Monday, 30 July 2007

C Dragon

Amazing new software being demonstrated via YouTube video.

Watch it and be amazed ... (forgive the geeky delivery and the BMW ad at the start and end)... but this is the spiel that goes with it:

Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar. "Perhaps the most amazing demo I've seen this year," wrote Ethan Zuckerman, after TED2007. Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

wearable technology

As if we really needed further signs that technology is overtaking our lives ... one of the most traditional stores in the UK, Marks and Spencer, recently featured this suit with HIDDEN ipod pouch on its website. (You completely MUST click on the link and see the close up views ... my friend told me that instore, this suit is held in the 'gimp' section. Oh dear.)

Here's a screenshot:

(I am worried they will take off the image - tantalising though it is.)

The secrecy of the little thing means that you can hide the fact that you are listening to 2pac of Misteeq as you make your way across the city to the next hi powered meeting. But discretion is all a charade of course; minimalist is stylish and it is obligatory to arrive with earphones IN, but to hurriedly remove them. The great thing is that in fact you can either be listening to a podcast of The Archers, to good ol' Melvyn on 'In our Time' or even Vegan Freaks.

I wonder though what was the sound when the "'Muslim juror' listened to iPod under hijab" as reported in The Times a coupla weeks ago. Apparently she now faces jail for this.

In the meantime I am delighted to announce that I too am giving the iPod another chance. After my long lasting railings and wailing about the demise of my first one way back in 2004 (after only using once) I took my courage in both hands and accepted a gift from TT...

Actually I love it. I am just putting fast music on it as it will be my companion as I attempt to shift the lard from my body down at the gym. It can clip onto my great big trousers which I hope will get baggier and baggier.

So wearable technology for the naughty juror - subverting the image of the benign, pure, innocent , veiled and oppressed female; for the business man who wants to pretend to hide his funky identity under his suit ... and then there's me at the gym. Listening to music liked by the 'woman of a certain age' down the gym trying to stave off middle age. (Alongside rows of other wobbly ladies on a Sunday morning.)

Well. Technology does help blend the boundaries of our lives in many different ways. The 'digital divide does exist, but it is certainly not a clear cut line through society and as participation widens and uses become more complex, theorists need to stop trying to put forward simple arguments about the impact on society and the self.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The End of the World

You should definitely watch this. (It only takes a minute.)
And pretend you are from California.
Flickr Mountain
(Took this photo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NYC April 2006. Looks like the end of the world. This is now luxury apartments.)

Thursday, 5 July 2007

So what actually IS streetart?

The National Gallery is promoting its wares (does it need to?) and is putting 40 works of art on the street . Huge reproductions on vinyl are being placed strategically (streetegically) across London. The project is called Grand Tour and is an interesting one.
What makes it OK for some art work to be shown and not others?
(Banksy's work is now allowed in some cities.)

I presume it is a case of permissions from those who rule and those we must obey. But it is also interesting to see what might happen. Will the meanings of the art change when it is placed out there in the environment? Does streetart change when it is permitted to be there? Is it still real stretart if it has been commissioned? Is it less edgy? Does it lose credibility?

And when you put art out there on the street ... where does the art end? At the edges of the artefact?

I think the meanings of art work derive partly from its provenance - the way it is used, where it has been, how people read it - even interact with it. Will people be upset if someone adds a moustache to the faces on these classical /street art works? More info about the project here.


And are these mashups?

In the meantime other art makes the journey another way ... streetart is sometimes brought off the street into new places. For example there are so many people on Flickr who collect streetart images, collating and cataloguing. How does that change their meanings and their value? The currency is different I think when you bring an image to a webspace; it is partly about the creation of a new piece; partly seeing something first; even about adding to your collection.

People look at streetart differently in the new online context. The images look different when you see them on your pc screen; you experience the art differently and people have taken the shots from particular angles - cutting some bits out and focusing on others.

Certainly I have joined in with this craze of catching streetart (eyes peeled as I walk)...

urban zebra

I have been keen to show all kinds of stuff I have seen - people ignoring it:

stuck in the mud girl

People appreciating it:

no mind games

and people abusing it:


But I am also interested in how LunaPark has recently launched an exhibition of her streetart photography, showing the streetart from a particular locality, in a hall in that locality. There is a reverence and a particular desire to show a full range of streetart in LunaPark's very meticulously catalogued Flickrstream.

Thanks to Gammablog for telling me about this exhibition....

I wonder if all the people who went to the exhibition were people who love streetart. I wonder if anyone went to it, saw it, and looked for the first time at what qualities so much streetart has?

I wonder.

And what of the streetartists? Lots of them love Flickr and learn about each other's art through that space. They have made new contacts with other artists, planned exhibitions and shown their work through Flickr. (Some have told me, but I am not revealing their ID.)

Interesting to compare bloggers with streetartists - they share a belief andor a need to say something - to put stuff out there which will be read - or ignored.

Some people detest Web 2.0 just as some detest graffitti /streetart as it has not been legitimised through the culture mangle. I blogged recently about Andrew Keen's book the cult of the amateur.... Keen is dismissive of those who dare to raise their voices and stick their noses over the parapet. (He is scared they will be better than he is.)

Just as with bloggers there are some good streetartists and some who should practice a bit more ... but who should decide the standard? Who should legitimise?

Monday, 2 July 2007

identity kits

Vic mentioned this wonderful new project, which takes the 'What's in my bag' idea a bit further.

A long time ago I contributed this to the pool:


(Showing a bag I continue to use and will be using again this weekend when I go to this conference.)

It is clear that people do not reveal 'all' but construct images in a manner so that they represnt themselves in a way that they feel OK about going online. To do this, they need to think about how people might read the images - (what will they think? what associations do the objects have? what do they 'connote'?); they need to know something about how objects represent aspects of their persona; they need to consider what to leave out as well as what to include. Maybe they arrange things so they look smart/show their label/hide their label/ look casual/ appear expensive/cheap. And the inclusion of images of faces taken on a scanner connotes something ludic; maybe a cross-reference to office parties and 'parts of the body image making' and a presentation of self that says @I am game' 'I am fun' - 'I live life madly'.

I am really interested in the ways in which we display online identities and have noticed the continuities in the ways some people present themselves across sites. For example they may begin a persona on a flickr stream and then deepen it through displays in other spaces... like Niznoz's stream and his two blogs here and here; or Gamma's stream and his blog. They are serious reporters of the city; they show something of 'life as it is'; of the history and the way things are changing. NizNoz has two blogs, each with a different function.

People often use their blogs as a way of SPECIALISING. People use different parts of the web, different types of software to perform different tasks. And they are getting good at working out what is good for what task. This is a digital literacy skill; not everyone will 'GET IT' intuitively and so there is a role for researchers in working out what the conventions are and a role for educators in teaching about these things.

It has recently become trendy to represent oneself as a Simpson on Flickr and use the image as an icon of identity. YOu can get one via a new gadget available over at The Simpsons new movie website here. Obviously a lot to be written about re avatars and icons people use on websites, but no time here... must go.

But I'll just leave you with the image my dear partner in life made of himself on Sunday. What kind of impression does he give here? (Answers on a postcard please).

technology makes you mad


Or at least some people seem to be going crazy.
Seb sent me this link the other week and you will laugh like I did when you follow it.

maybe Seb knows that emails have been driving me nuts lately.

The other one who is going mad is the guy who owns the cat called Mr Lee. Not just that he names his pet in an idiosyncratic way. But the fact that he not only has attached a web cam to his cat, but he blogs it all.

See here.