25 Sep 2006

extra extra minty (or, china in china)



One of the real joys of the web this summer has been keeping track of extraminty's flickr stream. Wendy (extraminty) Kewshaw has been visually documenting her stay in China, making china - well, porcelain to be precise.

I was lucky enough to have studied Ceramics in Cardiff with the lovely Wendy in the early 90s and it's just awsome to watch the making of some fantastic pieces with the backdrop of all these images of a rapidly changing China.

It might just be a potter thing, but I am finding it utterly compelling watching the mix of peices in museums and galleries, Wendy's pieces as they go through the various stages of creation and seeing her innovative methods of drawing on clay with stains and petroleum gel and china clay all set to a backdrop of a rapidly changing china. If your bandwidth is up to it, just go there now and see for yourself.

16 Sep 2006

I praise of BB

I love Boing Boing, I think it's one of the most creative and diverse blogs on the net, a happy blend of art, culture and politics. Just in the last couple of days it has brought to my attention a project with an artist in residence working with two doctors at Guys Hospital in London, a $400k hippo dinner service commission, the new Banksy exhibition, crocheted cacti , knitted brains and an excellent lecture by Jason Shultz. It's also closely tied up with the Open Culture movement, EFF and Creative Commons. It's just following that general art tradition of being anti censorship, because we all know from experience there will always be the thorny question of who censors the censors.

I can't think of any other site on the net which would dish me up such a diverse dollop of creativity, and yet this site is banned in work becuse it gets black-listed because it's categorised as being a 'proxy avoidance' site in the new bluecoat content filter.

'Proxy avoidance' is becoming an issues in the US in schools and institutions in part because of what can only be described as a 'moral panic' about social networking. Instead of trying to figure out what is so compelling with sites like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook for teenagers and teach them to how to be safe and responsible global networked citizens, in America, they are just trying to ban access to social networking sites, on pain of withdrawal of federal funding.

The Deletion of Online Preditors Act (DOPA) is making it's way through the legislative process in the US as I write. I hope that this is a bandwagon that the UK doesn't just jump on. Probably the best analysis that I have read on this so far comes from AoC NILTA and can be found here.

I hope that the UK doesn't try and follow the USA's lead and try and through the baby out with the bathwater while blinded by the latest moral panic.

12 Sep 2006

MySpace for things?

A while ago I came across her Draft Craft Manifesto and was impressed enough to pass it on to B who riffed off it in her second cast-on show. For some reason it popped back in my mind a couple of days ago and I googled Ulla-Maaria Mutanen and found a link on her blog to Thinglink. It peeked my interest, but I didn't entirely 'get' it.

Then I found a video on Google and decided to give it a whirl for some of my paintings. So.if you want to know anything about Thing:093UWW, Thing:645BJT, or even Thing:546ZCW (or any other of my registered things, you can because they now all have their own little homepages.

What's the point? Well, until there is a way of searching for 'Things' on Google, not a lot. I can't see myself putting a sticker on the back of the paintings, (I'm more your permanent marker kind of grrl) but the idea of having a product code that refers to searchable data on the internet is pretty cool. I think it would be a good way into getting makers into the idea of being producers and not consumers on the internet. The interface is dead easy, though it is reliant of the user having a flickr account set up first.

That said, I think it would be a good 'gateway' web app. Although I am an enthusiastic advocate of Elgg, it is harder to explain it to people in education who aren't really familiar with the ideas of social networking on the internet. The kids all understand MySpace, but we are busy having a moral panic and blocking that out of educational networks without unpicking what is so useful or appealing about them. The format of Thinglink is: "here is the thing I made, here is some text about the thing I made and here are some tags relating to the thing I made..." its a lot less controversial as a format. But still a good tool to reflect on the making of objects.

Gah, now I keep of IKEA... I can just imagine an exhibition with an internet console and a handy supply of paper dockets and half sized pencils and work, with product codes, it's strangely appealing...

8 Sep 2006

a load of...

... pollocks.

There is nothing like a few weeks ofhelpdesk duty to reduce me to a scribbling wreck.