Botanicalls Kit – let your plants tweet to your phone


Botanicalls Kits let plants reach out for human help! They offer a
connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your
mobile phone. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you
know, and send its thanks when you show it love.

Finding California in Cyberspace + Bruce Sterling and the SoCal DigiCult

LA Freeway
My article ‘When Geeks Go Camping: Finding California in Cyberspace’ has been published earlier than expected, so I would like to offer it up for some holiday entertainment. It’s kind of academic and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. (And if you are a camping geek, or geeking camper, or you know of any, please get in touch!)

In the same issue, Bruce Sterling expounds on the 'SoCal DigiCult': "The vitality of Southern California arises from the resilient intuition that there is always a next time, the next re-boot, the next re-framing. In this smouldering, quake-racked landscape are sturdy elements of deep cultural continuity, dating back to the first back-lot shacks flung up for the hasty production of silent film." You can feel the heat shimmering off the freeways.

Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media
Technologies, Vol. 15, No. 1, 13-30 (2009) DOI:
10.1177/1354856508097016  Sadly, it can only be accessed via subscription although the Editorial seems to be freely available.

Psychogeography and natural decay

Rhys Mukesh and Kieren on a psychogeographical walk psychogeography: urban murals being devoured by nature

A small group of IOCT Masters students take my Creative Writing and New Media module. Some weeks they work together with my online CWNM students and sometimes we work together in the IOCT. This week we left the plastic and metal of the lab behind and took a psychogeographical walk through the Leicester streets nearby.  Left to right: Rhys, Mukesh, Kieren.

By paying close attention to the streets we pass through every day, we found some intriguing artefacts to interpret, the first of which was a long grey wig crumpled at the base of a fence. What's the story behind that? And this mural, clearly part of some once-proud urban regeneration scheme but now rapidly being consumed by nature. I found it depressing, but Rhys rightly pointed out that it was a natural phase in the ecology of anything human-made, and reminded us that it is an ironic parody of the Roman murals which have been uncovered in various parts of Leicester and which are of course treasured and protected. Which reminded me in turn of how when the Romans left their colonised lands and went home, the locals were afraid of their technologies and refused to enter the abandoned villas. Instead of maintaining them in good repair, they either abandoned them or dismantled them for the bricks and other materials to build their own inferior dwellings. Today, we scrape away the plants and soil to uncover Roman villas and towns, whilst at the end of our street more recent efforts quietly return to the earth.

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