• "Each Bakugan is effectively a marble with the imagination taken out, the rules written down, and formalised, because each one can be used in a card game which apes Top Trumps, but in a more collectible, mercenary way." Duncan Gough on the sad facts of toys that just don't work (see also Fortress of Solitude). Also: I liked this quotation.

Off to San Francisco

07 February 2011

Quick heads up: from tomorrow (Feb 8th) until the this coming Sunday, the 13th, I’ll be in San Francisco. Hurrah!

Thursday and Friday I’ve been invited to attend Stamen’s Data and Cities conference; a small, two-day event, that I’m looking forward to a lot. Very flattered to be asked, and it’ll be interesting to see what emerges. I’m hoping to write some of it up over at the Berg blog as it happens.

Otherwise: I’ve no plans yet for Wednesday daytime, so feel free to drop me a line if coffee sounds interesting.

The weekend holds some exploration of the city and then, rental cars and my fear of US roads willing, Monday-Thursday I’m off to Marin a few days quiet and R&R. Back next week.

  • "In CASINO ROYALE, James Bond is the Bond girl. Look at the way they even show him emerging from the ocean like Ursula Andress. Sexual torture, too, if less creepy-glam than being stripped and painted gold. Vesper Lynd is Bond: never not in control, never without a plan, seducing to further her goals. She has to die so Bond can become her."

Hacking on making art: my talk from Culture Hack Day

05 February 2011

My lightning talk from Culture Hack Day is now online as a video.

The lightning talks were meant to offer a provocation to the audience. I chose to point at the value of technology in creating art and cultural artefacts. Hack days are so often focused on repurposing and remixing; I think that hacking on culture should, in part, be about creating it as well.

What followed is an eight-minute whistle-stop tour through some art that interests and excites me, and a consideration of how technology might be used within that sort of work. I rather enjoyed this: nice to think outside some of my usual boxes, and focus on some more personal interests.

  • "…your equivalent to a computer looking up data from a chip is remembering a fact from your own brain. Your equivalent to a computer looking up data from a disk is fetching that fact from Pluto. Computers live in a world of commonplace interactions not the size of a house, like us, but the Solar System. On their own terms, they are long, long lived, and vast."
  • "These are clearly black market frankenproducts – made from a combination of surplus mobile phone components and car alarm key rings. I wonder how much they actually cost to manufacture. I wonder if the bits are stolen." Ben Bashford on the magic of Shanzai. And, of course, when a video camera is eight pounds, it's no longer precious, and you start doing weird things with it: Youtube is full of examples.
  • "Curveship is an interactive fiction system that provides a world model (of characters, objects, locations, and things that happen) while also modeling the narrative discourse, so that the narration and description of the simulated world can change. Curveship can tell events out of order, using flashback and other techniques, and can tell the story from the standpoint of particular characters and their perceptions and understandings." This looks both bonkers and brilliant.
  • "Data combined with narrative creates personality. It can be used to construct a larger and richer history around a subject.

    The world is already divided in to two camps: People who are going to watch the Super Ball and those who aren't. This is an opportunity to delight the former and reach the latter, by providing a larger and more playful cast of characters to describe the events during the game." Nice!

Links & notes for this month