Archive for November, 2010


November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

on extended research hiatus during the holiday season, but hanging out at twitter for a while

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mythemes and database imagination

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

from the wikipedia entry on mythemes:

In the study of mythology, a mytheme is the essential kernel of a myth—an irreducible, unchanging element, a minimal unit that is always found shared with other, related mythemes and reassembled in various ways—”bundled” was Claude Lévi-Strauss’s image— or linked in more complicated relationships, like a molecule in a compound. For example, the myths of Adonis and Osiris share several elements, leading some scholars to conclude that they share a source, i.e., images passed down in cultures or from one to another, being ascribed new interpretations of the action depicted as well as new names in various readings of icons. Claude Lévi-Strauss, who gave the term wide circulation, wrote, “If one wants to establish a parallel between structural linguistics and the structural analysis of myths, the correspondence is established, not between mytheme and word but between mytheme and phoneme.” …

In the 1950s Claude Lévi-Strauss first adapted this technique of language analysis to analytic myth criticism. In his work on the myth systems of primitive tribes, working from the analogy of language structure, he adopted the term mythème, with the assertion that the system of meaning within mythic utterances parallels closely that of a language system. …

Lev Manovich also uses the terms seme and mytheme in his book, The Language of New Media to describe aspects of culture that computer images enter into dialog with.

from the wikipedia entry on Lev Manovich:

Database as a Symbolic Form

In 2001, Lev Manovich came out with an essay called “Database as a Symbolic Form”. In this essay, Manovich defines the term database and compares it to narratives. He explains how a database is like a big unordered list, whereas narratives orders their list with a beginning, an end, and a certain path to follow. Readers tend to want to mold things into a narrative. He uses the example of Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov, and describes it as “the most important example of database imagination in modern media art”. Manovich applauds Vertov for creating something that illustrates a middle-ground between databases and narratives. As well, he discusses the concepts of paradigm and syntagm and how new media reverses their original relationship. Instead of syntagm being explicit and paradigm implicit, the paradigm (database) is given material existence and the syntagm (narrative) is de-materialized.

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The game layer on top of the world

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

from Seth Priebatsch: The game layer on top of the world from TED:

I mean, we want to build frameworks in a way that makes it acceptable and makes it, you know, productive down the road. So, the social layer is all about these connections. The game layer is all about influence. It’s not about adding a social fabric to the Web and connecting you to other people everywhere you are and everywhere you go. It’s actually about using dynamics, using forces, to influence the behavior of where you are, what you do there, how you do it. That’s really, really powerful, and going to be more important than the social layer. It’s going to affect our lives more deeply and perhaps more invisibly. And so it’s incredibly critical that at this moment, while it’s just getting constructed, while the frameworks like Facebook, like the Open Graph, are being created for the game layer equivalent, that we think about it very consciously, and that we do it in a way that is open, that is available, and that can be leveraged for good.

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Why Networks Defeat Hierarchies

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

from Kevin Carson’s Why Networks Defeat Hierarchies on c4ss

I stumbled across an old 2006 commentary by Wilikeaks’s Julian Assange, from his defunct blog, courtesy of Internet Archive. It’s reproduced on the P2P Foundation’s Wiki: “Non Linear Effects of Leaks on Unjust Systems of Governance.”

“The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership …. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive ’secrecy tax’) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems.”

In other words, authoritarian hierarchies handicap themselves by suppressing the information they need to adapt to real-world conditions and remain viable. …

As counter-culture philosopher Robert Anton Wilson pointed out in the Illuminatus! Trilogy: Nobody ever tells the truth to someone with a gun — or someone who can fire them. (“Right you are, C.J.!”). As organization theorist Kenneth Boulding notes, “there is a constant tendency for hierarchy to corrupt communications, and for necessary information to be filtered out before it reaches the top decision makers. The bigger the organization, the more likely are its top decision makers to be living in a wholly imaginary world.”

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