A new social network?


I recently discovered Ben Crosser.
Ben Crosser focuses on the cultural, social, and political effects of software.

He asks. What does it mean for human creativity when a computational system can paint its own artworks? How is an interface that foregrounds our friend count changing our conceptions of friendship? Who benefits when a software system can intuit how we feel? To examine questions like these, he constructs interactive experiences, machines, and systems that make the familiar unfamiliar, revealing the ways that software prescribes our behaviour and thus, how it changes who we are.

He has created a social network that works the opposite way to most. You are limited to 100 posts, there are no date and time-stamps, and no reason to connect or expand your network. As an interactive piece it is interesting, you can reply to people if you want. Replies don’t count toward your message limit.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photogrpahs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

From Doom-scrolling to Darkroom

St.Albans paddock with pylons and burnt grass
Circa 1989, St.Albans 19 x 19 cm silver gelatin print. Printed 2021

Today was the beginning of the term break for me as I only work 3 days a week now. I managed to procrastinate online all morning. I fitted in some quality time in my darkroom after lunch though. I have a solo exhibition application in the works. So if I’m accepted into the space I want to have plenty of time to make the best quality prints I can. The negatives span more than 30 years of shooting film and are mostly images that I have liked for and of themselves. But may not have fitted in with other series and bodies of work I exhibited in the past.

It’s a bit weird working with such old negatives. I started in my first year of University with a Mamiya medium format TLR camera. I used Microdol-X as my developer in those days. I now use a Hasselblad as my main medium format camera. Recently switched to Xtol too, a commercial developer also by Kodak. Prior to switching I had used a home made developer called D25. I’m still using the same film though, Kodak T-max 400.

Papers too, have changed radically since 1989 when I was at University. Now most papers are multi-contrast as opposed to graded. This is actually a good thing as I feel I can eke more out of a negative using the 2 extreme filters, 00 and 5. A technique called ‘split filter printing’.

I hope then to better match my expectations of an image using the split filter printing system, and a variety of home made paper developers. Compared to my University days, when a neg may have been put aside due to it not being able to printed well on a single grade of paper.
The differences between cameras and eras seems noticeable. The developer not so much. I switched film developers mainly for environmental reasons but technique also played a part in that decision too. I touched base with an old teacher a couple of summers back and he suggested the change.

The weird part is as I’m not really working to a fixed time frame, I have all the time in the world to muck around as I make each print. Some are just “falling” out of the enlarger, others are requiring many test strips and prints. I plan on exhibiting about 14 to 18 prints. Pinned directly to the walls of the gallery.

I applied to exhibit in October 2022.

Fingers crossed.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | Twitter | Tumblr ☚

Geekiness

I have been searching for alternatives to the big gatekeepers of the internet of late over the last 2 or 3 years. Driven mainly by Facebook’s abuses of data. I have found a number of services, applications and tools that are operating outside the walled gardens of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Some services replace platforms like Instagram, others are hybrids of Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, and others are a retro step back to the early days of the internet, where text reigned supreme. Most are run by volunteers who have the tech skills to run and organise and moderate these things.

Screengrab of my account on pixelfed
Screengrab of my account on pixelfed

These services are for instagram pixelfed.social, [free open source] Glass [glass.photo] a subscription model. Mastadon is a Facebook replacement, the platform runs “instances” I am connected to two. AusGalm.space you will need to “apply” to join and mastodon.social. Joining is simple easy and quick. [I’m hoping to merge the two soon]. And lastly discord. This is a social space where people with common interests congregate. The groups are called servers, currently I participate in several from my own specially created one for flickr users to others much more general in scope, like iPhone photography and online music listening.

A screen grab of the gemini browser showing my "site"
A screen grab of the gemini browser showing my site

Lastly a new internet protocol has been developed, this is super geeky and requires a special browser to read, I’m using Larange. It also requires access to a server that is configured to allow it to run if you want to write your own pages. The protocol is called gemini . This protocol is unlikely to ever take off the way the internet did in the mid to late 1990s, but for me this is fine. It is, I hope, going to be a space to build my writing skills. As it is text and hyperlink only protocol.  At least it’s bit more user friendly than the gopher protocol.

Here’s a description from the documentation page of the project:-

Gemini is a new application-level internet protocol for the distribution of arbitrary files, with some special consideration for serving a lightweight hypertext format which facilitates linking between files. You may think of Gemini as “the web, stripped right back to its essence” or as “Gopher, souped up and modernised just a little”, depending upon your perspective (the latter view is probably more accurate). Gemini may be of interest to people who are:
Opposed to the web’s ubiquitous tracking of users Tired of nagging pop-ups, obnoxious adverts, autoplaying videos and other misfeatures of the modern web Interested in low-power computing and/or low-speed networks, either by choice or necessity Gemini is intended to be simple, but not necessarily as simple as possible. Instead, the design strives to maximise its “power to weight ratio”, while keeping its weight within acceptable limits. Gemini is also intended to be very privacy conscious, to be difficult to extend in the future (so that it will *stay* simple and privacy conscious), and to be compatible with a “do it yourself” computing ethos. For this last reason, Gemini is technically very familiar and conservative: it’s a protocol in the traditional client-server request-response paradigm, and is built on mature, standardised technology like URIs, MIME media types, and TLS.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | Twitter | Tumblr ☚

2022 Solo Show Application

I have applied to the Sunshine Community Arts Space for another solo show in 2022.

Here are some images that formed part of the application and potentially part of the exhibition.

The images form part of a larger archive and at one level are simply images I’ve always connected to, but not actually printed to exhibit in the past.

Like the last solo show in 2019, these prints will be small about 18 cms square. However this time I am not framing, just pinning, to the wall.

2 Friends on a location photography excursion in about 1990
Glen & Les near the You Yangs about 1990
Swamp under the Westgate Bridge about 1989
Swamp under the Westgate Bridge about 1989
Outside the National Gallery in Canberra, in about 1993
Outside the National Gallery in Canberra, in about 1993
A view from Melbourne looking east atop a skyscraper around 1990
A view from Melbourne looking east atop a skyscraper around 1990

The work comes from a place that I have been situated in since the beginning of the pandemic. Relying mainly on my archives and my darkroom. I initially set out to make a small artist book, using contact printed negs. This process lead me to realise I could make a small solo show or two from the images I collated. All up I looked at over 539 medium format contact sheets from 1988 to 2021. The first edit for the book culled this down to about 80 images. This was too many for the book I had planned. The excess images may then make up several solo exhibitions.


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photogrpahs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr