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A conference presentation made to a CRESC workshop in 2009. The paper covers the concept of intelligent objects and meaning of 'spimes'. Also looks at the way in which innovation is often grassroots and uses the example of blogshops in Singapore.

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  1. 1. Tacos, Clothes and Spimes Anita Greenhill (Manchester Business School) Gordon Fletcher (Salford Business School)
  2. 2. We consider the rapid transformation from commerce enacted through the Internet, to eCommerce, on to the realisation of the "intelligent" intelligent object. The ultimate development of this form of intelligent object is interpreted through a critical and cultural reading of Sterling's "spimes" rather than a computer science or technical perspective.
  3. 3. Spimes are manufactured object whose informational support is so overwhelmingly extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system. Spimes are sustainable, enhanceable, uniquely identifiable, and made of substances that can and will be folded back into the production stream of future spimes. Spimes are the protagonist of an historical process.
  4. 4. As with many techno-cultural innovations it is primarily the capitalist motivation for profit that has driven the development of everyday objects towards becoming spimes. The potential for alternative usages and resistance is a further developmental stage (of cultual practice rather than technical development). Ultimately spimes are (or will be in 30 years?) mechanisms for facilitating more efficient, effective or flexible forms of exchange (and by implication working).
  5. 5. The evidence for the development of "things" as spimes is rapidly accumulating and are found in the realm of 'innovative' commerce and ecommerce. Not as fully articulated intelligent objects but as an increasingly indefinite difference between 'digital' and traditional 'analogue' objects. We already recognise this movement with statements about 'ubquitous' technologies and "real-time" [reviews|chat|comment].
  6. 6. Blogs usually hosted on blogspot.com; Largely run by female teenagers (13-22) from Singapore; Orientated around fashion items; Operated with terms and conditions entirely to the Blogshop host’s own benefit; Run with no budget or investment; Utilise ‘meetups’ to deliver goods; Utilise a mixture of catalogue images, cropped self (mirror) images and images borrowed from other Blogshops.
  7. 9. The mobile Korean Taco vans of kogibbq.com in Los Angeles represents an alternative to conventional fast food commerce which is dominated by large multi-nationals. Through the use of twitter, a blog, a touch of social networking and user particiption kogibbq has become a commercial success. Kogibbq announces the current location of their outlet through twitter and are met with queues of regulars and newcomers. The van has become virtual and physical simultaneously.
  8. 10. This Week - 9/1 - 9/4 Tuesday Azul 12PM-3PM@Media Park - Centinela & Nebraska in the back parking lot 6PM-9PM@Eagle Rock - 4372 Eagle Rock Blvd 10:30PM-1AM@La Mirada - Rosecrans & Beach by the Shell Station Verde 12PM-3PM@LA Mart - 1933 S. Broadway 6PM-9PM@Sherman Oaks - Ventura Blvd & Calhoun 10:30PM-1AM@The Brig - 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd Roja 12PM-3PM@Market Lofts - 645 W. 9th Street [email_address] - Jefferson & Figueroa 10:30PM-1AM@Rowland Heights - Nogales & Daisetta Wednesday Azul 12PM-3PM@Yahoo Center - Broadway & 26th St. 9:30PM-Midnight@Diamond Bar - Diamond Bar Blvd & Montefino
  9. 11. In engaging with a technology so entirely friendly towards surveillance, spying, privacy invasion and ruthless technical intrusion on previously unsoiled social spaces we are playing with fire. Disturbing evidence of this is found with the DVD look-themovie(.com) … (perhaps sensationally) shot entirely from the perspective of surveillance cameras but the suggestion that this is a possibility is clear.
  10. 12. In spite of this warning, spimes offer the means to interpret and understand the meaning of objects that are simultaneously online, virtual and part of the network while also "being" real, physical and immediately in front of you. We advocate the interpretation of spimes and proto-spimes as individual elements of complex exchange networks that incorporate specific cultural practices embodied through 'social networks', email habits, uploading/downloading regimes and collaborations through reviewing and sharing as well as many other aspects of everyday life.