Wednesday, April 06, 2011

McKenzie Wark Through the Looking Glass

Greetings from CCA-EDUCAUSE Australasia 2011 in Sydney, where McKenzie Wark is speaking on "Alice Through the Looking Glass". He argued that there was no millennial generation of students who are comfortable with technology. Students producing a "newspaper" still want to see it in print.

I tried to find where I first came across McKenzie, so I did a web search and found a entry on the Austrlaian Senate Committee on Internet censorship 1997. This has a link to McKenzie Wark's commentary and my commentary.

McKenzie talked about Betaville, an "open-source multiplayer environment for real cities". The idea being that the public can experience proposed buildings and art installations before they are built (or ones which are completely virtual).

"The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International" is a graphic novel coming out in June 2011.

McKenzie pointed out that the cost of software distorts the education process. If students can't afford the software they learnt on after they graduate, them may have to enrol in a further course just to get access. He therefore argues for open access tools at unviersity. He suggested that courses should teach media students about rival video standards and the benefits of open formats (I teach this in my e-records course). He pointed out that game engines can be sued for creating videos, without using conventional movie making tools.

McKenzie argued that blogs are not a useful way to interact about a large text work. He pointed out that with a blog there will be a large lump of text from the blogger and then comments tacked on at the end. Instead he showed an interface showing the comments as stacked cards, linked to sections in the text. This reminded me of an early Apple Mackintosh application which used a card metaphor.

McKenzie explained that giving books away online helps print sales. He said he did not understand why this works and that publishers are willing to try this as they are so desperate for sales. I suspect that this only works for well know authors.

McKenzie demonstrated an animated online graphic novel. This looked okay, but he commented it can't be found with a web search. I need to show him how this can be easily fixed by following the web accessibility guidelines.

This was a virtuoso performance and worth the whole conference fee to see.

Educause finishes at lunch time today, but theme will continue in Sydney with Ted Nelson, Founding Designer, Project Xanadu is speaking at Unviersity of Sydney at 6pm this evening.

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