[iDC] notes on arch & situated sympo

Adriene Jenik ajenik at ucsd.edu
Fri Oct 27 01:46:38 EDT 2006

Dear fellow iDC listers,

As it turned out, I was in NYC for another professional meeting, so I 
was able to attend the Friday talks (but not Thurs or Sat night). As 
such I feel I missed alot of the edges of the event (not to mention 
more social aspects), but I did want to add my reflections to the 
chorus of others before too much time passed.

I want to also thank Omar, Trebor and Mark for their organizational 
efforts. The talks seemed to be well grouped and to speak to one 
another (without alot of redundancies) more often than not.

It was great to see Usman Haque and Karmen Franinovic's presentations 
on their very different public artworks. They both struck me as 
making work that, if examined further, could help develop our 
theories of public and play.

This leads me to my genuine interest in Natalie Jerimijenko's 
presentation where, as others have observed, she is developing a 
system to "analyze" public response to artworks, and their overall 
activities in museums. She was looking specifically at hours of 
videotape of people interacting with various media works. This work 
interests me because I, like Natalie, and I suspect others on this 
list, am consistently asked by fellow researchers in other 
disciplines about the tangible results of my artistic research. I 
have gotten along for a long time by arguing in favor of other 
methods of analysis than a more "quantitative one" but in the process 
of examining other possible methodologies of analysis, I discovered 
the CSCW (Computer Supported Collaborative Work) and other CogSci 
related groups. I was *shocked* when I saw the abstracted models from 
which they were deriving their research. It seemed wrong-headed to 
imagine that real information about real interactions could be 
ascertained from such stilted situations.

In any case, I have recently been encouraged by encountering others 
in the arena who are looking at the ways in which art encounters 
might provide a more "holistic" arena of analysis of HCI...one 
interesting person in this regard is Eric Bucy at Indiana University.

Sheila Kennedy's presentation interested me the most of all. Her real 
activities in extending light (in a simple mobile way through 
amplifying cell phone luminescence) was inspiring. It amplified for 
me the ways in which the discussion was so centered on first world 
dreams and pleasures, for the most part to the exclusion of the rest 
of the world. This is not unique to this event; as has been pointed 
out previously in this list, it is often the case in this field. It 
obviously reflects the institutions we work for, the economy we live 
within, and our own conscious or not biases in what gets to be called 
"interesting" or "worthwhile."

The most resonant moment for me was a small-voiced plea that Sheila 
made toward the end of the Q&A after her panel. I can't recall the 
exact words, but she was asking that our considerable talents and 
energies in this area be put toward solving some basic world 
problems. It was her hesitancy in making this challenge that has 
resonated with me in the days and nights since the symposium.


Adriene Jenik
Associate Professor, Computer & Media Arts
Visual Arts Dept., University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0084
tel. 858 822-2059       fax 858 534-7976

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