23 03/15

Comparisons: four

David Orrell series of opposites based on the Pythagorean dual philosophical system that again can be related to McLuhan’s dual Hot and Cold media. See: comparisons: three, two, and one.

Good Evil
Limited Unlimited
Odd Even
One Plural
Right Left
Male Female
At rest In motion
Straight Crooked
Light Dark
Square Oblong

20 03/15

D. Orrell: Money is the message

Tags: , , , , | Categories: technical media

David Orrell gave the McLuhan lecture 2015 at the Transmediale in Berlin under the title, Money is the Message. He started his talk with the argument that although money has been the main driver behind western culture, it rarely appears a word among economist, who according to Orrell do not acknowledge the complex nature of money.

Historically money emerged as of the credit system as means to track debts by the ancient Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. Orrell argued that it is false that money appeared as a general medium of exchange. This is rather a media function of money as it is to be a storage for wealth. Money is transmitted as objects with a physical aspect, coins, bills, notes, transfers, which have stamped a virtual number. e.g., the Colombian  20000 pesos bill has 6 times in two different forms the number it represents.


This Colombian bill uses 6 stamps to identify its value.

This Colombian bill uses 6 stamps to identify its value.


Matter and number make money a medium in constant tension with one foot on the physical world and one on the virtual world. A duality that is not that far from McLuhan’s message – medium binary system, and coincides with the series of comparisons that I’ve collected here. Money oscillated between its two poles, physical and virtual. Orrell traced this oscillations in history in five moments.

Agrarian age Virtual credit
7th BC Coins
Medieval age Virtual credit
1492 Gold standard
1971 Nixon shock FIAT virtual currency

Where is then money? is it on gold blocks, houses, bills? is it on credits and numbers on a screen? Money is unstable, irrational and always points to the number to the quantification of the physical world and the relations we establish with it and among us.

29 01/15

Peter Sunde at Transmediale 2015

Peter Sunde words at the opening ceremony of transmediale 2015. 28 Jan 2015 HKW Berlin, Germany.

The centralised model has destroyed the internet. We’ve lost and corporations have captured us all. We even carry the sensors, mics and cameras to monitor us. Don’t play the game: give up.

Update: Sunde’s base text published on Wired UK.

15 01/15

Freedom in your computer and in the net

Richard Stallman’s talk at the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg, Germany on 29 December 2014.

Freedom in your computer and in the net.

For freedom in your own computer, the software must be free. For freedom on the internet, we must organize against surveillance, censorship, SaaSS and the war against sharing.

01 01/15

Free software 30 years

| Categories: digital media, software libre

Let’s start the 2015 with free software!
Comencemos el 2015 con software libre!

Video by the FSF.

15 12/14

10 12/14


Tags: , | Categories: Colombia, video studies

Compressions from ~{dRNn}~ on Vimeo.

Different time compressions.
Sunset in Bogotá Shot May 2010. Edited May 2014

Varias manipulaciones del tiempo.
Atardecer en Bogotá. Tomado mayo de 2010, editado mayo de 2014.

Camera/Cámara: Sony DCR-DVD201
Edit/edición: Kdenlive

05 12/14

Tool for the visualization of historical data (Chronologies)


  1. In page 563 in paragraph 1 the sentence “In recent years, research in the humanities have started to …” should be: “In recent years, researchers in the humanities have started to …
  2. In page 563 in paragraph 2 the sentence ” … because there is no way to intervene from outside the way how the program process and render the data.” should be: “… because there is no way to intervene from outside the way how the program processes and renders the data.

The processing sketch is available here: http://bit.ly/1pifGi1

Update 20 Jan 2015: Bibliographic reference:

Montaña, Ricardo Cedeño; “Design of a tool for the visualization of historical data”, p. 563-566 . In: Proceedings of the XVIII Conference of the Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics: Design in Freedom [=Blucher Design Proceedings, v.1, n.8]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-sigradi2014-0116


View Fullscreen

01 12/14

What is a Machine?

Tags: | Categories: machine, technical media
B17 Bomber Belly

B17 Bomber Belly. ca.1939

A machine is that which behaves in a machine-like way, namely, that its internal state, and the state of its surrounding, defines uniquely the next state it will go [1, p.261].

Thus, the material or materials from which a machine is made becomes irrelevant. As the machine becomes a function of internal and external states.

  1. Ross Ashby. Principles of the Self-Organizing System. 1962. p.261.

28 11/14

Vocoder (Voice Coder)

This is a short media history of technical sound coding and distortion, from the military scrambling of speech through the robotic sounds of Kraftwerk to today’s linear predictive coding burned into mobile phones.