Archive for June, 2008

An Deux

June 16, 2008

Been at this thing, surprisingly, for two years. Will eventually continue with verve, panache and enthusiasm, but right now I have better things to do. Besides, this venue is for depth, despair, deconstruction and the documentation of decay. None of these is currently relevant. When they are, I’ll come back to it. For now, I’m on vacation.

Let the endless summer begin…

Giant Anime Head

June 11, 2008

A piece from this interesting and worthwhile show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Interesting French Dudes

June 5, 2008

From the Financial Times (who knew?), a precis of the contemporary French intellectual scene. Some intriguing perspectives. Perhaps best is the final quip by Edgar Morin: “The more the world relies on specialists, the more indispensable is the role of intellectuals.”

Love that kind of self-justification. Formidable.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

Synchronized Hubris

June 4, 2008

There’s been a lot of virtual ink spilled on “the singularity” recently. The cosmic harmonic of the information age. Shangri-La in silicon. A computer scientist’s answer to the Book of Revelations. Not a point of infinite density (as understood in astrophysics), but a technological shift worthy of the term paradigm — AI; hyperlinked machine networks approaching consciousness; smooth, seamless human-computer interfacing; robot bodies; everything your techno-fetishistic heart desires…

Ultimately revealing that the main source of this current hoopla is an article, “Signs of the Singularity“, by Dr. Vernor Vinge, who coined the term to describe this phenomena of technological apotheosis a few years ago. It is part of a special issue of Spectrum, official organ of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (the “world’s largest technical professional association”), entirely devoted to this notion. There’s even a piece about the “who’s who” of the singularity set, demonstrating a disturbingly cultish enthusiasm for chummy progress at any cost. From the sociology of science perspective (a la Bruno Latour), it all looks very…ambitious. Forget the world as laboratory, we live in the world as network. Actors need not apply…

An illustration of this phenomena? The scattershot rejoinders to Vinge’s initial volley. Slashdot. io9. Bruce Sterling at Wired. Even the New York Times has something on Ray Kurzweil, famed futurist and singularity supporter (who I’ve mentioned before).

If anything is synchronized and ready to reach a new plateau of coordinated consciousness it’s the ability to turn bits of feeble futurism into meaty media fare. I dunno, there seems a deep and unblinking blindness to the human side of the equation in all these high-wire acts. And that’s the variable which always ends up being the ultimate tipping point.

To me, the idea of the singularity seems singularly unrealistic. Of course, only time will tell…

(T)ripping From a Dead Dog’s Eye

June 2, 2008

The “demon weed” — a “serviceable villain”? Always seems so. Not in this California county, though. Till now…

On that random note, a little housekeeping:

I was tagged by Shefaly to do a meme about brands. I don’t see brands. I do, however, vaguely ask myself “all the lonely people, where do they all come from?”

And since we’re talking about music (we are?) then I’ll also confess to the fact that I can’t get Madonna’s ditty “I Love New York” out of my head. I blame Vila.

There, I even found an answer to the meme: Madonna is the brand I currently consume the most. Well, if we don’t count all the other stuff

That is all.


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