This is a text I’ve been working on, or rather keeping in the back of my mind, for quite a while, and now it’s finished and sent to Fiberculture Journal. The early beta was presented at a conference in Istanbul in 2011, and my thinking on sociable objects has evolved quite a bit since then. The key shift in my thinking was facilitated by a series of chance encounters – discovering object oriented ontology through Ian Bogost’s Alien Phenomenology, finding the notion of affective resonance in Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter, and rediscovering the heteroclite in Lorraine Daston’s awesome Things That Talk.
This semester I’ve started uploading my lectures for DIGC202 Global Networks to YouTube, while abandoning the face-to-face lecture format in that subject. The obvious benefit of this shift is to allow students to engage with the lectures on their own terms – the lectures are broken into segments which can be accessed discretely or in a sequence, on any device, at any time. The legacy alternative would have been either attending a physical lecture or listening to the university-provided recording, which is an hour-long file hidden within the cavern of the university intranet, accessible only from a computer [must keep that knowledge away from prying eyes!], and, as a rule of thumb, of terrible quality. Anecdotal evidence from students already validates my decision to shift, as this gives them the ability to structure their learning activities in a format productive for them.
The meta-benefit is that the lectures – and therefore my labour – now exist within a generative value ecology on the open net, accessible to [gasp] people outside the university. On a more strategic level, I can now annotate the lectures as I go along, adding links to additional content which will only enrich the experience. In that sense the lectures stop being an end-product, an artefact of dead labour [dead as in dead-end], and become an open process.
The only downside I have had to deal with so far is that lecture preparation, delivery, and post-production takes me on average three times as long as the legacy model. I am still experimenting with the process and learning on the go – fail early, fail often.
I am uploading all lectures to a DIGC202 playlist, which can be accessed below:
A few pics from my recent PC build, involving:
Level 10 GT Thermaltake case, MSI A88X G45 motherboard, XFX R9 270X GPU, AMD A10 7850K Kaveri CPU, 32GB combo G.Skill Ripjaws 2133MHz DDR3, Samsung 840 EVO Series 250GB SSD, Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD, CoolerMaster V850 PSU.
The MSI motherboard comes with an o/c friendly BIOS, and I already overclocked the Ripjaws and the CPU – the OC Genie button on the motherboard allows presets for different o/c scenarios.
Cyberpunk meets Tsim Sha Tsui:
A thought-provoking look at the impact of massive automation on existing labor practices by C.G.P. Grey.
We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different. Horses aren’t unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There’s little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay. And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own. [...]
This video isn’t about how automation is bad — rather that automation is inevitable. It’s a tool to produce abundance for little effort. We need to start thinking now about what to do when large sections of the population are unemployable — through no fault of their own. What to do in a future where, for most jobs, humans need not apply.
The outpouring of raw emotion associated with the World Cup is, I think, the only reminder we have left of how humanity used to be before modernity, and everything that came after it, firmly took over. The passion, the tears, the raw joy, the metaphysical redeeming qualities of a late goal or a penalty shootout victory – these are now sold as marketing ploys of the FIFA brand, but reflect, as if through a darkened glass, what were once the expressions of passion in daily life. If you have witnessed people crying during an Easter Mass, or grown men bursting into tears because of a song, you have experienced a glimmer of that very same now disappearing culture. Those considering themselves flaneurs, or at least romantic enough to earn for the lost passions of a bygone civilization, have only the World Cup as a poor simulacrum of what it felt like to live then and there, in the time before the Mega-Machine. Here, then, is the Argentinian World Cup anthem, wonderfully politically-incorrect, emotional, tribal, taunting of their neighbors, as sung in shopping malls, stadiums, and on Copa Capabana:
Brasil, Decime que se siente
Tener en casa a tu papa
Seguro que aunque pasen los anos
Nunca lo vamos a olvidar
Que el diego te gambeteo
El cani te vacuno
Estas llorando desde Italia hasta hoy
A Messi lo vas a ver
La Copa nos va a traer
Maradona es mas grande que Pele
This is my prezi from two back-to-back seminars I gave yesterday on the tech-enhanced learning philosophy behind the digital media and communications [DIGC] stream which I convene at UOW. The key message I tried to transmit is that you can only achieve the multiplier effect from social media if they are integrated within the subject and across the program – that is vertically and horizontally. I managed to achieve that in the DIGC stream, and we are on our way in fully achieving it in the Bachelor of Communication and Media degree. Interestingly enough, a common response to these ideas has been that – ‘you guys are very far ahead’ – which is definitely not the case. If anything we are trying to keep up with the rapid changes overtaking the education sector. I am afraid however that too many academics are firmly stuck in thinking of digital technology as a set of tools for fixing failures in assessment design and pedagogic philosophy [that is if there is any]. A typical thinking paradigm here is – students are not attending lectures, so what internet tool can I use to make them do it… I am afraid this pedagogic philosophy will be becoming more and more a luxury.
Prezi from my Tangling with sociable objects: the internet of things as anticipatory materiality seminar in AUSCCER today. I packed a lot of content into what was supposed to be a 45 minute presentation, and inevitably overshot, but my hosts were gracious, and there was still time for questions. Good experience.
It is here. No human driver, no steering wheel, no controls, no brakes. They have clearly gone for the safest, most non-threatening design possible, and this is probably a good idea. There will be a chorus of ‘it looks so boring’ protests, but there will undoubtedly be a ‘sports’ version for that market. It still has issues with snow, traffic cops, and avoiding squirrels, but this is a quantum leap forward.
Meet Brad, the Extrovert Toaster.
It is the story of Brad, a toaster which is part of a new breed of products that love to be be used.
It shows the implications of agency of products in everyday life.
What could happen if a product wants to be used?