August 2003 Archives

BaseV - experiments in graphic art

BaseV is a Brasilian-based/online collective dedicated to graphic art experimentation across a variety of media. From design to street art, via photography, comics, ect. its research site is filled with stuff worth checking out.

Among other things, I enjoyed Marcus Silva's series of photographs investigating the aesthetics of litter in urban settings.


(image by Marcus Silva found on BaseV)

August 29, 2003 | 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Baghdad Blogging

Baghdad Burning: A young Iraqi woman and self-defined geek blogs about daily life in occupied Baghdad.

Turningtables: The blog musings of a young American male soldier in Iraq.

Both are the same age: 24 (if that means anything at all).

August 26, 2003 | 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Remembering the Spanish civil war

These posters from the Spanish Civil War (via Sugar'n Spicy) remind me of how close I've felt to this exceptional moment in recent history. An event which marked the end of the dream of all ideologues when a stalinist-left and falangist-right competed in the killing of a hope of freedom.

From being 14-years-old and being in Barcelona with Orwell across the pages of "Homage to Catalonia", to discovering the role it played in the lives and times of many writers and artists - from Pablo Neruda to Tina Modotti to mention only two - to the Pelican edition of "The Spanish Civil War" by Hugh Thomas which lays in ambush unread on one of my bookshelves waiting to engage my head in battle.

A song by the clash.

Not particularly keen on Ken Loach, but my heart melting during "Land and Freedom" in Nanni Moretti's cinema in Rome, one night. Alone.

Anarchists in Andalucia. A black and red flag in the land of the duende. Poets in the trenches and lovers in makeshift beds. Federico Garcia Lorca murdered at dawn on 19 August 1936.

The past I write about is drawn from cultural artifacts, the hand-granades of art. Memories of imagined flavours. So real nevertheless. All those brothers pitched one against the other. And so many dead.

No war is ever civil.

August 24, 2003 | 07:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
MMS photo-romance

Holland sees the introduction of the first MMS soap opera: Jong-Zuid. The concept uses that old magazine format found across Europe known as "photo-romance" (where a sequence of photographs with text in cartoon bubbles told love stories), and features famous Dutch TV-soap stars.


August 21, 2003 | 03:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Surf's up

There are some cool surf photos by Sean Slavin in the latest issue of 28MM.


August 20, 2003 | 05:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
First internet sperm bank baby is born

The Independent reports on the birth of the first internet sperm bank baby.

The sperm was bought from Man Not Included, an online fertility agency aimed at lesbian couples and single women (although the baby was born to a heterosexual couple).

For 1,200 pounds it is possible to have fresh sperm samples selected over the internet delivered to your doorstep.

August 20, 2003 | 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
The blog, the bile, the blatant inaccuracies

Oh, the arrogance of the ignorant hack! In a recent article, the Economist drops its usual high standards like a pair of dirty pants with the publication of a sloppy, poorly researched piece dedicated to blogging's commercial potential.

In pure flame-style, the anonymous writer starts by lashing-out like a drunken hooligan at the art and craft of blogging with the following description:

"Web logs, known to their users as blogs, are web pages for self-anointed pundits—personal online journals, often updated throughout the day, full of raw, unedited opinions and links to other sites. Most are what one would expect from a new internet medium: nerdy, inane and barely grammatical, and intelligible only to teenage subcultures. But others are erudite and thoughtful—such as, a political commentary."

"Inane and barely grammatical, and intelligible only to teenage subcultures"? Talk about a raw, unedited, unchecked opinion.

"Andrew Sullivan"? isn't it time to drop the cut-n-paste and find a different poster boy for the blogging generation?

And what about the inaccuracies? "Blogger was totally free until Google took it over, and now it charges only for souped-up versions of its programmes—those that offer spell-checking and greater upload power".

Maybe I'm missing something, but wasn't Blogger Pro around before the Google take-over? I thought "professional" reporters double-checked their facts, unlike "amateur" bloggers.

And this statement: "But the trend is toward free software". What about the recent launch of TypePad and its different pricing levels. Why isn't it mentioned anywhere in this article?

The piece then goes on to discuss ways of commercialising blogging, from targeted banners to corporate-sponsored "blogs" such as AlwaysOn. Now, having always subscribed to Oscar Wilde's dictum that "to define is to limit", I do not want to get into an argument about what is and not is a blog. However, AlwaysOn does not exactly spring to mind when thinking of blogging. Maybe Nick Denton and his promotion of micro-publishing might have been more appropriate.

Lastly, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the last part of the final paragraph, where recent history seems to have been erased from the author's mental hard drive:

"Mr Winer extrapolates that blogging has 'the potential for revolution,' democratising and liberating the world. Mr Perkins in turn feels, wearily, that he has heard such 'religiously libertarian anarchists with ponytails screaming and yelling' before, in the early days of the internet. Like many in Silicon Valley nowadays, he is more interested in profits than revolutions —though that change, in its own way, is revolutionary."

It is worth remembering here that the "utopian" predictions involving the internet in the mid-nineties, were not only linked to "democracy and freedom", but "markets and profits". The latter leading to the boom and bust. Something the writer seems to have totally forgotten when s/he says that silicon valley "nowadays" is more interested in profits. Nowadays? When was this written? in 1995? (in 1985, 1970, etc.)

August 19, 2003 | 05:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Visual thoughts on food

There's a visual buffet of food for thought on the latest issue of Urban Collective.

August 19, 2003 | 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Hangin' out over at American Samizdat

Following a most gracious invite from Dr. Menlo, I've started hanging out with the harbinger crew over at the group blog American Samizdat.

August 18, 2003 | 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Mont Blanc is closed

"It figured as a stop on adventurous young men's nineteenth-century Grand Tour, and in summer 300 people might climb it in a single day. This year, for the first time since its conquest in 1786, the heatwave has made western Europe's highest peak too dangerous to climb.

Mont Blanc is closed."

August 17, 2003 | 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
The ghost of a Mexican jail

"Aqui estubo su padre putos" - Photos of an abandoned jailhouse by Pericles Lavat.


August 13, 2003 | 09:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Moblog storytelling (trends and trash)

In recent months, my mental meanderings often lead me to speculate about the widespread adoption of location-based tools, the introduction of geo-tagging URLs to physical places, and their effect on that most human of art forms: storytelling. I try and picture the possible physiognomy of Narration Architecture; the form and structure of embedding stories across cities and landscapes.

On a semi-related theme, I've also been wondering how far the adoption of video and picture-phones, the shift to MMS and video-messaging, will affect our use and perception of language. Consider the impact texting (SMS) has had on grammar and spelling. Now think of a move towards to more pictorial, iconographic forms of communications induced by new messaging formats.

So it was interesting to come across the aware - spatio - temporal - moblog project (via Purse Lip Square Jaw). While the project is still in its infancy, the concept underpinning it is fascinating:

"The aware project proposes an experimental location-based medium for mediating fluid memory, 'story-making', and aims to facilitate the (playful or critical) re-imagination of the lived city of Helsinki.

It explores the positive potential of widespread use of networked, mobile media devices to raise awareness of communal relationships with place, and the real-time organisation/disorganisation of spatio-temporal meaning.

The project concept is to enable participants to contribute images, sounds and text via their mobile device to a collective online database, to be rebroadcast to the public environment of their origin, either anonymously or tagged with a user-name. However the contributions may be moved around to other cell locations in the city, re-interpreting their meaning and potential relationship to other forms and place."

Elsewhere, avant soap dubs itself a "moblog about soap operas in the near future". Again, its strength currently resides primarily in the concept and design. But its potential is apparent, bubbling away under every jpeg.

Far from conceptual frameworks, PhoneBin is the trash can of collective moblogging - a jumble of tits and bums and cars and beers and idiotic sneers - telling its own stories nevertheless.

August 13, 2003 | 06:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)