links for 2006-11-30

November 30, 2006

links for 2006-11-28

November 28, 2006

Taxing Sparks

November 27, 2006

“The value of the image depends upon the beauty of the spark obtained; it is, consequently, a function of the difference of potential between the two conductors.”

Adam’s been promoting creativity and surealism again, this time at an Internet People event. Roving digitali Jemima Kiss has the write up here. Adam (aka the ArkAngel) has left some further insights into his vision of the creative process in the comments section.


Adam continues: “The strength of an image or an idea is largely dependent on the potential between two disparate things that you bring together. The further apart they are, if you can make that creative spark leap between them, the stronger the thing you come up with.”

Which nobody can disagree with; it’s how the juxtaposition occurs that matters. The evening seemed to ask where the creativity resides in the UK, especially initiatives such as start ups, webby ones specifically AND if the US is ‘more fruitful’ than Europe. Sigh..

It seems that the desire to make money talk and the BS walk is still the moniker of media commerce. At a time where transactional business models that are based upon peer trust dominates the concept, design and manufacturing of software, there are still the confused to believe there is the need to pursue large cash rewards for being able to do what you want to do.

I wish I could remember where I heard “Profit follows meaning” as it’s the best advice for business pitches I’ve ever heard.


What’s missing from both the observations is the taxation. Copyright, taste ‘n’ decency, geographical restrictions/licences to transmit are relatively new concepts that neither the Surrealists not the forefathers of software commerce had to worry about when executing their projects; Bill Gates used the code that was available – Luis Buñuel shot the scenes he wanted to. Since their free run of ‘invention’ (and patients), the ability to free spark has become elusive; there are just too many legalities that prevent juxtapositions. Or is that too many are trying to clone the recipes of yesterdays successes. Online video services do seem to be suffering from this – and the consumer is less than enthused.

And there lies the debate: what does make sense at the intersection of communications, manufacturing and networks?

As you begin to try and answer this, the creative questions will give birth to commercial solutions.


Back to Adam’s interest with surrealism: Buñuel’s cinema works Un Chien Andalou and L’Âge d’or (Yeah, both link to YouTube – beat them for a find!) both build meaning based upon beliefs that he held – not anyone else – just Buñuel (OK – Dalí had some input..) Regardless, it’s this type of determinism that brings the everyday into a new light and a light that the audience will bath in.

And they will because there is space in the works for them to occupy and make their own meaning. Once the audience gain their own understanding, they would have already entered into an exchange – it’s the strength of the work that retains the ability of the exchange. Both Gates and Buñuel knew this. The ability to execute their work is a tribute to the vision.

Today with the need to include the participation of the audience to ‘complete the work’, execution is a factor that needs to be designed in to the concept. The audience needs to be in position at the intersection of communications, manufacturing and networks. Something that perhaps we used to refer to as the Sweet Spot. Today, the audience have to be the spark, and we have to make that space for them to spark. Legal taxes such as ‘rights’ that prevent us making interesting work for the audience to occupy has to be questioned; equally, we have to ‘tax’ the brains enough for the spark to happen..

Here’s the brilliant Jaffre explaining it in an interesting way..

links for 2006-11-27

November 27, 2006

Customer feedback is the lifeline for business, but how often is it converted into something that the consumer actually wants. The rise of the Prosumer (the consumer that participates in the creation of consumer services such as Web2.0 concepts) has begun to make the world a more harmonious space, but I’ve not seen anything as wonderful as these two videos. The first is the Helsinki Complaints Choir, the second is their Birmingham counterparts.

The Complaints Choir project was set up by artists Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, who collaborate under the name: ykon. In their own words,

The complaints collected to the song can vary from small daily irritations into global issues. Anything that truly annoys people is useful material for the Complaints Choir. In Birmingham people complained for example about unfriendly bus drivers, dead bananas and slow computers. In Helsinki the most favourite topics were ring tones of mobile phones, people who smell in public transport and the fact that Finland always looses to Sweden in competitions. While Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg- Complaints Song was slightly more political from its content, St. Petersburger’s emphasized deep basic human issues like: “I complain about existential horror”.

“People come together at times of crisis”, was a great observation by a chap called Dan Jordan from my art college days. (No idea where he is today and even Google can’t find him..) Wars, disasters and holiday seasons, this is true. Yes, even the national holiday seasons are the great aggregator of the dear and loved: a time to share stories and show your support.

Yet Christmas carolling seems to be the urk of season. Admittedly you dont get to see them in London, but we do get the relentless Christmas jingles in stores. Even my favourite just-popped-out-of-office-franchise-workspace, Neros, was flooding quality coffee quaffing time with compressed sleigh-bells and usa-yuletime melodies – and visibly resulting in the dispersal of the punters. (Tomo – is it the same in Victoria??)

theholiday.jpgIf the Hollywood holiday barometer is to be believed, perhaps this xmas season should be full of slapstick – after all – the element of surprise is woefully missing from the season’s cliche of organised harmony.

Ok – it’s a religious holiday, and the coca-cola-isation of the season is someway to open up the festival to a wider audience; you don’t have to celebrate. But it’s a little hard to avoid the urban spam which has nothing to do with the birth of J.C. The perils of organised religion is far more consequential than the over-bearing encouragement for merriness that we see this time of year, but both close the opportunities for society to express their feelings and to open up to other forms of creativity: building upon the values that initiated these ‘celebrations’.

Building upon Dicken’s classic, here’s some words of wisdom from Blackadder’s Christmas Carol with Robbie Coltrane as the Spirit of Christmas:-

Ebenezer Blackadder: [after the Spirit shows him a vision of his future] So, let’s get this straight: If I was bad, my descendants would rule the entire universe!
Spirit of Christmas: Maybe… Maybe… But would you be happy? Being ruler of the universe is not all it’s cracked up to be – there’s the long hours… I mean, you wave at people the whole time. You’re no longer your own boss.
Ebenezer Blackadder: But, so, what if I stayed good? What then does the future hold?
Spirit of Christmas: Ah, well, I really must put my foot down here. I’ve got four hauntings and a ‘scare-the-bugger-to-death’ to do before morning.

And here’s the ho-ho-whole episode on Youtube.

Have a Merry Messy Kwelfnuve Kwesnuz!

links for 2006-11-26

November 26, 2006

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November 24, 2006

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November 23, 2006

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November 22, 2006

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November 21, 2006

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November 20, 2006

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November 18, 2006

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November 16, 2006

links for 2006-11-15

November 15, 2006


November 14, 2006

pr_psapp_photo.jpgPsapp are a lovely couple of friends of mine who make lovely pop songs from sampling found sounds, cheap electric toys and cats. It’s even more amazing how they’ve taken the songs to a live stage by reconstructing the micro sampling with real instruments within a 5 piece band.

I used to work with Galia in a web agency called Forma during my Shoreditch years – she introduced me to Carim, from whom I learnt the dark art of wiring a studio, using an inline mixing console, compression and all the other must know studio techniques, well some of them.

When you see a couple of people really work at making beautiful things and then receive the recognition, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s even a nice surprise when you stumble across their work in small record stores, as I did when wandering West Broadway NYC. They signed to Domino last year, just after their label mates the Artic Monkeys. You might recognised their music, but not the name. Grey’s Anatomy, Nip Tuck and the OC have used their tracks, alongside adverts from Absolut and Volkswagon.

They also have a host of clever little videos. Here’s a YouTube playlist. Here’s one of the first tracks they released; I used to hang in the studio whilst this track was being put together.

The nice thing is that fans have started making their own little videos to the soundtracks. Here’s a brilliant one.

From sampling everyday sounds to fan videos, thus is adorable free culture. have a little selection of their tracks too. And a interview at the ICA if you want to know a little more about them. And then go and buy some at the excellent BoomKat site! They also have a website, a wikipedia page and of course the myspace site too.

Go on – endulge yourself in free cuteness..

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