Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ridley Scott releases the final Director's Cut of Blade Runner

My favorite science fiction film is probably Blade Runner for a ton of reasons. I love the noir aspects, its basmy favorite Philip K. Dick work, Rachel Ross (Sean Young) is a hottie (I wish I could let my hair down and it suddenly be CRAZY CURLY), and the Egyptian themed office at the Tyrell Corporation and the 80's kitsch quality.

If you've ever seen the feature film release you've probably gone insane from Harrison Ford poorly delivered and written voiceover. The most nauseating part for me is when Deckard and Rachel escape to the magical nature world at the end. Seriously, did anyone say anything about how nice it would be to settled down in the countryside at all in the entire movie? The Director's Cut was an absolute treat after experiencing the awfulness that was the studio approved version. I love the music in the unicorn dream sequence; its quite possibly one of the most perfect visual/audio pairings in a movie ever.

Wired's interview really gives an image of Ridley Scott as someone who refuses to give up on his complex ideas about how Dick's story should be told visually
. This is most certainly going on my Christmas list.

Scott: I was touching on possibilities like replication. It's now quite commonplace, but 25 years ago they were barely discussing it in the corridors of power. Now, the film is not really about that at all, it's simply leveraging that possibility into one of those detective film-noir kinds of stories. People were familiar with that kind of character, but not with the world I was cooking up. I wanted to call it San Angeles, and somebody said, "I don't get it." I said, "You know, San Francisco and Los Angeles." It's bizarre: People only think about what's under their noses until it comes and kicks them in the ass.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mourning in Participatory Culture

Since I've been investigating my thesis topic on memorialization and port-mortem data storage and all things digital death-ness, I've wondered how virtual spaces designed to be participatory deal with mourning. In general, most of these spaces lock users out of participation (ie. Second Life memorials to the Virginia Tech shootings, 9/11; static html memorials, post-mortem MySpace/Facebook pages - all of which are usually maintained by one person or by a select group), but an interesting counter-example is the funeral in World of Warcraft that took place a little over a year ago. The funeral was meant for the avatar of person who died IRL, and was raided by a rival guild:

Skip to about 5 minutes for the raid

My question here is how can mourning, a very private, solemn and personal experience be shared, created and carried out in spaces that are for the most part out of the control of users? At the same time, how can we experience death - particularly mass-death or high profile deaths, which often effect large groups of people - in spaces which are built upon a participatory culture without bastardizing or harming that experience?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

musique concrete

I thought this project (Musique Concrete) by Simon Morris was a nice mix of psychogeography, performance, and interactivity. The skateboard adds a really interesting performative element, merging musical and sports live performance in a way I haven't really seen before. I'd really like to have this for my daily commute.

Urb festival 2006 Kiasma Museum

Friday, September 14, 2007


I normally wouldn't post this sort of thing here, but I'm looking for some media help/suggestions on an issue very close to my heart. Last night, as Tropical Storm Humberto passed through my home parish, a tornado ripped through my sister's house destroying it and the majority of their belongings. Sadly, they didn't have homeowner's insurance for a variety of reasons, and also they had just completed some of the last steps to finishing their first home.

Pending the permission of my sister and her family, I'm going to be launching a website to do some fundraising to try to get them back on their feet and into their own home. I am really thankful that everyone made it out ok and just frazzled. Its times like these that really make me realize the insignificance of material objects and in general that there's very few concrete guarantees about life. I'm also really glad to see everyone in my family stepping up to help out and provide some temporary housing until they get on their feet.

Anyway, keep watching this space for more information about what fundraising efforts I can organize, and any updates about my family. In the meantime, if you're interested in lending a hand, please feel free to email me at hebert.sara at

Read and watch more:
Unfortunately the video does not work on Mac's, which of course, is a pain the butt.

Books for the quarter.

Here's what I know I'll be reading this quarter for my Research Methods class and for my Digital Sound Cultures class.

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music

Virtual Music: How the Web Got Wired for Sound

Strange Sounds: Music, Technology and Culture

Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae

Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life

Web.Studies (I love love love the cover of this book.)

Reading Digital Culture (Keyworks in Cultural Studies)

And just for fun/research:

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide


My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts