Gambling in Call-Games??? I don’t think so….

Currently the Dutch television format Call-Games is under investigation with regards to fraudious practices, illegal gambling, and misleading of viewers. In Belgium the same program is used to interact with its public for the same fraudious and misleading reasons; to empty their pockets… however, I’m not so sure about the ‘gamble factor’.

See this video montage:


It all started in 2001 when Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian journalist living in Canada, published a how-to-blog guide in Farsi (Persian). By doing this he started what can be considered as one of the most thriving sub-cultures in the blogosphere. Iranians love blogging and this is not strange if you realise that about 70% of Iran’s population is under 30 years of age and highly educated. However, it is remarkable considering the fact that freedom of speech in Iran is non existent. (more…)

Dispatches from Second Life

A series of minifilms entirely shot on location in Second Life.  The series can be found at  A preview is, of course, available at YouTube. The series is produced by the Dutch new media production company Submarine. Moltov Alva on YouTube


In January 2007, a man named Molotov Alva, disapeared from his Californian home.

Recently, a series of video dispatches by a Traveler of the same name have appeared within a popular online world called Second Life.

Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton came across these video dispatches and put them together into a documentary of seven episodes.

A new batch of Piet Zwart master students was released into the wild yesterday. Worm(Rotterdam) hosted the temporary “invasion”, as course director Florian Cramer jokingly refered to it. The work of about 9 students, I neglected to count them precisely, was exhibited throughout the building, including the Worm office space.


Victorian Circus, one of the most prominent new media festivals, thinks it is high time to explore THE FUTURE. Besides interesting lectures, brainstorms and debates you will be surprised by futuristic installations and films. As the cherry on the cake there will be an exclusive Dutch première of the documentary/film TechnoCalyps by Frank Theys. Come, the future is yours! But for how long?


Sometimes, one needs to let the youtube do the talking. Suffice to say, we’re in the thick of it.

Together with Erik, I’m working on a Digital Methods project called ‘Repurposing the Wikiscanner‘, where we try to adopt the infamous tool for uses other than scandal hunting. We’re still working on it, but here’s a nice preview. So far it seems that, compared to other universities, we at the UvA still support a ‘Great Man’ view of history – and the present, for that matter. Here’s the cloud with emphasis added (click the image for the large version):


Science Fiction, Science Faction
An exploration of the visions behind the contemporary digital world.

Organized by the Waag Society, Internet provider XS4ALL and the
Cyberspace Salvations Research Team (University of Leiden, Erasmus
University Rotterdam):

In the mid-1980s, due to the rapid spread of personal and networked
computing and the development of computer graphics, digital
technologies seemed to change the world profoundly. Only nobody knew how.
Computer designers, entrepreneurs and opinion makers put
tremendous effort in envisioning and creating the kinds of futures they
thought these technologies could and should bring. In this quest, many of
them were inspired by science fiction.


We heard the rumor that some speakers and/or visitors would like to share their pictures with us. That would be absolutely great. So, if you have any photos you would like to share with us, please e-mail us at mastersofmedia [at] gmail [dot] com. We will put them online and share them with you. Thank you!

You can also create your own free Flickr account and share your photos with us in the New Network Theory Flickr group.

The photo stream of the event can be found at Flickr.

I recently came across a Dutch student who is doing research on bloggers and social bookmarking and he is currently seeking people to fill out a short survey.

It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to help out a fellow researcher! :)

Survey: How popular are social bookmarking tools en web 2.0 search engines to bloggers?

On February 28th 2008, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) organized The Mobile City conference, in collaboration with the research programs ‘Mew Media, Public Sphere and Urban Culture’ (University of Groningen) and ‘Playful Identities’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The conference concerned the interplay of physical and digital spaces, and the influence of locative and mobile media on urban culture and identities.

As I entered the spacious hall of the NAi, the first thing that caught my eye was a table filled with Lego. The colorful interlocking plastic bricks and accompanying array of gear, figurines and other parts stand for imaginatively exploring scenarios and possibilities in a serious form of play. Contemporary cities are the realization of a vision that was once upon a time played with, perhaps even on a table filled with Lego. Similarly, Locative Media could be seen as a modern form of serious play, fostering creative thinking, as users build metaphors of their identities and experiences using new media technologies within a presented scenario. On the one hand, Locative Media offers new tools for designers to envision future planning; on the other hand designers will have to think differently about cities as the technology implicates mobility, practices of everyday life, politics and aesthetics.

Continue reading at INC Weblog

A web 2.0 review in Twitter-style:


image of european commission

Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for information society and media, has released a document (a “communication”) in which the European Commission reveals its plans to require scientists to publish the results of subsidized research.

For those who believe in Vannevar Bush‘ opinion that collective human knowledge should be available to anyone, this is a very important step, since the internet offers the possibility to give people access to this information wherever they may be (as long as they have an internet connection). And as a researcher in training I think it is very helpful and useful to be able to read a thesis or a research publication in the area I am researching. This way you do not invent the wheel again, but you build on existing research.
A petition to support these plans can be signed here:

In order to get some experience using a new media tool, I experimented with the Wikiscanner a bit.

Ofcourse I had to see the changes made by Mabel Wisse Smit for myself. I figured it would be a bit unclear, but I was quite amazed by the fact that it actually said ‘Koninklijk Paleis Huis Ten Bosch’ .[1]

And ofcourse the changes made by Shell were really funny as well. Changing their position from ‘a major British-Dutch [[energy]] company’ to ‘the best [[energy]] company in the world’ .[2]

Expecting to do an amazing discovery myself I scanned every potentially controversial person, company and organization. After scanning for a couple of hours I was pretty disappointed to not do a great discovery myself. If I was famous enough to have my own Wikipedia-page I guess I would definitely have edited it myself.

However I was quite surprised at the amount of information available connecting the ‘virtual’ to the ‘real’ world. Trying to connect anonymous IP-adresses to a real life adress myself I used the Whois for the first time. Whois is: ‘a TCP-based query/response protocol which is widely used for querying a database in order to determine the owner of a domain name, an IP address, or an autonomous system number on the Internet.’ [3]

It was really amazing to see how much information is available online. I guess most people aren’t aware of the fact that all the information is going to be freely available when they fill in the form to request a domainname.

I tried a couple of URL’s on the dutch ‘Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland (SIDN)’ of websites owned by friends of mine, and discovered there was more personal information to be found there than in the Dutch online version of the phonebook and the Yellow Pages put together: home address, mobile phone number and e-mail.

Despite the fact that I didn’t find anything shocking using the Wikiscanner, it turned out to be quite a revelation anyway.

elfriendoDeleting your MySpace page is painful. You had friends, too few or too many. It had taken over your life, or you wish it had. Was your profile stale? Were you too active? The morning after International Delete Your Myspace Account Day elfriendo gives you a new look. – “Taking the work out of social networking”

elfriendo is a new MySpace related service, founded on 30 January 2008, on the occasion of the International Delete Your MySpace Account Day, as a remedy.

These days one hardly has time to fill in one set of fields before another update request comes in. elfriendo reduces the number of form-filling steps to a bare minimum, without sacrificing quality or depth. People used to neglect their profiles, leaving them stale and deficient. elfriendo offers fresh sets of interests and an active look for your profile.

elfriendo’s business is profilization – professionalizing, optimizing and automating your profile on MySpace, the world’s largest social networking site. elfriendo is a service that keeps your profile active fresh.

√ You can have a profile generated for you on the basis of just a few interests.

√ You can create a profile on the basis of another profile, and that person’s group of friends.

√ You can tweak your profile by comparing it to another profile’s network, raising or lowering your compatibility.

elfriendo is a Web 2.0 compliant European start-up company, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Yes! Take me there

What is elfriendo?
elfriendo is a MySpace related service. It’s designed for people who have no time to fill in a profile, or would like to save time blending in with other fans of a certain interest. You can use elfriendo to measure compatibility of profiles and interests, to make a profile based on your interests, or to have a profile makeover when you feel your profile is no longer properly representing you. The outcomes are suggested fields, ready for you to tweak and customize.

more FAQ

This Thursday I will be visiting the Dr Leo Kanner house in the Netherlands. In this house there is a special multimedia theatre were people can experience the world through the eyes of a person with autism.

The headquarters (the multimedia theatre) are shaped like a large head made out of steal brands and it has screens and headphones. In the head 9 people can take place and by means of audio and image they will be brought into the world of people with autism.
More information (only in Dutch):

After the talk Alex Galloway gave on The Game of War Rosie asked him to give us an introduction to Protocol, which is key literature for one of our courses. This is the first spontaneously organized event by Geeks for World Domination aka g4wd. Anne has made a great post related to her thesis topic and I cover the session we had.

Did we somewhere switch internets?
The perfect Saturday morning is getting up a little too early, cycling to the Crea2 building at University of Amsterdam and attend a spontaneously organized meeting with Alex Galloway. After setting up our laptops, opening up a skype video chat with one of our mom-mers who was unfortunately out of the country but wouldn’t want to miss it, the meeting started. Michael opened up the conversation by introducing two contradictory notions of the internet. The 80s expression of “information wants to be free” is followed ten years later with the “great firewall of china.” Did we somewhere switch internets? Or is there something inherent in the medium for both to exist at the same time? At the basis of Galloway’s book is the technical infrastructure of the internet, which includes both these opposing logics. In fact, it was exactly this opposition that made him curios about how power works on the internet when he learned how to program in 1996 at Rhizhome. The then dominant idea that networks get around everything (for instance censorship) and the “information wants to be free” expression struck him as very utopian. If this is so, how is it possible that at the same time big power structures such as the US military and Microsoft are adopting this new system? Taking the technical architecture of the internet that is publicly documented in Requests for Comments (RFCs) protocols as his corpus, Foucault and Deleuze‘s writings on power as conceptual foundation, this eventually led to his Phd and later on published as the book Protocol.

Panopticon and rhizome
In this introduction to Protocol the main focus was on how power is distributed through the internet. Especially how this relates to ideas of power from Foucault and Deleuze. Foucault developed his theory of disciplines that are the dominant form of power in the 18th and 19th century by studying institutions such as the church and the school. Deleuze’s short but influential piece Postscript on Control Societies claims Foucault’s disciplinary societies are over, control societies taking its place. Galloway says Foucault didn’t live long enough to fully theorize into the 20th century, although his ideas on biopower are a start and currently very popular among scholars. Deleuze did live long enough to develop his theory. Where Panopticon served as a blue print or diagram for disciplinary societies, control societies have the rhizome. However, Deleuze didn’t study the rhizome as extensively as Foucault did with the Panopticon.

Galloway asks in Protocol, do we actually know how flat rizhomes work? Like Foucault did with Bentham’s architectural plan of the Panopticon, he further developed and matured the concept of the rhizome by taking the very technical architecture of the internet as his archive. The internet is built up of different layers and protocols that each govern specific parts of the internet. Important in thinking about the physical technology of the internet is that it is constituted by a bi-level logic. On the one hand protocols such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) enable the internet to create horizontal distributions of information from one computer to the other (rhizomatic). On the other, the Domain Name System (DNS) vertically stratifies that horizontal logic through a set of regulatory bodies that manage internet addresses and names (panoptic). Although an important difference with the Panopticon is that there are no central bosses like police or prison guards on the net, the Domain Name System is managed by a central body, ICANN. Following this line of thought, the architecture of the internet can’t be seen as purely rhizomatic, but also incorporates some Panoptic features. This is what creates a dialectical tension which defines the net and makes notions of “information wants to be free” as well as the “great firewall of china” possible in the same net.

The social built in protocol
Anne remarks that in her research on blog software she has found that although blog comments are distributed, there are forces that want them to be centralized. Take the comment aggregator Software like this is developed to centralize distributed comments which seems to be in contrast with the logic of the net from the perspective of the rhizome. Should an extra layer be considered on the net? Maybe an extra social layer?

Galloway replies to this by stating that this has changed since his book was published in 2004. There is a tension between the flat distributed mode of the rhizome and a coalescing power. A power that aims at bringing things back together. This tension can also be found in Google for example. Google is both highly distributed and coalescing, massifying and centralized at the same time. The question whether another more social layer that governs software should be considered relates to questions addressing the extent to which the social is built into technology. In his research into RFCs he came across a variety of protocols. TCP/IP are the most important ones and very technical. The subset of RFCs, such as RFC FYI (informational) and RFC BCP (Best Common Practices) are however about ethics. These social ethics are therefore also built into the architecture of the net. These RFCs are therefore very tangible examples of where the social is built into technology.

Michael takes this line of thought a step further by moving away from technical protocols instead focusing on purely social protocols on the net. As an example he takes Wikipedia. Wikipedia works because of policy, which can be seen as social protocols. He elaborated on the effective functioning of Wikipedia by referring to articles made by mom-mers such as spinplant. Protocols, technical or social, can be seen as these empty boxes which serve as wrappers for the content within it. Wikipedia’s empty box is its universal knowledge goal which puts an enormous prohibition on what you can write. The stylistics of Wikipedia social protocols is what you have to engage in.

Protocol as creative power
Galloway agrees protocols are the major standards ever. This radical standardization is however also progressive. It is universalization and standardization but at the same time not at expense of the specific. That’s not how protocol works. Control is often thought about in negative terms. The contribution Deleuze made, however, is that control is not about erecting walls, not about prohibition. Rather about taking down walls and creating freedom. The free way metaphor serves as an example, it allows you to drive but also within rules. You could drive on the grass but is not in your interest, it is slow etc. In short control is a system of incentives. Thinking about power not only as internalized discipline, which is about prohibition, repression, but also as expressive, being creative. That’s why protocols aren’t necessarily evil, there’s also a lot of progressive power that has totally gone into the rhizome, coexisting with other models. Think for example about politically progressive software development such as p2p.

Thinking about protocological power in this way made him move to play and immaterial labor in his book Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture. He didn’t think of that in Protocol. The new metaphor is surfing: on the surface, push, maneuver a little, tweak. Other media are good at fixing, games are good at making rules, but within the rules many things are possible. It is again this contradiction, openness and closeness. This is what we call a model, or simulation, worlds, this is the new dominant media format.

Last question
Do you have any tips? Yes, don’t read Protocol, read The Exploit: A Theory of Networks. The Exploit is the recently published 2.0 version of Protocol and we placed a batch order right after this spontaneous and inspiring meeting.

Julian Bleeker from Near Future Laboratory presented “Mobzombies” at Picnic Academy 2007. Mobzombies is a hand-held videogame that is enabled by motion awareness. In the game, the user functions as a human joystick and (literally) runs away from the zombies displayed on the hand-held portable screen.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss made a kinetic artwork in 1987, called Der Lauf der Dinge. [Medien Kunst Netz]

My mother was very sensitive and would show this to me and my brother instead of Bambi. I still have good memories. Lately I have been looking for (digital) remediations of this work of art and I found a couple of very interesting ones. (and many not so interesting ones)

More interesting ones (to me) are:
Ass kicking device (Made in HL2 Garry’s mod) and The Oblivion Domino Day (made with the game Oblivion)
The Honda ‘Cog’ commercial (Wieden + Kennedy 2003)
Die Lauf der Data, a project from Jonas Hielscher for the School of Arts, Utrecht (2007)
NHK’s “Pitagora-Switch”, originally aired for Japanese children on public TV
The new HEMA website
Also, Fischli and Weiss is most connected with Rube Goldberg.
And the Blue ball machines Roman Tol mentioned earlier

Isn’t it nice when things just (don’t) work?

I received this message from dr Eric McLuhan:

Dear Miss van der Klink,

I have just returned from speaking at a convention in Mexico City. The
students at the university there became somewhat excited about some work of mine and posted the essay on the convention web-site. As a result I have
decided to simply give this particular piece of research to the world. It
is a major discovery in the field of art, and in particular in the field of ancient Egyptian art.
Here is the URL:
Please have a look at the piece, and, if you think it is worthy, please
send it–or the URL–along to all of the artists that you know. I wish
particularly that it get in the hands of artists (who can use the technique
discovered 4500 years ago, and which I rediscovered) and students.

Best regards,

Six Degrees
Six Degrees: The science of a connected age
Duncan J. Watts, Norton, 2003

Duncan J. Watts (1971-) is a professor of sociology at Columbia University, head of the CDG Collective Dynamics Group and in 2003 he wrote the book Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (Norton, 2003). He holds a B.Sc in physics from the University of New South Wales, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University. In 1998, in conjunction with Steven Strogatz of Cornell University, Watts formalized the small world phenomenon in the celebrated Nature paper. (bron: wiki)

The title of the book is based on the Six Degrees of Separation Theory, it refers to the idea that, if a person is one “step” away from each person he or she knows and two “steps” away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is no more than six “steps” away from each person on Earth. You can find lots of links on the Internet with an interest in the Six Degrees Theory, there is even a Six Degrees Hyves.

Under construction


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housead_marktplaats.gifThe marketplace at the social network Hyves is an example of online collaboration. Theorist C. Shipley makes a distinction between cooperation and collaboration: “Collaboration is a much less involved affair [than cooperation] in which sole, independent participants advance separately.” The pages display a web of classified advertisements. Through the marketplace the members of the social networking website can make full use of the dynamic space by exchanging products, knowledge and services.