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Algorithmic Political-Media-Mashup Vodcast 53

flexatone writes "Composer Christopher Ariza, author of the first algorithmic, computer-generated podcast, announces the next phase of his experimental political-media-mashup project: the babelcast-zoetrope. The babelcast-zoetrope employs the subscription model of the vodcast (RSS feed, iTMS subscription) to deliver timely multi-media artifacts of the contemporary media landscape. Generated with free, open-source software tools (such as athenaCL, Python, Csound, and ffmpeg), babelcast-zoetrope is an experimental, algorithmic, computer-generated video podcast. Sounds and images of U.S. and World leaders and commentators are algorithmically fragmented, distorted, and recombined into a media tapestry. New episodes are defined by a time period: audio and video sequences are constructed only with materials collected during this period, lasting from days to weeks."
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Algorithmic Political-Media-Mashup Vodcast

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  • Vodcast? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Vodcast? Is that like a alcoholic beverage you and take with you? Perhaps for Smirnoff's new link of iVod's? It's called a Vidcast - no one will know what the hell you're talking about otherwise.
  • by mcc ( 14761 )
    I guess that sounds interesting, but... huh? It seems that this slashdot submission was generated by a computer (a markov chain babble bot?) as well...
    • Yep, that's a lot of fancy words you've got there.
    • I actually downloaded one of these algorithm generated podcasts. They say it is made up of various sound bites and some noise and randomization. Well, it ended up sounding like noise and randomization. I don't know what I expected, but it sounded like someone constantly turning the dial on an FM radio. Great technology!!!
    • I don't know what purpose it serves, but art doesn't need a purpose. It's a nice little instant subliminal/incidental art maker. Not unlike the patterns formed by city workers continually painting over graffiti.

      Assembling all that noise and making it at all tolerable to watch or hear is neat. It still made more sense to me than anything I've seen on Fox News in 6 years.

      And if you watch there are a number of happy accidents. Like assembling a shot of riot police under narration talking about fighting Iraqi i
  • This sounds an awful lot like the rolling 24 hour news channels that I am addicted to!
  • I had to come up for air after drowning in that deluge of buzzwords. Can someone explain that to me? :)
    • Ah, but you have to embrace the zeitgeist of the synergistic postmodern...errr...nope, I'm lost too.
    • Like Google News, but with video instead of text.
    • It means Negativland can just go on vacation and have a computer generate their "Over the Edge" show for them.
    • Re:One more time? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Valdrax ( 32670 )
      I think that they've managed to attempt to create an automated version of the works of Joshua Pearson [] better known as one of the founders of Emergency Broadcast Network [].

      I doubt that it's as good as the hand-crafted originals, though, if I'm getting what they're trying. I'd have to look at it when I got home to confirm it.

      Incidentally, look up EBN and Joshua Pearson sometime. It's worth the search if you can find the clips he made after he left the group from footage of 2000 Presidential debates and campai
  • Brilliant (Score:5, Funny)

    by kahei ( 466208 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15003598) Homepage

    That was like standing in the middle of a hot, dusty road -- and then suddenly a biplane dumps a barrel of icy-cold buzzwords down your back!

    And it was like walking down a long, silent corridor and opening a door -- and behind the door are a hundred advertising executives, and each one is holding a mirror in which are reflected a thousand dull unemployed rich kids, and all hundred thousand plus one hundred are chanting 'NEW MEDIA' in unison!

    And it was like looking at a computer screen -- only to find that somewhere behind the screen, a Beast formed of all the jargon, buzzwords, catchphrases and lame gimmicks of all the ages of Mankind is staring back at you!

    I salute the writer of the summary.

    Unless, of course, any part of the summary or of that 'vodcast/babelcast/media tapestry' crap is serious.

    In which case, there are people out there who need to be given real jobs, like ditch digging, ASAP. Really.

    I have a spare shovel, actually.

    • I have a ditch that needs digging!

      550 feet on a 45% grade incline, needs to be 5 inches wide (min, more is fine) and 24 inches deep (pesky electrical code).
    • It's not that hard to understand the summary. You have "Algorithmic", "Political", and "Media." Understanding the summary is simply a matter of context-mapping these modal figuratives to a linear grammar that can be gleaned from the summary domain. Each feature, then, is rotated to the cerebral context, where it it becomes internalized as a distinctive functional notion. Summarizing, then, we assume that an important property of these three types of EC is not quite equivalent to irrelevant intervening co
    • I salute the writer of the summary. Unless, of course, any part of the summary or of that 'vodcast/babelcast/media tapestry' crap is serious.

      All I can say is, I have *got* to get the number of this guy's dealer.

  • Not noise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15003604) Homepage
    This is like an expansion of the musical traditions of musique concrete and rigorously mathematical composition which gave the 20th century some of its most noted works of art music. See Iannis Xenakis' Formalized Music [] and Griffith's Modern Music and After [] (Oxford University Press, 1996). Yet, it is being applied to news media and creates interesting tapestries that are a perfect match for the times we live in. New technologies really do create new kinds of art, although I suspect for now some would be reluctant to call this art.
    • Without an expansion on what the "algorithm" actually IS, this could be equivalent to a Piet Mondrian []...or merely a Keith Boadwee. []

      I sense that the "algorithm" in question is sadly more akin to the techniques of the latter and, really, if for that you can answer in the affirmative the question "but, is it ART?" I can't imagine that anything would fall outside that box...well, a splash or two maybe...
    • This is more of an embarrassing reduction of Xenakis than an expansion.

      Where Xenakis built beautiful, evolving structures, this guy presents us with a randomly generated flatline sliced up incoherently by a looping automaton.

      If you generate a PCM stream of pseudorandom amplitudes, that's called "noise". If you generate a video stream of pseudorandom pixels, that's also called "noise".

      Shuffling an audio and video stream together in a plain, pseudorandom fashion? Yep. Still just "noise". Using flavor-of

      • Where Xenakis built beautiful, evolving structures, this guy presents us with a randomly generated flatline sliced up incoherently by a looping automaton.

        Xenakis wrote plenty of compositions that were randomly generated. The entire ST series, for example, as well as the piano part of "Eonta" and "Nomos alpha". Most of the "beautiful, evolving structures" came during his last phase.

  • hmmm on tv (Score:3, Insightful)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:39PM (#15003606) Journal
    If I want distorted commentary and irrelevant news pieces, I'll just switch on a local news station with its over-zelaous anchors. It's interesting, but other than a cursory "check-out", I don't see much value to this.
    • "If I want distorted commentary and irrelevant news pieces, I'll just " hold a large magnet next to the tv while tuned to the news?
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:48PM (#15003667)
    Not bad.

    But wake me when it beats Evolution Control Committee's [] divinely-inspired Rocked By Rape [] (4.1 megabytes, MP3)

  • Spam (Score:4, Informative)

    by RedHatLinux ( 453603 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @01:13PM (#15003850) Homepage
    How did this blatant story spam get posted here? Geez, Kuro5hin just finished shooting this down too, which makes it even worse that it got posted here.
    • -1, buy an ad (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MattGWU ( 86623 ) *
      This must be what it feels like to be some kind of highly-specialized form of weenie. The buzzwords, children, the buzzwords!

      Also, in the interest of full disclosure, what is submitter's relationship to the website, other than having the same username as the domain name?

      And you're right, it's a cut and paste of the 'article' that lasted about a minute and a half on k5.
  • To me, it seems a challenge to ensure that the sense of the media included is retained within the mashup; quotes out of context (indeed, entire articles out of context, or even just small snips!) could lead of the spread of dis/mis/information. And in a society that increasingly needs the real information, as correctly as possible and as quickly as possible to get tasks done, is this a step in the wrong direction? --dc
    • quotes out of context (indeed, entire articles out of context, or even just small snips!) could lead of the spread of dis/mis/information.

      That's sort of the whole idea behind stuff like this, and what makes it fun.
  • by fred911 ( 83970 )
    Their fileserver has got to be hammered. It's grinding slow. Anyone care to host a torrent?
    • Just take 2 pens, jam one in your ear, the other in your eye.

      I will look and sound about the same, but be less painful.

  • Hahahahaha! (Score:3, Funny)

    by mmell ( 832646 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @01:42PM (#15004068)
    Oh, wait . . . you're serious. Let me laugh harder . . .


  • Parts of that are from a language I understand, and parts of it sound like a box of squirrels being whirled about in a tornado.
    • I haven't checked out this new stuff yet, but I am about to. I listen to Ariza's older stuff -- there's a piece "Agoralalia" that is a particular favorite.
    • I was going to complain about what a piece of f'd up crap this was, but now I see that I totally missed the squirrels angle. Maybe I'll have to go back and watch it again. Were there pictures of squirrels as well? I guess Bush is a nut, so he doesn't really count.
  • I used to go to San Francisco art events with stuff like that.

    I once went to an event where some guy was blasting away with a bunch of noise generators and effects boxes, in what was then called "power electronics" and is now called "noise music". Most of the audience left. I didn't quite want to leave the poor guy playing to an empty room, so I waited until a woman walked in, and told her "You're the audience. Take over". Then I walked out.

    There's Spam Radio [], where incoming spam goes through a text

  • +1 buzzword-and-jargon-laden post

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.