Pursued by a Bear »

  • If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the holodeck

    December 18, 2012 @ 6:23 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Dublin’s Science Gallery is adding a bonus level to Game, its current exhibition.

    Game: Next focuses on the latest in gaming technology and runs from tomorrow (Wednesday) until Friday. The most exciting aspect of it is Project Holodeck, a virtual reality gaming system.

    It uses Oculus Rift technology and a head-mounted helmet-like display to put the gamer in a virtual play space. This uses the Sony Playstation’s Move optical system to track the player’s head and a Razer Hydra magnetic system for limited body tracking.

    So what’s the game? Wild Skies is a fantasy flight game where players learn how to pilot a nuclear-powered airship through “an exotic world of floating islands and dangerous storms, while fending off religious fanatics, oppressive governments, and vicious pirates to protect their family”. Players play in three dimensions and perform physical actions, such as drawing swords or guns from holsters. Visitors to the gallery will be able to give it a go, but expect demand to be high.

    Project Holodeck’s director Nathan Burba, producer James Iliff and their team will be at Science Gallery for the exhibition, and this is the first time it has been outside LA.
    The project came together after raising $2.4 million from a Kickstarter campaign

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  • Dalkey Archive responds to that job advertisement

    December 13, 2012 @ 1:23 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    By now, most people will have seen the job advertisement/internship posting that Dalkey Archive Press put up some days ago. It has met with outrage online, with Salon.com asking if it is the “worst job posting ever?”

    This is unsurprising. Among many other requirements, DAP asked for candidates who “want to work at Dalkey Archive Press doing whatever is required of them to make the Press succeed; do not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.)”.

    Furthermore, among a long list of “grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period” were “being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work”. Helpfully, it advised: “DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.”

    What many people may have missed on first reading (myself included) was the satirical edge in the post, something that perhaps we’re not used to in the current age of sterile online recruitment. Here, John O’Brien, the American director of Dalkey Archive Press and the man responsible for the advertisement, offers some context. It comes from a recent email exchange I had with O’Brien, and is reproduced here with his permission. He began the exchange by pointing out that the advertisement was written in a manner he viewed as appropriate with Irish literature: that of Swift, Joyce Beckett and, perhaps most pertinently, Flann O’Brien.

    “The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time. I’ve been swamped with emails (I wish they’d stop: I’ve work to do), and with job applications. I certainly have been called an ‘asshole’ before, but not as many times within a 24-hour period.

    “Strangely, no one (except the applicants) seem to have noticed that jobs are being offered: when does this happen with internships? In brief, I take internships very seriously, and take on only people I think might be a future employee. Since coming to Ireland, I’ve seen so many applications to Dalkey in which CVs list upwards of six internships, which tend to smack of ‘we looked, we evaluated, and didn’t think the person was good enough to keep’. And my 25 years of experience with interns has been very mixed: the most common problem being that they aren’t prepared, don’t know what to expect, hope that a job might be at the end of the rainbow, and yet don’t have a clue as to what an employer is looking for. Employers wind up frustrated that they put in so much time, and the interns wonder why a job wasn’t forthcoming. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . ready, steady, Christmas

    December 6, 2012 @ 5:48 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Yule better: It’s well into December at this stage and high time to kick out the festive jams. If watching Die Hard in the Light House cinema during the week didn’t get you into the Christmas spirit (what do you mean you weren’t there?), than the Young Hearts Run Free crew should finish the job nicely. On Saturday night, they are holding their annual Yule fundraiser for the Simon Community, and for your entertainment on the night they’ve corralled Donal Lunny, the Spook of the 13th Lock, David O’Doherty, Dylan Tighe, Thread Pulls, Mumblin’ Deaf Ro, The Strypes, Margie Lewis, OCHO, Niamh de Barra, Pearse McGloughlin and plenty more into the Dublin Food Co-Op on Newmarket Square. It’s BYOB, they are promising cake, mulled wine, hot cider, raffles for Christmas trees and plenty more. The first live performance is at 8pm and just €16 gets you in the door. Christmas comes early for some, eh?

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    Join the musical dots: Few gigs this weekend are most anticipated than the XX in the Olympia Theatre, which is solidly sold out after their stellar performance at this year’s Electric Picnic. However, for a few local equivalents to the local trio, you could do a lot worse than rock up to the Joinery gallery in Smithfield on Friday night. It’s tiny room will be hosting Katie Kim, Ickis Mirolo and Chequerboard, who will previewing tracks from his upcoming album The Unfolding. BYOB and all for €10. Lock it in.

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  • Why the Irish arts sector could benefit from a little of Jude Law’s anger

    December 4, 2012 @ 7:18 pm | by Laurence Mackin


    Artist Elizabeth Price

    Last night Elizabeth Price won the Turner prize, Britain’s most prestigious visual-arts award, and with it a cheque for £25,000. Perhaps what was most striking about the ceremony was not her win – although Paul Noble was the bookies’ favourite in a particularly strong year, Price’s work has been lauded by critics.

    Rather, it was the tone taken by Jude Law, who presented the award, the Tate’s director Penelope Curtis, and Price herself. All three showed a palpable anger at the British government’s plans to cut arts funding and arts-education funding, and they weren’t afraid to use the Turner prize ceremony to air it.

    In an emotive speech, Law accused the British government of “cultural vandalism” over plans to drop art from its central position on the school curriculum. He said the prize represented the “cutting edge” of the UK’s creative output and that downgrading classes in art, design, drama, dance and music would blunt “our leading edge in the arts and jeopardise the future of the UK’s creative industries. Art education should be accessible to all.”

    Price also lamented the effect these cuts would have, and said she couldn’t imagine how her career would have worked out without support from the state. (more…)


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