Archive for October, 2010

Marcus Boon: “In Praise of Copying”

October 24th, 2010 No comments

Marcus Boon: “I am uploading my new book onto the internet. Yes, I am. The book is not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of commodification … OK, I’m copying again, from the introductory lines of Walter Benjamin’s famous essay “Unpacking My Library”, which media theorist Julian Dibbell riffed on in his dawn of the downloading age essay “Unpacking My Record Collection”. Those two excellent essays were concerned with the figure of the collector. But what concerns me here is, to use the title of another of Benjamin’s essays, “the author as producer”, and the act of donating a book, “my book”, to a library, if library is the right word for the place where my text is being deposited.

While I was finishing In Praise of Copying, I became interested in the circulation of texts. I wondered whether it was hypocritical to write a book that celebrates copying, while still slapping a copyright notice to the front of the book. There are easy ways out of this: I could say that what I’m doing is presenting a critique of contemporary society but that obviously I have to work pragmatically within existing economic conditions, even though I disapprove of them. There’s some truth to that. In fact, the copyright notice to many academic books is in the name of the publisher, not the author. When I talked to people at Harvard, they pointed out to me that in signing a book contract, I had already signed away most of the rights to the book, and that it was therefore more honest for the publisher to claim and look after the copyright. I could have requested that I retain the copyright, as I did with my first HUP published book, but I thought there was something persuasive about their argument. And that I don’t need to own the copyright in order to feel some sense of agency in relation to what I’d written.

But I still wanted to explicitly allow people to make copies of my book about copying. I asked Harvard whether this was possible and they said yes. As of October 1, 2010, the book has been available from Harvard’s website as a pdf, free to download, but with a creative commons license that restricts the uses of the copy. I wrote the following text to accompany the web page:

“Given the topic and stance of In Praise of Copying, I wanted the text to participate openly in the circulation of copies that we see flourishing all around us. I approached Harvard to discuss options and they agreed to make the book available as a PDF online. The PDF is freely available to anyone who wants to download it, but it does come with a creative commons license that sets some intelligent restrictions on what you can do with it. Although generosity is a wonderful thing, this isn’t especially intended as a utopian gesture towards a world in which everything is free. It’s recognition of the way in which copies of texts circulate today, a circulation in which the physical object known as the book that is for sale in the marketplace has an important but hardly exclusive role. A PDF of a book is not an illegitimate copy of a legitimate original but participates in other kinds of circulation that have long flourished around the book-commodity: the library book; the photocopy or hand-written copy; the book browsed, borrowed or shared. We all know these modes of circulation exist, as they continue to do today with online text archives.

Perhaps these online archives just make visible and more “at hand” something that was happening invisibly, more distantly, but continuously before. At the same time, something new is going on. The physical book today is one copy, one iteration of a text among others. What that means for publishers, writers, readers and other interested parties is something that we are working out – on this webpage and elsewhere.”

Harvard University Press Catalog

Happy Birthday, Christoph Schlingensief

October 24th, 2010 No comments

Today Christoph Schlingensief would have turned 50.

We miss you, Christoph!

Shift Festival

October 21st, 2010 No comments


Shift Festival

Next weekend from 29th to 31st of October 2010 the Shift Festival is taking place in Basle. This electronic arts event is one of the “must see” in Switzerland.

Get ready to see Matthew Herbert and many others.

SHIFT Electronic Arts Festival 2010 – Trailer from Shift Festival on Vimeo.

(BTW: The teaser contains a fantastic sountrack by Bruno Spoerri)

Mary Bale Lolcat

October 21st, 2010 No comments

Mary Bale Lolcat

(2010 by lx CC BY-SA 3.0)

Dan Bull

October 20th, 2010 No comments

Death of ACTA

Only rapper to be called a thief without stealing
Download an MP3 for free, these people hit the ceiling
I’m just a citizen that’s teaching you a lesson
for restricting my freedom of expression
How can ideas be possessions when they’re freely replicable?
Hence unapplicable property laws are reprehensible
Didn’t Jefferson express his opinion on the matter
when he said inventions shouldn’t be given a patent
What happened to that thinking, we’re stuck in a pattern
where the people with everything are keeping everything from us who haven’t
We want it back, look, fed up of adverts, left and right
begging me to buy til there’s nothing left of mine
to spend, never mind, who’s next in line to testify
that we need laws like these to protect our rights?
Medicine has never been something I’d ever deprive
especially when a life depends on it to survive
Yeah, it takes an incredible effort to develop them right
but putting wealth over health, I said it’s never been right

I’m just a citizen that’s teaching you a lesson
for restricting my freedom of expression, and I reckon
if old blues themes hadn’t been used by Led Zeppelin
we wouldn’t ever have any heavy metal then
the history of music would have never even happened
and amusingly there wouldn’t even be a Metallica
to tell us that we should hang on the gallows of law
so we wouldn’t even need to have a Gallo Report
Oh and by the way the fricking Gallo’s support
is made of signatures which have been apparently forged
This shit is sinister, and cannot be allowed to enforce
so tell your ministers and MEPs of how it’s been brought about
Although you’ll probably get a shallow retort
because the lobbyists have got a grip around all their balls
If I was boss, I’d tell them get the Hell out the door
because I’ve had enough of corrupt crooks ramming through laws

I’m just a citizen that’s teaching you a lesson
for restricting my freedom of expression
Yes, and deep packet inspection? squeeze that up your rectum
If your postman did that to you you’d be having him sectioned
arrested for meddling in your private affairs
But it’s only online, right? so why should we care?
Because digital rights should be applicable right
here in real life, and we’re not criminals, right?
So this is just why we’ll never give up the fight
to be considered innocent until we kick up and die
Giving internet providers responsibility
for the whims of their subscribers infringes privacy
Before the internet, media was a rarity
but how do you expect it to keep its value without scarcity
And that’s what scares me, seeing their cons and schemes
to stop their creaking business model being obsolete
What a robbery they pull off so obviously
Don’t give a fuck who it affects as long as it’s not me
Well I’ll keep making copies, see if they can stop me
They’ll have to confiscate my PC and take it off me
See there’s no problem with taking my property
for creating some lines of binary, blatant hypocrisy
Afraid to face the controversy relating to what we need
Making a profit off it or breaking monopolies

Being honest! – A paradigm shift?

October 15th, 2010 No comments

Cross-linking web 2.0 applications and feeding clouds with data is what the industry sells us as the age of the “social network society” or “social media society”. Identifying emerging expressions and new words describing old techniques is what often discloses most of the real intentions behind “innovative technologies”. Storing all information and knowledge as a cloud of data without passion and attention is what turns the internet into a muckheap, where the one who knows best how to dig through the dung and knows how to “ask the right question” returns to be successful and “wise”.

It’s nevertheless this ability that offered a big success to a large community of critical and self-reflective nerds and hackers, allowing themselves to integrate their auto-didactic skills into profitable services. To extend these ambitions and intentions, it’s the principle of Free Licensing and Open Source Technology that now seems to overflow into a full disclosure of privacy and data retention.

Social Networks are severely destroying and jeopardising personal social interactions and relations. The common sense of betraying his boyfriend with a second Facebook profile and conventionalise his public figure and image towards a non-real and fictional manifestation of one-self marks a new form of self-deception. It’s then the application that builds the framework of honesty around one’s personality which would demand a paradigm shift to regain control over the self being.

It’s not the discourse of privacy aware figures vs. users claiming not having anything to hide, which will bring up a social change, but the non-awareness of being and the paradigm shift which displaces self-reflection and ego into a fictional projection. It’s not the addictive effect of technology that causes an ubiquitous and pervasive demand of technology, but the subconscious awareness of potential self-distruction thereafter.

Further it’s the lack of ethical questioning towards one-self and the multiple alter-ego-selfs as me-xing, me-fb,, I-whatever, myspace, youtube, etc. leading towards a dissolution of moral values. This is when data-mining and -filtering methods will apply and straight forward SMS to my love-affair will be filtered by my provider or hardware manufacturer.

Social media and social network technology abduct users from self-discovery and finding personal, inner values, feeding them with a fictional mirror, which is never achieved in reality and will not revert into a living spirit. One needs to commit virtual suicide to be re-born in the real world.

“The bird struggles out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born, must destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas.” — Hermann Hesse (Demian)

[Update: See article “The Many Faces of You” ex NY Times)

0wning numbers

October 12th, 2010 No comments

about 0wning mathematics:

(credit: ahoipolloi)
Categories: Art, Free Software, Science, Technology Tags:

Jetzt ist der Aschenbecher runtergefallen ….

October 8th, 2010 No comments


“Es ist Mittwoch Nacht, viertel vor zwei vorbei und ich kann vor träumen nicht schlafen. Ich erinnere mich und ich stelle mir Dinge vor und alles zusammen gibt es Glück, das mich nicht ablassen lässt , meine Gedanken schweifen und es auf mich niederpudern zu lassen mich bestäuben zu lassen.

Vorhin, als noch Dunkelheit war, erinnerte ich mich der Geschichte Momo wieder und ich erinnerte mich der Liebe, die ich damals gespürt habe und jetzt bin ich nicht mehr Momo, sondern Gigi und mein Kopf ist voller Geschichten und ich möchte sie finden in ihrem Amphitheater und ihr die Geschichten erzählen, die in mir wohnen und ihr Zuhören spüren und mit ihr die Sterne anschauen aus unserem Trichter aus Stein, dem Sockel der Welt.

Und ich erinnere mich, wie ich einst im nächtlichen Traum in der Strasse stand und so langsam wie möglich gehen musste, um Meister Hora zu finden und dann habe ich geträumt, ich sei in der Schule und da war Hora und ich habe gesagt, Meister Hora, Meister Hora, nimm die Zeit doch weg, lass mich in dein Reich kommen und er hat gesagt, das ist doch nur ein Traum, aber einmal durfte ich von einer Kuppel hinunterschauen in den Raum mit den Blumen der Zeit. Und weil ich Gigi bin, weiss ich, dass ich die Träume lieben, deren Erfüllung aber fürchten muss, denn wie er bin auch ich leicht zu verführen und von grauen Männern umzingelt.

Diese Geschichte ist die schönste, die ich kenne. Und diese Liebe ist jene, die ich im Herzen suche seither und manchmal ist sie mir schon begegnet, doch flüchtig ist sie, wie Gedanken im Licht.

Und jetzt liege ich hier und meine Gedanken spinnen neue Geschichten und alte weiter, jene vom Ursprung der Zeit, von der Ausdehnung des Raums, die Geschichte vom vollkommenen Glück und immer wieder Zukunft, Träume, Möglichkeiten, Freude, dabeizusein und mir ausmalen, was noch alles passieren könnte in meinem Leben und Musik denken und Gedichte denken und immer wieder Erinnerungsbilder, Kinderfarben, Gerüche, Momente, irgendwelche, zufällige und es geht immer so weiter und ich kann nicht schlafen.

Jetzt rauche ich. Ich kann jetzt keine Geschichte aufschreiben, denn sie haben sich verkrochen, als ich den Computer angeschaltet habe. Jetzt ist fast der Aschenbecher runtergefallen. Wenn ich das Licht ausschalte, kommen sie zurück.”

Jonas Bischof (im April 2010) CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Categories: Art Tags:

Om mani padme hum

October 8th, 2010 1 comment

“Die absolute Wahrheit ist ein Verrat am Wissen.”
“Absolute truth means treachery on knowledge.”
“La vérité absolue est une trahison de la connaissance.”
Nom de Plume

le gentil aveugle

October 7th, 2010 No comments

“Il est gentil, l’aveugle qui se fait bouffer par des mensonges.”

l’aveugle: mais ça me fait briser le coeur
la lune: ca arrive assez souvent dans la vie malheuresement
la lune: ca sera mieux si tu va prendre tout plus legerement
la lune: je sais c’est difficile
la lune: mais c’est l’art de la vie
l’aveugle: comment tu fais, toi?
la lune: je les pardonne
la lune: et continue a les aimer
Categories: Art, Bismillah, Human Rights Tags: