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bLink 13

Connect the dots.

By Thom Wong 12 Jan 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He has also been a teacher and contract specialist. With eight years of education and three bachelor degree, Thom focuses mostly on marketing writing.

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If you enjoyed Pandora, or were infuriated by its sometimes inexplicable selections, head over to Live Plasma. You give the site the name of an artist, song, movie, or director, and the flash interface will generate a cultural map of similarly themed choices.

I typed in "Fight Club," a personal favourite, and the map almost exploded with connections, resembling a pond after you toss in bread crumbs for ducks (which you should never, ever do -- it kills the ducks). Roll your mouse over a film and you'll get the director; click on the movie and that movie's map will open. Do this for several movies and you produce something you might find at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Click on too many and the process turns into six degrees of Kevin Bacon -- before you know it Kill Bill Volume 2 is linking you to Lost in Translation, which is then linked to Bring It On.

The site is less useful as a tool than it is interesting as a social phenomenon -- that of finding, some might say fabricating, connections where such connections were not previously seen. The producers of media have long pushed for a synchronicity in taste that they can then exploit. If you liked Movie X you'll love Album Y, Book Z and t-shirts by ABC. Blogs have filled this supposed space in the cultural universe by openly stating preferences and gathering people of "like" tastes, but the entire process still seems to baffle the major corporations.

I still can't tell if the site is remotely useful, or merely an excuse not to watch any more Bruckheimer films (Bruckheimer movies don't appear on my cultural map). Although it might be good if you still get your tips from Ebert and Siskel-lite.

Thom Wong is a law student who spends an unreasonable amount of time online. His 40 bLinks column runs every Monday and Thursday on The Tyee.

What's he all about? Click here. For previous 40 bLinks, click here

Thom Wong is a law student who spends an unreasonable amount of time online. His 40 bLinks column runs every Monday and Thursday on The Tyee. What's he all about? Click here.

For previous 40 bLinks, click here.  [Tyee]

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