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akademic werdsakademic werds
written and published in Tinderbox 1.2.3
belgrade based video festival. low fi vid, shorter works (under 20 minutes i think) and they'll look at stuff on CDROM, though i'm not sure about networked material.
site run by nora barry which hosts the annual streaming cinema events (an international exhibition of low bit rate video works).
in the machine. i've been using osx for 6 months now, and after having got used to most of it (though i'm far from the sort of user i used to be, these days i find i just don't have time to read all the books and learn all the tricks as i onceuponatime did) and deciding it was rather too slow along came 10.1 and it is just fantastic. still, i wouldn't run it on anything but a g4, and my 256mb of ram is starting to feel like some things are getting slow partly because in osx i tend to keep things open for longer than in classic (even now when i'm not doing much i have 8 apps running).
the only classic apps. i rely on now are photoshop, ceres, storyspace, and cleaner. i'm seriously thinking about giving up cleaner for hipflics, which seems to be tons faster and is osx native - the others i need to wait on.
but the ghost. i played a vog i'd made recently and then stopped it, but the music and my voice continued. weird. so i quit quicktime player. my voice remains... i quite livestage pro, though there was nothing running in there. my voice remains. i quite all open applications. my voice remains. and it doesn't stop. it gets the end of the sentence and just starts again. apparently all by itself! i'm about to reboot the machine to shut it up, when i realise.
i've been making some new vogs recently and one has childmovie soundtracks. they're scripted to start playing automatically and to loop and that means they will play whether the movie is playing or not. and osx has this very clever feature (because quicktime is built in as one of its graphics engines) where if you select a quicktime file in the finder you can play it in the finder without opening quicktime, they just play. and this is what was happening. the movie was selected in a window in the finder and so the childmovie soundtrack loaded and started up all byitself. didn't need any applications running, and it meant the machine just seemed to be chatting, all by itself.
now this is really interesting, and something i'm still waiting for hci people to use, since right from the start with osx it occured to me that if quicktime is built in as a graphics engine then any application written for osx can use quicktime. this means, literally (i think) that a button in a program could contain video, this video could even be sourced via a network, or it they could be still images (you just use a sprite in quicktime and the image for the sprite has a network address), or it could be a sound, and not just a sound but a soundtrack. imagine your browser and you have an option where you tell it that mousing over any of the navigation buttons means pick up that radio stream. or in my case, select a file in the finder and it just starts talking to me.
i really want someone to do this, apart from being potentially enormous fun i suspect it has significant implications of hci.
as with the face vog i've just finished another vog but this too i think ought to turn up in some bloody journal before i publish it here. my academic masters like creative work being done. they like it even more when it's 'exhibited' or 'published'.
this new one is a 2 minute shot of rain falling on the window of a hut on the vidden near mt ulriken in bergen. it was a day where in amongst the scurrying rain there was sleet and a half hearted horrible snow. the hut is open weekends and serves hot chocolate and waffles, i think it's looked after by a local walking or mountain rambling club, but who knows.
i sliced the video into 9, and then over the top i've layed three text tracks. as with the previous vog the pace of the text track is controlled by the duration of the video, and since each text track is of a different length (and length there is number of characters) it means that each scrolls across the screen at different rates. gives the text a funereal elegance against the quietness of the video where about the most exciting visual event is a large drip down the middle panes. :-)
then i added a series of sprite tracks, tied to the text tracks. this counts mouse entries into each text track and after a particular number replaces all the text with a different string of text. for the top two text tracks clicking on the text track disables (makes invisible) the textmovie, but clicking there again recovers it, resets the count to 0 and so restores the original text. the bottom text track works differently. once you mouse in there a set number of times the text track is replaced with another and that's it, stays that way, and there is no mouse click event to restore it...
because the scrolling of the text tracks is tied to the duration of the movie i can replace a sentence or a paragraph with just one word and it will stay on screen, inching ever so slowly across the screen, since i've built it so that the text track lasts as long as the entire movie which means one word will take 2 minutes to scroll if the movie lasts two minutes. what's good about this is that i can replace a sentence with a word and not risk the user/reader not knowing this has happened, since it will be on screen. and the same happens when they get the original sentence back. this also gives the work a rather elegant sort of stochastic quality, when the text goes and you get back the original sentences new patterns and series form, i like that.
so this one has events that eventually happen in response to mouse entries, but also on two of the tracks there is an action on mouse clicks too. no soundtrack, i thought about some midi sound fx for mouse overs and stuff but it gets in the way, though a soundtrack of bergen rain would've been good, just don't have one.
i've just finished two new vogs, but the vanities of academic systems of patronage mean that they won't be on the vog site until they're published elsewhere. have to pay the piper who pays the bills....
the first one is somewhere between animation and found footage. i did a sketch with a series of slight changes and each was photographed. i sliced it up into 9 fragments (this is the movie with a reversed aspect ratio that caused so much trouble) and added a pile of film noise to it. from there i wrote three brief text fragments and each plays in sequence, scrolling right to left, alongside the image. from there i also narrated each of the fragments, loaded these as external movies (movie in a movie in qt parlance) and added a sprite so that when you mouse over any of the text tracks its soundtrack loads and plays.
this gives the effect of a variable commentary, but also several different temporal registers. the text tracks are tied to the same timeline as the sliced video of the drawings, so their speed is controlled by the duration of the film, but the soundtracks, as childmovies, have been scripted to loop and to have a duration independent of their parent movie. this means that it is common for the soundtrack to play (to read the text) two or even three times while the text track is still playing. i like the soft dislocation, repetition, and sort of redundancy that causes. i should have held the last frame for 5 seconds or so, the tiny pixels of colour that appear there disappear too quickly.
oh, another effect of using childmovies for the sound is that you can pause the movie and the sound continues! that's sort of eerie and interesting all at once.
i've just finished the 18th, and last, of patrick o'brian's aubrey maturin series. i never thought i'd read such novels. the covers are enough to deter me, the sorts of things old (much older!) men read at that point in their lives when they know that adventures are the dreams of years that have passed.
but no. stuff and nonsense. first of all o'brian turns out to be quite an interesting character, much like his major characters. some sort of anglo-irish childhood and then i'm not sure how but french, spanish and catalan also come to be his. he's the major translator of de beauviour into english. has written a major biography of sir joseph banks (a major scientific and political figure of the 18th and 19th centuries who figures large in australian history) and of picasso, who it turns out was a neighbour. which i guess means he must have been rather well to do.
and then there are the novels. where to begin?
there's a fascination with detail and accuracy. an extraordinary and insistent naming of parts of the ships, food, events, manners, naval customs. so much so that for pages you have little sense of what on earth things might mean and the novels appear to make at best a token effort at letting you in. There is little effort to explain the nautical terms, nor just what on earth spotted dog (a dessert much loved by captain aubrey) actually is, though apparently it can be very large. the best the novels ever do is describe something for the benefit of maturin, the physician come natural philosopher, but even then it is not what you would ordinarily get in a novel or a film. instead of an explanation for the reader it often consists of a statement along the lines of "what a fellow you are stephen, to be sure. why the [insert obscure nautical term here] is that [insert shape] piece used for [insert second obscure nautical term here] by the [insert third obscure nautical term] aft of plaice" (a character). to which stephen will observe the said piece and nod. but not the reader. or in an introduction to the reader o'brian will apologise for some historical inaccuracy, for instance readers will note that the timing of the battle described (which is based on fact) is wrong since the grapes in spain couldn't possibly have been harvested by then! i mean, if that's the extent of the historical error. i find this detail fascinating, exotic, exhilirating and somewhere or somehow expressing a fidelity to a vision (of manners as a mode of appropriate and reasonable conduct) that is mirrored by the novels themselves.
for so often in these books the intimate is found between what is not said. the reserve and discreteness of the major characters is straight from austen, but it would be an error to think that o'brian only writes about boys in boats. there are political intrigues, and a series of increasingly complex (and despairing) personal relationships revolving around love, infidelity, wealth, and apparently intractable misunderstandings. in particular between maturin and diana, his eventual partner, a relationship that is played out, explored, teased, broken, established, only to be broken i think 4 times, over some 9 or 10 novels. this builds a history and a texture which is simply extraordinary, and means that their final reconciliation can be reduced to a single concluding paragraph at the end of a series of events that has occupied two entire novels encompassing several years, at no point they ever being able to see each or talk with each other (he was pretty much involved in a circumnavigation of the world). yet because of this texture that paragraph reverberates with a known history of addiction, desire, loss and, well, a feeling of 'oh for fuck's sake, just bloody well talk about it!'
exactly the same thing regularly happens with the naval battles, such as they are. the mauritius campaign for instance has our heroes in a position of some power as commander of a fleet, after several hundred pages we are coming down to the final action, outnumbered yet moral superiority clear. but history gets in the way of an ending for the british fleet appears over the horizon, completely outnumbering the french who must as a matter of course strike. that's it. no battle, no heroism, no deserving victory. it just ends. and in the same novel one captain, clearly incompetent and the nearest thing you get to a 'baddie', makes an incompetent mess of one major action which results in the loss of much life. nothing happens. no comeuppance, no narrative resolution, he just made a cock up of it and he's no good. any other novel (well, nearly any other) would have some narrative resolution around this, some outcome leading to his disgrace - death, loss of command, suicide. but alas history again intervenes. exactly the same thing seems to happen in the penultimate novel when it is clear that one british captain flogs his crew unnecessarily and is a tyrant. this is repeatedly observed and aubrey (one of the major characters) comments that the ship will be close to mutiny, but nothing ever happens. they are victorious in their final battle and they all sail home.
and again there is a pacing in the novels that is almost religious in its careful exaggeration of slow detail until a brief and intense instant. a chase might happen over days, and pages, but the final maneouvres that win the ship may all be achieved in two paragraphs. in some cases it even feels as if an entire novel builds to one such moment, and as quickly as it arrives the novel merely ends. and it is this (which i only realised around book 14 or so) which makes the writing surprisingly subtle and o'brian's debt to austen becomes very clear. though it isn't just austen. no one in austen says "fuck" as the lower deck does here, or has characters launch into frank discussions of the commonplace presence of buggery in the service and of whether sailors ought to hang for it (aubrey's of the view that buggery, like women on board, is bad for discipline but certainly no one ought to hang for it). or detailed descriptions of flora and fauna in various countries, all consistent with the knowledge of the day, or of medical techniques and practices. etc.
and there are 18 of these. 18. this is the fidelity to something that i mentioned earlier. some insistent idea that finds voice in these novels and leads to a work that does become a world. novels often make my cry, laugh, and move me in dense complicated and extraordinary ways, shadowing parts of me in ways that words ought not be allowed to do. but these, these are something else again. to read them all does feel somewhere or somehow like joining a monastic order of a particular sort. probably a bit of a boys club, or maybe that's just the cover design?
cinema in the digital age... they have an email list or newsletter, a database of references to stuff on digital video/cinema, and some .mov's on the site of work. excellent resource.
a new media information directory. has companies, dvd and cdrom titles, news, links, events, jobs, full catastrophe. seems to be international in scope, a business to business directory, and uk based.
well, i think this column, the vogwurk column, might have to be reworked. there is plenty of stuff waiting to rock and roll for the vlog, just haven't squirrelled away the time yet. but it does make the space, visually and sort of academically (blogginlgy) rather unbalanced.
maybe pictures.... mmm. maybe i'll just chuck it all together and have one major pane. gee. most of the world's population have never made a phone call and i'm worried on christmas eve about some empty space in a browser window.
the long distance lover. gawd, its kleenex time. duck and cover everyone. (and yes, there is some patsy k on my cd shelf.) :-)
my partner lives in norway, i live, most of the time, in melbourne. being divorced and all that christmas turns out to be a hard time of the year. time for families, friends, your kids. between having my kids, then not having them for a day, and then christmas and boxing day with them, but without my partner to share with, it becomes a strange, lopsided time. i think the hardest, or weirdest, part is that really the only people who share the quotidian pleasures and struggles of children are their parents, and when you're divorced that world affirming confidence of collaboration and struggle gets balkanized and bullied.
it's christmas eve and tomorrow my children have that thrill of gifts and families.
the lonliness of
well first jill had rsi or the more recent version, and now i seem to have received a dose. wonder if you catch it down the ethernet? (you can certainly catch it off a mouse, interspeciel, no, interspecial disease - where's eduardo kac when you need him?)
anyway, the culprit is almost certainly my new desk, the starship enterprise fake timber finish L-shaped juggernaut that i can now harass students from behind. cos it's got one of those new fangled keyboard level thingamyjigs for ergonomic delight. but they never have enough room for the mouse (hello! gui's with keyboards are nothing new) so the mouse ends up at a different height to the keyboard. i'm pretty sure that this is a bad thing (and yep, here's the dope). only took about 3 days. i figure christmas will fix it, and i've moved the keyboard to the same height...
when coming home from bergen i often get a bottle of aquavit (something jan rune holmevik introduced me to on my first visit). the best aquavit is line (or linie) aquavit, which means it is put in sherry casks and put on a ship and has to cross the equator (the line). since it has to get back to norway this of course means it crosses the line twice. real line aquavit - i'm told - has this information printed on the back of the label so you can read it through the light tea coloured drink (usually flavoured with things like cardamon).
so, where's life in all this. well in september a norwegian freighter picked up some damp afghan refugees in a memorable bit of seamanship. they insisted the ship change course to australia so they did. and the tampa crisis was born. front page news in norway and australia for a week, changed national australian opinon to re-elect a conservative government who shamelessly continue to maintain a xenophobic and small minded policy to these same people. and on what ship did my particular bottle of aquavit cross the line. yep. the tampa. my particular drop crossed on 16.05.2000 and 29.09.2000, so it wasn't that particular voyage but it seems to have woven me and my world into the world that bit more.
i'm going to try and compile a list of basic things that should be read to get a handle on interactive cinema. well, not so much interactive cinema in the big picture but that part of it that is relevant to the vogs. of course i guess such a list will probably need or assume some degree of familiarity with cinema studies. dunno. see how it goes.
journal that is based at melbourne uni and wants to cover new media, games, and that sort of stuff. luckily design doesn't have to be an indicator of content. lives in the school of fine arts (art history and cinema, classical studies and archaeology, go figure).
have been slowly (ever so slowly) working on a new vog. this one uses still images in the spirit of perhaps la jetee though with a very different theme (of course).
what has been hard is the aspect ratio.
instead of 16:9 i want 9:16 and so i shot it and then i cut it and sliced it and compressed it and in quicktime player (pro) rotated each of the 9 bits to the new view and then bought them all into livestage pro to build.
didn't work they maintained their original aspect ratio. 1st response was to rotate them in quicktime player and export them as new files. seemed to help.
though in livestage as soon as the project was built they flipped back to their old aspect ratio. very weird.
solution was to import the stills into imovie and then export as a quicktime clip and then crop it to 9:16 in cleaner and then slice it. only took a lot of time to figure all that out.
now i want three sound tracks that are all external (child movies) but i still haven't figured out how it should run that is the interface what mediation ought to happen and why.
while reading rune klevjer's "computer game aesthetics and media studies" i found this:
curatorial resource for upstart media bliss (crumb, get it?). no, it's not something from a mike meyer's film but is housed at sunderland uni in the uk. these are the people who host a new media curatorial list, and they also have plenty of resources online about curating new media.
this is a new online journal from griffith uni's australian key centre for cultural and media policy. the aim is to be more a newsletter with short themed stuff, commentary and the like.
media culture review
quite a while ago, perhaps 1992, i first saw storyspace. it was a conference at monash university on something poststructural and politics (alex düttmann was a keynote) and paul kane gave a talk about hypertext, using storyspace.
he used a state of the art pizza box mac (an lciii i think) in some new high tech lecture theatre and gave a pretty straightforward account of hypertext and multilinear reading and writing.
it was an epiphany for me. seriously :-). i immediately understood its relevance, applicability and necessity. ever since i've been exploring, arguing for and applying hypertext in my research, teaching, and writing.
in spite of the arrival of the web after this, the rise of multimedia, new media, net media, networked media, and nmedia the role of a tool like storyspace remains unchanged. and all that hypertext theory and writing explored and explores remains as relevant now as it did then for teaching, learning, and critical practices.
the vogs, video blogs, as far as i'm concerned is simply video as storyspace. it just took me ten years to realise that. and that was my second epiphany. (that might be a bit strong. my first view of storyspace was a potteresque thunderbolt, the vogs have been more a rather slow dawning...)
marie-laure ryan is a narratologist who works on electronic literature, games, and those sorts of things. edited a good anthology and authored some excellent essays.
irish museum of modern art that has a new media secion curated by Arthur X Doyle (gotta love the name).
back in melbourne one week and just getting the contexts of this particular home back. slowly. sometimes there is an abyss which is not dark but only nothing. there is nowhere inside and nowhere outside and nowhere over.
journal of electronic publishing is, as the title suggests, dedicated to getting stuff out there on the ethernet....or wireless....or.... is largely orientated towards the publishing community.
bachelor of arts at sydney uni combining an arts degree with a computing degree. one of the few programs i've seen in australia that approaches a computing humanities degree.
lisa gye's home page. lisa is an academic at swinburne university who works in new media, hypertext, digital culture sort of stuff. one of the best teachers i know.
new research lab at mit that will make art while doing research and theory. from their pr announcement:
our research will result in specific works of art, but will also help further an understanding of the relationships between art, technology, and cultural production. some of the strategies we practice include interventions in contemporary consumer electronics, creating special media events for public situations and applying technical development to cultural agendas that wouldn't normally receive it. Our central interest is in physically embodied (rather than screen-based) work.
oh, is this installation art?
refereed journal published by swets and zeitlinger and edited by colin beardon and lone malmborg. its about art and design in higher education and wants to embrace all existing and emerging design disciplines. wants to include visual and creative content.
an open source development and playback environment for media capture and production being looked after by bek. ambitious and i suspect there might be several such projects floating around the place. it is certainly similar to the keysource project (which i saw running at landmark in bergen)
from torill which is both funny and rather dangerously accurate for most of us academics who can't see the forest for the trees (or more accurately the trees for the twigs!). there has been a brief flurry between torill and lisbeth where they've gone all reflexive about writing. sort of folding their blogs into their phd's as they worry about writing and process.
unfortunately that's all i've ever bloody done which is my my phd has recently faded from my horizon.
and as lisbeth says, the imagined reader for my blog, the ideal reader, has always been me. an imagined and ideal me. but me. of course.
and strangely displaced. fogged browsdly head lagged with the impossible list of what to do what hasn't been done what needs to be done toppling.
children in melbourne. my love in bergen. love my homes but they have become two. too.
bergen electronic kunst, otherwise bergen electronic art. innovative group in bergen that promote, support, and otherwise have their fingers in electronic art in bergen.
well not sure who or what they are. at the moment they only seem to have info about a december 2 2001 forum on curating new media. they're in canada. but who knows what else...
critical media ca
competition for digital art works that use artifical life principals.
i'm on the train between oslo and bergen. 6 or 7 hours of travel. suburbs, what must have been 5kms of tunnel and then country side. rolling hills (not unlike denmark) and large mountain rivered valleys. fairytale industrial centres. snow.
then climbing climbing through farms, forest, mountains.
geilo. major skisenter. cross country and downhill. lifts, chair lifts, trails, hotels, hytts all over. lodges. shortly after we are above the tree line and it becomes granite ice snowed white. a hut here and there. alone and vacant. powerlines accompanying the train - or is it the other way round - but just, well, the desolation of cold.
finse. highest point on the trip. only 1200 meters. thick dry snow. you feel the bite of the white dusting whips from the platform. no horizon in the melded light.
it is the crust grey ice on the face of the rocks that does it. it isn't pretty it is intimidating.