Re: [-empyre-] LF:TK

Hello all:

Reading Michelle Teran¹s post, I began to think about value ? and how in
much of the work we have seen on the networked_performance blog value is
created during interactions between people.

There's a history here. Remember Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz and
³Hole in Space²? One of the classic art-telecommunication projects of all
time, it took place over a period of three evenings in  November 1980.

On the first evening, unsuspecting pedestrians walking past the Lincoln
Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, came face-to-face with
life-sized television images of unsuspecting pedestrians walking past  "The
Broadway" department store in Century City, Los Angeles. And visa versa.
There were no explanations.   3000 miles apart, they could see one another;
they could hear and they could speak with one another.

The second evening saw growing numbers of people populating the streets as
word-of-mouth and long distance telephone calls spread the word; on the
third ­as a result of television coverage the previous evening - there was a
mass migration of families and trans-continental loved ones to the two
locations, where they ² utilized the link ­ or frame -- provided by Galloway
and Rabinovitz, and gave it its content, and its meaning.² Many of those
present had not seen each other in 20 years.

This shift from artist as creator of content to artist as creator of a space
in which others (the public, friends and acquaintances)  produce content and
meaning, is profound. Something quietly, beautifully revolutionary is going
on -- more visible now than ever before (I don¹t know that for sure, but
I¹ll say it anyway) and visible certainly in works like those Michelle Teran
and Jeff Mann are creating.

-- Helen   

on 7/17/05 2:06 PM, at wrote:

> Dear Helen, Michelle, Chris, Sally, et al;
> Apologies to Helen for not writing sooner and sorry, but this is going to
> be a long one. Helen asked me to contribute to this discussion by talking
> about LiveForm:Telekinetics (LF:TK) a project carried out in collaboration
> with Canadian electro-kinetic artist Jeff Mann. LF:TK is an ongoing
> artistic proposition for networked realities that are embedded within
> everyday spaces. We examine social spaces, transforming physical spaces
> into connected environments, where communication between two physical
> spaces is mediated through ordinary objects such as furniture, cutlery,
> utensils, toys and bric-a-brac. As artists, we are not thinking about
> functional items, or objects of convenience, rather a more poetic
> reimagination towards the objects that we coexist with, looking at the
> surreal aspects of subverting an object's use and the social context in
> which it is placed and producing alternate 'psycho-social narratives'
> (Anthony Dunne) about our relationships to objects and how we inhabit
> space.
> Embodied gesture, food, body language, music, social ritual, preparation
> and the physical space are important ingredients in the creation of a
> shared experience. It is important for us to not only investigate/play
> with different physical interfaces, but understand how they actually
> function socially by staging live events which are more like social
> gatherings, like a picnic, dance or dinner party, than traditional
> performances. During these events, there are energy ebbs and flows as
> people fall in and out of interest, and alternate between being
> 'performer' or 'audience' member. (in an Erving Goffman sense)
> Our first 'pilot project', which took place in 2001/2002, involved several
> connections between Amsterdam and Toronto. Within a four month period Jeff
> and I worked collaboratively with 8 artists and technologists to create
> The Telematic Dinner, a table installation populated by sensored and
> kinetic wine glasses for signaling to each other, motor controlled wine
> bottle pourers, embedded screens containing a chat and video-mixing
> environment between the two spaces, and a hacked 'Billy Mouth Singing
> Bass' animatronic fish for mediating speech. During the final event 15
> people in Toronto and 15 in Amsterdam sat down together for 5 hours to
> share a meal. Although at first a strange and awkward situation for many
> of those involved, it was interesting to see how people adapted to this
> playfully absurd environment and started to really use the gadgets on the
> table. So it was not 30 people making a performance about a dinner, but 30
> people having dinner together, a social situation augmented with these
> technological interfaces.
> This was a good initial experiment for us, but perhaps too literal, both
> in our decision to use a dinner party as our interaction model, and also
> the functionality of the objects themselves which were directly linked to
> the social codes and gestures of a dinner situation, therefore making them
> still too 'rational'. A step for us was to start to look at the
> environment itself as a communication interface rather than a single
> object, which is how we relate to objects within everyday situations. If
> I'm in a cafe, it is not only the coffee cup that I'm using as a single,
> autonomous object, but how it is part of a complex network of people,
> objects, codes and gestures, that form that social environment. This was
> something that we wanted to develop further. Also, although we had used a
> familiar environment of a dinner table, the events themselves took place
> within a gallery setting. Therefore we also wanted to create an
> installation that could be moved around and placed within different
> real-world settings. In 2004, through funding provided by The Canada
> Council for the Arts and HGIS and within Waag Society's Connected!
> programme, we were able to explore this new terrain.
> Through the recent phase of the work we have started to think about
> everyday hybrid realities as anarchic, nomadic experiences,
> transgeographical, public interventions, or Telepresence Picnic Parties,
> taking place anywhere a network exists. These connections can take place
> within the same city or between cities. We are particularly interested in
> the wireless phenomenon and the subsequent structural change within the
> city. The proliferation of wireless access points makes any location,
> however insignificant (s.a an alleyway), fertile ground for a connection
> to take place. My network card and KisMac software has just logged 41 open
> and closed networks from where I am sitting in a studio in Toronto.
> For the installation that we created a collection of sensor controlled
> kinetic objects, each with a characteristic movement, emulating an
> embodied gesture, but a variety of non-verbal, body language with no
> immediate symbolic meaning, such as the way you move your hands while
> talking, or how your body moves when dancing. Each object is made up of
> two or more objects (s.a. cheese grater and scissors, colander and wine
> opener, bowl and straws) combined in such a way that their original
> function is eradicated and the resulting hybrid ?moves between the poles
> of kitsch and surrealism? (Anthony Dunne). Each object can either be
> played live, or movements recorded into it and played back, much like a
> jukebox.. The installation is meant to be played to music, so that the
> installation becomes a choreography of movement and gesture that people
> create together.
> During BEAP04, in Perth we attempted a couple of experimental linkups from
> public parks throughout the city. In December we held several events
> around public and private networks (café and home environments) throughout
> Montréal and Amsterdam. We would like to do more Telepresence Picnic
> Parties, in as many cities and sites as possible, making new friends and
> picnic partners along the way. People that are interested in participating
> in an event are also invited to participate in the preparation of it. In a
> workshop like setting, people are asked to help build objects, prepare
> food, and assemble the picnic that is then taken out into the city.
> Finally, documentation from past events, illustrated recipes and blog
> entries form part of our growing archive, a community cookbook for
> electronic picnics.
> I realize this is a bit of a monologue and I haven't really addressed some
> of the questions and comments posed so far. However, hopefully this
> posting can contribute in some way to the discussion.
> best
> Michelle Teran
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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