Archive for November, 2014
Ugh, yes, well, the New York Times (which is using house-brand URL shorteners for its permalinks now) but honestly, look at this article. Do you believe a word of this? It's like the old Saul Steinberg "view from 10th Ave" New Yorker cover, only with food. The Times-men look West and see what the rubes out there eat on Thanksgiving -- but it's scientific! it's based on actual Google searches! So, yeah, "frog eye salad," "snicker salad," and "pig pickin cake" were the number one searches for Thanksgiving recipes other than turkey in Idaho, Nebraska, and North Carolina, respectively, for example.
The giveaway that it's just patronizing fun at the expense of yokels is the entry for Texas: "sopapilla cheesecake." That may be demographically brilliant but Texas is still 70% anglo and the anglos don't eat sopapilla cheesecake on Thanksgiving. They just don't.
When there is no news fit to print, make it up.
hat tips SeacrestCheadle, Ed Ruscha, pretzel
GIF by anndunham
She thought the source was perhaps what Lena Dunham called "these remarkable, special weirdos who I found on the Internet" as opposed to a gruff, consummate insider. Would it have made any difference?
Also, did all of the 36 tumblr notes know that the Computer Space game from the early '70s (on the left) was shopped in? It is a little grainier. We'll never know.
Also which is better, public tumblr acknowledgment or the quiet satisfaction that some f-ed thing you made, made the rounds?
Hat tip again to dump.fm, where the rest of the image appeared back in '11.
The previous post journeyed into the brave new world of cheap USB media players and found the Incredisonic to be lacking on a couple of fronts as a GIF-looper. First, antialiasing turns the clean, straight lines of pixel graphics into mush, and second a black frame is inserted at the loop point if you convert the GIF to .mp4 or H.264 or whatever variant of the old Quicktime codec you choose. Turns out you can improve the sharpness somewhat by switching the default to a higher HDMI resolution, and also making sure your monitor is reading the HDMI as well as it can, but it's still not as sharp as a GIF can be.
Most of the players in this price range are clones of the same hardware and software as the Incredisonic's, with slight tweaks to the menus and remote control configuration. The ones marketed under the names MDN and Keedox have the same issue with the black frame.
Two players don't add a black frame to a looping video and have more-or-less seamless long-term play. Amazon markets one under the name Blusmart but it's also called the "MP018 full HD media player." A better choice is the Micca Speck Ultra-Portable Media Player. This has no added black frame and also better design and an easier-to-use remote. Even this one, though, employs some of the same basic software layout and wording as the other players. And it plays GIFs at half-speed if you load them as "photos" rather than exported-to-video. Am curious how these features are licensed around and which Chinese company came up with the original clunky design.
All these devices handle most common media files, including VOB so you can transfer DVD content to the player with no loss of quality. But these are still poor ways to show GIFs, so, if you want to do that for "fine art display" reasons you either need to (i) spend about $200 on the Windows versions of the Mac Mini, or (ii) accept that it's no longer a GIF but rather some sort of weird lo-fi compressed video animation that may have charms of its own. Some GIFs that don't need to be particularly sharp will look perfectly fine on these little players, but either way, you no longer need the extra step of burning a DVD (but then what are you going to sell? that's another post).
How is the Incredisonic USB media player for looping GIFs, you ask.
Not great, but...
There are two ways you can play GIFs on this device:
1. You can screencapture the GIF looping for 2+ minutes and save the capture as an .mp4 with no loss of clarity.
But when the Incredisonic plays the .mp4, it wants to treat it as video, and adds anti-aliasing, making those sharp pixels in the GIF fuzz out. On a 1080p monitor this looks bad.
Also, it adds a black frame at the .mp4's 2 minute loop point. Also not good.
2. You can play the GIF directly as a "photo" file for durations ranging from 1 to 30 seconds. No black frame at the loop point. But it still anti-aliases so it looks bad on a HD monitor.
Also -- the player slows the GIF down to 50% of its browser speed! What the hell.
So this is basically a bust, except...
In addition to an HDMI out to a monitor, the player has a standard video (AV) out so it can be played with older TV models. A CRT television (above) is innately low-res and hides the worst effects of the antialiasing. In the case of the GIF above, the slower speed is kind of nice. Also, several versions of the GIF were loaded here, with variations in size, transparency, etc, and the player plays them one after another more or less seamlessly. So some interesting new content ideas came out of the process.
More -- including two players with no black frame at the video loop point.
scan of black and white photograph
Recommended: "On the Creative Question –- Nine Theses," by Geert Lovink, Sebastian Olma and Ned Rossiter, which tackles Uber-era concepts of sharing, "social," and what it means to be a radical innovator when creativity is institutionally neutralized:
Degraded to a commercial and political marketing tool, the semantic content of creativity has been reduced to an insipid spread of happy homogeneity – including the right amount of TED-styled fringe misfits and subcultures – that can be bureaucratically regulated and 'valorized.' To this rhetoric corresponds a catalogue of 'sectors' and 'clusters' labelled as creative industries: a radically disciplined and ordered subdomain of the economy, a domesticated creative commons where innovators and creatives harmoniously co-mingle and develop their auto-predictive disruptions of self-quantification, sharing and gamification. Conflict is anathema to the delicate sensibilities of personas trading in creative consultancy.
The authors question how much innovation can actually occur within the tight time frames of "template capitalism":
Maturation, which is creative growth, requires time. Don’t be afraid of the cycle. Who’s afraid of the longue durée? The time of creativity is that of idleness and procrastination, indeed otium [wikipedia link --ed]. This turns out to be the opposite of frantic entrepreneurship and instant valorization. This is why creative industries policy can only propose fixed formats and known concepts: template capitalism. Maker labs, with their standard 3D printers and software, can only produce more of the same. Open source is not the solution to this problem. Neither is it sufficient to place the wild, weird bohème at the helm.
What are some examples of this bureaucratically regulated art that emphasizes "frantic entrepeneurship and instant valorization"? The authors are light on specifics but let's throw out some NYC precedents: NEW INC's art/business incubator program, Rhizome's 7 on 7 artist-technologist partnerships where innovation happens in a single day, and Eyebeam fellowships calling for entries that are "provocative" and yet, "have positive real-world impact."
Slower time frames probably mean self-funding, i.e. "day job", although Lovink, et al, don't say that. Another alternative to incubation systems feeding creatives into the capitalist maw is the principled opt-out, or what the authors call "radical practice outside the stack." As a "key strategy for practices of anonymity and a commons beyond expropriation" they suggest "storage without a trace" including "USB libraries, blue-tooth networks, off-the-grid computing."
All well and good but the authors should be more explicit about what they mean by "high risk politics":
Taking ‘social innovation’ seriously means to think about the design of non-scalable communities, creative save-havens and post-digital makers. These are emphatically political challenges. Circumventing politics by way of social design is a dead-end. It repeats the technocratic mistakes that have lead to the incapacitation of politics in the first place. To regain efficacy requires a shift into high risk politics, a politics that has the guts to take decisions about our injured future.
Not sure what the prison system is like in the Netherlands (where this essay originates) but in America that's where real political risk lands you. Entering a nightmare beyond the imaginings of Burroughs and de Sade is a lot to ask of a "creative."
[edited after posting]