[-empyre-] PRNMS :stories and silences

dear Danny and -empyre-

thank you to everyone who has broken silences this month, although I too have felt that the silences have been eloquent and
valuable, so thanks to all who have refrained from writing as well.

regarding the Pacific Rim New Media Summit, ISEA San Jose, California

I was not able to attend all of the summit, only the last day when the incident described here occurred, so wanted to wait to write observations until others had a chance to do so.

I was invited as an observer, not a member of any of the working groups, as a representative for -empyre- so that there could be a post PRNMS discussion here online if possible.

During the month, I wrote back channel to (I hope all of, could've missed some) ) the committee chairs inviting them to share thoughts. As many were travelling post ISEA and it's summer in the North, it was a tough call. One committee had an impression that we were hosting a list serv for their internal discussions on how to proceed. Once it was explained that ours is a public forum, we still received accidental posts for several days. And then, I was quite overwhelmed with other work this month so I couldn't take time to work behind the scenes to encourage participation. Apologies for all this.

It is fascinating that there was so little interest in exposition and observation. Why not?

Explicitly the summit was by invitation only , the working groups membership the same, and larger community engagement limited to the reports on the subsequent Friday in the main conference schedule, for conference participants.

It does raise a question I 've pondered as an outsider to the ISEA world, does ISEA refer to its own mission primarily does it serve its own interests and that of its members, and/or does it see itself as having some public mission, perhaps beyond being an academic conference? The interface with Zero one and the joyous exuberance of so much new media art everywhere in San Jose suggests the latter. Yet the summit had a closed nature that has a complex etiology no doubt, one that is not clear to this observer.

For example, it seemed Implicitly there was a sealed envelope around queries re funding iniatives or lack for less flush with cash to attend ISEA and the summit.

I took a few notes that day, Tuesday August 8, especially after several anxious voices raised objections to the 'poetical' nature of Raq's essay, as not thought not to be sufficiently political.

Some notes on more positive exchanges follow, left them not fleshed out (as immaterial as the -empyrean-) as it was a challenge to just take down what I might have (mis)understood a bit of, listening. For whatever it's worth, at the risk of appearing to be a collective poeme concrete,

which if so and not in prose must needs be notpolitics. wouldn't Jonathan Swift agree?



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report on the working group Place, Ground and Culture (Danny Butt) and subsequent discussion, from Tuesday August

Protocols for material exchange with huge amounts of difficulties
Value and importance of fostering this discussion in diverse and specific contexts
Raise about spatialities and temporalities and also hospitality and justice.

Sally Jane Norman aptness with Lu ji’s long mrch keynote relationships between
International weavings of different cultural criteria refreshing input from
Rachael Raquena Ian Clothier ‘s hybrid identities
Deep and pretty strong questions (Gita) acute about representation within ISEA itself
Natalie Robertson local artists detached , reemerging

Amanda McDonald Crowley outcomes difficult enter into the discussion rush in try to interpret laying knowledge on top of someone else’s knowledge .. ….
Mark Barlett only looking at the outside edges … water.. islands oceania not a ‘rim’
Spatial metaphors are not trivial.
Roger Malina .. asymmetries, gaps ‘map of strong connections’ spatial vision
Danny our sea of islands ….. the Pacific as a continent…
Joel Slayton: Sensibility of the Pacific as a form of literature… to navigate those waters
The pacific summit itself as a space of transactions between the working groups, how knowledge could be shared between.
Monica: the insidious form of the parable to ask a set a questions ‘rim’ as a heuristic

Fiction about place / Californian frontier / south pacific bubble / Pacific rim highest densities of internet traffic
How can this fiction of location / this imaginary map that beset all map making exercises / how can we avoid an expression of mastery/ maps and maps / dead and live reckoning / encounter of two knowledge practices/ ethoi of information / how can the business of reckoning continue to remain alive /
Technology and host cultures / / repurposing

The island of the long wait  / / the cargo cult //
Obsolescence  // easter island  //

Monica ; Data and disaster go together in the futures market…
Skeletons and shit
What does the relentless mining of our cultural ancestery .. creates an ethos of plunder…
Not in a system of end use when codes or languages close off they hemorrhage

How can we cultivate the commons … is there a language for the reproduction of culture that can elides the question of property?
Marinovsky // heirlooms adding adds value digital cultural adage to the always available earlier version that can be added to . electronic piracy to shasre informal sociality that brings prestige to the sharers “pirates”.
Shubha Abundant reproduction How can we talk about the bridges of darkness from California .. like the filters that restrict internet content across the ocean.
Lost continents

The speed of loss is making all of us more fearful.. making us more polarized… joel
Shubha: New media community is extremely anxious about immortality. An affectionate sense of their own mortality . The next version is already upon us. Two grids of loss, of not knowing where to go and being bereft of all we have.
If what we lose can be found elsewhere then its’ possible to think of the net effect of cultural transaction as a type of homeostasis or at least attenuated entropy. The companies entrepreneurial culture is not interested in long term wealth (60 yr) interested in the next 6 hours/ 6 months… longer sense of lifespan over the pacific…
We are really talking about a visceral extremely physical frame for the discussion, and yet ai feel that there is an opposition to this live vital structure all that is being talked about in terms of social political economic sphere.. can we move back and consider this very real physical

Worked on a number of projects with groups in guatamala , Hawaii, language revitalization, elders were llos of language due to a variety of influences or other factors, the assumption was that partly by my group at apple that the new technologies would help revitalized the languages .
A language that doesn’t move too quickly to solutions… (DB)

Joel relationships that might continue on past this event.. maori / eat sleep talk together /

Amc: collaboration of new media work that engages in communities without imposing values? ?:
Steve Dietz: I am not ready to say , I don’t really know .. collaboration this issue of a common language and a language for difference / or even a common set of questions // engagement that does require time … a longer lifespan try to understand better

Julianne -- , ISEA may go annual again.. to promote a smaller symposium… big spectacle… might also want to respond to a smaller scale..

Sally Jane.. citing Gita for a deepoer and more complex usage.. building up different kinds of scales of networks
The logic and relevance for the ethics
Gita: it’s about scale… as events become bigger and bigger you have less and less today….

People don’t really get up to ask question …….s more inclusive smaller /// to inclusive of the local communities //
The issue of scale.. the metaphor of oceanic scales being together quite l large.. powerful imaginaries… how will it be used , howhat isw it useful for?
Metaphoric scaling… new thematics , terminologies, more contcrete and particular cxritical themes…..
How is there a critical focus..

Melinda outcomes not necessary.. we engage in some dialog// then the filters // safe harbours in the sea of the events.. no rigid set of //

ruth value / truth claim//


sara jane maori feat … beat the shit outt of the sun no one had time to do anything.. hero clubbed sun …

submarine sickness (joel) … immersed within a container it is very hard to step outside of ..

pacific rim as fiction ? term associated with the rise of east asia.. find a way to negotiate

finding some form of balance between different histories/ different counterfactualities /

region as a metaphor

metaphor of bridge …… incidental / undersea pipelines./ media cultures / in the asian regions surprising transactions occur// calendar art southern Madras/ Canton Chinese subject /

things that are not visible.. f

interrogate the kinds of expectations that the presence of technology and new technologies of communications we bring to our practices

Monica (raqs)

Why do we fear our own obsolescence

To reflect on one’s practice.. the politics sand the ramifications of what we do.. are as important as what we are doing.

Is to punture certainties.. that there is something that you can call the West.. which west/ whose west/ etc

To point to the irregularities s

Media cultures/ research initiatives that animate the question of invisible existing collaborations// and also to critique the myth of the emerging information superpower.

Curatorial initiatives

Important isea to explicity make a statement about the difficulties that artists have to travel … isea has leverage to advocate face to face contact re UNESCO re visas and philanthropic initiatives that don;’t neglect the global south …. Considered irrelevant

Censorship and control …. State organizations// aimed at the electronic sphere and the filters that are enabled by corporate practice (CISCo) complicity in censorship in th electronic domain.

Research about the nature of locality… reflection .. moment of reckoning.. unless there’s a common desire to do something

Idea of being together its not effective unless we agree that there is something specific we must do

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as postscript a few exasperations want venting:

maybe poetry is kinda sorta the thing that children and exotics use to express themselves instead of grown up "idealogy"?

what about the dearly beloved belief that there is someplace still 'outside' or beyond the West (probably way out there somewhere on the frontier of some rim or other............NZ??............Alice Springs..........? exurban Silicon Valley where it spills out past the marine climate and into the San Joaquin?).

can't we all stay in business if there's still some other there, or there?

Has the deployment of parables already gone out of fashion as a form of political polemic in new media culture ? (Ask the Yes Men).

Could it be that metaphors regarding transmission of new media 'information technologies' (read: values) might be heard among listeners outside the bubble as a bit deja vu............... resonant to tried and true evangelical techniques? ( cf "The Tailenders," a new film by Adele Horne http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/tailenders/ behind_interview. As with Tailenders,

"For me, this film is about the power of media as a tool to change people's beliefs and their cosmology. It's about the power of people as consumers of media. I don't think that people are just unwitting consumers, I think they use the media messages they receive strategically themselves." (Adele Horne)


On Aug 29, 2006, at 2:49 PM, Danny Butt wrote:

The most significant moment of the summit for me came at the end of the second day, following Raqs' presentation and associated discussion. A conflict emerged over the style of discourse occurring in the meeting; anxiety was expressed that while a certain kind of "poetic" language was valuable, it needed to be "recognisable" to others and to have more "political content". I think that some of those expressing this anxiety would probably look at the Pacific Parables in print and see that there was no shortage of political content, but perhaps it made visible the many types of "political" that we find in life.

The conversation made me feel very aware of the limited capacities we have to identify "the political", and also the limited scope of "the political" that is customary in English-speaking new media discourse. So, for example, the politics of who gets to attend new media events becomes less political than "war", or questions of language become less political than "the economy", and overall, people are more comfortable talking about something "political, out there" than the openness of their hearts and imaginations to other possibilities in front of them. So, for example, empyre this month (always one of the most enjoyable spaces for new media language diversity IMO) is filled with silences and unsayables, whereas the iDC list is alive with discussions about why there wasn't more work addressing the war. Personally, I can't imagine work a North American new media artist might create that would transform my view of the war - rather, it would probably function to guarantee my presence in a "radical context" where I know that the others with me oppose "war". Fine, but so what? I could have known that by looking at the registration list.

It feels more critical than ever to me to pull apart narrow shared understandings of the political and to narrate the politics of how we come to those understandings. These are, simply, our own stories, our ability to listen to the stories of others, to allow the stories of others to transform our own, and to understand the limits of our ability to tell, limits that are inextricable from the social/economic/cultural locations we inhabit. (And yes, those limits include the presence of violence and death, but whose deaths, from when? The geopolitics of significance seems unbalanced). If we're telling stories where the politics are worked out "in advance", where the political effectiveness of our gestures is somehow guaranteed, I think we're in a space which is unable to grow its imagination, and such a space will ultimately be hostile to the creation of art.



On 21/08/2006, at 3:11 PM, Danny Butt wrote:

I'll try and post something more evaluative about the Pacific Rim New Media summit later, when I leave the centre and get back to my part of the rim next week.

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