The Emerging NC Consensus

NonCommercial is Creative Commons’s most popular licence module (Attribution doesn’t count, it is automatic). Richard Stallman and Tim Berners-Lee support a baseline of non-commercial use. And cool music acts like Radiohead and Girl Talk release work under NC.

There seems to be a growing consensus around NC.

Compared to standard copyright, NC is a gain in freedom. I do not deny that. But it is not enough. It is still a restriction on freedom of speech.

How can this be? After all, you are free to make any work and place it on a P2P network under NC. But, as Negativland point out, your freedom of speech can be expensive to exercise. It takes money to make work, the more major the work the more major the cost, and if you cannot recoup your costs there will be a chilling effect on the production of work that you can’t make in a few minutes on a laptop.

I understand that people wish to reserve the right to economically exploit their work, or to deny that right to exploitative entities such as major media corporations. But I think that this cuts off freedom’s nose to spite censorship’s face. NC is triangulation, it is censorship. A lesser censorship, indirect and with the best of intentions, but censorship nonetheless.

The emerging NC consensus must be broken before it becomes institutionalized. I hope that Wikipedia converting to BY-SA at some point will help to achieve this, but more is needed. People are starting to recognize the link between freedom of expression and alternative licencing again. It is a link that Lessig made in “Free Culture”, and it is the lost content of debate around the Creative Commons licences.

We need practical ways of re-emphasizing the link between free expression and alternative licencing, and in particular between free expression and copyleft (or ShareAlike). We need this quite urgently.

Some Excellent Free Culture-Related Blogs

Mike Linksvayer has an insightful and thought-provoking blog here.

Crosbie Fitch will help you imagine a world without copyright here.

Matt Lee explores freedom for cultural work as well as for software here.

Joy Garnett’s NewsGrist has the best fair use and free expression coverage in the art world, and more, here.

Like That

“Like That” turned into a code generation project but I think this was more trouble than it was worth. Beware the seduction of time-saving code that doesn’t save time. I took the “make a large number of exhibitable works” part and missed out the “quickly” part. And I ended up having to exercise editorial control, and Processing isn’t the right environment for it, and it didn’t make doing the hard things any easier, and so I got discouraged.

So I’m going to roll back “Like That” to the hand-written works, re-make some of the more interesting generated works, and try to push on into the areas I wanted to go but that the code generator made difficult to do.

Now I just need to rescue that work and put it back on the restored web site…

Some Sanity On DRM For Second Life

There’s a very fundamental problem facing many content creators in Virtual Worlds these days (such as Second Life™, IMVU™ and others), and that is the problem of Piracy – where one unscrupulous individual takes content from a designer or developer, and then attempts to resell it as their own.

It’s a problem – no-one can deny that, but the solution to the problem is not ‘deep’ DRM. There are a few reasons for this, especially when it comes to content

Some good (and familiar 😉 ) suggestions for real solutions as well.

Where’s Rob?

I’m working on reviews for Furtherfield, having long conversations about digital art on Rhizome, reading William Gibson, and learning Rails, Open Inventor and Second Life.

I’m also hacking on some data visualization code (you’ve seen the patterns on this blog) but I’m not sure whether that’s going anywhere. I think 1968/1969 may be my ultimate statement on data visualization. They have the critical distance and irony that a straight piece of data visualization lacks, whatever its input.

Like That is struggling to break through the Processing barrier. I can’t think of a language that Like That would be easy in, but it certainly isn’t Processing. Maybe I can switch to JavaScript or OpenFrameworks. I’ve sworn to just use whatever tools do the job at the time, so I’m looking at OpenSim, but when there are no good tools that doesn’t help.

I need a project that I can just do.

If you are on MySpace please make friends with a colour or a shape or a compositional principle that you like. Friending The Aesthetic needs friends…

A Day In The Studio 1 (Rings, in Progress)


Doctor Who And Duchamp

Duchamp’s readymades are acts of ontological transubstantiation, they nominate non-artistic objects as artworks. This is aesthetic blasphemy.

Nominating a non-art object as an artwork requires that the object not be an art object. But imagine that you have a time machine. Now you can go back in time to ancient Rome or Greece with any non-art object the artist seeks to nominate as an artwork and have it accepted as a work of art. Not declared, displayed and accepted.

Assuming you avoid paradoxes, the object will not have been nominated as an art object and will never have been a non-art object. Is this just nomination at an extra level of indirection, or does it undo the readymade?

(From a conversation with Evie.)

I Don’t Want To Grow Up

In 1976 Tom Waits sang “Tom Traubert’s Blues”.

In 1992 he sang “I Don’t Want To Grow Up”.

Each is equivalent given its environment.

Some People Really Need To Stop Trying To Get Their Hand Up Your Backside

Dealing with a last-chance careerist nonentity and their agenda generates neither light nor heat. There’s a shuffling embarrassment and gazing into your glass that results from being faced with a cretin riding out. When said lackwit also persistently misrepresents what you are saying (or is too incompetent to stump for a clue), giving them the oxygen of google juice is an own goal.

I like blog art and group blogs. I would go to bat for them. I don’t like semiowankery or art-historical overbidding or chin-stroking, ladder-climbing, self-regarding idiots who don’t know the genealogy of Claris Works. Of the two principles, the latter is the stronger.

British libel law, eh? What can you do.

Why Friending The Aesthetic?

The bloggers and surf clubs discussed at the Net Aesthetics 2.0 panel follow a similar model. But instead of stoically re-creating the art world online, they are opening themselves to a galaxy of experience that could potentially be considered art, while at the same time subversively slipping in their own content.
– Tom Moody.

The solution to The Institutional Theory Of Art is to recognize artworks as members of the artworld. – Rob Myers.

we would agree that the opacity of the aesthetic offers some much needed resistance to the kinds of transparency increasingly demanded in so-called “knowledge work” – Art & Language.