phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer builds websites, makes art, and teaches in NYC

danah boyd on the participatory dividewww.pbs.org

From the Frontline roundtable I linked to earlier:

What worries me – and what I feel the need to call out – is not about whether or not everyone in the world will benefit in some ways by information and communication technologies, but whether or not the privileged will benefit more in ways that further magnifies structural inequality. I am certainly seeing this as the US college level, as more privileged US freshman are leaps and bounds ahead of their less privileged peers in terms of technological familiarity, a division that makes educating with technology in the classroom challenging.

Link

The cultural heritage of the music video

I posted earlier about OK Go’s fantastic Rube Goldberg music video. I had assumed that because that video is embeddable the band had made inroads in convincing EMI to reverse their prohibition on video embeds. It turns out that OK Go decided to drop their label and form their own. From Fast Company:

OK Go rocketed up through the indie rock world in large measure due to the band’s brilliant, lo-fi music videos, which have spread like wildfire on YouTube. But EMI, in a misguided attempt to wring every penny out of the band’s success, decided to block embedding on the YouTube videos — meaning the videos were unable to disseminate out through music and pop culture blogs, news sites, and personal blogs the way they did before the restriction. And that’s not a minor detail: the band saw a 90% drop in views when that restriction went into effect. As in, 100,000 views one day, 10,000 views the next.

It’s obvious what the bands have at stake in this situation: more people watching their music videos translate into more exposure. Which means more income for the band. One would assume that what’s good for the band is also good for the record labels. Why would they undermine their own success?

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It will prove invinciblewww.lettersofnote.com

Only today did I come across this letter by Philip K. Dick, published in the excellent Letters of Note last September, addressed to the production company for Blade Runner. He loved how the film was developing, but died before it was actually released.

I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison [Ford] said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people — and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches BLADE RUNNER. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day “reality” pallid by comparison.

Link

Ulay and Abramovićwww.facebook.com

This photo from the Abramović opening is kind of touching. Her performance in the MoMA atrium is not supposed to include any interaction with those who sit across from her.

The caption from the Facebook album reads:

Ulay, Marina Abramović’s partner from 1975-1988, sits with her during her performance. This was the first time they “performed” together since The Great Wall Walk (1988), when they each walked over 1,200 miles (2,000 km) along the Great Wall of China starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle to say their goodbye.

Somebody in the comments asks the obvious: “I thought there was to be no interaction with the art.” To which the moderator responds: “Correct, no interaction, but this was her partner in life and art for 12 years who she has had almost no contact with since 1988…”

Facebook link

George Lois’s Esquire coversnymag.com

George Lois on the first cover he art directed for Esquire:

Hayes mentioned that we were going to have a spread of Floyd Patterson, the boxing champion of the world, and Sonny Liston, the challenger, and Patterson was an 8–1 favorite. I knew right away what I was going to do, because I knew that Liston was going to kill him. So I called the photographer, and I said, “We’re going to get a guy with the same body as Patterson, we’re going to lay him flat on the ring, and we’re going to show him killed, knocked out by Liston. Leave him for dead.” I wanted to show a metaphor for boxing — if you’re a loser, you’re left for dead, which is also a metaphor for life. So we get the shot and I sent it to Hayes.

“George, I never saw a cover like this in my life! You’re calling the fight — suppose you’re wrong? Everybody says you’re wrong.” I told him we had a 50/50 chance of it working, but if it does, it shows we have balls. It hit the newsstand a week before the fight, and it was roundly laughed at in the sports crowd. But a week later, of course Liston kills Patterson, just like I thought. And Esquire got tons of publicity and the best sales since the start of the magazine. And Harold said to me, “You gotta keep doing my covers.”

He went on to create 92 iconic covers during the 1960s that were exhibited at MoMA and added to the permanent collection. Unfortunately only five of the covers have their image rights cleared to display online. Not many people realize that even if a work is “owned” by the museum, having the right to display it online is another matter. This is an issue the Brooklyn Museum has addressed nicely on their blog. This is why photography is usually not allowed in museums, except within the older permanent collections.

Link via Jason Kottke

Events for March 12 and 13, 2010