Digital Media

Recovering the Aura in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Recovering the Aura in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Much has been lamented about the loss of the Aura of Art in the Age of Digital Media - mostly because the transition from old to new media has been poorly understood or poorly executed. And then comes an amazing collection of landscape photographs by someone who has never been there, has not even taken the photos.

Too practical to be useful - the Phonecamera

Too practical to be useful - the Phonecamera

Engineering marvels - especially consumer products - have a long history of being so practical and convenient that they are completely useless. Add-on lenses to smart phones are fast approaching this category. It is common knowledge that the best camera is the one you have with you, and unless you go on a specific photo shoot, this will be more many the smart phone in their pocket

How Green is the Valley?

Brody-How-green-is-my-valley-231x300.png

My paper How Green is the Valley; ICT Markets Are Going Green: The Other Story from Silicon Valley finally got published: ABSTRACT. Sustainability is no longer an added feature but a core element of a major part of industrial developments. While the Silicon Valley is at the forefront of technology development and is trying hard to provide an ecologically responsible and healthy work environment it is challenged by the fact that a major part of its output both in hardware and software is consumption-driven and relies on a neo-colonialist approach to produce its wares while creating a green image. Green tech, briefly one of the fastest growing segments in institutional investment has fallen out of favor in 2013. “Green” is not an add-on that can be introduced as method or legally required, it redefines the way we conceive, produce and consume products overall.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Clarke’s 3rd Law

The Magic

2015_Cover_vorn-EcoCom-Book-e1464051372792.png

Silicon Valley has a reputation of almost mystical dimensions on all aspects of innovation, creativity, start-ups and moneyto fund all these ventures. The unique quality of the Valley lies in it geographical, informational, and conceptual density of its resources and thus offers a catalytic effect on projects and enterprises. With Green Tech becoming a major segment worldwide, Silicon Valley companies add their own twist, providing everything from energy efficient devices to alternative energy production. Yet after initial interest, the engagement by investors dropped sharply and investment in all segments of green technology is down up to 80 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. [more]

Michael A. Herzog (ed) Economics of Communication. ICT Driven Fairness and Sustainability for Local and Global Marketplaces. GITO Berlin 11/2015 ISBN 9783955451431 Amazon US Amazon DE

Die Philosophen - Festhalten und Loslassen im Kontext des Digitalen

Philosophen-kommen

Philosophen-kommen

Die zweite Monographie der Serie "Die Philosophen kommen" von Marion Fuglewicz-Bren erscheint im September 2014. "In Anlehnung an Band eins kommen auch hier in essayistischen Interviews Denker, Intellektuelle und Persönlichkeiten aus Wirtschaft und Medien zu Wort, die mit ihren jeweiligen interdisziplinären Ansätzen oder Festivalprogrammen dazu beitragen, dass philosophische Denkansätze und Lebensentwürfe einen größeren Stellenwert in unserer Gesellschaft erlangen. Autorin Marion Fugléwicz-Bren: „Das Nachfolgebuch „Die Philosophen kommen - The Next Chapter“ - ist inhaltlich weiter gefasst und umfasst etwa auch das „Neue Denken", dem man heute bei charismatischen Menschen oft begegnet."

Details am Blog

Leseprobe und Bestellung beim Verlag. Oder Amazon.

Zu meinem Beitrag (ein Auszug):

Alte und neue Inhalte – können wir das Web heute schon verstehen? – Festhalten und Loslassen im Kontext des Digitalen

Florian Brody denkt im Interview darüber nach, wie hilflos der „gemeine Archivar“ dem Zerrinnen alter und neuer Inhalte gegenüber steht. Er lebt als Wiener seit den 1990er Jahren im Silicon Valley und entwickelt kreative Marketing-Strategien für Start-Ups. Gemeinsam mit dem Amerikaner Bob Stein erfand und entwickelte er 1991 bei der einstmaligen Kult-Firma Voyager die ersten elektronischen Bücher. Bob Stein meinte damals zu mir in einem Interview: „Multimedia is like Sex, you have to experience it“. Brody hat seine Erfahrung aus Archiven und Bibliotheken mit seiner Arbeit an neuesten Technologien immer verbunden und beschäftigt sich seit vielen Jahren mit der Frage, wie sich alte und neue Medien zueinander verhalten und ineinander übergehen und welche Brüche dabei entstehen.

Philosophische Erkenntnis wird gegenüber vermitteltem Wissen eine noch größere Vorrangstellung einnehmen, so Brody und „... durch die Verfügbarkeit von einem weitaus breiteren Methodenspektrum unterschiedlichster Ansätze wird es einerseits zu einem tieferen globalen Verständnis, andererseits aber auch wieder zu lokalen Sektenbildungen kommen“.

[...]  Digitale Medien tendieren auch in ihrer Archivierbarkeit zu binären Entscheidungsmodellen: Alles oder nichts. Die mannigfaltigen Methoden technischer Reproduzierbarkeit und die Trennbarkeit von Information und Trägermedium führen zu einer kurzzeitigen Illusion, alles sei beliebig oft kopierbar, neu speicher- und aufhebbar. Beim Versuch „das Web“ – recte: Die Inhalte von Webseiten – festzuhalten, indem man sie punktuell früher auf CD-ROM, derzeit auf große Massenspeicher, demnächst auf – was auch immer – kopiert, zeigt sich schnell die Problematik des Unterfangens; wenn zwar viele Buchstaben und Informationen, nicht aber die relevanten Inhalte wieder abrufbar sind. [...]

Cloud Computing and the Weather

If the title to this blog entry seems somewhat incongruent to you, you either know a bit about cloud computing or you're faking it. You read correctly - according to a  2012 Study by Wakefield Research among 1006 Americans, 22% admit that they fake it – pretending to know what the Cloud is. That is double the number of men stating they faked orgasm according to a random-sample telephone poll of 1,501 Americans quoted by Wikipedia. But what about the weather? According to the same Wakefield Research study: 51% believe the weather can affect cloud computing and 29% said that it has something to do with the weather. Over half of those interviewed (54%) said they rarely use Cloud IT while 95% use it regularly for banking, social media, eCommerce, etc.

Clouds take on many shapes:

Hamlet: “Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? Polonius: By the mass, and ‘tis like a camel, indeed. Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel. Polonius: It is backed like a weasel. Hamlet: Or like a whale? Polonius: Very like a whale.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet III / 2

The complete Radio Show on Cloud Marketing is here.

Das Internet als moralische Anstalt

THink Cross Change MediaMein Vortrag "Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt; Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz" ist nun in Buchform in  Think CROSS - Change MEDIA. Crossmedia im Jahr 2014 - Eine Standortbestimmung von Christine Goutrié, Sabine Falk-Bartz , Ilona Wuschig (Herausgeber) erschienen. Paperback 348 Seiten ISBN 978-3-7357-3780-9  Verlag BOD –  bei Amazon als Taschenbuch sowie eBook. Informationen zur Konferenz sowie meinem Beitrag.

 

Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt

Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz

It was a large room. Full of people. All kinds. And they had all arrived at the same building at more or less the same time. And they were all free. And they were all asking themselves the same question: What is behind that curtain? (Laurie Anderson 1981)

Das Internet in der Form in der es allgemein rezipiert wird existiert nicht. Wir haben gemeinhin eine gewisse Vorstellung, wie das Netzwerk, das gewissermassen “hinter dem Vorhang” stattfindet auszusehen vermag. Unser Bild des WorldWideWeb das als Synonym und abwechselnd mit dem Begriff “Internet” verwendet wird (obwohl es nur eines von vielen technischen Kommunikationsprotokollen ist) ist genauso verzerrt wie das der Kanalisation, die unsere Körper in noch weitreichenderer Form verbindet als das Internet unseren Geist.

Nicht quantitativ sondern vor allem qualitativ hat sich die Nutzung des Internets in den letzten 20 Jahren soweit verschoben, dass es notwendig wird, ein neues persönliches und gesellschaftliches Nutzungsmodell aufzubauen dass nicht mehr frühere Medienmodelle imitiert sondern neue Formen der Informationsintegration ermöglicht. [...]

The Expanded Books Project

Michael Cohen's partially autobiographical review of the "The Birth of the Ebookappeared on TidBITS  in slightly different form from the original article published in The Magazine in December 2013. Voyager-frameI had the chance to work with Michael during my tenure at The Voyager Company 1989–1992 and his expertise in literature combined with an uncanny ability to catch inaccuracies and errors in books was an amazing complement to the truly eclectic group of team members at Voyager. The way Michael describes my initial contribution to the Expanded Books Project sheds a light:

"Florian Brody, a loquacious Austrian with a background in computer science, film, and linguistics, had put a couple of pages of “The Sheltering Sky” on the PowerBook, turned it on its side, and asserted, “This looks like a book!” You could almost see cartoon lightbulbs flaring over people’s heads."

 The time at Voyager not only shaped my future work, it also allowed me to contribute to the creation of the first electronic books at a time when a laptop was a curiosity. We showed it to one of the many authors we talked to and after reviewing he asked for the price of such a device - it was over $2000, a lot of money for the time. He commentedEB_interface that this may be a lot of money but probably justifiable for such a book, not being aware that he would also get a fully functional computer "for free".

Sometimes late 1988 I got my hands on an Apple Scanner, a wonderful device good for almost nothing with its 4-bit deep images but great to generate input for early OCR software. HyperCard was just becoming the development platform of choice for the multimedia on the Mac. I still recall the day I sheltering Skyscanned the pages of Paul Bowles' Sheltering Sky and looked at them on the 13 inch screen of the most expensive computer I had ever bought (some $12,000 - over $23,000 in 2013 money), flipped through the pages, excited about the ability to go back to a page rather than randomly scrolling around. Page consistency – the ability to find something at the same place you saw it the last time – is one of the essential elements of eBooks compared to word processor (old terminology) files. There is a reason why we gave up scrolls for codices for the most part some 1000 years ago. (The Torah Scrolls: exceptio probat regular.) The issue of the loss of location in digital document merits a separate blog entry (forthcoming).

It was late in the evening and I had this HyperCard stack with some 60 pages of The Sheltering Sky. I needed to share my newest finding. I had met Bob Stein briefly at the 3rd Microsoft CD-ROM Conference in Seattle in March of 1988 when the Apple CD-ROM drive was introduced. As I supported Apple Austria, driving their multimedia efforts, I had a highly valued – and extremely expensive – AppleLink account with the coveted handle of A.MM (for Austria Multimedia). There was nobody I could call and share my excitement so I sent the whole stack to Mr. Stein in California and went to bed. Next morning I found a response in my inbox if I would be interested to come to California and build this book.

I spent a long summer in 1989 and then two years 1990–1992 at Voyager on Pacific Coast Highway in  Santa Monica in a building that was neither earthquake safe (= low rent) nor had it decent power or heating (save your files every 2 minutes as the next power failure due to circuit breaker overload from under-table heaters) but we had daily lunch cooked by a South African professional dancer, sunset calls over the Intercom (don't miss the green flash) and boogie boards for the rare lunch breaks.

MacbethTitleScreen

We initially published Jurassic Park, Alice in Wonderland and the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy for the launch at MacWorld with the dinosaur sounds in Jurassic Park being the most loved feature. "Multimedia" was surely the way to go. It was up to Voyager to turn the "nice add-ons" into media elements that truly expanded the book and the work Michael did on Macbeth. With hardware as well as software no longer available, it will be a museum project to see Macbeth again: "When shall we three meet again? — In thunder, lightning, or in rain? — When the hurlyburly's done, — When the battle's lost and won. (Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 1).

Thanks to Michael Cohen, The Magazine and TidBITS for republishing this article and make it available to be found online.

Michael - if you're interested in presenting Macbeth again - I may be able to find a venue.

 

Cities in Media

Back in 2011 I set two vastly different movie projects about the visual representation of cities against each other: Vienna and San Francisco. Here comes another very interesting project: In 1927 the cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene created a film about life in London and 85 years later filmmaker Simon Smith recreated the footage in today's London. Little has changed in the surrounding architecture yet the feeling is vastly different. via Photoblographer

 

Philosophy Throws the Stones in the Way

die-PhilosophenMy contribution to the new reader on everyday philosophy by Marion Fuglewicz: Die Philosophen kommen (in German) is ready to go to publisher. I titled my contribution which is built in the form of an interview: Philosophy throws the stones in the path actually make the path interesting to go. („Philosophie legt die Steine in den Weg, die es interessant machen, den Weg zu gehen“ - in German) Noch nie haben wir so viele Daten gespeichert wie heute. Werden Historiker, die sich in Zukunft mit unserer Epoche bescha?ftigen, verwertbare Informationen u?ber uns finden können? Kritiker sind skeptisch. In unserem Zeitalter werden nicht nur immense Datenmengen produziert, es gehen auch Informationen gigantischen Ausmaßes verloren.

The book should be ready by April 2013. More information at Die Philosophen kommen.

Update: A German comment from the publisher - the book is on its way. The book is available. Get it now.

 

Social Media: Spain, 17. Century – Il factotum della città

barber-knife.png

Now that social media with @social and #media hashtags is becoming the core of everyday communication around the olympics as well as the presidential elections it has evolved from being "2.0" yet it is still poorly understood. Highly praised and as soon as it evolves in its own rights condemned as subversive. Social Media shares the challenge most media developments encounter once they enter mainstream. In the process of their acceptance they are pushed into the established set of paradigms how media is/was expected to function. Twitter is expected to work like picture postcards - only shorter and faster. Only it escapes this nice idea and becomes a force in its own rights - creating a parallel communication universe that cannot be controlled as expected.

Social media – “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scaleable communication techniques” (Wikipedia reviewed Feb 2011) ” are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information.” (ibid) As with many developments in multimedia and digital publishing, social media are considered a recent development, overcoming the limitations of “traditional” publishing. The potential of Facebook are rooted in the fact that it connects everyone with everyone, becoming the factotum of the city, knowing every story, every love affair and speculation. There is high demand by everyone: tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, everyone asks for me, everyone wants me, and good compensation for social media services. Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Ah, what frenzy, Ah, what a crowd!

Social media – “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques” (Wikipedia reviewed Feb 2011) ” are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information.” (ibid) As with many developments in multimedia and digital publishing, social media are considered a recent development, overcoming the limitations of “traditional” publishing. The potential  of Facebook are rooted in the fact that it connects everyone with everyone, becoming the factotum of the city, knowing every story, every love affair and speculation. There is high demand by everyone: tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, everyone asks for me, everyone wants me, and good compensation for social media services.  Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Ah, what frenzy, Ah, what a crowd!

What Zuckerberg can learn from an expert in social media in the 17th century is the integration of communication services with a brick and mortar presence in a shop. Definitely a good combination: a te fortuna non mancherà.  (and he has to learn to sing).

Translation: Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere –

Ah, what a fine life, what a fine pleasure

Bach on Copyright

The Open Goldberg Variations by Kimiko Ishizaka (J. S. Bach, BWV 988)

Would Johann Sebastian Bach have approved of the current Copyright machinations and fights about music rights? He was fast in disagreeing with authority and in 1717 even spent a month in jail for forcing his dismissal from his job at the ducal court in Weimar.

With a big family and lots of kids, he needed the money from his music but his work as an organist as well as a composer were experiences and not recordings. Today some of his works have become so closely intertwined with a performer that they can hardly be seen differently.

One of Bach's more complex, yet well-known pieces are the Goldberg Variations BWV 988 for Hapsichord and the two definitive recordings are both by Glen Gould recorded in 1955 and in 1981.;

Here is a video of Gould playing [updated 5/7/2013 as od link was dead] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clDtiewclmg

in this spirit, an entirely new recording based on a newly revised score by Kimiko Douglass-Ishizaka is a breakthrough very much in the Spirit of Bach as it is entirely open source. The Open Goldberg Variations is a Kickstarter funded project that puts both the score and the complete recording in the open source.

"To help make this recording truly timeless, we need your help. Share it. Give it away. Introduce others to its beauty, and explain to them why you love it," said Robert Douglass who launched the Kickstarter project. "Make yourself responsible for converting another person to being a Bach fan." [via BoingBoing]

Download Page [Open Goldberg Variations] as MP3 or Flac (needs converter to play as AAC in iTunes)Goldberg variations BWV 988 Aria Open Goldberg Variations [Soundcloud (embeddable)] Sheet Music [Musescore]

Play [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/2038701" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=ff7700" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

 

Not Really Real - Two Cities

Recently I received a link to a wonderfully real video of Vienna

Vienna Airlines Motionride - Full CG 3D Animation from immortal-arts on Vimeo.

that is completely computer generated.

And then a few days ago I received a link to wonderfully artificial video of San Francisco

http://youtu.be/Er2Wa7onQcw

that is completely real and shot in the city

Compare the two impressions - make sure you watch them in full-screen mode and post a comment

Domi No - TEDx Vienna 2011 is Ramping Up Fast

UPDATE: First speakers confirmed for TEDx Vienna 2011; The TED conference idea, concept, and execution is so inherently Californian that it is quite amazing to see a spin-out emerging in Vienna - one of the more unlikely places at first sight. San Francisco? Sure - Berkeley? Yes - But Vienna?

Looking closer at the fine mesh that interweaves technology, entertainment and design. In the 1830s, when Yerba Buena ("good herb" , Span.) -  "San Francisco" since 1847) was merely an anchorage with barely a few houses, Vienna had probably the most advanced integration of technology, entertainment and design. The Imperial Court as well as the Vienna society on all levels participated in all aspects of scientific explorations as well as artistic work both as ways of innovation as well as entertainment.

Rudolf von Alt - Die Jägerzeile in Wien - 1844The access to world-class scientists and artists in the Reichshaupt- und Residenzstadt Wien - de-facto center of the Holy Roman Empire. Vienna has always integrated art, technology, design and science in a way rarely found anywhere else and it is about time that Vienna regains this status in the domain of digital technology, entertainment and design. As much as one element requires the others, it creates a domino effect that allows new forms to rise and take shape. Take a look the two events TEDx SanFrancisco and TEDx Vienna to see how both events in their own rights create completely different domains of competence.

This year's topic at the TEDx Vienna is the "Domino Effect" - I'll integrate the opening video as soon as I can figure out how.

I had the chance to speak at the 2010 conference on Bridging the Gap via Skype and look forward to be live at the event this October.

 

 

Come on Baby...

... Let the Good Times Roll a 1973 pseudo-documentary was the only movie where I went from the exit straight back into the movie at the Tottenham Court Road Cinema. The movie directed by Bob Abel whom I met much later when we all worked on early multimedia projects in Los Angeles - I worked with Bob Stein at Voyager and he was the "other Bob" in multimedia. The movie features Chuck Berry , Little Richard , Fats Domino , Chubby Checker,playing themselves and lots of real and fake archive footage about the music of the '50s as the main reason for juvenile delinquency.

The movie is an interesting time document from the 50s and a time document from the 70s - it was shot in 70 mm 6-channel sound and used complex multi-screen layouts. The movie is rarely shown on TCM and a trailer exists on their website. The DVD is available here.

I tried to embed the trailer with the code provided on the TCM site - but it does not work - click here:  Trailer

Turning mediocre photos into "art"

During my brief stint as a fashion photographer and assistant to a studio owner in Vienna, we had a drawer marked "ART" where the slides and prints ended up that were unusable for professional presentation. This included discolored slides when the film ruptured or at the end of the roll. And whenever we received an invitation to a competition or exhibition we went through the drawer and submitted with a success rate that was in no relation to the work put into the creation of these pieces of art. Today even a most boring photo can be "raised" to art inside of a smartphone (in this case Instagram) and distributed globally

Social Media: Spain, 17. Century - Il factotum della città

Social media – "media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques" (Wikipedia reviewed Feb 2011) " are relatively inexpensive and accessible to enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, compared to industrial media, which generally require significant resources to publish information." (ibid) As with many developments in multimedia and digital publishing, social media are considered a recent development, overcoming the limitations of "traditional" publishing. The potential  of Facebook are rooted in the fact that it connects everyone with everyone, becoming the factotum of the city, knowing every story, every love affair and speculation. There is high demand by everyone: tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, everyone asks for me, everyone wants me, and good compensation for social media services.  Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Ah, what frenzy, Ah, what a crowd! What Zuckerberg can learn from an expert in social media in the 17th century is the integration of communication services with a brick and mortar presence in a shop. Definitely a good combination: a te fortuna non mancherà.  (and he has to learn to sing).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq_0wPYFp9A John Rawnsley - Largo al factotum - Il barbiere di Siviglia, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2004.

What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?

"And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?' (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll) - the question gains a new dimension, now that eBook readers reach the price of a decent paper book. That is what a hard-bound book did cost when books became widely available to the general public - a lot of money but somewhat affordable to many. Given the price/value ratio of electronic stuff compared to wood-based stuff, digital books will soon be cheaper than books on paper which will result in books on paper becoming even more expensive. We are still in the "imitation phase" - we produce electronic books that imitate books on paper - once we get beyond this phase - the question Paper or Plastic will no longer be relevant - in the same way Theater or Film? Radio or TV? Film or TV? Painting or Photo are no longer of relevance.