Hate to say I told you so...

Jim Dalrymple has been having issues with Apple's recently launched music streaming service:

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.
I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.
I’m going to listen to what’s left of my music library, and try to figure out all of the songs I have to buy again. I’ll also download Spotify and reactivate the account I cancelled with them a couple of weeks ago.

You could attribute these problems to the inevitable bugginess of a new software product, or you could view this as yet another example of what happens when you cede ownership of your media to an entity that does not have your best interest at heart.

I started my Apple Music trial in the last week, mainly to understand how it works before writing more scathing critiques of it. I immediately turned off the iCloud Music Library feature because it prevented me from manually adding songs from my laptop to my iPhone. I'm guessing the intention here is that any songs on my laptop would also exist somewhere on Apple's servers, so I could use my iPhone to connect to said servers and pick and choose from what I already own. The problem is I never used iTunes Match (the service that facilitates this feature) when it was launched, so iTunes would have to scan over 200 GB of music to determine what I would be allowed to play on my iPhone. I found the process a bit absurd and terminated it so that I could continue syncing my iPhone like it's an iPod that has never heard of the Internet.

As my free three-month trial progresses, I expect I'll have more to say about Apple Music's successes or failures.

Daily Forster

"But in public who shall express the unseen adequately? It is private life that holds out the mirror to infinity; personal intercourse, and that alone, that ever hints at a personality beyond our daily vision."

Howards End, Chapter X

Daily Forster

"The truth is that there is a great outer life that you and I have never touched—a life in which telegrams and anger count. Personal relations, that we think supreme, are not supreme there. There love means marriage settlements; death, death duties. So far I'm clear. But here's my difficulty. This outer life, though obviously horrid, often seems the real one—there's grit in it. It does breed character. Do personal relations lead to sloppiness in the end?"

Howards End, Chapter IV

Reading the Internet

A friend convinced me to get back on Twitter. His reasoning: "So I can crack wise back n forth forever with you for all the world to see."

I left Twitter some months ago because I found it exhausting. To misquote Capote, "That's not reading, that's scrolling." Scrolling is an exhausting action, mentally and visually. Processing hundreds of articles a minute, deciding what's worth clicking and what isn't based on a infinitesimal number of visual and linguistic cues. It's no wonder the neologism "clickbait" has gained traction in recent years. And even though I might not "read" more than a handful of articles a day, the thousands of cues that my brain swallows, whether to digest or regurgitate, leaves a dull ache by the end of the day.

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Intimacy/Intrusion: Apple Watch and the Problem with Pseudopresence

When the Apple Watch was announced back in September, I was considering writing a lengthy screed railing against Apple’s use of the term “intimate” when demonstrating the new method of communication that the device affords. At the time, I was morally outraged, assuming that the only true moments of intimacy could be had in face-to-face interactions, prioritizing the sense of sight above all others. When I began outlining my argument, I realized the fallacy of the assumption, and it became apparent to me that the Apple Watch, though still not “intimate” to my mind, heralds a breakthrough in telehaptic communication and increases accessibility for the blind and deaf.

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Gameplay as Interaction

A more succinct phrasing of what I was getting at in the last post:

Video game critics are better at talking about interactivity than aesthetics.
Art critics are better at talking about aesthetics than interactivity.

In video game reviews, aesthetic criticisms are largely concerned with "visual style." Here, the authors tend to fall into the same art/craft distinctions that critics in "The Art World" did away with a century ago. Graphical and physical realism is favored over creativity, even if the game under review deals with science fiction, fantasy, or similarly unrealistic subject material. I will need more time to unpack the terms "realism" and "creativity."

Interactivity & Emergence

A common problem with participatory performance occurs when the artist assumes participants will comply with whatever ground rules are imposed, or when the artist anticipates a particular response to a solicitation for interaction. There must be room for play, and play must be expected. The exact nature of this play and its attendant rules is, of course, unforeseeable.

Play emerges from prescribed rules or solicitations for interaction post facto, and it is through this emergent play and its ability to expand on the initial concept that a participatory performance may be evaluated. Too often, the very existence of interactivity is used to justify a work's value. Though interaction has been present in performance art for some time, the critical language surrounding interactivity is still in its infancy, as interactivity in well-received performances too often amounts to little more than gimmick or spectacle.

Outside of the venerable and prestigious "Art World", a critical language of interactivity is being developed in parallel as the next Gesamtkunstwerk is readied for its debut in hallowed museums. I am talking about video games. More on this later.

Publishing in the Age of Infinite Reproducibility

A Q&A session that concluded the panel discussion "FUCKING POSTINTERNET PUBLISHING" at the 2014 New York Art Book Fair began with the question: "What is a publication?"

"Something that is distributed!" — "Something that is promoted!" were some of the responses offered. While distribution and promotion are processes belonging to many publications, a publication is much more simply something that is made public. Distribution and promotion, which relate more to the size of "the public" that a published object reaches, are secondary to this process of making public. The arrival of the Internet has undoubtedly altered all three of these processes. By clicking "Save & Publish" I am making this blog post public. By posting it on a social media platform or emailing the link without comment, I am distributing. By distributing the post through the aforementioned channels with a note about its merit, I am promoting.

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