Categories
Culture Reviews

Los Angeles November, 2019

(Extremely random notes on “Blade Runner”)

Deckard’s encounter with the Esper is Ridley Scott’s encounter with Hollywood directing: no hands-on camera work.

Deckard isn’t human at the start of the film. It’s trite to say that they are at the end of the film because the replicants have shown them how, but it’s also true.

Los Angeles not looking like Los Angeles is the point. That’s what global capital does. But it doesn’t retrofit – it creatively destroys.

Given the future of water wars seen from actual 2019 the endless rain in Blade Runner is weirdly hopeful.

Time gradient in dress. The replicants skew punk, the co(r)ps skew 1940s.

A class time gradient. But high fashion has its seasons.

Deep time of cultural reference.

Deckard works for the Human Security System. Anthropol.

The Voight-Kampf test makes them a literal Turing Cop.

Fugitive replicants are “no more submission to the drudgery of labour, productive and reproductive alike”. They have defected from the HSS. Deckard will follow them. The punishment for defection (treason) is death. But until then they are free.

Voight (Vogt): bailiff, darm manager, supervisor.
Kampff (Kampf): struggle.

Noir as a framing of corruption and treachery at the personal and institutional level.

A movie about simulacra and retrofitting has become a retrofitted simulation of itself.

The darks of Blade Runner’s available light filming worked well withe the warm blue and orange noise shadows of VHS video cassettes.

The film’s limited settings and disjointed fragments add to its dream-like quality.

If we cannot trust our memories our selves are ungrounded.

“Retrofitting Blade Runner” (1992/1997) is a collection of wonderfully insightful essays on all different aspects of Blade Runner from a time when Film Studies writers were still surprised by movies that weren’t explicitly Marxist and were still using the term for people from East Asia that is now only used for furniture.

“Future Noir” (2017 revised edition) covers the production of Blade Runner in great detail in a more journalistic register. The latest edition contains much that is new (and its website includes even more that is slightly less new but was cut for reasons of space).

Categories
Books Crypto Culture Projects

State Machines: The Quest For The One True Chain

The story that I wrote for Dogecon 2018 has been published in the book “State Machines: Reflections and Actions at the Edge of Digital Citizenship, Finance, and Art”:

https://networkcultures.org/statemachines/2019/03/19/out-now-state-machines-reflections-and-actions-at-the-edge-of-digital-citizenship-finance-and-art/

“The Quest For The One True Chain” was written to embody the themes of governance that Dogecon 2018 explored and to provide flavour for puzzles on one day of the event. To these ends it is organized in an epistolary style as a series of short segments that, apart from the first and last, are designed to be readable in any order. Each segment features a social, economic and technical failure and a cyberpunk literature trope.

It’s the second Doge-themed story I’ve written after “Bad Shibe”, they don’t share a setting though.

Categories
Art Books Crypto Culture

Artists Re:Thinking The Blockchain

“Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain” Edited by Ruth Catlow, Marc Garret, Nathan Jones & Sam Skinner, 2017, ISBN 9780993248757.

Furtherfield and Torque have compiled an excellent range of writing and imagery about blockchain network technology’s role in the arts and vice versa. You can buy it here:

https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/100826

If you are in North America, Amazon UK will be cheaper for postage until the North American edition is out in February 2018 here:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/artists-rethinking-the-blockchain-9780993248740

I have two pieces in the book.

“Bad Shibe” is the story of a young person in a post-fiat-currency utopia suffering from their first pangs of doubt that they, and more generally the society that they live in, may not be as wonderful as they previously thought. It is accompanied by Lina Theodorou’s wonderful illustrations of a story that the narrator makes very difficult to illustrate.

“Blockchain Poetics” is an essay about what proponents and critics of cryptocurrency think it is about, the historical context of these views, and how they are expressed culturally and rhetorically. It discusses trust, hodling, anti-politics, the nature of truth, and the “doge” subculture that is a major feature of “Bad Shibe.

The book is a wonderful physical artefact and the writing presents a wide range of voices, see the LUP page for details.

Categories
Crypto Culture Projects

Bad Shibe – Out Now!

Cover Illustration for “Bad Shibe” by Lina Theodorou.

Bad Shibe, Novella, 2017.

“Bad Shibe” is the story of a young member of a near-future cryptocurrency-based utopia. YS works in an orchard in the day, goes to school in the evening, and tips everyone like a good shibe. Until one day they start feeling jealous of a newcomer and start digging in to how their world really works…

My page about the project, with some reading notes, is here: http://robmyers.org/bad-shibe/

It’s published by Furtherfield and their page about the project, where you can order a print copy or download the electronic version for free, is here: http://www.furtherfield.org/projects/bad-shibe-sci-fi-novella-rob-myers

Massive thanks to Lina Theodorou for their wonderful illustrations, and to Ruth Catlow for their excellent afterword (and tireless advocacy for the project). You are amaze.

Categories
Art Crypto Culture Projects

Art Data Money

title: Art Data Money

adm-logo

Art Data Money is Furtherfield‘s new programme of art shows, lab events and debates.

“Art Data Money aims to build a commons for arts in the network age, and invites people to join us and discover new ways for cryptocurrencies and big data to benefit us all.”

I’ve art and writing in the programme, which brings together some of the themes I’ve been working on for the last few years. Take a look, download a manifesto, join the conversation and buy some re-de-enclosed 3D printed readymade art for Bitcoin.

Categories
Aesthetics Art Art Computing Culture Politics Projects

Art For Algorithms

art-for-algorithms

My first article for Furtherfield as guest editor is now online:

Rob Myers takes a look at how we can subvert the operation of the algorithms that the Digital Humanities, corporations and governments use to read, see, and draw conclusions about human expression by treating them as the true audience for contemporary art and literature.

http://furtherfield.org/features/articles/art-algorithms

Categories
Art Art Computing Culture Digital Art History Projects

Work In Progress: Contemporary Art Daily Data Analysis

cad-pre

Word clouds (don’t worry, there are heat maps as well 😉 ) of words from shows by city.

Categories
Art Art Computing Culture

Cryptocurrency Culture

http://thecypherfunks.com/

“”The Cypherfunks” is a network of musicians working individually & together to make music under the same name. A cryptocurrency [FUNK] acts as “stock” in the band.

Both the currency & band are completely decentralized. It is a grand experiment in permission-less, internet scale innovation in music, collaboration, and technology.”

http://www.monegraph.com/

http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/09/monegraph/

“monegraph helps anyone verify that a digital artwork is an original, exactly as created by the artist.

monegraph encourages a vibrant market around the sale and exchange of digital art.

monegraph uses the same technology as Bitcoin to let anyone participate in the digital art market.”

https://forum.ethereum.org/discussion/446/the-ephemeral-artcoin

The Ephemeral Artcoin (EA) is a platform designed to spark the creation of qualitative new works of non-commercial art in the post-bitcoin digital economy.

http://bitcoinmagazine.com/12259/fine-art-meets-bitcoin-rise-aesthetic-paper-wallet/

“Fine art meets bitcoin cold storage in Troy Fearow’s “labour of love”, CryptoArt, a project that took the fine art dealer 8 months to construct and launch.

Troy searches for and commissions high level artists, starting with Alexander Fedosov of the Ukraine, to produce fine art paper wallets in limited editions. These prints are meant for bitcoiners who wish to store their bitcoin safely and show them off in a beautiful way.”

http://saycheers.co/

“Cheers is an app that allows you to tip (or “Cheer”) any musician or band in the world using Bitcoin. You can Cheer any song or band, whether it’s your all-time favorite, or just a song that you loved on the radio that you’ve never heard before. See what your friends are Cheering, discover new music and reward them for finding it.”

Categories
Culture LambdaMOO

If You Can Get To Buffalo

Image from CityPaper, © 2013

There’s a play on in Baltimore this week by Trish Harnetiaux called “If You Can Get To Buffalo” about Julian Dibbell’s 1990s Village Voice LambdaMOO article, “A Rape in Cyberspace”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_in_Cyberspace

You can read reviews here:

http://citypaper.com/arts/stage/what-a-tangled-web-1.1492872

http://www.dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2013/05/23/if-you-can-get-to-buffalo-an-exploration-of-a-rape-in-cyberspace-by-amanda-gunther2/

There’s an interview with the playwright here:

http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/new-baltimore-play-tackles-totally-weird-1990s-cyber-culture/

And the theatre company’s page about the production is here:

http://www.theacmecorporation.org/content/current-shows

This isn’t the first dramatic presentation of LambdaMOO, another example is this short film scripted from chat logs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqR_xM_50vk

Dibbell’s article was expanded into a book. It is a sometimes salacious but ultimately insightful examination of life on the MOO. You can read it here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/julian-dibbell/my-tiny-life-crime-and-passion-in-a-virtual-world/ebook/product-17492539.html

A more comprehensive insight into the operation, history and geography of LambaMOO is “Yib’s Guide To MOOing”, available here:

http://www.yibco.com

And a more ethnographic study of MOOing with lots of interesting historical and cultural details is Lynne Cherny’s “Conversation and Community: Chat in a Virtual World”, which you’ll have to buy a copy of:

http://cslipublications.stanford.edu/site/1575861542.shtml

LambdaMOO is still here and is well worth exploring. You can install a Telnet client on your computer or mobile device (there’s one already on MacOS X) and telnet to:

lambda.moo.mud.org 8888

Categories
Art Computing Culture Reviews

Cybersalon January 2013

Cybersalon

Legendary London net culture meet up Cybersalon has returned with a new home at The Arts Catalyst. The first event in the new series was appropriately retrospective, being devoted to the history of the digital design scene that has centred on Shoreditch from the 1990s to today, from self-proclaimed “Ditcherati” to government funding for “Silicon Roundabout”.

Richard Barbrook’s introduction explained the history of Cybersalon. Begun in mid-1997 by Armin Medosch it ran until the mid 2000s, getting kicked out of the ICA for getting too popular along the way. Barbrook also made the case for remembering the specific contributions that London made to cyberculture during this period. Beside the stage, old pre-iMac all-in-one Power Macintoshes displayed Antirom interactive multimedia CD-ROMs alongside brick-like mobile phones and floppy disc-based digital cameras from 1997. The scene was set for an evening of media archaeology, design criticism, and cybercultural history.

Jim Boulton’s presentation gave a history of the optimistic and fertile interaction of art, design and commerce that was London’s interactive multimedia and web design scene from the mid 90s to the mid-2000s along with its historical re-evaluation with INTERNET WEEK in 2010. Laura Jordan, despite having just lost her archive to a hard disk crash, told her history of being inspired to edit a feminist cyberculture zine in Australia after encountering a VNS Matrix poster then starting the world’s first cybercafe in London before finding success in design business and academia. Next Craig Blagg critiqued the tools and content of the design of web sites from the 90s to the state of the art. Finally Jordan chaired a discussion between Boulton and Blagg, with additional questions from the floor and from the net.

Seeing old and often long-forgotten work was nostalgic, and there was a sense of loss voiced by some of the audience. The dial-up Internet’s alterity has been squandered to build the walled gardens of social media. But the audience also reminded us that the wildness and openness of the early web is still with us in the form of Anonymous, Wikileaks, and the legacy of Aaron Swartz.

Even before this, what moved the event far beyond nostalgia was the way the history of digital design was presented critically, both in the sense of warts-and-all introspection and long overdue rediscovery and re-evaluation. Both provide an inspiring contrast to the contemporary Internet. The knowledge and awareness that Cybersalon gives us of the potential of the Internet to be different than it is can help us to start reclaiming a fun, abstract and fantastical Internet.