Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Code and Economics

(1)

"Joy To Ode" by Dominik Podsiadly

The latest in an ongoing series of themed collections of creative projects assembled by Prosthetic Knowledge. This edition takes a look at creative projects and cultural implications that emerge from the meeting of computing culture and economics.

It's interesting that the etymology of the word "economics" goes back to the Greek oikonomikos, meaning "practiced in the management of a household or family," "frugal" or "thrifty," especially considering the term's modern-day association with big capitalism. On a small or large scale, economics has always been concerned with the distribution of wealth and the management of resources, and its principles can therefore be applied in a range of other fields. For example: In the mid-70's, the subject entered into dialogue with the biology (such as Gary Becker's paper "Altruism, Egoism and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology" and "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint" by Jack Hirshleifer), where resources such as fitness, energy, disease, or environment were studied in an economic framework.

READ ON »


Digital Preservation Community, This One's for You: Donate Today

(0)

Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied, Once Upon, 2012

Rhizome is a nimble organization that is passionate about the impact we can make in the field of digital preservation—yet the work we do exists outside the funding structures of higher education or institutional research. We think organizations like ours play an important role in the ecosystem of the digital preservation community. If you believe this too, please support us.

A message from Dragan Espenschied: 

I was appointed Rhizome's new Digital Conservator in January, and though I've not even started yet, I've had a lot of encouraging feedback. People are enthusiastic about what this organization can do for the field of digital preservation.

READ ON »


A New Office for Rhizome (Means Even More Reasons to Donate)

(0)

Today, I'm pleased to share some news: this summer, Rhizome will be moving into expanded office space in the New Museum's building at 231 Bowery, also home to NEW INC, their art, design, and technology incubator—announced in detail today. Building on our 11-year affiliation with the museum and our frequent collaborations across its public programs, Rhizome will support, advise, and otherwise feed in to the incubator project and the work of its new tenants.

READ ON »


I Mean Business: the e-cigarette store and how we sell technology

(0)

E-cig store in Les Sables, France

On February 22, Rhizome held This is the ENDD, a one-day forum on the e-cigarette. A version of this article was given by the author as a PowerPoint lecture. Video of the talk can be seen here.

Last fall, I spent a month in Arles, a small town in southern France, which has a population of 50,000. This being France, a large number of the residents smoke, and the town has three cafés-tabacs, where you can buy cigarettes. It also sports two different e-cigarette stores, both on the same street, the main drag in the town. It's clear that the stores are not there to sell the cigarettes, but rather, to showcase them.

I presume both these stores will not exist in five years (that may be a generous estimate). Whether or not e-cigarettes replace real cigarettes, as many e-cig providers claim, the needs that the vape stores answer will change as our relationships with these objects shift. They are designed for a particular moment in the history of the e-cigarette, when it's still a little out of the ordinary, when we're still not totally sure what to do with it, how to normalize it, and whether or not it's actually here to stay. There is an immediacy, a consistency, to our associations with smoking and cigarettes (good and bad, the Humphrey Bogarts and the health threats); trading them in for an electronic object is a mental leap that's hard to ignore. These stores exist to help consumers make the leap.

READ ON »


Hey: Your data-driven headlines are probably just drivel after all, but that's OK

(0)

A few years back, a writer friend who worked at a prominent blog explained to me that her employer's sensationalist, runon headlines were crafted with the help of a cutting-edge A/B testing system. Each article would go live with multiple versions of the same headline; the version to draw the most clicks would become the canonical version. This, I thought, this is the future: algorithms drawing on user feedback to adjust our texts on the fly for maximum impact.

In 2012, I was among the millions of Americans who noticed that Barack Obama and his campaign staff had started writing some kinda weird messages to me. They'd arrive with subject lines like "Hey" or "Would Love to Meet You." They got talked about at dinner parties. After Election Day, explanations were offered in the press. These weren't the brainchild of a mad creative subject line marketing genius. No, they were carefully tested beforehand among multiple variations sent to smaller groups of supporters, and only the most successful versions made it to the full campaign email list. Obama's campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars through email direct marketing. 

READ ON »


Watch 'This is the ENDD' Online

(0)

This is the ENDD is streaming via New Museum's livestream. [The event is over, but the stream is still archived online].

The order of events:

READ ON »


Wavelength: The VAPECRU Mixtape

(0)

In conjunction with This is the ENDD and at the invitation of event presenter Mathew DryhurstAaron David Ross of Gatekeeper has compiled a mixtape exploring the vape aesthetic. The resulting work is available to stream and download below, along with a statement by ADR. The compilation will be given a public premier tomorrow at Beverly's (21 Essex St New York, NY 10002), following the conclusion of the conference, at 630pm. 

READ ON »


Welcome to the Internet Smoking Room

(0)

Following the conclusion of This is the ENDD and Pinar&Viola's front-page exhibition, this project can be found here permanently.

This weekend, to coincide with This is the ENDD: a Forum on the E-Cigarette, the front page of Rhizome.org will present The Smoking Room, created by Pinar&Viola and programmed by Gui Machiavelli. In this lush chatroom, you can wield strange new kinds of e-cigarettes and blow virtual smoke shapes while talking to friends and strangers.

I know. Vaping is not smoking. This is rule #1 of vaping culture, a distinction of paramount importance for vapers (who rightfully want to avoid the social stigma of the cigarette) and e-cigarette manufacturers (who want to avoid tobacco-style regulation). Therefore, in their marketing of this emerging technology, the manufacturers have trodden a fine line between reminding potential users of the good, old-fashioned "benefits" of smoking, and establishing their product as something new and hi-tech and detached from bodily consequence. In a word, as something virtual.

READ ON »