Cars have had a bad week. First it was the taking control of a Jeep Cherokee just by knowing its IP address; then it was the ability to gain access to a car's systems by DAB.
A week characterised, tediously, by ACTUAL WORK draws to a close. NO MORE OF THAT, PLEASE - obviously I am ordinarily a man of leisure, lying back on a chaise longue and being fed peeled grapes by a succession of lightly-oiled eunuchs, and as such anything so unspeakably vulgar as actual labour makes my teeth itch rather. I barely had the time to wade through all the webspaff this week, so I hope you're grateful.
Eh? What was that? The sound of crushing indifference? Oh, suit yourselves. In any case, before I head off to Brighton to catch up with old friends and pretend I'm still young for a couple of days, let me guide you gently and with care to the centre of this week's infolabyrinth - easy to enter, tricky to leave, and oh so full of dead ends and ephemera and the slightly troubling sound, just over there, of something mythical and horned and hungry - this, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
This summer, two exhibitions in London explore the interactions between light, space and technology. In the Barbican Curve, Los Angeles-based digital artists, Aaron Koblin and Ben Tricklebank, present their laser commission Light Echoes (2015), as part of Doug Aitken’s 30-day cross-arts happening Station to Station. Meanwhile, The Vinyl Factory have invited Carsten Nicolai to install unicolour (2014) at their space in the Brewer Street Car Park in Soho. In both galleries, the overall environment is atmospheric, rhythmic and captivating. It seems that some of the more exciting contemporary art right now is bridging the gap between moving image, audio-visual art, and significant advances in the digital realm.
When Margritte wrote "This is not a pipe" under his painting of a pipe he was playing with the relationship between an object and its representation. This painting, made by me, follows this tradition; it is a representation of a pre-existing representation. Traditionally it would be known as an "after" denoting the intentional lineage from a stated source image. Billy made this painting; after, I made this one.
SPACE! SPACE! SPACE IS AMAZING! Loads of other important stuff may have occurred this week, but frankly the whole 'pictures from billions of miles away' thing totally eclipses them. WOW.
Anyway, I am not in London today and therefore have even more incentive to get this copy filed and head out into the great sunshiney outdoors - I hope you get to do so too, in time. First, though, cock your ears - if you listen hard enough you may receive the faintest traces of the sounds of the furthest reaches of in internet; don't worry, webmongs, they're probably not really screams of pain and loneliness and anguish, honest! THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
In the 17th century, houses in Amsterdam were taxed according to the width of their frontage — the trading area they presented to the canals. As a result, newer houses were built to be as narrow as possible. Apparently, there are still houses in the city where furniture can only be moved around via the windows.
Closer to the present day, in the latter half of the 19th century, long-distance roads in the UK and USA were in a pretty poor state. The success of the railways had killed off the coaching trade, and the roads began to fall into neglect. Groups like the Cyclists’ Touring Club successfully lobbied for better roads. This made life much easier for the motorists emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So much easier, in fact, that the cyclists were eventually driven off the roads they’d helped to create. They couldn’t compete with the automobile.
Understanding how the most complex object in the known universe – the human brain – works is the biggest challenge of our time. This task, likened to the Space Race of the 60s, is far more challenging than putting a man on the moon. Huge amounts of funding has been dedicated to projects in the US, Europe and Japan to 'map the brain'. The hype and ambition is enormous.
Holus, a pyramidal display system purporting itself to be "holographic", has smashed its Kickstarter target more than five times over - generating $297k of pledges from the $50k originally sought. However, as some artists and technologists have implied, it might just be too good to be true.
Recent issues where computer programs and algorithms have incorrectly identified people and objects have started to open a wider debate about the socio-political ramifications of such misrepresentation. Artist Max Dovey - whom we first profiled in Imperica back in 2011 - is addressing these issues head-on in his new work, How to be more or less human.
We caught up with Max and asked him about it, and about the representation and identification of personal aspects including race and gender within an increasingly computerised, algorithmic culture.
So, those Greeks, eh? I think if I'd voted 'Oxi' I'd be feeling a touch miffed at what looks a little bit like a capitulation so far, but nonetheless - MORE POWER TO THEM. While we're at it, more power to the tube people too! YEAH! COME ON! TAKE THAT, THE MAN!
Hang on, The Man, what was that? You're going to toss us some scraps from the table of your largesse in order to give us the illusion of social progress whilst at the same time absolutely removing the existing basis whereby those scraps might actually be meaningful, like a vengeful king cutting off someone's lips and legs and then suggesting that they can go free if they can run through the streets of town whilst playing the trumpet (an actual prize to the first person who can tell me who / where I have lifted that from)? Oh, ok, GREAT, that makes it all ok then!
There's been just TOO MUCH to get exercised about this week, webmongs, so in the main I've not really bothered. I suggest you stop caring about everything too, and instead just spend the rest of the day clicking at the below links like some sort of labrat hitting the sugar pellet pleasure switch - and don't worry about the white-coated functionary approaching with the scalpel, it's probably going to be FINE. This is WEB CURIOS!
Last week - the night before NESTA's Ready Player Two debate on the future of virtual realities - Microsoft unveiled a 3D version of the game Minecraft. You can now explore the world you build on Minecraft using the HoloLens headset to project it on to your coffee table. The whoop from the audience watching the demonstration at the E3 conference has a palpable level of honest thrill.