Saturday, October 13, 2007

Free Software Advocacy and Politics - Danny Yee

Free Software Advocacy and Politics - Danny Yee
An interesting site with many useful links ro free ware and avocacy web sites. the owner, Danny Yee says "I'm interested in linking the free software movement with the struggle for social justice and developing the synergies between them, and in connecting free software with freedom of information issues in other areas. (For freedom of speech issues, see my fighting Internet censorship in Australia.)"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media

A Beautiful WWW has posted an updated version of their viz of Wikipedia. This version specializes on science and technology articles. The map is generated by first laying out the graph of Wikipedia (nodes are articles, edges are links between articles) and then decorating that substrate with colours (for topics: maths, science and technology) and images.

See the entire article on Data Mining

Monday, October 8, 2007

Facebook Grows Up

At 19, Mark Zuckerberg came up with a new way for college kids to connect—and started an online revolution. Now 23, he's trying to build out his business without losing its cool.
View the article
Here is another article about Zuckerman

Monday, August 6, 2007

-empyre- August 2007

Second Life : The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Being in Second Life < >

Neal Stephenson's Metaverse reigns supreme. One of it's current incarnations- the multi-user virtual universe Second Life claims a population of 8.5 million avatars. SL is embraced by many as an innovative and safe fantasy scape - enabling play, creativity, education, companionship, love and lust. It is reviled by some as a cesspit of antisocial isolationist addictive behavior; and SL is dismissed by others as simply an over-inflated hype driven commercial venture expounding the values
of property acquisition and commodity exchange.

Whatever your perspective, SL is serious business with an exchange rate which fluctuates against the $US and an estimated Second Life avatar electricity consumption equivalent to the average citizen of Brazil.<>

In this seemingly infinitely expandable universe aesthetic endeavours, creative constructions and artistic performances are enacted daily by talented artists and researchers - some of whom will join us in discussion this month as guests, and many more as part of the -empyre- community and beyond. We hope to hear from all of you and view your work.

Performance, architecture and artwork images from the guests and -empyre- community will be available on our Filckr site and a synthesis of the discussion will be edited into a richly illustrated chapter of a new Pretsel publication on the Second Life Architecture Competition. No dialogue will be published without individual approval and if you wish to upload images of any SL creativite activity which you are posting about to the Flickr site please email me. <>


--> Annabeth Robinson (UK) is a Second Life Artist focusing on interactive and sound driven projects, Metaverse consultant and Sim builder, Lecturer -Design for Digital Media at Leeds College of Art and Design. aka AngryBeth Shortbread

--> Patrick Lichty (US) is a technologically-based conceptual artist, writer, independent curator, co-founder of the Second Life based performanceart group, Second Front, animator for the The Yes Men, & Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine
aka Man Michinaga,

--> Stephan Doesinger (Austria) is a conceptual artist and architect who initiated Bastard Spaces the 1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition in SL to be announced at Ars Electronica aka Doesi Beck

--> Dr Ricardo Peach (AU) is the Program Manager for the Inter-Arts Office at the Australia Council for the Arts, which is funding a SL residency.aka Ricardo Paravane

--> Christy Dena (AU) is researching changes to art and entertainment in the age of cross-media production for her PhD at the University of Sydney. Dena works as an industry strategist, mentor, educator and journalist. aka Lythe Witte

--> Dr Fabio Zambetta (AU) lectures at School of Computer Science and Information Technology at RMIT University Melbourne and researcher in the area of 3D embodied conversational agents, 3D virtual environments, and interactive storytelling.
aka Fabio Forcella

--> Kathy Cleland (AU) is a writer, curator and lecturer in the Digital Cultures Program at The University of Sydney and is currently completing her PhD investigating avatars, digital portraiture and representations of the self in virtual environments. aka Bella Bouchard

--> Adam Nash (AU) is a media artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer who works in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live audiovisual performance spaces. His work has been presented at SIGGRAPH, ISEA, and the Venice Biennale. aka Adam Ramona

---> Dr Melinda Rackham (AU) is the Executive Director of ANAT - Australia¹s peak cultural organisation for artists working with emerging technologies. Her Ph.D. explored the nature and construction of avatars and multi-user Virtual Reality Spaces. aka Marina Regina

Manifestos - some links

The manifesto is a way of outlining the intention and aspiration of a social, political or artistc group.

Arguably the most famous manifesto is the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848.

Here is a snapshot of some manifestos that have been significant in art history and media culture:

More manifestos can be found at

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Virtual STA Travel

Well it looks like STA Travel have joined the virtual community of Second Life. I prefer travelling in my 'real' life personally, but I guess the company see it as a way to promote themselves to tertiary students who might be considering travel after their studies or during the breaks.

Not certain I know what the intended meaning of the image below, but I do find is quite unsettling on a number of levels - is Uncle Sam taking over Sydney?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie

The other night we found episodes of this Canadian sitcom on YouTube. After watching the pilot, we ended up staying up for hours watching the entire series.
Little Mosque on the Prairie had mixed reviews after its release in January 2007, but for my money it is a smart and witty look at the social, relgious and cultural challenges for Muslims and non Muslims in the post September 11 world.
The Foreign Policy Passport blog hopes that each episode's "dose of laughs" succeeds in demystifying Muslims while Dr Blogstein argues that, if shown in the US, it could do for Islamic Americans what the Cosby Show did for African-Americans in the 80s.
Personally, I can't wait to see series two due to be aired in Canada this fall.

Monday, May 7, 2007


If you are interested in work that traverses and questions notions of art, programming and science, check out this web site. 'Piet' by David Morgan (see is a (functional if
limited) programming language, written in graphical blocks - so that the programme to print out 'Hello World' can look like a work by Mondrian.

Escape from Woomera

This week in the lecture we had a brief look at 'Escape from Woomera', a contraversal game, funded by the Australia Council in 2003.

The web site states: The Game is the ultimate piece of art, capable of incorporating all forms of art and expression known to humanity, expressed using all forms of technology, from the ancient to the bleeding edge, without compromising its identity as a game. - zerogame manifesto

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Media Art in a Control Society - a video performance

Transcript from Performance by Adam Trowbridge
The Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN, USA
March 22, 2007

As noted in the transcript, the majority of the statements read were not original and instead shamelessly stolen (edited and unedited) from various sources: theoretical texts, artists' statements, manifestos and paranoid rambling.

Transcript: This is...a performance and new media art...or maybe not.

[video begins]
[text below is read]
  • Gilles Deleuze said "Maybe speech and communication have been corrupted. They're thoroughly permeated by money and not by accident but by their very nature. We've got to hijack speech. Creating has always been something different from communicating. The key thing may be to create vacuoles of non-communication, circuit breakers, so we can elude control." End quote.
  • The phrase "new media art" is pointless.
  • The selection of medium is not the selection of a wardrobe for an idea. We are well past ideas and communication. Medium should be selected like legal and illicit pharmaceuticals: where do you want to go today?
  • What is a digital painting? Idiotic.- Contemporary art is both scattered and networked, always in motion. Medium, if anything, is a measure of speed and distribution. Is the texture of an oil painting that different from that of flypaper? Video is faster and shedding the weight of the poetic yet precious medium of film. Photography is a film still. Internet-based art is faster but still flails, lashed down by too many examples of bad information design masquerading as art.
  • THEY create DELIRIOUS RULES and sell you free access to their BACKSTAGE if you follow these sick rules. YOU KNOW IT.
  • Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome has been falsely represented as a metaphor for a network and for networked art. Deleuze and Guattari did not deal in metaphors.
  • Rhizomatic action is a force relationship in which power is distributed then scattered before it can begin to collect. This is not a metaphorical description but a plan of action.
  • Over 650,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by military intervention in Iraq and we are here to discuss...what?
  • Images can shatter the old order leaving nothing the same as before.
  • All hoarding, speculation on art, must cease and be seen for what it is: usury and exploitation.- In the beginning, you enjoyed it. You were caught in the middle of the WAR between THEM and THE OTHER SIDE, and you were trying to help THEM win the war.
  • All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar's teeth.- Six billion worldwide population, all living, have a Computer God Containment Policy brain bank brain, a real brain in the brain bank cities on the far side of the moon we never see.
  • Marketing has become the center or the "soul" of the corporation. We are taught that corporations have a soul, which is the most terrifying news in the world.
  • Human beings are not fully conscious of their real life...usually groping in the every moment groups and individuals find themselves confronted with results they have not wished.
  • Control is short-term and has rapid rates of turnover, but is also continuous and without limit.
  • New media art involves people who make watering plants more complex than it needs to be by using cell phones that call the Internet when the plants need water.
  • If you can talk about it, why paint it?
  • The Dia: Beacon is a tomb for the last gasp of studio art, let it be a monument and move on.
  • Man and machines can make symbiotic art.
  • Psychogeography: The study of the precise effects of geographical setting, consciously managed or not, acting directly on the mood and behavior of the individual.
  • Inevitability of gradualness. Usually, in a few years, you are made string bean thin or grotesquely deformed, crippled and ugly, or even made one foot shorter or one foot taller, as the Computer God sees fit.
  • In the future we will have foreign genetic material in us as today we have mechanical and electronic implants. In other words, we will be transgenic. However, there's no excuse but marketing for purchasing a glowing rabbit.
  • Users of the world are presented with fresh, owned content every day. We have the technology, the precedents, and the duty to make new art out of this owned content.
  • A lot of people say that new media is revolutionary. They say the net is subversive. But how subversive can you be in an exclusive club where it costs $1,000 for a computer and $50 a month to connect to the Internet.
  • The main function of Art is to distinguish rich people from poorer people.
  • Many young people strangely boast of being "motivated"; we re- request apprenticeships and permanent training. It's up to us to discover what we're being made to serve, just as our elders discovered, not without difficulty, the ultimate end of the disciplines.
  • Personal expression and human and artist centrality can be abandoned.- Complex machines are an emergent life form in the masturbatory fantasies of those siding with control. I distrust transhumanists but I want to be friends with a computer.
  • Any moralistic or spiritual pretension or representation purposes for art must be abandoned.
  • Primarily, based on your lifelong Frankenstein Radio Controls, especially your Eyesight TV, sight and sound recorded by your brain, your moon brain of the Computer God activates your Frankenstein threshold brainwash radio lifelong, inculcating conformist propaganda, even frightening you and mixing you up and the usual, "Don't worry about it."
  • Professionalism in the arts (and the accompanying stratification of skills) must be abandoned in favor of a progressive (class-less) artistry of both a personal and collective nature.
  • Over the last decades, using positions of power in your STAGE- WORLD reality, THEY introduced their key words and also their sick DREAMWORLD
  • TO-SELL key ideas in every aspect of culture in the STAGE WORLD society where you live : songs, movies, humor, even propaganda.
  • Derive: An experimental mode of behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique for hastily passing through varied environments.
  • The economic and cultural exploitation of the artist has reached appalling proportions. The individual and/or collective artist, whose work is plagiarized as commercial 'technique', or exported as cultural commodity, has little control over these conditions.
  • Consciousness is not exclusively restricted to the brain. Human bodies have no boundaries.
  • The artist must be concerned with the moral relationship that his/ her endeavors have to the institutions within which he/she expresses his/her work.
  • The majority of what I've read has been shamelessly stolen from various sources: theoretical texts, artists' statements, manifestos and paranoid rambling. They stand as a collection of connections and disjunctions. I am, we are, a manner of speaking.
  • Art is not knowledge.
  • Art does not communicate.
  • There is nothing here for you.
  • Gilles Deleuze said that new situations could " first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control that are equal to the harshest of confinements. There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons".

Friday, March 23, 2007


Linda Carroli's blog artArt covers a range of art events and projects. There is also a wealth of references to current events in the media, particularly creative projects that use divergent forms of media in innovative and challenging ways.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Values Australia web site

This web site is a parody of the Australian Government Department of Immigration web site. It uses irony and humour to convey ideas related to 'Australian Identity." The tag line on the coat of arms is the give away - "Ministry of mateship and fair dinkum values."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Being John Malkovich

In Week 4 there will be a screening 'Being John Malkovich'. This film links in with the lecture, which focues on identity. It also relates to the online lecture for Week 5, which addresses identity in the context of celebrity.

"The film raises questions about the nature of identity, and how some people are only completely free when their real self is hidden behind a mask or beneath a costume." (Jared Baldwin)

Here is some links to reviews:

Thursday, March 8, 2007

CHINA: a performance with image projection

By William Yang with Nicholas Ng, musician (ANU School of Music),
3pm Thursday 15 March
Finkel Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research Building,
Garran Road, ANU

For more information see the event poster (PDF 140KB)
PLEASE NOTE: some seating will be reserved for invited guests for this performance. Other ANU staff and students are welcome to attend this event, however bookings will not be taken and admission will be strictly on a first-come basis. Approximately 250 seats will be available on this basis and we recommend you arrive early to ensure seating.

French philosopher Jean Baudrillard dies

The Associated Press
March 6, 2007

PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.

Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.The two men had worked together since 1977, when "Oublier Foucault" (Forget Foucault) was published, one of about 30 books by Baudrillard, Delorme said by telephone.Among his last published books was "Cool Memories V," in 2005. Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his concepts of "hyperreality" and "simulation."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Tutorial topics

The tutorial presentation topics correspond to the weekly lecture subjects.

Students will give a 10-minute presentation and submit a short tutorial paper of 500-1000 words (the week after the presentation).

The presentation format is open to creative interpretation if students wish to create a video, animation, do a performance, create a blog or make a web site, all are ok, just discuss with me beforehand.


1. Cultural Practice
2. Cultural Meanings
3. Identity
4. Celebrity in cyberspace
5. Cultural mythologies
6. Real stories in New Media
7. Fashionable Communication
8. Virtual Reality: Animation
9. Virtual Reality: Gaming
10. Virtual Communities
11. Cyber Worlds

Please decide on a topic and let me know in the Week 4 tutorial.

Jihad Tv cont...

Douglas Kellner has written extensively on the role of media in the production of spectacle, terror and propaganda and his article September 11, Spectacles of Terror, and Media Manipulation: A Critique of Jihadist and Bush Media Politics explores these themes in the context of media theory.

He comments that:

In a global media world, extravagant terror spectacles have been orchestrated in part to gain worldwide attention, dramatize the issues of the terrorist groups involved, and achieve specific political objectives. Previous al Qaeda strikes against the U.S. hit a range of targets to try to demonstrate that the U.S. was weak and vulnerable to terrorism...Terrorism thus works in part through spectacle, using dramatic images and montage to catch attention, hoping thereby to catalyze unanticipated events that will spread further terror through domestic populations.

Jihad Tv (Cutting Edge) SBS

From program promo:

"Videos of smiling suicide bombers and insurgent attacks have become as important a weapon as explosives in Al Qaeda's global jihad against the West. Tonight's Cutting Edge looks at how the jihadis have seized the power of the internet and their message cannot be silenced. But who actually watches these videos and what effect are they having on young people in the Muslim world? And – for that matter – on their enemies in the West?"
(From the UK, in English and Arabic, English subtitles) M CC WS. Text from SBS (

This program in relation to media cultures studies has many relevant links to notions of idenity, stereotypes and how media used as propaganda. The role of user publishing (produser) or 'citizen journalism' (this term is very loosly in this context) is a central theme in the production of this type of video and interent media. There is an online version of Jihad Tv if you are interested in watching the entire documentary.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Mike Parr

Further to the Week 3 lecture and the discussion about stereotypes and power relations, here is an image of Mike Parr's 2002 performance 'Close the camps' as mentioned.

Adam Geczy's comments in his review of Parr's Internet Performance work in Real Time that:
"Performances such as these, which are dramatic in the way they both formalise and ritualise discomfort, as well as frame the scene of deprivation, have a distinctly different effect when they appear at home on the screen. What is most disturbing is the simultaneity of impotent deadness and uncomfortable proximity; the world wide web has on the one hand reduced this insane feat of bodily and psychological distension to the median level of cybernetic sameness, and on the other brings the performance so close to you and your living space that it invades it, infiltrates it."

Blog tutorials

Hi everyone,

I have set this blog up for the NEWM1001 tutorial groups. Information about tutorial lists and topics will be posted to the blog regularly and students are welcome to submit their tutorial papers to the blog for discussion.

Please check the blog regularly as I will be posting links to useful web sites and information.