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Thursday, November 24, 2005


The Radio is Well and Alive

It's weird how, in the age of multimedia, I find myself going back to the radio.
I love Radio24 the radio of the Sole 24 Ore, the italian main financial newspaper.

Check out this programme search on writing a curriculum vitae.

Sunday, November 20, 2005



Nooclay started being shaped in the early 21st century, as the early avant-garde noo-shapers were experimenting with the possibilities offered by search engines, weaving patterns and intentisense, for tapping into the universal intent. The old software was a fragile thing, breaking continuously at the least change in the environment. The nooclay, or nootrium, by contrast adapted itself, filling up every hole it could find. It was a pervasive noomaterial, filling and adapting via cultural bias to the intents of the shaper. The nooclay took hints and started sketching and filling, while the semantic nudges of the shaper bent it and reorganized it into new forms.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Malinconia del Presente

Our sense of reality has a certain inertia.  The avant-garde lives in the future, most people live the present and big companies and institutions lurk in the past and ancient history.

When you are used to work on the edge of media and technology and live a life of enhanced interaction via the web, having to interact with certain companies and institutions gives you the feeling of having entered a parallel steampunk world where high science rubs elbows with 19th century bureaucracy.

It inspires tenderness to watch an institution trying to come to terms with a certain technology, while the rest of the world has already moved to some new cheaper more efficient medium. 

When I find myself in one of these situation I experience a strange sensation that I term 'melancholy of the present'.  I will try to explain what I mean.

Imagine yourself watching an old yellowed picture from the twenties or the fifties, showing a man standing proud in front of his brand new sport car, dressing with the bourgeois fashion of the times. 

How does it make you feel?  It will probably give you a weird bitter-sweet retro feeling.  You can feel the naive smug and pride of the man, feeling a paragon of elegance and technological prowess.  At the same time you know how terribly out of date heis, and how embarassing that would have felt to him.

Now imagine you could go back to those times and be there, with that man and see that car, that world.  You would look at it and you would feel all its fragility and transient nature.  The self-satisfied rhetoric of the time would make it feel even more fragile and impermanent, while underlying the childlike innocent nature of those people.

Now imagine that that old picture was taken in the present and somehow you have felt the future, and suddenly you are back to the present time and you can feel the traces of archaisms that you just know are going to die out and become a simble of ancient times.  And you feel the frailty and impermanence and somehow love this time with all its adolescent certainties and blatant weaknesses.


I Need a Word

I need a word for a feeling that I don't know exactly how to describe.
I need a word, so that I will be able to identify it better and to communicate what I feel.

In my own mind I think of this feeling as Tiredness of the Self, boredom of your own identity.

It's too tiring being only one person with a single identity.  After a while you start knowing yourself, your behavoiurs.  You know what you are going to think and what you are going to say or do before you say it, think it or do it.  This might be what pushes some people to search extreme or simply new experiences. When you are exposing yourself to an experience that falls out of your patterns you can wonder at your own reactions and find  out something new about yourself.

I find solace in airports, train stations and hotel rooms.  I crave the anonymity and loneliness that allows to forget the self.  I embrace that moment of forgetfulness while slipping into sleep.


Political Dimensions

Left? Right?  Certainly it can't be that simple.

What they call left in the US is centre right in the EU.
Is the british Labour Party a leftist party? Come on!

Why limit our political dimensions to left and right, when you can also have up and down, back and forth? :-)

Political Compass is a step in that direction (I turned out to be slighlty leftish and libertarian), but I would love to see new different dimesions and perspectives to catalogue and understand political stances.

Monday, November 14, 2005



Many many simple minds moving randomly, obeying to elementary rules.  Together they generate behaviour that is not encoded in any of the elements making up the system.

Check out the anthill builders or another one of the many projects of these guys.
The tag game adaptive agents are simply beautiful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Ditch your Telly, Watch the Web

Lately I have found some truly excellent tv-content on the web.

Have a look at the italian swiss tv on the web. Lots and lots of truly exciting compelling content.

Raiclick is also doing an excellent job. This might actually earn them the canone (compulsory tv tax).


Metro as Art

Occasionally I feel like I am living in the future, and maybe this is the true Spirit of the Times.

This is how I felt when I saw these pictures of metros from all over the world.


Philosophical Roots

When I was a kid and I read about the middle ages I always felt indignation for what I felt that had been wasted time in the history of humanity.

When reading pre-renaissance philosophy I also felt enraged for the massive amount of time I believed had been wasted on idle musings about God and angels, a stale extended interval between the philosophical tradition of the greeks and their reborn spirit in 15th century Florence.

What I didn't get was that the very same philosophical themes that I felt were important had not been eradicated by the Church, but were living under different names and within different religious orders. It couldn't have been otherwise at the time. That was the dominant paradigm, but trascendent ideals and equalitarian ideals, and artistic ideals had not been lost. They just had to change clothes, and were wearing the words and frameworks of consensual reality.

Next time you read something by a christian medieval philosopher, try substituting modern words whenever they mention mystic transcendental forces, and you will be amazed by the depth and clarity of their thinking. You will find socialism there, mystical drive and radical thinking. You just have to discount the historical context and wording and look for the deep memes.

On a lighter note, you can imagine how the modern world would be interpreted my those ancient thinkers. I found here a little perl by Umberto Eco, where He discusses the Catholic and Protestant spirit of different computer brand factions. I just love the guy.


Collaborative Literature

The Wu-Ming Foundation is a Bologna-based novelist group producing collaborative work under the collective name of Wu-Ming.

You can download many cool postmodern novels from their website, listen to their radio and download a few mp3 of readings of their short stories. Most of their stuff is in italian, but you can also find some stuff in spanish and something in english.

They are better known in english-speaking countries for their historical novel Q, published under the pseudonim "Luther Blissett". If you like Umberto Eco's stuff, you will like their stuff too.


Teatrino Clandestino

"Teatrino Clandestino" is the name of a theatrical group I have recently seen in Rome. If you have always thought of theatre as stripped-down real-time cinema with a slow narrative, think again.

I went to see "The Milgram Project" and it was a breathtaking revealing experience. They play with different media, perception, time-line and narratives in a very clever and original way.

This is a theatre for new generations, explicitly playing on videogame-like narratives and on the thin boundaries between reality, fiction and virtuality.

You can find their website here.


When Code is the Law, Architecture is Politics

I know, I am five years late on this one; but this meme felt so powerful in its implications that nevertheless I had to blog about it.

I found out about this meme while reading Tomorrow Now, an excellent book written by Bruce Sterling. In one of the chapters Sterling talks about the role of the law in the near future and he mentions Lawrence Lessig, an avant-garde political theorist from Stanford university. Lessig wrote a book titled “The Code is the Law”, explaining his theories on intellectual property laws and more in general on the role of law in cyberspace. I found this article and here Lessig mentions the “Architecture is Politics” meme, originally worded by Mitchell Kapor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

You don’t have to agree with the political views of Kapor or even with Lessig, to appreciate this meme, which describes the meta-context within which rules can be made in the first place.

When we say that the code is the law we mean that in a “space” like the net, where the parameters of reality, action, interaction and communication are configured via software, then the code determines what can and what cannot be done. It’s not as much a matter of establishing ‘soft’ laws in a parliament and then trying to enforce them on people by policing the web, as much as it is a matter of building a software medium within which those laws are hard reality and cannot be circumvented by definition.

You will always have skilled hackers, able to subvert the foundations of a certain software reality, but for the greater majority of people, that code is the law… in an even stronger sense than any ‘soft’ law, whose violations must be reported, monitored, tracked down and punished via the clumsy bureaucracy of law enforcement.

When code defines reality, then code is the law and architecture –the foundation framework of code– is politics.

Friday, November 04, 2005


A Vision of the Future

There is a certain image that keeps coming to my mind.

It's one of those almost archetypical images with a kind of iconic quality to them. Think of the student in Tienanmen square standing in front of the tank.

I am thinking about an image that embodies the spirit of a certain age.

However this is an age still to come.

I see this picture from the near future: a twenty-something year old girl standing in front of an armed policeman, his baton raised in mid air, ready to hit. She holds herself with quiet confidence, her right arm outstretched, holding a small videophone in her hand. pointing it straight to the policeman. a flashing badge on her chest shows the hits of her realtime feed, climbing up frenetically as the policeman approaches.

The policeman doesn't understand that quiet self-assureness and he slows down and then stops, like a video put on pause, looking around for some possible explanation. He is surrounded by half a dozen quiet determined young boys and girls, just holding tiny mobiles in front of them as shields.

Their videocasts reinforce one another due to the common area of interest, causing the emergence of an implicit community on the net, and this implicit community gets noticed and as more and more people tune in, its presence in the newssphere keeps increasing, attracting even more attention. The alarmed face of the policeman is brodcast on thousands of small and big screen, unwilling guest of his own personal reality show.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Ramayana for the Masses

I never managed to read it and I finally found it in an easily digestible format. Here it is: the Ramayana!

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