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Archive for the 'Musik' Category
Nowadays information doesn’t only travel by text, but also by video. Now we all know that there are thousands of ‘How to’-videos out there to help us filleting fish or tie one’s tie. But this isn’t all. Thinking also has found video to be an interesting format – look at the fantastic animation of this Zizek lecture or at Hannah Arendt blowing smoke at Günter Gaus in 1964, for example. The Suhrkamp Verlag takes this development quite seriously. It has not only one but even two video channels on YouTube, on which you find its authors like Rainald Goetz reading/talking. And as my former flatmate Nikolaj Belzer is an upcoming and talented director (who in the past often used our old apartment as a set) I decided to ask Suhrkamp, if they would be interested in us producing a video to summarize the book. What can I say, our idea fell on sympathetic ears. So here you go:
Many thanks to Robert Lippok, who allowed us to use one of his tracks from his excellent album “Redsuperstructure” released on Raster Noton – if you are into abstract minimal music, you definitely should get it. Yes, I am a big fan. Also many thanks to the director Nikolaj Belzer, who knows how to make my apartment telling its own story of the book. Finally, thanks to my apartment for keeping us warm. I hope you enjoy the outcome – feel free to share it.
A new century needs new efforts, and this will be an important guide for everyone eager to understand digitalisation: Gilbert Simondon, the French philosopher who’s book on technology has finally been translated. Up till now you could only download the first few English chapters of his book ‘On the mode of existence of technical objects’ here. Then Dan Mellamphy recently made the effort to translate the important last part. Now it has also been published in German by the bustling editors of Diaphanes. Autumn may come, willing to stay in now!
… and then the Olympics took your hand and dragged you along, out of the helicopter of a preconceived opinion and into the crowd: even people who had decided they were going to hate this entertainment spectacle, started raving instead of ranting. And rightly so. Danny Boyle’s interpretation of social achievement was so much more than glorifying the idea of a nation set up for sponsors to display their logo.
Not only that there was an entire deaf and hearing children choir called CHAOS singing the National Anthem in their pyjamas, while the recreated hill of the Glastonbury Tor made all the officials look a bit lost in the green. To a certain extent it also gave history back to those who made it, and suddenly we found the workers of the industrial revolution alongside its engineers. Here history isn’t just made by outstanding heroes. We as a society rise, too. And suddenly it all came clear: fascinating about the Olympics is that deep down in the architecture of the games we find a transcendent gesture.
(If it doesn’t work, try this)
Let’s be honest: we humans like the idea that we can rise – who wouldn’t want to -, and the idea that we are able to has many places in the games. Not only because athletes rise above their limits, but also because it was always meant to be an event in which nations are coming together to leave all national trouble behind. This moment that we can rise and overcome, now playfully hopped, in Boyle’s version, from scene to scene: it got picked up by James Bond, the Queen and her lovely chubby corgis, all four larger than life of course; it got enacted by books and musicmusicmusic and dancers all able to perform the trick of erecting a different world in the existing; it was displayed in the ethereal cyclists with glowing wings, as well as in the national praise of a choir of deaf children; and by a National Health Service taking care of a gigantic sci-fi baby, too – stop! Okay, let’s consider this for a moment .
As all the excited tweets made apparent, here the ceremony had its truly transcending moment: giving health service a place among the historic achievements of our societies. Boyle is right, when he says free universal healthcare is “an amazing thing to celebrate”. As it hasn’t a single hero, it often gets forgotten in history. Also it isn’t easy to put into a narrative and storify, which shows that we sometimes need an artist to help us see (let’s call it: Boyle’s Eisenstein moment).
But it is important: it embodies the values of our society, for we do not only help when paid with money and profit but when help is needed. Never would it have occurred to me that the NHS could be Pop. Bonkers! It has changed our societies definitely as much as the industrial revolution or digital technology, and reaches out to millions of people much like a live-tweeting Tim Berners-Lee. By the way, digital technology has proved that even though we live under the reign of entertainment, there can be a mass secret. While 60,000 people saw the dress rehearsal two days before, its story stayed secret. Amazing, isn’t it?
Finally, there is one element in the choreography of the Olympic opening ceremony that I can’t get out of my head: the fact that during the never ending march of all the national teams in their funny dresses more athletes hold a camera in their hands than flags. As if we can see the rise of a new transcending element: in leaving our individual borders to belong to something bigger, soon technology will be as connecting as the idea of a nation. Not a bad thing, I suppose.
I’ve been in Vienna yesterday to discuss the future of digital advertising with some interesting guys from Spotify and play.fm (the advertising summit was happening in this massive gorgeous place, the Hofburg, sort of like the Buckingham Palace of Austria). Back in London, I entertained my travel from Heathrow back home to Hackney with some news. Among them I found the following two news items: The London Games called the army for security help. And the gorgeous museum in Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie, plans to relocate its 500 year old masters to make way for a €150m donation of modern classics that would attract more visitors. Question: What do these two news items have in common?
Let’s have a look. With the London games the case is the following: The security company G4S was initially contracted by Games organizer Locog in 2010 to provide 2,000 security staff for £86 million. Meanwhile that figure has risen to 10,400 personnel in a contract now worth £284m. Unfortunately their eyes were bigger as their belly, so to say. They accepted the pitch to make more profit, and they were the most profitable bid for Locog who obviously missed out controlling if they were able to deliver. The result of all this money driven logic? Now the army is called for help. Great! Looking forward the games.
From the Olympic Games security disaster to a Berlin Museum
Meanwhile in Berlin, the Gemäldegalerie considers to kick out its old masters to put them partly in storage. The reasons: Collectors Heiner and Ulla Pietzsch have donated a new collection to the nation on the condition that it is put on display in its entirety (and not in storage). Of course, for most people surrealists and expressionists are somewhat easier to access than old masters from the 15th century, so away with the old stuff and in with the new. In Germany, museums have become the most lucrative entertainment after the movies, they attract more people than theaters or football. It seems that by now we need to please people, and that our public places are driven according to a head count. For sure, we have stopped to think of museums as places where we can learn and discover something about our human past, hereby making human history a place only for experts.
While at first glance, these two news don’t seem to be related, they secretly share one ugly gesture. Money is the logic that drives both, and where once politics have ruled, now rules an economic logic. Earlier on, the buzzing advertising summit with its Google and Blackberry booths erected in the middle of this beautiful baroque ceremonies hall also made this evident. While the summit has been full of discussions of high quality, way too often economy, once a lively debated subject, has much changed with entering the throne. We must have done something wrong. Discursively, it became a monolith whose only logic seems to be profit. That hasn’t always been the case, and it is not good for economy. As the case of the now in deep shit security company G4S makes apparent, to act more profitable isn’t always the best solution. By now, our Western societies badly need another buzzword to keep ‘profit’ in check.
PS: Sign this petition (click on the link) -> ‘Reconsider the plan to empty the Gemäldegalerie of Old Masters’
Done! Finally I am about to leave the house in order to say hello to the summer. I have spent the last days drawing my powerpoint slides to deliver a follow up at the Berlin re:publica to this talk: How algorithms change our society. Or: What can we expect from the Internet of Things? Had quite some good discussions about its potential in the last days, and look forward to the talk now.
While teaching the bright young students at the art university of Linz and enjoying the fabulous pastries of the bakery Brandl, I noticed something quite interesting. In Austrian advertising, on the streets and in public life in general, everyone is looked at through a heterosexual filter. Sexual attraction is forced upon you as in a playful way you become a pick-up option. Even the Jehova’s witnesses guy greeted me with a twinkle in the eye the other morning: “Good morning Madam, are we in a hurry today?”
While in the past this would have made me feel uncomfortable, nowaydays I find it quite amusing. I play my role and enjoy to observe an evolutionary setting that has gone stray in a globalized world: the attraction to the other sex. I think as we became a global village this has become outdated. Or don’t you agree: even if we are heterosexual, we don’t like the other sex in general. For sure I don’t. In my utterly heterosexual life, I was never attracted to men in general, only to some of them. To live under the spell of a general male/female attraction is amusing. Here in Austria, I had the feeling you will never be alone. There will always be a mountain high, heterosexual matrix with you. And amazing pastry.
Currently I fight with facebook. There are two reasons for this: first of all, I try to bring the social network into the line of an essay I am writing. And as some of you know, thoughts never behave. They always dance out of the line, the more if you write about a network which doesn’t like straight lines anyhow. It will surely be easier to discuss the problems with facebook live at the upcoming UnlikeUs conference in Amsterdam to which I am looking forward to go.
Secondly, I am tired of facebook. Not because I suddenly despise it, not at all. I still think people who get all riled up about facebook should simply leave. For quite a while I liked it, but now I am utterly uninspired about what to communicate. However, I don’t want to leave because you only grow out of a relationship to replace it with a new one. Yes, this applies not only to humans but also to technology. We have started a blog which we later abandoned for a micro-blogging platform. Or we talked with friends on facebook which we are now about to leave for talking to them on Google+.
Interestingly enough, switching networks is not that easy. Which is why I thirdly fight with facebook. The problem is, you can’t just sign up to a new network and start a conversation right away. If you are new on Google+, for example, your contacts won’t pay attention, even if you are connected to a lot of people. Surely you have noticed yourself that people who do nothing but re-direct their Twitter feed to facebook barely ever get a facebook-comment.
Today, you need to cultivate a network like you cultivate a friendship. This is why most of us are whether on Twitter or on facebook or on Google+, but nearly no one actively handles all of them. Like friendships, we have a partiality for a certain types of computerized communication, and soon our preferred communication network will become part of our profile. Okay, back to facebook.
The empire is back! The new trend among news organisations: expansion. Britain’s Daily Mail, since last week the biggest online newspaper in the world when it surpassed the New York Times by 500,000 unique visitors, is a good example. After its editor-in-chief Martin Clarke took the US by storm with two offices in New York and Los Angeles, they now tackle the next English speaking realm, India, with a MailOnline India frontpage. So does the Wall Street Journal with an Indian edition and its Hindi blog, and the New York Times with India Ink.
Meanwhile, my lovely former employer The Guardian has launched an Arabic section of its site with articles on politics and current events in the Middle East as well as a series on football. The project to convert the large Guardian reading US audience into a more sustainable relationship is also making progress – last year my former MediaGuardian boss Steve Busfield packed his things to sport-blog from New York, from where the editor-in-chief of GuardianUS, Janine Gibson, subtly steers the digital US dinghy off to pastures new with a team of 10 editors. Which is a good thing: if journalism expands from foreign correspondent to flagship stores, the quality of journalism gains indeed as you always learn more on the ground.
The Huffington Post, on the other hand, goes the other way round with launching a British and now a French edition. Only it wouldn’t be the Huffington Post if they were not taking things even further, would it. Yesterday they announced a new thing: they will bring you Internet-TV with the Huffington Post Streaming Network. Sending live 12h daily from summer on, they plan to try something like “social media breaking news”, i.e. their journalists will pick up what is discussed on social media, and one third of the screen will display comments of Twitter and Facebook. That they take this project bloody serious tell the numbers: 100 journalists will be devoted to this.
Picture via TV Exchanger
Expansion is the new strategy but really, this seems a bit odd. Remember that last year we spend under the banner of the paywall? And anyhow, can expanding be an international trend? After all, it is tied to the English language, isn’t it? Indeed, in Germany, Spiegel Online just launched its own app for Spiegel Online International but it is doubtful that other media outlets follow that example. Smaller newspapers have to figure out their own way. Still, there are ways to grow, for example when expanding into new topics or – as the Huffington Post – new media. Thank you, internet, looks like 2012 will be an interesting year.
The following sentence weirdly hang about in Fyodor Dostoyevsky “The Possessed”, which I read between the years. Okay: still read, but it is nearly finished.
Daughters will grow up even in the most careful families, and it is essential for grown up daughters to dance. 418
This morning I found a link to this interesting post on ‘The Mobile Web in Numbers’ in my Twitter stream and I decided to do a bit of maths. Among lot’s of interesting stats, the post starts with the following numbers:
5.9 billion is the estimated number of mobile subscriptions worldwide in 2011.
13% is the smartphone share of all mobile handsets in use worldwide.
This means, we are talking worldwide about 767 million smartphones opposed to nearly 6 billion mobile phones, and according to the post 75 million of them are Apple iPhones. Far less, for example, than the estimated 850 million users of Facebook. So here is my question: Are we making too much of a fuzz about it? Have we already ended up in a personalized bubble, when we assume everyone has an iPhone, Blackberry or Android device? Or will get one, just because most executives use them?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt that the web is about to move from the computer to other devices, and digital information will soon be everywhere. However, I have two objections.
1: This takes a bit of time – we are not there yet, but we pretend to. Is the reason for this sheer marketing? Like everyone should feel in need of a new product? Read, for example, this sentence taken from a study of IBM : “Additionally, mobile sales grew dramatically, reaching 6.6%”. Is this number of 6.6% really one where we should use the word ‘dramatically’? Or is ‘dramatically’ used to suggest: ‘My dear, don’t miss this?’
On top, the tablet hype. We can count nearly 7 billion humans in the world, and among them we have 10.3 million tablet users in 2010 with an estimated 82.1 million tablet users expected in 2015. Well. Facebook is a country, but even in the Western world 10.3 million tablets are not even really a mega city yet. It’s clearly a device for an elite. Which takes us to objection two.
2: There is no doubt that the internet is on its way to leave the computer, but I am not sure if mobile usage will become the new norm anytime soon. It might be that often we just stress the use of these devices as normal, because we fight for the digital public to be acknowledged in the traditional public sphere. However, taking apps as well as tablets or smartphones as naturally given despite the actual numbers is about to become a problem. When we focus on them as if they are mainstream, we simply show that the digital divide is already there: it is happening in our heads, and we set ourselves as the new norm.
File under: #digitaldilemma or am I just a victim of a London underground which has no reception? You tell me.
It started as a trick: in the summer of 2006 I came back from an extended stay to Berkeley. As part of me didn’t want to leave the XXL-mildness of California, I came up with the brilliant idea that I am not really back unless I expose myself again to German television. No sooner thought than done. The small black old school plastic box in my living room stayed switched off. I had stopped watching television. Recently I researched the future of television for an event of the association of private television VPRT, and learnt that this wasn’t really the case. It is more complicated. The truth is, I stopped using a television set, but I continued to watch.
Television sets have been saved a bit by their slow replacement cycle. As analysts Spencer Wang of Credit Suisse said, people only buy a new television set every 7 years while they get a new smartphone every 2 years. However, 2012 will be the year that television will say hello to digitalisation. More and more channels and TV brands have now started to embrace it. They have woken up. Up till now most of them thought of the internet as nothing but a marketing place to promote their TV content. Now we are about to enter a new era and it becomes a distribution channel, too. Welcome to the post-cannibalisation-era!
Yet old media looks a bit nibbled off, and at least partly this is their own fault: they’ve waited to long. Here television has been in a lucky position. Its industry had the possibility to learn from the mistakes of others, mainly the unhappy music industry. Being worried about illegal copying, they denied to enter digital distribution and tried to lock themselves up in the fortress of DRMed CDs. Instead pushing themselves on the new medium with a generous gesture forward, Apple and Steve Jobs did their job. They did it very well, and also took away their control. Afraid of getting iApple-ed, the television industry has learnt their lesson: the safe bet against illegal copying is to make your content widely available, provide it with a realistic price and set up a very easy way to pay for; better even several ways.
Under attack by television-to-go
But as vertical expansion has been stuck in the head of executives, for TV the problems are already beside distribution. On the internet, finding content is the key. So who will be the television guide to find content online? Who will become Google for television? Besides clicker.com, several other companies try to give an answer, among them the social approach of the Berlin based Tweet.tv. In a world of information overload, the TV guide will be the meta-channel users need. Conceptually half portal, half search engine with social add-ons delivering an overview across all brands, friends and followers sounds quite perfect for a key position. Consequently, CBS made a clever move when they bought clicker.com earlier this year unlike television portals which simply dump all their content on their homepage. They just prove that they don’t understand the new medium – zapping already sucked in the real world, and on the internet more is everywhere, so less is more.
Finally there is television-to-go: the iPad and the Kindle Fire tablet have become something like the walkman of television, and Amazon as well as Apple’s iTunes is their content provider. And there is go-to-television: Google has developed the GoogleTV browser that will soon find its place on Sony’s, LG’s and Samsung’s sets. Plus Google’s YouTube has invested 100 million dollars in content production for its channels with Disney among the producers. Apple also approaches the TV set by making use of their creative perspective: Its patents show that they plan to develop a television you can shout and gesticulate at in order to make video editing easier and seamlessly sync all your devices, er, all your Apple devices, of course.
In short, when YouTube reinvents itself “as Internet’s answer to cable TV”as my colleague Janko Roettgers has put it, when digital companies start to produce tablet television devices, when TV sets come with a browser in order to display internet content, then the vertical integration of TV has started to push and shove. As the president of VPRT Doetz demonstrated at the event, an open discussion among private television has not only started started but is thought of as necessary. Surely some scepticism remains, but 2012 will be a decisive year for television. I might even buy one.