[iDC] interesting article on new media scene in LA

Mark Shepard mshepard at ap.buffalo.edu
Mon Oct 31 12:02:31 EST 2005

Sorry for any confusion my previous post has generated - (and for  
misspelling Beatriz's name!

To be clear: I wasn't referring to the talk she gave but rather a  
comment made during the discussion where she spoke of (as I recall) a  
critical mass of new media artists coming from New York to southern  
California that had just the right mix of academic and industry  
involvement. In the context of this thread, I thought maybe there was  
more to this than a rehashing of the (old) issues surrounding the  
military/university/industry funding models - that perhaps something  
about this convergence of super bright and talented people in an  
around LA might produce new confluences or working models that went  
beyond all that.


On Oct 31, 2005, at 11:12 AM, Beatriz da Costa wrote:

> hi all,
> not sure whom I am talking to but let chime in here:
> My talk at Trebor's conference used my current university  
> affiliation as an example of the effects the "University, Inc" can  
> have on both faculty and student's research agendas. It was mostly  
> a rant out of frustration! yes, carnegie mellon has in some way  
> prepared me for this difficult tension between industry, the  
> military and higher education, but I was still a student then.  
> Suddenly finding myself in a faculty position, coming from a very  
> critical perspective vis a vis corporate america is whole different  
> ball game. Students WANT (and need) the money for their graduate  
> education and who am I telling them that they shouldn't become beta- 
> testers for Microsoft? So, looking for alternative funding sources,  
> introducing different but still feasible ways to engage a  
> professional career in the aftermath of their education has  
> suddenly become a larger part of my job and occupation than I ever  
> thought. I am hired between engineering and studio art, and as you  
> can imagine both political and social value systems differ a lot  
> between those areas. (of course, they're always exceptions on both  
> sides as well).
> in any case, I don't want to be too lengthy here, but just for you  
> reassurance: I have absolutely no interest in the industry and even  
> if I did... they don't have any interest in me ;).
> all the best
> Beatriz (with z)
> On Oct 31, 2005, at 7:04 AM, Brooke Singer wrote:
>> I have forward this email to Beatriz, because I don't think Mark  
>> quite captured her sentiments. This conflict for artists and  
>> engineers working in the realm of emerging technologies is not  
>> anything new nor location specific. This dialogue was hot (and I  
>> am sure still is...) at Carnegie Mellon when I was getting my  
>> graduate degree in the late 90s and had been ongoing for sometime.  
>> If you want a certain level of access and money for tech research/ 
>> experimentation, it seems like you either play the game and hope  
>> to come out on top. Or you try and play outside the system, which  
>> of course may be impossible both in terms of getting things done  
>> and as a concept in itself.
>> Brooke
>> On Oct 30, 2005, at 11:51 PM, Mark Shepard wrote:
>>> Look...
>>> No reason to categorically disparage the SoCal expats. The LA  
>>> Times article was written by Holly Willis,"a regular contributor  
>>> to the Weekly, who currently teaches video art, new media and  
>>> digital culture at USC, Art Center and CalArts". So of course  
>>> she's referencing the people she knows and the context within  
>>> which she is operating. I don't see anything problematic with  
>>> regional reportage of this nature. It gives us a glimpse (however  
>>> biased) of what is happening there.
>>> Beatrice da Costa commented at Trebor's conference last spring  
>>> that SoCal had this wonderful confluence of academic and  
>>> industrial interests - almost as if she were speaking about  
>>> cocktail recipe. Now, it's not news that the post-critical is the  
>>> parole du jour there - and perhaps something valuable will come  
>>> from it - but the limits are already being articulated by people  
>>> like Julian Bleeker in his response to Mike Liebhold's talk at  
>>> USC's Annenberg Center for Communication  ( http:// 
>>> netpublics.annenberg.edu/about_netpublics/ 
>>> mike_liebhold_lecture_the_geospatial_web_and_mobile_service_ecologie 
>>> s_10_27_2pm#comment-25 )
>>> I'd be interested in hearing more about the opportunities and  
>>> dilemmas of research funding schemes based on tight couplings  
>>> between academic, industrial, and military interests in new media  
>>> in southern California... And particularly what, if anything,  
>>> this has to do with art.
>>> Mark
> Beatriz da Costa
> http://www.beatrizdacosta.net
> http://www.preemptivemedia.net
> Assistant Professor of Studio Art Electrical Engineering and  
> Computer Science
> Core Faculty of the Arts Computations Engineering Graduate Program  
> (ACE)
> University of California at Irvine
> http://www.ace.uci.edu

mark shepard
assistant professor
departments of architecture and media study
university at buffalo, state university of new york

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