[iDC] Re: Interactive City: irrelevant mobile entertainment?

giselle beiguelman desvirtual at gmail.com
Fri Aug 18 22:31:38 EDT 2006

<<Brian Holmes' critique of locative media [2] focused on a perceived
noncritical ("naive") adoption of GPS technologies and Cartesian
mapping systems in the context of Situationist aesthetics.>>

I agree. And sorry for make his words mine.

btw, in what concerns ISEA:

It was very disturbing for me seeing/watching so many irrelevant works
after working so hard in the Interactive City Jury. Let me clear this
point: You judge based on sketches, backgrounds and targets.
Sometimes, sketches are really good and sometimes the result is not so
good as they seemed that some day it would be.

I really feel embarrassed when I remember this ice battles (that never
happened, actually) karaoke nights. My fault.

Nevertheless, some works, like [murmure] and cellphonia are so good..
welcome to the micro commons minimum...

some words from another article (sorry for my Portuenglish):

<<The popularization of multimedia cell phones and portable video and
audio players indicates more than a market trend. They consolidate the
emergency of a new format of creation, guided by an aesthetic of
transmission, and catalyze a process of de-spectacularization of art,
in the scope of the mobility culture.

Cell phones are devices intrinsically related to the multitask style
of contemporary humans. They are made in a way to allow the
performance of simultaneous and unrelated tasks, such as driving and
talking, or writing SMS's and attending a class. Therefore, they
cannot be limited to a field of special attention to the works, such
as museums and movie theaters.

They mediate a type of creation whose parameters are defined by large
corporations and manufacturers, and which infiltrates there to create
a parallel mediatic universe, a phenomenon which Podcasts – that bring
embedded the name of the presently most famous and profitable product
by Apple (iPod) – confirm daily, making the counterpoint to the big
news services and the sameness of FM's.

Specially developed instruments adequate to traffic and displacement
situations, mobile communication devices are adaptive tools to an
urban universe in constant acceleration, and they sensibly affect the
forms of perception, visualization and remote communication.

We must now, therefore, reflect on reception in environments of
continuous flux, in entropic conditions, where the reader/interactor
is always engaged in more than one activity (driving, looking at an
electronic panel and talking on the phone, for example), interacting
with more than one device and performing multiple, independent tasks.

Creating for those conditions involves, thus, rethinking the
readability conditions and the conventions and formats of
communication and transmission. But it also involves understanding the
political, economical and ideological meanders that intervene in these
conditions of creation.

These questions refer, on one side, to the relations among independent
creators and corporate demands, and, on the other, to contexts of
production, circulation and reception particular to cybrid experiences
(those that happen within and among on- and off-line networks) .

>From an institutional point of view, they draw a complex situation for
the artist who wishes to use the cell phone in his/her projects,
without dismissing creative freedom, specially those who work with
tactical perspectives and anticorporation.

A simplistic reasoning might conclude: art and culture cannot be
produced with critical perspectives in these molds. However, one must
take into account two essential nuances.

Firstly, to remind that today the structural field of cyberpolitics is
not a questioning of the brand or the product itself, but of the
operational systems and the kind of program coding being used: open or
closed (because they will define if the generated content can be
reviewed, recycled and reused in a different way, so that creation
does not become a brand's hostage).

Still, in this political and institutional sphere of discussion, we
must remind here the "real reality" factor, in order not to end up
rhyming militancy with ignorance, making clear that the wireless
context is very different from the fixed Internet. It was born
corporate, already (contrarily to the Internet, to which the computing
companies connected later on), and it is entirely mediated by
operators and manufacturers.

The fact of being decisive, however, does not exempt the artist of
his/her critical responsibility. On the contrary, it requires, maybe
more than ever, that he/she is aware that any technological option is
ideological, and that to preserve his/her freedom of creation and
thought, in that scope, goes through abandoning romantic attitudes
founded on the work division between the inspired and the transpired.
Without knowing the foundations of programming, one risks becoming a
publicist without knowing of what...

After clearing this aspect of the debate, without which any and every
discussion on art and technology become void, it is still necessary to
clear what one understands for wireless art, differentiating art for
mobile devices (microart, strictly speaking) from art with mobile

Secondly, highlighting projects that explore the interaction of
portable devices with other telecommunication equipment  – internet,
electronic panel, electric network – and public and collective
situations – such as concerts and movie theaters – and those of
locative media, which privilege new mapping and geographic
circumscription strategies and systems.

Both modes, however, force us to think the emergence of a  different
artistic scope. The dialog with the mobility culture is a dialog with
multitask beings, who are in transit and displacement situations, as
we said before, but are also mediated by entropic and
continuous-acceleration states.

Noisy spaces of consumption, cell phones are also extremely strict
means. Any content produced for cell phones implies the acceptance of
rules preestablished by operators (such as the maximum "weight" in
Kbytes) and by the devices, curbing, in a way, the freedom of other
art forms in which the artist defines his/her work's laws of

We cannot forget that, today, images are measured by their "weight",
and they are given to vision by informational maps. Their volume
doesn't relate to dimensionality, but to the amount of bytes they
conform. Any excess may cause an inviability of reception when one is
on line.

It is time to give in to, and to think of, an aesthetics of
transmission, facing the emergence of an interactor capable of
coordinating multiple and simultaneous readings of contents mediated
by countless uncontrolled variables. >>

PS: chris, kanarinka and patrick isn't it weird that we did not meet
in ISEA? something is not working...

2006/8/17, Chris Byrne <chris at crowriver.net>:
> Hello list,
> I wrote a short text in 2004 which may be of interest, which is based on a
> presentation at the last ISEA in Helsinki/Tallinn. 'Mobile Realism?'
> reflects on locative media and their relationship to Situationism and the
> Mass Observation movement, which I feel is closer to the model which many
> mapping projects adopt:
> http://www.art-research-communication.net/weblog/?p=17
> Much of the work in the Interactive City strand was flawed, it's true. This
> may be the result of an open submission process, where artists and
> researchers self-select instead of being curated, though the jury and
> programme committee process for ISEA helped to filter out certain biases
> inherent to any open competition.
> There were other strands in ISEA: Transvergence, Community Domain and
> Pacific Rim, which were perhaps more successful in addressing the conceptual
> and geopolitical context for ISEA / Zero One. There were also some
> interesting curated exhibitions, for example Edge Conditions curated by
> Steve Dietz showed strong, critical works in a historical context. I should
> declare an interest in that I was a member of the jury and programme
> committee for Transvergence, and presented as part of Community Domain.
> Nevertheless my point is that, while critique of unsuccessful works,
> strands, approaches and ideologies is essential, it would be unfortunate if
> we lose sight of the diversity of voices and experiences present over the
> last week in San Jose.
> As to the presence of corporate interests, any arts event needs a mix of
> funding and as we all know, public support for the arts in the US is quite
> limited. Would private foundations be more acceptable as a source of
> support? For me sponsorship was less problematic, as San Jose is part of
> Silicon Valley, the site of Adobe's HQ and therefore technology corporations
> form part of the local context for the festival. This aspect of location was
> interesting in itself, and was even underplayed in the programme. One
> project that addressed the social and political contexts of Silicon Valley's
> economic boom, and which only a limited number of people experienced, was
> the 'Free Soil Bus Tour', which for me was one of the highlights of the
> week. More info at http://www.free-soil.org/tour
> The opening night speeches by various CEOs were truly dreadful, but no less
> so than similar oratory by the Mayor. I understand that the 2004 ISEA very
> nearly received major sponsorship from Nokia, but the deal fell through: I'm
> not sure exactly why but I hear it was about a branding issue. This was
> something else that was much discussed last week in San Jose: the identity
> confusion between ISEA and Zero One and the reasons why. Personally, I think
> if ISEA manages to leave a lasting legacy in the shape of a biennial
> festival, and some benefit to the arts ecology of San Jose oapart from an
> inevitable financial deficit, then that is positive and overrides concerns
> about the identity of ISEA per se.
> Chris
> ----------------------------------
> Chris Byrne
> Art Research Communication
> chris at a-r-c.org.uk
> www.a-r-c.org.uk
> ----------------------------------
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