ethnicity online

Having read on ‘quasi kinship’ (Brown 1989), on the forming of transnational communities on ethnical basis (Glick Schiller, Basch & Szanton Blanc 1995) and the problem of ethnicity in anthropology (Cohen 1978) led me to the question: what about the common myth of origin within the MP-modding community? What was the primordial mythical time? Some esotericism: MP-gamespace is the primordial time, which can always be accessed, is potentially omnipresent.

BROWN, DAVID. 1989. Ethnic revival: Perspectives on State and Society. Third World Quarterly 11(4)1-17.
COHEN, RONALD. 1978. Ethnicity: Problem and focus in anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology 7:379-403.
GLICK SCHILLER, NINA, LINDA BASCH, AND CRISTINA SZANTON BLANC. 1995. From immigrants to transmigrant: Theorizing transnational migration. Anthropology Quarterly 1: 48-63.

time traveler convention

H. G. Wells' timemachineThe folks at MIT are hosting The Time Traveler Convention on May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC) | (event starts at 8:00pm—feel free to come at either 8pm, 10pm, or anytime in between.) | East Campus Courtyard, MIT | 42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W | (42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees) … that should suffice to spawn correctly. Although “technically, you would only need one time traveler convention” ever (think about it a bit, just a bit) and nothing else, the guys are helping out by answering questions like: Can’t the time travelers just hear about it from the attendees, and travel back in time to attend? I’m from the future, and I’d like to attend! I’m from the present, and I’d like to attend! [… what shall I do?] Not yet in the FAQ: I am from the past and I’d like to attend! In any case check out their fiction and non-fiction reading list.
via Anthro-L


dark side of casemodding

Millenium Falcon casemodBy squishing a computer into a vintage-model of Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon casemodder Russ Caslis made the Star-Wars-nerd’s heart jump high and right out of the galaxy. Alienware just seems to have achieved the opposite, according to boingboing: “Alienware has licensed the right to create an official Star Wars PC from Lucas, and then squandered the opportunity by shipping a pair of stock PCs distinguished only by cheesy van-art airbrush murals on their sides.”

A perfect example of casemodding becoming “‘ethnokitsch,’ commercially designed and profitably mass produced.” (Mitchell 1992: 174) Kitty, one of Michael Kitchenman’s informants has voiced that, too. In other words, but quite to the point: “In my opinion, the modding community is becoming more and more divided. There are those who are happy with all having the same mods as the other 95% of the group. To me, they are no better than those who are content with plain beige boxes. In fact, I see them as being worse. I call people like that “clusterfucks” – people who think they are being different, when in fact their work is no different from other modders.” (Kitchenman 2001: 3) This decidedly emic comment goes perfectly well with the definition of modding Russ gives at his site XKILL—mods:

What is a modder? Well, it’s someone who enjoys modding. To be a modder, you have to posses many different skills. You must be a technically oriented, artistic, don’t believe in warranties, and a little crazy.

But what is modding? The answer to that is different to every single person who’s involved with the hobby. In short, modding is modifying something, in this case computers and computer cases, to go beyond what they were originally. Modding can take the form of a functional mod, such as adding additional fans to cool your case better. Modding can also take an artistic form such as painting your case or some other aesthetic mod. A great mod incorporates both types.

via entry at boingboing


hypermedia ethnography

Note to me: Checking your own referrer-log ain’t just a bonfire of vanity, but sometimes indeed proofs to be useful. Anthropology student Andrea Handl of Vienna urges me in her blog entry to have a look on the dissertation by Johann Stockinger. Then some soul was good natured enough to click the link to xirdalium Andrea had inserted and presto—I found it in my logs. That’s one of the ways the blogosphere works, I guess. Here’s what I am urged to read:

STOCKINGER, JOHANN. 2004. Ethnologische Wissensrepräsentation mittels XML. Univ.-Diss. Wien.

Unfortunately it seems not to be published yet. Mr. Stockinger, Sir, choose one of those and bring your wisdom online, please. All this reminds me of XML and Open Office, the XML Essentials and Astrid Blumstengels Entwicklung hypermedialer Lernsysteme. The latter being a true hypertext (in German, though) trying to fathom how to create a scientific hypertext.

Anyway, word has it that Stockinger tries in his dissertation to develope hypermedial ethnological (equals ‘sociocultural anthropological’ in this context) means of representing knowledge. This shall happen by an interactive process of data-collecting, data-analysis, represenation, publication, and interaction. But that’s not enough yet. Stockinger wants that this data can be worked upon in the future, too. So he includes ethnological meta-data and does everything in extended markup language. That’s what I have understood from Andrea’s blog-entry.
Another note to me: Urge Stockinger to take part in my panel.
via entry at zerzaust


world wind add-ons

Death StarWorld Wind (see world wind works) was released by NASA as Open Source Software, and quite naturally a world wind community emerged, generating add-ons. See The unofficial unofficial add-ons list, which includes download-links. There is much which can be put to good use, and things beyond. For example the WorldWind 1.3 Deathstar addon—like Skall, the creator, said: “Useless, but somebody had to do it !” That’s absolutely right.


german casemod masters

Alien caseconLast Saturday, 16 April 2005, the 4th German Casemod Masters (DCMM) took place at Dortmund. There were two categories: casemod, meaning the modification of an of-the-peg case, and casecon, meaning the from-the-bottom-up construction of an entirely new and original case. As a third category there was ‘most spectacular casemod’. The latter was not judged by the jury, but by the audience attending. Maico Bensien from Hamburg won the casecon-category with his creation “Alien” depicted here. For me another wonderful example of everything fusing together: pop-culture icon influence, resistance against the industry’s design-dictate, and cultural appropriation of computer hardware in the form of complete reworking. I am happy. See more at modding-faq.