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FLOSS Digital Foundations

For three days in February 2009 Adam Hyde and the members of the collective convened at Eyebeam in NYC to translated xtine burrough and Michael Mandiberg’s new Creative Commons textbook Digital Foundations from Adobe software to FLOSS software

Video and print version coming soon


The Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is … a crowdsourcing marketplace that enables computer programs to co-ordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks which computers are unable to do. Requesters, the human beings that write these programs, are able to pose tasks known as HITs (Human Intelligence Tasks), such as choosing the best among several photographs of a storefront, writing product descriptions, or identifying performers on music CDs. Workers … can then browse among existing tasks and complete them for a monetary payment set by the Requester.via wikipedia

Crowded is an as-yet unreleased radio show/podcast that is made up of segments of audio recorded by Mechanical Turk workers.  Each episode has a mechanism, such as:

  1. Workers listen to a series of songs, choose one that reminds them of an event in their life, and then tell that story.  The stories are then combined and played on top of the song that they chose.
  2. Workers are encouraged to call me and have an argument about a topic I give them.  I edit myself out, leaving only one side of the argument.
  3. Workers are asked to call and tell a story/reminisce about something that never actually happened to them.
  4. Workers are provided with a conference call line and a character to play.  Two or more workers call in and have to play their character.

The workers call in and are given, on average, $5-$8 to send an audio recording that fits the mechanism.  They are given the option of calling a US phone number and leaving a message, or recording themselves on HoundBite or YouTube.

After doing several projects using crowdsourcing, I wanted to do a project that was about the faceless people who are doing these tasks.  Who are they?  Where do they come from?  Why do they do these jobs?

You could argue that I am still just using them and not really humanizing them so much as exploiting their willingness to tell personal stories for a few bucks.  But you can argue a lot of things.

the future is not what it used to be


February 28 – April 4, 2009, Postmasters Gallery

“the future is not what is used to be”

Opening: saturday, february 28th 6-8 pm

“the future is not what is used to be” brings together artists engaged in the Internet shaped culture. Through drawings, photographs, sculpture, video, and online projects they explore social interaction in a networked world, reflection in the times of speed, new communication tools and smart technologies affecting cultural and sociopolitical reality, sustainable strategies for contemporary life, connectivity and dis-connect, digital/analog divide, instantaneity and obsolescence, the web as the largest image depository ever, and new forms of appropriation, means of production, and modes of political engagement.

What we do today shapes our tomorrows.

Kevin Bewertsdorf conducts Google searches for images that he then orders printed onto variety of objects employing online services like These remotely made “Promotional Objects” transcend banality of its origins as private found imagery: from infinite web space onto a limited product, the unwitting subjects are made physical once again, staring at you across time and space.

Charles Broskoski’s “Films” reverse the culture of image overload. On his site, six well known films (Pulp Fiction, Terminator 2 and When Harry Met Sally among them) play continuously on a fixed daily schedule. There is a catch: the screen is black save only for the subtitles of the dialog; an absurd comfort of knowing that the movies are always there to serve as a catalyst for visual memory.

Marc Horowitz found an analog way to connect with his fellow twitterers: “for the next 100 people that add me on twitter ( ) I’ll send you a small drawing.” The 100 drawings on view will be mailed out at the end of the show. In addition every afternoon Horowitz will broadcast “” - a livestream video and chat talkshow with scheduled field trips, interviews, concerts, covert meetings, cooking instruction, comedians, reviews, round tables, celebrity guests, LA artist studio visits, road trips, and more

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung has been called “the John Heartfield of the digital era” His collages and animations composed entirely of imagery appropriated from the web deliver a biting political satire. New series -“In God We Trust” - presents global and domestic challenges facing the new Obama administration with the savior president cast as different deities (Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Krishna, prophet Abraham, Yoruba Orisha Trickster God Elegua/Eshu, Buddha, and Guadalupe)

Kristin Lucas pays hommage to the ever-replacable technological marvels: maclassic, a 25 years old icon of personal computing, and other nearly forgotten hardware objects are cast in colored wax as beautiful yet perishable candles

Michael Mandiberg’s altered encyclopedias, dictionaries, and newspapers, words incised into them with a laser cutter, highlight the loosing battle of printmedia at a time of rapid online delivery and the never ending newness of information. Everyday a fresh copy of The New York Times with the words “old news” cut onto it will be delivered to the gallery, a stack accumulating over the course of the exhibition.

Eva and Franco Mattes ( inject new synthetic life into art long gone. Their avatars in a virtual world Second Life re-enact seminal performance works from the seventies. Gilbert and George’s “The Singing Sculpture” and Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s “Imponderabilia” are staged for a very different audience.

Joe McKay finds the ghosts of Google Street View van and Mapjack car. His photographs recreate these stealth vehicles from partial reflections in store windows in San Francisco.

JooYoun Paek’s inflatable objects are smart appliances for urban survival. A bicycle cover made from garbage bags provides inconspicuous “blend-in” protection for a city cyclist, and a self-sustainable chair inflated by walking offers its user an independence from the urban infrastructure.

Sharing and communal nature and of online engagement has lead to formation of surfing clubs: group blogging sites with fast-paced conceptual exchange based on treatment and analysis of online material. Marcin Ramocki & Paul Slocum (with Spiritsurfers) will present “Where is it?,” a short video based on the blog posts of Spiritsurfers.

*The title of this show is a quote from Paul Valery

Postmasters Gallery located at 459 west 19th Street between 9 and 10 Avenues is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 - 6 pm.

Tiffany Holmes asked me some questions recently about The Real Costs, in preparation to write about it in her dissertation.

How many website hits to date for Real Costs?

How many downloads of the software (.xpi)?

To be honest I hate counting hits and downloads. It inevitably reminds me of popularity contests and other things that are obsessive and psychologically dangerous.

That said i do think that these things are somewhat useful. In particular I am interested in tracking the number of times it has been bookmarked on delicious, though I think that my digg score is almost irrelevant because of the pure geekery that takes place on digg. I am a geek but my work is often too theoretical. I have been trying to make my new work more diggable so-to-speak.

If you know, how “global” is Real Costs? IE, do you know how many “countries” are represented in the panoply of hits you get on the site?

Again, I’m not so focused on hits, but I can say that the airplane sites that the script works on are truly global. Delta, Air France, El Al.

Or at least those were some of the sites that it worked on most recently. It is a constant struggle to keep my code current with the code of all of those airplane websites. Everytime they change their HTML/CSS I have to correct my code to reflect this

The scientist you worked with (P. Timon McPhearson Ph.D.), what was his role in the project?

Timon made sure my science was ad accurate as itcould be. He guided me to key information resources like WRi. And he researched detailed information on the amount of carbon a tree really offsets one of his colleagues who is a carbon sequestratuon researcher.

Where are you with the next version? Are other projects pressing, or are you still pretty committed to this project? Just curious, not going to write about this…..

I made a google mashup that calculates the cost of travel on dollars and carbon based on the car and the price of gas. I have been waiting to launch it.

Any other worthy factoids?

While air travel accounts for 2% of world carbon production, recent estimates put worldwide computer use at an equal 2%

Calling all Boston people!

DATE: February 24, 2009
TIME: 7:00-9:00 pm
VENUE: North 181 - entrance on Evans Way [map],
Massachusetts College of Art + Design
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts.
Follow the signs posted on the outside of the Tower Building (black glass)
[Green Line "E"]

:: Jeff Crouse ::

Jeff Crouse creates software and installations that highlight the absurdity of technology in culture. Along with Andrew Mahon and Steve Lambert, he recently launched ABSML (commissioned by ABSML is a new markup language that enables the creation of complex sentence formulas for 21st century automatic writing. Jeff’s previous work includes YouThreebe, a YouTube triptych creator; Invisible Threads, a virtual jeans factory in Second Life; and James Chimpton, a robotic monkey that interviewed the artists of the 2008 Whitney Biennial. He is currently developing BoozBot, a bar tending robot / puppet; and DeleteCity, a Wordpress plug-in that finds and republishes content that has been taken down from sites such as Flickr and YouTube. His work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Futuresonic festival in Manchester, UK, the DC FilmFest, and the Come Out and Play Festival in Amsterdam. More >>

::: Mark Skwarek + Joseph Hocking :::

Mark Skwarek and Joseph Hocking will present Children of Arcadia, a real-time virtual ecosystem which undergoes the stress test of apocalypse to expose the moral fibers of its inhabitants and the flaws in their idealized utopia. Virtual reality and augmented reality are used to combine the physical world of downtown Manhattan with a virtual environment called Arcadia. The work gathers real-time information from the Internet related to the American economy and society and translates this data into either a utopia or apocalypse. These changes create a living 17th-century Baroque painting that shifts between a representation of apocalyptic ruin and one of an idealized utopia. More >>

:::: Up Next ::::

Ursula Endlicher - March 17, 2009

PLAN AHEAD: Calendar

::::: About Upgrade! Boston :::::

Upgrade! Boston is curated by Jo-Anne Green for in partnership with the Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. It is one of 32 nodes currently active in Upgrade! International, an emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. If you would like to present your work or get involved, please email jo at turbulence dot org.

IDEO, London
February 13th, 2009
Will be giving a talk at 4pm at IDEO london on Friday about some of my work. It’s Friday the 13th, but hopefully it will go well!

But Does it Work?
Art, Activism and the Interventionist’s Gesture

Tuesday, February 24, 6:30 pm
A Conversation between Joseph DeLappe, Stephen Duncombe, and Steve Lambert

Artists/activists Joseph DeLappe and Steve Lambert join writer/activist/media scholar Stephen Duncombe to discuss what happens when artists interfere with existing structures of media in order to manipulate and use them as vehicles for political and social commentary. How do these forms of intervention compare to straight-forward art activism, and what are these artists hoping to achieve? How does one even measure success when utopia is the goal? The talk will focus on the artists’ works “dead-in-iraq”, “” and the recent faux New York Times “Special Edition” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

EFA Project Space presents this event in conjunction with the exhibition Post Memory: A Collection of Makeshift Monuments, on view February 21- March 28.

Laser Letters: heal

We made some serious improvements to Stencilano a month or so ago, but haven’t had the time to announce anything. Also working on some new lasering fonts, but more on that when there is something to show.

I am going to be on a panel about art and social media on Monday, noon-2pm.

February 9th, 2009, 12pm - 2pm

Brand Experience Lab

520 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10012