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The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library on Vimeo
[parts of the video (from the introduction): "1. Libraries existed to copy data. Libraries as warehouses was a recent idea and not a very good one 2. The online world used to be considered rhizomatic but recent events have proven that it is actually quite arboretic and precarious. 3. A method of sharing files using hard drives is slow, but it is extremely resilient. This reversalism is a radical tactic agains draconian proprietarianism. 4. There are forces and trends that are working against portable libraries."]

[Book is here:
http://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NN07_complete.pdf
http://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/no-07-radical-tactics-of-the-offline-library-henry-warwick/ ]

"The Radical Tactics of the Offline Library is based on the book "Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries"
By Henry Warwick

The Personal Portable Library in its most simple form is a hard drive or USB stick containing a large collection of e-books, curated and archived by an individual user. The flourishing of the offline digital library is a response to the fact that truly private sharing of knowledge in the online realm is increasingly made impossible. While P2P sharing sites and online libraries with downloadable e-books are precarious, people are naturally led to an atavistic and reversalist workaround. The radical tactics of the offline: abandoning the online for more secure offline transfer. Taking inspiration from ancient libraries as copying centers and Sneakernet, Henry Warwick describes the future of the library as digital and offline. Radical Tactics: Reversalism and Personal Portable Libraries traces the history of the library and the importance of the Personal Portable Library in sharing knowledge and resisting proprietarian forces.

The library in Alexandria contained about 500,000 scrolls; the Library of Congress, the largest library in the history of civilization, contains about 35 million books. A digital version of it would fit on a 24 TB drive, which can be purchased for about $2000. Obviously, most people don’t need 35 million books. A small local library of 10,000 books could fit on a 64 GB thumb drive the size of a pack of chewing gum and costing perhaps $40. An astounding fact with immense implications. It is trivially simple to start collecting e-books, marshalling them into libraries on hard drives, and then to share the results. And it is much less trivially important. Sharing is caring. Societies where people share, especially ideas, are societies that will naturally flourish."
libraries  henrywarwick  archives  collection  digital  digitalmedia  ebooks  drm  documentary  librarians  alexandriaproject  copying  rhizomes  internet  online  sharing  files  p2p  proprietarianism  sneakernet  history  harddrives  learning  unschooling  property  deschooling  resistance  mesopotamia  egypt  alexandria  copies  decay  resilience  cv  projectideas  libraryofalexandria  books  scrolls  tablets  radicalism  literacy  printing  moveabletype  china  europe  publishing  2014  copyright  capitalism  canon  librarydevelopment  walterbenjamin  portability  andrewtanenbaum  portable  portablelibraries  félixguattari  cloudcomputing  politics  deleuze  deleuze&guattari  web  offline  riaa  greed  openstudioproject  lcproject 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Ever-Evolving Typographic Life of the Arabic Language - The New York Times
"This past summer the producers of the award-winning television series ‘‘Homeland’’ had a problem. Principal photography for the fifth season was planned for Berlin but critical scenes were set in a Syrian refugee camp. The set designers contracted three Arab street artists — Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Don Karl (a.k.a. Stone) — to provide a touch of Middle Eastern authenticity to the Western European backgrounds by way of some generic Arabic graffiti. In the frenzied final days leading up to the filming, it seems no one bothered to check the work. Only after the fact did the artists reveal they had bombed what some call ‘‘the most bigoted show on television.’’ Their tags were indeed political, just not in the way their employers had intended: They provided critiques of the program itself, such as ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is a joke, and it didn’t make us laugh,’’ and, more bluntly, ‘‘ ‘Homeland’ is racist.’’ The artists asserted that their subversion was possible because in the eyes of the Western crew, ‘‘Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East.’’

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that in this moment of extreme anti-cosmopolitanism, where every form of other — from whatever perspective that other is rendered — is subject to suspicion, the mere presence of foreign writing is enough to evoke menace. Indecipherable texts are often metonymies for unknowable threats and unintelligible ideologies. Think of countless summer blockbusters where crates or tanks or missiles emblazoned with unreadable Cyrillic or Chinese characters portend certain doom. We tend to feel safe in our familiar alphabets. In turn, they link us to powerful traditions and communities. The origins of the little serifs on the corners of the letters you are reading here stretch back through the centuries, beyond revolutions, technological and intellectual, to the chiseled inscriptions on the monuments of ancient Greece and Rome. (Renaissance type designers, reviving Roman letterforms, prized the inscriptions on Trajan’s Column as the most perfect model.) Like all design objects, letters too are inherently ideological.

If the Roman letter recalls the chisel, Arabic is borne of the brush. Arabic calligraphy links back to ancient scripture and the origins of Islam. The Koran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic, and the distinctively fluid form of writing is intertwined with the religion and culture of more than a billion people worldwide. That a writing system as lyrical and visually poetic as Arabic has come to signify something insidious — at least to Western eyes — is not just a little ironic. It speaks to the limitations of a technology-driven global community.

While the first printing presses arrived in the Middle East within decades of Gutenberg’s prototype — the quintessential disruptive technology — Ottoman bureaucrats allegedly outlawed any printing of Arabic text, by penalty of death. The mechanization of sacred writing bordered on blasphemy or at least cultural capitulation. By the time the draconian restrictions against printing were allayed in the 18th century — at least for secular texts such as mathematics and medicine — typographers faced a new challenge: the inherent complexity of Arabic. With 29 letters, each with two or four different contextual shapes, and thousands of possible unique letterform combinations, calligraphic Arabic simply wouldn’t fit the limited matrices of Western machinery that, in the intervening centuries, had developed to accommodate a limited system of Roman upper- and lowercase letters.

For centuries, traditional Arabic calligraphers had steadfastly refused to apply their skills to the creation of movable type, so the calligraphic never became fully typographic in the way, say, the handwriting of Medieval monks was transformed into standardized letters used on printing presses. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that several versions of a simplified Arabic alphabet were developed in collaboration with local calligraphers — underwritten by Western tech giants like IBM and Linotype angling to open up new markets — to work efficiently within the restrictions of Roman-based systems. Simplified Arabic was wildly successful, and is still used throughout the world, but in pruning and standardizing the alphabet, most of the elegant gestures of hand-brushed script were necessarily filtered out. Within the last decade, however, a cadre of highly skilled, mostly Middle Eastern designers, many of them autodidacts retrofitting Roman-based digital font authoring tools, are creating a fully typographic Arabic: one that merges the dizzying eclecticism of original writing systems with contemporary font production.

Prominent among them is Huda Abi Fares. Born in Beirut, she studied graphic design at RISD and Yale in the 1980s at the height of the Swiss modern influence. In 2004, she started the nonprofit Khatt Foundation in Amsterdam as a way of addressing the problem of cross-cultural type design and building a community of like-minded Arabic typographers. Today, the Khatt website showcases the work of more than 1,700 designers around the world. She has also started a project, ‘‘Typographic Matchmaking,’’ which pairs Dutch and Arabic designers together. Two alumni, the Slovakian Peter Bilak from the Netherlands, a world-renowned designer of Roman alphabets, and a Lebanese designer, Kristyan Sarkis, have since established TPTQ Arabic, a new type foundry focusing on the development of high-quality unified Arabic/Roman font families designed for global digital distribution. Think of bilingual contexts, such as the concourse of an international airport or signs on a highway, where an aesthetic coherence between writing systems is essential.

These nascent efforts point to a global modernization that doesn’t come at the cost of cultural specificity or aesthetic homogenization, but synthesizes calligraphic traditions to create new forms. Type designers spend their lives deep in the minutiae of reading and the hidden visual codes that permeate the fabric of our language. There is no form of design that is less noticed or more prevalent: Type touches everyone. Perhaps, just perhaps, these young designers can find a way to cross whatever chasm is dividing us. The task is increasingly urgent. We literally cannot read each other."
arabic  2016  fonts  typography  letterforms  language  michaelrock  politics  hudaabifares  khattfoundation  peterbilak  kristyansarkis  tptqarabic  moveabletype  cyrillic  chinese 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Future Perfect » The ‘Name’ Card
"Inspired partly by Herr Siebert’s printed name cards, and partly by the availability of the moveable type in this Ibadan shanty town community – decided to make some old-school name cards. In the age of real-time/near-time search, persistent data and (for this writer) a unique enough name – what is the minimal level of information that needs to go on a name card?"
name  identity  search  moveabletype  letterpress  namecards  businesscards  2011  janchipchase  africa  ibadan  nigeria  minimalism  uniqueness 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Macworld | iPhone Central | iBlogger brings multi-platform blog posting to iPhone
"Bloggers looking to post from their iPhone have a new option in illumineX, inc.’s new iBlogger 1.0.5 application, released today in the App Store. It costs $9.99. Based on illumineX’s Mac blogging application ecto, iBlogger is compatible with many of the most common blogging systems, such as MovableType, TypePad, WordPress, Drupal and others. It also works with popular blog hosting services like Xanga and Blogger and supports both the MetaWeblog and MovableType publishing standards that many other blog engines use."
iphone  applications  bloggin  wordpress  drupal  xanga  blogger  typepad  moveabletype  ios 
september 2008 by robertogreco

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