Phonautogram – a voice from the past

The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.

Listen to it here: Phonautogram – Thomas Edison – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – ノdouard-L駮n Scott de Martinville – New York Times

NLab Social Networks Conference 19-20 June 08

nlab%20logo.jpgExplore the benefits of social networks for your business. Registration is now open for the NLab Social Networks Conference 19-20 June 2008, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
* What is a social network and how can it generate wealth for your business?
* How can social networks increase creativity and why is that important?
* How will social networks affect the future of your company?
* What can you do right now to benefit your business?
Speakers include Andrea Saveri, Institute for the Future, Palo Alto and Steve Clayton, Microsoft UK plus Jim Benson, Modus Cooperandi – Roland Harwood, NESTA – Shani Lee, NLab – Chris Meade, Institute for the Future of the Book – Toby Moores, Sleepydog – Vijay Riyait, iQubed – Sue Thomas, De Montfort University – Ken Thompson, and more to be announced…

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Exploring “A Million Penguins” – Order and Chaos in a wiki novel.

Exploring “A Million Penguins:” Order and Chaos in a wiki novel.

IOCT Research Seminar by Bruce Mason

IOCT Lab, Wednesday April 23, 2008 4:30-5:30pm

This seminar is free and open to the public.
penguinforblogpromo.jpgIn February 2007, DMU and Penguin Publishing collaborated to host the world’s first wiki novel – "A Million Penguins" – using the same software that runs Wikipedia. Over a five week period nearly 1,500 people signed up to edit the novel, over 11,000 edits were made and it was viewed over 500,000 times leading the CEO over Penguin Publishing to muse that it was maybe the "most written novel in history."
In this seminar, Bruce Mason will outline the results of a research project held at the IOCT which investigated the social behaviour that unfolded during the writing of "A Million Penguins." What kinds of collaboration, conflict and compromise occurred and what did it tell us about future online writing possibilities? Did a sense of community arise or did we see nothing but chaos and vandalism?
The seminar will not require any particular knowledge of wikis or online writing.

About the presenter

Bruce Mason is an IOCT Post-Doctoral Research Fellow specialising in social research and web2.0 activities. He previously worked at DMU with Professor Sue Thomas on an Arts and Humanities Research Council Funded Project that investigated the potential for folksonomy in academic research.

About A Million Penguins

A Million Penguins is a collaborative online novel, a wiki which was open to anyone in the world to write and edit. The project ran from 1st Feb to 7th March 2007, was organised by Kate Pullinger of De Montfort University and Jeremy Ettinghausen of Penguin, with Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media at De Montfort and an editorial team of students enrolled on De Montfort’s Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media.


Further Information

If you have any questions about this seminar or the research project, please contact Bruce Mason by email: bmason01 at

The City Speaks – experiment in transliteracy?

Here's an innovative idea. This week the BBC is presenting The City Speaks , a networked drama project across radio, web, digital tv, and Big Screen, and based on print writings by Peter Ackroyd. It's an exciting and ambitious project stretching the limits of networked broadcasting across several media. You can:

Read and hear the original story: Listen to and read the original story, by Peter Ackroyd (read by Peter Marinker).
Hear the plays: The plays will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 2.15 -3.00pm on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 March. The plays will also provide the sound track for the films.
Watch the films: On 19 and 20 March, listeners can watch the stories unfold with a simultaneous ‘red button’ screening of each of the tales on digital television – listeners can press red from BBC ONE and BBC TWO on digital television, or from BBC Radio 4 on Freeview and Virgin.
The films can also be viewed online from 19 March at BBC Film Network.
A selection of the films will be shown on BBC Big Screens in Manchester, Hull, Rotherham, Bradford, Derby and Leeds this week.

For all the links and more background information visit The City Speaks

Transliteracy: The Spirit of Kanji

Transliteracy: The Spirit of Kanji is by Mary King, a second year student on the Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media. Mary has lived in Japan for a long time and brings a fascinating perspective to our discussions about transliteracy. In this video she explains that for generations Kanji has been used as a form of multimedia. This is a slow and thoughtful film – set aside a little time to adjust to its pace so that you can appreciate it most fully.

Unexpected Translations

via Rhizome

"Gareth Long's
interdisciplinary practice explores the nature of various forms of
contemporary communication by subjecting the narratives conveyed through
material objects, such as video and books, to unexpected and often
highly erroneous transliterations. As with the work of the artist's
conceptual forebearers, like Pierre Hughye and Pierre Bismuth, the
interpolation of one medium with those of another does more than simply
expose their respective limits: it draws each into unfamiliar light,
under which many of our habituated ways of navigating the world are
suddenly put into relief. With Don
(2006), Long ran the George Guidall-narrated audiobook
version of Cervantes' novel through speech recognition software, in
attempt to faithfully reproduce the original text. Yet even while the
artist exactingly trained the software to respond to the accent and
intonation of Guidall's voice, errors arose – especially considering
that Guidall often assumes different voices for the characters of the
story. Long bound the resulting text in the novel's actual softcover, as
if in faithful reproduction to the original: a most appropriate homage
to Quixote's confusion of fiction and fact. It's hard to dazzle
(2006) is the artist's latest exploration of lenticular
printing, a process in which up to thirty video frames can be embedded
in a single, printed image. A viewer can see a given print's full
succession of images only by moving around it – terms of engagement
strangely appropriate for Long's depiction of the 1987 explosion of
Challenger Flight 51 L. By taking an event that many remember on highly
personal terms and enabling a viewer's mobile participation – and, on a
more unsettling level, ability to play forward or play back the
sequence, through their movement – Long pinpoints the intersection
of subjective and collective memory, and the continual need to
evaluate the ways we remember.
– Tyler Coburn

Image: Gareth Long, It's hard to dazzle us, 2006"