. blog —

Introducing: dump.fm

By Ryder Ripps

dumprhizomeinvite.png

Editor's Note: Ryder Ripps, of Internet Archaeology, along with Tim Baker (Delicious) and Scott Ostler (MIT Exhibit), recently launched a beta version of dump.fm, a chat room where participants communicate solely through images. The site combines the creative back and forth of surf clubs, tumblr’s loose and rapid-fire network of image transmission, and the real time spontaneity of an old school chat room. Right now dump.fm is strictly invite-only, but Ryder was generous enough to offer a special invite code to Rhizome readers - “RHIZOME” - so they can play around with the site. Ryder drafted a statement about his concept and aspirations for dump.fm, below.

I remember going into AOL chat rooms, and experiencing instantaneous glee. The hyper-everything world; where experiences come and go at the pace of your typing. Instantaneous collaboration and connection. These are the feelings I wanted to recreate in conceptualizing dump.fm. Dump.fm is a place where you can share images from anywhere on the web, your hard drive or right from your webcam, in real time with other people. Today content moves so fast, making a blog post from a week ago irrelevant. Dump.fm is a place where content is hyper-transient and used to facilitate connections and induce creativity. I think in the future people will produce and consume content much faster and because of this we must reconsider the value of content. For the surf club Spirit Surfers, content is a way to document and make public the most powerful content in the hypnotic surf, “Most of the really enlightening surfs I've had did not end with a post to a surf club -- surfing is so private, it rarely ends in a public act.”, as club creator Kevin Bewersdorf states. Where surfing was a private act from computer to computer, friend to friend, and node to node; dump.fm makes it a public, real time and collaborative act. The surf becomes discovery and the discovery becomes collective.

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Comments

Daniel Leyva 5 years, 11 months agoReply

(@@?(?@@(@@FUTURE IN DUMP.FM@@)@@?)(@@;)

night-falls.net 5 years, 11 months agoReply

yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh das my boiiiiiiiiiii

caitlin denny 5 years, 11 months agoReply

the most interesting bit about dump.fm, however, is the seamless transfer between public performance, private surfing and re-embodiment through digitalization. when i login i understand the site as a stage with an operation to be executed. when i begin my image surfing through the dump.fm site, the chat log becomes a ghost that appears and vanishes within seconds as i desperately seek images of dancing hot dogs and rave .gifs - my goal is still performative, but my aspirations become quite self centered as i lose myself in the surf. this happens all while 'dumping' my images - is anyone else looking at my dumps? i miss many of the ghosted images that appear during my search and don't care too much to catch up on the log status. it's at this moment of realization, like when you finally see the image in the 'magic eye' and can't get rid of it, that i become hyper aware of my digital performance and my presence in the log. that's when the webcam dumping tool serves it's most fulfilling role!

curt cloninger 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hi Ryder (and all),

On the whole, I have enjoyed my time at dump.fm. Here are some theoretical and personal thoughts:

+++++++++++++++++++++++

1.
I would love a javascript dump widget (a la tumblr) for my browser bookmarks bar which allows me to post directly from the URL of the image I am viewing without having to cut and paste that URL into the chat form. The google search widget is very cool for speed dumps.

2.
I think the ability to post text inline with the flow of the images makes the whole experience less cool. Participants have a tendency to fall back on using familiar/safe Times New Roman English to communicate. It would be more uncanny if the main forum were just images. Text conversation could happen off-site via other channels.

3.
The revenge of animated gifs! Animated gifs prevail online where Flash and Quicktime fail precisely because they are so RSS-able. The animated gif does not take the monadic form of the complete book, the complete sentence, or even the complete phrase. It is a grammatical molecule, a syntactical hieroglyph, a jpg on wheels. It is ideal for this form of visual chat.

4.
Following Virillio and McLuhan: Real-time speed of exchange fundamentally alters the nature of communication (which is why the Rhizome discussion forum was dead in the water the moment it became moderated and time-lagged). In a real-time chat environment, images begin to head toward an actual form of "discourse" (Heidegger) and "utterance" (Bakhtin). When these visual exchanges are handled with a modicum of care, this kind of "language" moves toward event performance and away from mere semiotic representation. It's a good thing.

5.
The dump.fm environment (potentially) changes the way I curate images and create images online.
a. My tumblr site ( http://lab404.tumblr.com ) now becomes a repository for future dialogues, a kind of personal lexicon / visual dictionary / expressive arsenal. I stockpile images not for what "they say" in and of themselves individually, or even what they say next to other images in the context of my tumblr site; but I stockpile them for what they may allow me to say at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.
b. I am tempted to begin creating animated gifs not so much for their novelty, beauty, or integration into larger, self-determined, holistic online contexts (like http://playdamage.org ); but for their versatile use as visual "terms" at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.

6.
The "visual chat" medium alone is not enough to ward off mind-numbingly banal visual language. Pornography, gore, scatology, racism, rehashed 4chan memes, blingee-modified nuptial-script typography – it's like giving a bunch of six-year-olds access to a home recording studio and watching them spend all their time whispering "poo poo" into the microphone and giggling about it. I get it; I just don't have a fetishistic craving for it.

McLuhan says the content of any new medium is always the previous medium. We're given film technology, and all we can think to do is film theater dramas. We get the chance to construct our own visual language and do some actual net.REsearch, and all we can do is regurgitate the de facto net.surface languages we have inherited from corporations, people transfixed by the spectacle of corporations, people impotently and "ironically" giggling at corporations and their transfixed audiences, Lord of the Rings fans, and mySpace users.

de Certeau says we can't necessarily control the content we are fed, but we can control what we make of it, how we "make do" with it. Posting a litany of blingee pink unicorns acquired by doing a google search for "blingee pink unicorns" is not really "making do" with much.

7.
The problem (when chats get boring) is not even the banal content, but the lack of innovative visual syntax, alternate search strategies, and ingenious recontextualizations.
a. tiresome: http://www.profilebrand.com/imgs/layouts/21gangster/282/282_L-gangsta-gun.jpg
b. un-tiresome: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_kyx3k7HhWE1qb58eqo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0RYTHV9YYQ4W5Q3HQMG2&Expires=1268073834&Signature=CHXoN8yOw4BVdzjwLHsZTWxp%2BFs%3D

A lack of digital craft skills means a lack of modulation agency: you can find, tile, and title, but you can't get under the hood and tweak. A lack of historical knowledge means rehashing the same old bottom-of-the-barrel net.swill ad infinitum: you can't Google "Antonin Artaud drawings" if you don't know who he is. What results is a hermetically sealed Baudrillardian hyper-reality left to fester in the flat/uniform light of a perpetual present. "Maybe go out, maybe stay home, maybe call mom on the telephone" [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4svG-6vHDfk ].

8.
This banality is partially excused by 2 factors:
a. chatting is more banal that writing, so visual chatting is going to be more banal that visual blogging (aka "surf clubbin'").
b. some chatters are more banal than others.

9.
Having said all that, it still seems worth the risk to keep things fast and open. The fast pace forces a performative aspect and a curious type of improvisational thinking (a thinking which synthesizes research, memory, gestalt recognition of forms, semiotic cultural memory, wordplay). This kind of performativity and improvisational thinking does not occur at the slower pace of bulletin board or newslist communication.

10.
It's fun. It would be fun to recruit a posse of old school freaks and hijack it for an evening.

for great justice,
Curt

Travis Hallenbeck 5 years, 11 months agoReply

5. !!

Jeanette Hayes 5 years, 11 months agoReply

As a daily user of dump.fm for months now, I see it as "revolutionary internetz". Surfing the internet, no longer a solitary act, with other avid dumpers has grown to be a bit of an addiction for many of us.

In the past few weeks dump has substantially grown in users and content. The users now play games, for example racing to modify and create memes, most often by making .gifs, using anything from cs4 to blingee to tesxtspace. There are also surfing contests where everyones true surfer self is put to the test- use the search engines that no one else is, find the photo that no one has seen.


Where I believe dump.fm really soars is when everyone works together, stacking images, creating and surfing together. Unintentional collages are documented with screen grabs, like this:

http://dump.fm/images/1268023133465-Picture-283.png

http://dump.fm/images/1268016381464-Picture-1705.png

http://dump.fm/images/1267763835526-Picture-22.png

Dump moves quickly, your finds are on the monitor and the star of the show for only a few seconds, but for the most part, that is just as long as i'd like to look at most things. True, there are "tiresome" and "un-tiresome" (as curt Curt Clonginger puts it) images that come through dump.fm, but so goes the story of the world wide web. With thousands of images a day streaming through, there will be a few subpar lolcats, but in the end, who are we kidding, we all love that too. Dump is an exciting and fun new medium that is still growing and I believe, has phenomenal potential.


For me, it's more fun to go through my google reader with dump everyday- share images that I enjoy. See what other people are looking at. Explore and expand without the seriousness and significance of blogging about it — but still giving a moments recognition. But if all of your posts in dump are as ballin' as your blog would be, your log can work as your blog:

http://dump.fm/u/jeanette

;)

Ryder 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hey Curt,

Thanks for taking the time to check out the site and offer your opinion.

dump.fm is still very much in *beta*, and is operating as an experiment to see how people use it and want to use it; so we can modify and enhance its functionality.

That being said, I'd like to respond to your critique.

1.
I would love a javascript dump widget (a la tumblr) for my browser bookmarks bar which allows me to post directly from the URL of the image I am viewing without having to cut and paste that URL into the chat form. The google search widget is very cool for speed dumps.

-Yes! That would indeed be awesome and something on our to-do list. Another thingy in the works would be a right click Firefox plug in so you could simply "send to dump.fm"

2.
I think the ability to post text inline with the flow of the images makes the whole experience less cool. Participants have a tendency to fall back on using familiar/safe Times New Roman English to communicate. It would be more uncanny if the main forum were just images. Text conversation could happen off-site via other channels.

-This was initially considered but dismissed because we thought it may be too incapacitating for building community. A button would be nice though to turn text on or off.

3.
The revenge of animated gifs! Animated gifs prevail online where Flash and Quicktime fail precisely because they are so RSS-able. The animated gif does not take the monadic form of the complete book, the complete sentence, or even the complete phrase. It is a grammatical molecule, a syntactical hieroglyph, a jpg on wheels. It is ideal for this form of visual chat.

-I would agree, but would add that if one GIF can be a "grammatical molecule", than 100 can be a "complete sentience" and 10,000 can be a "book"…
For me the value of creativity's product is completely experiential, and difficult to quantify in the frame rate or file extension of a medium.


4.
Following Virillio and McLuhan: Real-time speed of exchange fundamentally alters the nature of communication (which is why the Rhizome discussion forum was dead in the water the moment it became moderated and time-lagged). In a real-time chat environment, images begin to head toward an actual form of "discourse" (Heidegger) and "utterance" (Bakhtin). When these visual exchanges are handled with a modicum of care, this kind of "language" moves toward event performance and away from mere semiotic representation. It's a good thing.

-Yeah, I think I agree. I also think that in most social settings our self consciousness and ego makes discourse an act of performance.


5.
The dump.fm environment (potentially) changes the way I curate images and create images online.
a. My tumblr site ( http://lab404.tumblr.com ) now becomes a repository for future dialogues, a kind of personal lexicon / visual dictionary / expressive arsenal. I stockpile images not for what "they say" in and of themselves individually, or even what they say next to other images in the context of my tumblr site; but I stockpile them for what they may allow me to say at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.
b. I am tempted to begin creating animated gifs not so much for their novelty, beauty, or integration into larger, self-determined, holistic online contexts (like http://playdamage.org ); but for their versatile use as visual "terms" at some future time in some heretofore unknown visual chat context.

-I can dig it. Thanks for the articulated observation!

6.
The "visual chat" medium alone is not enough to ward off mind-numbingly banal visual language. Pornography, gore, scatology, racism, rehashed 4chan memes, blingee-modified nuptial-script typography – it's like giving a bunch of six-year-olds access to a home recording studio and watching them spend all their time whispering "poo poo" into the microphone and giggling about it. I get it; I just don't have a fetishistic craving for it.

McLuhan says the content of any new medium is always the previous medium. We're given film technology, and all we can think to do is film theater dramas. We get the chance to construct our own visual language and do some actual net.REsearch, and all we can do is regurgitate the de facto net.surface languages we have inherited from corporations, people transfixed by the spectacle of corporations, people impotently and "ironically" giggling at corporations and their transfixed audiences, Lord of the Rings fans, and mySpace users.

de Certeau says we can't necessarily control the content we are fed, but we can control what we make of it, how we "make do" with it. Posting a litany of blingee pink unicorns acquired by doing a google search for "blingee pink unicorns" is not really "making do" with much.


-For me, the goal of dump.fm was never to "ward off banal visual language". As a theorist (and one who sites McLuhan at that) I am surprised that you can't look past a qualitative judgment of content in favor for a more objective judgment of medium. Possibly a better use of a de Certaeu reference would be in trying to understand why people are drawn to such "mind-numbingly banal visual language".. for it was his philosophies which attempted to uncover the quibbles of the common man. dump.fm is a medium, a tool for communication, what is posted on it is not dump.fm… it is always in motion and influx.



7.
The problem (when chats get boring) is not even the banal content, but the lack of innovative visual syntax, alternate search strategies, and ingenious recontextualizations.
a. tiresome: http://www.profilebrand.com/imgs/layouts/21gangster/282/282_L-gangsta-gun.jpg
b. un-tiresome: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_kyx3k7HhWE1qb58eqo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0RYTHV9YYQ4W5Q3HQMG2&Expires=1268073834&Signature=CHXoN8yOw4BVdzjwLHsZTWxp%2BFs%3D

A lack of digital craft skills means a lack of modulation agency: you can find, tile, and title, but you can't get under the hood and tweak. A lack of historical knowledge means rehashing the same old bottom-of-the-barrel net.swill ad infinitum: you can't Google "Antonin Artaud drawings" if you don't know who he is. What results is a hermetically sealed Baudrillardian hyper-reality left to fester in the flat/uniform light of a perpetual present. "Maybe go out, maybe stay home, maybe call mom on the telephone" [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4svG-6vHDfk ].

-Seems like an awfully pretentious argument. Images don't get tired, people do. While you may be tired of image "A" it doesn't mean the image is tired. Didn't the Dadaists prove that its all about context anyways? You linking to these images on Rhizome is much different than linking to them on MySpace. Dump.fm is a modular, "mash-up" environment; where the context of an image can change if you want it to. Also why can't you google "Antonin Artaud drawings" without ever having heard of him? Isn't that how you learn things? By discovery?



8.
This banality is partially excused by 2 factors:
a. chatting is more banal that writing, so visual chatting is going to be more banal that visual blogging (aka "surf clubbin'").
b. some chatters are more banal than others.

-Most people find theory extremely banal. I bet there are more chatters than theorists in the world.


9.
Having said all that, it still seems worth the risk to keep things fast and open. The fast pace forces a performative aspect and a curious type of improvisational thinking (a thinking which synthesizes research, memory, gestalt recognition of forms, semiotic cultural memory, wordplay). This kind of performativity and improvisational thinking does not occur at the slower pace of bulletin board or newslist communication.


-I really do appreciate your comments, in the future we will have separate rooms and users will be able to create their own rooms. There will also be some new exciting ways of pulling content that will be introduced. We want to make dump a real time spectacle of the internet, and something more useful than just glittery banter…… even though personally I enjoy it :)

10.
It's fun. It would be fun to recruit a posse of old school freaks and hijack it for an evening.

-That would be awesome :)

Best,

Ryder

curt cloninger 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hi Ryder,

>> in most social settings our self consciousness and ego makes discourse an act of performance.
[img]http://dump.fm/images/1268020007317-textspace_1268019940_21e50b58.gif[/img]


>>Possibly a better use of a de Certaeu reference would be in trying to understand why people are drawn to such "mind-numbingly banal visual language"..
[img]http://dump.fm/images/1268019993804-textspace_1268019878_b7bd017b.gif[/img]

>> dump.fm is a medium, a tool for communication, what is posted on it is not dump.fm… it is always in motion and influx.
[img]http://dump.fm/images/1268020007317-textspace_1268019940_21e50b58.gif[/img]


>>Also why can't you google "Antonin Artaud drawings" without ever having heard of him?
[img]http://lab404.com/misc/antonin.gif[/img]
[img]http://lab404.com/misc/artaud.gif[/img]
[img]http://lab404.com/misc/hasa.gif[/img]
[img]http://lab404.com/misc/posse.gif[/img]

-Most people find theory extremely banal. I bet there are more chatters than theorists in the world.
[img]http://dump.fm/images/1268019993804-textspace_1268019878_b7bd017b.gif[/img]

I realize dump.fm isn't a community with an ethical agenda, a political agenda, or even an "artistic" agenda. That's fine and probably preferable. My (admittedly personal) concern is simply this (following Deleuze and Guattari) – some lines of deterritorialization (potentially new ways of being in the world) are dead-ends. They lead to reterritorialization (established ways of being in the world), or to whirlpools of capture (dead-ends, infections, deaths). Sometimes these new lines break free and lead to altogether new/emergent places (monstrous places, thrilling places, gorgeously useless places). You can't know where these lines will lead until you put them into play. Once in play, theory can sometimes be useful in stewarding lines of potential deterritorialization so that they don't wind up in the same old closed-circuits. It's not so much a qualitative judgement of whether something is "good/bad," "high culture/low culture," "pretty/ugly," "hip/stale," or even "boring/fun" (although "boring/fun" is usually a pretty good test). The question is more along the lines of "is this vector/trajectory still eluding recapture?"

I don't mean to police, freeze, isolate, or kill anything. As you rightly point out, dump.fm is in motion; it is what it does. To set something new in motion at all is a commendable thing. I wouldn't be writing about it if I didn't think it might matter. Take what you can use of my feedback and leave the rest.

Respect,
Curt

Agnideb Mishra 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Curt, I love those flashy images, LOL.

Agnideb Mishra

Mary Hull Webster 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hi Ryder and Curt,

The brush up between theory and immediacy, stasis and speed, a place in the mainstream and mining the periphery is interesting in terms of this historical moment. Every theory is proving inadequate to the political/social/aesthetic moment–most clearly seen in world politics NOW.

Theory is always interesting to me because it makes very conscious statements about what WAS going on; but like a museum, theory is reified, elbowing out the "also rans" in its bid to be part of the elite ridgeline that makes history. Theorists used to hope to influence artists, and they may still in a peripheral way, but Postmodernism has, I think, dissolved into a new time of looking for something else. Attempts by theorists of every stripe are met by refusal from potential backers.

The theorist wants to be king, artists of interest are closer to the fool, who will never be subsumed into any template. ArtistFools know that time (not things) is the master; spontaneity, ephemerality, giving up control to see what might arise regardless of "an artist's place in history," seems to be the only fertile ground. All the theories about art, including its economic structures, feel like history. Instead of history, we want ?

Some friends of mine say that everything now is about climate change, the feeling verges on desperate, action is what counts, no more theorizing. Add to that an entirely broken world economy, that has eluded all theoretical fixes. What is "art"?

Mary

curt cloninger 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hi Mary,

That's a nice theory.

Curt

Travis Hallenbeck 5 years, 11 months agoReply

who are some artists of interest?

Mary Hull Webster 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Yes, Curt, I thought so too. But the art is so much more interesting….and the state it's in now quite eludes any theory that I can come up with….M

curt cloninger 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Hi Mary,

Here's some more theory:

"The death of x" is dead. We can now return to x.
We have never been modern.
Theory & art are frosted mini-wheats – whole wheat goodness on one side, light frosting on the other.
Some of my favorite contemporary theory is art.
Some of my favorite contemporary art is theory.

Best,
Curt

Peter Baldes 5 years, 11 months agoReply

Mark Napier's digital landfill….and netflag…..
post web 2.0

http://www.potatoland.org/
for Mark's projects…

Peer Dassow 5 years, 11 months agoReply

NOT THE SAME THING AMIGO

Corey Pierce 5 years, 9 months agoReply

so it's an imageboard?

John McArdle BABYLONjohn 5 years, 1 month agoReply

What I really like is when people use or find obscure lengthy vocabulary words to define or describe things. I mean if they out-do you on vocabulary it's like one up-manship intellectually.You have to stop and go, "hey? "there is a word or term even I do not use or understand? Hmmm? Wow!" Then I have to whip out my dictionary and find the word,"Oh! Look! It's so obscure it's not even in my dictionary.Wow!this person must be very intelligent and way way smarter than me. (RIGHT?) Wrong! Guess how many people have P.h.d.s from cornell university I've met who are unemployed and can barely do some simpler things we all take for granted? Give them a difficult math equation or some reference to history or something they will suprise you by knowing the answer. Other than that they can be very useless, literally and figuratively.(emphasis on the Dough RAY mee $$$$$$$) That being said I will move on to my REAL comment. Wasting your time talent resources and life persuing your passion. Is it worth it? Does any of this really matter? I'll let you answer that 5000 years from now ok? The oldest known superstitous supernatural belief. Do you know what it is? Again I will answer you maybe? 5000 years from now.OK?(laughing) did you read this? Well read it again……!( laughing. )The POPE, The queen,the king, the prince, the princess, the Devil, GOD, Jesus ……..Having fun yet? ART? MUSIC? Technology based art which only the haves can persue. The haves and have not? rich/poor? Oh wait art is for the wealthy, Oh NOW I get it? again laughing! You don,t have a clue do you?

Varun Reddy 5 years, 1 month agoReply

wow dump.fm is a nice place where i found lots of nice photo's and pics. images about many subjects available there and can be useful for all of us.