What do you get when you cross a networked screensaver, Buckminster Fuller\'s quasi-cosmic tetrahedron worship, Richard Dawkins\' evolutionary cybernetics, and a whole lot of computer down time? You get n 0 time, software that attempts to embody practically every major wired theory put forth in the last 25 years. Networked, customized, imploding, meme-laden tetrahedral avatars! \"n 0 time-sharing\" community protocols! Auto-generated e-mail invitations to exclusive online implosion re-enactments! And you thought it was just a screensaver. (Free. PC version only.)
When ambient music godfather Brian Eno finds himself creatively stuck, he reaches for an Oblique Strategy card. Each card contains advice meant to jar the artistic soul out of stagnation and back into the stream of genius. (\"Question the heroic approach\" is a personal favorite.) Eno and painter Peter Schmidt developed the first series of Oblique Strategies in 1975. Now the cards are available as downloads, and one can just click a button to \"pick\" a random card. Commit to following these strategies, and watch oblique confidence bloom.
The software project HF Critical Mass appropriates the structure of conceptual filmmaker Hollis Frampton's 1971 film (called, of course, Critical Mass), in which a short clip of a couple's argument is fragmented and repeated for 25 minutes. Programmer Barbara Lattanza applies the same methodology to an interface that plays Quicktime movies. The complex playback pattern algorithm makes familiar narratives strange and unsettling. So, upload your family's holiday video, watch it stutter, repeat, and fall apart. Tell yourself the creeping malaise you feel is just about narrative, not family.
An online gallery launched June 13th in conjunction with the dLux exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. While no curatorial theme is mentioned, projects on display focus either on sound or narrative. For example, visit Jon Drummond and Nigel Helyer's \"Magnus-Opus,\" home to their 100,000,000,000 telephone tone sequences. Since each sequence has been copyrighted, beware: next time you dial your phone, you may be violating international copyright law. Other web works don\'t risk jail time and are by Hanna Kuts and Viktor Dovhalyuk, Shirin Kouladjie, and Ricardo Miranda.
\"Alternative Corporate Reality\" (ACR) is a nose-thumbing tactical media project that tricks corporations into using anti-corporate icons in their own ad campaigns. Freelance graphic designers are challenged to download ACR stock photography and use it in ad campaigns for their corporate clients. This ACR stock photography features recognizable project organizer Damian Stephens in various mock-serious power poses. Participating designers then upload samples of their \"subverted\" corporate work to the ACR site as evidence of their bravado. More of a sly wink than a thrown brick, but every little bit counts when you\'re fighting the man.
John Cage did it himself. Nancy Spero did it herself. Now you can too. \'Do It,\' curated by Hans-Urlich Obrist, is a collection of instructions for events, performances, objects, sketches, etc., crafted by more than 60 contemporary artists. Execute your own John Baldessari -- hang it in your home if you like. Upload your results and check out other people's. \'Do It\' started out as an offline exhibition, then appeared as a catalog, and now it's online, with a new crop of instructions by Diller and Scofido, Joan Jonas, Nam June Paik, and Yoko Ono.
Minerva Cuevas' Mejor Vida Corp. (Better Living Corp.) is physically located in a prominent skyscraper in Mexico City, but also provides services to a global audience through its web site. Unlike most corporations, Mejor Vida Corp. strives to provide a better standard of living at no cost to its customers through distributing free subway tickets, student identification cards, and lottery tickets. At the site, you can download barcode stickers to place over original labels to reduce costs at several international supermarkets. Also unlike most corporations, Mejor Vida Corp. is wholly accountable, taking full responsibility for the use of its products.
\"Cyber-Reader: Critical Writings for the Digital Era,\" edited by Neil Spiller, offers the fundamentals of cyber theory in a compact 300-page hardback. Published in March of 2002, \"Cyber-Reader\" has numerous predecessors but stands out because of its elegant design, concise introductions before each entry, and writings that span nearly a century and a half of cybernetic inquiry. Authors include Babbage, Wiener, Virilio, Delueze and Guttari, Gibson and Harraway to name just a few. This book will surely appear on college syllabi in the Fall and will become a standard reference for new media enthusiasts.