Move complete

I moved this blog from an independently hosted server to

Despite my best intentions and frequent WordPress updates, malicious code kept making its way into the template – knocking the blog off the air and wrecking havoc on my search engine results.

Some recent comments seem to have been lost in the process. Apologies.

Other than that – we resume our normal infrequent missives. If you crave more – don’t forget the Twitter and Facebook feeds, which often point to other publications before they are cross-posted here.

Poetry for these Facebooked times

(the Hebrew version after the fold)

I lost my identity card /Yehuda Amichai

I lost my identity card.
I have to write out my curriculum vitae
all over again for many offices, one copy to God
and one to the devil. I remember
the photo taken thirty-three years ago
at a wind-scorched junction in the Negev.
My eyes were prophets then, but my body had no idea
what was happening to it or where it belonged.

You often say, This is the place,
This happened right here, but it’s not the place,
you just think so and live in error,
an error whose eternity is greater
than the eternity of truth.

As the years go by, my life keeps filling up with names
like abandoned cemeteries
or like an absurd history class
or a telephone book in a foreign city.

And death is when someone keeps calling you
and calling you
and you no longer turn around to see
who it is

Continue reading

Some thoughts on the significance of lip-syncing (miming) to music

The most successful Israeli viral video of all times (so far, and probably by far), is Tasha’s lip-sync of “Hey” by The Pixies . This video received about 30,170,950 million views, and counting. There probably isn’t an Israeli TV show watched by so many in history, a film or a book seem an unfair comparison.

Lip-syncing was one of the genres which indicated the rise of YouTube and rising dominance of user-created video content. But why did so many people find it engaging as viewers or performers?

On a semiotic level, I find lip-synching fascinating, as it emerges as such prominent “sign of the times”. So this is my go at some “history of the present”…

Lip-syncing seems to me like the child of karaoke, it is the next step in a series of social activities centred around music. Additionally, both of them are socially acceptable ego-trips. Before both, we had sing-songs, with people coming together to sing in a group (The T-mobile singing flash-mob campaign looks more like a mass karaoke than a traditional sing-song).

With karaoke, the original performance remains the central subject of the performance. The performer becomes bigger as she connects with the original cultural artefact. Simply: I sing Bowie’s “let’s dance”, friends and strangers cheer, and for a moment – I touch glory.
The original self melts away, I’m now a vehicle for the song, and my gestures signify the original’s concept of stardom. I’m a prophet and my god is the original pop-culture artefact.
Many karaoke moments are compromised of people getting together to celebrate their mutual cultural history, performing the anthems of their youth, whilst celebrating their chance at feeling the kind of attention saved for pop-icons.

Continue reading

I’m a model for Wired magazine!

I can’t believe I missed that. The things that happen when your pictures are under a CC license…

Here is me, modelling my kidney stones for Wired. Maybe I should release the stones themselves under a creative commons license, maybe they can be put to good use somewhere.





P.S. I’ve gone back to writing silly stuff on twitter. Check it out.

Users respond to the Dove Evolution viral

208304063_21cd46c157_m.jpgThere has been much discussion of Dove’s “Evolution” viral. (on youtube and Dove’s site)

While some of the fundamental marketing questions still need to be answered (do users associate this clip with Dove? Will/Does it influence purchase decisions / loyalty and more…), its phenomenal viral exposure cannot be argued. A powerful demonstration of potential.

The distortion of body images when representing beauty is a very old tradition (If I remember correctly, Michelangelo’s Adam on the Sistine Chapel misses a rib and sits in an anatomically impossible, yet arguably flattering position). However, there is no doubt that in our times the very rigid types of female looks represented by mass media, and further distorted using digital wizardry, has become an oppressive force threatening the emotional, and often physical well being of women everywhere. (Some thoughtful words on the subject and comments worth reading on Dana Boyd’s blog )

The strength and appeal of the subject is apparent in the ripple effect of user created content around the same theme. The Dove clip drove many web users, especially personal bloggers, to try and explore digitally manipulating themselves. You can find videos in the related videos list of the clip on you-tube.

Liat Bar-On, who is among Israel’s most widely read personal bloggers (placing her in the top-10 will be a careful estimate) created an interesting project that takes this exercise a step further.
Bar-On uploaded untouched photographs of herself to Flickr and called upon users to modify her image with flattering, yet quite alien, results. Liat’s blog, written in Hebrew, often deals with feminine identity and body perception themes, but since her Photoshock project is largely visual, you can enjoy it even if you don’t read Hebrew. Many comments on flickr say – “you are better off without the Photoshop treatment”.

I find the user created responses to Dove fascinating, it is as if through retouching themselves, and manipulating their own digital representation, users can reaffirm their feeling in their true body, and experience an apparent sense of liberation through mutating themselves, looking at it and being able to recognise how ridiculous and distorted standards have become.

This post has been getting quite a lot of traffic from new visitors. Hello and welcome!
If you like this post, you may want to read just what do i mean by “Marketing Babylon”
Since this isn’t a high traffic blog, you may also consider subscribing via RSS or e-mail (from the form on on the right hand column).

Foot-note: Cyberspace’s role in the way users project, explore and develop their identity through personal expression and social interaction is a favourite subject. In an article I published about the subject about two years ago, my main argument was that the basic experience of the self online is a contradictory mix of a sense of liberation (the opportunity to reinvent yourself, being free from historical prejudices you may have collected or are related to your social group etc.) and a feeling of anxiety for pretty much the same reasons (the pressure of getting across right, losing your familiar social assets, the sense of your body etc.). It’s interesting how users tap the different poles of this experience as they explore their individuality.

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