The GIF Economy

polterzietgiest2As 2009 expires, Weird Fiction exhumes a curious collection of GIF animation, curating items conjured up from a year’s worth of trolling in the deep dark dungeons of the internets.

This alongside an emergent compendium of collateral texts, GIF speciation theories and other missives propagated by the (((WFT))) policy institute; who, in an effort to advance their own “ficto-quizzical” mythologies, will facilitate the hoarding of materials on a dedicated electronic storehouse (

At once an instantiation of the “gift economy” and a call to action within the economy of expression roused by the humble parameters of the Graphic Interchange Format. (in)Appropriated material, both solicited and scavenged, will be intermingled within this labyrinthine technocultural milieu.

Denizens of the World Wide Web are implored to reanimate dead media and revive retrograde knowledge structures; deploying anomalous information and thereby accelerating GIF speciation. The GIF is your passport to the immortal realms of mythology mash-ups and off-modern memes. Remember: overexposure to cine-molecular glitch scapes (GIF animations and their kin) may lead to as of yet unknown climes of panopticonscious surrender.

Starting today through December 18th–Send your GIFs to: To be deployed live starting December 3rd online and at on site at Tractor gallery in Portland

the following Memetic prompts and file name suggestions culled from existing Weird Fiction mythos, may be used to guide your GIF speciation efforts:

#CINE-MOLECULE: microscopic mental vampires weaponizing space/time in a kinesthetic battle for hearts and minds.

#DERELICT THEORY OBJECTS: artifacts so murky & feedback singed that even the solipsistic world of contemporary art can’t make sense of them.

#FICTO-QUIZZICAL: non-euclidean narratives contingent on unforeseen “Z points.” fickle phenomena requiring attention to new signals in noise.

#GLITCHCRAFT: The art of the creative short circuit. Vessels for exploring new worlds. A proto-theory object with trails of attention.

#LORKURERS: cool hunting zombies sift through the foul stench of info-detritus seeking fresh brain matter for their Voodoo Economic masters.

#MAJESTIC 12: was the birth of the transistor just months after the Roswell crash an utterly cosmic conspiring?

#OBLITERATI: You can never make enough money to disappear! These data bodies are off the grid, staying anonymous while outing everyone else.

#OBLITERATARIUM: a stronghold of grey market R&D, a nexus perplexus, a theory object with a death wish.

#POLTERZEIRGEIST: A scary spirit of the times. The feeling of hovering inches off the ground, escape velocity threatening to fire you away.

#PANOPTICONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR: an interloper of and within vernacular information architectures.

#SECOND-WAVE VAMPLING: shifts from grave-robbing to mind-jacking, snatching images from the future, straight from the multitasking mind.

Additional prompts will be transmitted to the fleshy minds of mammals by way of

Prepping for WhereCampPDX

In preparation for this weekends WhereCampPDX I wanted to get together some of the mapping stuff I have worked on / thought about over the last few years and put it together in one blog post.


Scraping data from Facebook profiles one can easily create a map of who has dated or married who and where they have moved over the years. As a sketch of a proof of concept I made a map of a dataset I am personally familiar with.


The Following two maps are prints I made that show the Ecoregions of the US and India that bleed across politically created borders.

I got very interested in creating maps that used EcoRegions / BioRegions rather than political boundaries. I was surprised to find that there is no standardized, or agreed upon data set for BioRegions (as far as I could figure). Some of the competing standards include:

WWF’s EcoRegions
Bailey’s Model for the U.S. Forest Service
The Commision for Environmental Cooperation North American System


This was my MFA thesis. It was basically a drupal install with a very early GoogleMaps API (2006) that was designed to help people find use electricity outlets. Early attempt at read/write urbanism, with electricity the sites of exchange.

The question was could access to free(ish) electricity be the site of impromptu cultural production. I am also wondering if in the face of radical changes in economy / urbanism due to peak oil / climate change, people will create mapping networks for finding resources that used to be delivered directly to them. Post-Collapse geo-tagged distributed resource extraction for cyberpunk-industrial-ecologists anyone?


A write up is here.

And just a Random One I Like:

Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinarity Compared

Gabe sent this to me and wrote “For the Sake of Provocation” – from a white paper on Interdisciplinarity in Liberal Arts Educational Institutions, commissioned by The Teagle Foundation.

SWPDX from the roof of the KOIN center

Books I am Reading

Fuel edited by John Knechtel.

Design Like You Give a Damn edited by Architects for Humanity.

The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler.

How Cities Are Changing the World
by Jeb Brugmann.

Art in Action by Natural World Museum

Lecture Titles for Art History: New Media

Which I am teaching at PNCA this semester


/ INTRODUCTION: What is New about New Media?


/ HYPERTEXT ATE MY BRAIN: Non-Linearity and the RE(ad)-Writing of the Western Mind
/ DATASLUDGE: Net.Art, Information Design and [Data]BaseHeads
/ LEAVING THE SCREEN: the Spectacle, the Virtual, and Their Discontents


/ SERIOUS PLAY: Gamer Aesthetics, the Creative Class and Leisure / Labor disputes
/ WHEN IN DOUBT RELEASE THE REMIX: Free Culture, Intellectual Property and the Death of Art Stars
/ PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE: Identity, Privacy and the Politics of (Data) Bodies


/ THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES: Tactical Media, Fake Companies and Information Warfare
/ SPACE ART: Satellites, Ice Stations and The Telematic Life
/ VIRUS IS A LANGUAGE: BioArt, Citizen Science and the Critique of TechnoUtopias


/ MAKING THINGS TALK: Attack of the NonHuman Actors, Sensor Networks and Physical Computing
/ THE OPEN SOURCE CITY: Digital Urbanism, Interaction Design and the Geospatial Web
/ HACKING THE PLANET: Spaceship Earth, Industrial Ecology and Mind Children Don’t Need Us 


/ ARTIST AS INFORMATION NOMAD: The (New Media) World and Finding Your Way in It

Deep Information Ecology

Goodbye Bangalore!

It was a great trip. I finally got South Indian stylee movie posters made. 🙂

See you in 6 months.

Meet the Manjunauts

After the last signals faded over to the dark side of the moon, the unbearable news of their lost space-craft trickled down to earth, breaking many a teenage heart. You or your uncles might remember the failed, joint NASA-ISRO rescue missions, and those desperate prayers offered at Tirupathi.
Armed with some old video MACHINES and VCR tapes rescued from obscurity THE MANJUNAUTS, presumably lost, given up on, have resurfaced. They have recast themselves as an orchestra, when the time comes they will return to their roots as space explorers, but for now they are here to FUNK US OUT.
The Manjunaut Trio, like the Jackson Five, the Gundeja Brothers or the Corleone Family are a tight unit. Video Machines, Harmoniums, toy piano’s and customized software are played and tinkered with – recreating those trips to the asteroid belt that your grandfather always talked about.

The show was awesome! Thanks everyone for coming out. Video documentation coming up soon.


I have been cooking up this project over the last few months, inspired by a conversation over breakfast with members of the PDXsoupNIGHT crew, and an awesome talk I saw on Molecular Gastronomy / Food Hacking by Gweeds at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference last summer. (here is an .mp3) I wanted to put a draft of the project here, before it launches in earnest in August. Any feedback on the rules / categories / etc. would be greatly appreciated.


Vegan Ortolan is a migratory festival of open-source cooking competitions. Think Pecha-Kucha, with food. They can be hosted by interested parties in homes, restaurants, street corners or rock clubs. The recipes are shared online and will be compiled into a cookbook at the end of 2010.


At each VEGAN ORTOLAN event, 1-5 chefs prepare an amuse-bouche and serve them to audience members who eat them while wearing a large white napkin on their head.

The recipes take inspiration from the French dish: Ortolan.

Ortolan is a dish that consists of one small baked bird. During the migration of the Ortolan Bunting from North Africa to Europe the birds are caught with large nets. Then they are placed in dark boxes (or blinded) so that they think it is night time, and gorge themselves. After they have doubled in size the birds are drowned in Armagnac, and cooked for 8-10 minutes. Diners eat the hot bird whole, taking up to 20 minutes to chew through the feathers, meat and bones. Some Ortolan aficionados claim you can taste flavors from each of the lands that the birds have grazed in.

The Ortolan is illegal to sell in the EU, although it can still be caught and prepared by individuals legally.

Traditionally one eats the meal with a white sheet over the head. This ritual is thought to either hide one’s shame from God or keep all the smells and juices from the 15+ minute eating process close to one’s face.


There are three styles of preparation that chefs can follow and be judged on: SIMULATION, DECADENCE, LOCALITY

In the SIMULATION category the chef attempts to create a dish that simulates the experience of eating a whole live bird using only vegetarian or vegan ingredients. Ortolan’s are eaten whole (sometimes the head is included, sometimes it is cut off before it is inserted into the mouth). Feathers, bones and organs are eaten. SIMULATION chef’s might attempt to simulate the various body parts, or perhaps try to capture the range and variety of textures present in the ORTOLAN.

In the DECADENCE category the chef uses ingredients, flavors or preparation methods that are far outside the normal patterns of culinary culture. One might use expensive ingredients, utilize labor intensive preparation methods, or create flavors that most eaters have never experienced.

In the LOCALITY category chefs attempt to create a flavor geography with their dish. It has been said by some Ortolan aficionados that one can taste the flavors from each of the lands where the bird migrates. Chefs competing in this category might attempt to make the dish restricting themselves to food grown only within a 10 mile radius, or to serve the dish with a map showing the location of the ingredients and encouraging tasters to savor each landscape as they eat the dish.