Digital Detritus Interviews: Michael Stevenson of Delete From Internet

As part of a series dealing with digital detritus, I completed my third interview this week with Michael Stevenson, part of the DMI team, who created Delete From Internet. Here’s a sample from Stevenson (more to come):

It started as a joke about ugly websites. We just wanted to create a way for Marieke to designate sites that had to go, and then compile that so we could laugh at it together. But after Erik suggested using a bookmarklet (javascript code that you put in your bookmarks to perform an action), someone suggested turning it into a parody of Delicious, which at the time was one of the primary examples of Web 2.0-style ‘peer production’. By sharing their bookmarks and tagging URLs with each other, Delicious users were supposedly creating collective intelligence – their aggregated tags would be rich descriptions of web content, in turn creating new browsing experiences and so on. With Delete from Internet we were poking fun at that idea by basically turning it on its head – “can we aggregate all this distributed behavior to do something useless and destructive?” (Of course, no pages would actually be deleted, but we discussed sending automatic notices to the webmasters of sites that were at the top of the list.) On top of that was the irony that selecting a site for deletion also meant linking to it, and thus extending its life by increasing the chance it would be indexed by web crawlers.

Archiving ArtSpots with Mary Elizabeth Luka

Archiving ArtSpots with Mary Elizabeth Luka – Mél Hogan


What follows is an interview I conducted with M.E. Luka over the course of several months over email and Skype. Luka’s project explores CBC’s Artspots, a showcase of art and craft made by Canadian artists.


CBC ArtSpots giveaway for artists, crew, Advisory Group volunteers. Image courtesy of M.E. Luka.

Mél Hogan: In a few lines, can you tell me, what is ArtSpots today?

Mary Elizabeth Luka: It’s a reminder that Canadian visual art exists and has enormous range. Also that it can flourish in tandem with popular culture / broadcast media, when resources are applied, creative control is shared, and a focused conversation is generated around it. The current website (if I can call it current!) is a placeholder – or a kind of elaborate bookmark. Traces of media production remain, including visual images (mostly stills), text, and broken video links, as well as navigation and still-functioning connecting links (e.g. to other websites). Additionally, some of the 1,200 short videos produced during that period are still played on television from time to time, usually late-night, or used by the artists involved to promote their own work.

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Digital Detritus Interviews: Timothy Holman of The Useless Web

As part of a series dealing with digital detritus, I completed my second interview this week with Timothy Holman, creator of The Useless Web. Here’s a sample from Holman (more to come):

My guidelines and standards have changed a bit over time… but:

1. Family friendly (no swear words/nudity etc)

2. Website has to have its own domain: eg:… no subdomains (eg: and no nested directories: (

3. No advertising. ( has some, but its VERY little, and barely noticeable. And its an amazing site, so its allowed)

4. Website has to stay up under traffic, if it goes down, it will likely be removed for good.

5. No/very few external links. A link to twitter acct is ok, but they need to be very small/unnoticeable… otherwise the website has a use.

6. The website has to actually be good… or unique. I’ve already got a few that just say “NO” or “YES”, so those are out…  And some are just terrible: (


Brakhage Center: Demo Live

We’ve got a working demo of our curatorial project built in Korsakow.

For now, we’re using the default interface and have a few glitches and details to work through but we feel that already Korsakow is proving an efficient curatorial tool – making the media richer in its connections.

Some of the issues we are working through include the design and layout as well as the limits of the technologies: the software, the platform, the media formats, and so on. There’s been a lot to consider.

Stuff we’ve learned so far (which may be a reiteration of the software FAQ):

Naming your files properly is important. Don’t put in any spaces or weird characters or else the path isn’t likely to work in certain browsers, like Chrome.

The web can handle much better video compression than it once could, and formulas could re revised to reflect this progress. Depending on the source of your video, video online can be of high quality using the H264 codec with mp4 as a container. In our experience mp4 looks better and generates smaller files, but mov load faster. This requires further explorations.

For audio, acc and mp4 don’t work so stick to mp3.

The playhead the comes with the software seems to run off the page.

Transparent png don’t work – they come with a boxy background.

On our end, we need to add titles to some of the images to give them context and guide users. We also need to rethink the trajectory – while nonlinear, it is thought out to guide the user in a choronological order i.e., you can only go forward in time, not back, but you have many options for moving forward. I’ve noticed in testing it out, however, that some trajectories are less likely to the point of being likely passed by completely. This will need tweaking. Some “main” SNUs don’t have enough previews popping up to complete the three, which becomes a design consideration. I’d like for us to test out the Preview text that comes in Korsakow, and a few of the other features we haven’t yet explored… look forward to Demo 2 in the next few months.

Digital Detritus Interviews: Justin Blinder of Dumpster Drive

As part of a series dealing with digital detritus, I completed my first interview today with Justin Blinder, creator of Dumpster Drive.

Here’s a glimpse from Blinder (more to come):

Some of the praise that Dumpster Drive received regarded the potential for allowing people to open source retired ideas and projects for others to rekindle and make their own. This was not an aspect I had thought through before releasing the project, but it is a perspective that I find quite intriguing. Quite a bit of press targeted the project for violating copyright infringement, yet very few extended into an inquiry into what it means to download a file that is effectively “ownerless.” I think the highlight of the feedback was from Glenn Beck’s blog The Blaze, who officially gave the project a political agenda in an article entitled “The Green Movement Hits Your Hard Drive? Now You Can ‘Recycle’ Computer Files.” Although Dumpster Drive is a fully functional application, the online debates that the project has spawned are arguably the more fascinating than the application itself—which is great, as I ultimately designed it to be a platform for discussion.

Mél Hogan interviews Nicole Robicheau, creator of ‘The Border Between Us’

Mél Hogan interviews Nicole Robicheau, creator of ‘The Border Between Us’

by MATT on NOVEMBER 10, 2012

This interview with Nicole Robicheau, creator of the brand new Korsakow film The Border Between Us was conducted and written up by Mél Hogan, Digital Curation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hogan has used Korsakow in the past, and is currently exploring its potential as a tool for digital curation at the Brakhage Center for Media Arts.

– Online


Brakhage Center: SNUifying


After much time spent organizing our media assets and splicing audio, we’re ready to perform a few tests in Korsakow. Because of a small glitch, we’re opting to use the Beta version (and to become Beta testers).

Our process today consisted of first creating assets from the audio and stills we have. Using video seems the best way to match content to context, though we will likely test out other possibilities and combinations. Working with Korsakow is highly iterative. We’re constantly toggling between the interface and the preview mode, making adjustments, problem-solving, redirecting, and so on. Being two sets of eyes on this is proving very useful – Eric and mine’s attention seems to be grabbed by different parts of the project, which come together in a very complementary way.

Some preliminary questions specific to our project, and things we’ve noted about the software:

  • the video could be of much better quality than the suggested settings point to currently. The Web seems to handle video much better now, and so we’re going to try to push the quality up a little.
  • could Korsakow eventually handle HD?
  • a mobile-friendly version is in the works – important!
  • will Korsakow eventually be able to handle links? does it already? to be explored…
  • we’re imagining a slideshow options but are unsure of our needs at this moments
  • is there a way to make a SNU appear at the end of another – continuity – linearity – or is this anti-Korsakow?
  • what could be done with PDFs/text – pull quotes?
  • what to do with films for which we only have the audio (no visuals)
  • how to archive silent films for which we don’t have the rights to visuals

Tips/things to remember:

  • setting the playhead to “interactive” – it’s not, by default
  • duplicate a SNU if you want it to be a start SNU but also a SNU with a preview that you can see again
  • there’s an invisible (?) glitch when setting the timecode for a SNU using the automatic way – makes the SNU switch order!

Helpful resources:

That’s it for now. Prototype (of 3 SNU) should be good to go next week.

Brakhage Center: Splicing Audio

Having now completed the inventory of the 2011 Poetry and Film Symposium put on by Tom Gunning and the Brakhage Center for the Media Arts, Eric Coombs and I now combing through the various media files associated with the project: images, pdf documents, audio, etc.

Most of the symposium was audio recorded, including films, readings, talks, videos, performances, introductions and claps. We’re in the process of matching audio to events listed in the inventory, and making the adjustments when we discover recordings for unlisted moments or events. The opposite is also true – we can’t find the opening remarks so we’ll have to cross reference with another audio recording of the event.

We’re hoping to get our hands on the papers presented as to pull quotes and use text to also represent voice in our curatorial display. We’re saving some of the audio glitches and scratches for possible sound loops in Korsakow – exact use to be determined. We’re also thinking of keywords now that are going to help assemble the showcase…

Technically, we splice the audio leaving a bit of room tone before and after (some of the recordings have rough starts/ends) to give breathing room to the tracks. We adjust the gain bu lowering the dbs of very loud tracks. We then export the splices into event based folder, in .aif 16 44.1 Khz (a quality to match what was recorded) labeled by the speaker or film and so on. We can mass convert to mp3 later, but for now retain the best quality as back up. There are obviously many debates in the archiving world about format and quality and how it relates to authenticity, but we’re of the view that that implies a neutrality to the technologies used to record–and create–the original. So we are cognizant of the issues but forge ahead.

We have yet to come up with a great folder/label system but we’re working on it, thinking it through. This is proving far trickier than any technical aspect so far…