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Fabled Mondo 2000 editor R.U. Sirius returns with Acceler8or
06.14.2011
02:16 pm

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Pop Culture
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R.U. Sirius, also known as Ken Goffman, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Mondo 2000 magazine, has a new blog called Acceler8or. The blog will curate links from around the Internet relating to technological acceleration and transhumanist/Singularitarian culture.

The round of content included an interview with Genesis Breyer P. Orridge, and an interesting essay about the new Adam Curtis documentary All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.

In other R.U. Sirius news, Vice Magazine interviewed him over I.M. recently about the history of Mondo 2000 and he gives DM a nice compliment:

Where are all the cyberpunks that read Mondo 2000 back in the day? Was someone like Mark Zuckerberg a reader?
Mark was too young. Maybe Sean Parker. I hear from people in the computer industry all the time that they were inspired by Mondo 2000. Also, people working in biotechnology, nanotechnology… I think the Mondoids are all over the map, most of them still have many of the same enthusiasms, tempered with experience and a healthy skepticism.

You’ve used the term “gonzo anthropology,” the means of studying the more esoteric and under-researched aspects of human culture—what does that mean, exactly?
Alison Kennedy aka Queen Mu, the Mondo 2000 publisher, practices gonzo anthropology. She was the one who uncovered toad venom containing 5-meo DMT in the West. She also explores very odd and arcane anthropological theories about the uses of plants and animals as aphrodisiacs, the use of Calumas as a sort of natural MDMA-like substance. Her magnum opus appeared in Mondo 2000. It was an article about how Jim Morrison used tarantula venom and got penis cancer, based on an entire gonzo anthropological exploration of implications of tarantula venom use (as an inspirational but self-destructive intoxicant) throughout human experience. The Doors producer, whose name I can’t remember, took it very seriously and got very upset about it. Ray Manzarek, I think, was not happy either. It was a wildly brilliant and hilarious and beautifully written piece.

Do you feel that in some ways you guys were too left field for some people?
I think we were too anarchic, playful, and incomprehensible for a mainstream magazine about the uprising of the digital technoculture. One of the first things that I noticed about Wired was that they had letters to the editor from people expressing ordinary Republican or Democratic political views, whereas we would get letters about the green aliens on acid who wrote the letter writer’s new software program and how many different drugs Hitler used. I mean, off the wall stuff. But I think Republicans are on a wall that I can’t relate to. So yeah, there was a limited relationship between us and a mainstream audience. The mainstream media people liked us because we seemed colorful and novel. And as a result of the attention, the people who would read the magazine found out about it. Wired does some great stuff online now, though. It’s an OK institution. I have to say though, they send me the magazine and it usually winds up in recycling, unread.

What do you see as your legacy? Who is continuing what you guys started?
Well, Boing Boing have been their own thing from the start. They were the small magazine when we were the big one, but they’re a relative. Maybe Dangerous Minds, Richard Metzger’s new site, in spirit. But I think Mondo was unique. It was an art project really using journalism and technoculture as a context. It was just a few unusual individuals following instincts. The mistakes were obvious but the energy of it was so much fun that as Richard Kadrey once said, “You have to have a mighty big stick up your ass not to love it.”

Mondo 2000 and gonzo anthropology (Viceland Today)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Music transcends hate: video master Kutiman does it again with ‘Thru Jerusalem’
06.14.2011
09:52 am

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Current Events
Music
Politics
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Israeli musician, composer, producer and videographer Ophir Kutiel does his art as Kutiman. You may recognize his name from Thru-You, the hypnotically rhythmic collage of non-pro musician YouTube videos from across the globe that he made in 2009, and which scored 10 million views, sent him to the Guggenheim, and made it into Time magazine and landed him at the Guggenheim.

Welp, he’s got a new one, and it’s a burner. With sectarian and ethnic tensions in his Jerusalem birthplace at what seems a permanent high, Kutiman has given the city a similar and very necessary visiosonic treatment with the help of 15 of its Arab and Jewish musicians. Check it.
 

 
After the jump: Kutiman’s mega-video-mashup from late last year Sue You...

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
This Guy Has My MacBook
05.31.2011
07:04 pm

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This reminds of the story in Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, when a woman called Ivana left her cell phone in a taxi. Thinking it lost for good, Ivana was surprised when a friend, Evan discovered the girl who had found the phone was using it as her own. They contacted the girl and asked her to return it. But the girl told them to go to hell. So Evan started a webpage called StolenSideKick, and blogged about the phone and the girls actions. As Shirky pointed out in his book:

“Everyone who has ever lost something feels a diffuse sense of anger at whoever found and kept it.”

And this “diffuse sense of anger” makes people behave in different ways.

When Joshua Kaufman had his MacBook stolen, he responded by taking direct action to get it back. He set up a tumblr page This Guy Has My MacBook and started posting photos from a hidden device contained in his Mac. It takes pictures of the person who allegedly has it:

On March 21, 2011, my MacBook was stolen from my apartment in Oakland, CA. I reported the crime to the police and even told them where it was, but they can’t help me due to lack of resources. I’m currently in the process of contacting the mayor’s office. Meanwhile, I’m using the awesome app, Hidden, to capture these photos of this guy who has my MacBook.

Check Joshua’s site, This Guy Has My MacBook, here.
 
image
 
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With thanks to Shahriar ‘Carlin’ Islam
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Eerie robot doll sings: ‘I Feel Fantastic’
05.31.2011
05:05 pm

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This is quite weird and wonderful, chilling even - a surreal Stepford Wife sings “I Feel Fantastic”.

In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a highly accomplished Cypriot sculptor. Though skilled at imitating the human form, and well acquainted with it’s subtleties, he became disgusted by it when he witnessed the Propoetides prostituting themselves. These women were punished by Venus for their lack of worship with a coarseness of skin and a crudeness of nature, and were then forced into prostitution. Seeing this, Pygmalion the sculptor was repelled and could no longer appreciate women.

Seemingly alone, Pygmalion sought to create for himself a perfect, pure, unsullied companion. He used his particular skills to this end: he created a statue bride.

What you are about to watch is a mysterious video. It’s origin is attributed variously, and almost certainly spuriously, to various abstract artists or surrealists. The truth is that what we are seeing, and what we perceive to be strange and disturbing, is actually beauty to it’s creator.

Perhaps what we are viewing is the work of a modern Pygmalion. To him, her toneless voice, the paleness of her skin and the comparative vibrancy of her lips may indeed be the very embodiment of a perfect woman…

Consider the mind-scape of the creator. In whose mind does this appear beautiful? In whose mind is this pure, near worshipful? Are we missing out on his perspective?

Who are we to be afraid or to judge them? He may well love her fully, perhaps more fully than any of us could ever hope to be loved. In the mind of her creator, she is a near goddess; the perfect representation, not just of femininity, but the peak of human potential. A perfectly satisfactory being.

How does that kind of unconditional love feel?

Well, how does she feel?

Fantastic.

The great thing about these videos is that you can sit and compose stories around what is going on, who made this beautiful “android”, called Tara and why? And what happens when the drapes are drawn?

If this were a fiction, a horror film, then the close-up of the trees and grass in the first video would be significant - a clue to where the bodies are buried. But of course this isn’t a fiction.
 

 
Bonus clips of this singing android, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Steve Duffy
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
End of the world less than two weeks away


 
I have no idea who shot this photo, but I like it.

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Willard S. Boyle inventor of the digital eye R.I.P.
05.11.2011
04:19 am

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Boyle and Smith at Bell Labs.

The co-inventor of the charge-coupled device, CCD, Willard S. Boyle has died. His invention altered the way we capture and share images forever. What you see is what you get, thanks to Boyle and his partner George E. Smith.

The CCD is a device that is smaller than a dime and…

[...] is the eye behind every picture on the Internet, every digital and video camera, every computer scanner, copier machine and high-definition television.

Its work extends from supermarket barcode readers to the Hubble Space Telescope, from fax machines to the cameras that roamed Mars and the oceans’ floor.

It works by taking advantage of what is called the photoelectric effect, which was explained by Einstein and brought him the Nobel in 1921. The photoelectric effect is the name given to the observation that when light is shined onto a piece of metal, a small current flows through the metal.

The CCD devised by Dr. Boyle and George E. Smith captures light and stores it, then displays it by converting it into electrical charges.

In this video from 1978, Boyle and Smith describe how their invention, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, functions.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Dancing ‘tree’ magnets love hi-NRG disco
05.10.2011
05:31 pm

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Music
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Sixty four dancing “tree” magnets covered in iron dust are synchronized to Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” by artist David Durlach of TechnoFrolics. Even if you’re not a fan of poppy 80s hi-NRG disco, you can’t help but find this video utterly hypnotic.

 

 
(via Cakehead)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
For Sale: One Martin-Baker Aircraft Ejector Seat
05.10.2011
06:48 am

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Here’s something you don’t see everyday: For Sale, one Martin-Baker aircraft ejector seat.

One careful owner, no doubt. This James-Bond-like accessory is currently available on e-bay and is advertised as:

The ultimate in armchair flying !!!!

This is a Martin-Baker aircraft ejector seat mounted on a trolley with an attached control column.
I believe both the ejector seat and control column are from a Canberra bomber.

As well as being an unusual and interesting piece of furniture, the seat could be used as part of a
flight simulator or gaming set-up. It is certainly a talking point!

The seat is fitted with a complete harness and has a suede seat pad which contained a survival pack.
Overall, the seat, trolley and control column are a little scruffy and would benefit from a good clean up
and polish. The ejection rocket and parachute have been removed.

The trolley is fitted with small castors so the whole assembly can be moved around. The seat and
control column are easily removable for transportation and would fit into the back of a hatchback with
the seats down.

Cash on collection and I would be prepared to deliver up to a 50 - 60 mile radius of Bromley, Kent
for fuel cost.

For more information check here. Bids close on 11 May, 201122:19:18 BST.
 
 

A Martin-Baker Ejection Seat in action
 
More snaps of the ejector seat after the jump…
 
With thanks to John Butler
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
I have seen the future of rock and roll and there’s nothing there
05.10.2011
01:38 am

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Books
Movies
Music
Science/Tech

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Borders Books, Austin. R.I.P.
 
The more things change, the more they stay the same. In this 1978 newscast on movie piracy, we encounter the same wariness that greeted video cassette recorders three decades ago as we’ve seen in recent years with black boxes, CD and DVD recorders, Internet downloading and Youtube. E-books are next.

As art becomes increasingly inexpensive or free to own does it lose its value? Do we start to take it for granted? I know I do. I’m surrounded by CDs of music I’ve downloaded and burned and haven’t even listened to yet. I remember when buying a vinyl record was a big event.

Not only has music and movies become available at little or no cost, the devices we use to record and store them have become dirt cheap. In 1978, VCRs were selling for $1000. Videos, blank or pre-recorded, were ridiculously expensive. I remember buying Road Warrior back in the early 1980s on Betamax for $89.00. It wasn’t that long ago when blank CDs sold for $20, same with DVDs. Now you can pick up a dozen for less than the cost of the New York Times print edition…if you’re still buying newspapers. The cost of duplicating music and movies at home has gone from the absurdly expensive to the fatally cheap.

So now, with music, movies, and eventually books, available online for the cost of a 25 cent blank digital disc how does this work out for the creative community and the future of pop culture?  Free everything is terrific for the consumer (as distinguished from buyer), but what happens to the people creating the music, movies and books? What happens to the people working in record stores, video stores and bookstores?

In my hometown of Austin, three Borders bookstores have closed in the past two months. People have lost jobs. Large buildings are now empty, impossible to lease. Publishing houses are quietly freaking out. There’s no place for them to ship their books, other than Amazon.com., and they’re still very much in the business of selling books you can hold in your hands made by printing machines operated by actual human beings. How many people does it take to make a Kindle versus the publishers, printers, graphic designers etc. involved in the publication of a book?

As indie record stores close, the big chains aren’t picking up the slack. Hell no. They’re devoting less and less retail space to CDs and DVDs and will sure as shit eliminate them entirely soon enough. More people laid off. Blockbuster is bankrupt (as much a victim of their shitty customer as changing technologies) and Movie Gallery is dead and buried. More jobs lost.

In the next few years, I predict we’ll see the death of Barnes and Noble and what’s left of the independent book, record and video stores. There will no longer be neighborhood gathering places for lovers of literature, film and music. The artsy oasis in the shopping mall, that little bit of Bohemia that exists in culturally starved suburbs across America will be a thing of the past. The kids you see hanging out at Borders talking about the latest vampire books will end up congregating in front of Hot Topics sniffing screen-print instead of book ink. And there is a fucking difference!

In the midst of the death throes of the brick and mortar store, artists creating the “product” are left with fewer and fewer outlets that SELL what they create.

I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before. But this shit is real. A society that fucks its artists, is a culture that is destroying its soul. Download to your little heart’s desire, but one day the source of all this goodness will have been sucked dry and there won’t be anybody left who can afford to replenish it. And I don’t believe for a moment that there’s a wave of new young bands, film makers and writers on the brink of creating world class art for the sheer beauty of it. Deep down everybody wants to make a living doing what they love.

As art gets cheaper, the cheaper the art. While everybody was busy celebrating the Internet for providing a free outlet for aspiring rockers to get their music out there, did anyone stop to notice just how much garbage was being created in the name of rock and roll?  Far from being music’s savior, the Internet has become its sewage system.

Video killed the radio star. The Internet killed the rest of us. And yes, I’m part of the process.

Even the good old reliable adult video store is dying and “C.J., the video machine owner” (now in his 60s) is pulling his pud watching Youporn.

When did we collectively arrive at the point at which art was determined to be worthless?

Bootlegging, pirating, porn and the dawning of free art as reported on Cleveland TV in 1978:
 

 
The corpse of a bookstore after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Do Automata Dream of Clockwork Sheep?
05.09.2011
01:46 pm

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This collection of short films comes from The House of Automata, a specialist company that restores, builds and maintains historic and antique automata, and make new ones to commission.

Two highlights from this incredible collection are the eerie but quite magical automated harpist by Vichy, and life-like “Nancy - the automaton”.

More videos from The House of Automata can be seen here.
 

 

Nancy - the automaton
 
More amazing automata after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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