[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: New Year/New Tools and Technologies.

Tracey Benson tracey at bytetime.com
Mon Feb 9 18:47:48 AEDT 2015

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your comments and also sharing some projects, which I will look into :-) 

I have responded to your questions inline - and hope my responses are not too long!!

> Tracey, I'd like to hear more about your interest in open-source in the context of mobile and social media systems. It seems we can aim for open access to these technologies, but I think there is a problem when they are only applied in very constrained and centralized corporate environments, like facebook, iphones, and even android devices. The increasing role of the mobile device as consumption platform (http://www.ekran.org/ben/wp/2013/the-nonuser-and-the-consumer-appliance/) is clear from the language around how apps and media products are distributed in "app stores". I think this is an illusion of accessibility. While a mall may be accessible physically, it's still a highly controlled corporate space with a specific function that differs greatly from true public space. In software and online worlds, it seems public space is even more rare than its shrinking physical counter-part.

Some interesting points here  - I think the corporatisation of tool exist on three separate levels which tie the user in varying degrees - there is the hardware layer, the operating system and then the software itself. One only has to look at the legal dramas which abated between Apple and Samsung. Being an Android user myself, I often feel 'left out' as many apps are developed for iOS, with android and web app being an afterthought… Given that the Android smart phones now have a bigger user base than iPhones, it would seem sensible to make sure you had those users covered. Even better if you design a responsive web app which gives you a customised experience across devices… I wrote a blog about this a while ago http://traceybenson.com/2014/03/14/why-is-my-app-crp/
> So do you have any thoughts on access in online interactive art in relation to centralized corporate systems vs more open peer2peer networks, like mesh networks and (if seen optimistically) the Internet itself.

There is so much versatility now available just by using HTML5 and CSS3 that artists could be tapping into as a creative medium. In terms of centralised corporate systems I think there is always a tension between having access to online tools and platforms versus the lock-down approach ICT security. In the last decade in my work in government, it has been quite a dilemma - government policy around 'open' and responsive government versus a fear of attack by hackers (crackers) and trolls. I like mesh networks and think they can potentially provide much greater access for communities with limited broadband. Just out of Interest the One Laptop Per child program has also been implemented in the Northern Territory of Australia. I participated in a workshop which demonstrated some of the tools of the XO-1 laptops, as well as many other online tools available for people in remote community as part of a government program to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. I think the OLPC program has done some great things and is built on some really solid conceptual, ideological and technical considerations.
> The needs of the provided of the spaces are clearly the central purpose of the environment. For example, to get back to gender, we have the dreaded "gender" box, with often only two choices, that we are expected to answer in order to provide a profile to the system to generalize what we are interested in (marketing wise).
True - and very problematic. As a parent I relate to this. It didn't take long to realise how gendered marketing is imposed on children from a very young age. On a positive note, I have seen some great responses to that pidgeon-holing recently, where there were girls dresses with trucks and robots. Though it is not nearly enough to address gendered consumption, which is a massive topic to consider especially in regards to child development and later social implications. And the issue of the two box solution? Very problematic. What to do? Add a third box with "prefer not to identify", chose both or just remove the question entirely. My option would be to get rid of the question. On the note of surveys and market research, I personally not like to nominate my age, as it is another marketing silo that I don't  need or want.

> Ben
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

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