Pecha Kucha Birmingham – Ctrl + C

On 8th December I gave a talk at Pecha Kucha Birmingham. This talk was critical of the one-way system of cultural reappropriation by corporations. The whole video is available below.

Ctrl + C

If you can at all relate to the issues being discussed in this presentation you can read more about it in this great article about How Corporations Profit From Black Teens’ Viral Content

The next Pecha Kucha in Birmingham will be taking place on March 15th and you should get in touch about tickets or even giving a talk at it.

Ctrl + C/Ctrl + V

As a super special bonus below is the presentation in text and image form.

Original animation by Nina Paley

Original animation by Nina Paley


Culture is created by copying, adopting, remixing, recreating and doing it all over again. Nowhere is this more noticeable than on the internet where memes, easily adaptable and modifiable jokes, are created by appropriating popular culture for, well, the lols.

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Like all good things, though, there are forces working against creating of memes. Corporate agendas have infiltrated the conversations and threaten, sometimes successfully, to stop the spread of lols. Using a few examples I want to show how largely corporate agendas have resulted in stifling of creativity in some way

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From November 2014 Snoop Dogg began posting images on the internet, requesting that people memes out of them.

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The response was less than favourable. Instead of reappropriating these images and making really funny memes out of them people instead made a meme out of the fact that this is not a meme and that his desperate attempts were somewhat laughable.

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Although this type of social engineering by powerful people or brands isn’t always a failure you should be careful that you don’t end up like Milhouse, a meme used to ridicule forced memes.

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For my second case study I want to look at the phenomenon of Left Shark. In February 2015 Katy Perry performed at the Super Bowl half time show in America. In this performance Perry was joined on stage by, amongst other cuddly critters, two dancers dressed as sharks. The one on the left became popular in by its apparent inability to keep to the routine.

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The internet quite quickly made a meme out of this. Some liked how individual and unique Left Shark was. Others liked the absurdity of it all. Whatever the reason for liking Left Shark, it very quickly became a thing of interest.

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It caught the attention of one person who decided to make a 3D model available for anyone to make their own 3D print or art featuring left shark. A good thing, right? Yes, and with all good things eventually the big boys come and ruin it all!

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Katy Perry’s lawyers swooped in and demanded that this model be taken down. They claimed that they owned the right to Left Shark.

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They even tried to register a trademark for left Shark, which was ultimately rejected. What is worrying about this for me is that the community created Left Shark, not Katy Perry or her lawyers. Before us there was no left Shark, just some anonymous person in a costume. We created Left Shark but they want to own it.

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For my last case study I want to focus on the appropriation of internet slang, slang, emoji and “youth culture” in general. In June 2014 Peaches Monroee, a regular vine user uploaded a video talking about her appreciation of her eyebrows.

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I’ve opted not to use audio so I’ll recite what she said. “We up in this bitch. Finna get crunk. Eyebrows on Fleek. Da fuq. Being on fleek quite quickly became a thing and a way to say something is on point, or good. Whatever. Like all good things, brands soon caught on and ruined it.

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Brands started attaching the word fleek onto their promotional tweets, latching onto its popularity and trying to get a piece of this sweet sweet pie.

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Probably my favourite of the uses of fleek. It has the honour of not only being terrible but also rhyming. That surely deserves an award

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There’s a very popular twitter account called Brands Saying Bae that occasionally collects examples of brands using this popular vernacular. It’s an attempt to humanise the brand and relate to its potential customers on their level by using their language.

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However, I think it’s just embarrassing. It’s like when your Mom or Dad tries to hang out with your friends by bustin’ out a “yo yo homies” whilst wearing a backwards cap. It’s just not going to happen

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There’s a bigger demon here though. The brands will use this vernacular, these reapporpiated memes as a way to sell us things, sometimes successfully. But what about Peaches Monroee?

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What about the creator of doge? What about people creating memes? Corporations will happily take our the culture we created to sell us stuff back at a premium, but when we try and do it we’re stopped and they try to control it.

Image by Nina Paley

Image by Nina Paley


For this creative culture to carry on creating nonsensical memes that ultimately bring us joy we have to stop restrictive laws from controlling how we interpret and reinterpret the culture that we see around us.

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Or, to put it another way, this cultural reappropriation by corporate brands needs to take an arrow to the knee.

Blocked by URL Filter Database

Spam

The internet used by the Birmingham Central Library and the rest of the council’s system has blocked my website. Apparently my “Spam URL” presents a “Medium Risk”. I feel so proud 🙂

Maybe it’s just a glitch in their system 😉

BYOB Birmingham lineup

Myself and Pete Ashton are curating the first BYOB event in Birmingham. After lots of chin-stroking decision making we can finally announce the lineup of artists and musicians taking part!

Exhibiting Artists

Alan Brooker, Ewa Mos, Daisy Hogan, Antonio Roberts, Chris Plant, Modulate, James Warrier, Sarah Rose Allen, URRRGH, Paul Harrison, Kate Spence, Elizabeth Howell, Soraya Fatha, Leon Trimble, Michael Lightborne, Matt Murtagh, Pete Ashton, AAS

Music provided by

Arcade, Bobby Bird (Modulate) and 8bit Pete

BYOB is presented by VIVID and Flatpack Festival and takes place at VIVID on 16th March 2012 7-10pm and is completely FREE to attend! Check out the event listing on Facebook and last.fm.

GLI.TC/H GLI.TC/HED

GLI.TC/H happened in Chicago, Amsterdam and Birmingham last year but I’ve only just gotten around to making this short video of the event in Birmignham, using footage captured by Pete Ashton

Enjoy!

(I had previously made an overview video for GLI.TC/H 2010)

GLI.TC/H Birmingham

GLI.TC/H Birmingham happened on 19th November at VIVID and I’ve only just had time to recover from it.

As the curator of GLI.TC/H Birmingham I’d like to give my own set of thanks:

  • Arts Council England for supporting GLI.TC/H Birmingham.
  • Birmingham City University, in particular two staff members:
    • Gregory Sporton, for supporting the event, even if he doesn’t quite get what it all is!
    • Lorna Hards, whose course, Methods and Models of Curatorial Practice, gave me the confidence to curate GLI.TC/H Birmingham
  • VIVID, for accepting the proposal for GLI.TC/H Birmingham to be part of their “The Garage Presents…” programme and for providing an amazing space to hold this event in as well as technical and programming assistance
  • The GLI.TC/H Bots (Rosa, Nick and Jon) for being great friends and for allowing me to curate GLI.TC/H Birmingham. Moar thanks to Jon Satrom and Nick Briz for traveling to all three GLI.TC/H events (Chicago, Amsterdam and Birmingham)
  • Flip Festival, for hosting a great night of GLI.TC/H video previews. Photos/programme available here
  • Leon (Chromatouch), Pete and James and Sarah, for being great assistants and filling in gaps that I overlooked.
  • fizzPOP, for being a great hackerspace and providing assistance in the workshops
  • All of the artists that gave workshops, delivered lectures, performed or had videos/bumpers screened at GLI.TC/H Birmingham.
  • All of my friends that attended GLI.TC/H Birmingham or supported it in another way. I know that a lot my friends don’t quite understand glitch art, so it was great to see them at it!
  • And last, but not least, thanks to you, the audience, for traveling from the far reaches of England (and in some cases the world) to attend GLI.TC/H Birmingham. I hope that the day gave you a better insight into the world of technological failure!

    I was personally pleasantly surprised by the turnout throughout the whole day, to the point that we ran out of seats! So, thanks for making it a great success 🙂

Videos of all of the performances and lectures are available, thanks to Pete Ashton, on this YouTube playlist. Here’s the video of Jon Satrom’s prepared desktop:

Pete also took photos for the event and many more are available in the GLI.TC/H Flickr group. If you have any photos please add them to this group! Here’s one of my favourite photos, featuring Nicolas Maigret from Art of Failure:

Glitch Birmingham 34

I can’t personally comment on what is next in store for GLI.TC/H (GLI.TC/H 2012???), but I’m already planning future, much smaller, glitch art events to take place locally. I’m always up for collaborating on this, just get in touch.

Now time for sleep.

GLI.TC/H BIRM preview: Jon Satrom

GLI.TC/H has started and on Saturday November 19th it’ll be making its way to VIVID in Birmingham, UK! The full programme is available here, and as a PDF. Over the week I’ll be providing a bitesized overview of the upcoming events.

Realtime A/V: Jon Satrom

Jon Satrom presents a prepared desktop performance, where he uses the operating system itself as an instrument:

Bio

Satrom spends his days fixing things and making things work. He spends his evenings breaking things and searching for unique blips inherent to the systems he explores and exploits. Satrom teaches a course on Glitch Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs a creative web and video studio called Studio Thread, performs real-time audio/video, creates colorful glitch-ware, and is involved in various collective online and offline new-media efforts.
 
 

Meta

GLI.TC/H 20111 will include works from over 100 participants from more than a dozen countries and will be taking place in virtual-space at http://gli.tc/h and in real-space

For more details visit: http://gli.tc/h | http://glidottcslashh.tumblr.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/glidottcslashh | @GLIDOTTCSLASHH

GLI.TC/H BIRM is part of The Garage presents… programme from VIVID and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City University

GLI.TC/H BIRM preview: Art of Failure

GLI.TC/H has started and on Saturday November 19th it’ll be making its way to VIVID in Birmingham, UK! The full programme is available here, and as a PDF. Over the week I’ll be providing a bitesized overview of the upcoming events.

Realtime A/V: Art of Failure

Nicolas Maigret of Art of Failure will perform 8 Silences, which is a completely audio-only performance:

8 silences offers a sensible representation of Internet by broadcasting audio streams that travel and reverberate trough the web. Initially silents, the streams progressively incorporate an infinity of transformations or “errors” that modify the sound as it circulates on the network. These alterations are comparable to a form of erosion caused by the network space – they are a key to allow different mental representations of this digital topography. Presented as a live performance, 8 silences is a sound immersion in the heart of data flows.
8 silences is a live piece made from mixing together several silent ogg and mp3 stream loops with different quality settings (error corrections are bypassed). Each loop is going to a different location on the globe, and then coming back to the location of the concert venue. Performers stand with a laptop in different parts of the venue (non scenic performance). The audio streamloops are exchanged in wifi around the public.

Here’s the audio from a performance of 8 Silences in Paris in 2010:
Art Of Failure : 8 silences live @ IRL Paris 2010 by artoffailure

Bio

The imperfections allow to identify a medium, in the style of glass becoming visible by the accumulated dusts and scratches. Within the ART OF FAILURE collective, Nicolas Maigret and Nicolas Montgermont experiment the capacity of the contemporary technologies to generate specific sound or visual languages. In their realizations, the internal characteristics of the media are revealed through their errors, dysfunctions, borderlines or failure threshold, which they develop sensory and immersive audio visual experiences.

Meta

GLI.TC/H 20111 will include works from over 100 participants from more than a dozen countries and will be taking place in virtual-space at http://gli.tc/h and in real-space

For more details visit: http://gli.tc/h | http://glidottcslashh.tumblr.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/glidottcslashh | @GLIDOTTCSLASHH

GLI.TC/H BIRM is part of The Garage presents… programme from VIVID and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City University

GLI.TC/H BIRM preview: Minuek and Chromatouch

GLI.TC/H has started and on Saturday November 19th it’ll be making its way to VIVID in Birmingham, UK! The full programme is available here, and as a PDF. Over the week I’ll be providing a bitesized overview of the upcoming events.

Realtime A/V: Minuek and Chromatouch

The second of our Realtime A/V performances comes from UK-based VJs Minuek and Chromatouch. Here they are as a part of the VJ collective Freecode earlier in the year:

Bio

Minuek is a UK based Audio Visual artist. Starting out doing video for the Brighton based Wrong Music label. He has worked doing live visuals at various festivals and events around the UK. Performing Audio Visual sets since 2008 working with node based creation tools. He is part of the Freecode Audio Visual collective, a group of artists exploring realtime audio and video that started from a performance at the ÊExyzt ‘Burningham’ installation at this years Fierce Festival in Birmingham. The collective have performed various shows in unique locations over the intervening months.

Bio

leon trimble goes under the name chromatouch and has been tweaking digital stuff since the last millenium. starting making music on amigas in the early 90s he progressed to noodling with graphics and 3d animation. by the time the millenium bug failed to materialise he’d started using pcs and become a web designer. video editing and photography had taken hold of his creative bent by this time and he started making visuals for dance clubs. having become fairly popular locally and further afield he started turning to more artistic avenues using his skills to express leftfield ideas of light.

Meta

GLI.TC/H 20111 will include works from over 100 participants from more than a dozen countries and will be taking place in virtual-space at http://gli.tc/h and in real-space

For more details visit: http://gli.tc/h | http://glidottcslashh.tumblr.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/glidottcslashh | @GLIDOTTCSLASHH

GLI.TC/H BIRM is part of The Garage presents… programme from VIVID and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City University

GLI.TC/H BIRM preview: Screening part 3

GLI.TC/H has started and on Saturday November 19th it’ll be making its way to VIVID in Birmingham, UK! The full programme is available here, and as a PDF. Over the week I’ll be providing a bitesized overview of the upcoming events.

Screening: Andrew Benson – Click on it

Bio

Andrew Benson is a visual artist and performer based in San Francisco. His multi-disciplinary and experimental work is a playful engagement with interconnected systems and feedback, and is the result of complex technological or physical processes. ÊWithin the technical abstract spaces, a clumsy or self-conscious human presence challenges the purely analytical and synthetic nature of digital representation. As an extension to studio work, Andrew Benson has worked as Video Designer/Director for a number of high profile touring musical acts. He has been teaching electronic media courses at San Francisco Art Institute since 2008 and creates online content for Cycling ’74 Software.

Screening: Nick Briz – A New Ecology for the Citizen of a Digital Age

Bio

Nick is a new-media artist/writer/thinker/educator/organizer living and working in Chicago, IL; organizer for Upgrade!Chicago, a monthly art and technology series held at the Nightingale Theater; co-organizer/founder of GLI.TC/H; as an educator heÕs developed and taught courses on new-media art, Internet art + culture[s], remix art + culture[s] and experimental music; he developes digital/web/interactive projects for various clients with Branger_Briz. His work has been exhibited at festivals and galleries around the world and is currently distributed through Video Out Distribution in Vancouver, Canada as well as openly and freely on the web.

Screening: AAS (featuring Samekhmem) – Drone Glitch Dérive

Bio

The letters AAS do not stand for anything: they should be pronounced as a word. AAS is a self-producing artwork, creating itself through performance fictions and collective consciousness. Our work is future-orientated and is developed through symbolic activity, often drawing upon coincidence and chance as forms of divination. We aim to discover and produce new, alternate readings of reality that we encounter together. We use familiar ritual structures and music to bring people to the appropriate state of mind

Screening: Theodore Darst – cannotfindmywayhome

Bio

theodore darst was born in nyc, became a man in new haven, ct and currently lives, works, and goes to art school in chicago. his videos and prints have been shown internationally and he has provided live visuals for some of the hardest hitting names in drone music.
 
 
 
 

Meta

GLI.TC/H 20111 will include works from over 100 participants from more than a dozen countries and will be taking place in virtual-space at http://gli.tc/h and in real-space

For more details visit: http://gli.tc/h | http://glidottcslashh.tumblr.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/glidottcslashh | @GLIDOTTCSLASHH

GLI.TC/H BIRM is part of The Garage presents… programme from VIVID and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City University

GLI.TC/H BIRM preview: Screening part 2

GLI.TC/H has started and on Saturday November 19th it’ll be making its way to VIVID in Birmingham, UK! The full programme is available here, and as a PDF. Over the week I’ll be providing a bitesized overview of the upcoming events.

Screening: Jon Satrom – Too Many Cats

Bio

Satrom spends his days fixing things and making things work. He spends his evenings breaking things and searching for unique blips inherent to the systems he explores and exploits. Satrom teaches a course on Glitch Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs a creative web and video studio called Studio Thread, performs real-time audio/video, creates colorful glitch-ware, and is involved in various collective online and offline new-media efforts.
 
 

Screening: Dan Tombs – kacien

Bio

Dan Tombs studied Fine Art at Norwich School of Art and Design, graduating in 2003. He has performed widely in the UK and internationally, exhibited at EAST international 2005, Visions Gallery Tokyo, Nottingham’s Broadway Media Centre, and the World Expo in Shanghai. He now lectures in Film and Moving Image at Norwich’s University College of the Arts, and is currently performing bespoke live visuals for Jon Hopkins and Kompakt’s Walls. D.I.N. is a sound art collective consisting of Dave Ramage, Benji Fox and Iain Wallace, using a homemade DIY aesthetic, they have provided audio accompaniment for various audio visual works and were also commissioned to create a new score of contemporary electronic music for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Screening: Rosa Menkman – Radio Dada

Bio

Menkman is a Dutch visualist who focuses on visual artifacts created by accidents in digital media. The visuals she makes are the result of glitches, compressions, feedback and other forms of noise. Although many people perceive these accidents as negative experiences, Rosa emphasizes their positive consequences. ÊBy combining both her practical as well as her academic background, she merges her abstract pieces within a grand theory artifacts (a glitch studies). Besides the creation of a formal ‘Vernacular of File Formats’, within her static work, she also creates (narrative) work in her Acousmatic Videoscapes. In these Videoscapes she strives to connect both sound and video artifacts conceptually, technically and sometimes narratively.

Meta

GLI.TC/H 20111 will include works from over 100 participants from more than a dozen countries and will be taking place in virtual-space at http://gli.tc/h and in real-space

For more details visit: http://gli.tc/h | http://glidottcslashh.tumblr.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/glidottcslashh | @GLIDOTTCSLASHH

GLI.TC/H BIRM is part of The Garage presents… programme from VIVID and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Birmingham City University