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Just me and my life and my thoughts and my things, everyday, for everyone interested in..

Tuesday, December 6

.:: Mirrors and Shadows

Between the 1st and the 3rd of December at the IT University of Copenhagen there has been the Digital Arts and Culture 2005 conference .
A lot of interesting papers have been presented, but of course for me the most interesting is the one by Jill Walker : Mirrors and shadows. She talks about our fascination with representing ourselves online, comparing online photographic self-portraiture with self-representations in weblogs and the creation of visual avatars. She connects contemporary projects and quotidian practice to the history of self-writing and self-portraiture, as well as to psychoanalytic theories of how we use our own mirror images to come to an understanding of our selves.

Talking about photographic self-portraits, she brings as an example my set "pieces of me" on Flickr.
And that's what she says:
Marinella’s set “Pieces of me” (Figure 5) is an example of
this. The image of her eyes and nose, half hidden in a pillow,
is the closest to a conventional portrait. The other images
show parts of her body. Some are traditionally sexualised
body parts, such as the lips and the belly button covered in
lace. Others are simply exploratory: fingers (elegantly and theatrically curved in space), a heel, a shoulder, an ear. Many of the images in “Pieces of me” show the
photographer’s body in ways she could not have seen herself in a mirror. [....]
Marinella and Lala-lala’s photosets on Flick may be expressions of the same desire to – and pleasure in – discovering oneself as flesh and blood. Perhaps we could say
the same of the process involved in creating a paper doll that represents oneself. While Melanie’s self-discovery in The Magic Toyshop was cut short, however, our digital selfdiscovery of ourselves is a process that may last all our lives.

Thank you Jill for your wonderful quote and for having tried to understand so deeply our way of representing ourselves! Great paper, by the way.

Sunday, November 27

.:: Uncyclopedia

Yesterday I spent all day at the Linux Day 2005 in Pisa.
There where some quite interesting presentations, though I'm not a linux user yet. I especially loved the presentation about Wiki, in which I discovered the existence of Uncyclopedia, "an encyclopedia full of misinformation and utter lies". Of course I already knew about Wikipedia, but that's exactly the opposite. A fake encyclopedia. For example, if you search for porn, you'll imediately see a template with "Jesus loves this article!" and a fake quote by Oscar Wilde:
“If they were to take all of the porn off of the Internet, I'm pretty sure there would be only one site left and it would be called "Bring Back the Porn!"
Troughout the whole website there are made-up quotes by O.Wilde. I mean, maybe there won't be useful informations, but that's all soooo funny!

Tuesday, October 25

.:: Flock - a social browser

I think today I'm gonna try out Flock, the new browser that integrates social software.

Flock is actually being developed and its interface is still very similar to Firefox's interface (and actually its code is also based on Firefox's one). Though it is possible to do some things that are not possible with other browsers, such as sharing bookmarks and photos through del.icio.us and Yahoo! and having an RSS integration included in the browser. Looks like the blog manager is the main innovation: a tool which lets you create an HTML page and publish it directely in your blog, integrating platforms such as WordPress, Movable Type, Typepad and Blogger - it's a WYSIWYG editor and it supports a drag and drop feature. Contents can be copied from other pages or from Shelf, a sort of clipboard which lets you save texts or images taken from other websites.

Looks like it is a very interesting thing, though it has been criticised for being just an unuseful copy of something which could be easily integrated in Modzilla. But, you know, I'd like to try it out and see how far it can get.

Monday, October 24

.:: Wikipedia and China

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been unavailable in several chinese provinces including Shanghai since 18 October. The new has been spread by «Reporters Without Borders» on friday evening. Users trying to access Wikipedia homepage from any PC in China get an error message: it is not a selective censorship of some entries - it is the latest online censorship from Pechino. Paradoxically, this comes at a moment when China is publishing its first white paper entitled “The construction of political democracy in China” on 19 October, published to underline presumed improvings in human rights promoted by Chinese governement.

Friday, September 2

.:: Smoking chains

"Six degrees of smoking" is a global artistic collaboration which consists in distributing free lighters to those who wish to be involved. The recipient then photographs themselves smoking a cigarette and submits it via MMS or email. He then passes the lighter on to a fellow smoker (either a friend or a stranger) and the process is repeated. Each lighter is numbered and so they can be tracked on their travels.
Isn't it cool? I know for many people it will be horrible because can be a sort of supporting effect on smokers..but I don't seriously think smokers will smoke more thanks to this project..I think it could just be really cool to see how people can connect each other and objects can have incredibly adventurous lives.
This reminds me of BookCrossing...well it's the same way of tracing object's lives..

[via textually.org]

Wednesday, August 31

.:: Notte della Taranta's VideoBlog!

Maybe most of you won't understand what's this about. I'll try to explain it, in some way.

"La Notte della Taranta" is the largest festival musical in the grecian part of Salento (the last part of Puglia region, in Italy) dedicated to the recovery of the traditional dance called "pizzica salentina" and to its fusion with other musical languages.

The "pizzica" is the traditional music from this area and originally used to accompany the ancient ritual of cure from the imaginary bite of the "tarantola", the dangerous and poisonous spider. The tradition wants that in order to free the victim, usually a woman, the "tamburelli"(small drums) were played incessantly to whirling rhythm until she wasn't free from the charm. An obsessive and repetitive dance was accompanied to the sound of the drums and contributed to exaust the poison.
The obsession of the rhythm in music and the dance survive still today and in this manifestation you can feel it deeply.

Now, the festival, which has been, like every year, in Melpignano (Lecce) since the 12nd to the 27th of August, this year has had a blog and a video blog too! This is absolutely incredible for me, because I still consider the South of Italy a place out of this digitalized world...I don't know if I have to be happy about it, for the incredible chance that offers to the rest of the worl of seeing our incredible traditions, or being scared by the dangerous approaching of the technology to this enchanted world..Anyway, the video blog it's great!

Tuesday, August 30

.:: SMS I love you

My first post after all this time is about a discover I made thanks to Jill's blog.
Treasuremytext is a website that allows you to store SMS from your mobile phone online. They say that the service is free, and it is in fact, but of course you have to pay the cost of a normal SMS for sending it to them (in my case I have to pay the cost of an SMS to England). Does it worth it? With our new hypertech mobiles we have very big memories (I've been months without deleting sms and I still have a lot of free space) and most of them have softwares which allow you to downoload everything on the PC.
Anyway, the interesting thing from my point of you is that at my first year of university I made a project with some other students about the kind of language used in sms, since the goal of the project was a linguistic analysis on a particular kind of text. We created a small database of sms representative of some bands of people (selected by age, sex, level of instruction). The teacher considered our idea very original and it turned out to be a cool project. But of course it was a very small and scholastic one, with narrow perspectives. So the great perspective that I see in a thing like Treasuremytext is that it could represent a huge database of text usable for any kind of sociological or linguistic analysis. It should only have to ask the submitters for some more details (always anonymously) about age, sex and eventually other social details of the writer.
A comment leaved on Jill's post by Luca let me think about another aspect of this service: the chance given us by new technologies of logging almost everything in our life could change our personal memory. And, I dare adding, could switch it in a public memory. Though I think that, if my mother couldn't store an Sms, it's also true that she couldn't neither receive it. We have a lot of things that we can log or store now, but it's true that we also produce a much bigger quantity of "memories". And it's even true that most of our new ways of communicating are fast to disappear ( think about the difference between emails and snail mails: do you keep all the emails you receive? - Me only few. Did your mother used to keep all the mails she received? - Mine most of them). But the shocking thing about blogs and services like Treasuremytext is for me that anyone can read your life. I think are the concept of privacy and public memory to be involved most in this changing.

Wednesday, June 1

.:: Keep a grip on yourself

Sometimes people we love most hurt us deeper than anyone else could do. Especially because they know us deeply and if they want to hurt us, they perfectly know how to do it. And I don't know if one day they will understand that those words have changed everything, that they have broken one of the most important things we could count on. And if our self-confidence derived mostly from that relationships, we've lost a big part of it. We're more and more fragile. And if one day those people will even try to say a word about our lack of self-confidence, I'm sorry but we'll pour forth all their faults on them.

Monday, May 2

.:: Pixel you

The idea comes from a stylist and a graphic designer from Torino. Pixel You is a personalised icon realized from a picture, reducing the person's features in few pixels. Pixel you it's also a kit with a portrait in cross-stitch on a t-shirt which is also usable to "sign" the whole wardrobe and to costumize letter paper, emails, visiting cards, etc.
I mean , this is sooo cool! And it could be the perfect completion for my narcissism! But unfortuantely I don't have too much money to spend at the moment..My Marinella icon has to wait before invading the whole universe!

Thursday, April 21

.:: Street art

I was talking with my floormate...she's mad about the posters, writings, stencils, etc on the walls surrounding the faculty of Arts in Pisa. She claims it's not fair to cover ancient buildings' walls with that "shit" (because shit it is for her)..So I was thinking that maybe she's right, that cultural goods have to be preserved and it's not fair to contaminate them..yes it's true, but in Italy I think the situation is special: we have ancient buildings all around, most of our buildings are ancient, especially the ones of the faculties..So is it right to forbid people to express themselves in that way? Or isn't it better to let cultures overlap and mix? Isn't it another form of expression of our society?
The only thing I really can't stand is when something is done just for insulting and deface..I really don't understand (or better, I perfectly understand and this is the worst part...) the paint stains on churches and university official buildings...I dont' tolerate this kind of expressions only when they're moved just by anger, without respect and conciousness of the value of ancient art and traces.
But still this express our society..

Monday, April 11

.:: Interactive narrative project

A friend of mine, Eirik - a norwegian master student who's on Erasmus in Romania - is working on an Interactive narrative project...

I want the protagonist to be an Aeolian harp, and to try to give the user
different choices as the narrative evolves, so it could be like a multiform
story. For every puzzle or story that is completed the user will collect a
string of a melody (in Aeolian scale) that will go into a buffer (represented in
some way), and at the end of the story, the melody will be played back. It's
like PLAYING a melody. If the user chooses a different path through the
narrative, the final melody will be different.

This looks very interesting to me...we'll see how it will be realized.
Good luck, Eirik!