When your profile goes on a date

 

Been on a date recently?

 

Face to facebook is the final project in a three part series named "Tha Hacking Monopolism Triology" by the two Italian artists Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico. It was launched on the 2nd February 2011, with a mixed media installation at the Transmediale festival in Berlin, and a press release announcing a new dating website called lovely-faces.com.

The set-up for the 'Face to facebook' project was to steal 1 million facebook profiles and re-contextualize them on a custom made dating website (lovely-faces.com). The data collected from the profiles was only information available publicly on the internet, like the users name and profile picture. No facebook account was needed to access it. The 1 million facebook profile pictures were then checked for images that were usable in a dating website context. The remaining 250,000 profile pictures were then fed through various face recognition filters to assign an assumed personality to the subjects and a new profile was created ready for the dating website. Once published on lovely-faces.com, interested pursuers could get in contact with the people behind the original facebook profiles through facebook messages.

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Recreating Geocities

         

 

Great:

 

The Deleted City is a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it exploded into the 21st century. At that time the web was often described as an enormous digital library that you could visit or contribute to by building a homepage. The early citizens of the net (or netizens) took their netizenship serious, and built homepages about themselves and subjects they were experts in. These pioneers found their brave new world at Geocities, a free webhosting provider that was modelled after a city and where you could get a free "piece of land" to build your digital home in a certain neighbourhood based on the subject of your homepage. Heartland was – as a neigbourhood for all things rural – by far the largest, but there were neighbourhoods for fashion, arts and far east related topics to name just a few.

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In conversation with... Simon Kendrick and Jonathan MacDonald

Simon Kendrick, Jonathan MacDonald. Photos by courtesy of Simon Kendrick and Jonathan MacDonald

 

The need to be agile is more important than ever in business, and advertising and media agencies need to be able to forward-read changes in technology, consumer behaviour, and social trends in order to maintain their own understanding of the world, and to pass that understanding onto clients at a premium price.

However, are the ways in which agencies relate to clients, and the way in which they price their services, right in today's commercial climate? We asked two leading thinkers and the authors of two recent articles on Imperica, Simon Kendrick and Jonathan MacDonald, to give us their views.

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Facebook pages and rape

Facebook pages and rape

 

Among Facebook's many ongoing controversies is one where it has reserved the right not to delete pages which promote the rape of women. One such page is called (with errors included): You know shes playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway.

 

Cath Elliott has written about it in today's Guardian, and references earlier coverage from the same source. In the latest article, Elliott calls for Facebook to urgently rethink its policy of no action:

 

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Webit update

Webit update

 

Here's an update from our friends at Webit. 3400 delegates from 37 countries are going to be there, so it's going to be a pretty big event.

 

Here's the agenda in brief...

 

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When open is closed

When open is closed

With the topical title of It's the end of the web as we know it, designer/developer Adrian Short has laid into the landgrab that is currently the preserve of multinational social networks:

 

You can turn your back on the social networks that matter in your field and be free and independent running your own site on your own domain. But increasingly that freedom is just the freedom to be ignored, the freedom to starve. We need to use social networks to get heard and this forces us into digital serfdom. We give more power to Big Web companies with every tweet and page we post to their networks while hoping to get a bit of traffic and attention back for ourselves. The open web of free and independent websites has never looked so weak.

 

Do read. It's a unrelenting piece which argues that the future of the "open web" is bleak, and that your identity will be held by private companies - there's no need to mention who they are here - and that their holding your identity will become an increasing part of your existence, online or otherwise.

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Celebrating imperfection

Postmodernism taught many how to celebrate noise. Mainstream TV programmes in the 1980s such as Max Headroom gave us a new artistic language which includes TV static, jump cuts, and imperfect presentation. Out of this has come Glitch art.

 

Antonio Roberts

 

Glitch artworks celebrate the erroneous, the unexpected, in good ways and bad. Produced by new computer programming, the glitched work can be a sensory revelation. Antonio Roberts has embraced the world of Glitch art through his studies and practice, culminating in GLI.TC/H, a global glitch art event which started in Chicago and has spread to Amsterdam and, now, Birmingham.

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Lovelace's legacy

Can you name five women in technology? If it's a struggle to get to five, then you may wish to question why that is. It isn't as if tech is a small sector, or that there aren't many women in the world. It's due to a complex and multitudinous combination of factors and contexts. While your answer to the question may tell you something about your own experience of women in tech, it also signifies a complex range of issues within society, that cannot be overcome swiftly or easily.

 

Suw Charman-Anderson by Jemima Gibbons, CC Licence http://www.flickr.com/photos/jemimagibbons/2843281583/

 

Aiming to challenge the views of women in tech, and to bring women's achievements into focus, is Ada Lovelace Day. The event started as an online celebration of women in technology, but now covers a broader set of scientific disciplines, and features events as well as increased online activity. It is the brainchild of writer and social strategist Suw Charman-Anderson, well-known to the tech scene in the UK.

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Free and open source art

Free and open source art

 

Our friends at Furtherfield have launched a guide to free and open source software for the arts. Handily assembled into one Wiki page, it bundles up a collection of artworks, texts, and resources covering artistic freedom, openness, and opportunity. Specifically, it also explores the concept of peer-to-peer as a method of collaborative practice.

As part of the guide's launch programme, the organisation has also commissioned a new work, Balloon Dog by Rob Myers. It's a free-licence 3D model that you can print as-is, or use in other work.

Commissioned by the Arts Council, the guide is available here, and will be presented at the FLOSSIE conference on 15/11/10.

Goatse in advertising

Goatse in advertising

 

This is an extremely interesting and detailed piece from the Deterritorial Support Group, offering "Analysis and propaganda from an ultra-leftist perspective".

  

It talks about Goatse and the culture of "in-joke" iconography:

 

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Thrilling adventures in technology

The working relationship between Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage is of prime historical importance. Our world would be very different if it wasn't for Lovelace's development of an algorithm intended to be processed on Babbage's Analytical Engine. Computer programming as we know it may never have existed.

 

Ada Lovelace. Pic by courtesy of Sydney Padua

 

What happened next is well-documented. The duo successfully developed the computer in the mid-1830s, giving humanity the necessary technological advantage to resist advances such as the alien invasion of 1898, and to use their combined powers to fight crime and undertake amazing adventures. While that's not strictly true, it is an invented reality that has formed the basis of The thrilling adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, an online comic from Sydney Padua.

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National express

National express

 

David Mitchell wants Facebook to be nationalised:

 

I'm sure Facebook would claim it's not a monopoly – strictly speaking it isn't – but it clearly wants to be and, if there are whole sections of society who feel obliged to sign up in order to be able to communicate with one another, then its dreams are coming true. (...) While it's providing its services for free, there's no pressure on Facebook to rein in its monopolistic urge.

There must be strong economic arguments in favour of nationalising it.

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Gaming: the system

 

   

 

The IAB has launched a new report on the UK games industry, and what brands can learn from it. Gaming Britain: A country united by digital play contains some nice Kantar-produced research, covering 3000 adults and 1000 kids. It does the usual segmentation trick, however, splitting roles into "Networkers; Individualists; Interactors; Gaming Elite (Elite, now THERE was a game); Casual Players; PC Opportunists and New Gen Players." The potential for brands and planners is clearly spelt out: Gaming is "at least twice as engaging as other media".

 

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In conversation with... Toby Barnes and Matt Ward

Toby Barnes at ODEC 11 by Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC licence http://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-burg/5914515223/sizes/l/in/photostream/  and photo c/o Matt Ward

 

The view of what "design" is, and does, within society, is constantly changing. The role of artists and designers as shapers of society, and shapers of thinking, has become linked to particular periods and eras: sometimes positively, sometimes less so. What is the role of design and designers, and how can design help to create an optimistic future, when we are in a pessimistic present?

We caught up with Toby Barnes and Matt Ward, in advance of their talks at the tenth "This Happened" event to take place in London.

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London Weekend

     

 

Two great events take place in London this weekend.

 

This HappenedLondon Metropolitan University, 16 Goulston Street, London E1 7TP23/09/11, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

 

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What planning can learn from design thinking

The wonderful John V Willshire (formerly at PHD, now running his own show, Smithery) has published the slides from his recent presentation to the Google Firestarters session. The title is What can planning learn from design thinking?

 

 

The event took place in late June; here's the writeup from its organiser, Neil Perkin.

The unreasonable power of creativity

 

The video from last night's D&AD event is now up:

 

Sharp'ner - Use Your Creativity To Change the World

 

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Preservation and society

Preservation and society

 

Regarding the storage of information, we've never had it so good. Hard disks with a minimum capacity of a Terabyte are now available on the High Street, and we can back up all of our personal information to the cloud. Gone are our concerns in terms of physical volume; we can now take a seemingly infinite number of photos, and store them on our netbook's hard disk, or send them to an unseen RAID array somewhere on the other side of the world, for later retrieval by us or anyone else.

When there is less physicality, there is less of a need to be choosy. Storing photos on a CD-ROM required some consideration as to the number and parameters of photos. When personal storage has increased at a factor exponential to the amount of content that we produced, we're less bothered. 100 holiday photos – no problem. You could get every holiday for a lifetime onto one cheap hard drive.

Storing data in this way makes it easy to forget that there are still mechanical elements involved. In a standard hard disk, accessing and adding data requires a read/write head to move across a platter which could be spinning at 10,000 RPM. Faster devices, such as solid-state storage, are still made up of manufactured parts: SDRAM chips, PCBs and the like.

While all of this brings spontaneity to the user, it is actually creating a problem. A problem that is currently overlooked by many, but is likely to grow year on year, generation to generation. That problem is one of storage and archival.

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Things to make and do

Things to make and do

In a mixed economy, craft and mass production co-exist. We make different considerations when looking at both, although most of us are happy for them to be together: a handmade vase on an Ikea table. There is a relationship between these market concepts that has often been challenged, but perhaps not with such depth and breadth as with PostlerFerguson.

Martin Postler and Ian Ferguson met in 2005 while studying at the ICA. They had both been working in industry prior to their studies, in industrial design and architecture respectively, so had a shared understanding of why they were back in school. They also share a love of food. "Probably the first glimmers of mutual professional respect came when I noticed he had a copy of Larousse Gastronomique on his desk at school and he noticed that I knew what it was without seeing the cover."

After graduation in 2007, they were both invited to exhibit at Designersblock, deciding to combine their work into one show, The future on your plate. It was Chinese homewares producer Puzhen and creative publisher Gestaltlen that helped to get the business in motion; Puzhen hired the duo to design a new range of products, and Gestaltlen invited them to produce a full range of paper gun kits, following on from Postler's graduation work, a paper AK47. The new kit, a full-scale anti-aircraft gun, premiered at the Death Machines exhibition at Notting Hill's Craze Gallery, where fellow designers and artists were invited to customise the copied items. It's the play between two extremes, between industrialisation and craft, that profoundly influences the duo's work: Cafe Sonja, a new piece, is an entire cafe that can fit into aeroplane baggage.

 

Paper Oerlikon, 2008

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Some antics at the museum

Some antics at the museum

 

Great news from the British Museum:

 

The British Museum is committed to making its collection, and data relating to the collection, accessible to a global audience both physically and virtually. Collection Online, the British Museum's web database implemented in 2007, already allows visitors to the Museum's web site to search nearly 2 million object records, a third of which currently include at least one digital image.

The British Museum has now released a Semantic Web version of the database complementing the Collection Online search facility. The Museum is the first UK arts organisation to instigate a Semantic Web version of its collection data. The new service brings the British Museum into the 'linked data' world and will allow software developers to produce their own applications that can directly manipulate and reuse the data. It will also allow researchers and scholars a way to search and find data more precisely and facilitate automatic updates.

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