Archive for February 2008

Jimmy Wales - Wikipedia

US Ankara, Turkey Embassy held a teleconference with Jimmy WalesWikipedia and Wikia founder on Feburary, 19 2008. Students and instructors related to the subject from various universities in Ankara as well as professional people were invited to take part in the event. I and a couple more friends and instructors from my M.A. program were invited as well.

The conference started with Jimmy Wales’ speaking for about 30 minutes, talking about what Wikipedia is, how it works and the logic behind (mentioning what open-source and open-content are), how it is funded and other general information. One interesting thing he said about Wikipedia was that he called it a system where people can access “the sum of all human knowledge” freely. Personally, I have found this quite exaggerated. Then Wales talked about his ad-supported commercial project Wikia.

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Track: Canzone di Laura Betti
Artist: Stefano Battaglia
Album: Re: Pasolini
Label: ECM

Track: Pasolini
Artist: Stefano Battaglia
Album: Re: Pasolini
Label: ECM

I am not really qualified to talk about Battaglia’s music. However, one thing I know is his compositions and musicianship is awesome. Re: Pasolini is his second ECM album released in 2007. This is an album composed (apart from the track “Cosa Sono le Nuvole”) by Stefano Battaglia. He was inspired, as he states and as the title of the album suggests, on the films, poetry of Pasolini, and the characters and actors in his movies. You might also want to hear one piece from Raccolto here and my short mumbling on the same-titled track.

“Canzone di Laura Betti” is the opening track of the double-disc album. Battaglia himself refers to “Canzone” as “a song inspired by the poet’s muse: a sorrowful Marlene, the mad woman who was always right, a real Garbo, a living fossil who wore an eternal changeless mask. She not only acted in movies directed by Rosselini, Bertolucci, Monicelli, Bellocchio, Fellini and of course, many of Pasolini’s own films, but was herself also a film director, poet and singer.” Simple cello parts performed by Aya Shimura, which are accompanied with incredible trumpets played by Michael Gassman and double-bass by Salvatore Maiore… And of course great pianos by Battaglia himself. Other musicians are Mirco Mariottini on clarinets and Roberto Dani on drums.

“Pasolini” is the closing track of the album and it got me struck and stuck. Battaglia himself writes:

This is a synthesis of two different compositions: only subsequently did I realize that they were consequentially linked like two interlocked hands. The first is a simple funeral chant, imbibed with that special sense of nostalgia which is often described as ‘melancholia generosissima’. The second was inspired by the affectionate feelings conjured up by photos of Pasolini playing football. This piece evokes both the tragic voice of an outcast yet simultaneously recalls Pasolini’s contagious vitality. It was the very first chapter on my work dedicated to Pasolini. I had no idea that it would become the first of over thirty.

I am not really a fan of hearing what an artist felt (like) when he or she composed/created something – as what matters is what I feel, and this fact is pretty much exploited by commercial music industry. But Battaglia very well explains what I sensed myself. Affectionate feelings and the tragic voice conjured up in pure emotional minimalism. Simple double-basses that merge with cellos, and the merciless piano… After the crescendo-like calm-rise of cello, the beautiful ending with the beautiful piano is just so sudden, so unfair.

As Salinger’s Holden says “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author who wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” Just replace book and author with music and composer/performer – and that’s what I think of Stefano Battaglia.


Just came back from the concert in Ankara, Turkey. Garbarek’s music is too melodic for my taste but it was still a splendid concert. Manu Katché was marvellous! I don’t know who the substitute bassist for Eberhard Weber was, but he was pretty good as well (actually, it’s just me being too irritated on the solo sound of fretless bass). Anyway, the band were Jan Garbarek, Manu Katché, <bass guy> and Rainer Brüninghaus.

Here are some fresh photos taken in low light with a bad-ass camera from quite far.

Jan Garbarek Group - 1 Jan Garbarek Group - 2

Jan Garbarek Group - 3 Jan Garbarek Group - 4

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I have been making fun of this phenomenon for a while among friends. People, who advertise on various forums for making “Web 2.0 logos” cheered me up even more. For sure there is a new trend in design on the web but it is funny to see how people talk about Web 2.0 reduced to a matter of mere design. I am no designer nor I understand the meaning of colors or typography in designing pieces. However, this Web 2.0 color pallette have been taking my attention for a while. The Flickr Pink, Netvibes Green, Last.fm Red, Twitter Cyan, Digg Blue and many more… Comparing to these, WordPress administration panel did not really have this Web 2.0 effect. After seeing the latest not-yet-released WordPress 2.5 administration panel colors, I did a quick Google search to see if I can find anything written on this in general. Web is huge, and I wasn’t really surprised to find tons of several sites talking about these.

The following is from the beta WordPress 2.5 administration panel. Click the image to see in higher quality version.

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When I turn my personal computer (a desk-top IBM-compatible) on, it makes a little sound. This little sound I sometimes playfully interpret as a cheerful ‘Good morning’ greeting, for the action of bringing my computer to life usually happens first thing in the morning, when I sit down at my desk, a cup of tea at my side, to begin the day’s work. In conjunction with my cup of tea, the sound helps to prepare me emotionally and physically for the working day ahead, a day that will involve much tapping on the computer keyboard and staring into the pale blue face of the display monitor, when not reading or looking out the window in the search for inspiration. I am face-to-face with my computer for far longer than I look into any human face. I don’t have a name for my personal computer, nor do I ascribe it a gender (although I know some people do; see, for example, Stone, 1992:81). However, I do have an emotional relationship with the computer, which usually makes itself overtly known when something goes wrong. Like most other computer users, I have experienced impatience, anger, panic, anxiety and frustration when my computer does not do what I want it to, or breaks down. I have experienced files that have been lost, printers failing to work, the display monitor losing its colour, disks that can’t be read, a computer virus, a breakdown in the system that stopped me using the computer or email. I live in fear that a power surge will short-circuit my computer, wiping the hard disk, or that the computer will be stolen, and I assiduously make back-up copies of my files. For some years now (since I first learnt how to use word-processing package in 1986), I have relied on computers to write. I have written whole articles and books without printing out a hard copy until the penultimate draft. I cannot imagine how it must have been in the ‘dark ages’ when people had to write PhDs and books without using a computer. I can type much faster than I write with a pen. A pen now feels strange, awkward and slow in my hand, compared to using a keyboard. When I type, the words appear on the screen almost as fast as I formulate them in my head. There is for me, a seamless transition of thought to word on the screen.

from; Lupton, Deborah.  “The Embodied Computer/User.”  Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment.  Eds. Mike Featherstone and Roger Burrows.  London: Sage, 1995.  97-112.


Track: On the Wing Again
Artist: John Surman
Album: Such Winters of Memory
Label: ECM

Just to mark this day. Good night.


I didn’t really have much rest during the semester break. Had to think on formulating a dissertation problem/title, had some work at the university, and other personal stuff that sucked the life out of me for a while (you know, when people make you say ‘enough of this crap!’). It also has to do with one week less break compared to my previous university. But at least this is fun, anyway.

I have been thinking on what courses to choose from those which are offered this semester. I also have been thinking on how to do my choices: courses that will aid my dissertation and my future academic carreer, or things that I enjoy to do. This doesn’t mean I took courses that will be a burden, but I wish I could take six courses and actually cope with them all. But this is sort of out of question for now.
Anyway, I am taking these courses this semester:

  • Body Movement and Vision in Immersive and Interactive Media II
  • Image Time and Motion II
  • Mass Media and Visual Technologies
  • Issues and Problems in Contemporary Art II

I don’t have syllabi for these courses yet. But roughly (and as far as I know), the first course is on computer aided art forms from a critical and theoretical point of view focusing on collaboration/collaborative digital arts mainly. Image Time and Motion II will be a continuation on the previous course I have taken on fall semester. It will be an extended course covering certain concepts (such as telepresence), .net art and digital media and art forms in general in the discussions of new media.

Mass Media and Visual Technologies will focus on the transformation of vision through time, especially with mass media and certain technologies that have appeared recently – with a point of view of media theories and philosophy in general. And lastly, Issues and Problems in Contemporary Art II will hopefully be a course that will deal with contemporary philosophy and theory focusing mainly on Deleuze and Guattari.

Looks cool, isn’t it? I am pretty happy with my courses this semester and already have ideas for some projects.


Overflow

And they say machines cannot really have emotions. Bullshit!

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MacBook Air Disassembled

Folks at iFixit has recently posted photos of a disassembled MacBook Air.  You can check out more photos at iFixit.  Looks cool, isn’t it?

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Track: Raccolto
Artist: Stefano Battaglia
Album: Raccolto
Label: ECM

Stefano Battaglia is an Italian pianist and composer. And this is the album that introduced him to me – what great coincidence. I fell in love with his music. Actually I wanted to post a track from his Re: Pasolini album but I am still waiting for a replacement for that.

Anyway, Raccolto is the first track from the same titled album. It doesn’t really describe the album as a whole, as the album is mainly improvised and atonal, and Raccolto should not really hurt inexperienced ears. But… What great piano this is! Soft and moving, together with the double bass that slowly develops behind.

This is a kind of music that appeals to the body as a whole, and it is beyond my vocabulary to explain this (Alper, Dr. Lacan wants to see you).

Jouissance…


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