I recently finished another iteration of development on the Critical Commons website, with Andy Nicholson of Infinite Recursion. Critical Commons is an online resource for film educators that pushes the boundaries of fair use (copyright) legislation by making clips from films available with academic commentaries, in both text and audio format. The site, devised by the USC School of Cinematic Arts Institute for Multimedia Literacy, enables lecturers to organise collections of clips and commentaries as lectures for classroom delivery. The website is built on the Plumi software, which was created by EngageMedia – a free open source software project to create a video sharing web application based on the Plone content management system.
The site is a simple audio blog built using WordPress, designed by Tom Civil of the wonderful local publishers, artists and activists Breakdown Press, and project managed by Marian Prickett from the Done by Law show. I had a lot of fun making this website, hacking WordPress is a fiddly yet satisfying thing to do. It’s also satsifying helping a community radio show find it’s place on the web.
In late 1999 and 2000 I hung out with the PirateTV.net crew at the Ninjatune studios in South London, for weekly netcast live audiovisual jams. The PirateTV slogan was “DIY psychedelic political interactive streaming zentertainment with quality content from top selectors”. The lineup would change from week to week, the mainstayers being Mike (VJ Juxta), Bongo and Matt Black (Coldcut). Sometimes live musicians would come in, I’d often do live camera for those. We netcast from Matt’s studio “Spacelab” behind the record label offices, crammed with records, instruments, decks and audiovisual gear. There was even a couple of old early synthesizers that the Doctor Who theme song was played on, I’m not sure how often they got dusted off and plugged in. The Fairlight Computer Video Instrument got a fair bit of play, as did PCs running Vjamm (running early versions of Vjamm 2 at that stage) and the Panasonic MX50 video mixers. We used Real Producer to stream out to a varying audience, encouraging folks to hop into the IRC channel to chat while we jammed.