Audiovisuality in the Era of Digital Convergence

This is the link to the Phd course on “Audiovisuality in the Era of Digital Convergence” that I organized in collaboration with Professor Taisto Hujanen. Selected contributions will be published in the forthcoming special issue of “Visual Studies” that I am editing for publication at the end of the year. Stay tuned for more details.

Search Engine Interesting (Visual) Evolution

searchme1I have been using  this relatively new search engine for a while and it seems to have matured enough for you to try. The search engine seems to have taken the hint from the Leopard OS and iTune´s interface to adapt the rendition of its results. Although not perfect it has become one of my favorite search engines to use for a quick glimpse at basic search results and their contexts. A very simple, and powerful, yet strangely unexplored change in direction in a mostly text based endeavor.  The new Safari browser (4 Beta) seems to move also in an interesting direction in exploring new ways of visualizing the desktop environment. All a little bit rough at the moment but worth exploring. I wonder if Google inc is paying attention?

Francesco Lapenta, 2008, “Geomedia, Mapping the World. A Brief Essay on the Changing Staus of Digital Photography. Google maps, Photosynth, Flickr, iPhoto 2009 and the Digital Merging of Collective Image Production.”,

Full Essay LINK

Remindfull of a technology that Ridley Scott created for Rick Deckard to use in his 2019 Los Angeles (Ridley Scott, Blade Runner 1982). As it happens reality has exceeded the fantasy allowing us to seamlessly move from one image into another in a virtual continuum of increasingly global spatial representations. As the map of the Empire that the cartographers continued to grow with increasing levels of detail, the virtual map of the world is acquiring a scale and scope that further exceeds their ambition. This virtual map deserves attention, because it is different both in its genetic nature and in its multiple evolution. It combines elements (Image, Text and Sound) that never before could be combined so seamlessly together. The map is built by the cooperation of two entities. On the one hand we have the (soon to be interconnected) platforms that are offered for its growth, we could say this is the equivalent of the kind of “surface” that is offered for the renditions of the map (in our case Google Earth, Google Maps, Photosynth, QuickTime VR, iPhoto 2009 etc, etc). And on the other hand we have the new generation of cartographers comprised by all the individuals  around the world that contribute with pieces of representation of the world to the enormous puzzle of the virtual map.
Read the rest of the essay here

Preferred Reference System:
Francesco Lapenta, 2008, “Geomedia, Mapping the World. A Brief Essay on the Changing Staus of Digital Photography. Google maps, Photosynth, Flickr, iPhoto 2009 and the Digital Merging of Collective Image Production.”,

GeoMedia and the Rise of Social Navigation Systems.

Finally a rough draft of the Geomedia article for you to browse. As you will see it is in a very rough form but wanted to bring it out to have feed back from you. The article discusses the new generation of location based technologies and the ways in which they will rearticulate our perception of time, commodification of space, digital merging of collaborative pictures, sound, and texts collections using WEB 2.0 tools and logics and available and developing softwares and services, PhotoSynth, Google maps, Flicker. The article also describes the social behaviors that will be favored by these new technologies (which I call Social Navigation Systems). Feed back are appreciated and needed so do write back with comments and ideas, anything suggested and used in the final article will be of course properly credited and accounted for.

geomedia-and-the-rise-of-social-navigation-systems5th (Version 5, 2008 December).  The article is set on private, please do e-mail me if you want to read the draft.

New info about the article will be periodically updated here until completion and publication.

President elect Barack Obama and the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

creative-commonsThis is really an interesting move, and one that is going to give a lot of momentum to the Creative Commons License system. President elect Barack Obama new governmental website is now registered under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. This is interesting news on more then one level, and certainly one that is keeping me interested in what the new administration might do for the power´s balance over the Internet.

WEB 2.0 the thrill is gone. or should it be?

dangerA really interesting article written by Gry Hasselbalch about the new found consciousness required for the wise use of the ever present social networking websites/tools:

From the year of ME to the year of OOOPS

excerpt: “Ok, so 2006 was the year of “me”, the year when we the ”I” generation took the media and used it to its very limits to express ourselves. The public debate was rolling over its own borders of excitement over all the new possibilities that we suddenly had to express ourselves with:

Blogging, moblogging, youtube, SecondLife, myspace, Linkedin…uuhh nice….and twitter and jaikuu!!! and and and….

And then came 2008, the hang over year, the year of “OOPS” when ”me” the average person suddenly realise what I actually put out there. Organisations, media and even politicians start talking about the responsible media use and user, about how we should think about what we put out there. Campaigns, regulations, codes of conduct, guidelines, recommendations….”

europeana2In what has become an arms races towards the freedom of information and knowledge for all, the European Union has announced the launch of its new universal library project called Europeana. The scope of the project is ambitious, to have 10 million books online for 2010.  We can only celebrate and praise all the institutions that in one project or another are attempting to the systematization and free distribution of human knowledge. So long live the Europeana and the legacy of the Universal Digital Library and Google books.

First applications in GOV 2.0 ?

The new American President-elect Barack Obama  agenda for the Internet and technology!

Some highlights: “Protect the Openness of the Internet, Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership, Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment, Safeguard our Right to Privacy, Invest in University-Based Research, Reform the Patent System”.

The agenda and the campaign run by President-elect Barack Obama are interesting on many levels, the question I keep having in mind however is; will this new administration go down in history also as the first to develop a new form of active political participation based on technology based social networking (hence GOV 2.0) ?.  Certainly the use of WEB 2.0 tools made by the campaign has been unique, but what is more interesting is that it seems that the president-elect has no intention to let go of these tools. The big question: representational democracy has always been based on the fact of electing someone to “represent” you, to be your vice, in the political process. Technology has strongly changed our ability to participate to the political process. Should not this be transformed in a set of new “democratic” tools to have direct effect on our policy makers decision making? Barack Obama´s technology agenda and new website seems to indicate so, will it be then GOV 2.0 after all?

New Frontiers in Image Manipulation

An incredible amount of image manipulation software is being developed lately these are two that got me realy impressed.

Photosynth: this is quite amazing and certainly will have incredible commercial applications, somehow competing with Google StreetView, has the potential to move into a wealth of image details that are out of (legal?) reach for StreetView. Certainly one to keep an eye on.

The second one does not have a cool name yet, in a typical scholar research style the name of the project is called “Using Photographs to Enhance Videos of a Static Scene“, a project developed by a number of scholars from the University of Washington, Microsoft Interactive Visual Media Group (again!) and Adobe ( I am sure you will notice the similarities with Photosynth)

IVSA International Conference 2008 Panels and Directions to FLACSO, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The conference finished today. It was extremely interesting and we will do our best to maintain the connection with all the new Latin American scholars that participated. See you all at IVSA2009.

This is the Conference Program: here

You can find the conference Panels Pdf file here

The list of the sessions: sessions_list

This is FLACSO address and info on how to reach it: here

This is a view of FLACSO from google: here

THE LIVE CHANNEL: well the live connection was a test, it worked to a certain extent, but not really, the campus connection could not hold the live stream so w had to give up. We will however certainly improve it next year, bookmark the link: here

Define: GeoMedia and WEB 3.0

(link to intro)

This is how I define GeoMedia:

GeoMedia, are electronic media that rely on precise location systems to integrate location based data with user generated contents and activities. They are not new media per se, but platforms that merge existing technologies (Electronic Media + the Internet + Geo-Location Technologies) in a new mode of data association and generation.

GeoMedia are not the sole collection of archived location based data, but an instrument that associates these existing data with a live geographical position in a personally activated and/or socially maintained data exchange (communication). Electronic Media are used to create/receive data, the Internet to transmit them, and the Geo-location technologies to position them; GeoMedia articulate these information in a live communication process.

GeoMedia are the technological platforms on which WEB 3.0 behaviours merge and expand: If WEB 1.0 can be seen as the initial move towards the simple transfer of content (Image, Sound, Text) to a new medium and digital delivery system. WEB 2.0 has seen the re-organization of such distribution of content on the basis of existing and developing social networks. In the new ecosystem interaction itself is transformed into data. WEB 3.0, based on the development of new social-networking applications, has its biggest momentum in the progressive integration of location based data in the communication process.

GeoMediaare to Space what the Watch is to Time. They regulate behaviour and coordinate interactions. They are a fundamental dimension of mediated interaction. GeoMedia regulate and generate capital, and are the predictable outcome of the expansion of capital. The move from the systematic capitalization of time (sanctioned by the Universal Time and the Standard Time) to the systematic informatization and re-capitalization of Space.

GeoMedia on the one hand reduce the distance between the Real and the Hyperreal (Baudrillard), they create yet another link between the represented (the object) and its representation (its simulation, its image), knotting them together at a certain time and location. On the other hand they increase their distance by rendering the former (the Real) a complementary but not necessary part of what we do with the latter (its representation). This processes further enhances the mimic, and the independent qualities of the simulation and contributes to the construction of the Hyperreal, a world of parallel, but different, signification systems (Image, Music, Text) in which we live parallel lives.

Preferred Reference System:

Lapenta, Francesco, 2008, “Define: GeoMedia and WEB 3.0”, Draft June 2008,

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GeoMedia: the Early Developments of WEB 3.0 aka Location Based technologies and Media

This morning I left my studio in St Marks Pl ( 40°43’44.58″N,  73°59’18.82″W) at 09:13. I arrived at my favorite Caffe´, Taralluci e Vino ( 40°43’44.18″N,  73°59’4.38″W) at 09:21 and ordered breakfast, one big cappuccino and a plain croissant. When I placed my order on my mobile I was a little disappointed to see that my favourite chocolate croissants were finished. I always get a chocolate croissant with my cappuccino, I am a man of  habits, I should have checked before going out and reserved one for my breakfast before getting there, but then again I know I would never do that, I have always been too lazy to organise things too much in advance. While waiting for my breakfast I start to plan my day. I first check my live contacts on my world map, I can see that my wife is still at work (55°40’59.30″N, 12°34’43.00″E). She will be there for one hour more it´s 15:24 pm in Copenhagen, and she normally leaves the office around 16:30. Maurizio, my brother, instead is communicating to his friends that tonight he will go to a concert, the concert is in a club I know really well “Il Covo” (44°30’28.24″N, 11°22’39.15″E) , Bologna. Hold on, let me see; ok, I can see that the “Futureheads” are playing there tonight, I know he really likes them. Let me check, hummm not my kind of music, we always had different music taste me and my brother.

The cappuccino and the croissant arrive, I get a taste of both, delicious, the day is not really starting until I get my cup of coffee. Later today I have to meet with Dough who is coming from Pittsburgh ( 40°26’12.96″N,  79°59’21.33″W), but I can see on the live map that he is still 2 hours and 31 min away from New York ( 40°45’2.09″N,  73°59’36.89″W), the Amtrak live info system says that the train is on time, good. I get another sip of my coffee and another bite of my croissant, huuummm. I briefly check my e-mails, and turn on my online status. Within seconds Eric calls me, it´s really early, 06:31 am, in Arizona, Tempe (33°25’6.17″N, 111°55’59.10″W), I can see from the sun in the background that it is going to be another hot day in the Grand Canyon State, you really need to start the day early if you want something to get done with that heat. The phone vibrates, I check the Locator and tell Eric that we´ll chat later during the day, Locator is showing me that John is few blocks away and he is free, I send him my local call and invite him to join me for breakfast. I get another bite of my croissant, and briefly go trough my RSS feeds, one more sip of my cappucciono and i am on my to do list. I could not live without my To Do List and my Locator, too lazy to get in all the shops to find the things I need, I just set the list on my mobile and while walking around the city a vibration will tell me when I am in the proximity of a shop that has the items I require, the things I would like to see, the people i would like to meet. It´s 09:41 and John arrives, I smile to him, and put my mobile in my pocket thinking; how did I manage life before 2008? before the iPhone 2.0 and the  whole mobile WEB 3.0.

Preferred Reference System

Lapenta, Francesco, 2008, “GeoMedia: Looking Back at 2008 and the Early Developments of WEB 3.0”, Draft June 2008,

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The Universal Digital Library (

snapshot-2008-12-03-21-11-261“Though Google, Microsoft and the Internet Archive all have launched major book digitization projects, the Million Book Project represents the world’s largest, university-based digital library of freely accessible books. At least half of its books are out of copyright, or were digitized with the permission of the copyright holders, so the complete texts are or eventually will be available free.” ( From the website: “The mission is to create a Universal Library which will foster creativity and free access to all human knowledge. As a first step in realizing this mission, it is proposed to create the Universal Library with a free-to-read, searchable collection of one million books, available to everyone over the Internet. Within 10 years, it is our expectation that the collection will grow to 10 Million books. The result will be a unique resource accessible to anyone in the world 24×7, without regard to nationality or socioeconomic background.One of the goals of the Universal Library is to provide support for full text indexing and searching based on OCR (optical character recognition) technologies where available. The availability of online search allows users to locate relevant information quickly and reliably thus enhancing student’s success in their research endeavors. This 24×7 resource would also provide an excellent test bed for language processing research in areas such as machine translation, summarization, intelligent indexing, and information retrieval.