Posts tagged 2017

Fake news and botnets: how Russia weaponised the web

botnet, russia, estonia, cyberwar, information-warfare, Rastorguev, infrastructure, 2007, 2017, Gera

Once there was a fox that wanted to eat a turtle, but whenever he tried to, it withdrew into its shell. He bit it and he shook it, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. One day he had an idea: he made the turtle an offer to buy its shell. But the turtle was clever and knew it would be eaten without this protection, so it refused. Time passed, until one day there appeared a television hanging in a tree, displaying images of flocks of happy, naked turtles – flying! The turtle was amazed. Oh! They can fly! But wouldn’t it be dangerous to give up your shell? Hark, the voice on television was announcing that the fox had become a vegetarian. “If I could only take off my shell, my life would be so much easier,” thought the turtle. “If the turtle would only give up its shell, it would be so much easier to eat,” thought the fox – and paid for more broadcasts advertising flying turtles. One morning, when the sky seemed bigger and brighter than usual, the turtle removed its shell. What it fatally failed to understand was that the aim of information warfare is to induce an adversary to let down its guard. (In 1998, Sergei P Rastorguev, a Russian military analyst, published Philosophy of Information Warfare, which included a lengthy version of this anecdote)

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/02/fake-news-botnets-how-russia-weaponised-the-web-cyber-attack-estonia

“[in 1977] NASA launched Voyager 1, the second of two spacecraft on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of…

voyager, 1977, 2017, sounds of earth, image encoding, communication, life on earth

video link

“[in 1977] NASA launched Voyager 1, the second of two spacecraft on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Attached to each spacecraft is a Golden Record containing Earth’s greatest music, spoken greetings, “Sounds of Earth,” and more than 100 images encoded as audio signals, a technological feat at the time. Technical director Frank Drake had always planned to encode the photos in the audio spectrum for the record. The challenge was finding technology capable of the task. While flipping through an electronics catalog, Valentin Boriakoff, Drake’s colleague at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, stumbled upon Colorado Video, a small television equipment firm in Boulder that had built a unique device for encoding television images as audio signals that could be transmitted over telephone lines. Donating their time and expertise to the project, engineers at Colorado Video projected each Voyager slide onto a television camera lens, generating a signal that their machine converted into several seconds of sound per photo. A diagram on the aluminum cover of the Golden Record explains how to play it and decode the images. Four decades later, Ron Barry followed the instructions.”

(via https://boingboing.net/2017/09/05/how-to-decode-the-images-on-th.html )

IAU Approves 86 New Star Names From Around the World

IAU, Astronomy, star-names, language, culture, 2017

The International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Star Names formally approved 86 new names for stars, which are now in the IAU stellar name catalogue. The catalogue now contains the approved names of 313 stars. Traditionally, most star names used by astronomers have come from Arabic, Greek, or Latin origins. Now, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Division C Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) has formally approved 86 new names for stars drawn from those used by other cultures, namely Australian Aboriginal, Chinese, Coptic, Hindu, Mayan, Polynesian, and South African.

via https://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1707/

Like Bringing a Gantt Chart to a Casino

productivity, creativity, economics, ethics, reflection, clowncar, 2017

I imagine a spectrum where at one pole we have an assembly line worker, and on the other we have a mathematician trying to prove a famous conjecture. The productivity of the former is constrained only by physics, and may glean a few percent here and there with better tools, methods, and discipline. The latter, by contrast, may have the best tools, methods, and discipline, spend an entire career working diligently, and still not succeed. We live somewhere in between.

what does it mean to be productive if what you are producing is bad? Or even if it is good for you, it may be bad for others, who may endeavour in turn to make it bad for you.


via https://superyesmore.com/like-bringing-a-gantt-chart-to-a-casino-a0e4dd635d787c3b0a2156d9aff41218

UnSchooling The Pioneers of Change

Medium, Leyla Acaroglu, interview, design, complexity, unschooling, education, 2017

Leyla Acaroglu —  It’s an experimental knowledge lab that I set up three years ago to help overcome what I call the knowledge-action gap, the difference between people knowing that there are problems in the world, feeling that they want to address them, but not knowing how to take action. I really struggled a lot with the mainstream structural system of education, I did a lot of research in pedagogy and the way in which we teach and the way in which the brain works, how a lot of the experiences we have in life educate us, and how actually a lot of those experiences de-educate us.

via https://medium.com/weseek/unschooling-the-pioneers-of-change-d42a7fc71e52

In anticipation…

Medium, uncertainty, animism, anticipation, futures, futurism, change, 2017

Experience is interconnected and entangled. Unpredictable. It can never be fully explained. There is always something that slips beyond words. A description or a model of an interconnected world does not encompass all the complex processes of making connections.

While the sense of the moment may be one of accelerated change, there is simultaneously drag, weight and the inevitable delays of change that takes too long. Injustices perpetuated. We find ourselves in situations without an escape velocity.

Is the uncertainty we’re experiencing just a series of erratic oscillations or are we in the free fall toward something more massive? Things are collapsing, and sometimes the best thing to do is let them. Accept the gritty reality of it all.

This doesn’t mean giving up. Quite the opposite.


via https://medium.com/aperiodic-mesmerism/in-anticipation–24c87c34a34f

Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens

social credit score, china, panopticon, nudge, cybersyn, jade mirror, 2017, 2020, Wired

The new system reflects a cunning paradigm shift. As we’ve noted, instead of trying to enforce stability or conformity with a big stick and a good dose of top-down fear, the government is attempting to make obedience feel like gaming. It is a method of social control dressed up in some points-reward system. It’s gamified obedience.

via http://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-privacy-invasion

Vinay Gupta On Why Ethereum Is The Future

Vinay-Gupta, leashless, Forbes, blockchain, Ethereum, Bitcoin, cypherpunks, profile, 2017

Vinay Gupta has not raised $257 million in an ICO. He is not yet a Bitcoin billionaire. He is not a Thiel Fellow, nor a Thiel Lad (to translate to his native Scottish vernacular). With Bitcoin reaching new highs monthly, the dominating headlines often miss the point of cryptocurrency because it was never about the money or the brand. It’s about interesting people doing interesting things, and Gupta has quietly impacted the world in his own way, doing a lot of thinking over the years (136,000 tweets worth). Gupta helped coordinate Ethereum’s 2015 release, working as a project manager on strategy and communications. He worked as the strategic architect of Consensys, the leading crypto venture studio, and as the designer of Dubai’s National Blockchain strategy. In addition to being the Blockchain Fellow for Digital Catapult, a UK government-funded initiative to increase the amount of innovation in the country, he has two current projects.

via https://www.forbes.com/sites/rahulsingireddy/2017/10/18/vinay-gupta-on-why-ethereum-is-the-future/#1251ba8b56f2

The new age of DApps is here, and it’s not based on Ethereum

Medium, blockchain, ethereum, bitcoin, DApps, NEO, Qtum, Tezos, 2017

While blockchain is the future, I do not believe the future is what we are living today. We are living among the experiments. What we see around us might be in ruins tomorrow. What we get as our future might not have been invented yet. With hopes still high and a sharp eye on the industry, I am waiting for the ultimate blockchain. Will it be Ethereum? Or NEO? Or Qtum? Or Tezos? Or something else? I don’t know. For now, I am excited to witness one of the largest shifts a human life can live through. Even if the future does not appear to be near, the future is not far either.

via https://hackernoon.com/the-new-age-of-dapps-is-here-and-its-not-based-on-ethereum–2246fc4d9eee

Art and the blockchain: A call for co-operation

Medium, art, blockchain, art market, 2017

The TEFAF Art Market Report, Online Focus 2017 highlighted the importance of decentralised technology within the art market. Pownall’s report includes survey responses from 673 dealers regarding their views on the use of blockchain. She finds that three quarters of auction houses, one third of intermediaries and one fifth of galleries intend to ‘offer blockchain technology within the next five years’. She also finds that almost 20% of galleries, auction houses and intermediaries intend to accept payment in digital currencies in the future. Despite these ambitions, there is an absence of shared research and knowledge and a severe lack of co-ordination about blockchain solutions that would be suitable for the art ecosystem.

via https://medium.com/@JessyBlock/art-and-the-blockchain-a-call-for-co-operation-df554fbe8e3e

Spot a Bot: Identifying Automation and Disinformation on Social Media

Medium, disinfo, disinformation, social media, fake news, bots, 2017

So how do we spot these accounts in the wild? Following are a number of traits we’ve found in our research. As you might expect, many accounts that are not bots or sockpuppets exhibit some of these traits. None of them are foolproof. But the more of these traits an account displays, the more likely it is to be a disinformation account. In our research, we’ve found it far more helpful to look for evidence of these traits in a large collection of tweets, rather than trying to come up with discrete lists of bots, sockpuppets, trolls, and regular users. It’s often these traits that are most dangerous, and it’s these traits that we can look out for when engaging information online ― and when sharing information ourselves. It is also worth highlighting that many of the traits exhibited by bots and sockpuppets are pulled directly from tactics used in online harassment.

via https://medium.com/data-for-democracy/spot-a-bot-identifying-automation-and-disinformation-on-social-media–2966ad93a203

Spectres in change. Fieldnotes #1

Seili, Spectres in change, fiednotes, FoAM, 2017

Seili, a tiny island in the Archipelago Sea. The island is a geologically young and interconnected ecosystem, historically laden with accounts of illness, death and isolation. It seems serene and benign yet harbours hidden disturbances, spectral hostilities. Plagues of ticks and microplastics overlaid with psychic memories of the oppressed and abandoned. Ecological monsters and anomalies hover on the edges of human perception, cunningly invasive even to a casual visitor. A haunted island covered by soft green mosses, lapped by gentle brackish waves. The sea is sparsely populated with dwindling biodiversity, beset with its own “ecological ghosts of oceans past.” The island bides in silence, weathering the changing weather. The landscape is on its way to becoming something else, without resistance. Things come, interfere for a while and eventually go. Sail away, disappear or die out. Other things remain, as ambivalent hosts or liminal lingerings…. Real but not necessarily physical, real but not always measurable. Whether invaded by crabs, humans or ticks, the island continues its slow and steady rise above the shallow waters, unperturbed.

via https://medium.com/p/spectres-in-change-fieldnotes–1-b47a213a902c

The Inside Story Of SoundCloud’s Collapse

soundcloud, startup, music, 2017

Today, SoundCloud appears stuck in no man’s land, according to former executives and employees. Though the company found validation with the major labels and launched a me-too subscription music service, former employees and music industry executives argue it bungled a great opportunity by losing sight of what made it unique: serving as a listening platform for non-label controlled content. Jake Udell, the CEO and founder of TH3RD BRAIN, a management company that represents artists like Gallant and Grace VanderWaal, said that SoundCloud used to be the first place he’d go to post music of his up-and-coming acts. “Back then I would have to fight the labels to have songs on SoundCloud,” he said. “Now it’s not even part of the conversation.”

via https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanmac/inside-the-storm-at-soundcloud#.lj8N8M1GB

On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system…

hypercard, multimedia, retrocomputing, archive.org, 1987, 2017, apple

On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system called HyperCard. HyperCard brought into one sharp package the ability for a Macintosh to do interactive documents with calculation, sound, music and graphics. It was a popular package, and thousands of HyperCard “stacks” were created using the software.

After our addition of in-browser early Macintosh emulation earlier this year, the Internet Archive now has a lot of emulated Hypercard stacks available for perusal, and we encourage you to upload your own, easily and quickly.

(via http://blog.archive.org/2017/08/11/hypercard-on-the-archive-celebrating-30-years-of-hypercard/ )

Murdered but Undefeated

Medium, Wu'er Kaixi, Liu Xiaobo, China, Tiananmen Square, 1989, 2017

Liu Xiaobo, who has died after eight years in jail, despite being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, was a complex human being, but he was bold, an intellectual, and in China he was a threat because he understood that civil society can organize against corruption and autocracy. Beijing released him from jail, not for the medical treatment he deserved, but simply to die. In other words, he was murdered by a murderous regime. It is time for the world to ask itself, are we accomplices, do we appease this, or do we stand up against so-called Chinese values?

via https://medium.com/@wuerkaixi/murdered-betrayed-but-unconquered–5a6dc3c04ccb

Massive Change — 10 Provocations for the Next 10 years of Social Innovation.

Medium, social innovation, scale, challenges, Indy Johar, 2017

The last ten years have been an important, formative period for the revival of social innovation, we have seen a new generation of actors contribute to the renewal of our societal goods. The work of the Young Foundation, Nesta, McConnell foundation, MaRS, Big Society Capital, SIX, TACSI, Impact Hubs and too many others to mention have been critical in seeding this question and driving its renewal globally.

Much of the work, has been focused on prototyping, understanding where the opportunity for change is and testing out micro additions or addressing edge failures in the welfare model — be it public, private or civic. Modest beginnings, and rightly so. Thereby, the work to date has largely been limited to relatively small scale interventions — tinkering & fixing at the very edges – the so called market or public service delivery failings ( social innovation projects to date have been driven largely by black swan procurement). Simultaneously and slowly over that period the sector has become stuck in the hope that “a theory of scale and impact” borrowed from the VC world and the Silicon Valley start-up landscape would be its structured salvation to societal impact.

This is not to decry an age of testing and discovery but it is also important to collectively recognise we have not gone after and meaningfully challenged mainstream social institutional infrastructure and its associated outcomes — which absorbs not just 100,000s of pounds through, but in the orders of Billions. As a community we have also failed to move any significant chunk of resource that the government allocates to military, technology or business innovation, into social innovation and the everyday services and social structures we most rely on.



via https://provocations.darkmatterlabs.org/massive-change–10-provocations-for-the-next–10-years-of-social-innovation-df4756ed8629

The Gadget that Makes DNA Sequencing Child’s Play

Medium, DNA, sequencing, DIYBio, MinION, 2017, nanopores

The MinION costs $1,000 and is the size of a candy bar. It connects to a laptop computer’s USB port. To have it read a DNA sample, you use a micropipette to drop a “DNA library” (more on that in a minute) through a millimeter-sized opening on the MinION. Inside the device are nanopores, cones just over a billionth of a meter wide, placed in a membrane. A steady ion current flows through these nanopores. Since each nucleotide (A, T, C or G) has a unique molecular makeup, each one is shaped a little differently. The unique shape passing through the pore interrupts the ion current in a specific way. Just as we can infer a shape by analyzing its shadow on a wall, we can infer a nucleotide’s identity from the disturbances it causes to the ion current. This is how the device converts bases to bits that stream into a computer.

via https://medium.com/neodotlife/nanopore–6443c81d76d3?source=ifttt————–1

“The video, called “Alternative Face v1.1”, is the work of Mario Klingemann, a German artist. It plays audio from an NBC…

GAN, Mario Klingemann, ML, AI, News, Fake News, media, 2017

video link

“The video, called “Alternative Face v1.1”, is the work of Mario Klingemann, a German artist. It plays audio from an NBC interview with Ms Conway through the mouth of Ms Hardy’s digital ghost. The video is wobbly and pixelated; a competent visual-effects shop could do much better. But Mr Klingemann did not fiddle with editing software to make it. Instead, he took only a few days to create the clip on a desktop computer using a generative adversarial network (GAN), a type of machine-learning algorithm. His computer spat it out automatically after being force fed old music videos of Ms Hardy. It is a recording of something that never happened.”

Can speculative evidence inform decision making?

Medium, Anab Jain, futures, decision making, choice, uncertainty, evidence, speculation, data, 2017, Superflux

Over at Superflux, our work investigating potential and plausible futures, involves extensively scanning for trends and signals from which we trace and extrapolate into the future. Both qualitative and quantitative data play an important role. In doing such work, we have observed how data is often used as evidence, and seen as definitive. Historical and contemporary datasets are often used as evidence for a mandate for future change, especially in some of the work we have undertaken with governments and policy makers. But lately we have been thinking if this drive for data as evidence has led to the unshakeable belief that data is evidence.

via https://medium.com/@anabjain/can-speculative-evidence-inform-decision-making–6f7d398d201f

Why Overwork Is Really a Kind of Laziness

Medium, work, overwork, busy, stress, laziness, virtue, busyness, stoicism, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, 2017

As the great German theologian Josef Pieper argued, for most of history philosophers and theologians treated overwork as a moral failing. The Stoic philosopher Seneca, for example, made a distinction between leisure and idleness; and importantly, people who were “out of breath for no purpose, always busy about nothing” were, in Seneca’s view, guilty of the worst kind of idleness. Because it occupies our time and feels like accomplishment, but actually produces very little and gives us little opportunity to learn about ourselves, this kind of busyness was to be avoided. As Pieper put it, in this vision leisure “is not a Sunday afternoon idyll, but the preserve of freedom, of education and culture, and of that undiminished humanity which views the world as a whole.” This is not to say that work was something to be avoided. Stoics like Seneca saw work as essential, as one of the things that made life meaningful. But in order to become our best selves, they argued, it was also necessary to take the time to reflect on our lives and choices — and that required both time and an “inward calm” that let us see ourselves and the world clearly.

via https://journal.thriveglobal.com/why-overwork-is-really-a-kind-of-laziness–4e3b3a1bddf4

The Vatican Opposes Riyadh’s Regional Dominance

vatican, religion, catholicism, wahhabism, 2017

Catholic experts on terrorism consider the official Saudi faith of Wahhabism, an eighteenth-century Salafi movement founded on the peninsula, to be a destabilizing source of extremism. For the Holy See, Wahhabism’s threat is existential: Wahhabi intolerance and money fuel violence against Christians and other communities across the Middle East and beyond. To counter this threat, the Vatican is cultivating relationships with non-Wahabbist Islamic cultural centers such as Al-Azhar University in Cairo, which Francis visited last month. Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, visited Francis in Rome last year, an especially significant development given that Tayeb led a boycott against the Vatican in 2011 after Benedict commented on anti-Christian violence in Egypt. Many hope that the renewed relationship will give new momentum to Christian–Muslim dialogue. Wariness about Wahhabism also applies to Syria, where local Catholic leaders remain skeptical regarding a Saudi-backed regime change. It is a simple calculus: Christian communities, whether Orthodox or Catholic, have been protected by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez al-Assad before that; Sunni extremism could bring Sharia law and second-class status for Christians.

via https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/saudi-arabia/2017–06–02/why-trump-and-francis-diverge-saudi-arabia

Where are they now? The Russian bots that disrupted the 2016 election

Medium, bots, russia, US, 2016, 2017, DNC, Trump

Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was behind several hacking incidents, including the infamous email breach of the Democratic National Committee last year that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blames for her electoral loss. Hacking, however, was only part of the equation. The use of social media bots to spread fake news was part of a larger disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected. But now that the United States’ election is over, where are they?

via https://thinkprogress.org/russian-bots-where-are-they-now-e2674c19017b

Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool

security, ransomware, malware, NSA, NHS, windows, 2017

Hackers exploiting malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency executed damaging cyberattacks on Friday that hit dozens of countries worldwide, forcing Britain’s public health system to send patients away, freezing computers at Russia’s Interior Ministry and wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers elsewhere. The attacks amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread by the internet and underscored the vulnerabilities of the digital age. Transmitted via email, the malicious software locked British hospitals out of their computer systems and demanded ransom before users could be let back in — with a threat that data would be destroyed if the demands were not met. By late Friday the attacks had spread to more than 74 countries, according to security firms tracking the spread. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, said Russia was the worst-hit, followed by Ukraine, India and Taiwan. Reports of attacks also came from Latin America and Africa.

via https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/uk-national-health-service-cyberattack.html?action=click&contentCollection=Europe&region=Footer&module=WhatsNext&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&moduleDetail=undefined&pgtype=Multimedia

Confronting a Nightmare for Democracy

Medium, politics, data collection, privacy, data protection, EU, USA, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google, 2017

What we fear is a future in which potent personal data is combined with increasingly sophisticated technology to produce and deliver unaccountable personalized media and messages at a national scale. Combined with data-driven emerging media technologies, it is clear that the use of behavioral data to nudge voters with propaganda-as-a-service is set to explode. Imagine being able to synthesize a politician saying anything you type and then upload the highly realistic video to Facebook with a fake CNN chyron banner. Expect the early versions of these tools available before 2020. At the core of this is data privacy, or as they more meaningfully describe it in Europe, data protection. Unfortunately, the United States is headed in a dangerous direction on this issue. President Trump’s FCC and the Republican party radically deregulated our ISP’s ability to sell data monetization on paying customer data. Anticipate this administration further eroding privacy protections, as it confuses the public interest for the interests of business, despite being the only issue that about 95% of voters agree on, across every partisan and demographic segment according to HuffPo/YouGov. We propose three ideas to address these issues, which are crucial to preserving American democracy.

via https://medium.com/@profcarroll/confronting-a-nightmare-for-democracy–5333181ca675

Mika Vainio’s quiet influence on electronic music was deafening

Mika-Vainio, panasonic, sound, music, noise, 2017, eulogy

Vainio’s influence on ambient and industrial electronic music was somewhat unspoken in his lifetime. He was not a figurehead of a scene, but pretty much all booming palettes of mechanical sound being made today nod in some way to Vainio and his work with Pan Sonic […] Vainio’s beats weren’t beats at all, they were the sound and feeling of a black hole opening up in the centre of your chest.[…] like “flares, vapour trails, LEDs, neon tubes close to death, heart murmurs, apertures opening and closing in cement walls, tiny mechanised guillotines snipping the heads from tin soldiers, sheets of led unfurling in underground car parks”.

via https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2017/apr/18/mika-vainios-quiet-influence-on-electronic-music-was-deafening

Douglas Coupland: ‘The nine to five is barbaric’

Douglas-Coupland, 9-5, employment, work, future-of-work, technolgy, 1995, 2017

“Most people who work in tech – 99% – don’t want to look at the implications of what they are doing. They just want to hit their milestones and that’s it.” But there’s no turning back. The internet is here to stay and will continue to profoundly change societies and the workplace. “If the internet stopped one day, can you imagine the chaos? What would we call that scenario? It’s called 1995 – that’s how far we’ve come.”

via https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/mar/30/douglas-coupland-the-nine-to-five-is-barbaric

Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition

Medium, 2017, Trump Insurgency, politics, USA

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.
This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”.

via https://medium.com/rally-point-journal/situational-assessment–2017-trump-edition-d189d24fc046

VIRTUAL REALITY AS POSSIBILITY SPACE

monika bielskyte, VR, AR, MR, shamanism, Experience Design, possibility, 2017

As we go into this future without screens, we must pay attention to the context that our ‘innovations’ shall be set in: we have been witnessing the loudest voices on the internet, in the media, & in politics screaming for alienation vs communication, enclosure vs openness, fear vs curiosity. In the light of recent events, I cannot help but admit I have been somewhat troubled by how narrowly we have been approaching our work, even we — even this very group of people that calls themselves innovators & explorers. Our work is never just entertainment or marketing or science or technology, we are, in fact, creating culture.

via https://medium.com/@monikabielskyte/virtual-reality-as-possibility-space–24a8600a59ff

Armin Medosch (1962–2017)

armin-medosch, RIP, nettime, 2017

Armin Medosch died yesterday, on the day two months after being diagnosed with cancer. I’m sure many people on nettime knew him very well. He was a long-time mover and shaker in the media arts and network culture scene in Europe. Indeed for much longer than even nettime exists.

I first learned of Armin not as a person, but a legend. In the early 1990s, he was one of a band of artists of an unqualifiable streak who roamed the Baltic sea on the Kunst-Raum-Schiff, MS Stubnitz. An 80m former freeze & transport vessel of the GDR high seas fishing fleet, they had re-purposed as a moving center for experimental electronic culture. He curated and organised exhibitions and symposia in Rostock, Hamburg, Malmö and St.Petersburg. The project was incredibly evocative, even for someone like me who had never seen the ship, because it fused many of the ideas that would come to define network culture, namely nomadism, a total disregard for established culture institutions, DIY and an exploration of the wild wastelands opened by the breakdown of the Soviet system, after 1989.

A few years later, when he was the co-founder and editor (1996 to 2002) of the groundbreaking online magazine Telepolis, he gave me the first change to publish regularly on network culture. Telepolis, which came out of exhibition on what was then called “interactive cities”, was the first European (or at least German) online publication that followed and understood the newly emerging phenomenon of the network culture. Together with Mute in London and nettime as list, Telepolis was a key node in establishing something like a European perspective on Internet culture, in clear opposition to WIRED and the Californian ideology.

In the early 2000s, Armin and I found ourselves living in Vienna. A collaborative working relationship turned into friendship. We still collaborated on a lot of projects, such as a Kingdom of Piracy, an exhibition project he initiated with Yukiko Shikata and Shu Lea Cheang, one of the first art projects that focused on the legal and illegal cultural practices of sharing digital materials. Over the last few years, we worked together in the framework of technopolitics, an independent research platform, he founded initially with Brian Holmes, aiming at developing a more martially grounded cultural critique, one which could relate cultural practices within deeper, more structure social transformation. A task we considered urgent after breakdown of the neo-liberal paradigm following the crisis that started 2008. All of these projects, and many more that I cannot account for personally – and need your help to fill in – where transdisciplinary, collaborative and exploratory, often ahead of their times. This is, however, something that the art and the academic system rarely appreciates.

Technopolitics continued this cross-disciplinary and collaborate work, but also reflected his new focus of work on developing a deep and sustained cultural theory and art history. His most recent publication, “New Tendencies: Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution (1961-1978)” (MIT Press, 2016) was a first major achievement of this new direction. So was Technopolitics which we were able to present to overflow crowds at the transmediale late last month, an event which he could only witness via stream from his hospital bed. Quite recently, we even became neighbours and we would walk over to each other’s house for discussions, food a drinks. No more.

–Felix Stalder

via https://nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l–1702/msg00039.html

actually i avoid obituaries and funerals. they are more about the people who stay than the people who go.and they are about status and memory. how many people will show up, how many people will give a speech. damn it. in this case, i have to write, expecting that Armin Medosch would have done the same. get his grips together and go back in time. traverse the network of people, places, events. help to edit the pages on monoskop and maybe wikipedia. we never have been friends on facebook. i know that for the ones beeing very near it will be almost impossible to write more. recently i read the obituary of a comrade by another comrade and actually it was all about comradery as a self reflection of purpose, which can quite easily become a monologue in front of a mirror. when looking back and forth again, you acknowledge that time is linear, so i think what Armin did was looking around, quite early, have a lookout, and be there eagerly waiting, grudgingly dismissing those who were not ready yet. luckily we shared this perspective. it is a rather circular view in all directions, and a combination of all senses, which is needed, which opens up a plane of intrinsic qualities, which can only be experienced, and are therefore a product of social labor, as something which has to be realized together. with such opportunities, other forces and explorers are working hard to gain and claim ground. other seasons begin and other qualities are needed. remember the smile. you need a big heart, some humour, and a lot of anger to keep going. as travelling warriors it is not so much about the fight, or even the enemy, than the territory itself which determines the struggle. the potential is not the one of a native who claims spiritual ownership, but of a futurity as a multidimensional topology which must remain open in a good way, which keeps a flow going, and keeps coming back to pose new opportunities of struggle. retiring from resistance is impossible. the moment you ask what was in it for you, you’re just hurting yourself. in so far it is like a song, which you and anyone can sing again, a pattern of a track which repeats itself, a faint radio frequency to tune into. have a good flight.

https://monoskop.org/Armin_Medosch

–Pit Schultz

via https://nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l–1702/msg00056.html

Italy creates a UNESCO emergency task force for culture

UNESCO, culture, heritage, looting, art-crime, 2017, italy

The task force #UNITE4HERITAGE will be used where the United Nations organization considers it appropriate to act. “Blue helmets” will assess the risks and quantify the damage to the cultural heritage, devise action plans and urgent measures, perform technical supervision, provide training courses for local staff, assist with the transport of movable objects to safe shelters and strengthen the fight against looting and the illegal traffic in cultural assets. Presently, the project is still at a political stage. To gain a more practical value, some operational issues will have to be resolved.

via http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/arts-and-leisure/2016–02–16/caschi-blu–135458.php?uuid=ACe61WVC

Facebook Plans to Rewire Your Life.

dystopia, socialmedia, facebook, 2017, power, control, culture

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto, penned clearly in response to accusations leveled at the social network in the wake of the bitter U.S. election campaign, is a scary, dystopian document. It shows that Facebook – launched, in Zuckerberg’s own words five years ago, to “extend people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships” – is turning into something of an extraterritorial state run by a small, unelected government that relies extensively on privately held algorithms for social engineering.

via https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017–02–17/mark-zuckerberg-s-manifesto-for-facebook-offers-a-social-dystopia

Weaponized Narrative Is the New Battlespace

weaponized-narrative, narrative, military, politics, tactics, culture, 2017

Weaponized narrative seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will by generating complexity, confusion, and political and social schisms. It can be used tactically, as part of explicit military or geopolitical conflict; or strategically, as a way to reduce, neutralize, and defeat a civilization, state, or organization. Done well, it limits or even eliminates the need for armed force to achieve political and military aims. The efforts to muscle into the affairs of the American presidency, Brexit, the Ukraine, the Baltics, and NATO reflect a shift to a “post-factual” political and cultural environment that is vulnerable to weaponized narrative.

via http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017/01/weaponized-narrative-new-battlespace/134284/

Remembering Mark Fisher

music, politics, quietus, Mark-Fisher, obituary, ccru, writing, theory, 2017

The loss of Mark Fisher, aged just 48, has not just left family, friends and colleagues shocked and devastated; it leaves a gaping crater in modern intellectual life. The poet and writer Alex Niven, with whom he worked at Repeater books, described him as “by some distance the best writer in Britain” and, as a flood of tributes on social media have come appended with links to his work, whether on k-punk, his much-read blog, interviews he conducted for The Wire or extracts from his very latest book The Weird And The Eerie, that is a judgment with which it is hard to disagree.

via http://thequietus.com/articles/21572-mark-fisher-rip-obituary-interview