[-empyre-] blue skies

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Wed Aug 13 07:10:43 EST 2008

hello all:

thank for your the very interesting discussion so far this month.

I found Anna's response to Gabriel quite agreeable and to the point, I feel the same about online networking in regard to physical practices/performances  & interactions and  (as far as those are concerned) therefore would like to hear more conversation on -- not only local differences in a rapidly "deglobalizing" and re-empirialized world"  (just read the poignant editorials on Russia's current power action or reflect, for a moment, on the cultural interface created & choreographed by Zhang Yimou (director of the blockbuster "Hero") for the Olympic opening ritual) but differences in the "curating" or dissemination of various media/art/digital performance practices and their often collaborative organizational systems whether we call them labs or research centers or co-ops or media centres and museums. 

the examples reported are fascinating, whether Furtherfield or Sarah"s blue skies in Newcastle or Cine Falcatrua  or Gisela's new model.  
Now, Brad seems to think there is very little blue sky left....? and Anna may concur? not sure.   The bottom up energies and the social networking are strong, that is evident, at least in regions where censorship and government control can be circumvented or obstructed. 

the alignments between media arts and the university sector (or the fine arts or museum sectors ) are surely interesting to observe, as are the intrinsic or "internal"  discussions I sometimes read by practitioners or curators of a genre or niche such as video-dance who may (or may not) even be, as yet, discussing whether there is an art form or a media form such as videodance that can be defined, adequately collected, produced, curated, disseminated, critically contextualized and reviewed and placed/positioned within historical and cultural frameworks. 

The discussion here, as it started off, is very complex and I am still asking myself whether i understood what was meant by "cultural interface" (a term so vague and wide that it is almost not so useful?) ...... and what, Gabriel, does it mean when you argue that the same  "frameworks/ architectures/ facilities are being
used for production and consumption -- and that all that matters is the audience?   which audience?  where?  how and why does it gather?  

as a footnote, I am happy to report that my media lab (the bottomed up "Interaktionslabor") in the coal mine in a small region in southwest germany traveled this year and "took place" in Brasil (Belo Horizonte), and curiously i was asked to work in a huge proscencium theatre in a municipal park.  There were almost 200 workshop participants, when ordinarily, in my summer labs,  we have 15 or 20,  it was a dimension or scale I had not anticipated, and it took some re-organization.      we had one or two cameras, some lights, sound, some open source software,  2 laptops, one and then two projectors. some mics, and incredibly interesting people, young and old, participating with lot of creative energy and (most came from theatre and dance, circus and video, music and visual arts) many questions about what good the digital does.   The theatre, the park, the festival context all provided "institutional framing," or embedding, and the thinking of the digital (technology) also provides embedding.  But the physical and emotional work of exploration, in the interactions, was what mattered most, to most of us, i think, and on occasion we surely went (back?) to basics, what is light, what is a projection, how do we interact with a 2D image, what is an image?

And, incidentally, a role that was quite crucial in the work process was that of the translators who worked with us. 

This is also how i watched/consumed the Olympic opening ritutal,  it was translated for me,  on german TV,  by a commentator subtitling what the cameras selected for us, the overhead and wide angle shots, the military precision choreography,  and the close ups of the little girl who sang, and, it turned out, lip synched the song. 

with regards

Johannes Birringer
artistic director, Interaktionslabor

<>< Anna wrote>>

I also believe this may have to do with local issues...if you live in 
Australia, you have to travel - no questions about it. We just don't 
get the kind of works and festivals etc that go on in Latin America 
and/or Europe. We also have very expensive broadband. Having said 
that, travel is probably about to become impossible on a regular basis 
due to oil prices. On the other hand, it takes a lot of oil to sustain 
computing... I wouldn't be surprised if we all became a lot less 
globalised in years to come due to resource and energy issues. I don't 
think the 'digital network' is the answer to all this - it's actually 
part of the problem,>>

<< Gabriel wrote>>

That's interesting because, if we consider that the technologies are
collapsing (the same frameworks/ architetures/ facilities are being
use for production and consumption), the fact that some new forms of
audience can't be taken apart from techniques of creation (remixing,
for example) and that we are more and more interested in the aesthetic
dimension of (creative) processes, there should be not much difference
between the structure of a media art gallery and a media lab - since
both are spaces for postproduction (in the sense bourriaud employs
this term).

(I usually believe that the ideal model for a new media gallery is the
penny arcade, or the science fair, which are also places for

At Cine Falcatrua, for example, the only thing that takes the moment
of screening apart from the moments of setting things up is the social
protocol governing each specific situation. The same technologies,
people and space suddenly start acting differently, as if "movie
theater", "subtitling room" and "distribution central" (and
"videogame" =)) were just different circunstances ("modes") of the
same architetural apparatus, which could be shifted in seconds.

(which media lab would be complete without some random human
interactors the artists could test their experiments with? ^^)

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