Re: [-empyre-] networked_performance 2 - (Locative Media Thread)

 Hi Brett:

Thanks for your long post. I did read through to the end and will again.
This is just a quick note to say that in fact the categories you mention --
> psychogeography,narrative space, interventions, happenings, network space,
>space as physical canvas, and mapping
all exist on the networked_performance blog.

Michelle's and my interest was in finding  categories that would include
most of the work on the blog -- the categories we chose, as I think we said,
are not fixed. And they  need to be considered permeable. Already many works
could be placed in more than one.

More later,


on 7/3/05 4:18 AM, Brett Stalbaum at wrote:

> It is hard to raise questions about anything adopting the meme "locative
> media" today, because it seems to have overwhelming memetic momentum
> behind it. It is in fact a term that I actively use, but I am also
> suspicious of it. (I hope to make a case for being a bit suspect as a
> healthy one...) So, that I bring this up in a discussion of networked
> performance may not be spot on; and I hope Helen and Michelle will
> forgive me as I struggle to pose this as a question re networked
> performance.
> As I read the short history, "Locative Media" got its traction, indeed
> maybe its coin, from a speculative essay by Drew Hemment to the nettime
> list on January 8th 2004. As he defines it, "[l]ocative media uses
> portable, networked, location aware computing devices for user-led
> mapping and artistic interventions in which geographical space becomes
> its canvas." 
> (
> In that essay, Hemment deals primarily with cell phones as the technical
> agent (the thing in the user's hand), and speculates about how artists
> might insert themselves in/against/with the emerging networks of
> surveillance that the handsets make possible given the handset's
> location awareness and the ability to report user location to the
> networks that enable the devices. But also looking in his definition,
> "networks" and "mapping" (which we can read as the data transport layer
> and the presentation layer) also appear. Read Drew's essay and you will
> discover that he also drills to the formal base and reason for existence
> of any digital media: data. "The mobile phone is carried on the body,
> and so connects the individual directly to ever proliferating databases,
> operating simultaneously as identifier and electronic tagging device: it
> is a wearable technology that places the Panoptic eye in your pocket and
> the body within the circuits of dataveillance." So from its coining, the
> panoptic politics of locative media were clearly foregrounded along with
> a fairly thorough formal perspective on the medium.
> Patrick Licthy (in Building a Culture of Ubiquity,
> has proposed a trajectory from
> Screen->Hand->Body->Space: "The infosphere is now a representational
> spectre, moving in real time, but the physical world is now the
> interface, creating tightly linked heterotopic spaces instead of
> multiple bodies." I think we can stretch this model out even further,
> add to it, (and oversimplify the IT layers a bit) to
> Database->Logic*->Transport**->Screen***->Hand->Body->Space****, and
> note that this is actually a circular flow diagram with Space connecting
> back to Database; the world and its model. I am tempted to add "Place"
> to Space, as in "...Space->Place->Database...", but indeed, Place is
> just one attribute of Space that can be modeled; it exists today in an
> interesting and imho conceptually generative double mirror between
> existence in space (the real) and existence in database (the hyperreal).
> (I have written a few essays on the importance of the Database to Space
> and Space to Database connection, and how they interoperate with place.
> I view this connection as critically important and too often ignored.
> One text is a 2K2 essay speculating how database and GIS might play out
> in artistic practice in the landscape...)
> So backing up a bit to "Locative Media", it has taken flight as an
> artworld meme with some or all, but not often more than, the following
> sub-components attached to it: (from Helen and Michelle) "urban areas...
> game[s]... city infrastructures... play spaces... geo-annotation
> projects...", as well as (off the top of my head) psychogeography,
> narrative space, interventions, happenings, network space, space as
> physical canvas, and mapping. (I like using "hotspot multimedia" as
> terminology for a lot of "locative media" work...)
> So, the reason for my suspicion is that these configurations of mimetic
> connotations that currently guide practice do not always holistically
> address the whole formal infrastructure. Very interesting things that
> happen at the strange and novel interface (or cycle) between database
> and space, (where the physical reality of space and the physical
> hyperreality of database intersect and mutually generate each the other,
> admittedly catalyzed by the speed contemporary network communications
> technologies), often ends up overlooked. (My colleague Geri Wittig has
> an interesting essay that expands this concept into fields of complexity
> theory and biology examined globally:
> So (at last) this is what I am trying to ask a question about. (Thank
> you to anyone reading this far for your patience...) Does what happened
> to "Locative Media" in its brief trajectory as an artworld meme contain
> a larger warning for the conceptual and critical models through which we
> approach networked performance? Shouldn't we be suspicious, (especially
> post net art), that "network" is still a privileged assumption re our
> critical model of locative media and "networked" performace? Or in any
> positioning of any of the *individual* "layers" that make up the whole,
> for that matter? And although my expertise as a theorist is not
> politics, (past tactical dabbles asside), don't we need to take a
> holistic view of all of the formal layers impinging upon performance
> (today) to develop a political analysis of performance (today)?
> (Applause to Hemment for his recognition of the data layer!)
> Ok, getting tired of myself... but...
> Let's try an experiment with "networked performance". Would any of the
> following be complete (in the current situation, moving forward), if
> left by themselves?
> Database Performance?
> Business Logic Performance?
> Presentation Layer Performance?
> Site-specific performance (the historical meme for Place performance...
> well explored...)
> Performance Art (Body... ditto above...)
> Hand performance (Puppets? Or what some of you may accuse me of doing in
> this post;-)
> Land art?
> Curious as to your thoughts.
> Cheers,
> Brett
> * Logic refers to "Business Logic" in program design.
> ** Transport of data - network - often missed in discussion of "network"
> is the fact and common usage of networks in distributed computational
> systems as, well, a bus. In other words, "network" in one sense merely
> connects the business or application layer logic (algorithms) on one
> system to the Presentation Layer (I/O) on another that happens to be
> somewhere else. There is no discrete computer. The more common way
> artists use "network" in under the rubric of computer mediated
> communication. I don't in any way discredit the importance of the
> latter, of course. But it is visible and well explored.
> *** Screen - a proxy here for Presentation Layer, which importantly is
> not merely an output device, as implied by "Screen". We could replace
> this with Human Computer Interaction (HCI), or just interaction, such
> that "Screen->Hand" (or perhaps with sound and haptics
> "Screen->Hand->Body") are specified as partial representative of aspects
> of the Presentation Layer.
> **** * ** ***
> ***** Maybe the terms "generative locative media" should be employed to
> separate locative media from the connotations of hotspot multimedia,
> mapping, geo-annotation, (in either the author-driven or
> collective-democratic forms of geo-annotation...), narrative, etc.
> Helen Thorington wrote:
>> Hello again. 
>> Surveying the blog we identify four areas of networked performance practice
>> which current work explores in various combinations. We have categorized
>> these as (1) telematic events, (2) locative media, (3) wearables, and (4)
>> active objects and responsive environments.
>> Telematics connect people to people or people to objects through a network,
>> such as telerobotics or haptics; locative media provide location aware
>> engagement; smart environments enable architecture and objects to respond to
>> environmental changes of state generated by occupants/inhabitants; and
>> wearables extend the body's senses through technological prosthesis.
>> We see lots of overlap and combinations in the works we survey, so these are
>> not to be considered rigid categories but an effort at broad representation.
>> We?re keenly interested in the commonalties across emergent art/technology
>> practice with attention to artist/audience/object/environment,
>> performativity and the open work.
>> To date this has been the most prolific, comprehensible/understandable area
>> of practice, encompassing the exploration of networked performance by the
>> traditional performing arts where new technologies are integrated into
>> existing forms (dance, music, theater). Examples of this would include the
>> musical performance. InteraXis with Jesse Gilbert, Mark Trayle and Wadada
>> Leo Smith and dance performances such as those created by AdaPT, an
>> interdisciplinary association of artists, technologists and scholars.
>> Others move us onto new terrain. Jeff Mann and Michelle Teran, for instance,
>> create performance events that explore new ways for computers to support
>> social experiences in the physical environment.  Their objective is not
>> performance for an audience but creating a shared experience in which
>> everyday social spaces become ½electronically activated play environments,
>> capable of transmitting the physical presence and social gestures that
>> compriseS?human interaction? across time and distance. No longer dependent on
>> the work-based screen and keyboard, in these environments ordinary goods and
>> wares - furniture, cutlery etc. - ½come to life as both kinetic art and
>> telecommunications interfaces?.
>> Locative media practice has exploded since the public availability of GPS
>> and its consequent inexpensive and ubiquitous availability in mobile
>> electronic devices. Some of this practice makes urban areas into game boards
>> and city infrastructures into play spaces. Blast Theory, a London-based
>> group, is renowned internationally for their contribution to this genre with
>> works that make a public space ?playable? by participants in the street and
>> online.
>> Others create ½geo-annotation projects.? This involves assigning geo-spatial
>> coordinates to media content so that it can be accessed at a specific
>> geographical location with an enabled device. While the ½true? location of
>> the content is a database, by making it possible to access that content from
>> a particular location, its place (so to speak) migrates into the physical
>> environment, making urban streets and the landscape ½programmable.? Urban
>> Tapestries and the Aware Platform are examples of this.  Both are
>> location-based wireless platforms that allow users to access, author and
>> share location-specific content (text, audio, pictures, and/or movies) - But
>> there are many more:  Yellow Arrow, Grafedia, MapHub, and, as Anne Galloway
>> says, ½ and oh, about a million others now.?
>> There are also projects specifically designed to enable communication and
>> shape transient networked communities. Yuri Gitman?s Magicbike turns common
>> bicycles into WiFi hotspots that broadcast free WiFi connectivity to their
>> proximity. And Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki?s
>> develops ad-hoc networks based around the haphazard and unpredictable
>> patterns of weather and crowd formation. The system consists of a set of
>> umbrellas as nodes that can spontaneously form a network when unfurled.
>> Wearable computing enlarges the use of computers to include wearing them on
>> ones bodyÐmuch as eyeglasses or clothing are wornÐand facilitates
>> interaction with the user, and between users, based on specific situations.
>> Fionnuala Conway and Katherine Moriwaki?s Urban Chameleon, for instance, is
>> comprised of three skirts: 1) ½Touch? changes visual properties upon
>> contact; 2) ½Speak? reacts to urban noise; and 3) ½Breathe? visualizes
>> pollution and urban exhaust as it travels through the garment.
>> Tina Gonsalves? Medulla Intimata is responsive video jewelry. The overall
>> function of the piece and its video content is to reflect the full character
>> and content of the wearer?s emotions and thus present a fuller living
>> portrait: the wearer as he/she is in unmediated interaction and the wearer
>> as he /she feels at that moment.
>> Increasingly, through ubiquitous/pervasive/ambient computing paradigms and
>> wireless sensing, artifacts, objects and physical space itself are being
>> charged with properties traditionally associated with living bodies.
>> In their recent Benches and Bins, Greyworld creates furniture that is able
>> to roam freely through the new public square in Cambridge, England and
>> respond to its surroundings and ambient movement.
>> _to_be_Unleashed.htm
>> While Chris Salter, in the environment-inhabitant interaction
>> Suspension/Threshold, focuses on the theme of thresholds or bardo (in
>> between) states, and creates a body responsive environment where the
>> aggregate breathing patterns of the collective audience/participants lighten
>> an otherwise dark environment.
>> Much of this work is conceived to provoke interaction between people, and
>> between people and their spaces. More than not it encourages people to be
>> performers within the work and thus to enable or realize the work. This
>> calls into question the accepted nature of performance and introduces a
>> shifting relationship between the artist, artwork and audience.
>> We locate this practice within an historical continuum (Kaprow?s
>> ½Happenings,? Galloway?s ½Electronic Café,? ½Experimental Art and Technology
>> (EAT),? the Situationists, Fluxus, etc.) and suggest that this trajectory is
>> redefining the performative as a socially networked, collaborative model for
>> artistic and cultural practice.
>> The overarching question, then. is:
>> ½How do we understand performance in relation to these new activities that
>> are between the existing and the developing, and what can we learn by
>> stretching our understanding of performance in light of these perspectives??
>> Other questions we are interested in include:
>> 1. How is performance changing in response to networked computing
>> technologies (mobile, satellite/GPS, internet)?
>> 2. What is the relationship of 'real-time' computing to liveness and
>> performativity?
>> 3. What is the relationship of agency and authorship to performativity? Is
>> performativity synonymous with being an actor, agent, or author? Is
>> ½performer? another label for the user/viewer/visitor/ of an interactive
>> work?
>> 4. As the use of the network becomes more social, adopting the peer-to-peer
>> model, what does this imply for performance and as performative?
>> 5. How are network processes (algorithmic, procedural rule-based systems,
>> generative) influencing or being investigated by performance?
>> 6. How are networked concepts as modes of communication (granularity, open
>> source, emergent behavior, affordance, latency, ubiquitous computing)
>> impacting performance?
>> -- Helen and Michelle
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum

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