[-empyre-] Introduction and Welcome to Viral Economies: Hactivating Design

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Wed Nov 4 15:57:23 EST 2009

November on -empyre- soft-skinned space: Viral Economies: Hactivating Design

Moderated by Renate Ferro (US) and Tim Murray (US via Taiwan) with invited
discussants  Dan Lichtman (UK), David Baumflek (US), Art Jones  (US),
Brooke Singer (US), Ricardo Dimenguez (US), Zach Blas (US), Machiko
Kusahar (Japan), Trebor Scholz (US)

Viral Economies: Hactivating Design
Welcome to our November, 2009 discussion and open forum on “Viral
Economies: Hactivating Design.  The impetus for this discussion is based
on a presentation that we gave this past Wednesday for the Institute for
Aesthetic Research at Exit Art, in New York City, on “Viral Seeding and
Social Media Marketing”.  This month we invite our guests and subscribers
world wide to critically engage the development by corporate designers and
programmers of viral communication and marketing tools.  Viral modes of
design activate social networking to amplify the commodity- based
economies. The use of viral video on YouTube, gaming, widgets, blogging,
and the internet engage subliminal tactics to seduce potential buyers into
extending soft marketing schemes among their social networks.

Many of these viral communication vehicles were developed initially by and
remain important to new media artists, political activists and hactivists
whose aims are political and playful. Among some of the questions we will
pose:  Are there ways in which we as artists, theorists and programmers
can resist marketing and consumerism through artistic critique and
technical activism?  What avenues are open to artists as designers in the
age of economic decline? How do we educate and sensitize our students of
new media art and programming to alternative modes of social production?
Can we encourage a form of hactivism, a de-signing or a return to the


Moderated by:
Renate Ferro (US) is a new media artist working in emerging technology and
culture. . She is the managing moderator for the new media listserv
-EMPYRE-soft-skinned space and the art/imaging editor of the journal
Diacritics published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. She teaches in
the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell Universityh
Technological Drive,” Panic Hits Home,” and “Mining Memory.”

Tim Murray is the Curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art,
and co-moderator of the -empyre- new media listserv, and co-curator of
CTHEORY MULTIMEDIA. He is is a Professor of Comparative Literature and
English, Timothy Murray is Director of the Society for the Humanities  at
Cornell University.  As a curator of new media art, and theorist of the
digital humanities and arts, he sits on the National Steering Committee of
HASTAC, and is currently working on a book, Immaterial Archives:
Curatorial Instabilities @ New Media Art, which is a sequel to Digital
Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds (Minnesota, 2008). His research
and teaching crosses the boundaries of new media, film and video, visual
studies, twentieth-century Continental philosophy, psychoanalysis,
critical theory, performance, and English and French early modern studies.

Featured Guests:
Daniel Lichtman (London) and David Baumflek (NYC)  Artists whose project
,The Institute for Aesthetic Research, is being held in conjunction with
Exit Art's exhibition, "America for Sale." The exhibit deals with
America’s spiraling national debt, struggling global economy, and the
ramifications of our extravagant spending.  The Institute of Aesthetic
Research asks how artists might advance and contribute to the critique of
the Neo-liberal system.

Zach Blas is an artist and theorist working at the intersections of
networked media, queerness, and the political. Zach is a PHD student in
Literature &Information Science + Information Studies at Duke University.
He holds an MFA from the design | media arts Department at the University
of California at Los Angeles, a post-baccalaureate certificate from the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Art and Technologies Studies
Department, and a Bachelor of Science from Boston University in film and

Brooke Singer
Brooke Singer is a digital media artist and curator. She is interested in
the effects of evolving, digital networks on experience in the physical,
lived-in world. Brooke has exhibited and lectured in the U.S. and
internationally, including at the Andy Warhol Museum; The Whitney Museum
of American Art; The Neuberger Museum of Art; The Banff Centre for the
Arts; Biennale de Montréal; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago;
Diverseworks, Houston; Exit Art, New York and Barcelona's Sonar 2006. She
is Assistant Professor of New Media at Purchase College, State University
of New York, and co-founder of the art, technology and activist group
Preemptive Media.  She and the Preemptive Media Collective were awarded
the prestigious Eyebeam Fellowship to produce a series of interactive and
performative works on air-quality monitoring. Singer’s work explores and
blurs the borders between science, technology, politics, and arts

Art Jones
Art Jones is an image/sound manipulator working with film, digital video,
and hybrid media. His films/videos, CD-ROMs, live audio/videomixes and
installations often concern the inter-relationships between popular music,
visual culture, history, and power. As a VJ he has performed with a
variety of musicians and artists, including Soundlab, DJ Spooky That
Subliminal Kid, DJ T-Ina, Amiri Baraka, Femmes with Fatal Breaks, and Alec
Empire and Phillip Virus. He has completed a trilogy of music videos and a
CD-ROM, and continues to perform at various locations in Chicago and New
York. He is from the Bronx and lives and works in and between Chicago and
New York.

Ricardo  Dominguez
Professor Ricardo Dominguez is principal  investigator at the California
Institute for  Telecommunications and Information Technology and  an
assistant professor for University of  California at San Diego's visual
arts department.  He has had extensive experience both  participating in
and investigating activism; he
created a program that allows an activist group to slow any Web site to a
halt by flooding it with requests, a form of protest known as a virtual
sit-in. Through this, Dominguez got the attention of the National Security
Agency. He is
currently developing a performance project on nanotechnology called
B.A.N.G. lab (Bits, Atoms, Neurons and Genes).

Trebor  Scholz
Trebor Scholz teaches in the Department of Culture and Media Studies at
Eugene Lang College  The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City. He
graduated from the Art Academy in Dresden (Germany), University College
London (UK), The Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, the
Hochschule für Kunst und Gestaltung in Zürich (Switzerland) and The
University of Plymouth (UK). Over the last two years, Scholz' work was
comprised of writing, teaching, and conference organization. Dr. Trebor
Scholz' research interests focus on social media, especially in education,
art, and media
activism (specifically outside the United States and Europe). His
artwork was shown at several Biennials and he has contributed numerous
book chapters and articles in the area of Internet Studies. Scholz
presented at many dozen conferences worldwide. In 2004, he founded the
Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC).

Machiko Kusahara is a scholar in media art, digital media culture and
media history who is a professor at Waseda University, Tokyo, and
currently a visiting scholar at the Art/Sci Center at UCLA.
She came into the field of digital media in early 1980s as a curator,
critic and theorist in computer graphics, co-curating and writing on
the SIGGRAPH Traveling Art Show in Tokyo in 1985. Since then she
curated, juried, organized and wrote internationally in digital art.
Currently Prof. Kusahara's major activities are on two related
fields: Device Art and Japanese history of visual entertainment from
the 19th century. During this academic year Prof. Kusahara will be
organizing "Gadget  OK!", a Device Art Symposium at UCLA.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Art
Cornell University, Tjaden Hall
Ithaca, NY  14853

Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
Website:  http://www.renateferro.net

Co-moderator of _empyre soft skinned space

Art Editor, diacritics

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