Jul 212009
 

These are the images of Monday. I was back in Vienna and Vienna behaved: it was sunny and hot.

Remember that stupidly big battery from “990 – Oh Yes, Take Another Guess“? Guess what, it’s still here, and these are the cables that run from it down into the Underground station. Snake-like, huh?

Well, I really can’t imagine how those artists, oh, sorry, “Artists”, with style, manage to keep being interested in what they are doing. Why? Because I change mine all the time! Remember all those B&W images toned orange/brown? It really fascinated me, but with today’s two B&W images it could be nothing but pure black and pure white.

For the cables image B&W was an option, for the Image of the Day it was a necessity. The eye belongs to an image on an advertising column, and the receding left side of the column had strong reflections in a color that was completely alien to the color of the poster. Regardless of what I tried, in color the image looked terrible.

What you see here is a high-contrast blue filter for the column and a different B&W filter for the background. Furthermore I have adapted local contrasts with Topaz Adjust and several contrast layers with masks. I guess the result works pretty well and in any case a thousand times better than in color.

The final image is one more in a series that was so central to my SoFoBoMo book “Urban Dreams II“, another animal graffiti against a blurred background, another two-halves composition.

On a side-note: You may remember my rants against the trend towards Internet censorship. Well, I’m beginning to actually do something against it. I am now an official member of the Pirate Party of Austria, which means I have finally paid my membership fee 🙂

The Pirates can be best described as “Computer Literates Against Stupid Populism”, aka CLASP, and their mission is to act against all kinds of populism-induced restrictions of human rights. They call themselves Pirates for two reasons: They sprang from a movement in Sweden, culminating in the Torrent tracker site “The Pirate Bay“, and in general, they oppose the notion that copying (for example for personal backups) is piracy.

The content industry is enormously inventive in coming up with ever new business models that basically can be subsumed under “Selling The Same Sh*t Over And Again”. They even manage to get support from hardware and software producers for their broken schemes (DRM, HDCP). At the same time they seem to increasingly influence legislators to weaken consumer rights. For instance it may be legal to make backup copies for your programs or data, but it is made frequently illegal to circumvent copy protection schemes. Thus, installing such a scheme enables the content industry to legally make one of your legal consumer rights ineffective.

The list is much longer, but in any case, the Pirates are a party that tries to educate the public AND our politicians, in order to keep the content industry from controlling what’s left of democracy in our Western World. Actually, the name “Pirates” is a little unfortunate, but the idea is, that when the industry tries to make us all pirates, why not give it a positive swing and make a party.

Really: nobody but some kids are interested in copyright infringement. In earlier times those kids have shared music cassettes in the school yards, now they use P2P networks. The industry claims enormous losses due to that behavior, but we believe that it is as much advertising for new music as it is loss. In the end all those kids will become consumers and will pay for their music, just as it was ever before, just as I paid for my more than 3000 music CDs, despite my sympathies for the Pirates 🙂

The weapons are very unevenly distributed in this war that the industry wages against their own customers. It is time now to stand up and to fight for our rights. After all, we must not forget, that communication and the making up of illusions (soft lies?) is the core business of that industry. Small wonder that they are so incredibly much more successful at influencing politics, than their comparatively small contribution to the GDP would suggest.

The problem is, that in their greed to maximize profits, they bribe or convince (or both) law makers to take away more and more of our constitutional rights. One thing must be clear: they are corporations with one singular goal: to maximize their profits. Such a corporation has neither conscience nor responsibility, at least to nobody but its share holders. Thus they are immoral by definition. Let them have their way, and your worst nightmares will come true. It is our job as citizens to stand up and fight for our rights, fight for a world of free and uncensored communication. The case of Iran shows how vitally important that can be.

In the true spirit of its time, the Song of the Day begins with the words “Take a little dope / And walk out in the air / The stars are all connected to the brain”. Ladies and gentlemen, this is “Naked Eye” from the 1971 album “Who’s Next” by The Who. See them at the Isle of Wight 1970 on YouTube, and the pleasure will come falling down like rain 🙂

  4 Responses to “1011 – The Naked Eye”

  1. (If I could remember where I read it, I'd post a link) recent research suggests that the biggest downloaders of content (music, video) are also the biggest purchasers of physical content (CDs, DVDs etc). Runs counter to the industry assertions.
    I'm all for protecting artists' rights but dead set against automatically treating us all like criminals in the pursuit of that protection. Same with any free-speech issue, really.

    I find the title image rather disturbing. Was that the intent?

  2. As to the intent of the title image: YES 🙂

    As to the content industry: the problem is not that they want to maximize their profits. The problem is, that they are so damn good at lying. Creating illusions and lying, the necessary skills are just the same, and this is one of their core competences. That's why they are so dangerous.

    The other problem is, that all those in power are just old men. They don't even know about the culture that they are threatening to destroy. It does not mean a thing to them. They think of the Internet as a traditional medium. Broadcast. Know what I mean?

    They have no clue, but the money to destroy whatever we built in the last two or three decades. THAT's the reason why we must stop them!

  3. I didn't find the image disturbing until I read the text – but now it is. Thoughts make a difference…

  4. The headline photo works perfectly fine with me, the B&W treatment is perfect. Although I would more attach it to a post about internet privacy.

    Concerning that ongoing discussion about copyright infringements etc: I have to admit, that I feel somewhat caught between the stools. On the one hand, I agree with you. The attitude of major labels is somewhere between ridiculous and plain offending.

    On the other hand I would object the notion that everybody (or even most) who is a regular "customer" at piratebay is also purchasing a lot of media. I know more than a handful of music enthusiasts who own a couple of 100 Gigs of music. Non of it legally.

    But whatever the current discussion: The current business model of music labels and film companies will have the same fate as the profession of scribes when Gutenberg invented the printing press: it will vanish. What we are experiencing now is a dead cats bounce.

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