[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 104, Issue 25

carol-ann braun carol-ann.braun at wanadoo.fr
Fri Jul 26 21:05:58 EST 2013

The ³entanglement² Hayles writes about is so complex and the technologies so
polymorphous that the term ³interactivity² (in its simplest form :
command-response...) is both too limited and too vague...

What other concept/term?  At the CUBE¹s ³Living Art Seminar², we¹re stuck on
the term ³living² (...which survives a French accent...but maybe not Spanish
or Chinese...) and evokes a relational, pragmatic (and mutually attentive?)
context. We¹re even into ³Living community management² :-)

How does the term strike those of you who are on the other side of the globe
? I¹ve been in France so long, I can no longer resist the funky terms that
keep popping up here.

On another note, artistic activity for me is....I¹m embarrassed to
admit...resistance to living, however mediated...But that¹s another


le  26/07/13 11:52  Simon Biggs  simon at littlepig.org.uk wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I want to pick up on Sue's comments about the ubiquity of, and entanglement of
> ourselves with, technology and Johannes' comment that interactivity is "over".
> I'm not sure what Johannes intends with this comment. I agree with Sue - that
> we live in a technologised environment and we are enmeshed within it. We are
> in a constant state of "interactive" alert with that environment - although
> perhaps, for many, this has become such a default condition we are unaware of
> it. Sue's concern with attentiveness suggests a practice intended to address
> this existential complacency.
> Katherine Hayles' recent work on what she terms technogenesis is relevant
> here. She argues that human evolution is not an entirely biological process
> but also social and, thus necessarily, technological. The relationship between
> language, tool making and social formation is the focus of her thinking,
> building on the work of Heidegger, Foucault, Latour and others. In her view we
> have been enmeshed in ubiquitous technology for as long as we have made tools
> and used language - it follows that being human is all about this entanglement
> as it is these characteristics that define us as a species.
> In this light I would argue that interactivity, in art and in life, is
> extremely relevant. In this context it might be considered the artist's role,
> at least in part, to facilitate the critical self-consciousness required to
> become aware of this condition. I assume this is what Sue means by
> attentiveness.
> Seeking to respond to Ruth's lament concerning the lack of politics at ISEA I
> would suggest that developing a critical self-consciousness is a political
> activity and, perhaps, a necessary step if one is to engage broader political
> agendas. Assange kicked off his keynote by insulting his audience. I can't
> remember exactly what he said, but it was to the effect that artists are
> self-absorbed a-political wankers (he definitely said "wankers"). I'm not
> going to try and defend artists against his attack, firstly because they don't
> need defending and secondly because Assange is right. Nevertheless, you are
> likely to find quite a few politically aware and committed people in the ISEA
> crowd - I know the scene well enough to know they are there and they
> purposefully choose to work in that context. This would seem to come back to
> the idea that the artist has an obligation to encourage self-awareness and
> awareness of context amongst those who encounter their work.
> Perhaps the lack of a sense of the political at ISEA was less a product of a
> lack of politics but of the fragmentation of the agendas being addressed in
> and around the event? ISEA addressed so many themes and sub-themes, seeking to
> respond to so many threads of current discourse and practice. This broad
> engagement and willingness to take on board so many concerns suggests an
> openness in the direction of ISEA, which we should welcome. However, perhaps
> future ISEAs need to be more focused, addressing specific questions, if a
> sense of urgency is to emerge from ISEA's activities. I suspect that even
> debating what such a focus might  be would generate significant heat.
> best
> Simon
> On 25 Jul 2013, at 20:23, Sue Hawksley <sue at articulateanimal.org.uk> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Dear Simon & all
>> Thanks for the invitation to join this discussion. I'd like to pick up on a
>> point made early on in the month's discussion by Christina Spiesel:
>>> On 4 Jul 2013, at 18:21, Christina Spiesel
>>> <christina.spiesel at yale.edu<mailto:christina.spiesel at yale.edu>> wrote:
>>> We are organisms in environments.  If we can't "see" those environments, we
>>> can't adapt for self-protection. If we wish to sustain our lives, we must be
>>> able to operate under changed signals from a changing environment ... So how
>>> we "attend" to what is there, I submit, is very important. And the capacity
>>> for play which is the science of children.
>> As a dance artist, I am interested in exploring how people shape and are
>> shaped by their environment. Immediately after the debate and activity of
>> ISEA (my first), I had the pleasure of spending time in residency at Bundanon
>> Trust, working with collaborators on the development of a new interactive
>> performance installation work. In the context of the beautiful setting of
>> Bundanon, it sometimes seemed at odds to be in a darkened studio, immersed in
>> projected image, learning to negotiate a highly mediated environment where
>> motion was tracked, voice captured, action augmented, space constrained.
>> The presence of technology was very apparent in the particular environment we
>> created in the studio, which at first glance seemed in total contrast to the
>> 'natural' environment outside and loaded with constraints on 'the performers'
>> 'freedom'  to move. But outside, one has to negotiate the technological
>> infrastructures of communications, transport, power, sanitation,
>> conservation. Operating in an environment like Bundanon requires opening and
>> closing of gates, driving with peripheral vision on high alert for kangaroos
>> (although the roos also adapt to traffic, and carefully stop-look-listen
>> before crossing the track!) taking care where one sits, avoiding
>> wombat-holes, being mindful of the river's currents It would be simplistic to
>> regard the different aspects of this experience as more, less or even
>> un-natural. In the installation system we were creating, I developed embodied
>> practices to nurture the performers' capacity to cope. these emphasised
>> attending to change, treading lightly, listening carefully and/or reacting
>> quickly.
>> I'm sharing this because it was such a great way for me, to put in to
>> practice and make sense of some of the ideas I heard at ISEA - in particular
>> concerning the ubiquity of technology, the impossibility of disentangling
>> ourselves from systems of mediation, and attentiveness to our changing
>> environment.
>> all the best, Sue
>> On 23 Jul 2013, at 03:00, <empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> <empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au> wrote:
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>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> Today's Topics:
>>>   1. empyre: Resistance is futile, ISEA, Sydney 2013 - week 4
>>>      (Simon Biggs)
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Message: 1
>>> Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:52:01 +0100
>>> From: Simon Biggs <simon at littlepig.org.uk>
>>> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>>> Subject: [-empyre-] empyre: Resistance is futile, ISEA, Sydney 2013 -
>>> week 4
>>> Message-ID: <96FAF381-6119-48A3-8486-1F1BB6F0F9FB at littlepig.org.uk>
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>>> Welcome to the fourth and final week of empyre's July 2013 discussion:
>>> Resistance is futile, ISEA Sydney, 2013
>>> Thank you to Garth Paine and Deborah Ely, who described their own activities
>>> at ISEA and considered those of others. Thanks to all those who responded
>>> and contributed to the debate. The focus during the week oscillated between
>>> themes concerning embodiment and place and how each can be mediated and
>>> affected as a creative and experiential site.
>>> Our guests during the final fourth week (July 22-28) of our discussion about
>>> ISEA are:
>>> Clea T. Waite (US/D) is a research artist-scholar and experimental filmmaker
>>> investigating the correspondences between art and science via somatic,
>>> cinematic works. Her films are realized using animation, immersion,
>>> stereoscopic imaging, structural montage and unique interfaces as well as
>>> one inter-species collaboration with several hundred spiders. She received
>>> her SB and SMVis degrees from the MIT Media Lab as a physicist and 3D
>>> computer graphics developer. She has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow,
>>> a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, and a fellow at the Academy of Media Arts
>>> Cologne. Her artworks have been exhibited and awarded internationally,
>>> notably the IBM Innovation Prize for Artistic Creation in Art and
>>> Technology. She is currently an Annenberg Fellow at the University of
>>> Southern California School of Cinematic Arts pursuing her PhD in Media Arts
>>> and Practice.
>>> Daniel C. Howe (HK/US) is an artist, hacker, writer, musician, and educator
>>> whose work focuses on networked systems for image, sound and text, and on
>>> the social and political implications of computational technologies. He has
>>> a PhD in computer science and an MFA in interactive media and digital
>>> literature. He currently lives in Hong Kong where he teaches at City
>>> University's School of Creative Media.
>>> Ruth Aylett (GB) has been working with intelligent graphical characters for
>>> more than ten years and, more recently, with social robots. She has led
>>> large EU projects (VICTEC, eCIRCUS, eCute) in this area and has helped
>>> develop affective architectures driving virtual drama systems such as
>>> FearNot!. She has more than 200 publications and leads the Autonomous
>>> Affective Agents group at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, where she is
>>> Professor of Computer Science.
>>> Sue Hawksley (UK) is a dance artist, bodywork therapist and artistic
>>> director of articulate animal, an interdisciplinary performance company
>>> which undertakes collaborative projects focused upon movement, identity and
>>> territory which have been presented internationally. She has previously
>>> performed with Rambert Dance Company, Mantis, Scottish Ballet and Philippe
>>> Genty among others, as well as on many freelance projects as performer,
>>> choreographer or educator. Sue holds a practice-led PhD from the University
>>> of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art. Her research critically examines
>>> concepts of embodiment through choreographic and somatic practices,
>>> philosophy, and mediation. She is Senior Lecturer in Dance at the University
>>> of Bedfordshire. Her URL ishttp://www/articulateanimal.org.uk
>>> Before proceeding to the final week's discussion we will again outline
>>> July's discussion, engaging the themes and activities underlying and
>>> emerging from this year's International Symposium of Electronic Arts, held
>>> in and around Sydney, Australia during June 2013. The primary theme for ISEA
>>> was "resistance is futile". How are we to interpret this? Resistance to
>>> what? The conference programme offered a positive take on this statement -
>>> proposing that the electronic arts have moved from the margins to occupy a
>>> central role in contemporary culture. But has this happened - and, if it
>>> has, is it generally the case or only so in certain contexts?
>>> Other themes were also apparent at ISEA. Important questions were asked
>>> about:
>>> - sustainability - how this can be achieved in relation to the environment
>>> but also how artists, arts groups, academics and activists might ensure
>>> their activities are sustainable as the processes of technologisation and
>>> globalisation unfold?
>>> - notions of the human - what does it mean to be human now, in the context
>>> of developments in genetics and ICT?
>>> - globalisation, diasporas and cultural identity?
>>> - the boundaries of the real - where virtual and augmented realities have
>>> become pervasive media?
>>> - the post-digital and its implications for aesthetics and questions of
>>> agency?
>>> - the challenges and opportunities associated with big data?
>>> - urbanism, activism and the socially disruptive potential of technology?
>>> Looking forward to another week's discussion...
>>> moderator:
>>> Simon Biggs
>>> simon at littlepig.org.uk
>>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk @SimonBiggsUK
>>> http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
>>> s.biggs at ed.ac.uk Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
>>> http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/edinburgh-college-art/school-of-art/
>>> staff/staff?person_id=182&cw_xml=profile.php
>>> http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/simon-biggs%285dfcaf34-56b1-4
>>> 452-9100-aaab96935e31%29.html
>>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/
>>> http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/  http://designinaction.com/
>>> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
>>> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php
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>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre mailing list
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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>>> End of empyre Digest, Vol 104, Issue 25
>>> ***************************************
>> Sue Hawksley
>> sue at articulateanimal.org.uk
>> http://www.articulateanimal.org.uk
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> Simon Biggs
> simon at littlepig.org.uk
> http://www.littlepig.org.uk @SimonBiggsUK http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
> s.biggs at ed.ac.uk Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
> http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/edinburgh-college-art/school-of-art/st
> aff/staff?person_id=182&cw_xml=profile.php
> http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/simon-biggs%285dfcaf34-56b1-445
> 2-9100-aaab96935e31%29.html
> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/
> http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/  http://designinaction.com/
> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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