Grooveshark Album Wars

A few years ago I transferred all of the mp3 music on my computer onto my portable hard drive. I did this with the idea of freeing up memory on my computer for other stuff including use as virtual memory. This move now, however, leaves me in a rather original spot. It has been some ten years since I had a computer that wasn't overflowing with music. In the interim years such a situation, having no music whatsoever on my computer, would have been intolerable to me. I used to joke that my laptop was really just an oversized mp3 player. Today, however, I hardly even notice the lack, and this has little to do with a weakened desire to listen to music, although perhaps I have grown less needy for the music drug during my long emergence from adolescence. Rather, it has more to do with the presence in my life of a stronger drug, an omnipresent high-speed connection to the internet.

It could be said, perhaps, that a large part of the addictiveness of the internet has to do with its ability to bundle many other drugs into itself. All day long when connected to the internet my addiction to acknowledgement and approval causes me to obsessively check my email. My addiction to fascination causes me to watch news and blogs like a hawk for out-of-the-ordinary stories. My tendencies towards voyeurism are satisfied in all sorts of ways online: reading comments on news and blog sites, watching my facebook feed, youtube, and my addictions to melody and rhythm are now satisfied by a constant ability to reach out into the ether and access any song that I can think of.

To satisfy this urge for immediate gratification of the need for the music drug I used to have to keep on my hard drive a gigantic collection of songs, and constantly be maintaining this by acquiring new music that I come across. But now websites like Grooveshark allow me to get this immediate gratification without having to maintain my own personal collection. It depends on a steady and large supply of bandwidth (I imagine [who am I kidding, I have now idea]), but it completely revolutionizes my relationship to the music, far more I think than the shift from CDs to mp3s. That first shift was a shift from the corporeal manifestation to the digital representation. With mp3s we still treated the songs as 'objects' which we had to acquire and store in our 'folders' and then play in our music machines. Streaming is different because I never acquire the music, but rather just access it. My taste is the only thing that limits my experience of music and the ability to acquire is taken right out of the equation.

Anyhow, all of this is to introduce a new game that I have cooked up within Grooveshark, which I am calling Album Wars. The idea is simple - you take two albums and you create a playlist with all of the songs on both albums and then you shuffle the songs to get unusual juxtapositions and pairings. This game is fun because it allows you to create comparisons in a more or less uncontrived fashion (the shuffling is random) between two artists probably working at different times. I am having such fun with it I thought I would share. Here are the ones I have created so far - some more successful others less:

The Sound of Face Control:
Jesus and Mary Chain - The Sound of Speed (rel. 1993)
Handsome Furs - Face Control (rel. 2010)

Cohen Were Here
Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
Sarah Harmer - You Were Here (2000)

Raineing on my Wolf Parade
Our Lady Peace - Clumsy (1997)
Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary (2003)

Tongued Odelay
Talking Heads - Speaking in Tongues (1983)
Beck - Odelay (1996)

Maybe whoever happens upon this might have some suggestions of other odd bedfellows that they can recommend? Liam? Geord? Nils? Vien?


Bedroom Mirror

Here's a couple of photographs of the mirror that I made for our bedroom in Cambridge. The room was quite small and we felt it needed something to make it seem bigger. These pictures are actually in our new Toronto apartment where it serves the same purpose. Oh - and for you literalists out there, I didn't make the mirror itself, just the frame.


Cyborg Domesticity Images

Below you will find the images that I produced to accompany the paper that I presented in Venice in December at the First International Conference on User-Centric Media. The paper was about the traditional behavioural and symbolic role of the hearth in the house and what the potential fate for this is in an increasingly nomadic age. The images hence represent three semi-whimsical attempts to imagine technologized portable hearths:
Nomadic spaces such as an airport waiting area can be very disorienting.

What if you could access your own personal existential grounding tool through your smartphone?

What if you could share that with others, creating a focal point for gathering?

Perhaps you could use this nifty little smartphone easel in order to do this.

Alternately maybe some sort of infrastructure is required in order to orchestrate communal gathering and sharing of narrative (creating cosmologies in common within which to situate us).

Couldn't this commuter infrastructure do with a little hearth?

Like this? Rather than everyone concentrating on their own little windows into their own little worlds, maybe they could all plug in their smartphones into this infrastructure in order to create something akin to a hearth where these disparate worlds could be blended, remixed into something new.

It could look something like this for instance.

Or maybe, rather than a fixed infrastructure, it could be portable, like this router.

This fabric router can be unrolled onto the ground, kind of like a picnic blanket. It would create a local network for digital communication between nomads and then it could create a shifting, dynamic image out of the information flowing through it. Again, our worlds are shared and remixed, sort of similar to the effect of sharing stories around a fire. . .

Perhaps such a technology could look something like this.


Having Mastered Architecture, a website

I am conscious of my drop in production (curation? publication?) at this site recently, but I have been very busy with other things and generally my production of things has dropped off a bit. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
In the meantime you can check out my new website at http://dprpatterson.com if you are interested. Making this html monstrosity has been a primary reason why I have not been posting things here recently.
Probably the most interesting things on the new website are my recent academic work. This includes my article on Purdy, some photos of my Purdy exhibit that I showed in Cambridge, the extended abstract of the paper I presented in Venice in December (with images, which I will soon post here as well) and my thesis document, which can be found there in its entirety.
Oh, and did I mention that I mastered architecture? I finally submitted my thesis to the University of Waterloo, officially, at the end of January.