My current flexi-job in the Land of Cog involves research on an arts project. It's a good gig – my colleagues/managers are old friends, the hourly rate is better than normal here (AUS $27 per hour), and the work interesting. The core of my work is interviewing artists and tradespeople who have been partnered in a professional exchange project.
In a Japanese franchised fantasy game, players capture cute wild creatures called Pokémon, and train them to become members of powerful fighting teams. If a Pokémon cannot escape the confines of the multi-function Poké Ball, it is considered owned by the Trainer. Volition goes out the window, and it must now obey all commands.
The interior of the spherical Poké Ball is designed to make the enslaved Pokémon feel comfortable, but there are no guarantees that this will happen. It's a world of tough luck and tough love.
Thanks to Doll Yoko for making us aware of Caliban and the Witch - Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici. In Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici looks at the transition from feudalism to capitalism from the point of view of 'women, the body and primitive accumulation'. Her key thesis is that the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th century were instrumental to establishing a new capitalist order through 'the development of a 'new sexual division of labour subjugating women's labour and women's reproductive function to the reproduction of the workforce.' Yet by telling the story also from Caliban's point of view, symbol of the 'trans-Atlantic' proleterian, Federici achieves what she claims: to transcend the dichotomy between "gender" and "class". This book is also a brilliant description of the process of primitive accumulation, in particular the enclosures of the common land starting at the end of the middle age and the various forms of resistance to that by renegade women and the 'motley crowd' of the working classes.
In his essay All problems of Notation Will be Solved by the Masses, Simon Yuill claims that the emergent practice of livecoding 'most directly embodies the key principles of FLOSS production into the creation and experience of the work itself.' Unfortunately this claim is supportet by an argumentation which is elitist, draws on the criterium of virtuosity and thereby stands in stark contrast to the culture of particpation that FLOSS has engendered. While his central argument is not supported, the piece offers enough food for thought to be considered interesting reading.
In the past few months TNL has gone through significant changes. Although many of those are not visible on the surface straight away, they constitute great improvements of the site. Key changes have been made especially in regard to this forum topic about books and bibliographic references.
The exhibition "Waves" is part of a long term research project into analogue and electromagnetic waves. "Waves" uses the process of making an exhibition as a form of practice based research. This research journal entry starts with a new abstract regarding Waves related research, and then introduces the two exhibitions in Riga 2006 and Dortmund 2008. This should be shortly followed by a new summary of the research project. There is also a new waves image gallery and these efforts are all combined by the fact that they use the second Waves exhibition for taking stock of what came from this research so far.
Last monday the 26th of May I upgraded drupal from 5.3 to 6.2. This turned out to be a bad decision, as drupal 6.2 is not ready yet in many ways to host a site such as thenextlayer.org.
The decision to do an upgrade at all was motivated by security fears, as the version 5.3 which I was using was said not to be totally safe anymore although I am not so sure about this. I should have upgraded to 5.7 which is the latest version of version 5.x and has all the latest security patches (but no new functionality besides.