Ardent watchers of the Goldsmiths CCS website (get a life) will have seen that the student generated images we used to have up have been replaced by some sort of corporate gimmick-cum-hack. Possibly designed to upset us and cause controversy in some sort of twisted viral marketing scam. I’m sorry, I think its crap. I’ve written the ‘webteam':
For the CCS pages we used to have a set of student generated images appear on our website. These have been replaced by some corporate images that we do not approve. Could we please restore the images we had, and please advise us of how we can update these in due course.
We are quite amazed that anyone at Goldsmiths would think Bill Gates was a suitable representation for any part of the college, but the other images are fairly dire as well (though this last is my personal opinion – not backed up as yet by surveys and a campaign: though one could be arranged).
Your rapid attention to this would be welcome as it is causing us some embarrassment.
It has also been pointed out that Gates is the emblem of proprietary corporate software and there is insufficient support for freeware in the college. We would like to see some discussion of this on the part of IT – what is your position?
Fun huh. Did you ever read Kafka’s bank clerk correspondence – its what I aspire towards with this letter (but do not reach the heights). Yet with regard to this, there are some who do think this is a good opportunity to raise questions about IT support for Linux and other freeware. I agree, but am also concerned that we lost the good images we had before and it clearly emphasizes – despite our many moans against this – that we have no say in our representation. The default strategy is towards centralization and cretinization. I include the offending picture of gates as a cut-out-and-keep dartboard target, but also note some of the other images are appalling. Go have a look and help viral marketing do its job – pah!).
The point is that we used to provide the images – there were several great shots from students from a few years ago. So one of the main problems with this is that the images we had before by CCS students are gone and now once again we have no control over our own site. Today it would make sense to have a series of images from our publications – from the CCS nocturnal journal Nyx and from our books etc.
Its either a hack or there has been a centralized coup which must be reversed immediately. I personally have nothing against Gates, just his god awful charitable do-gooderness, his smarmy philanthropy, his rampant greed, his well-ugly fashion sense, and his vampire-like operating systems (and I do not mean windows, I mean capital).
Someone should start a facebook group to get him off site! That’ll work huh. And we are not even talking about the fine print – some sort of strange cut and paste about Hitler. If you search long enough also a swastika juxtaposed with the logo of IBM circa 1924 (about when William Burroughs dad had sold his shares in the company).
So I should also say: if this is indeed a ‘clever’ hack, or what for Goldsmiths art-types passes for a ‘political’ intervention, well more power to you. But go spend your time hacking the G20 Govt site, or the UK Border Agency Education devolvement plan (where we are to be asked to be the front line of the immigration crackdown). Double pah!
Update 27.3.09: Not a hack but Graham’s intended conversation starter. The criticisms stand though, having swastikas above our heads is offensive in the extreme.
Update 28.3.09: So thanks to Lisa, the webteam’s Tanith McCrindle has taken two of the images down: the Gates/Hitler text one and the IBM/swastika one (I am not contesting the validity of the intended critique of IBM or Gates, just its effectiveness in the context and the unintended juxtapositions it thereby achieved with staff photos smack underneath swastikas etc). I’m pleased these are gone but still pretty pissed I/we have no immediate control over what juxtapositions appear over my/our name/s and that I got calls from family, emails from college staff and questions from prospective students about this. It has only been, I think, a mildly damaging exercise for CCS – but its certainly not our most glorious chapter. That said, I agree the old images needed work, and also think Darren is right to ask, as he does in the comments below, ‘what happened to the new images that he and other students submitted for the CCS site just a few months ago, following a public solicitation from the department?’.