to the passing of the Telecommunication Act of 1996, and more specifically Title V of the Act, called the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which criminalizes the intentional transmission of “any comment, request, suggestion, image, or other communications which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent...." or as Barlow puts it:
“After all, the Telecom "Reform" Act, passed in the Senate with only 5 dissenting votes, makes it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say "shit" online. Or, for that matter, to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media. Or to discuss abortion openly. Or to talk about any bodily function in any but the most clinical terms.”

The text consists of two parts, the first being at text to the users of the Internet explaining the basics of the Telecom Act of 1996 while bashing the United Sates Senate as often as possible. Barlow also set up two key elements of the text, the first being the reverences and compassion to the Revolutionary War: “Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the virtual harbor.” The second key element of the text is the way Barlow speaks about “Cyberspace” as a place you go to but leave your body behind.

The second part of the text in the section called A Cyberspace Independence Declaration is rant like manifesto of sorts directed at “Governments of the Industrial World”. Barlow sets out to show how the Cyberspace is a place that exists outside the borders of bureaucracy, full of bodiless identities that cannot be incarcerated. These identities have no elected government but rather a governance based on social contracts and the only law that is generally recognized is the “Golden Rule”. I particularly like this section:

“Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.”

One concerning claim that Barlow makes is that the internet is a world you can enter without privilege or prejudice, that anyone no matter what background is free to enter this world and express themselves openly. While I would agree that once you “enter” or use the Internet there maybe this freedom of expression but you have to get on the Internet to have this which costs money. Also Barlow has established a “we” and it is unclear who this we is. At points in the text the “we” seems like the technologically elite who use the internet for the greater good and to others it may seem like anyone who has used or uses the internet. What is clear is that Barlow sees the cyberspace as the civilization of future full of identities whose freedom is being threatened by the “Governments of the Industrial World”, and that we must rise up against it.

“We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.”

According to Wikiapedia Act V of Telecommunication Act of 1996 was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S Supreme Court for being a violation of the First Amendment

For more information on the Telecommunication Act of 1996 try this links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996

U.S. POLICY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996