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The Design Fiction of Black Mirror, via Made By Many

7 Jan

Well, it’s been quite a week for stuff what I done gone and wrote getting re-posted elsewhere on the internet. My friend Greg over at Mount Analogue alerted me to the fact that one of my tweets had been used in a recent blog from those wonderful Made by Many chaps.

made by many madexmany blog gemma critchley social media facebook Black Mirror charlie brooker twitter willow grain

made by many gemma critchley blog black mirror charlie brooker facebook social media willow grain

Granted, it’s not the most eloquent thing I’ve ever tweeted but it felt good to have it included in a blog that I look to when I want an interesting or an inspiring read.

Did you watch Charlie Brooker’s (well, Jesse Armstrong’s…) Black Mirror? What did you think to it?

Google Fuss

17 Jul

So today I joined Google+.

I’m usually really excited to join a new venture in the wonderful world of digital, but after being so badly let down after my excitement for Google Wave, Google Buzz, etc. I’m a bit standoffish about this one. Google do some things brilliantly (search, mail, docs) and they should spend money, time and effort polishing the stuff that they’re great at instead of bandwagon hopping.

I love Google Docs and think it has a huge potential to completely negate the need for any sort of office package, but at the minute it’s still a bit buggy and lacks a lot of features that they could easily add.

We shall see, though. I’ve got an open mind about Google+ for now.

What do you think?

Cathode Narcissus

19 Jun

I’ve just finished reading Dorian: an Imitation by Will Self.

As always, I was blown away by Self’s intricate and knowingly clever prose, and the fact that story was built on one of the best-loved books of my adolescence – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – just added to the mix to make it all the more enjoyable. Disturbing, heartfelt, evocative, provocative, saddening and terrifying in equal measures, the book serves to recreate Wilde’s dandies as a portrait of the Gay scene in London and New York in the 1980s and early to mid 1990s – the hedonism and cultural liberation of the fin-de-siecle art world swirling together in the grip of the emergence of AIDS. It’s a gripping read and splendidly told at the bedside of several of the characters, sucking you into a sordid underworld of drugs, sex and vanity; but at the same time having Self’s telltale wry sprinkling of humour. I absolutely loathed some of the characters but loved the book and on more than one occasion found myself stopping to re-read a particularly well-crafted sentence.

Will Self Dorian An Imitation post it notes wall ideas author cathode narcissus

Every book I read by Will Self inspires me to get my pen out, or put fingers to keyboard and create something. If you’ve read the book recently, or re-read it in the context of now and not of the ’80s/’90s, you might draw parallels with any of your own user-generated content and Baz Hallward’s Cathode Narcissus, which forms the centrepiece for the novel. The image below is as close as I could get, it’s Nam-june Paik’s video installation, ‘Moon is the Oldest TV’. No one seems to have made an actual Cathode Narcissus yet – I was sorely disappointed when I discovered that a) did not exist and b) did not even pretend to exist – maybe I should create it? Maybe I really shouldn’t – maybe that’s the point? I loved how one of my other favourite writers, Joe Stretch, intertwined both Friction and Wild Life with the real world and the virtual one, but then again I suppose Dorian was written in 2002, right before or even on the cusp of the explosion of mini-Cathode Narcissi sites like Facebook and Myspace, so it is perhaps to be expected.

Cathode Narcissus Dorian An imitation Will Self The picture of Dorian Gray Nam-june Paik’s video installation, “Moon is the Oldest TV

My interpretation of Dorian: an Imitation was made all the more resounding by an article I read in today’s Observer, by Aleks Krotoski, about the ever-blurring lines between online and offline identities. It talks about how online we have the power to create ourselves as we wish to be seen, rather than how we actually are; but due to the fact that technology and ‘real life’ are becoming more and more intertwined, that polished version of ourselves has inevitably become more real. Our Facebook pages, our Twitter feed and our blogs (yes, including this one) are increasingly brighter, shinier versions of our own lives. We can edit out the undesirable bits and amplify the good parts of ourselves. We can curate our interests, leaving out our guilty pleasures and instead tailoring our personalities to be the version of ourselves that we want the world to see. We are effectively leaving the digital world strewn with billions upon billions of our own versions of Baz Hallward’s Cathode Narcissi.

I’m not a morbid person – for the most part – but I do sometimes wonder what kind of eulogy I’m building for myself online.

Are these banks of links and pages of profiles really the only legacies that we want to leave in our wake?

#oneaday 126: Leeds Digital Festival 2011

20 May

Last night I went to a get together upstairs in The Midnight Bell, a rather lovely watering hole in Leeds to meet up with some fellow digital enthusiasts for a catch up on #LDF2011. The idea was to talk about ideas for the next Leeds Digital Festival which is going to be held in Novemeber at a load of different venues throughout Leeds.

Leeds digital festival 2011 midnight bell leeds

Leeds Digital Festival 2011

What I liked most about the event was the idea that this festival isn’t about being better than Manchester, or Birmingham, or London. It’s not about this agency or that agency. It’s about celebrating the digital community in Leeds. It’s an opportunity to show everyone in Leeds what digital means to us and to share ideas and inspiration with each other. There’s no money or funding available for this year’s festival so it’s going to be a proper DIY job and so it’s only going to be as good as our ideas are… So the more ideas and action, the better.

The meeting was really inspiring and the fact that it’s open to everyone to get involved is ace. The next meeting is upstairs at the Midnight Bell on Thursday 16th June at 6pm. If you live/work in Leeds and you’re passionate about digital, come along and join us.

#oneaday 67: Chicks rule the Internet

8 Mar

In Celebration of my fellow ladies and International Women’s Day, here’s a nice little infographic showing that girls rule and boys do, in fact, drool. Or at least they aren’t as prolific when it comes to the useage of various social media channels.

Why do you think this is?

girls rule the internet, international women's day 2011

This infographic is taken from one of my favourite websites, Information Is Beautiful. It actually talks about data from 2009 so this may have changed quite a lot in recent months but I still thought it was quite interesting, especially considering that Digital seems to be quite a male-dominated world. Even though I find this interesting, I’m not one to perpetuate stereotypes and I don’t like to harp on about feminism as I think clinging onto inequalities between men and women just enhances them. But I’m still immature enough to go ‘ner ner, girls are best’.

Because we are.*

*May or may not be tongue in cheek.

#oneaday 30: Short Story Sunday – Limerick edition

30 Jan

There once was a girl living in Leeds
Who loved websites and RSS feeds
She wrote in her blog
(which is short for web log)
About her other geeky needs.

(Sorry it’s poop but I have man flu today)

#oneaday 25: Dedicated

25 Jan

Saw this today, it struck a chord. Think it’s time for a digital detox! #oneaday excluded, natch.

stare at the monitor all day fuck yeah helvetica

Dedicated to wonderful folk for being wonderful.


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