Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Date: June 18–20 2008
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Computational Aesthetics will be held the Hotel Riviera in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the fourth event on this topic following a Workshop in 2005 in Girona, Spain, a Dagstuhl seminar in Germany in 2006, and a Symposium in 2007 in Banff, Canada. Accepted papers will be fully refereed and will be published by the Eurographics Association in their workshop proceeding series.
Arts Program Keynote Speaker: Ernest Edmonds, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Title of keynote address: The Art of Programming or Programming as Art
Technical Program Keynote Speaker: Pat Hanrahan, Stanford University, USA
Title of keynote address: The Semiology of Graphics – Take 2
Memory Practices in the Sciences
Geoffrey C. Bowker
Table of Contents and Sample Chapters
The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past--in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases--shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation of our information infrastructures to our information, Geoffrey Bowker examines how, over the past two hundred years, information technology has converged with the nature and production of scientific knowledge. His story weaves a path between the social and political work of creating an explicit, indexical memory for science--the making of infrastructures--and the variety of ways we continually reconfigure, lose, and regain the past.
At a time when memory is so cheap and its recording is so protean, Bowker reminds us of the centrality of what and how we choose to forget. In Memory Practices in the Sciences he looks at three "memory epochs" of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and their particular reconstructions and reconfigurations of scientific knowledge. The nineteenth century's central science, geology, mapped both the social and the natural world into a single time package (despite apparent discontinuities), as, in a different way, did mid-twentieth-century cybernetics. Both, Bowker argues, packaged time in ways indexed by their information technologies to permit traffic between the social and natural worlds. Today's sciences of biodiversity, meanwhile, "database the world" in a way that excludes certain spaces, entities, and times. We use the tools of the present to look at the past, says Bowker; we project onto nature our modes of organizing our own affairs.
About the Author
Geoffrey C. Bowker is Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
// b/c i think it bears a relation to considerations of how New Media technologies
// can effect existing or traditional forms of historical preservation and the making
// of multiple/overlapping/subjective hyperthreaded hystories + systems
// to make them open + available as archives
"Before one brick for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture has been laid, its online instantiation is already being constructed by those who preserve and people that history. Surely, this is not the first museum to use a website to allow people to shape its history and holdings, but this particular use of the folk gives strong cultural resonance to the use of online social networks.
Established in 2003 (and online as of 2007), The museum was launched with an explicitly social mission. Director Lonnie Bunch writes:
In many ways, there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history. Often America is celebrated as a place that forgets. This museum seeks to help all Americans remember, and by remembering, this institution will stimulate a dialogue about race and help to foster a spirit of reconciliation and healing.
At this point, the “institution” IS the website, as the NMAAHC is the first museum to open its doors on the Web before opening its physical doors.
Navigating the Network of Memory
The “centerpiece” of the museum is its online Memory Book, described here as:
the collected reminiscences of ordinary Americans. These stories, called “memories” are collected as text, images, and audio uploads in the virtual Memory Book where website visitors are encouraged to submit their own histories, traditions, thoughts and ideas. Memories are then associated visually with other aspects of the museum’s holdings and scholarship, such as photographic portraits from the Let Your Motto Be Resistance traveling exhibit or the Save Our African American Treasures program. Memory Book contributions may also be associated with offerings from other visitors, enabling the creation of a dynamic social network for the NMAAHC community.
To help users see the “associations,” the museum uses a dynamic network map, reminiscent of Thinkmap (but built by IBM). The visual effect is the reproduction of a richly interconnected nodal history, with tags such as “resistance,” “Civil Rights,” and “Choices,” linked to events such as “Negro Girl Changes the Color of Class Rooms” and such storied lives of everyday people like Rosetta Riddick as recounted by her grandson. Oral history meets online history, as the network links become a multitude of telephone lines, of postal routes, of hands to cheeks, of family trees.
More than merely decoration, this is a true navigation map that reorients itself to display the readers place within the linked memories and moments, always calling to mind context and connection. Each time the museum goer clicks a node, the map refreshes, growing itself again as if a self-generating network, or a woven fabric that cannot be disconnected.
Hovering over the Help button opens a speech bubble that explains:
The people, place, and artifacts that define African American History and culture are connected to each other in complex and fascinating ways. Threads allow you to explore — discovering how a moment in history is connected to a person, how that person is related to a topic.
This is not an unique visual interface, yet its enframing seems to write it into a deeply cultural and political project — political here in the sense of social movements rather than campaign rhetoric.
James Barnes writes of life in Kansas in an entry described as “black social networks”:
James Barnes: When I was a teenager, I knew just about every black that lived in Eudora. I knew almost all of the blacks that lived in Ottawa. I knew just about most of the blacks that lived in Tonganoxie. I knew a heck of a lot of them that lived in Topeka. I knew a few people in Kansas City. You know, then we went around to all the towns and I just knew a lot of people. When my kids came along and they were growing up, the only people they knew lived in Lawrence, Kansas. They hardly knew a soul from any other town.
Of course, the museum is a new kind of social network that enshrines memories, testimonies.
The museum uses an odd icon for “tags” reminiscent of tags at a sale or chillingly like tags that might be found hanging from bodies.
The website’s accounts have been enriched by collaborators using a more space-based medium, the roving recording booth. StoryCorps in collaboration with the Public Broadcasting System conducted the year-long Griot Project to help collect more accounts. More reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston’s recording projects, this mobile recording team brought its studios to the people, traveling to nine cities. According to the Smithsonian press release (.pdf),
The “griot” is part of a West African tradition of story telling, a highly respected tribe who acted as a living repository of births, deaths, marriages and significant events community. Griots were responsible not only for transmitting oral history through generations, but also for ensuring that people found meaning in their own lives.
Does the IBM network become the Griot in the online museum? Or does the centered authority of the Griot get replaced by the distributed Griotlage of the many?
I cannot help but feel that this particular appropriation of the social function of these textual networks speaks better to the social and historical potential of the Internet than say the infinity of MySpace posts thanking each other for the add. And as a preserver of memories, the online museum offers a chance for social networks to rediscover their deep social links to a past and to people too often omitted from the trackbacks of history.
Having recently attended a conference on Do-It-Yourself video, I’m wondering why the museum does not allow users to submit videos (or audio) of their memories ala vlogs or video testimonials? It may be possible, but the museum’s instructions (and the current holdings) do not have any indication that video input is possible or invited. Wouldn’t that form work nicely with the gestures toward oral histories? Why privilege texts in a museum trying to capture the voices of history?"
Monday, February 11, 2008
Re:place conference 2007
Review of Panel 5: Place Studies: Media Art Histories
Moderated by Andreas Broeckmann
Daniel Palmer (AU) - Media Art and Its Critics in the Australian Context
Ryszard W. Kluszcynski (PL) - From Media Art to Techno Culture. Reflections on the transformation of the Avant-Gardes (The Polish Case)
Caroline Seck Langill (CAN) - Corridors of Practice I: Technology and Performance Art on the
Machiko Kusahara (JP) - A turning point in Japanese Avant-Garde Art: 1964-1970
Re:place conference’s Panel 5 Place Studies: Media Art Histories traced some of the media art histories that can be told in a local context, raising the complex issue of how national and local processes relate to broader national and international media art contexts. As media art’s global networks have had an acute impact on the development of local artistic and critical practices, it is important to analyze their complex interaction and influences in order to understand the different ways in which media art develops.
The first paper to be presented, Daniel Palmer’s Media Art and Its Critics in the Australian Context, focused on critical reception and coverage of media art in
Palmer also highlighted the important role that video played in the development of media art in
In the following presentation, Ryszard W. Kluszcynski drew examples from the post-war Polish media art scene to illustrate the process of transformation of media art avant-gardes from the perspective of media studies, to a perspective closer to cultural studies. Referring in detail to the development of the artistic practices of The Workshop of the Film Form (1970-’77) and The Central Office of Technical Culture (CUKT, 1995) as case studies, Kluszcynski noted that, despite the differences, there is a continuum between both collective’s practices; the Workshop’s anticipating the culture analysis, and its conceptual and analytical approach preparing the CUKT project’s tactics. While the whole picture of post-war Polish avant-garde media scene is way more complex, Kluszcynski chose to focus only on these two examples, in order to better illustrate his points. Through the juxtaposition of these two different artistic practices, one can clearly see the shift of media art from self analysis to an analysis of the social environment, from showing interest in the technological basis of art to focusing on the technological foundations of culture. Unfortunately, and given the limited time frame of 20 minutes, there was no insight on how the political and historical context affected the avant-garde, an aspect that would be very interesting to explore.
Caroline Seck Langill traced the history of electronic media art practices that developed at various centres in US and Canada, along the axis of the North American Pacific Coast, choosing not to explore these developments from the scope of locality, but by tracking a ‘corridor of practice’ instead.
Starting with the Vancouver Art Gallery’s 1969 Intermedia exhibition, the collective’s first group show, Langill focused on US American and Canadian artists that were active on the North American Pacific Coast in the 1970s and early 1980s, working in similar, performative modes with electronic media. Communication of ideas and practices was frequent by those artists who found themselves on the north side of the Canada/United States border in the late ‘60s, and occurred mainly in the frame of pedagogical institutions, where artists were both teaching and learning, but also by Americans migrating to
Using examples from the Japanese art scene such as GUTAI artist Atsuko Tanaka’s or Akira Kanayama’s works, Kusahara illustrated that although it was common for avant-garde artistic practices in Japan to use (media) technology, once western gaze became dominant in the art scene they either stopped, either gradually turned to representational/painting practices. Kusahara points out 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympic Games, as a turning point for the vitality of the avant-garde scene. Around the same time, the announcement of the Osaka EXPO ‘70 triggered a great discourse among artists and architects experimenting with media technologies, on whether to accept the EXPO’s invitation to design major pavilions or not. Since the political and commercial motives behind the EXPO ‘70 were harshly criticised (the EXPO was considered to be drawing public attention away from the renewal of US-Japan Security Treaty, also taking place in 1970) some artists rejected the invitation and joined either Fluxus in New York or the anti-EXPO movement, while others responded to the festival’s call. Due to the successful results of the collaboration system between artists and the industry that was introduced then, this model has dominated ever since, influencing the development of media art itself. Kusahara traces the emergence of characteristic elements of Japanese media art, such as playfulness, positive attitude towards technology, and friendly relationship to the industry, in the period from 1964 and 1970, and argues that this period represents a shift of the avant-garde movement from radicalism to pragmatism.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Howard Besser, 2001
A forum for posting journal articles, reports, activities, and musings generated by an independent reading course I'm doing this summer at IU in preservation and access issues for moving images. I will survey the preservation & access literature related to audiovisual technologies and their carriers, such as film, videotape, videodisc and the digital files which hold both images and sound; as well as digital strategies for enduring access."
on video formats and preservation.
via Agathe Jarczyk.