Reading in the traditional open-ended sense is not what most of us, whatever our age and level of computer literacy, do on the Internet. Books cease to be individual works but are scanned and digitized into one great, big continuous text. The dynamics of the digital are encouraging authors, journalists, musicians and artists to treat the fruits of intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. But what becomes of originality and imagination in a world that prizes metaness and regards the mash-up as more important than the sources who were mashed? The very value of artistic imagination and originality, along with the primacy of the individual, is increasingly being questioned in our copy-mad, postmodern digital world. Remix is the very nature of the digital. But do we now face a situation in which culture is effectively eating its own seed stock?
Digital: A Love Story a mystery/romance downloadable game for windows/mac/linux by Christine Sarah Love set in the days of BBSes. Features a glorious retro-OS style interface. Mini review by indie dev Auntie Pixelante/Anna Anthropy (recently). Writeup at and via TIGSource.
Botanical Drawings for the Digital Age "Macoto Murayama can spend months on one of his botanical illustrations, and when he’s done, the plant looks like something that blossomed in outer space."
In Publishing: The Revolutionary Future, Jason Epstein posits "The resistance today by publishers to the onrushing digital future does not arise from fear of disruptive literacy, but from the understandable fear of their own obsolescence and the complexity of the digital transformation that awaits them... The unprecedented ability of this technology to offer a vast new multilingual marketplace a practically limitless choice of titles will displace the Gutenberg system with or without the cooperation of its current executives." [more inside]
Dreaming Methods — Atmospheric digital fiction projects designed to be experienced on a computer with the lights down and your sound turned up. Use the mouse to pan around and interact. [more inside]
New York Public Library is crowdsourcing the rectification of maps in their digital gallery. Help match rare maps of NYC to more precise current maps, browse rectified maps, or lend a hand rectifying maps of Haiti to help relief efforts.
Clavilux 2000 - Interactive instrument for generative music visualization. The music visualization consists of a digital piano with 88 keys and midi output, a computer running a vvvv patch and a vertical projection above the keyboard. How it works. [more inside]
See the world in a whole new light: 100 Years of Infrared Photography (BBC blogger, Phil Coomes). You too can take digital infrared photos (in a nutshell) by using an infrared filter that screws on the front of the lens (or make your own), OR you can convert your camera to take IR photos. 26 Incredible Examples of Infrared Photography with Descriptions. The Complete Color Infrared (IR) Tutorial Guide Walkthrough (although I prefer them converted to Black & White (NSFW fine art nudes included). Beginning Infrared Photography with Digital Cameras. An easy way to test to see how sensitive your camera is to infrared (using a remote control) and (a similar page). How about a massive (on-going since May, 2007 - 51 page) forum thread on Infrared Photography Methodology and Post-processing Workflows? More links at Infrared Photography Resources and see the Flickr groups devoted specially to IR: IR World and Digital Infrared.
This is the introduction to The Virtual Revolution, an open source documentary, due for transmission on BBC Two next week, that will take stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web. Only about 25% of the world population uses the Web today, however more than 70% of people have access to mobile or fixed communication devices capable of displaying Web content. The World Wide Web Foundation [prev] exists to bridge the 'digital divide' in Internet usage.
A decade of digital music Vaguely styled as a timeline, this end-of-the-decade blog post (from UK digital music news source Music Ally) could prove valuable to anyone studying the music business or the intersection between entertainment and technology. The piece links to ten years of stories on digital music - from Napster through to Spotify - allowing us to look back on the issues without the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Gems include the Bluematter scheme from Universal Records in 2000, which comprised 60 non-transferrable, non-burnable tracks for $1.99 each.
A digital clock made of wood and operated by 70 workers for one continuous 24-hour period. "Even though the workers are trying hard to construct every single minute, they are constantly on the verge of failing."
Corey Arcangel is perhaps the internet's most infamous hack, masher-upper, digi/net artist. His work stands for a growing culture of artists who run wildly through animated GIF landscapes populated with corrupted data-compressed bunny rabbits and tinny, MIDI renditions of Savage Garden ballads. As the Lisson Gallery, London, opens its archives to Arcangel's curatorial eye, could digi/net art be set to infect the real, fleshy world, like a rampant Conficker Worm? Has YouTube become the truest reflection of our anthropological selves? Are we destined to roam the int3erw£bs like the mythic beasts of yore, hoping, in time, that digi art can free us from the confines of this fleshy void? [...previously]
Doug Rushkoff throws down the gauntlet in his “Radical Abundance” speech at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 conference. Some highlights of the speech: “The only real possible competition to Google and their economy of faux openness would be peer-to-peer exchange.” “As a result of all this freedom the abundance of genuine creative output is declining. We are actually getting the scarce market place demanded by our currency legacy system. The same way the early Renaissance got a scarcity by killing off half the people with the plague.” Some Alternatives: 1: The development of a digital culture that actually respects the labor of individuals. 2: The creation of new modes of currency based in abundance rather than scarcity.
Will the future of cinema be live or remixed? "There is a level of panic in Hollywood I haven’t seen for a while." So begins USC Professor Jon Taplin, also a producer of films by Martin Scorsese. Taplin speaks about Francis Ford Coppola's recent interview where the director states that "I think the cinema is going to live off into something more related to a live performance in which the filmmaker is there, like the conductor of an opera used to be." Taplin bemoans "the dearth of imagination in Hollywood", while the comments section lights up with various prognostications.
An excellent resource on every aspect of digital photography, from sensor technology to general techniques to Photoshop tweaking. Previously mentioned here, but the site has expanded a lot since 2005.
FRONTLINE: Ghana - Digital Dumping Ground On the outskirts of Ghana's biggest city sits a smoldering wasteland, a slum carved into the banks of the Korle Lagoon, one of the most polluted bodies of water on earth. The locals call it Sodom and Gomorrah. One of the biggest fallouts? Identity Theft.
It doesn't seem as if the digital transition has been the resounding success we were told it would be. The FCC has admitted that they're confounded by some of the problems that have arisen across the country. With frustrated tv viewers mobbing the FCC hotlines (and major metropolises like Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore amongst the largest numbers reporting ongoing problems), some have yet to experience the mind-blowing crystal clear pictures and sound promised in those ubiquitous DTV commercials. [more inside]
"This Friday, June 12, TV stations nationwide will cease broadcasting analog signals and switch to digital-only broadcasts. That’s fine with me. I have a digital television, and I have cable anyway, so it won’t affect me. At least that’s what I thought. Only recently did I realize that one of my favorite ways to enjoy television will go away. Starting Friday, I can no longer get TV on the radio."
At the mostly abandoned Moffett Field in an abandoned McDonald's, digital archeologists attempt to restore, recover and archive abandoned high resolution imagery and data from previous manned Moon missions, using an abandoned Ampex 2" tape drive found in a chicken coop - the last working machine in the world, restored by the last man alive capable of rebuilding the heads. This is likely only part of their weird story.
Elphenden — elphen things from Sergei Tretiakov, 1967-2003. In between there were big cities, isolated islands, cannabis, oceans, pain and love...
The World Digital Library is set to open on the 21st of April, but appears to be operating as of now. Coral Cache
Vague Terrain is a web based digital arts publication that showcases the creative practice of a variety of artists, musicians and scholars. Vague Terrain 13: citySCENE is their freshly launched project on urban representation that catalogs how cartography, infrastructure and locative media shape perception in the contemporary city. An example is Joyce Walks, a Google maps mashup which remaps routes from James Joyce's Ulysses to any city in the world, generating walking maps. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Vitaly S Alexius, a Siberian born artist living in Canada, creates some gorgeous digital and traditional art, mostly with a sci-fi or fantasy, vaguely post-apocalyptic theme. He is also a remarkable photographer.
Circuits are flipping on in the nation's attic. A couple of weeks ago, 31 "digerati" -- like Clay Shirky, Chris Anderson, and George Oates -- dropped in to the Smithsonian Institution for the invitation-only conference "Smithsonian 2.0: A Gathering to Re-imagine the Smithsonian in the Digital Age". Dan Cohen of the Center for History and New Media provides a great summary (and continues to pose provocative questions) on his own blog. Those whose invitations were somehow lost in the mail can play fly-on-the-wall by watching the keynotes, paging through the Flickr pool of envymaking glimpses of their behind-the-scenes lab and collections tours, reading the blog (where Bruce Wyman of the Denver Art Museum lays out a succinct road map for museums using social media), and poking around in the SI's website gallery. Want to cheer on the USA's favorite 163-year-old "Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge" without taking the trip to DC? Thanks to their recent efforts, you can now follow the SI on Twitter, listen to its podcasts, watch its YouTube channel, visit the Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life, or use the FaceBook gifts page to send your best friends their very own pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers, Hope diamond, Negro Leagues baseball, or coelocanth.
Objective measurements of RAW images are an essential basis for any analysis of digital cameras, but such measurements were neither possible nor available until now. DxO Labs has developed a new scale for digital camera image quality performance, called DxOMark Sensor, to serve as an additional tool to help photographers rank and compare digital cameras. This scale is based on three underlying metrics, Color Depth, Dynamic Range and Low-Light ISO, each one tied to a real-life photographic scenario: landscape, studio & portrait, and photojournalism & sport. (This application requires Flash™ as it uses FusionCharts.) Hours of fun sorting the data by the various metrics, including $$$. [more inside]
People of the Screen : "Digital literacy’s advocates increasingly speak of replacing, rather than supplementing, print literacy. What is “reading” anyway, they ask, in a multimedia world like ours? We are increasingly distractible, impatient, and convenience-obsessed—and the paper book just can’t keep up. Shouldn’t we simply acknowledge that we are becoming people of the screen, not people of the book?"
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May? [more inside]
Moving Image Source is devoted to the history of film, television, and digital media. It features original articles by leading critics, authors, and scholars; a calendar that highlights major retrospectives, festivals, and gallery exhibitions at venues around the world; and a regularly updated guide to online research resources. [more inside]
Jizz in my Pants is the newest (nsfpants) SNL Digital Short from The Lonely Island, featuring Justin Timberlake (ads, sorry) and Jamie Lynn Sigler. The Lonely Island first earned attention for things like Nintendo Cartoon Hour and Bing Bong Brothers, and have gained notoriety for things like Lazy Sunday and Dick in a Box. [more inside]
RjDj "is a music application for the iPhone. It uses sensory input to generate and control the music you are listening to. RjDj is mainly listened to with headphones. Think of it as the next generation of walkman or mp3 player." l Michael Breidenbruecker initiated the project, now joined by a team of musical and technological thinkers and coders l "What it’s really about is a new approach to how to listen to music, how to develop musical tools, and how communities own and share that work." [more inside]
FCC paves way for free use of vacant airwaves -- white space -- available in February as TV spectrum is cleared up by digital conversion. Apparently another vote for change will take place November 4. The FCC btw also recently backed a free (ad-supported) nationwide wireless broadband plan in another hunk of spectrum to be auctioned off in 2009.
Prepping for the Digital Conversion is Harder When You're a 99-Year-Old Grandmother. (SLYT)
Something to make the inner geek that is inside your inner geek do the boogie-woogie: "Weird Al" Yankovic announces that thanks to digital distribution, he will begin releasing songs as he records them, while the parodied song is still fresh in the public's mind, instead of waiting for an album release every three to four years. The first one will come out on October 7. iTunes will have first dibs on the new singles for the first 14 days, after which they'll go to other online music retailers. (via /.)
The Futility of Flogging Music "I was pondering the other day whether I actually have a field of expertise. I thought for ages, and couldn't come up with anything, and then in a blinding flash I realised, with a slight sense of despondency, what it might be: being in bands that people have never heard of." Actually you may have heard of Rhodri Marsden if you're caught the current Scritti Politti line-up in action, if you've ever followed the broadcasts of the late DJ John Peel, or if you've read Rhodri's technology column in UK newspaper the Independent. This week, in a speech to the Oxford Geek Night, Marsden shared his caustic yet heartfelt observations on DIY music from the early 90s through to the digital age, sighing "I can think of nothing more soul destroying" than social networking and quoting post-punk icon of Pere Ubu as saying musicians should "screw the audience".
This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own poster or movie from your collection.
Our wonderful nature is a hilarious 5-minute animation about the mating rituals of the water shrew. The action starts at around 1:30. Other gems found at the bitfilm 08 Digital Film Festival include "The post-it note prison".
ReBoot's back! A new online comic book is now available*, and three feature-length films are in development. Remarkably, the comic was developed as a combined effort between producers and fans; fans voted on five different stories and even contributed art. ReBoot was one of the first TV shows to feature 100% digital animation and has a warm place in the hearts of many children of the 90s.
* sign-up required and their web-viewer is a pain, be warned.
* sign-up required and their web-viewer is a pain, be warned.
If you are reading this post on a computer attached to the Internet, you can thank Claude Shannon (1916-2001). It was his work, starting with A Mathematical Theory of Communication, that first enabled humans to extract digital perfection from the analog world by creating the field of Information Theory. Like most computer nerds of his day, who often had to program their computers by moving wires around or even mechanical linkages, he was also an electronics and mechanical whiz who could create a juggling robot and The Ultimate Machine.
More accurate than any piece of film has ever been in all of recorded history. (Youtube) [more inside]
Three columns on technology and eduction by Robert Cringely: the clash between those who grew up with computers and those who didn't in War of the Worlds, Amish Paradise looks for learning models in unexpected places and Ozzy knows best talks about how important digital games, not video games, could be to education. [more inside]
Nerve-tapping neckband used in 'telepathic' chat A neckband that translates thought into speech by picking up nerve signals has been used to demonstrate a "voiceless" phone call for the first time. Video. The technology has previously been demonstrated for guiding a wheelchair with thoughts. Company website.
The ultimate in nerdy tattoos? "Jim Mielke's wireless blood-fueled display is a true merging of technology and body art. At the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition, the engineer demonstrated a subcutaneously implanted touch-screen that operates as a cell phone display, with the potential for 3G video calls that are visible just underneath the skin."
Lyfrau o'r Gorffennol or Books from the Past is a growing online collection of books of Welsh cultural interest which have long been out of print. Some are in Welsh, some in English, all are available to download in a variety of formats or to read online. Found as the collection includes a book on the Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Siôn Cati, the famed bard, genealogist and bandit trickster supreme from Tregaron. It's one of a host of well-presented digital archives built using the multilingual open source Greenstone software suite.
Virtual Morphologies - the dark surreal stylings of J. Karl Bogartte. "In 1973 I accidentally discovered that by moving things around on the ordinary copy machine (and in effect, subverting its intended purpose…), strange conjunctions revealed themselves. At the beginning of 2000, I just as suddenly abandoned this process and leaped into the 21st century, exploring the computer and the realms of digital surrealité."