:: Notes from Somewhere Bizarre ::

A Journal of Cultural Contamination by Ashley Benigno
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:: Friday, February 28, 2003 ::

The Unstoppable litheness of Open-Sourcing

Three examples:

"We can take back an appropriate measure of control over the circumstances that literally govern our lives - we the uncredentialed, the nonexpert. We can teach ourselves what we need to learn, share whatever knowledge we glean, build on the insights of the others engaged in the same efforts. Just as the novice programmer is invited to learn from, understand, and improve upon - to "hack" - open-source software, the minimal compact invites us to demystify and reengineer government at the most intimate and immediate level. We can hack democracy."

"Free software is not only about computer science, technique or even licenses. It deals with freedom, equality and fraternity. Freedom to copy, to study, to modify and to redistribute software or documentations. Equality, same rights for every user, without discrimination. Fraternity, because we talk about sharing and mutual help. Moreover Free Software is already part of the mankind heritage, in fact. We are trying to obtain a UNESCO recognition."

The Rise of Open Source, Network-Based Movements

:: ashleyb Friday, February 28, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 27, 2003 ::
In a bubble of silence surrounded by disembodied voices

As an appendix to my post yesterday, I just came across this wishful provocation: order your bubble of silence today!

On a related note: check out disembodied voices, a net.art meditation on the nature of public space in the age of mobile devices by Jody Zellen

(both links via the always-interesting neural.it)

:: ashleyb Thursday, February 27, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 ::
Media fasting (& voluntary device deprivation)

On Monday, marixxx and I carried out a one-day fast. A way to help cleanse the body, focus the mind and sharpen the spirit. It was a positive experiment. After Monday’s mental rerouting of the physical discomfort on to a reflective plane, yesterday offered a boost in energy and elation. We’ve now decided to repeat the experience on a weekly basis.

The whole thing got me thinking about forms of consumption. Take media for example, wouldn’t it be beneficial to abstain from information from time to time? But is it possible?

Even if I choose not to launch my browser, turn on my TV, open a newspaper, etc, can I really escape the infosphere? How do I cut out the television sounds that filter from my neighbour’s windows? How do I block out the billboards I encounter? How do I refrain from glancing at newsstands?

And if I try and avoid all form of data transfer and infotainment, shouldn’t I also close my email client, switch off my handset, interrupt the flow?

Let my media digestive system take a rest. Take time to reflect, time to ingest, time to ponder and time to savour.

:: ashleyb Wednesday, February 26, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, February 24, 2003 ::
Religious Software

Market segmentation along the fault lines of faith: welcome to the first Christian Instant Messanger in the World! (thanks Hostinato)
:: ashleyb Monday, February 24, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 20, 2003 ::
F15, the blogosphere and emergent democracy

Upon reading Joi Ito’s paper on Emergent Democracy yesterday, my first thought was that while the essay made some interesting points, it was too focused on the tools, on the technology, instead of on the human element.

As I commented on Ito’s site, “instead of being viewed as enablers, the tools come across as drivers of a process”. To which Joi replied:

“I tried to focus initially on the toolmakers because they are testing the medium and creating the architecture… Therefore, I am trying to get the toolmakers to understand that they are doing a lot more than building tools for diaries and that things should be built into the architecture from the beginning to enhance democracy, protect privacy, protect the commons, etc.”

This is a valid and interesting point. Interesting because it implies that we need to bring a variety of perspectives, a multidisciplinary outlook to the things we do (in this case designing and building). Valid because more often than not this does not happen (and here, as a random example, I think of “analog” architecture and all those supposedly functional concrete tower ghetto blocks that have virulently spread across the urban zones of the globe).

And yet it is vital that we bring a renaissance style of thinking to our activities – the ability to mix science and arts, ethics and imagination, can help ignite the
(r)evolutionary potential implicit in our digital artifacts.

We can employ our tools to help us design and implement a different world, a different way of living. Alternatively we can fall prey to the allure of techno-fetishist fantasies.

On 15 February 2003, for example, something unprecedented and historical happened as we witnessed and generated the first common action of a global people. The first planetary protest. Tens of millions across the globe, numbers never seen before. A whole network of demonstrations made up of nodes and hubs (Ironically, the largest of all coming from a city once the center of another empire: Rome, where up to three million people took part in the march against the upcoming war in Iraq.)

Now, beyond the importance of the event in itself, which highlights a sweeping opposition to the warmongers, what needs to be stressed is the emergence of a new awareness. The awareness of acting locally within a global context. The emergence of a common front to tackle planetary problems.

This can become a very powerful physical meme capable of bringing increased attention and demands not only on wars, but poverty, the environment, quality of life. On February 15 it was globalization sunny-side up.

It was also a great feat in communications and network(ing).

Which is why I was surprised, after a weekend spent offline reading print papers and checking out monolithic TV, to discover that the excitement, the possibilities implicit in such an awareness, were not really shared in the online social network I inhabit.

For the blogosphere, the main event to mark February 15 was the sale of Blogger to Google…. An important event, definitely, but a touch fetishistic perhaps? Let your own conclusions emerge.

:: ashleyb Thursday, February 20, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, February 14, 2003 ::
War sites

On the eve of the anti-war demos being held tomorrow, a few links to online-driven initiatives:

"Join us in challenging dangerous nations that produce and conceal weapons of mass destruction. Rooting Out Evil is sending a weapons inspection team to the United States to inspect the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons produced and concealed by the Bush regime."

the wartime project: reflections on and reactions against wars, past, present and future by digital and network artists.

ANTI-WAR.US is dedicated to the free distribution of anti-war graphic material.

Webcam in Iraq project.

Poets against the war

:: ashleyb Friday, February 14, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 ::
Spatial politics and cartographies of power

Cartography of excess (an article)
Geography and the politics of mobility (an exhibition)

Bureau d'études (storyboarding the songlines of power)
Multiplicity (the art of territorial investigations)
Frontera Sur RRTV (exploring mediterranean borderlands)

:: ashleyb Tuesday, February 11, 2003 [+] ::
Drug madness

Incredibly ironic to think that a country that continues its war on drugs goes to war on drugs.

And will use drugs to kill (from the NYTimes - reg. required): “the federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled yesterday that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute”.

:: ashleyb Tuesday, February 11, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 06, 2003 ::
33 Links

It's marixxx' s birthday tomorrow. These links are for her:

Images of Argentina
Movie posters in Ghana (Antonio Banderas)
Sexy sculptures
Invisible clothes
Design playground
Lady D. paper doll
On the road
Gay superhero
High definition camcorder
Your laptop
William Gibson blog
Ghetto fabulous dolls
Cat clone
Phyllis Curott
Tokyo avant-garde
Estrazione lotto 7 febbraio 1970
London bloggers
Hollywood air
Smoking Heidi
Hollywood and pulp
Wild hearts and sacred arts
Air hostess uniforms
Magic(k)al tech
Ganguro (tokyo street fashion)
Bathroom mania
Sushi art
Googlism (ashley benigno)
The 33rd is not a link, but a world wide web of joy, love and passion for you.

:: ashleyb Thursday, February 06, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 ::
Space invading memories

Came across this site today. Memories of Space Invaders as my first digital obsession:

I was a gangly prepubescent kid growing up in late seventies Rome, when the game came out; humble aliens bringing a massive paradigm shift after decades of pinball rule – from shiny steel ball to green pixel. Leaving early for school to stop off for a few morning games. Rushing out in the afternoon for a few more – seeking status in top scores. The invariably cigarette-scarred console conjuring a taster of proto-cyberpunk aesthetics, as junkies hustled for change in the streets outside and fashion hooligans made wheelies on souped-up Vespas with Pioneer sound systems embedded in the glove box.

:: ashleyb Tuesday, February 04, 2003 [+] ::


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