3 days – 20 nations – 60 speakers!
As part of the conference a call for papers were published, and as a result more than 35 speakers are accepted in addition to speakers involved in the Planetary Collegium doctoral research programme at CAiiA as well as our distinguished guest speakers:
PETER ANDERS | ELIF AYITER | MARCO BISHOF | JAMES K. GIMZEWSKI | MARGARETE JAHRMANN | LUIS EDUARDO LUNA | ROGER MALINA | RYOHEI NAKATSU | DIANA REED SLATTERY | VICTORIA VESNA
Please see the PROGRAM for details.
Click on a name for abstract and bio and scroll down!
[tab:Julietta Aguilera]AN EVOLVING THOUGHT
Access to imagery from new sources, the increasing amount and complexity of visual data, and novel data processing techniques which are now in human reach are stretching our understanding to the point where we need to make sense of interdependent visual patterns which correspond to living systems and dynamic phenomena at multiple pattern and time scales. Fragments from human experience such as visual perception can all be described as patterns we can notice and recognize. In this presentation I will survey occurrences of overlapping patterns in visual representation and highlight their significance on immersive visualization.
Julieta Aguilera has been interested in how we navigate space visually since she studied Design at the School of Architecture, Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. She later earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied Design and Virtual Reality. Julieta Aguilera holds a second MFA in Electronic Visualization from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she was part of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) collaborative program in Art and Computer Science. At EVL, she studied real-time stereo networked virtual environments, computer graphics, games, knots and higher dimensions. She is member of the Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago since 2007, and a PhD candidate at the Planetary Collegium (CAiiA), Plymouth, since 2010.
[tab:Inês Albuquerque and Rosa Oliveira]ART AS KNOWLEDGE: INTERNET ART
The development of new virtual spaces changed our individual perception about the world in which we are living. The Internet (or cyberspace) with its ability to communicate in large scale, in real time and with global reach, turned the world into the global village that McLuhan had already predicted in the middle of last century. Art has a key role in understanding the reality that shapes our daily life, and artists are responsible for amplifying our awareness by creating artworks that alter the role of the public and allow us to think about our position in the contemporary world. Internet art, existing in the cross between art, science and technology, allowed some changes in the observer’s role: the observer is now an active participant in the work of art. The characteristics and aesthetic of net art face the public with the recognition of its central position on the process of understanding their real and virtual environment, creating a parallel and continuity between these two environments. By exploring languages, themes and aesthetical proposals that go beyond traditional art, Internet art present us with a new perspective about our world and ourselves, opening new theoretical approaches that focus on the particularities of the centrality of the individual in the aesthetic process.
Inês Albuquerque is a researcher and PhD Student in Art Studies at the Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Her research is focused on Contemporary Art and Art, Science and Technology.
Rosa Oliveira is Professor at the Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal, and a researcher of the ID+ Research Institute for Design Media and Culture (www.idmais.org). Her research is focused on Contemporary Art, Art and Science and Art Education.
[tab:Hava Aldouby]VIRTUAL REALITY TURNS BIOLOGICAL: THE CASE OF DAVID CRONENBERG’S eXistenZ
eXistenZ, by David Cronenberg (1999), revolves around a game of immersive virtual reality. To the end, the film does not afford an easy distinction between objective reality and the virtual universe of the game. Unlike other films of this genre, most conspicuously The Matrix (1999), Cronenberg’s film presents a “biological turn”, introducing sexually suggestive, throbbing and bleeding “fleshware” into the familiar hi tech platform of VR systems. The game is operated via biomorphic “pods” made up of animal tissue and neural systems, which plug right into the players’ lower spine via “umby-cords”. The film is overdetermined in terms of biological imagery. Flesh, blood, bone, and viscera form the core of Cronenberg’s visual vocabulary.
The present paper will consider Cronenberg’s strong emphasis on flesh and biological imagery in a wider context, pointing out a similar inclination in the art of the electronic age, manifesting a strong attraction to “flesh and blood” imagery. The last four decades have seen recurring employment of bodily substances (urine, blood, hair, or nails), extreme close ups that blow up body parts and skin pores, or starkly realistic morgue imagery, which at times arouse quite an uncomfortable “shock of the real”.
Cronenberg introduces his “fleshware”, complete with surgery-like procedures that replace the electronic lab, into the heart of the ultimate new technology, VR. It is precisely here, it will be argued, at the height of the digital turn, that contemporary art needs to cling to the flesh, as a sort of last resort in an otherwise virtualized existence. While Teresa de Lauretis reads Cronenberg’s film as the ultimate acknowledgement of the loss of reality in postmodernity, the present paper will argue to the contrary. When considered against the biological bias underlying contemporary art, Cronenberg’s insistent focus on “flesh and blood” imagery gives rise to a dialectic of the simulated versus the real. Cronenberg’s insistent focus on biology may thus be seen as a desperate invocation of the real, or the “really real”, in the face of postmodern anxiety.
Dr. Hava Aldoby lectures on film as visual art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Humanities – School of the Arts. She is currently completing a book on Federico Fellini under the working title: Painting In Film, Painting On Film. The book reveals the elaborate art-historical matrix underlying Fellini’s middle period films, and his conception of painting as origin. Her current research interests include the film-painting interface, relations between electronic (or digital) art and painting, and the various intermedial hybrids that ensue. Particular interest is given in her research to the quest for the real in the visual arts of the postmodern era.
[tab:Peter Anders]TRANSCRIBING THE IMPOSSIBLE
As one of the world’s oldest performance arts, conjuring combines artistry, technique, and keen psychological insight. The conjurer’s craft undermines observers’ “reality” by exploiting lapses of attention, unfounded assumptions, and the illusion of temporal continuity. For this reason conjuring has become a focus of inquiry among neurologists and behavioral psychologists. Reciprocally, there has been an increasing interest among magicians in the psychological roots of their profession.
This paper will lay out some of the issues and interests shared by conjurers and scientists, discussing the implications of this as it relates to human consciousness. In the paper’s presentation the author will illustrate some of these principles using conjuring techniques. Finally the paper will present a system of notation for transcribing magical performances. This system – a work in progress – has been informed by on-going dialog with performing conjurers and scientific researchers. The potential applications of this system will be discussed, including notational interpretation, recording of method and effect, and projecting new performances of magic. The author hopes this will become a useful tool for both conjurers and researchers interested in the psychological issues underlying magical performance.
Peter Anders (USA) is an architect, educator, and information design theorist. He is Planning and Development director of the Planetary Collegium, Design Director at Dow Howell Gilmore Associates, Architects, Michigan, the Officer – Secretary of ISEA International (Inter-Society for Electronic Arts), and Advisory Board Vice-Chair of Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art, Midland, Michigan. He has published widely on the architecture of cyberspace and is the author of Envisioning Cyberspace (1998, McGraw Hill), which presents design principles for on-line spatial environments. Anders received his degrees from the University of Michigan (BS 1976), Columbia University (MA 1982), and the University of Plymouth (PhD, 2004). He was a principle in an architectural firm in New York City until 1994 when he formed MindSpace.net, an architectural practice specializing in media/information environments. He has received numerous design awards for his work and has taught graduate level design studios and computer-aided design at universities, including the New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Detroit-Mercy, and the University of Michigan. His work has been featured in professional journals and he has presented his research on the architecture of cyberspace in several international venues, including The New York Architectural League, Xerox PARC, ISEA, CAiiA, Cyberconf, ACADIA, AEC, ACM-Multimedia, InterSymp and the World Future Society.
[tab:Kęstutis Andrašiunas]FORMALISATION OF LANGUAGE AND ARTISTIC CODE
– You Can Imitate a Duck, but You Can’t Imitate the Logic
Transformation of artificial language to imperative machine language will be explored in this text. The idea to create artificial language has a long history. There were many attempts to create artificial language for aesthetic or metaphysical or even mystical purposes, but finally formal language flourished with the age of electronic machines.
Artificial formal language was impossible without notations. Notations or symbols can help us to think about the order of things without dependence on contextual meanings. But as history demonstrated, the task to build symbolic systems was not a trivial one. Greek, Roman and Muslim mathematical systems weren’t able to transgress the boundaries of their notational systems. Just a formalisation of language of thought in XIX century done by G. Frege (following Leibnitz’ ideas on rational calculus) stimulated the development of formal structures to a new level. The formal language was cleaned from the context of reality and allowed us to manipulate abstract terms, create sophisticated formal collocations, formally correct possible worlds.
The invention of the electronic machine changed the state of things essentially, artificial language became more instrumental than it was ever before. The invention of the electronic machine, able to translate and execute the artificial language, transformed artificial language into an imperative one. It is unlikely, that we will be able to analyse programming without a machine, but it is even more impossible to imagine the results of complex code. On the other hand, the machine, invented in XX century, and able to execute imperative code, hid away the logic of the code – for many, the computer behaves like the mechanical duck of Vaucanson.
But the culture of open code has had a big impact on what is now called artistic code or electronic art. It became possible to use algorithms, classes and advanced programming tools not for academia or the corporate world only. Before the computer was invented, artists were interested in aesthetic possibilities of ars combinatoria or imitating automatons, but now they explore automatons constructed with artificial languages.
Kęstutis Andrašiunas was born in 1973. He studied philosophy at Vilnius University and sculpture at Vilnius Academy of Art. He is working in digital arts, Internet, programming art. He co-founded Institutio Media (o-o.lt) in Vilnius in 1998 – a virtual space; it is an attempt to transfer the structure of an institution to the Internet and study its functioning. The work of Kęstutis Andrašiunas has been exhibited in London, Helsinki, at the Hannover Expo and in Vilnius, Lithuania.
[tab:Kathrine Anker]ON LIGHT – AND THE FLUX OF INFORMATION EVENTS IN NATURE AND TECHNOLOGIES
The aim of this paper is to make a thought experiment, that investigates the possible relation between light and human knowledge. I will present a syncretic approach in which I address the subject from several angles, that extend from the explanations of physical science into the aesthetic communication of technoetic art, and philosophical speculation. I will relate the idea of light as part of a constant electromagnetic, dynamic exchange (Richard Feynmann) at the quantum level of nature, to the Space Resonance Theory of Milo Wolf (2008). Light is, according to Wolf, a sign of energy exchange. It is closely tied to typical wave behaviour (oscillation, resonance, frequency adjustment, etc.), and characterized by being in constant process. The energy exchange (involving absorption and emission of light by electrons) can, combined with the idea of enfolded and outfolded orders of physicist David Bohm (1980), be seen as an act of communication, that happens at many scales of spacetime, and which forms a possible connection between realms of “the virtually real” (not the digital virtual) and the “real real”. I will relate my theoretical observations to readings of two technoetic artworks: “Phototrophy” (1997) by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau, in which a flashlight is the navigation tool that connects the real world of the user with the digital virtual, evolutionary A-life scenario of the screen projection. I will primarily focus upon the symbolic levels of this work. “Speed of Light” (exhibited in London, April, 2010) by the London based artist collaborative, UVA, stages a different use of light. “Speed of Light” has been designed to let users become acquainted with the fiberoptic technologies used in broadband Internet connections. It involves a set of installations that address the relation between artificial light, communication technologies and user interactions. The setup in an empty warehouse stages a relation between light, communication and space that can – besides from letting users physically experience their own interference with light, be examined for its appeal to higher-order levels of contemplation. Kathrine Anker will connect these observations with particular elements of the biophysical theory of Mae Wan Ho (2003), that are concerned with properties of biophotons in the living organism.
Kathrine Elizabeth Anker is a cultural theorist, and an independent researcher. She holds a Master in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication from the University of Copenhagen, and is a PhD student at the CAiiA-Hub, Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University. Her current project is concerned with questions on how artistic augmented reality interfaces can be seen as communicational forms that appeal to transformed ways of understanding the human subject. Her work is transdisciplinary, philosophical and speculative. Kathrine is also educated as a Pedagogue of Music and Movement, with a special emphasis on the relation between sensory-motor skill, perception and intellectual processes in learning situations.
Cyberspace reality (Internet, Second Life or MMORPG) is part of our life; interactive and immersive digital technologies in their future applications, converge on a matrix which could be compared to shamanism. Rather than considering shamanism as a primary archaism, couldn’t it be a sophisticated, dreamlike and cognitive technology? A culture medium, offering conceptual models, transposable in the evolution of “cyberspace” reality?
Today, “telepathy” assisted by computer belongs to reality. Prof. Kevin Warwick’s researches on neuronal implants move in this direction. We’ll soon play cyberspace network games connected by thought. In a near future, our consciousness will be directly interfaced with data banks and network cyberspace universes. This paradigm is very close to shamanism. It becomes fascinating to imagine how shamanic and cyberspace universes could mingle in the same reality. A shaman or a psychonaute could be in connection, through a universal imaginal form of consciousness, and at the same time, be connected with the global Internet matrix, transfering information from one universe to another. Our work is keen on keeping close with this process. It’s the reason, we use the pinoline, or other endogens beta-carbolines. They are neuro-mediators of the central nervous system, which is closely linked with dream and modified states of consciousness, and considered to be vehicles, mediators of other realities. We then spread our work into/through the Internet network. We activate the premises of a bridge between realities to create a unified cognitive environment. By participating in “Making Reality Really Real”, we want to present our body of work & to talk about, to confront it to different visions/angle, and also to be introduced to a network of people sharing the same interests.
Caroline Cottereau: licenced in art and philosophy. Art school Montpellier (dao, photography, drawing) France (1989–93). Self-taught tattoo artist with 20 years of practice; painter. Interested in sign and symbol, rites and psychology in tattooing (shamanic process).
Gaëtan Meurée-Cottereau: licenced in biology; self-taught in Ethno-pharmacology and Art. Shamanic and psychonautic therapist.
Valery Meurée: Ba (hons.) Mixed Media Art, University of Westminster, London (1997–2001); Ba (hons.) New Genre (candidat), SFAI, San Francisco (1996–1997). Video Editor and Photographer.
[tab:Elif Ayiter]CONSTRUCTING TRANSFORMATIONS: < ground-c >
A Learning Strategy for the Metaverse
This text will attempt to delineate the premises of an immersive learning approach relating to the creative fields. This proposed strategy is specifically designed for implementation in online, three dimensional synthetic builder’s worlds, also known as the Metaverse. Deviating from the prevalent practice of replicating physical art studio teaching strategies within a virtual environment, the author proposes instead to apply the fundamental principles of the “Groundcourse”, developed and taught by Roy Ascott during the 1960s in England. While the educational philosophy of the Groundcourse does provide the backbone of the author’s proposition; further aggregations of Ascott’s cybernetic approach with educational strategies such as Jack Mezirow’s Transformative Learning is also deliberated upon.
Elif Ayiter (Turkey), aka. Alpha Auer in Second Life, is an artist, designer and researcher specializing in the development and implementation of hybrid educational methodologies between art & design, and computer science. She is an Associate Professor at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her research interests include data visualization and the development of Kinesthetic/Somatic/Biological interfaces for the metaverse, in collaboration with teams of computer scientists. She has presented creative as well as research output at conferences including Siggraph, Consciousness Reframed, Creativity and Cognition, ICALT and Computational Aesthetics (Eurographics). She is currently undertaking doctoral research at the CAiiA-Hub of the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth. Alpha Auer is a totally irreverent, mischievous, politically incorrect, frivolous, fashion victim, avatar in Second Life, whose blog entries can be viewed at http://alphaauer.wordpress.com.
Wearable Worlds; Reality in a Pocket
by Laura Beloff / Researcher, Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University, UK / Visiting lecturer, University of Art And Design, Helsinki, Finland.
Keywords: wearable, hybrid reality, technology, network, Hybronaut, Umwelt.
The paper is investigating artistic approaches to wearable technologies, which through the use of network and connected material artifacts propose new viewpoints on space, on presence, and on reality. In this setting the reality contains, for instance; 1) wearable artifacts that are material components with conceptually driven functions, 2) dynamic networked structure that creates a part of a space and environment, and 3) humans & non-humans forming the physical nodes of the network.
The paper’s focus is on “wearables”, which, instead of being considered as prosthetic tools that aim at enhancing the human body, are investigated as nodes in a network. The paper investigates wearable artifacts as integral parts forming large networked structures where users of these “wearables” will form nodes in the network. In this kind of constellation the other nodes (made of humans or non-humans) are brought into the immediate presence of the individual user.
In the proposed scenario the worn artifact becomes part of the user and his everyday life in the physical reality, but it equally connects the user as a node into a networked structure.
The “wearables” are inherently related to the physical reality (or what we currently understand as physical reality) through their material components and their requirements to be worn on a body. The wearable artifacts can be seen as markers of another reality merging within the physical one, and which, together with the physical reality, forms a new hybrid reality.
Art is an area where possibilities exist for creation and testing of experimental scenarios that can reveal new insights into the use and understanding of technology. It is an area that has enough freedom from requirements for purposeful functionality, or commercialization pressures created by funding bodies. The author’s research focuses on investigating artistic approaches within the field of wearable technology, which commonly differ greatly from strictly functionally- and technologically-oriented approaches, and therefore they present more potential for alternative and new perspectives.
The paper presents experiments in wearable technology, which can be seen experimenting with and proposing new perception on reality that is formed of networked entities made of humans and non-humans. The focus is on the way these kinds of entities become integral part of our existence and identity, and how this development is influenced by wearable, mobile and human-embedded technologies.
Laura Beloff is:
A visiting lecturer at The University of Art and Design in Helsinki.
A researcher working towards PhD within Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth (UK).
An artist exhibiting in Europe and worldwide.
An expert in wearable technologies, their history and theory; frequently lecturing about her artistic research in universities and various conferences.
From 2007-11 she was awarded a five-year grant by the Finnish state.
From 2009-2010 she was an invited visiting artist at The University of Applied Arts in Vienna (AT).
From 2002-06 she was Professor for media arts at the Art Academy in Oslo (NO).
More information: http://www.realitydisfunction.org/
[tab:Marco Bischof]MAN AS A COSMIC RESONATOR – RE-IMAGINING HUMAN EXISTENCE IN THE FIELD PICTURE
Science and the arts have a common task: re-imagining reality, pointing out possibilities, directing attention to hitherto unconscious potentialities, creating new sensitivities which then may become social and physical realities. The field aspect of reality and human existence has long been eclipsed by the predominant view of reality and our existence as solid objects. More recently, however, the field imaginations have shifted from a marginal to a more prominent place in public awareness. The rise of the field view may well transform our society, and change not only our picture of reality and human existence, but transform social life and human relationships. Methods for training awareness of interpersonal fields and cultivating the sensitivity for the “space in between”, self-cultivating techniques by means of which every person can regulate their own bodily, emotional and mental states and constantly fashion themselves as living “Gesamtkunstwerke” may take a central place in society.
Marco Bischof (Germany), is an independent scholar, science writer and consultant in frontier areas of science, based in Berlin. He has a diploma as a breathing therapist and teacher (Prof. Ilse Middendorf, Berlin) and has studied cultural and medical anthropology, comparative religion and psychology in Zurich. He is one of the leading scholars in the field of the frontier areas of the sciences and holistic medicine in the German speaking world. Marco Bischof is a member of the board of directors of the International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss, Germany, a board member of German Association for Space Energy (GASE) and of the German Transpersonal Society, Berlin, and the Scientific Advisory board of the Inter-university Master-Course for Complementary, Psychosocial and Integrative Health Promotion (Graz, Austria), and the Monterey Institute for the Study of Healing Arts. He is on the Editorial Board of Consciousness and Physical Reality (St. Petersburg), and former editor of Bioenergetik (International Society for Kirlian Photography and Bioelectrical Diagnosis and Therapy, Energetik-Verlag, Bruchsal). He co-founded the Research Laboratory for Biophysical Balneology, Zurzach, Switzerland. 1992 visiting scholar, Center for Frontier Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia. 1996–1998 scientific consultant of the Patient Information for Complementary Medicine, Berlin, Germany. 2001–2002 visiting lecturer and member of the Working Group for Agriculture and Social Ecology at the Humboldt-University, Berlin, Institute for the Economics and Social Sciences of Agriculture. http://www.marcobischof.com/en/person/index.html
[tab:Pier Luigi Capucci]THE SENSIBLE REALITY BETWEEN OBVIOUSNESS AND UNCERTAINTY
According to the official science we perceive through the senses, which are usually considered as being five: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Through the senses we detect and perceive what is “outside the body”, the so called phenomenal reality, and we get in touch with the world, we can evaluate matter, energy and information in order to survive. Considering the senses as separate elements is pointless, while considering them as a continuum with the ability to perceive the information at distance, proximity and contact, can show some interesting features. The sensory system can’t detect many kinds of information and matter generated by the natural processes and by the human activities. All these phenomena simply overcome our sensory faculties. And although we invented technologies, devices and machines which can expand our sensory capabilities there are many entities which still escape our detection (for instance the dark matter and energy in the universe).
The simulation of reality or of the way the senses perceive reality becomes a common practice, from Parrhasius’ competition with Zeuxis – narrated by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History in the first century of the Common Era – to the contemporary virtual images, from the Baroque trompe l’oeil representations to the cinema’s simulation of the movement, to the holographic “realities”… This in turn applies, with relevant differences in the substance of the information and in the technologies involved, in the sound, the smell, the taste and the touch realms …
So, basically, we define what reality is through the senses, naked or expanded, and we build new realities tricking the senses, which are as real as the real they want to represent. Through the senses we build models of the world, in a turnover of models which arise, become dominant and fall, replaced by new ones seemingly better suited to explain the world, which spring out from the culture of the age they are born in. Our senses filter what our evolution selected to filter. Moreover many cultural filters limit our vision further. So “reality” escapes …
Since the early 1980s Pier Luigi Capucci has been concerned with communications studies, new media and new art forms, and with the relations among arts, sciences and technologies. Currently he is professor at the University of Urbino, at the NABA – Milan, and other institutions. He is supervisor of the M-Node PhD Program of the Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth. In 1994 he founded and directed the first italian online magazine, NetMagazine, later MagNet, and a research project on the relations between culture and technologies made in conjunction with the universities of Bologna and Rome: “La Sapienza”. He is founder and director of Noema (www.noemalab.org), a website devoted to culture/new technologies interrelations and influences (since 2000). He is founder and director of < mediaversi > (www.mediaversi.it) since 2004; a book series focused on new media and society, with an international Scientific Committee.
[tab:Claudia Cardoso-Fleck]CYBERPERCEPTION, TECHNOETIC AESTHETICS & CONSCIOUSNESS IN “MIXING REALITIES”: THEORY INTO PRACTICE
Electronic devices that facilitate new means of interaction with the world appear almost daily. Human communications are being mediated by the cyber world: cell phones, Internet, e-books, digital x-rays, virtual reality environments, etc. This phenomenon may seem at first glance to evoke alienation and loss of perception towards the self. Many media theorists predict a dystopian outcome to our society due to the loss of self influenced by technological tools. Artists should be conscious about this possibility, not rejecting the computer-mediated world but using it to create awareness of the self. Cyberperception can induce a positive impact on interactive processes, generating technoetic aesthetics to develop mind-matter integration.
Claudia Cardoso-Fleck is an independent artist and PhD candidate & researcher at the CAiiA-Hub, Planetary Collegium, based in Plymouth, UK, with an MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts, NY. She holds a senior adjunct position at SUNY Westchester Community College, Valhalla NY, and is a principal at Cardoso-Fleck Graphic Design Inc.
[tab:Aleksander Ćetković]USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO CREATE A VIEW: AN ANALYSIS OF LE CORBUSIER’S PENTHOUSE CHARLES DE BEISTEGUI AND DILLER+SCOFIDIOS “SLOW HOUSE”
From 1929 to 1931 Le Corbusier built a penthouse for Charles de Beistegui in an existing building on the Champs-Elysée. The apartment, intended for parties and to receive visitors, was designed more to the taste of the host in a surrealistic style. At the same time Le Corbusier was fascinated by the technological aspects of the apartment. While it had only candle lighting (the only to give a living light – Beistegui), there was great deal of electronic technology built in the house to achieve many special effects, above all to control the (outer and inner) scenery. Although the house is situated in one of the most prominent parts of Paris, the view to the surroundings was deliberately prevented by a tall wall. Only the towering icons of Paris – Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Coeur could be anticipated or partially seen over the seam. Push-button movable hedges and a periscope were part of the technology used to orchestrate the view to the surroundings. For this reason the apartment is an ideal example to analyse Le Corbusier’s thoughts and ideas about the view.
Sixty years later, in 1989, Diller+Scofidio designed a weekend retreat on the Long Island waterfront for a Japanese art investor. The clients request for “a house with a view” provoked the architects to question the term view and to ask why is “architecture a technology that creates a view”? The outcome of the research was a design for an (un-built) retreat consisting a window-framed view coupled with a video monitor that replicated the same view.
Alexander Ćetković is a multidisciplinary architect and computer scientist. With a master’s degree in both disciplines, he worked as software engineer on major projects and as architect on many designs and contests. For seven years he taught at the Faculty of New Media, University of Arts and Design in Zürich, Switzerland, in the fields of Urban Media, Perception of Space, Information Spaces and Programming Techniques. At the moment he is working on multidisciplinary projects challenging his wide range of knowledge, like the ideas-contest “ETH-World” and the platform “Archivio Fluido”. He is a PhD Candidate at the Planetary Collegium.
[tab:Jacques Chueke]BEYOND DIGITAL INTERFACES: NOVEL FEATURES BESIDES MOUSE & KEYBOARD
This paper investigates new forms of interaction within digital interfaces. It examines the assumption that advances in embodied and direct interaction computing will improve the field of user-machine interface, bringing features to users that allow a more direct and natural manipulation of digital interfaces and devices (eye gazing, touch screen, voice and gesture recognition). As Dourish suggests (2004: 27), interaction with screen and keyboard tends to demand our direct attention; we have to look at the screen to see what we’re doing, which involves looking away from whatever other elements are in our environment, including other people. The computer sits on the desk and ties us to the desk, too. Embodied computing aims to make user-machine interaction more organic, i.e. integrating computer technology with natural actions and behaviours from a user, regardless of characteristics, limitations, intelligence or culture.
An interactive digital installation was created in order to investigate the sociological aspects of the experience that takes place between the beholder and the reactive environment. All interaction occurred with movement and sound emitted by the observer. The curiosity that emerged when coming across an unusual situation and the response, the action that arises in a phenomenological context were subjects of this research/installation.
Jaques Chueke graduated in Design/Visual Communication (1998), specialized in Interface Usability in 2002 and holds a Master in Design (2005) from PUC-Rio. For the last ten years he has been working on developing projects for Internet and Software. Recently he has been Digital Media Supervisor in Quality Software (RJ-Brazil), coordinating a design team on several projects for large companies. He is teaching Interface Usability (postgraduate course) at PUC-Rio, among other institutes. He is also an adjunct teacher in Digital Image (vector and bitmap) undergraduate studies at PUC-Rio. In 2009 he started a PhD in i-DAT, Faculty of Arts, University of Plymouth.
[tab:Geoff Cox]OVER-IDENTIFYING WITH REALLY EXISTING SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media are changing the face of the representational political process. This is partly evident in the apparent success of various campaigns that hope to influence the outcomes of elections and in the rise of services that offer effective participation in the political process. The tactics of dissent have changed too. For instance, Seppukoo (2009), a recent hack of Facebook by the imaginary Italian art group Les Liens Invisibles (LLI), provides an example where users were able to commit virtual suicide (from the Japanese word “seppuku” for stomach-cutting) in a ritualistic removal of their virtual identity. Yet, as LLI point out, Facebook does not allow its users this facility at all, as accounts are merely deactivated. In such examples, it can be seen how platforms operate a friendly network power and individuals actively imagine their participation in what is arguably part of their subjugation. The Causes Facebook ‘app’ is another good example of spurious participation, providing the ability to create petitions of friends in support of a particular cause. In their recent project “Repetitionr” (2010), commissioned by Arnolfini, LLI use the tactic of over-identification to respond to such tendencies. In an age of over-mediated democracy, “Repetitionr” provides a platform for activism with minimal effort, an online petition service with a difference; offering advanced web 2.0 technologies to make participatory democracy a truly user-centered experience. The success of every campaign is guaranteed as just one click is all it takes to generate a whole campaign with up to a million automatic fake signatures. The project reflects the acknowledged need for new institutional forms that challenge existing systems of governance and representational structures, as a blatant expression of non-representational democracy – in other words, a form of democracy uncoupled from sovereign power. The approach challenges the limits of representational democracy and the discourse of neo-liberalism in general, offering a means to rethink politics within network cultures. If “Repetitionr” is an example of over-identification with real existing participatory democracy, then the provocation is that we need to develop far better strategies and techniques of organisation.
Dr. Geoff Cox is currently a Researcher in Digital Aesthetics as part of the Digital Urban Living Research Centre at Aarhus University (DK). He is also an occasional artist, writer, and Associate Curator of Online Projects, Arnolfini, Bristol (UK), adjunct faculty, Transart Institute, Berlin/New York (DE/US), and Associate Professor, University of Plymouth (UK) where he is part of KURATOR/Art and Social Technologies Research group. Amongst other things, he is a founding editor for the DATA Browser book series (published by Autonomedia, New York), and co-edited Economising Culture (2004), Engineering Culture (2005) and Creating Insecurity (2009).
[tab:Blanka Earhart]THE CLOUDY SELF AND THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
One way to look at the technological landscape today is to see past the borders described by conventional nomenclature and our formal understanding of reality. On a basic level, the world around us can be conceptualized as a play of different intensities and densities. These can be understood in terms of relationships of units or larger coherent entities united by agency as exemplified respectively by particles or a human sense of self.
Instead of discussing our experience of the world as real or virtual, I propose to move away from such dichotomies and imagine a world that is continuous, united by human experience. We can begin to conceptualize this approach by integrating the technology with our sense of self instead of understanding it as our shadow. There is a tremendous, not fully realized potential in localizing an additional human organ on the intersection of our body and software. This way of thinking goes beyond understanding technology as an extension and presupposes it as an innate human growth.
The types of agency that we thus gain follow a different trajectory than our capabilities in everyday life. Online technology, for example, enables not only looking, hearing and touching further. It is a functionality of humans to distribute themselves – a vehicle for our Self. In using this technology, we create clouds of presence and agency. This augmentation takes us a step further in human development. For the first time, we are conscious of and able to shape our own evolution. Now, that we have moved beyond the border of our skin, we are floating in conceptually cloudy and undetermined space. This is a very fertile ground for artwork that explores ways, in which to organize the cloud around a coherent self that is capable of conscious evolution. What does it mean to be in the driver seat of your own development? The challenge is to conceptually process the new capabilities in ways meaningful to humans and to integrate the expanded self into our self-image.
Blanka Earhart is a cultural producer based in Los Angeles, California. She is an internationally exhibited artist and writer, occasionally teaching and speaking on art and visual culture. Blanka is an owner of a multimedia company specializing in media-rich solutions existing on the intersection of web, television and games. Her work and writing oscillates around issues concerning the perception and role of self vis a vis technology, human agency and its limits, social media, and other human exploits seen through the lens of phenomenology. Blanka received her MFA from the department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois in 2003 and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She was a recipient of the University Fellowship in the Graduate School at Northwestern University in 2001 and 2002.
[tab:Maria Luiza Fragoso]ART, TECHNOLOGY AND NATIVE TRADITIONAL CULTURES – TRANSCULTURAL EXPERIENCES IN MULTIMEDIA
The paper is a descriptive and illustrative document about the last six years of artistic research involving expressive interactive computer installations and traditional native indigenous cultures from Kuikuro, Atikum, Pankará, Potiguara nations from Brazil. The project was developed by the REDE Laboratory at the University of Brasília between 2004 and 2008 and is now being developed in new formats at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). It is a transdiciplinary group with contributions from different areas such as arts (music, fine arts, multimedia, performing arts, video, computer graphics, animation, etc.), design, medicine, computer science, and native cultures, integrating field research and lab research. We propose the presentation of this research, still at its first stages, in the understanding that all reality converges into one common nature, a single ontology, experienced within different stages of consciousness all accessed on a daily basis, with or without the influence of special technology (natural or artificial). We believe that, by studying these cultures and experiencing through/with them unique stages of sensibility and consciousness we may be able to express symbolically this context of unity and convergence. During the last four years, the group has focused the research on the healing ritualistic celebration called Toré , shared by different nations located at the northeast region of Brazil. We are working directly with Josinaldo da Silva Atikum, an indigenous student in the School of Medicine. Its an ongoing project which intends to promote transcultural knowledge and symbolic representations in artistic, academic and scientific fields, exploring the possibilities of innovative systems that may provoke unthinkable or unexperienced aesthetics.
The art work is currently being developed for multimedia interactive installations that were shown as prototypes during the 7th (2008) and 8th (2009) International Meeting on Art and Technology (Encontro Internacional de Arte e Tecnologia) and the National Science and Technology Fair at Brasília.
Maria Luiza Fragoso, multimedia artist from Rio de Janeiro, professor at University of Brasília from 1993 to 2009, professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro since February 2009. Coordinates the research group REDE since 2004. Organized and published Computer Art in Brazil (Arte Computacional no Brasil) in 2005, papers published in artistic journals and participations in national and international exhibits.
[tab:Martha Gabriel]MOBILE TAGGING AS TOOL FOR MIXED REALITIES
The objective of this paper is to describe the potentialities of Mobile Tagging as a tool for increasing and spreading the effects of Mixed Realities in Art. In this sense, we will start introducing the main concepts and some examples of Mixed Realities followed by the concepts and examples of Mobile Tagging, showing that they are connected and benefit each other. Mixed Reality (or MR) refers to the fusion of the physical and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. On the other hand, mobile tagging is the process of reading a 2D barcode using a mobile device camera. Allowing the encryption of URLs in the barcodes, the mobile tagging can add a digital and/or online layer to any physical object, thus providing several levels of mixed realities related to that object.
The uses of these levels of mixed realities have applications in several areas going from medicine and engineering to arts. Although mixed realities technologies have existed for decades, they were expensive and usually confined in labs. Nowadays mobile devices (cellphones, smartphones, PDAs) can be used as tools for mixed realities and due to their pervasiveness and low costs, their potentiality for increasing the dissemination of mixed realities is enormous and can be leveraged by mobile tagging as described next.
There are many types of mobile tags (2D-barcodes), the QR Codes and Datamatrix being the most popular formats. It is possible to encrypt many kinds of data into them: texts, contact information and URLs. Since the mobile tags are simple inexpensive printed tags that can be placed in virtually any physical object or person, added to the fact that the cell phones with cameras have become a very popular and pervasive device, the mobile tagging process can be seen as one of the easiest and simplest ways of creating mixed realities and one of the ways of contributing to the Internet of things. In other words, Mobile Tags work like physical links to the web, thus allowing that virtually anything can be part of an expanded mixed reality environment.
Martha Gabriel is professor and leader of the e-learning program “Widening Boarders” at University Anhembi Morumbi. She is Professor of the MBA courses at BSP Business School São Paulo and Federal University of Parana, Brazil; curator of Upgrade! São Paulo (www.upgradesaopaulo.com.br); reviewer for LEA Leonardo Electronic Almanac in 2005, and for Networked Book, Turbulence.org, 2009; engineer; postgraduate in Marketing and in Graphics Design; Master’s Degree in Art; pursuing her doctorate degree at USP (University of São Paulo) researching cross-media art. As Artist and Speaker, she has presented artworks and papers in events like Consciousness Reframed (Beijing, Plymouth, Vienna); SIGGRAPH (2005, 2006 & 2009); CHI; INTERACT; ELO Electronic Literature Conference; ISEA (2008 & 2009); Chain Reaction; Campus Party Brazil; SCANZ; Mobilefest; Florence Biennale 2009 (awarded); Technarte 2010; among others. Author of two books and several papers and articles in art & technology magazines, including Leonardo, Transactions, April 2008, Vol. 41, No. 2, Pages 114–115.
[tab:Luis Gustavo Bueno Geraldo]CYBERFLANEUR – BETWEEN THE VIRTUAL AND THE REAL WORLDS
This paper presents a new view about the concept of the cyberflaneur, which appeared in several texts during the last decade of the past century and is still used today by some researchers of the new mediums. The idea of the cyberflaneur combines the figure of the flâneur, the stroller of the great cities, described in the nineteenth century by writers as Baudelaire, Balzac and others, with the concept of the cyberspace. Thus, the cyberflaneur was a conceptual figure created to describe individuals that use to stroll in the virtual world, apparently with no defined objectives, in the same way as the original flâneur used to do in the streets.
However, most of the texts in which the cyberflaneur appears show a rigid separation between the physical reality, in which the flâneur used to live, and the virtual reality, the home of this new type of flâneur. We think that this separation does not attend to the emerging context of hybrid realities, in which the borders of virtual and real worlds cannot be defined in a clear way. The aim of this paper is to show that this gap that exists in the main descriptions of the concept of the cyberflaneur may be considered in a more relative way. We intend to show some works and experiences that may be treated as examples of cyberflanerie, that cross the borders of virtual and physical worlds. One of these experiences is the weblog named “Ciberflânerie”, created by the Brazilian researcher André Lemos. The blog reunites Lemos’ pathways in different cities of the world, tracked by a GPS tracker and uploaded to the blog using the technology of Google Maps. Another work analyzed is the series of photographs made by the Canadian experimental photographer Cheryl Sourkes. Sourkes works with images appropriated from private webcam sites, manipulating and transforming them into panels, which are exhibited in physical galleries. Projects like these show that the dualism between real and virtual, city space and cyberspace, tends to make less sense in the contemporary context.
Luis Gustavo Bueno Geraldo is a teacher at the Technology College of São Paulo (Fatec-SP) in São Paulo, Brazil. He graduated in Graphic Design at the University of the State of São Paulo and holds a Master in Visual Arts from the University of São Paulo. Besides his teaching occupations, he works with graphic design, electronic art and urban interventions. He is also member of the Digital Poetics Research Group, University of São Paulo.
[tab:James K. Gimzewski]WHAT ART CAN DO FOR SCIENCE: LEARNING TO LEARN
Roy Ascott posed an interesting question: “Ask not what science can do for art but what art can do for science?” Perhaps Gordon Pask his mentor and guru partially answered that question decades before: a new form of education proposing that we learn to learn. In this paper I provide an answer to his question. Although provocative, in no way do I imply diminishing the magnificent progress of science and technology over the past several hundred years or the relevance of the “scientific method”. However I believe it’s an opportune moment to reevaluate the very basic tenants behind the process of science in today’s complex and human environment.
Dr. James Gimzewski is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles; Director of the Nano & Pico Characterization Core Facility of the California NanoSystems Institute; Scientific Director of the Art|Sci Center and Principal Investigator and Satellites Co-Director of the WPI Center for Materials NanoArchitectonics (MANA) in Japan. He was formerly a group leader at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, researching in nanoscale science and technology for more than 18 years. Dr. Gimzewski pioneered research on mechanical and electrical contacts with single atoms and molecules using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and was one of the first persons to image molecules with STM. His accomplishments include the first STM-based fabrication of molecular suprastructures at room temperature using mechanical forces to push molecules across surfaces, the discovery of single molecule rotors and the development of new micromechanical sensors based on nanotechnology, which explore ultimate limits of sensitivity and measurement. This approach was recently used to convert biochemical recognition into Nanomechanics. His current interests are in the nanomechanics of cells and bacteria where he collaborates with the UCLA Medical and Dental Schools. He is involved in projects that range from the operation of X-rays, ions and nuclear fusion using pyroelectric crystals, direct deposition of carbon nanotubes and single molecule DNA profiling. Dr. Gimzewski is also involved in numerous art-science collaborative projects that have been exhibited in museums throughout the world.
[tab:Luis Girão]INTEGRATIVE ART – THE WONDERS OF BIOELECTROMAGNETIC MODULATION
When Álvaro Pascual-Leone, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, presented the footage of one of his patients suffering from Parkinson Syndrome, before and after undertaking a rTMS treatment, the audience was amazed. The gentlemen on the video, that could not walk more than a few steps at a time, due to the effects of a specific neuromodulation technique, was walking at a fast pace immediately after the treatment. An experience of this sort, even that it does not last more than a few dozen of minutes, is surely not considered by the subject to be a simulation. It is something that really happened. Something really real.
The integration of experiences in daily life that transform consciousness have been pursued by artists for a long time. The old Fluxus’ saying: “Life is Art, Art is Life” is a good example of that. Bioelectromagnetic techniques applied for artistic expression allow for the birth of Integrative Art: a sort of artistic practice that is non-representational, non-simulatory and in its extreme form might become non-mediated. This paper reports on the latest developments in the research of bioelectromagnetism as integrative art form and brings into discussion instrumental concepts for the transformation of a philosophical approach to consciousness. Ideas such as transsynaptic phenomena, stochastic magnetic modulation, bioelectromagnetic entrainment and argumental interaction contribute to strengthen the thesis of Panpsychism.
Luis Miguel Girão is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher in the application of technology as a tool for artistic expression, at the moment focusing on bioelectromagnetics. In 2007, he was awarded the Bolsa Ernesto de Sousa prize. Along with Gehlhaar and Paulo Maria Rodrigues, he formed the UnoDuoTrio ensemble and developed the CyberLieder project. He founded Artshare, an art tech research company and collaborates with several artists and institutions such as Casa da Música – Porto, iDAT – Plymouth (UK) and Companhia de Música Teatral – Lisbon. He was assistant curator and technical director of the Electronics Art Lab at the Bienal Internacional de Cerveira, Portugal and collaborated with the Academia das Artes Digitais of the Aveiro Digital Programme, also in Portugal. He collaborated with several artists and his work has been presented in countries such as USA, Canada, Germany, Denmark and China. He is a PhD candidate at The Planetary Collegium; fellow at the Foundation for Science and Technology, Lisbon; and fellow at CESEM, Universidade Nova, Lisbon.
[tab:Jane Grant]NOISE: NETWORKS, SENSATION, EXPERIENCE
What we experience as consciousness occurs at many different cortical locations and timescales. In Eugene M. Izhikevich’s “Polychronization: Computation with Spikes” he claims that it is this combination of possible firing patterns that enables us to have so much processing power. Izhikevich goes on to propose that these clusters or groups across the cortex give rise to the beginning of simple thought and memory. However, when stimulus is not present, the artificial cortex driven by noisy currents, re-visits some of these firing clusters, following the formation of pathways previously established through external and internal stimulation. In a sense it could be said, that the brain or cortex re-lives previous experiences.
The Ganzfeld “entire or total field” experiment of the 1930s sought to explore extra-sensory perception using mild sensory deprivation, white light and “noise”, in order to negate defined external stimulation. Regardless of the findings in ESP, what became apparent, was that the unstimulated or sensorially deprived visual cortex begins to conjure vague images or impressions of scenes.
Brian Massumi, in his chapter “Chaos in the Total Field of Vision” in Parables for the Virtual, argues that the Ganzfeld experiment produces a vacuum of vision caused by the deprivation of stimulus – “It is chaos. Pure vision, the simplest, fullest empirical conditions of vision, is visual chaos”.
Jane Grant is an artist who works with moving image, sound, installation and drawing. Her work often draws on scientific ideas, both contemporary and historical. Solo exhibitions have included “Memento Mori”, at Spacex Gallery, Exeter, “Still at Chapter”, Cardiff, “Aufstiegen”, a site specific work in Germany and “Leaving Eart” at Peninsula Arts Gallery, University of Plymouth. Her collaborative work with scientists, musicians, composers and designers have resulted in award winning projects, including “The Fragmented Orchestra” with John Matthias and Nick Ryan, which was winner of the PRSF New Music Award and received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronic 2009. She is currently working on a number of NeuroArts projects, including the development of “The Fragmented Orchestra”. Her forthcoming individual projects include new works on the effects of the sun’s forthcoming solar storm in 2012 and an artist’s film regarding dark matter. Jane Grant is Associate Professor (Reader) in Digital Arts at University of Plymouth, UK.
[tab:Dew Harrison]REAL-ISING THE VIRTUAL
Scientists have developed our understanding of atomic particles over the last two centuries but there is little evidence of a mapping of the atomic onto an art practice until the early 1900s. Artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, began to take an interest in the new findings of nuclear physicists articulating ideas of the 4th dimension in order to respond to the Modern world and move art on from the traditional. The era of the worldwide web and global hypermobility gave rise to new ways of perceiving human space to where Postmodern practice includes the digital and such art can translocate from the material (real) human space to the 4D of earlier interest – now realized as cyberspace.
The virtual worlds of the new century are the playgrounds for artists to explore space and time, the digital objects created here are experienced by avatar, without the full range of sensory perceptions we use when confronting the real world. To experience the virtual as a reality we need sensors connected to our physical bodies to simulate real-world sensations. In order to further engage viewers as participants in their work contemporary artists are exploring ways of synthesizing the material physical real world with that of the virtual.
This paper will explore two projects currently underway at the University of Wolverhampton that example ways of presenting the virtual as an alternative real. The first, “Kritical Works in SL”, uncovers a move towards materializing the virtual from within the SL platform to question notions of identity and “real”, the second, “Shift-Life”, is a virtual world of Darwinian fantasy creatures which respond to the physical actions of visitors causing upheavals in their environment. In the first, an avatar, solidified into material form, stands frozen on a gallery plinth, a dead signifier to the living creature in SL. In the second the real world encroaches upon the virtual causing a life-and-death struggle to an artificial life form. This second project was directly influenced by earlier works concerning Duchamp’s “Large Glass”, where AI behaviors were given to Duchampian objects to amplify their familial relations.
Dew Harrison is a researcher and practitioner in digital and computer mediated art. Currently working as the Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies at the School of Art & Design, University of Wolverhampton, where she is the Director of the CADRE Research Centre (Centre for Art and Design Research and Exerimentation). She is also a co-director of Labculture Ltd, PVA MediaLab, Dorset UK, which is an artist-led organisation initiating and supporting exploratory work as good practice in creative new media. Within her own practice she undertakes a critical exploration of Conceptual Art, the non-linear thought trails permissible in semantic media, and intuitive interfaces. She often works collaboratively and considers curation a form of virtual media art practice. Dew has both Science and Art Masters Degrees and a PhD from CAiiA in Interactive Art, with over 40 publications to date she continues to show her work both nationally and internationally.
[tab:Falk Heinrich]CONSTRUCTING REALITIES THROUGH FICTIONALISATION
Generally, art pieces are seen to communicate by means of constructing realities that “are not” (fiction). In order to be able to engage with art, we need to suspend our inherent “academic” disbelief. Academic disciplines in contrast want to get hold of an always already existing reality (truth). During the recent decades though, many artists have been collaborating with scientists in creating art-works that confound historically defined purposes and ontological definitions. Bio-art and social art strategies render obvious realities by constructing performative possibility spaces of interaction and creation.
These art/science projects reveal important perspectives, not on the notion of the reality of fiction, but rather on the construction of realities as “make believe” ones. This advances the hypothesis that many art-science projects elicit a shift in reception from academic “suspension of disbelief” (Coleridge) towards performatively created belief.
This paper’s argumentation will be accomplished through two steps: First, the collaboration between science and art and its main methodological point of convergence is the process of “fictionalisation”. Art projects construct a framework within which fictionalisation is made possible. Based on W. Iser’s definition of fiction as a transition program between two realities, fictionalisation will be defined as a bracketing of discourses and objectives that gives rise to performative domain for both the artist and art participant. Inspired by Ricoer’s three-folded notion of mimesis, the paper explains the artistic transformational process of fictionalisation as being a form of realization of physical and social realities. The second part of this paper re-visits and argues against the notion of “suspension of disbelief” and proposes instead the “creation of belief”, not as a priori for art reception but as the result of a performative engagement with art projects. The theoretical foundations for this argument is firstly the performative aspects of rituals as described by R. Schechner, V. Turner and others; and secondly A. Gell’s notion of art works as prototypes, which serve as mediators in performative encounters. The paper concludes with the question: Could the intersection between art, science and distributed sociality be understood as a dimension of religiousness, as a kind of “reversed modernity”?
Falk&nsbp;Heinrich, PhD, is Associate Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is affiliated with the research group and educational program “Art and Technology”. He teaches digital aesthetics, interactive dramaturgy and artistic methodology. He has worked as an actor and theatre director, and his theoretical investigation continues to develop in close relation to practical, artistic work. His current research interest is “performative aesthetics”, and his work – focusing on notions of affect, presence, beauty and communication – attempts to create bridges between certain discourses in the human sciences, sociology, engineering, and neuro-science. He is author of the book Interaktiv digital installationskunst – teori og analyse (2008).
[tab:Jung A Huh]REAL BUDDHA VS. VIRTUAL BUDDHA
In Nam June Paik’s < TV Buddha > the statue of the buddha and the buddha in the TV face each other. Which one of the two is real and which virtual? What differentiates the real from the virtual? Both buddhas are virtual and simultaneously real because both of them are not buddhas themselves but become real according to the relative relationship they have with each other. What Paik’s < TV Buddha > ultimately expresses is not the binary antinomy of the real and the virtual, but that the two buddhas form a relationship through the act of looking at the other. The real and the virtual come from our binary antinomy of reality, and are two sides of the same coin. This article examines the makings of real reality as well as the meaning and function of “kong” (empty) in East Asian painting.
In East Asian painting “saek” (color, form, reality) was not seen as “saek” but as “kong” (empty, non-form, virtual). The absence of shadowing in a painting derives from the understanding that the image functions as “kong.” In East Asian aesthetics, “kong” always harbors the potential to become “saek.” In this context, the painting is virtual reality and in this virtuality, “kong” is not different from “saek.” The theory of “Yuangi” (genesis, karmic causation), the founding pillar of Buddhist thought, offers the possibility of how “kong”can converge into “saek.” “Yuangi” is the key to understanding “Saek is Kong and Kong is Saek” (Form is emptiness and emptiness is form). The two can converge, relying on mutual dependence. One example that embodies this function is . The dragon image represents “kong.” Yet, by drawing the eye, the dragon is actualized into the real. The anecdote of a bird colliding into Solguh’s (5-6th c AD) painting of a pine tree, on perceiving the pine tree as real also reflects the relationship between “kong” and “saek” in that the bird makes the virtual image real by constructing a relationship with it.
The underlying concept of avatar, the replica of myself in virtual reality, can be seen in same perspective of the relationship-making in and the anecdote of Solguh’s pine tree. When the avatar, composed of 0 and 1 bits, forms a relationship with “I,” it becomes real. Here we question what reality, material, and life are. “Yuangi” illuminates the fact that the universe is found not in existence, but in relations, and that life is a composite of relationships. In East Asian painting, the real and the virtual are mutually convergeable and thus reversable. This convergeability and reversability can also be applied to the mutual functioning of the virtual and the real in the digital universe.
Jung&nsbp;A&nsbp;Huh is a professor at the Institute of Media Arts at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. She is also the supervising manager for the Humanities Korea Project “Imagination and Technology” and organized the International Media Art Exhibition (2004) as executive producer. She is consultant for the “Asian Culture Hub City Project” in the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism as well as for the “Transdisciplinary Robot Forum” in the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
[tab:Salvatore Iaconesi and Luca Simeone]CROSSING THE BOUNDARIES OF SACRED WORLDS:
An Augmented Reality Application Attempting to Visualize Other Orders of Reality
In traditional Kongo society religious and medical experts, called banganga, perform a variety of rituals of protection and healing using potent artifacts called nkisi (plural minkisi). Minkisi are considered power figures capable of the inheriting qualities of dead people through a ritual sometimes performed at their grave. The nkisi becomes the recipient of the deceased’s soul (mooyo) and in particular of his/her personal qualities, based on the reputation he/she had while still alive (e.g. physical strength, hunting prowess, or sexual attractiveness). The minkisi embody the deceased’s personal characteristics and the banganga then pass them onto their clients who need them.
The minkisi act as the material embodiment of invisible, strong powers: imagined worlds or multiple worlds constituted by the historically situated imaginations of people or by phenomena pertaining to different levels of reality. Some banganga say you should never buy a nkisi unless you know exactly what it is. It is possible that the one for sale is useless, discharged and harmless but it is equally possible that it is still inhabited, uncontrollable by you and dangerous when not attended to properly.
This paper presents a prototype for an augmented-reality application, that will allow the use of existing physical components of the Minkisi as triggers to retrieve and experience new orders of information.
When the nkisi is placed under the webcam (or the camera of a mobile phone), a pre-trained 3D feature recognition system scans the entire figure, trying to identify some specific components.
The preparation of the recognition system (the selection of the 3D features to be recognized) and of the content is done with the objective of enhancing the emotional/traditional/belief-based attributes of the physical objects and, thus, contents accessible from the nkisi can take many forms including texts, videos and pictures, but also spatialized soundscapes from sacred rituals, interviews, and visual tracing of the ritual gestures performed by the banganga on the artifacts, describing a digital aura representing and making accessible the mystical/religious/philosophical domains that create the artifact’s cultural and spiritual value.
Luca Simeone is a design anthropologist and a contemporary entrepreneur. He leads projects in which solutions are designed through ethnographic research methods. His past experiences include the production of award-winning websites and cross-medial interaction design projects for clients ranging from international brands to museums and institutions. Luca has an extensive academic history, featuring participation in scientific and commercial publications and teaching and R&D experience in several universities in Rome, Naples, Milan and New Delhi, on the subjects of Cultural Anthropology, Interaction Design, Innovation, Psychology of Emotions, Experience Design.
Salvatore Iaconesi is an artist, a hacker, an electronic musician, and an expert in technologies for mobile devices, wearable and ubiquitous computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, interactive devices, interfaces and environments, information systems and geographic, location based systems. Salvatore creates interactive experiences, breakthrough technological services and interactive systems, for art, communications, entertainment, design, utilities. A focus on ethics, sustainability, ecology, multi-cultural tolerance and on the values and opportunities created by differences are a constant focus of all of his work. Salvatore teaches Digital Cultures, Interaction Design, Innovation, Electronic Engineering, in several universities (Rome, Milan, Denmark, Mexico).
[tab:Eiko Ikegami and Edward Colin Ruggero]SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM IN SECOND LIFE
Within the virtual world of Second Life (SL), there exists a wide variety of social and political activism. Importantly, these are not simply virtual versions of real life organizations; groups like the Second Life Democratic Movement, Second Life Left Unity, and Four Bridges are wholly indigenous. Curiously, this virtual world activism (VWA) is frequently conflated with 2D forms of cyberactivism found elsewhere on the Internet. However, VWA is fundamentally different. VWA’s unique forms of actor integration, distinct mechanisms of movement cohesion and mobilization, and activists’ use of the surreal and unreal in political contention serve to blur and transcend the virtual/real ontological divide that is emblematic of cyberactivism scholarship.
This paper seeks to highlight the uniqueness of VWA, arguing it represents a challenge to common characterizations of cyberactivism. We begin with a discussion of cyberactivism, noting the concept’s under-determination, whereby all online political action is grouped together, collapsing 2D and 3D under a single label. However, rather than attempting to carve a niche for VWA within cyberactivism scholarship, we aim to transcend the literature, seeing VWA as an example of an entirely new field of social action. Indeed, SL activists frequently claim they make no distinction between their political action inworld and in real life, integrating and blending the virtual world as a part of their reality. This is a crucial point because cyberactivism on the whole is frequently disparaged in light of a supposed “loss of self” experienced by users moving from a 3D reality into a 2D cyberspace. However, SL’s highly immersive and malleable 3D environment not only encourages users to (re)create their identity, it all but requires it. Indeed, interactions within SL – avatars physically interacting: speaking, dancing, playing – mirror real life interactions, a process that actually develops users’ sense of self. Thus, we aim to develop a framework for conceptualizing VWA that accounts for these unique properties. This framework is presented not only as a more nuanced tool for studying VWA, but also of political and social activism more broadly, on either side of the increasingly dim virtual/real divide.
Eiko Ikegami is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, New School for Social Research in New York. (PhD Sociology, Harvard University) She is currently leading a group of virtual ethnographers who study organizational and cultural dynamics of various communities of avatars in Second Life. Ikegami’s Project, “Virtual Civility, Trust and Avatars: Ethnology in Second Life” is supported by National Science Foundation (IIS 0942997). Her publications include Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Publics and The Political Origins of Japanese Culture (2005: Cambridge University Press), which won five book awards.
Edward Colin Ruggero received his master’s degree from the University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy in 2009, writing a thesis titled “Radical Green Populism: Environmental Values in DIY/Punk Communities.” He is currently an M.A. candidate in the Sociology department at the New School for Social Research. Colin is involved in numerous political and social activism initiatives.
[tab:Margarete Jahrmann]LUDIC CHINDOGUS AS EROTIC TOYS
This paper introduces a number of conceptual key terms around the art and politics of play, as Jouissance, Playsure Politics, Ludic Chindogu Interfaces and Ludics. The joyful and even erotic play with the technological “Chindogu” (Kawakami 1995) as an artefact is understood as a way to gain an immaterial perspective on Ludic Interfaces as political tools, which can be identified as seminal practice for the development of a critical consciousness through play. Jouissance – as discussed by Julia Kristeva (1984) and Slavoj Žižek (2005) – is useful as technical term from cultural studies and in particular from the perspective of political theories, in order to emphasise the quality of enjoyment and erotic attraction in the agency dimension of play with an object. The contemporary slave and master relation of players in everyday life and their relation to their technological objects can be identified throughout the paper as related to concepts of play and desire as driving forces for social agency in everyday life that really matters! The emergence of Ludics as artform is informed by the practice-based research in the Internet of Things, expressed in Urban Games and Gamefashion by the artist Margarete Jahrmann. The methodological activist practice of Ludics was academically discussed in the author’s doctoral thesis, submitted at the Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts, University of Plymouth, UK. A selected number of case studies of activist interventions and exemplary activist artworks of the genre of game arts give evidence for the anthropomorphisation of political Ludic Interfaces of everyday life in a contemporary ubiquitous Ludic Society.
Dr Margarete Jahrmann is an artist, Professor for Game Design at the University of Arts Zurich and researcher on the HERA project Pervasive Prosumer Plays / FLOW at the University of Art dieAngewandte Vienna. As an internationally renowned artist, she has been exhibited worldwide over the last ten years (2010 Digital art weeks, Xian; Space Invaders, FACT Liverpool / game.Art, NEMK Amsterdam; 2009 Tales of Play, Alta Tecnología Andina Lima; Enter_Act, Kunstmuseum Aaros; 2008 Arco/Laboral Gijon, SESC / File Sau Paolo; 2007 DIGRA Tokyo) and received major media arts awards, such as the distinction in interactive arts, PrixArsElectronica 2003; and software arts award, Transmediale, Berlin 2004. In 2006 she founded the international arts research association Ludic Society, and since then edits the LS magazine. In 2010 she submitted her doctoral thesis on “Ludics – The Art and Politics of Play” at the University of Plymouth, CAiiA Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts. Her research focus lies on Play as research method, political activism and subversion and hybrid forms of intervention by arts. She frequently curates and publishes in the field of electronic network arts and critical culture.
[tab:Katerina Karoussos]ST. ANNA’S BOOLEAN GARDEN
This paper traces back to the early period of imagery as a conceptual activity and explores its relationship to communication and technology. It is based on an alternative definition of visual mechanism and instead of pointing towards the future to where technology is supposed to be blossomed, it points backwards in time where forgotten visual novelties are awaiting in suspended animation. This reversion seeks to assess the values of older media, in the course of late antiquity, which reflect a broad spectrum of principles that still form the core upon which new media are based.
The research elucidates a previously neglected text by the early fourteenth century scholar Theodore Hyrtakenos, the “Description of the Garden of St. Anna”. This rhetorical description reeks of allusions, textual and visual, pertaining to a different kind of spatiotemporal awareness which approaches practices of current augmented environments.
The design of Anna’s garden, as the author describes it, together with the visual evidence from manuscripts and frescoes occurred in Byzantine period, suggest a synthetic vision of space and time. “Topos”, as Hytrakenos entitled the garden, is a set of fields of collective sentiments or affective states associated with myth as a mechanical mode of functioning. However, in order for the garden to function in its hybrid way, the reader/viewer should absorbe the text rather than simply interpret it. Hence, by refusing to interpret the portrayal of the garden into a coherent statement, this study implies the process of absorption to activate the garden’s function.
As a result “topos” set forth an alternative topological space, by its mathematical term, instead of being just topiary while addressing issues of parables, net, automata, filters, flow and Boolean operations will prove that Hyrtakenos’ text is not a simple “romance” but a remarkable “technoetic” analysis.
Katerina Karoussos is an artist and researcher. Her research is based on the convergence of old and new media and especially between Byzantine and ICT visual practices. From 1994 to 2003 she was the director and a co-founder of the Hellenic Center of Fine & Applied Arts. Since 2004 she is working at The Athens School of Fine Arts as a freelancer at the Fresco studio, and she is member of the Planetary Collegium (CAiiA) as a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Prof. Roy Ascott. Apart from her work as a Byzantine mural painter at Orthodox churches, her work has been exhibited in various international media exhibitions.
[tab:Max Kazemzadeh]VISIBLY INVISIBLE: SPUKHAFTE FERNWIRKUNG, MECHANO-MOIST & (THE) ENLIGHTENMENT
While there is little consensus as to the date marking the beginning of the Enlightenment, the less disputed notion that the Enlightenment symbolized free and independent thought, dissolving the strict control of church and the imposed doctrine of what Peter Gay calls the “sacred circle,” may be one of the reasons the Enlightenment had such a long standing and profound impact on the way society views research and valid intellectual progress, still valued for its contribution to democratic and capitalist social ideologies. Coupled with what Kant reinforced in “What is Enlightenment?” as the time that made way for the freedom to use one’s own intelligence, scientific, empirical, and ontological methodologies developed, which required that “rationality” and “reason” be used to resolve all problems contributing to the establishment of new knowledge. This widely accepted neo-rationality may possibly have emerged as an answer to dogmatic and innate discourses, but more probably surfaced as a direct reaction to the authoritarian practices of the church embodying that dogma, where these new ideologies served as propaganda in the support for a free, secular society. As in most revolutions, one leading ideology is toppled and replaced by yet another, and so forth.
Additionally, drawing from our experiences, thought and reflection influences our vision, motivates our action, and maintains our engagement within the tools we use to better understand and prototype our thoughts within the world of metaphor. Research and testing in the nano and quantum level reveal new findings in math, science, and the meta-sciences to confirming the connection and absorption of content latent within the thought layer. In all scientific studies, but even more prevalent in studies of quantum mechanics, the presence of the observer influences the effects the behavior of the subjects or particles. In the EPR (Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen paradox) thought experiment, the observers determination whether the spin direction of one of two “entangled” particles is positive or negative establishes a constant, which directly affects the other’s spin direction.
Max Kazemzadeh is an electronic and emergent media artist and tenure-track Assistant Professorship of Art & Media Technology at Gallaudet University, the only all deaf university in the world. Kazemzadeh is also a PhD Candidate within the Planetary Collegium. His work over the last ten years focuses on how constructed, semi-conscious interfaces influence human interaction, and is presently investigating the effects of directed thought on the realm of the physical through what he calls “re-falsifications” (ie. creative experiments) to reveal more concrete reflections of what is reality. Kazemzadeh has served on panels, curated exhibitions, organized conferences, given workshops, received grants, written articles, given performances, and exhibited internationally in the area of electronic and emergent media art. Some exhibitions include the Microwave Festival (Hong Kong), the Boston CyberArts Festival, Medialab-Prado’s Interactivos 08 (MexicoCity), Dashanzi International Art Festval (Beijing), IDMA IDEA’s Exhibition/Symposium (Ohio), Fotofest (Houston), Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art (Greece), Maker Faire (Austin), LA Center for Digital Art (Los Angeles), The Gerald Peters Gallery (NYC), and the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art (Texas). Kazemzadeh organized the conference Texelectronica ‘06 (Dallas), served as the chair of the electronic media art session at the College Art Association-CAA ‘08, served on the Creative Capital Foundation’s Artist Grant Review Committee in ‘08, served as a juror for SIGGRAPH ‘07, and has given annual interactive hardware/software workshops at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing since 2004.
[tab:Rachel Kessler and Matthew Fielder]COGNITIVE DISSONANCE n. PSYCHOLOGY:
A condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one’s beliefs and one’s actions.
The point of interest is an investigation into the psychological phenomenon of cognitive dissonance, a theory put forth by the American social psychologist Leon Festinger who suggested that an “inconsistency among (an individual’s) actions or beliefs causes psychological tension”. As a result of this tension or “inner conflict” individuals often adapt their beliefs in order to fit in with their behaviors.
The text navigates this idea through Festinger’s “social comparison theory” as it relates to cognitive dissonance in social networks by questioning the language and role of a “communicative critical text”, how it is read, understood or interpreted. The work takes on an experimental hybrid form, acting simultaneously as a critical essay, lecture manuscript, performative text, statistics report, and research paper-annotations (footnotes), as well as corrections are included in order to animate questions about the restrictions and expansions of such mediated time-space.
The body of the text fleshes through various facts surrounding the high number of “false alarms” in American public schools and the technological facilities that initiate and institute them. Here cognitive dissonance is discussed critically in terms of both social dynamatization and neurological response. To enact a “double bind” equal attention is given to the exploration of these concepts and how they potentially function in the text itself as a piece of writing.
Matthew Fielder is an artist, writer and educator who works in a variety of mediums and disciplines. He holds a BFA in Fine Art and an MA in the program of Aesthetics and Politics form the California Institute of the Arts. In 2009 he spoke as part of the panel “Theatricality As Political Material” at the International Conference for the Pedagogy of the Theater Of The Oppressed.
Rachel Kessler is a visual artist who uses diverse media and methods including painting, sculpture, video, text and performance. She holds a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. She was also a 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation nominee. Her work has been exhibited in group and solo shows.
[tab:Linus Lancaster]THE REAL DIRT ON SOIL AND LOCATION
“Making the Real Really Real” is a question of shaping, re-thinking, massaging our interrelations with the material and flow of Being towards an intensified actuality that implies an ethic of expanded performativitiy and thought – a raised awareness and a broadening of consciousness. It is not different from the call of the post-human in its broadest sense: the acknowledgement of what is within and beyond humanity, beyond human perception, and human control. It refutes the notion of human (or Animal) autonomy as a constitutive ontology. It flows out from multiple points of departure, questions of why and how expansive embraces of Being are undertaken, and towards what?
In conventional terms, the “more real” the higher the impact, the higher the stakes: the realer the scarier, at least potentially. This fits with what I will discuss in this presentation, but fear immediately brings in complications with some unexpected results. As Bataille explains in his discussion of Sacrifice, fear inevitably accompanies the transformation of the sacrificial subject into the real, out of objectification, in the act of sacrifice. At the same time, obviously, fear and risk simultaneously act as blockages to acknowledgement of the actual. None the less, I will suggest that intensification of the Real calls for heightened activity, heightened stress, and higher discipline; but also a heightening of the ecstatic as a potentiality which can accompany expanded contact with Being, and the broader post-human ethic articulated by perfomativities and Materialities to-come.
“The Real Dirt” will focus on two performative pieces undertaken earlier this year. One, an exploration of sacrificial Listening and transfer of Soil at sea, done in collaboration with Dr. Frederick Young, UC Merced, which sought to articulate a constellative opening on the interrelations of Techne, Animalities, and Soils to-come. The other, an Earthwork which is also an exhibit space for regional Soil typology and theory in collaboration with a group called Five Looking West (forthcoming in Koreana Magazine), and a few of my students. Both pieces address how underlying theory is impacted when performative work is undertaken as an offering which gathers the material and “spiritual” into interrelation; and the ramifications for philosophy when “inert” objects move into ethical subjectivity. The “heightened reality” they suggest is a performativity which acknowledges expanded interrelations of Being, the stakes of conscious interactivity with them, and some of the issues and perils of working in more-than-rational modalities.
Linus Lancaster is an instructor of visual art and photography at Healdsburg High School in Northern California, as well as being a working artist and independent scholar. He is the founder of the International LandBuoy Project, a collaborative performance and sculpture project dedicated to interventionist practice which has focused on theories and politics of Land and location. Linus joined the Planetary Collegium in 2009 and is working towards a PhD in philosophy and art practice, currently with an emphasis on theories of post-humanism and ecology of Soil.
[tab:Renata La Rocca]MNEMONIC NARRATIVES: THROUGH THE LEVELS OF REALITY
This article aims to discuss the construction of narratives related to the space, crossing and combining different levels of reality, through an adaptation of the classical mnemonics rules as a model of thought. The classic mnemonic, while being a memorization technique tied to the architectonic space, association images and places, can be understood or applied from what Frances Yates calls the “archetypal images” or “magically activated images”. The concept of “magically activated images”, gives us a clue to the potential of this method, especially if we imagine this technique as a mediator for creating different levels of reality. Transposing this technique to the realm of interactive digital arts, we can explore the association of various media through stimulating the senses in a holistic way – sounds, moving images, and the most different sensors and digital devices, opening the door to the construction of spaces-imagination built from the interactions, the dialogues. According to Peter Matussek, in the wake of advances in interactive applications, the function of digital technology is no longer described merely in terms of “storage and retrieval”, but rather in terms of the performativeness of images in motion (Matussek, 2003). From this perspective we can talk about the construction of dynamic visual memories in mnemonic spaces, images-memories in motion. This question is related to the question of transformation of the concept of artificial memory itself – from an inert depository to dynamic organizations. Connecting images to places (real or imaginary ones) in a dynamic way, the mnemonic becomes systemic, implying a complex network of temporal and spatial connections through crossed meanings, involving dynamic informational flow and updates, which can be presented as moving images and sounds, as an example. Using the conceptual basis of ancient mnemonic – the fundamental relationship between images and places – the goal of the PhD research in course is to propose adaptations of the technique to help in model chaotic narrative’s experiences related to the space creating networks between different levels of reality.
Renata La Rocca is a PhD researcher at ECA/USP – University of São Paulo, School of Communications and Arts, she is member of the Art, Design and Digital Media group, headed by her research supervisor, Professor Mônica Tavares. La Rocca holds a master’s degree in Architecture, obtained in 2006 at SAP/EESC/USP, University of São Paulo, School of Engineering of Sao Carlos, Department of Architecture. She is teacher and head of the Interior Design course, and teacher on the Graphic and Product Design courses at the FAAL. She is member of the The Double collective, her research interests relate to the construction of spatial narratives in interactive digital art installations by using mnemonic structures.
[tab:Živa Ljubec]RETHINKING THE REALITY SOURCE CODE: AUGMENTED OR FRAGMENTED REALITY?
Are the modern technologies enabling us to or preventing us from exploring the intuitive realm beyond the constraints of the intellect? Are they augmenting or fragmenting the reality? This paper will examine the limitations of intellect as a homogeneous medium of space-time that was derived from intuition, a heterogeneous medium of pre-space. It will explore the possibilities of transference between intellect and intuition and how to augment the architecture of extensive reality to allow for intensities to flow through, how to implement the experience of interval in the culture of instant connectivity.
Živa Ljubec is an independent architect and researcher in the intersection area of art/science/consciousness. She studied architecture at Faculty for Architecture and mathematics at Faculty for Mathematics and Physics, both at the University of Ljubljana from which she obtained her master of architecture degree in 2004. She is currently exploring the intuitive realm, she claims is shared by artist and scientists, as a PhD Candidate at CAiiA (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts) at University of Plymouth. The research into intuitive medium that is navigated differently in diverse cultures (from ancient indigenous to current scientific culture) is conducted under Roy Ascott’s supervision in collaboration with James Gimzewski as the second supervisor. The variety of experiences and skills acquired from studying architecture as well as mathematics gave Živa insight into the intuitive approach in both artistic and scientific problem solving before the solution is intellectually manifested by means of expression specific to the discipline at hand. The by-product of her search for traces of uncensored intuition in arts are her art reviews, that compare the artistic inquiries with the latest theories in science. She is interested in merging artistic and scientific approaches to reveal further the extents of the consciousness we are part of as humans.
[tab:Luis Eduardo Luna]AYAHUASCA AND THE CONCEPT OF REALITY
Ayahuasca is the Quechua name of a psychoactive beverage used by many indigenous groups and segments of the mestizo population of the Upper Amazon. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Brazilian religious organizations, originated in the Amazon, also use ayahuasca as part of their rituals. Offshoots of these organizations have emerged in urban centers in Latin America, Europe, the United States and Japan, among others. Consequently, in the last fifteen to twenty years, thousands of people have had access to the ayahuasca experience, either by traveling to Amazonian countries, mostly Peru, or through practitioners from various backgrounds that offer ayahuasca sessions in many countries. Since its use depends on cultural setting, significant religious syncretism has occurred, as well as incorporation of a variety of therapeutic methods. Experiences are often extremely deep, featuring contact with entities, animal or plant spirits, and journeys to other realms. The concept of reality among indigenous groups suggests a many-worlds interpretation of the real. Ayahuasca and other sacred plants facilitate access to these other realities. These experiences also often elicit in the western user discussions of a philosophical nature. In this paper Luis Eduardo Luna will present an overview of these ideas, based on fieldwork among indigenous groups, mestizo practitioners, Brazilian religious organizations and contemporary westerners from a number of countries, as well as from his own investigations throughout the years with ayahuasca.
Luis Eduardo Luna (Brazil) was born in Florencia, in the Colombian Amazon region. He studied Philosophy and Literature at the Complutense University of Madrid. He earned an interdisciplinary Masters degree, while also teaching Spanish and Latin American at Oslo University. In 1979 he moved to Finland where he is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland. In 1989 he received a PhD from the Institute of Comparative Religion at Stockholm University, and in 2000 an honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. A Guggenheim Fellow and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, he is the author of Vegetalismo: Shamanism Among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon (1986), and with Pablo Amaringo of Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman (1991). In 1986 he co-founded with Pablo Amaringo the Usko-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting of Pucallpa, Peru. He was Professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil (1994–1998), has lectured about Amazonian shamanism and modified states of consciousness worldwide, and has curated exhibitions of visionary art in several countries. Dr. Luna has over 30 years of experience with ayahuasca in various contexts: as an anthropologist with indigenous groups and among urban and rural mestizo ayahuasqueros in Peru and Colombia, with all the syncretic Brazilian religious organizations that use ayahuasca as a sacrament, and as a facilitator in specially designed workshops.
[tab:Roger Malina] Roger Malina (France) is an astronomer and editor. He currently is a member of the Observational Cosmology Group of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille and Director of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence. His specialty is in space instrumentation; he was the Principal Investigator for the NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer Satellite. For 25 years he has also been involved with the Leonardo organization, whose mission is to promote and make visible work that explores the interaction of the arts and sciences and the arts and new technologies. He is Executive Editor of the Leonardo Publications at MIT Press. More recently he has helped set up the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMERA) and is co-chair of the ASIL (Arts, Sciences, Instrumentation and Language) Initiative of IMERA, which hosts artists in residence in scientific research laboratories of the Marseille region.
[tab:Nadia C. Meinhardt]DIGITAL NATIVES – IS THERE AN INTERNET-GENERATION?
Does the so-called Internet-generation tick differently from generations before?
Today, when a newspaper publishes an article about the Internet, it usually contains the term Internet-generation, or “digital native”. And explains what’s obviously seen before: A lot of people born after 1980 have an unbiased and easy access to digital technology and the Web. Do the elderly have more problems with the Web and the new devices? Sounds very reasonable at first.
But those who think a little further will notice that even before the year 2000, there has been a colorful Internet community. In addition, even before the Web boom, a lot of computer games and programs were sold – especially to people who were then already over 18 years. So it seems that the division of society into digital natives and the Others is untenable.
Nevertheless, congresses are taking place, academic studies are created and there are social initiatives to show the rest of society what young people think and feel. Some of them assume special mental benefits to digital natives – others suggest just the opposite – a lack of concentration and deficits in social behavior. The German initiative “DNAdigital” initiates meetings to discuss these issues with industrialists and education policy-makers. It gives the impression that they promote a social group which enjoys little understanding and acceptance. On the other hand the “German Youth Institute” calls for restraint with such concepts for a whole generation. It publishes a warning on its website: “It is a popular error to believe that even children in the use of new technologies are more competent than adults – they are usually only impartial on the computer and the Internet. The mystification of an ‘Internet generation’ does not correspond to scientific investigation.”
The term Digital Natives was coined by Marc Prensky in 2001. Prensky refers to a kind of Big Bang theory, which has produced this new type of man. The cause being the new-media-world, based on the boom of computer technologies at the end of the 20th century. He explains that the brain of young people of this generation has changed. Inter alia, a reason is the employment of young people with issues such as nano-technology, software, genetics and robotics.
John Palfrey, professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Urs Gasser, professor at the University of St.Gallen mention in their book Born Digital the now grown-up “digital natives” as the generation that has changed our economy and our culture in a global way. Besides the search for identity, the question of security, privacy and information handling in the Internet, the authors consider the risks and opportunities of society from this development.
In this paper the writer discusses the conceptual model of “digital natives”, its options and limits. Also possible relations between changes in social and learning behavior and perception of digital installations will be analysed.
Nadia C. Meinhardt is an artist, creative producer and researcher, based in Berlin, Germany. She is cofounder and head of LUFTTANZ, a dance company focused on multidisciplinary performances. She graduated in performing arts, culture management and received a Master of Arts in leadership in digital communication at University of arts in Berlin. Currently she is an PhD-candidate in the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA-Hub, Plymouth, UK.
[tab:Francesco Monico]A Sign for a Nexus: intelligence at another level of resolution*
The material world experienced through our new technological senses is a representation of contemporary phenomena that can be observed at another level of resolution. A machine, complicate as today, will inter-act as a living form. How might the artist address these issues? The paper present a project called: ‘cybernated* suiseki*’. The name derives from Shintoism animism, the name is a sign for a nexus. Great part of human culture were experimented throughout the so called ‘Idiot savants’, from now and tomorrow the human culture will be experienced throughout the IDIOT ROBOTS, pushing the boundaries of human nature and comprehension of the reality. How might the arts explore them further? Building a discourse, a story, a path, through the installation and his story, a circus of Idiot Robots.
Francesco Monico (Venice, 27-02-1968), has worked for ten years as a director, screenwriter and program chief in Italian broadcast, sperimental and interactive TV, is both a Technoetic researcher and artist, today mainly engaged in directing the Media Design and New Media Art Department he founded at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano – NABA in Milan. He is a professor of Theory and Method of Mass Media at the same institution, as well as director of the PhD program M-Node, Planetary Collegium and a Senior Fellow of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology in Toronto. He is an alumnus of Derrick de Kerckhove, and is currently researching under Roy Ascott as part of the PhD CAiiA in the Planetary Collegium. A former member of the Scientific Committee of the Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum in Milan, with Giulio Giorello, Emanuele Severino, Enrico Bellone, he is currently a member of the Scientific Committee of Milano in Digitale . Monico writes in online and print publications, and in the past was a regular media commentator for the International Herald Tribune’s Italian news section. Today he write New Media art commentator for Wired Italian edition. After a career in Italian broadcast television as director, author, channel manager (Rai3, Tele+3, Mediaset,Rai2, France 2, SeiMilano), Monico became more focused on how technology shapes human communication, behaviour and thought. After a research stint at the McLuhan Program he went to study with Roy Ascott and changed his expression channel from video to art, with a penchant for interactive installations, telematic art, BioArt, and various art-science combinations. Deeply influenced by Roy Ascott, Monico believes science and art can contribute to expanding global consciousness, but only with the help of alternative systems of knowledge. His modus operandi is based on a combination of science, art, philosophy, and esoteric knowledge in which the artist recognizes the paradoxical nature of knowledge and the contradictions inherent in formal epistemologies, and in his deep speculation his dealing with an hermeneutical approach. His metodology is a syncretic mixing critical theory and a pragmatic art approach. Among his artworks are The Artist Formerly Known as Vanda (i.e. Tafkav – 2007/10)  and Is There Love in The Technoetic Narcissus? (2008/10) , as curator in 2009 he presented the first Italian solo show of keen bioartist Brandon Ballangée, Monstre Sacré 
[tab:Ryohei Nakatsu]LOGOS, PATHOS, AND THE ENTERTAINMENT
Various new forms of entertainment using information and media technologies have emerged and been accepted among people all over the world. Casual and serious games, as well as communication using mobile phones, blogs, and Twitter, are such kinds of new entertainment. It is important to discuss the basic characteristics of such entertainment and to understand the direction to which these new forms are leading human societies. This paper provides a comparative study of entertainment between developing countries and developed countries, and between ancient times and the present day. The future relationship between entertainment and society is also described.
Ryohei Nakatsu is Professor at the National University of Singapore and director of the Interactive & Digital Media Institute (IDMI). He received BS, MS, and PhD degrees in electronic engineering from Kyoto University in 1969, 1971, and 1982, respectively. After joining NTT in 1971, he mainly worked on speech recognition technology. In 1994, he joined Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) as the President of ATR Media Integration & Communications Research Laboratories. From the spring of 2002, he has been a Professor at School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University. At the same time, he established a venture company, Nirvana Technology Inc., and became a President of the company. His research interests include emotion extraction from speech and facial images, emotion recognition, nonverbal communications, and integration of multimodalities in communications. He received the Best Paper Award from the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia Computing and Systems (1996); Telecom System Award from Telecommunication System Foundation (1999 and 2000); the Best Paper Award from Virtual Reality Society of Japan (1999, 2000, and 2001); and the Best Paper Award from Artificial Intelligence Society of Japan (2000). He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers Japan (IEICE-J). He is the Japanese representative at the International Federation of Information Processing.
[tab:Enrico Nardelli]COMPUTER-ASSISTED SELF REFLECTION ON THE WHOLENESS
One of the lessons humankind has forgotten with the increasing level of technology available in the modern society is the unity and connectedness of all things in the universe. We are now accustomed
to a dualistic vision splitting the self and the environment, and even if the latest IT tools enhance our connectedness with other people we are not able to jump out of this limiting vision. This dualistic vision forces us to refusing things that we do not like, without understanding that in doing so we refuse ourselves. We have lost the capability of accepting what happens in the universe and of building our future on the acceptance instead of on the rejection. Self reflection and meditation is a long used technique to help overcoming this limitation and we defined and built an IT-based installation aiming at helping a person to accept what happens without being altered by unexpected events. In the installation the person sees an image of herself that is processed on the basis of some regular laws having as input the values read by some sensors from the person: body temperature, skin humidity, … and conscious actions: finger pressure, hand movement, … Hence there is a regularity and predictability in the evolution of her image: the person may be able to obtain a desired processing effect by means of a conscious manipulation of sensors. But from time to time some chaotic processing rule is inserted in the processing and a completely unexpected result is obtained. Then regularity is recovered again, and the person return in control, and the person regains control, even if the image of herself now may be in an unexpected state. But the processing can again be fully controlled by the person. And then again randomness, i.e. destiny, perturbs the course of events. The person is therefore induced tor eflect on the need to accept what happens in the universe as an un-escapable characteristics of life. And from this computer assisted self reflection she regains a sense of unity with the universe. The installation is based on the manipulation of self image pixels through the Processing language.
Enrico Nardelli is a full professor of Computer Science at the University of Roma “Tor Vergata”, affiliated with the Department of Mathematics. He is the national coordinator of a two-years research projects on bio-informatics, financed by the Italian Ministry of University. Nardelli has been the President of GRIN, the Italian Association of University Professors of Computer Science (2003–08). Since September 2008 he is on the Executive Board of Informatics Europe, the association of computer science departments and research laboratories in Europe and neighboring areas. June–July 2007 the Academy of Finland invited him along with seven other international Computer Science experts to evaluate Computer Science research in Finland in the years 2000–2006. He recently started working on the intersection between informatics and other disciplines, thinking that it is of the utmost importance for the future of informatics to show how it can be beneficial to, and benefit from, other cultural areas.
[tab:Simeon Nelson]TOWARD A CYBERNETIC ONTOLOGY OF THINGYNESS
Science, art and mysticism provide compelling accounts of reality in different but sometimes overlapping ways. In my work as a sculptor I am faced with a paradox, how to approach the real, the secret of things in a visual/spatial medium. How does a plastic artist go beyond superficial appearance in search of a more fundamental reality?
I will summarise my thinking and practice over the last 15 years as a praxis, a “practice based metaphysics”. I will discuss my “open sculptural systems”, multi-component contextually responsive sculpture-kits that can be combined into virtually any arrangement in the museum, street or other site. They are provisional, playful, they invite audiences to collaborate in their deployment to help determine how they will negotiate and disperse into their context. The main system I am talking about here, Paratekton – “beside the structure” – has an “alphabet” of about 40 characters that have a syntax encoded into them in terms of how they combine with each other and how they respond to the space they find themselves in.
Paratekton is consciously an entelechic structure. Entelechy, “in-end-having” is Aristotle’s term for what it is to be; the inner drive, principle or purpose. In Western metaphysics, the inmost soul of things, persons and entities is taken to be that which remains unchanged during the process of transformation which characterises a thing’s fleeting manifestation in the world, hence when Gertrude Stein says “a rose is a rose is a rose” it means that a rose is a rose whether bud, pollen, bloom or withered seed head. The changing phenomenal manifestation of the rose is not the substance (standing under) of the rose. So with my sculptural systems I am trying to get beneath their “thingyness” and think of them as a process, a system. Sculpture could be seen as a less than ideal medium for the apprehension of such immateriality; but I maintain that paradoxically it is through this very concreteness that the elusive effulgence at the base of reality may be glimpsed.
Simeon Nelson is Professor of Sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire. He was a finalist in the National Gallery of Australia’s National Sculpture Prize in 2005 and in the 2003 Jerwood Sculpture Prize. Passages, a monograph was published by The University of New South Wales Press, Sydney in 2000. Recent exhibitions include Crytposphere, Royal Geographical Society, London, 2008 and Objet Perdu, Plataforma Revolver, Lisbon, 2010. Awards include arts council grants in Australia and the UK, Pollock-Krasner Fellowships in 2000 and 2009, and a Leverhulme grant in 2007. Australian representative to the IX Triennial India, New Delhi, 1997. Major commissions include Ben Chifley, Sydney, Desiring Machine, Melbourne; Cactal, the University of Teesside, UK; Proximities, Melbourne and Flume, Ashford, Kent, UK. Work is represented in the Art/Omi Foundation, New York, the Jerwood Foundation, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK.
[tab:Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)]HALLUCINATIONS, AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS?
In his essay “Reality Adaptation or Adapted ‘Reality’”, from the book Münchausen’s Pigtail, Paul Watzlawick (1990, p. 134) reminds us that although the rest of the world has seemed to have let go of the assumption that there is such a thing as an objective Reality of which normal people are more conscious than the so called insane, in psychiatry the belief in a “real” reality, that separates the “sane” from the “insane”, has survived. In this he refers to the tendency of psychiatry to assess a person’s mental health by their ability to adapt to reality. In this paper the artistic researcher Jennifer Kanary will investigate how this claim still holds up 20 years later, by taking a look at the concept of “hallucination” from alternative perspectives on reality in relation to modern day psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.
Having hallucinations is often seen as one of the key symptoms of mental health problems, in particular to that of schizophrenia. In the DSM-IV hallucinations are defined as followed: “A sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception, but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant sensory organ” (Bentall, 2004, p. 350). What is a true perception? How can we be sure that there is no external stimulation? These questions become especially pertinent when we take a look at recent research that shows that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not fooled by optical illusions (Dakin, 2005, Dima 2009). And that “sometimes their vision can be more accurate than non-sufferers.” If a hallucination is experienced as a compelling reality by those who seem to have a better grip on what is actually there in time and space, it becomes imperative to look at concepts of hallucinations from alternative perspectives on our reality. One such alternative perspective on reality could be to look at the concept of a hallucination from Nick Bostrom’s (2003) speculative claim that there is a high probability that we are living in a computer simulation ourselves. We might wonder if the concept of hallucination even has the right to exist.
The independent artist Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a) studied fashion design from 1994–1998 before graduating with the first version of roomforthoughts from the fine arts department of the Maastricht Art Academy in 2000. She continued with a Master’s program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, which she completed in 2002. Afterwards, she was invited to participate in the first experimental curating course initiated by the University of Amsterdam and the Sandberg Institute. Jennifer Kanary has participated in several art and science projects. From Nov. 2007 to April 2008 she has been artist-in-residence at the National Psychiatry Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands. She is currently a PhD Candidate of M-Node, Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth, UK, and is since 2008 the head tutor of the Honours Program Art and Research of the University of Amsterdam and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam. All her installations are about the physics of thought. www.roomforthoughts.com
[tab:Glauce Rocha de Oliveira]ON THE BLUE OF THE SEA: REAL VIRTUALITIES AND VIRTUAL REALITIES
In the first account, WYSIWYG (hp ad published in Times magazine, 11 June 2001) translates Western Culture onthology based on the belief that reality preexists human (culture-based) interpretation, and is grounded on values such as rationalism, materialism, and positivism. Therefore, it is no wonder that we believe in a concrete material world ruled by a chronological order of space/time, where one plus one equals two. While at the same time, we forgot about spirituality, transforming it into religious dogma and an excuse to dominate “Others”.
In the second account, the augmented space (Manovich, 2006) we inhabit and IT-based societies challenge this Western onthology. We now make meaning in a context augmented by different sources of information and technologies. We also have the capacity to “be” in different places (Foucault, 2001) at the same time.
By living on a moving earth (Clifford, 1986; Morin, 2001), we realize that what we call reality is connected to the regimes of truth (Veyne, 1984) our social practices are based on. Thus, either material or virtual reality is a sociohistoric construction, which reflects nothing but localized interpretations/values.
Escher’s “Holding Sphere” illustrates that we are dealing with reflections which interact within certain conditions. Metaphorically, the blue of the sea is also the reflection of its surroundings, instead of the assurance that the sea is really blue. What is there around to reflect it? How to negotiate meaning within complexity (Dimitrov, 2006; Lemke, 2006)?
The objective of this presentation is to propose this reflection, by calling attention to the complex relationship between our six senses (Rocha de Oliveira, 2008) and our surroundings during social interaction (Bhaktin, 1992). In this sense, the crux of the matter is to learn to negotiate meaning, considering the regimes of truth that ground “reality”, in order to search other levels of consciousness (Goswami, 2005), and trans-form the interconnected web of senses that we call reality.
Glauce Rocha de Oliveira holds a PhD and a master’s degree in English from the University of São Paulo (USP), Modern Languages Department, Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas. Her research fields include visuality, virtuality, multimodality, and language education. She is also a lecturer and journalist in São Paulo, Brazil.
[tab:Mary Oliver]TALK TO ME!
In the search for a more feminised empathetic computer interface this entertaining performance project was initially developed from performance artist Mary Oliver’s desire to create more spontaneous interactions with digital performers on stage, and has now become the starting point for a new development in HCI.
Developments in interactive gaming, notably the Nintendo wii and mii allow the player to receive direct responses from the computer programme in a seemingly two way dialogue but this interaction functions using limited user-data and a narrow interpretation of gender preferences in its choice of applications. Where the user is permitted to interpret and ‘own’ the interface we see a much more interesting and often perverse set of choices. In Second Life the wide-ranging approach to the construction of avatars suggests that as individuals we enjoy challenging the norms of identity as users re-gender, recreate and redesign themselves, but SL similarly is still a relatively unrequited relationship.
Technologies designed primarily for research in bio-science have to this point not been applied to developments in the generic computer interface; for obvious reasons of cost and the expertise needed to interpret the data. For this project Mary Oliver has successfully created a team of researchers and technicians from the Schools of Health and Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Salford who will support her in the development of performative experiments that combine the fields of HCI, neuro-psychology, bio-science and performance towards the development of a new two-way communication system that allows the computer to interface directly and spontaneously with the user by talking directly to her in response to her current mood.
What sets this programme apart from other experiments in interactive HCI development that use bio-sign data, is that it is led by a theatre maker; an expert in making the imaginary appear real through the development of good character design. By working in collaboration with neuro-psychologist Dr. Adam Galpin who is an expert in the psychology of human behaviour, it is not just the psychology of empathy that is being employed here; the importance of believing that we are being heard by the machine persona, but clever script writing that uses suggestive and influential patterns of speech to make the inter-actor feel as if it is them as an individual that is being responded to.
This illustrated talk will primarily explore the importance of characterful spoken narrative in the construction of real and affective empathetic interactions and point to the potential of this development for wider applications in health and well-being.
After a couple of decades as a Live Artist, in 1998 Mary Oliver began experimenting with digital performance. These interactive “real time” conversations have attempted to bring impossible relationships to the performance space and make them appear real. By using a conflation of screen writing, computer programming, video making and devised performance techniques she brings different kinds of skills and human behavioural interests to the live/screen interface and to discussions on interactivity. Mary Oliver is Reader in Digital Performance and Director of the Performance Research Centre at the University of Salford UK. www.maryoliver.net.
[tab:Luisa Paraguai] 92.1: MOBILITY INTO IMMOBILITY
“Networks process flows” (Castells, 2009, p. 20).
Mobile communication, owing to its ubiquity, accessibility and adaptability, has permeated all domains of life. People have moved around actualizing different networks, physical and digital nodes configuring a complex structure, programmed and self-configurable at the same time. We have faced different patterns of arrangements, juxtaposed and superposed, trying to transcend the dominant logic of each network.
Firstly, the text is concerned with the networks and flows of information and bodies, discussing other perceptions and movements configurations to perform our daily lives and to comprehend the world. “Movements often involves an embodied experience of the material and social modes of dwelling-in-motion” (Urry, 2007, p. 11), and we have been sewing those organizations and systems upon physical and informational networks.
The 92.1 artwork, presented at the end of the paper, gives visibility to temporary social networks created upon the idea of enhancing our physical displacements while driving, stuck in the middle of the traffic jams. Mobile technologies have set other possibilities of people being temporarily “on the move”, creating gaps and holes, other dimensions and domains. The nine-to-five culture, in big cities like São Paulo, using mobile devices, can engender interspaces and reorganize physical arrangements to transcend space and time models. Sound and image narratives are presented, trying to monitor ad-hoc networks and to map those social activities, questioning the feeling of belonging to those metropolitan areas.
Luisa Paraguai, artist and researcher, studied Civil Engineering and Computing at University of São Paulo, Brazil. She holds a master and doctoral degree at the Department of Multimedia, Institute of Arts, State University of Campinas, Brazil. She is professor at the Post-Graduate Program Master in Design, Anhembi Morumbi University, São Paulo, Brazil. Currently, she has reflected about the potential of mobile devices as a mediator for body and space perception and experimentation.
[tab:Pam Payne]THE INVOCATION OF OUR POLYRHYTMIC REALITY
This paper explores the notion that our experiences and varied states of consciousness are encoded, communicated and realized as sequential rhythmic patterns in time.
Siberian Shamans believe their “real” self is the dream-self experienced in an altered state. MTV’s “Real World” is a contrived television drama. We experience a range of conscious states such as the athlete’s “zone”, the musician’s performance trance, or the Balinese dancer’s channeling of deities. These realities, our thought processes and emotional tides are the result of shifting our concentration in alignment with specialized patterns. Throughout history various exercises, formulas, spells and rituals have been practiced to induce such shifted states. Our individual dynamic patterns mesh and mingle with each others’ and with environmental patterns. When we experience a synchronized shift in focus as a group the effect may generate a phenomenon greater than the sum of its parts, perhaps with momentum to feedback and sustain a force of its own. The result of such focused concentration might be the ability to conjure rainfall, or at least, certainly cultural revolution.
What is going on when a song touches us so profoundly? Or when a sports event incites mass mania? A song is certainly enhanced by the musician’s skill to convey emotion and the particular sonic vibrations. But there may be something additional conveyed: core life-source soul-stuff encoded in an underlying pattern that can be perceived only as a process or experienced as a sequence of events in time. (A bird’s flight leaves no trail.) Possibly archetypal patterns exist such as ocean waves. Perhaps the closer the connection to an authentic core pattern, the stronger the potential for deep communication and transformative experience. Cuban Yoruba ritualistic drum rhythms are intended to evoke the divine and induce a meaningful spiritual experience. If the rhythms were translated into images would the visual patterns induce a similar experience?
Traditional artistic practices such as playing a musical instrument communicate emotion directly through vibrato and breath. Digital instruments may be uniquely capable of identifying and communicating complex, transformative experiences and states of reality.
Pam Payne is an artist based in NYC who has been working with digital media since the mid-1980s. Her work explores the interaction of electronic and organic forms through video motion paintings, installations and performance. She is interested in states of consciousness and transformative human experience communicated and achieved via art and music. She earned her Master’s degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in 1989 focusing on video and digital systems and her BA from SUNY Potsdam in 1982 in Fine Art (Printmaking) and Psychology. She is also a trained musician with a background in dance and creative writing. In 1995 she formed Brickhaus, a company specializing in presentation design and production. Her experience includes the development of analog and digital (software) video tools and teaching in the media arts field. Pam Payne actively exhibits her artwork in the USA, Mexico and Central America and is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Puffin Foundation.
[tab:Mike Phillips]REALLY? THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE TRUTH
This paper explores the potential extension or penetration of the precarious reality bubble our senses create around us. Whilst our various sensory organs have their obvious limitations, generally issues of resolution, our ability to anticipate, guestimate, predict and plan is the result of complex aggregation and extrapolation from limited information. On a daily basis these processes of aggregation are augmented and fed by technologies that essentially do our seeing for us – increasing resolution or providing alternative sensory information. Whilst our biological senses have been tempered, normalised and ëcivilisedí through millennia of creeping evolution our ability to make sense, absorb and understand the data feeds from our instruments is significantly less sophisticated. The reality we have collectively negotiated for ourselves is slowly expanding through this process of aggregation and accretion. Layers of data sediment provide the potential of an extended physicality to explore this reality we were not designed feel, or alternatively create an armour or cocoon that restricts our perception.
Mike Phillips is professor of Interdisciplinary Arts, University of Plymouth, School of Arts & Media, Faculty of Arts. He is director of i-DAT, a component of the Centre for Media, Art & Design Research, and Principal Supervisor for the Planetary Collegium. His R&D orbits digital architectures and transmedia publishing, and is manifest in two key research projects: Arch-OS [www.arch-os.com] (now reincarnated in Perth WA in the form of the i-500 [www.i-500.org]), an “Operating System” for contemporary architecture (“software for buildings”) and the LiquidPress [www.liquidpress.net] which explores the evolution and mutation of publishing and broadcasting technologies.
[tab:Clemens M. Plank]THE COGNITIVE USER OF ARCHITECTURE:
Building a Conceptual Framework for the Exploration Between the Relationship of Architecture and its User Based on the Current Neuroscientific Debate
This paper introduces the ongoing project “The Cognitive User of Architecture”, which investigates the relationship between architecture and user. The main thesis states that in order to receive knowledge of this relationship, the focus has to lie on the user rather than on the built environment. Accepting and validating the user as a subjectively perceiving and consciously processing “actor” on the stage which architectural environments provide, the central claim is that architecture is a consciously experienced subjective product, emerging out of the user’s emotional perception. Focusing on cognitive science as a consequence, German philosopher Thomas Metzinger’s work is examined and incorporated. In Being No One, Metzinger considers neuroscientific research to present a representational and functional analysis of what consciously experienced first-person perspective actually is. Metzinger’s significance lies in the development of a conceptual toolkit, interlinking the humanities with the empirical sciences of the mind.
This research paper explores the capabilities, opportunities and implications which Metzinger’s studies have for the architecture/user relationship. Therefore not only theoretical concepts based on the neuroscientific debate are presented and explained, but also interactive spatial experiments – responsive architecture – verifying theoretical concepts with supporting empirical data.
Clemens M. Plank is an architect, researcher and lecturer at the University of Innsbruck, Faculty of Architecture, where he supervises a design studio and teaches architectural theory. His academic work draws strongly on neuroscientific research, pursuing a contemporary analysis of the phenomenological experience of architecture. His real-space experiments have been exhibited at Researchers Night, Innsbruck, 2005 and 2007; VLOW, Bregenz, 2008 (Winner Award vlow08 for young researchers). He is also active in architectural practice, focusing on residential and cultural building.
[tab:Barbara Rauch and Michael Page]SYNTHETIC EMOTIONS
This research project maps emotions and visualises the virtual emergence of emotions. We use 3D-surface capturing devices to scan facial expressions in animals (taxidermy) and humans which we sculpt with the Phantom Arm / SensAble FreeForm device in 3D virtual space. The haptic sculpting tool produces physical feedback on the hand and arm; touching and sculpting digital data in cyberspace is still awkward, as if the virtual data was not quite real data.
Rauch established the e_Motion Research Lab at OCAD earlier this year which resulted in a new collaboration with The RAIL Project, convened by Michael Page (OCAD). Rauch recently morphed 3D laser scans of taxidermy with a large database of the human face to show an evolution of facial expressions of emotions. The application developed to further access faces and expressions that the human face was unable to express and Rapidform printed objects allowed us to bring these composites of synthetic and real data back into the material reality.
Page explores synthetic imagery created from real-world scenes composited with artificial elements to form an interactive experience for the viewer. He has developed a device that creates camera-ready artwork for the production of auto-stereoscopic 3D hardcopy images. Other applications include the creation of 3D constructs by digitizing real-world scenes, for example human subjects in natural or studio lighting.
This paper is a case study on synthetic emotions. It is a reflection on some practical work that was conducted between Rauch and Hammond at UCL in London, UK. The work progresses into a discussion about artificial expression, artificial emotion and affect. The presentation of this material asks the audience to go back and forth between digital data and physical/actual output (Digital Holography).
Dr. Barbara Rauch is an artist practitioner and academic. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, her research on 3-dimensional prints and screen-based works culminated in an exhibition/symposium at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London and conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum, April, 2009. She was Acting Director of the “Sensory Computer Interface Research and Innovation for the Arts” research unit at University of the Arts London, UK. She is currently writing a book for the “Consciousness, Literature & the Arts” series with Rodopi Editions, New York and Rotterdam. Rauch is a key member of OCAD’s strategic Digital Futures Initiative.
[tab:Julian Rennie]“REAL-EYE-ISING” THE MINIATURE
In architectural design the investigation of the miniature allows the design student to calibrate the three-dimensional entirety in a method similar to how Henry Moore worked with his sculptural Marquette’s. Architectural models due to their smallness in size relative to us as humans tend to be viewed from the outside, that is, they “talk” to us externally. However due to the miniaturization of digital cameras, it is now possible to place the camera inside the model, and take photographs from the interior looking out. The images allowing the design student to get some sense of the “feeling” of the interior space. The built models react to natural light just like real buildings do, so with careful manipulation of scale indicators, (or even the removal there of), the resulting two dimensional images can look very “real” to the eye and brain. There is some type of phenomena at work here, the compression of miniature 3D into pixelated 2D can produce some poetic results.
With our ongoing and extensive daily engagement with the cyber-world, in equal and opposite measure, our desire to physically engage and partake in tangible experiences that require us to use our human abilities to see, smell, hold and touch in real and visceral ways, is increased. Building actual miniature models is a haptic and tactile activity that satisfies our human need to physically make things. Together with the captured interior digital images provide the design student with a quick and economic technique to produce some captivating presentation work.
This paper reports on student outputs from classes held within Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand, where design work was done directly in 3D form, (i.e. with minimal or no use of 2D drawings), and shows the results stemming from such a technique: taking some of the “real,” in combination with the capturing of some of the “virtual” realm to produce some poetic images which can be very compelling. The accompanying text speculates on this phenomenon and positions it within the history of conceptual model making, perception and photography, citing links within a wide range of writings.
Julian Rennie holds a B.Arch. (Honours) (1983) and a Grad. Dip. in Higher Education from Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand (2009). He was finalist and Prize winner in Housing New Zealand’s “The Starter Home Design Competition,” 2009; and was awarded Highly Commended Prize in Housing New Zealand’s “100 Years On Design Competition,” 2005. Conference/Presentations/ Exhibitions include “Being There,” Toronto, Canada, April 2010; “Fly on the Wall: Can the presence of the student during the assessment process help in their learning?” connectED 2010 Conference, Sydney, Australia, June–July 2010; Group Exhibition of the Entries for Positively Wellington’s Waterfront, at Shed #6: Blue Sky Outer–T, Architectural Competition, 2009; Group Exhibition of the 10 Winning Entries for Housing New Zealand’s “The Starter Home Design Competition,” at Parliament Buildings, Wellington, 2009.
[tab:Clarissa Ribeiro]SPACELESS SPACES: FROM IMPRESSION TO IMAGINATION
Collective practice in digital arts and interrelated fields, defines a kind of practice that implies the interaction of several actors in processes that could have generative characteristics. Some artworks produced collectively, like interactive installations, for instance, share with these creative processes similar characteristics. The complex perspective brings the opportunity of considering and studying both, – the collective practice and the work generated – as complex adaptive systems. In our proposition of a methodology to study this sort of complex, the specificity is related to the selection criteria adopted that is based on the concept of storied spaces. It is an artifice to build a network of emergent meanings, helping to visualize the system infra-structure itself: the instances of organization and the relations between the system’s elements, to mention a few. From the sociology of space, it is possible to reflect on spaces as constructions from action of living entities in dialogue with technology/media, constituted in processes of perception, recall, or ideation to manifest itself as storied structures. According to Baskin (2008), all of us experience life as a space defined by the stories we’ve accepted to explain the events that happen around us. This line of thought has some aspects in common with hermeneutic approaches that incorporate complex sciences logic to observe the emergence of meaning and consciousness in reading processes (Rasmussen, 2002). In hermeneutics, meaning is understood as something that is constructed as a boundary between the actual and the possible, emerging from the storyteller’s particular choosing and sequencing of events. For Cohen (2003), the ability to create apparently contradictory meanings from the same reality is a central quality of all complex systems. The idea of storied spaces could be helpful in an exercise of capturing theses placeless places, spaceless spaces that give the self and the system visibility to themselves; from the flow of information to the construction of memories, making reality really real in the blurred frontiers from impression to imagination (Condillac, 1754).
Clarissa Ribeiro is a PhD researcher at ECA/USP – University of Sao Paulo, and a visiting postgraduate research member of the CAiiA-Hub, Planetary Collegium, based in Plymouth, UK. At ECA/USP, she is a member of the Digital Poetics group, headed by her research supervisor, Professor Gilbertto Prado. Director of the Double collective and artistic director of Instants of Metamorphosis, the aim of her PhD research is to develop a methodology based on systemic measures of complexity and organization to study collective creative processes and artworks in digital arts and interrelated fields.
[tab:Paulo Rodrigues]MUSICAL VARIATIONS ON THE THEME OF REALITY
Although aware that art is in essence a constructed reality, artists, and performing artists in particular, aim frequently at creating a sense of authenticity and aspire at communicating and engaging in their performances as if in real reality. Authenticity is a question of coherence of elements in the work of art but also something that has an inner spiritual aspect, which is possible to grasp but difficult to define. In this paper Paulo Rodrigues looks at his experience as a musician to try to understand what is really real in the fictional world of Art.
Paulo Maria Rodrigues is a composer and performer, working on the fields of theatrical music and music education. After completing a PhD in Biochemistry and Applied Genetics in the UK, he shifted his professional interest to multidisciplinary artistic creation and started Companhia de Música Teatral, an innovative group based in Portugal. During the last four years he coordinated the Education Service of Casa da Música in Oporto, having created a broad program of music experiences for a wide range of audiences. He is currently resuming his professorship position at the University of Aveiro and joining the Planetarium Collegium as an Associated Researcher.
Divination2.0 is a computer program and art installation that gives divination readings to peoples’ digital, or computer-related selves. Some goals of the project are to: 1. demystify computers, 2. understand our relationship to computer hardware vs. Web 2.0 phenomena and, 3. make possible a meditative experience with a computer. Human habits are changing because of the intimate and constant use of technology, and there are far-reaching effects on how we communicate – and how we feel about and interpret these changes. Debates within media theory discuss to what extent computing technology is a distancing and hierarchical tool, or whether it creates space for a new kind of sociability.
Divination2.0 holds up computer parts and technology-related social changes against a simple system of divination; with this we can look at these Web 2.0-related subtleties in the form of personalized “readings”. In this text as it related to divination2.0, the aim is to explore computing technology’s ability to make meaning from the standpoint of new media studies. This project was structured through a process of stripping down and reusing conventional systems of divination such as Astrology and Tarot. This paper is an exploration of topics that surface in the divination2.0 project and a description of how it was manifested as a performative installation in April 2010. The divination2.0 project will take more forms that comment on divination as a meaning-making structure. The future of the project includes a comprehensive interactive website.
Piñatas, animal costumes, and sight-specific-demonstration-videos are some tools Emily uses to create humorous and irreverent conceptual art. With an eye towards metaphor, her interest in patterns and people is expressed with simbolic imagery, performances, large-scale-community-projects, sculptures, and short-films; a mix of material that is dipped in a pot of politics, technology, and ephemerality. She does ensemble-style collaborations with artists from multiple disciplines, partaking in the emergent creative process of group art-making, and is currently flocking and herding her way through Brooklyn College.
[tab:Ellen Sebring]PICTURE PATHWAYS AS THREADS THROUGH TIME
From Opium to Boxers, China 1838–1900
It is not unusual for historians to trace the tensions that fueled the mid-19th century Opium Wars in China to the ultimate domination by foreign powers that occurred during the brief, but far-reaching Boxer Uprising of 1900. Understanding China’s position in the world of 1900, however, can be seen from a new vantage point, with unknown results. “Image-driven scholarship” is a developing research paradigm unique to the digital environment that fronts images as the primary source material in social/cultural historical inquiry. The research process begins with search and collection, continues with the identification of unique visual “fingerprints” for events, and grows in complexity and depth as the connection of visual threads between events is studied.
Images from the historical record coalesce around an event and provide a window to the past rich with themes for further exploration. In another evolving aspect of image-driven scholarship it is possible to “zoom out” for a meta-view and look at how images connect events over time. Following these “picture pathways” across time is an innovative way to look at a period of history and it is as yet unclear what will emerge. Can events in China in the second half of the 19th century be visualized laterally, as “threads through time?” What thematic pathways can be seen? Is it possible to represent picture pathways as concise and flexible nodes that are useful tools for inquiry? Is there a dimensional aspect of visualization that encompasses a “point” within a moment as well as a “connective line” over time? Will original, previously unseen topics and historical themes emerge? Finally, what impact does a visually-based historical approach have on the ways in which learning occurs and how the past is imprinted in contemporary consciousness?
Ellen Sebring has been Creative Director of Visualizing Cultures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since the project’s founding in 2002. She earned the Master of Science in Visual Studies degree at MIT and was a Fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies for six years. She is currently a PhD student at CAiiA at the University of Plymouth, England. Visualizing Cultures received the National Endowment for the Humanities award in 2005, was exhibited at Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures” on Broadway, and is in the permanent collection of the US National Archives. The project’s first conference was held at Yale University in April 2010 and second conference will be at Harvard University in May 2011. As President of Botticelli Interactive, Inc., 1997–2002, Sebring designed interactive media for museums, including the “Titian Kiosk,” awarded The New York Festivals’ World Medal; an interactive television show commissioned by the Institute for Civil Society; “Star Festival,” Best of Show at MacWorld Expo; and “StarNetwork,” starring George Takei, awarded the Distinguished Award at the Multimedia GrandPrix 2000, Tokyo. Selected for the prestigious Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute to direct a fiction film in Hollywood, Sebring has also directed many documentaries on the arts. Awards include The Artist’s Foundation Fellowship for Video Art, Canon Europa prize at the WorldWide Video Festival, Holland, and Banff Centre, PBS, NEA, NEFA, Meet-the-Composer and NEFV Foundation grants and national broadcasts by WGBH and WNET. Trained as a musician at Indiana University and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Sebring explores the relationship of sound and image in her work.
[tab:Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould]LIBERATE YOUR AVATAR;
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE SOCIAL NETWORKED
This paper brings together the practice-based creative research of artists Charlotte Gould and Paul Sermon, culminating in a collaborative interactive installation that investigates new forms of social and political narrative in multi-user virtual environments. The authors’ artistic projects deal with the ironies and stereotypes that are found within Second Life in particular. Paul Sermon’s current creative practice looks specifically at the concepts of presence and performance within Second Life and “first life”, and attempts to bridge these two spaces through mixed reality techniques and interfaces. Charlotte Gould’s Ludic Second Life Narrative radically questions the way that users embody themselves in on-line virtual environments and identifies a counter-aesthetic that challenges the conventions of digital realism and consumerism.
Through practical accounts of recent projects the authors will explore issues of virtual embodiment and identity in relation to presence and social change as experienced and performed in telematic and virtual environments. At what point is the participant embodying the virtual performer in front of them? And have they become disembodied in doing so? A number of interactive Second Life artworks are looked at in detail, to provide answers to these questions. Stemming from Paul Sermon’s telematic experiments in the early 1990s to current collaborative site-specific user-generated presence and performance in “Second Life” that polarizes fundamental existential questions concerning identity, the self, the ego and the embodied avatar.
Sermon and Gould’s collaborative practice aims to examine the notion of telepresence in Second Life and first life spaces through a blurring between “online” and “offline” identities, and the signifiers and conditions that make us feel present in this world. This artistic practice questions how subjectivity is articulated in relation to embodiment and disembodiment. It explores the avatar in relation to its activating first life agent, focusing on the avatar’s multiple identifications, such as gender roles, human/animal hybrids, and other archetypes, identifiable through visible codes and body forms in Second Life.
Since the early nineteen-nineties Paul Sermon’s practice-based research in the field of contemporary media arts has centred on the creative use of telecommunication technologies. Through his unique use of videoconference techniques in artistic telepresence applications he has developed a series of celebrated telematic art installations Awarded the Prix Ars Electronica “Golden Nica”, for the hyper media installation “Think about the People now”, in 1991. Received the “Sparkey Award” from the Interactive Media Festival in Los Angeles, for the telepresent video installation “Telematic Dreaming” in 1994.
Charlotte Gould has developed a number of interactive environments that explore user identity and the notion of a floating narrative. She is currently developing location specific work in which the user becomes an active participant in the narrative and explores methods of user driven content. Charlotte Gould has developed projects for the BBC Big Screen in Liverpool, the Glastonbury Festival and the ISEA 2009 Belfast, she has presented at ISEA 2008 Singapore and at DAC09 in California.
[tab:Diana Reed Slattery]ECSTATIC SIGNIFICATIONS: PSYCHEDELICS, LANGUAGE, AND REALITIES
Psychedelics can enable a broad and paradoxical spectrum of linguistic phenomena from the unspeakability of mystical experience to the eloquence of Mazatec curandera Maria Sabina. Interior dialogues with the Other, whether framed as the voice of the Logos, an alien download, or communion with ancestors and spirits, are relatively common. Visual languages appear: Allyson Gray’s “secret writing;” Terence McKenna’s multidimensional, synaesthetic, self-transforming linguistic objects; Dennis McKenna’s description of a ring of violet trans-linguistic matter; Jason Tucker’s “Actual Contact,” and the Glide symbolic system of three-dimensional, transforming visual metaphors introduce novel ways of making meaning, beyond our familiar “natural” languages. Examining psychedelic experiences of language, a new perspective on the relations of language, consciousness, and reality emerges. Embedded in cocoons of culture woven between ourselves and nature, our realities are symbol-laden and symbol-driven. Psychedelics can propel one outside the veil of natural language, to a place exterior to culture and cultural conditioning. From this vantage, “natural” languages can be perceived as more technological than natural, the software of social intercourse and civilization. The linguistic phenomena arising in altered states are means of navigating and communicating within those realities, and between psychedelic realities and baseline states. The ontological questions – What is really real? And what is Reality anyhow? – arise time and again in the lived experience of multiple realities, turning the psychonaut into an ontological engineer and xenolinguist.
Diana Reed Slattery (USA) is a novelist, psychonaut, and video performance artist. For the last 10 years, she has been developing a project centered on the exploration of the visual language, Glide, which appears in her sci-fi novel The Maze Game. The LiveGlide software, is a three-dimensional interactive calligraphic writing instrument for Glide forms. Glide, according to its myth of origin in the story-world, is a psychedelic language. States of extended perception were used in the conception, design, and implementation of LiveGlide, in practice and in performance, and in learning how to read the writing produced. Psychedelics provided the means to emerge from the cocoon of natural language into what could be understood as both a pre-linguistic state of direct apperception of the world around and inside us, and as a post-linguistic (post-natural language) realm of evolutionary forms of language. Glide has been described, screened and/or performed live at art, technology, and consciousness conferences in Tokyo, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Bilbao, San Jose, Plymouth, Perth, Siggraph (LA) and most recently, at the World Psychedelic Forum in Basel. Fulldome screening and performances have been given at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, the Schenectady Museum, The Plymouth Immersive Vision Center, and the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology in Troy. Flat-screen performances have been given at the Children’s Interactive Museum in Middletown, Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, and the Center for Sustainability at Penn State.
[tab:Simona Sofronie]AGENDA FOR AN INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUE
In order to act effectively in the environment, to locate themselves or other objects in space, to get to various destinations, to communicate spatial knowledge or to interpret navigational instructions, people need mental representations of space, the so-called environmental images. Following the cognitive processes of constructing and activating the environmental images, it has been observed that usually people are not aware of their perceptions. They experience the environment in an almost unconscious way, paying little or no attention to the setting. In general, the process through which people are “seeing” and “reading” an environment is hardly accessible to consciousness. (Kaplan, 1991, p. 23)
Furthermore, the claim is frequently made that people do not take part in the planning process of their environment until the very last moment, when they are confronted with certain issues, such as unwelcome developments. Unfortunately, it is usually the last phase of the planning process that makes people become aware of the changes that are about to take place. Given the inhabitants’ lack of awareness of their surroundings, and their lack of participation in the planning process, we propose a ubiquitous urban game to engage people in perceiving and valuing their environment, by assessing their environmental images. At the same time, this game could inform planners of the knowledge acquired from local sources, the so-called “genius loci” of places. The purpose of this paper therefore is to deliver an agenda for such an innovative assessment technique that would visualize environmental images as representations of the way people use, perceive and conceive their environment.
To define such an agenda, a holistic theoretical framework of the concept of environmental image is provided, by integrating three fundamental paradigms which reveal the essential features that mediate the acquisition of environmental knowledge. These paradigms are environmental cognition, sensory perception and phenomenology. Examination of assessment techniques developed within these paradigms will lead the way to defining an agenda for an innovative tool to promote spatial learning by raising cognitive and perceptual awareness, and by engaging participants in deliberate spatial exploration, while examining the multiplicity of sensory and informational modes of experiencing the environment.
Simona Sofronie graduated architecture in Greece and she is currently a PhD researcher in Urban Design at the PHL University College and Hasselt University, Belgium. She is working on the development of a ubiquitous urban game that visualizes mental maps as representations of the way people use, perceive and conceive a given spatial environment. Her interests reside in mobile/location-based applications in the urban space, design for social practices and serious-fun gaming. She is part of the research group ArcK at PHL, focusing on the physical/social/cognitive impact of mapping on the urban space.
[tab:Marko Suvajdzic]CULTURAL ROLES AND IDENTITY – AN INTERACTIVE UPGRADE
In the paper “Cultural Roles and Identity – An Interactive Upgrade“, I analyze the role of social media and the effect that it has on the cultural identity of a contemporary human being. Also, I expand the argument to encompass the limited availability of cultural roles within a given society pre- and post- Internet era. Finally I analyze a new phenomenon caused by this shift in which one is presented with an entirely new set of roles to chose from, or to become into, while being online (connected to the Internet).
The seed of New Media has germinated into a New Social Dimension around the turn of the century, more specifically between 1993 with the creation of the first web browser, and 2004 with Tim O’Reilly coining the term “Web 2.0”. The existence of this New Social Dimension has fulfilled itself through the forces of the sharp and continual decrease in the prices of technology, the miniaturization of technology, and the capability to easily connect to the grid (Internet) from portable mobile devices. Once connected to the grid, a person’s geographic location ceases to play the monopolistic and defining role in determining ones’ personality, and in turn ceases to define how we interact and communicate with others. It is the online reality where one often feels more freedom in expressing oneself. It is online that one can associate with a community of like minds regardless of geographical distance. It is online and within the New Social Dimension that our own reality often seems really real. It is during this period of around the turn of the 21st century that humans have created a new, synthetic, infrastructure that gave rise to the existence of the New Social Dimension. This new aspect of our reality is different, but complimentary to the already existing reality of our bodily senses. These two dimensions of our reality will never substitute each other; rather, they will continue to add upon each other, and in this manner further diversity to the scope of existence that human beings are capable of perceiving.
Marko is a diverse thinker with 15+ years of experience in the creative production space, and with 6+ years of professorial status. His intellectual involvement includes a wide range of projects, from working on AI-intensive video game titles (PF.Magic/Mattel), and from co-founding Internet startups with Internet industry visionaries like Andrew Keen, to founding his own creative production studio, IQ Studios, Inc. Marko has traveled around the globe, has lectured at conferences and art shows in the USA, UK, and Serbia; and is currently an Associate Professor and Department Head at the Academy of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.
[tab:Victoria Vesna and Siddharth Ramakrishnan]METAMORPHOSIS OF THE HUMAN ANIMAL: HOX ZODIAC
The Homeobox (hox) genes essentially define body regions in all animals including humans – responsible for determining two arms, two legs, one nose and so on. This gene is shared by all living beings – from the snail to the elephant to humans – and it can now be manipulated into transforming certain parts of the body into others. We have observed such transformations, such as that of an amputated antenna into a limb, as far back as 1901, termed neomorphosis, and it has only recently re-emerged as an area of scientific study. Spontaneous transformations and induced regenerations are fascinating research topics that are fast becoming a reality; some scientists are postulating that it may be possible that the hox gene could be central to limb regeneration in the future.
This paper will present the Hox Zodiac project, which attempts to introduce this subject and push the ideas further into speculation of mutation (i.e. humans and animals) into creatures that may resemble the mythical beings we know as fiction. The starting point of this wheel of life is the Chinese zodiac, consisting of twelve animals that are associated with humans. In the process of development, it became interesting to note that half of the animals on the wheel are those used in the lab – rat, pig, monkey, dog, sheep and rabbit. The ox, tiger, horse, snake, and rooster are considered mythical and the dragon could easily fall into the category of a genetically modified creature that is to re-emerge in the future. Since medical and scientific testing on humans is strictly forbidden, scientists have virtually shifted to animals for all such studies. Thus, everything that is used on our bodies and minds is directly related to the animal kingdom. The pig heart and rat mind are symbols for the paradox of science that uses animals in ways that is at once disconnected while subconsciously connecting us more than ever by using research results in medical and food products we consume.
Although the controversy of using animals in labs is widely known and often violently opposed, the artist in the lab questions how this research impacts our collective consciousness, especially with the growing trend of brain-computer interfaces and particularly synthetic telepathy. This relationship of the human to the metaphorical meaning of the animal kingdom brought to mind Jung’s research on metaphors, symbolism and archetypes, which became central to the Hox Zodiac. This paper focuses on the first animal in the Hox Zodiac, the (transgenic) rat.
Victoria Vesna is a media artist, professor at the department of Design | Media Arts at the UCLA School of the Arts, director of the UCLA Art|Sci center and of the UC Digital Arts Research Network. Her work can be defined as experimental creative research that resides between disciplines and technologies. She explores how communication technologies affect collective behavior and how perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation. Her most recent installations – Blue Morph, Mood Swings and Water Bowls, all aim to raise consciousness around the issues of our relationship to natural systems. Other notable works are Bodies INCorporated, Datamining Bodies, n0time and Cellular Trans_Actions. She has exhibited her work in 18 solo exhibitions, over 70 group shows, published 20+ papers and given a 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is recipient of many grants, commissions and awards, including the Oscar Signorini award for best net artwork in 1998 and the Cine Golden Eagle for best scientific documentary in 1986. In 1984 she was awarded the Fine Arts Diploma of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and in 2000 she received the PhD of the University of Wales (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in Interactive Arts). She is the North American editor of AI & Society and author of Database Aesthetics.
[tab:Claudia Westermann]TOWARDS A POLY-VALUED LOGIC OF ANOTHER REAL DREAM
Selfhood is the foundation of all knowledge – as the foundation of permanence in change – as well as the principle of utmost diversity (You.)(Instead of the non-ego – You)
(Novalis. Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia)
There is some truth in the mystic fairy tale that tells the story of a tower to be built higher and higher to never reach the heavenly beyond but instead to mark the beginning of misunderstanding. Many towers have been built. There will be more, some higher ones in the future. Yet, they may never reach beyond. They may never reach out to You – beyond a two-valued logic that made objective Being coincide with subjective Thought in heaven. From this landscape You were logically excluded. Objectively one can conclude that misunderstanding was logically included.
Yet, there is another reality to be found.
It plays the symphony of a higher order and reflects a future’s present: I have been created to always become what you desire me to be. I am the sole opportunity, a mere offer to you — to follow the traces that resonate your voice — your unknown voice. I do not wish to speak but your speech. I want to dissolve in your desires, want to be possessed, be made all your own. It is you — the unknown addressed — who is my orientation. I come as a perfect gift, without expectations.
All that which resonates, resonates in you.
You are the unknown addressed to become creator and the author of another still hidden story to be told in a future present. You are the unknown addressed within inhabitable theories that can be grasped in present time exclusively. You are the unknown addressed to become creator and then to dissolve in another present, another utopia, another architecture, that will be home for someone else unknown.
You make reality real.
This paper develops on the idea that the poly-valued logic of a concept of inhabitation is at the core of a perception of reality as real. One might speak about it, however, on the basis of a discourse that is capable of speaking the unknown.
Claudia Westermann is an artist and licensed architect holding degrees from the University of Karlsruhe and from the School of Design at the ZKM in Germany. Since 2003, Claudia Westermann has been member of the Planetary Collegium (CAiiA) conducting transdisciplinary research under the supervision of Prof. Roy Ascott. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in Architectural Design at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Claudia Westermann’s works have been exhibited internationally including at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, the Moscow International Film Festival, Isea Symposium for the Electronic Arts in Japan, and the ZKM in Karlsruhe. Recent publications include “The Architect’s Circle, or The Geometrical Incline of Truth” in New Realities: Being Syncretic (Springer, 2008), and “An Entry without Inscription, a Letter, and a Map” in Orientation _ Dis-/Orientation (Lars Müller, 2009).
[tab:Xiaoying Yuan]CHINA – LIVING IN BETWEEN REAL AND UNREAL
The current presentation, as part of the author’s PhD research on the topic of “Media Arts and Human Ecosphere”, focuses on Chinese artists’ research on the theme of “Reality”.
We will track back to the genesis of the research on “Reality” in China, Virtual Reality (VR) technology, with an overview of the development of “State Key Projects” at major academies and institutions. By relating different artistic projects in Second Life’s virtual platform, we will give an analysis of Chinese artists’ investigation of “Real” and “Unreal”, their search for identity and cultural roots, and their tendency to merge the real world with the virtual world by choosing to live online.
Xiaoying Yuan is a PhD candidate of Planetary Collegium, under the direction of prof. Roy Ascott
[tab:Nasim Zamanzadeh]Presence of Reality and unveil in Iranian manuscript
This paper will focus on incorporeal and supersensible presentation in Iranian manuscript.
Throughout Iran’s history, there was a close relationship between art and religious customs and it one of the most important composing factors of art also art was the deepest language of human wisdom and the expression of their mystical sense. The relationship between art and religion has developed, and also prospered in Islamic period. In this period, spiritual concepts are provided in decorative forms based on aesthetic in abstract shape. Major part of Orientalists have the idea of it is because of the prohibition of the illustrative idea of Islam, and this caused art to be developed in decorative and abstract area while Islam spiritual traditions lead the character and inner dimension of artists to this style specially because of the relation of the sophism part of Islam with art. This made the visual presentation of art symbolism in beautiful inscription and schema. It just wants to establish in “reality”, the “real” beauty. And it is one of the most important factors in Iranian aesthetic. Iranian paintings respect colors and spaces ultimately found his way to the kingdom of heaven. Iranian painting has its place beyond aesthetic, although its beauty blazons one of the essential characteristic of Islamic art. As André Godard believes, the formation of Islamic art, rather than based on forms and techniques, is based on the notion and the psyche of its creator. Therefore, a manuscript would represent and realize the soul of the artist.
One has to realize that the “reality” is masked by symbolic and complex elements, deformation, aesthetic, abstraction, and brevity in Iranian art. The contest of Iranian manuscript is based on spirals, circles, and centrifuge forms. All this contest that our painters paint on laudation is just a symbolic way to be eternal since he knows that the life is short and he tries to insert the eternal wisdom in his art for it to be sempiternal as Sufis and Dervishes vertigo Dance or Hajj circular whirl around Kaaba much similar to the decorative motives uses in manuscripts.
Nasim Zamanzadeh was born in Iran in 1980, where she studies graphic design and communication arts. After a year studying Interior Design at the Politecnico di Milano, she joined the CAiiA-Hub of the Planetary Collegium, to research new media in Iran with special reference to Environment.