Friday, August 25, 2006

Rosemary Goes Shopping!!!!

Artist Rosemary Williams is podcasting her adventures at the Mall of America.

She devised a plan to create a sculpture from shopping bags obtained from every store in the MOA. Rosemary quickly discovered that the stores were unwilling to part with a shopping bag without a purchase, so she engaged in a bit of performance art....she would buy an item from every store in the mall and then return the item (sans bag) the next day! In the end she spent over $15,000 and returned, well, most of the items.

The podcasts can be found at

Friday, August 18, 2006

Poor research techniques

Another example of either poor reporting or poor research techniques....

Researchers, led by Miguel Munoz-Laboy of Columbia University, have concluded that listening to certain types of music leads to increased risk of contracting AIDS. At least, that is what the headline says. Here are some quotes from the article:

"They said images of scantily-clad women in submissive roles in hip hop music videos, for example, had a "real impact on their lives," he said."

"The study did not imply listening to certain types of music causes HIV infection but simply found links between genres and risk factors."

""Boys who listened to hip hop had more sex and more partners, but it did not impact condom use," said Munoz-Laboy. "Those who are part of religious culture or the club scene used condoms inconsistently.""

The problem that I have with this is that there is no mention of a causal relationship between the music and sex. There may be such a relationship with music videos, or with "club" culture, but the story has zero evidence that the music itself leads to increased sexual activity.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Brightnets and Copyright

This is a little convoluted, but there is a movement afoot to create so-called "brightnets". A darknet is a file-sharing network that stores no personal information and is therefore anonymous. A brightnet removes any need for secrecy, as you'll see in a moment.

Data is stored in a number of blocks, which individually act as a sort of white noise, in that an individual block contains no copyrightable information. In fact, blocks can be used simultaneously in many different files. A file is reconstituted from a number of these white noise blocks. This reconstitution takes place on the terminal end (i.e. on your computer rather than the central server), like iTunes sharing, where the information cannot be copied onto your computer.

This is an interesting idea, and I wonder in what way this methodology could be applied to composition....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Art that changes to reflect your mood

This entry has two facets. First, the art itself.

Yahoo picked up a story about a work developed by John Collomosse, Maria Shugrina and Margrit Betke that responds to facial cues. "The painting changes from a dark, somber image to a brightly-coloured one as the viewer's expression alters from a scowl to a smile." Here is an example from the exhibition:

Like many of the other works featured on this blog, I remain guarded about the actual aesthetic appeal of this manifestation of the software. Neat idea, not necessarily the most exciting result. But of course I say this without having experienced the work.

The other facet of this entry is that work like this is starting to infiltrate the mainstream media. Like blogging (or other Web 2.0 developments) perhaps there will be a critical mass of new and interesting art. The time might be right for an explosion of (hopefully) avant-garde art, like the 50's and 60's.

Or maybe I'm just hoping.......

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Timely games

One interesting outgrowth of online gaming has been the speed with which fun games are released that deal with a topical subject. For example, take President Bush's infamous guerilla backrub of German Chancellor Andrea Merkel:

Well, here is a game in which you, as Bush, must give backrubs to various world leaders in order to maintain "good feelings", so to speak....

And who could forget Zinedine Zindane's headbutt in the World Cup finals?
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