Concurrently, refugee crises and food shortages have resulted in an influx of immigration into almost every nation in the Global North, which has ignited a surge of nationalism, classism, racism, and support for far-right ideologues.
The dark miasma of global eco-crises floats menacingly over these radical transformations, an emergency often treated as invisible by policymakers until it stares them in the face via stronger storms, flooding, and forest fires.
Instead of utopianism, democratization, and post-racialism, the grim truth is that the internet — algorithms, social media, and the network — seems to have achieved comparatively little in the way of effecting harmonious communities, equal access to information, and equitably prosperous societies. Often, it has done the opposite, having exacerbated racial, gender, political, and class divisions ; enabled the rise of the alt-right ; acted as a conduit for the radicalization of young men worldwide ; and served as a vehicle for capital inequality and exploitation.
In broad terms, both the creation and consumption of media seem to have entered a feedback loop: instead of pushing forward and embracing the realities of our own moment, artistic approaches and even political convictions have often either turned backward or stood still. Naturally, there are exceptions, and much can be said for various significant works and movements that emerged betweenmany of which we are proud to have covered here at Tiny Mix Tapes.
Similarly, independent music publications have been swimming upstream against a tide of exploitation, commercialization, and the encroachment of a network rooted in surveillance capitalism, making it harder to create space for discourse and meaningful criticism. As some cultural theorists and music critics have pointed out, a sense of atemporality and stagnation has emerged across creative endeavors, even society itself.
And all too often, experimental and avant-garde music s have been underappreciated or snuffed out before their potential could be fully realized.
I am of the conviction that art, creativity, and novel aesthetic experiences — and the analyses and criticism that rise in their wake — are powerful engines of redemptive change. Of course, any exploration of so complex a phenomenon requires a variety of methods, perspectives, and analyses, surely too many for one essay.
As such, my goal here is less comprehensiveness and more to offer an invitation into subject matter that warrants urgent attention. But with these shifts has come pervasive uncertainty that has produced tangible fear, cynicism, and paranoia.
My overall aim is to draw attention to the desperate need to confront the uncertainty of our current condition. Founded sometime aroundWhat. They formed What. While public trackers like The Pirate Bay were once widely used and more or less sufficient for downloading popular content, private trackers like What.
Naturally, access to What. Users were even incentivized to provide site maintenance and support cataloguing content, editing Wikipedia-style entries on downloading methods, artist information, etc. The genius of a torrent tracker is its horizontal structure of distribution and accountability. Unable to effectively prosecute thousands of users, the best authorities have been able to do is to scapegoat one or a handful of people on piracy charges, and even then, building a case can be difficult.
As occurred with the demise of OiNK, users can simply rebuild another tracker through which to exchange the already-downloaded files. Indeed, several trackers have arisen since the demise of What. With efficiency in mind, torrent trackers should be regarded as the ideal means through which music is consumed in Uncertainty - Various - Falling Uphill (CD) network age.
Trackers and MP3 downloading consume less energy than streaming and are far less precarious. As the prevalence of torrent trackers grew, so too did filesharing services.
And much of that story begins with Kim Dotcom. Now free after a few run-ins with the law, he saw an opportunity to make good money in filesharing. Megaupload, of course, quickly became the standard for file storage, viewing, and sharing untilwhen it was shut down by the US Department of Justice.
Before that happened, Megaupload and sites like it indirectly gave birth to an underground network of music blogs that distributed music files, often illegally, to millions of people worldwide. Like torrent trackers, the music blog circuit — spearheaded by sites like holyfuckingshitMutant SoundsFantod Under Glassand others — was characterized by horizontal participation in the consumption and distribution of music.
Any number of music blogs offered downloadable records via MegaUpload, Rapidshare, Mediafire, etc. The staggering extent to which MegaUpload was used to download illegal media is difficult to grasp. The site had its fall from grace inpartly for reasons outside of copyright infringement money laundering, racketeering, etc. Robbed of the filesharing services that enabled them, the music blogs began to fizzle out in the early s.
Piracy is waning in relevanceless Uncertainty - Various - Falling Uphill (CD) to the success of copyright law enforcement and more because of a sea change in the technology used to consume media. But the convenience comes at a cost. Consumers are hardly better off either. Listening habits are now largely at the behest of prescriptive algorithms instead of people, resulting in more atomized modes of consumption and less cross-genre exchanges.
And, sadly, artists are being forced to put their music on Spotify and Apple Uncertainty - Various - Falling Uphill (CD), not to make money, but simply for exposure. It was still marked by the same racial, gender, and class divides endemic within the internet and society more broadly, and filesharing services were certainly used for various criminal enterprises.
The demise of What. There once was a crossing guard who worked at border patrol. Now, the guard was positive that the man was attempting to smuggle something across; surely there was some sort of contraband hidden in the sand. And every day, the guard dutifully sifted through every grain of that sand. But every day, finding nothing, he was bound to let the man across.
Instead of recognizing the value of peer-to-peer filesharing the wheelbarrowcompanies continue to fight an uphill battle trying to make music the sand profitable. The difference is that, where filesharing removed the yoke of exploitative corporate gatekeeping, streaming services have replaced it. At the dawn of the millennium, the network still operated largely as an aesthetic ideal rather than an absolute.
Cyberspace was imagined as a utopian otherworld full of promise, an immersive place one could enter, navigate, and explore, much like outer space. It was colorful, shiny, metallic, full of knowledge, leisure, and abundance. And, more than anything else, it was arriving. A financial meltdown and a never-ending war on terror later, by the network was not only still there — it had substantially grown.
But a Uncertainty - Various - Falling Uphill (CD) of the future and any optimism associated with it had not. In stark contrast to the yearmarked a strange, increasing emphasis on backwards-looking aesthetics. The announcement was a shock to most fans, many of whom were now in their late 20s and 30s. The world of indie rock was naturally awash with ecstasy at the news of his return. Notably, however, there was no announcement of new music. The following January, I was in the audience as he walked on stage to a standing ovation in an ornate music hall.
Partly because of the ticket price and partly because of his aging fanbase, many in the crowd were older, donning beards and plaid shirts, holding craft brews from the chandelier-lit lobby. Some couples had kids with them. Now, Uncertainty - Various - Falling Uphill (CD), because going abroad may not be an option, HWS has set aside rooms in dormitories or apartments for students to live on campus for the fall. Additionally, he said with many international students not coming back to campus this semester due to travel challenges, more housing options are also opening up.
Due to the uncertainty, HWS has also allowed study abroad students to register for courses alongside everyone else as a safety net. Mara Huber, associate dean of undergraduate research and experiential learning at UB, takes students on an annual two-week summer trip to Tanzania to learn about its history, culture and politics. The program, which is open to students of all disciplines, will use interactive technology to explore and learn about Tanzania in a virtual setting.
They will also collaborate with Tanzanian partners through Zoom to work on projects. This summer, around 15 students are working with Tanzanian partners remotely on projects that are tied to global issues and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to do that, you really have to sort of develop an understanding and you have to get close to the place and the people. For those students working on community projects over the summer, Huber is encouraging them to enroll in the fall course.
Her goal is to have around 20 participants in the class. Since there is no additional cost to take this course, more students will be able to access global engagement opportunities.
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