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2000-09-30 / Today’s reading: One Half of a Manifesto by Jaron Lanier.
2000-09-29 / Track-of-the-Week. This week’s offering, Persuasion, is a barn-burner and we are proud to have it in our arsenal. It bespeaks a life inside a mediasphere made nearly foul with dissimulation, truth being long since displaced by tantalizing visual pleasures. (We’d like so much to believe that our modest efforts mean something in the face of the unequivocal onslaught we are trying in effect to counter, but we are left with nagging doubts. Perhaps it’s best not to dwell on it, instead knowing that if we don’t try, we have certainly already lost.) In any event, enjoy this week’s video track-of-the-week!
2000-09-23 / By now, that spinny thing to the left should alert you that once again, it’s time for this week’s featured video track. Cutting to the chase, we will simply state here that the title of the segment in question is Foundation, and it picks up the tempo a bit, preparing you for the big splashy ending that will leave you in tears or something. Voices mumble in the background as people go on with their busy, industrious lives in an effort to produce — themselves. For you see, we are the raw material and the consumer; we are the consumed.
Here are Some Things that Really Matter
2000-09-20 / It has recently come to our variously divided attentions, when, thinking we were on our way to the refrigerator, for some unknown reason, a dizziness descended upon us, and we became disoriented. We meant to swing open wide the white metal door for a quick snack, but instead were turned 90 degrees, whereupon we mistakenly opened the door out onto the front stoop of our Iowa City bungalow. We emerged, blinking vainly against the harsh sunlight, only to make a shocking discovery. We’d like to share that discovery with you!
There is a world outside the Glassed-in Laboratories! There is a thing called e-mail! You look at it under a kind of glass! People tell us about their worthy projects using e-mail! Here are some:
Vicki Bennett of People Like Us fame is starting a database catering to the nonstandard-musical-taste crowd. Here, I’ll let her tell you about it:
‘I’m compiling a list of shops/mailorder companies that sell experimental music. Also magazines/e-zines/radio shows specialising in or dedicating a page to experimental/weird/yawn, I can’t think of any more pigeonholes — once I have the list I’ll put it on my website, with appropriate links.
If you live in a town/city which has such a shop(s), if you are selling/reviewing/broadcasting this stuff yourself, or know of a website address/frequency etc, please could you reply to me at firstname.lastname@example.org — with the name and contact details and any information that you know of.’
Intellectual property is a hot topic these days. In fact, here is a project called Copy.Cult that has a website. Some words from the announcement:
‘For the general public, any mention of authors’ rights triggers a caricatural response: an image of pirates and copyright-owners playing cat and mouse. The media coverage of the Napster case is a striking example of this particular state of mind. Viewed either as a symbol of free net distribution or else dismissed as the latest piracy tool, this software has been turned into an icon and the significant questions that it raises have been reduced to a tussle between the opposing interests of old-fashioned producers and new distributors. Who’ll win — the Majors or the file-swappers?’
Read more at their website.
And finally, but not in any sense as to imply a lesser importance, Florian Cramer has written a paper entitled Free Software as Collaborative Text. It delves into the areas of the Unix, Open Source, and Free Software (‘as in "free speech" not "free beer"’) as a definitive form of net expression and net culture:
‘The politics of copyleft and free distribution of code and knowledge soon turned out to be a common ground of discourse. In this paper, I will take a different aspect into consideration by reading Free Software as a net culture and its code as a multi-layered, collaborative text. Seen as a literary practice, Free Software development is an avant-garde of writing in digital networks, and even more: Since Free Software is at the heart of the technical infrastructure of the Internet, it has — to a large extent — written its own digital network.’
Here’s where the paper is.
2000-09-17 / Site Note — only to point out that our site, in a effort to be as effective and engaging as possible with currently available technology, makes use of a certain amount of code that only HTML 4.0-compliant browsers can comprehend. We do this to more fully articulate our design ideas in the browser frame. We avoid browser-specific options, instead using exclusively W3C standard features of the HTML 4.0 specification. The current version of Netscape (currently at 4.x) doesn’t hold a candle to the current version of Internet Explorer (at 5.x) in terms of compliance to this standard. And so this is not to recommend one company’s browser over the other, but merely to point out in passing, as it were, that users of either browser may have differing experiences of this site. In some cases the difference is significant.
2000-09-15 / Track-of-the-Week. This time it’s called Progeny, and it picks up some steam, heading in for the concluding energies of the track sequence. We look upon these video works as — literally — visual analogues of the music they accompany. I point it out here simply because a salient feature of Progeny is its abstractness. The images don’t ‘symbolize’ anything, nor are they ‘allegorical’ in any fashion. They do bring in ‘content’ but not at the expense of their vital role in refining the effect of the work as a whole. You may not see precisely what we mean when you watch it, but this is the thinking in our minds, anyway.
2000-09-09 / Coming as it does at an interstice between two more self-contained segments, our current week’s video track, Collective, admittedly works less well on its own than it does in the continuous program stream of the Matter video production, of which if forms only a conjunctive part. For completeness’ sake, and because you will want it anyway, we have to give it to you, don’t you admit?
Summer, Going Out, is as if Something Coming In
2000-09-07 / Here at the Glassed-in Labs, Labor Day happens to be one of our favorite holidays. I suppose I will need to tell you why. It is for the simple reason that this holiday marks a change from the lethargy of the dog days to a refreshing drop in temperature, as the earth turns a corner in its orbit sufficient to mark a revivifying coolness that lightens the step. Quadrennially, too, it brings out public figures who ache for the public nod that will propel their careers skyward. We like to make fun of them sometimes. It’s only fair, after all.
Read something we wrote during the last election cycle, ‘a quadrennium’ a.k.a. ‘ages’ ago.
2000-09-01 / Track-of-the-Week. Having crossed the halfway mark in our serialization of the Matter video, we split from the spoken word vérité of the previous segment to another ploppy, delightfully beat-heavy piece. Artifice is the title and what does it mean? We see a suited man on a dreamlike set telling us things we can’t hear and then pointing at a lot of question words. At this point, the reader might well ask themself how we might make our description of this segment even more unappealing. But I think we’ve already got you, haven’t we?