June 28, 2009
Subtle Technologies: Final thoughts

What follows are some final thoughts on the Subtle Technologies festival this year on the theme of Networks.

At the festival there was quite a lot of interesting art and research presented which clearly had some shared commonalities and connections. I’m not completely convinced however that these connections were perceived or interesting to all those who attended. This was nothing to do with the flow of presentations, performances and exhibition (or indeed the quality of any of these) however perhaps the structure could have been looser (time wise) to encourage more discussion identifying and developing thoughts on those connections. The tightly packed weekend definitely took it’s toll on presenters, particularly those who had flown long distances, and there was a sense that some simply came presented and left. Perhaps more panels / round table discussions (maybe one a day) similar to the one which took place on Saturday morning, which focused in on particular interpretations of networked performances and seemed to reveal more about the artists work motivations, would have held presenters on site and helped to thematically round off the day.

For me presenting was slightly frustrating however attending was without doubt very beneficial. For my ‘angle’ on networks it was interesting to see two other presenters, Eyal Sivan and Katja Mayer, with different backgrounds and objectives discuss networks and attempt to visualise them to form an understanding of their transformative properties. Usually when computer science forms visualisations of networks they tend to be structures with nodes and links, free from any definitive form, flexible to adapt (e.g. Paul Barans On Distributed Communications, 1. Introduction to Distributed Communications Networks) and this is a useful way of thinking of them but is often too large to initially understand or transfer to anything as an approach to working. The continual recurrence of a triangle or triad of connected points in presentations was a surprise to me and while this appeared in Eyal’s presentation primarily as a representation of the older structures it is clear even here that the older structures are embedded within the newer, notice the four wedge shapes which form his representation of the connective.

Above: Eyal Sivan network change which reflects societies move from hierarchical to distributed structures.

Above: Katja Mayer’s ideas on the tipping point of networks where three ‘nodes’ become significantly more valuable than two.

Above: My attempt to form a ‘theory’ of interactivity in new media art as being a network within larger networks of artistic practice and culture (think fractals and how the part is no less important than the whole). More details here.

If your still interested in reading more about the Subtle Technologies festival another presenter is currently still posting about the festival on the Noema n.blog.

Posted by: Garrett @ 2:38 pm
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June 14, 2009
Subtle Technologies: Networks day 3 symposium

A report of some of day 3 presentations which particularly interested me at the Subtle Technologies Festival: Networks.

Eyal Sivan (image above and below) gave a fascinating talk about what he terms the Connective which indicates that:

global culture is shifting from rigid hierarchical structures – collectives – to more dynamic and flexible structures – connectives…A connective refers to a distributed network made up of voluntary participants, organized around a specific interest or context, with each member seeking to achieve an individual goal. This new structure is neither individualistic nor socialist. It is something that is an intricate mixture of the two; a third way. Rather than trying to capture and freeze absolutes, connectives bend and flex, and acknowledge that the world around them bends and flexes as well.

Alan Sondheim (image above) presented his work, performance and installation in Second Life (images below) in general. Much of his presentation focused on pushing Second Life to the limits, exploring limits of movement, density etc.

Julien Ottavi presented his collaborative work BOT: virtual networked lab (images above and below) and the possibilities of using audio and networks.

More photos of the presentations here on Flickr.

Posted by: Garrett @ 7:13 pm
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June 13, 2009
Subtle Technologies: Networks day 2 exhibition

The Transmute exhibition at Subtle Technologies: Networks opened tonight showing Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott’s work No Matter (image above of the Timemachine and below of the Maltese Falcon) and Lynne Heller performing Dancing with Myself (image below). Both works were very interesting but I particularly liked the humor involved in No Matter. It would be nice to see these make it to a cut-out catalog for the show where the models can be remade.

More photos of the exhibition here on Flickr.

Posted by: Garrett @ 8:43 pm
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Subtle Technologies: Networks day 2 symposium

A report of some of day 2 presentations which particularly interested me at the Subtle Technologies Festival: Networks.

The day started with a Panel discussion about last nights ‘networked’ performances, several of which used Second Life so focus was on this and it’s use for performance. The panel included Alan Sondheim (second from left) and Scott Kildall (third from left).

Ian Graham spoke about a 200 year history of the internet starting with a system of towers built in France in the 18th century which relayed messages from tower to tower over long distances (image above). I seem to remember a roman system employing fire semaphore on hilltops which worked along similar principles.

Ryan Stec presented (image above) the work of Artengine:

a non-profit, artist-run centre that fosters democratic and innovative approaches to electronic art and its evolving relationship with society.

Based in Ottawa, Artengine is primarily interested in net.art however supports artists from other disciplines who wish to engage with new media.

Lynne Heller (image above) spoke about a number of her works but focused on several performances and installations in Second Life (image below) as a build up for her performance at Transmute this evening.

Scott and Victoria Kildall gave a introduction to Second Life and then went on to discuss their work No Matter (images above and below) which involves the creation of ‘real’ world imaginary objects (think pot of gold or wheel of fortune) within the ‘virtual’ space. The work will also be shown tonight at the Transmute exhibition.

More photos of the presentations here on Flickr.

Posted by: Garrett @ 4:19 pm
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June 12, 2009
Subtle Technologies: Networks day 1 performances

Some of day 1 performances which particularly interested me at the Subtle Technologies Festival: Networks.

Alan Sondheim performing Mess (image above).

Jeremy Bailey performing War Mail (image above).

Second Front (Scott Kildall, Patrick Lichty, Yael Gilks, Bibbe Hansen, Doug Jarvis and Liz Solo) performing Red, White and Blue Dawn (images above).

More photos of the performances here on Flickr. Apologies for the poor quality, combination of phone and poor light.

Posted by: Garrett @ 9:56 pm
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