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Digital Culture Links: February 26th 2010

Links for February 21st 2010 through February 26th 2010:

  • iTunes sells 10 billionth track [BBC News] – “Johnny Cash’s Guess Things Happen That Way has become the 10 billionth track to be sold at the ITunes online store. Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling was officially named the site’s most downloaded track, with their single Boom Boom Pow the third biggest seller. Lady Gaga’s Poker Face took the number two slot, with hits Just Dance and Bad Romance also featuring in the top 25. Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia bought the 10 billionth track winning a$10,000 (£6,500) iTunes gift card.” (I’m pretty sure this means 10 billion items sold, rather than 10 billion different tracks, but it’s impressive nevertheless!)
  • Conan O’Brien Joins Twitter With a Humorous Plea: ‘Somebody Help Me’ [NYTimes.com] – I like my CoCo in 140 characters! “Conan O’Brien, the unemployed former host of “The Tonight Show,” has ventured into the twittersphere. His first message on Twitter, posted Wednesday evening, is a memorable one: “Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.” In his Twitter bio, Mr. O’Brien describes himself thus: “I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account.””
  • Google executives convicted over posted video [The Age] – Bye bye YouTube in Italy?? “A court in Milan on Wednesday convicted three Google Italy executives over an internet video showing a handicapped teenager being bullied – an unprecedented ruling that the US internet search giant vowed to appeal. Each executive was given a six-month suspended sentence for violation of privacy, while a fourth was acquitted. All four were acquitted on a charge of defamation. The mobile phone video, uploaded on Google Video where it remained for nearly two months in late 2006, showed four students bullying the teenager with Down’s syndrome in front of more than a dozen others who did not intervene. Of the four executives on trial, David Drummond, chairman of the board of Google Italy at the time; George De Los Reyes, then a board member who has since left the firm; and Peter Fleischer, who was responsible for privacy issues, were convicted for violation of privacy.”
  • Movie studios appeal against iiNet piracy ruling [The Age] – Here we go again … (or still …) “Hollywood film studios today lodged an appeal against a landmark legal judgment which found an Australian Internet provider was not responsible for illegal movie downloads by its customers. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), representing a consortium of 34 studios, said the Federal Court’s ruling was out of step with well-established copyright law. “The court found large scale copyright infringements (proven), that iiNet knew they were occurring, that iiNet had the contractual and technical capacity to stop them and iiNet did nothing about them,” said Neil Gane, executive director of AFACT.”
  • Is Twitter Overtaking Myspace [Richard Giles] – Purely in term of pages views (as tracked by Alexa) Twitter appears to be just overtaking global MySpace traffic (all the more impressive when you consider how much of Twitter’s traffic isn’t through pageviews).
  • WhoseTube? [NYTimes.com] – An insightful and balanced op-ed from Damian Kulash Jr.(lead singer of OK Go who made twhen their “Here It Goes Again” video went very viral in 2006) looking at why big music companies just don’t get the internet: “In these tight times, it’s no surprise that EMI is trying to wring revenue out of everything we make, including our videos. But it needs to recognize the basic mechanics of the Internet. Curbing the viral spread of videos isn’t benefiting the company’s bottom line, or the music it’s there to support. The sooner record companies realize this, the better — though I fear it may already be too late.”

The Art(s) of Venice

On our honeymoon last month, Emily and I were lucky enough to be in Venice during the heart of the 2007 Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most exciting and long-running art festivals. We saw many amazing installations and exhibitions and had a fabulous time exploring all sorts of art, as well as taking some (I think) cool photos, but I’ve found it hard to find the time to add the titles, tags and metadata to a full Flickr set. However, I’ve finally finished labeling the photos, so I encourage you to take a wonder through our captured fragments of the 2007 Biennale.

There were a number of highlights (and I’ll write about one more in a future post), but I wanted to mention a few things that really stood out. I thought Patrick Mimran’s installations and photography were amazing. His main show was an ironic set of photographs called ‘New York Parkings’ which looks at New York Car Parks, but Mimran also had an installation in Venice where a number of the rubbish bins were covered in “No Art Inside” billboards! 🙂

Emily & Atopia
Also outstanding was the Taiwanese ‘Atopia’ pavilion which combined an interesting take on manga and comic-book art with some neon installations created out of mechanical parts and ubiquitous objects to really create an interesting take on the life of everyday objects.

Wearing my academic hat, I have to say Sophie Calle’s ‘Take Care of Yourself’ exhibition in the French Pavilion was outstanding. Calle took an email she received from a lover ending the relationship and asked 107 women to interpret the email for her, with responses ranging from photographs and videos to responses from academics attacking grammar and psychoanalysts delving into the emailer’s inner psyche. I wish instead of having undergraduate lectures on multiple interpretations of a text we could just get students to immerse themselves in Calle’s work for an hour … I suspect they’d learn a lot more!

There were lots of other interesting exhibits, but one that really spoke to me (so much so I forgot to take any pictures) was the Aniwaniwa installation from New Zealand, which combined Maori dreaming with images of the 1900 hydroelectric dams to show the moment(s) when water became electricity!

Wake up Italty!
Of course, there’s were one or two (!) other bits of art to be found in Florence and Italy, but for the rebellious amongst you, check out a glimpse of the healthy street-art scene from these two magnificent cities.