Friday, August 14, 2009

I Am Having A Nice Time – A Choose Your Own Adventure Blog by Chris Killen


A Choose Your Own Adventure Blog by Chris Killen

Check it out.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:08 pm  

Friday, August 14, 2009

Games as Art

art game

Great comment over at Kotaku, on a review of Art Style: Precipice.

Sarcasmancer – 08/11/09

The interesting thing about the Art argument in video games is that people frequently reference the story, graphics and music as evidence of a games of artistic merit.
Admittedly, each of these factors deserves attention, but games are more than composite art forms. When determining whether or not a game is art, one must look at it’s rules, controls and play; the things that comprise the actual game. Anything can become artistic when it is dressed up with gorgeous art, carefully composed music, and an enriching story, but in the end, those are decorations (inherently artistic things). I think Totilo is on the right track with this interview by examining what the abstract game play represents. *inhale exhale* Artsy-gamer rant finish

Kudos to this guy for expressing something this messy in such a short amount of time. I think he hits on something very important when reviewing interactive media. There are a lot of aspects that are already “art” and possibly even masterpieces in their own right, included in modern video games (or installation, or web art.) Asking for art to be judged not just by the inclusion or allusions to prior art forms, but what it can, itself, uniquely do.

I remember hitting upon a fair amount of this in photographic discussion: What can photography do that is owned by photography alone?

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 1:32 am  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Society for Photographic Education Portfolio Reviews – SPESE Atlanta October 15-18

For those of you who missed me at this year’s national SPE convention in Dallas, I’ll also be looking at work at the upcoming Society For Photographic Education South East conference in Atlanta, GA. You can find some more information about the upcoming event here, at a little blog spot site they made.

My friend and colleague David Strohl will be on a commercial photography panel and also looking at work. He’s been shooting for some major publications out in Texas, recently. If you want advice about getting into commercial work or want to show him your editorial portfolio, this is a great opportunity. He’s a very nice guy and, unrelated perhaps, an amazing cook. Had to mention that, since he just made me dinner.

If you’ve been following me on the blog, you probably know something of my admittedly eclectic tastes, but I want to stress that I’m open to looking at any kind of work. I’ll be featuring and reviewing what I look at here, on this blog, and am also looking for work for a couple of ongoing curatorial projects (one in print and one for gallery presentation.) Here’s my reviewer blurb:

Ian Aleksander Adams is an artist, curator, and educator currently located in Savannah, Georgia. He is looking for work to feature online, as well as in print and gallery projects. He feels he will be of most use to people nearing the end of the shooting phase of their projects, but he will see people of any level and with any working method, though he admits to a soft spot for photographers who shoot on film and aren’t scared of happy accidents. If an artist is looking to create a book – whether find a publisher or self publish – Ian delights in the art of sequencing and editing and encourages photographers to bring him a stack of small prints (no more than 100, postcard sized prints preferred) to lay out and go over.

I know I’ve had a healthy amount to say about expensive review events, but I want to stress that this event is free for SPE student members and only 50 dollars for any other SPE member. It’s a great organization and worth becoming a member. If you are on the fence about that, though, it’s only 70 dollars for non-member admittance. The fees basically cover costs and the event is not out to pick your pocket.

Speakers include Gregory Crewdson and the amazing Mary Virginia Swanson, as well as a plethora of other awesome contributors.

You can sign up to be reviewed by myself or any of my colleagues, but if you don’t manage to get a slot, I’ll be happy to look at your work during informal critique or even over drinks or in the hallway. Everyone at these events is excited about art and photography and very approachable.

Let me know if you’ve got any questions! Now’s a great time to ask em. If you’re a SCAD student, I’m sure car pools will be available (we might even have a couple spots left in our car coming from Savannah.)

I’ll post more, of course, as it gets closer to the date.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 10:10 pm  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Discussion Spotlight: Love Systems


Recently, I’m sure some of you noticed the discussion of “Love Systems” on Penny-Arcade. It started as a sort of bemused post by Jerry, which turned into a bit of back and forth as Mike and him investigated, played devil’s advocate, and tried to figure out the appeal of this strange nonsense. One of the most interesting parts of this exchange is Mike’s frank discussion of his own anxiety:

One of the effects of my anxiety was that I couldn’t talk to girls. My wife Kara was the the first girl I ever went on a date with and the fact is I didn’t even ask her out myself. My friends at the time knew that I liked her but also knew that I would never be able to ask her on a date. I was in my early twenties and I had never really talked to a girl for longer than a couple of minutes. My friends knew this and so like some kind of crappy romantic comedy they cooked up a plan to get us together. They told me that she wanted to meet me at a movie theatre and they told Kara that I wanted to meet her there. We ended up together watching Vegas Vacation and when she reached over to hold my hand I was literally fucking terrified.

What I’m realizing is that sort of anxiety is almost like a kind of class feature for nerds. I got tons of mail from guys who aren’t using these systems to abuse girls or score one night stands. They are using them for the reasons that I listed jokingly. They really are trying to learn to be more confident and get past their anxiety with girls. They feel like all the douche bags out there give the system a bad name and more then one recommended a book called the Game by Neil Strauss. Where as I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever meeting a girl these guys are going out and trying to get help. I’m not sure how I can blame them for that.

However, his conclusions (and for a potty mouthed artist that doesn’t profess to be interested in feminism) are pretty sound:

What I can say to all the guys mailing me about this system is that the girls you’re so terrified to talk to, are just as scared of you. I’ve got guys mailing me saying they don’t know how long they should wait before calling a girl or if it’s okay to ask for their phone number. They are worried about not understanding the rules of some imaginary game. My advice for what it’s worth,  is that the girls you really want aren’t playing a game, and they won’t expect you to play one either.


I’m a little worried that guys reading the site might take our discussion here as some sort of endorsement and I want to make sure that isn’t the case. While some of their advice is probably fine I think the majority of it is really sleazy. Again, I can’t blame guys for seeking out help. All joking aside though, I just want to make it clear that I don’t think the seduction community is the place to go. I understand how badly you want to believe that there is a system out there that if you can simply master will resolve your problems. Sadly I don’t think that’s the case and if there is such a system, it certainly isn’t this one.

So I was a little surprised to see this comment on Sociological Images (one of my absolute favorite blogs), in a thread discussing Geeks and Gender. The entire thread is well worth reading, as usual, but in order to streamline this post I’m just quoting some comments. This Beth is not the Beth you know through this blog, by the way. This conversation is ongoing, but I wanted to share it and give any of you reading a chance to become involved. I know many of you (myself included) are adamant feminists or geeks, often both.

Beth 4:02 pm on August 13, 2009 | # | Reply

I also suggest you look at yesterday’s Penny Arcade blog post, where they start talking about Pick Up Artists. It hasn’t gotten as much discussion as I would like, probably because relatively few feminists read Penny Arcade, but they basically spend the whole time talking about how these poor men are so terrified of girls that it is completely understandable that they’d pay money to learn how to further dehumanize and objectify them. There is no female voice involved anywhere, and they dismiss the women who might like to speak about the topic as “angry girls”. It is clear that the geek community continues to be about building a new masculinity that continues to build itself up by putting women, GBLT and people of color down.

Geeks need to take a hard look at the culture and decide whether they want to keep using it as an oppressive and alienating force or whether, like Fowler, they can take responsibility for their anxieties and treat both women and men as human beings first and sexual objects only when appropriate.

Cola 4:24 pm on August 13, 2009 | # | Reply

Beth, the reason there are no women in that conversation at Penny Arcade was that it wasn’t planned as a feminist analysis of Love Systems, and Mike and Jerry (Gabe and Tycho respectively) are the owners and creators of the site and were having a conversation with one another. I wish they would have a serious conversation about these issues, but that’s not what they set out to do, and it’s unfair to characterise the conversation in the way you did. Jerry did make some concessions about Love Systems, but maintained that it was creepy, and Mike made concessions about the situation women find themselves in in the dating world as well.

I’m disappointed that you’d completely erase the obvious feminism that Jerry brought to the table, however. I’ve been a fan for a long time. I go to PAX every year and I’ve listened to all their podcasts and I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that although Mike may not be a flag waving feminist, Jerry clearly doesn’t just have a passing interest in these issues.

Ian Aleksander Adams 4:53 pm on August 13, 2009 | # | Reply

Beth, wait what?

I actually sent the penny arcade post around as a frank discussion of it. It seems they give it a fair chance, and both find it as offensive. They can see how it can be defended, but ultimately think it is a skeezy and bad way to look at dating – which seems to be a very fair and even minded analysis from a couple of humorists who hardly set out to write a thesis paper.

Beth 5:21 pm on August 13, 2009 | # | Reply

Hmm, thank you Ian and Cola for critiquing my position. I didn’t give credit to Jerry because of the emotional response I had to the later commentary; it is nice to see men in the geek community trying to engage. I wish they had listened more, but I can somewhat appreciate the discussion taking place.

I had no problem with the first round of discussion (I got that Mike was using hyperbole). What bothered me was the second round where other men did participate in the discussion, directly in the case of the letter and indirectly in the case of Mike’s further observations. Other men’s perspectives were entertained; women’s perspectives weren’t.

Just because they are two men talking about something that involves women, I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask that the person-hood of women not be erased, which is what I felt like happened here. The only mention of women in their conversation were as objects to be objectified, scared of, or approached respectfully. They were still always things being acted on by men.

The problem with LoveSystem is not just that it is skeezy or a bad way to look at dating, it’s that it is sexist and mythologizes women as an alien species, separate from the world of men. I didn’t feel, after reading that discussion, that Mike at least thought women weren’t an alien species.

Ian Aleksander Adams 5:47 pm on August 13, 2009 | # | Reply

I think that their discussion centered around trying to figure out why men would engage in such a community, which is why they focused on it from men’s perspective. To me it seemed that they were already agreeing with the female responders, hence were making extra effort to understand the men that were defending it so vehemently.

As a geek, I can understand how some math and table top game obsessed people could find appeal in something called love systems (Less so the “seduction community,” which just sounds horrible from the get go). There is a desire in many of us to try and quantify/understand as many things as possible using some kind of pencil and paper or math based “system.”

Of course, such an idea is pretty preposterous when directed at affairs of the heart, and those of us with experience in such areas understand this. What mike was talking about is how people no experience (perhaps, even a clinical and debilitating fear of such experiences) might be suckered (seduced, perhaps?) into spending their money to buy lesson plans and attend such conferences.

So his position is one of sympathy with the misguided males who hope to somehow “understand women” through these kind of lessons, sympathy for their situation, but not for those who prey upon them.

Anyone professing to sell a “love system” is either seriously misguided, a sexual predator, a con-man, or all three.

Geeks with anxiety complexes, however, are simply in need of some (loving) guidance from those of us who are more comfortable with relating to other people, have some experience with love, and are not afraid to approach them and help overcome their somewhat society induced condition.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:03 pm  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beth at the Beach


In her adventuring outfit, after spending a windy night on the sands.

Taken on her holga with film from my stockpile of expired 120. (if you have any you’re never going to shoot, by the way, send it over. We love expired film here.)

She’s visiting her family in New Jersey right now, so I miss her terribly, of course.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 3:42 pm  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He a Thug So I Hit Em’ On His G Mail

YEAH! (you already know what it is)(you already know who it is)

Shawty I been lookin at these pictures of you ,
So when you gon call me?
When you gonna come thru?
(whats your fantasy?)
All I wanna do is download
When you gonna let me download?
Shawty up Shawty down low
when you gonna let me download?

(Verse 1)-Kim

I’m on MySpace and its type late
my baby got me number 1 on his top 8
It’s computer love
we dont mind the hate
they just MySpace freaks tryna find a date
We up all night ,havin CyberSEX
He chat ,I chat though we neva met
He said he wanna explore me like tha internet
its like a orgasm everytime he send a text
He wanna download
He likes to download
Lil’ Kim songs and put ‘em on his ringtone
he even got my screensaver on his I-phone
I get more hits than a TMZone
we goin back and forth
sendin emails
he a thug so I hit em’ on his g mail
his sense of humor got me writin L-O-L
I sent pictures of myself straight to tha cell


(Verse 2)
He been lookin at my sexy pics
said he diggin my sexy hips
he wanna kiss my sexy lips
and download me on his floppy disk
Lil’ Kim is the only one on his mind
he wanna come thru and put me on his hard drive
3 o’clock in the morning ,we be online
others send friend requests
but they get denied
he type I Miss You
I type back to let him know the feelings mutual
It’s just MySpace love
but its beautiful
he love to watch my videos on YouTube
hey ,its like everytime I log on
I get so turned on
Computer Love playin in the back
(that’s my song)
the only one that have me up all night long
feels like a fantasy
chemistry is so strong


I hope you look like your pictures do
and when I see you
up close and personal
so I can touch you
late night all in U insomniac
im here now
grab me where my heart burn at
I meant what I said when I typed that
Lil Mama scream my name if you like that {yes I am the Computer love}
aint nothin like computer love




Exclamation markinternetExclamation mark


posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 8:39 pm  

Sunday, August 9, 2009

C-Monster’s Taxonomy of Art


C-Monster has come up with a helpful venn diagram to classify all art. Examples are held within, but anything you don’t see on there can probably be placed by aesthetic proximity. You can envision this blog on the center of a line conecting “art blogs” and “all photography” (sometimes extended to Net Art.)

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 8:07 pm  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Toy: Translation Party

Type in a phrase or click chose to crash someone elses’ party to see if there are any good ones recently parsed.
Here is part of one famous hamburger line:
Tuesday, we will pay the hamburger today.
back into Japanese


back into English
Tuesday, today, will pay a burger.”

I didn’t see any documentation on the site, but it seems to take a phrase and run it through the translation algarythm till it reaches a point where the return is the same as the input – hence the “equilibriam.” It’s great fun and definitely helps one understand why there are so many horrible translations of asian media products here in the west. Probably vice versa as well. If anyone finds (or makes) a way to switch languages or add more to the party, let me know.

If you check out digg or metafilter or techcrunch, there’s a billion people who have come up with pretty funny stuff. Just google translation party.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 2:27 am  

Friday, August 7, 2009

Obama Stand-Up

“He endeavored to cast himself in the place of his fiend Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose trouble began when he needed to break into his own home. “I mean, if I was trying to jigger into — well, I guess this is my house now, so it probably wouldn’t happen,” the president said. Then he flashed a mischievous grin and added, “Here I’d get shot.”

It’s hard to imagine an edgier joke than this — the nation’s president, its first black president at that, teasing about being gunned down in the White House foyer. Had Obama not gone on to malign a cop, it almost certainly would have dominated the next day’s punditry.”

via NYT

I think he’s hilarious.  Sometimes I see him almost burst out laughing and catch himself, do that little grin. It must infuriate some people, but anyone with a sense of humor does that sometimes (or often, if they’re really good).

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 12:47 pm  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Penny for Your Prophecy

A French Revelation, or The Burning Bush


The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

After the 2003 call, the puzzled French leader didn’t comply with Bush’s request. Instead, his staff asked Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, to analyze the weird appeal. Dr. Romer explained that the Old Testament book of Ezekiel contains two chapters (38 and 39) in which God rages against Gog and Magog, sinister and mysterious forces menacing Israel. Jehovah vows to smite them savagely, to “turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,” and slaughter them ruthlessly. In the New Testament, the mystical book of Revelation envisions Gog and Magog gathering nations for battle, “and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”


Recently, GQ magazine revealed that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attached warlike Bible verses and Iraq battle photos to war reports he hand-delivered to Bush. One declared: “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”

It’s awkward to say openly, but now-departed President Bush is a religious crackpot, an ex-drunk of small intellect who “got saved.” He never should have been entrusted with the power to start wars.

For six years, Americans really haven’t known why he launched the unnecessary Iraq attack. Official pretexts turned out to be baseless. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction after all, and wasn’t in league with terrorists, as the White House alleged. Collapse of his asserted reasons led to speculation about hidden motives: Was the invasion loosed to gain control of Iraq’s oil—or to protect Israel—or to complete Bush’s father’s vendetta against the late dictator Saddam Hussein? Nobody ever found an answer.

Now, added to the other suspicions, comes the goofy possibility that abstruse, supernatural, idiotic, laughable Bible prophecies were a factor. This casts an ominous pall over the needless war that has killed more than four thousand young Americans and cost U.S. taxpayers perhaps $1 trillion.

-James A. Haught at the Council For Secular Humanism

I have no comment at this time.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 7:37 pm  

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