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The Playful City: From the 1960s Strive for Spontaneity to Today’s Space of Entertainment - Failed Architecture
"The unscripted play advocated by the Eventstructure Research Group has over the last few decades been lost to increasingly consumption-oriented spaces, encouraging prescribed entertainment and leisure."



"Leisure and entertainment, or play?
Half a century later, the same ideas developed by the Eventstructure Research Group now provide the theme for the Dutch Pavilion at the 2018 International Venice Architecture Biennale: work, body, leisure. The exhibition addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions, and notions of the human body resulting from ongoing transformations in the ethos and the conditions of labour. How will these changes affect the relationship between work, body and leisure, and which possible scenarios could we design accordingly? The main theme and the questions raised all seem derived from Constant’s thinking, and are also in line with the philosophy of the Situationists and that of the Eventstructure Research Group. An important difference, however, is that leisure seems a less powerful term than play. In contemporary usage, leisure is a passive term, associated with holidays and relaxation–a temporary break from day-to-day working life. This is merely the opposite of work, a calculated part of economic logics, while the aim of the Situationists was actually to transform work into play, in such a way that work, play and the body eventually would become one.

The Situationists considered their contemporary city of the late 1950s to be one of boredom, and wished to change it into a city of stimulation. Today, one could now argue that our own physical city is not one of boredom: 24-hour shopping, multiplex cinemas, game consoles, texting, and whatever other myriad possibilities are available to entertain us day and night – an ongoing stream of information, impulses and encouragements for active consumption. Eat now! Drink now! Exercise now! Drive now! Play now! The present-day city is one of continuous (over)stimulation. Is this the city the Situationists had in mind? Probably not. We may also ask, are all these forms of play really that effective in eliminating our boredom? Sandi Mann, author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good, argues quite the opposite: “The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied. The more we fill our world with fast-moving, high-intensity, ever-changing stimulation, the more we get used to that and the less tolerant we become of lower levels.”

The Situationists’ idea of play is quite different from the 21st century, entertainment-driven idea of play. Their idea of play strived for true spontaneity. It aimed to be active, non-conformist, anti-capitalistic and therefore critical. Today’s non-critical ‘play’ is about passive consumption, over-stimulation and intellectually apathy.

Additionally, the Situationists aimed to restructure the modern aesthetic experience by rejecting functionalism, instead favouring and celebrating complexity. Present-day cities have become exactly that: a complex of layered physical infrastructures, roads, waterways, air-routes, tubes, electricity lines, antennas, digital highways and so on. The near future will most likely see a steady-increase of the complexity of this infrastructure, with drone-like postal services, personal air transportation and more virtual landscapes added to the city. Complex infrastructure – and entertainment – is all that surrounds us. The city the Situationists imagined is there, but more than that. It has stepped up, pushed the fast-forward button and gone into overdrive.

This complex and fast-paced modern city however did not make citizens more critical towards capitalism. Today’s modern city is a largely scripted complexity of abundance, but with little place for disorder. The excess and the abundance of stimulation in the city today would make an action like Pneutube nothing more than a side note in the daily high-speed routine. People would probably shrug their shoulders, look up from their smartphones for a few moments and then continue their day. If architecture nowadays is capable at all of stimulating critical and non-conformist thinking, it can only do that through much more radical interventions. The ambitions of the ERG could be adopted, but a different output will have to be found to make an actual difference in today’s society.

What would be considered a radical architectural intervention today? Does architecture have the power to disrupt the dominant system? If this seemed possible in the past, with buildings such as the Centre Pompidou, today’s architecture seems to have lost its revolutionary potential. Not many buildings today are capable of surprising us because of the ideas that fuelled them, and not just because they are bigger, larger, or taller than their neighbours. In order to be truly radical, an architectural intervention today should be capable of criticizing the domination of technology and the authority of the algorithm. As the capitalist society that ERG was trying to dismantle does not look so different from today’s market economy in which citizens walk, travel, and even vote according to Google, Airbnb, or Facebook. Can contemporary architecture provide critical reflection on that?"
consumerism  commercialism  jornkonijn  2018  play  openended  entertainment  leisure  situationist  architecture  markets  capitalism  society  cities  urban  urbanism  functionalism  complexity  open-ended 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Airbrushing Shittown | Hazlitt
"S-Town isn’t fiction—we can probably assume that the facts, as we are given them, are “accurate.” But mere accuracy doesn’t make it journalism: the private details of private lives have no clear public interest, and Brian Reed never seriously argues that they do. It’s creative non-fiction, then, a category whose very name is composed out of negations: not fiction, but not non-fiction, either; true, but created. And so the fact that he never finds anything—that nothing happened—is what he finds at the end of his investigation, the discovery that the very opposite of something happened. He finds that something didn’t happen, in a half-dozen different ways, and that it didn’t happen for everyone in a variety of fascinating ways: the murder, the gold, and the conspiracy of silence… He finds none of it, only the story of how he set out to look. And then out of this series of negations, he wraps it all up, neatly, so that we can all go home, entertained.

By the end of the podcast, you come to realize that the monologue that opened it—a monologue about clocks and how they are reconstructed—is really about Brian Reed’s own process, about reconstructing a life. “Sometimes entire portions of the original clockwork are missing,” he says, “but you can’t know for sure because there are rarely diagrams of what the clock is supposed to look like. A clock that old doesn’t come with a manual.” John B. McLemore is the clock, and the testimony Reed has gathered, over long years of work, are the “witness marks” a clock-restorer uses to guide their way, “impressions and outlines and discolorations, left inside the clock, of pieces that might’ve once been there.”

“Fixing an old clock can be maddening,” Reed says. “You’re constantly wondering if you’ve just spent hours going down a path that will likely take you nowhere, and all you’ve got are these vague witness marks which might not even mean what you think they mean. So, at every moment along the way you have to decide if you’re wasting your time or not.”

Reed did not waste his time; S-Town was a smash from the start, a career-making triumph. But in their original function, clocks are not made for entertainment. Clocks are tools that make social life possible. A clock makes time, and organizes it, and time is, ultimately, a social medium: we use it to coordinate with others and to communicate; a sense of shared time helps us meet each other and find each other and arrange the stories that we tell about each other—it allows us to take our turns speaking and listening, and it allows us to put things into their proper perspective. Without clocks—or without some sense of shared time, however constructed—society, as we know it, would not be possible.

John lived in his own time zone, literally: as Reed mentions, John B. McLemore’s house did not observe daylight saving time, so depending on the season, the time at his house might be an hour different than the surrounding area. It’s a good reflection of his relation to his world, his insistent eccentricity reflected in his own, personal, zone of time. It’s a good joke, a playful irony, even a self-consciously Faulknerian expression of being southern, a quiet little rebellion against unification under the guise of turning back the clock. It’s also totally ridiculous, which John surely understood: since all time is social, the idea of having your own time zone is absurd, only meaningful in the irony of its meaninglessness.

Moreover, for all his scrupulous attention to reconstructing the original function of a clock, the irony of clock restoration is that John didn’t repair clocks for their original function. His clocks were repaired to be old, to be antiques: the point of “restoring” them was not simply to make them work—that’s easy enough to do—but to make them work exactly as they once did. That’s why John hand-ground a gathering pallet from scratch. “They aren’t trying to simply make the clock work again,” Reed says of the fraternity of horologists. “Their goal is to preserve and reconstruct the original craftsmanship as much as possible.” Recovering and replicating the inspiration of the original clockmaker makes them valuable enough to sell, but it’s the sale that matters.

After all, clock restoration serves no useful function in a world where we all have clocks on our phones (the same phones we might use to listen to a podcast). In a world where networked clocks are everywhere, an antique clock is so big, heavy, and fragile that it isn’t useful in that sense. Instead, an antique clock’s eccentricity becomes valuable because of how odd it is, how particular, and how much work goes into restoring it. When people pay for a restored antique, they are paying for an incredibly laborious lack of useful value: so much work went into making them work again, but because that work is totally superfluous and unnecessary, it is thus, perversely, worth paying for.

If an old clock is valuable because of the perfectly recovered eccentricity of its original intention, the same could be said about John B. McLemore’s own perverse life, and for that matter, this podcast. So much work went into making it, but what, after everything, is this podcast actually for?

When John B. McLemore heard the earliest draft of Reed’s program, the story of the murder of that didn’t happen, his reaction was disappointment: “I can’t believe how much you’ve worked on this son of a bitch and at the same time,” he sighed, “my god.” Reed wanted him to be relieved, to be happy about the work, and is audibly upset that he isn’t. Perhaps John B. was in a bad mood, even a depressive episode; perhaps that was why he wasn’t sufficiently appreciative. Perhaps his original fit of enthusiasm for activist journalism had long passed—it had, after all, been years since he originally contacted Reed—and he had a different perspective on the story Brian Reed was telling. When Reed observes that “I am not saving the world over here,” John’s retort that “You are definitely not saving the world!” is delivered with a peculiar, bitter intensity, the laugh of someone who once thought it was possible, perhaps, but no longer does. What’s the point of all that work if it can’t save the world?

John B. isn’t cruel, though: “I think you’ve done pretty goddamned good,” he says, finally. And he’s absolutely right—one can only admire how well Brian Reed reconstructed his clock. But what is the point of it? What does it do?

I am writing this and you are reading it because we are sharing a moment: we have all listened to this podcast, the timepiece that Brian Reed built to bring us together. But what do we do with this unity? Across the seven hours of Reed’s production, we are told a story in which we all can understand each other, talk to each other, and hear each other: we can unite in admiration for John B., for the genius that was born to Mary Grace, for his voice, and for the power of storytelling. We can hear his voice and be united in our appreciation for his existence. Is this what we need now? Does it tell us our time? Does it bring us together? Does it help us understand what it means to have Donald Trump as president, and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as the most powerful cop in the land? Or is it simply a nostalgic exercise in anachronism, like a perfectly restored antique? Is it something we value because it does something, or because it feels old and authentic?

I don’t know. In the end, all it offers is questions."
aaronbady  s-town  storytelling  horology  clocks  purpose  journalism  podcasts  nostalgia  brianreed  johnbmclemore  restoration  accuracy  entertainment  process  criticism 
may 2017 by robertogreco
What should teachers understand about the snapchat back-channel? - Long View on Education
"When I find my students on their phones or off-task on their computers, I try to first ask them the honest question, ‘What are you up to?’ Even though I usually re-direct them back on task, I want to understand them better as people with the hopes that I can make school as meaningful for them as possible.

It’s from that position that I ask: What should teachers understand about the Snapchat back-channel that has become so pervasive in our schools and classrooms?

It’s really nothing like passing notes, day-dreaming, or staring out the window.
Snapchat uses gamification techniques to incentivize participation, which I can’t help but read in the context of how Uber uses similar techniques to coerce its drivers, all without the appearance of coercion:
“To keep drivers on the road, the company has exploited some people’s tendency to set earnings goals — alerting them that they are ever so close to hitting a precious target when they try to log off. It has even concocted an algorithm similar to a Netflix feature that automatically loads the next program, which many experts believe encourages binge-watching. In Uber’s case, this means sending drivers their next fare opportunity before their current ride is even over.”

We live in a culture where active listening, deep reading, and quiet reflection must compete with the incentivization to constantly participate and score points. I don’t read this as a lesson in psychology like a 5 Unusual Ways to be More Productive listicle, but rather as a lesson in politics and democracy: 5 Sneaky Ways Corporations Keep You Focused on Yourself in a Precarious World.

The last thing I want to do is normalize surveillance in schools by prying into what kids are doing on their devices or to outright ban things. That kind of approach both reflects ableism, ignoring how some people might rely on devices to learn, and classism, ignoring how people with low-incomes might rely on smartphones for internet access.

Should we turn Snapchat into an educational tool? I doubt that kids want school to bleed into their social space any more than my generation wanted their teachers to post homework assignments in mall food courts, on basketball hoops, or Facebook.

Should teachers aim to be more entertaining than Snapchat? I view education as kind of conversation which requires both parties to make an effort to listen. The classroom should explicitly examine and address the conditions under which people have a voice. As someone with power in the classroom, I am less worried about kids paying attention to me than I am worried about them paying attention to each other. What student would want to become vulnerable by sharing their important thoughts if they are really entering into a combat for attention, trying to out-entertain an app designed to be addictive?

Should we just butt out, as Gary Stager suggests? Amy Williams poses an important question in reply:

[tweet by Benjamin Doxtdator @doxtdatorb
https://twitter.com/doxtdatorb/status/863648814724505600 ]
"@garystager Which doesn't mean monitoring or surveilling the kids or banning it"

[tweet by Amy Williams @MsWilliamsEng
https://twitter.com/MsWilliamsEng/status/863688181811687425 ]
"@doxtdatorb @garystager Can a school follow anti-discrimination laws (i.e. really claim that it's preventing harassment) & ignore what happens in backchannels?"

Relegating Snapchat to a completely unsupervised space in schools makes no more sense than not supervising playgrounds, especially given the unprecedented power of social media to quickly spread images far and wide. Supervising the playground does not mean that I don’t allow kids the freedom to talk without me hearing every word, but somehow balancing the freedoms that kids need with obligations to care for them.

I think I worry most about students taking photos and sharing them without consent. Who could learn under those conditions? I couldn’t. Imagine taking a risk by trying a new move in PE class or giving a speech and then seeing a phone peek back at you. As a teacher that uses a lot of technology, I play a role in modelling best practices. If I want to tweet something from my classroom, I tell my students why I want to take a picture of them, show them the photo, and then ask if they are willing to let me post it.
Mostly, I’d love to hear what students think. Imagine the possibilities in large-scale research that solicited anonymous feedback and also made use of in-depth interviews. We might be missing an opportunity to really learn something."

[See also:

https://twitter.com/doxtdatorb/status/863799711098130433

"Nope, it's this kind of nonsense that equates education with entertainment and immediate gratification that's the problem."

in response to

"If kids in your class are more engaged by a fidget spinner than they are by your lesson, the spinner isn't the problem. Your lesson is."
https://twitter.com/plugusin/status/863389674223669248 ]
technology  education  schools  snapchat  socialmedia  distraction  entertainment  coercion  gamification  classism  garystager  learning  supervision  surveillance  modeling  reflection  silence  quiet  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  sfsh  middleground  amywilliams  edutainment  engagement  gratification  fidgetspinners  discrimination  backchannels 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories? | Books | The Guardian
"Neuroscientists who insist technology is changing our brains may have it wrong. What if we are switching from books to digital entertainment because of a change in our need to communicate?"



"A few years ago I gave a lecture in Oxford that was reprinted in the Guardian under the heading: “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real)”. In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitisation of print: we are entering a new era, one with a radically different form of knowledge technology, and while those of us who have what Marshal McLuhan termed “Gutenberg minds” may find it hard to comprehend – such was our sense of the solidity of the literary world – without the necessity for the physical book itself, there’s no clear requirement for the art forms it gave rise to. I never actually argued that the novel was dead, nor that narrative itself was imperilled, yet whenever I discuss these matters with bookish folk they all exclaim: “But we need stories – people will always need stories.” As if that were an end to the matter.

Non-coincidentally, in line with this shift from print to digital there’s been an increase in the number of scientific studies of narrative forms and our cognitive responses to them. There’s a nice symmetry here: just as the technology arrives to convert the actual into the virtual, so other technologies arise, making it possible for us to look inside the brain and see its actual response to the virtual worlds we fabulate and confabulate. In truth, I find much of this research – which marries arty anxiety with techno-assuredness – to be self-serving, reflecting an ability to win the grants available for modish interdisciplinary studies, rather than some new physical paradigm with which to explain highly complex mental phenomena. Really, neuroscience has taken on the sexy mantle once draped round the shoulders of genetics. A few years ago, each day seemed to bring forth a new gene for this or that. Such “discoveries” rested on a very simplistic view of how the DNA of the human genotype is expressed in us poor, individual phenotypes – and I suspect many of the current discoveries, which link alterations in our highly plastic brains to cognitive functions we can observe using sophisticated equipment, will prove to be equally ill-founded.

The neuroscientist Susan Greenfield has been prominent in arguing that our new digital lives are profoundly altering the structure of our brains. This is undoubtedly the case – but then all human activities impact upon the individual brain as they’re happening; this by no means implies a permanent alteration, let alone a heritable one. After all, so far as we can tell the gross neural anatomy of the human has remained unchanged for hundreds of millennia, while the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates – in my view – from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s, hardly enough time for natural selection to get to work on the adaptive advantages of … tweeting. Nevertheless, pioneering studies have long since shown that licensed London cab drivers, who’ve completed the exhaustive “Knowledge” (which consists of memorising every street and notable building within a six mile radius of Charing Cross), have considerably enlarged posterior hippocampi.

This is the part of brain concerned with way-finding, but it’s also strongly implicated in memory formation; neuroscientists are now discovering that at the cognitive level all three abilities – memory, location, and narration – are intimately bound up. This, too, is hardly surprising: key for humans, throughout their long pre-history as hunter-gatherers, has been the ability to find food, remember where food is and tell the others about it. It’s strange, of course, to think of Pride and Prejudice or Ulysses as simply elaborations upon our biologically determined inclination to give people directions – but then it’s perhaps stranger still to realise that sustained use of satellite navigation, combined with absorbing all our narrative requirements in pictorial rather written form, may transform us into miserable and disoriented amnesiacs.

When he lectured on literature in the 1950s, Vladimir Nabokov would draw a map on the blackboard at the beginning of each session, depicting, for example, the floor plan of Austen’s Mansfield Park, or the “two ways” of Proust’s Combray. What Nabokov seems to have understood intuitively is what neuroscience is now proving: reading fiction enables a deeply memorable engagement with our sense of space and place. What the master was perhaps less aware of – because, as yet, this phenomenon was inchoate – was that throughout the 20th century the editing techniques employed in Hollywood films were being increasingly refined. This is the so-called “tyranny of film”: editing methods that compel our attention, rather than leaving us free to absorb the narrative in our own way. Anyone now in middle age will have an intuitive understanding of this: shots are shorter nowadays, and almost all transitions are effected by crosscutting, whereby two ongoing scenes are intercut in order to force upon the viewer the idea of their synchrony. It’s in large part this tyranny that makes contemporary films something of a headache for older viewers, to whom they can seem like a hypnotic swirl of action.

It will come as no surprise to Gutenberg minds to learn that reading is a better means of forming memory than watching films, as is listening to afternoon drama on Radio 4. This is the so-called “visualisation hypothesis” that proposes that people – and children in particular – find it harder not only to remember film as against spoken or written narratives, but also to come up with novel responses to them, because the amount of information they’re given, together with its determinate nature, forecloses imaginative response.

Almost all contemporary parents – and especially those of us who class themselves as “readers” – have engaged in the Great Battle of Screen: attempting to limit our children’s consumption of films, videos, computer games and phone-based social media. We feel intuitively that it can’t be doing our kids any good – they seem mentally distracted as well as physically fidgety: unable to concentrate as they often look from one handheld screen to a second freestanding one, alternating between tweezering some images on a touchscreen and manipulating others using a remote control. Far from admonishing my younger children to “read the classics” – an utterly forlorn hope – I often find myself simply wishing they’d put their phones down long enough to have their attention compelled by the film we’re watching.

If we take seriously the conclusions of these recent neuroscientific studies, one fact is indisputable: whatever the figures for books sales (either in print or digital form), reading for pleasure has been in serious decline for over a decade. That this form of narrative absorption (if you’ll forgive the coinage) is closely correlated with high attainment and wellbeing may tell us nothing about the underlying causation, but the studies do demonstrate that the suite of cognitive aptitudes needed to decipher text and turn it into living, breathing, visible and tangible worlds seem to wither away once we stop turning the pages and start goggling at virtual tales.

Of course, the sidelining of reading narrative (and along with it the semi-retirement of all those narrative forms we love) is small potatoes compared with the loss of our capacity for episodic memory: would we be quite so quick to post those fantastic holiday photographs on Facebook if we knew that in so doing we’d imperil our ability to recall unaided our walk along the perfect crescent of sand, and our first ecstatic kiss? You might’ve thought that as a novelist who depends on fully attuned Gutenberg minds to read his increasingly complex and confusing texts I’d be dismayed by this craven new couch-based world; and, as a novelist, I am.

I began writing my books on a manual typewriter at around the same time wireless broadband became ubiquitous, sensing it was inimical not only to the act of writing, but that of reading as well: a novel should be a self-contained and self-explanatory world (at least, that’s how the form has evolved), and it needs to be created in the same cognitive mode as it’s consumed: the writer hunkering down into his own episodic memories, and using his own canonical knowledge, while imagining all the things he’s describing, rather than Googling them to see what someone else thinks they look like. I also sense the decline in committed reading among the young that these studies claim: true, the number of those who’ve ever been inclined “to get up in the morning in the fullness of youth”, as Nietzsche so eloquently put it, “and open a book” has always been small; but then it’s worth recalling the sting in the tail of his remark: “now that’s what I call vicious”.

And there is something vicious about all that book learning, especially when it had to be done by rote. There’s something vicious as well about the baby boomer generation, which, not content to dominate the cultural landscape, also demands that everyone younger than us survey it in the same way. For the past five years I’ve been working on a trilogy of novels that aim to map the connections between technological change, warfare and human psychopathology, so obviously I’m attempting to respond to the zeitgeist using this increasingly obsolete art form. My view is that we’re deluded if we think new technologies come into existence because of clearly defined human objectives – let alone benevolent ones – and it’s this that should shape our response to them. No, the history of the 20th century – and now the 21st – is replete with examples of technologies that were developed purely in order to facilitate the killing of people at … [more]
willself  communication  digital  writing  howwewrite  entertainment  books  socialmedia  neuroscience  2016  marshallmcluhan  gutenbergminds  print  change  singularity  videogames  gaming  games  poetry  novels  susangreenfield  rote  rotelearning  twitter  knowledge  education  brain  wayfinding  memory  location  narration  navigation  vladimirnabokov  proust  janeausten  film  video  attention  editing  reading  howweread  visualizationhypothesis  visualization  text  imagery  images  cognition  literacy  multiliteracies  memories  nietzsche  booklearning  technology  mobile  phones  mentalillness  ptsd  humans  humanity  digitalmedia  richardbrautigan  narrative  storytelling 
november 2016 by robertogreco
The Parliament of Things: Into Latour and His Philosophy
"Researching the conversations between Things, Animals, Plants and People and design the House of The Parliament of Things."



"The Parliament of Things is a speculative research into the emancipation of animals and things. It acknowledges that mankind has reached the end of an anthropocentric world. We can no longer maintain the distorted dichotomy between culture and nature. We share this world with many. Law should not be centred around Men, but around Life. We are just one party, among all animals, plants and objects. What if we welcome all things into our Parliament? What would be the plight of the planet? The reasoning of a fish? What claims would trees make, and what future would oil see for itself?

Do you you want to join? Send us an e-mail: info@theparliamentofthings.org

We at Partizan Publik have invented the Parliament and are playing the role of clerk by bringing it to you. The writer’s contest was a collaborative project that was organized by several partners. In the winter and spring of 2016 we invite several organizations to build the Parliament with us."



"We Have Never Been Modern and the Parliament of Things

Introduction

In We Have Never Been Modern (1991) Bruno Latour criticizes the distinction between nature and society. He states that our sciences emphasize the subject-object and nature-culture dichotomies, whereas in actuality, phenomenons often cross these lines. As an example, he mentions the hole in the ozone layer, and the different ways the sciences should look at it: ‘Can anyone imagine a study that would treat the ozone hole as simultaneously naturalized, sociologized and deconstucted?’ (6). With this mentioning of the hole in the ozone layer (as well as, among other things, computer chips, Monsanto, and aids) he gives an example of things or phenomena that are not merely objects, but that are hybrids between nature and culture.

With regards to the title of this work, Latour argues that this dualism between subject and object is a ‘modern’ mode of classification, and that this modern mode does not actually correspond with the practical ways in which we live. Thus, this modern dualism actually has never existed: we have never been modern.

The Constitution

‘Modernity is often defined in terms of humanism, either as a way of saluting the birth of ‘man’ or as a way of announcing his death. But this habit itself is modern, because (…) [i]t overlooks the simultaneous birth of ‘nonhumanity’ – things, or objects, or beasts (…)’ (13)

In this chapter, the question at hand is about the constitution. ‘Who is to write the full constitution?’, Latour asks (14). For political constitutions, this is normally done by jurists and Founding Fathers; for the nature of things, this is the task of scientists. But, if we want to include hybrids as well, who is going to write the complete constitution?

Latour calls this complete constitution the ‘Constitution’ with a capital C, to distinguish it from the political one. It defines ‘humans and nonhumans, their properties and their relations, their abilities and their groupings’ (14).

Hobbes & Boyle

When discussing the separation between science and politics, Latour uses the dispute between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes as an example. Boyle can be seen as the founder of modern science – he developed the methodology in which scientists observe a phenomenon produced artificially in a laboratory (in Boyle’s case, the workings of a vacuum pump, in our case, for example, CERN).

Hobbes, on the other hand, rejected this manner of analysis, and focused on theorizing social and political order in terms of human conflicts and agreements. ‘Boyle and Hobbes, then, jointly constructed the program for purifying the discourses of nature and society – expunging from each the traces of the other’ (Pickering). This distinction between science and politics is not just typical for ‘modernity’, but actually defines it, as Latour argues: ‘they are inventing our modern world, a world in which the representation of things through the intermediary of the laboratory is forever dissociated from the representation of citizens through the intermediary of the social contract’ (Latour 27).

Hybrids

Latour established that the modern constitution ‘invents a separation between scientific power charged with representing things and the political power charged with representing subjects’ (29). However, he states we should not think that subjects are far removed from things. Even though Hobbes and Boyle create this distinction, they still speak about the same things: God, the politics of the King of England, nature, mathematics, and spirits and angels, to name a few. It becomes clear that in practice, this separation between science and politics, and nature and culture, does not hold. As Latour states:

Here lies the entire modern paradox. If we consider hybrids, we are dealing only with mixtures of nature and culture; if we consider the work of purification, we confront a total separation between nature and culture.’ (30)

The paradox of modernity, thus, is that we divided the world into two groups –

nature (science) and culture (politics) – but at the same time, in our daily lives, we constantly deal with hybrids between these two groups. But this division renders ‘the work of mediation that assembles hybrids invisible, unthinkable, unrepresentable’ (35). As Latour succinctly puts it: ‘the modern constitution allows the expanded proliferation of the hybrids whose existence, whose very possibility, it denies’ (35).

We Have Never Been Modern

‘Modernity has never begun’, Latour argues. Instead, he calls himself a ‘nonmodern’: ‘A nonmodern is anyone who takes simultaneously into account the moderns’ Constitution and the population of hybrids that that Constitution rejects and allows to proliferate’ (47). He states that hybrids – also called monsters, cyborgs, tricksters – are ‘just about everything; they compose not only our own collectives but also the others, illegitimately called premodern’ (47). So only minor changes separate our era from the periods that were before, Latour states.

Revolution

In this part, Latour discusses the action that has to be undertaken to acknowledge the existence and the importance of hybrids:

When the only thing at stake was the emergence of a few vacuum pumps, they could still be subsumed under two classes, that of natural laws and that of political representations; but when we find ourselves invaded by frozen embryos, expert systems, digital machines, sensor-equipped robots, hybrid corn, data banks, psychotropic drugs, whales outfitted with radar sounding devices, gene synthesizers, audience analyzers, and so on, when our daily newspapers display all these monsters on page after page, and when none of these chimera can be properly on the object side or on the subject side, or even in between, something has to be done. (50)

Latour calls for the need to outline a space that encompasses both the practice of purification as well as that of mediation. ‘By deploying both dimensions at once, we may be able to accomodate the hybrids and give them a place, a name, a home, a philosophy, an ontology and, I hope, a new constitution’ (51).

Quasi-Objects

Latour tries to locate the position of hybrids, quasi-objects and quasi-subjects by first problematizing the status of the social scientist. He argues that the social scientist, on the one hand, shows that ‘the power of gods, the objectivity of money, the attraction of fashion (…)’ have no intrinsic value, but ‘offer only a surface for the projection of our social needs and interests’ (52). To become a social scientist, Latour states, ‘is to realize that the inner properties of objects do not count, that they are mere receptacles for human categories’ (52).

On the other hand, social scientists also debunk the belief in the freedom of the human subject: they show how the ‘nature of things (…) determines, informs and moulds’ humans (53). So, Latour states that the social scientist ‘see[s] double’:

In the first denunciation, objects count for nothing; they are just there to be used as the white screens on to which society projects its cinema. But in the second, they are so powerful that they shape the human society, while the social construction of the sciences that have produced them remains invisible. (53)

The solution to these contradictory beliefs is dualism, much to Latour’s disapproval. The nature pole is divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ parts, the same partition is made for the subject/society pole. ‘Dualism may be a poor solution, but it provided 99 per cent of the social sciences’ critical repertoire’ (54).

Latour, instead, states objects are society’s co-producters. ‘Is not society built literally – not metaphorically – of gods, machines, sciences, arts and styles?’ (54). He argues we should not focus too much on dialectics, as dialectics foreground the existing dichotomies; instead, he focuses on quasi-objects.

Quasi-objects are in between and below the two poles (…) [and] are much more social, much more fabricated, much more collective than the ‘hard’ parts of nature (…), [yet] they are much more real, nonhuman and objective than those shapeless screens on which society (…) needed to be ‘projected’. (55)

By focusing on the two poles rather than on that what is in between, ‘science studies have forced everyone to rethink anew the role of objects in the construction of collectives, thus challenging philosophy’ (55).

Relativism

In this chapter, Latour treats the function of anthropology and the role it might be able to play, as well as the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry. If anthropology is to become symmetrical, ‘the anthropologist has to position himself at the median point where he can follow the attribution of both nonhuman and human properties’ (96).

To analyse this new field of study, anthropology … [more]
multispecies  objects  plants  animals  brunolatour  robertboyle  thomashobbes  hybrids  modernity  nonmodern  modern  quasi-objects  law  biology  anthropology  entertainment  science  architecture  campainging  literature  things  theparliamentofthings 
april 2016 by robertogreco
When Television Is More Than an “Idiot Box” — The Development Set — Medium
"Around the world, TV educates while it entertains. It can teach the internet a few things, too."



"When it comes to education and technology, it is not television but the internet that is hot and wired. The United Nation’s Broadband Commission, packed with luminaries from Mexico’s Carlos Slim to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, suggests that the internet can “enhance learning opportunities, transform the teaching and learning environment… and ultimately rethink and transform” education systems.

At first glance, the internet could be a very attractive tool to overcome a global learning crisis. At the turn of the 21st century, the World Bank reported that about seven percent of the world’s population was online. Last year, it had reached 41 percent.

But it turns out just giving kids access to the web doesn’t do much for educational outcomes. Across countries that take part in the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA), children who use computers more intensively do worse on tests. One Laptop Per Child, which distributes cheap computers in developing countries, has been beset by failure. In Peru, they had no impact on math and language test scores. Similar findings emerged in Nepal. Likewise, extending access to broadband in schools in Portugal led to lower grades — although the impact was reduced if YouTube was blocked.

There is a simple explanation. When you give kids a computer, they’re not suddenly more excited by math and social studies. Children are, for the most part, more interested in the medium’s entertainment capabilities."



"Under some circumstances, television can be at least as effective as traditional instruction. Mexico’s Telesecundaria programming broadcasts six hours of lessons a day to children in remote areas of the country where there is no secondary school.

For the most part, though, television has remained an adjunct in the classroom, rather than a replacement for teachers. But as a more holistic tool for learning outside the classroom, it has had a massive impact — particularly when it serves its primary function to entertain and not educate.

Recent research suggests there can be a considerable upside to hours “wasting time” in front of the television screen. Take Chitrahaar and Rangoli. Illiterate school kids who watched the shows were more than twice as likely to be functionally literate five years later than kids who didn’t watch the shows. The effect was particularly noticeable for girls. Given the reach of these two programs, it’s possible that millions of Indian kids became literate largely thanks to the simple and very cheap approach of same-language subtitling.

Perhaps the most well known form of educational entertainment, or “edutainment,” for children is Sesame Street, which is now broadcast in more than thirty countries around the world. In the US, children who grew up in areas where the television signal was stronger — and so had better access to Sesame Street — were much less likely to have to repeat a grade in school. In Mexico, viewers of Plaza Sesamo do better in literacy and mathematics tests. The results are the same in Turkey (Susam Sokagi), Portugal (Rua Sesamo), Russia (Ulitsa Sezam) and Bangladesh (Sisimpur), to name but a few.

elevision’s educational power extends beyond childhood, and beyond skills traditionally learned in a classroom. As cable access rolled out across India, for example, viewers of all ages started watching shows where comparatively strong women characters had financial and social independence. Women in villages with cable access reported more power over making decisions and less acceptance of wife beating. These villages also began to see declining birth rates and rapidly rising school enrollment for girls.

Similar effects have been observed around the world. In Brazil, as the Rede Globo channel extended across the country in the 1970s and 1980s, parents began to have fewer children, perhaps mimicking the characters on their favorite soaps. Recent research in Nigeria finds that areas where the TV signal is stronger see parents wanting fewer children and using contraceptives more, alongside lower rates of female genital cutting. In South Africa, World Bank researchers found that viewers of one locally produced soap opera, “Scandal”, which was specifically developed to incorporate plot lines dealing with financial responsibility, were almost twice as likely to borrow from formal sources of credit like banks rather than informal sources. They were also less likely to engage in gambling.

When soap opera characters are relatable and believable, audiences begin to associate with them. If a beloved character stands up for herself in front of her husband, or gets in over their head in debt, or gets pregnant by accident, viewers learn from that experience. And that knowledge translates into changed behavior: more control within the household, less informal debt, fewer children.

Heavy-handed public service messages on television, like condescending “the more you know” spots, may impart information but rarely engage viewers. The same may well be true of the internet. For most children in particular, it is primarily used as a source of fun and not education.

Pioneers around the world are already experimenting with internet-based edutainment for kids. Sites like ABC Mouse, among countless others, produce educational games for children. Pratham, an Indian NGO, has developed a program combining math questions with an arcade game. Children who used it for two hours a week saw their math test scores considerably improve. Given the internet’s interactive nature, perhaps the impact of well-designed web edutainment will end up being even greater than the broadcast variety.

Edutainment will never be able to replace teachers in a classroom. But well-designed programming — whether it arrives by broadcast or broadband — can have a dramatic impact at low cost."
charleskenny  television  tv  education  learning  howwelearn  2016  olpc  entertainment  mexico  turkey  russia  portugal  bangladesh  india  sesamestreet  literacy  math  mathematics 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Children prefer simple pleasures to organised trips, research finds - Telegraph
"While parents shell out an average of £183 per child on day trips over the course of a six-week summer holiday, their children would be happier doing simple and free activities such as playing with friends or going for bike rides.

The findings are in a survey by the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, which asked 1,500 children aged between 5 and 11 to rank their favourite summer-time activities in order of preference.

Playing in the park or in the garden was ranked as the top pastime. Mud pie-making, tree-climbing and feeding the ducks also came in the top ten.

The first activity that would cost children’s parents money was named as going to the cinema, which was the 12th most popular pastime and came after planting flowers and picking berries.

Psychologists said the survey proved that children enjoy simple outdoor pleasures more than organised trips, which often involve hours in the car. Meanwhile parents admitted they spend so much on activities because they feel guilty that their children might get bored.

Youngsters even said that they prefer flying kites and playing in a paddling pool to going to the zoo. Surprisingly, playing on a computer was ranked as one of the least favourite summer activities.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a child psychologist, said: “While parents are busy spending money on costly activities to ensure their kids have a good summer, children mostly value the simple pleasures that summer brings. In terms of pleasure per penny, it’s the everyday outdoor fun which takes little time or money to organise that far outweighs the more orchestrated expensive excursions.”

Almost half of the children said they preferred playing in familiar places such as the back garden or local park than places they have not been to before.

The supermarket also questioned 2,000 parents as part of its Kids’ Simple Pleasures Per Penny Index. Parents said that they book at least one day trip or paid-for excursion per week over the six-week summer holiday, spending an average of £183 per child per holiday.

A third of parents said that they organised weekly trips to make their lives easier over the holiday period.

Four in ten adults said they had increased their spending on holiday excursions compared with last year despite the economic downturn.

Despite spending so much on their children, seven in 10 parents admitted that their most cherished childhood memories involved playing with friends or having “simple” fun in the garden.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “Summer memories last us a lifetime and parents can learn a lot from what their children have told us in this study.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “The summer holidays can be particularly expensive, especially for families, but it doesn’t have to be a burden if we take the lead from our youngsters and reappraise the value of the simple everyday pleasures loved by all.”"
children  parenting  play  2012  boredom  entertainment  everyday  small  slow  childhood  memory  summer 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Uganda’s Tarantino and his $200 action movies - BBC News
"A Ugandan film company that makes low-budget action movies in the slums has found a cult following online - one US fan liked their films so much, he abandoned New York to become an action movie star in Kampala."



"Isaac Nabwana, the film director and brains behind Ramon Productions, was not fazed by the unexpected arrival. "I asked him, why didn't he call me? He said: 'I am a friend, I had to reach you.' That's when I realised that he's a true friend," he says. Nabwana offered his visitor some tea, and they spoke for five hours.

"I thought I was going to meet someone like myself - a little crazy with a camera and some friends - and very quickly I realised this is the real deal," says Hofmanis.

He had arrived in "Wakaliwood", where over the past decade, self-taught film maker Nabwana has shot more than 40 low-budget action films. He is not sure how much each one costs to make, but guesses it might be around $200 (£130). "It is passion that really makes a movie here," Nabwana says.

The volunteer cast and crew source props wherever they can. The green screen is a piece of cloth bought at the market, draped over a wall. The camera crane is made from spare tractor parts - Dauda Bissaso, one of the regular actors, is a mechanic and builds all the heavy gear and weapons. "He's just a genius with a blowtorch, he makes everything," says Hofmanis. Another key member of the team is Bruce U, a Bruce Lee fan who choreographs the fight scenes and runs a kung fu school for the children of Wakaliga.

To recreate gunshot injuries, they use free condoms from the local health clinic, filled with fake blood - they burst quite realistically. They used to be filled with real animal blood, but when one of the actors got sick with brucellosis, a disease passed on from cows, they switched to food colouring.

Fake blood is needed in vast quantities because the films are violent - but in a cartoonish way, and quite unlike the real violence Nabwana witnessed growing up during Uganda's 1981-86 civil war. "I don't put that in my movies, what I saw in the past," he says. "I include comedy - there was no comedy in the violence which I witnessed."

His cinematic hero is Chuck Norris, although he also likes Rambo and The Expendables. Hofmanis, on the other hand, compares him to directors like Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez and Martin Scorsese - "in terms of creativity and what they're contributing to cinema"."



"Unable to find a distributor, Nabwana came up with an ingenious solution: the actors and crew work for nothing, but get to keep half the profits from any DVDs they sell. "We do man-to-man, door-to-door all over the country to sell them," he says. The films can sell for up to 3,000 shillings - about $1 - but the team only has a window of about a week before they are pirated. They sometimes wear full costume to maximise sales."

[See also:
http://wakaliwood.com/

“WAKALIWOOD : Home of Ramon Film Productions”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfvXLtZtLrQ

“Who Killed Captain Alex: Uganda's First Action Movie (English Subtitles & Video Joker) - Wakaliwood”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEoGrbKAyKE

“The New Wave of Ultra-Violent Ugandan DIY Action Cinema: Wakaliwood” (Vice)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy0OOVTmsJI ]
isaacnabwana  uganda  film  filmmaking  2015  vibekevenema  africa  alanhofmanis  entertainment  kampala  ramonfilmproductions  wakaliga  wakaliwood  ramonproductions  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  projectideas 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Report: Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Native Students -- THE Journal
[Agree, but with some skepticism. While I agree that we shouldn't make assumptions about tech savviness and that the concept of digital natives is problematic, if the primary basis of “using tech better“ is about productivity and academic “success” than. On the other hand “using technology to solve daily problems” sounds like a great measurement. Time to dig into the details of the research. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11423-014-9355-4/fulltext.html ]

"The report's conclusion: "Today's school-age learners are no more technology savvy than their teachers. The previous assumption used to profile students as digital natives did not apply to the students in this study. In fact, teachers' technology use experiences surpassed students whether it [was] inside or outside of school."

The researchers found that "students used technology outside of school for working on school projects, maintaining social networks and entertainment" — but mostly for playing games and listening to music. Teachers showed similar patterns of usage but with greater frequency. Teachers also tended to depend "much more on using technology to solve daily problems, to improve productivity, and as learning aids."

Wang noted that teacher age had no impact on the kinds of technology skills they have. The gap between them and their students lies with how little opportunity students get to practice technology beyond pursuing their personal interests.

"In many ways," the researchers wrote, "it is determined by the requirements teachers place on their students to make use of new technologies and the ways teachers integrate new technologies in their teaching."

The report recommends that "high-quality training" be provided to teachers to help them learn how to integrate content-specific technology into their lessons and how to teach their students how to use technology more effectively."

"School-age students may be fluent in using entertainment or communication technologies, but they need guidance to learn how to use these technologies to solve sophisticated thinking problems," Wang noted. "The school setting is the only institution that might create the needs to shape and facilitate students' technology experience. Once teachers introduce students to a new technology to support learning, they quickly learn how to use it."
technology  education  digitalnatives  2014  communication  entertainment  criticalthinking  problemsolving  learning  howwelearn  productivity 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Education’s war on millennials: Why everyone is failing the “digital generation” - Salon.com
"Both reformers and traditionalists view technology as a way to control students — and they're getting it very wrong"



"In addressing the hundreds of thousands who watch such videos, students aren’t the only ones in the implied audience. These videos appeal to many nonacademic viewers who enjoy watching, from a remove, the hacking of obstreperous or powerful systems as demonstrated in videos about, for instance, fooling electronic voting booths, hacking vending machines, opening locked cars with tennis balls, or smuggling contraband goods through airport x-ray devices. These cheating videos also belonged to a broader category of YouTube videos for do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts— those who liked to see step-by-step execution of a project from start to finish. YouTube videos about crafts, cooking, carpentry, decorating, computer programming, and installing consumer technologies all follow this same basic format, and popular magazines like Make have capitalized on this sub-culture of avid project-based participants. Although these cultural practices may seem like a relatively new trend, one could look at DIY culture as part of a longer tradition of exercises devoted to imitatio, or the art of copying master works, which have been central to instruction for centuries."



"Prior to the release of this report, Mia Consalvo had argued that cheating in video games is expected behavior among players and that cheaters perform important epistemological work by sharing information about easy solutions on message boards, forums, and other venues for collaborations.

Consalvo also builds on the work of literacy theorist James Paul Gee, who asserts that video game narratives often require transgression to gain knowledge and that, just as passive obedience rarely produces insight in real classrooms, testing boundaries by disobeying the instructions of authority figures can be the best way to learn. Because procedural culture is ubiquitous, however, Ian Bogost has insisted that defying rules and confronting the persuasive powers of certain architectures of control only brings other kinds of rules into play, since we can never really get outside of ideology and act as truly free agents, even when supposedly gaming the system.

Ironically, more traditional ideas about fair play might block key paths to upward mobility and success in certain high-tech careers. For example, Betsy DiSalvo and Amy Bruckman, who have studied Atlanta-area African-American teens involved in service learning projects with game companies, argue that the conflict between the students’ own beliefs in straightforward behavior and the ideologies of hacker culture makes participation in the informal gateway activities for computer science less likely. Thus, urban youth who believe in tests of physical prowess, basketball-court egalitarianism, and a certain paradigm of conventional black masculinity that is coded as no-nonsense or—as Fox Harrell says—“solid” might be less likely to take part in forms of “geeking out” that involve subverting a given set of rules. Similarly, Tracy Fullerton has argued that teenagers from families unfamiliar with the norms of higher education may also be hobbled by their reluctance to “strategize” more opportunistically about college admissions. Fullerton’s game “Pathfinder” is intended to help such students learn to game the system by literally learning to play a game about how listing the right kinds of high-status courses and extracurricular activities will gain them social capital with colleges."



"However, Gee would later argue in “The Anti-Education Era” that gamesmanship that enables universal access and personal privilege may actually be extremely counterproductive. Hacks that “make the game easier or advantage the player” can “undermine the game’s design and even ruin the game by making it too easy.” Furthermore, “perfecting the human urge to optimize” can go too far and lead to fatal consequences on a planet where resources can be exhausted too quickly and weaknesses can be exploited too frequently. Furthermore, Gee warns that educational systems that focus on individual optimization create cultures of “impoverished humans” in which learners never “confront challenge and frustration,” “acquire new styles of learning,” or “face failure squarely.”"



"What’s striking about the ABC coverage is that it lacked any of the criticism of the educational status quo that became so central for a number of readers of the earlier Chronicle of Higher Education story—those who were asking as educators either (1) what’s wrong with the higher education system that students can subvert conventional tests so easily, or (2) what’s right with YouTube culture that encourages participation, creativity, institutional subversion, and satire."



"This attitude reflects current research on so-called distributed cognition and how external markers can help humans to problem solve by both making solutions clearer and freeing up working memory that would otherwise be tied up in reciting basic reminders. Many of those commenting on the article also argued that secrecy did little to promote learning, a philosophy shared by Benjamin Bratton, head of the Center for Design and Geopolitics, who actually hands out the full text of his final examination on the first day of class so that students know exactly what they will be tested on."



"This book explores the assumption that digital media deeply divide students and teachers and that a once covert war between “us” and “them” has turned into an open battle between “our” technologies and “their” technologies. On one side, we—the faculty—seem to control course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, Internet access to PowerPoint slides and podcasts, and plagiarism-detection software. On the student side, they are armed with smart phones, laptops, music players, digital cameras, and social network sites. They seem to be the masters of these ubiquitous computing and recording technologies that can serve as advanced weapons allowing either escape to virtual or social realities far away from the lecture hall or—should they choose to document and broadcast the foibles of their faculty—exposure of that lecture hall to the outside world.

Each side is not really fighting the other, I argue, because both appear to be conducting an incredibly destructive war on learning itself by emphasizing competition and conflict rather than cooperation. I see problems both with using technologies to command and control young people into submission and with the utopian claims of advocates for DIY education, or “unschooling,” who embrace a libertarian politics of each-one-for-himself or herself pedagogy and who, in the interest of promoting totally autonomous learning in individual private homes, seek to defund public institutions devoted to traditional learning collectives. Effective educators should be noncombatants, I am claiming, neither champions of the reactionary past nor of the radical future. In making the argument for becoming a conscientious objector in this war on learning, I am focusing on the present moment.

Both sides in the war on learning are also promoting a particular causal argument about technology of which I am deeply suspicious. Both groups believe that the present rupture between student and professor is caused by the advent of a unique digital generation that is assumed to be quite technically proficient at navigating computational media without formal instruction and that is likely to prefer digital activities to the reading of print texts. I’ve been a public opponent of casting students too easily as “digital natives” for a number of reasons. Of course, anthropology and sociology already supply a host of arguments against assuming preconceived ideas about what it means to be a native when studying group behavior.

I am particularly suspicious of this type of language about so-called digital natives because it could naturalize cultural practices, further a colonial othering of the young, and oversimplify complicated questions about membership in a group. Furthermore, as someone who has been involved with digital literacy (and now digital fluency) for most of my academic career, I have seen firsthand how many students have serious problems with writing computer programs and how difficult it can be to establish priorities among educators—particularly educators from different disciplines or research tracks—when diverse populations of learners need to be served."



"Notice not only how engagement and interactivity are praised and conflated, but also how the rhetoric of novelty in consumer electronics and of short attention spans also comes into play."
education  technology  edtech  control  reform  policy  power  2014  traditionalism  traditionalists  plagiarism  pedagogy  learning  schools  cheating  multitasking  highered  highereducation  politics  elizabethlosh  mimiito  ianbogost  jamespaulgee  homago  betsydisalvo  amybruckman  foxharrell  geekingout  culture  play  constraints  games  gaming  videogames  mckenziewark  janemcgonigal  gamesmanship  internet  youtube  secrecy  benjaminbratton  unschooling  deschooling  collaboration  cooperation  agesegregation  youth  teens  digitalnatives  marshallmcluhan  othering  sivavaidhyanathan  digital  digitalliteracy  attention  engagement  entertainment  focus  cathydavidson 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Aesthetics of Dispersed Attention: Interview with German Media Theorist Petra Löffler :: net critique by Geert Lovink
"GL: You got a fascinating chapter in your habilitation about early cinema and the scattering of attention it would be responsible for. The figure of the nosy parker that gawks interests you and you contrast it to the street roaming flaneur.

PL: Yes, the gawker is a fascinating figure, because according to my research results it is the corporation of the modern spectator who is also a member of a mass audience––the flaneur never was part of it. The gawker or gazer, like the flaneur, appeared at first in the modern metropolis with its multi-sensorial sensations and attractions. According to Walter Benjamin the flaneur disappeared at the moment, when the famous passages were broken down. They had to make room for greater boulevards that were able to steer the advanced traffic in the French metropolis. Always being part of the mass of passers-by the gawker looks at the same time for diversions, for accidents and incidents in the streets. This is to say his attention is always distracted between an awareness of what happens on the streets and navigating between people and vehicles. No wonder movie theatres were often opened at locations with a high level of traffic inviting passers-by to go inside and, for a certain period of time, becoming part of an audience. Furthermore many films of the period of Early Cinema were actualities showing the modern city-life. In these films the movie-camera was positioned at busy streets or corners in order to record movements of human and non-human agents. Gawkers often went into the view of the camera gesticulating or grimacing in front of it. That’s why the gawker has become a very popular figure mirroring the modern mass audience on the screen.

Today to view one’s own face on a screen is an everyday experience. Not only CCTV-cameras at public spaces record passers-by, often without their notice. Also popular TV-shows that require life-participation such as casting shows once more offer members of the audience the opportunity to see themselves on a screen. At the same time many people post their portraits on websites of social networks. They want to be seen by others because they want to be part of a greater audience––the network community. This is what Jean Baudrillard has called connectivity. The alliance between the drive to see and to being seen establishes a new order of seeing which differs significantly from Foucault’s panoptical vision: Today no more the few see the many (panopticon) or the many see the few (popular stars)––today, because of the multiplication and connectivity of screens in public and private spaces, the many see the many. Insofar, one can conclude, the gawker or gazer is an overall-phenomenon, a non-specific subjectivity of a distributed publicity."



"GL: I can imagine that debates during the rise of mass education, the invention of film are different from ours. But is that the case? It is all pedagogy, so it seems. We never seem to leave the classroom.

PL: The question is, leaving where? Entering the other side (likewise amusement sites or absorbing fantasies)? Why not? Changing perspectives? Yes, that’s what we have to do. But for that purpose we don’t have to leave the classroom necessarily. Rather, we should rebuilt it as a room of testing modes of thinking in very concrete ways. I’m thinking of Jacques Rancière’s suggestions, in his essay Le partage du sensible, about the power relation between teachers and pupils. Maybe today teachers can learn more (for instance soft skills) from their pupils than the other way around. We need other regimes of distribution of power, also in the classroom, a differentiation of tasks, of velocities and singularities—in short: we need micropolitics.

More seriously, your question indicates a strong relationship between pedagogy and media. There’s a reason why media theorists like Friedrich Kittler had pointed to media’s affinity to propaganda and institutions of power. I think of his important book Discourse Networks, where he has revealed the relevance of mediated writing techniques for the formation of educational institutions and for subjectivation. That’s why the question is, what are the tasks we have to learn in order to exist in the world of electronic mass media? What means ‘Bildung’ for us nowadays?

GL: There is an ‘attention war’ going on, with debates across traditional print and broadcast media about the rise in distraction, in schools, at home. On the street we see people hooked on their smart phones, multitasking, everywhere they go. What do you make of this? This is just a heightened sensibility, a fashion, or is there really something at stake? Would you classify it as petit-bourgeois anxieties? Loss of attention as a metaphor for threatening poverty and status loss of the traditional middle class in the West? How do you read the use of brain research by Nicholas Carr, Frank Schirrmacher and more recently also the German psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer who came up with a few bold statement concerning the devastating consequences of computer use for the (young) human brain. Having read your study one could say: don’t worry, nothing new under the sun. But is this the right answer?

PL: Your description addresses severe debates. Nothing less than the future of our Western culture seems to be at stake. Institutions like the educational systems are under permanent critique, concerning all levels from primary schools to universities. That’s why the Pisa studies have revealed a lot of deficits and have provoked debates on what kind of education is necessary for our children. On the one hand it’s a debate on cultural values, but on the other it’s a struggle on power relations. We are living in a society of control, and how to become a subject and how this subject is related to other subjects in mediated environments are important questions.

A great uncertainty is emerged. That’s why formulas that promise easy solutions are highly welcomed. Neurological concepts are often based on one-sided models concerning the relationship between body and mind, and they often leave out the role of social and environmental factors. From historians of science such as Canguilhem and Foucault one can learn that psychiatrist models of brain defects and mental anomalies not only mirror social anxieties, but also produce knowledge about what is defined as normal. And it is up to us as observers of such discourses to name those anxieties today. Nonetheless, I would not signify distraction as a metaphor. It is in fact a concrete phase of the body, a state of the mind. It’s real. You cannot deal with it when you call it a disability or a disease and just pop pills or switch off your electronic devices."
via:litherland  attention  distraction  2013  petralöffer  geertlovink  walterbenjamin  flaneur  gawkers  cities  internet  audience  diaphanesverlag  montaigne  albertkümmel  siegfriedkracauer  frankfurterschule  kant  tibot  psychology  daydreaming  media  mediaarchaeology  richardshusterman  film  micropolitics  friederichkittler  education  subjectivation  massmedia  bildung  nicholascarr  sherryturkle  frankschirrmacher  culture  values  culturalvalues  brain  bernardstiegler  socialmedia  marketing  entertainment  propaganda  deepreading  petersloterdijk  mindfulness  self-control  mediatheory  theory  theodoradorno  weimar  history  philosophy  reading  writing  data  perception  siegfriedzielinski  wolfgangernst  bernhardsiegert  erhardschüttpelz  francoberardi  andrewkeen  jaronlanier  howardrheingold  foucault  micheldemontaigne  michelfoucault 
october 2013 by robertogreco
THE DOCTOR FOX LECTURE: A PARADIGM OF EDUCATIONAL SEDUCTION
"On the basis of publications supporting the hypothesis that student ratings of educators depend largely on personality variables and not educational content, the authors programmed an actor to teach charismatically and non substantively on a topic about which he knew nothing. The authors hypothesized that given a sufficiently impressive lecture paradigm, even experienced educators participating in a new learning experience can be seduced into feeling satisfied that they have learned despite irrelevant, conflicting, and meaningless content conveyed by the lecturer. The hypothesis was supported when 55 subjects responded favorably at the significant level to an eight-item questionnaire concerning their attitudes toward the lecture. The study serves as an example to educators that their effectiveness must be evaluated beyond the satisfaction with which students view them and raises the possibility of training actors to give "legitimate" lectures as an innovative approach toward effective education. The authors conclude by emphasizing that student satisfaction with learning may represent little more than the illusion of having learned."
lectures  satisfaction  entertainment  lecturing  seduction  frankdonnelly  johnware  donaldnaftulin  via:alfiekohn  education  favorability  confidence  learning  teaching  psychology  1973  research 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Kickstarter: Crowdfunding Platform Or Reality Show? | Fast Company
"…Pen Type-A, a slick stainless-steel enclosure for Japanese gel ink pens that I first saw on Kickstarter but pre-ordered shortly after their campaign raised more than 100 times its goal in August of last year… Yet the Pen Type-A is more than a $100 metal pen that never gets used, it's a memento of the excitement I felt after first seeing the product.

When faced with the reality of these products, disappointment is inevitable--not just because they're too little too late (if at all) but for even weirder reasons. We don't really want the stuff. We're paying for the sensation of a hypothetical idea, not the experience of a realized product. For the pleasure of desiring it. For the experience of watching it succeed beyond expectations or to fail dramatically. Kickstarter is just another form of entertainment. It's QVC for the Net set. And just like QVC, the products are usually less appealing than the excitement of learning about them for the first time and getting in early on the sale."
sponsorshipasentertainment  sponshorship  consumptionsasentertainment  entertainment  sourishong-porretta  micropatronage  crowdsourcing  ouya  cw&t;  products  qvc  experience  buyer'sremorse  consumerism  excitement  2012  ianbogost  kickstarter 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Making smart on Env
"Smart people can take something complex and express it faithfully in different, especially simpler, terms. They can interpret and reinterpret. If you want to make something smart, it’s tempting to do smartness to your topic until you’ve condensed it into some admirably lucid interpretation, then hand that to the audience and wait for the applause. Sometimes this is what’s needed. But it isn’t how to make smart things. A smart thing is something for a smart person. However many interpretations you put in it, however fertile they are, you leave room for more.

You do this because you respect what you are interpreting and you do it because you respect your audience. It’s a lot like being considerate. And that’s how you make smart things."
making  writing  subjectivities  balance  interpretation  dryness  comments  audience  clever  cleverness  criticism  superiority  disdain  milankundera  kitsch  storytelling  airs  malcolmgladwell  ted  smartness  authenticity  entertainment  art  nervio  thomaskincade  beauty  humor  neilgaiman  2012  consideration  smarts  smart  charlieloyd 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Rex Sorgatz: LA is the future (kill me now) » Nieman Journalism Lab
"When the collapse hits, capital will rush out of the traditional entertainment industry faster than you can say “Lehman Brothers.” And, as in New York, talented young people with industry awareness will be there to grab that capital & create new businesses. That’s when things will get interesting. Just as New York—against all odds—became the locus of traditional business being disrupted by technology, Los Angeles will erupt with creativity around the collision of technology & entertainment. New forms of content—programming that isn’t bound by 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long!—will appear overnight. The disruption will be challenging at first, but a Video Renaissance will emerge.

And as the production & distribution costs plummet (just as they have for written media), innovation will start to appear in related industries: social sharing technology, revenue models, aggregation, and distribution. Suddenly, coders in SF will consider LA as another option for employment. Crazy talk!"
disruption  mediaproduction  technology  business  economics  entertainment  media  video  creativity  rebirth  collapse  rexsorgatz  2012  losangeles 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Laurent Haug » Dream jobs of pre teens: today vs 25 years ago
"A fascinating comparison of pre teens aspirations, today vs 25 years ago. Much of the evolution of society can be seen in these numbers. From middle class, scientific, requiring-long-studies jobs to entertainment, instantaneous, artistic professions."
instantgratification  teens  perspective  generations  fame  fortune  entertainment  aspiration  lottery  2011  1986  theproblem  society  careers 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Laurent Haug » Blog Archive » Dream jobs of pre teens: today vs 25 years ago
"A fascinating comparison of pre teens aspirations, today vs 25 years ago. Much of the evolution of society can be seen in these numbers. From middle class, scientific, requiring-long-studies jobs to entertainment, instantaneous, artistic professions."
instantgratification  teens  perspective  generations  fame  fortune  entertainment  aspiration  lottery  2011  1986  theproblem  society  careers 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The News of the World closes as media's tectonic plates shift | Will Self | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
"we live in an interregnum between cultural hegemonies, and in such times, as Marx observed of political interregnums, the strangest forms will arise. … We will remain in this interregnum only for as long as media organisations remain unable to make web-based content – whether editorial, entertainment or social media – generate genuinely self-sustaining revenue. When it does begin to do so new hierarchies will be erected very speedily to exploit it, and my suspicion is that these new hierarchies will look very much like the old. … We will remain in this interregnum only for as long as media organisations remain unable to make web-based content – whether editorial, entertainment or social media – generate genuinely self-sustaining revenue. When it does begin to do so new hierarchies will be erected very speedily to exploit it, and my suspicion is that these new hierarchies will look very much like the old."
willself  2011  uk  internet  culture  media  privacy  newsoftheworld  interregnum  karlmarx  politics  power  socialmedia  hierarchy  entertainment  exploitation  content  sustainability  web  online  control  via:preoccupations 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Children at Play - The Run of Play [Goes on to discuss soccer players, pointing out the 'adults' and 'children' in professional ranks.]
"Sometimes I find myself walking home from work around the time the local elementary school dismisses its charges for the day. When this happens my daily journey becomes a little more interesting and a little more complicated, because children don’t walk the way adults do. Children will run past you, then stop and squat to look at a slug on the sidewalk, then run past you. Even when no stimulus, sluggish or otherwise, presents itself, they’ll slow down and dawdle for a while before hoofing it again. Also, for any given weather they might be wildly over- or under-dressed. The other day the temperature was in the high forties when I saw ahead of me two girls, ten years old or so… They were walking home from school and so had accoutered themselves, but neither seemed to notice the differences. They dawdled, and ran, and dawdled. I dodged them when necessary, which was often.

Adults aren’t like this. Adults dress appropriately and move steadily towards their goals."
children  adults  play  walking  goals  situationist  serendipity  curiosity  surprise  soccer  futbol  sports  football  xavi  zlatanibrohimavić  dirkkuyt  dawdling  purpose  slow  meandering  alanjacobs  tcsnmy  entertainment  discovery  differences  concentration 
february 2011 by robertogreco
'Biutiful': Tragedy And Addiction In Barcelona : NPR
"tragedy…a genre that has been forgotten in entertainment business…valuable way to express stories of human beings…

…people doesn't know about existence of this film because obviously the industry is just about selling entertained destruction. You know what I mean, like, predesigned corporate products to take money from the pockets of 10 to 15-year-old kids…

…audiences…have a lot of stiffness in their emotional muscles…even intellectual ones…they just want to sit…and are used to  being entertained…

…much more darkness & bleakness in 30 minute TV newscast…films that people are killed & you don't feel nothing…

…guy is dying, but you care for it. And the way I have seen people really relate to this character & are affected by the film all around the world I have been travelling, you cannot get better than that because the people really shake in a good way and they are not indifferent. And that's what art and that's what art should do, which is provoke, create catharsis."
alejandrogonzáleziñárritu  film  tragedies  biutiful  barcelona  immigration  migration  art  news  hollywood  entertainment  media  2010  darkness  bleakness  death  dying  catharsis  empathy  emotions 
december 2010 by robertogreco
I Want My Twitter TV! | Fast Company
""Turns out, not everyone wants to use Twitter on television the same way," Sladden says. "Revenge of the liberal-arts majors" might be the best way to describe the method that the media team uses to help partners figure out how best to use Twitter. "Robin will lead a design-oriented brainstorm session to try to tease out in their own words what that relationship will be and what that creative potential is," Sladden says. "It's anthropology, learning their tribal language. It's better when it's native to you, but you can crack the code if you listen, ask good questions, and care enough to understand.""
cloesladden  robinsloan  rosshoffman  twitter  media  tv  television  2010  fastcompany  socialmedia  entertainment  convergence  newliberalarts  liberalarts  anthropology  listening 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Pixel Poppers: Awesome By Proxy: Addicted to Fake Achievement
"When I learned about performance and mastery orientations, I realized with growing horror just what I'd been doing for most of my life. Going through school as a "gifted" kid, most of the praise I'd received had been of the "Wow, you must be smart!" variety. I had very little ability to follow through or persevere, and my grades tended to be either A's or F's, as I either understood things right away (such as, say, calculus) or gave up on them completely (trigonometry). I had a serious performance orientation. And I was reinforcing it every time I played an RPG…

Be aware of why you play the games you do the way you do. Be aware of how you use them. We humans are remarkably adept at finding ways to lie to ourselves, and ways to be self-destructive."
2009  via:preoccupations  achievement  rpg  videogames  praise  productivity  psychology  mindset  motivation  goals  education  design  children  games  gaming  gamedesign  entertainment  parenting  performance  learning  brain  habits  deschooling  unschooling  shrequest1 
august 2010 by robertogreco
A Sense of Place, A World of Augmented Reality: Part 1: Places: Design Observer
"It’s not that the public became interested in nothing. They became interested in place as a zone of consumption, not production. Stripped of those meanings and relationships that were part and parcel of productive activity, everyday place became an unseen zone and we, its inhabitants, became experience addicts — constantly on the hunt for a flashier, more entertaining sensorial fix."
anthropology  ar  architecture  augmentedreality  change  city  location  media  mobilelearning  designobserver  design  future  film  reality  place  gps  geography  communications  cities  meaning  consumption  production  entertainment 
june 2010 by robertogreco
The Pleasures of Imagination - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"So while reality has its special allure, the imaginative techniques of books, plays, movies, and television have their own power. The good thing is that we do not have to choose. We can get the best of both worlds by taking an event that people know is real and using the techniques of the imagination to transform it into an experience that is more interesting and powerful than the normal perception of reality could ever be. The best example of this is an art form that has been invented in my lifetime, one that is addictively powerful, as shown by the success of shows such as The Real World, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Fear Factor. What could be better than reality television?"
psychology  culture  imagination  creativity  games  fun  fiction  fantasy  consciousness  brain  art  entertainment  emotion  play  empathy  escape  videogames  narrative  via:lukeneff  film  tv  television  reality  realitytv  storytelling  leisure  english  mind  writing  pleasure  behavior  science  paulbloom  humans 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Inside Pixar’s Leadership « Scott Berkun
"That fundamentally successful companies are unstable. And where we have to operate is in that unstable place. And the forces of conservatism which are very strong and they want to go to a safe place. I want to go to the same place for money, I want to go and be wild and creative, or I want to have enough time for this, and each one of those guys are pulling, and if any one of them wins, we lose. And i just want to stay right there in the middle. ... The notion that you’re trying to control the process and prevent error screws things up. We all know the saying it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. And everyone knows that, but I Think there is a corollary: if everyone is trying to prevent error, it screws things up. It’s better to fix problems than to prevent them. And the natural tendency for managers is to try and prevent error and over plan things."

[via: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/567439792/the-notion-that-youre-trying-to-control-the ]
conservatism  edcatmull  pixar  creativity  leadership  management  people  failure  business  behavior  culture  design  innovation  productivity  tcsnmy  administration  risk  risktaking  learning  unschooling  deschooling  certainty  uncertainty  adaptability  lcproject  flexibility  power  control  lifehacks  collaboration  entertainment  film 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Chat Roulette - Vex Appeal
"Cocks aside, the instantly frustrating thing with the experience is the level of passivity from most participants - clicking “next” endlessly, demanding the internet give them something to see, without considering what others might be seeing in them. I exhausted myself trying to emit a gigawatt of sunshine, big smiles and thumbs-up every two seconds, then, when my face started aching, playing everyone the 7th chord from the beginning of “Hard Days Night.”

But occasionally when I found someone who was doing a fun thing of their own (see above) or who was at least receptive, it was mildly rewarding, and the randomly rewarding nature of that experience meant I did spend a good hour doing my best to make the odd person smile.

Even so, by the end, the endless wave of humanity ground me down, and before I knew it I was clicking Next with the same indifference as the next bored guy, after bored guy, after bored guy."
via:blackbeltjones  chatroulette  internet  culture  society  entertainment  boredom 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Daring Fireball Linked List: Hulu May Come to iPad as Paid Subscription Service
"This sort of nonsense gets to the bottom of what’s wrong with these entertainment executives’ outlook on the world. They want to define everything by arbitrary device types — this is a “TV”, that is a “computer”, this other thing is a “mobile device” — and then sell/distribute the same content to different device types separately and with no spillage. But it’s all bullshit in the digital world. It’s all just ones and zeroes and pixels. To these TV executives it makes sense to block Boxee from supporting Hulu because Boxee is for “TVs” and Hulu is only intended for “computers”. Now they’re stuck trying to figure out which arbitrary slot the iPad fits into."
hulu  boxee  ipad  computers  daringfireball  johngruber  tv  television  content  entertainment  2010  mobiledevices 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Leigh Blackall: On connectivism
"challenge...is to educationally consider the culture being recorded in these mediascapes, in such a way so as to ask...more than the obvious (& pointless) questions..."how can we use these tools to do what we're doing more effectively?" Questions like this miss bigger issue. In depth engagement w/ social media seems to lead many educators to the question, "is what I am doing even relevant anymore? what is my new relationship to this culture - if it becomes dominant in my society?" Journalism has asked itself, entertainment industry has, retail sector has, government arena is asking itself, why not the education sector? So far, too few of us are asking these questions, fewer still are exploring answers. But can we find & measure learning evidence in Social Media that is disciplined enough to warrant such serious rethinking in our institutionalised practices? Given that the work we do is economically protected & market regulated, what will the motivation be for asking such a question?"
leighblackall  connectivism  education  ivanillich  stephendownes  change  retail  government  socialmedia  media  journalism  entertainment  technology  internet  online  gamechanging  learning  learningtheory  theory  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  youtube  wikipedia  detachment  isolation  mediascapes  culture  society  irrelevance  reform 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Gamechanging and Change Through Play – Playful 2009 // katy lindemann // seemingly unconnected
"So let’s think about what play actually is. Johan Huizinga was a Dutch historian, cultural theorist who wrote a pretty seminal text in 1938 called Homo Ludens or “Man the Player”. He explores how essential play is to culture and society, and argues that play is absolutely fundamental to the human condition and has permeated all cultures from the beginning. We’re born to play. Because playing is how we learn. We’re all here because of the skills and knowledge we learned through playing as small children.
play  tcsnmy  glvo  games  gaming  barelygames  gamechanging  learning  children  presentation  socialmedia  gamedesign  psychology  happiness  change  entertainment  marketing  design  behavior  2009  playful09  katylindemann 
november 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: true stories told live
"Gladwell suggests people w/ the best stories are those whose jobs involve lots of sitting around w/ their colleagues; cricketers, for instance, or pilots. I'd suggest it's not just the sitting around, it's sitting around while half paying attention to something else (the match, automatic pilot). This leaves enough room for proper story-telling, for holding court, not interrupted by sniping, conversation or one-up-person-ship...I'm still not sure that story is that important to stories. You know, all that beginning, middle, end stuff, narrative arc...Games people go on about it all the time, ad people are convinced they're masters of story miniatures. I think, very often, story is just something to hang all the important bits on. & not in a significant, meaningful way, like a backbone or scaffold...more of a coat-hanger. The actual stuff that connects isn't about plot or narrative; it's texture, observations, images, jokes, juxtapositions, felicitous phrases & little moments of aha."
communication  storytelling  stories  malcolmgladwell  russelldavies  narrative  listening  attention  entertainment  games  gamedesign  delivery 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The future of media? Bet on events « Snarkmarket
"I like the idea of the event as a fun­da­men­tal unit of media, specif­i­cally because at its best, it can be gen­er­a­tive. And the media it generates—that grow­ing data shadow—is what builds the audi­ence over time. But its urgency—its live­ness, human vital­ity, and, frankly, its risk and unpredictability—is what makes it more than just another link in the stream.

Aww but mostly I just want TED mixed with Phoot Camp mixed with Iron Chef mixed with Long Now. I want to go to it, and I want to watch it online."
robinsloan  snarkmarket  media  newmedia  web  ted  culture  future  online  creativity  events  conferences  howto  tcsnmy  lcproject  glvo  phootcamp  generative  trends  zeitgeist  creation  community  entertainment  collaboration  unconferences  publishing  literature  music  albums  performance  serial  attention  innovation  audience  futureofmedia  socialmedia  cocreation  journalism  barcamp  inspiration  generativeevents  generativewebevents  conferenceplanning  eventplanning 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Revel in New York | A look at the city through its people
"Revel in New York is a city and culture guide for curious travelers and locals alike. Through our original videos we introduce you to interesting New Yorkers that range from established artists, chefs, and musicians to the equally charismatic characters operating outside the margins of popular culture.

All of our videos are presented with our subject's personal recommendations about their favorite things to do in New York City as well as their suggestions on books, music, films and the cultural interests that have shaped their tastes. It is true that our character selection is subjective based upon people we like, but we hope you'll like them too, or at least find them interesting."
nyc  video  digitalstorytelling  film  photography  documentary  travel  biography  entertainment  culture 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Streaming Soon on Netflix Instant Watch
"In 2009, Netflix began providing thorough data for upcoming Instant Watch releases. On the Roku Forums (Creators of the Roku Digital Video Player - originally a Netflix-only player), forum member Matthew (aka MCWHAMMER) began tracking this data with help from other members of the Roku community.
netflix  glvo  streaming  streams  directory  reference  comingsoon  tv  media  film  movies  entertainment  video  online  internet 
september 2009 by robertogreco
A modest proposal for improving football: the ‘time-in’ - The Boston Globe
"If you’ve ever noticed that football games slow to a predictable crawl at the end of each half, the time-in is the rule for you...When the clock is stopped, for whatever reason, a coach could call a “time-in,” & force the clock to start up again. Think of it as the antimatter version of the timeout...Which brings us to the ultimate question: what is the point of sports? Do we want our teams to follow a series of guidelines that improve their chance of victory? Or do we want excitement? The NBA answered this question in the 1950’s, when winning teams found that the best strategy was to simply dilly-dally and run down the clock. While clearly a good strategy, it sometimes had the unpleasant side effect of preventing anything from happening at all, causing fans to storm out & demand their money back. This precipitated the shot clock, the 24-second countdown designed to ensure that coaches’ incentives to win were in line with the fans’ desire to watch players actually shoot a basketball."
football  americanfootball  rules  sports  entertainment  via:kottke 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Stuart McMillen - cartoon Recombinant Records
"Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance."
aldoushuxley  georgeorwell  technology  society  culture  future  art  philosophy  government  literature  comics  entertainment  dystopia  books  history  politics  us  tcsnmy  social  media  world  neilpostman  via:kottke 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Hidden Los Angeles
"After moving away from Los Angeles for four years, I’m looking at it with new eyes now. L.A. has its bad points – every place does – but it also has a lot more truly interesting history and dimension than most visitors and residents expect. Especially during a time in history where many people are struggling, I wanted to create a site that focuses on the positive and maybe makes a difference in the way Los Angeles is perceived by residents and visitors alike."
losangeles  travel  events  tourism  food  entertainment  music 
june 2009 by robertogreco
ScrollMotion - Iceberg
"Iceberg is our revolutionary new electronic reader. Iceberg brings the timeless experience of reading books to the mobile space, wedding the functionality of the iPhone to the feel and familiarity of books.
iceberg  iphone  ebooks  kindle  applications  books  multimedia  entertainment  csiap  ios 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Hulu - Labs: Hulu Desktop
"Hulu Desktop is a lean-back viewing experience for your personal computer. It features a sleek new look that's optimized for use with standard Windows Media Center remote controls or Apple remote controls, allowing you to navigate Hulu's entire library with just six buttons. For users without remotes, the application is keyboard and mouse-enabled. Hulu Desktop is a downloadable application and will work on PCs and Macs. It will initially launch as a beta product during which we plan to gather and incorporate user feedback to improve the service."
hulu  software  mac  osx  windows  streaming  entertainment  applications  freeware  desktop  video  television  tv  frontrow 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Kutiman, Big Media, and the Future of Creative Entrepreneurship | 43 Folders
"Unsolicited tip for media company c-levels: if your reaction to this crate of magic is “Hm. I wonder how we’d go about suing someone who ‘did this’ with our IP?” instead of, “Holy crap, clearly, this is the freaking future of entertainment,” it’s probably time to put some ramen on your Visa and start making stuff up for your LinkedIn page.

Because, this is what your new Elvis looks like, gang. And, eventually somebody will figure out (and publicly admit) that Kutiman, and any number of his peers on the “To-Sue” list, should be passed from Legal down to A&R."
43folders  merlinmann  creativity  music  media  entertainment  ip  innovation  intellectualproperty  newmedia  youtube  video  online  future  kutiman 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Handheld Learning 2008 - Steven Johnson, Author
Steven Johnson talks about Everything Bad Is Good for You adding references to technologies, games, and media that have appeared since publication of the book.
via:preoccupations  videogames  stevenjohnson  gaming  learning  culture  society  tv  television  systems  patterns  simulations  simcity  games  2008  lost  thewire  entertainment  tcsnmy  spore  attention  patience  schools  schooling  brianeno 
january 2009 by robertogreco
This Blog Sits at the: Immanuel Kant and the Acura T1
"travelling from Vancouver to Victoria...Prevented from sprinting on deck (because the ferry is not a fun ride), I was obliged to entertain myself another way...see if I could calculate how much water was under the ferry. I didn't have any device for measuring, and because I was 7, I didn't have a metric. No, I just decided to see if I could "think about" all the water that was under the ferry. That would be my first "measure." Having done that, I then decided to "think about" all the water that was around the ferry. My second measure. I then began casting the net of calculation across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. My conclusion: there was a lot, really a lot, of water here...I miss the sublime, the old fashioned kind. I loved having my "power of judgement" outstripped, my imagination outraged. It was exciting. This is anthropologist's idea of a "fun ride." Almost as much fun as running on a ferry and probably much less dangerous."
sublime  cascadia  vancouver  childhood  memory  play  thinkinggames  entertainment  grantmccracken  ferry  measurement  scale  internet 
january 2009 by robertogreco
boxee: the open, connected, social media center for mac os x and linux
"on a laptop or connected to an HDTV, boxee gives you a true entertainment experience to enjoy your movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like Hulu, Netflix, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and flickr." via: http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/2008/12/boxee-saves-the.html
mac  windows  linux  osx  opensource  appletv  video  tv  television  streaming  multimedia  freeware  onlinetoolkit  software  entertainment  media 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Idea Lab - Becoming Screen Literate - NYTimes.com
"We are people of the screen now. Last year, digital-display manufacturers cranked out four billion new screens, and they expect to produce billions more in the coming years. That’s one new screen each year for every human on earth. With the advent of electronic ink, we will start putting watchable screens on any flat surface. The tools for screen fluency will be built directly into these ubiquitous screens.

With our fingers we will drag objects out of films and cast them in our own movies. A click of our phone camera will capture a landscape, then display its history, which we can use to annotate the image. Text, sound, motion will continue to merge into a single intermedia as they flow through the always-on network."
kevinkelly  technology  video  screens  displays  literacy  present  future  film  editing  communication  entertainment  expression 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Baumol's cost disease (aka Baumol Effect) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"involves a rise of salaries in jobs that have experienced no increase of labor productivity in response to rising salaries in other jobs which did ...goes against theory in classical economics that wages are always closely tied to labor productivity changes...rise of wages in jobs w/out productivity gains is caused by necessity to compete for employees w/ jobs that did...& hence can naturally pay higher salaries...In range of businesses...car manufacturing & retail, workers are continually more productive due to tech innovations to tools & equipment. In contrast, in some labor-intensive sectors that rely heavily on human interaction or activities...nursing, education, performing arts there is little/no growth in productivity over time...total factor productivity treatment is not available to performing arts sector, because consumable good is labor itself...increases in price of performing arts has been offset by increases in standard of living & entertainment spending by consumers."
productivity  performingarts  work  economics  wages  pay  labor  entertainment  services  manufacturing  via:migurski 
november 2008 by robertogreco
La caja tonta es más lista · ELPAÍS.com
"La ficción televisiva vive su época dorada. 'Los Soprano', 'Perdidos', 'Mad Men'... Las series de calidad muestran la mejor narrativa que se hace en el mundo. Ésta es la historia de cómo un electrodoméstico denostado cautivó al mejor talento creativo."
television  tv  fiction  literature  entertainment  trends  narrative  storytelling  thesopranos  madmen  house  thewire  film 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling, "Computer Entertainment," Flurb #6
"And that’s why they ambush you and they beat on you. They’re not exactly your enemies, but they’re deeply alien to your chosen paradigm. So they have a kind of control over your destiny that you do not allow yourselves to have." ... and ... "Someday the computer entertainment industry would be big. Big enough, and stodgy enough, that it actually WOULD employ towel designers. There would be oceans of money and huge budgets on an industrial scale. There would be room for armies of creative guys who actually did create towels."
brucesterling  videogames  futurism  futurology  augmentedreality  sciencefiction  technology  design  future  games  gamedesign  gaming  entertainment  mmorpg  scifi  ubicomp  ar 
september 2008 by robertogreco
The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube | Technology | The Observer
"YouTube is best known for its offbeat videos that become viral sensations. But among its millions of clips is a treasure trove of rare and fascinating arts footage, lovingly posted by fans. Ajesh Patalay selects 50 of the best - Joy Division's TV debut, readings by Jack Kerouac, a Marlene Dietrich screen test, Madonna's first performance... and much more"
youtube  art  video  history  music  culture  film  literature  jazz  poetry  entertainment 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Zattoo | TV meets PC
"Zattoo has developed a software program that allows you to watch TV on your computer. All you need is a broadband connection and a current operating system (Windows XP or Vista, Mac OS X, or Linux). The service is legal and free of charge"
television  tv  online  internet  web  streaming  windows  mac  osx  applications  multimedia  entertainment  zattoo 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Finding It at the Movies - The New York Review of Books - ""The New Yorker made it possible to feel that being an anti-sophisticate was the mark of true sophistication,...
"...and that any culture worth having could be had without special aesthetic equipment or intellectual gymnastics. Pauline Kael made it possible for people to feel this way about the movies"
paulinekael  via:preoccupations  art  criticism  film  pleasure  entertainment  culture  reviews  writing 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Trash, Art, and the Movies - Pauline Kael
"pleasure, something a man can call good without self-disgust"; "Irresponsibility is part of the pleasure of all art; it is the part the schools cannot recognize"; "A nutty Puritanism ... in the schoolteachers' approach of wanting art to be "worthwhile""
via:preoccupations  culture  film  criticism  paulinekael  toread  filmmaking  education  teaching  appreciation  pleasure  art  glvo  play  entertainment  lowbrow  trash 
july 2008 by robertogreco
plasticbag.org: Is the pace of change really such a shock?
"My sense of these media organisations that use this argument of incredibly rapid technology change is that they're screaming that they're being pursued by a snail and yet they cannot get away! 'The snail! The snail!', they cry. 'How can we possibly escap
media  future  technology  entertainment  tv  television  digital  broadcasting  broadcast  radio  change  telecommunications  culture  trends 
july 2008 by robertogreco
cloudmakers.org
"On April 11, 2001, Cloudmakers was founded as a discussion group for the interative web game centered around the film A.I. We officially solved the game on July 24, 2001. Though the original game, The Beast, has ended, Cloudmakers now serves as a clearin
arg  games  gaming  play  gamedesign  2001  ai  community  entertainment  microsoft  participation  hivemind  perplexcity  pervasive  marketing  interactive 
june 2008 by robertogreco
StreetWars: A 3 week long, 24/7, watergun assassination tournament - NYC, Vancouver, Vienna, San Francisco
"StreetWars is a 3 week long, 24/7, watergun assassination tournament that has already taken place in New York City, Vancouver, Vienna, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, and is now coming to San Diego, New York City, Burning Man Festival, Barcelona."
games  flashmobs  adventure  spy  arg  urban  entertainment  experience  location  losangeles  pervasive  play  mobile  socialnetworking  socialmedia  cities 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Giant Mice » Alternate Reality Gaming - A Quickstart Guide [also posted at: http://www.mirlandano.com/arg-quickstart.html]
"So, you’ve discovered the world of Alternate Reality Gaming and are completely confused by it all. You are not alone! Hopefully this little guide will answer a few of your basic questions and direct you to places to learn more."
arg  games  gaming  gamedev  entertainment  howto  tutorials  play 
june 2008 by robertogreco
42 ENTERTAINMENT
"We are the storytellers who pioneer new forms of cross-platform narratives and build powerful online communities, to create highly participatory experiences for our audiences."
arg  games  agency  marketing  interactive  design  gamedesign  gamedev  experiencedesign  entertainment  ilovebees  immersive  gaming  pervasive  play  multimedia  interactivity  studio  42entertainment  agencies  branding  media 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Seriosity: The Enterprise Solution for Information Overload
"We use psychological and economic principles that drive successful multiplayer online games to improve collaboration, innovation and productivity. We offer consulting services to help enterprises develop a game strategy optimized for their challenges and
games  business  arg  attention  collaboration  learning  management  leadership  mmo  mmog  seriousgames  virtualworlds  janemcgonigal  happiness  education  play  productivity  psychology  mmorpg  workplace  work  gaming  currency  money  economics  metaverse  email  enterprise2.0  complexity  entertainment  scarcity  socialsoftware  infooverload  im  wikis 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Video Game Makers Favor Diversion over Depth
"Artists have a long tradition of pushing the status quo, but not game designers, despite being important culture makers of the 21st century...I'm not sure the game industry wants to see games as an art form. I think they want to see games as a primary fo
games  videogames  julianbleecker  design  art  gamedesign  gaming  entertainment  business 
april 2008 by robertogreco
School of Arts & Sciences - University of Pennsylvania
"Every spring and fall, SAS faculty take a minute out on Locust Walk to share their perspectives on topics ranging from human history and the knowable universe, to fractions and fly-fishing. While not every speaker makes it under the one-minute mark, they
academia  lectures  speed  education  video  culture  reference  history  science  presentations  language  learning  summary  entertainment  literature  arts  humor 
april 2008 by robertogreco
PingMag - Professional Thrill Designer
"British Brendan Walker actually does just that! After designing jet fighters (!), he now develops rides for some of the world’s top theme parks. PingMag talked to Brendan about the delicate science of thrill when calculating arousal and pleasure."
design  thrill  entertainment  experience  art  artist  emotion  interviews  brendanwalker  pingmag  artists 
march 2008 by robertogreco
A New Type of Game Turns Web Surfing Into All-Out Information Warfare
"Can't devote 30 hours a week to World of Warcraft? Try racking up experience points and slaying enemies in the course of your mundane daily browsing instead. That's the thinking behind PMOGs — passively multiplayer online games."
pmog  games  gaming  entertainment  browser  online  internet  web  lifeasgame  socialmedia  mmog  arg  browsers 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Urban Honking
"I wanted to tell you about the website you're visiting. It's called UrbanHonking.com and it's a series of blogs written by a whole bunch of different people. We've given over 50 people access to write about whatever they want! And it's not just writers -
urban  portland  oregon  community  blogs  culture  media  music  blogging  architecture  photography  design  entertainment  daily  writing 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Chasing False Gods - Practical Theory
"what we want to create in schools...places of true meaning. I worry...looking at amazing tools as tricks...engaging and fun without...meaningful learning...mistake engaging & entertaining...amuse ourselves & kids w/out getting down to meaningful work."
education  schools  chrislehmann  learning  work  meaning  leadership  teaching  students  edutainment  technology  curriculum  focus  distraction  entertainment  society  deschooling  consumerism  parenting  gamechanging  lcproject 
february 2008 by robertogreco
farnham maltings [has requested one of our sasquatch photos to promote their festival]
"collection of buildings set in heart of Farnham that provides place in which people can imagine, create & discover. We aspire to provide tools, encouragment & opportunities for all types & age of artists to develop their own work both here & across regio
art  arts  entertainment  film  music  photography  theater  comedy  organizations  uk  support  glvo 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Pasta&Vinegar » Blog Archive » Old-schoold handheld electronic games
“the recourse to supposedly primitive games leads us back to the creative source of the contemporary entertainment revolution” and that these game provide as much fun as recent Sony or Nintendo platforms."
games  play  history  entertainment  creativity  interface  design 
january 2008 by robertogreco
TODO interaction & media design
"we do work that people like to spend time with we are designers musicians geeks stalkers we are an open space for learning" "we listen, ask questions, research, take risk, make mistakes, like busted knees, solve problems, are happy, we'll never retire "
advertising  agencies  architecture  space  entertainment  collective  design  newmedia  processing  programming  interactiondesign  interaction  installation  graphics  games  gaming  italy  interactive  interface  electronics  visualization  glvo  artists  agency  mobile  multimedia  technology 
december 2007 by robertogreco
MobileCrunch » You Will Control 25% of Entertainment by 2012
"Nokia also looked at four emerging trends that will make entertainment more collaborative and creative as we move towards Circular Entertainment. These trends are listed as, Immersive Living; Geek Culture; G Tech and Localism."
nokia  trends  business  mobility  collaboration  media  mobile  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  socialmedia  facebook  entertainment  consumer  networks  networking  socialsoftware 
december 2007 by robertogreco
8 trends to capitalize on in 2008
"Transient Sphere: consumers driven by experiences instead of fixed—entertainment, discovery, fighting boredom...live a transient lifestyle, freeing themselves from the hassles of permanent ownership and possessions."
trendwatching  trends  social  networking  design  future  experience  business  marketing  unproduct  entertainment  simplicity  branding  consumerism  fabbing  fabrication  ponoko  diy 
november 2007 by robertogreco
film music | mobygratis.com
"this portion of moby.com, 'film music', is for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short."
moby  free  opencontent  soundtracks  animation  glvo  licensing  multimedia  music  nonprofit  filmmaking  entertainment  editing  audio  resources  sound  video  film  nonprofits 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Is Jay-Z signaling a recession? | Chaska Herald
"When I start seeing rap stars flashing euros instead of U.S. dollars, I know our economy is in trouble."
economics  hiphop  music  money  europe  entertainment  us 
november 2007 by robertogreco
How the World Works: Globalization, Globalization Blogs - Salon.com
"Someone, somewhere, I thought, must have written the definitive article on how new business models for pop music are being forged in Japan. But it's probably in Japanese. All I could find was a growing anxiety, on the part of the creators and distributor
entertainment  japan  japanese  media  music  culture  anime  manga  marketing  global  globalization  internet  online  youtube  piracy  copyright 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Persuasive Games - We design, build, and distribute electronic games for persuasion, instruction, and activism.
"Our games influence players to take action through gameplay. Games communicate differently than other media; they not only deliver messages, but also simulate experiences. While often thought to be just a leisure activity, games can also become rhetorica
activism  games  play  gaming  society  arg  culture  elearning  persuasion  education  ecology  interactive  interaction  ubiquitous  online  mobile  entertainment 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Convenience Wins, Hubris Loses and Content vs. Context, a Presentation for Some Music Industry Friends at FISTFULAYEN
"I personally don’t have any more time to give and can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life’s too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out."
amazon  apple  audio  business  consumer  content  control  copyright  drm  music  technology  usability  users  trends  yahoo  entertainment  future  itunes 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Local Theory - Home
"Local Theory creates consumer and branded entertainment that merges mobile and web technologies, location specific content, live productions and broadcast."
branding  broadcast  consumer  entertainment  interactive  technology  web  mobile  phones  content 
october 2007 by robertogreco
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