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.

Do check out the ORG wiki, especially the other case studies presented alongside the WRTJ – namely Tom Reynolds: Blood, Sweat and Tea and John Buckman: Magnatune.

Photo credits to Marc Hankins, who released the session photos under CC-BY-SA.

The Failure of Space

January 13, 2008

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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.

1944_n.jpg

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.

I’ve never had a great experience that I could measure.

Great experiences are without comparison. Great experiences don’t represent anything. They are Stateless.

Stateless means that you can connect everything to the experience, but it doesn’t mean it’s a Social Object. I think Social Objects, as a Class, are filled with Social Methods. Social Methods are people’s activities, like a Tweet.

Social Objects, therefore, are constructed from Algorithmic patterns; measurable though the use of Pattern Languages. Social Objects have a temporal value and therefore be disposable. I think that’s one of their key values.

The difference between Stateless Objects and Social Objects is that Stateless Objects can and will be reused, they have no shelf life as they have no inclining nor declining values scales.

Stateless is Useful, because it’s persistent without being obtrusive. It records no information, it exists as a connector to other objects. Being Stateless is being Universal. Being Social is being Cultural.

Invest in the non-valued instead of the temporal-valued system objects and you’ll feel the measurement like you feel your arm: A connected presence is not a readable object. A disconnected experience causes concern because the absence requires a substitute.

Virtualness, or simulations, bridge the perceived loss of expectations. Networks, by nature of their construct, compensate when damaged; this can result in malformed calculations, rectifiable through optimisation, which requires a ‘reading’ to identify conjuncture. Once loss has been mentality established, we use mesaurement to return to a sensation that distracts from absence.

If you need to calculate, as first why something is missing, because the realisation has not yet been understood through experience. Absence can too be the goal, if there is experience that does not make completion; again calculation defines the distance between insight and acquisition – the value can sometimes equate presence instead of loss. It’s matter of sensation instead of comprehension.

Experience is a relationship with faith and ultimately trust. Disillusion only comes when ‘value approximation’ is realised; you can calculate loss through compensation but you cant value a relationship based upon trust.

You can only experience ‘it’; the reverse is only perception, legible or not. ‘It’ remains Stateless.

Yes, we have no bananas.

September 4, 2007

No message. It just makes you smile as if you were eating a bar of sugar chocolate.

For some (accessibility?) reason, they published the transcript. So I added a line. It makes it feel more like Phil had some involvement in the ethos of the project.

We open on purple recording studio wall.
A title appears: A Glass and a Half Full Production.
We start listening to the first sounds of ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins.

The camera slowly pans down as we hear the keyboard’s atmospheric intro. When we start listening to the first lyrics we spot a hairy thing in the edge of the frame. As the camera keeps panning, the mysterious figure gets revealed.

We realize that in front of us is a gorilla.It looks calmly to camera. Phil continues singing: ‘I can feel it coming in the air tonight.’

The massive Gorilla stares at us – concentrated.
We are almost sure that he knows we are filming him, but his eyes look through and beyond the lens. ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment for all of my life.’

The gorilla focuses back on the camera. All we see is neck and head . And hair. A fax machine delivers the message “Yes, we have no bananas.”

The camera gently zooms out revealing the Gorilla’s surroundings. We see more of the studio.
And we discover a series of metallic things around him.

We realize that the Gorilla is sitting in front of a massive drum kit. One of those Eighties big kits with loads of things to hit. Loads of tom-toms, hi-hats, double bass drum, etc.

We know that the best drum solo in the whole history of rock – ever – is coming. The Gorilla knows it too.

The Gorilla hits the drums with passion and vigour. Elegance meets power. He’s phenomenal on the drums – feeling every beat.
The camera leaves the ape and his drum kit in the studio.
The screen fades to purple. We see a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar of chocolate appear above the words ‘A Glass and a half full of Joy’

Did you spot it? Did you get the facts?

If Cadburys say: ‘Well it just seemed like the right thing to do. There’s no clever science behind it – it’s just an effort to make you smile, in exactly the same way Cadbury Dairy Milk does.’ then I couldn’t possibly recall my own facts about Phil the Drummer, could I? Nor could I remember Tarzan or any other jungle inhabitants. But they seems to be promising more of the same ‘association’ promos.

I’m evidently thinking about this too much, but I like the desire to make media that fills curiosity time. And curious time is about connecting facts together.

UPDATE (07-Oct-07): I’ve just seen the 5sec version in the Channel4 adbreak of Alien (Movie). 5sec! Ok, this is clear media spend.

Like W+K’s ‘Happiness factory’ work for Coca Cola. (Full respect to team Psyop too. Check out their anthem.)

But there’s something better. This..

But then, as I write this, I spot this…

Oh dear.

The opportunity in advertising, perhaps it’s saviour, is semantic binding. Loose associations that couple with other miscellaneous facts. I’ve been calling this ‘Stateless Marketing’, based upon RESTful services.

Much of my thinking on this, which I might get around to writing about here, is based upon ‘media as a platform’, the relationship between emotions and (social/software) functions and being able to model them for reuse. When you do this, the value is in the act of connectivity, not it’s duration, recall (memory state), proposition, knowledge transfer. If anything, a ROI model becomes the ‘frequency of the connectivity’. Wikipedia does over approximately 1m page serves a minute. Put that in your CPM pipe and smoke it.

When I see (superb) adverts such as Gorilla and Happiness Factory, I see the dynamics of ‘meaning’ dissolve in favour of connectivity that serves a moment of pleasure. Sequencing these, or rather, enabling the viewer-person-user-actor-punter to sequence them together would be ultimately orgasmic.

Media, participatory or not, has to be designed to fit into the overall seduction of the public. It’s a big audience, and you cant please all the people all of the time, but happiness is infectious and envy is a meal best served as humour.

I think there is a lot to be said for inappropiate behaviour. Yeah, the blog post is coming…

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