[iDC] were we too underspecified?

kanarinka kanarinka at ikatun.com
Thu Oct 26 16:46:31 EDT 2006

Hello all -

Some quick thoughts to build on or to echo those that have been  
stated already -

I was only able to attend Friday's presentations and so missed some  
of the framing "whys" on Thursday night and the Sat Eyebeam workshop  
so these are just thoughts from a partial place. The confluence of  
people from various disciplines was exciting. And the organizational  
premise of the conference seems ambitious and worthy. Some  
presentations were simply phenomenal -- For example - Sheila  
Kennedy's presentation - specific, focused, situated (though not in  
my field) - was fascinating. Natalie Jeremijenko's presentation and  
subsequent commentary was energizing, clearly stated and provocative.

But sometimes the interdisciplinary audience (and the underspecified  
mission) seemed to make the discourse strangely abstract. For some of  
the combinations of presenters I wished for some more direct  
"curatorial" framing of the parallels/divergences of the work being  
presented. The conversation after Jonah, Karmen, Richard & Anne's  
presentations, for example, remained very vague and abstract (for me  
at least) and had no satisfying "aha" moments where one could connect  
(in more than just a superficial way) Deleuze's control society,  
sonic experiments, playful public art, and networked performing  
drills in a museum. For the conversations, I would have wished for a  
clear agenda/direction/opinion/polemic from the moderators. So one  
question is "Were we too underspecified?" Forgive me if I am misusing  
that word - still not sure I understand entirely how it is being used  
in the world of design. I mean it in the sense of "Did we need more  
direction, concise claims, specific examples and (hey maybe even)  
goals in order to formulate interesting conversation/discourse/action  
given the audience?" I left wondering how these conversations moved  
us collectively elsewhere.

And certain words and concepts really raised red flags for me (and  
for others on the list?). Things like:

- "digital wild" - where might such a "virgin" territory be? who gets  
to go conquer it? what kinds of exotic monsters live there?
- "future" - what about the past? what about the present? It might be  
important to architect those as well, right?
- "empowerment" of an unspecified audience in unspecified circumstances
- "public space" in unspecified locations with unspecified communities
- "wonderment", "play" - unclear what was wonderful and playful for whom
- "place","situated" - which places, situated where, for whom, when,  


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