New Course on Social Software

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newcourse.jpgThe Grammar of Technologies for Cooperation
New Course by Trebor Scholz
Department of Media Study
The State University of New York at Buffalo
Spring 2006

Syllabus Online

Course Description

This course introduces the history, realities and potentials of collaborative technologies. The particular focus is on the field of culture. Debates about online collaboration and social networking often do not go beyond the management rhetoric of business. Effectiveness and group dynamics are they key issues in streamlining corporate group work. The Grammar of Technologies for Collaboration investigates historical perspectives on tools for collaboration and traces their influence on communication.

A recent study of The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that 51 million Americans of all ages (and 57% of all US teenagers) have contributed content online. They wrote blog entries, book reviews, uploaded mp3s and video, or podcasts. The average European Internet user spends 10 hours 15 minutes a week online. Artists use this huge participatory potential to create input-driven projects. But often web-based rooms are opened and nobody comes to party. What are the needed incentives for people to participate? Video makers use video blogs to create an offline audience for their tapes. Artists use blogs as portfolios, for day-to-day reflection, and as platforms for their work as public intellectuals. Art activist groups further their political agendas. Artists form social networks to create sustaining venues for their work and contexts for their ideas. Inexpensive social networking tools create new publics for cultural producers. A culture of widespread free sharing emerges along with the development of social software tools. Media theorists argue that a creative cooperative proficiency is the key skill for the next decade. After successful completion of this course you will have a deeper practical, historical, theoretical, and political understanding of contemporary media spheres.

We will read, discuss ...

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Originally posted on 'journalisms' by Rhizome


Antitainment Gaming

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MolleindustriaMolleindustria [English] [Italian] offers brilliant “political videogames against the dictatorship of entertainment.

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Originally posted on Grand Text Auto by nick


Helping Hands

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Artists Burnish RFID's Image

In Artists Burnish RFID's Image, Mark Baard conjures RFID as rather complex social and cultural assemblages:

"[A]rtists in the United States and Europe are adding RFID to their palettes as well. They're drawing hip crowds as well as the attention of the RFID industry, which hopes to gain some good publicity for its controversial tracking technology. 'There is a lot of public aversion to RFID because of privacy issues,' said Paul Stam de Jonge, global RFID solutions director at LogicaCMG, a large European technology services company. 'And anything that will bring to it a more positive attitude will be beneficial.' [...]

The RFID industry seems to be cautiously reaching out to artists. The trade publication RFID Journal recently invited artists from the RFID-Lab in The Hague to its European industry conference last fall...'It was quite remarkable to have been invited to this rather closed and expensive conference for executives,' said RFID-Lab organizer Pawel Pokutycki.

Accenture Technology Labs senior manager Dadong Wan said he's pleased the artists are drawing positive attention to RFID. 'Artists definitely have a role in facilitating and accelerating the technology by raising (the public's) awareness,' Wong said."

The inter-dependence of artists and technology industries is clear, but the politics and ethics perhaps less so. While not wanting to ignore the history of net-art and critical internet culture, it seems to me that wireless art is offering a special challenge to traditional leftist critique-at-a-distance.

By actively and explicitly embracing their inevitable interconnectedness, both artists and corporations are able to achieve things that are not possible if either resists or retreats from the other. This sense of communal exchange need not imply collusion or assimilation - although both are, of course, possible - and it need not imply consensus either. Convergence ...

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Originally posted on networked_performance by jo


The Museum at the End of Cyberspace

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Since 2002, the Museum of the Essential and Beyond That has amassed an enormous collection of online artworks. Housed in a labyrinthine virtual building, it's tended to with great devotion by the museum's creator, Regina Célia Pinto. As it's easy to get lost in this wondrous playground, Pinto has created a visual map of the museum: visitors can take a lift from the basement to the attic and browse the works on offer at each level. More than a hundred artists are represented, including Anna Maria Uribe, Stelarc, Jimpunk, Jess Loseby, Nicolas Clauss, Maya Kalogera, Millie Niss, Geert Deekers, and Annie Abrahams--to name but a few. The home page offers a number of ways into the collection besides the map. Once inside, visitors will be seduced by beautiful dances, sidetracked by interactive games, and mesmerised by virtual train trips. Thoughtfully, the museum has a restaurant and bathrooms, so all your needs can be met while you forget your deadlines and appointments and abandon yourself in the museum with no admission lines. - Helen Varley Jamieson.

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Nam June Paik Dead at 74

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Nam June Paik, dead at 74

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11098552/
http://www.mediaartnet.org

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Originally posted on post.thing.net - A lean, mean, media machine. by Rhizome


Tactical Sound Garden

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The Tactical Sound Garden rewrites the idea of locative media. This project intrigues me since it adds an aural, not visual, layer to the city. Most projects that propose a geospatial web or other virtual superimposition over an urban condition run aground due to the problem of attention. As Walter Benjamin points out, we apprehend architecture—and cities—through a state of distraction. Adding some kind of PDA-style visual interface to the city is a fruitful strategy, but fails to engage with this dominant, distracted way by which we experience cities. On the other hand, thanks to the Walkman and the iPod, millions of individuals are thoroughly accustomed to détourning their urban environment with sound on a daily basis. Mark Shepard's proposal for the Tactical Sound Garden suggests that this is something that urbanists will be able to directly engage.

read more

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Originally posted on varnelis.net - network culture by kazys


Eavesdropping 101: How NSA snoops

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The ACLU has provided a primer on how NSA probably eavesdrops on electronic communications:

The NSA is not only the world's largest spy agency (far larger than the CIA, for example), but it possesses the most advanced technology for intercepting communications. We know it has long had the ability to focus powerful surveillance capabilities on particular individuals or communications. But the current scandal has indicated two new and significant elements of the agency's eavesdropping:

1. The NSA has gained direct access to the telecommunications infrastructure through some of America's largest companies
2. The agency appears to be not only targeting individuals, but also using broad "data mining" systems that allow them to intercept and evaluate the communications of millions of people within the United States.

The ACLU has prepared a map illustrating how all this is believed to work. It shows how the military spying agency has extended its tentacles into much of the U.S. civilian communications infrastructure, including, it appears, the "switches" through which international and some domestic communications are routed, Internet exchange points, individual telephone company central facilities, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While we cannot be certain about these secretive links, this chart shows a representation of what is, according to recent reports, the most likely picture of what is going on.


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Originally posted on Smart Mobs by Howard


The Social Event Machine

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Event organizing. Over the past year many experiments with conferencing formats took place. They were aimed at escaping the same old predicaments. People are fed up with the orthodoxy of traditional, hierarchical proceedings of keynote speakers, panels, and unconcentrated topical orientation! There is the soporific style of delivering a 30-page paper to an audience that could have read this text online beforehand. Paperism! There is the work-shy re-inscription of yet the same players of the virtual intelligentsia over and over again! Peeps and masters! Why look at proposals of the “young nothings

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This is just the first paragraph of a longer post on the formal organization of conferences, especially new media conferences.

Originally posted on 'journalisms' by Rhizome