Mixing Realities

Today my RSS feed list provided me with an interesting link that directed me to the coverage of the latest Diesel fasion show. It is not that I am particularly interested in Diesel clothing, on the contrary, but I am interested in the new holographic techniques they have used during their fashion show in combination with displaying the new collection.

The technical part of the stunning 3D show was made by Clas Dyrholm and Peter Simonsen from Vizoo, a Danish company that develops and produces new media with “edge”. At the Vizoo website a lot of other project are mentioned and described. They call the free-floating holograms ‘advanced video design’ and several movies are available to show the truly stunning effects the technology can achieve.

After browsing the Vizoo website for a while I could not help myself to start thinking that what Lev Manovich had once called the ‘Augmented Reality’ suddenly seems an outdated theory and statement. A short presentation on Manovich his article on augmented space on the Masterofmedia blog by Anne Helmond can be found here.

In The Poetics of Augmented Space: Learning from Prada (2002), Manovich states that the computer era of Virtual Reality and traveling through virtual space is in practise, in 2002, replaced by a new image: it has been replaced by ‘the technologies which deliver data to, or extract data from, physical space.’ Manovich calls this image Augmented Reality (AR). In his article AR is described in the following way: ‘AR system helps the user to do the work in a physical space by augmenting this space with additional information. This is achieved by overlaying information over the user’s visual field.’

Floating 3D images @ Diesel fashion show

When you think about the possibilities of free-floating hologram techniques, when they become more cheap/accesible for companies and all of us, what will happen to the current ‘AR world’? I think the definition of the AR paradigm that Lev came up with will become either too narrow because free-floating holograms are doing more than just overlay reality or AR is not the right term for a society in which free-floating 3D holograms are a normality.

Therefore I will come up with a better term for an image in which 3D free-floating holographic images are integrated in normal life: Mixed Reality (MR). Mixed in the way that it combines the two paradigms of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. The term MR is basically refering to the fact that Virtual Reality is not just an image of people in the early 90-ies that did not come true as Manovich stated it; it will become partly reality. I say partly because the definition of Virtual Reality as we know it, is not completely applicable in this case. Since VR rules out the use of physical space; ‘it becomes unnecessary’, VR is also not the right term for a world in which 3D hologram techniques are integrated in everybodies life.

The whole process of analysing and ‘branding’ or naming new techniques or phenomomoms after they are invented is worth doing research on by itself. I will leave this to others and just hope people will pick up the Mixed Reality terminology. Since I am not particularly interested in this type of research I will start by editing the existing Wiki entry on this subject in the following week and hope Wiki volunteers will do the rest. Maybe Manovich will be kind enough to share his point of view? This does not necessarily mean that I think this is an uninteresting discussion, on the contrary. As a New Media MA student I simply do not have enough time for this!

I would like to end this post by stressing to the people that have only watched the Diesel fashion show movie briefly, to watch the end of the movie in which a clever execution of the blending-in of the Virtual Reality in the Real Reality is shown!

In a series of events organized around the theme information aesthetics, a collaborative effort between Mediamatic and TAG produced a Salon on Processing.
For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon: Processing is an open-source software platform created by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. What it basically comes down to is a platform for visual designers and artists that allows these users to easily access the (often) hazardous and complex world of programming. (because, and I quote Casey; ‘programming is not for geeks, engineers and guys only’). (more…)

Erkki Huhtamo’s recent work deals with media archeology, an emerging approach he, according to his website, ‘has pioneered (together with others, like Siegfried Zielinski) since the early 1990’s’. At this edition of Sonic Acts, Huhtamo, together with the audience, revisited the concept of the Diorama. The keynote proved to be a valuable trip down memory lane with Huhtamo showing many examples and elaborating on their cultural context.

The Diorama was invented by Jacques Louis Mande Daguerre and Charles Marie Bouton and consisted of fast paintings, which were ‘slightly larger than an iMac screen’. Moreover, paintings were made in such a way that parts were translucent. In the early days, these diorama’s had to be visited and therefore it became a new element of urban landscape. Huhtamo mentions the Paris Diorama in this regard.


But why would the diorama be interesting for us, now, Huhtamo asks himself. Bruce Sterling mentioned the concept of “dead media”, Huhtamo however does not believe media is capable of dying: ‘I believe that it is more a transformation and adaptation. My research deals with understanding the materiality, discursive manifestations and how these layers coexist in culture, as the culture changes and evolves’. One of Huhtamo’s big inspirations to venture into the realm of media archeology, is the fact that artists sometimes seem to be aware of the traditions, go back to these ideas and draw inspiration from them.

In its purely mechanical form, The Diorama is a large viewing machine, an actorless optical illusion theatre, comprised of two main features, being firstly giant translucent and transforming paintings and secondly a mechnically rotating auditorium. Culturally the Diorama provided the world with a new word, a neologism, that many of these new spectacles had. The Diorama is no different, combining “dio” (transparent/through) and “rama” (view). Because it is actorless, Huhtamo sees a valuable connection between the rise of CGI possibilities and the Diorama: ‘Actors are more in the scenery’.

Continuing on the linguistics of the Diorama, Huhtamo mentions Balzac, who picked up a linguistic pattern from the hair salons and the cafes of Paris. Balzac provided his own list of “ramas”, including health-o-rama, frozenrama, soupe-au-rama and the goriorama. Images shown by Huhtamo of various Diorama’s and Daguerre’s paintings are available at R. D. Wood’s MIDLEY essays on the History of early Photography. An interesting development is the portable diorama, like the “desktop” version of the computer, the ‘huge and gigantic’ is eventually brought to the desktop.


Now, Huhtamo continues, ‘we are in the beginning of this dioramic transformation I’m trying to sketch’. Most important for this transformation is that ‘reality is not conceived as given, but as a construct. Reality as a product of new spectacles such as the diorama, panorama, wax museums, paris morgue, etc. This is the culture from which the diorama appears. In turn, Diorama’s themselves start to appear in painting’.

New Spaces and Urban Mobility
The Diorama in an urban context is ‘not like a home, but also not like the city screen outside. It is a place for the flaneur and movement in new spectacles’. Huhtamo mentions various examples of these flaneur-like places, such as the cosmorama. All share that they are about a mobile mode of spectatorship. Huhtamo: ‘The only way of viewing the panorama is to keep on walking / moving. Being physically in motion was taken over by cinema, however, the motion becomes virtual.

The audience is virtually moving with the scenes seen in the cinema’. Huhtamo sees a return to physical movement in the advent of portable devices. Interesting in the mixture of Diorama and movement is also the the idea of the “trottoir roulant”, the moving walkway, which was presented as a novelty in that time at the Paris world fair.It turned Paris into panoramic scene, the platform is enough to define the surroundings and change the identity of the surroundings

The Diorama even shaped its own popstar. Albert Smith travelled around with the moving diorama. His “hit” was ‘The Ascent of Mont Blanc’ which was shown an astonishing 2000 times. Objects used to create a reality effect include dogs and a Swiss chalet. In later years, various people played with the idea of the diorama. Examples of these include the 1939 Futurama by General Motors, which exhibited GM’s utopian vision of the world with streamlined buildings and, of course, as Huhtamo mentions, GM cars. In the futurama, the audience is traveling through the show. It is not static, like the diorama by Daguerre. The Diorama has been revisited.

Report by Twan Eikelenboom – newmw.wordpress.com
Photography by – flickr.com/photos/shutenochdown

stumble upon toolbar
This tool makes a selection based on the categories you have selected. First, you have to register and install the toolbar, then you will be able to ‘stumble upon’ a collection of new inspirational sites.

Stumble upon is similar to Google’s ‘I feel lucky’ search, but it searches randomly in a pool of selected themes. This pool is replenished by the users of Stumbleupon, who have rated (like / dislike) websites they came across. It’s like zapping through the internet…

For now, I stumbled upon the following sites, which are now part of my pool of favourite websites.


(cross posted on whateverbutton.com/blog)

Over the summer I wrote an essay called ‘Interactivity is Affectivity’ for the tutorial ‘Current themes in new media’. You may like to read the following teaser, or even click pdf for the pdf.


This link
and here is another one, on the dutch Wikipedia

is part of a larger research assignment for the masters of media course in amsterdam, where new (and old) media are critically researched, viewed and responded on. Besides a theoretical approach, a very important part of this course is to also to ‘field research’; active generation and involvement in the new media landscape.

Currently, the ‘truth-value’ of wikipedia is researched. Where does knowlegde here come from, and who writes it? is it really the emergent ‘wisdom of the crowd’ or is it just a few nerds editing on everything? By creating semi-false, but true-linked wikipedia entries, one can find out how and how fast articles are checked, re-edited or discarded and, moreover, on what grounds and authority?

Joe Trippi – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Trippi was the campaign manager of Howard Dean, a Democratic candidate for the American presidency from the beginning of 2003 untill january 2004. In his book he writes about the campaign and the use of the internet, according to him the best instrument to make politics more democratic.

Trippi’s text is truly American. Now you may say that such a thing is logical because it is a truly American subject and I agree, however, what I am getting at is the emotional and patriotic way Trippi talks to his fellow Americans.

The Dean campaign was meant for all Americans but the way he talks about the Republicans can be called everything but tactful and objective. They are Trippi’s scapecoat about which he sometimes talks in negative one-liners.

In my opinion the political part of this book has been written by three different personalities of Trippi. The first wants to give an objective story about the campaign he was running. His second personality wants the Democrats to win the race of the presidential elections* and besides that to gain at least a moderatly positive view of the Democratic Party. the third person of Trippi, and least ‘in control’ of them all, I encountered while reading this book, was the one who tried to burn down all Republican thoughts. At times I detected a manner of political banter to match that of Micheal Moore in the way he tries to bring down the opposite party.


On October 1st Geert Lovink posted a previous blogpost about the spinplant on the Nettime mailinglist. This was the beginning of what turned out to become a sprawling discussion. This is a summary of the original post, the discussion and the remaining questions.

Wikipedia’s ‘alertness’ was tested by posting an article about a fantasy-plant, the spinplant. The article was removed in less than two hours, which means that the system is working pretty well when it comes to removing fake articles. But the article was removed because the Wikipedia editor in question couldn’t find anything about the spinplant using Google. The question posed was whether Google was being given too much authority. Jos Horikx corrected the question: it should be whether a research of hits via Google is enough to judge the truth of an article on Wikipedia. He argued that an article on Wikipedia should, as a rule, be supported by its own resources in the first place. Patrice Riemens agreed with him, encouraging the use of Wikipedia and Google as useful instruments, but not to see them as solid fundaments for knowledge.

More reactions inspired Hendrik-Jan Grievink to write down his take on knowledge and its increasing fragmentation through the use of Wikipedia and Google. He also mentions the distinction between a literary culture and a culture of images. Grievink says that in a culture shaped by images, we have to search for knowledge whereas in a culture dominated by the written word one must ask for knowledge. Andreas Jabobs reacted to this statement, saying that knowledge and images are not comparable. He argued that knowledge no longer gets ‘stored’ in human memory. Active knowledge is lost due to the increased use of images as a collection of knowledge. But Grievink responds that he does not equate knowledge and image, he only points at the fact that images are taken more and more as bearers of knowledge.

Theo Ploeg wonders whether Jacobs sees a difference between contact with reality via language on the one hand and image on the other. After this he continues with the connection between the existence of things and persons and their presence on the www.

As a reaction to this whole discussion the first real spinplant is born on the web. Elout made a spinplant in Sculptypaint, an opensource 3Dmodel creation tool. These models can be imported to for example Secondlife.

And Grievink reacts with a dictionary-discription of the spinplant [in Dutch]:

spin·plant (de ~)
1 fictieve plantensoort, ontdekt door Laura van der Vlies
2 neologisme dat nog wacht op indexering door GoogleNu maar water geven en wachten tot het woord “spinplant” uitgroeit tot een volwaardige internet meme, wellicht dat zij dan over enige tijd tot het Google-lexicon behoort. En dan komt het met de spinplant in Wikipedia ook wel goed! Heeft Laura via een omweg toch nog een bevredigend resultaat van haar experiment. Kan ze haar volgende onderzoek mee starten. Dat vereist wel wat medewerking van ons: een blogje hier, een onderzoekje daar, lezinkje zo, filmpje zus. Zo doen we dat: kennisproductie in de mediasfeer. Overigens, wanneer we deze status bereiken met dit virtuele stukje flora dan is de spinplant uiteraard geen spinplant meer, maar een officieel erkend woord der Nederlandse Taal. Wie was Van Dale ook alweer? Dat zal nog wel even duren, tot die tijd blijft de spinplant gewoon een spinplant!

De Spinplant is dood, leve de spinplant!

The discussion continued when one of the Masters of Media contributers, Michael Stevenson, reacted with a blogpost titled ‘Making the spinplant relevant: more from Friedrich Nietzsche‘. With this post he tried, with some help from Nietzsche, to change the terms of the debate, (jokingly?) asking whether truth is really ‘prior’ to relevance at all. He has asked readers to help make the spinplant more relevant by linking to the non-existing Spinplant article on Wikipedia [http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinplant] and to two pages that were made to make the spinplant visible on the World Wide Web.

This post brought up more discussion, but also some confusion. Readers of the blogpost thought the aim was to put the spinplant back on Wikipedia again. But that isn’t the case. It is only to show the relationship between web-truth and relevance.

In any case, the story about the spinplant is not over yet.

Met het produceren van een Wikipedia entry kan je vele kanten op. Nu wist ik van het forum van mijn vroegere studentensportvereniging dat er over ‘ons’ nog geen pagina bestond. Al heb je dan een site op het internet, de vraag is of je wel bestaat als je afwezig bent op de alleswetende Wikipedia. Ik nam het zekere voor het onzekere en het bestaan van Saurus was in een wip zeker gesteld. (more…)

Last Friday, I attended Creative China, a partner event at Picnic 2007. One of the main topics of this seminar was the use of Internet versus government regulations and Internet restrictions in China. The Internet is by no means a tool for self-expression, if it was up to the Chinese government to decide, but in reality, Chinese users are vehemently looking for ways to express themselves, to challenge authority and as a way to find freedom within a restricted space.

In a tutorial by Geert Lovink on German Media Theory we read German uncontemporary media theorists. Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies Volume I and Male Fantasies Volume II, Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power and Friedrich Kittler’s Gramophone, Film, Typewriter was the shared basis we started with. I read Spheres I: Bubbles by Peter Sloterdijk and gave a presentation about it. Bubbles is part of a trilogy where the German Philosopher develops a theory of Spheres. This post is derived from the presentation I gave in class.

Sloterdijk studied philosophy, Germanistics and history at the University of Munich. He received his PhD from the University of Hamburg. Since 1980 he has published many philosophical works, including the Critique of Cynical Reason. The trilogy Spheres is the philosopher’s magnum opus. The trilogy has not yet been translated in English. Sferen, the book I have read is a Dutch translation of a large part of volume I and II. Some parts are omitted. Volume III is not translated into Dutch.
The trilogy of spheres
Spheres are the spaces where people actually live. I would like to show that human beings have, till today, been misunderstood, because the space where they exist has always been taken for granted, without ever being made conscious and explicit.
And this lieu or space I call a sphere in order to indicate that we are never in fact naked in totality, in a physical or biological environment of some kind, but that we are ourselves space-creating beings, and that we cannot exist otherwise than in these self-animated spaces.
Peter Sloterdijk
Peter Sloterdijk rewrites the history of mankind from a philosophical perspective rather than a scientific one. This philosophical perspective has its roots in metaphysics and religious thought and counters the materialistic approach that has dominated thinking for centuries. The philosophical question Sloterdijk starts of with is: where is man? Instead of addressing ontological questions of the being of man, he addresses the places of human beings. The theory of the Spheres can be viewed as a Grand Narrative, which combines new sociology, psychology, world history and philosophy. In taking this approach he aims to renew psychology from a philosophical perspective, and also renew media theory from a philosophical perspective. He uses a divers range of sources such as religious paintings from the middle ages, Odysseus and the Sirens to an autobiography of Andy Warhol. His style can be characterized by metaphorical transitions, associations with a combination of text types instead of rational arguments. The argument is build up rather unconventional yet the plausibility of his theory is compelling.
It is useful to consider the general structure of the trilogy. The first volume was published in Germany in 1998, the second in 1999, and the last in 2004. Spheres is about spaces of coexistence, spaces commonly overlooked or taken for granted that conceal information crucial to developing an understanding of the human. Sphären I: Blasen (Spheres I: Bubbles) makes up the first part of a Sphere-trilogy in which Sloterdijk rewrites the history of mankind by understanding humans as sphere-producing and sphere-dependent beings. There are small and large spheres. Bubbles deals with the small spheres that form between individuals. In the second volume he moves to the macrospheres of the community, the state. Politics enters the argument in Sphären II: Kosmen, Globen, Reiche (Spheres II: Worlds, Globes, Empires). It contains a criticism of totalitarianism, expanded to include the entire history of advanced civilization. It demonstrates that empire-spheres are false attempts to project small familial spheres onto the social plane. Sphären III: Schaum (Spheres III: Foam) presents a postmodern plan, with which the German Philosopher wants to show how small and large spheres can combine to form a non-repressive, pluralistic whole.
In Spheres I: Bubbles the question “where is man?” is answered by approaching it from a micro level. A human being starts existence within another person, the mother. Sloterdijk argues this first condition of life defines us as human beings: always looking for new microspheres to protect us and resonate with, form relations with. sloterdijk therefore sees the subjects not as individuals, something which can not be divided, or as Deleuze sees subjects as “dividuals”, rather the subject is defined as something that is already divided to begin with and is always looking for a two-oneness.
Leonardo Da Vinci ca. 1510, detail
Chapter 5 is crucial in the argument, following his tendency to do away with mythological and religious narratives by secularizing them, Sloterdijk finds a material correlative to the intuition of an original human wholeness as it is expressed in numerous documents and artifacts in many cultures. The placenta, which nourishes the embryo and is connected to the mother through the umbilical cord, can neither be unambiguously interpreted as the organ of the mother, nor of the child. For Sloterdijk, this placenta presents evidence of a lost wholeness that was constituted dyadically. Using gynealogical terms such as placenta is however something Sloterdijk wants to avoid. It objectifies. It is a separation of subject (fetus) and object (placenta). Sloterdijk therefore employs the term Mit (With) to designate this state, which is hard to describe because of its pre-linguistic origin. The fetus and its placenta are connected to each other, like Orpheus and Eurydice. Together they form a two-oneness. The problem of the history of mankind begins with the excommunication of this first companion. The newborn subject is the mutilated half of an originally rounded being which is whole. At this point, modern individualism enters. The gynecological cutting the umbilical cord brings forth the lonely modern subject. This condition in turn facilitates the formation of totalitarian nations, which is addressed in Spheres II where macrospheres are theorized.
Media theory
On parting, the subject has a new space in which substitutions are possible. The vacant space that the lost primal companion leaves behind in man becomes the starting point for a consistently renewed search for new companions and new substitute spheres. New companions and spheres are constructed through media and can be regarded as substitutions for Mit. Approaching media from this perspective makes media part of the two-oneness instead of an extension of man or a tool. When considering the Web as such, it is a space that is real yet not tangible similar to how Sloterdijk defines spheres in the first place. This view counters material approaches to the Web such as Kittler’s argues in “There Is No Software” that every piece of information on the Web is in the end stored on material hardware. Looking at the Web as a space created by humans from the perspective of Spheres, Web space should not be materially objectified. Media are one form of substitution for Mit and part of the sphere to resonate with and form relations with others. Developing a media theory from a Sphere perspective provides ways to clarify the how and which of the consistency of different existences in shared ether. The challenge might therefore be the operationalization of a method to analyze the object of study from such perspective.
In her thesis Blogging for Engines Anne Helmond argues the blogosphere is constructed through a variety of technically enabled relations between blog software, search engines as well as bloggers. The sphere is not only created with other beings as well as with technology. The blogosphere is a sphere or a substitution of the Mit, that is enabled by technology such as the trackback, pingback and comments and resonates between bloggers as well as engines and blog software. The “I Am Sorry Blog Excuses” is one striking example where it becomes clear that for the blogger, the blog is not an object separated from the subject, rather part of the two-oneness similar to how Sloterdijk has described the placenta not as a separate object but as a state of Mit.
Interfacial spheres
In Bubbles, Sloterdijk contextualizes and develops his theory by looking how spheres can be perceived through history by analyzing a variety of sources such as art works and mythological stories. In chapter 2 on interfacial spheres of intimacy, Sloterdijk replaces the term intersubjectivity with interfacial greenhouse effects that form the human species. Eye contact is not seen as a vacuum or neutral “in-between” but rather following Plato, the interfacial space is viewed as a force field filled with turbulent tension that constructs the face as being-for-the-other-face. He analyzes two sacral frescos by Giotto where he studied interfacial constellations.
Giotto Di Bondone, The Meeting at the Golden Gate ca. 1305, detail
The first one depicts the moment where Joachim and Anna meet after they had a vision they were going to be parents of holy Mary. This moment where they are partners in the shared secret of the other is a moment where an interfacial sphere is created. Giotto represents this by placing both faces in a two-poled aureole. With a nice optical trick a third face appears in this two-poled sphere. The visible-invisible face that emerges refers to the new life that will be in Anna’s body. It is however not the face of a child that emerges from the faces of the future parents and resembles grandchild Jesus rather than their child, Mary.
Giotto Di Bondone, Betrayal of Christ ca. 1304-06, detail
The second fresco of Judas’kiss represents a very different interfacial constellation. It presents an antithetical spherical tension. The antagonism between the two is depicted on three levels. The first is metaphysical, distinguishing between god-man and man by using one single aureole. The second is physiognomic, depicting the distinguished versus the vulgar. The third is the spherological gap between the faces. There is an open sphere-creating force in the eyes of Jesus while Judas is unable to enter the sphere. Instead he selfishly tries to steal entrance. The kiss represents the gesture of someone who wants to enter the love space with the attitude of an outsider. There is no possibility for a shared life in their eyes.

In this chapter Sloterdijk provides a method how to analyze facial expressions as either sphere-producing or anti-spherical. When employed to the to the digital Mit, the interface as Sloterdijk describes it should be distinguished from the interface in interaction design. The sphere-related interface is not a surface. Spheres are the invisible bubbles of relations between individuals that form when information is exchanged and communication. Interfacial analysis from a sphere approach would rather be investigating the depiction of different constellations of the software that enable and constrain certain forms of information exchange and communication. An application like Skype provides ways to create small intimate spheres between two or a small number of people. In an interfacial analysis the possible constellations build into the software such as the use of online status ranging from the Skype Me to the Do Not Disturb can be looked into, as well as the use of emoticons and text employed to create spheres.
For me Sloterdijk’s Bubbles inspired me to look at the medium I am studying for a while now from a novel perspective. I am looking forward to reading volume II and hope that when I finish Boom/SUN decides to translate volume III in Dutch as well.

The closing session of the conference was named video slamming and consisted of screening famous youTube favorites, interviews with video performers Emile Zile Sam Nemeth, Tatiana de la O, and Rosa Menkman and the actual video performances. All this hosted and mc-ed by Sabine Niederer and Michael Stevenson.
Stevenson kicked off the session by raising the question whether youTube has an added value?
Most youTube movies are watched secretly during office hours, in cubicles. But is this not also working, being productive, but in another fashion? The movies shown prove this point. An added value within this context of collective watching, not secretly in your office cubicle, but in a kind of cinema-theater setting.

This worked out really well (good idea for cinemas struggling to get visitors; just show YouTube favorites!). Below a picture of the first movie, of course about cats.

a full list of the movies shown can be found here:
Its oh so quiet Bjork/Cats
zzz is playing grip
Two Girls one cup reaction + commentary
Goto80 Pilgrims Progress
Flying Dog
Blonde Redhead/Miranda July
Two Girls one cup reaction 2
zizek toilet ideology
Kant attack ad
Human Tetris performance
Scorcese and Hitchcock Key to Reserva
Dramatic hamster
Philippines Thriller
aphex twin and Maya Deren
Chris Crocker Leave Britney Alone
Lass Gjertsen – amateur
Dog mix

(thanks Michael and all the contributers for sending in your favorites!)

After this very entertaining session and a short break, the upcoming video performers were interviewed.
First up was Emile Zile. The story behind his performance is a thorough research into shared pictures and movies of the deceased. On sites like Flickr and YouTube, he searched for keywords “miss you” or ” missing you” and showed the pictures on the song “I’ll be missing you”, by Puff Daddy (which is of course originally from Sting).

Next to be interviewed was Sam Nemeth from the Waag Society, He showed some of the first interviews via live web video as one of the many research projects the Waag is into. Nemeth stated the importance of working these technologies and alternative forms of video for both artists and viewers.

Tatiana de la O, who also presented earlier that day on the conference, explained her self-programmed video- slamming application. She used the open-source visual programming platform called PureData Her main drive being the need for more freedom and possibilities in costumizing a video mixing tool and finding new ways of video performancing.
Finally, Rosa Menkman was interviewed. In her master thesis, she is researching the Glitch. A glitch is a ‘so called’ mistake within technology and digital tools. Think of mistakes in HTML code, compilers or codecs, crashing applications, dead links, blue screen errors and so on. While we as users often experience this as an annoying wrongdoing and/or failing of technology, Rosa interprets this in a whole new, eye-opening way, namely as poetry of machinery. In her performance, self-made videos of glitches are shown. The beauty of the glitch and the poetry of machinery became very clear in an aesthetically overwhelming performance.

In sharing some concluding words, the video slamming session gave some content examples of many topics discussed during the conference, where the role of video artists, curators, spectators and copyrighters are now facing the challenge of the crowds and the heavy saturation of (cheap) tools and possibilities for production and distribution of video. Are there still pearls to find in all the rubbish, and is that, then video art? Or do we need to re-think the whole definition of video? The Slamming session showed some very nice aspects and responses of dealing with 2.0 YouTube culture.

All pictures by Anne Helmond

Within minutes after publishing the entry was removed from Wikipedia. Apparently copyrights had been violated.

(Dutch) Het is niet toegestaan teksten van andere websites te kopiëren. Wikipedia kan hierdoor in de problemen komen, zie ook Wikipedia:Auteursrechtenschending. Uw artikel Gegevens lichaam wordt daarom verwijderd van Wikipedia.
Groet, Tûkkã 29 sep 2007 11:59 (CEST) (deletion-log of Wikipedia)

I have later resolved this issue by refering ostentatiously to myself. Tûkkã (the moderator) issued that, according to Google, the wiki-entry had strong similarity with a bachelor thesis. ArnaudH also made a reference to the location of my bachelor thesis… So, is Google a strong authority or was it just the preferential search-engine of the moderator? Either way, to my opinion, the most interesting finding was the strong presence of ArnaudH. He was also very much involved in moderating a different entry of my colleague student. Is this just a coincidence or is the Dutch Wikipedia ruled by a regime of only few fanatics?

Translation of ‘Mens en Computer’ (1979 – Beeld en Geluid Hilversum) item
The development from tangram to ruler to calculator all the way to the computer can be seen at the exhibition ‘Man and Computer’ in the Museum for Education in The Hague. Students of schools are familiarized with the workings of the electronic machinery which has become an essential part of modern life. The ‘chip’, an object that is getting a lot of attention lately, is also on display. The microcomputer can be built in a variety of machines and is able to significantly increase the the automatization of the industry. It is said that the chip will drastically change our lives and will cause unemployment to rise. In spite of this, the little device has as much possibilities as a room full of machinery.

At the exhibition children, aided by a large console, learn how the computer processes a program. On a small computer a spellchecker is demonstrated. The computer recalls every entered letter and lets the user know if the word has been spelled correctly. The young visitors can also practice with real computers. This way they learn the significance of input, processing and output of data. The output is often done with the use of a ‘regeldrukker’ (i.e. a printer, ed.). In a playful manner the use of computer in aeronautics is made clear. The children can reenact their own lunar landing. An erronous landing is noticed directly on the screen. The composite parts of a computer are shown systematically and the children are anxious to see the magnetic memory. Of course so-called printed circuit boards, on which the various computer components are put, are also on exhibition. And it is such a printed circuit board that can be seen in the classroom of this interesting ‘Man and Computer’ exhibition.

The trouble with science is that it wants to find the truth that is valid in all cases. These speakers, it can be argued, believe that idea is not only useless, but damaging. Context is king: every culture has it’s own interpretative framework, it’s own focus points. These should be respected. In short: it’s the “culture variable” that is missing from current network theory. With video


Fast Boat to ChinaI am currently reading a lot for my research and an interesting book I finished a few days ago is Fast Boat to China from Andrew Ross. In Fast Boat to China Andrew approaches the global outsourcing trend in a different way than most other writers on this subject (for example Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat). He has taken a surprisingly fresh look by gathering information not only in the countries that are relocating their factories to elsewhere, but mainly from foreign-invested companies based in China. A year long Andrew has interviewed enterprises in Shanghai and the Yangtze Delta.


Ruschmeyer @ Video Vortex

German video maker Simon Ruschmeyer explores the borderline areas between traditional audiovisual narration and the new possibilities given by interactivity and networked communication. He explores this interface between classical moving media (film/video) and new interactive forms (web/media art) both in theory and in practice. Ruschmeyer has realized many video projects and has recently finished his paper “The moving Web – Forms and Functions of Moving Images on the Web.” At Video Vortex Ruschmeyer talks about The Artist Moving (through) the Web – New Forms of Artist Production and Distribution on the Web. The two topics he addresses are moving web video characteristics and the artist 2.0. In relation to the subtitle of this conference, Responses to YouTube, Ruschmeyer addresses the significance of YouTube by focusing on the artist.


In general, a search engine is presented as an objective tool, although it is its underlying code which defines the possible outcomes.

An integral part of a search engine is the spelling control which suggests alternative words if it suspects that you have misspelled your search terms, prompting “Did you mean:”. However, since the early days of Usenet, misspellings have been used as a way to overcome censorship. By ignoring the suggested corrections, the misspellings can be a gateway to an alternative world.

When doing a search in the Chinese version of Google on the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Linda Hilfling discovered a temporary loophole out of the Google self-censorship in China. By deliberately spelling Tiananmen incorrectly, she was taken to web-pages where other people had misspelled Tiananmen, and was thereby able to access pictures of demonstrations as well as the legendary image of the student in front of the tank through the sources of incorrect spellings. (( For an example of Google’s censorship, have a look at the now famous image from the New York Times, comparing search results for Tiananmen in Google.cn and Google.com. ))

An act of accidental activism – by writing variations like ‘tianamen’ and ‘tiananman’ the isolation politics of the Google spelling corrector was subverted and the Google’ selfcensorship circumvented.

For Impakt, based on a concept of, and together with Linda Hilfling, I made the Misspelling Generator. The Misspelling Generator is a Firefox extension which suggests misspellings for your Google queries – similar to Google’s “Did you mean:”.

Misspelling Generator 0.9 is a Firefox extension intervening within the Google search engine allowing you to search for misspelled deviations of a given search query. The Misspelling Generator is useful for creating simple cryptography, circumventing specific cases of censorship or in general as a means of accessing the ‘grey’ side of the internet, which otherwise is isolated by rigid structures of ‘corrective’ info-culture regimes of search engines like Google.

Whenever the extension is enabled, each query typed in the Google search box will generate misspellings, then queries Google for each of these misspellings, and finally ranks them by number of returns. This all happens in the background – as a user, you will not notice it. Once the extension has done all deviations of the query (typically after 1 to 4 seconds, depending on the length of the query), it will insert the misspellings above the normal Google results – similar to Google’s “Did you mean:”, but now with “Have you tried:” instead. When hovering the mouse over the links, you can see the numbers of search results for each misspelling. Clicking the link will redirect you to the Google page with the results for that specific misspelling.

Although the Misspelling Generator might not be the most effective tool to evade censorship – after all it does multiple queries for possibly sensitive keywords which might ultimately get you jailed, it is useful in spreading awareness about the subject, just as the OpenNet initiative’s comparison between google.com and google.cn.

Through the preference pane the Misspelling Generator extension allows one to define custom mappings and misspellings. Thus it can also be used for simple cryptography. Mappings can be circulated to evade keyword filtering for e.g. copyrighted content as well.

You can download the Misspelling Generator at http://www.misspelling-generator.org/.

Michael Wesh, known from his web 2.0 movie ‘The machine is Us/ing Us’ on Youtube (linked below) has created a new movie on the ‘Information R/evolution’ – this time focusing on the category and tag.

‘Information R/evolution’

‘The machine is Us/ing Us’

New Network TheoryCan Network knowledge improve? The second New Network Theory session starts with this question from Alan Liu in his presentation Network Knowledge: Policing Web 2.0.

Alan’s aim today is to present a draft proposal for a non-reactionary policy for regulating and improving Web 2.0 knowledge. In doing so, he’s opening up the can of worms that is the Wikipedia debate.

(Read more and discuss below..)


I wanted to make a substantial wikipedia contribution and found out that there is no Dutch description about the online webgame Utopia.

Utopia Logo

So I wrote one here –> http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia_%28online_spel%29 and subsequently fucked up the URL.

Oh well.


I love Wikipedia, I use it on a regular basis, but I never thought about contributing anything. Why not? I’ve never searched for something that wasn’t there and I’ve never encountered something that I thought was incomplete or incorrect (yet). I also do not feel the urge to enter all my interests or research findings into an entry. There must be Wikipedia freaks who continuously want to add or expand or correct posts. I can see some kind of competition element that might be there, but apparently this is not my kind of game.


Sneakko Peekko

Peekko Chat was launched in January 2006 and put on the notorious Web 2.0 Products and Services list on Listible.com 1 month later. The start was promising and a new Web 2.0 succes seemed to be born, but what has happened since? Before I answer this question, let me first give a short description of what Peekko Chat is and how it works.


The Flaming Lotus Girls are a San Francisco-based group of female and male artists collaborating all year round to create exceptional fire art and provide a resource for learning metalworking and other essential shop skills. Mother Serpent is a massive skeletal serpent, 165 feet long coiled around her egg. By pushing buttons, spectators can create bigger flames anywhere along the spine. At the rainy opening night at Robodock, Serpent Mother created so much heat causing the rain never touched ground.1.jpg(more…)