Just as an FYI, there’s a really great festival coming up at the end of March—beginning of April called the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival or FLEFF. Coincidentally, I’m giving a talk there on Thursday the 3rd from 4-6PM on a great panel with Stephanie Rothenberg, Sharon Lin Tay, and Dale Hudson. I’ll be talking about mobile media, non-representational networks, and the Fluid Nexus project.
Julian, Pix, and the rest of the great crew at Medialab-Prado set up blogs for our projects a couple of days ago, and I’ve just made the first post to it. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to post over the next few days, but I’ll do my best to put up some info as the project comes to (some form of) completion!
I just finished and posted an instructable about simple circuit bending for a sound-making toy. This toy was used in a piece for violin and toy that I wrote for a course in electroacoustic composition. It’s part of a broader goal to create “open-source” compositions, where not only the scores but also other components of my compositions are documented and released for others to see and modify. Soon I’ll post the score and performance notes for this piece…but for now, a nap.
UPDATE The instructable was just featured on the front page of instructables.com …yay!
UPDATE The hat trick is complete! Earlier this week my instructable was made “popular” and again was featured on the home page, and just last night I saw it in the weekly “Weekend Builder” e-mail that goes out to tons of people! I’m quite stoked about this, especially since I didn’t expect it to be that popular or interesting for people. Guess I’m going to be making more instructables in the future :-)
Just this morning on NPR I heard a story about how the different factions in the recent electoral violence in Kenya were sending hate speech as text messages. Some of the content is simply horrific. This is a sobering reminder that the tools we (I) create can potentially be used for similarly horrible ends…
I’m very excited to say that I was selected to be a participant in the upcoming workshop on Digital Networks and Physical Space at Medialab-Prado in Madrid! They selected ten projects to be developed collaboratively during the two-week long workshop, and my mobile media project, now called Fluid Nexus, was chosen as one of the ten. Now there is an open call for collaborators, so if you’re interested in working on this project, or any of the other ones, definitely respond to the call!
From the “CAE Defense Fund Group” on Flickr comes the following semi-sad news. I wish Professor Ferrell were well enough to continue to court battle, but I sympathize entirely with his decision. It is sad that government and public resources have been spent for four years on this travesty of a trial, and I can only hope that Steve Kurtz will be able to prevail in the end. If I had the money I would certainly donate to support the cause. But I can only offer my solidarity.
Subject: MON FEB 11-Support Dr. Kurtz’s co-defendant, Dr. Robert Ferrell, in Federal Court
Please come out to support Dr. Kurtz’s co-defendant, Dr. Robert Ferrell, who will be sentenced in Federal Court on Monday, February 11, following his plea deal due to serious illness. (Please see the Press Release below for more information.)
As defense attorney Paul Cambria showed in court on Monday, Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell are innocent. The two defendants committed no crimes whatsoever, neither federal nor petty offenses.
The only crime in this case is the Justice Department’s four year long persecution of two esteemed professors, and the tremendous waste of resources this absurd prosecution has cost the public.
During Professor Kurtzâ€™s hearings supporters have packed the courtroom. Your continuing presence is crucial. We must show the world that outraged people in Buffalo stand at the center of an international movement to oppose this assault on our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and inquiry.
We must continue our support for Dr. Ferrell. The only fair sentence is no sentence, and a complete dismissal of any and all charges against the defendants.
MONDAY – FEB 11 – 12:30 PM**
Judge Arcara’s courtroom
68 Court Street
(adjacent Niagara Square downtown):
**IMPORTANT NOTE: There will NOT be a demonstration outside the courthouse at this hearing. If we fill the seats to capacity inside, the proceedings are audible via a speaker system in the hallway, where there is limited seating.
For details of Dr. Ferrell’s plea deal with statements by his wife and daughter, see below.
For WBFO’s Joyce Kryzak interview with his wife, Dr. Dianne Raeke Ferrell:
Many people have had an account on tumblr for a while now. But I’m getting to it late. Basically tumblr is a service that is designed to let people post short snippets—of text, links, photos, audio, etc.—on a special site, leaving their blog for longer posts. For me, it’s great, as there are a ton of things that I look at during the day, that I’d like to write about, but aren’t worth an entire blog post. Plus, it’s a good way for me to keep track of the myriad things I look at during the day for research and stuff. The ephemera that are too ethereal even to be posted on this blog.
Here it is: zeitkunst.tumblr.com.
I just came across, by accident, an amazing group from the UK called Tunng. People call what they do “folktronica”…I don’t care what the name is, I just love it. They remind me mostly of Efterklang, The Books, and aspects of the new múm.
There’s a pretty cool performance of their’s at Amoeba Music that’s worth your time to watch:
I’m incredibly happy to write that my paper was accepted for ISEA 2008! ISEA stands for the International Symposium on Electronic Art and is one of the premier new media/digital art/emerging technologies conferences out there. I was bummed that I wasn’t able to go the conference that happened in 2006 in San Jose, but am really excited to be going to the conference this year in Singapore!
My paper is about the fluid networking project I blogged about earlier. The title, as it is right now, is somewhat unwieldy: “Reinterpreting networks of people as fluid for political purposes”. The full abstract is below. I’ll certainly be writing more about this in the coming months, and will hopefully be blogging parts of the conference when I’m there!
Abstract: Social networks have become not only an online artifact used by millions, but also a means of describing real-life interactions between people. Humans as nodes, and social connections between people as edges; the metaphor is the graph or network, inheriting all of the abstracting nature of this mathematical formalism. Even within science and technology studies, and specifically actor-network theory, is there use of the network metaphor to describe complicated assemblages of human and non-human actors. Yet this reappropriation of a computer science term is not without its problems, specifically the way in difference is erased when a human is transformed into a node that is simply like all the others. The network itself is political, as the choice of who is represented is vitally important and too-often ignored.
This paper begins as a critique of network views of reality, starting with the view that to completely represent the world through a graph is an impossible task. I then move into a consideration of actor-network theory, and the ways in which this expansion of the network to include non-human actors is still problematic as a result of the need to make choices of who or what to represent. These joint critiques enable me to see human and non-human assemblages as fluid and ever-forming and breaking. I end with a description of a present project of mine that uses mobile phones as participants in these ad-hoc associations as carriers of data. The mobile phone, via temporary Bluetooth connections, acts to pass messages from one person to another, without a top-down topology, bypassing centralized networks and enabling activists to continue communications surreptitiously, even when access to other technologies, such as the Internet or phone network, are disabled or destroyed. Fluidity becomes an asset with the software designed to take advantage of the movement of people for political purposes.
… you begin to wonder what power any individual has over the process anymore.
Kucinich was barred from the NBC debate tonight, as, according to the network, “there are only three viable candidates”. Of course, when you are judge and jury you can decide what number of candidates there are, independent of reality. As many in the NY Times thread rightly point out, it is within NBCs right to decide who to invite or not. But when the networks take on a quasi-governmental role in presenting the debates, and when the candidate has been deemed worthy enough to receive federal election funds, you can’t see this action as anything but undemocratic.
But there’s not much one can do, as there’s no way I have the ability to mount a legal challenge to this on my own. All I can do is complain on my blog, vote for Kucinich if I can (if I get my registration changed in NY soon enough, that is), and bemoan direct attacks on our democratic process. And maybe give people some alternative outlets while I’m at it.