The UK Government's pro-euro campaign has started. A vote probably by the end of 2003. Blair finally making pro comments. A new Conservative pro-Europe faction started. Wicked.
I'm getting a little excited here -- it's 50/50 the coffee and the sessions I think. I'm finding I'm developing a kind of grand theme to bring out of the conference. Yesterday was about metaphors to apply to the present day, emergence, cities, and so on. I ended up with a starting point: the secret properties of current successful technologies. Today has been about reinterpreting yesterday's sessions and today's new sessions in the light of that: what are the secret properties? And more importantly, how can we ensure a rich environment so these secret properties are there (given we can't automatically produce these ad hoc processes)? But today was more than that: there were also games (a form of secret property I've not thought about for a while); biology and swarms as tools for the future of computing giving new metaphors. How can these help to improve the quality of the rich environment (or "loam" as Jones termed it [he's also keeping a good stream of notes on his weblog]). So that's the context my ETcon notes should be read in. That's the narrative of the last two days.
I'm talking, IMing, listening and Googling so much at the moment that interpretation and perculating (the most important thing) have been put on hold for the moment. Each new piece of information is being filed with a short association in stream of consciousness notes, trying to externalise and backup this knowledge. They're not going to make an enormous amount of sense at the moment I'm afraid, but I'm hoping that [using them] by the end of this conference I'll have built up a coherent view of exactly what this is all about -- emerging technology.
Highlight of the trip so far has to be Audium. It's a 70 minute sound performance in a pitch dark theatre, a mixture of abstract and found noises moving in the space all around, part recorded, part improvised. The lights went down gradually and as they did I gradually moved into a state where the samples were solid, I couldn't tell what size I was or my orientation; the hallucinations were vivid (a like-being-there marching band, an abstract microscopic soundscape like Tron). At one point during the second act I felt as though I was plummetting for what seemed like forever. At another point I was close to tears. At others I didn't completely realise how visual my thoughts were, only coming to later and being aware of where I was. (Previously any visualisations I've had have been from outside looking in, almost isometric, like a tele infront of me. By the end of this piece they surrounded me. Not something I watched, but my environment. My dreams have probably been changed forever.) At the end I swear I was in a tent on the African savannah at night, contemplating the [unspecified in my head] events of the day [being, that which had taken place over the last two acts], as the lights came up. And I'm now aware of the tiniest things, a distant humming, the chugging and clicking on my hard drive, the rippling reflection of the ceiling fan on three keys of my keyboard. Spectacular. (In a non-spectacle way obviously; there was nothing to see.)
Okay so here's my Spider-Man review, four things: The first half of this movie is thinly veiled male pubescance wanking discovery. Actually, it's not veiled at all -- there's discovery anxiety, awkwardness, loneliness, the lot. It's the male analogue of the Buffy as feminine sexuality awakening fable. The second half is a mixture of the American Current Situation [as backdrop] and masturbatory wish fulfillment [from the first half]. Thirdly, acting: Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker manages to stand to attention and look like a stone frog in any emotional scene. He manages to pull off just that right amount of fumbling geek to teen having first wank ratio -- sorry, sorry, teen discovering spider-web ducts in wrists ratio.
Fourth thing. Coates is going to absolutely love his movie, in a really unhealthy way.
Also: Apparently this movie captures the 2002 zeigeist perfectly (and I wish I had the link to support this...), "with great power comes great responsibility" and all that. Yeah, that I can see. But mainly in the teen dream, grow up, be a hero, get the girl and save the world kind of way. And on a separate note, remind me to tell my Spider-Man costume story one day.