the future of the library

At the New Yorker, Anthony Grafton pursues the future of the library. I was shocked to read Grafton recount that a Cambridge University Press editor told him recently that "Conservatively, ninety-five per cent of all scholarly inquiries start at Google." But Grafton’s piece weighs the value of the search engine and the scope of the googleplex against other qualities. Libraries—or at least the major research libraries—will continue to have a role in our lives. If Grafton leaves anything out, it’s that the Web may miss more than it preserves…and not so much of the physical world of print as of its own domain. Take for example, this littlegirlonline (not safe for work), which had some interesting material on it until it was given up and has now been re-appropriated by a porn vendor. You can still find some, but not all, of the writing at the Internet Archive. Thank God for Brewster Kahle and, but still, are we really keeping track of the good stuff online?

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the man who saved the world

Outside of our usual sphere of coverage, but nevertheless worth thinking about. In 1983 the world nearly came to an end. At the Russian equivalent of NORAD, alarms sounded indicating that the United States had launch a missile strike against the Soviet Union. In fact, it was faulty technology. But the effect would have been the same, if not for Stanislav Petrov’s intuition and refusal to follow orders blindly.

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gaming becoming life

In the new issue of Wired, Rex Sorgatz weighs in on the role of gaming today in When Reality Feels Like Playing a Game, a New Era Has Begun. As with many aspects of network culture, it’s taken me a while to get this far (I blame architecture, historically the slowest of the arts in taking up new cultural … then again Karl Chu was telling me that games were the future for architecture many years ago), but there’s no question that if there is a new cultural form for Network Culture it’s software gaming (and yes, I think there are crucial distinctions between software gaming and older forms of gaming). Alex Galloway’s Gaming. Essays in Algorithmic Culture is a great introduction to such questions. But games require a huge amount of work to produce and as a conesquence the gaming industry is one of the few big media entities out there today (in fact, we could argue against the idea of the Long Tail, suggesting that operating systems and productivity software, software games, and aggegrators are the new big media). I’d love to see the software game equivalent of early television pioneer Ernie Kovacs, but I fear that period is long gone, something we can only experience today through emulators of 1980s videogames. Still, when AUDC states that the novel is dead, there is no question in my mind that games are the successor.

urban pac man

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silent disco

My student Maria introduced me to the the Silent Disco the other day (well, she showed me the site, unfortunately we didn’t find one nearby). Pioneered at clubs which did not have permission for loud music, silent discos pass out headphones to dancers who listen to music sent out via radio. See CNN or this Youtube video:

So what are the strangest manifestations of network culture that you’ve seen? Please, comment away! Your chance to be famous for a day (yeah, right).

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missing in new york

I ran across this story on artist and agitator Peter Missing this morning. Missing was a key player in the anti-gentrification movement in New York’s Lower East Side in the late 1980s, arguably a last stand against the eventual turning of the island into a giant stock broker dormitory-cum-shopping mall. I was living in the city in those days and in many ways it was a far more interesting and certainly more provocative place than it is today.

Where are the Peter Missings of network culture? Where is today’s Lower East Side? People don’t seem to have an answer to these questions which, in itself, is disturbing…

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whither alt.culture?

Where is alt.culture today? Author Warren Ellis concludes that our curatorial culture is just plain exhausted… This strikes me as true to a large degree, although I wonder if the best work isn’t taking place off-line or in secret? Much as I suggest that AUDC is Internet-based, we don’t blog about our working habits in public (why?). Rather, we talk to each other relentlessly on the phone and communicate via e-mail. Hopefully some of you will think that Blue Monday is an original and creative work, but yes, there seems to be some degree of exhaustion out there now.

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The vastly influential International Listings Blog, just published its list of the top one hundred architecture blogs and—no surprise— does not rank there.

Naturally. Why should we? Blogging is passé, even dead, the new establishment. Nothing worse than being stuck in the wrong part of the diffusion theory graph like some of my dear friends.

But what then? Obviously my interests don’t address conventional ideas of design. But maybe there is an element of truth in my Fake Steve style rant (after all, congratulations are due to the 100 top bloggers that these experts in luxury real estate picked … namaste, my friends, I bow down before you)…

What if blogging is dying, mutating, changing. Where is it going to go? I stopped blogging between 2003 and 2005 out of boredom with the solitary nature of the endeavor but then the spread of RSS made it into a collective process. What’s next? There’s my interest in slow blogging, but there might be other models such as Daniel Eatock and Jeffrey Vaska‘s Indexhibit format or underworldlive or Perous Secret Diary (based on Jan Schjetne’s Death Boogie Diaries). Any thoughts?

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urban models

The below image is courtesy of Mimi Zeiger, I’m at the end with head cocked, listening to Reinhold Martin.

I really have to stop trying to explain AUDC’s work in 15 or 20 minutes. It just isn’t possible. Other projects may work better as sound bytes, but you do what you can. So, you talk very, very fast.

We are planning a full-fledged launch party for Blue Monday in New York around 15 November. To get on the list, send an email to [email protected].

actar at columbia

Speaking of urban models, Mimi also sent this link… To a very strange xBox commercial.


Xbox 360: Water Balloons

Posted Nov 28, 2005

Anything goes in this all out water balloon fight for the new Xbox 360.

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