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simon at littlepig.org.uk
Tue Jun 4 06:29:40 EST 2013
Welcome to the June on -empyre-soft-skinned space: empyre moderators Renate Ferro (US), Timothy Murray (US), Simon Biggs (UK), and Patrick Lichty (US)
According to my records (probably inaccurate) I subscribed to empyre on February 10th 2003. I'm not one of the founders but an early member. I'm not sure how I came to join empyre. It's most likely I was invited by Melinda, who I knew through the media art grapevine. I was an experienced 'lister', in that I'd been a member of 7-11, alt-x, Fine Art Forum and others since the early to mid-1990's. It was an exciting time, with people experimenting with various forms of creative critical discourse platforms. It wasn't happy-clappy. Net-ettiqette was still in development so there were numerous flame-wars and list-bannings. These still happen, but far less. As social media have matured we seem to have been socialised. I am not sure which state of affairs I prefer but it seems to be the case that as users of social media have become normalised so the diversity and number of users has increased. For most people it seems a social scenario where the super-ego is in ascendance is preferable to the id-driven polymorphous anarchy of the net's early life.
To a degree empyre sustains that early culture. Many have migrated to blogs and corporate platforms such as facebook and Google+. What's interesting is that lists like empyre, Netbehaviour and others not only survive but remain vibrant communities. Five years ago I thought the listserv was destined to become an historical medium. It hasn't. Today Geert Lovink, in a private email, pointed me to a new platform tool called 'MOOT'. Its aim is to reinvent the listserv and discussion forum in a way that participants are empowered through the use of peer to peer protocols. This suggests there is new life in this format...
Next week I will be at ISEA in Sydney where I'm sure I will bump into many people from the media arts scene, some of whom I have known since the 1970's. It's always sobering to meet up with colleagues from long ago. You get a sense of how things have changed, how you have changed. It can be disturbing - but worth it. My oldest and best friends come from this community. My hope is to draw on ISEA for empyre's July theme, concerning resistance and its futility. Perhaps this is not an issue of resistance but conflict, an apparent precondition of the human. This is what we see around the world and social media does not function to ameliorate it - although it does mediate, with all the complexities that go with that. In this context listservs might be considered laboratories for understanding how these processes of mediation can function. For the anthropologically inclined they can make fascinating environments.
At ISEA I will be presenting recent work I've been doing with Sue Hawksley and Garth Paine - a performance project titled Bodytext. Details can be found here: http://www.littlepig.org.uk/installations/bodytext/index.htm
After ISEA Sue, Garth and I will be retreating to Bundanon, a place where artists can work uninterrupted in the natural beauty of coastal southern New South Wales, to develop our next project, titled Crosstalk. A month working in a well equipped dance studio in the middle of the Australian bush is very appealing. It's where I will be moderating the July empyre theme from - negotiating the narrow-band network connectivity of such a remote location. I'm looking forward to the contrast of undertaking concentrated and isolated artistic work and online global discussion at the same time. I hope they will energise one another.
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.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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