Wake up your sausage

June 11, 2008

Neil’s produced a cracking presentation about all things around communities and marketing. There are loads of them around, but this is fine piece of storytelling that will make any smart client sign up for experimenting with the live interwebs.

I’m overly humbled to see Where are the Joneses? used as a case study. For good or worst example of doing a project like this.

And if you like, that’s what Neil is pointing at; “getting on and doing it” – and do it well by learning from each part of the project. And that means working with the client team in a different way. Without a strong sponsor / champion on the client’s team, you wont get it out the door. It’s because there is so much detail in the legal framework from licences to contract with a project like the Joneses? it can be a test of patience. There’s also a massive shortage of lawyers who understand the 2.0ness of all this stuff, never mind advice on best commercial practice within open source productions.

Opening up to audience participation has not yet begun to worry legal teams in a way it’s shaken marketing.

As a Disney Board Co Chair recently said:

“We understand now that piracy is a business model,” said Sweeney, twice voted Hollywood’s most powerful woman by the Hollywood Reporter. “It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do – through quality, price and availability. We we don’t like the model but we realise it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward.”

I wrote the Joneses model as a format; like Big Brother or WifeSwap, so that it could be reused by different brands and production companys; the overall mechanics of using a central ideal (the branded kernal of the narratives platform’s operating system ) and then expecting the site to grow outwards through social utilities, by always referring back to the kernal’s logic.

The legal framework had to be ‘elastic’ and for me, writing the rules to engagement for the lawyers to approve, was the one of the most fun parts of the project. Sitting in a room of media legals,listening with horror and fear as the project was explained to them and then smiling as they balk at the simplicity of the solutions. I have the Channel4 legals to thank for that – they made me understand every ‘no’ in the book when worked there.

Neil – a slide on legals, especially Creative Commons would have been useful, I think. It’s the device that enables the legalities of sharing within and out of communities.

The aesthetics of the narrative also meant that the operating system (the Joneses’ media cloud == all the objects/pages that connected to the project together) gave the real time production maximum freedom – a massive need if the daily output had to happen. A bit like the daily news, the ‘look and feel’ was synthesised into the tone of the project – Where are the Joneses as an identity had to work with every service that the team wanted to use.

This goes against much of the consenus of how a brand needs to apply itself to content, especially as the project is USER centric.

So where is the brand in all this?

First, does it matter?

If it does, the brand needs to take its place in the sidelines, encouraging, cheering on users – their prospects.

The brand’s ‘essence’ can be woven into the production, through functions, through tone. But a brand ‘essence’ is such a wanky term.

A brand has a story, with lots of tales interwined. A story is an abstract of the company’s values, That abstraction can be performed in many ways – you just need to know the material you’re working with to get the best out of ot; like a stone masion or an enthusiastic knitter would.

I remember speaking to John Griffith‘s about Brand Stories, (I believe he invented them), and how he got clients (agencies) to play out brands – you know, like actors would.

One person is CocaCola, another is Marlboro, another is Sainsburys – and then you watch how they interact in these new roles.

But anyway, most of this is in the production itself.

How to create a spectacle.

How to create meaning.

My Factoid Trivium

June 10, 2008

Toxi published some images from his fiducial generator project; making keys for a reactivision setup (I guess…)

Reactavision, in action, can be seen here, rocking out with Bjork, no less.

You see the blocks they are using on the table? The underside has an image, which is a key, which connects to other objects in predefined ways – programmed as the image.

But the images,they’re great fun, just as images. They all have a MutantTeddyBearNess to them.

I couldn’t …resists…meddling.

Bit of context with warm sunny light.

Mocking something up on a side of something, gives context of sorts.

Viscousy and silk-screening; tacky pop.

TV themed, in a poltergeist kind of way.

And something you’d find on a techno album cover.

They kinda got darker as I went along, into the night, Gimping. I sucjk at photoshop.

Now, as they (the images) are ‘keys’, and he says they need only be binary (black and white), so colour has no impact on their function (their geometry gives the uniqueness, thus there can be maaaaaaany of them.), therefore, I guess they will still work, even if hacked with some poor ‘photoshopping‘ gimping.

Exploring the idea of keys having personalities, to the point where you don’t need the physical ‘key’.

Kind of like the ‘book people’ in Fahrenheit 451.

QR codes don’t really do it for me. They need to have more ‘personality’. Though I do like the term paper storage. Did you know you could get video encoded into coloured QR codes? You can, you know. Not available yet though.

As much as I liked pixelated animations, it takes some extremes to work in a (full functioning) QR code.

I picked up a book called Meet Mr.Product whilst in Dusseldorf, visiting the exhibition Tim Keil suggested over the twitterwaves.

Here’s some photos.

What a wonderworld that must be, if they could all live in a Truman show kind of thing.

Clear characters, with purpose in life, looking for friends, happy to help and eternally young.

It could be a world where brands could bred freely.

Could a multi-branded version of Spore, the new eagerly awaited game from EA, be educational or really annoying? (<- use this link if the video below has given up the game.)

See, a platform like reactivision, affords many, many, maaaaaaaaaany clear characters to exist, with purpose in life, looking for friends, happy to help and eternally young.

Platforms inspire a million characters, if they have a clear purpose within the context.

But, these characters are roles, if they have purpose. Roles are agents conspiring to bring conformation through differentiation; the fiducial teddy bears are the affordance of the platform; conformed in geometry logic, diversified through irrationalities.

The benefit to this: transmission.

Finding friction free, high capacity storage ‘objects’, needs for one thing – be able to transmit.

Technology is a real time story, looking to make objects that transmit.

Objects, that receive is not a request of technology, or any facate of craft, but a burden of language.

Language doesn’t learn to be better, users adjust it to work within changing frameworks.

To store changes, we have to extend language to work as containers, to which we can place ‘understandings’.

We create languages to store objects that relate; sub-languages such as slang, is used within peer groups, who want to describe ‘understandings’ in their social-economic contexts.

The relationship between language and object, is technology – the crafting – the act of transmission is a scribe within the objects construct. Technology gives us a timestamp to decode the relationships between objects, but cant itself create languages. Technology may give us daily, monthly, yearly, new parameters for ‘creating’, but the ability to create ‘storage’ objects comes from the limitations of expression within time.

Could it be possible to make zillions of boxes, and automate the storage of things as they ‘appear’ to us?

Without an understanding of surface, a complete understanding or the properties of the perception plane, the answer is no. The translation of ‘insight’ to the ‘physical’ requires a mapping of time to material – unless we can find ways of making things outside a linear production model. Open Source, which you may not consider a linear production model, is just that. Although all the tributaries flowing into a single build, the linearity occurs at the ‘gateway’.

It’s because things are not divisible by things. Everything is estimate; precision lies.

Although storage is amenable to the most awkward items, it handle infinite variants very well.

Gursky

Another Gursky.

As soon as a wrapper is applied to an object, the immediate context changes and thus invokes the story of the relationship between the storage and the contents.

This relationship is the root of the factoid, the point where fabrication and digestion of the narrative’s objects commences, unleashing it’s trivium. Because you apply a language to something, you are creating the relationship.

Thomas Ruff.

Another Thomas Ruff.

Note the jaggy jpg compression tearing (the pixelation), that’s intended. These are huge digital prints, made up of recursive colouring of the pixels. Here’s some more, so you get the idea. (I saw these in NYC last November, and feeling blown away by them.)

Both these artists studied under the Bechers , who did lots of this:-

Classic.

Comic.

It’s why this campaign is more than an advert. It’s demonstrating personalised recursive storage. The creative multiples the storage of the media space. Spaces within spaces within spaces, all ‘humanised’.

Check out the London underground carriage posters – they all have 3 ‘hidden’ smiles. Brilliant recursive design.

Using anthropomorphic storage platforms enables us to see ‘things’ as people and relationships.

We can engage in these relationships as we would people – on our own terms, our own language systems, our own arguments attended to.

A world of relationships, seen not as things.

A technology of stateless storage, recursively designing, producing and distributing relationships, for personal gain.

Which takes us into the uncanny valley.

An anthropomorphic system that responds with authenticity, requires a depth of experience that equates, not betters, the human relationship. Importantly, feedback time is critical to authenticity. The space of time that something is not doing something indicates factors of the transmissions.

The pauses between our spoke words are just as important as the words themselves.

This is a form of error handling for the transmission. Packets of data are sequenced with silence. Like music…

Scripting Artificial Intelligence will lend itself to one benefit: building a system to judge and attempt- it’s why they are so popular in gaming systems – A good AI is judged on the array of faults you can exploit, not the definition of it’s persona. In fact, the array of faults constructs the personality based upon your Factoid Trivium. Any faults in comprehension remains in the design of the key properties.

So where can character driven arrays take us if sequencing is initiated by investigation?

More likely to be this…

Using Twitter as a command line (Tw00ts) is something that I’m keen on exploring- there’s a bunch of ideas in notebooks just waiting to be pulled into prototypes – but in the meanwhile here’s an example that I just threw together a couple of weeks ago.

Now, as a command line it’s syntax is pretty complex.

Let’s break it down.

First, it’s a mix of English, with bad grammar, mixed in with machine code, and using a currency which is timestamped.

Second, no license used. Attribution in username

Third, the arguments and methods:-

1. ‘Why’

Initiating the command by invoking a question. This pulls in the attention of the user base, acting as a single central processor funnel, thus maximizing on chances of a responding message.

2. Dont

Spelling mistake, but dropping the unnecessary characters acts as data compression.

start argument with a negative, to a tune to early adopters curiosity

3. we all

Maximise audience

4. just

this is not going to steal loads of time

5. Twitter

no need for www or .com

6. $2

respect to the location of the company

small amount, minor tip, about £1

major currency, easy to convert with twitter timestamp

7. to just

any improvement would be good

8. stable

Stabilizing is the preferred task, we would all guess

9 http://tinyurl.com/5vwnxt

URI, data compressed

Now, using twitter as a command line with such soft parameters, the service would have to be a complex system, superior AI, and capable of setting off a bunch of processes.

Fortunately, Chris Reed picked up the message and processed the command line, in a way pretty much as expected from the syntax. Though in hindsight, I should have appended the command with some extra parameters. More on that in a mo, for now, have a look at the response message.

It’s pretty clear to read, so I can judge that something is about to happen.

And the solution looks simple.

Twitterfund, the actualization of the command line I sent into Twitter, is in itself a curious project. I think it raises so interesting questions.

1. what happens when the community raises money, with or witout strings attached, to better a service and become more attractive then Venture Capitalist’s funds?

2. when running a campaign like this, who should be it’s Guardian’s, or do we really need them if we are all visible on teh interwebs.

3. What if Twitter doesn’t take the money: what do we do with the shared fund? Is it worth using it elsewhere?

4. Will people use the fund?

Chris and I had a couple of emails back and forth before all this was set up. I was keen on TweetCharity as a domain name so that we could use this piece of media.

But using the word Charity opens a another bag of worms.

So TwitterFund was selected.

Next, who owns the paypal account. You know, it’s like who has the ‘God like’ system admin password. I was keen on the hunt of for the most trusted twitter user, suppose it would have ended up with someone like Scobe. But at present Chris is holding the fort on this.

The additional parameters I need to think about compressing into Tw00ts are about tone. What happens when a project using a suite of online tools come together? Chris has Twitter, a blog, a domain name, a paypal account all sync’d. Sweet. Making the components come together, making them sing is another thing. This is now about art direction in 140 characters.

Anyway, let’s see what happens with the fund.

Follow the project’s Twitter feed and send what you think of the project to @fund.

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