[iDC] The Social Machine of Events

adam adam at xs4all.nl
Thu Feb 2 05:08:38 EST 2006

hi all,

Recently V2 worked on a series of programs about television (just finished yesterday). They are archived here:


Trebor asked me to chime in with some comments on events. I agree that conferencing formats need to be re-examined, however I am a bit lost as to what kind of 
events Trebor is refering to in his critique. I recognise some of the issues but not others, and possibly this is because I go to many events but not many of which 
are academic conferences. 

So, instead of untangling the mixed criticisms (which I failed to do before my usual coffee this morning) I'm going to make it easy on myself 
and start off a new tangent of critique on events. 

1. key word curating
Many events I think call on the latest key words doing the circuit. I've have seen many events where the latest keyword new media practice has been co-opted into 
the roster. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However it seems too often the case there is a need to 'represent' the latest discourse without too much 
idea of what the discourse actually is. 
2. free as in art
Recently I attended the OpenCongress event in London (@ Tate Britain). The event tried to explore how the art world could incorporate ideas from the open 
source/free softwares movements into contemporary art practice. One thing that was overlooked is that the art world and free software world already have a very 
strong connection. In the FS world programmers seldom get paid, and in the art world artists seldom get paid. In the festival economy the technicians, cleaners, 
venue operators, poster runners, documentation teams, webbmasters, etc often get paid. I have no problem with this (in fact I think there is a case to improve the 
lot for these workers too). However it is often the case that artists are expected to front up for the opportunity at their own cost. Many times I have thought an 
event would benefit all parties by scaling down their event and providing better fees. 
3. meat space vs meet space
Unlike Trebor and Andreas, my experience with remote events has been very satisfying. I have done many events with remote input, this includes input on the form of 
chat, streams, VOIP, video conferencing, telephone, mobile phone data, satellite conferencing, and in one instance a participant presented on stage in a television 
from a local cable  tv station and answered questions coming via the conference online stream. I also count pre-recorded video/audio as a good medium for including 
remote participation. I have found in particular that many communities can benefit from these technologies because they are isolated from the foot traffic of the 
new media circuit. (http://remote.org.nz / http://www.soilmedia.org/remote). Some workshops can also work very well with remote leadership, some experiments with 
Tetsuo Kogawa and I in this area have been very satisfying and a MAX/MSP workshop I conducted with Matthew Biederman (he was in LA, the participants were in 
Regina, Canada) worked extremely well. Pre-recorded presentations (esp. video) is a much under-rated format, and can work very well in many contexts.
4. one award is not enough
I have an issue with events that invite entries for awards with the provisor that the content entered may be exhibited. Then one (or few) awards are given and what 
is the result? - the festival/event has a lot of free content for the price of one award. ugh.
5. digital dark age
Please archive events in audio and/or video if possible. Put them online, make the copyright terms open for re-use. Too many 
conferences with data that is interesting for educational and archival purposes have been lost already. If you want to be extra nice, make the format a free 
software codec, and committ the content to archive.org.

anyways, those are just a few quick comments for the mix



Adam Hyde

selected projects

the streaming suitcase

r a d i o q u a l i a

Free as in 'media'
email : adam at xs4all.nl
mobile : + 31 6 186 75 356 (Netherlands mobile)

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