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

kanarinka kanarinka at ikatun.com
Mon Aug 21 12:48:23 EDT 2006

Hello Anna and list -

I have been avidly following the discourse on this thread and am  
extremely pleased that there has been so much discussion and offering  
up new and old examples. I have many of your emails saved in order to  
further read the essays that you have pointed to, projects and links  
mentioned and so on. I hope that this topic can be an on-going, small  
ripple that leads to more, not less, discussion and critical  
reflection on new media and psycho-loco work.

I just wanted to briefly respond to Anna on the topic of war. Not all  
Americans and people living in the US are normalized to the state of  
war. My colleague, Savic Rasovic, and I were also appalled at the  
lack of attention to war & militarization given the theme of  
"Interactive City". So, Baghdad is interactive, right?? And Beirut?  
Is that interactive? What about the classified military origins and  
applications of these technologies? Or does "interactive city" only  
include fun, happy, harmless experiences with consumer technologies  
that electronic arts people make for "the public"? Maybe interactive  
cities can only be Western cities that are looking to brand  
themselves as modern, hip, playful and safe for living in luxury  
condos and using wifi everywhere. Or maybe not. But it's worth  
talking  about.

We raised this issue in our 5-minute talk at the Interactive City  
summit and had hoped for it to spark further conversation during the  
conference. I also know that at one point Jill Scott was attempting  
to host a webcast that would have facilitated conversation about the  
war in Lebanon between people in Amsterdam and Beirut. Small things,  
but something. And I imagine there were many other actions, mentions  
and discussions of war that did not make it into the higher profiles  
of what was showcased at ISEA.


On Aug 20, 2006, at 8:45 PM, Anna Munster wrote:

> Hello list,
> Rather belated comments on ISEA and perhaps this thread is dead
> now...however, I would like to offer some observations as a 'non-USer'
> visiting ISEA, the Festival and the US.
> I have to say the conference was pretty bad and I was a selected
> participant. Let's start with the themes - to which I also responded.
> "Transvergence" ? well, what the hell was, is that? I really still  
> have no
> idea, after reading the Novak article many times, listening to various
> panel sessions and also repsonding to the call and being selected.  
> I can't
> say there's much future in that as a concept. I also think new  
> media can
> dsipense with ridiculous jargon now and deal with some pertinent  
> everyday
> issues.
> A better concept to descibe the conference, festival and I would say
> probably the new media arts scene worldwide is: divergence. There  
> is no
> common thread to new media any more - there's  interactive/VJing/ 
> remixing
> cinema, there's electronic audio and spatialised sound  
> experimentation,
> there's the locative thing, the wireless thing, the locational  
> (different
> from locative), global/anti-global thing...etc etc etc.
> Actually, I don't think this is a problem but we certainly have to  
> stop
> hanging onto some 90s idea of new media arts as  amovement or  
> looking for
> the next big thing. It's not going to happen and new media art as a
> unifying idea is finished.
> I agree with Chris Byrne that the strongest parts of the Festival  
> were the
> fully curated parts - Edge Condidtions, Next New and also Frontera
> Electronica as mentioned by John simply because it acknowledged a  
> Latino
> presence in what is after all a very heavily populated Latino city.  
> And
> yes, the lack of local interfacing with both Vietnamese and Latino
> communities was pretty appalling. However, this is also an effect  
> of the
> urban planning around San Jose itself, which during the 1960s had  
> most of
> its inner city buildings raised to the ground in order to rebuild  
> it as a
> bedroom city for Silicon Valley. It would have been good to see some
> projects that addressed this. Also some projects that addressed the  
> now
> ghosting out of Silicon Valley itself brought on by the IT industry
> offshoring itself. For all of the 'locative' in locative media, it  
> rarely
> considers locale in any kind of sustained way. There are exceptions to
> this of course and it's a pity the great artists doing stuff in  
> this area
> were not commissioned to produce works that responded to the real  
> urban
> condidtions of a dying tech city...
> However, that's symptomatic of the 'Festival' aspect of the event.
> Festivals, like Biennale's, are now events that are pretty much  
> external
> to the local and the located - they are art imports that come in  
> with lots
> of talk of global, critiques even of the global and then precisely  
> land
> like a great big Airbus 380 and do their 'thang' wherever they  
> happen to
> dock. Exactly the same issue has just happened at the Sydney Biennale,
> which was supposed to be about the effects of globalisation - ie
> displacement, dislocation, war, conflict and forced movements of  
> people
> around labour, war, refugees etc - but did not include any local
> Australian work around these issues!! Amazing but true - and we  
> happen to
> be a country that is absolutley appalling on human rights issues  
> around
> refugees and then of course there is our entire colonial history and
> treatment of indigenous poplulation who we basically killed off.
> So, it doesn't surprise me that the Festival part of '01' completely
> reproduced this formula. Festivals that work tend to be ones that have
> grown  up out of the local needs and issues of the urban or regional
> spaces from which they are formed.
> However, I do think that the ISEA conference could have done  a  
> whole lot
> better. Quite frankly, I think the themes were just irrelevant really.
> As a visitor to the US, it did seem to me absolutley remarkable that
> really none of the art works or themes in ISEA this year addresses  
> war. I
> mean perhaps you guys are not aware but you are actually living in  
> a state
> of war at the moment. I was absolutely horrified by the US Army  
> campaign
> currently on television under the slogan 'Help them find their  
> strength' -
> this is complete 1930s-40s recruiting tactics being replayed here and
> seems to me a lead-up to a re-introduction of the draft, which I  
> believe
> is on the cards as a real possibility for the US. Similarly, at US
> airports there are frequent announcements about prvileges for military
> personnel travelling. The security checks at immigration are  
> unbelievable
> - and this was before the recent 'plot'. My partner was engaged in
> conversation by an American woman in Starbucks who basically told  
> her that
> the only solution was to "kill all the Muslims".
> I mean come on...where is the concerted critique and addressing of  
> these
> issues from within media arts - and I mean from younger artists,  
> not just
> the established groups such as CAE etc...
> ...or do these issues just seem normalised to those now living in  
> the US?
> cheers Anna
> Dr. Anna Munster
> Senior Lecturer,
> Postgraduate Co-ordinator
> School of Art History and Theory
> College of Fine Arts
> University of New South Wales
> P.O Box 259
> Paddington,
> NSW 2021
> ph: 612 9385 0741
> fx: 612 9385 0615
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