Beyond the Wall of Sleep

Melbourne-based digital artist Peter Miller, who featured in last month’s Library as Incubator piece on the links between libraries and musicians, has released a new piece: Beyond the Wall of Sleep.

The piece blends H.P. Lovecraft, NASA recordings, and a reading of the rules and regulations of the Insane Asylum of California, drawing on material from Librivox and Prelinger Archives.

You can read more about the history of Beyond the Wall of Sleep at Peter’s website, and read about how libraries, archives, and multimedia artists might work together in Library as Incubator’“Sing Me A Library”.

Or just enjoy the spooky video, above.

Marvellous, Electrical: Play Both

“I want to see technology used for good, but I’m fascinated by the possibilities for destruction!”

Joel Edmondson, CEO of Queensland’s QMusic network talks digital technology, music beyond entertainment, mysterious orchestras in the middle of the ocean, and the “nefarious, sulphuric beginning of life” in this week’s Marvellous, Electrical.

David Cronenberg's VIDEODROME

Read “Play Both” here.

Digital Inclusion Forum, Sydney, 16 November

On Wednesday 16th November, I’ll be moderating panels and giving a short plenary at GoDigi’s Digital Inclusion Forum in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House, by Wikipedia user Hpeterswald – used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence

We’ll hear about innovation and equity, digital technology and social housing, and accessibility in the information age – from speakers like Rachel Thomson of Australia Post, Ishtar Vij of Google, and Laurie Patton of Internet Australia.

You can find out more about the Forum, and the accompanying Expo and Pop-Up Festival, at the GoDigi website.

It’s free to attend, so if you’re in Sydney and interested in our digital future, come along and say hi.

Losing control in digital space: Liberact 2016

Last month I spoke at the Liberact conference of digital interactive experiences.

My paper was ‘Play, Chance, and Comics: Losing Control In Digital Space’.

Annotated whiteboard at a Brisbane gym

We explored comics, creativity…and what digital designers could learn from the noticeboard at a gym.

You can see an annotated PDF download of my presentation here.

Hope and Holodecks

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Like anyone, I worry about the future.

Right now we’re on the cusp of Trumpocalypse. Even if Donald J. doesn’t get to power, the US – and the world – will have to face the consequences of his campaign. The US election is the second scary vote in the English-speaking world this year, after Brexit – and look at how riven that’s left British culture and society.

And yet – I feel hopeful.

I’ve just been reading Digital Identity 3.0 (PDF download), a report from the Chair of Digital Economy at Queensland University of Technology.

Read more

What are you playing at? Digital comics at the Writing Platform

Why would an Aussie library get its designers to build a drag and drop comics website?

Aren’t there already plenty of free comic makers online?

What are you even playing at?

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The Writing Platform, a joint venture by Bath Spa University in the UK and QUT in Australia, has my latest piece, on the new remixable comic maker from State Library of Queensland.

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Read more about the State Library’s Comic Maker at The Writing Platform.

‘In a way, the quakes have pushed us to develop our community role’: Interview with Carolyn Robertson of Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand

There can be no greater challenge to a library service than a natural disaster – except perhaps that same disaster repeated.

That’s exactly what faced Carolyn Robertson and her team at Christchurch Libraries when, in September 2010 and again in February and June of this year, earthquakes struck their home city on New Zealand’s South Island.

Yet, as Carolyn explained to me recently, ‘In a way, the quakes have pushed us to further develop our community role. They’ve actually strengthened Christchurch Libraries’ vision of equity of access.’

Carolyn Robertson of Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand
"We understand the word “library” in the widest possible sense." - Carolyn Robertson, Christchurch City Libraries

I visited Carolyn, Christchurch City Libraries and Information Manager, at the city’s South Library earlier this year. It’s one of the liveliest and most modern I’ve seen in on literacy adventures throughout Northern Europe, the USA, and Australia as well as New Zealand.

The community has clearly taken to this bright, multipurpose space which includes a great café, children’s play area and an exceptional periodicals collection. The only evidence of the quakes is a display of letters from well-wishers around the world, which brightens one wall of the reading area.

Yet this lovely headquarters for the library service is actually a fallback space, taken up as the city’s principal library after the February quake put the Central Business District out of bounds.

In the days immediately following the disaster, the librarians of Christchurch demonstrated the importance of libraries as a community service in times of need – a vital message at a time of increasing financial austerity around the world.

Read more