I spent the day at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery preparing for the Plazes demo this evening. It was mostly a day of banging my head against intractable firewalls, trying to get iChat AV to talk, through the Centre’s military-grade network protection, to Felix Petersen in Berlin. Never did get it to work; I’m thinking of starting a “firewall rights organization” to support all my disaffected librarian and curator friends who are held hostage by the need to protect the network from the Russians, therein neutering much of the DIY potential of the Internet.
In the end we had to be content with a SkypeOut call to Felix’s mobile phone (18 minutes; €3.80; did I mentioned that Skype rocks?). Which actually worked pretty well, all things considered. Kudos to Felix for extreme patience (and for staying up past midnight to talk to invisible strangers about technology). And kudos to brother Johnny too for putting up with 8 hours of “can you hear me now?” iChat testing. And to my mother Frances for looking after Oliver during my distraction.
The day ended around 9:00 p.m. with a 3-olive martini at Mavor’s (I don’t usually drink martinis, but it seemed like the Right Thing To Do). I got a chance to hang out with Serious Art People, which was novel and interesting; they use words like plinth (“A block or slab on which a pedestal, column, or statue is placed.” — they gave me one to balance my laptop on) and maquette (“A usually small model of an intended work, such as a sculpture or piece of architecture.” — art people are drenched in maquettes, it seems).
Nonetheless I was struck with how similar artist Don Gill’s “art stuff” is to the “digital stuff” of my peers: in a sense what he does with scrapbooks is what Plazes does with bits. Which I suppose was the whole point of having us share the podium for the evening.
Amidst all this I picked up a phone message from one of my oldest and dearest friends: he and his fiancée are considering getting married in Berkeley, California at the end of the month and wanted to know if we could come. This happens to be Oliver’s last week of freedom before Kindergarten starts, so it might in fact be the perfect time to travel.
Must sleep now. Although I’m certain I will dream of NAT and default gateways and managed switches and port 5090.
Thanks very much for putting all of this together, I learned a lot, from both your presentation and Don’s.
Forget about the Germans and travel. Oliver will learn more useful life lesson travelling than in a classroom.