Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Te Qaeda and the God Squad

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    You could have said the same thing about road engineers. And Paris Hilton.

    Who's had more impact? Paris or the guys who wrote the code behind youtube?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I said:

    Winston Churchill did NOT say that democracy was the worst form of government.

    Here's what he actually said:

    ... with a link to the (ahem) right quote.

    And Jeremy Andrew said:

    Yup, that's what I linked to as well.

    So I'm saying, SORRY.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Look. honestly, it's all about how you live your life. It's about meaning and integrity.

    Bollocks to your political revolution. Bollocks to your Establishment posturing (I'm talking to you, RB).

    That was a pretty rapid default to name-calling ...

    What matters is ideas. And art is the medium for ideas that affect society for now and evermore.

    I think art is certainly a medium for world-changing ideas, but it's not the only one.

    I've been energised lately by my contact with the open-source software community, and through talking to community and access broadcasters at their recent conference. I'm really excited by the way that the internet facilitates and focuses community through the power to publish and share. I try and do my bit (see humans.org.nz). But I think defining yourself against an "elite" that's to blame for everything bad is self-serving.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd also like to add that art is more the product of opulence than poverty.

    I'd debate that's always the case. Chaotic, falling-apart New York in the 1970s coughed up punk rock, hip hop and what we now know as dance music.

    British popular culture often rises from the poorest streets, and Jamaica's poor came up with reggae, a music (like hip hop) that grew because the street got hold of technology.

    Although my favourite reggae era, the rocksteady years of the late 1960s, was also influenced by a spirit of national and economic optimism. There's a song by Al and the Vibrators called 'Move Up' which contains the wonderfully unlikely lines:

    We are independent now
    With our bauxtite, tin and rum
    Bananas, citrus, tourism too
    Other industries, quite a few ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    This is true of classical art. Oil painting, bronze sculpture, stage theater and as is said poetry. But what about Photography, industrial design, cinematography and graphic design.

    I'd that art and technology have long been a collaborative effort.

    Sure, art responds to science and technology - but so do commerce, warfare, politics ect ect.

    I' simply disagreeing with David Cauchis' charmingly naive claim that:

    What matters is ideas. And art is the medium for ideas that affect society for now and evermore.

    Ideas certainly matter but if you look at ideas like, say, low cost (<$5000) genetic sequencing - which will probably be a reality within the next five years - well that's an idea that's going to have an unimaginably vast impact on our society and it will do so whether anyone writes a poem about it or not. Art is nice but mostly incidental.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Hi Public Address,
    I haven't posted in ages which some of you may consider a great favour so,

    *lodges cotton wool in cheek*

    "Now maybe you can do me a favour"

    The school I work at has entered and has made the final five of a competition to create and produce a song around the integrated use of ICT in our school and classroom. There is a rather large portion of prize action up for grabs and I'd like you to help us win it. If you go to the url below,

    http://contest.interwritelearning.com/contestant/90/

    and vote for us I'd be ever so greatful. You have to create an account to vote which will cost nothing but a little of you time and an email addy. You get to watch a video which is based around our school and stars some of our kids and some guy who shall remain nameless, heh.

    P.S. I'm going to spam this message on loads of threads and if this irritates you, I do apologise.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Keep thinking of this:

    It might be nice to smash the state, but it's getting late
    And mostly I'm just working for the man.
    It might be good to tell the boss that I don't give a toss and to stick his lame-arse job
    But I'm not sure that I can.

    The universe is mostly fine with me - it seems to me the only place to be.

    Wake up from your beautiful haze
    Rise up, smash your beautiful chains, climb out of your beautiful maze
    Rise up, rise up.
    Climb down from your beautiful tower, you know you won't make beautiful remains
    All that's left is a beautiful hour
    And its ours, ours

    I sit here listening in five point one
    When the day is done, I look around at everything and it's all good
    I nailed my edicts to the lunch room door - make love not war
    They say just do it, I just did it, and it seemed I really could

    I'm just a puny guy on a blue-green ball
    Got no problem with that thought at all

    Wake up from your beautiful haze
    Rise up, smash your beautiful chains, climb out of your beautiful maze.
    Rise up, rise up
    Climb down from your beautiful tower, you know you won't make beautiful remains
    All that's left is a beautiful hour
    And its ours, ours ...

    Lyrics from Lyric Wiki, corrected by me. Mystifying video here:

    As licensed now, ironically, by Monteith's. Which lets Sean feed the family and make beautiful music for another year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    P.S. I'm going to spam this message on loads of threads and if this irritates you, I do apologise.

    Heh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    People who write software now have far more impact than people who write poetry.

    You might want to think about the effect William Gibson had on people who write software. You're looking at the wrong art.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    (And, to follow up on myself, Wagner's art had a pretty significant effect on the 20th century, although whether he'd be delighted by that is another question entirely.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    And to top it all off after spamming many threads I notice the spelling error, how embarrassment.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    That was a pretty rapid default to name-calling ...

    Yeah, I was pissed. Sorry.

    To the guy who wants my stuff: you're more than welcome to try. Don't worry. I won't call the cops.

    As for 'charmingly naive', where do I start! Maybe with the claim that art is 'nice but incidental'. We wouldn't have science and technology etc without art. The main way we distinguish when our ancestors became fully human is when they started making art (I have a theory about this, but I won't bore you with it now).

    The comment about William Gibson made my point for me, though. Art history is the physical record of the communication of ideas between people. Even a cursory look should tell you how powerful it is. Art has formed our world.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    You might want to think about the effect William Gibson had on people who write software.

    I like William Gibson, but I think his influence on people who write software is mostly talked about by people who don't write software. The internet and hacking subcultures had been around for several decades by the time Neuromancer was published in 1984; I'd argue that Tim Berners-Lee would still have invented the web if Neuromancer was never written, but Gibson could not have written his book if networked computers didn't exist.

    We wouldn't have science and technology etc without art.

    Why not? Plenty of other species use technology and they don't have any art.

    Art history is the physical record of the communication of ideas between people.

    Wow - does that mean this thread is . . . art?

    Even a cursory look should tell you how powerful it is. Art has formed our world.

    Here's a useful thought experiment - which would have a bigger impact on your life: all the art in the world vanishing, or all the technology?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    We wouldn't have science and technology etc without art.

    Your're not one for the small statement. But are you saying that art is a necssary precusor to science or that both happen concurrently since they rely on the same cognitive and physical skill base?

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    Your're not one for the small statement. But are you saying that art is a necssary precusor to science or that both happen concurrently since they rely on the same cognitive and physical skill base?

    The invention of art was what drove the development of the cognitive and physical skill base on which all subsequent technological progress is based.

    Being able to physically materialise abstract thought in symbolic form enabled writing and maths, without which science is impossible. That doesn't make all subsequent symbolic representations - whether maths equations or this thread or diagrams on the back of an envelope or whatever - art, but it does make them dependent on art.

    That's why

    Here's a useful thought experiment - which would have a bigger impact on your life: all the art in the world vanishing, or all the technology?

    is a false dichotomy. If all the art in the world vanished, there wouldn't be much in the way of technology. Imagine not even being able to sketch a design to show someone else.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I'd argue that Tim Berners-Lee would still have invented the web if Neuromancer was never written, but Gibson could not have written his book if networked computers didn't exist.

    If you're going to set the bar at the height that artists must invent new technologies before they can be considered to influence science, I recommend you look into Arthur C Clarke's role in satellite technology.

    I like William Gibson, but I think his influence on people who write software is mostly talked about by people who don't write software.

    I write software, and it's pretty clear any time one looks at people working in VR that many of them are working from Gibson as a holy grail, last I checked.

    Nor did it take more than a few minutes with Google to find Asimov influencing technology via policy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    If you're going to set the bar at the height that artists must invent new technologies before they can be considered to influence science, I recommend you look into Arthur C Clarke's role in satellite technology.

    I suspect Clark's first class degree in physics and mathematics played slightly more of a role in his work on satellites than his intuitions as an artist.

    If all the art in the world vanished, there wouldn't be much in the way of technology. Imagine not even being able to sketch a design to show someone else.

    And if all the technology in the world vanished . . . just what would you be sketching those designs with?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    it's pretty clear any time one looks at people working in VR that many of them are working from Gibson as a holy grail, last I checked.

    What were they writing their code on? Commodore 64's?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    And if all the technology in the world vanished . . . just what would you be sketching those designs with?

    The same things cave painters 40,000 years ago used: twigs and sticks chewed at one end and used to apply coloured mud on to a surface, whether stone or bark or skin.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Not sure if I'm getting off topic now but I popped down to the Chch protest and it was a world of difference from the Free Burma one a few weeks earlier.

    A large Maori presence and the haka was most impressive, quite a few aromatic anarchists. No Greenpeace or corp charity types here.
    It wasn't untill I saw dangerous revolutionaries like Olly Olsen, my old Priest & an old family friend or two that I felt some what comfortable.

    The Toy Tram driver got a little annoyed at the sit in on the tracks but the four or so cops waited patiently and then the protest moved on (truth be told it was the only sheltered spot from the wind) and f*&k that fat controller Thomas.

    I left the free talkies early but the speaker I did hear was make friends with the cops - its hard for them to hit you then.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Being able to physically materialise abstract thought in symbolic form enabled writing and maths, without which science is impossible. That doesn't make all subsequent symbolic representations - whether maths equations or this thread or diagrams on the back of an envelope or whatever - art, but it does make them dependent on art.

    And, for example, there are many forms of art that are dependent on technological innovations. Trying to claim that technology is dependent on art is as silly as the inverse - both are pretty clearly fairly innate parts of being human. Humans are differentiated from much of the rest of the animal kingdom by our ability to use tools and shape abstract thought into physical implementations. Sometimes the physical implementations are expressive or communicative - art. Sometimes they're practical - technology.

    Trying to claim that only one of those approaches to expressing abstract thought can have an ongoing influence on culture is fatuous.

    What next, are we going to start arguing over whether eating is more important than drinking?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I suspect Clark's first class degree in physics and mathematics played slightly more of a role in his work on satellites than his intuitions as an artist.

    He chose to introduce the idea through his art as a writer. Nice dodge on Asmiov, but then, really...

    What were they writing their code on? Commodore 64's?

    ...since you're only really interested in being snide and willfully obtuse, there's not really much point in attempting to continue a conversation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    The invention of art was what drove the development of the cognitive and physical skill base on which all subsequent technological progress is based.

    Heh - its nice to see one of the most complicated mysteries in human evolution cleared up so effortlessly on an internet chat thread.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    He chose to introduce the idea through his art as a writer.

    Clarke's original technical paper on satellite communication is available online - it's rather short on plot, character and prose poetry but long on . . . er math and physics.

    Nice dodge on Asmiov, but then, really...

    Your point about Asimov just seemed too silly to address - do you really think that nobody would be thinking about the ethics of robotics if the 'I, Robot' stories weren't written? You might as well argue that Shelley's Frankenstein informs the debate around artificial intelligence.

    Speaking of dodges, nobody has addressed my point that other species (primates, beavers) use technology extensively yet have no artistic expression.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    I would suggest that Danyl is too wrapped up in his world of binary logic to be able to see past it; this to the detriment of his reason.

    Seems to me the last hundred years (at least) have consisted of technology affecting society and art struggling (and often failing) to keep up. People who write software now have far more impact than people who write poetry.

    Indeed, please do stop being ''snide and willfully obtuse''. The art is in the idea, not the medium of execution. Nowt to do with poetry.

    Back on topic, did I dream it or did the cops hold a Armed Offenders Squad open day in West Auckland today? (TV3 News) Give the PR team a raise, effective immed.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

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