[Another old vox.com post, this time from April 2007]
Apr 27, 2007
over on my geeKyoto project site I blogged about a BBC event that I was lucky enought to attend. It was the 3rd Design Futures conference, held by the BBC’s Design Forum. We had a number of speakers, John Thackara I have blogged about in the above post but here I want to talk briefly about Pat Kane, The Play Ethic and playful spaces.
Pat attended the conference at the last minute and the gist of his presentation was about play, especially online but not games. It was about the playful ideal, how ideas and philosophies of play affect and inform the things we do online even without thinking about them being playful.
A lot of online video was used which lead to the thesis that YouTube was the most playful forum on the web at the moment. Not to say that all videos on their are fun. He showed a Jihaddie video, distributed on YouTube (and I am sure many more online video services). This was a highly political and charged video. It was polemic and propeganda but it was constructed in a mashed up, creative, playful way. Music, video and news footage joined together to put across an idea inside your web browser.
The fact that around the video there were also comments both textual and video made this possibly one of the more open, public and possible vibrant disucssion spaces on the whole agenda of Iraq, Terrorism, Middle East Policy etc.
These spaces are not the definitive places for dialogue but they are important places for people to sound their thoughts, maybe the ones they feel uncomformtable with.
Was there a problem? Only with the fact that this space, this arena for discussion was in fact owned by a Shareholder owned Internet Company (Google of course). This lead to the discussion about such spaces belonging in the Public Service arena. Is it right that Google own the space? Will they control what is said in these spaces in a way that strangles free speech. Google may claim that they will try ‘Not to be evil’ but they do have a responsibility to their shareholders that is enshrined in US law.
Initially I thought that this is a problem, that this is the sort of service that should be run by bodies such as the BBC but soon came to think differently. After working at the BBC for 5 years I know that such a space could not exist, at least not from the BBC as is. These spaces in fact need the risk willing, the type of thinking that start ups and small, fast companies can come up with. Even once in the belly of a beast such as Google there will still be the risk willing thoughts that a body that has been created in the image of ‘Public Service’ would not be able to muster.
I hope that spaces like this continue to be created, they will spring up and allow us to create with the playful instinct.
[and shortly afterwards:]
playful spaces 2
May 1, 2007
Just a quick thought, the videos that Pat Kane showed, ‘Dirty Kuffar’ by Sheikh Terra & The Soul Salah Crew (2004) or DIGIHAD were mashed up, music, politicised activist videos, mostly making use of found (stolen) footage.
We saw many of these same techniques in Adam Curtis’s BBC 2 series, ‘The Power of Nightmares’. This was a three part ‘rib, burn and mix’ construction with a new soundtrack designed to deliver a cultural / political thesis on the modern world.
‘The Power of Nightmares’ is available all over the internet, just like the Jihad videos.