The Time Breath is a diwata that can compress or stretch time at the key moment you are trying to communicate urgently with someone. They can stretch out the last moments of phone battery when you have an important call to make, or slow the loading of an email attachment for a looming deadline to punish insolence. Time Breaths are rarely seen, and work their mischief and magic by singing in high tones audible only to electronic circuits and dogs. If you ever meet one, you will know because they appear to be made entirely of fingernails.
You will probably know many Floral Genii in your life, although children are usually better at seeing them than adults. They take their name from the floral prints and curtains in which many of them are found. But not all, by any means, are high-born of Morris prints, many more can be found in cheap shower curtains or tablecloths, and in natural forms like cut stone and peeling paint. Once you have spotted the face of a Floral Genius in your bedroom ceiling, or while staring at the wall in the bath, they are usually easy to see again. Floral Genii try to bring feelings of warmth and familiarity to rooms, whether they are floral or not.
These front-garden dwellers appear at first to be seductive forest creatures, and can often be glimpsed through gaps in net curtains. They try to tempt the unwary to thoughts of bigotry and mistrust of outsiders. For each unfounded thought a Conifer Huldra can trick from you, another branch of conifer is left dead as a marker. A Conifer Huldra will always face towards you because they have cow’s tails and hollow newspaper-mache backs.
Unlike their larger common cousins, pipe barabashka are small and mostly benevolent. They live in household pipes, swimming from room to room. They get very excited when the temperature changes, and can often be heard knocking out an ancient ritual form of stochastic minimal techno on the pipes in celebration of someone turning the heating on or off again.
It is thought that all household printers (along with many corporate copy machines) contain at least one Vengeful Printer Spirit. These onryō are bent on violence towards all living things and wreaking havoc by causing earthquakes, fires, storms, drought, famine and pestilence. Luckily the Vengeful Printer Spirits are trapped in the two-dimensional world of the surface of printer rollers, and so are destined to spend eternity venting their anger in the form of corrupted print jobs and inaccurate toner level warnings. However, if you look closely on the print-outs of many printers, you can see tiny yellow stab marks from the spirits trying to break through in to our world. It is said that if you ever catch sight of a Vengeful Printer Spirit it will tempt you to place your hair or tie in to the printer rollers, you will be crushed horribly and your spirit will be sucked in to an eternal print roller limbo.
The Cooker Klick is a fire kobold that lives primarily in kitchens and tends to the flames of gas cookers. A Klick will offer the human inhabitants of its home many years of loyal service, but must be fed scraps of pasta sauce and part-fried vegetables left out on the cookertop by way of a tribute to the household sprite. Over- or under-feeding a Klick can cause it to abandon a cooker, leaving the humans to suffer with matches. Like R2D2, a Klick is not readily understood by humans, but can speak easily with flames, kitchen robots and boilers.
I’ve summarised the presentation that I gave in Lancaster at our CX Hub meeting in December – starting to map the space of pseudonymity – in my first Creative Exchange research post.
What are the implications of ‘real name’ policies online?
In the early years of the web, the oft-quoted sentiment that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” summed up the sense of exploration and playfulness that an apparent freedom from ‘real-life’ identity offered. In recent years, however, online commerce and government sites have more and more often required linking of accounts to a single, ‘true’ identity. For example both Facebook and Google have ‘real name’ policies, requiring users to enter and use their official names, and have been enforcing these policies with greater regularity.
The arguments for online pseudonyms have already been well articulated. In exploring modern pseudonymity, I am also interested in the broader historical context of the use of fictitious names, nicknames and multiple identities. I am collecting examples of pseudonyms old and new to map out the range of uses and affordances offered. Some are ‘owned pseudonyms’ where the person and the identity they have created are widely known to be connected. Performers often choose owned pseudonyms like this. Others are ‘anonymous pseudonyms’ where someone will try to remain totally unconnected from their pseudonym. Political commentators have made use of anonymous pseudonyms to protect themselves from retribution for their writing.
Beyond the advertising potential of reducing multiple personalities to a single, well defined identity, I can see another motivation for companies like Google to prevent the use of anonymous pseudonyms – and that is simplicity. It may be just too complex a challenge, even for technologically advanced companies like Google, to attempt to maintain a guaranteed disconnection between web users and their pseudonyms. The digital tools offered by ever growing scales of computation and networked storage seem to be reducing the likelihood that a pseudonym can remains detached from its author. Indeed, modern text analysis tools have been used to revisit historical pseudonymous writing to draw out subtle features that link the real authors to their noms de plume, and approaches like these may soon be ‘outing’ more current pseudonyms online.
I have a feeling that both ‘owned’ and ‘anonymous’ forms of pseudonymity are still incredibly valuable to a functioning society.
it was great fun to be invited along for the day at Google Campus London by the excellent Protothon people for a day of hacking on the Web Audio and WebRTC APIs.
Protothon and the Chrome team from Google called creative developers and developed creatives for a day of inspiration and innovation. Those chosen formed interdisciplinary teams that within one day prototyped applications and experiences pushing the Web Audio and WebRTC APIs to their limits.