It is understandable that we sometimes overlook the surge of innovation and experimentation that has taken place within live musical performance over the last decade. A culture obsessed with emerging channels of distribution and incremental software upgrades is almost predisposed to overlook the virtuosity (or lack thereof) that drives live performance. A pertinent frame of reference in considering evolving paradigms in musical performance is the MUTEK festival, a progressive electronic music summit that takes place in Montreal each spring. Launched in 2000, and having just celebrated their tenth anniversary this past week, MUTEK has consistently programmed dynamic lineups of luminaries representing various facets of global house, techno and experimental music communities. The festival has cultivated an idiosyncratic identity that references the pulse and dense revelry of the after hours scene while also showcasing more amorphous, adventurous multimedia and gallery-oriented projects. In addition to positioning Montreal as a key node within international electronic music networks, MUTEK has developed into a platform for showcasing integrated audio-visual performance.
The second phase of member voting, known as the Ranking Phase, for the Rhizome Commissions Program ends next week! Through this process, Rhizome members will determine two projects out of twenty-five finalists to receive awards. In the ranking phase, members are asked to list proposals in order of preference from 1-25 (with 1 being greatest). These selections are tallied by using single transferable vote, also known as instant runoff voting. You can read more about our Voting Procedures here.
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David Kraftsow is the artist and programmer behind the Featured Online Artwork for Internet Week YooouuuTuuube, which has been making a splash since it first launched just a few months ago. The site allows users to tile YouTube videos frame-by-frame, with options to resize the frames and even display them as a spiral. I recently spoke with David at greater length about his project. - Ceci Moss
How did you come up with the idea for YooouuuTuuube?
I had wanted to create a program that uses YouTube videos as source material for a long time. At first I didn't really have a very specific idea of how I wanted it to work. It wasn't until I finally sat down and started coding little experiments and prototypes--in order to see what could be done from a technical standpoint--that a final project idea started to emerge.
Have you worked on projects like this before?
Yes, a lot of small things. I wrote a lot of prototype programs that read from YouTube and displayed videos in different ways. I had a bunch of video players including one that selected random videos of tornados and one that played a looping fullscreen video of the game MYST. I also created a more complex version that played lots of assorted videos at the same time in a dynamic grid layout with cross-fading sounds.
What are some of your favorite uses of YooouuuTuuube so far?
- The video where someone figured out how to write Japanese characters is pretty rad: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=24&cols;=960&id;=GE2wQNfMcjk&startZoom;=1&showVideo;=1
- This Norman McLaren video: http://yooouuutuuube.com/v/?rows=5&cols;=2880&id;=qJwfeG3Mntk
- This "Alice" video which is by an Australian musician named Pogo has been, by far, the ...!--more-->
Can behavior in space as large and diverse as the internet be assigned an ideological marker? Kevin Kelly tries to do that in "The New Socialism," an article in the June issue of Wired. The premise is that the widespread use of technology that harnesses communal activity—whether on Wikipedia, Reddit, or Yahoo! Groups—heralds a major shift in the way people think. To define what he sees as a new phenomenon, Kelly repurposes an old word, “socialism,” a choice that deliberately spites both twentieth-century U.S. propaganda and Marxist philosophy.
The resulting essay brims with missteps, fallacies, and self-contradictions. Kelly lists Google among his examples of a place where “digital socialism” flourishes, but “The Secrets of Googlenomics," an article that shares tease space with Kelly’s piece on the cover, gives a detailed description of how the company operates as a fast-paced auction house. Another example of communal activity is that “tagged snapshots of the same scene from different angles can be assembled into a stunning 3-D rendering of the location”—which, interestingly, echoes Russian critic Ekaterina Degot’s theory that Soviet public spaces and events were constructed so as to be impossible to view in full from an individual vantage point—but Kelly gives Microsoft’s Photosynth as an example of a program that enables this, even after kicking the piece off with a quote from Bill Gates casting Microsoft’s founder as the arch-nemesis of leftist action. Open source software is another keystone of Kelly’s argument, but he neglects to mention that many companies use open source as a stage in product development, a low-cost investment in refining a good for later sale. Wikipedia, an example that crops up several times, is a non-profit, but as many critics of the site have noted, the self-appointed editors ...
We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who participated in The Rhizome 50,000 Dollar Webpage. We didn't know what to expect when we launched the project. The response--the wide range of graphics and projects posted--has been inspiring and the contributions (aka pixels purchased) have provided vital support to Rhizome. The Rhizome 50,000 Webpage will now be archived and viewable on our website in perpetuity. To everyone who left their mark on the page - thank you.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator