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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  February 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING February 2012

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Subject:

Re: Distribution after New Media - Feb/Mar Theme

From:

Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Marialaura Ghidini <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 20:46:48 +0000

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Dear List,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts so far. I am Marialaura, one of the current PhD students at CRUMB, co-hosting this theme with Beryl.

Picking up on Helen's last sentence "it's true that streaming technology is not new; what is new(ish) is evolving practices of real time interaction, participation & collaboration via the internet", this is what we are hoping to discuss with this theme, and also during the workshop of the 5th March; the real time interaction and what this might mean in relation to the positions of a curator/institution, artist and audience. The interest in this discussion has generated in relation to the rising phenomenon of curators, artists/curators and art organisations that are working with these issues, e.g. developing web-based or web-related platforms to produce projects using broadcasting technology, but also relying on the live experience of connection and 'being networked' offered by the Internet, be it in relation to all definition of practices from performing or visual arts.

It is very true to say that "there is nothing new about these communications and broadcast techniques" (see Johannes' post) - and we all know that the first broadcast experiment happened back in the 1968  (the Augmented Knowledge Workshop at The Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco) and many artistic projects in this area have been produced between then and now. But what is also up for discussion is that these techniques are very much used at the moment, and probably in a different way. Their use might have a different agenda than what happened before, and they might produce a difference in the relationship with an audience, and thus between the artist and strategies of production and display, the form of the work and the position of the viewer. It might not be innovative, but it is a fast-spreading phenomenon that I wish we could unpick a bit here with the aid of all the great contributors of this theme and the list.

For instance, in an earlier email dated 23 January 2012 Neal White mentioned the work of few artistic collectives working with real time interactions and online distribution - all based in the UK, mainly in London; artists that are not necessarily related to practices of live performance and whose practices deploy different strategies of broadcasting. Such as, Field Broadcast <http://www.fieldbroadcast.org/>, "a live broadcasting network/project/platform/contraption that enables artists to make artworks that forge a direct link between the place they are broadcasting from and their audience"; Lucky PDF <http://luckypdf.com/>, and their online TV programmes; Auto Italia Live <http://autoitaliasoutheast.org/projects/auto-italia-live-episode-3-c2c-p2p/>  the latter two being part of, in my view, a very specific contemporary aesthetics. But also other artists working through generating their own channels like Jeremy Bailey <http://jeremybailey.net/>,, and David Horvitz <http://davidhorvitz.com/blog/2011/06/creative-time-twitter-project.html>, who although does not use broadcast technology has often worked with real time interaction through setting up Twitter-based art projects that entailed a collaboration with an audience, which to me seems a new form of broadcast (?).
Alongside, there are a variety of art organisations currently developing web-based platforms, from artplayer.tv (the development of which is led by Roger Mckinley who will also be part of our workshop) to the Happenstance Project <http://happenstanceproject.com/> by Site Gallery in Sheffield, Lighthouse in Brighton and Spike Island in Bristol, that appear will offer new spaces (web spaces) for distribution, and also commission and production, of new works.
I might have opened this up too much. But I feel the variety of uses and definitions of online distribution in relation to liveness is a vast and varied territory, and thus need to be discussed and unpicked more to be understood and defined.

Kelani, thank you for proposing those interesting examples of using live streaming technology in relation to performance festival and artist/curator's talk.
Dwelling a bit on it, there are two points I find quite interesting for this discussion; one is when you point that it is when the technology becomes visible that a sense of communality (sharing an 'artistic'  experience together) is felt, and the other one is when you say that the live broadcast of the exhibition tour have "created perhaps a more intimate and meaningful 'tour' than even the live experience could have produced". Both these points imply a very different relationship between the viewer and the presented work/show. Does the moment of awareness of the technological tool makes the experience of commonality more real? In relation to the Auto Italia Live project I mentioned above, the project itself, which was based on the production of a fully working TV set, was divided into two in terms of his distribution: the whole production set was visible to the audience present in the gallery, whereas the live streaming of it was a very different experience for the audience online as the cameras were mostly cutting out the set and the audience in the space. I often wonder about the significance of this in terms of how to define/judge the work from an audience perspective, but also a curatorial one.
As for a more engaged audience when they are physically removed (see the curator's talk, or the artists' one), I am not sure what it does to our experience of going to a show and actually see it and the artworks, to me it seems too much related to the necessity of having everything documented and trying to push engagement as such and effectiveness rather that proposing new experience. I see your point about being able to see something that you would have otherwise missed.

Simon, it would be great to hear more about your project; for example, what are the challenges, or concerns, you are facing in relation to commissioning and displaying "live networked projects" in gallery spaces? And maybe, how do you see this in relation to the above points? Can these technologies that are now often considered 'old', or perhaps they are just mass-media, potentially be used in a different way to generate innovative approaches to distribution, and thus process of production - which seems is what you are doing with the new commissions side of it?

Very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts and following the discussion.
And please do fill in the many gaps in my list of curatorial and artistic practices in this area - historic and/or contemporary ones!

Very best,
Marialaura


On 24 Feb 2012, at 21:25, Johannes Birringer wrote:


dear all

I read Kelani's post with some interest, and tried to imagine the festival that is described;
and to  some extent I may have failed, but that is just perhaps a good starting point.

Low Lives Festival, you report, is a networked festival -- am i right in imagining
it to then take place entirely from laptop/computer to computer?  how do i imagine
it? or are there local sites - you mention "little berlin" in Philadelphia  where
performers perform in front of a physical crowd and the performance is live-streamed to 
a website? ...

I went to look for Little Berlin (the first google entry says: >>little berlin | an undefined exhibition space >> i thought that was promising) 

>> 
Low Lives 4 Philadelphia is an official Philly Tech Week Event !!
L I V E  P E R F O R M A N C E
In addition to streaming performances from international presenting partners, little berlin gallery will host a live performance on one day of the festival which will be streamed out to the network of participating spaces.
Artists:
Dunstan Matungwa (Tanzania)
Britney Leigh Hines (Philadelphia)
Marcel W. Foster (Philadelphia)>>>
>> 

so i am beginning to imagine it more.  
Your first question that you echo, and then respond to:

>> 
"What happens to ideas of the 'live',
over time?" (as you note below). One of the key components of the festival
is the sense of connection the networked spaces have  and thus the
attendees in those spaces also have  specifically as the festival moves
inbetween performances.>>
>> 

seems to take you to what happened in the local site, mostly.

>> 
The sense of 'live' performance is most present when someone has taken the
distributed stage for their piece, but as the festival is made up of a
series of very short performances that experience soon transforms into a
real-time 'intermission' as the collective stage shifts to a new location,
artists and presenters at that space inevitably fuss with technical setup,
and the 'live' event's progression of time somewhat collapses  there is an
opening up of a common 'space' that stretches across the globe.  I
understand the most intimate moments of the festival happen in those moves
in-between performances,
> .


Thus your reference to the live in quotation marks, is it concerning the in-betweenness
of people on local site waiting for/enjoying connectedness or to-be connectedness
-  with whom?  and what kind of connection are you positing?  Are you not also thinking
of the many that might sit in front of a screen somewhere, waiting?  is the live
relating to the producing/transmitting sites, or to the receivers?  would you distinguish
between performers and receivers, or are all involved telematically performing?

I think the "live" in quotation marks is perhaps less of a problem.  (over time after?) -
was not the question implying an after after the 5 minute or (how long are they) 3 minute
performance?   Is not the problem that we don't know what happened after it had
happened, and thus there is no after?


When I go to http://www.lowlives.net/index.php?/projects/low-lives-4/

i find a question mark in the space where a video might have played. 

I also don't associate video or YouTube with a livestream, necessarily; 

are the "festival" performances youtubed? and stored?  it seems so --
[http://www.lowlives.net/index.php?/performance/low-lives/]

Then if i can watch the videos next year, why would there be a temporal festival?
is the "festival" the producing agency?

And perhaps i write from a different place now
(as a choreographer), a place removed from the initial enthusiasm that some of us
had in 2000 and 2001,  when about six or seven dance studios around the US,
Europe and Brazil decided to "choreograph" or free-improvise together, and
we did it for about three or four, maybe five years, exploring networked performance
(we founded a collective called ADaPT: Association for Dance and Performance
Telematics) .... what an ambitious enterprise (inside research institutions),
and yet, how ephemeral.

ironically, in our low  case, the shelf life was relatively short (see my partners' 'ephemeral effort'
site: http://www.ephemeral-efforts.com/ADaPT.html) ; I soon after left OSU and had no more
base to conduct all the intricate and time consuming & maddening organizational logistics of such events;
here's a video ghost , ADAPT.mp4, from the past: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucNM0ax3Sik

I remember being very busy recording the live;
and later, even attending sessions with US delegates from some Washington think tank looking into "best practices" of how to
preserve "networked" and distributed dance /performance....... but I remember shrugging my shoulders, what was the point of recording the
streams of 7 different dance groups in seven remote sites, flowing together and being recomposited in real time right there and then by each 
contributing performances-site-group and thus you never really have an "output"  or a work as each site probably saw and experienced
something different and the audiences we began to invite to the sites, they
came to see dance and "networked choreography," so we had better be good
and that was hilarious too, since we had excellent dancers and fabulous cameras..... nothing much to worry, but
there was no clear aesthetic that had developed yet how to "compose" a joint live stream.  we tinkered,
and sometimes it looked just awful. there were four of five magical moments. 

i think we stopped in 2005 or 2006, at that point we had opened our practices
to anyone in the audience wanting to play along/perform along and thus the
"choreography" gave way to video game-like open structures.  Well, i stop here,
and would say,  there is nothing new, Kelani, about these communications and broadcast techniques, they are
actually ancient (since the 70s and 80s or so, not to mention the televisual history of broadcasting), 
and about "effectiveness,"  -- i think we'd have to argue over that one.

>> I believe there is something important about the 'newness' of streaming/technology in both of these examples 
that makes this work extremely effective at this point in time, but also feel certain this will continue to evolve as
incorporation of this collapsing of space and time becomes more ubiquitous in the context of fine art."
>> 

The current generation of collaborative social network streamer/producers surely might agree to some extent about
your optimism;  i find myself hesitating a lot to join that chorus. Especially about your claims of "collapsing space and time."

But i am sure there will be much discussion here on some of the claims, for example your notion of the collective? 

>> 
this collective waiting (though alone in one's own physical space)
embedded within a technology has the effect of creating a hyper-viewership that is at 
intimately tied to the technology which is host to the experience.>>

can you explain this further please, this angry intimacy of the lonely collective?


with regards

Johannes Birringer
director, DAP-Lab
London
http://www.brunel.ac.uk/dap

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