A literate journey

A literate journey

"He's much nicer in real life than he is online".

This comment, made during IPA 4 to Richard Huntington, encapsulates the difference between the supposedly controversial, poky, conflictive author of Adliterate; and the real, warm, friendly – and opinionated – guy that, by day, is in charge of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Where this mismatch between perception and reality comes from, is in Adliterate: Huntington's passionate, and discursive blog that celebrates its sixth birthday this year. From that particular grain of blogs that sprouted up mid way through the last decade, Adliterate has a distinctive, personal voice - and then some. If blogging is about bringing a distinctive voice to life, then it has clearly succeeded. And, while the blog may be a more amplified, extreme version of Huntington in real life, he doesn't shy away from making sharp, opinionated points in real life either. It's almost as if both the "real" and the "Adliterate" selves are, in a sense, validating each other.

But, for Huntington, blogging has provided a way to give focus and a sense of purpose to a nascent community, as well as provide a platform to encapsulate current thinking.

"All of a sudden, in the early part of the last decade, all those thoughts you had on your way to the tube that were slightly random and weird: suddenly, there was a place to write them down and put them out. It was a gift to planners, because blogging was all about the random shit that you were thinking.

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Art and science: bonded by creativity

Art and science: bonded by creativity

If you were asked to define creativity, what would you say? The chances are that your definition will vary with others – many others. There is no instruction manual. While the creation of certain products may follow a ruleset, this process isn't creativity per se.

So, creativity is perhaps more concerned with a realisation of something intangible: turning loosely-formed but clearly-visualised ideas into something that is truly groundbreaking. By this broader definition, creativity not just informs artists to produce spectacular results, but also scientists, given that the common quest for artists and scientists is to effectively visualise the invisible.

Arthur Miller's work focuses on the cognitive processes and powers of visualisation that enable the boldest and most powerful creators to see a world which exists beyond sense perception, where there resides objective truth.

His talk, taking place tonight at UCL, uses examples of artists and scientists making bold, world-changing discoveries borne out of one's own sense of creativity to stunning effect.

Miller's views on creativity start with the similarities between artists and scientists in that nascent, magical moment of discovery. Both artists and scientists initially think along highly conceptual lines; Einstein and Picasso discovered new aesthetics to produce their best work. An aesthetic which was new to Einstein produced the Theory of Relativity, and Picasso developed a new aesthetic of reducing forms to geometry, something which would become the hallmark of cubism.

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Finding Facebook

Finding Facebook

"This morning my yoghurt told me to find it on Facebook. It didn't tell me why, it just told me to find it. Why on Earth would I want to find a yoghurt on Facebook? It's a yoghurt!"

This brief rant from my boss inspired me to do a little experiment. I called it Find us on Facebook, for it is this generic, uninspiring and uninformative 'call to action' that is slowly starting to get plastered on every piece of communication the world over: from TV adverts, to email newsletters, websites, posters and - yes - even yoghurt pots.

I proudly announced that I will live a week as a "social consumer", without entirely realising what I was letting myself in for. Every time a brand said "Find us on Facebook", I will Like their page and capture the experience. It sounded simple and innocuous enough, but I had naïvely expected that this yoghurt and its lack of effort - or inspiration - may have been a one-off.

It wasn't.

Over the course of a week, 46 brands (that I had noticed) asked me to find them on Facebook with a variety of different messages and calls to action: find us, like us, search for, follow, visit. What shocked me was that out of those 46 brands, only 10 of them had actually provided me with a reason to like them on Facebook. 21 of those brands told me to do it and that was it. The other 15 didn't really say anything at all; they just slapped a URL or a logo across their communications to inform me that they were on Facebook. Well, thanks for telling me.

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Re-inventing reality

Re-inventing reality

Augmented Reality is no longer just a concept; it itself is real. Once – like many innovations – a mainstay of semi-realist science fiction novels and films, the smartphone revolution has propelled it into the big league. While AR has become commonplace in mobile B2C campaigns, it is clear that such subject matter scratches the surface of possibility.

While AR has been seen for some time as being potentially useful to museums and galleries, it has largely been seen from an experiential angle – adding value to a public visit, for example. A more powerful, and socially valuable, application is what Tessa Morrison and Ning Gu are examining at Australia's University of Newcastle.

The partnership was formed through a shared curiosity of improving the ways that people look at the history of buildings. As an architectural historian, Morrison's fascination was based on considering how the time-based visualisation of a building or area could be improved. On meeting Gu, an architect with a strong technological understanding, an idea was devised which led to their new project, combining AR with architectural history.

Morrison's ideas formed while working on a project which looked at Sydney Cove. The project utilised 2D and Archicad to produce 3D visualisations. However, she felt that putting these visualisations into a real environment, had genuine transformational and experiential power. When Gu told her about AR, a shared vision came to live, in terms of the architecture of buildings is visualised.

2D graphic design and 3D modelling have their benefits and limitations in exploring ideas. Even with 3D, although the idea is explored in a deeper way, the virtual world remains in total isolation: it is never connected with the physical environment. Where the duo see AR's potential, is to enable both the designer and architectural historians to insert digital information into a physical environment.

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New ad ventures

New ad ventures

Following our recent article on agency labs, it is becoming clear that agencies are becoming increasingly active in supporting and developing startups. What's in it for the agency, and what's in it for the startup?

We asked two people whose remit is to develop startups from within their existing businesses: Ian Priest of Chime Ventures, and Neil Munn of the Black Sheep Fund, a joint venture between BBH's innovation arm Zag and Spark Ventures.

 

 

Tell us about the background to the creation of your agency's venture.

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Milking it

Milking it

Fictional characters can build brands. Whether it's BT's Buzby in the Seventies or, more recently Aleksandr Orlov, they can touch an emotional "soft spot" and go on to achieve long-lasting recognition, way after the end of their campaign.

Such appreciation is both a blessing and a curse for agencies. While appreciation and recognition of the character is indicative of the campaign's impact, the character can also become bigger than the brand: enjoying success in terms of awareness, but with very little impact at the point of sale. These issues are brought into even sharper focus when digital comes into play, where characters can exist on YouTube and have their own Twitter account.

A recognition of these and other factors were important in the development of Bertrum, the lead character in the new campaign by Wieden + Kennedy for Arla's Cravendale milk brand. As consumer dairy products are of low interest to most people, W+K had quickly decided to develop an quirky initial campaign featuring three lead characters: a cow, pirate, and cyclist. Here, the objective was to metaphorically slap consumers around the face, and ignite interest into a brand and product. Any hope of the consumer absorbing any point of differentiation about the product – in this case, a triple filtration, preserving freshness for longer – required an execution which was quirky, different, and to an extent, provocative. Consumers had to notice it.

It was felt last year that the inherent creativity within that campaign had run its course, and that something new was needed. Its creartive quirkiness had something of a lasting effect on sales and on the audience, with the agency being mindful of the effect of turning the campaign off before its replacement could be turned on. As a result, a "farewell film" was made, with highlights of the campaign, in order to manage disruption amongst consumers sympathetic to the campaign: it was obviously important that this group could be migrated to a new campaign and thus remain customers of Cravendale.

 

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Review: Dangerous Ideas

Review: Dangerous Ideas

We recently ran an interview with Alf Rehn, the author of Dangerous Ideas. Here, Leila Johnston reviews the book.

"We might start by asking the question: do we need creativity at all? Such a question will, without any doubt, be seen as heretical, even dangerous," says Alf Rehn, presumably in a menacing whisper. So dangerous is the message of this book going to be that almost the entire first third is given over to preparing the reader. There's a 'warning' message, a superfluous introduction and many, many more pages supplying a protracted, "Are you sitting down? What I am about to say may disturb you".

It's a long time coming, but once you get past the excitable first section, there are actually some good ideas in there. The notion that we should be bolder in our thinking about creativity is intriguing, but Rehn's eye drifts off the ball sometimes as he gets palpably carried away in a game of semantics and logic. His thought process amounts to something like this: all companies want to be more creative, but true creativity is by definition the dangerous thing that no one wants to touch. So either one should never want to be creative (because it's bland), or creativity is going to get a shiny new meaning. Either way, it falls somewhat short of the brain-blast we've been promised. "Think about it: if everyone tries to be creative and think of new ideas, doesn't it follow logically that the most creative thing to do in such a context is to consciously try to be less creative and instead utilize old ideas?"

But, wait: is that a new idea - to use old ones? Why are we trying to be the 'most creative' anyway. At times Rehn wants us to do considerably less, and follow the pared-down business models of simple popular electronics, deciding this is 'punk'. In other places he asks us to consider looking to torture methods for inspiration to help us think outside the box. It's an electric-shock-therapy sort of theory - and admirable, in a way, for its efforts to push us out of our 'comfort zones'. But, ultimately, it feels rather rough and brutal. It's the philosophical equivalent of banging the television to try to get a better signal.

Creativity, Rehn insists again and again and again, is not a cute fuzzy concept but a devastating, confrontational one. It need not be about making anything good or even 'blue sky thinking'. Rather, it's the art of freeing ourselves from the 'boxes' of preconception that we don't even know we've created. Now this, I suspect, is an extremely important thing to say, but the message is fatally diluted through repetition and poor editing. The pictures of children screaming and hands giving me the finger scattered throughout the book push the point too far, and somehow look oddly corporate and obvious in a book so adamantly dedicated to the spirit of punk.

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Digital advertising: the speed and the slowdown

Digital advertising: the speed and the slowdown

Here's a fact to brighten up your day: mobile advertising grew by 166 percent to £83 million in 2010, up from £37.6 million in 2009. New figures from PwC/IAB show that the rate of growth is unprecedented and is a note of optimism in an otherwise hesitant online advertising landscape.

Here are some other take-home points from the study:

B2B and specialist media are increasing their share of the mobile ad spend pie, including telecoms and financial publishers, albeit from a low base.Mobile search ad spend has tripled from 2009 to 2010, from £20.2 million to £54.9 million.Mobile display spend was up 61 percent to £28.1 million, up from £17.4 million in 2009,Mobile display ads, all those banner ads, text links and flashing things that you all ignore, rose 62 percent to £23.7 million.Pre- and post-roll ads rose 492 percent to grand total of... £1.1 million (translation: people didn't used to have rich video-enabled phones, and now they have iPhones and Android phones).Entertainment is the biggest sector with 32.9 percent of mobile display ad spend, automotive is the smallest with a piddling 6.5 percent.

And the usage is, of course, through the roof. Smartphone ownership was up 58 percent year on year in 2010 to encompass 38 percent of the population – according to December figures from ComScore.

And we've not even mentioned tablets yet. Here's what Dominic Jacquesson, author of our new research report on mobile media strategies, says of them:

"When Apple released its Q4 2010 sales, it revealed iPad sales of 17 million in the nine months since launch. It took the iPhone 21 months after launch to reach the same point. Every major analyst tracking Apple has under-estimated the success of the iPad, despite all the hype, and we can now expect sales estimates for 2011 to notch up once again.

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Small pieces, tightly joined

Small pieces, tightly joined

 

Much of the art that we know was developed in the context of a collective, group, or school. From the Florentine school through to Fluxus and most recently the YBAs, a particular style, discipline or approach – theoretical or practical – lends itself to a wider grouping of artists into a tightly-defined entity: a brand.

Now, of course, everyone is part of one collective or another. We appear in someone's Twitter list. or belong to a multitude of Facebook groups. The potential to create branded collectives with pre-determined groups of people is therefore a logical extension, and we are clearly seeing that happen in the B2C marketplace, particularly in Facebook.

Branded collectives were at the front of the minds of Kate and Rob Burton when they created Kiki Salon. The brand was created as a collective entity – an umbrella brand for a group of diverse and creative people who were identified and brought in by the couple, with the brand becoming the over-arching entity. Members included photographer Yiannis Katsaris and performance artist Stav B (pictured above). The brand was responsible for a line of products and exhibition, under the name Kiki Salon Presents.

The ability to create diverse and creative communities led by one or two figureheads is not uncommon: in addition to Asher and pop culture-influenced models such as the Factory and the Mothers of Invention, many creative agencies have a small team of "directors" and work with creative freelancers in a network model. Kiki Salon offers the natural evolution, which is to continue the collective model, but reinforce it through digital and, in particular, social media.

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SXSW Madness: Anjali Ramachandran's photojournal

SXSW Madness: Anjali Ramachandran's photojournal

Every March, Austin has an influx of geeks. SXSW is almost legendary in its popularity as the place to be seen if you are, you know, with it – but that's not what it is. SXSW is about people who love the internet coming together to be inspired, network and party in an atmosphere soaked with sun, margaritas and BBQ – and then so much more.

This is a snapshot of the 5 days I was in Texas this year – Austin as I will always remember it.

 

 

Austin is super-connected: taxi drivers accept payment by Square, Foursquare and Gowalla users battle it out for supremacy in every bar. One of this year's new features from Foursquare during SXSW is a partnership with American Express where AmEx users get $5 back for every $5 spent – an Austin special.

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SXSW and Magpies

SXSW and Magpies

(A precursor to this, and a massive caveat – my ranty tweets were picked up by the good people of Imperica, who asked me to give my views on SXSW. I've never been – my employer was there this year, and spoke. These views are mine, however. For what it's worth, I'm sure bits of SXSW are great, and bits of it are dross).

I love new things. Really, I do.

I also love new technology; fascinating stuff, especially when it's new. It's a little bit like magic. Who'd forget the first time they first watched Life in HD, or when they first played on a next-gen console?

So, all of that said, you'd have thought that the interactive part of SXSW would be right up my street.

Sadly not, and I'm going to try and explain why.

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Dangerous thinking

Dangerous thinking

When was the last time that you felt creative, or that you demonstrated best practice? Probably, quite recently. But, what do these words really mean? Have you truly been creative? Does "best" really equal... best?

Creativity used to be the preserve of people that could manifestly demonstrate it: architects, designers, and writers. Now, everyone wants to be creative. We are told to be creative – and when we are creative, we are told to be more creative. A world of creativity is a politician's dream: witness the concept of the "cultural quarter" in town planning, where optimistic public sector officials dream that a specific part of their city should be a pseudo-futuristic zone of inspiration, intellect, and iPads.

This ubiquity of creative thinking lends itself to a reframing of what "creativity" is. If everyone can demonstrate their creativity, then they are ultimately doing so within a context: witness the "think outside the box" rooms within corporate office blocks. Almost a pastiche of what creativity should be, this watered-down view finally led Alf Rehn to do something about it.

Rehn's revelation occurred when he was at an event, listening to a thought leader on creativity. Looking around, he noticed that people were happily taking in what the speaker had to say, without necessarily questioning it. If resistance is part of the human psyche, then it was not occurring in the room: after all, if we are in the midst of a "creative revolution", then there should be some insurrection. There was no friction, no resistance: creativity needs to thrive on these and other factors in order to survive. We always resist what feels uncomfortable, strange, or forcing us to change against our initial will. It was not happening here. The aggressive, "punk" qualities that should define a more purist form creativity were far from apparent.

A passionate objection to this watering-down of creativity led Rehn to write Dangerous Ideas. In the book, he argues that as wider society has embraced creativity and innovation, we have lost track of what creativity was actually supposed to be about: change, challenge, and pushing just that little bit further. However, when these terms are used so frequently by leaders in both corporate and political life, Rehn feels that the words become emptied of meaning.

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Being watched

Being watched

 

Next time that you walk past a CCTV camera, stop and reflect on how your image is being recorded, captured, and used. Does it make you feel comfortable? Is it the same feeling as when you record your thoughts to your Facebook wall?

The inter-relationship between the self, digital media, and surveillance runs through many of James Coupe's works. CCTV cameras, power networks, robot systems, call centre telephony systems, and even Facebook applications have been deployed to find new meanings and narratives in data and in content. Surveillance Suite, for example, used computer vision software to extract behavioural and demographic information from video footage, reappropriated into new narratives.

The increasingly covert ways in which surveillance now exists within digital media led Coupe to develop Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days. The work takes the form of a Facebook application, combining status updates, YouTube uploads and video portraits to automatically generate new short films, which are posted back to users who add the application to their profile.

 

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In conversation with... Tommy Twanker and Dave Knockles

In conversation with... Tommy Twanker and Dave Knockles

At Imperica, we strive to work with the thought leaders of each sector. Our guests for this "In conversation with..." are precisely that. Tommy is (in)famous for being a social media guru, while Dave is the Marketing Director at the second largest producer of consumer durables relating to, or directly involving, the cleaning of clothes, and/or soft furnishings, and/or other fabrics.

We caught up with Tommy and Dave over a boozy lunch to discuss the future of advertising, and the advertising industry.

 

 

What should clients be looking for when it comes to choosing a digital / social agency?

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Interactivity and constructivism

Interactivity and constructivism

It has been a century of constructivism.

The move from the notion of composition to one of construction, was brought to life through the work of Russian artists in the 1920s. One such artist was Malevich, whose 1919 paper On new systems in art introduced the notion of systems in artistic practice. Constructivism has been critical to the development of digital creativity, as viewers and audiences are often as curious and fascinated by how the work was made, as by the work itself. If constructivism is based on the principle of interconnected things that relate to one another, then it is clearly as relevant now as it was almost 100 years ago.

Ernest Edmonds' book On new constructs in art has constructivism at its heart. It starts with an exploration of structures and systems, and their importance in making creative work. There are many alternative terms used for the work that Edmonds and others produce: "Systems art" is one, as the work uses some kind of system that the artist has developed. A rigid system informs the artwork, irrespective of whether this is a digital work or not. Edmonds' early works were based on processes, structures and rules which determined how the work would eventually appear: for example, the angle of a spray gun, and where it was on the canvas.

Edmonds is negative about art's more romantic notions, based on inspiration rather than systems: "'Put a blue splodge here'. No good art works like that. A portrait painter has a very rigid system. They typically start with the head and shoulders, and it's got to look like the person. It is highly constructed. Most artists that I know don't want to use intuition; it seems to be the last word that they would reach for." This theory extends to practically any work with some sort of constraint; even 4'33" by John Cage has a constraint, as it is performed for a fixed length of time. Constraints, structures and organisation is very important in creativity in general: whether in art, graphic design (think corporate identity), advertising and elsewhere.

One of the book's main topics is interaction. Edmonds became interested in art interaction in the late 1960s, arguing through a paper that the future of both art and computing was interaction. What interaction does is to hand control of the outcome over to the user: it invites them to change the course of what happens next. This meant going from a closed system to an open system: one that had some sort of exchange with the environment around it. This allows for a very different way of working, and one that has only recently become made available through advances in technology. The viewer can manipulate the artwork in some way, rather than the artwork simply being exhibited. This concept, of the power moving to the viewer, is a common thread that we clearly see elsewhere: in how technology is changing media consumption, for example.

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Music: Response

Music: Response

An attribute of a strong brand is its attitude to music. This attitude, of course, takes various forms, from one extreme to the other: with jingles - such as with Intel; or retailers directly offering music to consumers – as Starbucks does, most famously with Paul McCartney.

A characteristic of an FMCG brand is its attitude to music. We have seen many decades of music spinoffs from confident brands. One such brand is Axe, one of Unilever's biggest global brands, and long-recognised for its work with upcoming artists, such as Make Luv by Oliver Cheatham.

Such a confidence can extend the brand experience, such as Cheatham's track, topping the charts in 2003. Digital can not only take these brand experiences even further, but tie actions together: consumers can now watch HD-quality video advertising before clicking to buy the music within the ad.

This was the case with Unilever's newest campaign for Axe, called Fallen Angels and created by BBH. As with many earlier Axe campaigns, it focuses on a visually rich 30-second TV spot, cheekily highlighting the appeal of the male deodorant to women. It is the first to use Apple's iAd technology, where consumers can watch the ad and click through to buy the accompanying music from iTunes, by a group called The Fallen Angels.

Global campigns can result in complex rollouts. Fallen Angels broke in Mexico, followed by Europe, then back to the US. An open brief arrived at music agency Tonic to provide a soundtrack. Many different tracks were tested, before Air's Sexy Boy was put forward. Working with the band and their orchestrator, a new, classical recording of the track was recorded for the ad. However, as every market has its own cultural sensitivities, not every market will broadcast the track identically: some will omit the "Sexy Boy" vocal, for example, and checks had to be made that the young female voices saying the words were voiced by girls over the age of 16.

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In conversation with... Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead

In conversation with... Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead

Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead are artists that work with video, sound, and digital networked space. Their most recent work, "The distance travelled through our solar system this year and all the barrels of oil remaining" is a finalist in Current, a competition which will result in an acquisition and permanent exhibition of one digital artwork into the Harris Gallery, Preston.

We caught up with Jon and Alison to talk about their work, how digital media can change our perception of the world, and how we make sense of the information around us.

 

Tell us about the story of the work that is in Current.

JT: When we actually proposed the work for Current, we were interested in making something new. A lot of the work that we make as artists, looks at live information - or the potential that live information has, as an artistic material. There's a lot of stuff that we have made over the past 10-15 years, that looks at how live information might be incorporated into an artwork and somehow be an entrenched part of it.

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Things in context

Things in context

"The Internet at large has made us feel closer and further away, depending on the lens we're using."

The feeling of physical and emotional closeness that we used to enjoy towards people close to us, has, to an extent, been disrupted by the Internet. Connections are made between people of shared interests, visions, opinions and thoughts. This transformation of how we perceive proximity has made one concept all the more important: context.

Context is what defines the world – or worlds – that we live in. What is useful and important in one scenario, would be irrelevant or even dangerous in another. It is something that is vital to disciplines concerning academia as well as those in more creative fields, as the recontextualisation of something can make it interesting in a way that would never have been the case before.

It is also a thread that runs through much of the work of product and interaction designer Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino. Her background in product design and technology led to the creation of Tinker, which started as a shop based on the popular Arduino platform. It grew to become a studio with a rich mix of people from HCI, academia, innovation studies, interaction design, and electronics engineering. Projects from the studio included work with the BBC on the future of remote controls, to a campaign with Dare and Sony Ericsson, where a Twitter hashtag was linked to a physical installation. As Deschamps-Sonsino observes, "That space got very interesting for agencies in particular, as everyone had a clear idea of what a strategy and digital campaign looked like, but suddently this opened up possibilities for that campaign to exist outside of the digital realm, Facebook and Twitter." The economic downturn resulted in Tinker closing late in 2010, with its founder now working in a freelance capacity, looking at how technologies such as RFID and QR codes are used, and could be used, in everyday life. Such technologies are now becoming more overt – witness the many poster ads now featuring QR codes – but also more covert. Chromaroma is given as an example of a simple recontextualisation of technology: changing TFL's Oyster device from a travel card, to a token in a play experience.

 

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Media complexity and choice

Media complexity and choice

 

As we all know, the transition of certain industries from physical to virtual products has been the subject of millions of words, worldwide. Reports, theories, analyses and commentary have all played their role into what has been a rapid transition, although being in the middle of the transition often feels slow – and painful. Music has clearly led the way, and it is now up to print (both in news and in books) to undergo a similar change, keeping an eye on the future while ensuring that the mistakes of the recent past are not repeated.

For both producers and consumers of content, it is important to make the right media choices. On the face of it, this seems easier than ever, with open standards and maturing consumer experiences (remember the Blink and Marquee tags?) making the possibility of dead-end media less likely. However, with device and media lock-down, DRM, and a new wave of tablet and 3D technology re-framing media discovery, then perhaps we are about to start the whole process again.Someone that has lived through the cycles and choices involved with digital media is Andy Finney. Starting in radio, Finney's career has taken him through production in both radio and television, into interactive media. He was an early exponent of interactivity in the BBC, helping to develop the Domesday Project in the 1980s, remaining in interactive platform development up to today.

The Domesday Project celebrated the 900th anniversary of the publication of the original work, through the development of a new version, produced by schools across the UK. Led by the BBC, the project was made available through specially-adapted Laserdiscs, capable of carrying a total of 600MB, including video.

Viewing these Laserdiscs required a specific hardware player, offered by Philips, a partner in the project. The rapid obsolescence of this hardware – and of the Laserdisc format in general - led to the problem that 600MB of rich, expensively-produced content, could no longer be played. Eventually, a joint project between Leeds and Michigan universities, set up to tackle the problem of obsolescence in digital content and media, developed a Windows-based application, DomesEm, which could read the data.

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Eating Facebook

Eating Facebook

Facebook is synonymous with privacy. Faced with 800 million user accounts, the business has a huge responsibility – and a challenge – in overcoming the innate tension between making friends, sharing materials between them, and privacy.

Philipp Teister aims to blow that tension wide open.

With his project Facebook Life Sharing, Teister has made his online identity "open source". It is possible for anyone to log into Teister's profile, update his status, review his recent activities, and see his list of friends. It is perhaps the ultimate spoken objective of social media – to have a profile that is so wide and so open, that it effectively cedes control to a community. If Wikipedia has achieved a free, community-moderated balance in content, then Teister is perhaps achieving the same effect with identity. The paradigm is consistent, even though the end result is perhaps far different.

As an artist, Teister enjoys working with something which is ostensibly functional, but with far-reaching emotional effects. "Facebook is an ultimate sandbox, supporting all kinds of inappropriate privacy and anonymity experiments. Its privacy policy has grown significantly over time, and a huge list of concerns have come along. The most feared hijack for anyone must be identity theft."

While the fear of identity theft is certainly true in the wider consciousness, Teister's project effectively allows his identity to be stolen by anyone. It is, of course, easy to create accounts as anyone in Facebook, which is where Teister started in his development of the project. However, as he claims, his project is not about someone else, but as himself: "... for a desensitisation and clearance of inferiority and slavery" to the rules, behaviours and requirements that social networks ask of crowds.

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