Etsuko Ichikawa’s Pyrographs

Etsuko Ichikawa takes molten glass and swirls it around on paper. The end results are beautiful, like the finest of brushstrokes rendered in carbon, and the process itself is entrancing. This is a lovely film by Alistair Banks Griffin.

via Clusterflock

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Paul Mison’s Lorem Ipsum glitch

A white 500 pixel square JPEG with its colour data replaced by “lorem ipsum” in a hex editor“. Paul talks more about his methodology.

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CASH Music – like WordPress for musicians

I put some money into CASH Music, a Kickstarter project, last night. The tagline is “what WordPress did for bloggers, we’re doing for musicians” and that doesn’t just mean free versions of the current crop of tools out there. It means taking the “if no-one owns it everyone owns it” ethos of free software and building something that can’t be sold to Sony at the end of the day.

I do feel sorry for musicians. Music was the fuel of a lot of what we call the Internet Revolution because it was easy to digitise and because people wanted to share it. Music is the lubricant of culture which is why it generates absurd amounts of money for the corporations that control it. Yet musicians, the people who actually make the stuff, have been consistently screwed since the mechanisation of music and probable before. This is an attempt to make the Internet work for them like it was supposed to.

The other thing that excites me about this is it rejects the toxic venture capitalist model which fuelled the social media boom with oddles of free money and will soon be demanding it’s money back. Sure, it’s neat that Tumblr can be all free and stuff but at some point they’re going to have to sell up, probably to exactly the same corporations they were supposed to be an alternative to. And just look at how sustainable selling Flickr to Yahoo turned out to be. Imagine if it had been turned into a non-profit. (I’ve been toying with a campaign to get the founder to abandon their game and buy back Flickr but it’s not really fair since Flick was an accidental byproduct of a game in the first place.)

So yeah, lots of practical good things and lots of ideologically sound things. Well worth $25 for a t-shirt.

via Steve Lawson.

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Tearoom – Ohio police film of cruising in 1962

In 2007, filmmaker William E. Jones came across an hour of surveillance footage of men cruising for gay sex in a public toilet in Mansfield, Ohio in 1962. The footage, taken through a mirror, had led to 30 prosecutions for sodomy, then a crime. Jones now shows the footage, unedited and without sound, at film festivals under the title Tearoom.

It’s both fascinating and sobering to see evidence that within such recent history people could not only be imprisoned for consensual fucking but that they would be caught in such an elaborate way. It also explains a lot about why, despite huge leaps in civil liberties, massive amounts of bigotry and discrimination still exist in our so-called enlightened societies, and serves as a warning that we could so easily slip back there.

There’s a great MetaFilter thread on this with some good debate on the rights and wrongs on cruising. This comment, starting “In 1960 my great uncle Henry got nabbed in a Baltimore restroom in flagrante delicto” is particularly touching. William Jones talks about his motivation for showing it here and you can download the whole 421 MB film from this link.

via Matt Haughey

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The Art of Google Books

This hits so many of my buttons it’s untrue. As you probably know, Google have undertaken a program of digitising libraries full of books. Those which are out of copyright are available to search through online. As with any massive undertaking, and this one is really massive, there will be errors. And some of those errors will be really interesting.

The Art of Google Books is similar in many ways to John Rafman‘s 9-eyes and other experiments in searching Google Street View for that which can be considered “art”. I’d go so far as to say it’s similar to panning for gold – ploughing through endless pages of perfectly scanned books looking for that unique error, that glitch in the sand, the place where the mechanised system produced something wrong or different to the norm and the algorithm let it through.

There are currently 54 pages of Google Book Art to browse through. Here’s a small selection that caught my eye.

Torn page, partially digitized in color.

Links (added by Google) through tape

Distorted Text

Black-and-white printed plate of the Aurora Borealis, photographed in color with rippling neon effect.

via Bruce Sterling, I think

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Raiding the Lost Ark

Raiding the Lost Ark is something of curiosity. These edits of all the “bonus features” that litter a DVD release of a film put into sequential order by a fan to create something new-ish are a relatively recent trend. Star Wars Begins, Building Empire and Returning to Jedi were the first by Jamie Benning and he just released the Raiders one this month.

I say curiosity because they exist in an area of copyright infringement which seems pretty clear. The entire piece is made of footage where the ownership is pretty clear and which has a fairly undisputed value. This is such an entirely illegal piece of work that it’s somewhat incredible that Vimeo are hosting it (the Star Wars ones were removed from YouTube a while back).

But despite this the fans go on and make them, presumably because they know the hodge-podge of rights ownerships and legal nonsense dictates it can’t be made above board. The only option is to do it, don’t make a profit and seek forgiveness should it draw attention. Waxy talked about this in his post No Copyright Intended.

Meanwhile, despite not being a fanatic about the Indy films I did enjoy this. It was nice to see clips from making-of docs I remember being broadcast at the time and the editing is slick and enjoyable. Worth a couple of hours of your time for sure.

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