Monday, August 11, 2008

Memo to Hollywood: Stop Dividing Up the World and Enclosing the Commons.

Why Not Join a True Global Commons, Ecology Movement?

In a series of Hollywood pictures and videos, particularly the opening night of the HollyShorts Film Festival -- the surreal, celebrity flows of light, sounds and images were revealed to me. I saw the incredible hunger that exists for more and more celebrity images.

I've been exploring the sounds and spaces of LA in different locales, public and private, ranging from the downtown Disney Hall to the streets of Hollywood to our pubic parks, all seen and heard from a fresh angle, all contributed to this emerging digital commons. Thanks to Josh Kun and the larger sound studies school, I began this exploration.

The beautiful Egyptian Theatre's courtyard, its natural light, or darkness, was so overwhelmed and inundated by the streams of flashes that, if a photo was taken without a flash (as I did), then the actresses, actors and other human bodies, shapes, and figures appear fragmented and distorted. Check out my photo-stream for examples. Of course, the flashes eventually move on, but traces remain in the images that zoom around the world.

I actually love this effect and would totally check out TMZ or MTV with some behind-the-scene DIY photos. The Cubist, cool effect got me thinking about how innovation can and should exist in mainstream Hollywood.

It is human nature to want to share memories, to pass along images, to recommend sounds from one friend to another. Entrenched industries are always scared when technologies give consumers new, disruptive tools through which to use established products and services. As we saw when the Writer's Guild of America embraced social media, there is no reason that the studio media world cannot co-exist with the Access to Knowledge/Free Culture camps. I discovered the existence of these networks in my Set Top Cop seminar with Cory Doctorow. One label used is the "Access to Knowledge" (A2K) movement.

We are about to enter the next stage of technological, "social media" innovation and digital media convergence. The press may call this the "Web 3.0" phase or the "social web." We should all step back, listen and look at our digital and public spaces? Do we finally want to take back some control over our own tools?

Final message to Hollywood powers that be: we are not your enemy; we simply want cool, interactive tools, ones we have control over. We want to be able to share content with our friends.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

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