Retro Patina

They’re still making stylus-free laser turntables in Japan. I’ve never heard one, but look at its immodestly chunky styling: it must sound fantastic (and evidently it does). And just over $10,000 for the basic model. Still, it seems the only way to experience that retro vinyl patina without degrading the media at the same time. But isn’t that cheating? Part of the vinyl experience is the harrowing of the grooves with each playback, surely.


It’s the summer of Anticon in my house. Song of the week has to be this remix of Sole’s Plutonium. Look out for the white girl suicide bomber. Indeed.

Glanceful Kunstkopf?

Thinking more about glanceful interfaces, and the communication of complex multivariate datasets. For reasons I haven’t gotten around to writing about here yet, I’m veering towards sound cues for a lot of things, particularly binaurally-located vocal cues. I’m looking for a pipelining spatialiser using some simple head-related transfer function (HRTF) that I can feed audio into at approximately realtime. For ‘earcons’, simple samples are easy. For vocal cues, I’m thinking of using FESTIVAL. But I need the spatialiser, and I can’t find one that runs on Linux and accepts a stream input. Maybe I’ll have to hack something in Max. …

Products? Easy.

Brian’s lucid moments are as entertaining as his (um) other moments. He’s recently written a column about product development in our post-everything world: The fact is, even in the present economic conditions, it?s never been easier to bring an idea to market. Rem Koolhaas recently said that formal architectural training was a waste of time. If you can imagine a building, Ove Arup can build it. If you have a better idea for a laptop or flat panel television, OEM manufacturers can spec and build it for you. Need distribution? Allow me to introduce you to the web, and an …

Turf War

Turned out Banksy’s ‘event’ was just around the corner from here in Dalston. A few pictures before my camera died. It was a good weekend for art: also Christian Marclay’s Video Quartet at the White Cube, and the exhibition of Henry Wellcome’s extraordinary collection of things at the British Museum. And a mango lassi at the Rasa festival in Hannover Square.


More un-London, monsoon-like rain. I am an enemy of symbols. Symbol is too narrow a concept for me in the sense that symbols exist in order to be deciphered. An artistic image on the other hand is not to be deciphered, it is an equivalent of the world around us. Rain in Solaris is not a symbol, it is only rain which at certain moment has particular significance to the hero. But it does not symbolise anything. It only expresses. This rain is an artistic image. Symbol for me is something too complicated. Andrei Tarkovski, Interview Ein Feind der Symbolik …

Rage Net

Brakhage DVDs arrived. Rage Net on Arcam FMJ DV27 to 42 inch plasma screen. Watch from a distance of about 10 inches. That and The Dante Quartet, which dissolves the screen. Fragments form and reform.

La Mer

I’m not sure where I found this excerpt. The whole thing runs for an hour, and is mesmerisimg projected large. Saw this unexpected in a stairwell at the Palais de Tokyo a few years ago.

Subliminal Feeds

A question for glanceware practitioners: how to convey multivariate, multistate data at a glance. You have to choose media which we are very good at parsing at a glance. Chernoff faces were an early attempt at this. I guess music would be another good medium to explore. We want users to know things without necessarily knowing how they know, or when they were informed. At one level, glanceware should make knowledge transfer subliminal. Which itself raises the question of when and why we need to convey quantitative or qualitative information. Imagine a glanceware system to monitor a stock portfolio. Do …

A Glance at Heidegger

Heidegger makes the distinction between tools with are ‘ready-to-hand’ (zuhanden) and those which are ‘present-at-hand’ (vorhanden). We are, he says, only conscious of tools as tools when they are present-at-hand. When we are actively engaged in performing a task through use of the tool, we lose consciouness of the tool itself, which ‘withdraws’ into the task. The ready-to-hand is not grasped theoretically at all… The peculiarity of what is proximally ready-to-hand is that, in its readiness-to-hand, it must, as it were, withdraw in order to be ready-to-hand quite authentically. That with which our everyday dealings proximally dwell is not the …