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New York Prophecies

We're on to the next session - with Richard Barbrook from the University of Westminster. His talk is about imaginary futures. The way we conceive of the future is actually an old idea, and some decades old - artificial intelligence is a good example, based as it remains on ideas like Asimov's work or even older concepts. Like communism, the arrival in such futures is always 10-20 years into the future.

Fripp Was Here


Well, not really. But looking at this rack you might be tempted to mistake it for Robert Fripp's lunar module... On the far right, Richard Barbrook also seems impressed.

Physical Pong

Vegetable PongHaving some fun with one of the installations during the lunch break. They've set up a 'mixed media pong' - a good old-fashioned pong game projected from above onto a table, and coupled with some optical recognition software - as a result the pong ball bounces off any darkish objects placed on the table (four zucchinis and two capsicums, in this case). Had a game with another conference visitor - using the capsicums at first and then our hands.

Excavating Mobile Media

Erkki Huhtamo is the second speaker in this keynote session. He is a Finn who is now based at UCLA, and will present notes towards an archaeology of mobile media. His full paper is available for download from the ISEA2004 site. He begins by reflecting on the future of mobile media - a nice image of the upcoming Sony Pocket Playstation device (strangely enough with an image of the hand of the alien from Alien reaching for Harry Dean Stanton's head - some ironic self-reflection on Sony's part? Probably not).

On the other and, how do you 'do' the history of the new - is it a kind of 'current history'? Huhtamo is interested in the 'secret' histories of new media (this fits well with the previous keynote). This means digging beyond dominant histories, working against what he calls corporate 'cryptohistories' (idealised versions of history) and looking without a predetermined goal in mind. Additionally, he is interested in uncovering cyclical, recurring ideas or topoi in history. Important to remember in this is that media exist always within the cultural frameworks that envelop them (media specificity may therefore be cultural specificity), and it is therefore also important to pay attention to its discursive dimension.

Blogging ISEA

Looks like the word is out - Jean Burgess mentioned my blogging of this conference on Jill Walker's blog, which also covers the conference...

Histories of the New

On to the next keynote: "Histories of the New". Shuddhabrata Sengupta from Sarai and the Raqs Media Collective makes the start. He speculates on 'the remains of tomorrows past', the antiquity of new media practice in South Asia.

Partial Histories

We're back for the second day of ISEA2004 at Lume. Unfortunately I got here a little late (some good discussions on the tram and after with people from Sarai), so I think I might have missed a speaker or two of this session called "Uncovering Histories of Electronic Writing".

Locative Media

One to the next session - Marc Tuters starts off talking about location-based media. Engagement with these media is dependent on the context of one's location - for example one may receive certain services only in a particular place, or be able to digitally annotate spaces.

Digital annotation of spaces gives things a machine-readable context, even URIs (I posted something about this development on this blog a while ago...).

Some questions posed by Marc:

  • How do we keep the definition of 'context' dynamic?
  • How will locative media affect spaces?

Exploring Lume

I've used the break to wander around the cavernous interior of the Lume Media Centre - this is an amazing space where you're likely to pass by a forklift as you walk towards the piano bar.

French Helsinki

This will be interesting: the next keynote speech will be delivered in French and translated into English by a Finnish translator. The speaker is Michel Maffesoli from the Sorbonne, speaking on postmodern tribes and communication.


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