[-empyre-] Layers of ISEA2011: Corporate/Financial

Joseph Delappe delappe at unr.edu
Sun Sep 18 18:24:16 EST 2011


Hello all!
Simon, I hope to see you in Istanbul!  I leave tomorrow.

Fascinating exchange here regarding ISEA.  Istanbul has been fascinating.  ISEA a bit problematic for sure, from the security checkpoints to the blocked internet access onsite.  Unbelievable from my perspective - donated spaces or not absurd to hold such a gathering in what is essentially a censored corporate environment - perhaps there might have been a workshop the prior week to develop a hack to share with all attendees to break through the great Sabanci Center firewall?

There have been some great presentations although the physical location of the panels and paper presentations feel a bit more like small classrooms than proper spaces for true exchange - these rooms in the 2nd basement of the Sabanci are not set up for true panel presentations - there is literally no space for all the panelists to sit facing the attendees - as such, in the panels I've attended, and even on the panel I chaired ("If you See Something Say Something"http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/panel/say-something), the cramped space has tended to hinder the exchange and discussion.

I am perhaps less surprised by the security at the buildings having read prior to my visit to Istanbul of bombings as recently at 2010.  Each entry to the Biennial has the same metal detectors as the Sabanci center although not the xray scanners for bags.

I had a very interesting experience at the Istanbul Biennial that I would like to share.  We wandered through both of the exhibitions spaces - impressed by some of the works but immediately struck by the absence of any digital work and scant attention to even video art.  Most astounding though, was that we somehow missed the text statements at the two spaces until finally exiting the larger of the two buildings.  Honestly I was quite shocked upon reading that the theme of the biennial was to address "politics and art"?  Was I missing something?  Yes, there were some politically oriented work for certain - most impressively the display of found objects taken from blown up Palestinian homes, Marth Rosler's classic Vietnam Era montage work, Group Material and 1980's AIDS themed artifacts and a few others.  Mostly however, the show seemed to be full of work that was less than "political".  Am I missing something here?  If this exhibition represents the best of political art from Latin America and the Middle East we are in deep trouble!

Istanbul has been truly amazing however - a bit challenging to find the venues for the exhibitions - the map in the brochure for ISEA is rather useless to be frank. There is something to be said about distributing events throughout a given city but one of such immense proportions as Istanbul presents to serious challenges to visitors.  Nagoya ISEA provided a different model of centralized spaces just adjacent to the conference spaces.  Certainly more convenient while also creating a sense of a critical mass of events and energy.  This ISEA feels a bit dispersed on many levels.

Lastly, it was a very bad idea to schedule ISEA across two weeks?  There are so many academics from the US in particular who are now two, three weeks into our teaching schedules.  This weekend represents a departure of a huge portion of the attendees to ISEA and the arrival of a second group.  We cannot take two weeks off from our teaching duties to participate in such a conference!  Thus the organizers have essentially chosen to bifurcate ISEA.  Very frustrating as our $500+ conference fee seems a waste for being able to participate in roughly 1/2 of a conference.

All the best and hope everyone coming in this weekend or remaining for the full term of the conference h,
Joseph DeLappe
Professor
Digital Media Studio
Department of Art/224
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557
775-784-6624
delappe at unr.edu
http://www.delappe.net





More information about the empyre mailing list