Ketchups, Catch Ups, Techfeckups : Google Google Google & A Ladder.

First a question: “Just how wrong is it to request tomato ketchup in a Parisian restaurant? Answer from experience: it is wrong, very wrong indeed and on so many levels, and that is before I even mention menus or how incredulously wrong when witnessed by others, whether discerning dining companions or fecund fellow customers, that’s before an attempt at factoring in the utter disgust lurking in the narrowed pupils of Parisian restaurant employees. Don’t mention the chef it’s wrong wrong wrong like designing Spandex Speedos for the sheep of Achill Island, wrong wrong wrong.

Before going over to Achill Island, I spent a week in Paris and enjoyed two evening dinners with some wonderful friends and colleagues, it was an international gathering. I didn’t ask for Ketchup, I rarely if ever do, well when my three sons were much younger I did ask for it a lot when we holidayed or travelled abroad. It was a sort of flavour mask/wash for them and I was apprehensive about how damaging it might prove in the longer term because of the unusually high sugar content in their favourite brands. Although it always proves useful for Dads, like an Eric Morecambe’s ice cream ambulance, as a real world prompt to repeat a joke from Pulp Fiction. But I digress. I was in Paris ‘catching up’ with some friends and colleagues involved in electronic literature across Europe. A new European wide ad-hoc organisation was coming into being and I am now fortunate to be nominated to be, or accepted as, the All Ireland Representative. (I’ll write more about that specific subject in a separate post at a later date and will edit a link into that post here)

Suffice to say, I view it as an honour and privilege to be counted among such eminent scholarly company, I am in essence a humble guy and humility as has been defined to me is not thinking less of oneself but thinking of oneself less. So being a small part of a larger group of talented and generous insightful individuals offers rewards so much greater than any potential individual accomplishments or isolated intuitions. As those materialistically motivated biz tech team guys like to tell us: Together Everyone Achieves More, which incidentally was similar in sentiment to the recent Innovation Academy’s ‘Teams who have Fun get more Done’ innovation day, where among other distinguished presenters, Professor Suzi Jarvis outlined the relatively short yet excellently creative evolution of the Innovation Academy of which she is a co-director, with I again incredibly fortunate to be among the inaugural (I want to say original) cohort, Suzi was followed onto the stage by Lizbeth Goodman (Chair of Creative Technology Innovation) Professor of Education and also an Executive of the Innovation academy, Lisbeth offered the O Reilly Hall audience a whirlwind overview of some of the achievements of the International SMARTlab Digital Media Institute over the last nineteen years , she has now established SMARTlab in UCD. The phrase required is ‘Whaoooo’

I knew something about SMARTlab, the previous week I had returned from Achill Island as I had been invited to participate in the SMARTlab PhD seminars, essentially a guest speaker for 90 Minutes on my own creative practice which is as you may have guessed, technology based creativity and the creative use of technology but specifically for me; electronic literature, digital stories, interactive fiction, game and play theories, opinions, case studies, philosophies that inform various aspects of the emerging phenomenal forms of network writing…etc. I had created what I considered to be an entertaining 90 minutes with lots of moving intellectual parts, cerebrally clever animations and an occasional witty image or three… that was until Lazarus my laptop decided I’d be better off eulogizing born digital creativity without the use of a safety net or he as now immobile workstation. So I had three simultaneous presentations to flick between and some video, DVD and a Prezi thing.. non of which worked, a powerpoint from four years ago – that was to serve as merely a swift counterpoint to where my research has now progressed to, a sort of this is where I am, but at the beginning (three years ago – cue the now only working MS powerpoint) I was possibly back further than where you (the seminar attendees and new PhD students) are Today, so take heart, rejoice at the beginning of your journey. My Terry Thomas I say ‘ding dong’ moment.. Lazarus’s techfeckup had rendered my seminar contribution incapable of ringing half of my imagined internal cerebral bells, truthfully it turned into a kinda Dong Dong Dong., yes it too was soooo Wrong wrong wrong...that dong dong dong

All of which just seamlessly leads me into writing about you kind and generous people here who visit this website, Sorry for my delay in posting, belated apologies for not adhering to best website practise as advocated by Internet communications experts. My paragraphs are too long, my posts ten to drift and falter like a drunken kebab munching unicyclist going up the down escalator, Bullet points are fine in company reports and the community association newsletters, I find them robotic impersonal pains in the arts, OMG , shutup, shutup the site doesn’t even have any cute cats on it…yet.. my top post is the spontaneous technoploitico wordwaffle I spewed about Google Google Google and the educational blackboard… I never imagined it would generate in excess of 30,000 views.. I didn’t think any of this would amount to two vertically stacked beans let alone a small personal hill of said. So I’m very happy to discover I have a regular readership, despite my irreverence for all things that could be construed as reasonable, let alone my apparent disdain for good or best practise.. a whiff of literacy, yet each of my posts, even the utterly obscure ones have had a minimum of seven or eight hundred readers, that is very humbling, very humbling indeed, to consider that so many of you have been so generous as to develop sufficient patience as to endure this kinda tripe… makes me want to work harder at developing what I do here.

A couple of years ago, when I was unfashionably evangelizing game development in Ireland (BTW I was told that some of my first artsy director experiments from around 1995 are actually archived in the way back machine – I checked: found the taintech site and early clevercelt) well a little later than that in the early noughties I used an analogy of a recipe to facilitate laypersons understanding of the then difficulties of finding start-up capital in Ireland, specifically a metaphor for establishing a computer games company. Let me extend that analogy a little today. the general understanding of the Internet, that being proffered by the aforementioned experts and those specifically concerned with what may soon be called the semantic cloud, are by their ontological myopia, essentially asking all of us for ketchup.. which their commercial marketing machines will add to every single dish that emerges. I need to disrespect their rules and subvert general expectation.. in the name of originality, creativity and genuine technological ambition.. Ray Kurzweil’s Age of spiritual machines may be closer than anticipated and the ladder to reach those heights presents in front of us… let’s ditch the inane culturally constricted views developing within the mainstream media. Grasp that imaginary ladder with both hands, embrace the potential of the technological dream, accept that even Google gets splashed with the insouciance sauce of ignorance and all their spectacular labs work gets reduced and ignored and subverted by so many essentially stupid people out there, some of whom who just happen to have pieces of paper claiming that contrary to all other evidence the bearer has a degree of intelligence.. lets just grab the thing, ignore their half baked dong dong dong, their wrong wrong wrong and rise ourselves to the next evolutionary rung rung rung…