[-empyre-] Introduction -James

Thank you Renate and Tim for the invitation to participate and thanks to the fellow participants this month.

I think Renate hit the nail on the head with her first sentence declaring an "interest in hypothetical boundaries or the space between interior/ exterior, psychic/social, and private/public has created interesting confusions in working with the immaterial of new media."

Much of this dwelling on the border or the space between states infers a displacement and a shifting of the dialectical terms and the viewer. Other ideas that come to mind when I consider our installation/media works are embodiment/displacement, biological/mechanical, singular/collaborative. The installation puts the viewer, and ourselves, in another space, narrative, practice - hopefully a more inquisitive space, often confusing.

This is the approach that I use as well as that of +parasite, although our materials and metaphors may differ. As architects (nearly all of +parasite's collaborators are architects or architecturally trained) we look for uses and histories of places (usually derelict, converted, marginal, or hidden) to inform our conceptual approach. We also examine physical attributes of a space to inform how the physical intervention occurs. These qualities combined with our own interest in technology (especially low-tech), the body(architectural and biological), and media (activation, represenstation and documentation) inform our practice(s).

Our interest in the parasite, heavily informed by Michel Serres, cuts across many of these considerations - how the installations physically attach to the place, how they occupy and relate to the space, and ultimately how they activate the space (a methodological approach rather than solely a biological metaphor, the recent work is more historical and geological.) Our goal is to disrupt passive use or awareness into one that is active - where a passerby becomes aware of some aspect of the space previously unnoticed or unconsidered. Many of our installations have sound or kinetic aspects - light sensitive metronomes and motion sensor-activated motors - and performance events with sound and video projections to activate the installation ans facilitate viewers' engagement with the work and to add an interactive layer. It's also a way for us to test possibilities that might occur in future installations.

Also, I think that our collaborative aspect brings a critical approach because not only are we making an installation but we are engaging each other along the way from discussing conceptual ideas to developing practical matters of construction. And collaboration brings diverse interests, skills and approaches together, plus making something with a group is just plain fun.

My recent interest has been in examining how to display and document installation/performances and their sites and how to fold this back into the installations.

To help kick off the conversation, how do others engage in the collaborative practice or the (im)materiality of their media?


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