Archive for September, 2007

thoughts after the Australian Blogging Conference 2007

September 29, 2007

Despite the state of my blog, I went along to this “unconference” where lots of bloggers conversed in real life instead of online.

It exceeded my expectations and has led to a shift in the way I am thinking about my blog. This new perspective came from two sources, at the beginning and the end of the conference. The first was Melissa Gregg, an academic who blogs at Home Cooked Theory both what she is researching and what is happening in her life, making a point of not separating the two. Later, Mark Bahnisch made the point that blogging in this way can offer something richer than “hi I’m Mark and I write serious stuff about politics”.

So having gone to the trouble of focussing my blog, and having found that it is difficult to regularly post in such a focussed manner, I am now adopting Melissa’s and Mark’s strategy. From here on, expect to find my thoughts on whatever I am thinking – you’ll get a more complete idea of me. Expect to find the stuff I am researching, even though it isn’t always specifically about the collective nature of creative process.

The session on research blogging has given me the confidence to adopt this approach. Some academic institutions frown on, or don’t permit, blogging about research but I know my university is fine with that. Someone (Anne Galloway) has already done a PhD through a blog. Jean Burgess at creativity/machine used her blog to collect things relevant to her thesis. Through the blog she ended up with a complex network of people in her field, and in related fields. And Sarah Xu is doing her Doctorate of Creative Arts through a blog (which has just been moved to WordPress).

So I won’t have to have two blogs, drawing a neat boundary between divided selves.  This feels fine.


Cultural dialog – how to get away with it.

September 27, 2007

There’s a fun page over at The Adventures of Accordion Guy, about scenes from The Simpsons and the movies that they parody. It isn’t complete, and as the titles of the movies aren’t listed yet the source can be a bit obscure. But the visual connection comes across straight away. Down in the comments, someone has noted that Citizen Kane is the movie most often parodied, to the extent that almost the whole thing could be assembled from clips of The Simpsons. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that if I want to include Bart or Lisa, or any Simpson’s character, in an artwork I can’t. I actually do want to use Nelson, saying har-har and pointing, and Mr Burns would come in handy at times.

Jonathan Lethem describes the artist’s predicament well in an interview in Salon

I could write a whole book detailing the plot of a “Simpsons” episode, describing Homer’s yellow skin and protuberant eyes, and no one would ever be able to block my choice as an artist there, or make it too expensive for me to do it. But if a visual artist or a filmmaker or a digital montage maker tried to capture that image, which is just part of a visual language that is floating around, they don’t have my freedom.

How to get away with it: a) work for a Hollywood studio b) format shift in such a way that it is difficult for copyright owners to get you. Adapt a film clip to a cartoon, adapt a cartoon to a novel. But if you want to simply speak the language of the culture around you, even just to provide context and background, the price is beyond reach.

Edit: Dario says this content comes from a Spanish site called and has asked me to give credit to them:

Edit: I so wish I could read Spanish. That site looks so good – apart from the usual copyright takedowns from YouTube. How long will it take for Hollywood to learn that this promotes their stuff?

Breakfast of Champions…

September 2, 2007

Breakfast of Champions…, originally uploaded by maharetr.

A friend sent me a link to some delightful photos of the evolution of a “conversation” that was (past tense) on a toilet wall at Curtin University. I am a Curtin student, but have never set foot on campus, so it is nice to be able get a feel for the place through Flickr. I have also never met the photographer.

The series started with a drawing. Then someone added something else, and more was added and so on. Eventually the whole thing was painted over leaving a clean wall for the next round. Here’s the last shot of “the rabbit that wanted to be a toad, and other tales” (before it was painted over).

One word links this to popular culture on the internet – “bunneh”. That is in a distinct grammatical form known as “kittah”, the language of LOLcats. If you don’t know LOLcats I can fully explain that another day. Might be a few days, as I have to put my computer in for service for an unknown period of time.

(edited because the connection between Flickr and WordPress stuffed up mightily)

p.s. click on the image to go to the original image, and then to the series itself