US forces in Iraq were part of a firefight in the city of Fallujah on Thursday. At least six Iraqis were killed. It was not known precisely what role the American troops were playing in the situation. Even though President Obama declared the end of combat missions, the history of the Iraq War is still being written. And it is being written, every day, on Wikipedia. The Iraq War entry on that site is massive, thousands of edits over the years. Still, the only thing most people see is the most recent version. James Bridle is a writer, editor, and publisher in London. He gathered together all the Wikipedia material related to the war from 2004 to 2009 and made a 12 volume set of hard bound books. We talk to James Bridle about war, the memory of the internet, and how to make an accurate accounting on a site that’s always changing. Also in this show, we talk to Anders Wright about Halo Reach.
The internet has been around long enough now that it has a proper history, and it has started to produce media and artefacts that live in and comment on that history. James will be talking about his work with writing, books and wikipedia that hopes to explain and illuminate this temporal depth.
James Bridle is a publisher, writer and artist based in London, UK. He founded the print-on-demand classics press Bookkake and the e-book-only imprint Artists’ eBooks, and created Bkkeepr, a tool for tracking reading and sharing bookmarks, and Quietube, an accidental anti-censorship proxy for the Middle East. He makes things with words, books and the internet, and writes about what he does at booktwo.org.
There’s a lot of talk about what the future of publishing looks like. Designers and innovators draw up these artistic visualizations of tablets, touchscreens, and interactive multimedia literature mashups to illustrate the possibilities.
But one designer is thinking a lot more about what is lost in the transition from the physical book to the digital. In fact, his visualizations often flip the script by placing digital literature in the physical context.
James Bridle is an editor, publisher, designer, and innovator. One of his most recent projects was a physical production of the complete changelogs from the Wikipedia entry on the Iraq War. The project amounted to twelve volumes of almost 7,000 pages, including all the changes, discussions, and arguments logged in the process of producing the never-complete Wikipedia article from December 2004 to November 2009.
He’s created a number of other projects to highlight the impermanence of the web and provoke conversation on the e-book, both the efficiencies and deficiencies thereof. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab’s very own David Weinberger spoke with James by Skype about his work for the first ever episode of Library Lab/The Podcast.
Jason Scott is a man on a mission — save all the things.
But what does “save” mean in the modern world, in the waterfall of personal and private data, and where do we even begin? Turning on the history-o-matic, Jason provides a backdrop to our attempts to “save”, what has been done, and what we can do. The talk will be fast-paced and loud, like a hard drive at the end of its life.
Jason Scott is a force of nature, tirelessly dedicated to preserving our digital history, from old-school game manuals to the latest social networking sites hell-bent on sucking our collective culture into “the cloud.”
He is also a documentary film maker. He made BBS: The Documentary and Get Lamp, all about text adventure games.
In the run-up to the destruction of Geocities, Jason set up Archive Team, a collective of volunteers who back up first and ask questions later. He now works for the Internet Archive, though he is at pains to point out that he does not speak for them.
And yet, despite all his achievements, Jason will probably never be as well-known as his cat Sockington, who has over a million followers on Twitter.
A discussion of creation myths, internalized histories, ”production functions”, and the uncomfortable proposition that everything new is samizdat again.
Aaron Straup Cope is from Montréal but these days you can find him in New York, where he works at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Musuem.
Before that, he was living in San Francisco and working with Stamen Design. And before that, he was working on Flickr …before it all went to hell in a handbasket. At each of these places, Aaron has left a trail of machine tags and maps in his wake.
I remember waaaaay back, before any of those young upstarts, when Aaron worked on the Mirror Project at the turn of the century. The fact that the Mirror Project is still up and running after all this time is testament to Aaron’s interest—nay, obsession—with personal archives …although his particular penchant is for the more personal kind, like Parallel Flickr and Privatesquare.
Aaron has a love and a knowledge of food that is truly awe-inspiring. But that’s not the (only) reason I’ve asked him to speak at dConstruct. He’s speaking at this year’s dConstruct because I don’t see why the Museums and the Web conference should have him all to themselves.
And if you aren’t yet convinced of his bona fides, you should know that Aaron Straup Cope is one of the Directors of Revolving Technologies at the Spinny Bar Historical Society.
How computers and digital technology affect our lives around the world.
Click investigates triumphs and pitfalls of the digital age at the dConstruct conference.
James will discuss the architecture of datacenters, the subjectivity of Google Street View, and the pixelation of everything, in an attempt to calibrate our new position in the world.
The relationship between digital and physical products is larger than if it exists on a hard drive or a shelf. It’s the tension between access and ownership, searching and finding, sharing and collecting. It’s a dance between the visible and the invisible, and what happens when we’re forced to remember versus when we are allowed to forget. How does this affect us—not just as makers, but as consumers of these products? Does collecting things matter if we don’t revisit them? We may download, bookmark, tag, organize, and star, but what then?
A digital Zen master would say that if everything is starred, nothing is. We’ve optimized the system for getting things in, but how do we get something good out? How can we make meaningful connections between all of this stuff, and make constellations out of all these stars?
Frank Chimero is a graphic designer and illustrator. He makes pictures about words and words about pictures. His fascination with the creative process, curiosity, and visual experience informs all of his work. Each piece is part of an exploration in finding wit, surprise, and joy in the world around us, then, trying to document those things with all deliberate speed.
A presentation about history, networks, and digital preservation, from the Webstock conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in February 2012.
Our perception and measurement of time has changed as our civilisation has evolved. That change has been driven by networks, from trade routes to the internet. Now that we have the real-time web allowing instantaneous global communication, there’s a danger that we may neglect our legacy for the future. While the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. But we can change that. This presentation will offer an alternative history of technology and a fresh perspective on the future that is ours to save.
A careen through grassroots innovation, speculative design, supply chains and sexual healthcare provision, lashing down over-caffeinated flailing into the grit of socio-technical systems.
Georgina Voss is a writer and researcher working on the interplay of technology, politics and culture. She sometimes writes for The Guardian, and she’s currently in residence at the lovely Lighthouse Arts right here in Brighton working on a design fiction project that asks “what could digital fabrication and hyper-local manufacturing offer to the provision of sexual healthcare?”
She also holds a doctorate from Sussex Uni, so that’s Doctor Georgina Voss to you.
George has a knack for exposing the networks underlying the most normal-seeming activities. Usually “logistics” isn’t a word that conjures up much excitement, but George can make you look at shipping containers in a whole new light.
Oh, and she also hosts a great podcast called Gin and Innovation which has featured dConstruct alumni Dan Williams and James Bridle.