Crystals from the Colossus – Shida ZRF

Crystals of the Colossus from Shida ZRF on Vimeo.

STS 124 – Launch with Sound

Written Images Book Project

Nina Simone – I Got Life

Maurizio Anzeri – Courtesy of Today and Tommorw

Maurizio Anzeri - Courtesy of Today and Tommorw

Writing Room

The Freedom of Exclusion: Australian ccTLD policy. (2002)

This is an old essay but there is enough historically relevant information and analysis here for it to be of some value. Some of it is indeed cringeworthy as it was written in 2002 – The issues raised are however very relevant to to contemporary arguments surrounding internet governance – particular the emphasis of current policy developments on the legislation of ‘content’ over ‘communication’. I’ll make that updated argument in another post sometime.


For Australian policy makers, the only way to ensure what they describe, but do not clearly define, as ‘fair usage’ in ‘good faith’, is to delimit the potentialities of the .au domain by rendering it a purely representational space (representing existing legal entities). Under current policy the ccTLD domain space is not figured as public sphere for communications or for the development of online communities but as a medium that represents ‘real world’ entities with ‘integrity’ and ‘trust’. A siege mentality appears evident in the AUDA policy documents: the .au domain is figured as a ‘valuable public asset’ that requires ‘stability’ and ‘predictability’ in order to ensure its ‘integrity’ and ‘trustworthiness’[31]. Problematized in this way the regulative policy becomes essentially defensive rather than productive. No consideration is given to the ‘integrity’ of the domain as navigational system, rather its seamless ‘integration’ within the legal status quo becomes the primary object of governance.

The Freedom of Exclusion: Power, Information, And Navigable Space.
The Australian Internet Domain Name System (DNS): Policy, Regulation and Management.
Mat Wall-Smith (2002 -Unpublished)

As Rob Kitchen and Martin Dodge point out in their book ‘Mapping Cyberspace’, the term cyberspace literally means ‘navigable space’. It is a derivative of the Greek term Kyber which means to navigate[1]. The Domain Name System (DNS) is central to our understanding of the Internet as a ‘navigable space’, as a system of delimited metaphoric ‘domains’. The very structure of the domain name renders what is essentially a data directory as an inhabitable space. The use of the symbol @ (at) clearly illustrates the spatiality of the metaphor that is at the structural heart of the DNS. Before widespread usage of the domain name system a specific file or electronic mail box was identified by ‘dialing’ a numeric IP address (23.345.467.378) much the same as one would dial a phone number. It was not until the DNS came into common usage that the Internet became a distinctly ‘cyber-spatial’ phenomenon. Rather than merely dialing up information the user moved through space to engage with a subject @ a_location. As Kitchen and Dodge explain;

At the beginning of the new millennium, information and communication technologies are reconfiguring space-time relations, radically restructuring the materiality and spatiality of space and the relationship between people and place. Moreover, the conceptual space they support, cyberspace, is extending social interaction through the provision of new media that are increasingly reliant on spatial metaphors to enhance their operation”[2].

This reliance on a spatial metaphor relates to what Miller and Rose describe as the process of making a territory of governance “thinkable through language”[3] although here it is extended beyond the discursive rationalities for policy making to act as an extension of the field of governance itself. By deploying discursive/metaphoric technologies those who administer the Internet make that territory calculable and therefore governable. The DNS is concerned with much more than enhancing our potential to navigate the Internet effectively. The spatial metaphors that we employ to navigate the networked system also shape the development of that network, they alter the ways in which we organize our data, and they configure and manipulate the subjectivities and relationships of members and groupings of the population as they move through both the networked world and the physical geographies they parallel. This paper is concerned with the way the assumptions, rationales and determinations of the .AU Domain Administration (AUDA) continue to recursively construct the national domain space, enacting specific programmes of governance through the use and manipulation of that discursive technology, the Domain Name System.

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LAST FM and the Music Multiverse

I’ve been going over a lot of my unpublished material. Found this still quite relevant paper from 2007 – written with Ross Harley and Andrew Murphie. There is a lot here about emerging media economies and analysis of metadata systems and user generated content. Probably needs updating now with some analysis of and amongst others but the key points still stand. And Spotify could perhaps learn the odd lesson here….

Proceedings of the 3rd Art of Record Production Conference 1
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Dec. 2007.

Mat Wall-Smith, Ross Rudesch Harley, and Andrew Murphie

School of English Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales; School of Media Arts,
College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales

1 Introduction.

        The last few years have seen an explosion of online music services that challenge the dominant modes of digital music publishing and distribution, often claimed (in the mainstream press) to be”pioneered” by Apple iTunes. This period has also seen the development of software engines that filter and produce vast quantities of data in order to make specific suggestions based on user profiles and purchase histories (a strategy made popular by Amazon’s tracking of customer habits to build personalised recommendations).

        The rise in popularity of web-based music communities could well be seen as facilitated by, and situated within, the same technological framework as that of the iTunes or Amazon approach. However the rise of multi-user music communities can also be usefully situated within a slightly different set of histories. This alternative history foregrounds collective effort, open databases and community participation. Although there are many social networking sites that are experimenting with the way we use and engage with music in our everyday lives (eg Finetune [], Pandora [], MOG[], MyStrands [], iLike[], Myspace [ provides us with a really interesting example of how a particular approach to database systems can generate new ways to expand the listener’s sonic horizons. Rather than building a top-down expert system, has developed a bottom-up and agile system that opens up unexpected pathways to the discovery of music that listeners may not have found otherwise (1).

        The way, perhaps serendipitously, has managed to plug into a number of different ideas about listenership,taste, fandom, expert knowledge, databases and niche audiences makes it an interesting model for a vital and participatory engine of discovery and the basis of what we will call a new economy of affect (2). According to the work of Chris Anderson (2006), we are living in a ‘long-tail’ moment that is radically expanding the depth and breadth of both back-catalogues and new recordings. The massive proliferation and free availability of artists, genres and forms that characterises this moment presents a challenge to the traditional architectures of discovery upon which the established industry has survived. Although many punters and industry commentators are tempted to say that this sonic overload will simply be overwhelming, we see it more as the last piece of a bigger puzzle to do with the digitisation of music in general. Along the way, we want to ask whether the history of collectively-created music databases such as Gracenote sheds any light on the possible will face since its purchase by CBS earlier this year. Does Gracenote’s transformation from an open-content music database to a for-profit proprietary system raise concerns about the leveraging of community or fan knowledge for corporate gain?

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