terça-feira, dezembro 29, 2015

A KIND OF MAGIC / A conversation about losing control over our own technology (By Crystal Bennes)


A conversation about losing control over our own technology

Author: CRYSTAL BENNES / By Crystal Bennes / Images by Tobias Revell

The less we understand about our personal technology, the easier it is to sign away our rights and, ultimately, control. We are delegating our responsibilities to algorithms and at the same time accepting what they give us in return as “magic”, up to the point where it becomes uncanny. The designer Tobias Revell and researcher Natalie Kane get critical about complacency with our Helsinki correspondent Crystal Bennes.

“Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how,” wrote journalist Quinn Norton in 2014. Coupled with Apple’s well-known slogan – “it just works” – these two expressions rest at the heart of conversations on magic, myth and technology which have long taken place within the design and technology industries, and are now emerging onto a wider stage.

In early 2015 the designer Tobias Revell and researcher Natalie Kane curated a strand of the Future Everything conference in Manchester, England, questioning the use of metaphors of magic and haunting in design and technology. “Magic was being used as an analogy to describe, for example, the way algorithmic systems work”, Kane says during a three-way video conversation. “Why do we keep thinking that Amazon recommendation systems are magic? There’s a lot to do with narratives of power, intent and agency – the conference was a starting point for a wider conversation over where we lose control over our own technology.”

Much of the technology industry remains visibly wedded to the Marquis de Condorcet’s idea of the “perfectibility of man”, as expressed in his 1794 book Sketch for a Historical Picture of the progress of the Human Mind with the argument that continuous progress in the past must lead to indefinite progress in the future. In part, it’s the devotion to this myth of progress that has made it so easy for magic to find a comfortable home in technology. “We’re seeing new types of origin myths and future myths around things like survivalism and seasteading,” says Revell. “All of these systems of belief have a myth about using technology to surpass ourselves into the next plane of humanity.

They’re all invested in a certain magical technology. For example, the ability to put a bunch of rich libertarians on a boat in the middle of the sea does not suddenly give you the magical ability to avoid tax law. Or not to have service staff and maintenance crew. But the image of the boat at sea has a magical romanticism to these people, which then builds into a future myth. And that myth attracts investment.”

With regard to personal technology, individuals are beginning to understand that the magic invoked in slogans like “you are more powerful than you think” (Apple again) is not merely magic that makes life easier, but represents a sleight-of-hand to disguise the fact that the company holds all the power.

“[Hacker, writer and artist] Eleanor Saitta outlines this idea of the ‘mage’s circle’, where the knowledge of how these systems work is kept within a small group of people,” Revell says. “You’re not allowed to know how to fix your iMac, for example. You’re not even allowed to know how to open it. I’d put ‘terms and conditions’ in the same category – you’re signing away your legal rights for the future and you don’t even know what it means.”

»you choose to use the technology in exchange for not understanding 100 percent how it works«

Kane chimes in: “Those are your terms of access. It’s a trade off; you choose to use the technology in exchange for not understanding 100 percent how it works. It isn’t always mean and malicious, as often they think they’re just making it simpler for you.”

Herein lies one of the most pressing problems in the broader conversation relating to the ease of so-called magical technology: responsibility. If our “terms of access” have now become such that we effectively sign away our rights to data, software and hardware ownership, as well as accessibility, is the magic still worth it? “It’s difficult in many cases”, Kane says, “because when something goes wrong our impulse is to look for a central responsibility, but the layers of accountability are distributed widely. To keep to the magical metaphor, should we blame the person who casts the spell or the culture of magic?”

“For me, it’s the responsibility of the person who invokes the spell in the first place”, Revell adds. “My problem with something like Nest [a programmable thermostat and energy meter which can be accessed remotely - the company was bought by Google for $3.2 billion in 2014] is that you the consumer are making a decision not to be responsible for your impact on the climate. You’ve delegated that responsibility to a machine or an algorithm, which has been created by people you’ve never met but you assume share similar values. But it is your problem. You should think about it. You’re the human.”

Within the framework of the uncanny valley, products like Nest and other Internet of Things [a phrase coined by British tech entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999 to refer to the new networks being created by the linking of physical objects to the internet] objects can offer a potentially fruitful analysis of the domestic space. “Everyone thinks of the uncanny as the robot that looks too much like a human”, Kane says, “but what if the uncanny valley is a home that pretends to be a home, but is actually much more terrifying than that. If your fridge is ‘magic’, do you not have the illusion of a home? Or more an anti-home?”

“It’s linked to the idea of haunting”, Revell says. “We’re installing devices in our homes which aren’t entirely under our control and we don’t understand how they work or how to fix them. That becomes deeply uncanny, because you’re then deeply suspicious of your own home. The security of understanding it as a home is swept away from under you. Looking at places like London, we now know our generation will forever be renters and things like Nest then have completely different implications. We’re already treating our homes as transient, small spaces. Once those are laced with devices and absent landlords, I imagine home will be a vastly different concept.”

source: uncubemagazine

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current version (adapted from Lucio Fontana’s “TV Manifesto of the Spatial Movement”

Lucio Fontana (adapted)

«Internet Manifesto of the Spatial Movement»

For the first time throughout the world, we Spatialists are using Internet to transmit our new forms of art based on the concepts of space, to be understood from two points of view:

the first concerns spaces that were once considered mysterious but that are now known and explored, and that we therefore use as plastic material:

the second concerns the still unknown spaces of the cosmos - spaces to which we address ourselves as data of intuition and mystery, the typical data of art as divination.

For us, Internet is a means that we have been waiting for to give completeness to our concepts. 

(We are happy that this Spatial manifestation of ours is being transmitted from Italy - a manifestation destined to renew the fields of art.)

This Spatial manifestation is destined to renew the fields of art.

It is true that art is eternal, but it was always tied down to matter, whereas we want it to be freed from matter.

Through space, we want it to be able to last a millennium even for a transmission of only a minute.

Out artistic expressions multiply the lines of the horizon to the infinite and in infinite dimensions.

They are a research for an aesthetic in which a painting is no longer painted, a sculpture no longer sculpted, and in which the written page leaves behind its typographical form.

We Spatialists feel ourselves to be the artists of today, since the conquests of technology are by now at the service of the art we profess.

Signed by,


Milan, May 17, l952

Source: This manifesto was distributed during a television broadcast by Lucio Fontana, he was not able to read it.

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segunda-feira, dezembro 28, 2015

[451] ·2015

Is another human living inside you?

Is another human living inside you?:

“Humans are not unitary individuals but superorganisms,” says Peter Kramer at the University of Padua. “A very large number of different human and non-human individuals are all incessantly struggling inside us for control.”

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It’s a piece that is meant to be listened to at night. I hope...

It’s a piece that is meant to be listened to at night. I hope that people will fall asleep listening to it, because the project is also a personal exploration into how music interacts with consciousness – another fascination for me. (…) M.R.

What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed,
and what if in your dreams you went to heaven and there
you plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if
when you awoke you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, 1817

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domingo, dezembro 27, 2015

You are listening to JFK Air Traffic Control

You are listening to JFK Air Traffic Control:

You are listening to JFK Air Traffic Control

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quinta-feira, dezembro 17, 2015

"Time-sharing was the first manifestation of what we today call personal computing. It made possible,..."

“Time-sharing was the first manifestation of what we today call personal computing. It made possible, as Kemeny wrote in his book, “a true symbiotic relationship between man and computer.””

- Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember. London: Atlantic Books, 2010. (via carvalhais)
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sexta-feira, dezembro 11, 2015

a series of talks on Media Art History

a series of talks on Media Art History

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quarta-feira, dezembro 09, 2015

"Compulsory heterosexuality works most powerfully in the most casual modes of conversation. One asks:..."

“Compulsory heterosexuality works most powerfully in the most casual modes of conversation. One asks: ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ to a girl, or one asks ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ (to a boy). Queer subjects feel the tiredness of making corrections and departures; the pressure of this insistence, this presumption, this demand that asks either for a ‘passing over’ (a moment of passing, which is not always available) or for direct or indirect forms of self-revelation (‘but actually, he’s a she’ or ‘she’s a he’, or just saying ‘she’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘he’ instead of ‘she’ at the obvious moment). No matter how ‘out’ you may be, how (un)comfortably queer you may feel, those moments of interpellation get repeated over time, and can be experienced as a bodily injury; moments which position queer subjects as failed in their failure to live up to the ‘hey you too’ of compulsory heterosexuality.”

- Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (via aranrhod)
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segunda-feira, dezembro 07, 2015


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sábado, dezembro 05, 2015

prostheticknowledge: Deja Vu Fantastic online music video for...

image: besides, smaller than a single pixel, networked...

image: besides, smaller than a single pixel, networked performance / Martina Ruhsam and Annie Abrahams ( @e-stranger ) / at pixxelpoint 2015 festival, Nova Gorica (Slo), Gorizia (I) / Curator: Igor Stromajer

“technology gives you tools to allow and delay presence…
so that physical presence becomes the scariest option among a range of alternatives…” - Annie Abrahams and Martina Ruhsam at Pixxelpoint

While machines ‘talk behind our backs’ we become subjects and subject to an agency that is beyond (besides) ourselves. A capitalist endeavor in which the consumer - under continuous surveillance - is enclosed alone and together within a panoptic system and becomes consumed, without memory of its own agency.

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terça-feira, dezembro 01, 2015

everything is in flux . en.Slow Media

We like to imagine the world as something static. It makes it calculable and predictable. That way we can pile it up, classify things and keep an overview. During transitional stages, these stable, solidified structures become undone, they shift and begin to swim. And this is necessary, for only if structures and particles are in flux can new patterns, new connections emerge and thus new answers become visible. We therefore need these phases of structures in flux, in order to advance – and yet we do not really like them, we find them uncanny.


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domingo, novembro 29, 2015

There is nothing which our infatuated race would desire to see...

There is nothing which our infatuated race would desire to see more than the fertile union between a man and an Analytical Engine. Yet humankind are the antediluvian prototypes of a far vaster Creation. The whole of humankind can be understood as a biological medium, of which synthetic technology is but one modality. Thought and Life both have been thoroughly dispersed on the winds of information. Our power and intelligence do not belong specifically to us, but to all matter. Our technologies are the sex organs of material speculation. Any attempt to understand these occurrences is blocked by our own anthropomorphism.  In order to proceed, therefore, one has to birth posthuman machines, a fantasmagoric and unrepresentable repertoire of actual re-embodiments of the most hybrid kinds.

in The 3D Additivist Manifesto

Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke, 2015

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Free Culture

Free Culture
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sexta-feira, novembro 20, 2015

posthumanism // NA · IMAGES

“New Aesthetic images aren’t representative, analogous, archetypal, emblematic, or symbolic of any thing else. They are the actual traces and residues of processes and relationships – traces that have arrived in the visual realm and have entered humans via their eyes. NA images don’t symbolise or represent the processes that have led to their creation. Instead, they are incidentally thrown into the world by those processes. The way backwards from the images toward the processes themselves is much more complicated that simply intellectually thinking about what these images look ‘like’. We initially apperceive NA images bodily and affectively. They are freaky. They trip us out. Only later are we able to reflect on them analytically, letting their own systemic contours and folds guide our theoretical thought.”

- in MANIFESTO FOR A THEORY OF THE ‘NEW AESTHETIC’ By Curt Cloninger, 3 October 2012

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quinta-feira, novembro 19, 2015

quarta-feira, novembro 04, 2015


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quinta-feira, outubro 29, 2015


Networked Practices // Future Places 2015

terça-feira, outubro 27, 2015

The Myth of Quality Time

The Myth of Quality Time:

Couples move in together not just because it’s economically prudent. They understand, consciously or instinctively, that sustained proximity is the best route to the soul of someone; that unscripted gestures at unexpected junctures yield sweeter rewards than scripted ones on date night; that the “I love you” that counts most isn’t whispered with great ceremony on a hilltop in Tuscany. No, it slips out casually, spontaneously, in the produce section or over the dishes, amid the drudgery and detritus of their routines. That’s also when the truest confessions are made, when hurt is at its rawest and tenderness at its purest.

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domingo, outubro 04, 2015

landproject: satellite by Lisa Parra Land Project /...


satellite by Lisa Parra

Land Project / artistic residence at CAAA Centro para os Assuntos da Arte e Arquitectura


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segunda-feira, setembro 21, 2015


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segunda-feira, setembro 14, 2015

terça-feira, setembro 08, 2015

Polari - argot

sábado, setembro 05, 2015

Machines of Loving Grace

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

- Richard Brautigan

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besides, - some reflections on the first three performances

besides, - some reflections on the first three performances:

“At the same time online-communication emphasizes solitude. At the latest when one closes the interface, or one shuts down the computer one is alone. There is no way of going out to the foyer or to the bar and seeing the persons that were part of the event, watching the performance. There is not even certainty about the fact that there was anyone watching.”

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15folds: of pleasures and sorrowsDaniel Pinheiro, Visual...


of pleasures and sorrows

Daniel Pinheiro, Visual Artist/Performer, Porto

This piece answers to a process of dissection of the body connected with a sexual/organic ‘device’ that interferes with the acknowledgment of a personal and unique individuality, thus identity.

Follow the XXXY thread at 15folds.com

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sábado, agosto 15, 2015


(via http://ift.tt/1Ws7BV8)

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1J73WlA

terça-feira, agosto 11, 2015


(via http://ift.tt/1TpuVP1)

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1DG0Fhe

domingo, agosto 09, 2015

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through..."

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

- Manifesto for Agile Software Development (via fyprocessing)
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quarta-feira, julho 29, 2015

precursor of The Big Kiss

precursor of The Big Kiss
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segunda-feira, julho 13, 2015

Culture isn't free by Edward Picot

What has happened is that the Web, which initially seemed to offer small producers a level playing field with the big ones, has been carved up by the new digital mega-corporations: Amazon, Google/YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Twitter. All of these are content-hosts: they make their money by offering a hosting framework within which people or businesses can place their content or products. Apple and Amazon make profits by actually selling product, whereas Google/YouTube, Facebook and Twitter milk their audiences via advertising, but all of them are trading on the fact that they pull in so many viewers/consumers every day. On the Web, money follows attention, and if you can set up a site or a service which pulls in millions of visits per day, you’ll be in a position to make a fortune. The people who use the host services - who place their videos on YouTube, who put their self-published books on Amazon, or who release their musical offerings on iTunes - may or may not be able to build themselves a sizeable online audience for their work: the vast majority of us won’t: but essentially, whether we make any money or not, we’re just acting as cannon-fodder for the big corporations.

So, as artists we’re caught in the middle of a double-whammy. Grants, funding, commissions, higher education placements and so forth - top-down funding - are drying up because of the economic crisis. But bottom-up funding - the possibility of being able to make yourself some money by selling your work directly to the public - a field in which the Web initially seemed to offer such enormous promise - is drying up too because of the restructuring of the marketplace.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1Ty0mZA

quarta-feira, abril 01, 2015

queer languages and models of communication - eflux

Much like the several spatiotemporal paradoxes that surround the closet, the languages that could be its product seem to predate it in certain cases. Furthermore, who speaks or spoke these languages long before the emergence of any contemporary understanding of homosexuality, the homosexual, and notions such as trans* or queer becomes an even more sensitive topic in light of queer modes of communication.

sexta-feira, março 27, 2015

WALK+TALK: Oral scores

walk+talk is an imperative to find not just visibility yet to become audible. The place of declaration is the public stage, not the dance studio, the rehearsal process or the lecture room. walk+talk is the performance of a singular author where the audience witnesses the attempts to speak about and on individual understandings of movement, to maybe even let them become a manifesto.
Project / ORAL SITE

segunda-feira, janeiro 19, 2015

infinite parts

Stiff. Hard. Cold
The face closed by the mouth
so it doesn't open
Stumble down. In pieces.

Flashes of memory,
Moving photographs,
of her eyes lingering accross the table,
the laughs,
the patience,
the hands, already cold by then,
would put effort on cherishing my hands.

Looking for salvation in every touch
and ease my own pain in her silent dispair
of love and loving her loved ones.

That's what she waited for
has long as she could.

I face it closed and hard
Do Not Touch / should have a sign written somewhere...
(it is ultimately a piece of art in itself;
every body is, in its last state, a piece of art of lasting...)
I face it, hold on to my father, kiss my aunt,
think about my brother
cry over my mother
convulsion, fear and no thoughts - all in one.

I do not know what it is
I do not want to know what it is
I don't...

go back.
my body is a battle field.

If we represent something
then we represent our own failure,
Our own failure of trying to live.

Let there be robots with no feelings,
Let there be no feelings inside biology,
Let there be no hope inside the human machine,

Let thoughts and avidity disappear.

If we represent something
then we represent our own failure,
our task is incomplete...

Loading. Charging. Waiting,
she kept on waiting. Longing. Caring.

If we represent something
then we represent our own impossibility
of existing.

By representing it
it is needed to overcome it while
trying to achieve it,
completing it,
fulfilling it,
for the eyes will flood for different reasons.

I will miss every moment i forgot to know better,
feel better,
slow better,
look in the eyes of another soul
that is a mirror of my own and that turned black...

for I can no longer see an infinite part of me.

Let us connect and dig tunnels of hopeful sensorial matter
link all the mirrors on earth and beyond,
we are all part of one larger being,
that will also fail while multiplying into
partitions of a wholeness until it stops,
and all matter will, inevitably,
degrade into proof of the impossibility of infinity.

segunda-feira, janeiro 05, 2015

"the human factor research"

Excerpts from 
by Chus Martínez (MOUSSE Magazine / Archive / Issue #45 / TALKING ABOUT)

“So, if Europe collapses under Ebola, Russia implodes in a second revolution, and the Middle East’s problems radicalize, the States seems like a good place to be...?” “Yes,” he says without conviction. “Now that oil is not a problem, they will, of course, initiate a process of isolation, closing the cycle that was opened during World War II. One must admit that they are free from all the nationalist problems affecting other nations, so they are stronger in that sense.” At that point, my eyes look at him begging for some sort of narrative mercy. “But what about their problems with race?” He looks away for a second and then back at me. “Indeed. The African American community got poorer during the last decade. Their health conditions are endangering a large segment of the population. They suffer from illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, sarcoidosis, and obesity such that their life expectancy and quality of life are seriously affected. Also, almost 40 percent of the incarcerated males in the U.S are African Americans. And now think about Rand Paul, about all these libertarians and their ideas of economy, race, or community.”



...Libertarianism is an interesting example of artistic misinterpretation. Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum was born in 1905, the year of the Russian Revolution. She moved to the United States in 1926 and published under the name of Ayn Rand. Her unique way of writing about the individual, seeking happiness, and ways of legitimizing one’s values produced an ideological reception—a movement, even—outside the field of cognitive literature that she was ostensibly discovering or exploring. Moving away from reductionist views of human behavior such those represented by B. F. Skinner, Rand was interested in the new developments that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s in information theory, psychology, computer science, and the “human factor research” (how humans interact with complex machinery). All of this opened up for her a new cognitive turn in the study of human consciousness.

Read the whole article (here)