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friday :: september 30, 2005
urban screens: discovering the potential of outdoor screens for urban society

URBAN SCREENS 2005 is an international conference ranging from critical theory to project experiences by researchers and practitioners in the field of Art, Architecture, Urban Studies and Digital Culture. It addresses the growing infrastructure of large digital moving displays, that increasingly influence the visual sphere of our public spaces. It will investigate how the currently dominating commercial use of these screens can be broadened and culturally curated. Can these screens become a tool to contribute to a lively urban society, involving its audience interactively?

In the context of our cities’ rapidly evolving commercial information-sphere, developers bring new digital display technology into the urban landscape, like large daylight compatible LED screens or high-tech plasma screens. Meanwhile, there is a growing interest in exploring their potential of non-commercial use, challenging new strategies of content production and management. Instead of limiting our view to the emerging occasional “infiltration” of video art, let’s regard these screens as “screening platforms” and investigate their social or cultural impact on our urban society.

Public space has always been a place for human interaction, a unique arena for exchange of rituals and communication in a constant process of renewal, challenging the development of society. Its architectural dimension, being a storytelling medium itself, has played a changing role of importance in providing a stage for this interaction. The way space is inhabited can be read as a participatory process of its audience. The (vanishing) role as space for social and symbolic discourse has often been discussed in urban sociology. Modernization, the growing independence from place and time and the individualization seem to destroy the city and its social rhythm. Besides experiments with social networks and the media, a variety of tools have emerged. Starting with the development of virtual cities with its chat rooms and spaces for production of identity, we now face communal experiments like collaborative wikis, blogs, or mobile phone networks in the growing field of social computing and cross-media platforms.

Parallel to this development, an event culture has evolved in the real urban space of internationally competing cities, focusing on tourism and consumption. Considering the social sustainability of our cities it necessary to look closer at the livability and openness of public spaces and start to address the urban users as citizens instead of passive consumers. The shared experiences in the digital communication sphere, might serve as an inspiration for this social enhancement of the real city. Could large outdoor displays function as experimental “visualization zone” of the fusing of the virtual public spaces and our real world? Can screens function as a new mirror reflecting the public sphere?

The URBAN SCREENS conference wants to address these questions and launch a discussion about how digital culture can make use of the existing and future screening infrastructure, in terms of art and social or political practices, generating a higher value for its operators and "users". We want to address the existing commercial predetermination and explore the nuance between art, interventions and entertainment to stimulate a lively culture. Other key issues are: mediated interaction, content management, participation of the local community, restrictions due to technical limits, and the incorporation of the screens in the architecture of our urban landscape. >from *urban screens site* text by Mirjam Struppek. September 23-24, 2005

related context
urban screens loop.
> creative capital: culture, innovation and the public domain. august 19, 2005
> tripolis: urban art and the public sphere. july 15, 2005
> grafedia: hyperlinks for the urban landscape. february 18, 2005
> plan: pervasive and locative arts network. january 28, 2005
> urballon: an urban media space. october 8, 2004
> fused space: new technology in/as public space. july 23, 2004
> psy-geo-conflux: the meaning of living in a city. may 14, 2003
> first international moblogging conference. june 30, 2003

imagine content for urban media surfaces

sonic flow
urban screens [stream]
urban screens [download]

| permaLink

friday :: september 23, 2005
OpenScience project

The OpenScience project is dedicated to writing and releasing free and Open Source scientific software. We are a group of scientists, mathematicians and engineers who want to encourage a collaborative environment in which science can be pursued by anyone who is inspired to discover something new about the natural world.

Much of the work of science depends on having appropriate tools available to analyze experimental data and to interract with theoretical models. Powerful computers are now cheap enough so that significant processing power is within reach of many people. The missing piece of the puzzle is software that lets the scientist choose between models and make sense of his or her observations. That is where the OpenScience project can help. >from *The OpenScience project*

related context
what don't we know? a survey of our scientific ignorance. july 8, 2005
> science misuse. february 24, 2004
> challenges to evolution education. november 14, 2003
> berlin declaration: science and culture accessible to all internet users. november 5, 2003
> xenophobia may slow scientific progress. june 6, 2003
> science commons: building a free flow of knowledge. march 15, 2002
> attacks on science: ethics and public health. january 11, 2002
> artists and scientists in times of war by roger malina. september 23, 2001
> public library of science journals: a new model for scientific publishing. september 10, 2001

check list of colour soft-ware

sonic flow
looking freely to the mysteries of science [stream]
looking freely to the mysteries of science [download]

| permaLink

friday :: september 16, 2005
predict and prevent societal collapse

A researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology is unraveling a mystery surrounding Easter Island. William Basener, assistant professor of mathematics, has created the first mathematical formula to accurately model the island's monumental societal collapse.

Between 1200 and 1500 A.D., the small, remote island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, was inhabited by over 10,000 people and had a relatively sophisticated and technologically advanced society. During this time, inhabitants used large boats for fishing and navigation, constructed numerous buildings and built many of the large statues, known as Tiki Gods, for which the island is now best known. However, by the late 18th century, when European explorers first discovered the island, the population had dropped to 2,000 and islanders were living in near primitive conditions, with almost all elements of the previous society completely wiped out.

“The reasons behind the Easter Island population crash are complex but do stem from the fact that the inhabitants eventually ran out of finite resources, including food and building materials, causing a massive famine and the collapse of their society,” Basener says. “Unfortunately, none of the current mathematical models used to study population development predict this sort of growth and quick decay in human communities.”

Population scientists use differential equation models to mimic the development of a society and predict how that population will change over time. Since incidents like Easter Island do not follow the normal progression of most societies, entirely new equations were needed to model the outcome. Computer simulations using Basener's formula predict values very close to the actual archeological findings on Easter Island.

Basener will next use his formula to analyze the collapse of the Mayan and Viking populations. He also hopes to modify his work to predict population changes in modern day societies.

“It is my hope this research can be used to create a better understanding of past societies,” Basener adds. “It will also eventually help scientists and governments develop better population management skills to avert future famines and population collapses.”

Basener’s research was done in collaboration with David Ross, visiting professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia, mathematicians Bernie Brooks, Mike Radin and Tamas Wiandt and a group of RIT mathematics students. >from *Groundbreaking Research Sheds Light on Ancient Mystery* RIT researcher creates new population model to help predict and prevent societal collapse. August 31, 2005

related context
booming and crashing populations and easter island by bill basener and david s. ross. august, 2005
> collapse?. exhibit, may 1, 2005- january 17, 2006
> state of the world 2005. january 14, 2005
> collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed by jared m. diamond. 2004
> earth 'will expire by 2050': living planet report. july 12, 2002
> societal collapse driven by abrupt climate change. january 25, 2001
> the collapse of complex societies by joseph a. tainter. reprint edition, march 29, 1990

expedition to easter island collapse:
we care about our finite resources

sonic flow
differential equation models to mimic the development of a society [stream]
differential equation models to mimic the development of a society [download]

| permaLink

friday :: september 9, 2005
theory and techniques of electronic music

This book is about using electronic techniques to record, synthesize, process, and analyze musical sounds, a practice which came into its modern form in the years 1948-1952, but whose technological means and artistic uses have undergone several revolutions since then. Nowadays most electronic music is made using computers, and this book will focus exclusively on what used to be called 'computer music', but which should really now be called 'electronic music using a computer'.

Most of the available computer music tools have antecedents in earlier generations of equipment. The computer, however, is relatively cheap and the results of using one are much easier to document and re-create than those of earlier generations of equipment. In these respects at least, the computer makes the ideal electronic music instrument--until someone invents something even cheaper and more flexible than a computer.

The techniques and practices of electronic music can be studied (at least in theory) without making explicit reference to the current state of technology. Still, it's important to provide working examples of them. So each chapter starts with theory (without any reference to implementation) and ends with a series of examples realized in a currently available software package.

The ideal reader of this book is anyone who knows and likes electronic music of any genre, has plenty of facility with computers in general, and who wants to learn how to make electronic music from the ground up, starting with the humble oscillator and continuing through sampling, FM, filtering, waveshaping, delays, and so on. This will take plenty of time.

This book doesn't concern itself with the easier route of downloading pre-cooked software to try out these techniques; instead, the emphasis is on learning how to use a general-purpose computer music environment to realize them yourself. Of the several such packages are available, we'll use Pd, but that shouldn't stop you from using these same techniques in some other environment such as Csound or Max/MSP. To facilitate this, each chapter is divided into a software-independent discussion of theory, followed by actual examples in Pd, which you can transpose into your own favorite package. >from *Theory and Techniques of Electronic Music* by Miller Puckette.

Miller Puckette is also the author of Pure data (pd), a graphical programming language for the creation of interactive computer music and multimedia works, written in the 1990s with input from many others in the computer music and free software communities. >from *Miller Puckette* in the Wikipedia. via x4v1

PD (aka Pure Data) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. It is the third major branch of the family of patcher programming languages known as Max (Max/FTS, ISPW Max, Max/MSP, jMax, etc.) originally developed by Miller Puckette and company at IRCAM. The core of Pd is written and maintained by Miller Puckette and includes the work of many developers, making the whole package very much a community effort. >from *About Pure Data*

with miller puckette, yves degollon, günter geiger
friday, september 9, 2005. 20 h
straddle3. c/ riereta, 32 1-3

miller puckette speech (theora/vorbis)
miller puckette speech (vorbis). enregistered by valentina messeri

related context
120 years of electronic music. electronic musical instrument 1870 - 1990
> pure data convention. september, 2004
> pd open dev: puredata open development/devices. january 30, 2004
> the free software community after 20 years. january 13, 2004
> open-source practices in software engineering. december 12, 2003
> open source communities. april 21, 2003
> a new cultural movement?. august 7, 2002. updated on october 22, 2003

how do you play with puredata
the music and graphs of a vatican museum musical score?

sonic flow
pulling data to the sounding point [stream]
pulling data to the sounding point [download]

| permaLink

friday :: september 2, 2005
the language of the pirahã people of amazonas

Two studies challenge established linguistic theories regarding the language families of Amazonia.

New research by Dan Everett (University of Manchester) into the language of the Pirahã people of Amazonas, Brazil disputes two prominent linguistic ideas regarding grammar and translation. The Pirahã are intelligent, highly skilled hunters and fishers who speak a language remarkable for the complexity of its verb and sound systems. Yet, the Pirahã language and culture has several features that not known to exist in any other in the world and lacks features that have been assumed to be found in all human groups. The language does not have color words or grammatical devices for putting phrases inside other phrases. They do not have fiction or creation myths, and they have a lack of numbers and counting. Despite 200 years of contact, they have steadfastly refused to learn Portuguese or any other outside language. The unifying feature behind all of these characteristics is a cultural restriction against talking about things that extend beyond personal experience. This restriction counters claims of linguists, such as Noam Chomsky, that grammar is genetically driven system with universal features. Despite the absence of these allegedly universal features, the Pirahã communicate effectively with one another and coordinate simple tasks. Moreover, Pirahã suggests that it is not always possible to translate from one language to another.

In addition, Alf Hornborg's (Lund University) research into the Arawak language family counters the common interpretation that the geographical distribution of languages in Amazonia reflects the past migrations of the inhabitants. At the time of Christopher Columbus, the Arawak language family ranged from Cuba to Bolivia. Yet, geneticists have been unable to find significant correlations between genes and languages in the Amazonia. Moreover, Arawakan languages spoken in different areas show more similarities to their non-Arawakan neighbors than to each other, suggesting that they may derive from an early trade language. As well, Arawak languages are distributed along major rivers and coastlines that served as trade routes, and Arawak societies were dedicated to trade and intermarriage with other groups. But, the dispersed network of Arawak-speaking societies may have caused ethnic wedges between other, more consolidated language families with which they would have engaged in trade and warfare. Finally, there is increased evidence that language shifts were common occurrences among the peoples of Amazonia and were used as a way to signal a change in identity, particularly when entering into alliances, rather than migratory movement. >from *Studies of Amazonian languages challenge linguistic theories* August 2, 2005

related context
computer program learns language rules and composes sentences, all without outside help. august 30, 2005
> linguistic research moving in new direction. march 4, 2005
> brain plasticity: process sound in alternate way. january 7, 2005
> language may shape human thought. august 19, 2004
> yanomami, spirit of the forest. october 22, 2003
> rosetta project: linux of linguistics. november 7, 2002
> composing interstellar messages. april 2, 2002
> sign language boost children's learning of language. november 30, 2001
> eyes and ears understand differently. august 16, 2001

beyond personal experience
grammar disertation ii

sonic flow
translating pirahã spirit singing [stream]
translating pirahã spirit singing [download]

| permaLink


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