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Category Archives: fyi

Wed, 7pm: Crowdsourcing Labor – Distributed Democracy or Centralized Sweatshop?

November 11, 2009; 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
The Change You Want To See – 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn

Stephanie Rothenberg & Jeff Crouse - Invisible Threads

Stephanie Rothenberg & Jeff Crouse - Invisible Threads

Upgrade! NY continues its series on open source as it relates to activism and creative practice.

Within activist and creative practice there is a range of models for mobilizing the labor and creativity of the crowd (aka “crowdsourcing”). Both practices experiment with a spectrum of autonomy and control within those models. From distributed design to distributed fundraising, MoveOn to Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcer issues a call and creates structure for participation.

What role do individual motivations and collective goals play within these structures? What are the ethical, social and political implications of distributed labor?

Panelists include xtine, artist, educator and creator of the Mechanical Olympics; Jeff Crouse, Eyebeam senior fellow, artist, technologist and co-creator (with Stephanie Rothenberg) of the Invisible Threads virtual jeans factory; and Beka Economopoulos, online organizer, consultant and curator at The Change You Want To See Gallery.

This event will take place at The Change You Want to See, 84 Havemeyer Street, Brooklyn.

Upgrade! NY is co-produced by Eyebeam and Not An Alternative.

This is a prelude event to the conference, The Internet as Playground and Factory: a conference on digital labor at the Eugene Lang College, The New School, New York, NY, November 12-14.

Shift My Homo

I just performed my first Shift Space, and only my fourth categorical act of queer media activism (1. coming out 7 yrs. ago, 2. volunteering @ Basic Rights Oregon, 3. blogging).  Exciting!  Now my actual shift needs some help. Here it is:

First Gay Shift

The source shift leads to an effective pro-Queer video called Permission. I’d like to make this a better shift by having it hyperlink. How do I do that? Also, should I enable trails? How else could I improve it.

It was very empowering to comment on a site and article that I find particularly odious. The old, “if you let queers marry, you’d have to let humans marry cousins or donkeys argument” wears extremely thin for me, and hopefully the majority at NYU, at least. I loved speaking truth to power with this wonderful video online that was circulated to me via FaceBook initially. Thank you, Mushon and partners, for creating this exciting, open software!

And for those of you who are curious about the video, here it is:

YouTube Preview Image

Broken Promises of Privacy: The Limits of Anonymization and the Power of Reidentification

The Colloquium on Information Technology and Society presents Professor Paul Ohm, University of Colorado Law School.

Topic: Broken Promises of Privacy: The Limits of Anonymization and the Power of Reidentification
Location: Room 212, 245 Sullivan Street
Date/Time: Thursday, November 12, 4:30 – 6:30 PM

Event: A Moral Aquarium on 37th Street

Came across this event that kind of connects with this week’s theme of the networked city – especially the walking as conversation with the city concept:

A Moral Aquarium on 37th Street is a storefront diorama by Dillon de Give where real life dramas proposed by regular everyday people will be used to create a presentation of NYC pedestrian life transposed onto a cast of undersea characters.

The project unfolds in two phases. In the construction performance, worker polyp and zooplankton volunteers help build the coral reef, assemble undersea costumes, and collect street stories from passersby. As the reef nears completion and stories are compiled, a program of presentations will begin. The schedule of narratives, scenes, dances etc. will be posted in the window each day.

The Moral Aquarium will keep regular hours with a morality tale highlight each evening. The space will also serve as a venue for aquarium themed performances by guest artists.

Nov 4-10 — 8am-2pm
Nov 11-17 — 1-8pm
chashama 266 Window Space, 266 West 37th Street b/w 7th and 8th Ave.
FREE and open to the public
Opening party Friday Nov 6. 6-9pm

Supported by: chashama
Facebook event page

Today: BurdaStyle.com – The road to collaborative fashion design

BurdaStyle event poster by Mirna Raduka (AAS Graphic Design student)

BurdaStyle event poster by Mirna Raduka (AAS Graphic Design student)

November 4, 6:30PM
Parsons School of Design, Kellen Auditorium, 66 Fifth Avenue, Room 101, NYC
Web Streaming available during the time of the event

A talk by Nora Abousteit and Benedikta Karaisl

Nora Abousteit and Benedikta Karaisl, founders of Burdastyle.com will share their experience of the past three years–building an active creative community based on open source sewing. The BurdaStyle community consisting of over 260,000 registered members that uploaded almost 25,000 designs.

BurdaStyle is a collaborative DIY fashion platform inspired by the open source philosophy: the sharing of intellectual property and allowing the public to adapt it to their specific needs. BurdaStyle encourages its members to remove copyright restrictions from their designs. These open source sewing patterns are free to be used as the basis for a new design that can later be sewed and even sold by other community members. Nora and Benedikta will share their attempts to balance between open collaboration and authorship – maintaining the relations and connections of each work and its modifications to the members who created it. They will share thier stories, successes and failures attempting to enable a true networked design process by building a platform for sharing instructions and techniques for a creative community. Read More »

George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro

I said I would tell you the attribution of the image below after class.  Also, note that I mixed up the context of the image with the origination  (somewhere Benjamin is smiling).

from “The Wonderful World”( 1954), caption reads: “a city of the future that is quiet, clean and easy to get about in.”

Wow, that sure sounds like New York!  (snort)

I took the image from a site that was comparing it to the modern day Jet Propulsion Lab site, but any similarities appear coincidental.

It was a pleasure to present with Anu tonight and discuss the digital city/everyware with you all.  #goodnight (ha,ha)

The Internet as Playground and Factory – International conference

Interesting conference at The New School:

From their site:

On November 12 through 14, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts will host an international conference titled, “The Internet as Playground and Factory,” which will explore the meaning and changing face of labor in the digital era.

The event seeks to advance the conversation about digital media beyond technological advances and commercial applications to touch upon vital issues facing the future of Internet users. For three days, 90 theorists, artists, legal scholars, activists, students, programmers, historians, and social media experts will join to re-evaluate what constitutes unpaid labor, value, leisure, play, fun, and exploitation in an economy that is increasingly driven by the expropriation of all our blogging, data entries in online profiles, and submitted photos and videos. The conference will be comprised of discussions, panels, presentations, a film screening, a playroom, a conference game, and a re-enactment of Facebook by a performance artist.

Location: Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue

Admission: Register online at http://digitallabor.org/registration/.

Thursday: Free as in What?

October 29, 2009; 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Eyebeam – 540 W21st Street, New York

What do we mean by ‘freedom’? Should Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) necessarily be powered by radical politics of ownership and collaboration? Or is the latching of “Free Software” ideological baggage limiting the full transformative power of “Open Source”. How are these questions informed by licenses? Are some licenses more open than others? More ethical than others? This emotional debate has been in the heart of FLOSS from its early days and has created camps and animosities within the community.

Upgrade! NY continues its program series on open source as it relates to activism and creative practice. Join us for a discussion and debate on what constitutes freedom within the Open Source and Free Culture movements. We will examine the strong ideological differences through a provocative panel discussion with Gabriella Coleman and Zachary Lieberman.

Live streaming and live chat will be available during the panel discussion.

Gabriella Coleman

Gabriella Coleman is an anthropologist who examines ethics and online collaboration as well as the role of the law and new media technologies in extending and critiquing liberal values and sustaining new forms of political activism. Between 2001-2003 she conducted ethnographic research on computer hackers primarily in San Francisco, the Netherlands, as well as those hackers who work on the largest free software project, Debian. She is completing a book manuscript “Coding Freedom: Hacker Pleasure and the Ethics of Free and Open Source Software” (under contract with Princeton University Press) and is starting a new project on peer to peer patient activism on the Internet. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including ones from the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

Zach Lieberman
Zach Lieberman

Zachary Lieberman’s work uses technology in a playful way to explore the nature of communication and the delicate boundary between the visible and the invisible. He creates performances, installations and on-line works that investigate gestural input, augmentation of the body and kinetic response. Recently, he helped create visuals for the facade of the new Ars Electronica Museum, wrote software for an augmented reality card trick, and helped develop an open source eye tracker to help a paralyzed graffiti artist draw again. In addition to making artistic work, Lieberman is a co-creator of openframeworks, a toolkit for creative coding and teaches at Parsons School of Design.

Upgrade! NY is co-produced by Eyebeam and Not An Alternative.

Wed 6:30 – Can “Design By Committee” Work? a talk by Mushon


Can “Design By Committee” Work? The Case for Open Source Design by Mushon Zer-Aviv :: October 14, 2009; 6:30 – 8:30 pm :: Parsons The New School for Design (Orientation Room), 2 W 13th St., New York, NY :: Live Stream.

“Design by committee,” “too many cooks in the kitchen,” and other epithets have been used to imply that the creative process breaks down when it involves too many people. At the same time, the software world has been completely revolutionized by open source, networked collaborative processes. It is only in graphic and interaction designs — two fields critical to software development — that the open source process has yet to overtake more conventional design methods. How does networked collaboration present challenges in the creative process? How can they be solved? Can they be solved at all? Or do designers just not work well together? Mushon will address these questions in light of his own creative work as well as research done in the Open Source Design class he teaches in Parsons’ AAS Program in Graphic Design.

I would love to see you on Wednesday, more details here

On FB:


Talk by our own Prof. Biella Colman this Thursday

Seminars in the Humanities: Digital Media Studies: Old and New Net Wars over Free Speech, Freedom and Secrecy

Gabriella Coleman is Assistant Professor of Media Culture, and Communication at New York University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Coleman’s work examines ethics and online collaboration as well as the role of the law and new media technologies in extending and critiquing liberal values and sustaining new forms of political activism. Her book, Coding Freedom: Hacker Pleasure and the Ethics of Free and Open Source Software, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

Date: October 8, 2009

Time: 6:30 PM

College: Graduate Center

Address: 365 Fifth Avenue Manhattan

Room: Martin E. Segal Theatre

Phone: 212-817-2005

Admission: Free