June 10, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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:-
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…
Last November I was approached by the Open Rights Group about the business model of Where are the Joneses? that Imagination constructed for Ford of Europe. Lured by my use of the Creative Commons BY-SA licence – meaning that there were no commercial restrictions of the use of the media assets produced during the course of the project – ORG recognised that this was as break through for copyright, agencies, brands and media producers alike.
ORG superhero, Michael Holloway (above), who I met a year before at the ORG’s Drunken Brunch meeting of like minded open licence people (I recall meeting Dan Lockton there), interviewed me in November in preparation for a couple of talks I gave last week.
Michael, with Suw Charman-Anderson (in the red top), have been working with the interview to produce a case study for everyone to review and hopefully, use, as a framework for other commercial open media projects/companies/initiatives.
On Monday, Rob Myers (pictured above right), joined me to talk about the use of Creative Commons and it’s relationship to Intellectual Property. Rob and I have been friends since 1992, meeting at art college, and since have discussed how the economics of media production, the downstream of culture, as we learnt at college, is the building blocks for anything today and tomorrow.
The framework of the Joneses project – not the storyline, nor the commercial relationships with Ford of Europe, owes a lot to many many many conversations Rob and I have had over the past 16 years. It’s a very special model that could never have been worked out within the confines of a job, or a hobby, or as artists. The relationship between producers and the audience at large, the communities within communities that wrapped themselves around sections of the Joneses – both agency and public attention – was a mix of perverse curiosity of what this model was and anticipation to see the comedy, the editorial, failing.
The heritage of such a project also owes much to the work of XPT - and in particular, Tim Wright. XPT’s Online Caroline and Tim’s own Oldton project are very close to my heart as a technologist and as a creative. Those who lived with the projects when they we’re alive and kicking have extremely fond memories of the productions – an emotion far removed from serial broadcasting – because the audience made the memories between themselves.
But what inspired the use of Creative Commons as the turnkey solution for the Joneses (it could never have been done under normal copyright models) is that Free Culture is the basis to facilitating a conversation – it’s a giving host, not a prescribing guardian. For the ethos that I wanted Ford of Europe to understand and it’s relationship to its shifting understanding of marketing, the non-30sec-spot 360-channel matching-luggage-prescription that a large network agency uses to manage a global communications campaign erodes the relationship with the intended audience and the client. The care and attention that goes into grading, editing and placing adverts is very agency/brand focused – it’s self gratifying and loses the attention of amplifying an audience who wants to be considered important.
It’s why Imagination was a great place to make WRTJ, we are small and nimble yet large enough to speak our mind about invention instead of waffling on about innovation. Case in example is Ford of Britian’s follow up to the Joneses by Mindshare and Ogilvy – Bite. Big ready made audience from Yahoo and Channel 4, low emotional resonance.
The same applies to Kate Modern, a show used to drop in product placement, focused on young impressionable Bebo minds. And possibly a smart move to enable a lumbering AOL to regain some value. I’ll leave this for another post about my anti-hero Carl Icahn.
An audience without participation, nor the right to control the editorial, is being treated like a herd. Such mentality is why the commissioning model of media results in the pursuit of conversation.
ORG are not a marketing focused organisation in so far as their interest does not cover the interest that brands or advertising are efficient, measurable or actually gain a sale. With the Joneses, ORG, a government backed organisation, has become acutely aware of the damage advertising has on culture – advertising agencies produce more copyright material into the world than any other producer – as a rage to conquer all human attention, especially if we are hitting the peak, a social concern of not just urban/social spam comes into consideration, as we saw in Brazil, but also of the moral consequences of making a world full of unreusable communications, unreusable under legal frameworks that benefit neither audience nor client nor even agency.
Suw is currently pulling together the report and will shortly be available for everyone to review here. I’ll post when it’s ready.
For me the Joneses has been lingering around for months but I’ve enjoyed watching the amount of commentary about the project. There is much behind the scenes about how it was managed and the micro conversations between users that I was privileged to participate in.
I will compete a longer essay about the project when time becomes available. In the meanwhile, it’s lovely to spend time doing Questions and Answers about the project – especially to new audiences such as the one ORG arranged.
Again, many thanks to Suw and Michael (and Becky Hogge) for acknowledging the project.
Photo credits to Marc Hankins, who released the session photos under CC-BY-SA.
March 25, 2008
Second albums are always the hardest, so I was thrilled to be called into help Gavin and Drew make the Age of Conversation sequel even better. I’ll be nestled in amongst 275 other meddlers of marketing, adding a little salt with an article on how to give away your intellectual property and profit/win an audience/make better products/sleep well at night.
The book will be themed ‘Why don’t they get it?’ – alluding to clients who either refuse to accept that the audiences are in control of commercial communications (in design, distribution and production) or who believe that all this web2.0 malarkey will just go away some day…
They are : -
- Conversation to Action
- My Marketing Tragedy
- Business Models
- Keeping Secrets
- Life in the Conversation Lane
- A New Brand of Creative
You can see who’s writing about which topic here.
I’ll be sketching out my article on my wiki, here.
To be honest, I haven’t a foggest who most of my fellow writers/bloggers/evangelists are, so I’m going to have spend some time going through this lot :-
Clay Parker Jones
Dana VanDen Heuvel
Daria Radota Rasmussen
David Meerman Scott
G. Kofi Annan
Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming
J. Erik Potter
Jeff De Cagna
Laurence Helene Borei
Matt J. McDonald
Roger von Oech
Yves Van Landeghem
And if you haven’t picked yourself up a copy of the original book, there’s a ‘crowdsource-mega-bum-rush’ on the 29th March – details here. Go on – join the conversation…
January 13, 2008
Objects pay a central role in language which have become the black hole of the imagination.
Object absorb methods of interactivity, they hold the relationship between verb and noun.
Objects retain activity because of a latent belief that to be human is to engage with existence as a container.
It’s the belief that ourselves, as communicators occupy a particular space. In consideration, what is it that we think we own through ‘being’ ? Whether it’s My Space or My Face, there is a problem in wanting personal identification being incorruptible because property defines a relationship between the ‘individual’ and an ‘activity’ and thus, “I think therefore I am” reduces language to a proposition that negates space, rendering it it as a void not as energy.
Ownership, as currency, renders the individual as a shibboleth, not as a conduit. Ownership values you, not the otherway around.
Acting is a way to shift the individual from person to persona; the surface as text enables a metamorphosis to occur but yet legibility restricts affordances of the performance. By designing a character, you are stripping away values that you do not want to transfer.
Narratives, on the whole, are object centric. Stories, on the whole, are character or location centric, even if the role of the tale is morale of antidote. This is how we deal with space; we erase relationships between objects in order to expose relationships between objects that we deem valuable. The legibility of the value enhanced objects are defined using logic, itself a system based upon declaration.
And it’s this declaration that needs to be replaced with recursive activities. To recall a story is simply a validation of the initial story’s object values. The Chinese Whisper recursive activity opens the affordance for personal valuations, in turn, creating a new value chain debased from an individual’s possession model.
Use Values are the currency that currency values, commercial restrictions on transference increase friction and erodes affordances. Use value devalues Image Values. Knowledge transfer is part of the process, but unless you can reuse the knowledge in anyway you wish, the currency of knowledge degrades.
Now, exploitation of knowledge requires attribution, itself is a shibboleth token that is derived from an individual (corporate entity or individual). Attribution, being the lowest level of rights (as expressed through the Creative Commons licence scheme), is still a barrier for reuse. It maintains the network of information transference, but retains a channel for first object values to influence the acceptance of the shibboleth model.
How can transference be utilised without incarceration of influences when transference is a space based activity?
Network constructs exist within time, not space. Transference exists within space not time.
Is a knowledge object a particle or a wave?
Therefore we have a problem identifying value when networks and manufacturing argue the ownership of the concept of initial value. Language has no root for originality – it’s primary role is transference through duplication and distortion. Meaning’s needs are erosion and decay.
‘Constructing a sentance’ is to destroy other values from perception.
‘Manufacturing’, as a concept, can not contain ‘Networks’ and vice versa. What permits the entanglement is Communication.
(Note the sweet irony of the licence at the end of this video.)
If the Uncertainity Principle is correct, all values are approximations, and therefore there is nothing that can be awarded a value; at best objects have properties that fluctuate with values – a range of values.
(Above: “Portraits of My Father’s Imagination” by Jennifer Cohen.)
A construct of value ranges are the ingredients; the intersection of the range of values can equate to a value. When constructed in this way, the approximation delivers precision that can be tracked but never predicted. Choosing which intersection of values (ingredients) is a decision method based upon prior knowledge, in essense, you make myths through reuse of retained values.
If this is so, an individuals choice is a myth; being able to predict within a value range deludes any sense of freedom – an this is the fear of freedom.
(Above: Victor Burgin Office at Night, 1986 (one of seven sections))
Robert Morris had said that he wanted his sculptures to be no more or less important than any other of the ‘terms’ in the room in which they were situated. But I had asked him the question: if his sculpture was to be considered no more worthy of attention than the doors, the floor, the windows, and so on… then why not dispense with the art object altogether? Judd had said that a form that was neither geometric nor organic would be a great discovery. It seemed to me that such a form did not exist in the material world but could only be found in the mental realm. By the time I left Yale I was trying to find a way of dispensing with the material object, a way of leaving the room empty.
The above quote is taken from Victor Burgin’s presentation titled ‘The Separateness of Things’, which you can read here.
The Failure of Space is it’s existence as physical. The attempts of establishing neutrality within a language construct is something Wikipedia has gone to great lengths to achieve. It is the greatest phenomenon – above the sheer scale of the production – and is reflected in the concept of Net Neutrality.
Pure Construction, as favoured by the early conceptualist and minimalists (such as Robert Morris) claims a use of space beyond the appreciation of freedoms.
Above: Robert Rauschenberg
Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953)
Rauschenberg’s moves in white are part of the grand gesture that his early work strove for and often achieved. His colleague John Cage recognised this when he wrote: “The white paintings were airports for the lights, shadows and particles.” Rauschenberg was able to make nothing the subject of a painting in a way that Cage would, after him, make nothing the subject of a piece of music. Then everything could enter in. “Having made the empty canvases (a canvas is never empty), Rauschenberg became the giver of gifts. “The timing of these acts was crucial; it was a different response to the Second World War and the atom bomb. Unlike the existentialism of Giacometti, which depicted man alone in the universe, Rauschenberg’s emptiness has a positive tonality, and although he in part rejected the serious themes of his Abstract Expressionist predecessors, his White Paintings have nothing of the humour of the Surrealists.
Weiner’s schema tackles the production and distribution of art through the direct conflict between object and language, and remains today the keystone to artists decoding the construct of space.
1. The artist may construct the piece
2.The piece may be fabricated
3. The piece need not be built.
Each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist, the decision as to condition rests with the receiver upon the the occasion of the receivership.
Lawrence Weiner – As Long As It Lasts, 1994
Carving in Renaissance Society wall
Between language and object, the range of values assimilate situations of debate. A debate as a construct finds itself smothered by language unless you can keep the space from collapsing through definition.
Above: Haim Steinbach – supremely black, 1985
Steinbach, a contemporary of Koons, produces a shelving modality to enable presentations of value ranges. The exhibit is itself an execution of the question behind design, production and distribution of the ‘object’. The work is complete with installation instructions and is shipped from exhibition to exhibition. Position within the space is the arbitrary decision of the curator. The artist’s role is to negate the closure of space through neutral syntax – a language that the viewer can neither state as true or false, a language that negates and confirms the value range, a language that is neither useful or useless. Here, aesthetics deliver the failure of space. It is not the connectivity between objects but the juxtaposition of values within values recursively that denote a space that become accessible only through negating a language construct.
Within such an infinate duration of causality, space collapses. Time becomes a multi-dimensional construct connected through a range of values that assert their relationship through the viewer. The viewers act of possession in this state is of value to no one else as navigation of recursive space alludes to no meaning, no value, no use. Alone with a infinite array of value ranges, the viewer controls the matter of space through an erosion of time. The fear of freedom becomes the liberation of value. Space fails us when it fails to negate time – it leaves us a mere container instead of a part of it’s whole.
With time and space existing as linguistic containers, the role of the viewer is to collapse the meaning of either states, thus transferring a network of values from one to another. This sifting enables a non linguistic ontology freeing the affordances of both containers. The tools for such activities reside in the intersect of value ranges, and it would seem that emotive approaches that avoid the individuals verb-noun exchange are extremely effective in producing affective recursive communications.
If communication is to effectively design the prototypes of manufacturing and protocols of networks, then we may find that the Theory of Everything alluding to the simplistic notion that language is preventive, non enabling and that objects and their methods assert symmetrical values – an ordered beauty that prevents the human release of reasoning into lone navigation.
Perception, the foundation to navigation, is a surface reliant ontology. We can only ever see surface – all meaning is generated based upon the viewers value ranges.
Non-orientable objects, such as the Klein bottle (above) and the Mobius strip exist within their own surface, that is, they are one continuous surface. The Klein bottle model exists in the 3rd dimension, whereas the Mobius strip is in within the 2nd dimension. Being singular, the Klein bottle’s affordance is that is you pour into the bottle, the bottle will instantly pour out from the same point.
The significance of the singular surface, non-orientable object, is that space can be defined, modelled and handled as matter, not as a representation of matter. The recently, fought over, affirmation Poincaré conjecture, allows us to believe that surface is a finite space, and thus utterly orientable. The domain of space can be cut using the Ricci Flow with Surgery method and with finite time, it is possible to show that space remains a singularity, if if the Ricci Flow has to be applied to singularities that form from the cutting.
In essence, the limitations of space-time confer that existence within language is restricted to the modeling of matter. Language can not explain anything OUTSIDE the surface of matter, thus we can not use language to explore dimensions that are devoid of space-time, but the existence of an exterior of space-time can be confirmed through seeing the limitations of activity-place.
Being devoid of space-time, creation should be able to construct fiction that becomes true, as the assertion can be percevied after the fact due to surface being the mailable construct unaffected by space-time; in space-time, fiction comes after prior knowledge because space-time controls the object.
As digital communications aspires towards production at the point of consumption (Transmedia, UGC, bitstreaming and crowdsourcing), we are slowly adopting an existence without space-time yet trying to apply space-time modalities of fiction.
You may ask why you would want to know the film before you watch it, or listen to a gag if you knew the punchline – this would be misunderstanding the role of non-oriented objects within a non-space, non-time existence.
The role of communications within the surface plane of non-space-time is to experience your own construct not one constructed for you. We may have a Death of an Author paradox here, if we are already have removed the author of the text and replaced it with the reader. The point is, authorship should come after the collective experience of existence, not a singular denotation of space-time. What should be of interest within this plane is the ability to formalise reality upon the construct of the imagination, collectively and individually.
The networks that people build today, may these be technological or social, are becoming the surface plane of a reality construct that create fictions which in turn create opinions within the minds of the participants. Fears of assimilation and identity are fluid, that is, epidemic in the communities that produce the network. I believe this is the transitional phase between space-time and a singularity that restates the relationship between communication and manufacturing. Ideas, concepts and thoughts will materialise through a network effect, but the consequences will be that little choice will be maintained over what is made. Manufacturing will become enslaved to the Network; Communication will be caught in between the two.
Freedom will still remain the illusion between a physicality and the organisation of that reality, unless language escapes the object ontology. Scripts, routines and procedures maintain a use value that people define as methods; again, a value construct between noun and verb needs to be dissolved for the benefits of experience to liberate us from expectations.
January 9, 2008
You may have noticed Hash Tags appear on Twitter recently, promoted by Chris from Citizen Agency. You need to read this post and this one too, to follow this idea. Oh, and have a look at the Twitter Wiki HashTag page for a comprehensive oveview.
HashTags are a way to tag Tweets so that Followers can keep track of a story/theme/place/activity. Like a Channel or a Group.
I think they are missing the affordance values of Twitter. (OoOooOooooh, can I really say Twitter should NOT be used for something?)
HashTags are an inline denotation of meaning within the Tweet; I think this is self referential and perhaps there is a better way of using the system for tracking activities that followers want to relate to.
As with Social Objects, a story/theme/place/activity can be defined as a Class – an object that contains actions, or Methods. By trying to turn a single Tweet into an object, defies the value in using Tweets as Methods – Considering Twitters call to action “What are you doing?” the 140char space is perfect for Methods, not Objects.
Now, there are various Twitter aggregators around – HashTag.org being the most relevent to this situation. Snitter (which I use and love) also allows HashTag aggregation. This is fine, I can gather all the the relevant posts according to a HashTag instantly.
But, here’s the rub, Twitter’s within the range of a HashTag subject bring value and are excluded from the aggregation. Twitter Vision style aggregation can help see within a geographical aggregation, but for broader value aggregation, and by the way that language works, there is not an ontology that can scale to capture a deep rich picture of the subject.
Unless we use Twitter as a Command Line to activate 3rd party services to produce a Media Cloud. A Media cloud is a semantically collected set of web services based around a story/theme/place/activity. Like Where are the Joneses?
Ordinarily, a user has to go to all these web services, set up an account and then link them all together. I propose this can all be done via Twitter through a recognisable command, which I’m calling a Twoot (ref: W00t). Here’s a rough UML Activity Diagram to explain how this could work.
Now, there’s an upcoming suite of API enabling concepts rising up that can really pull this together. OAUTH, Open ID and Microformats (Now on Twitter)are all useful for transferring, connecting and evolving the Media Cloud, not to mention the blogosphere grokking via Technorati, Friendfeed and of course Google and it’s merry band of services. AMPL is really close to this too.
Social Nets are also handy, why cant FaceBook applications be libraries ready for deployment upon a Twitter Command (a Twoot), thus attaching the HashCloud to the daily FB addictions. OpenSocial - very handy for attaching the broad range of webservices. I think Ning could be a major service in this operation. Flickr would be essential.
Depending on the string sent from Twitter, the array of services can be controlled – look at the range of webservices as an à la carte menu. A set of parameters could be sent requesting which services, or providers, require activation.
Now all this could be the start of spam hell, what would be stopping anyone setting up Media Clouds through a HashCloud command? Equally, think of the number of Brands establishing Media Clouds for any eventuality. Splogs are bad enough but Google does a tidy job of keeping them out of searches.
But an active MediaCloud would be judged by the vortex it would create around the story/theme/place/activity. The MediaCloud would transform to a MediaVortex if there was genuine activity, SpamClouds would just float away, dissolve, vanish. A MediaVortex would root itself at the focus of attention.
January 7, 2008
Brand naming was legally born out of removing the proprietors name from the trading name, enabling franchising. Because of this, creativity took the ability to be fictitious, enabling narratives to enter the sales pitch. Using a logo as the emblem of the narrative, we seen the legal entity move from icon to verb. Marketeers Just Did It, so you can Just Do It – whatever they wanted you to desire.
Imagine that. One single bit of business legality gives birth to what we know as Marketing.
The problem is, no one really believes the stories marketing peddles, especially when the narratives are masking the reality of the Business Trading As. Naked Conversations maybe trying to resolve the fact that All Marketeers are Liars, but this amounts to tinkering with the logo, the identity by enhancing the ‘gestures’ of the companies operations. Brand as a Narrative prevents the Brand existing as Embodiment. Brands need to live within the architecture of life, not on the perception plane. Trying to get a purchasing audience to care about a Brand is costly compared to using your Brands affordances to improve the infrastructure of life. In this case giving is cheaper than advertising.
Branded Utilities, Branded Content and Brand Experiences are all ways of reshuffling the first order objects of the audiences relationship to a commercial service, but frankly, it doesn’t matter which part of the pizza you eat first, you’re participating in a fiction that delivers the need you wanted in the first place, but you have to go through the speed dating of a brand to get the money shot.
This maybe partially necessary, not for selling you the service/goods/lifestyle in the first place, but actually easing the guilt of the transaction. Consumerism has an after taste, and like a bottle of booze, it’s an acquired taste which comes through education. And guess who’s teaching you about after taste. Consumerism is not consumption in the personal sense – it’s a cultural activity. We share consumerism, we never personally experience it.
One of my persistent thoughts is how to get clients, brands, company operations into the infrastructure of life – - fundamentally, getting under the skin, or label, of society and ensuring the brand is doing something useful.
We’ve been repetitively told, we first we have to pass through Permission Marketing to get an audience to accept the narrative of a brand. It’s no more than the first question you ask a potential customer on the shop floor: “How can I help you?”. So much for big insights, Seth.
Take a look at this.
Tide, A P&G brand, rolled in to New Orleans, with the help of The Gigunda Group, during the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster with a truck stacked with washing machines capable of doing 300 loads of washing a day. Food, water, security and other key essentials where being laughably delivered by the US official task forces. What people needed, to get them back on their feet so that they could move forward with rebuilding their day, not their city, was clean clothes – an incredibly soft touch to a horrific disaster, but one that got people motivated. Need alone does not inspire people – desire/inspiration/care activates the cognitive value of meaning in people.
Once rationality is operating, construction ensues.
Once New Orleans stabilised, to the point of mild sanity (and sanitation) P&G pulled back the trucks but did drop in other initiatives – such as concert as a fund raiser and handyman around New Orleans – with R&B star and product placement God send, John Legend.
But I think P&G missed a trick here or it shows that marketing teams really don’t have any real business power inside the corporation – nor does Corporate Social Responsibility.
Tide’s, Clean Start, tactical Branded Experience may have put the heart back into people – but in times of catastrophe – natural disasters and war – aka Acts of God – it’s a sweet spot for a brand to step in a GIVE support. Now, most Acts of God, are the moment the military and corporations rub their hands and expect a spurge in profits – real needs equals real profits. This is essentially tactical thinking.
What is up for grabs is to get into the new infrastructure before it’s gets rebuilt under Government controls.
Now, most corporations will go after the bid for Government contracts – the legal framework to make dollar from crisis.
What if the corporation showed that it wasn’t making money from the short term tactical play upon the catastrophe?
BlackWater is a government commissioned mercenary enterprise. They tend to acquire No Bid Contracts, that is, they are GIVEN the contracts to do ‘stealth’ operations. Like the A-Team, without the humour, and people die. Quite a lot of them, actually.
Government contracts for Iraq are the lucrative. Massive risk, but lucrative. And owned by the participating governments, owned in the sense that Taxes are set.
Now, before we panic and thinking, heck no, we don’t want Coke and Mcdonalds being in the infrastructure of a societal rebuild, think what you the consumer are paying in taxes to the government for BlackWaters ‘unregulated’ services.
Consumer infrastructure services tend, on the whole, not to have a mandate, nor licence, to kill people. It is in their interest to make their lives more profitable, so that they can acquire more products and services.
ENRON, went for Infrastructure, just as Google is now. It’s the Accountability of the Transactions that will make the dfference if Brands engage with building cultural infrastructure.
Think about the long term play on this. It’s not about Brands ensuring their product is on display in the right stores, it’s not about the talkability of the Brands Ideals, it’s not about LoveMarks – these are all lowering purchase considerations.
Brands within the infrastructure of the cultural mechanism, are the verbs of life, they are not about trying to facilitate the consumers interests – it’s deeper, more transparent, more beneficial – it’s about the organisation working towards a common goal – and that is – mutuality.
A brand that is part of the daily exchange mechanism of language – not a parody of Just Doin’ It – but actually generating value in an individuals actions, is part of the fabric of reasoning, not a point of difference.
If Brands think that their role is to rise above ‘acceptability’, then they are going the wrong direction. Brands, if they want to be the life of the consumer, must be the reasoning of the consumer.
The way in, as above, is to GIVE operational support to the community; mesh your CSR into the habits of the communities – not fundraisers, not sponsorship nor charity, but become of institutional use. If your organisation is malfunctioning – “Nobody talks to anyone” mentality, then you’ll fail instantly. But maybe, if you start to get your organisations logistics closer to the communities, this could start internal/external conversations. Keep it at a personal level. “Brand talks to Man on the Street” is nonsense. “Man who works for Big Corporation talks to Man on Street” is good.
But think also about how this has to work on the web. Brands that help build the infrastructure of Communications, Manufacturing and Networks remain in the daily existence of the audience without the hoopla of permission marketing. Look how Web2.0 services that do small simple things reside in the daily activities of communication. Look at the first round VC money – it’s within any Global Corporations budget to invest, create and experiment within. You have to think functions, not applications. That’s what Google’s 20% rule is all about.
But before we all start thinking this is Corporate Social Responsibility extremity, focus the attention towards the largest global religion - Finance – because beliefs, although mailable, are the Social Object’s force in cultural frailness. And Frail Nets are Good. It is the Methods within the Financial-Social Object that require crafting.
January 6, 2008
Design for mobility, not for Mobiles.
Design is Everything divided by Something.
Design by blending, not by positioning.
January 4, 2008
If you haven’t watch ’2 girls and a cup’, then don’t.
If you have, you know you wish you hadn’t.
There’s a whole series of video responses to that video and they show something really good. Media lubricates conversation; it produces a shared moment. We love to spectate another persons response to the unpalatable because a truth reveals itself in the moment of realisation. And these are rare moments.
We used have the water cooler moment when TV was great. Now there is Facebook trying to make every moment a water cooler moment. But it doesn’t. The noise to value ratio is far far too low to retain attention. And why didn’t the applications retain interest? Because they lack depth of affordance due to the paltry information that all users supply about themselves. FB came out of closed beta status far too early to ensure longevity.
Media, episodes, any motion graphics need not be series based now that TV has lost a temporal audience. Timeshifting has broken the habit of watching without intent. Media producers have lost the confidence to make a point; instead aesthetics (post production) is the cliff hanger than destroys the reason for a narrative.
Allegory fell out of art when the minimalists explored formalism; audiences, mass audiences, still stare at Carl Andres ‘Equivalent VIII‘ with horror, in so much that they fail to realise that meaning is something that has been so tightly spun as a moral.
Equally, audiences appreciation of mastery, comes of concern to any media producer. From film to software, what has come of the mastery of manufacturing?
I watched American Gangster the other evening – a production of the highest values as one would expect from Ridley Scott, but the story? Based upon the ‘true strory’ of Frank Lucas, we follow 2 narratives obviously needing to collide. The tale of the honest, but domestically troubled detective and the tale of Lucas, his rise in wealth, capture and ultimately grass on every bent copper in the NYC drugs divisions.
Both come out heroes and the moral vanishes into a plume of heroin smoke.
The first weekend’s box office takings were around $46m. Lucas was reported making $1m a day from ‘Blue Magic’ back in 1970. The profits from moral-less activities go undetected when the lure of aesthetics is promised but without the gloss an audience demand meaning.
Why is this so?
I think it’s because we don’t know the ‘form of truth’, because the values of truth are always migrating away from experience. No one can handle the truth because we want the truth to belong to a notion of ‘Other‘, located across the way in a greener field.
Religion has used the notion of truth to gain a following; centering belief structures within folk allegories. Unfortunately, this power has been duplicated in mass communications. Truth and Sex are equivalents when stripped of any aesthetics – and so our psychological drugs need dressing to bring acceptability to our morals.
Like ‘Blue Magic’, we rate purity higher than a hybrid cocktail. Just like in the movie, Lucas bitches about one of his dealers cutting his ‘pure’ brand with impurities, comparing it to Trademark infringement. You can catch part of the scene at the end of Jay-Z’s inspired track..
You may have spotted the Hirst spin painting behind da man. It’s of no surprise – Hirst’s life’s work celebrates this connection between man’s beliefs and ultimate reality. His aestheticisation of aesthetics, making the palatable digestible; when parodied, it becomes a numbing truth.
I still cant find the answer to why the gloss of aesthetics is so needed; why do we as creatures of such diverse communications require stimulants? As creatures of activity, they make even less sense. Perhaps we cant consume, use or value without pedagogical fears. What could be worse than that?
August 5, 2007
Rob and Crosbie have been kicking off about the idea and use of Gift Economy in the comments section here – which has led to the idea of some lovely GPLv3 wrapping paper, which I’d love to hand over under a Creative Commons BY-SA licence – but then I realised it’s probably just easier to make some Creative Commons wrapping paper, which is tempting to licence under GPLv3, well, the source file. But you can get the logos yourself and a copy of Gimp and you’ll be done in 5minutes anyway.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s a video of Richard Stallman explaining the GPLv3
And as I’m at it, here’s a classy sheet of GNU gift wrap.
Remember, free software is for life, not religious ceremonies, like Festivus .
Bloody hell, there really is a company that makes Festivus Poles. Viva free culture!
Seriously – watch this. And again if you’ve no idea what I’m on about watch this video.
Here’s the best of Festivus. Enjoy