Another new year


Happy new year wishes from all of us.

We’re in the process of making a few changes to gear up for the coming year. Firstly a slight change to our name. This blog began on blogspot as a service that was part of our art and heritage management consultancy. We used it to showcase architectural adaptive reuse that would interest our clients. After a year we had come across so many interesting projects that in August we relaunched it on its own site as a WordPress blog and since then it has rapidly taken off.

We’re now using the URL adaptivereuse.net as the blog name because that’s what people call it anyway and it reflects the fact that there is now a third contributor and we expect more before too long.

We are also expanding links and adding a new “About adaptive reuse” page to explain our rather whimsical interpretation of a term that is usually confined to architecture. And later in the year we’ll be selling our own posters and Tshirts.

If you’ve got any suggestions for further changes, now is the time to tell us.

8 thoughts on “Another new year

  1. bottleman

    Maybe even more pictures of cute girls in multipurpose lingerie?

    My one suggestion, which isn’t really a change, is just to keep up the consistent use of large interesting and meaningful illustrations. As a reader I really appreciate a relief from constant text, and from the constant processing of (un)logic demanded by that text. Plus once in a while you get to see a hot chick. :)

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  2. Ian Milliss Post author

    I suppose I could always subtly photoshop a few porn thumbnails into the architectural shots, then we could have “find the map of Tassie” competitions. The bra bag was a slightly old story but I figured semi-naked women and cats covered all demographics, it was my final end of year indulgence.

    Re images, I find it a bit odd that the blogosphere is so literary (to use the term rather loosely) when in every other way western culture is hyper-visual to the point of over stimulation. We’ll continue to use as much imagery as possible until the copyright police finally catch up with us.

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  3. bottleman

    i’ve been trying to be legit in my use of images.

    for contemporary images, there is an amazing amount legitimately available via flickr. if you do http://flickr.com/search/advanced/ and then check the “search only in Creative Commons” box you’ll limit yourself to useable photos, as long as you attribute properly. also there’s the wikimedia commons, with lots of links to copyright-less government photos… occasionally good for historical and reference material. remember — the US govt can’t hold a copyright, so you can use pretty much any image you find on one of their sites that was produced by one of their staff.

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  4. Ian Milliss

    Thanks for the excellent advice. I have to confess I didn’t know you could do a creative commons search on flickr, nor about US govt lack of copyright.

    On the other hand I also have to confess that I can’t plead ignorance as an extenuating circumstance in my cavalier attitudes. I’m an artist, I worked in publishing for years, and video distribution, and had a partner who was a member of the Australian Copyright Council, the collection agency that manages all copyright royalties in Australia. It’s just that I have slowly come to the conclusion that conventional copyright basically operates against the interests of artists for the benefit of corporations and lawyers and other assorted exotic parasites. Creative Commons is another thing altogether, it’s the way copyright should be.

    Most of my usage falls almost certainly within fair usage provisions and I go to great lengths to credit original photographers even if the site where I came across something didn’t. I therefore rely on the hope that I am directing traffic to them to earn me a certain amount of forgiveness and if I have ever used work by someone who objects I am more than willing to remove it immediately. On the other hand legal threats will go into the garbage bin, I know too much to be threatened. I think my position is a pretty common one these days, see below.

    I suppose you know of the recent discussions about this at the 23C3 conference in Berlin about a week ago http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/009233.php . Lawrence Lessig (of Creative Commons) suggests the “break the law because it’s bad law” approach is futile, while John Perry Barlow (whose position is pretty much the same as mine) suggested it was a moral imperative. Lessig’s entire speech is at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7661663613180520595&q=23c3 , Barlow is interviewed at http://netzpolitik.org/2007/netzpolitiktv-john-perry-barlow-ueber-zivilen-ungehorsam/ And false copyright claims are routinely used to stifle debate and generate lawyers fees http://www.brooklaw.edu/faculty/news/mazzone_legtimes_2003-11-17.pdf

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  5. bottleman

    Hm, this particular issue has really challenged me on a personal level, which is one reason I have been struggling to be legit and use the emerging tools like Creative Commons.

    On one hand I have this gut feeling that “information should be free.” I give a lot of stuff away for free now, and a few years ago I was as bad as anyone with downloading mp3’s and crap like that. I kind of made up excuses that I was supporting the artists in some way but for the most part that wasn’t really true.

    Slowly I stopped downloading. I realized I had another gut feeling about certain creative products I’ve made, which I just cannot and will not give away for free (in my non-psuedononymous life, I have coauthored one book and am coauthoring another, and also do some magazine writing). These are basically works that were very hard for me to create, and have a lot of value for the people that consume them — who also tend to have no idea how much of my time and skill it took to produce the things. I occasionally get emails asking for advice which basically say, “so, what’s your book say?” — they genuinely expect me to repeat the whole thing to them or to send them a free copy like it’s no skin off my back.

    Anyway, royalties are involved in that work and I really am glad to get them. I actually need them for sustenance, and would never have done those very difficult projects without them. And for the consumer of those creative products, having to pay provides some sort of recognition that my work has special value.

    I think the fact that a lot of the copyright discussion has emerged out of the computer field has skewed the discussion a bit. A talented computer programmer can often turn their work coding into lucrative service and consulting jobs. There will always be custom work that needs to be done. But for me as a pure author, “driving traffic” to me once I’m already known in the field does little. There’s no equivalent of service and consulting that I want to do. The books and articles are what I have to sell; there’s nothing more. Unlike a musician, I don’t have live shows to promote, and I’m certainly not making a career out of being a “personality.” :)

    So when someone rips off those works (it’s happened) they’ve basically stolen from me personally. It’s true that maybe if they had been confronted with a price tag, they would have not purchased the material, but in that case I wouldn’t want them to have it. It’s particularly egregious when a profit making entity (like a major newspaper) takes the material for free, and then makes money from ads on the reprint.

    At the end of the day, I think the simplest and best thing for everybody is “let the artist decide.” That’s what’s good about Creative Commons. You can release material and define some terms for its use. Or not. There’s so much good Creative Commons material out there now that it’s becoming less and less necessary to steal traditionally copyrighted material the way I once advocated so defiantly. I can make an awesome mashup/collage/whatever just from stuff that people have given away freely. And when people are that nice, I try to respect their wishes if they ask to hold something else closer to them.

    Oops, I have gone off on a tangent, haven’t I? Anyway, it’s certainly not directed at you, Ian. I’ve just been thinking a lot about this because my current book coauthoring project is very hard, and it’s in a field (not computers, long story) where copying is a well-known and oft-discussed issue.

    There are all sorts of philosophical and arcane aspects in this discussion (can a work once created really be controlled? is there really a single creator of anything? etc) but the second people start ripping you off they all seem rather absurd. “Let the artist decide” is supersimple and emotionally satisfying. And gratifyingly, the explosion of liberally licensed content suggests that a lot of the time, artists will decide to let their work free.

    Cheers, bottleman

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  6. Ian Milliss

    I think really we are in agreement, Creative Commons is the way to go. Recent discussion is skewed by the attitudes of IT professionals. One of the great benefits of Creative Commons is that it is not prescriptive, it allows the artist to negotiate nuances appropriate to their own form.

    Fair usage is also very much a question of shades of grey and I think the rule of thumb is whether the author will benefit from what you are doing although that’s a moot point if you criticise them as I often do. I’ve never downloaded mp3s because they are complete works, nor would I copy a book. However I have downloaded pdfs of complete articles and obviously a photograph is a complete work but if it originates as the illustration of a product that you are discussing then the breach of copyright is pretty harmless. And if a minor blogger breaches copyright, realistically it’s a trivial offence. If you are talking about a commercial blog or even a large corporation gaining considerable economic benefit, it’s a lot more serious.

    The worst problems I’ve personally encountered were related to collaborative work where my role (and other’s) was later minimised or attributed to other people. Those problems can’t easily be solved by copyright, unfortunately so beyond questions of strict legality I think there is also a need for a code of ethics that addresses general principles and that assists you to make decisions in a more aware way. I’m sure there must be something already out there but I haven’t seen it.

    But finally, the really important thing here is that the open source approaches that are developing in all areas are entirely different models of production that radically challenge the long entrenched capitalist/fordist models. The problem here is to let that co-operative model continue to develop while protecting it from the forces that would either destroy it or exploit it and so we face the inevitable tension of ensuring that the protections don’t destroy the freedoms we are trying to protect. Copyright is just one of the many things now in flux.

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  7. bottleman

    But finally, the really important thing here is that the open source approaches that are developing in all areas are entirely different models of production that radically challenge the long entrenched capitalist/fordist models. The problem here is to let that co-operative model continue to develop while protecting it from the forces that would either destroy it or exploit it and so we face the inevitable tension of ensuring that the protections don’t destroy the freedoms we are trying to protect. Copyright is just one of the many things now in flux.

    amen!

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