November 8, 2003 17:30 | WebBlogging

About the previous post

The importance of web architecture, permalinks, etc.

In the entry immediatly preceeding this one (RowBoat: The Destroyer of Worlds) I link to a very heavy and striking Flash based presentation of a "multimedia" piece by Ryuichi Sakamoto (and others). It is the sort of thing I would like a copy of, or at least a permanent URI for.

However because of the way it is published, I can have neither. At least not without a lot of work...

So, there are a number of problems here:

  1. It is Flash.
  2. It is Flash called from within a Flash "launcher" meaning I cannot just suck down the actual Flash file.
  3. The URI for the page on which it appears is a very flakey "index2.html".

Discussing each "problem":

  1. Grabbing a Flash file requires looking at the source, knowing what to look for, grabbing the URI, entering it an application that does HTTP GET and saving it locally.
  2. Becasue the actual content is loaded only after clicking onthe Flash "splash", the URI for it is hidden inside the Flash "splash". It is extractable, but the same as above applies, after which I must crack the thing open in Flash MX, find the reference and go get that. I am betting that that isn't even possible actually... Not sure.
  3. "index2.html" is bound to change the next time Sakamoto's webmaster puts up a new fature, at which point a) my link breaks and b) I never see the thing again.

Of course, the artist's intent counts here. Surely Sakamaoto-san does not want just anybody to come and grab this wonderful piece and weave it into their personal experience of life. Is the intent here to feature the bigger piece, "-LIFE-"? If so, great.. I'll buy it... let's see, where is there a link to buy the full piece? Hmmm not there... Oh hum... Not worth the hassle I guess...

So, in the end... I thank you Sakamoto-san for sharing this, temporarily, and I deplore you for not allowing me the chance to have a copy, by hook or by crook.

It's a shame really... I know for sure that sometime down the road, this piece will come up in my memory and I will want to share it with someone, show them... "look, listen, isn't this something?", but alas I will not be able to.

And your raison d'ĂȘtre? Is it not one of the artist's reasons for doing the work they (we?) do precisely to move and affect the society around us?

I would want the fruits of my labor to be spread far and wide. Either for free or for renumeration... In this case you do neither.

You need to blog.
And you need a Web Architect to work along side the renowned Web Artist who makes your website...


cracking flash files is, to my despair, easily done with some 'helpful' apps. For osx, try 'gordon' (

However, this raises some important questions about the way in which the rights owner intended his IP to be consumed. There is the possibility that Sakamoto-san does not want the piece to be in the public domain permanently and 'protecting' the file in this way will prevent a 'normal' web user from harvesting the content. Alternatively, as you infer, it may just be an executable issue and the permanence of the piece on the web may not have been a consideration.

Either way, I think that the web and the content we choose to consume is of less importance to some of the content owners that we would like it to be. Sakamoto-san chooses, it seems, to use his site to 'tease' us and incite us to want more. I am sure that given the choice he would have us consume his music (and visuals) in a more traditional way; and this is probably a good thing in this instance...

The piece you reference is truly memorable. I would love to immerse myself in the music and video from dvd for instance. The sound would be incredible and the visuals would have a great deal more presence. Maybe this is where your frustration comes from? The flash medium just cannot do Sakamoto-san's work justice in my opinion.

Me? I'm happy to be teased and shown the brilliance of the work in question. It's like getting to the end of a really good book and not wanting the story to conclude. Maybe with more feedback the piece may be released in a format that *will* do it justice.

Hi Pete!
Yeah I know, "all that IP stuff". Totally agree with ya. Essentially I am bemoaning two things:
1- No local copy or trustable URL for the "teaser".
2- No link to somewhere where I could, happily, buy the complete work.

Aside from that, I am a firm believer that anything one "puts out there" is no longer under one's control, or one's property... as if there even were such a thing. ;)

me = spam probability 97%
you = 0%

what's up with that!

I have to say, I think it was done the way it was to try and 'hide' the actual content from people. I can't think why it would have been executed in that way otherwise.

I'm about 'eclipsed' out as i can be - it's 0150 here and I'm heading off to bed... (The eclipse has been way cool tho...)


Boris, I know this isn't your point, but:

Open the terminal program and type:


This will grab the file. Then type:

mv oppenheimer_single2.swf Desktop/

This will move the flash file will be on your desktop. Then just drag it onto an open Safari window and it will play.

Hi Joi,
yeah, there's even easier ways, but still it reuires putsing.

Also, that file - oppenheimer_single2.swf - is merely a launching app. Even if I have THAT locally, it still goes out to a URL and pipes in the content. Which means the moment the webmaster decides to move it, bye bye...
By cracking open oppenheimer_single2.swf, we see that the actual content is at ... Great! So now I have a copy. But it's SWF. Quicktime 6.2 doesn't show the video but plays the audio no problem. Open it in Flash MX, there it is, but I can't export it to say mpeg4... I *could* but I'd spend time figuring it out...

So yeah, it IS possible, if you have the knowledge.
But as you said, that isn't the point ;)
(Most people don't know how to rip MP3s, or what to do with them once they have them, i.e.: archiving, ID3 tags etc etc... ;)