headmap: world-aware technologies

I can’t believe I haven’t noticed headmap on my travels before. They do cool things there. Manifesto/blurb:

headmap: the space, the social network, thinking tools and the network interface in the same field of view. The boundaries between what is interior and what is exterior intersecting tangibly in front of your eyes.

…there are notes in boxes that are empty

every room has an accessible history

every place has emotional attachments you can open and save

you can search for sadness in new york

people within a mile of each other who have never met stop what they are doing and organise spontaneously to help with some task or other.

in a strange town you knock on the door of someone you don’t know and they give you sandwiches.

paths compete to offer themselves to you

life flows into inanimate objects

the trees hum advertising jingles

everything in the world, animate and inanimate, abstract and concrete, has thoughts attached

headspace is not (just) poetics though. The main attraction is a 200-odd page booklet available from the headmap site in pdf: “The headmap manifesto is a sequence of text fragments dealing with the social and cultural implications of location aware devices. Headmap argues a move from the inside view that developed after the failure of the space programme, the closure of the frontiers, the rise of television, early computing, interiorised simulation and drug culture…towards an outside view – a recolonisation of the real world, computers becoming invisible, mobile, networked and location aware, the real world augmented rather than simulated.” This is not empty techno-lust, rather it persuades with a new logic built around deep connections between creativity, technology, and social responsibility, drawing on critical theory, spatial theory and aesthetics.[erm, & geek stuff I don’t understand].

Urban Rebranding: Creative Cities for the Creative Class

In Junk for Code, Gary Sauer-Thompson reflects on the Weekend Australian’s latest article in its Australian cities series, in which Adelaide is characterised as the “thinking person’s city”: a city of ideas, education (the grandmother of all sandstone universities is there), but more importantly of cosmopolitanism. As a Brisbane native, not only can I only understand the need to brand medium-sized cities in ways that take into account our economies of scale, but I can also bring an outsider’s perspective to this. When I was in Adelaide recently for the Sonics/Synergies conference, which happened just after the Festival of Ideas, nearly 10 years after my last visit to the Festival State, I naturally salivated over the food and wine and tucked myself into not a few Coopers in any number of cosy and atmospheric pubs. But, particularly late at night on the city streets, I was also struck by a new sense of spiritual dulling and social quiet. This may be partly because in Brisbane, we have seen the creative and leisure sectors, particularly the music scene and the night-time economy develop–and I should say that of course I have a vested interest in that happening. So perhaps it was a matter of my own parochial enthusiasm (that I have any is new and disturbing in itself). And yet there were quite a few locals who responded to my voicing these thoughts with a shrug and an offhand “Yeah, SADelaide”. And the SA government, I gather, hasn’t helped much to support the local music industry (but that’s pretty much just hearsay).

Putting my own perceptions, and my embarrassingly celebratory comments about Brisbane’s changing social landscape, aside, I also experience a sense of unease when Brisbane is promoted as a “creative city”, the capital of the “smart state”. It seems to me that creativity is tied up with urban cosmopolitanism, that smartness is not accidentally a close relative of hipness: an argument not disputed but actively propagated by Richard Florida in The Creative Class. And being sophisticated, cosmopolitan, smart and hip might be a great economic goal, and a powerfully seductive idea for the residents, but I think we are yet to fully understand the social ramifications of policies built around it. The most obvious area of concern, of course, is the availability and location of affordable rental accommodation–at least councils are beginning to realise that “creative clusters” rely on a continuous tradition of urban bohemias, of artistic communities, (and don’t forget the Gay Index) which means that we can’t build out all the inner-city ex-industrial areas with Ikea-furnished aparments and cloned cafes. But what if you aren’t bohemian, aren’t “creative” in a way that is easily converted into creative capital for the city: what if you live in one of those boarding houses that flank Brunswick Street, the main artery of Fortitude Valley? Or are the shuffling pensioners just a bit more colour and movement–a bit more streetlife? After all, as Brisbane Marketing tells us:

Fortitude Valley is full of contrasts and delights –
a place to explore, be entertained and find the unexpected.

plug: adhocarts.org

adhocarts.org- Mission:

“Adhocarts.org was inspired by the need to create support and opportunity for independent artists, culture producers and creative workers across disciplines. […] Adhocarts.org works to promote the design of alternative culture that counters mainstream modes of living and concepts manufactured and promoted by large corporate entities and governments. Adhocarts.org accomplishes this by exploring notions of ‘cultural capital,’ education, networked information, individual/community empowerment and self-sufficiency/sustainability. Adhocarts.org uses the democratizing potential of network technology to reach communities around the globe, producing projects and events that encourage these practices.”

Open content and value creation

First Monday has an article by Magnus Cedergren that is related to the stuff about sonic proliferation I have been writing about lately. The abstract of his paper Open content and value creation says:

“The borderline between production and consumption of media content is not so clear as it used to be. For example on the Internet, many people put a lot of effort into producing personal homepages in the absence of personal compensation. They publish everything from holiday pictures to complete Web directories. Illegal exchange of media material is another important trend that has a negative impact on the media industry.

In this paper, I consider open content as an important development track in the media landscape of tomorrow. I define open content as content possible for others to improve and redistribute and/or content that is produced without any consideration of immediate financial reward — often collectively within a virtual community. The open content phenomenon can to some extent be compared to the phenomenon of open source. Production within a virtual community is one possible source of open content. Another possible source is content in the public domain. This could be sound, pictures, movies or texts that have no copyright, in legal terms.”

He ends ups with a model of the driving forces in open content “value chains”, (concerning both producers and consumers), in which personal motivations and social benefits are linked.