Frack, no more BSG?

As I do when I find a series I like, over the last couple of weeks I binge-watched all 3 seasons of Battlestar Galactica. I did the same with Heroes. In both cases, eventually the tragic day arrives when I’ve caught up with the States. At best, this habit means waiting a week in between episodes, something which really doesn’t suit my lifestyle and OCD personality. At worst – well, in the States, BSG is all over until a mini-series in September, while the next season doesn’t start until 2008.

In the short time since my stockpiled episodes of Season 3 ran out, I’ve been feeling strangely sad, lost, angry and…look, let’s be honest – really quite alone.

This very well put-together ‘gag reel’ has made it all a little bit better (warning – contains spoilers!):

By the way, if anyone knows the proper details about the gag video and how it got to the interwebs, please let me know in the comments. i.e. was it on TV or a DVD extra, or was it released into the “virusphere”?

Anyway, it’s on YouTube now, and therefore=work.

Well, at least fan videos (where vernacular creativity and proprietary content get all entangled and bear fruit) are work, definitely. Like this very sweet Starbuck/Laura number for example:

MIT5 ahoy

Wonderful to see the tentative program for MIT5: creativity, ownership and collaboration in the digital age has now been posted – it looks jam-packed with very good stuff, actually. Our panel, Produsing Culture (not ‘producing’ as Axel was very, very quick to point out to the organisers!) has been scheduled for 9.00 Saturday morning…not usually my most scholarly time of the week but I’ll see what I can do. Early to bed, early to rise and all that. Which is not my usual conference behaviour, either…

Our original panel proposal had an abstract which won’t appear on the website, so I thought it might be useful to post it here:

Produsing Culture: Implications of User-Led Content Creation
The proposed panel draws on the work of the User-Led Research Group based at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. The panel explores the practices and politics of cultural production in a range of contemporary new media contexts that are structured by collaborative user-led content creation, dissemination and evaluation. The shared approach of the papers is one that rejects both dystopian or utopian discourses in favour of a critical, grounded exploration of the complex and emergent ways in which cultural and media power relations are being reshaped or reconfigured in specific contexts, and the broader social implications of these shifts for democracy, cultural work and cultural participation.

My abstract:

Vernacular Photography 2.0: Flickr, Aesthetics and the Relations of Cultural Production
The photo-sharing network Flickr is one of the better-known examples of the participatory turn in web business models commonly referred to as ‘Web 2.0.’ This paper demonstrates that Flickr can be viewed as the site of a vernacular ‘relational aesthetics,’ focused not on discrete art objects, but on the modes of social connection that are both made possible by and flow through images within the network. At the same time, those social connections are used to collaboratively construct, negotiate and learn visual aesthetics and techniques. Rather than representing a revolutionary takeover of photography by untrained amateurs, Flickr is a highly heterogeneous ‘architecture of participation’ where the social worlds, technologies and aesthetics of ‘professional’ photography, art and everyday life collide, compete and coexist to produce new forms of intensely social and playful cultural production.

The abstract definitely shows signs of being written 3 weeks before PhD submission (and what was I on, buzzword pills??), but luckily allows me to move forward into some of the stuff I’m actually doing now. Should be fun.

Dumpr Museumr: textual poaching in reverse

Museumr is a new 3rd party flickr toy that lets you stick your own photo in a frame at your choice of museum. More museumr photos.

It’s weird that I came across this via my Flickr contacts this morning, while writing a proposal for a paper I hope to give at MIT5 on Flickr, social aesthetics, and the reconfiguration of the relations between everyday life, ‘professional’ photography and artworlds.

Please observe my protruding right cheek here, but…

To play with Henry Jenkins’classic terminology for fandom, this latest Flickr fad is textual poaching in reverse because instead of pilfering the materials for creativity from the landlord, it’s all about sneaking your own creations into the master’s house. But it’s still a form of fandom in my view.

And I love the fact that a large number of the images in the biggest frames are utterly paradigmatic of vernacular photography: photos of babies, garden gnomes, cats and dogs. The effect is so much wittier than in the ones where people have used their best ‘arty’ photos. My dog wants to know when he’s going to be featured on a wall at MOMA.

Australian Snapshots

I’ve just caught up with the 2006 Australian Snapshots exhibition:

The Australian Snapshots initiative began in August 2004, when 150 disposable cameras were sent to Local Radio listeners across regional Australia with a request to photograph sports, leisure and daily activities that connected their communities.

The rationale behind using disposable cameras was to create an equal playing field for all – no-one could crop, filter or manipulate their photos to achieve more dramatic results. I

There’s a weird politics of Australianness that reflects the idea that regional and rural Australia are the locus of genteel, folksy creativity (as opposed to the rawness or digital sophistication of urban Australia) but I like the imposition of technological constraints by using disposable film cameras a _lot_. And I love this year’s theme of course:

We’re hoping to once again capture the essence of life in Australia – this time through the variety of creative endeavours undertaken in regional Australia.

This could vary from hobbies and leisure activities like art, theatre groups, craft, cooking etc, to unique work environments – gardens, nurseries, teaching, fund raising etc. How you interpret the theme is up to you

If you get the chance, use your photos to tell us a story of your chosen creative pursuit.

And of course, there are quilts. Woo!

lost in light

what a cool idea:

This is a project about the 8mm film format. But 8mm is dead, you say? On the contrary! Not only is the format alive with innovation by filmmakers around the world, but hours and hours of Super 8 and regular 8mm film exist in attics and basements the world over—as home movies, educational films, works of art—that is slowly fading from the historical record.

We’re here to preserve that record before these films are lost, and to make those films available for viewing by the public and for use by artists seeking new, compelling footage. Lost in Light is a project devoted to preserving, showcasing, and celebrating films created on the small-gauge 8mm film format.

To that end, we provide free Super 8 and 8mm to video transfers to anyone who asks, in exchange for posting their video to the Lost in Light site and on the Internet Archive with their choice of Creative Commons licenses. In addition, Lost in Light includes articles and features by members of the filmmaking and film preservation communities, video tutorials for making 8mm films, as well as creative work, all with the goal of preserving and championing this important film format.


check out the project’s proposal video at Have Money Will Vlog

via copy culture

post-conference highs

Last week was super-intense, what with presenting the paper on Everyday Creativity as Civic Engagement, which I co-authored with Marcus Foth and Helen Klaebe at the Communications Policy and Research Forum in Sydney, then zooming back to Brisbane to get my AoIR paper happening and throwing myself into conference mode for the rest of the week. I had organized a panel with Mel Gregg, Christina Spurgeon and Sal Humphreys called Creativity and Its Discontents.

Quite unexpectedly, our session ended up being totally packed out – we almost, but did not quite, achieve the distinction of having an actual mosh pit type situation happening, but we did have people sitting on the floor. Rock stars or not, I felt it went very well, and we had some good feedback. But then again, the impression of it going well could just be a result of my excellent mood. I’ve uploaded my own paper (well, the script for my presentation) Vernacular Creativity, Cultural Participation and New Media Literacy: Photography and the Flickr Network as a pdf. It was the first time I got to rehearse my interpretation of the idea of a tension between ‘usability and hackability’ in the socio-technical construction of vernacular creativity, kind of comparing the ‘Kodak moment’ with the ‘Web 2.0’ one.

Somehow I avoided conference fatigue, enjoying most of the papers, having an awesome time at the dinner and the inevitable after-dinner drinks, feeling very excited about converting blog friends into real friends. And easing out of conference mode by watching the AFL Grand Final at the pub with a hybrid crowd of friends and loved ones, new conference acquaintances and complete strangers (i.e. the ubiquitous old-men-perched-on-bar-stools, with whom I always seem to strike up interesting conversations) at the Royal Exchange Hotel. But after finally allowing myself to get emotionally invested in the footy, was quite gutted to see the Swans lose by one lousy point.

Technorati tag:
Flickr photos are/should be tagged with: aoir2006

spaces of vernacular creativity

It seems the concept of vernacular creativity has legs that carry it into various disciplinary territories. Interestingly, this Call for Papers for a panel at the American Association of Geographers conference in San Francisco next year uses it in almost exactly the same way as I do.

Every day that passes, there’s more stuff to go in the section of my thesis entitled ‘the idea of vernacular creativity’; from vernacular architecture to domestic craft and DIY to vernacular photographies to vernacular public art (the most symptomatic form of which is the roadside shrine). I have to hurry up and finish. That is, in as much as a scholarly pace ever allows you to ‘hurry up.’ There are no shortcuts – that’s why you get to be called ‘doctor’ at the end of it.

Snap-Shot-City

Interesting looking creative/locative/game project:

Snap-Shot-City

– A world wide urban photographic treasure hunt –
Anyone, anywhere in the world, can play!

Snap-Shot-City is an opportunity to participate in the global community by really experiencing the place where you live, with the people you share it with.

Become an artist for a day and interpret a scavenger hunt list of items into how you see and experience your city and your community. And share it with the world.