Kofuku-ji temple’s chief priest, Bungen Oi, offers a prayer during the funeral for 19 pet robot dogs on January 26. The dogs,…

Robotics, Aibo, animism, Sony, automation, dogs

Kofuku-ji temple’s chief priest, Bungen Oi, offers a prayer during the funeral for 19 pet robot dogs on January 26. The dogs, created by Sony, were first-generation Aibo robots from June 1999 that had artificial intelligence and developed personalities and learned from their owners. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty

It’s a problem that we encounter from the very beginning of our walk; as the Thames Path leaves behind the Isle of Dogs and…

“It’s a problem that we encounter from the very beginning of our walk; as the Thames Path leaves behind the Isle of Dogs and enters Limehouse, it immediately plunges down a forbidding passageway with a closed gate at the end, overlooked by a CCTV camera. “Everything about this is designed to suggest that there is no way through,” observes Anna. “If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume it was just private property and turn on to the road instead.” In fact, a series of buttons does let intrepid walkers make their way to a small fenced-off car park by the river at certain times of the day, before swiftly twisting them back out on to Narrow Street”

Privatised London: the Thames Path walk that resembles a prison corridor (viaiamdanw)

The Rabbits Have Fallen To Pieces

Warren Ellis, technology, magic, illusion, delusion, democracy, internet, intent, IoT, enchantment

We were sold magic as the affordance of technology, from the term “automagic” on down, and we were sold this magic as the provision of personal agency – fifteen years ago I couldn’t move on the web for people talking about the internet as channel for emergent democracy, five years ago everyone couldn’t shut up about smartphones as the new computing paradigm that put the world in our hands.  And now we’re at the end of the current cycle and the five dark towers of big digital technology are reduced to bullshit squabbles.  I mean, sure, large ones, rolling across the world and throwing their shadows over us all.  But the sleight of hand is all over.  There’s a bit at the end of the tv series THE THICK OF IT, where spin doctor Malcolm Tucker, frequently self-described as “a practitioner of the dark arts,” says, in his final extremity, “Look at me.  I’m not pulling anything out of my magic hat.  The rabbits have fallen to pieces.  Their fucking heads are coming off and frightening the kids.”

http://morning.computer/2015/03/the-rabbits-have-fallen-to-pieces/

Geomancy and Earth Codes

earth coding, sonic acts, workshop, FoAM, geomancy

Akin to the psycho-geographical derive, we walked through electromagnetic and coding territory, to observe what we would find rather than seeking out. Our actions, a form of contemporary geomancy, concentrated on the interacting signals between the atmosphere, the ground, and ourselves – all potential sites of transmitting, receiving, disrupting, and originating signals. Unlike outright divination, the more general category of scrying is a system for asking questions without solutions.

http://sonicacts.com/2015/blog/geomancy-and-earth-codes

Reading Earth/Worm Poetry

earth coding, sonic acts, workshop, FoAM, geomancy

Through exploratory field trips that focused our attention down into the earth, we opened a window into a world of telluric currents and fugitive radio waves that normally would remain unnoticed or inaudible. This was achieved through iterative, performative processes in the field: at one point, we plunged a circuit board into the soil to listen for what the earth (and a few worms we found there) might have to “say:” the currents thus detected were fed directly into a computer where they were “translated” via Python program into letters and spaces of the English alphabet. This process resulted in a “worm poetry.” This process quite literally returns circuitry to the earth from which it once came, in effect inducing the earth (and its intimate inhabitants, worms) code itself.

http://sonicacts.com/2015/blog/reading-earthworm-poetry

But broadly speaking I’ve been thinking about this by analogy to the world of music. Most photography nowadays functions like…

“But broadly speaking I’ve been thinking about this by analogy to the world of music. Most photography nowadays functions like most music: free online. I’m a fan of this and have always engaged in things like blogs, Tumblr, and Instagram. But this streaming flow seems to make more physical, tactile experiences all the more important. This, I think, is part of the reason photobooks, like vinyl records, have become more popular of late. People want to touch something. But people also want an experience. This is where traditional exhibitions as well as more temporary installations and performances come into play. A traditional exhibition is like going to the symphony; a pop-up show is like going to a rave.”

When to Hold ’Em and When to Fold ’Em A Conversation with Alec Soth (vialostinpublications)

Unless the vexatious problem of digital preservation is solved, all texts “born digital” belong to an endangered species. The…

“Unless the vexatious problem of digital preservation is solved, all texts “born digital” belong to an endangered species. The obsession with developing new media has inhibited efforts to preserve the old. We have lost 80 percent of all silent films and 50 percent of all films made before World War II. Nothing preserves texts better than ink imbedded in paper, especially paper manufactured before the nineteenth century, except texts written in parchment or engraved in stone. The best preservation system ever invented was the old-fashioned, pre-modern book.”

Darnton, Robert. The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future. New York: Public Affairs, 2009. (viacarvalhais)

Famous type: The fight over the Doves

typography, history, font, london, dove, doves, thames, type

That painstaking process is similar to the technique Cobden-Sanderson and Walker used to create the Doves type, itself a confection of two earlier designs. Doves owes most to the type of Nicholas Jenson, a Venetian printer from the 15th century whose clear and elegant texts shunned the gothic blackletter favoured by print’s early pioneers. A few letters were added, and others redrawn. The arrow-straight descender of its lower case ‘y’ divides critics; purists lament the thick crossbar of the upper case ‘H’. Most people neither notice nor care. “No more graceful Roman letter has ever been cut and cast,” opined A.W. Pollard, a contemporary critic, in the Times. Simon Garfield, a modern writer, celebrates its rickety form, which looks “as if someone had broken into the press after hours and banged into the compositor’s plates.”

http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21591793-legendary-typeface-gets-second-life-fight-over-doves