Last week, Douglas Rushkoff hosted ContactCon at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side. This unconference model symposium, co-organized by Vanessa Miemis, aimed to put into action ideas that challenge censorship, corporate ownership, and other unfree aspects of internet technology. As Rushkoff explained to Alternet's Sarah Jaffe, the event hoped to "reify the 'net values of 1992 back up to 2012."
Douglas Rushkoff's Keynote at SXSW 2010
The event started with "provocations" from participants representing progressiving technology organizations like FreedomBox and Telecomix (videos), in addition to well known speakers like Eli Pariser and Laura Flanders. Afterward, participants organized into small groups discussing issues ranging from the highly technical — mesh networks and coownership of the physical layer — to a proposal to organize hacker spaces in libraries (which was well received by the audience, for, as Rushkoff pointed out, the idea is clear and actionable...
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz via The Atlantic In Focus
On a quiet night, Zuccotti Park feels more like a LARP than a demonstration. Everyone deep in character with a specific task. Extemporized librarians, scanning books. The media team inside a cat’s cradle of crisscrossing wires, barricade by the discarded boxes of donated devices. The scent of detergent from a block away as the sanitation unit mops the pavement.
What should we be? "Tactical beekeepers!" my friend Melissa suggested; a joke on the state ban on face covering that police were enforcing, accounting for the absence of Guy Fawkes masks and bandanas. But actually my role there was as tourist, which anyone could tell whenever I checked my phone for text messages or turned the device horizontally for snapshots of witty posters.
In what would be the shadow of the World Trade Center, and at the heart of both a neighborhood traumatized and city district that represents financial power the world over; the psychogeography of Zuccotti Park will inspire theoretic naval gazing for years to come. But every Occupy Wall Street march in New York seems to poetically incorporate the history and semiotics of the city. Times Square marchers in Milton Glasner's "I (Heart) NY" t-shirts, waving sparklers in the air, singing show tunes along with a brass band behind the TKTS booth while tourists feverishly snapped photos, as they would any other urban spectacle. Another photo op: the wall of riot cops beneath the Washington Square arch, the Empire State Building gleaming directly north, lights piercing the night sky. After the General Assembly meeting disassembled for the midnight curfew, it seemed like anyone out on Bleecker Street that Saturday night could have been part of it.
This movement was built on unforgettable images.
- Watch a stuffed Wile E Coyote take a ride on a drone to the sounds of smooth jazz. Like the Grand Challenge for driverless vehicles, DARPA's UAVForge is crowdsourcing ideas for drone development. Many great concepts entered already to watch and comment on.
- 6 Wild Ideas from DARPA's Starship Conference (Popular Mechanics)
- JG Ballard Geocoded.
- "I'm Getting Arrested," an Android app for activists. Panic button for SMS-ing friends, family, and legal support.
- Directions to Last Visitor gives you directions to the last visitor
- Fatima Al Qadiri, “Vatican Vibes” directed by Tabor Robak.
- Adam Curtis writes about TV hugging.
- Nicola Twilley at Gel 2011 discussing sense of smell and scratch-and-sniff maps she made cataloguing preferences
- My son is on the autism spectrum and has a severe receptive and expressive language delay. He’s four years old, and can read and spell words, and sing entire songs, but is more like an 18-month or two-year-old in normal conversation. He cannot use a telephone and has a hard time sitting still for video telephony. He has a thoroughly well-loved iPod Touch, filled with videos and apps that have helped him learn to speak and augment his ability to communicate... I bought my first iPhone when I broke my arm, because it let me use a computer with one hand. [When] I saw Apple’s demo video for Siri, its new voice-command AI assistant — which ends with a blind woman using Siri to send and receive text messages — knowing that blindness has been the disability least well-served by the touchscreen revolution — I wept. - Tim Carmody
- The things they don't teach you in art school (Frieze)
- Astra Taylor reviews Christian Parenti's Tropic ...
Still from Power Slave (1995) via FM Towns Marty
- [What] I find jarring about this formulation is the same thing that bothers me about the alarming trend of weddings in which the photographers and videographers have free reign, even during the ceremony, in order to get the best, most cinematic record of the event, at the expense of the event itself and everyone participating. It’s a conflation of the record of the event with the event itself, or even a privileging of the record over what gives the record its meaning and power - Joe Moon on Facebook Timeline and Google's Dear Sophie video.
- "All of life has been utterly, profoundly changed thanks to Facebook’s new features, and nothing will ever be the same, and all I can do is sit here and weep at the beauty and magic that Mark Zuckerberg has brought to this world"
- "The frontier is always the border of something, virgin territory where we can build new worlds, remake ourselves; always there’s this obsession with remaking ourselves. So to dream of the frontier is also to desire immortality. But there is no such thing as new territory. There are always previous civilizations, societies, families, and cultures. So when we build new worlds, there will be violence." - Cathy Park Hong in the Paris Review
- olduse.net, a site updated in real time as it was thirty years ago.
- "Out-dazzled" by the launch of Kindle Fire, Amazon quietly kills a skeumorph. The tab dividers for navigation are no longer on the site.
- Ron Hanson (editor of White Fungus) interviews Taiwan artist Yao Jui-chung for Afterall. In 2010 Yao sparked a national debate with The Mosquito Project, a series of photographs and book documenting a multitude of idle public facilities scattered across Taiwan. Built purely ...
The most recent episode of WFMU's Too Much Information is on the topic of pseudonyms with guests like EFF's Jillian York, Carmela Ciuraru author of Nom de Plume, and Chris Collins, who talks about his epic post for The State, unraveling the mystery of several visually striking work-at-home images found on Craigslist attributed to "Luzy":
Each image I found was more thrilling than the previous one, and I was struck by their breadth and intensity as a body of work. Each one used stock imagery typical to this type of industry: images of sandy beaches, exotic locations, piles of money, and “cyber” looking backdrops. Yet each was constructed in a way that seemed alien to all traditional conventions of design. Imagery was stretched, enlarged and compressed in odd ways, and the text on the images made it clear that English was not the first language of the images’ creator. They exploded with strange color choices. The compositions were unlike anything I’d ever seen. A graphic designer would look at them and call them horrendous. I found them bizarre, perplexing, and beautiful.