ryan griffis
Since 2002
Works in United States of America

Ryan Griffis currently teaches new media art at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He often works under the name Temporary Travel Office and collaborates with many other writers, artists, activists and interesting people in the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor.
The Temporary Travel Office produces a variety of services relating to tourism and technology aimed at exploring the non-rational connections existing between public and private spaces. The Travel Office has operated in a variety of locations, including Missouri, Chicago, Southern California and Norway.

Is MySpace a Place?

Networked Performance pointed me toward an interview (download in PDF)with Networked Publics speaker Henry Jenkins and Networked Publics friend danah boyd about Myspace. The site, popular with teenagers, has become increasingly controversial as parents and the press raise concerns about the openness of information on the site and the vulnerability this supposedly poses to predators (Henry points out that only .1% of abductions are by strangers) and the behavior of teens towards each other (certainly nothing new, only now in persistent form). In another essay on Identity Production in Networked Culture, danah suggests that Myspace is popular not only because the technology makes new forms of interaction possible, but because older hang-outs such as the mall and the convenience store are prohibiting teens from congregating and roller rinks and burger joints are disappearing.

This begs the question, is Myspace media or is it space? Architecture theorists have long had this thorn in their side. "This will kill that," wrote Victor Hugo with respect to the book and the building. In the early 1990s, concern about a dwindling public culture and the character of late twentieth century urban space led us to investigate Jürgen Habermas's idea of the public sphere. But the public sphere, for Habermas is a forum, something that, for the most part, emerges in media and in the institutions of the state:

The bourgeois public sphere may be conceived above all as the sphere of private people come together as a public; they soon claimed the public sphere regulated from above against the public authorities themselves, to engage them in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor. The medium of this political confrontation was peculiar and without historical precedent: people's ...


SWITCH: Issue 22

Carlos Castellanos:

HI everyone. Just wanted to announce the new issue of SWITCH:

SWITCH : The online New Media Art Journal of the CADRE Laboratory for
New Media at San Jose State University

http://switch.sjsu.edu switch@cadre.sjsu.edu

SWITCH Journal is proud to announce the launch of Issue 22: A Special
Preview Edition to ISEA 2006/ ZeroOne San Jose.

As San Jose State University and the CADRE Laboratory are serving as
the academic host for the ZeroOne San Jose /ISEA 2006 Symposium,
SWITCH has dedicated itself to serving as an official media
correspondent of the Festival and Symposium. SWITCH has focused the
past three issues of publication prior to ZeroOne San Jose/ISEA2006
on publishing content reflecting on the themes of the symposium. Our
editorial staff has interviewed and reported on artists, theorists,
and practitioners interested in the intersections of Art & Technology
as related to the themes of ZeroOne San Jose/ ISEA 2006. While some
of those featured in SWITCH are part of the festival and symposium,
others provide a complimentary perspective.

Issue 22 focuses on the intersections of CADRE and ZeroOne San Jose/
ISEA 2006. Over the past year, students at the CADRE Laboratory for
New Media have been working intensely with artists on two different
residency projects for the festival – “Social Networking” with Antoni
Muntadas and the City as Interface Residency, “Karaoke Ice” with
Nancy Nowacek, Marina Zurkow & Katie Salen. Carlos Castellanos,
James Morgan, Aaron Siegel, all give us a sneak preview of their
projects which will be featured at the ISEA 2006 exhibition. Alumni
Sheila Malone introduces ex_XX:: post position, an exhibition
celebrating the 20th anniversary of the CADRE Institute that will run
as a parallel exhibition to ZeroOne San Jose/ ISEA 2006. LeE
Montgomery provides a preview of NPR (Neighborhood Public Radio)
presence at ...


Art & Mapping

The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) has released a special issue of their journal, Cartographic Perspectives:
Art and Mapping Issue 53, Winter 2006 Edited by Denis Wood and and John Krygier Price: $25
The issue includes articles by kanarinka, Denis Wood, Dalia Varanka and John Krygier, and an extensive catalogue of map artists compiled by Denis Wood.


[-empyre-] Liquid Narrative for June 2006

Christina McPhee:

hi all, I am not sure we got this message out to Rhizome!

Please join our guests this month, Dene Grigar (US), Jim Barrett
(AU/SE), Lucio Santaella (BR), and Sergio Basbaum (BR) , with
moderator Marcus Bastos (BR), for a spirited discussion of "Liquid
Narratives" ----- digital media story telling with a dash, perhaps,
of 'aura' .

Here's the intro from Marcus:

The topic of June at the - empyre - mailing list will be Liquid Narratives. The concept of 'liquid narrative' is interesting in that it allows to think about the unfoldings of contemporary languages beyond tech achievements, by relating user controlled applications with formats such as the essay (as described by Adorno in "Der Essay als Form", The essay as a form) and procedures related to the figure of the narrator (as described by Benjamin in his writings about Nikolai Leskov). Both authors are accute critics of modern culture, but a lot of his ideas can be expanded towards contemporary culture. As a matter of fact, one of the main concerns in Benjamin's essay is a description of how the rise of modernism happens on account of an increasing nprivilege of information over knowledge, which is even more intense nowadays. To understand this proposal, it is important to remember how Benjamin distinguishes between an oral oriented knowledge, that results from 'an experience that goes from person to person' and is sometimes anonymous, from the information and authoritative oriented print culture. One of the aspects of this discussion is how contemporary networked culture rescues this 'person to person' dimension, given the distributed and non-authoritative procedures that technologies such as the GPS, mobile phones and others stimulate.


state of the planet infographics

a small collection of beautiful information graphics documenting the current state of the planet.
see also gapminder & 3d data globe.


Discussions (909) Opportunities (8) Events (16) Jobs (0)

DVD copyright case

Norway Teen Cleared of Hollywood Piracy Charges

By Inger Sethov

OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian teen-ager who created a
computer program to copy Hollywood movies was cleared
of piracy charges Tuesday in a "David and Goliath"
trial pitting him against the industry's biggest

The Oslo district court said Jon Johansen, dubbed "DVD
Jon," had not broken any laws when he helped unlock a
code and distribute a program enabling unauthorized
copying of DVD movies.

"I'm happy but not surprised," a beaming Johansen told
reporters after his acquittal. "This is about
consumers' rights, and all over the world copyright
holders are trying to limit consumers' rights. We
cannot have that."

Prosecutors, who had told judges to ignore the
widespread portrayal of the trial as "a fight of David
against Goliath," had urged a 90-day suspended jail

Johansen, 19, developed the program, which was
distributed on the Internet, when he was 15.

The teen-ager has since become a symbol for hackers
worldwide who say making software such as Johansen's
-- called DeCSS (news - web sites) -- is an act of
intellectual freedom rather than theft.

"Johansen is found not guilty," judge Irene Sogn, who
reached the unanimous verdict with two technical
experts, told the court, adding that police could not
confiscate his equipment. There was no jury in the
six-day trial in December.

The prosecution was brought after a complaint by the
Motion Picture Association, or MPA, representing major
Hollywood studios such as Walt Disney Company,
Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Johansen said he had tested DeCSS on his favorite
movies "Matrix" and "The Fifth Element" -- both of
which he owns on DVD -- but only managed to transfer
bits of them to his hard drive.

DeCSS is one of many similar programs available on the

The judge said Johansen could view DVDs he had legally
bought however he wanted. Prosecutors had failed to
give evidence that Johansen's program had been used by
others to watch pirate copies, she added. The ruling
can be appealed within two weeks.

"This is a very solid ruling," Johansen's lawyer
Halvor Manshaus told Reuters. "It is saying that when
you have bought a film legally, you have access to its
content. It is irrelevant how you get that access. You
have bought the movie after all."

Hollywood studios, which encode DVD movies to prevent
people from copying them, had said unauthorized
copying was copyright theft and undermined a market
for DVDs and videos worth $20 billion a year in North
America alone.

Johansen hinted he would continue to challenge

"DVD players which skip commercials still don't
exist," said Johansen, who is making about 35,000
crowns ($5,039) a month as a computer programmer.
"This ruling means that anyone can produce equipment
which allows you to skip commercials." ($1=6.945
Norwegian Crown)

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new media job opp. @ stanford

>Media Artist
>The Department of Art and Art History intends to make
an appointment
at the
>level of Assistant Professor with the start date of
September, 2003.
>seek a media artist working in video, web, or
>Interdisciplinary artists whose theoretical and
research focus will
serve as
>a bridge between our program and other areas within
the university are
>encouraged to apply. The successful candidate must
clearly articulate
>broad knowledge of the historical and theoretical
issues of
>visual art and culture, including the issues and
problems particular
to new
>media. This faculty member will teach a core group of
>reflective of his/her expertise, act as critic and
seminar leader in
the MFA
>Program, and work with faculty colleagues in
integrating all studio
>practices. MFA plus substantial exhibition record
and proven teaching
>ability required. A/D February 1, 2003. Send letter
of application
with a
>statement on the development and direction of your
work and a
description of
>your approach to teaching, CV, portfolio with SASE
for its return, and
>names, addresses and email address of 3 referees to
support your
>to: Studio Search Committee, Department of Art and
Art History,
>University, Stanford, California 94305-2018.
Stanford is committed to
>opportunity and affirmative action employment and
encourages women and
>minorities to apply.

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Agriculture, biotech mix uncomfortably

The San Francisco Chronicle
DECEMBER 23, 2002,
BY Tom Abate
It's been a tough year for agricultural
biotechnology, as evidenced by the
pending demise of the research partnership between
UC Berkeley and the
Swiss firm Syngenta.

The five-year, $25 million deal, which began in
1998 when the sponsoring
firm was named Novartis, became the flash point in
a debate about whether
university researchers were getting hooked on
corporate cash.

Last week, Berkeley officials said the deadline for
renewal of the deal had
passed, and though it could still be extended, it
seems the controversial
arrangement is ending.

This will probably delight critics and demoralize
supporters of genetically
engineered foods, and each side will credit -- or
blame -- the small but
vocal group of opponents based in the environmental
movement. But I think
it was economics, not politics, that doomed the

Crops are commodities. They are difficult to brand.
People pay extra for
sneakers with swooshes on them. They are rarely
willing to do the same for
tomatoes, corn, cotton, soybeans and other crops.

If growers can't brand a product, they can't
command a premium price, and
if they can't demand a premium, then they're stuck
in the commodity
business, where nobody wants to be.

Because I don't see much of a business in
agricultural biotechnology -- at
least not one affecting Northern California -- I
rarely cover the issue.
Nevertheless, before the year ends I want to brief
you on one development
related to the issue of branding.

-- SEEDS OF WRATH: Percy Schmeiser may be the
world's oldest poster child.
This 71-year-old Canadian farmer has traveled the
globe telling parliaments
and protest crowds how he's been victimized by the
bugaboo of agricultural
biotechnology, Monsanto.

Schmeiser recently visited San Francisco, where he
stopped at The Chronicle
to tell me his tale of woe.

Around 1997, genetically engineered canola seeds
blew onto his fields. The
seeds were bioengineered to withstand the Roundup
herbicide, a feature that
simplified weed control because an aerial spraying
would kill everything
but the crop. Monsanto, which developed and sold
the seeds, later sued
Schmeiser for patent infringement in Canada for
growing the plants without
buying the seeds.

In 2001, a Canadian judge found that Schmeiser
either knew or should have
known that he was growing patented seeds that he
hadn't paid for and ruled
in Monsanto's favor. A Canadian appellate court
upheld the trial court
ruling. Schmeiser's attorneys recently asked the
Canadian Supreme Court to
review the case and overturn the lower court

It may be spring before the Canadian justices
decide whether to hear the
case. While we wait to learn whether Schmeiser will
get yet another day in
court, let me explain why two lower courts
supported the corporation over
the farmer.

Simply put, Percy Schmeiser is not quite the
innocent victim he makes
himself out to be. The impression he conveyed
during our lengthy meeting
was that Monsanto's seeds had drifted over from
adjoining fields like so
many snowflakes, and then sprouted on his land
unbidden. After reading the
court transcripts and speaking with Schmeiser's
lawyer, I think it's a bit
more complicated.

It seems that some Monsanto seed did drift over
from a neighboring farm
that had planted Roundup-ready canola, and the
genetically altered seeds
grew in Schmeiser's fields. Schmeiser, who saves
seed from each harvest to
plant the next crop, apparently saved some of the
Monsanto seed. He seems
to have figured that any plant that grew on his
land belonged to him, as
did its seed. There's no evidence he sprayed with
Roundup to control weeds.
So he didn't benefit from the genetically
engineered trait that Monsanto
has patented.

But he knew that some of his saved seed carried the
Monsanto brand, because
Monsanto inspectors -- who search for farmers
growing its seeds without
permission -- warned Schmeiser not to plant the
saved seeds. He planted
them anyway. Monsanto then sued him for patent

After reviewing the facts, the trial and appellate
courts in Canada found
that their countryman had wronged the U.S.
corporation, and there's a
simple reason for that.

Patents are extremely powerful. When an inventor
wins a patent, no other
person can duplicate the invention. It doesn't
matter if the copycat never
saw the invention and came up with the brainstorm
on his or her own. The
patent gives the first inventor absolute control
over the technology for 20
years. No one can produce, use, or sell it without

So the Schmeiser case was simple. Monsanto had a
patent on its canola
seeds. Some of these seeds grew into plants on
Schmeiser's land. He did not
buy them. Case closed, Schmeiser loses -- at least
in the lower courts
where judges do not make the law but simply decide
whether certain facts
run afoul of it.

But now Schmeiser's appeal is sitting before a
court empowered to go beyond
the letter of the law and dispense justice. And
despite some annoyance at
Schmeiser for what I consider to be his
less-than-truthful public relations
campaign, he stands for principles that must be
defended against the
encroaching power of the patent.

For thousands of years farmers have saved seeds for
replanting. That used
to be the only way to get the next crop. Now this
ancient practice has come
into conflict with modern seed sellers and their
patents. Schmeiser grew
patented seeds. But he did not steal them from the
seed store. Whose fault
is it that Monsanto's seeds grew on Schmeiser's

I put the question to Monsanto this way: If the
company doesn't want people
growing its patented seeds without payment, isn't
it the company's
responsibility to keep its patented seeds off their

It took Harvey Glick, Monsanto's director of global
product stewardship,
about 45 minutes not to answer the question
directly. But what I think he
told me in the four pages of notes I took is this:
If patented seeds blow
over to your land, you'd better pay for them or
else ask Monsanto to remove
them. If not, the company will sue you.

I hope the Canadian Supreme Court takes the case
and puts limits on this
patent power-grab. Monsanto should be able to
protect its patent against
rival companies who would want to steal its
technology. Simple laws protect
it from farmers who would steal its seed from

But seed that drifts through the air, grows into a
plant and produces new
seed belongs to the person who owns the harvest. We
are all familiar with
the concept of exempting a practice from a new law,
also called
grandfathering. Seed saving is so ancient that it
is Adam-and-Eved into the
fabric of civilization. Schmeiser's right should
trump Monsanto's patent.

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CLUI/Kazys Varnelis: Telco Hotel Central

Telco Hotel Central
Exhibit at CLUI Los Angeles
On the outside, One Wilshire is an ordinary-looking
30-story 1960



for more details: see the yes men

The Dow-Chemical.com story (so far)

On Dec. 3, the eighteenth anniversary of the Union Carbide (i.e. Dow) disaster at Bhopal, a press release (below) was sent out by Dow-Chemical.com, telling Dow's story more honestly than Dow ever does.

It explained why Dow (and Union Carbide) have always refused to take responsibility for the disaster, and have never seen fit to offer any more than $500 compensation per victim.

On Dec. 4, after business hours and when nobody was on hand to deal with it, Verio shut down the entire Thing.net network, which hosts innumerable activist, artist, and other websites and bulletin boards (as well as Dow-Chemical.com). Verio did this in response to the DMCA notice that they had received the day before. (This has happened before--see below.)

Then, on Dec. 6, mysteriously, it suddenly turned out that Dow-Chemical.com belonged to Dow! (See Gandi.net whois results below.) How did this happen?

Well, when we registered Dow-Chemical.com with Gandi.net about two weeks ago, we thought it would be really funny if we put down James Parker as owner of the domain. (James Parker is the son of the Dow CEO, you see.) We even put down James Parker's real home address! Very funny, right?

Yes! Funny! And on Dec. 4, James Parker himself (with the help of a team of Dow lawyers) sent a xerox of his driver's license and a letter by FedEx to Gandi.net, saying, basically, "This domain belongs to me. See, that's my home address, too. Give it to me!" According to the rules of ICANN, Parker was correct, and Gandi.net had no legal choice but to hand it over.

Very creative work there, Jimmy! (Yes, but....) And now on to the next stage....