iain tait, coolest geek ever, has already written about this thing here and here, but i just have to add my two bits’ worth to it.

i am a geek – i love books, art, music, talking shit and online thingys. and i love anything that validates my love of those things. i’ve been twittering for a couple of years now and still love it as much now as i did then (although the hiccup to DM text services is getting me down a bit, that’s for sure).

but then, on the horizon, comes this fabulous new thingy to brighten up my mood: twitter for music heads. where twitter answers the question ‘what are you doing?’ in 140 characters or less, asks ‘what are you listening to?’. you can search, find and play it. no downloading, just streaming. and you get to listen to what your friends are listening to! which, in the case of some of my friends means a quick flick forward, but for the most part, it’s rockin! in fact, it’s like the online version of going around to a friend’s place and them playing you a whole bunch of new 7″ rekkids. oh, yah!

here’s my current playlist, full of recent rediscoveries (and a whole lot of slacker nostalgia)

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she sees #EB2735

Thanks to my friend Esther, who came up with that great title! Even though it’s a geek’s joke, it did get me thinking about how the hexidecimal system is continuing to change the semantics of colour, which the advent of the Pantone Matching System did up until now.

When asked to describe the colour red, one more often than not has to use a qualifier – red: like something-or-other and the adjectives have been as poetic as the range in tones: alizarin, ruby, crimson, scarlet. The manufacturers of colour and consequently in colour language has traditionally been in the hands of artists’ colours – Windsor & Newton and Old Holland. interior decoration – Dulux, Wattyl, British Paints, and kids’ drawing materials: Derwent and even Crayola have influenced the colour perception of generations. [Check out this ace post about the whole Crayola spectrum!]

And even thought it’s a number-based exclusive system, I know that I have a fondness for the OG Pantone cataloguing system, but i’m a freak from the printing industry. The sentimentality about that standardisation is only just starting to happen now – with the mugs, bags, etc, but it’s still based a

I’ll be interested to see what the vernacular is around colour in the coming generations. Will my children grow up to feel nostalgic about #EB2735? Will they have a physical association of the hexidecimal system colours, in the way that I do about Scarlet Crimson, or Cadmium Red, or even Pantone 201C? especially given that the hexidecimal system is primarily a projection-based, online application?

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technology and magic

Poke is a brilliant agency in london. Iain Tait is a digital mastermind who works for them. He also has a super blog, crackunit. He recently gave a talk at the Under The Influence discussions-slash-pub crawl a few weeks ago and talked about the relationship between technology and magic. It’s brilliant and I’m interested in how it relates to some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about for abracadaver. Thanks Iain. And Charles (pinched from charles frith’s blog: punk planning. i’m sure he doesn’t mind.)

My Talk At Under the Influence from iaintait on Vimeo.

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missed it by that much

thanks to moving house, i missed the second dorkbot melbourne in a row!

and i missed out on some screenings of artworks around connectivity and systems that i really, really wanted to see:

1. Works of Art by Theo Jansen

2. The Way Things Go (Der Lauf Der Dinge) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

3. Paricipatory Installations: Interactive Wood Machines by Bernie Lubell, who you may recall I wrote about at ars electronica.

Thankfully, there is a special Part II of the January Dorkbot [maybe this happens to everyone at this time of year].

Thursday 31 January 2008 with Robert Henke.
held at the usual place: Level 1, 124a Johnston St Fitzroy,
but at the not-so-usual time of 7:30 for 8pm start.

Robert, aka Monolake will be joining us to talk about the design, construction and evolution of his Monodeck performance controller – a custom built MIDI controller he uses to perform live electronic music

If any of you went to 14.1, let me know how it went (and i’ll try to not get really jealous) and if anyone is planning to go on thursday, i’ll see you there!.

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ars electronica day 1

I intended to start Saturday up early, breakfasted, dressed and down at the Festival Centre at 10am sharp, ready to face the day. The reality (as opposed to the virtuality) of the situation is that I got up for breakfast (which finished at 9am!) then went back to bed for 3 hours. Finally getting up and out of the hostel, to be down at the Festival Centre at 1:30! Crap!
I was super interested in the Ganz Linz Project and quickly chucked together a small piece that I was hoping to put down for it, but because of the cloudy weather, it was postponed unti next week. Crap! (I’m still thinking of leaving it somewhere to be photographed, but I’m not sure where/how/if.)

There’s so much on that I knew that I would miss something, but I took the time to just dive in and experience things: Augmented Sculpture by Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena, was an installation about sculpture/architecture and time, which I liked – although the relationship to time was tenuous. The Overtures video documentation was great, as part of the Environmental Centre showcasing work by artists whose work mainly focuses on the degredation of the environment. Then I went to WoW, a piece by Aram Barthol, which was so simple, but so damned effective. Second Life avatars have their ‘name’ above their head and this ‘shop’ had people able to make the real life/time equivalent – a headband with your avatar name above your head:

I walked around with it on my head all day and it threw up all kinds of amazing reactions and also thoughts about what is privacy and whether walking around with your name above your head immediately transports you into a game/secondlife/realtime kind of warp – it was absolutely fantastic!

I also went and checked out Australian artist Justine Cooper’s Havidol ‘shop’, which reminded me a lot of Spat’n’Loogie’s New!shop (which I told Justine about too) – it was dedicated to the promotion of her pharmaceutical ‘remedy’ to social ailments. The commercial was absolutely brilliant – taking the piss out of infomercials everywhere – and the list of side effects of Havidol were similarly fantastic (my favourite being inter-species communication) ha!.

I went along to the jury deliberation of the first architectural competition for SecondLife. It may as well have been a panel, because it was open to the public, with microphones and documentation and it was a fantastic discussion, which hightlighted ideas about the purpose of architecture, the need for constraint, the importance of gravity and what is interesting when there are no boundaries. Some of my favourite quotes from the discussions include:

“Where everything is possible, nothing is interesting” Pascal Shöning
“I’m exhausted by interestingness. The absence of gravity doesn’t necessarily make things more interesting, but actually quite boring” Shumon Basar.

All of these reiterated my belief in the absolute necessity in life (Second or otherwise) for structure in order to create beauty. And as far as second life goes, the structural requirements, as someone on the jury mentioned, are the techonological, financial and the community-based elements of the world. I wonder whether because the basic premise of Second Life is largely the vacuousness of this real life, that trying to fit structure to it only highlights its lack of authenticity as a negative, rather than embracing it. I would have loved to stick around and participate in some more discussion, but I had to get to, what ended up being, my all-time highlight for the day.

Guerilla Radio is a booth and transmitter set up in Hauptplatz, smack bang in the middle of town, and a DJ (or band/combo earlier in the day) plays to the crowd. However, you can only pick up the frequency through wireless headphones that you hire. The platz was filled with a bunch of us listening and dancing to the DJ set, right in the middle of the street. Obviously only those with the headphones can hear the music, so it’s quite comical watching those dancing when you can’t hear the music. Of course I had head phones and of course I danced my arse off – for an hour and a half!

Even though, in the spirit of Goodbye Privacy, we’re all out ‘in public’ and challenging this notion of Private Dancing, it was, actually, one of the most private things I’ve done (others will remain nameless to protect the guilty). There is something intensely private about headphones (as Marcus Brown and his ipod singing sensation will attest to) and then there’s the private nature of only sharing that experience with the DJ and others in cans. I had a great ‘private’ moment with the DJ when, in the middle of his set, while I’m dancing away, he drops the new track which starts with police radio about a ‘disturbance… they’re dancing in the streets’ – which I understood the joke of and acknowledged it so. It was fantastic!!

And while I was grooving away, in private/public, I had so much time to think about the concept of privacy and what it really means, given that I felt like I was in my own private Idaho, in the middle of a plaza and I think that Privacy is the feeling of control you have over your environment. As soon as that control is taken away from you, you feel that your privacy has been ‘invaded’. And even if you put yourself into the ‘public’ domain [dancing/singing in the street, blogging, uploading videos to YouTube, divulging secrets on Myspace, etc], as long as you feel that you have some sense of control over that, you can still maintain a sense of Privacy. I do think a sense of Privacy is a fundamental human need, on some level. And obviously, what that level is, is subjective.

As usual, there are more pics on flickr

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wired for sound

heh, clip art

over the last couple of days, i’ve been having a play with my new techy toy (a cool microphone which attaches to my ipod), and chatting to a couple of emerging curators, capturing it all in digital format.

i’ve uploaded the resulting discussions (some of which are me going on a bit, sorry about that)to my new section – sound bits, over there, on the side bar, scroll down a bit, yep, there. i’ve purposedly kept them unedited, unpolished and a bit loose, not just because i’m lazy, but because it’s the equivalent of showing your workings in year 9 maths class, you get to see the whole picture.

i’m going to upload more of these chats with all kinds of interesting peeps in the future, so keep an eye out. and if you’re an interesting peep, i might just ask you to go on the record, if you’re not careful.. ha!

they’re in wav format, so everyone, mac and pc kids alike, should be able to hear them, but if you’re having troubles, post a comment and i’ll do my best to fix it. although i’m not a super-tech person, so it might take a bit of time.

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