Monthly Archives: November 2012

Nov. 23, 1889

San Francisco  Gin Joint Hears the World’s First Jukebox

By Tony Long

For a nickel apiece a thrilled group tunes in on a screechy jukebox of the 1890s. 
Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

1889: The first jukebox is installed at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It becomes an overnight sensation, and its popularity spreads around the world.

That first jukebox was constructed by the Pacific Phonograph Company. Four stethoscope-like tubes were attached to an Edison Class M electric phonograph fitted inside an oak cabinet. The tubes operated individually, each being activated by the insertion of a coin, meaning that four different listeners could be plugged in to the same song simultaneously.

Towels were supplied to patrons so they could wipe off the end of the tube after each listening.

The success of the jukebox eventually spelled the end of the player piano, then the most common way of pounding out popular music to a line of thirsty barflies.

The machine was originally called the “nickel-in-the-slot player” by Louis Glass, the entrepreneur who installed it at the Palais Royale. (A nickel then had the buying power of $1.08 today.) It came to be known as the jukebox only later, although the origin of the word remains a bit vague. It may derive from “juke house,” a slang reference to bawdy house, where music was not unknown.





Tate Britain
Saturday 24 November 2012, 13.00 – 17.00


Tracey Moberly, Mam
Courtesy Tracey Moberly

You are invited to join us on a spirited quest to explore questions of identity and belonging. Amidst pumping bass lines and crowd mayhem, LABEL will explore the one question that has intrigued mankind for centuries: “Who am I?”

LABEL features live acoustic performances with Q+A sessions from Speech Debelle and Shakka, DJs Stööki Sound, plus installations and workshops with Soulful Creative.
Come and work with leading urban creatives on a giant collaborative piece that will transform the façade of Tate Britain, choose how to represent your super-talented self in a portrait taken by our photographer, join a guerrilla mosaics workshop to re-think emblems of Britishness or create a unique label that reflects who you really are with artist Chloe Cooper.

LABEL is curated by Tate Collective as part of the Great British Art Debate. What does Britishness mean to you? Join this audacious retort to stereotypical ideas about Britishness.

Follow The Great British Art Debate on Twitter @GBArtDebate and on Facebook
Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Funded & Great British Art Debate
Art and ideas


by Steve Wheeler

Postmodernist views of society can be appropriated as lenses to analyse the personalised use of digital technology. Consumers of Web based content tend to search randomly and nomadically, due to the multi-layered, multi-directional nature of hyperlinked media and this aligns neatly with some post modern theory. The writings of Deleuze and Guattari (1980), for example, feature the nomadic thought processes that characterise contemporary perceptions, and portray the chaos of modern life. They employ the botanic metaphor of rhizomatic root systems to describe multiple, chaotic non-hierarchical interpretations of knowledge. Rhizomes resist chronology and organisational structures, thereby more accurately representing the unstructured but purposeful manner in which many people now use the Web.

Significantly, because rhizomes are open ended, the importance of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome explanation is not invested in individual components, but rather in the direction of motion the entire organism can adopt at any given time. This is reminiscent of the participatory Web, which consists not so much of the insights and offerings of individuals, but rather of what Surowiecki (2009) has termed ‘the wisdom of the crowds’ – the seemingly random folksonomic directions chosen by entire communites of users as having meaning and importance. The community decides what is important to learn, so in effect, the community becomes the curriculum (Cormier, 2008).

According to Cormier (2008) a rhizomatic interpretation of education is useful because it embraces the ever changing nature of knowledge, is open ended, and is not driven by specific curricula whilst learning is ‘constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process.’  This form of negotiated meaning more clearly represents the knowledge acquisition processes that occur within the transient discussion threads and ephemeral collaborative spaces on the World Wide Web.

The colonisation of knowledge spaces by communities is self sustaining, and in Deleuze and Guattari’s terms, we see individuals assuming the roles of nomads, maintaining a constant state of becoming and transformation. Again, this is reminiscent of the random searching, scanning and jumping around content through hyperlinking that learners participate in when they traverse the digital landscape. In effect, students participate as flâneurs, acting as individual agents, investigators and explorers of their own personal digital terrains. Their seemingly aimless behaviour belies their essentially purposeful wandering, as learners interrogate their environment in attempts to make sense of it, understand it, participate in it, and ultimately portray it (Baudelaire, 1964).

[This is an excerpt from a forthcoming publication entitled: Personal Technologies in Education: Issues, Theories and Debates]


Baudelaire, C. (1964) The Painter of Modern Life, New York, NY: Da Capo Press. (Originally published in Le Figaro, in 1863).

Cormier, D. (2008) Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum.

Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1980) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum.

Surowiecki, J. (2009) The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few. London: Abacus.


Viral Utopias

The Virality part of this free event (see below) will now be a collaboration between Tim Vogt, Francesco Tacchini, Nik Vaughn and Tony D. Sampson. We will be responding to the idea(l) of a viral utopia using academic voice, VJing, bass guitar and turntable.

Viral Utopia: What kind of Ontology is This?

20121103-181812.jpg RSVP ESSENTIAL Viral Utopias launch event  Friday November 16th – 7am til 1am@ Limehouse Town Hall Panics, plagues, and politics. Countless times the death of politics, utopia and neoliberalism has been proclaimed… and just as many times the lumbering remains of our conceptual apparatuses dust themselves and trundle on again… mutating their movements in unfolding recombinatory patterns. Come join us to celebrate the release of several new publications exploring this overlap between the utopian and the viral, the networked and the not-worked: Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks by Tony Sampson; Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia by Angela Mitropoulos; Open Utopia by Thomas More & Stephen Duncombe; and the current issue of Mute Magazine, ‘Becoming Impersonal’ Vol.3 #3. DJS Agit Disco DJs LIVE BANDS Traum – London-based chanson for lovers of neo-romantisch perverse pop Hungry Hearts – whisky filled gruff folk punk: VENUE Limehouse Town Hall 646 Commercial Road London E14 7HA RSVP ESSENTIAL ABOUT THE PUBLICATIONS Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks – Tony D Sampson with Tim Vogt, Francesco Tacchini and Nik Vaughn Contract & Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia – Angela Mitropoulos Open Utopia – Thomas More & Steve Duncombe Mute, ‘Becoming Impersonal’, Vol.3 #3 Link to Mute Magazine About Virality Tony D. Sampson is a London-based academic and writer currently lecturing at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His ongoing interest in contagion theory is reflected in his recent publications, including The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn, and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture (2009), which he coedited with Jussi Parikka. His new book, Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks is published by the University of Minnesota Press in August 2012 ///