Not Only in the Now | 2305

 

The artist should not concern themselves with the effervescent present of social media.

Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2023/02/04/301-2305-not-only-in-the-now/

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Not Only in the Now

As artists we express ourselves through art, poetry, fiction, film, music, sculpture, dance or whatever. But the moment you put any of it online it becomes content

Not because the modern world has consciously chosen to devalue a work of expression down to one generic term. But because of the nature of the web itself

HTML or Hypertext Markup Language requires all web pages to consist of the building blocks known as elements. 

HTML elements begin with an angle bracket, or start tag. This tells the browser what kind of element it is. Open bracket, P, Close bracket, indicates a paragraph element. Then some text goes in, and then a different tag, Open bracket, slash, P, Close bracket, indicates an element has come to an end. 

Everything that goes between an opening and closing tag is called Content. 

For example, a line of text in HTML is written like this

<p> This is the element's content.</p>

When transmuted through a digital interface and placed on the world wide web, all art becomes content.

The artist must focus not on the content they are going to create, but the kind of art. The moment of upload is the creative victory. Everything else is up to the audience. 

However.

The artist must be mindful of the carrier waves  – on the other side of the platforms interface – that will carry the work out into the digital ocean. 

There are obvious differences between Twitter and Youtube, Tumblr or Instagram. But they all share the same core concept – the chronological feed.

The navigation of content by time. 

You log in to see the latest tweets; watch the newest videos, hear the latest music. The most recent thing is the most relevant. The feed’s logic so implies, that older things are less relevant. As you scroll down, you move further away from the present. Pull down to refresh the relevant.

The home screen is a shoreline the artist must cast their work out from. A message in a bottle to be carried off, into the swell of a platform’s social seas.  

To remain at the surface, the work must acquire the quality of virality. Bobbing back to the top with each reblog. The work may contain some artistic truth. But alas, without social buoyancy; no matter how true, the work will fade and sink into the deep dark depths. No longer of the now but of the past.

Further issues arise when work is cast into algorithmic feeds. The platform’s one-thing-after-another-logic is lost. Relevance and recency so elegantly signalled by the top of the feed now obscured. Narrative dissolved, context collapsed. 

TikTok’s feed has never treated recency as relevant. The home screen is not a shoreline, but a glass bottomed boat. Like from deep ocean currents, content is brought up to the surface on your behalf. Relevance inferred from opaque statistical models of historical consumption.

All consumption on feed based platforms takes place at the network’s turbulent and frothy surface. Meaning-Full content in the short term, becomes Meaning-Less within hours. It is always ‘now’ on social media. Social platforms privilege the present. Concerned only with what happens next, not what came before.

Time and topic should be the dominant concerns of the artist making content.
When was the work created? and what when was the work created for? 

I spoke earlier about HTML, let us now speak of the URL – Uniform Resource Locator. 

Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia are all the same. All resources located at web addresses.

The most important thing is, that the artist can own one too.

Start a blog, build a website, write a newsletter, start a podcast, do whatever.
Just do it on your own domain.

The artist must make sanctuary upon their own little island. Till its soil, and build a lighthouse atop it its highest peak. Draw treasure maps and cast them adrift from the islands shoreline, not someone else’s.

The work is from home soil, always relevant and stable at the end of a weblink. Searchable. Made for the long term. Persistent. The work becomes part of an evolving and expanding archive. Links are the currents that the work follows along, travels across and through. It’s called web-surfing in cyber-space after all. 

The world wide web is an ocean. Endless in breadth and in depth.

The island artist does not concern themselves with the effervescent present of social media. Instead create work for the long term. Slower work made for more persistent mediums. The artist lives within deeper time and even deeper links. 

The work may link to related work, or to people who inspire and influence. Who in turn may link back to you. Work may be placed in context, or juxtaposed. Unlike social platforms, the wider web does not hide its complexity, but embraces it.

The web is a dense network, held in tension and compression with everything else. Structural. Tensegrity is a watchword for the artist. Integrity is work made for the longer them. 

This work, an audio work, is made for persistence, made with persistence, week after week

I hope (from one artist to another) that it will remain relevant. Not only in the now, but to others at the end of a link, somewhere else and somewhere when.

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The script above is the original script written for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the edit.

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thejaymo

04 Feb 2023 at 21:43

Cultural Fracking | CMF 2023 Annual Trends Report

 Cultural Fracking CMF 2023 Annual Trends Report - Blog Cover

Last year I was interviewed by the Canada Media Fund. That interview became the starting point for a *whole chapter* on Cultural Fracking in their 2023 Annual Trends Report.

You know it when you see it.

It’s the references, old formulas, reboots, recurring characters, remakes, reheated storylines, sequels, alternative timelines, callbacks, and easter eggs … 

It has come to be known as cultural fracking — a phenomenon that draws on mass cultural touchstones and intellectual property (IP) for a profit. 

According to Jay Springett, who coined the term, cultural fracking is a process of endlessly extracting new value out of common culture from the past. 

“New material must continually reference something from a time when mass culture was more broadly shared,” he wrote in 2019. “[M]ainstream culture has to continually frack the past to create future material.”

Today, Springett says, at least the big tentpole franchises are giving a little more freedom to individual directors and singular artists, “rather than engaging in storytelling by committee.”

Even still, cultural fracking is controversial and a concerning commercial reality for creators operating outside of American cultural hegemony, Hollywood or Disney. 

Treating media as a commodity, like gas, means there’s a lack of investment in new or alternative stories, Springett explains. “When culture is owned and is used as a commodity [to] create returns on an investment, that ties into copyright and the way that culture gets funded.” 

And, much like the act of fracking oil itself, blasting every rock down to its last drop tends to contaminate the water supply and wipe entire ecosystems out. 

It’s a real career highlight to have Cultural Fracking, a concept that I coined back in 2019, show up in a report like this, let along have a chapter dedicated to it. It’s been super fun to see the term slowly percolate out into the world. In fact, it was even been mentioned by Everything Everywhere All at Once director in the LA times!

“The multiverse can be way more than just this corporatized version of it that we’re seeing right now, where it’s basically used for fan service or for cultural fracking, almost — like we’re mining our past cultures just so that we can resurrect them in new arrangements,” Kwan said.

In addition to my contribution to the CMF Report, they also interviewed cultural commentator Brian Holidae, and o’l buddy o’l pal Andrew Dana Hudson about his short story “Voice of Their Generation”.

The other challenge to creating common culture in an internet age is speed: The zeitgeist is distributed, bottom-up and outpacing studios, rather than coming from them. 

“Things can be common culture for like a week,” Hudson adds. “We can never go back [to] that period where there were four channels and everyone knew every show, even if they didn’t watch them.… Mass culture was a collection of things that were forced on us [but] that’s never going to happen again. We’re in a new space.”

The article then transitions away from Cultural Fracking to look towards counter trends. Whilst not explicit the chapter moves towards a Permissive IP approach and I shout out the Fringe movie project.

Never being one to suffer from hubris, the chapter ends with me offering a whole damn country some advice:

“If I was Canada, I would be thinking about creating innovative licenses for IP.” 

The whole report, and especially this chapter on Cultural Fracking is insanely well written, well worth your time.

Check out the whole report here.

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thejaymo

31 Jan 2023 at 15:23

Twice In One Week | Weeknotes

 

I went into town twice this week, the most frequency I’ve been in Central London since the before times. Both for good reasons tho.

SandboxVR

On Wednesday I went SandboxVR in Holborn. And experienced their ‘holodeck’. VR googles, headphones, haptic vest and full MoCap tracking gear. SandboxVR was super fun.

We played the first game built for the technology platform and it was extremely well done. A typical ‘shoot the zombies as they come in waves’ set up. There is also some integration with a large set of fans in the room to give you an immersive experience at peak parts of play.

I enjoyed the Put you hand on the someones shoulder to heal them game mechanic, which really speaks to how robust the realtime mocap is.

There’s currently only two of these places in the UK, and at £35-50 quid per person is a little pricy. However, the experience is amazing, and worth the money.

Deep 90’s Laserquest Vibes

Presumably, everything will continue to improve along with the rest of the post-game-engine consumer tech in the coming years. I thought the Pico (G2/G3? not sure they have obscured the branding) headset was a little heavy after one round 30mins. Maybe I just need to work on my upper back and neck muscles if i’m going to be spending time in the metaverse? Anyways, thanks BV and Ed had a great time.

A Wheel of Small Gods

The other occasion for being in town was on Friday was for the launch of ‘Delicious’ Brian Wilkins’, occult poetry book A Wheel of Small Gods.

Created in three years of ritual, A Wheel of Small Gods is gateway to working with the 36 Decan Spirits of the Egyptian Zodiac . Rooted in tradition and profoundly experimental, the book offers to restore to readers the healing magic that is their birthright through art and inspiration. These 41 poems and talismans offer nothing less than the secret of magic: you can change your life.

I met Brian for coffee and some lunch, then we spent the day together. Chatting, plotting, etc whilst doing the classic occult bookshop tour. Culminating with his book signing/reading at Watkins. DB gave a short talk about the 3 year long ritual involved in creating the pieces, and his collaboration with artist Brennen Reece who produced the woodcuts for the book, and accompanying oracle card deck. It is always a real privilege to hear a poet read their poems for an audience.

After the reading the soupers in attendance went for drinks in soho, where we raised a glass in memory for the must missed Eriol. Great fun.


In other news, its Eve’s birthday this weekend, hence the clip show podcast yesterday. We had family over yesterday, and then low drinks with a few friends in the evening.

I made a cake:

We are about to head into Wimbledon for fancy ‘nordic Japanese fusion’ at Sticks’n’Sushi. Nice.


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The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • I’m still smashing out the life / labour todolist
  • Built a big spreadsheet for Novara
  • Did a bunch of forecasting for Novara
  • Had two calls about a ‘plan’ someone has
  • Wrote 600 total words a day, every day, on across two projects this week
  • Played VR LOL

Terminal Access

Much activity in the friend-o-sphere this week. Both are music related. One gets a mention here, the other below.

The band MACHIAVELLIAN ART’s debut album Indoctrination Sounds is up for pre-order on bandcamp via Riot Season Records. I have yet to see John and co tear shit up live, but I can’t wait for the day.

A Maximalist blowout of Sax-honking Noise Rock, Doom Metal, Hardcore Punk, and Shoegaze, with Industrial Noise, Howls, Paranoid Rambles, and pure Disdain for oneself and the rest of you layered on top.

Dipping the Stacks

State of the Windows: How many layers of UI inconsistencies are in Windows 11? – NTDEV

It’s 2023, and Windows 11 is finally a mature operating system that most people would be happy to use.

The Honest Broker | Ted Gioia | Substack

If it happened at Barnes & Noble, it could happen anywhere.

TikTok helps UK book sales hit record levels, Publishers Association says – BBC News

“The sheer volume of sales we saw in that one year on the back of the TikTok activity far exceeded the combined sales we’ve seen for those titles over their lifetime before that”

The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI

We’re about to drown in a sea of pedestrian takes. An explosion of noise that will drown out any signal.

The ‘Tumblrification’ of Social Media

“The popular theory is that all the most toxic people left Tumblr because there wasn’t porn there anymore and went elsewhere

Reading

How to Read a Book by M.J. Adler and Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants are still both on deck but were sat aside this week.

Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act: A Way of Being is one of the best books about creativity I’ve ever read. It certainly is the book on the subject for our/my generation. I love that all his book promotion, speaking in public more than he ever has, has cause a huge shit storm about him, his work and what a ‘producer; is.

I managed to read half of the paper back publication of Anna Greenspan’s year 2000 PHD thesis Capitalism’s Transcendental Time Machine. It’s so amazing that lots of people from the CCRU extended universe are getting nice/clean new paperback editions. The introduction is by Wassim & and the Terra0 boys. I attended a 0x salon on the book on Wednesday.

Music

thejaymo.net Spotify Playlist

Kanoo – Deleted Years

The boys from Instrumental/Math/Rock/Emo/Roll/Tech/Melodic band Kanoo finally put their first album out – Deleted Years. Drummer Ed Broad was the drummer in some of my bands when we were kids, but today he’s at the top of his game. Hell they are all at the top of their game.T

The album includes some new to me tracks and old favourites like F# Infinity (below)

As a unit, Kanoo display incredible musicianship on every single track. Hope you discover them and check the album out.

Remember Kids:

WOTC, Games workshop meme

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thejaymo

29 Jan 2023 at 12:16



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