Blogs Centerpoints Technology

Natalie Jeremijenko goes to the Ooz.

Robot geese, toilets for birds, luxury housing for bats: in her new series of experiments, artist and activist Natalie Jeremijenko explores the human/animal interface. These and other projects will fall under the aegis of Ooz (“zoo” spelled backward), a corporation Jeremijenko will form. A defining difference between this and other corporations: this one will have […]

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Robot geese, toilets for birds, luxury housing for bats: in her new series of experiments, artist and activist Natalie Jeremijenko explores the human/animal interface. These and other projects will fall under the aegis of Ooz (“zoo” spelled backward), a corporation Jeremijenko will form. A defining difference between this and other corporations: this one will have Hudson River fish on its board. The logic behind this hinges on an 1886 Supreme Court decision, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which granted corporations the same rights and legal protections as people–i.e.”corporate personhood.” With fish as corporate shareholders, they can have a stake in their increasingly polluted habitat. An excellent Salon profile describes some of her work:

She cracks open her laptop and displays an image of 100 polycarbonate tubes or “buoys” that she’s engineered to glow when fish swim through them in the Hudson River. Yes, she really has government approval to position the buoys in the river. Given her day job as a professor, she convinced state environmental officials her project was all about science. But never mind that. Did you know the fish were on Zoloft? All the antidepressants that New Yorkers take are flushed through their urine into sewage treatment plants, which overflow into the river. You doubt her? Go to the Whitney Museum and see one of her drawings hanging on a wall by a bathroom. It features a woman’s bottom, her pants below her knees, on a toilet seat. It asks, “Why are the Hudson River fish and frogs on antidepressants?” Printed on it in tiny letters are actual studies that attest to the chemical drug compounds in the waterway consumed by the unsuspecting bass, sturgeon and crabs.

Anyway, when the buoys light up, you can feed the fish food treated with chelating agents to help cleanse the PCBs from their blood, planted there from decades of General Electric dumping waste into the river. The fish food, in fact, will not be much different from the energy bars we’re always eating on hiking trails. “The idea that we eat the same stuff is a visceral demonstration that we live in the same system,” Jeremijenko says. “Eating together is the most intimate form of kinship. By scripting a work where we share the same kind of food with fish, I’m scripting our interrelationship with them.”

For more on Jeremijenko, visit the Bureau of Inverse Technology, her art collective.

Designs for the Tech Addicted

We Make Money Not Art points out two projects by Royal College of Art grad student Joe Malia, Designs for the Computer Obsessive (above) and a scarf/PlayStation tunnel called Private Public.

We Media @ Carleton

Personal media engulfs us, from our cellphones and blogs to iPods and ever-present wifi, but some Carleton College students are diving in even deeper: in the class We Media: The Personal Media Revolution students explore the hows and whys of citizen media. Taught by Carleton’s Cinema and Media Studies Chair John Schott, a panelist at […]

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Personal media engulfs us, from our cellphones and blogs to iPods and ever-present wifi, but some Carleton College students are diving in even deeper: in the class We Media: The Personal Media Revolution students explore the hows and whys of citizen media. Taught by Carleton’s Cinema and Media Studies Chair John Schott, a panelist at our recent discussion on the ethics of mediated imagery of death and disaster (webcast here), the students create their own blogs, podcasts, and videoblogs (including Digital Lives/Digital Loves, which ruminates on “livin’ digital”). Minneapolis’ own Chuck Olsen vlogs an interview with Schott on MNstories today.

More:

We Media podcast directory

We Media’s useful Online Notebook of Links

We Media @ Carleton

Personal media engulfs us, from our cellphones and blogs to iPods and ever-present wifi, but some Carleton College students are diving in even deeper: in the class We Media: The Personal Media Revolution students explore the hows and whys of citizen media. Taught by Carleton’s Cinema and Media Studies Chair John Schott, a panelist at […]

wemedia.jpg

Personal media engulfs us, from our cellphones and blogs to iPods and ever-present wifi, but some Carleton College students are diving in even deeper: in the class We Media: The Personal Media Revolution students explore the hows and whys of citizen media. Taught by Carleton’s Cinema and Media Studies Chair John Schott, a panelist at our recent discussion on the ethics of mediated imagery of death and disaster (webcast here), the students create their own blogs, podcasts, and videoblogs (including Digital Lives/Digital Loves, which ruminates on “livin’ digital”). Minneapolis’ own Chuck Olsen vlogs an interview with Schott on MNstories today.

More:

We Media podcast directory

We Media’s useful Online Notebook of Links

Robotourguide.

The Regional Archaeological Museum in Agrigento, Italy, is enlisting a robot to lead visitors on tours of the facility. Outfitted with wheels, a keyboard, a monitor, video camera and sensors, Cicerobot will help visitors navigate the museum and provide information on the exhibits: Harris Dindo, part of the science team at Palermo University that developed […]

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The Regional Archaeological Museum in Agrigento, Italy, is enlisting a robot to lead visitors on tours of the facility. Outfitted with wheels, a keyboard, a monitor, video camera and sensors, Cicerobot will help visitors navigate the museum and provide information on the exhibits:

Harris Dindo, part of the science team at Palermo University that developed the robot, said: “It uses the technique of latent semantic analysis, which means it can answer many of the questions tourists throw at it and have intelligent interaction with them.”

ZDNet has more. Via SmartMobs.

How to read a shoe.

The gist–or one of them–of Bruce Sterling’s book about product design and environmental change (Shaping Things) is accessible transparency; that is, the on-demand ability to pull information about the products we buy using RFID tags and the net: physical or chemical makeup, place of origin or where a product ends up after the intended use […]

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The gist–or one of them–of Bruce Sterling’s book about product design and environmental change (Shaping Things) is accessible transparency; that is, the on-demand ability to pull information about the products we buy using RFID tags and the net: physical or chemical makeup, place of origin or where a product ends up after the intended use is “completed,” info on the maker or others who use that product, the working conditions of those who created the good, etc. (here’s Sterling’s speech on this “internet of things“).

But Bruce admits that reality is pretty far away. In the meantime, here’s a low-fi way to get basic info on products: learn the codes. Kicksonline demystifies the label on your Nikes, decoding numbers that refer to the manufacture date, factory and country of origin, and other details. Like barcodes, the PLU (product look-up) code on fruits or vegetabes can tell you the variety, as well as if it’s organic (a five-digit number beginning with a 9), conventionally grown (a four-digit number starting with a 4), genetically engineered (a five-digit number beginning with an 8), etc.

Shoes to spimes: Bruce Sterling in Minneapolis

After last night’s dinner with Bruce Sterling, we were joined by Chuck Olsen, the man behind the film Blogumentary and the videoblog Minnesota Stories. Hear Sterling’s thoughts on everything from the pot roast at Minneapolis’ Modern Cafe to what happens to the atomized rubber created when our shoes wear down to his notion of “spimes” […]

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After last night’s dinner with Bruce Sterling, we were joined by Chuck Olsen, the man behind the film Blogumentary and the videoblog Minnesota Stories. Hear Sterling’s thoughts on everything from the pot roast at Minneapolis’ Modern Cafe to what happens to the atomized rubber created when our shoes wear down to his notion of “spimes” (objects that are trackable over space and time using RFID chips). Watch it here, then join us for Sterling’s free discussion with Rirkrit Tiravanija at the Walker tonight.

Thanks to Bruce and Boingboing‘s Xeni Jardin for guest-blogging at Off Center over the past few weeks.

Bruce@SXSW

While we’re building shrines, here’s a podcast of Bruce Sterling’s talk at the South By Southwest interactive conference earlier this week. He strikes an optimistic tone about the future of the net: “This is the hottest period of invention since the invention of the browser…Flickr is not a copy of anything else; it is not […]

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While we’re building shrines, here’s a podcast of Bruce Sterling’s talk at the South By Southwest interactive conference earlier this week. He strikes an optimistic tone about the future of the net: “This is the hottest period of invention since the invention of the browser…Flickr is not a copy of anything else; it is not a hippie knockoff of a commercial product. Wikipedia is not like anything else. A wiki is like nothing known to mankind. Collaborative web filters are very spooky things. They are without historical precedent… The Net community is no longer hanging on the coattails of Gates.”

But his chipper mood can only last so long. As a resident of Belgrade, he says he can see America from the outside, the way 94% of the world sees us, and it ain’t pretty, technologically speaking. Broadband in Serbia costs $20 a month, “and it works!” but the U.S. leaves broadband expansion to municipalities. He continues:

Our people in Washington are drinking their own bath water. They’ve forgotten how to build anything. They are busy monetizing stuff for their reelection campaigns. It is decadent, it is sclerotic. It looks like the Soviet Union. These guys in power are so eager to monetize the Net, that they’re turning the USA into a banana republic with rockets. Not just politically backward–technically backward! …The reality-based community are fatally easy to push around, mostly because they’re so gentlemanly and ladylike. But when you actually ignore reality for years on end, the payback is a bitch, brother! And I would know: because I’m a science fiction writer.

Via Craig Newmark. Worldchanging has more.

Japanese iPod art stars

Here’s an interesting bit of art technology: Japanese Art Scene Monitor reports that one of Japan’s largest printing companies is releasing a slideshow of art by Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Homma, Kenji Yanobe, and others for viewing on iPods. The Artstar project comes on CD and includes on music track plus 175 images, from drawings to […]

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Here’s an interesting bit of art technology: Japanese Art Scene Monitor reports that one of Japan’s largest printing companies is releasing a slideshow of art by Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Homma, Kenji Yanobe, and others for viewing on iPods. The Artstar project comes on CD and includes on music track plus 175 images, from drawings to photographs. Or in some cases, meta-photographs: “[Takashi] Homma has taken photographs of his photographs, creating 167 deliberately low-fi images, perhaps in a humorous acknowledgement of the iPod’s limitations as a visual media.”

Above: works by Yoshitomo Nara. (Thanks, Lynn.)

What’s up with text-messaging?

I’ve been told by a younger co-worker that there’s a generational divide about text-messaging, and I seem to be on the yonder side of said gap. I can’t stand peering into my cellphone, aggravating my carpal tunnel with every furtive jab of the thumb. And this abbreviated lingo–the emoticons and jargon and CU L8Rs (or […]

I’ve been told by a younger co-worker that there’s a generational divide about text-messaging, and I seem to be on the yonder side of said gap. I can’t stand peering into my cellphone, aggravating my carpal tunnel with every furtive jab of the thumb. And this abbreviated lingo–the emoticons and jargon and CU L8Rs (or whatever)–is too cutesy to endure. Visitors Services Manager Jeff Hnilicka puts the cut-off at around 26, give or take: older than that, you hate SMS, younger you love it.

But as a guy who can type a zillion words a minute, a web-based solution could get me on board. Textmessage.cc is one site that allows you to send free text messages via a web interface to two dozen cellphone providers in the US and UK. It also offers a function where you can include a sidebar in your blog from which your readers can send free messages. Downside: as with everything that’s free, you have to endure an ad embedded in your message.

Although… Troika’s SMS Guerilla Projector is pretty novel use of the technology, enabling “the user to project text based SMS messages in public spaces, in streets, onto people, inside cinemas, shops, houses…”

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