:: Notes from Somewhere Bizarre ::

A Journal of Cultural Contamination by Ashley Benigno
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:: Friday, January 31, 2003 ::

Narration Architecture

A couple of days ago I was laying in bed with hardcore stomach cramps, running a fever, when the memory of similar moments came flooding back: like the time I lay huddled against a betel stained wall of Mumbay's airport . Thoughts of travel led me to ponder once again the differences between neo-wanderers and nomads, the latter shrouded in the sound of songlines collapsing into Chatwin. Thinking of writers, I am reminded of Henry Miller and of how he was always going for walks, dreaming his world into existence during his strolls around Brooklyn. Then I think of current experiments like annotate space and 34n118w and I cant help but image myself wandering around NYC searching for Miller's thought blog on street corners, disused theaters and chinese restaurants.

Henry Miller walking around Paris, thinking up Tropic of Cancer, a novel that defied many previous literary conventions.

Finding new ways to tell stories; defining new ways to roam through space.

Walking and talking.

Evolving, transforming storytelling.

Vast landscapes that come into being through narration architecture.

And then I think of how delicate such stories could be. How fragile their permanence in time. How similar in essence to oral traditions. How vaporous our current digital production is. Websites that disappear, early software that can no longer be accessed, silent hardware. Will streets that start talking still be heard in decades, centuries to come?

And are there already stories embedded around us, we can no longer hear? Is technology linked to magic?

Then all questions, thoughts fly away as marixxx walks in and kisses me with paradise-soft lips full of haikus.


:: ashleyb Friday, January 31, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Thursday, January 30, 2003 ::
Blogs - Virus and Mutation

The Guardian has an interesting article about the viral spread of blogging into the realm of business models and concepts - from Nick Denton's "nanopublishing" to knowledge management systems mutating into k-logs.

And on the subject of blog mutations, check out Augmented Moblogging (via headmap)


:: ashleyb Thursday, January 30, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Thursday, January 23, 2003 ::
Always-on people locked in overload now

My open-space neighbour and friend Fabio Sergio has written an interesting essay on the erosion of time by those technological devices that were once supposed to save us time. At one point he writes:

"Results of our rising expectations towards constant availability are already well known, like the disappearing boundaries between work and play, between our professional and personal life."

On this aspect, what is interesting is that we are not witnessing a balanced merge between work and play, but an invasion of our personal sphere by the forces of work. Ever had a day off, an evening out, a moment of play disrupted by a call from work that just couldn't wait? The "couldn't wait" part is important. A symptom perhaps of what Fabio has dubbed Interaction Anxiety; lets call it the immediate response syndrome, the need to answer an email, reply to a voicemail, provide a solution NOW. Hyper-speed in work practices becomes akin to driving full speed without taking into consideration the need to slow down to tackle the approaching bend. With bleak pessimism, digital (counter)culture theorist bifo writes (in italian): "A depression epidemic has hit planet earth. After 20 years of economic fanaticalness, superwork and competition have brought the psychic energies of humanity to the point of collapse".

"We live in the now" writes Fabio. This "now" however, does not free us from the tyranny of time, allowing us to bask in the richness and heat of the pure present. Instead it leaves us locked in overload now

:: ashleyb Thursday, January 23, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 ::
From the gift economy (and its interpretations) to open source, from copyleft to creative commons, the Net continues to act as a hotbed of socio-economic experimentation: if you don't want to sell the goods and cultural commodities you no longer want, why not try bartering?


:: ashleyb Tuesday, January 21, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Thursday, January 16, 2003 ::
"What if you think of GPS as a kind of 3-D version of the Internet, a hypertext Web spun out in real-world geography?"

Steven Johnson asks the question in this article that illustrates some of the potentials behind the web's overflow into the physical environment.

:: ashleyb Thursday, January 16, 2003 [+] ::
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Brilliant remix of Bush' State of the Union talk (via Joho). A great example of the bastard pop philosophy applied to political commentary.
:: ashleyb Thursday, January 16, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Friday, January 10, 2003 ::
Sony Ericsson goes hip-hunting in an attempt to make it cool to drool over a T300 with a classic viral marketing campaign. Feel the void vibrating to the sound of Leary tripping over in his grave as the kids "turn on...tune in...drool out".
:: ashleyb Friday, January 10, 2003 [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 ::
After the recent release of Pocket Blog, a Irish startup announced today FoneBlog. The software enables mobile phone operators to offer users internet blogs (text, image and sound based) that can be updated from their mobile devices. The communication potentials implicit in moblogging continue to spread and grow....
:: ashleyb Wednesday, January 08, 2003 [+] ::
...
As we settle down in front of our TV screens to view the kick-off of the latest installment in the soap opera we call war, here are some rare pictures from the mother of all media(ted) conflicts: the first gulf war. As Peter Turnley, the photographer, points out in the intro:

"This past war and any one looming, have often been treated as something akin to a 'Nintendo game'. This view conveniently obscures the vivid and often grotesque realities apparent to those directly involved in war. As a witness to the results of this past Gulf War, this televised, aerial, and technological version of the conflict is not what I saw and I'd like to present some images that I made that represent a more complete picture of what this conflict looked like."

With mainsteam media washing wars whiter than white, removing all those unsightly stains humans make, Turnley's photos remind us of both the horror of war and the censorship that surrounds that horror. But if technology is used to "hide" the full media picture - to paraphrase Kubrick's film - will new forms of war journalism emerge, following bottom-up news models, to counteract this trend? As video capture tools become embedded in mobile devices (here's today's product announcement), will they change they way we treat and deal with reality? Yesterday punto-informatico reported (in Italian) how the use of videophones has been banned in the changing rooms of some sport centres in Scotland (and in the whole of Saudi Arabia). "It doesn't exist if it's not in the frame", marixxx often says, quoting murnau.


:: ashleyb Wednesday, January 08, 2003 [+] ::
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