[-empyre-] September on -empyre- : Sites in Translation

dear -empyreans-,

The disaster of the failed levees in New Orleans leaves us in a state of 'shock and awe' but not of the kind
President Bush has in mind.

New Orleans, isolated in flood, floods the screens in images and sounds of suffering.

I hope this coming month we can sort out a site study, of the net in connection with landscapes that may or may not 're-enact the politics of physical geography'.

Please welcome our September 2005 guests --

Ricardo Miranda Zuniga, Mariam Ghani, Angel Nevarez, H. Lan Thao Lam and Lana Lin on

Sites in Translation

The artists write:

"In 2004, five artists and collaborative groups were commissioned to make
web-based projects for the latest edition of inSite, the binational
exhibition of site-specific work staged every few years along the San
Diego/Tijuana border. Having opened the final week of August, inSite's
first venture online raises a number of interesting questions for

Tijuana Calling," inSite_05’s first online commission:


Is the net a vast ‘no-man’s-land,’ a border-free zone contiguous to every place but specific to none? Or does the net re-enact the politics of physical geography, with its own border policies and politics of exclusion, recognition and reciprocity? Is it possible for new media artists to activate the net for the staging of projects responsible and responsive to communities that fall between legitimized power sectors, and if so how?

We would like to examine the role of the artist as translator, mediating
between points of origin and reception. We propose several approaches
toward understanding translation: physical place as re-articulated in
virtual space; linguistic translation proper; cross-cultural production;
and on-line transmission.

Below are a few more pertinent projects that may help generate discussion; we
would like to consider many more as the discussion grows:

"How Do You See the Disappeared?" a warm database that documents the disappearance produced on all sides of the immigration debate. <http://www.turbulence.org/Works/seethedisappeared/>

"Can you see us now? ¿Ya nos pueden ver?" documents a physical
exhibition by subRosa as an online presentation and in doing so extends
the amount of information available:

"On Translation: The Internet Project" takes a literal approach in
considering translation on the Internet as a spiral in effect:

"Fallout: A History of Upheaval, Nicaragua and Its Diaspora" presents an
open repository of personal perspectives concerning the embattled
history of Nicaragua.

Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Task of the Translator,” suggests that
translation is a way of coming to terms with the foreigness of
languages. How can we, as cultural producers, translate this mission to
the internet, and negotiate foreigness in resistance to what Michael
Cronin calls ‘clonialism’ or the spread of sameness?"

Please welcome the INSITE artists to -empyre- this month. We greatly appreciate their thoughtful participation.

-------------------------------->H. Lan Thao Lam is a bilingual artist/writer who has lived in Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and the US. Lam's work uses photography, sculpture, and installation to bring together the inter-relationships between place and history, architecture and philosophy. Lam has recently moved into time-based media through collaborative projects with Lana Lin.

"Wouldn't Martha Be Proud!" is a site-specific installation that resulted from my study of Santa Monica’s neighbourhoods, using the white picket fence to question the symbolic and iconic representation of the American Dream. In the installation, the fence provides a link between history and myth, private and public, longing and repulsion.

"Where does it go from here?" is a mixed media installation that documents incinerators contracted by the U.S. Navy at Camp Pendleton Naval Base to “process, recycle, and incinerate” the napalm bomb stockpile - a leftover from the Vietnam War. The project focuses on the United States’ military mechanism, its residual space and materials, and calls into question the military’s legacy, the shared and intersecting histories of the napalm bombs, the Vietnam War, and the Vietnamese’s migration to the U.S.

Lam is the recipient of the Canadian Council for the Arts Media Grant, H.L. Rous Sculpture Award, James Robertson Environmental Design Award and Owen W. Wilson Memorial Award.

--------------------------------->Lana Lin is a New York-based media artist who has interpreted histories
in different cultural contexts, raising questions about translation and the processes of identification. For No Power to Push Up the Sky (2001), she asked fifteen people to translate a controversial interview with student protest leader Chai Ling, conducted one week before the Tiananmen Square massacre, Beijing,1989. Multiple narratives,
conflicting positions, and overarching uncertainty demonstrate the complexities of locating meaning across language, culture, and politics. Josef Breuer’s psychoanalytic case study of Anna O. inspired everything is not the same, a web project commissioned by Immaterial Inc. and installed at Art-in-General, NY, 2000


A frustrating but revelatory transcript generated through speech recognition software highlights the way we modify our behavior to be recognized by systems at large, from social interactions to confrontations with technology.

Lin’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, China Taipei Film Archive, Taiwan, and the Festival de Femmes, Creteil, France. She has received awards
from the New York State Council on the Arts, the US Fulbright Foundation, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Since 2001, she has been collaborating with H. Lan Thao Lam.

---------------------------------->Ricardo Miranda Zuniga grew up between Nicaragua, and San Francisco.
Although his formal education has been within the borders of the United States, his personal perspectives and ideology have been molded by a bicultural reality, consisting of such polar elements as Disneyland and the Nicaraguan Leftist Revolutionary movement. A bicultural upbringing tied to a multidisciplinary education has lead to work that attempts to cultivate interaction with the viewer and may include performance, sculpture, video and audio, the Internet or a combination of all. The principle behind the work is communication as a creative process.
Over the last several years Ricardo has focused his explorations on the effects of globalization. Themes from urbanization and immigration are investigated through the lens of economics - in order to present a critical perspective of how economic realities formulate not only the world we live in, but more importantly the lives we lead. Ricardo is based in Brooklyn, NY and his online portfolio is available at:


Ricardo’s work has been exhibited at: inSite05 <http:// www.dentimundo.com/>, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC, the Whitney Museum's artport <http://artport.whitney.org/gatepages/ december03.shtml>, the Museu Da Imagem E Do Som, Sao Paulo, Brazil, The American Museum of the Moving Image, Queens, NY, the Bronx Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Yucatan, Mexico, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Ricardo's recent awards include Turbulence.org's Net Art Commission 2005 at
< http://www.turbulence.org/Works/fallout/>

--------------------------------------------------------> Angel Nevarez was born in Mexico City, 1970, and
raised in the United States. Nevarez studied biology at the University of California, San Diego and in
2001-2002 was a studio fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. A multidisciplinary artist,
he is co-founder of the artist collaborative neuroTransmitter, whose work fuses transmission and
conceptual art. neuroTransmitter has performed and exhibited works at The New Museum (New York, 2005),
Eyebeam (New York, 2005), The Drawing Center (New York, US, 2004); the Mutter Museum (Philadelphia, US,
2004); the Museu Da Imagem E Do Som (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2004); and the Musterraum (Munich, Germany, 2004). Alongside his collaborative work, Nevarez also produces video and photography projects that have been
exhibited at the 8th Biennial Festival, LA Freeways (Los Angeles, US, 2002); Sarah Lawrence College (New
York, US, 2002); The Bronx Museum of the Arts (New York, US, 2000); and the Lecture Lounge, PS1
Clocktower Gallery (New York, US, 2001). Nevarez currently lives and works in New York. <http://www.insite05.org/auxillary/tjcalling2.htm>

-----------------------------------------------------------> Mariam Ghani is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work in video, installation, new media, text and public dialogue performance investigates how history is constructed and reconstructed as narrative in the present, particularly in the border zones and political spaces of transition where past, present and future emerge as stories told in translation and counterpoint. Her recent projects include: net art commissions for Turbulence and artwurl; screenings at the Liverpool Biennial, the Danish Film Institute, the Dallas Video Festival, Futura in Prague, transmediale in Berlin, EMAP in Seoul, Smart Project Space in Amsterdam, Curtacinema in Rio de Janeiro, the New York Video Festival, and the Asia Society; site-specific installations at Eyebeam, White Box, PS122, the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum, and the new Arab American National Museum in Dearborn; texts for the Sarai Reader 05, Art in General, Samar, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; and interviews with RES, The Independent, Viralnet/ Reblog Journal, O Globo, and the BBC Persian World Service. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from NYU and an MFA from SVA, and currently teaches in the Art & Technology program at the Stevens Institute of Technology in NJ. She is also a Soros, NYFA, and Schloss Solitude Fellow, and has been an artist in residence at LMCC, Eyebeam Atelier, and Smack Mellon.

Active web projects:


Thanks, everyone and let's begin...



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