:: Saturday, September 18, 2004 ::

Two Brittish photographs are now in stage in one of Stockholms newest galleries, Fotografins Hus. John Goto:s "Gilt City" and Clare Strand "Gone Astray" show a serie of urban portraits. Archetypes as soldiers, homeless and old ladies interact with each other and create a city landscape of sophisticated and elegant compositions. The images are demanding and ask from the viewer understanding and complicity. The London bakground reminds me of Jeff Noon:s apocalytpical cybernovels where Automated Alices and hackers make of the city a nightmare.

Ana L. Valdés

John Goto, the Collector, 2003

Clare Strand, Gone Astray, 2003

:: Ana Valdes [+] ::
:: Friday, September 17, 2004 ::
Selected News

itunes jacks the prizes in Britain.

Is Linux becoming a real contender for the software juggernaut? Microsoft is double checking...

JPEGs are part of a security flaw in Explorer. Hackers make their move.

Check the Sims sequel.

:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Thursday, September 16, 2004 ::
for network art and culture

Code & Creativity v3.0
Games: Making and Unmaking the World
Sept 17-24, UMaine New Media

In The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry equates war/torture/injuring the body with unmaking the world; and creative acts including art-making, object-design and religion-building as making the world.

This conference tackles the tension at the heart of war/gaming and explores alternative design strategies in the company of some of the top game design artists working today.

This series of discussions and workshops will explore the increasing prevalence of electronic war and conflict simulation in military and entertainment contexts -- raising issues about the construction of gender in the context of gameplay and game narrative, and also provoking some discussion on issues related to the upcoming election.

Games: Making and Unmaking the World
:: molly hankwitz [+] ::
Eduardo’s post earlier this week (read below under September 13 ) brings up an interesting question. Is Art – and more specifically, “new media” Art – less considered in the US than in South America (and Europe)?. This would be extraordinary as we (I am European myself) and the South –Americans believe the opposite and have for long envied the North American opportunities for exhibitions and art shows.

Eduardo’s post made me think of my own experience with the South American support for the arts. In September 2001 I was struggling with long lines at the airport to fly to Caracas, where I was to speak at a conference about globalization and its consequences to Latin-American new media artists. I was hosted in a 5 star hotel (just like Eduardo), and with a wonderful honorarium in my pocket, since I received it on the first day of my stay, as opposed to a couple of weeks/months later as it often is the case. The event was the “X curso de gerencia en las artes” (Xth course of Arts Management, although the term “gerencia” is difficult to translate accurately in this context) the tenth of a series promoted by Fundacion Polar. Graziela Pantin did a particularly amazing work in organizing those editions she was involved with. The Xth edition looked specifically at emerging technologies. The organization was flawless. My amazement at the funding available in this field continued as I heard Ricardo Benaim, a Venezuelan artist who with me presented the panel on globalization and its implications for the Latin-American new media artists. Benaim talked about the “proyecto MAPA” that I wrote about before under the title "Meantime in Caracas..." here , which allowed dozens of artists from Venezuela and Colombia to interact and travel between both countries (travel expenses paid). So NY – based artist Lew Baldwin (his work here ), and myself, along with other North Americans (other than Lew, I mean, as I am Portuguese…) were just perplexed at how very high the Venezuelan government seemed to consider this field. Now, opinions on Chavez are (very) antagonistic and it is not clear how the relatively new government will fund cultural institutions such as Fundacion Polar. But this is beyond the scope of this piece. What I am asking is: has the US – even prior to 9/11 – been a true supporter of the Arts? And I am not talking NGOs here... but rather wondering whether there is a clear US governmental policy in this domain, since there seem to be clear policies in other domains…

Ana Boa-Ventura

:: ana boa-ventura [+] ::
:: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 ::
Spectropolis: Mobile Media, Art and the City is a three-day event (October 1-3, 2004) in Lower Manhattan that highlights the diverse ways artists, technical innovators and activists are using communication technologies to generate urban experiences and public voice. The increasing presence of mobile communication technologies is transforming the ways we live, construct and move through our built environment. The participants of Spectropolis make obvious or play with this shift, creating new urban perceptions and social interactions with cell phones, laptops, wireless internet, PDAs and radio. In addition to twelve projects presented in City Hall Park, there will be several free hands-on workshops and three panels available to the public.

For more information, artists projects, bios and pics
Spectropolis 2004

:: molly hankwitz [+] ::
One almost feels like saying - behind a great theoretician there is always one great practitioner (or several). Lev Manovich is undoubtedly one of the most important voices defining new media. Some note that his examples are often based in film. However, others have found film to be the ideal direction to trace back the history/aesthetics/(and structure?...) of that which we vaguely name "new media": both theoreticians such as Jay David Bolter (co-author of "Remediation: Understanding New Media") or practitioners like Grahame Weinbren ("Sonata").

The practitioner that I am thinking of, who one could say is a corollary of much of Manovich discourse, is Tamas Waliczky.

In "The Camera and the World: New Works by Tamas Waliczky", a text not to be missed, Manovich describes Waliczky's work as systematically employing new ways to see/structure the world, which are, for the author, fundamental in this "post-computer aesthetic space". The piece is available as a posting by Manovich to the nettime list here

Do check Waliczky's work -you'll find a very interesting "manifesto of computer art", written in 1989 and first performed in Budapest. It is interesting to note how the term has evolved since then to something more loosely defined as "new media art"... In fact, the "new media curating" list (or Crumb list - archives here) is right now having the most fascinating discussion on taxonomies of new media. I also encourage you to check that discussion.

Waliczky's work is represented in public collections at the MOMA in NY, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Zentrum Fur Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe.

Ana Boa-Ventura

:: ana boa-ventura [+] ::
Selected News

Got the Fox on fire: got the Fire on the Fox. As new as bugged(?)

Microsoft keeps on patching.

Even lonely men on the go can find company...

The future of TV

Currrent state of SPAM
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
:: Monday, September 13, 2004 ::
Report on LatinoAmedia, Mexico City: fourth installment in a series of five

LatinoAmedia, a round-table discussion at the Rufino Tamayo Museum’s Cyberlounge, was the last of three events happening in conjunction with the Centro + Media Exhibition. It took place on Saturday, August 21, 2004. For accounts on the previous events happening at Centro and Laboratorio Arte Alameda please look over the postings of August 30, and September 03, 2004, respectively.

LatinoAmedia focused on "the [artists'] personal experiences of the present and the future of the production, difussion and reflection of new media in contemporary art, specific to the Latin American region." The artists, critics and invited participants scheduled to speak included Brian Mackern (Uruguay), Santiago Ortiz (Colombia), Eduardo Navas (EE:UU El Salvador), Gustavo Romano (Argentina), Christian Oyarzun (Chile), Ivan Abreu (Mexico-Cuba), Antonio Mendoza ( EE:UU Cuba), Ricardo Rendon (Mexico), Mario De Vega ( Mexico ) , Fran Ilich (Mexico ), Fernando Llanos (Mexico), Jorge Castro (Argentina), Priamo Lozada (Rep Dominicana) Erandy Vergara (Mexico) Tania Aedo (Mexico), Andres Oriard (Mexico), and Arcangel Constantini (Mexico).

The following are some of the highlights of the round-table. It is impossible for me to present an exact chronological account of the discussion as this one became heated at times and I was not able to take notes of everything that was said as I also found the urge to get a word in as well. What I include in the following paragraphs is a subjective account based on my personal notes of the event. If anyone is interested in an exact documentation of LatinoAmedia, there is a videotape available at the Cyberlounge at the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City.

Some of the topics brought forth by Fernando Llanos, the moderator of the event, included problematics around economical and cultural resources currently facing Latin American cultures and their possible resolutions in relation to technology as well as the role of the artists, curators, and critics within these dynamics leading to possible collaborations in the future.

The round-table discussion started with Antonio Mendoza commenting on what a great experience it was to personally interact with artists from other parts of Latin America. He considered the events to be very educational as he had learned quite a bit from the other participants, and believed in the importance of organizing similar events in the near future. Then Brian Mackern commented on the important role of the artist as promoter of her/his own work that is particularly vital to the historization of net art and other emerging technologies, and the necessity to understand the potential for creative development in particular countries directly connected to economic realities. Tania Aedo (on the left) pointed out the technological frenzy of a few years back leaving a sense of not knowing where one may be going with emerging technologies, but that it is extremely important to keep in mind what had happened at Laboratorio Alameda and the opening event at Centro, as well as the current round-table discussion at the Cyberlounge, as rich material to generate even more discussion in the future. Ivan Abreu (at center) commented on the ambiguity that is at play with the interdisciplinary aspect of new media practice, and the fact that some innovative projects can fall in the realm of “entertainment,” adding that one should keep in mind the relation of art practice to this particular occurence.

Erandy Vergara(with Microphone) emphasized the importance of new media as a vehicle for education, that is how emerging technologies play an important role in the social problematics of contemporary culture at the moment, and how these can be vehicles for new educational opportunities through creativity. Santiago Ortiz talked about issues of class, and its differences in Latin America and Europe. He also commented how Latin Americans in many ways are still “second-hand Europeans.” He suggested that artists should focus on the moment of creativity and not to necessarily look at institutions for validation. Ortiz is also interested in blurring the line between art and design as way to revitalize creativity.

I proposed to consider what can actually be questioned today with the creative use of new technologies, especially after a popular time of "pluralism," and that the crossover between the roles of the curator, artist and critic is crucial to the many histories of new media in Latin America. I also pointed out the importance to keep histories in check in order to do justice to the contributions of diverse groups that may fall outside the Eurocentric circles that were created during the early nineties in Europe. An example I proposed was of the net.art movement being contextualized to be specifically an European discourse omitting artists like Brian Mackern from Uruguay, who had been active along with Jodi and Alexei Shulgin throughout the mid-nineteen-nineties. This inevitably shows that net art practice from the very beginning was used to extend the narratives at play during a post-colonial period of supposed de-centralization. Brian Mackern commented on this explaining that he did see a very strong influence in the historization of new media still coming from the "North."

Christian Oyarzun commented on the issue of "center versus periphery," a theme that had actually been previously brought up in the discussion and that was implicit throughout the events, given that the exhibition at Centro was called Centro + Media (Center + Media) and the event at Laboratorio Alameda was called Periferico (Periphery). Oyarzun pointed out how there were many peripheries at this point, that is peripheries and centers within other peripheries and other centers and so forth, and how this was always relevant to the definition of an actual Center. Someone in the audience disagreed and claimed that there was no more "center or periphery," and how he did not find such discussion relevant anymore. He gave an example of how an artist could live in a remote place of the world and still have a gallery in Germany show his work with great recognition.

At this point I intervened and disagreed with the audience member explaining that global communication is so efficient today that anyone can be in dialogue with others in many areas of the world considered part of the "center of cultural discourse" but that in the end, while one may not need to physically be in specific places to be part of such discourse one still needs to be part of such centers intellectually. Meaning that having or not having the ability or cultural position to develop the “right connections” to be in the discourse of the "center" is where marginalization starts to happen today, both locally and internationally. I also added that developing an audience today is much easier with emerging technologies and that having exposure to diverse communities may lead artists to think that they are at the "center" of mainstream global culture, when in fact this might actually be part of a periphery, hence I agreed with Oyarzun's comment on the complex development of peripheries and centers emerging within other centers and peripheries at local and global levels, leaving the contemporary art practitioner in a very complex situation.

Toward the beginning of the discussion I had expressed how glad I was to be part of an amazing set of events that were fully funded, something that was simply not possible in the United States at the moment due to the lack of funding following the extreme conservativism that has developed there since 9/11. And then, the relationship of Latin America to the United States was brought up in consideration to this dynamic—and the conversation became a bit heated. I explained that, unfortunately, no matter how great things, similar to the events happening around Centro + Media were, that the art culture in the United States, even today, has the tendency to ignore such events, and that this is a left over of the myth of the United States being the "center of the artworld." I emphasized how this was a problematic myth, particularly because the U.S. does not have the type of funding available to convene so many artists together for eight days at a five star hotel with all expenses paid and on top of this include a decent honorarium, especially in relation to new media, like Arcangel and Ivan had been able to do with great ease in Mexico City. Antonio Mendoza also added that he did not see events like this happening in the United States. Erandy responded explaining how Mexico and Latin America have the agency to write their own history and that there should be strategic efforts to make this a priority, and that she, personally,in the end, was not concerned how the United States viewed what was happening in Mexico.

Arcangel also asked me how I saw the current and future situation in the United States in relation to emerging technologies, and I re-emphasized the conservativism that is currently being experienced throughout the many facets of American Culture being quite unfortunate for new media in particular, and that I saw the fact that there was funding available in Mexico for a series of major events, such as the ones we had been part of up to that point, very promising for Mexico and Latin America to redefine major areas of the continent as cultural centers in the fields of emerging technologies and new media.

Constantini then entertained the role of the artist as a professional playing an important part in art discourse when exercising a collaborative practice. He considered the model of the professional artist crucial for places like the Rufino Tamayo Museum in order to open up art discourse to a wide audience that need not be specialized in the arts. He saw this happening at the moment with the round-table, which had been a collective effort.

Mario De Vega questioned the term “New Media,” wondering how it relates to the idea of art, and Jorge Castro then raised questions on the critical position that the emerging fields could and should have in art practice explaining how many artists and performers were often more interested in being “cool” than in thinking what the content of their work actually promotes.

Fran Ilich questioned the role of the institution in the new media field, asking what it actually meant to be sitting in the Museum gallery having a discussion about centers and peripheries. He questioned whether this actually extended the elitist exclusivity in art practice to the new media field even as this one keeps changing.

Arcangel Constantini explained that the cyberlounge had actually been set up with this issue in mind. He also explained how the museum had specific educational programs targeting people who would not normally visit the museum as a way to enrich the many facets of Mexican Culture; to further this aim, events are free to the public and that therefore the museum should not be seen as an elitist institution but rather as a resource with its doors open for everyone.

Gustavo Romano (on the left) finally proposed to look at thematic approaches as a way to re-evaluate the interpolated dynamics discussed up to that point in relation to centers and peripheries; that is to focus on the actual content of the work and relate it to specific curatorial engagements that can make way for a focused narrative to surface first. I consider this a great suggestion because a thematic approach then can place other political and cultural aspects of each art work as important yet not over-powering elements in their complex creative development.

The discussion had to end at the Cyberlounge, but it was continued over yet another great meal. The last one the local and foreign artists would share around this series of events.
:: Eduardo Navas [+] ::
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