“Worthington’s Steve Jobs book, like many of the other apparent copycats that Fortune looked at, is oddly formatted. The text on the first few pages of the book, which is all that was available for preview on Amazon, is huge and is similar to the language on the Wikipedia page about Steve Jobs. The back cover of the book has the exact same text. There is no other book by Isaac Worthington for sale on Amazon, and neither the site nor the book has any information about the author.”
Amazon’s spam problems are well documented. The Kindle store is awash in books confusingly similar to bestsellers. Companies like Icon Group International offer highly specific books like The 2013 Import and Export Market for Sawn, Chipped, Sliced, or Peeled Non-Coniferous Wood over 6 Millimeters Thick in New Zealand. Icon’s books are created by a patented system. The system’s creator Philip M. Parker says he’s planning to go after romance novels next.
When heralding the age of mass customization and the rise of rapid prototyping it is easy to get enthusiastic. Even when talking about what could go wrong, people typically stop at “but a lot of amateurs will generate bad early attempts”. Talk about crapjects and strange shaper subcultures still gives the whole threat a kind of artisanal feel. The true scale of object spam will be much greater.
Yes, lowered barriers to entry mean more small scale making and writing. Yes, domestic rapid fabrication and print on demand services open the floodgates to amateur designers and authors. They open the floodgates to algorithms too.
-Algorithmic Rape Jokes in the Library of Babel
via The New Inquiry
For DIY Web archiving without having to deal with Heritrix:
Web Archiving Integration Layer (WAIL) is a graphical user interface (GUI) atop multiple web archiving tools intended to be used as an easy way for anyone to preserve and replay web pages.
Tools included and accessible through the GUI are Heritrix 3.1.0, Wayback 1.6, and warc-proxy. Support packages include Apache Tomcat, phantomjs and pyinstaller.
The files are saved on your local computer and can be backed up that way. A very useful tool from Mat Kelly, particularly for personal digital archiving. Archive your blog and your loved ones’ blogs and your internet crush’s blogs today!
Art in General, in collaboration with The Center for Fiction, New York, presents Stockholm-based artist Meriç Algün Ringborg’s New Commissions project, The Library of Unborrowed Books.
The project, presenting hundreds of books that have never been borrowed from the Center for Fiction’s library, calls into question what subjects in any contemporary moment have ‘currency’ or desirability, and brings attention to topics and stories that have been temporarily overlooked but that could have their relevance restored in the future.
Via Post Position (via josh bauchner’s twitter):
How It Is in Common TonguesCited from the Commons of digitally inscribed writing by John Cayley & Daniel C. Howe
NLLF [Natural Language Liberation Front] · 296 pages
Some seek diamonds in the rough on the Web; others mine from this lode of language mud and darkness. This profound document was fashioned with snippets of pages, with the search engine, and with the novel first publised as Comment c’est – using all of them quite perversely. Samuel Beckett’s 1964 How It Is describes a person moving and not moving through the mud, alone, not alone, and then once more alone. Cayley and Howe, bending the service known as Google to their literary purposes, have located every phrase of the novel on Web pages where no reference to Beckett is made. For instance, the first words, “how it was I quote,” are found in a New York Times excerpt from Elie Wiesel’sAnd The Sea is Never Full. The phrase is provided, the URL is given in a footnote … and the same is done for every other phrase in How It Is. The result is an edition of Beckett’s book made of text that was literally found on the Web. The only thing funnier will be the Beckett Estate’s response.
Twitter has started to roll out an option to download an html file of all your tweets. The interface looks good! Now everyone gets to relive their painful early tweets about what they were eating that day!
Oliver Laric, Kopienkritik, 2011. Installation, Skulpturhalle Basel.
Nice lil’ manifesto by Domenico Quaranta at Rhizome about putting the emphasis on ideas rather than technology in the curation of new media art:
So, the questions at stake are: if technology is the problem, can curating allow the art audience to access new media art without technology, or at least reduce the impact of technology on the perception of the work? Can the curator become a mediator between art that tackles the social, political and cultural implications of technology, and the art audience, rather than between technology and the art audience…?
Quaranta also mentions an upcoming project from Oliver Laric:
Thanks to the CAS grant, Laric will now be able to create a new work of art for The Collection and Usher Gallery’s permanent collection. According to the press release, the work ‘will employ the latest 3D scanning methods to scan all of the works in The Collection and Usher Gallery’s collections – from classical sculpture to archeological finds – with the aim of eliminating historical and material hierarchies and reducing all the works to objects and forms. These scans will be made available to the public to view, download and use for free from the museum’s website and other platforms, without copyright restrictions, and can be used for social media and academic research alike. Laric will use the scans himself to create a sculptural collage for the museum, for which the digital data will be combined, 3D printed and cast in acrylic plaster.’
Plagiarism is less meaningful as an economic concept today than it was 15 years ago, which is why, from a legal standpoint, at least if you follow Posner, it is connected to notions of detrimental reliance. When plagiarizing something adds to a work’s value, or increases the number of page hits, which is common when you take something in the poetry world and redistribute it, then notions of plagiarism don’t seem avant garde at all. Take a look at publishing ventures that use Tumblr as a platform, such as Troll Thread, sisteract, and Gauss PDF. Nor should 7CV or HEATH be construed as avant garde or difficult in that limited sense. With the migration to cloud-based computing and paywalls and unsearchable gardens, this is changing. Pretty soon, content will be tethered much more tightly, yoked to proprietary systems themselves like Facebook, and ideas of plagiarism as a strong concept will no doubt surface again.
From Rhizome’s interview with Tan Lin. The last sentence of the interview reads:
Maybe that’s the future of the book: to look like a licensing agreement regarding the future dissemination of its own information.
Some of Tan Lin’s work is here.
Richard Artschwager, Bookcase III
Printed Matter says:
While thankfully we were spared ground-level flooding, our basement storage facility took on more than 6 feet of water and as a result we have lost a sizeable amount of our inventory, including large quantities of Printed Matter publications, fundraising editions, as well a range of other stock, much of historical interest and value. Unfortunately, the Printed Matter Archive was also badly damaged, a portion of it irretrievably.
:((((((((((( Bummed about this and other cultural/archival losses to Sandy. Printed Matter is asking for help with digitization and donations towards that end. A consolation: beautiful sites like this one from the Tate, about destroyed, ephemeral, stolen, and otherwise lost works of art.