[-empyre-] media architecture and cross-cultural influence

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Subject:  RE: [-empyre-] media architecture and cross-cultural influence
From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@brunel.ac.uk>
Thu, September 6, 2007 3:19 pm
To::"soft_skinned_space" <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>

Hi all:

Can the discussion perhaps address how some of the terms (which all have historical
resonances) are being used or understood, specifically, such as intervention or
I am especially interested in the emphasis that some of you (regarding spatial
practices as performative installations or interactive installations) seem to want
to give to the participants (audiences?, bikers, audio-tour enacters, visitors,
listeners), and I am not sure that a politically interesting artiticn concept of the
"user" of such installations is available.
Renate wrote:

Millie explains that " I attempt cultural transgression. I experiment
with the capacity of immaterial, non-visual elements (e.g. sound,
scent), of unexpected sites, and of social interaction, for
disrupting traditional definitions of art "  >>>

-- how does sound (privately listened to by a single visitor) become social
interaction?  what is transgressed?  what is smelled and what would that do?

and James explains that his collaborative work "infers a displacement and a shifting of the dialectical terms and the viewer."

--- this is also not clear to me. as there are echoes of situationist practices, or
Smithson's site/non site dialectic, but

There is an underlying language that adapts to the context. So it remains to
be seen how the transfer back to Japan affects my work or concept of space.

- it is not apparent how the "design" or "architecture: of, say, the project James
mentions was affecting the viewer in the border context (was the work shown in
Laredo? and if not, would anyone have been able to grasp where these sounds came
from? and if they could be "activiated" in the installation [this concerns the issue
of interactive emplacement of "meda" in an art show), what does this mean for the
tacit or non tacit assumptions people have in such situations? Unlike a concrete
site, which delivers such tacit understandings or agreements (say, behavior at a
border check point or a train station), how does an art installation deliver its
conventions of use?

Specifically, in "trans-border: primitive man @edge
of virtual forest / hyaku-take" we recorded the sound of a babbling brook
and the sound of 18-wheel semi-trucks going over a highway overpass as they
left the Laredo, TX border crossing station and brought them into the
gallery space on motion sensor triggers. One to make reference of the types
of border crossings, and two to complement the types of movement we had in
the space: the video projections, the gridded space, and the performance.

I am sorry that i raise some of these questions, but i am interested in finding out
how others feel about the a-political (i.e. useless) functionality of interactive
audio-visual digital media. Even audio tours (if i think of Janet Cardiff''s work or
other "tours" I've taken with headphones on my head) are not necessarily a
convincing spatial practice if one considers the assumption of "culturtal
transgression". I believe Millie's fascinating description warrants a lot of
debate, and i quote from her to conclude:

The mandate of PED
is to expand the parameters of performance by both invisibly
performing a service bureau and orchestrating participants to
unwittingly perform as they conspicuously ride through the city on the
talking-bicycles, disseminating information by broadcasting the
lectures. We propose that PED bicycles occupy utopian territory as a
viable form of public communication and democratic address.>>

Here the "user" is asked to perform an unwitting political/utopian action riding
conscicuous bikes?
After what happened, do you still think in these terms?

with regards

johannes birringer

-- Timothy Murray Professor of Comparative Literature and English Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library 285 Goldwin Smith Hall Cornell University Ithaca, New York 14853

office: 607-255-4086
e-mail: tcm1@cornell.edu

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