[iDC] The Syntax of Events & Proposal

Monica Narula monica at sarai.net
Wed Feb 8 01:43:01 EST 2006

Dear Trebor, all

I have been a lurker for some time and following discussions with  
interest. Talking about conference formats and how to address them is  
really provocative and productive :-). Here is a link to a  
conventional conference that sarai held last January called  
"Contested Commons, Trespassing Publics" looking at social conflict,  
inequality and IP law. BUT there is also a Rapporteur’s Note and her  
account of the conference is great to read. She was totally new to  
the thematic of the conference but created a lively account by  
engaging with the speakers text and the way discussion proceeded.  
Happy to share this in the repository!

(see A Public Record)

Would be interested in similar kind of post-conference accounts.


On 07-Feb-06, at 10:23 PM, Trebor Scholz wrote:

> Thanks Danny, Steve.
> I agree with Steve that it can be a joy to see a brilliant speaker  
> like
> Wendy Chun dive into her topics and swim far out. How many people
> enjoyed the other keynotes (at the previous ISEA In Helsinki for
> example) at which speakers read aloud 40 page-long papers? The rituals
> of paperism are deadly. Neither Wendy nor Shudda engaged with that. To
> accentuate a speaker is fine. To give them more time can indeed be a
> treat. It can set up an atmosphere and establish a standard, yes. We
> just ask to put a lock on paperism.
> Event practices are always cooperative if not collaborative. But  
> why are
> there no collected accounts of the grammar and syntax of events?  
> People
> do it all the time but they don't reflect back (enough) on what
> happened. Where is the event toolbox, an experiential repository? The
> iDC will set up a collaborative platform, a wiki, a repository for
> cooperation studies. One section will address event-based practices.
> Essays can be added as much as experiential accounts. Perhaps this  
> will
> get us further. Who wants to join this effort? You can contact me
> off-list with ideas about such platform.
> Genres, categories cover part of the event landscape. Just take ISEA.
> With Steve, Joel and others I thought through the upcoming ISEA
> conference. And while there will be moments of experiment the event  
> will
> alternate between traditional formats and more playful ones. It's more
> like a patchwork of building stones. Writing a typology of event  
> formats
> is a great idea. More traditional conferences will merely stick to a
> conventional genre, a blueprint. Other event will blend the well  
> proven
> with the mildly risky. Again others will look more like ³Untitled
> Event², a piece performed by John Cage and Merce Cunningham and others
> at Black Mountain College in 1952. Charlie Gere describes it as  
> follows:
> "Untitled event was set in a square arena, in which spectators' seats
> were arranged in four triangles, dissected by diagonal walkways. On  
> each
> chair was a white paper cup, which those watching were expected to  
> hold.
> Overhead there were all- white paintings by Robert Rauschenberg,
> presumably similar to the works that inspired 4'33". During the
> performance Cage, dressed in black tie, gave readings from a text  
> about
> music and Zen, and from the writings of the mediaeval mystic Meister
> Eckhardt, followed by a 'composition with radio.'  While this went on
> Rauschenberg played old records on a wind-up gramophone while David
> Tudor played a prepared piano, later, poured water from one bucket to
> another and back again, accompanied by Charles Olson and Mary Caroline
> Richards reading poetry. Jay Watt played exotic musical instruments,
> Cunningham and others danced through the aisles, while Rauschenberg
> projected slides of colored gelatine and films of the school cook and
> the setting sun."
> Gere, C. (2002) Digital Culture.  London: Reaktion Books, pp 75.
> Sounds a bit like Free Cooperation.
> Danny, you also open up the diversity question again. Topics (e.g.
> "FLOSS porting" or conferencing) are not exclusive to the uptight,
> middle class white (as Tim Leary would have put it). "New media" is
> altogether a very white male scene. But that slowly changes at least
> here in the US. I think that these topics are, as much as we seem to
> witness the globalization of everything, fairly local. Also Adam's
> comments made me think that European event culture differs to an  
> extent.
> Let me know who wants to join the creation of the Cooperation
> Repository.
> -Trebor
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Monica Narula
Raqs Media Collective
29 Rajpur Road
Delhi 110054

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