>>> context weblog
sampling new cultural context
| home | site map | about context | donate | lang >>> español - català |
friday :: june 30, 2006
forms of exchange: art of native peoples

From the time that European explorers and settlers first set foot in North America, they began to acquire works produced by Native hands. Pueblo-made pots served the needs of the Spanish in the Southwest; wampum belts recorded treaties between Whites and the Iroquois in the Northeast; Inuit sculptures were collected by explorers, whalers, and missionaries in the Canadian Arctic. Native peoples responded to the challenge of foreign occupation in complex ways that are charted in the history of their artifacts. European glass beads replaced those made of bone, shell, and stone; imported calico fabrics and American flags stimulated design innovations in various media; the Inuit adopted printmaking, an art form entirely new to them.

The creative ability of Native peoples to transform new ideas and materials is embodied in the Southwestern pottery, Inuit sculptures and images, and Iroquois beadwork and baskets of the new exhibit, Forms of Exchange: Art of Native Peoples. Forms of Exchange includes forty-seven works by historic and contemporary Native artists, dating from 1100 C.E. to the present.

"A century ago, scholars and collectors were convinced that Native culture was destined to pass away in the face of civilization's progress," said guest curator Karen Lucic. "On the contrary, the works in Forms of Exchange, demonstrate the enduring vitality of Native art, and that it continues to evolve into the twenty-first century."

Linguists often note that Native languages actually have no word for 'art,' yet aesthetic decisions inform every aspect of the works in this exhibition. In their original context, Native artifacts were inseparable from use – not meant for a museum or another static setting. Moreover, both sacred and non-ceremonial objects reflected a spiritual dimension, and this endures in Native societies.

Many contemporary makers describe their creative process as more important than the final product. The goal of all life – including creative endeavor – is to "walk in beauty," as the Navajo say. By the late-nineteenth century, however, most Native peoples were thoroughly entwined in mainstream settler culture, buying mass-produced goods rather than making their own.

Concurrently, they increased their production of objects for sale to others. As the market for Native crafts expanded, a new category of "fine art" developed, instigated largely by Native women's efforts. >from *The Resiliency of Indigenous Art Examined in Forms of Exchange: Art of Native Peoples*. from the Edward J. Guarino Collection, April 28-September 3, 2006, at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (Poughkeepsie, NY).

related context
musée du quai branly. 'un musée du regard sur l’autre. dédié aux arts et civilisations d’afrique, d’asie, d’océanie et des amériques.'
>walking as knowing as making. april 15, 2005
>message from the artic indigenous peoples. december 21, 2004
> yanomami, spirit of the forest. october 22, 2003

equal x-change walk

sonic flow
no word for art [stream]
no word for art [download]

| permaLink

friday :: june 23, 2006
to profit or explore – it seems that is the question

People are constantly pulled between profiting from the things they know will reap rewards and exploring new options – but it is exploration that uses high-level regions of the brain, according to a study by UCL (University College London) scientists published in Nature on 15th June.

By analysing how people's brains work while gambling, the team led by Dr Nathaniel Daw and Dr John O'Doherty, have found that trying out new things uses the human frontopolar cortex and intraparietal sulcus, whereas falling back on familiar territory involves areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure. This brain activity may reflect the fact that exploring new options requires overriding the desire for immediate profit.

Dr Daw, UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, said: "Whether you are a stockbroker, a gambler choosing between slot machines or an animal trying to forage for food, the desire to select what seems the richest option is always balanced against the desire to choose a less familiar option that might turn out to serve better. This exploration is often critical to survival.

"Most people switch between exploring and exploiting seamlessly and this has always made it hard to distinguish between someone who is doing something they know will offer the highest pay-out and a person who is testing out new options. By using some of the systems used to program robots to learn and make decisions, we have now found which areas of the brain are responsible for these different behaviours."

The team studied the behaviour of 14 subjects while they were gambling for money using on-screen slot machines. To find out whether the subjects were using exploitative or exploratory gambling strategies, the team compared the human behaviour with the decisions made by intelligent robots. fMRI scans were used to measure brain activity to show which brain areas were activated when exploring or exploiting.

After the task, subjects were asked to describe their choice of strategies. The majority of subjects reported occasionally trying the different slot machines to work out which had the highest payoffs (exploring) and at all other times choosing the slot they thought had the highest payoffs (exploiting). >from *To profit or explore -- it seems that is the question*. June 14, 2006

related context
the brain's reward for getting a concept is a shot of natural opiates. 'this account may provide a plausible and very simple mechanism for aesthetic and perceptual and cognitive curiosity.' june 20, 2006
> challenge is in the eye of the beholder. 'what one sees in the world is influenced not only by optical and ocular-motor information, but also by one's purposes, physiological state, and emotions.' june 15, 2006
> the energy it takes to make a species. 'we can now quantify biodiversity in terms of energy. it takes more energy than all the fossil fuel people burn on the planet in a year to form one new species of plankton.' may 31, 2006
> evolution: cheats don't always prosper. 'cheaters produce energy rapidly by quickly taking in all the sugar they can and only partially converting it into energy. while this ensures swift energy production for the individual, it is a wasteful method that reduces resources available for the group as a whole.' may 26, 2006
> creative thinking style. 'mental preparation involving inward focus of attention promotes insight even prior to the presentation of a problem. chance favors only the prepared mind.' april 7, 2006
> low latent inhibition: one of the biological bases of creativity. 'the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others.' october 13, 2003
> costs of intelligence. 'neural structures and processes are energetically expensive, which should have consequences for survival, reproduction or offspring quality, especially under food shortage.' october 10, 2003

the explorer dissection

sonic flow
Profit or explore [stream]
Profit or explore [download]

| permaLink

friday :: june 16, 2006
public resources: PLoS ONE reinventing the scientific journal

The Internet-fueled reinvention of the scientific journal took an important step forward with the announcement of PLoS ONE, a pioneering system for the publication and creative use of scientific and medical knowledge. PLoS ONE is the latest innovation from the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization making the world's research literature a freely available public resource. PLoS ONE will return control over scholarly publishing to the research community by bringing together research from all areas of biology and medicine, offering authors an efficient and highly effective means to communicate their results and ideas, and providing the community with powerful new tools for navigating and adding value to the published research literature.

"Scientists are eager to apply the awesome power of the Internet revolution to scientific communication, but have been stymied by the conservative nature of scientific publishing," said Michael B. Eisen, co-founder of PLoS. "PLoS ONE redefines what a scientific journal should be – eliminating needless barriers between authors and their audience and transforming the published literature from a static series of articles into a dynamic, interconnected, and constantly evolving resource for scientists and the public."

At a time when the boundaries between different scientific disciplines are becoming more and more blurred, the scientific literature has become increasingly fragmented, with journals of narrow scope accessible only to a limited audience of subscribers. Rather than perpetuate these arbitrary and often meaningless divisions, PLoS ONE will be an open public venue for all rigorous scientific research from every discipline. To enable the exploration of diverse content, PLoS ONE will employ powerful search and personalization tools. Users will be able to share their views on papers with the broader community through annotations and discussion threads, adding value to published material and creating powerful new ways for other readers to navigate and understand the literature.

Papers published by PLoS ONE will be held to rigorous standards of scientific quality. However, subjective considerations like "likely impact," "degree of advance," or "interest to a general reader" will not play a role in deciding whether an article should be published or not. Instead, published papers will be exposed to peer review in its fullest sense. All readers will have the tools to add comments, annotations, and ratings to each article, so that post-publication review forms an integral part of the review process. PLoS ONE will empower the scientific community as a whole to engage in an open discussion on every piece of published work, capturing the varied and extremely valuable assessment of published papers that occurs after the work has been published.

With PLoS ONE, papers need no longer be static markers in an ongoing process of scientific discovery, but the beginning of a conversation between authors and readers alike. Authors looking back on papers written 6 months or a year ago may see things that they would have written differently; new data may have arisen to strengthen or alter some of the conclusions. PLoS ONE will provide authors with opportunities to make those changes and so acknowledge the evolution of their ideas. This will not alter the scientific record--the original paper is still the original paper--but authors and readers can build upon it. And anyone with an interest can read and benefit from this.

PLoS ONE is the next step in PLoS's open-access publishing program, to ensure that all articles can be published in an open-access venue, the foundations of which were laid by journals such as PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine. PLoS ONE will launch later this year and will be accepting submissions from the beginning of August. >from *Public Library of Science announces PLoS ONE: A new approach to open-access publishing* . June 7, 2006

related context
science commons. 'our goal is to promote innovation in science by lowering the legal and technical costs of the sharing and reuse of scientific work. we remove unnecessary obstacles to scientific collaboration by creating voluntary legal regimes for research and development.'
> Citation advantage of open access articles. 'has the potential to accelerate recognition and dissemination of research findings.' may 16, 2006
> experiment in changing scientific culture. april 20, 2006
> funding and bureaucracy, not access to journals, are chief obstacles to scientific productivity. study cites 90 percent of respondents are more effective researchers because of access to online journal content. may 12, 2006
> experiment in changing scientific culture. april 20, 2006
> ten simple rules for getting published. october 28, 2005
> new study weighs impact of open access on scholarly journals. october 11, 2005
> the role of rss in science publishing. december, 2004
> berlin declaration: science and culture accessible to all internet users. november 5, 2003
> science commons: building a free flow of knowledge. march 15, 2002
> budapest open access initiative: open access to scholarly journal literature. february 18, 2002
> public library of science journals: a new model for scientific publishing. september 10, 2001
> science must push copyright aside by richard stallman. june 20, 2001

breaking thes scientiarum acta barrier acces

sonic flow
eliminating needless barriers [stream]
eliminating needless barriers [download]

| permaLink

friday :: june 9, 2006
destruction by design: military strategy as urban planning

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), in collaboration with the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), announced the winner of the second international competition for the James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City. The jury was unanimous in its decision to name Israeli architect Eyal Weizman the 2006-2007 Stirling Lecturer for hisproposal entitled “Destruction by Design: Military Strategy as Urban Planning.”

Weizman’s project builds upon an impressive body of research and practice, which initially focused on the relationship between the theory and practice of warfare in the cities and settlement camps of Palestine, where the Israeli military has retooled itself to deal with guerrilla combat in dense urban situations. Based on extensive interviews with military commanders and strategists, as well as soldiers, guerrilla fighters, and civilians on both sides of this protracted conflict, Weizman's recent work analyzed the military's use of critical theory as an analogue to its use (and misuse) in architecture and urbanism. His proposal looks at the way contemporary warfare increasingly plays itself out within real as well as imaginary urban settings, through the destruction, construction, reorganization, and subversion of space, to show that the urban environment is understood by military strategists today not simply as the backdrop for conflict, nor as its mere consequence, but as a dynamic field locked in a feedback-based relationship with the diverse forces operating within it. Driving Weizman's research is a commitment to human rights in a world of evermore fortified and militarized cities.

The Stirling Lecture will focus on the way Israeli, American, and British militaries, as well as NATO forces, are currently conceptualizing and operating within the urban domain. As urban warfare has come to resemble urban planning, military training programs have instituted theoretical research centres to study the complexity of cities, allowing the battleground to be reshaped to meet strategic objectives. The ultimate aim of Weizman's research is to deepen and extend our empirical knowledge of the theoretical framework contemporary militaries consider essential to the development of strategic policy and tactical operations, in order to sharpen potential critiques of these operations. An important component is Weizman's exploration of the history of strategic urban warfare, since many of the tactics celebrated as radically “new” have in fact been part and parcel of military operations in cities throughout history.

The project delves into themes such as how the ever-expanding urban domain is effectively being redesigned as the field of military operations in response to the development of 'lethal' weapons of destruction; how language employed by the military to describe the city to themselves and to the general public reveals an evolving relationship between organized violence and the production of space; how new military tactics irreparably disrupt traditional distinctions between public and private space and the vital flows of goods and services guaranteed by conventional urban infrastructure; the urban and symbolic consequences of removing bombing targets such as historical or religious monuments, the fabric of urban neighbourhoods, and essential infrastructure; and how the replacement of existing systems of circulation with new ones enables military access not only for the protection of the city's inhabitants, but also for the purpose of controlling popular unrest. >from *CCA Announces the winner of the 2006–2007 James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City Competition*. May 2, 2006

related context
centre for research architecture. 'can spatial practice become a form of research? might the notion of architecture be expanded to engage with questions of culture, politics, conflict and human rights? this new and innovative research centre brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work collaboratively around questions of this kind.'
>subtopia. a field guide to military urbanism.
>fadaiat. on the themes of free circulation of people and knowledge. barcelona, june 19-25, 2006
>political equator. urbanities of labor and surveillance. trans-border public event, san diego/tijuana, june 9-11, 2006
>brutal suppression of workers’ rights detailed in worldwide report. 115 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers’ rights in 2005, while more than 1,600 were subjected to violent assaults and some 9,000 arrested, june 7, 2006
>in the midst of a new migration era. 191 million migrants in the world today. europe hosted 34% of all migrants in 2005, north america 23% and asia 28%, with 9% in africa, 3% in latin america and 3% in oceania. united nations secretary-general, june 6, 2006
>dictionary of war. 'collaborative platform for creating 100 concepts on the issue of war, to be invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists. the aim is to create key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created.' june 2-3, 2006
> quadrennial defense review report. america's long war. reflects the thinking of leaders of the u.s department of defense. february 6, 2006
> pentagon's new map: war and peace in the twenty-first century by thomas p.m. barnett, a strategic planner who has worked in national security affairs since the end of the 'cold war.' 'the map divides the world into two parts: 'the functioning core' and the 'non-integrated gap.' the core consists of economically advanced or growing countries that are linked to the global economy and bound to the rule-sets of international trade. the rest of the world is the non-integrated gap – outside the global economy, not bound to the rule-sets of international trade.' april 22, 2004

urban warfare evermore: bcn inner borders

sonic flow
destruction by design [stream]
destruction by design [download]

| permaLink

friday :: june 2, 2006
a new frontier for human rights? the internet and freedom of expression

The internet is one of the most powerful inventions of the digital age. It has the potential to empower and educate, to cross cultural boundaries and create global communities. It offers the means for any individual with access to a computer and a gateway to the internet to communicate in a free flow of information and ideas with others across the world.

Yet that very potential to transcend national borders and impart information regardless of frontiers means that the internet is also the subject of concerted efforts by governments to restrict freedoms and violate basic human rights such as the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of information.

In some countries, the struggle for freedom of expression is now taking place online as authoritarian governments devote increasing resources and attention to controlling access to information via the internet and to implementing surveillance technologies.

Their objective is often to prevent the dissemination of information that is critical of them, as well as to track and monitor dissidents, some of whom are subsequently imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

In this context, the internet itself can become a tool of repression where the monitoring of communications, the censoring and filtering of information and the amassing of immense databanks of information enhance the ability of authoritarian governments to restrict the freedoms and basic human rights of their citizens. Such national restrictions can affect not just those living within that country but anyone who seeks to impart or receive information in relation to that country.

There are some legitimate cases in which restricting access to certain information is an important step in protecting human rights, for example restricting access to child pornography. However, international human rights standards establish strict conditions under which such restrictions are permissible. Unwarranted censorship is contrary to many local laws and established international norms and values.

(...) Amnesty International believes that respect for human rights and freedom of expression is a vital component of any future agreement on Internet Governance.

Ahead of the Internet Governance Forum meeting in Athens (November, 2006), the WSIS Civil Society Human Rights Caucus, a coalition of 65 organisations, is highlighting concerns over the implications of Internet policies for freedom of expression and the protection of privacy. The Caucus seeks to ensure that all internet policies have human rights protection as their baseline. It is also calling for the establishment of an Independent Commission on the Information Society and Human Rights composed of experts in relevant fields, with a broad geographical representation, to monitor and assess relevant legislation and policies to ensure that these are compliant with international human rights standards. >from *the internet and freedom of expression: a new frontier for human rights?*. Amnesty International briefing. May, 2006

related context
irrepresible. 'a campaign to show that online or offline the human voice and human rights are impossible to repress.'
>electronic frontier foundation.
>huge win for online journalists' source protection. may 26, 2006
> free isamu kaneko, the winNY developer. may 21, 2004
> grokster and morpheus survive: 21st-century technology ban fails. may 5, 2003
> the martus human rights bulletin system. march 17, 2003
> systems to circumvent internet censorship. november 20, 2002
> the free network project: freedom of communication. november 5, 2002
> the hacktivismo declaration: assertions of liberty in support of an uncensored internet. july 18, 2002
> jon johansen indicted: decss case. january 17, 2002
> sklyarov's case: programmer allowed to return home to russia. december 18, 2001
> chaos computer club for info peace: international understanding more important than ever. september 17, 2001
>911 keys, tech and sciart net communities reactions. 2001

irrepressible internet

sonic flow
free dissemination of expression [stream]
free dissemination of expression [download]

| permaLink


> context weblog archive
december 2006
november 2006
october 2006
september 2006
august 2006
july 2006
june 2006
may 2006
april 2006
march 2006
february 2006
january 2006
december 2005
november 2005
october 2005
september 2005
august 2005
july 2005
june 2005
may 2005
april 2005
march 2005
february 2005
january 2005
december 2004
november 2004
october 2004
september 2004
august 2004
july 2004
june 2004
may 2004
april 2004
march 2004
february 2004
january 2004
december 2003
november 2003
october 2003
june 2003
may 2003
april 2003
march 2003
february 2003
january 2003
december 2002
november 2002
october 2002
july 2002
june 2002
may 2002
april 2002
march 2002
february 2002
january 2002
countdown 2002
december 2001
november 2001
october 2001
september 2001
august 2001

more news in
> sitemap


context archives all www
   "active, informed citizen participation is the key to shaping the network society. a new 'public sphere' is required." seattle statement
| home | site map | about context | donate | lang >>> español - català |
03 http://straddle3.net/context/03/en/2006_06.html