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{Sunday, August 29, 2004}

A Multitude of Signs

San Antonio Current: Multimedia message by M. Solis
Current: Can you elaborate on the concepts of Rhythm Cinema and Rhythm Space?
Spooky: "To me, every time you even look at a building or see roads of a city from above, those are different kinds of visual patterns and rhythms. What I'm doing as a DJ, writer, and artist is thinking about life in our era as kind of exploring all the interrelated patterns that hold the fabric of the everyday world together. A building is a pattern. You can look at the points of structure, like a window, a corridor, a chamber; those are done with certain patterns. If you look at a skyscraper, if you look at a church, all of these are structures, but to me they are also beats. They're rhythms that are holding together a structure.
A DJ set of rhythms and patterns is the same thing as a building. It really doesn't have that much of a difference except for the material. Music is invisible. It's made of software, code. It's made of people playing in a unit. Buildings are made of steel and concrete. I just draw a bridge between the two. It's an urban funk culture.
That's why I feel like the era of the 21st century is all about information overload. That's where I get this idea of Rhythm Cinema because if you're doing multimedia from every direction and how the mind makes sense of that, it's putting it in patterns, putting it in structure."

Rhythm Science by Paul D. Miller [via datacloud]
The conceptual artist Paul Miller, also known as Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid, delivers a manifesto for rhythm science -- the creation of art from the flow of patterns in sound and culture, "the changing same." Taking the Dj's mix as template, he describes how the artist, navigating the innumerable ways to arrange the mix of cultural ideas and objects that bombard us, uses technology and art to create something new and expressive and endlessly variable. Technology provides the method and model; information on the web, like the elements of a mix, doesn't stay in one place. And technology is the medium, bridging the artist's consciousness and the outside world. Miller constructed his Dj Spooky persona ("spooky" from the eerie sounds of hip-hop, techno, ambient, and the other music that he plays) as a conceptual art project, but then came to see it as the opportunity for "coding a generative syntax for new languages of creativity." For example: "Start with the inspiration of George Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strip. Make a track invoking his absurd landscapes ... What do tons and tons of air pressure moving in the atmosphere sound like? Make music that acts as a metaphor for that kind of immersion or density." Or, for an online "remix" of two works by Marcel Duchamp: "I took a lot of his material written on music and flipped it into a DJ mix of his visual material -- with him rhyming!" Tracing the genealogy of rhythm science, Miller cites sources and influences as varied as Ralph Waldo Emerson ("all minds quote"), Grandmaster Flash, W. E. B Dubois, James Joyce, and Eminem. "The story unfolds while the fragments coalesce," he writes.

James Boyle: The Apple of forbidden knowledge
"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and equivalent laws worldwide were supposed to allow copyright owners to protect their content with state-backed digital fences that it would be illegal to cut. They were not supposed to make interoperability illegal, still less to give device manufacturers a monopoly over tied products, but that is exactly how they are being used. Manufacturers of printers are claiming that generic ink cartridges violate the DMCA. Makers of garage door openers portray generic replacements as "pirates" of their copyrighted codes. [...]
About 20 years ago, a stylish technology company with a clearly superior hardware and software system had to choose whether to make its hardware platform open, and sell more of its superior software, or whether to make it closed, and tie the two tightly together. It chose closed. Its name: Apple. Its market share, now? About 5 per cent. Of course, back then competition was legal. One wishes that the new generation of copyright laws made it clearer that it still is."

George Dyson & John Brockman: A Dialogue
JB: Let's go back to ENIAC.
DYSON: OK. So you've got one computer alone that can be very powerful, but when they're in communication they become more powerful. It's the same way that a colony of cells with no nervous system at all can become a starfish or a sponge or something like that just simply by chemical communication.
JB: By communication you're talking about a network such as the Internet?
DYSON: Yes, but you have to have all sorts of other communication to make an organism happen: chemical, hormonal, mechanical. We are still immersed in the metaphor of fifty years ago, the computer as brain, the brain as electrical network, etc. The metaphor we haven't quite got to yet will come from molecular biology, when we start to see the digital universe less as an electrical switching network or giant computer and more as an environment swimming with different levels of code. How these increasingly complex one-dimensional strings of code actually do things, interacting with each other and with the three-dimensional world we live in, has more in common with the code-string and protein-folding world of molecular biology, where molecules interact with each other -- and do things -- by means of templates, rather than by reference to some fault-intolerant system of numerical address.
JB: There is no Internet -- there is only a process. When you stop a process to name it, it becomes dead. What we think of as the Internet is only a measure of its effect.
DYSON: Look at it from the point of view of the code itself, not the end user sitting at a terminal, which is either a synapse to some other coded process, or the means to some formalizable end. In ancient (computer) times code would run, be executed, and be terminated, that was the end of it. On the Internet code can keep moving around; it may escape termination by the local CPU, and when it arrives at a terminal, that doesn't mean it stops ...

The screen-age: Our brains in our laptops - CNN, 2 August 2004
Christine Boese: "My consciousness isn't just split between gray matter and a hard drive or two. Now part of it lives on the Internet and seems to stay there all the time. While I may feel a bit diffuse, mostly I observe changes in what McLuhan called our "sense ratios," like a goldfish changing from one kind of aquarium to another. We adapt. We gain some things, lose others. [...]
College students are the leading edge in adapting to this new goldfish bowl, these new multi-tasking sense ratios. Some of us will hold on to the old ways by our fingernails, afraid of losing a coherent self. Others will plunge into the new collective nerve center, our various selves loosely joined ..."

From Homer to Hip-Hop
Jeet Heer: Drawing on the work of the classicist Eric Havelock, Ong notes that "Plato's entire epistemology was unwittingly a programmed rejection of the old oral, mobile, warm, personally interactive lifeworld of oral culture (represented by the poets, whom he would not allow into his Republic). ... The Platonic ideas are voiceless, immobile, devoid of all warmth, not interactive but isolated, not part of the human lifeworld at all but utterly above and beyond it."

The Guardian - The BBC wizardry set to make waves
Owen Gibson: "The finest technology wizards at the BBC have been working for almost two years on a gizmo called the interactive Media Player (or iMP) that will allow licence-fee payers to watch BBC programmes at a time and place of their choosing. [...]
Central to iMP is the BBC's "anytime, anyplace, anywhere" philosophy. The idea being that you can download shows to a portable device -- be it a mobile phone, laptop computer or one of the so-called "video iPods" starting to emerge. The notion of thousands of people sitting on the train catching up on their previous night's viewing may seem fanciful -- until you look around and notice how many people are already fiddling with their mobiles, watching DVDs on their laptop or listening to their iPod on the way to work ..."

BBC News Online: The digital home takes shape
Darren Waters: Imagine a home in which films and TV programmes can be played on any screen in the house without wires trailing across floors; a home in which smart video recorders copy your favourite shows without being pre-programmed, to playback whenever you wish.
Imagine downloading your favourite movies and TV programmes from the internet in DVD quality, and watching them not on your PC screen but on TV in the comfort of your living room.
Imagine all your families' music stored on one device, but available wherever there are speakers in the house.
You can imagine it, or you could simply live it now - at a price.
Home entertainment devices such as a Sky Plus box, a Windows Media Center PC, an iPod with Airport Express and a wireless network do almost all of the above, but they are expensive gadgets which appeal primarily to the technically-minded.
But in the coming 12 months the market will be hit with a flurry of devices which will make all of the above possible for mainstream audiences.

In a Wireless World, Hearing Is Believing - The Washington Post
Rob Pegoraro: The appeal of a wireless media receiver -- a box plugged into your stereo to play the music saved on your computer -- got a simple demonstration after I recently moved. I had dozens of boxes to open and unpack and needed a soundtrack for the work, but all the CDs were still imprisoned in cardboard.
Fortunately, I had already set up the stereo, the computers and the WiFi access point. All I had to do was plug in two media receivers that I'd been testing, Apple's AirPort Express and Slim Devices' Squeezebox ...

Streaming media: A case for open standards
"With established streaming video standards and low distribution costs, virtually anyone can now become a "TV station" and deliver audio and video of a quality that rivals that of conventional television broadcasters." Rich Mavrogeanes

A digital revolution - The Miami Herald - 28 August 2004
Beatrice E. Garcia: HP sees a technology revolution revolving around digital content and the various devices now used to manage music, photos, and video converging into one. For consumers, this means easy-to-use devices that could eventually be very affordable as competition brings prices down. "HP is determined to lead that revolution," Carly Fiorina said. [...]
The other big HP news is that it will begin selling its own version of the Apple iPod and its new computers will come with Apple's iTunes Music jukebox and music store software preloaded. [...]
HP showed a prototype of a new device, the DJammer, that's being designed for club disc jockeys. HP brought in Gavin O'Connor, known as "DJGAWK1" when he spins, to show it off ... The wireless device allows a DJ "to interact with the music from anywhere in the club," says O'Connor, who can scratch and change the tempo and pitch of the music he's playing from anywhere in the club. "It has a large 'wow' factor."
With PC penetration at a peak, Michael McGuire, research director for Gartner Group in San Jose, Calif., says computer manufacturers have to evolve.
They need to develop products that will help people acquire and manage digital content. The next wave in the digital revolution is this "race into the living room," McGuire said ...

New Scientist: iTunes wireless music streaming cracked
Will Knight reports: Apple's wireless streaming technology for iTunes has been cracked to allow it to support non-Apple software platforms.
Norwegian computer programmer Jon Johansen has released a program called JustePort that defeats the encryption used on Apple's Airport Express [...]
Airport Express is a small base station that wirelessly connects a computer to the internet or to a local network. It also has an audio socket that can be used to link a computer to a conventional stereo or pair of speakers. This allows music stored digitally to be played remotely. Until now, however, this feature has only been compatible with Apple computers and an add-on for Apple's iTunes audio software called AirTunes.
Encryption algorithms ...

When iPod is the DJ : Tunes, a Hard Drive and (Just Maybe) a Brain
Rachel Dodes: "Mr. Ng said that the technology behind the Shuffle function has remained the same since the first-generation iPod. He declined to reveal the algorithm used to generate randomness on Shuffle, but said the only reason that an iPod might seem to know a listener's preferences is that the listener, after all, chose the music in the first place."

posted by Andrew 8/29/2004 08:08:00 PM