For the 22nd time, Prix Ars Electronica, the foremost international prize for computer-based art, calls for entries in the categories Computer Animation / Film / VFX, Interactive Art, Hybrid Art, Digital Communities, Digital Musics, the Media.Art.Research Award and u19 freestyle computing, Austrians largest youth computer competition.My favorite computer-based art competition and festival. I'll be there again this year.
More than 3,300 submissions in 2007 have further enhanced the Prix Ars Electronicas reputation as an internationally representative competition honoring outstanding works in the cyberarts. This year, six Golden Nicas, twelve Awards of Distinction and approximately 70 Honorary Mentions as well as the Media.Art.Research Award are presented to participants. The 2008 winners will receive a total of 115,000 euros in prize money.
We would like to ask you to help us "spread the word" in your community by circulating the information as widely as possible. We also would be very glad if you could help us identify some projects, which in your opinion should participate in the competition.
For a detailed description of the competition, please consult our website http://prixars.aec.at
The deadline for submissions is March 7, 2008.
If you need any further information or support, please do not hesitate to come back to me.
With best regards,
Organisation Prix Ars Electronica
Recently in Art Category
Other than being 7 degrees celcius and raining most of the time, Ars Electronica this year was a lot of fun. It was packed full of work for me this week with five talks and ten media interviews, but with Sandra, Elizabeth and Fumi's help, everything went smoothly and I survived. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see all of the installations or talk to as many artists as I would have liked, but I had more than enough interesting conversations to make it great.
I went to Ars Electronica this year together with the MOGA unit which is a collaboration between Professor Inakage's lab, Joi's lab (mostly Fumi) and Hiroyuki Nakano's Peacedelic team. MOGA set up the "Jump" installation in Linz. Yuichiro Katsumoto, also from Professor Inakage's lab presented Amagatana. It was fun seeing the students I had been working with in the Ars Electronica context.
I think that most of the talks will end up online somewhere, but I'm not sure where. ;-) I did see one video interview on Artivi.com.
The theme of this year's Ars Electronica was privacy.
The first session I participated in was with the Austrian Association and Judges and members from the Ars Electronica community. I talked broadly about the generation gap and the how the behavior and use of the technology was very different among the new users of the Internet and how difficult it was, yet how important it was, for the older generation to try to understand the way the new generation used the new medium. I was really impressed in the conversations with some of the judges and how forward looking they were. I also talked about the importance of Global Voices in the future of global democracy. I suppose that federal judges can think more long term about democracy and things like the cost of privacy than their politician brothers. Having smart judges is a great thing as the recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court in the US shows.
The second session I participated in was a discussion about future trends with some of corporate executives. It was a good group with a number of interesting presentation. The presentation that was the most interesting to me was Summer Watson, a British soprano opera singer, who announced that she is going to ski the last degree (from 89 to 90) of the North Pole and sing an Aria at the North pole as a call to action on environmental issues.
I had coffee with her afterwards and we talked a lot about Creative Commons and online identities and was inspired to start the Summer Watson Wikipedia article.
I also did a session about WoW which I think you can imagine without me going into too much detail.
I did a session with Leonard Dobusch to talk about importance of Free Networks and Free Knowledge. Again, I'm sure readers of this blog can imagine what my position was. Leonard, who is also the son of the Mayor of Linz, had some interesting perspectives on the role of municipal governments in supporting public access. He had co-edited a book recently where they discussed many of these issues. He cited an article by Volker Grassmuck where Volker argued that having a public space for hosting content on the web was important.
Finally, I was on a panel as part of a awards ceremony and a kick-off meeting for Fair Music. The idea behind Fair Music was sort of a music parallel for the Fair Trade mark. Whereas the Fair Trade mark tries to identify products where the production meets basic Fair Trade parameters and requirements, Fair Music marks were awarded to companies and projects where the artists and consumers were treated fairly. Fair in this context means a number of things including the artist receiving a fair share of the remuneration or the project promoting diversity against the bias of "Northern" dominance in the music business.
I mostly talked about the need for new business models and the role of Creative Commons in this context.
Cool things going on on our Sim in Second Life.
blueair.tvBRIAN ENO’S 77 MILLION PAINTINGS TO PREMIERE IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS ACROSS SECOND LIFE THIS FRIDAY, 8PM PDT, 6/29/07
pdf is here
Click this picture to attend the opening:
We are pleased to announce that this Friday the 29th, at 8 PM PDT (Second Life Time), The Long Now Foundation will begin the Second Life premiere of Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings. This will occur alongside its North American premiere in San Francisco, in partnership with blueair.tv. Each installation of 77 Million Paintings will be unique to its location.
The event will open at 8 PM in Second Life on Kula 1 Sim at The Commons amphitheater (intersecting Kula 1 through Kula 4 and by Joi Ito). The opening will include an interview of Second Life artist Angrybeth Shortbread (Annabeth Robinson, creative partner of blueair.tv). Angrybeth developed the 77 Million Paintings remix in Second Life through blueair.tv.
We were talking about meditation and other related activities. Howard recommended drawing as another relaxing and mind expanding activity. I told Howard that I had no talent and that drawing was one thing I would never be good at. Howard smirked and explained that there really wasn't much talent necessary for basic drawing and that he thought I would enjoy it.
I was skeptical but Howard gave me his copy of Drawing on the Artist Within by Betty Edwards from his library and I lugged the huge hardcover book onto the plane and read it. I was prepared to be surprised, but I was more surprised than I imagined I could be.
Betty Edwards starts out explaining that drawing is like reading and writing for the right hemisphere of the brain. The right brain deals with spacial and relationship oriented things and is good at dealing with chaos and complexity. She explains that people who are "not good at drawing" typically have strong left brain tendencies which often prevents the right brain from taking charge of drawing.
The right brain likes order and abstraction and parses everything you see into symbols. For instance, instead of seeing small person, medium sized person, large person, if the people are framed correctly, you will see person (far away), person (medium distance), person (close) and parse the different sizes as distances rather than three separate sized people. This is useful when you are trying to assess a visual image in a left brain sort of way. However, when you are trying to draw an image or notice differences or details, your left brain can get in the way.
When you are trying to draw a human figure, for instance, you will often draw a round head, eyes, hands, feet, etc. Each component will look like some abstraction of that part of the body. In fact, depending on the direction from which you are viewing that part of the body or person, the shape of each of those elements are infinitely different. When your left brain is in charge you label each element, for instance, "that's an eye" and draw what your left brain thinks of as an eye element instead of what you actually see. That's how people like me end up with child-like drawings.
She gives an example of an American flag hanging on the wall. The first week, her students draw things that looks like parallelograms with straight bars. The next week she tells them to notice that the bars cross each other in real life at angles. The students then draw a slightly more realistic flag with folds/waves. The next week she tells them to notice that the bars are different widths and the stars are each a different shape. This is paradoxical to the left brain since it is imagining the symbolic view of each element. In fact, when you look at a flag hanging on the wall and the image is flattened onto a 2D view like a drawing, all of the elements turn into different shapes.
She gives the reader a number of techniques to "trick" the left brain into letting go - drawing very fast, drawing very slow or drawing an image that is upside down. She presents exercises that show how easy it is to dramatically improve your drawing by just getting your left brain to let go so that your right brain can see things as they are and not abstracted.
The right brain is a very important partner in problem solving and thinking and your left brain and right brain already have a lot of back and forth. Your right brain deals with most of the complexity of driving while your left brain thinks of something else or remembers directions. Your left brain collects information and your right brain then "incubates" the idea tossing it back sometime in the future to your left brain as an "aha!"
Edwards hypothesizes convincingly that drawing is a great way to talk to your right brain and more directly bring your right brain into a "conversation" of conscious problem solving. I thought about drawing in the context of meditation which is also a lot about getting the left brain to "go away" or "shut up". Since reading the book on the plane, I have been scribbling sketches in my notebook. I continue to be surprised at this newly discovered ability that has been hidden for 40 years. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to share any of my "artwork" with the public, but I am surely going to begin drawing as a way of thinking about things and spending time. I have a feeling that it will also help me communicate graphically and may even improve my sense of direction. ;-)
I'm REALLY excited about discovering a key to a door I shut way back in elementary school and I think this new hobby will work well in my "new lifestyle". If you've every thought, "I'm not good at drawing," I highly recommend and urge you read this book and reconsider. Also, if you recommend any other books or resources along these lines, I'd appreciate any pointers.
Just saw the Tesla coil music demo at Dorkbot at SXSW. It was amazing. I'm not sure exactly how the technology works, but hey use a computer to control the frequency of a tesla coil so it "plays" music. This image was taken while the coils were playing the theme from Ghost Busters.
Yuki makes very large out-door, cool/modern/fun installations that win awards and stuff, but he also makes very cool objects that work inside the house or in the yard. Our homes have always been decorated with Yuki's art until we moved into the rather difficult to decorate Japanese home that I live in now.
Anyway, Yuki is coming to Japan and will be showing his work at Art Planet gallery in Shinkoiwa. (03-5672-0372.) If you're interested in his stuff, please check out his web page and visit the gallery. If you see him, tell him Joi sent you.
Mozilla Japan will be one of the sponsors of a symposium/salon about open source art on September 24 in Tokyo. Sounds interesting. There is a post on TAB about it, but the basic details are...
DIVVY/dual Project #1 "Is Open Source Art Possible?" Open Salon
2006-09-24 from 14:00 to 17:00
Noboru Tsubaki, Kiyoshi Kusumi, Dominick Chen, Takumi Endo, Hiroo Yamagata
NTT ICC, Tokyo Opera City Tower 4F, 3-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1404 Japan
There is a related exhibition from 9/18-23: DIVVY/dual Project #1 "Type-Trace"
Posted by Thomas Crampton
Been immersed in the world of fashionistas lately:
1- Writing about fashion: Hermès, belle of the ball, denies liaison
2- Attending a fashion party in Paris.
Well, attempting to attend a fashion party would be more accurate. I went with a friend who works for fashion magazine W to the launch of Lanvin's Arpege for men cologne. I am not much of a cologne type myself, but thought it would be fun to go along.
The event took place at the Ledoyen Pavillion on the Champs Elysees. Built in 1842 with a client list running from Emile Zola to Hillary Clinton it is one of the top restaurants in France, according to some.
When we arrived at the party, however, the Paris fashionista scene looked like a crowd of refugees fighting for the last piece of bread. About 150 or so people were pushing to get in the front door with one of the company's top executives standing on a chair or something to shout at people to back off and calm down. Insane.
We checked out the scene for a little while from a distance and finally determined that it was not worth our while to push in with the crowd to go to a party promoting a product.
The aggressive bouncers reminded me of when I was covering the Cannes Film Festival where film directors would be refused entry to the parties celebrating the launch of their own films.
Do humans need to feel rejection in order to think something is worthwhile?
Technorati Tags: fashion
I'm an advisor to Eyebeam R&D and they have recently posted a Call for Fellows.
There's more on their site. Take a look if you're interested. I have a lot of respect for what the Eyebeam team have done and look forward to seeing some cool stuff from this program.EyebeamCall For Fellows
Eyebeam R&D seeks inaugural fellows to work on creative technology projects in the Eyebeam Open Lab. The fellowship is a unique opportunity to participate in a new kind of research environment and contribute to the public domain.
The Open Lab is dedicated to public domain R&D. We are seeking artists, hackers, designers and engineers to come to Eyebeam for a year to develop pioneering work. The ideal fellow has experience creating innovative creative technology projects, a love of collaborative development, and a desire to distribute his or her work as widely as possible.
Participation in the R&D Fellows program includes:
* One year fellowship
* 4 days/week commitment
* $30,000 annual stipend + health benefits
Work created within the Open Lab will be widely distributed and freely available under open licenses. All code will be released under GPL, media will be released under Creative Commons, and hardware projects will be released with Do-It-Yourself instruction kits...
The other day, I met with the guys doing Tokyo Art Beat. Tokyo Art Beat is probably the most comprehensive art event site for Tokyo in both English and Japanese. Interestingly, even though they are both French, the site is not yet available in French. Anyway, I know at least a dozen people who have pinged me that they are going to be in Tokyo over the next few weeks so I would recommend this site to find cool things to do when you are in town.
The winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2005 awards have just been announced. I was on the Digital Communities jury this year. We gave the highest prize, the Golden Nica to Akshaya, an Indian ICT development project.
The two awards of distinction went to the alternative media movements NewGlobalVision/Telestreet in Italy and the Free Software Foundation. We also gave a special prize to BitTorrent as an enabling technology.
The honorary mentions were: Upmystreet (UK), E-Democracy.Org (US), Wikimedia Commons (US), The Sout-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog (IN), Kubatana (ZW), Sistema de Información Agraria vía Internet para Agricultores del Valle de Huaral, Perú (PE), Borneo Project: Mapping Their Future: Digital Communities, Indigenous Lands (US / MY), Catalytic Communities (CatComm) (BR), microRevolt (US), TXTmob (US) and CouchSurfing Project (US)
There will be a proper jury statement coming out soon, but it was a very difficult task. We had to compare the value of telecenters in developing nations with things like BitTorrent. The definition of "digital community" was very broad. I would suggest that next year, we might want to split the category into access/digital divide oriented projects and project focused on new technologies and styles of communities.
Anyway, congratulations to all of the winners. We went through hundreds of projects and these projects are the cream of the crop.
Although I missed two years or so, today marks ten years since I started working with Ars Electronica. I think this is my 16th time in Linz, Austria and for this reason I know Linz better than any other European city. I know taxi drivers, hotel staff, shop owners and it feels sort of like coming home when I visit now. I was on the first World Wide Web category jury in 1995 and we gave Idea Futures the Golden Nica that year. I remember getting a lot of "that's not art" feedback which marked the beginning of my struggle to forge my own definition of "art". The year after that we gave the award to etoy which continues to lead the way in the alternative digital art scene and with whom I continue to have a active relationship since meeting them at Ars Electronica. Last year Ars Electronica started a new category with the leadership of Howard Rheingold called Digital Communities and the two Golden Nicas went to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I met Jimmy Wales and many of the Wikipedians for the first time at this Ars Electronica and we've become good friends since then. I've met many amazing people through this process and there are many people I ONLY see during the jury or the festival of Ars Electronica.
This year I am on the Digital Communities jury again and I've just started looking over the hundreds of projects we will be reviewing over the next few days. The jury is really hard work, but it is always a great way for me to catch up on all of the cool things going on on the Net and engage in rigorous discussion with fellow jury members about all of the projects. I both dread and look forward to this and imagine I will be drinking a lot of strong Austrian coffee.
I have a flickr set that I'll be adding to with photos.
Dancing Baby, All Your Base, or Star Wars Kid and ride into the sunset with the bounty? This is your chance to prove you are the best in the West.Organized by the Contagious Media Group at Eyebeam R&D with some sponsorship from Alexa, Creative Commons, Technorati and Datagram. Eyebeam know for their super-cool often-viral art should be sending shivers down Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies' spines.
I will be on the Prix Ars Electronica digital communities jury again next year. Please help us out by submitting work that you think meets the criteria below.
For the second time in 2005, Prix Ars Electronica will honor important achievements by digital communities. This category focuses attention on the wide-ranging social impact of the Internet as well as on the latest developments in the fields of social software, mobile communications and wireless networks.
The "Digital Communities" category is open to political, social, and cultural projects, initiatives, groups, and scenes from all over the world utilizing digital technology to better society and assume social responsibility. It is meant to recognize the initiators and propagators of these communities as well as the developers of the relevant technologies, and to honor those whose work contributes to the establishment and proliferation of Digital Communities as well as provide understanding and research into them.
The prizes in this category will total 20,000 Euros: one Golden Nica (10,000 Euro), two Awards of Distinction (5,000 Euros each) and up to 12 Honorary Mentions.
For full information please check http://www.aec.at/en/prix/communities/communities.asp
Online submission: http://www.aec.at/en/prix/registration/index.asp
Deadline for submissions: March 11, 2005
The "I )( Wi-Fi" bumper sticker can be found on the Tech Culture page.
The program is online here. I'll be on the DISRUPTION panel.Ars Electronica 2004Video Streams
In addition to the proceeding of the Ars Electronica Gala, the panels of the TIMESHIFT Symposium and the Prix Forum as well as the speech by Itsuo Sakane, the Re-inventing Radio Symposium and the launch of Creative Commons Austria will be available online as video streams.
Now listening to: Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols
Xeni Jardin @ Boing Boing: RNC-NYC: Update on arrest of Joshua Kinberg, Bikes Against Bush
I think I saw this device at Ars Electronica a few years ago. I have a feeling that at the time it wasn't mounted on a bike. I remember thinking, "What a cool idea. I wonder if it will ever be used for something useful." I love it when political art projects/proposals get put into real world action. It's too bad that they confiscated the bike before it was used "in the wild." I wonder whether this bogus arrest will end up getting this project more press than if they hadn't arrested him...Xeni Jardin @ Boing BoingRNC protests: Bikes Against Bush organizer arrested
A post on an indymedia website says activist Joshua Kinberg -- inventor of a wireless, bike-mounted, dot-matrix printer for spraying protest messages in the street -- was arrested yesterday at the RNC in NYC. At the time, he was reportedly being interviewed by Ron Reagan, covering the convention for MNSBC.
Kinberg's invention allows users to spray messages transmitted to the bike-printer by way of the 'Net or SMS. They're painted in a water-soluble chalk solution that washes away with water (not spray-paint, as misreported elsewhere). Link to indymedia post, Link to previous BB post about Bikes Against Bush, Link to August 02 Wired News story with background on Kinberg's invention, Link to yesterday's NYT piece on Bikes Against Bush, and link to a torrent identified as video coverage of the incident, via DV Guide. (Thanks, Patricia and el norm)
I had fun with some photoshopping last night, but this morning someone showed me a site of a photoshop-a-rama on the new MEP from Finland, Alexander Stubb. Too bad most blogs don't allow images in comments anymore. It's such a ... "creative" form of communication. ;-)
Funny real-time project going on right now. ;-)24 Hour DotcomCreating a Dotcom in 24 Hours
Right now we are at the Wizards of OS conference in Berlin to make a performance art/business project. The mission is to create a dotcom business from scratch in 24 hours. That means designing and programming a complete and useful web application, recruiting people, doing marketing, creating investment programs and much more. After 24 hours, the complete business will be sold on an eBay auction, and everyone involved will be rich!
In the comments on an earlier post on this blog about an artist suspected by the FBI of bioterrorism, there was a great deal of speculation about the incident and the facts. (Read the link above to my previous post for the background.) I emailed the artist, Steven Kurtz, asking him for the facts, and here is his reply.
Deleted by request.
Many people talked to me about this incident and strongly support the FBI's position on this. I still don't know enough details on the FBI's handling of the matter, but I DO think biotech as art is a legitimate form of art. At Ars Electronica, we did a whole festival on Life Science as art. Artists, including Steve, publish their works, talk about the impact, and often teach. Terrorists do not.
One famous example of biotech art is the bioluminescent rabbit created by genetic engineering, adding genes from a jellyfish to a rabbit to make it glow in the dark. This created a great deal of controversy and debate. It was the intention of the artist to cause this debate with an extremely tangible project.
I believe this form of expression is important and mistaking artistic expression for something else is a great risk to society. However, I suppose it would be prudent for artists to be aware of the risks involved in handling the "supplies" they use for their art.
It reminds me a bit of when the Secret Service came after etoy.RTMarkFBI ABDUCTS ARTIST, SEIZES ART Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism Grieving Artist Denied Access to Deceased Wife's Body DEFENSE FUND ESTABLISHED - HELP URGENTLY NEEDED
Steve Kurtz was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911 early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and died in her sleep. The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the "War on Terror," decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons.
Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire block, and confiscated his computers, manuscripts, art supplies... and even his wife's body.
Like the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Muslim lawyer from Portland imprisoned for two weeks on the flimsiest of false evidence, Kurtz's case amply demonstrates the dangers posed by the USA PATRIOT Act coupled with government-nurtured terrorism hysteria.
Kurtz's case is ongoing, and, on top of everything else, Kurtz is facing a mountain of legal fees. Donations to his legal defense can be made at http://www.rtmark.com/CAEdefense/
RTMark is nortorious for social hacking, but this story appears to have at least two supporting news stories.
The weird thing is that these news articles are archived on RTMark's site and I can't seem to find them on the WKBW site. Having said that, a search on Google News shows an article about this, but it has "expired" and can't be accessed.
IF this is true, it's another example of patriotic stupidity, but it's often the role of artists to help us understand this stupidity.
Anyone else heard about this? Lately I'm becoming more wary of single source news stories. ;-) Any help in veting this story before I get really excited would be greatly appreciated.
UPDATE: Email from artist, Steven Kurtz.
Those Italians... ;-) I'm looking forward to visiting Italy again next month. This articles reminds me of some of the reasons why I love Italy.italiaspeed13.05.2004 Lamborghini have donated one of their Gallardo sportscars, complete with siren & flashing lights, to the State Police on the occasion of their 152nd anniversary
For the first time, Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato) will use a Lamborghini Gallardo Police Car.
The supercar, in State Police colours, with a siren and flashing lights on the roof, has been donated by the House of Sant’Agata Bolognese to the State Police on the occasion of its 152nd anniversary, held in the customary setting of the Piazza del Popolo in Rome on the 14th, 15th and 16th May 2004.
The Gallardo Police Car will be used by the traffic police (Polizia Stradale) during emergencies and alarm situations on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway, also under the powers of the special safety operative which is already being employed along this tract of highway.
The Gallardo will also be used in first aid activities – thanks to its special defibrillator equipment, which performs electrocardiograms and automatic diagnoses of arterial pressure and the presence of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, as well as the transportation of plasma and human organs for transplants.
Apart from being fitted with medical equipment, the vehicle will also have advanced technological apparatus’ for receiving and transmitting information and images relating to particularly critical situations, such as road traffic accidents, fires and other disaster situations.
I was on the Digital Communities jury this year for Ars Electronica. Thanks to the two jury pre-selection and final jury process, we were able to spend a lot of time on the 60 or so entries that were selected from hundreds of submissions by the first jury. We had an awesome jury. The final jury was me, Andreas Hirsch, Shanthi Kalathil (co-author of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule), Jane Metcalfe (co-founder of Wired), Dorothy Okello (Coordinator of the Women of Uganda Network), Howard Rheingold (the Smart Mobs guy ;-) ) and Oliviero Toscani (The guy who made the controversial Benetton ads). We gave our two Golden Nica cash prizes to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I'm sure everyone knows Wikipedia. The World Starts With Me is a project from Uganda.
"The World Starts With Me" is a sex education and AIDS prevention project that simultaneously gives young Ugandans the opportunity to acquire Internet and computer skills. The program is aimed at school children and young adults. To reach this target group, 52 "Telecenters" (facilities equipped with IT infrastructure including PCs with Internet access) have been set up throughout Uganda. The program focuses particularly on 12- to 19-year-olds, with the objective of improving their understanding of sexuality. The website features a very attractive, inviting design and takes a playful approach to mediating complicated content, which is presented in a way that enables young people to recognize situations confronting them personally in their everyday lives. This program is very popular in Uganda and is being used in many schools and institutions.Now if only "The World Starts With Me" would make a wiki page...
Creative Commons won the Net Vision Golden Nica. Yay! (I wasn't involved in that jury and this was a pleasant surprise.)
Our honorary mentions were:
- Cabinas Publicas de Internet
- Children with Diabetes
- Daily Prophet - Very cool work based on childrens' derivative works based on Harry Potter
- DakNet: Store and Forward
- Telecentre Communautaire Polyvalent Tombouctou
- Wikitravel - I love their Creative Commons license which allows commercial use with attribution.
I wish Dalí has said, "works" or "art" instead of "ideas", but this still rocks.Salvador DalíIdeas are made to be copied. I have enough ideas to sell them on. I prefer that they are stolen so that i don't have to actually use them myself.
I'm at Narita airport on my way to Linz to be on the Digital Communities jury of Ars Electronica. I think this is my eighth year as a jury member for Ars Electronica so going to Linz feels like going back to an old home. I look forward to eating my favorite wienerschnitzel soon.
My photoshopping has definitely gotten better since I've started blogging.
I had a few ginger ales with Shekhar Kapur, a well known Indian film director. We talked about the life, the universe and everything. We talked about what it takes to direct a good film and how Shekhar chose which films to direct.
He talked about being asked to direct "Long Walk to Freedom" about the life of Nelson Mandela. He said he turned it down. He understood about inequality and prejudice from his experiences in India and being Indian, but that he didn't think he would ever truly understand the extreme conditions of apartheid. He would never truly understand the rage of being treated as a completely different class of human being by the white man.
Later, in Hollywood, in the office of an important studio exec, Shekhar explained that he had turned down the offer to direct "Long Walk to Freedom". The exec told Shekhar that he thought that it was a good idea since people weren't interested in a story about the struggles of a black man.
Shekhar was infuriated by the comment, but contained it and kept a straight face. He excused himself and went to the rest room. From the rest room, he called his agent and told him to accept the deal. Shekhar was now able to feel the rage and his passion for the film had developed.
It is very difficult to get the cultural passions right in a movie. Usually the culture is the backdrop of a story or the story is about how American culture triumph over other cultures. Shekhar's insistence on understanding the cultural passion that would be core to a movie was impressive and something that more directors would strive for when making movies about other cultures.
I first met Helmut and his wife at Timothy Leary's house. Tim and Helmut were good friends. (I guess that would mean that Tim would be 83 if he were alive now...) They were the same age and even wore the same tennis shoes. I remember Helmut and as a funny and really cool guy.
When I was working on Indian Runner, we asked him to do some of the photography for the movie and I remember hanging out with him in Omaha, Nebraska where we were shooting the film. I remember helping him find "corn-fed beauties of the Midwest" during his free time. He had this amazing talent for making women feel beautiful and capturing this on film.
I had always loved landscape photography since I was a child, but Helmut was the one who got me interested in portraits and helped me appreciate the amazing talent required to take portraits.
I'm going to miss you Helmut. Say hi to Tim for me if you see him.
Very cool work by Cassidy Curtis.
Graffiti Archaeology is the study of graffiti-covered walls as they change over time. The grafarc.org project is a timelapse collage, made of photos of San Francisco graffiti taken by many different photographers from 1998 to the present.via danah boyd (her site is down right now)
Using the grafarc explorer, you can visit some of San Francisco's classic spots, see what they looked like in the past, and explore how they have changed over the years.
Hugh aka gapingvoid, one of my favorite online cartoonists, let me pick a cartoon and sent me 500 business cards with my contact info on once side, and this image on the other. After getting a stack of 500 cards that say, "You are the most important person in my Life" I realized the irony and realized that maybe I chose the wrong phrase. ;-p
I do think his idea of cartoons on business cards is a cool idea.
So what I need is a bunch of different cards ranging from "You are the most important person in my Life" to "Talk to the hand." Then I can choose which cards to give to people. This would be the intentional physical version of what Cory doesn't like about social software.
Of course, I would only give "Talk to the hand" to someone as a joke... really.
Ars Electronica, which is always on the cutting edge of expression using new technologies and has created a new category called "Digital Communities". I will be on the jury with Howard Rheingold, Jane Metcalfe and several other people I'm looking forward to meeting.
Please see the web page for more details, but I look forward to seeing your submissions.
Among the projects, phenomena and fields of activity subsumed under the heading Digital Communities are:
eDemocracy, eGovernment, eGovernance
collective weblogs, social networking systems
filtering and reputation systems
social self-support groups
learning and knowledge communities
computer supported collaborative processes
digital neighborhoods, community networks
free net initiatives, wireless LAN projects
digital cities, urban development projects
citizen involvement initiatives, citizen conferences
Total: 40,000 Euro
2 Golden Nicas
10,000 Euro each
4 Awards of Distinction
5,000 Euro each
Up to 14 Honorary Mentions
A few days ago, I asked Nanjo-san if he could give a few of us a special tour of the new Mori Art Museum before it opens this Friday. Lisa has some notes and photos on her new blog. This Art Museum will be largest in Japan. It's quite amazing what they've done and what they plan to do. Look forward to visiting often.
I received a link from Chris to a fanimutation called Irrational Exuberance by Veloso at verylowsodium.com. It's very funny. It's a flash animation over the Happatai song "Yatta!". Max and James turned me on to "Yatta!" When I saw them in May at FiRe. Happatai are a group of Japanese comedians who released a song back in April 2001 called "Yatta!". It's a very silly song with silly lyrics and a video of them dancing around with no clothes and just a fig leaf. The weird thing about this is that it was slightly funny when it came out in Japan, but the mpeg video of this has been zooming around the Internet in the US and has developed small cult following. this fanimutation by Veloso is just another "derivative work" of "Yatta!" I wonder if this is an example of Japan's Gross National Cool export. Maybe I should contact them and see if they will release the rights for these fanimutations since they are clearly increasing their popularity in the US. ;-)
Flash animations over popular or weird songs or "fanimutations" are becoming a funky new art form. People seem to encourage sharing of the flash code. They are another example of a new form of "art" like mashups that aren't really feasible under traditional copyright/licensing. Mixing, sharing and attribution are at the core of this new subculture. If you go to the sites, you'll notice that people go to great lengths to link and attribute.
Thursday.8pm. August 14.2003
DECONversation / Maurice Benayoun and Steve Mann, moderated by Derrick de Kerckhove
Looks interesting. Someone go so we can heckle. ;-)
Brainwave Building BlogDeconism Gallery/Arts Complex was designed as a blog --- something we call "buildinglog" (which, like cyborglog, abbreviates to "glog").
We've all seen smart buildings, smart lightswitches, smart toilets, and intelligent user interfaces, but what happens when you have "smart people"? What happens when you wire up the "intelligence" onto people?
2003 August 14th and 15th we explore what happens when the intelligent building meets intelligent occupants.
The August 14th event will be an intellectual discussion about the relationship between cyborglogs and buildinglogs. Three panelists (Maurice Benayoun, Pierre Levy, Steve Mann), moderated by the Director of the Marshall McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, will enter an immersive multimedia space (a brainwave bath) while discussing the implications of thepost-cyborg age.
The August 15th event will be an actual collective (de)consciousness where the occupant-cyborgs interact with the building, to create an audiovisual experience from their brainwaves, as part of a brainwave (de)concert performed by jazz musicians Bryden Baird, James Fung, Dave Gouveia, Sandy Mamane, and Corey Manders.
Mizuka and I went to see the last cherry blossoms last week and I shot some Provia 100 with my Hasselblad. I got sick of the poor quality of the Photo CD's considering the cost and bought a Nikon 8000ED film scanner so I could do my own scans instead. Here's my first attempt. I'm still trying to figure out how to get it right and it does take a lot of time, but you have control and obviously much more tender loving care than the people scanning for you onto Photo CD's. I've posted a few pictures on my .mac site. I can't figure out what the white space is that gets inserted when I publish from iPhoto.
Anyway, my iLife just got better thanks to Nikon.
I just published my pictures from Menorca on .mac so you can finally see them without a password. Sorry, old news, but published well for the first time. I had them on Yahoo, but I guess Yahoo requires you to have an account. That's silly.
The photos were taken with my Hasselblad 205 FCC and a FE 60-120 Lense, scanned into a PhotoCD and uploaded to .mac from iPhoto.
Had lunch with Dr. Fiorella Terenzi. She is an Astrophysicist / Recording Artist / Author. She recently created a line of jewelry based on astrophysical phenomenon. She is selling them on QVC. She said that some of her colleagues mocked her, but that reaching the masses and trying to appeal to them about the beauty of science was an important mission. I totally agree. I admire Fiorella and her desire and courage to break out of the ivory tower of academism and try to communicate. I feel that the art community, the science community and academic community in general shuns the popularization of their fields. I think that with the communications technologies of today, it is an utter waste to not try to communicate to the public, what is going on in art and science. It takes a great deal of courage, but I think people like Fiorella should be encouraged and supported by both the public and people in their respective fields. Fiorella has made space the theme of her music and other forms of public expression that she has been engaged in and is truly an ambassador from the field of astrophysics.
I was interviewed yesterday by NHK to talk about the Net category winners and the jury process this year. I talked about how in the early days, we approached the category from a media theory perspective. Derrick deKerkhove and Mitsuhiro Takemura were both on the first jury and they are both very media theory oriented. The jury, over the last seven years has swung around a bit, but we had always tried to look beyond the interface to find the "webness" or the community beyond. We always used to look at
flashFlash animation sites as superficial and thin.
At this year's jury meeting, I said something about
flashFlash being superficial, Joshua got really mad and argued that flash could do everything Java could do but better. He said that flash talked xml and could be used to do just about everything. He said that it got a bad rap because people thought it was a design tool developed by Macromedia. He said that he hated "old school" guys like me that kept the Net from moving on and getting to the next level. I have to admit, I underestimated flash, but Joshua's religious ferver was also pretty interesting. Joshua won last year with his site, Praystation, which is an amazing flashFlash site that makes flashFlash examples available and has lots and lots of great examples of how to make flashFlash do cool things.
Later, at the ORF studios, I saw Joshua "the first guy to ever call Joi Ito 'old school'" Davis. He was nice and acted almost like he felt sorry about being mean to me. Maybe it's because he's coming to Tokyo next month. ;-p Anyway, I like Joshua and he really opened my eyes to flash so now I'm anxious to learn flash. I told him that I was having difficulty figuring out how to get started with flash and that I wanted to have someone help me build a flash interface to blogs. He said he would help. Cool.
So, to get back to the NHK interview. I told them that we are now seeing artists drawn into the expressive flexibility of
flashFlash, finding that they can dig into content using xml and other tools and that there is a meeting of the political, "old school" Internet and design people causing greats sites like They Rule and projects like Carnivore to be born.
Dan GillmorMusic Industry's Death Wish
Dan Bricklin has looked closely at the numbers in the music industry, and suggests that the record companies are killing themselves by stamping out music downloads. He makes a compelling case in this essay.
His bottom line: "Given the slight dip in CD sales despite so many reasons for there to be a much larger drop, it seems that the effect of downloading, burning, and sharing is one of the few bright lights helping the music industry with their most loyal customers. Perhaps the real reason for some of the drop in sales was the shutdown of Napster and other crackdowns by the music industry."
I don't expect the music companies to pay attention to inconvenient facts. That would be out of character.
Interesting perspective. I am feeling very sick of the music industry. They can keep Britney Spears and their lawyers. I actually have really cut back on buying CD's generally. When I see a CD, I see don't an artist selling music, I see an enslaved artist boxed up in a the shrinkwrap of a industry trying to protect itself by choking the customers and the artists that it is meant to be serving.
Do I need the record industry to enjoy music? Hell no.
One interesting thing to note is that the karaoke industry used midi files to play back music on synthesizers inside of karaoke machines. This lead to a huge industry of midi files. They decided to do a flat fee payment system to simply the billing for the little bars that played the music. Then, when ring tones became popular for cell phones, they used the same flat fee model to license the music. THAT is why ring tones are a huge money making business in Japan. Simple billing, cheap billing and no record companies.
(Apologies to my record company exec friends and to my friends who sell CD's... but you guys suck these days.)
From the Prix Ars Electronica web page:
Golden Nica Josh On, Futurefarmers (USA): "They Rule" http://www.theyrule.net Database visualization is an important area of interactive design. "They Rule" is an excellent example of this kind of project. It attempts to demonstrate the relationships between some of America's most powerful corporate executives by visually showing you which companies they are involved with, and how these companies might gain from such a relationship.
The interface, once you get it, is pretty easy. There was a map of the Trilateral Commission, it's members and the boards that they sit on. (Here is a speech I gave at the Trilateral). You can see all of the board members of a company, other boards they sit on, donations they have made, all mined from public sources presented in an elegant design.
Washington, D.C. — In a surprise decision that exonerates dozens of major companies, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that corporate earnings statements should be protected as works of art, as they "create something from nothing."