November 10th, 2014 | Category: Headline, Reviews
The Indexical Trace: Records and Retrieval

The selection of particular information to be saved or archived is an act that predisposes that information for attention in the future (Weick & Roberts, 1993). What we record receives future attention just by dint of being recorded. Jacques Derrida (1995) called our obsession with recording “archive fever,” writing, “The archivization produces as much as it records the event” (p. 16-17; my emphasis). We think of archives as collections of pieces of the past, but we use them to save those things for future use. The past matters here not …

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November 07th, 2014 | Category: Interviews, Videos
Clay Tarver: Gone Glimmering

I first came across Clay Tarver in the very early 1990s. His guitar playing drove two of my favorite bands back then: Bullet LaVolta and Chavez. The former was, like a lot of the bands of the time, a hybrid of punk, metal, and some third strain of rock that was brewing but had yet to boil. I noticed producer Dave Jerden’s name on the back of several CD jackets in and near my player: Mother’s Milk, Nothing’s Shocking, Facelift, Symbol of Salvation, and Swandive. Swandive (RCA), Bullet LaVolta’s last …

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November 05th, 2014 | Category: Interviews
Gareth Branwyn: Borg Like Me

Over the past 30-odd years, writer Gareth Branwyn has been amassing an impressive body of work on the fringes of cyberculture. He wrote for bOING bOING when it was still a print zine, did his own zine called Going Gaga before that, was an editor at Mondo 2000, WIRED, MAKE, does book reviews for WINK, has edited over a dozen books, and is a regular contributor to my own Summer Reading Lists. He’s stayed as jacked-in to our current technoculture as one can be, for as long as there’s been …

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November 03rd, 2014 | Category: Reviews, Videos
Keeping Records with Christian Marclay

John Cage once said, “…music instructs us, that the uses of things, if they are meaningful, are creative; therefore the only lively thing that will happen with a record, is, if somehow you could use it to make something which it isn’t.” (quoted in Block & Glasmeier, 1989, p. 73). As much as any legitimate Hip-hop turntablist, Christian Marclay has made a career of repurposing vinyl records. Exhibits that include rearranging record cover art into new pieces, lining a gallery floor with records for patrons to walk upon (and then …

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November 01st, 2014 | Category: Reviews
Interfaces of the Word

Designer James Macanufo once said that if paper didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it. Paper, inscribed with writing and then with printing, enabled recorded history (Ong, 1977). Media theorist Friedrich Kittler (1990) wrote that print held a “monopoly on the storage of serial data” (p.245). Even as writing represents a locking down of knowledge, one of “sequestration, interposition, diaeresis or division, alienation, and closed fields or systems” (Ong, 1977, p. 305), Walter Ong points out that it also represents liberation, a system of access where none existed before. After …

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October 18th, 2014 | Category: Essays
Bedlam and Then Some: This is not the Future

One of the many methods used in futures studies is what is called environmental scanning. “All futurists do environmental scanning,” write Theodore J. Gordon and Jerome C. Glenn, “some are more organized and systematic, all try to distinguish among what is constant, what changes, and what constantly changes” (p. 3). The process, which includes several distant early warning techniques (e.g., expert panels, literature reviews, internet searches, conference monitoring, etc.), helps inform the pursuits of issues management and strategic planning. According to William Renfro, President of the Issues Management Association, issues …

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October 12th, 2014 | Category: Essays, Reviews
Contested Boundaries and Saturated Selves

In her book The Social Machine (MIT Press, 2014), Judith Donath outlines designs for living online. Echoing George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980), she writes, “We are embodied beings, who have evolved in the physical world; our thoughts and imagination are rooted in the sensory experience of our physical surroundings. Online, there is no body; there is only information. We comprehend abstract ideas by reframing them in metaphoric terms that ultimately derive from physical experience” (p. 9). One needn’t look any further that a computer’s desktop to see this in …

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