[-empyre-] rehearsal of a network - [week 1]

Shu Lea Cheang shulea at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 1 16:53:43 AEST 2018

On this sunny june 1 morning -

Thanks, renate, for inviting to me on -empyre- editorial board and for 
the introduction to this month's launch.

I have titled this month's topic  “rehearsal of a network” with a focus 
on network activation, network construct, networked activism, 
performance, leading towards some (un)imaginable scenarios for nets and 
nets. Taking Mycelium Network Society as a starting point, we hope to 
unfold this discussion on networks in four weeks -

June 1-8(week 1) – mycelium network society with network nodes' participants

June 9-15 (week 2) –   networked activism and performance

June 16-22 (week 3) –  post-Net network imagination

June 23-30 (week 4) – proposals for speculative, tangible networks


In the 80s in New York City,  I was part of Paper Tiger TV collective. 
By 1986, PPTV gave rise to Deep Dish TV network that takes on "creating 
and distributing politically radical independent videos that challenge 
the narratives of corporate media." For DDTV,  I have collaborated and 
co-produced 'Racism on the Mainstreet" for its premiere launch, followed 
by 'Will be Televised' (1990), a 5 part series of video documents from 
Asia. In my art works, I have worked with networked installation and 
performances, including Bowling alley (1995, Walker art center) which 
connects a bowling lane in Minneapolis to the gallery at Walker and WWW, 
then a fresh outpost; Brandon (1998-1999),  one year web narrative that 
networks actual and virtual - spaces, beings, genders and crimes. 
Working in collective modes, I co-founded several network initiative, 
including TAKE2030 (since 2003) which "operates in parallel net media 
scheme and shifts the social media mission into hypermedia playing 
fields", LaptopsRus.me (since 2009) which hosts "MEETING | REUNIÓN" 
inside an electronically updated boxing ring for networking woman live 

In the early 90s, i hitchhiked onto the superhighway, claiming my 
homesteading and squating the cyberspace. By the early 2000, we 
(co-curation with Armin Medosch and Yukiko Shikata) launched Kingdom of 
Piracy, an online, open work space to explore the free sharing of 
digital content - often condemned as piracy - as the net's ultimate art 
form. By then, i have located much of my work in the post-netcrash 
scenarios, i.e. Garlic=RichAir (2002-2003), in this public performance 
project, organic garlic was ordained as new social currency,  serving as 
"credito" for a global shared network.

[flash forward]

In 2017,  in association withStadtwerkstatt (Linz, Austria) and CycleX 
(Andes, New York),  we launched  “Mycelium Network Society” (MNS) 
(http://myceliumNS.net) at Ecologies excursion at transmediale 2017. 
Mycelium Network Societyimagines an underground network situated in a 
post-internet mudland. Powered by fungus, spores, culture, kitchen, 
radio, transmission, installations, workshops and performances, MNS 
departs from the pursuits of magic mushroom to charta state of 
hyper-hallucination and collective fungal consciousness. As an after 
nature’s network, MNS investigates the fungi culture,its network 
capacity to communicate and process information. MNS commands its own 
domain in human-disturbed forests - sprouting across the moisture of 
rich soils, expanding its colonies, sharing informations, networking 
co-habitants across borders. In our withered ecosphere, we seek out 
mycelium to lead us out of the ruins, to construct political tactics, to 
salvage economic meltdown, to persist in constant molecular 
communication a la mycelium mode. For years 2018-2020, we propose to 
branch out Mycelium Network Society a la franchise mode. Observing the 
concept of distributed network, we seek out art spaces/collectives/labs 
to participate as nodes, a node that grows and connects nodes globally. 
We set cycle1 of network cultivating for three years, from 2018 to 2020. 
On a giving day in 2020, we call for a global action with connected 
nodes, to release the collected spores into the stratosphere, letting 
them drift in blowing wind till they ground themselves in the new land 
where cycle ll begins. so far, we have these nodes signed on as part of 
Mycelium Network Society

APO-33 Nantes, France
furtherfield London, UK
Coalesce: Center for Bilogical Art, Buffalo, USA
Squeaky Wheel film and media art center, Buffalo, USA
The Santuary for Independent Media | Nature Lab Troy, USA
GENSPACE, New York City, USA
DIMENSION PLUS, Taipei, Taiwan
竹圍工作室|Bamboo curtain studio Taipei, Taiwan

With this week's discussion, we hope that more nodes will ADOPT 'MNS'.

I am grateful that most of these nodes' directors are joining us for 
[week 1] and also like to welcome a very special guest from Mexico, 
Adrian Guzman.

We begin.

Adrian Guzman (Mexico), Biohacker concentrated in Genomics and 
Epidemiology of Communication. Has been advisor of the Director General 
of Inecol, one of the 27 nationalpublic research centers in Mexico 
focused in Ecology and Agro-nanobiotechnology. Has been a visiting 
fellow at Wyss Institute in Harvard, Centre for Bio Inspired 
Engineering. With a BSc background in physics and artificial 
intelligence, a BSc in Telecommunications Engineering, a Master degree 
in Environmental Intelligence and Digital Architecture and a PhD in 
Social Representations and Communication (office of the future, 
anthropology of learning and cognition and food representations) his 
interests are broad and collective. As Gaston Guzman (+) deceased, 
collaborator. Helped to classify and update the most extensive 
collection database of fungi in Mexico. http://mushroomjohn.org/guzman1.htm

Franz Xaver(stadtwerkstatt, Linz, Aystria) has studied at the Academy of 
Applied Art, department of"Visual Communication" founded by Peter 
Weibel. Subsequently he wasteaching computer languages, audio-visual 
productions, electronics andelectrical technics at the same Academy 
until 1992.At the Technical University of Graz he was lecturing at the 
departure"Institut für Baukunst" "CommunicationTheory".He was 
participating in numerous exhibitions in Austria and abroad,including 
Ars Electronica, Aperto Biennale di Venezia, Triennale Milano,Bonn Kunst 
und Ausstellungshalle from Germany. He directs the two workspaces - 
Medienkunstlabor Kunsthaus Graz and STWST(Stadtwerkstatt) Linz.

Jenny Pickett (apo33, Nantes, France) is a British artist based in 
Nantes and member of the artists' collective APO33. Pickett’s 
workcrosses experimental music, visual and sound arts, regularly working 
in collaboration with Julien Ottavi and performing regularly with their 
duo Solar Return. She creates installations, sound sculptures and 
compositions, often ontological, philosophical or scientific, her 
subject is articulated around complex notions related to the slipping of 
times, cycles, identities and their memory.Pickett and Ottavi were 
artists in residence at EMS (Electronic Music Stockholm) in 2017 and she 
was awarded Lauréat prize for visual arts, Ville de Nantes 2016.Pickett 
teaches drawing and sound creation at École Nationale Supérieure 
d'Architecture de Nantes.http://apo33.org

Julien Ottavi (apo33, Nantes, France)- A mediactivist, 
artist-researcher, composer / musician, poet and tongues destroyer, 
experimental film maker and anarchitect, founder and member of Apo33, 
Julien Ottavi is involved in research and creative work, combining sound 
art, real-time video, new technologies and body performances. Since 
1997, he develops a composition work using voice and its transformation 
through computer. Active developer of audio/visual programs with 
Puredata, he has also developed since many years DIY electronics (radio 
transmitters, oscillators, mixers, amplifiers, video transmitters…etc) 
in the perspective of knowledge sharing on technological development. 
Main developer for the Gnu/Linux operating system APODIO for digital art 
and A/V & streaming diffusion. His practices is not limited to the art 
spheres but crosses different fields from technological development to 
philosophy / theoretical research, biomimetic analysis & 
experimentation. Since many years he reflects on the relations between 
experimental practices and collective practices within the creation of 
autonomous collective groups, putting in question the authorship 
strategy of the “art ideology”.

Ruth Catlow (furtherfield, London, UK) is an artist who works with 
emancipatory network cultures, practices and poetics. She is co-founder 
and artistic director, with Marc Garrett, of Furtherfield for arts, 
technology and social change. Furtherfield’s public exhibition and lab 
venues in the heart of Finsbury Park, London, provide a unique physical 
interface for free exhibitions, events and workshops and an online hub 
provides a forum for exchange and critical review. These spaces bring 
together diverse local cultures with thriving networks of international 
artists, technologists and activists. Recently published ‘Artists 
Re:thinking the Blockchain’ with Marc Garrett, Nathan Jones, and Sam 
Skinner 2017.

Marc Garrett (furtherfield, London, UK) is co-director and co-founder, 
with artist Ruth Catlow of the arts collective Furtherfield, in Finsbury 
Park, London. Has curated over 50 contemporary Media Arts exhibitions, 
projects nationally and internationally. Curated the renowned major 
exhibition Monsters of the Machine: Frankenstein in the 21st Century, at 
Laboral, Spain. Main editor of the Furtherfield web site. Written for 
various books and articles about art, technology and social change. 
Recently published ‘Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain’ with Ruth 
Catlow, Nathan Jones, and Sam Skinner 2017. Currently in the last year 
of Phd at the University of London, Birkbeck College.

Paul Vanouse (Coalesce: Center for Bilogical Art, Buffalo, USA) is a 
Professor of Art and Director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Art 
at the University at Buffalo. Interdisciplinarity and impassioned 
amateurism guide his art practice. His biological and interactive media 
projects have been exhibited in over 25 countries and widely across the 
US. His recent projects, “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision”, 
“Suspect Inversion Center” and “America Project” use molecular biology 
techniques to challenge “genome-hype” and to engage issues surrounding 
DNA fingerprinting, particularly the idea the most authoritative image 
of our time, the DNA fingerprint, is somehow natural.He has a BFA from 
the University at Buffalo and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Anna Scime (in association with Coalesce)is an internationally exhibited 
media artist, whose recent solo and group screenings and exhibitions 
include: Burchfield Penney Art Center (Buffalo), Berlin International 
Directors Lounge (Berlin), Centro Cultural Borges (Buenos Aires), 
Detroit Independent Film Festival (Detroit), FLORA ars+natura (Bogotá), 
Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film,and PS1 MoMA (NYC). Her documentary work 
has been broadcast nationally and published throughout the web on Free 
Speech TV, PhillyCAM and ArtGrease. She has received awards for her work 
including fellowships from ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes and 
The New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) among others.   She was 
very much part of the cultural ecosystem in Buffalo, serving as interim 
Executive Director at Squeaky Wheel (2015-2016), working with community 
arts nonprofits, like the Buffalo International Film Festival. She is 
also Lumiflux Media’s Executive Director, and since 2013 has worked to 
ensure that the organization sustainably stewards a dynamic roster of 
media productions.http://www.a--a.org/

Stephanie Rothenberg’s ((in association with Coalesce) interdisciplinary 
artworks make visible the physical and imaginary networks that create 
technological utopias. Moving between real and virtual spaces, she 
explores how new technologies mediate our everyday experiences and 
connect us to larger global systems. Her artworks that engage digital 
media, plant life and networks have been exhibited in venues including 
House of Electronic Arts (HeK), MASS MoCA, LABoral, Sundance Film 
Festival, Transmediale and ZKM. She is a recipient of numerous grants 
and awards including a Creative Capital. Residencies include the LMCC 
Workspace program, Eyebeam and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Her work is 
in the collection of the Whitney Museum and has been widely reviewed 
including Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail and Hyperallergic. Rothenberg 
received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is 
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department 
of Art at SUNY Buffalo. http://www.stephanierothenberg.com

Ekrem Serdar (Squeaky Wheel film and media art center, Buffalo, USA) is 
the curator for Squeaky Wheel, responsible for the organization’s 
exhibitions, public programming, and artist residencies. Previously, he 
was a programmer with Experimental Response Cinema (Austin, TX) which he 
co-founded. He is the recipient of a Curatorial Fellowship from the 
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2017), a SAHA Scholarship 
for the ICI Curatorial Intensive New Orleans (2017), and a Professional 
Development Fellowship from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar (2015). He 
is an advisory member of Experimental Response Cinema, and the FOL 
Cinema Society (Istanbul). His writing has appeared in /The Brooklyn 
Rail/, /Millennium Film Journal/, /5harfliler/, among others. He 
completed his B.A. in Critical Studies, and his M.F.A in Media Arts 
Production at the Department of Media Study at SUNY Buffalo. He is 
from Ankara, Turkey. http://squeaky.org

Kathy High (nature lab, Troy, USA) is an artist / educator who 
collaborates with scientists and others, and considers living 
systems, eco-empathy and animal sentience, and the social, political and 
ethical dilemmas of biotechnology and medical industries. She has 
received awards including Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and National 
Endowment for the Arts. High is Professor in Arts, and oversees a lab in 
Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer 
Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.  She is NATURE Lab coordinator with 
community media organization, The Sanctuary for Independent Media. She 
is Vivo Art resident at Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutic, 
DePaolo Lab, UofW, Seattle. https://www.mediasanctuary.org/
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