[iDC] The Social Event Machine

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Mon Feb 6 12:41:13 EST 2006

>tight coupling between formats and outcomes. While clearly formats  
>enframe the discussion, shaping the relations between participants  
>and audience, I wonder if we are placing too much emphasis on the  
>formats and not enough on the participants or the topic at hand?

Formats are not merely a frame. They do structure and influence the
content of what is said. But I agree that formats are not all that
matters, of course. Otherwise, you end up with an empty cocoon. And as
you say, yes, each topicality calls for its own anatomy. Each speaker
brings their own strength in performing their ideas. No need to throw
out the baby with the bath. There is not anything wrong with reading a
brief text, say-- for 5 minutes. I don¹t see much value in keynotes
though, MarK. Perhaps you can elaborate on this and 
introduce the example of the event the iDC co-facilitates with the
Center for Virtual Architecture... And MarC, maybe you could
talk about your upcoming festival?

>Marc Tuters writes:
>> the problem had been that Matt had delivered the same keynote that he
>> might have given to a room of industry execs, which, was completely
>> intolerable to Austro-germanic gatekeepers of the new media cultural
>> avant-garde in attendance. At the same event, however, a workshop
>> place ... brining together artists interested projects that were  
>> not dissimilar form the
>> work which Matt had discussed (if much smaller in scope). For this
>> workshop, I heard nothing but positive reviews. What was the  
>> difference?
>> Well for one thing we had our own room to do with as we pleased for  
>> the
>> entire afternoon which we organized into a super-productive workshop
>> space, while Matt had been placed on stage as the voice of wisdom.
>While I don't know him personally, I wonder if Matt would have  
>performed in a similar manner in the context of the workshop format?  
>While keynotes certainly ascribe authority to the person delivering  
>them, they can also serve as a vehicle by which this authority is  
>critically examined.
>Marc continues:
>> When the academic panel presentation merges effectively with theatre,
>> amazing things can happen.
>One thing I found interesting about the descriptions of the Free  
>Cooperation conference is the suggestion that the topical orientation 
>(s) of the conference itself could influence the formats chosen.  
>Which is to say that certain topics may imply certain formats. Or  
>even, certain people imply certain formats. Trebor has pointed out  
>that some people work well in the more intimate setting of a  
>workshop, while others are better suited to speaking to a large  
>Another strategy involves taking the format itself as a vehicle to  
>address the issues at hand in a performative way. Last fall I  
>attended a conference on Deleuze's ideas concerning the interval in  
>film (www.cinemaintothereal.org/interval). While a few of the  
>presentations defaulted to the standard 20 minute presentation of  
>papers in a very dry and painful way, others took the format as a  
>vehicle for the performance of a film or video as a paper. These  
>tended to be far more communicative in that they demonstrated in  
>various ways different approaches to the interval, both as subject  
>and artifact.
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