Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Notes from Data Forensics [in the landscape]

Data Forensics [in the landscape]

Discovery Through Experiments

We are surrounded by electromagnetic phenomena. We cannot (for the most part) see it, feel it, hear it, or touch it. How can we experience the unseen directly? How do we even talk about the invisible? What is the phenomenological experience of electromagnetic phenomena? Can there be one?

Spectrum -- Frequency -- Wave

Electromagnetic waves are hitting your body -- entering your body -- impacting your body -- but you cannot see them or make sense of them. What are the biological effects of these unseen electromagnetic waves?
>ionizing radiation -- Chernobyl
>non-ionizing radiation -- ubiquitous -- the realm of information
How do/can you make sense of the data/information landscape?

How do you look at the world through electromagnetic phenomena?
>information leaks
>detective work
Translating electromagnetic waves to light waves or sound waves through modulations and demodulations.

Groping in the Dark -- Feeling Around

The Steps:
>detection and collection of signals
All of these things reveal some sort of story that can be pieced together -- a complex ecology of electromagnetic emissions -- devices and clusters of devices -- layers of data from the seen to the unseen -- models of a abstraction and encapsulation. Observing, revealing, and pinpointing the moment of abstraction.
>amplitude versus frequency modulation
>field of influence
>signal -- protocol -- packet
Sensing equipment:
>high-tech = WiFi
>low-tech = dousing rods
Even our thoughts emit electromagnetic waves these are visualized with CAT scans, PET scans and MRIs, etc.
>cryptography -- encryption -- fugitive information -- strategic ambiguity
How can we create/design stimulating electromagnetic events? What can we learn by exploring the invisible terrain of data/electromagnetic waves? Can network traffic be presented as a recording of a performance?
>network typologies -- network topography
Ghosts in the Machine

Can electromagnetic events be built as bridges to other worlds?
The experience of ghostly phenomena is often registered as an electromagnetic disturbance.

“Ghost in the Machine” Exhibition at the Kunstnernes Hus

Data forensics [in the landscape] at Atelier Nord

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

George Brecht, Fluxus Artist, Dies at 82

George Brecht, Fluxus Artist-Provocateur, Dies at 82 - Obituary (Obit) -

Mr. Brecht came of age as an artist in the late 1950s, when Abstract Expressionism and the cult of the heroic creative genius were ascendant. Inspired by the Conceptual art of Marcel Duchamp and the experimental music of John Cage, he began to imagine a more modest, slyly provocative kind of art that would focus attention on the perceptual and cognitive experience of the viewer.

American, European and Asian artists who were thinking along similar lines included Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Ben Vautier, Nam June Paik and George Maciunas, who in 1962 came up with the name Fluxus for this confederation of like-minded Conceptualists.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ulsteinseminaret, 8-9 December 2008

Informasjonsutdanninga ved Avdeling for Mediefag, Høgskulen i Volda

Link List for My Presentation

Interactive Design Education: The precarious balance between theory and practice

Design Background - IceHouse Design

Yale University Graduate School
Vermont College of Fine Arts


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Intermedia at UiO

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Isolation from Cell Phones

My Phone Must die 01
Originally uploaded by letsmakeart

Here is a list of posts on for the tag “isolation from cell phone ideas,” which date back to 2005. Emily Turrettini of Geneva, Switzerland keeps three different blogs on aspects of mobile phones and mobile content. You can see that this is a recurring idea in creative works. There is a pervasive ambivalence about these devices that intrigues me - directly related to my own ambivalence, of course. It is the aspect my mind returns to again and again... Isolation from Cell Phones ideas

Monday, November 24, 2008

Idea Lab - Becoming Screen Literate

From the New York Times: Becoming Screen Literate
Now invention is again overthrowing the dominant media. A new distribution-and-display technology is nudging the book aside and catapulting images, and especially moving images, to the center of the culture. We are becoming people of the screen. The fluid and fleeting symbols on a screen pull us away from the classical notions of monumental authors and authority. On the screen, the subjective again trumps the objective. The past is a rush of data streams cut and rearranged into a new mashup, while truth is something you assemble yourself on your own screen as you jump from link to link. We are now in the middle of a second Gutenberg shift — from book fluency to screen fluency, from literacy to visuality.

ReBlogging from my own blog...

Is there a name for that?

Pilgrim at Bottle Creek
...The Tinker Creek kind of detailed concentration and focus of observation is impossible when the cell phone is ringing. Perhaps it is even impossible simply with the device in your pocket – a sliver of consciousness and concentration always diverted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spectral Ecology

I am working on a long post about the Data Forensics workshop I attended last week, but my pictures are trapped on my camera for the moment (lost cable.) In the meantime, I just had to post this picture of me with the WiFi antenna I built from a juice box. The process was quite a bit more persnickety than I had imagined it to be.

Siv has uploaded a lovely gallery of photos she took at the workshop.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cellphone Rebellion

Wife/Mother/Worker/Spy - Trying to Live a Cellphone-Free Life -
Our culture has reached a point where giving up a cellphone is perceived as aggressively rebellious in the modern age.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Data Forensics [in the landscape]

For the next three days I will be here:

Data forensics [in the landscape]

A practical workshop with Martin Howse and Julian Oliver.

With an emphasis on the active construction of hardware and software apparatus, the Data forensics workshop will apply practical tools, techniques and theory to analyse [un]intentional data emissions within the city of Oslo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Projects are brewing...

Some projects are rising to the surface from the sea of thoughts and ideas. It is still too early to start writing about details, but there is now a page at Intermedia for the project:

Mobile Misuse

PB’s Intermedia Page

Monday, November 3, 2008

AHO Blogging Workshop

Workshop taught by Andrew, Pattie Belle and Jørn

Books and articles:

Uses of Blogs, Edited by Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs

We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture, Rebecca Blood

Mortensen, Torill & Walker, Jill. (2002).‘Blogging thoughts: personal publication as an online research tool’. In Morrison, Andrew. (Ed.). Researching ICTs in Context. InterMedia/UniPub: Oslo. 249-279. See SESSION 6:

researchers/PhD students that blog:
Torill Mortensen:
Anne Galloway:
Malene Charlotte Larsen:
danah boyd:
Akshay Java:
Michiel de Lange:
Cati Vaucelle:

video/motion graphics

style, attitude, critique

that get attached to wider sites

that experiment with space

academic yet chatty tone

graphic design/communication design

collaborative research blog


Pattie Belle’s Blogs & Blog Info

From the class discussion:

Jørn’s presentation:

blogging applications

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Earth calling all mobiles...

This report by Forum for the Future is from 2006, but I doubt much has changed in two years, in terms of the environmental costs of mobile devices.
“The scope of the paper is the whole mobile phone sector, including networks, offices and retail. The first section of the paper provides an introduction and overview; the second section looks at the four processes most responsible for the sector's environmental impact (extracting raw materials used in phones and networks, manufacturing phone components, running networks, and managing equipment at end-of-life); the third section reviews a number of other important processes; and finally, in the fourth section, we look at what the future might hold.”

There is not a lot of cheery news in this report, but they try to end on a positive note:
“Using mobile phones may reduce an individual’s personal environmental impact, for example through transport substitution or effective energy management, but the research to support this idea is currently lacking. There is significant opportunity to further understand the potentially positive impacts associated with the behavioural impacts of mobile use through a detailed research programme. In addition, there are opportunities for the mobile industry to develop products and services that support and encourage better environmental behaviour.”

Cell Phone Recycling

(be sure to read the comments on this video at YouTube)

Recycling is a start, but clearly not the entire solution. The following is from an MSNBC article posted in January, 2008.
“But charity watchdogs caution that there are potential downsides: Most of the money ends up in the hands of middlemen who resell the devices. And these for-profit companies — including EcoPhones, Phoneraiser, FundingFactory, CollectiveGood, Think Recycle, ReCellular, Cellular Funds and Project KOPEG (Keep Our Planet Earth Green) — are rapidly proliferating, perhaps at the expense of similar nonprofits.

What’s more, U.S. “recycling” programs may end up exporting hazardous waste problems to developing nations ill equipped to deal with them, they say.”

Cell Phone Recycling Links

The EPA has an informational site for cell phone recycling.

Apple and others have teamed with “Rethink”

Google on “cell phone recycling”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Norwegian Commuters

Thursday, October 16, 2008
8:20 am - 9:00 am

1. On the Ferry (breakfast & the news for the 20 minute ride)
2. Waiting for the T-Bane (subway)
3. On the T-Bane

Monday, October 13, 2008

Note on Italians and Cell Phones

The guards in the Uffizi were constantly talking and texting on their mobiles (Prego! Prego! Prego! Ciao! Ciao! Ciao!) and it did not appear to be work related. People on the buses (all ages) were having loud conversations or texting constantly. Our first night in a family restaurant, a girl - about 10-12 years old was texting while her large family enjoyed a multi-course dinner.

Phones were ringing loudly everywhere, and no two ring tones were alike – no one seems to care or be disturbed by these constant intrusions into public space. Loud indicators of text messages being received punctuated the street noises. We even saw someone texting while biking

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mobile Self-Help Service

My Mobile Guru
Welcome to the 'My Mobile Guru', a unique mobile phone service which offers immediate help discreetly and conveniently by way of voice recordings downloaded straight to your mobile/PC/landline.

This unique site provides each visitor guidance with regards to problems in the many areas of life that we all experience, such as relationships, health and work.

Top ten Mobile Guru therapy recordings

Friday, September 19, 2008

A convergence of thought streams...

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect Little Switch / Big Switch

I check into Jan Chipchase’s excellent blog on a regular basis and this week he had a post on two themes I have been thinking & blogging about. The first being mentions of the phone as watch:
Every new feature that is added changes patterns of use which in turn changes what it means to be a ‘phone’. Is there a natural limit to convergence? And, staring out from the back seat of a fast moving consumer goods vehicle, are we there yet? Some of you are old enough to remember the humble wrist watch as your primary tool through which to know what time it is but today knowledge of the current time is a commodity - there are so many free and readily available alternative sources of this information. (Yes, wrist watches are still relevant but mostly as lifestyle statements).As with the wrist watch there was an era before the mobile phone as we know it and will be an era after.

His essay is an exploration of the deeper implications of the iPhone’s Airplane Mode and what it means to be disconnected. He goes on to explain in four paragraphs, four major trends that will affect the ability and choice to disconnect. Here are the entries (please read the entire essay for clarity on these ideas):
four trends will ensure the practice and willingness to disconnect evolves.

(1) The first is that there will be an increased willingness to carry secondary, tertiary, quaternary and even quinary+ communication focused devices.

(2) never equate ownership of a connected device with use of its primary function particularly when use of the primary function costs money.

(3) Advances in miniaturisation, materials and manufacturing techniques will enable radically new and highly focused form factors.

(4) Lastly, our understanding of what is required to make stuff more social will have matured to the point where it is, by most people’s perspective, reasonably social.

In time the design, language and social norms for connecting, dis-connecting and re-connecting will have reached the point where switch becomes the primary interface to our digital selves.

So, now I have logged the choice to disconnect as potentially non-conformist, as priviledge, as device driven, as miniaturization influenced, and as a future social norm. I think these ideas about disconnecting are of keen interest to me. I would be grateful for reference to other sources that discuss “disconnecting” from the mobile.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Disconnecting as priviledge rather than non-conformist?

Rachel Hinman has been pondering similar thoughts on the role of disconnecting from the cellular/wifi grid. She makes an excellent point:
I think the future will be about choosing level of connectedness - and controlling personal data and information. Status won’t be about connecting. Privileged and status will be shown through the ability to disconnect completely from communication channels. What a strange inversion.

90 Mobiles in 90 Days - Blog Archive - The Luxury of Disconnecting…

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Mobile Misuse?

Another quote from Constant Touch points toward SMS as being the first major misuse of the mobile phone:

Text messaging was an accident. No one expected it. When the first text message was sent, in 1993 by new Nokia engineering student Riku Pihkonen, the telecommunications companies thought it was not important. SMS – Short Message Service – was not considered a major part of GSM. Like most technologies, the power of text – indeed the power of the phone – was discovered by users. In the case of text messaging, the users were the young are poor in the West and East.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excuse me, Your Pocket Watch is Ringing..

In Constant Touch: a global history of the mobile phone, Jon Agar makes the case for the similarities between the development of the pocket watch and fixed international time zones with the development of cell phones and the ability to roam.

While it might have felt like liberation from tradition, the owner was caught anew in a more modern rationality, for, despite the fact that the pocket watch gave the owner personal access to exact time, accuracy depended on being-part of a system. If the owner was unwilling personally to make regular astronomical observations, the pocket watch would still have to be reset every ‘now‘ and then from the town clock.

In this quote he points out that taking on this new device (the watch) brought with it duties, responsibilities, and tasks that you didn’t have before. One of the aspects of technology that really interests me is the lack of awareness of repercussions we have when we take on these devices. I have met many people in my lifetime (both before and after the cell phone) that consciously chose not to wear a wrist watch because of the demands it put on their psyche. The conscious denial of time, unloading the burden of knowing the exact time, casting off the shackles of the clock - it all signified to me that the person was a free thinker, a non-conformist, someone who refused to take on all the orderly requirements of a schedule. Now you really don’t need to wear a wrist watch because the cell phone has become our new pocket watch. Will we be told by our non-conformist friends, that they don’t carry a cell phone because of the pressure it puts on their freedom?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Projector Phone

Projector Phone - Tri-Band GSM/GPRS Touchscreen Cell Phone - From China

What makes the CVSL-112 even more unique is the projector feature. Simply switch on the external display option and project your movies or data on a wall. Perfect for fun or for meetings.

Endgadget Article

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


While reading Jon Agar’s Constant Touch this summer, I was struck by the following passage on page 13:

Tantalum, in the form of columbite-tantalite (‘Coltan’ for short), can also be found in the anarchic north-east regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 10,000 civilians have died and 200,000 have been displaced since June 1999 in a civil war, fought partly over strategic mineral rights, between supporters of the deceased despot Laurent. Kabila and Ugandan and Rwandan rebels. As the price of tantalum increased, the civil war intensified, funded by the profits of coltan export. However, the mobile phone manufacturers are distanced from the conflict. Firms such as Nokia, and Motorola buy capacitors from separate manufacturers, which in turn, buy raw material from intermediaries. On each exchange, the source of tantalum becomes more deniable.*

It seemed to me that this must be a lesser known fact amongst the majority of mobile phone users (even though there was a “No blood on my cell phone” campaign in Europe for a time) and thought this might be an area ripe for creative exploration (not by me, but by someone.) As I was researching the art history of the cell phone, I came across this recent piece that was shown at Manifesta 7:

Tantalum Memorial – Residue , 2008, Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, and Matsuko Yokokoji

Tantalum Memorial - Residue, by England-based Graham Harwood, Richard Wright, and Matsuko Yokokoji, is a telephony-based memorial to the people who have died as a result of the tantalum wars in the Congo. The installation is constructed out of an old electro-mechanical 1938 Strowger telephone exchange, discovered amongst the remains of the Alumix factory. The switches are reanimated by tracking the phone calls from Telephone Trottoire - a social telephony network designed by the artists in collaboration with the Congolese radio program Nostalgie Ya Mboka in London. The TT network calls Congolese listeners, plays them a phone message and invites them to record a comment and pass it on to a friend by entering their phone number. This builds on the traditional Congolese practice of “radio trottoire” or “pavement radio”, the passing around of news and gossip on street corners in order to avoid state censorship.

It appears to be a clever incorporation of old technology and new technology. The guts of the old telephone switchers are a strong visual counterpoint to the microchip, electrical and cellular signal. How can vapor be made flesh? It’s hard to tell (from what information I can find on the project) what level of success the work is having in terms of the social networking and political aspects of the piece, but if blog coverage is any measure, it has struck a chord with viewers in the art & technology world. This will be an interesting body of work to follow.

More on the Tantalum Wars

Thursday, August 21, 2008


SnapNow is a mobile visual search service, which lets you search for mobile web content based on images you capture with your camera phone.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Texting vs. Sleeping

“Sleep Deprived” from the archives on is the entry point of three weblogs devoted to cell phones and mobile content, focusing on text messaging and cell phone usage around the world, tracking the latest news and social impact of these new technologies.

by Emily Turrettini from Geneva, Switzerland

Monday, July 14, 2008

Silence = Thought

There are so many books I wish I had with me… now that I really have time to read and reflect. I’m not online much at the moment, so that aspect of my research has slowed and will be slow until August. The digital silence has been productive, though. I am thinking at a level or depth that is rare during the school year and capturing it on paper.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

QR Coded Tombstones in Japan

Hi-tech tombstones in Japan let mourners link to images, videos of deceased - Mainichi Daily News

A gravestone manufacturer here is helping bereaved families remember their loved ones with a touch of technology -- mobile phone QR codes on tombstones that link to photographs and video clips of the deceased.

The tombstones are being sold by stone processing company Ishinokoe. Behind doors on the tombstone that can be locked is a QR code -- a square code read by mobile phones that can link to Web addresses. Grave visitors can use the code to access images and photographs of the person while they were alive.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cell Services

State Of the Art - Cell Services Keep It Easy, and Free -

Mobile Phone Usage Collage

mobile phone usage collage - data visualization & visual design - information aesthetics

a mobile phone application, freely distributed for Symbian phones, that visualizes personal mobile communication usage patterns. the application sits on the periphery of the machine, monitoring the connectivity through the number & type of calls received, & then subtly displaying those in the form of a generative graphic. "some days will be really colorful & wired, others quieter & more reflective, either way the resulting visuals will always be personal, unrepeatable & unique."

each new contact (phone number) in a cycle is assigned a color throughout a cycle. a color transparency mirrors the level of a call's intensity, measured by how long one takes to attend the call. duration. the size of a call symbol, full circles: incoming calls, open circles: outgoing calls, expresses the duration of the call.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lights. Camera. Cellphone Action

Lights. Camera. Cellphone Action. - New York Times

Mr. Lee, the director, is teaming up with Nokia, the cellphone maker, to direct a short film comprising YouTube-style videos created by teenagers and adults using their mobile phones.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Works with Mobile Phones [London]

Networked_Performance — Live Stage: New Works with Mobile Phones

The Centre for Research in Art, Education and Media (CREAM) invites you to presentations and discussions of new work using mobile phones by Mark Amerika, Chris Fry and Max Schleser.

Monday, April 14, 2008



The markup language for Subversive (Mobile) Storytelling.

Together with its interpreter and messaging engine, TXTML (TeXT-message Markup Language) comprises a system for creating interactive text-messaging applications.

TXTML encourages natural and open-ended exchanges that emphasize context over commands, allowing the author to dynamically tailor applications to the current location, time, and history of the user. The language is an elegant, domain-specific XML-variant which calls on an extensible library of functional modules. These include methods for natural language processing, user administration, content management, dynamically generated content via Atom/RSS feeds, and location tracking. The language's nonlinear structure enables complex applications to be simply composed, whether narrative artworks, games, surveys, or interpretive content.

TXTML was not designed to create standard text-message applications such as mailing lists or lookup services. Rather, it is a experimental platform for investigating text-messaging as a narrative medium. It's inspired by INFORM, AIML, and VXML, but with the particular interactive concerns of text-messaging in mind. An outgrowth of Brian House’s design thesis, it powers artwork by Knifeandfork, including a forthcoming piece called The Wrench. Knifeandfork coined the term Subversive (Mobile) Storytelling to describe their recent work -- the use of mobile phones to transform our experience of narrative by intertwining it with daily life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Denso Wave


US QR-code test

From the NY Times: Bar Code Sales Tool Is Failing Campus Test

In parts of Asia and Europe, marketers have been using bar code technology to help sell things to people on their cellphones. A consumer can point a phone at something intriguing that bears a signature black-and-white square, then get information about a product or service or an offer to purchase it.

In the United States, the spread of this technology has been slow, in part because cellphones here are not equipped with the necessary software. There have been a few small-scale tests, but judging from the experience of one under way at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the technique is nowhere near ready for widespread use.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Books have arrived...

I’m starting with this one, because I know Jarice from when she was the Dean of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University:
24/7: How Cell Phones and the Internet Change the Way We Live, Work, and Play by Jarice Hanson

I plan to post annotations to the bibliography as I read the books. I have ordered some handy research tools to make this easier... more on that later - PB’s Research Toolkit...

Monday, March 31, 2008



The Kaywa Reader

From Wikipedia:

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context spanning both commercial tracking applications as well as convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users. QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that a user might need information about. A user having a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks. A user can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mobile Media

This is where I will be documenting my work and research on mobile devices for the next year.