[-empyre-] Ken Fields / helen varley jamieson

helen varley jamieson helen at creative-catalyst.com
Tue Jan 19 21:58:57 AEDT 2016

hi everyone,
i'd like to reply to ken's question/lament at the end of his
introduction, but before i do that i'll give a quick introduction. i am
an empyre lurker since mostly i find i just don't have time to read &
respond to things; but i've been on this list since the very beginning &
enjoy being able to dip in when i can.

like ken i am working in networked performance (cyberformance), but at
the other end of the spectrum - low-tech d.i.y. open source etc.,
un[der]funded & in the back alleys some miles away from the ivory towers
;) my work often addresses environmental & political issues, such as
http://www.wehaveasituation.net/ & http://make-shift.net/. i'm one of
the founders of UpStage, an open source browser-based platform for
cyberformance (http://upstage.org.nz/) which must now be one of the
longest-running projects of its kind (since 2004). from 2007-2012 we
held annual festivals of cyberformance, involving hundreds of artists &
audiences around the world (http://upstage.org.nz/blog/?page_id=1958).
we released the third version of the software in 2014 & are now
investigating a complete rebuild of the platform.

i was also one of the organisers of the CyPosium in 2012, a one-day
online symposium about cyberformance; all of the presentations are
archived on the website, http://www.cyposium.net/, & after the event
annie abrahams & i co-edited "CyPosium - the book" (available from the
website, free pdf & ebook, p.o.d. hardcopy). i also do offline stuff,
including most recently http://unaussprechbarlich.tumblr.com/ with annie
abrahams, & in 2014 http://talesfromthetowpath.net/ &

as i said i'd like to respond to ken's comments at the end of his intro,
his lament that "there have been only a handful of network performance
practitioners". i'd say there's been more than a handful but i agree
that it there it seems like there c/should be more & that it's been
slower than other digital artforms to develop.

from my perspective i think there are a number of reasons for this,
- it's really hard. i often feel like i spend more time fighting with
technology than actually making the work, & it takes a kind stupid
determination to keep doing this for any length of time.
- a lot of artists have a go at one networked performance project, &
then move on/back to other things, either because it's too hard or it's
just not their cup of tea.
- my background is in theatre & i have observed quite a big reluctance
in the theatre world to embrace digital technology outside of the
lighting & sound box; i've encountered a suspiciousness about it & an
attitude that it's too far removed from The Body. this appears to be
unique to theatre people, as dancers, musicians & other kinds of
performers don't seem to have the same problem with it. but this
attitude is changing quite quickly now that the internet has infiltrated
daily life.
- experimental theatre is at the poorer end of all the arts, & to work
with technology requires resources; stuff can be done without money, but
not without time, & if you don't have at least a base level of money
then you tend not to have any time. & you need a lot of time for this
kind of work.

i'm sure there are other reasons as well but that's just off the top of
my head in between a number of things that are demanding my time ;)

as ken says networked artists need other peers/nodes to play with, & in
my experience it has not been difficult to find those people. i
recommend the CyPosium website & book as a good resource for anyone
interested in finding out about the communities that already exist, some
for a long time. particularly maria chatsichristodoulou's presentation
which gives a good historical summary of networked performance activity
over the last 20+ years. you can read the text, watch a recording & also
download the accompanying audience chat, here:

h : )

On 13/01/16 8:56 05AM, Kenneth Fields wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi, checkin in.
> I’ve been working on live networked performance - in high bandwidth
> scenarios 
> (research networks).
> The work takes a few directions: one, software development (Artsmesh)
> which
> manages complex audio/video/osc connections (polystreams) between
> multiple networked peers.
> We need to negotiate timezones, multiple divergent time delays -
> pushing up against 
> the medium of relativity itself, synced world clocks/metronomes and
> network probing tools. 
> I’ve been thinking of this in terms of Presence Engineering or Human
> Network 
> Interaction (HNI). HCI was a significant thing in early media arts, so
> why not HNI.
> Is 'the cloud’ the best we can do as metaphor; rather nebulous and
> opaque if you ask me -
> or even downright dishonest in convincing tenants to give up power,
> knowledge and agency.
> P2P and federated blogging systems (artsmesh.io <http://artsmesh.io>)
> are an important aspect of the environment I 
> want to work in, as well as IPV6 only environments - as I work in
> Beijing where IPV4 
> is totally useless.
> It strikes me that artists adapted to computers in the 80/90’s much
> more robustly, 
> differently from the way artists have taken to real-time networking -
> with little concern for the 
> blackbox of routing, terrain and protocols through and over which our
> presence signal proceeds. 
> The signal artist should be intentional about the integrity of the
> entire reach/processes (compression) 
> of their medium - video/audio/control stream . The medium - the signal
> itself - is the message.
> On the artistic side, I seem to be using real/tangible instrumentation
> again, rather than 
> controller type instruments, as
> immediacy/presence/embodiment/vibration is ironically foregrounded 
> in this medium of delayed signals. Every 0.ms counts. Time and
> presence is proximate/fore 
> again in the delayed/networked environment. Real time composition
> (improvisation) is
> fascinating again, after a period of having offloaded the capacity of
> memory and thinking to 
> the asynchronicity and large buffer sizes of offline editing. Liveness.
> The artist reads Bergson once again with new understanding and is
> reminded of the 
> critical moment of the Einstein/Bergson debate 100 years ago (Signal
> Science, Jimena Canales); 
> how physics finally claimed the authority of philosophy and how this
> has affected the
> very current trajectory of art/humanities in the service of science
> and the academy.
> Virtual reality stimulated a discourse in ontology and speculative
> reality (all object oriented);
> while network performance will likely do the same with regard to
> presence and time 
> (non object oriented).
> I'm mostly commenting here because I’m truly at a loss as to why it is
> such a slowly 
> evolving platform. Since when have artists been so reluctant to tackle
> such a ripe medium - 
> in a world that is otherwise so totally saturated in the network
> paradigm. 
> Stockbrokers/accountants are more critically savvy to networks than is
> today’s media artist. 
> Is it because the Facebook Website is such a satisfying/hypnotic
> platform? The fact is that 
> a network performance artist needs other peers/nodes to play with, and
> I am lamenting that 
> there have been only a handful of network performance practitioners.
> If artists are
> (non-conventionally) just waiting for it to be easy… that moment is
> already past. 
> You just have to dip into the UDP waters a bit.
> Ken
> Kenneth Fields, Ph.D.
> Professor Computer Music
> CEMC - China Electronic Music Center
> Central Conservatory of Music
> 43 BaoJia Street
> Beijing 100031 China,
> Email: ken at ccom.edu.cn <mailto:ken at ccom.edu.cn>
> http://syneme.ccom.edu.cn
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

helen varley jamieson
helen at creative-catalyst.com <mailto:helen at creative-catalyst.com>


/Unaussprechbarlich/, München, November-Dezember 2015

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