31.1.08

[andy campbell @ the ioct]

  • "Since the 1990’s Andy Campbell has experimented with the possibilities of writing fiction for the computer screen and, although most people still consider fiction something they’d read from a book, an explosion of blogs, online journals, text-based “web art” projects and the introduction of electronic portable reading devices has generated a new wave of mashed up narrative experiments and intrigued (often confused) audiences.

    Andy Campbell’s website
    Dreaming Methods combines fictional narratives with other media such as film, photography, animation and music. The results are highly challenging but compelling reading experiences that explore dream inspired states, the subconscious and the deterioration of memory. Projects are often visually haunting and atmospherically immersive where the text itself floats, mutates and gets entangled with motion graphics creating powerful ‘scenes’ throughout the ‘story’."

    (live blogged)

    Background on Andy:
    Co-director on One to One Productions with Judy Alston create films, do web design, regeneration, public space, charities etc...
    Current Project: archiving and digitising Tibetan literature
    would swap computer games with friends, on disks, "you were posh if you had a hard drive."

    interested in the possiblity of merging writing stories (on the Amiga) with game design


    Review of "Dark Portal" from CU Amiga in 1994: "The quality of the writing is very good and the stories themselves are fun to read and none too obvious in the outcome."

    "The Amiga is dead" when Doom came out...so Andy shifted to the pc but it was Photoshop that convinced him of the merits of the pc.

    The limitations of print and the creative desire to create something other, something you couldn't print out, writing designed for the screen as though it was a liquid paper with boundaries different form print, more intriguing that things could move (maybe even the writing) rather than user interaction.

    Saw the potential with Flash where text can be treated as an object, you can do anything with it...visually.


    Creating Fractured "felt like shoving everything into a food mixer." But then began to think about how someone might approach it...but did it even need to be read *properly*?

    "Inside" (2002) first collaborative project (the first to use streaming video over writing). Based on *real* dreams, it was coming from a subconscious source, a recorded reality.

    Decided that enough experimentation, to look to personal experiences (memory and dreams) the first project was "The Flat", based on a series of photos that Andy's brother took. Text wouldn't be the focus, it would be transient and not *in your face*.

    Andy believes that these kinds of stories are best experienced on a one-to-one basis rather than on a big screen.

    Stories usually start with one scene and then grow, in a prickly way, into folders ad folders of images and sounds which are then woven into a sequence, dream-like with lots of different angles. The writing itself is done in the flash actionscript window, having the object attached to the language. Andy says he finds himself stripping down language, honing it down, and thinking about how it interacts with what's around it. Qite like memories themselves, how they get honed down, how they disappear or reappear in different places and times.


    Capped (2006) the narrative logic parallels dream logic where users have to finish a *task* in order to proceed.

    Dim O'Gauble (2007) inspired by Andy's grandmother who loved colour and patterns. She would blue tack wrapping paper to the walls if she liked the colour. With Dim O'Gauble tries to capture those feelings (Andy was also reading about hynogogia).

    Most recent project is Clearance (2008) inspired by a friend who carves stone. The friend decided to *distribute* his stone heads (he left them outside people's gates and on their front steps). He go onto the local news and then the national news and then the international news: "Mystery Stone Heads Appear." Billy fled to Scotland and so couldn't be contacted by interested people and the press. Andy and One to One productions took the brunt of this publicity. The papers thought that the dispersion of stone heads was actually a publicity stunt for their latest creation.

    The creations are "between" a lot of things, between photography and film, between reading and writing...hard to categorise, maybe "web art" is the best word. Future projects will rely on the text but provide subtle electronic twists. Using e-pub to allow content to adapt to whatever device it's being viewed on...and hybrid e-books that contain flash animations rather than illustrations. E-books readers and Kindle are starting to poke away at this market but actually writing itself is largely uncharted territory.

    Though people read more online is happening but not reading a *book* yet...the phrase: "this might mean we'll see new types of authors" keeps resurfacing. But, "we also need to see new types of readers."

    Questions:

    Role of sound: spends a great deal of time on sound. Sometimes has a scene with no sound to get an idea of what the ambiance should be and then develops the sound

    Teaching: Andy is entirely self-taught.

    What Market is Andy aiming for and how do you make money: A) "I'm not aiming for a market and b) I'm not making any money." He has 1000 people on his e-mail list and there is a huge cross-section of people, government, media students etc...

    Do you write into the action script?: There's never a script. Sometimes writes notes down but usually ends up scrapping that because you have everything inspiring around you. "I find it hard to write things externally."

    The actual text, the fiction, is that mulled over in your head rather than writing down notes...": "I still edit it and revise it then throw it down and come back to it and keep going over it till it sounds right and works with everything else."

    "It's definitely not me to do something pink and fluffy."

    Do you consider how long it would take to read: "I do think about it and try to design projects as though they could be navigated through without seeing everything." There are quite a lot of links that are quite hidden...but in terms of seeing everything you get how much time you *invest* in it. "The narrative is glimpsing." "There is a lot of symbolism that repeats throughout the pieces." Childhood is "like a mine" to grab from..."there is a que of ideas..."


    "Writing is a large part of it."

"Trying to evoke something that is more than just the writing..."

How do you feel about reader's being frustrated with not finding things...?: "I have aken some notice that people have been frustrated so I offer some tool tips but you still have to search the screen intensely." Doesn't want to be constrained by readers. "I intend to make it more accessible, I think it's important from the writers point of view."






30.1.08

[literacy in transliteracy]

"maintaining heterogenous contradiction is essential"


(Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, 189).


While catching up on some reading and sifting through my google reader, my thoughts keep turning to Monday's transliteracy workshop. Again the notion of literacy appeared (initially) to cause some discomfort or at least problematisation. What *exactly* is literacy? Did we mean it in a linguistic book-sense? Should we be employing another term? Although it seemed there was general agreement that literacy points to modes of comprehension that extend beyond letters to mean *codes* in a broader sense, I frequently am asked why we don't just say visual literacy or multi-media literacy etc... For me, transliteracy is very much about a plurality - it isn't *just* visual or oral or linguistic and it isn't just about being media savvy. I think a large part of being transliterate is the ability to carry multiple literacies between media. For me, aspects of the web seem to exemplify this. I'm thinking of Twitter and sending updates via a mobile (txt literacy perhaps) to the web (web literacy) and then someone being notified of those updates on their mobiles, via rss aggregators, IM or just be following along on the web. Amidst these kinds of information exchanges there are also literacies required to navigate across literacy borders, to *read* images and sounds. I'm also thinking of web fictions (Dene Grigar's Fallow Field, Donna Leishman's Red Riding Hood, Marjorie Luesebrink's Fibonacci's Daughter etc...) which require readers to be literate in sounds, images, text and interaction and often this literacy requires readers to amalgamate these literacies into the same instant of reading/understanding/interacting/performing. Maybe using the word literacy in transliteracy might also be thought of (in my view) as a Kristevian move; (like Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray too suggest); one can challenge traditions (literary and otherwise) from within. So, using the term literacy can suggest a critique of (monomodal?) foundations. A sort of productive mimesis, repetition with a difference?

Iterability is "the logic that ties repetition to alterity"



(Derrida, "Signature, Event, Context," 180).



28.1.08

[transliteracy workshop today]

IMG01008.jpgToday is the day!

Following on from last year's transliteracy unconference we're holding a transliteracy workshop. Last year the vote was to have a day where we could put into practise our ideas of transliteracy in order to *make* transliterate objects.
IMG01006.jpg
We have piles of string, coloured papers, digital cameras, computers, scanners, robot lego, old answering machines, playstation and more.

As a reminder, the definition of transliteracy (so far) that we're using is:
"The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks."


The aim of making transliterate objects will help us understand *why* something is transliterate as right now we seem to have an innate idea of what transliteracy is but how to we begin to describe it in words, images, sounds etc...?
IMG01011.jpg




more on the PART blog.



27.1.08

[new media art and and and]

I've just been reading Oliver Grau's "Integrating Media Art into our Culture" published in the most recent issue (22) of a minima magazine. He begins his article with reference to something that seems (to me) to be a kind of new media and culture/theory/concept/history etc... tag cloud (though the information/keywords seem to be based on analyses of Ars Electronica rather than *new media* at large):


"Hundreds of names of artists, thousands of artworks, art trends, theory of media art in keywords, presented in an enormous huge circle (please visit http://www.asa.de/research/kontext). (1) Thirty-two slices are offered as a subdivision into themes, like representation, emotion and synaesthesia, the material issue in art, atmosphere, games, therapy, mission, art as spatial experience we find glimpses of a history of media art."
Gerhard Dirmoser and ASA-European are the creators behind this map and they've made accessible "ca. 32 views in context of live, social relations, society, arts of humanities, philosophical relations, personal identities, body examinations, and so on;90 definitions of performance art and performing arts, hundred of names from artists and literature, titles from exemplary books in this 32 views."
The ASA site's own poster let's users click on various parts which lead to zoomed in sections of information. A *map* like this would be interesting in terms of transliteracy; to track its contexts and relations, developments...

26.1.08

[collaborative writing]

Thanks to Gavin for updating me on his cool new project.

Last year
I blogged about Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan's "The Age of Conversation--a precedent-setting collaborative book by 103 authors hailing from every U.S. time zone, Canada, Australia, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, India and Oman."

This year Gavin and Drew are embarking on another collaborative (cooperative) writing project. The "kissing cousing" of last year's "book" has now title (yet) and not topic. We (as in readers of Drew and Gavin's blogs etc...) have been asked to vote on the topic via
surveymonkey. Choice are between three:




  • Marketing Manifesto

  • Why Don't People Get It?

  • My Marketing Tragedy (and what I learned)


If you would like to be involved you can begin by voting on the topic and then you can get your skates on and e-mail Drew about flexing your qwerty fingers.



Some basics for authoring hopefuls:


You will sign over all rights to your chapter


You understand that all proceeds of the book will be donated to Variety, the Children's Charity


You will promote the book, throughout the process, on your blog if you have one


You'll embrace the cooperative, collaborative spirit that defined Age of Conversation


You'll honor deadlines so Drew does not have to be a nag


You'll honor word counts so Gavin doesn't have to be a nag


23.1.08

[new technologies always pose a challenge]

I've just come across Julie Lindsay's slideshare presentation: "Digital Literacy: E-Learning ideals in the 21st century." She has some fantastic quotes on reactions to technologies that were *new* at one time:








*note to self*: wouldn't Julie be a great participant in the iTeach Inanimate Alice project?


22.1.08

[blog comments vs peer review]

"What if scholarly books were peer reviewed by anonymous blog comments rather than by traditional, selected peer reviewers?

That's the question being posed by an unusual experiment that begins today. It involves a scholar studying video games, a popular academic blog with the playful name Grand Text Auto, a nonprofit group designing blog tools for scholars, and MIT Press.

[...]

The blog is read by many of the same scholars he sees at academic conferences, and also attracts readers from the video-game industry and teenagers who are hard-core video-game players. At its peak, the blog has had more than 200,000 visitors per month, he says.

"This is the community whose response I want, not just the small circle of academics," Mr. Wardrip-Fruin says.

So he called up the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book, who developed CommentPress, a tool for adding digital margin notes to blogs (The Chronicle, September 28, 2007). Would they help out? He wondered if he could post sections of his book on Grand Text Auto and allow readers, using CommentPress, to add critiques right in the margins.

The idea was to tap the wisdom of his crowd. Visitors to the blog might not read the whole manuscript, as traditional reviewers do, but they might weigh in on a section in which they have some expertise.

[...]

Each day he will post a new chunk of his draft to the blog, and readers will be invited to comment. That should open the floodgates of input, possibly generating thousands of responses by the time all 300-plus pages of the book are posted. "My plan is to respond to everything that seems substantial," says the author."


From Blog Comments and Peer Review Go Head to Head to See Which Makes a Book Better
By
JEFFREY R. YOUNG in The Chronicle of Higher Education.


[feminism and copyright]

In this month's issue (I believe it is also the first ever issue) of the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics there is a fascinating article by Erin Hvizdak. Her "Creating a Web of Attribution in the Feminist Blogosphere" takes a feminist look at issues of copyright. She begins by suggesting that although legal issues (such as copyright) have been criticised, little in fact has been written about it. Why might this be so? Well, because "women are more likely to participate in collaborate activities, such as quilting, knitting, or cooking, activities that produce domestic "works" not generally protected by Title 17, section 102(a)." (Bartow qtd. in Hvizdak).

Moving from to the very interesting idea of "author" as a singular "'heroic self-presentation of Romantic poets' (Woodmansee & Jaszi, 1994, p. 3)" to collaborative efforts which mean authorship is plural and distributed. Hvizdak (using Bartow) explains that women seeking copyright protection "violate the feminine social norms of caring, sharing, and nurturing, therefore deterring women from seeking this protection" (Bartow, 2007, p. 33). However, usual instantiations of copyright, according to Hvizdak, privilege the singular author over a composite notion of authorship, highlighting binaries as evidence of a certain kind of privileging:

"Feminist theory also deconstructs the binaries present in copyright doctrine, exposing patriarchal power structures. Dan L. Burk cites dualisms such as mind/body and nature/culture, (Burk, 2006) while Craig cites laborer/free-rider, creation/reproduction, and author/user (Craig, 2006). Each of these binaries holds the characteristic of one side being privileged over another, or one side being "inferior and feminized" (Burk, 2006, p.11). For example, the most prevalent binary, author/user, is invoked to determine infringement. The author is the creator, the sole owner of the work, and that who has control; the user, in any attempt to become involved with the piece, such as changing or borrowing from it, becomes an infringer and is punished by law. The user must separate him or herself from the author and his or her work, becoming an outside spectator rather than an active participant. Not only is this binary problematized by the assertion that
culture, and therefore creation, works in a dialogic manner, but also in the fact that it is the public, the audience, or the user that makes a work economically viable or worthy of copyright protection (Zemer, 2007, p. 5-6). In other words, without the user or consumer, the author or creator would have no reason to call him or herself a unique, autonomous, author-genius under copyright protection."
Considering writing in the blogosphere, Hvizdak notes that one might *expect* women bloggers to *not* copyright their work because

"Blogs are highly collaborative efforts, relying on information from external sources (news media, other individuals) to create meaning, and encouraging readers to add to the creation by posting comments. This is in stark contrast to the concept of the autonomous author as sole creator in copyright law, so bloggers might not see their blogs as created by a single person and therefore worthy of or needing protection. Additionally, rejecting copyright protection might align itself with feminist activity, subverting hierarchical patriarchal power by emphasizing and encouraging collaborative creation."
***However, women in the blogosphere do employ copyright.***

"Of 143 blogs surveyed, 55 had some type of copyright statement or a link to it present on the homepage, while 88 did not. These data can be further broken down into women's and feminists' blogs. Women-authored blogs expressed copyright-protected status in 31 out of 72 instances, while feminist blogs expressed it in 24 of 71 instances."
Hvizdak goes on to detail her findings and ends with her conclusion:
"Attribution is a way of bringing these two sides of the copyright binary together - it allows one to retain control over his or her creation and therefore obtain social gains while at the same time emphasizing the collaborative nature of knowledge production and the forging of social relationships. While many of the authors of texts on feminist perspectives of copyright call for a change in the law to embrace traditional 'women's' collaborative works such as quilting or cooking, the feminist focus should instead work to negotiate the author/user binary so that shared knowledge production is encouraged and the rights of authorial ownership and attribution are ensured."
I highly recommend reading the full article.

21.1.08

[3d tv interaction]

Interaction with tv looks set to change. Now, instead of the usual remote, tv watchers can interact with their shows (though who will support this and how hasn't yet been explained) with a wii-like object:

The Hillcrest Labs Home Interactive Media System combines a graphical, zoomable interface for television with a patented motion control technology called Freespace which senses movement in three dimensions and translates it into on-screen interaction.



Hillcrest has developed a prototype ring-shaped Loop remote control that is held like a handle. It takes some getting used to, but allows multidimensional on screen navigation by waving it in the air, rather like a Wii game controller.

“Hillcrest Labs has created an entirely new and potentially game-changing platform for television and other forms of home entertainment,” said Jamie Kiggen of AllianceBernstein, the firm leading the funding round, in which existing investors also participated. “By combining pointing with a graphical, ‘zoomable’ interface, their technology holds the promise to alter fundamentally how consumers interact with their TV and digital media.”








For more info see the original article on informitv and Hillcrest Labs here.



20.1.08

[shmapp london]

The shmapp london guide asked to use one of my portabello road market pics that I have on flickr in their most recent (4th edition) travel guide:



About Schmap
Schmap is a leading publisher of digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The innovative technology behind Schmap Guides also lets end users publish their own ‘schmaps’ (to share trip itineraries, local reviews and more), and powers a popular range of Schmap Widgets, displaying maps with content and event schedules for travel, sports, concert tours and more on a fast-growing network of websites and blogs. Founded in 2004, Schmap is privately owned and based in Carrboro, North Carolina

Schmap Guides

Schmap’s series of digital travel guides integrates dynamic maps with useful background reading, suggested tours, photos from the traveling public and reviews by local correspondents (for sights and attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, theaters, galleries, museums and more) to profile 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Schmap Guides can be browsed online, or downloaded for offline trip planning and when traveling with a laptop.




There's even a funky and customisable widget.



18.1.08

[birthday flowers]

awww, my little brother remembered, and my favourite colour too:

16.1.08

[happy birthday to me!]

cue drumroll...

a selection of bithday cards...some even arriving via snail mail!











The inside of this card is hilarious..."with 12 years experience"! Ha! Thanks Keith!



Update - 9:50am and look what's been delivered:




Update - 10:37, look what's just arrived:



Update - 12:00, more pressies:



15.1.08

[reading links in dene grigar's fallow field]

Today's guest lecture (conducted via Skype) for the Creative Writing and New Media Master's will focus on the role of links in Dene Grigar's Fallow Field. The lecture is due to take place today at 14:00 GMT.

I'll begin with a bit of background, describing my theory of multi-mimesis and giving an idea of how I see links functioning (at least the potential for links using Fallow Field as an exemplar web fiction).


Here is an excerpt from my reading of links in Fallow Field:




NB: The first footnote in my excerpt refers to the source text, Fallow Field, and the second reference is to an e-mail I received from Dene.

14.1.08

[dirty hardware]

Beware harware that is pre-owned, returned or is a floor model. Slashdot warns of malware infected hardware:

"twitter brings us a story about the increasing number of digital devices reaching consumers with malware already installed. In this case, digital photo frames from three different Sam's Club stores were found to contain the same type of malicious code. We discussed a similar problem with iPods a while back, as well as a more recent situation with Maxtor hard drives".


From The Register:
"In the past month, at least three consumers have reported that photo frames - small flat-panel displays for displaying digital images - received over the holidays attempted to install malicious code on their computer systems, according to the Internet Storm Center, a network-threat monitoring group. Each case involved the same product and the same chain of stores, suggesting that the electronic systems were infected at the factory or somewhere during shipping, said Marcus Sachs, who volunteers as the director of the Internet Storm Center.
When (the first incident) pops up, we thought it might be someone that was infected and blamed it on the digital picture frame," Sachs said. "But this is malware - and malware that does not seem to be very well detected. You could plug in a device and infect yourself with something that you would never know you had."

The incidents underscore that the proliferation of electronic devices with onboard memory means that consumers have to increasingly be aware of the danger of unwanted code hitching a ride. While many consumers are already wary of certain devices, such as digital music players, USB memory sticks and external hard drives, that include onboard memory, other types of electronics have largely escaped scrutiny.

In the past, consumer devices infected with malicious code have generally been the result of manufacturing mishaps. In October 2007, for example, hard-disk drive maker Seagate
acknowledged that a password-stealing Trojan horse program had infected a number of its disk drives shipped from a factory in China after a computer at the manufacturing facility was infected. The Trojan horse would infect systems and attempt to steal the account credentials to Chinese online games as well as the popular World of Warcraft.

In another incident, a Windows computer virus
snuck onto the hard drives of a limited number of Apple's iPods during manufacturing in 2006.

Going forward, infections may no longer always be accidental, said Sachs, who is also the executive director of government affairs at telecommunications provider Verizon.

"I think that supply-side attacks are going to go from zero to some small percentage," he said. "It is obviously not going to be as dangerous as mass mailing email infections, but you could have some really clever targeted attacks."

13.1.08

[copyright and creativity]

The study, "Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video" by the Center for Social Media lists nine current ways of *using* information..."re-appropriation practises." It reminded me that copyright and fair use guidelines need to be taught alongside any of the digital literature, transliteracy or new media writing/reading that I expose my students to. As Danah Boyd says: "It's a really really really screwy system that pits little people against big corporations, stifling innovation and creativity. Yet, in order to change it, people have to understand what is taking place, what is at stake, and how to rethink the situation. This is the goal of this study."

TYPES OF USES OF COPYRIGHTED WORKS IN ONLINE VIDEOS
• Parody and satire
• Negative or critical commentary
• Positive commentary
• Quoting to trigger discussion
• Illustration or example
• Incidental use
• Personal reportage or diaries
• Archiving of vulnerable or revealing materials
• Pastiche or collage
(page 6)

Interestingly, this isn't about *copying* existing information, but commenting on it:

"This participatory spirit explains the transformativeness that marks so much quoted copyrighted material. Most online video makers incorporating copyrighted works (as opposed to those simply copying them) do not seek to replicate the services provided to them by mainstream media providers. They are sampling in order to comment, critique, illustrate, express. They are salvaging, rescuing, celebrating, heralding, bonding. They are expressing vital connections both to popular cultural expressions and also to others who share their passions and the meanings that they have created around those expressions."
(page 7)





10.1.08

[now...on to making something]

For my ph.d thesis I spent the whole time thinking about, interacting with, writing about, and reading web works. Now I'd like to start making something. Of course, I'm no writer and I don't consider myself creative but I have an idea...I'm going to *try* to create a hypertext version of a published essay (I won't say which yet but the author of the essay has agreed to the project)...I'd love to do something as visual as Adriene Jenik Mauve Desert: A CD-ROM Translation of Nicole Brossard's Le D├ęsert Mauve.





There is so much more to learn...about manipulating images and sounds and video. Wow. If anyone has any tips on what I should be looking at and where...do lemme know (or e-mail if you prefer). I would like to become more adept with Flash...but suggestions are welcome.

7.1.08

[still ill....]

but slightly (ever so slightly) back in the land of living and came across (i know...behind the times) this neat pedagocial vid from Jim Brown over at Blogging Pedagogy:




I can't wait to try something like this (when I'm better!) with my students.