The Techno Cultural Industrial Complex

Google is impatient with our culture-upload speed, and starts taking the job to its own hands. Before we get to excited or too paranoid, let’s see what we stand to gain or loose. Who’s exploiting who? Or is it a mutual opportunity?

Sumerian bust of a Bearded Man circa 3500-3200 BC
Sumerian bust of a Bearded Man circa 3500-3200 BC

Last week Google have announced a somewhat surprising initiative, to digitize the artefacts and documents of the Iraqi National Museum. The first ring of this is great! A private American company helping with the reconstruction of the ravaged Iraqi cultural heritage and making it available to the public online. And all for free.

I do acknowledge that there’s a high level of paranoia whenever Google announces anything. And while I definitely share some of the suspicions, I do not wish to align this post with the side of the conspiracy theorists. Yet I believe it is not hard to suspect that there is more than pure altruism in play here. Google has been expressing frequent PR attempts lately to fight against the inevitable (just a matter of time) anti-trust lawsuit by aligning itself on the side of the public interest.

Still licking the wounds of its somewhat failed book deal (digitizing the world’s books for free), Google is still trying to make an attempt to dive into publishing (rather than indexing) public content on the web. It seems like Google is impatient with the world’s pace of uploading its knowledge online, every failed Google search is a net loss for Google and almost every new service it has announced lately is geared towards increasing this process.

So Is Googlizing Iraqi Heritage Inherently Wrong?

Continue reading “The Techno Cultural Industrial Complex”

Beyond Sharing: “Open Source Design” / Wordcamp NYC

Towards the discussion I will be leading on this subject at Wordcamp, this Saturday 11:30am I wanted to share with you this diagram I’m proposing for discussing the open source process and how might design be a part of it. What is the motivation model that have been perfected in open source coding? (especially in … Continue reading Beyond Sharing: “Open Source Design” / Wordcamp NYC

To whom does the land belong?

This video is taken from a public debate between Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Dr. Israel Eldad and Dr. Menachem Brinker in 1980.

In the 50:40 minute an Israeli farmer asking what should he tell the Ismaili (apparently referring to the Biblical term used in the debate by members from the right portraying the Palestinians as the arch-enemies of the Jews in Biblical Israel/Palestine friend), who works in his farm and asks him:

“This land that you’re working, I sat in just 30 years ago… In a friendly manner he says that… How can you explain the fact you are working it now? And sometimes, with my labor… You hire me and my friends, to work for you on the land that belongs to me.”

The Israeli farmer continues…

“What will I explain to that Arab, which I want to live with in peace, that I want to reach the day in which he will think of me as a friend and will not think bad thoughts about me.”

Continue reading “To whom does the land belong?”

Fail Gracefully


The following is an essay I wrote together with Florian Schmitt ( for the Offf 2009 festival in Lisbon. Florian and I will also host a panel on Saturday, May 9th with Aaron Koblin, PES, and Joshua Davis, to discuss the ‘Fail Gracefully’ theme. Come say hi!

Fail Gracefully


We fail. We all do, and our failures often say more about us than our successes do. But we hide failure, we are ashamed of it and we often just deny it altogether. For almost a decade the Offf festival have featured successful digital creators in design and experimental sound and have celebrated the cutting edge of digital aesthetics. This year, we shed some light on the dark side of success and discover the dynamics and aesthetics of failure. Continue reading “Fail Gracefully”

Gaza and the media parasite/host reversal

What Gaza teaches us of networked solidarity The web is celebrated as this new radical space that re-challenges our old definitions of identity and solidarity, beyond prejudice, beyond borders, beyond nationality. However, the war in Gaza and the mediation around it tells a slightly different story. I would like to focus a couple of blog … Continue reading Gaza and the media parasite/host reversal

ShiftSpace Commissions Program

ShiftSpace Commissions 10 grants of up to $2000, deadline: Feb 25th [ — Please circulate widely between your friends, peers, students, blogs and lists — ] November 5, 2007 Turbulence Commission: “The ShiftSpace Commissions Program” by Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv Turbulence has commissioned ShiftSpace and now ShiftSpace commissions you. Ten development grants of … Continue reading ShiftSpace Commissions Program