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

mollybh at netspace.net.au mollybh at netspace.net.au
Tue Aug 22 22:06:21 EDT 2006


Dear list -  

If this thread is still going now...i would like to make another response 
having spent the afternoon reading through the  posts in the archive and 
finding many quite challenging, particularly those which 
call into question the contemporary overlaying of urban space with so-
called "situationist" notions of the derive and so called "play". Given 
that the SI practiced in a particular historical context and in relation to 
the global electronic media of their time, namely: television and advertising 
Technological context is different now. Diffuse and complex. We have the added 
layers of mobile technologies and "networked culture" on our palette 
of socially managed mediations. 

I appreciated Marc Shepard's post on this subject and the way in 
which he brought the derive into close approximation to space 
and time, its commodification and reification. To open the imagination is the 
goal...(but, this was about sponteniety, not performance art)

To this end, I appreciate very much, in particular, Steve Dietz' closing 
comments in his long, explanatory response, regarding the duration of effect, 
or the delayed effect of the festival, on the city of San Jose (which is 
clearly standing to gain economically) and the exposure of the SJ public to 
the festival's extraordinary events as, conceivably, a kind of imaginative 
intervention into urban life. 

I appreciate these remarks on two levels: one, as a sensibility of time-delay 
factors in making or doing anything; how ideas have half-lives and capacity to 
leap over boundaries of so-called participation and immediacy, into the realm 
of history, memory, and perhaps, carry with them transformative cultural 
power. Two, I appreciate the sensibilities of his remarks from the standpoint 
of the trajectory of my own visit and role as participant on some level, which 
allowed me to "derive" in a sense, to intersect, as audience, with a variety 
of new ideas and experience. (a new city, a new festival, my first ISEA)

This brings me to the points which Anna Munster made about festivals. It was  
the official, architectural character of the festival, which seemed to 
separate audience, rather than draw it into a collaborative and festive mood. 
Perhaps in the individual artwork, such as SPECFLICs there was an erasure of 
these boundaries.  

Festivals in many respects, especially the very very large ones, and 
Zero/One/ISEA was huge - are often grafted on to places, for economic reasons, 
without much interest in local contexts and certainly not grown from "the 
inside". To this I would like to add some perceptive comments made by Jenny 
Marketou, who's 99 Red Balloons did go up with some participation; formations 
of bodies on the ground could be seen from the *aerial video pictures* on a 
screen at the tech museum - about the relevance of community making and how 
we "should not kid ourselves" that "these communities we are making at the 
festival" are very "temporary". More importantly, for her, perhaps for the 
future of the Zero/one festival,were the connections and inroads she made with 
the city, city officials, organizations, etc to get her project up. (from 
informal f2f interview)

What I want to comment on is the pyramidal structure and economic agendas of 
of the festival, assumptions, perhaps, about how *we* interact with it, as an 
entity, as audience, why, and how; what is to be gained. Roles for audience 

participating artist
non-participating artist, member of ISEA
non-participating artist, not a member of ISEA (vendor?/payee?)

Steve Dietz wrote:

"that more people didn't just show up and participate - or counter-
participate. Ideas/criticisms as to why it didn't
happen more? Suggestions as to how it might happen more?"

If a festival is going to have this category then it is 
something which needs to be creatively evaluated; why a festival wants it or 
needs it; what critical role participation plays, can play, could play and it 
needs to be carefully and effectivley designed *into* the festival: as 
process, theoretical positionings, critique, social interaction, and 
specifically as networked culture...into the *form* of the festival.  

Without this, the "general public" has no familiar or comfortable means with 
which to engage; no web-based infrastructure on which to make its mark; no 
reliable data visuals communicating something comprehensive; no articulation 
of the unfoldings of issues. We become voyeurs, consumers, outsiders or, 
maybe, *guinea pigs* in agendas we know nothing about. It's interesting to 
consider, as Marc Pesce said of his and John Tonkin's bluetooth data 
work, "96,000 entries...what to do with all that data?"

Free 3G camera cell phones for all, to time out after 7 days!


Molly Hankwitz Cox

Faculty - Interior Design
The Art Institute of California
PhD candidate
Creative Industries/Queensland University of Technology

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