26 May 02004

RSA 250th anniversary event

The RSA has been going for 250 years. I joined it because it seemed to be one of those Establishment institutions that had license to promote dangerous and subversive ideas without being pilloried by conservative forces.

The RSA has now revisited its 01754 mission mission to focus on social and economic challenges such as sustainability and global citizenship. The announcement of their international conference in October provide links to these challenges and the distinctly mixed bag of 21st century visionaries they're assembling for it. I will go... probably.

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24 May 02004

More art radio

New Media Scotland supports a series of sonic art webcasts under the DRIFT name. This week (23-29 May) they're running a series of themed radio programmes under the title Resonant Cities, curated by Robert H. King.

There's quite a long-winded login process to negotiate before you can listen to the programmes or even read the full programme notes, but it's worth it.

For an alternative take on sound on cities, see my notes on interactive sound environments from last year's Cybersonica symposium.

17 May 02004

Authorial archiving

One more perspective on my current pre-occupation with cultural collections and how we learn from them… Robert Fripp's diary entries for 7th and 14th May 02004 chart his current work on what appears to be a multi-volume archive: The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson; Crimson being Fripp's on-again/off-again band for the last 35 years.

Amidst his notes on the scope of the project and associated web site, I like Fripp's characteristically sanguine yet fatalistic assessment: "Commitment: Likely to be 1-2 days a week on an ongoing basis. Riches, Fame, Wealth: Unlikely for anyone." (See my earlier posting about Fripp's lessons of running artist-focused businesses.) This is different kind of undertaking from Tom Phillips' collection of postcards, but it's kind of fun to compare them.

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16 May 02004

Learning from Tom Phillips: We are the people

Sample postcard from We Are The People exhibition - click to enlargeFrom abstract theorising about cultural collections to concrete practice. Tom Phillips currently has 1,000 (out of his collection of 50,000) postcards on display at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of an exhibition called We Are The People.

Alongside the exhibition, Phillips guides how people can interpret and learn from the collection. There is a book with essays by himself and others, as well as shorter articles and an audio interview on his web site. The web resources also help put the exhibition in the context of Phillips' long-term artistic engagement with postcards.

This is not just a case of an artist switching hats to become a part-time archivist and interpreter. The collection and exhibition are also about collecting and interpreting, for much of Phillips' work is concerned with layers of meaning and the chance connections that occur when you pile one layer on top of another, endlessly. Playful means lead him to serious ends and vice-versa.

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15 May 02004

More on unprogrammed learning

My last posting on unprogrammed learning was half-baked and unfinished. So will this one be, since I think it's the kind of problem you have to nag away at repeatedly. If and when a solution becomes clear, it will no doubt appear ungratifyingly obvious and simple with the benefit of hindsight...

To recap, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has set out some proposed outcomes and impact of learning. Some of these seem potentially radical in intent, but I'm not sure if the proposed Generic Learning Outcomes fully encapsulate the deep-seated issues.

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14 May 02004

Are you red/green colour-blind?

Shocking confession: the DJ Alchemi web site has had a red/green colour scheme for over six years and I've never looked into (or even considered) how it looks to colour-blind people. Jakob Nielsen's latest guidelines for visualising links identify potential risks for using red and green for link colours. This article on colour-blindness and web page design suggests that some people may not be able to distinguish the red colour of unvisited links on this site. Here's a test for colour-blindness.

So if you know you are red/green colour-blind, can I ask a favour: please could you post a public comment or send me a private message to let me know whether you can distinguish (a) the links on the right hand navigation of the home page (especially those in 'This Month'), (b) the difference between visited and unvisited links in the postings, and (c) any change when you put your mouse over the navigation tabs above, plus any other problems you have with the site? Many thanks!

10 May 02004

Lord Puttnam lecture on digital technology and film

Following on from their very useful digital film event last November, Cass Business School is hosting a lecture by David Puttnam on The Impact of Digital Technology on the Film Industry: Opportunity or Threat? on 2 June.

Here's the link for more details and registration. It's free (including the drinks) and less than 200m from my front door, so I'll be there for sure...

9 May 02004

New(ish) art radio station

Building on my contention that the Internet is bringing us a golden age of listening experiences (or 'radio with knobs on,' if you will), the New York PS1 gallery launched an online radio station last month, WPS1, which has access to some of the Museum of Modern Art's audio archive.

One reason this is radio with knobs on is that currently you can listen to previously broadcast programmes on demand. This allows you to 'time shift' your listening to suit you (just as a programmable video cassette recorder does for TV, but without the programming and the unwieldy cassette). It's not clear whether this feature will continue to be available for the long term with WPS1, but I hope it will be, and I hope Resonance FM — the UK's own arts radio station, celebrating its second birthday next week — will soon be equipped to add this feature.

6 May 02004

Alain Resnais film season

As a prelude to a season of Alain Resnais films that will get under way in earnest next week, Michel Ciment (editor of the French film journal Positif) gave an introduction to Resnais' fifty year career, followed by a screening of Providence.

Ciment's overview of Resnais' work and practice was erudite in nailing his unique gifts, while correcting what he sees as common misconceptions.

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3 May 02004


Spinsters rock with LucyHere are a couple of pictures taken yesterday on Dartmoor, with the quality compromised even more than usual owing to the difficulty of seeing anything on the 'viewfinder' on my phone in the sunlight.

Sheep and lamb on Dartmoor above MerrivaleClick on the images to be taken to much better photographs and details of the sites courtesy of the Modern Antiquarian site.