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Active Worlds vs Second Life
Was talking to someone recently who didn't know the former, a kind of also-ran in the buzz metaverse, or buzz about the metaverse, if you prefer. Posting these links for further comparison. I recall a "Virtual Chelsea" in Active Worlds with wireframe modernist gallery buildings, from about 8 years ago, that never quite got off the ground. Avatars could meet, talk art, and look at painting thumbnails mounted at oblique angles. It's all Lawnmower Man kitsch but interesting to think about the different ramifications of the "fully-immersive" Matrix paradigm (some wildly successful and some not), still grinding on while new social networking schemes based on much less memory intensive tech (MySpace etc) take off even more.
Middlebrow Democrat sites such as Daily Kos tell us the "antiwar" legislation just passed by the US House is good because it makes Bush look bad, or something. Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com notes that "the bill gives more money for the military than requested by Bush." In a blog post today, Raimondo responds to David Sirota, "the resident 'radical' over at the HuffPuffPost," who thinks the legislation, which Bush will veto if it ever gets to his desk, is just grand.
In a veritable cascade of Orwellian doublespeak, Sirota claims:Why should we accept a "compromise," anyway? The majority of Americans want to end the war and disagree with Bush's handling of it; every day that passes means more money spent and more lives lost in the 52nd State.It is a courageous move because it is never, ever easy to swallow a compromise, even if it is clearly the right thing to do to achieve long-term goals. These Members of Congress played hardball from the beginning, and that hardball made sure this bill included strong, binding legislation to end the war.If this is "strong and binding," then one can only wonder what would be weak: read it and you'll find that the actual wording of the legislation leaves it up to the White House to "certify" whether "progress" is being made in Iraq -- in which case none of the requirements, including a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, have to be met. Itís true that such a certification would only delay "redeployment" of our troops, but then all the President has to do is assert that forces remaining in Iraq after March 1, 2008 are specifically in pursuit of Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups with "global reach" -- which is the argument heís been making since Day One -- and they can stay -- indefinitely.
This is "strong" and "binding"?
"Enigmatic Rap" [mp3 removed]
Update: attempt to relate this to dubious utopian architecture purged for the time being. I am working on a piano version while thinking about how to best describe it.
vvebkm (YouTube) (petra cortright)
Update: We're discussing this project over at Paddy Johnson's.
NASTY NETS YOUR CREW IS WACK, YOUR LINKS SUCK, AND Y'ALL GOT SWAGGER JACKERS UP IN YOUR CUT. AS JWW SAID WE CAN RELATE THIS BEEF TO CURTIS + CAMíRON. NASTY NETS IS 50 CENT AND YA'LL JUST GOT SONNED BY DIPSET A.K.A. SUPERCENTRAL. JEAH!
- marky mark ó 3/16/07 @ 11:23 am
WE'RE NASTY NETS OUR CREW IS WACK,
OUR LINKS MIGHT SUCK
BUT WE DONíT SMOKE CRACK
WE GOT SWAGGER JACKERS UP IN OUR CUT
BUT THAT'S BETTER THAN HAVING THEM UP OUR BUTT
SONNED BY DIPSET THIS IS GOOD
AOL IS YA'LLS HOOD
NASTY NETS IS 50 CENT
BUT SUPERCENTRAL IS ALREADY SPENT
MARKY MARK DOESNíT EVEN RAP AT ALL
HE JUST RANTS WITH BLOCK CAPITALS. JEAH!
- tom moody ó 3/17/07 @ 1:39 pm
Reenacting the Unenacted?
About The MusterA friend attended this event and said it was ridiculous. Semi-diverse clumps of artists standing around looking clueless, waiting for some leadership or an idea to emerge, with no common purpose except the need to be "seen" and the vague desire to "help out." Reenaction is an interesting social phenomenon--so what? "What are you fighting for?" is a "When did you stop beating your wife?"-style question, in that it assumes you are fighting and the questioner doesn't know why, and one should have the good sense not to answer it, thus saving yourself becoming fodder for a coffee table book. Perhaps one purpose the mustering served was to parody the Iraq war protest marches of '03, where every leftist "cause" under the sun was represented and the participants were so busy working on their funny signs and costumes they forgot what was needed--a grim unified front, hundreds of thousands strong, to stop the coming senseless slaughter. Somehow parody doesn't seem like the idea behind "The Muster," though.
On May the 14th, 2005, artist Allison Smith transformed Governors Island Ė the former U.S. military base located only minutes by ferry from the southern shore of Manhattan Ė into a stage for an unforgettable work of public art, commissioned by the Public Art Fund. Inspired by American Civil War battle reenactments, The Muster was a "polyphonic marshalling of voices" in which Smith invited artists and non-artists alike to declare a cause and create a campsite-installation in response to her question: "What are you fighting for?" Combining celebration, art, craft, history and activism, this earnest and jubilant event embodied the complexities of its political, aesthetic, and cultural moment.
Allison Smith is a New York-based artist, whose diverse practice investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment, or living history, using it as a means of addressing the relationship between American history, social activism, craft, and queer identity. Her work has recently been seen in exhibitions at Artpace San Antonio; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; and elsewhere.
Produced with the inimitable flair of the ever-talented graphic designer Jorge Colombo, this book documents the Muster and places it within broader contexts. Included are more than 140 photographs, a foreword by Susan K. Freedman, President of the Public Art Fund, and essays by Tom Eccles, curator of the project and director of the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, James Trainor, US editor for Frieze, Anne Wehr, Communications Director for the Public Art Fund, and "Mustering Officer" Allison Smith.
1997 JODI interview
?: Aren't you afraid that your work will disappear at one point because of technological paradigm changes? For example, that it can't be viewed anymore because browsers change overnight?via camille pb. Update: Another excerpt, about the differences between European and American Internet surfing. This has changed now, I assume?
Paesmans: Fear is not a good condition for work. We have no fear. We make these things because we are angry. People perceive this anger when they are on the other end, at the receiving computer...
?: Why are you angry?
Paesmans: Because of the seriousness of technology, for example. It is obvious that our work fights against high tech. We also battle with the computer on a graphical level. The computer presents itself as a desktop, with a trash can on the right and pull down menus and all the system icons. We explore the computer from inside, and mirror this on the net.
When a viewer looks at our work, we are inside his computer. There is this hacker slogan: "We love your computer." We also get inside people's computers. And we are honored to be in somebody's computer. You are very close to a person when you are on his desktop. I think the computer is a device to get into someone's mind. We replace this mythological notion of a virtual society on the net or whatever with our own work. We put our own personality there.
?: There is this rumor that your site causes people's browsers to crash. Is this true?
Heemskerk: No. That is not a challenge. You could shut down anybody's computer with one line of code. That's not interesting.
?: My impression is that a lot of people look at your site briefly, and then go somewhere else, without ever exploring the details of it: "Oh, there is this site that looks like your computer is broken", and then it's back to CNN or Yahoo or whatever. Does that bother you?
Paesmans: No. Media art is always on the surface. You have to get people very quickly. You need to give them a karate punch in the neck as soon as possible. And then - of course - they don't get to the details, and the site will just sit there for the next five years or ten years, or maybe 100 years. And maybe their children will have the time to explore the details... (laughs)
?: I remember that one of you made a remark about the difference between the European and the American internet. This seems strange, because the internet is supposed to be an international network, that surpasses national boundaries. What do you mean with this, and how does this difference affect you as artists?
Paesmans: The Americans don't have to pay for their connection time...
?: ...because local calls are free in the US...
Paesmans: ...so the internet is just an extension of their local computer.
Heemskerk: It suits their geographical sense as well, because some places are so remote, that they need a means of communication. Not only the internet, but also the telephone. If you pick up the phone in the Netherlands and call somebody in Germany it seems really far. But in the US they spend hours on their phones with their neighbors.
Paesmans: And it's the same with the internet: home office workers for example can stay online for hours, because they don't have to think about the telephone costs.
?: And how does that affect you as artists?
Paesmans: We cannot explore the net the way we want to. For example we cannot check the dutch newspapers in the morning on the net, because connection time is too expensive. You can look at your email, but you cannot look around for an hour, because you have to pay the expensive morning rates for a local telephone call.
Heemskerk: The result is a whole different way of viewing. If you have to pay for the hour you want to see something immediately. You are not prepared to look for something for an hour. But you have to do this on the internet.
Paesmans: Otherwise you just log into the little areas you know. It doesn't become this jungle where you go to discover things you did not know before. But this is just the interesting part of it. It is fun to find things from the Philippines or Morocco. So you have to get organized and do your surfing at night, because the rates are cheaper then.
?: How many hours do you spend online per day?
Paesmans: Not many. Maybe half an hour. If we are working on something it might be longer. I like to look around at Japanese sites, which are incomprehensible to me. The characters are totally unreadable, and they have beautiful screen designs.