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Archive by March, 2011

REBLOG: Remix Cinema Workshop, University of Oxford, 24-25 March 2011

Owen Gallagher has written an excellent summary of  Remix Cinema.  A conference which took place at St. Anthony College in Oxford.  Along with Mette Birk, Owen represented the collective Remix Theory & Praxis, of which I am also a member.  Make sure to visit the brand new [re]mix:network.org where you will find Owen’s complete report.  An excerpt follows below:

The Remix Cinema Workshop, organised by the Oxford Internet Institute, took place in the beautfiful period setting of St. Anthony’s College in Oxford last weekend. A cohort of remix enthusiasts descended upon the infamous university town to collectively contribute to what turned out to be a very successful and fascinating exploration of remix cinema and the issues surrounding this developing practice.

The keynote speaker was Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss of Aalto University, Helsinki, who edited the 2010 publication, ‘Mash-Up Cultures’ to which our very own Eduardo Navas contributed a chapter. Sonvilla-Weiss delivered a talk entitled ‘From Soft Cinema to Collaborative Movie Making in the Cloud’, influenced heavily by Lev Manovich and with particular reference to Christopher Nolan’s ‘Memento’ illustrating the concept of non-linear narrative and the potential for infinite variability of meaning once the separate elements of a text have been submitted to a database. The main proposal was the notion that if all video content and editing practices were migrated to the cloud, that is from the desktop to the browser window, then questions of authorship and ownership of content would potentially fade into the background.

Read the complete report at re]mix:network.org

Form + Code, Book Review, by Eduardo Navas

This is a snippet from my review of Form + Code.  You can read the entire text on Vodule.


Form and Code in Design, Art and Architecture, as the book’s cover proposes, is a “guide to computational aesthetics.”  As such it lives up to its promise, which one must accept with the understanding that the authors selected projects that are, in their view, representative of larger movements.

Form + Code, co-authored by Casey Reas, Chandler McWilliams, and Lust, released in the Fall of 2010, gives equal attention to textual as well as visual language.  This could not be accomplished without the careful treatment of image and text as complementary forms of communication.  For this reason it makes sense that Lust, a design studio based in The Hague, is given equal credit as co-author.

In fact, the book’s innovation largely lies on its design, which, at first glance, may appear to be that of a small coffee table publication.  Upon closer examination, however, it becomes evident that Form + Code exudes expertise from practitioners who do not profess to be interested in making theoretical or historical propositions, but instead want to share their knowledge on how to be creative in computing and the arts.  The book’s honesty is its strength.  However, such honesty narrows somewhat the book’s potential to become a definite reference for computational aesthetics.  Before I get to the latter, I must emphasize the former.

Read the complete review at Vodule.

Cultural Analytics: a Busy Week of Publication

Image: Jeremy Douglass (front) analyzes manga comic pages.

The Software Studies lab has had a busy week.  Three publications are currently available, as listed below.

Article:Jeremy Douglass, William Huber, Lev Manovich. “Understanding scanlation: how to read one million fan-translated manga pages.” Forthcoming in Image and Narrative, Spring 2011. [pdf 3 MB].

An article on Cultural Analytics, titled “Graphing Culture” by James Williford, appears in the March/April 2011 issue of Humanities, the official magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

And Tara Zepel published her essay “Cultural Analytics at Work: The 2008 U.S. Presidential Online Video Ads” in the edited book Video Vortex Reader II: moving images beyond YouTube – new INC publication.

Blogs after Twitter

Image source: Alianzo

I recently wrote about the use of social media for real change in Egypt.  I explained in that entry that it is up to people to use social media critically–to appropriate it for issues that go beyond entertainment.  As I also explained in that entry as well as a text I released online previously, titled After the Blogger as Producer, the problem with micro-blogging (and Twitter) is that it encourages its users to write in a way that is not viable for critical thinking.

Surely enough, the New York Times on February 20, 2011 published the story, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter, in which Verne Kopytoff explains that the new generation is no longer using blogs as much, but mainly Twitter and Facebook to communicate and share things of interest with their friends.  Some of these users don’t event write, but simply share photos or brief statements, casually.

It appears that we have entered a stage in which people are quite aware of the different ways in which social media can be used. Evidence of this is Tweet4Action, an artwork by Les Liens Invisibles, recently released and supported by Turbulence.org. The art project was developed as critical commentary on the use of social media in revolutions.  Art usually fuels and spearheads change, but this artwork, unfortunately, lags.  It may be due to a certain degree of sarcasm that one may sense, which in this case can be read as a weakness of the work.  Tweet4Action does not make one question the role of social media.  It makes me say, “so, and…”

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