Rumblr is a new web application that allows users to pit Tumblr blogs against one another by placing randomly selected images from two or more blogs in juxtaposition with one another. Users then select the preferred image and after a certain number have been judged a winner is declared. The site launched in alpha about a month ago alongside TUMBLR_WRS, a party held at Home Sweet Home in New York City.
[via Feminine Itch]
The site capitalizes on the decontextualization and random juxtaposition of images that Tumblr is known for and attempts to objectively judge the taste of users and the quality of sites through a competition or brawl. This random selection often produces unexpected, odd, and beautiful combinations which are frequently screencapped and placed back on Tumblr. These same screencapped images might then appear as standalone images in yet another Rumblr battle, producing a kind of Russian Doll effect.
Rumblr in still in beta and the site's producer, Benjamin Lotan is hoping to add additional features that quantify and visualize user's decisions in new ways, such as producing average color gradients based on the images selected. Check out the site to pit your favorite Tumblrs against each other.
Golden Shield Music is a generative composition for eight audio channels. [...] The work is inspired by the Golden Shield Project, sometimes referred to as the 'Great Firewall of China'. [...] Golden Shield Music collects the twelve website’s IP that are most screened by the Golden Shield. Therefore IP numbers are listed in a text file which feeds an automated MIDI polyphonic synthesizer. The latter translates each IP in a single note formed by 4 voices with a specific velocity. Resulting notes are ordered by the amount of pages the Golden Shield obscured for each IP address: the website’s IP obtaining the highest page result on Google.com becomes the first note of the score and the others follow in decreasing order. Data organizes the musical notation, establishing an abstract relationship between Internet information and musical algorithms which sounds harmonious and "handcrafted".
I am very concerned with problematizing the class and gender dynamics of this history in particular, especially since I am using the term "queer" here in a slippery way, applying it to a group of men who may better fit its historically pejorative definition more than its contemporary transgressive one. I'd love to chat more online and in person. I'll contact you through twitter and perhaps we can get a coffee.
Honestly I just found it more interesting to talk about what the show might mean instead of whether or not it was good. People are going to see the show regardless, and I'd rather they read a piece that puts the show in a context they hadn't thought of then go in with the idea that the show is good or bad because they read it on a website. Is it the responsibility of a site like Rhizome to publish reviews that take a clear stance on the quality or validity of shows such as this? Maybe. But honestly I find that kind of work dull, particularly when it devolves into snark and shade that does more to boost the ego of the reviewer than it does to inform its readers. In fact I would argue that it is precisely those kinds of reviews that are uncritical, or at least, critically shallow.
Part of the reason I reviewed the show as I did is that I was not particularly interested in the pieces as artworks - and how they might fit into a longer art historical tradition - but more what they might be saying about art, technology, and culture. Whether or not the pieces are good is entirely beside the point for me. And, not to contradict Brian, but what the artist's intentions were when creating that piece, or whether or not he did it for the reasons I gave in my review, is also not personally of interest. And while I said in the first paragraph of my review that even though the show was "about" failure the show itself was not a failure, that does not mean that many of the pieces were not critical or intellectual failures, particularly in their failure to provoke any consideration from the viewer beyond "I see what you did there."
But when I went to the show having to actually consider the pieces beyond their immediate punchline and forced myself away from the kind of knee-jerk eat-our-own criticism that is so easy with so much of this kind of work - and so prevalent in this community - I found something that I thought was worth writing about, and that (hopefully) wasn't the same kind of critique that everyone has given Cory for years. For me the review wasn't about if the show was good or bad, it was about what it meant both for the new media art community and within the broader context of art, technology, and culture.
So while this may be a question of defaults it doesn't seem to be reflecting on technologically specific defaults, just culturally specific defaults and readily available forms.