Sunday May 13, 2007

Metamorphosis: RDF for Veterans

Yesterday evening I decided to walk from Market westwards. I walked all the way past the San Francisco Opera, through to Hayes Street when I noticed a crowd at an Opening Exhibition of the works of final year industrial design students called Metamorphosis. It was open to all, so I entered.

Looking around I noticed an exhibit with an icon that struck me as amazingly similar to the official RDF icons. More surprising even was that this icon was clearly meant to represent relationships, the foundation of the semantic web. So I looked around for the creator and found Trishatah Hunter, who explained her work to me in more detail. She had never heard of rdf or the semantic web!

Trishatah's device is designed to help war veterans find support when in need, feel part of a community, of a larger social network network on which they can rely. Is this unintentionally the first piece FOAF jewelry?

PS. Not sure what exactly the name for that type of jewelry is...
PPS. Another very nice work was Reflections, a work on the importance of objects to memory. It is a space to place objects in. The lights dim very slowly until the object is invisible behind its mirrored glass container. To see it again one has to touch the object, as if to call it back to memory.

Monday Nov 27, 2006

Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth

On Saturday I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, currently showing a large and beautiful selection of work by Anselm Kiefer, one of the best and most widely known living German artists. The exhibition "Heaven and Earth" explores the complex life of religious symbolism after their shattering through the horrors of early 20 century world wars. Understanding the logic of this symbolism in his work, which the short synopses on the wall help reveal, makes the impact of the art all the deeper and longer lasting. But the main access to his work is of course visual. Like all great art it has a nearly magical, transformative effect on the viewer. I felt like my eyes were being washed clean as I walked slowly down the hall.

If you live or are passing through the Bay area, you should definitively not miss this.

Sunday Sep 17, 2006

The Music Industry's coming transformation

Peter Jenner who managed Pink Floyd, and is now Secretary General of the IMMF, talked very clearly about the deep business problems facing the music industry in The Paris Accord session at WOS4 here in Berlin. Peter Jenner is a very likeable speaker, happy to make fun of his own computer ignorance, which reveals a deep understanding of the music industry and what it is facing. If I can summarise what he said - semi-officially only as he was careful to point out - real simply: the music industry's business model is doomed. Sales of music this year will drop 25%, attacking grannies and children by going to court is nonsense for a media business. The music industry that was built on shipping plastic has to adapt to the disintermediating power of the internet. Everyone can now publish their own CDs. So what should it do?

The suggestion was that having consumers pay for access to all music that ever existed for a limited fee would generate more revenue than the industry currently makes: $50/year \* 500 million people = $50 billion dollars/year. This would remove in one stroke all piracy, would still allow for sales of plastic CDs in beautiful encasings at a high collectors price, and would in the end give a new role to the managers and intermediaries who would now be very much needed to help people filter the absolutely humungous amount of available music (and this is indeed the business model of the many new netlabels). Various methods to then pay musicians in proportion to how much they are listened to are being worked on. Certainly a very interesting idea.

Saturday Sep 16, 2006

Free Culture Blues

Yesterday we heared a fun song, Tuxedo Blues being played here live (mp3)

(E)(A)Woke up this mornin' turned on the news 
somebody's trying to steal the blues. 

(A)They try to license E-Major and put my songs in danger 
(B)It's my favourite blues chord soon it ain't free no more. 

Went to O'Malley's to fetch me some gin 
sat down at the bar when i saw him walking in 
His name was Tux he gave me a grin 
said try open source fella that's how you win. 

cause culture is free and should always be 
it's creative and common for both you and me 
let's share this song so we can get along 
let's share this song so we can get along 

The song is available under an attribution non commercial share alike licence. It is made available by Registered Commons, a new service that allows creators to register their work, so that at a future date they can proove that it is theirs. So if you are worried that someone may take your liberally licenced work, claim it as their own, and then sue you, this is the service to look at. Even the paranoïd can join in and sing the blues now :-)

Friday Sep 15, 2006

Appropriation Art

Art and thought always builds on the past art and thought, since intellectual and creative work is a discussion. The Read Write society of blogs, wikis, mashups is about making it easy/allowing people to participate in the intellectual and cultural life of the planet. Since doing this is always in part an appropriation of the past, of the words of the other, in order to transform it or adapt it for ones own life the Appropriation Art a Canadian group has built its position on this fundamental insight of what makes meaning.

The talk on Art and Copyright yesterday, made this point very well. Various other talks here showing how developing countries such as Brazil, Nigeria (which produces more films than both Hollywood or India), where a culture of intellectual property ownership is not developed and a lot of sharing just happens spontaneously and legally, are showing us the way in this respect.




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