#058 Oct 1997

INL#58, October 1997

                ISEA,  P.O. Box 508, Succ. Desjardins,
                Montreal (Qc), H5B 1B6, CANADA

                Phone: (514) 281-6543, Fax: (514) 281-6728
                Email: isea@sat.qc.ca
                URL: http://www.sat.qc.ca/isea

ISEA Board Members: Peter Beyls, Janice Cheddie, Amanda McDonald Crowley,
Tapio Makela, Alain Mongeau, Simon Penny, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Patricia Search,
Wim van der Plas.
Ex-officio Board members: Shawn Decker (ISEA97), John Hyatt (ISEA98), John 
Brady (ISEA98)
To subscribe, send a message to:
listproc@uqam.ca, no subject,  with the message in the body:
"subscribe ISEA-forum first name last name"
                        * CONTENTS *

Check out the digital version of the Newsletter on our Web site

by Alain Mongeau

Another ISEA symposium is over.  It is still too early to draw conclusions on
its impact.  One thing is certain:  the ISEA97 team did a wonderful job in 
holding it all together, and it appears that the attendance was the highest
ever for an ISEA. Thanks for the hard work!
In the next newsletter, we'd like to present some feedback on ISEA97.  Send
us your impressions on the event.  Personally, I must admit I was too busy
with ISEA Board matters to fully immerse myself in the experience offered by
the symposium. So my perception remains more peripheral.  I know that some
participants felt a sense of dispersion, probably because Chicago is such
a large city, perhaps also because the social aspects of the symposium rested
on random exchanges as occasions for discussions were not built into the
format of the conference.  But the quality of the people attending the 
symposium was high, showing again that there is a need for an event of this
type. There is however a growing criticism regarding the purpose and the
format of the conference.  ISEA will need to address that this year.
The ISEA HQ presence in Chicago was underlined by a "WebCast" project.  The
computer equipment required for the project was held up at the US customs for
two days so it underwent a late start.  Nevertheless a small team of 
collaborators was active all week long, collecting impressions on the 
symposium and networking with participants.  What's online at this moment is
only a partial result of the work that was initiated in Chicago - it will be
upgraded in the weeks to come.  We invite you to navigate through the site
and to contribute with comments or, even better, by proposing content of your
own related to your experience of the symposium.  We're already thinking of
a "WebCast" for ISEA98; this planning ahead will enable for a much more 
elaborate project.
In the shadow of the official activities of the symposium, the ISEA Board of
Directors was busy all week long.  The background for the Board meetings was
very much related to the move of the Inter-Society's HeadQuarters to Montreal.
During the ISEA96 symposium in Rotterdam, the Montreal HQ was given the
mandate to take care of every matters related to the legal transfer of ISEA
to Canada.  A new non-profit organisation was thus registered in Canada, 
which is in the process of being recognized as a "non-governmental 
International organization" with a "Charitable Status". As a last step to 
finalize the transfer, the previous Board elected under the Dutch charter
still needed to be dissolved and then reappointed as the Board of the new
legal entity created in Canada.
The Board held three meetings in Chicago.  A lot of time was spent 
scrutinizing and approving the new by-laws of ISEA.  The process of dissolving
the old Board and reappointing it as the Board of the new entity under the
Canadian legislation was only a formality, but it was taken as an opportunity
to reinforce the Board.  So in the transition, the composition of the Board
was adapted to the fact that there were 9 positions (a list of all Board
Members with their bios is included in this newsletter).  This "new" Board
will function under the assumption that it is a temporary Board until ISEA98
where elections will be organized.  The mandate for this year is to reevaluate
and redefine the goals of ISEA, its mission, the purpose of the symposium, 
etc...  To help the Board in that task, an ISEA International Advisory 
Committee (IIAC) was created.  Amanda McDonald-Crowley and Roger Malina will
co-chair the activities of that committee. You'll hear more about the IIAC
in next month's newsletter.
The annual ISEA Plenary was held on Saturday morning, Sept. 27.  I presented
a verbal report of activities for the Montreal HQ, then the ISEA97 team
concluded on their week of events, and the ISEA98 people presented their 
plans.  About 60-70 people showed up; the meeting was very constructive, 
the focus being quickly directed towards the symposium that will be held 
next year in Liverpool/Manchester. What else needs to be said ?  Well, 
there's some concern about the fact that there is still no host for ISEA99.
The deadline for submitting a candidacy to host the 10th ISEA symposium is
December 15, 1997.  
The Board will be quite active in seeking potential hosts in the next weeks.
Any input on that subject should be communicated to the ISEA office in 
Montreal. (isea@sat.qc.ca)  
The last months have been very busy in the office.  The next year should be
critical for ISEA.  There's an urgent need for redefinition and renewal.
A stronger Board assisted by an invaluable International Advisory Committee
will approach this reevaluation process seriously.  And with its membership
picking up in growth again (177 new members this year), ISEA should see a
lot of action in the near future.


Peter Beyls (Belgium)
Artist/composer, performer and educator. Has been exploring computer
programming as a means for artistic expression since the early Seventies.
Currently heads the Electronic Imaging Dept. at St. Lukas Hogeschool 
Brussels. Senior researcher at Virtual Image Corporation. ISEA board
member since 1992.

Amanda McDonald Crowley (Australia)
Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology. ANAT is 
Australia's peak advocacy and network organisation for artists working 
with technology.  It is primarily supported by the Australia Council,
the federal government's arts funding and advisory body. Previous
employment includes developing National Multimedia Training Strategy
with a federal agency; project management with The Australia Council;
Administrator of Electronic Media Arts (Australia) including the
Australian Video Festival. Amanda now co-chairs the Advisory Board
with Roger Malina.

Janice Cheddie (UK)
Freelance writer/lecturer and producer, she has a Ph.D in Cultural
Studies. In 1997, she was co-curator of Displaced Data's 'Translocations'
Photographers Gallery, London & IRADAC/CUNY, New York. Producer of Keith 
Piper's 'Go West  Young Man' (1996) and 'The Nation's Finest' (1990).
In 1995  consultant programmer for '40 Acres and A Microchop' ICA, 
London, (IniVA /Digital Diaspora).  Committee member  of Panchayat,
an issue based visual artists archive @ University of Westminster's
Library at the Harrow Campus and Women Artists Library.

Tapio Makela (Finland)
Independent writer, researcher and producer from Helsinki, Finland.
Over the past three years he was a director for Artist Association Muu, 
where he now coordinates a media lab called Muu Media Base
http://muu.autono.net. Main interests are critical theory, off art 
premise projects, and translocal social networking. Recent research deals
with three main areas:

        1. Metaphors and economies of space - from city to Internet
        2. Mathematics and aesthetics, genealogies of orientalism
        3.Intimate dialogue and new technology.

Alain Mongeau (Canada)
Ph.D. in Communications. He is currently a New Media Consultant, Curator
of the New Media section at the Montreal International Festival of Cinema
and New Media (FCMM).  Acted as Program Chair of ISEA95 Montreal. From 
1990 to 1993, was Professor of New Technologies at the Universite
du Quebec a Montreal and researcher at the Centre J-A de Seve.

Simon Penny (USA)
Australian artist, teacher, theorist and curator in electronic art and
interactive installation. Currently Associate Professor of Art and Robotics
at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh USA. He curated Machine Culture, 
a survey exhibition of Interactive Art at SIGGRAPH93; edited the anthology
Critical Issues in Electronic Media (SUNY Press 1995). His current work
focuses on real space interactivity, autonomous agents and emergent complex
systems. Recent works include Petit Mal and Autonomous Robotic Artwork; 
Sympathetic Sentience, an emergent complexity sound installation; and 
Fugitive, an interactive digital video space.

Cynthia Beth Rubin (USA)
Visual artist currently based in Providence, Rhode Island (USA). In recent
years she has lived in northern Vermont (near the Quebec border), Dundee 
(Scotland) and Marseille (France).  As a long-time ISEA member, she was co
chair of the Conference Committee for ISEA 95 Montreal, and a member of the
International Advisory Committee for FISEA (Minneapolis) and ISEA 96
(Rotterdam).  Rubin's computer images and animations have been featured in
several symposia and festivals including ISEA, SIGGRAPH, Imagina and ARCADE.
Her work has also been selected for inclusion in curated exhibitions in
Brazil, Israel, Canada, the Netherlands, and France.

Patricia Search (USA)
M.A. and B.A. in Art; Alumna, Ecole d'art Americaines, France. Presently
Associate Professor and member of Executive Committee for the International
Center for Multimedia Education, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, NY.
Professional artist since 1974. Exhibitions include 16 solo shows and over 95
group exhibitions. Published numerous papers a.o. in Leonardo and ISEA 
Proceedings. Best Paper Award in '93. Artwork in 25 publications.

Wim van der Plas (Netherlands)
First director, later advisor for the First ISEA symposium. Executive Director
of the Second Symposium. Head of ISEA headquarters 1990-1996 and editor of
the ISEA Newsletter 1992-1996. At first executive director, later program
chair of ISEA97. Presently head of the Department of Education, College of
Utrecht Symposium. Member of all ISEA International Program Committees 
(except when director).


John Hyatt (UK)
Executive Director, ISEA98.  Professional exhibiting artist. Professor of
Fine Arts, Head of Department of Fine Arts, the Manchester Metropolitan
University.  Editor of Arts Journal EARI (Education Arts Research 
International).  Steering group for idea@mcr1 (innovation in digital and
electronic arts).  Executive of MTTP (Manchester Telematics and Teleworking
Partnership).  Ex-vocalist with the Three Johns, now member of the band,
The End Baby K.

John Brady (UK)
ISEA98 Research Coordinator, Liverpool John Moores University. Independent
manager of visual culture projects. He has curated exhibitions for the
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, advanced urban development
agencies on public art and championed artist-led initiatives.  He has
commissioned Symposia and publications with international artists, critics
and academics participating. In 1991, he conceived and established the 
VISIONFEST visual art and design Festival. His role as Programme Director
(1992-97) included executive responsibility for the curation, resourcing
and operational management of the Festival's diverse, innovative and 
sometimes controversial relationship with artists, institutions and audience.

Shawn Decker (USA)
Chair of the 1997 International Symposium on the Electronic Arts.
Shawn Decker is a composer and artist who creates works for live performance,
electronic tape, film and video soundtracks, and electronic media installations
Most recently, he has worked primarily with interactive computer-based 
performance and sound and electronic media installations. He is an Associate
Professor and chair of the Art and Technology department at the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. Decker received a Bachelor's degree in music 
composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Master's and Doctor's
degrees from the Northwestern University School of Music.

The ISEA International Advisory Committee (IIAC) is co-chaired by Amanda 
McDonald Crowley and :

Roger Malina (USA)
Chairman of the Board of Leonardo/ISAST, and Executive Editor of the print
Journal Leonardo. Astronomer and Director of the Laboratoire D'Astronomie
Spatial - CNRS, Marseille France and the Director of the Center for EUV
Astrophysics, University of California, Berkeley.



It is still time to order your copy of the ISEA96 Proceedings.
Prices are:             Members: 20 $CDN  (15 $US)
                        Non-members: 35 $CDN (25 $US)

PLUS SHIPPING COSTS:    3$ for Canada
                        8$* for USA
                        16$* International
*Those costs can be cut by half if the package is sent by ground or by sea,
allow about 2-3 weeks for delivery


ISEA96 Proceedings

Fill this form and send it back to:
ISEA, C.P. 508, Succursale Desjardins, Montreal, Qc, H5B 1B6, CANADA
FAX: 1.514.281.6728

Last Name: ___________________________First Name:________________________
Country:_____________________________Postal Code: _______________________
Phone: ____________________Fax: ___________________

Payment Method

(   ) Money Order *
(    ) Cheque on a Canadian Bank*
(    ) MasterCard
(    ) Visa
(    ) Cash
* payable to ISEA

Card Number: ___________________________________________
Expiration date: __________________________________________
Name of cardholder: ______________________________________
Signature: ______________________________________________



Are computer networks a virtual world, parallel to a 'real' world? Can a
superhighway be digital? Can a city be digital? Is the Internet nothing
but a huge collective mental projection, constructed with the aid of a 
large number of (architectural) metaphors? If the answer to these questions
is affirmative, we - together with these authors - will have to address 
a number of essential issues. What does this mean to the cities we inhabit
now? And if this technological extension of the urban space has so much 
'reality effect', are we willing to throw ourselves on the Net for shopping,
education and even to search for money and happiness? In the end, will we
have to metaphorize ourselves, with our bodies becoming nothing but 
a protrusion of the screen?
This book is not a metaphor, but a machine that has caught a virus from 
the Net. When used intensively, the shape changes. The five authors Knowbotic
Research, William J. Mitchell, Stephen Perrella, Stacey Spiegel and Siegfried
Zielinski wrote their texts in a procedure proposed by V2_Organisatie. The
authors could read and comment on each other's material via the Net in three
consecutive rounds. Stefan MFCnker moderated the proceedings and wrote the
This publication is an initiative of the V2_Organisatie, resulting from DEAF95
(Dutch Electronic Art Festival) that V2 organized with Interfacing Realities
as its theme.  
distribution: Uitgeverij De Balie and Idea Books

17cm x 24 cm - full color - bilingual (Dutch-English) - price fl 29,50,
ISBN # 90-6617-183-9
V2_Organisation: . 31.10.404.6427 - book@v2.nl - http://www.v2.nl/book


Association Leonardo, Leonardo/ISAST's sister organisation in France, has
signed the European Memorandum of Understanding on Multi-Media Access to
Europe's Cultural Heritage. As a signatory to this agreement, the Association
is participating in the Digital Content for Culture Consortium.

See http://www.dcc-donna.dlr.de for further information.

As part of this consortium Association Leonardo is participating in the 
Virtual Africa/Afrique Virtuelle Project.  Association Leonardo has appointed
Ms Jocelyne Rotily as on line curator for the project. 
See http://www.cyberworkers.com/Leonardo for further details or email to 

Complete information on how to joint ISAST/Leonardo can be found at


04-11 September 1998
Liverpool  : the revolution / Manchester : the terror


ISEA [The International Symposium on Electronic Art] is one of the most 
significant events in the global electronic arts calendar. Staged in a 
different world city each year its presentation in Liverpool and Manchester
in 1998 represents the first time that Britain has hosted this prestigious
cultural event.  ISEA has come to represent a key international forum for
debate, discussion, exchange, critique and celebration of electronic art.

ISEA98 is partnership between the Liverpool Art School at John Moores
University, The Department of Fine Arts at Manchester Metropolitan
University and the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (organisers of
the Video Positive biennale). The Universities will be responsible
for developing and delivering the symposia and associated strands whilst
the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology [FACT] will curate,
co-ordinate and organise a wide ranging exhibition and events programme.

ISEA98 will enjoy the co-operation and partnership of many of the leading
cultural institutions in Liverpool and Manchester and will therefore be 
amongst the most expansive and imaginative events of its kind ever staged
in Britain.

Developments in new technologies appear to be revolutionising every aspect
of our daily lives.  The metaphors of 'revolution' are often applied to the
speed of exponential change that the world is experiencing, in part through
developments in computing and its applications.  ISEA98 will seek to unpack
the metaphors of revolution. It is appropriate that we do so in the north
west of England as many new metaphors relating to technology [speed, progress]
have been appropriated and reworked from the experience of the First
Industrial Revolution which had Manchester at its centre and Liverpool as
its trading heart.

ISEA98: REVOLUTION will be staged in Liverpool and Manchester.  It will
consist of one conference with two strands set in two locations. Alongside
this, a major series of exhibitions, entertainments and events will take
place in many of the leading visual and performing arts venues in each city.
Liverpool will identify, explore, assert and critique ideas and metaphors
associated with the theme 'REVOLUTION'.  Manchester will stage 'THE TERROR'
in which these ideas, concerns and assertions will be dissected, 
deconstructed and re-ordered. The conference will conclude with an electronic
global summit in Manchester.

We are calling for papers, proposals and projects for a series of critical
and practical investigations.  At the same time we are particularly
interested in contributions which address gender, cultural diversity 
and the developing world.  A special Diversity Fund is being established
to encourage, support and resource contributors from under-represented 

Each element of ISEA98 will be formed and tempered in relation to an 
interrogative template of the following ten questions:

     Are we witnessing or making a revolution?

     Is there a digital aesthetic?

     Is electronic art revolutionising the terms 'artist' and 'audience'?

     Do new technologies revolutionise bodies?

     Is electronic media art a democratising, revolutionary or colonial force?

     Are we engineering the future, or is the future engineering us?

     Do subjectivities revolutionise new technology or vice versa?

     Are there revolutionary electronic ethics?

     How do we revolutionise materials and metaphors?

     Have notions of 'public' and 'private' been revolutionised by the shift
     from mass-audience media to domestic leisure?

For further details and application forms please contact :

ISEA98: Revolution                      ISEA98: The Terror
John Brady                              Graham Parker
Research Coordinator ISEA98             Research Coordinator

Liverpool Art School                    Dept of Fine Arts
Liverpool John Moores University        Manchester Metropolitan University
68 Hope Street                          Grosvenor Building
Liverpool L1 9EB                        Cavendish Street
tel: +44  [0]151 231 3110               Manchester M15 3BR
fax: +44 [0]151 231 5096                tel: +44 [0]161 247 3622
e-mail: isea98@livjm.ac.uk              fax: +44 [0]161 247 6818





'True art is unable not to be revolutionary, not to aspire to a complete and 
radical restructuring of society.  The opposition of writer and artist is one
of the forces which can usefully contribute to the discrediting and overthrow
of regimes which are destroying, along with the right of the proletariat to
aspire to a better world, every sentiment of nobility and even of human 

Pour un art revolutionnaire indépendent.  André Breton & Diego Rivera, 1938.
(For security reasons Rivera's name replaced the real co-author Leon Trotsky)

revolution 98 will be a major international series of exhibitions, 
entertainments and events staged in Liverpool and Manchester during
September/October 1998 presented in association with the ninth International
Symposium on Electronic Arts [ISEA98].

revolution 98 will investigate the contemporary cultural response of artists,
filmmakers, performers, writers, computer programmers, musicians, designers
and provocateurs to one of the most powerful concepts in modern history.

revolution 98 exhibitions, entertainments and events will be distinguished by
three complimentary areas of artistic investigation which underlie the term
'revolution' as it has been used historically and as it might be imagined 
in the future:

        * preparing the ground
the investigation and examination of the raw material of social, economic and
psychological reality as a foundation for the development of new theoretical

        * provocation and collective action
work that seeks to undermine the status quo, artistically, technologically
and ideologically.

        * overload
the exploitation and /or celebration of electronic and moving image media as
a revolutionary tool and a new means of communication, concentrating on work
that references popular culture and the so-called 'information revolution'.

revolution 98 requests calls for proposals of new or existing work in the
following categories:

        * installation [video, electronic, interactive object, film etc]

        * performance [live event for any context]

        * sound [for installation, public spaces etc]

        * internet and networked projects [in any context]

        * cd-rom [for presentation]

        * site-specific projects [in Liverpool or Manchester]

        * other [please specify]

(a limited number of new works will be commissioned by FACT for revolution 98)

For further information and application forms for revolution 98 please contact:
Bluecoat Chamber,
School Lane
Liverpool L1 3BX
tel: + 44 [0]151 709 2663
fax: + 44 [0]151 707 2150
e-mail: isea@fact.co.uk



2nd International CAiiA Research Conference

art and consciousness in the post-biological era

19 - 23 August 1998

Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts
University of Wales College, Newport


The Conference Consciousness Reframed: art and consciousness in the 
post-biological era is a forum for the presentation and discussion of issues 
and developments in the emergent field of art, technology and consciousness.
Following the success of the 1st CAiiA Consciousness Reframed Conference in
July 1997, which attracted over 170 delegates from 23 countries, including
some 98 presenters, we are arranging the second conference to take place
in August 1998, again at the Caerleon Campus of the University of Wales 
College, Newport. Registration and Reception will be on Wednesday 19 August.
The programme will be scheduled from  Thursday to Saturday inclusive, with
departure on the morning  of Sunday  23 August 1998.

Papers are invited from researchers in all disciplines who are involved in
exploring inter-relationships  between art, technology and consciousness.

Submission of Abstracts
Abstracts (500 word maximum) are due no later than 21 November  1997. Please
submit abstracts as an attached document in Microsoft Word by e-mailto
aces@newport.ac.uk  Please include up to five keywords with your abstract.

Panels may be proposed. Proposals should include details of each member of
the panel.

Include in your submission the title, author(s), institutional affiliation,
and contact address (including phone/fax/email and URL if applicable)

Your Abstract  must be accompanied by a declaration of intention to attend
the conference.

Abstracts will be acknowledged on receipt and authors will be notified of
acceptance by 17 December 1997.  Final papers of no more than 2500 words
will be required by 1 April 1998.

Registration Fee
The Registration fee for Presenters will be UK 95  (ninety five pounds).
The Registration fee for non-presenters will be UK 225 (two hundred and
twenty five pounds)

In order to be included in the Conference Programme  and announcements,
presenters are required to pay the Registration Fee by 10 February 1998.

Conference Accommodation and Meals
The  Residential  fee for accommodation and all meals, (including the 
Conference Dinner) from the Reception on Wednesday  19 August 1998 through
breakfast on Sunday  23 August 1998 will be UK 190 (one hundred and ninety
pounds).  The non-residential fee, without accommodation and breakfast but
for all other meals, (including the Conference Dinner) from the Reception
on Wednesday 19 August 1998 through evening of Saturday 22 August 1998 will
be UK 90 (ninety pounds)

Residential and non-residential fees must be paid by 30 June 1998.

Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts
University of Wales College, Newport
Caerleon Campus  PO Box 179  Newport NP6 1YG Wales UK



A Session at the 14th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research
(EMCSR '98)

April 14-17, 1998, Vienna, Austria
Submission deadline: November 8, 1997

Agent-based technology has made a fast inroad from highly specialised 
workshops on topics such as "situatedness" and "embeddedness" to mainstream
textbooks. In the course of this development, it has also been driving the
furthering of established notions and frameworks (e.g., the shift from
"perfect rationality" to "bounded optimality" or the introduction of a 
"social level" above the "knowledge level" ) as well as favouring the
intensification of interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas with as diverse
fields as economics, control theory, evolutionary biology and ethology,
or psychology and neurology, taking on "irrational" aspects of cognition
in open worlds.

This session is to foster the exchange of ideas and experience among
researchers working on theoretical and practical issues of agent technology,
covering both the micro and macro aspects of agent design.


o Agent languages and architectures
o Applications
o Communication
o Conceptual and theoretical foundations
o Development and engineering methodologies
o Learning and adaptability
o Safety, security, and responsibility issues
o Single vs. multi-agent systems
o Social issues in agent societies
o Testbeds and evaluations
o User interface issues


Submission deadline: November 8, 1997
Notification of acceptance/rejection: December 19, 1997
Final papers due: January  30, 1998


For details of how to prepare the draft final paper, see the guidelines for
the main EMCSR conference published on the EMCSR web server
(URL:http://www.ai.univie.ac.at/emcsr/). Draft final papers should not exceed
10 single-spaces A4 pages, final papers must not exceed 6 pages (10 point, 
two column).


Authors of accepted papers will be notified by December 19, 1997; the list
will also be published on the EMCSR web site. After the event, a second
round of more extensive reviews is planned which is to lead to the publication
of extended versions of selected contributions in an edited collection.


J.P.Mueller, UK, jpm@zuno.com
P.Petta, Austria, paolo@ai.univie.ac.at (local co-chair)


For any further information on this session please contact the local co-chair

VW 98

In the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in the design of
artificial worlds, using image synthesis, modeling, multimedia and virtual
reality. In practice this approach is something broader and more fundamental.
We can imagine virtual worlds reflecting some parts of our reality, but also
the synthesis of new universes with associated "physical" laws and artificial
life forms.

This interdisciplinary conference aims to provoke new understandings of the
important role that such virtual worlds will play in domains such as business,
computer games, education, training, simulation, etc. It will investigate the
relationships between the natural and the artificial from both theoretical and
philosophical points of views. It will also address technical developments and
practical applications.

VW'98 hopes to extend the scientifical community by encouraging contributions
from people involved in technical, philosophical and art works related to the
design and applications of virtual worlds. The meeting will involve oral
presentations, both invited and contributed, poster sessions, tutorials,
debates, exhibitions and demonstrations.


Authors are invited to present original work in one of the following topics
(but not limited to) :  Artificial and Virtual Worlds, Applications of Virtual
Worlds, Synthesis of Virtual Worlds, Artificial Realities, MetaWorlds,
CyberSpace, Online Communities, Artificial Life, Evolutionary Computation,
Simulation of Ecological and Evolving Environments, Agents and Multi-Agents,
Collective Behaviours, Emergence of Social Behaviours, Multimedia, Virtual
Realities, Image Synthesis, Semiotic Issues, Philosophical Issues, Ethical
problems ...


The papers will receive three independent reviews. The papers describing 
strong original research works will be accepted for publication in the
conference proceedings, which will be also published as a book. Paper 
presenting less mature work will be presented at the conference but will not
be published in the proceedings. Papers should not be longer than 12 pages,
including title, names of authors and their addresses, email, and an
abstract of 70-150 words. The official language of the conference is English,
but papers can be submitted in French or English. We encourage paper
submissions via the Internet in Postscript format, though traditional paper
is also acceptable (4 hard-copies). Demonstrations, Videos, and proposals
for associated workshops and tutorials are also welcomed.

Papers should be send to the Conference Secretariat (hard-copies) or to the
conference chair (email).


Submission deadline : 28 February 1998
Notification of acceptance : April 98
Camera-ready due : May 1998
Conference : July 1-3, 1998

Conference Chair
Jean-Claude HEUDIN (IIM, France)

Conference Secretary
Sylvie PERRET (IIM, France)


Artspace invites proposals for use of the studios for 1998. Artspace maintains
a number of studios, one of which is a residential studio.  The criteria for
selection for studios is consistent with Artspace's overall priorities and
objectives. Selection and determination of the time frame for studio allocation
will be on the basis of the nature of the project. Artspace seeks to provide
both the space and the environment for the development of ideas, conceptual
experimentation and exploration. Proposals utilising both studio and exhibition
spaces are welcome. Please note: There is no stipend or living allowance
associated with a studio residency. Overseas and interstate artists will need
to consider other sources of income to fund their visit.

Areas of priority * experimental & conceptual installation practices projects
involving the critical & theoretical research into contemporary visual
culture * process-based work * politically & culturally marginalised practices
* interdisciplinary & multimedia practices * site specificity

Proposals should include * conceptual and/or theoretical rationale of your
project (the ideas that inform your work) * visual material (slides,
drawings, diagrams, video and/or photographs) * resume listing past 
exhibitions, projects, publications featuring your work and otherprofessional
activities relevant to your project * proposed timeframe

For further information on submitting Studio proposals, please contact
Kristen Elsby, Curatorial Assistant on 9368 1899 or artspace@merlin.com.au

Please forward studio proposals to Nicholas Tsoutas, Director.

Artspace accepts proposals on an ongoing basis - there are no closing dates

NOTE: Artspace will retain all materials for our archives unless otherwise
indicated. If you would like your visual material returned, please
include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your proposal.

The Gunnery
43 - 51 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

tel +61 2 9368 1899
fax +61 2 9368 1705
e-mail artspace@merlin.com.au
URL http://www.culture.com.au/scan/artspace/

Director: Nicholas Tsoutas
Administrator: Panos Couros
Curatorial Assistant: Kristen Elsby

Artspace gratefully acknowledges the VACF of the Australia Council and the
NSW Ministry for the Arts

***Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies ***
Special issue on


Convergence  4, no 4 (Winter 1998) is seeking research papers about journalism
and new media technologies. Authors are invited to submit original research on
topics related to the effects of changes in information delivery systems on
news or on news workers, organisations and audiences.  In addition, 
contributions to a debates section, features reports, and reviews of books or
other materials on the same range of topics also are sought.

This issue will be guest-edited by Dr. Jane B. Singer of Colorado State 
University, USA.
E-mail: jsinger@vines.colostate.edu

The deadline for submission of research manuscripts is 30 April, 1998.
Contributors to other sections will be commissioned based on proposals 
submitted. The deadline for proposals is 15 January, 1998; the copy deadline
for these sections is 15 May, 1998.

Authors should submit three hard copies of their manuscripts -- typed, 
double-spaced, with one-inch margins and pages numbered consecutively -- plus
a disk copy (IBM WordPerfect compatible or ASCII format). Research articles
should be no more than 9,000 words in length. Debates and feature reports
generally are around 3,000 words or less; reviews usually are about 1,000 
words each.

Convergence uses a version of MLA style; style sheet and details as well as
the contents of back issues can be found at the journal's Web site:

Submissions should be accompanied by:
- A separate sheet listing each author's name, institution, mailing address,
  telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address.
- A 150-word abstract.
- A list of keywords related to the article.
- A 50-word biography of each author.

Completed research papers or proposals for articles for the Winter 1998
issue should be sent to:

Jane B. Singer
Guest editor, Convergence
C-237 Clark Building
Department of Journalism and Technical Communication
Colorado State University
ort Collins, CO 80523-1785
Telephone: (970) 491-7330
Fax: (970) 491-2908
E-mail: jsinger@vines.colostate.edu

Further information:

Convergence, which is published quarterly in paper form, is a refereed 
academic journal that addresses the creative, social, political and 
pedagogical issues raised by the advent of new media technologies. Its
approach is interdisciplinary. As a research journal, it provides a forum
both for monitoring and exploring developments and for publishing vital
research in this emerging field.

The principal aims of Convergence are:

- To develop critical frameworks and methodologies that enable the reception,
  consumption and impact of new technologies to be evaluated in their
  domestic, public and educational contexts.
- To contextualise the study of those new technologies within existing debates
  in media studies and to address specific implications of the
  increasing convergence of media forms.
- To monitor the conditions of emergence of new media technologies, their
  subsequent mass production and the development of new cultural forms.
- To promote discussion and analysis of the creative and educational
  potentials of those technologies, and to contextualise those cultural
  practices within wider cultural and political debates.

The Editorial Board:
AUSTRALIA: Rebecca Coyle (Macquarie University), Ross Harley (University of
New South Wales), Philip Hayward (Macquarie University) CANADA: Micheline
Frenette (Universite de Montreal), Will Straw (McGill University). EUROPE:
Roy Ascott (University of Wales, College of Newport), Colin Beardon 
(University of Plymouth), Luke Hockley (University of Luton), Sadie Plant
(University of Warwick), Jeremy Welsh (Trondheim Academy of Fine Art,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology) HONG KONG: Lorne Falk
(Knowledge Architect), Heidi Gilpin (University of Hong Kong).
JAPAN: Machiko Kusahara (Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics). USA: Jay David 
Bolter (Georgia Institute of Technology), Steve Jones (University of Illinois,
Chicago), George Landow (Brown University), Margaret Morse (University of
California-Santa Cruz).

Our aims are supported by Will Bell (The Arts Council of England), Mike Crump
(Centre for the Book, British Library, UK), Donna Haraway(University of
California Santa Cruz, USA), David Hancock (Eurimages, France), Sara Diamond
(Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada) and Bruce Sterling (author, USA).





at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and  the NETLounge, KIEZ e.V.

While the exact programme is being finalised we would like to publish the
events and programming points which will be covered during the 5 day event...

Forum Programme Overview:
open borders

- Lev Manovich hypostulates on ostranenie
- Stephen Kovats on the Opening of Borders
- Irina Aktuganova presents the Gallery 21 CD-ROM 'Free For All', Caius Grozav
  presents the Kinema Ikon CD ROM 'Intermedia' and Andrei Ventslova presents
  St.Petersburg TV Art in an examination of the commercial packaging of media


- APSOLUTNO will present the coming of the new Millenium and...
 -the Syndicate Forum introduced by Andreas Broeckmann will examine 
  the Cultural Transformation of Deep Europe


-Piotr Krajewski on Polish New Media
-Dejan Sretenovic on the international reception of Yugoslav Art in the90's
 -Lascha Bakradse on establishing a Georgian image
 -Piotr Wyrzykowski on the Body and the Technology
 -Nebojsa Seric Soba on the Necessity of the Abstract
 -Dunja Blasevic on establishing new cultural infrastructures in Bosnia
 -Nikola Radic on the Electronic  Interpretations of Architecture
 -Raivo Kelomees on Estonian Signals
 -Edi Muka on the emerging Albanian Media Landscape
 -Iliyana Nedkova introduces Crossing over Cultures in Bulgaria
 -Enes Zlatar and Dejan Vekic on Video in the War and after the War
 -Jovan Cekic on the Zoo Effect and Alexander Davic and B92 on Revolution 
  and Chaos
 -Guenther Petzold presents 'Video in the former GDR - Opportunities Offered
  by a New Medium',  and
 -Peter Zorn presents the Media Initiative Saxony Anhalt and EMARE


- Cyberknitting!
Nina Czegledy introduces new forms of Electronic Knitting suitable for all
Genders with a Panel examining the issue, composed of Cyberknitters:
Tapio Maekelae, Inke Arns, Edi Muka, Lisa Haskel, Mare Tralla, Calin Dan
and Katy Deepwell. Cyberknitting Sound Environment by Denis Neimand and
Performance by Branka Milicic-Davic and GROUP BAZA

- Marko Kosnik and the International Guests of the Egon March Institute
  Welcome all to PARAHOUSE
- Steven Greenwood will exhibit 'Woven Presence'
- Network based Projects, presented by Olia Lialina, including works by 
  Jeff Instone, Dariusz Nowak-Nova, Petko Dourmana, Gints Gabrans, Nelli 
  Rohtvee, Esmeralda, Andrea Zapp, Dominik Kowalczyk, Gert Tschoegel,

- while Alexei Shulgin will be silent on Art, Power, and Communication pioneers

- Velimir Abramovic introduces Tesla's Timeless Universe as a prelude to
  Wardenclyffe 2
- a performance by rastermusic and Marko Peljhan
- Irina Vanechkina introduces Alexander Scriabin's Light Symphony Prometei
- Bulat Galeyev introduces Lev Theremin while Lydia Kavina grasps music from
  the air with the Thereminvox
- Wojciech Bruszewski expands on the HORIZON and Brian Reffin Smith will
  install his 'Cooperative Drawing'
- and legendary Oskar Sala will reflect upon his life-long relationship with,
  and development of,  the Trautonium

Jury Programme:

The ostranenie Jury, composed of Bojana Pejic, Michael Bielicky, Olia Lialina,
Piotr Krakewski and Kristine Schroeder selected works including:
for the first time at ostranenie works from Albania by Erjona Daka and Anri 
Sala, from Moldova by Pavel Brailla, Juri Suiu and Juri Cibotaru, from
Georgia by Koka Ramischvili, from Belarus by Maxim Tyminko, and from Bosnia-
Herzegovina in a programme introduced by Enes Zlatar and Installations by The
Active Men, Milica Tomic, Calin Man, Dida Zende, Kasia Kujawska, Artistarch
Tschernishev, Dalibor Martinis, Talent Factory, Alexei Shulgin, Luchezar 
Boyadjev, Anja Steidinger, Sandor Antik, the Academic Training Group and 
Krassimir Terziev...

Videos by  Moderegger, Bolewski, Kowalczyk, Donnersmack, Zamiara, Zumpe,
Tobreluts, Mader, Johannson, Pape, FIA Art, Gagarin, Zavadskis, Zimmer,
Perlovsky, Koshkin, Clouin, Dada, Art Terror, Poljak, Nagy, Brynntrup,
Moillanen, Zarevac, Borisova, Radkowska, Paetorprsta, Vickovic, Miro, Melhus,
Zdunczyk, Bogojevic-Narath, Smedstad,  Krenz, Bard, Kotnyek, Szlezinski, 
Miastowski, Sanborn, and Maeki

Special Documentaries by Russlan Umarov and Natalja Petrova, Ulrike Ettinger,
Iurie Suiu, Olivera Todorovic, Jujla Loginiva, Marina Preda Sanc and Marina 
Grzinic/Aina Smid, and Janko Baljak

and Performances by:
- Tibor Szemzoe and Gabor Rosko and 15 special guests opening ostranenie 
  with the 'Doppelkonzert'
- Istvan Kantor playing his Executive Machinery
- CUKT - Piotr Wyrzykowski and Haleh Abghare performing the Technopera
- The Audio Ballerinas grace ostranenie with light sensors and digital memories
- Laszlo Kerekes and Dragana Cukavac ask Where do we go from Here?"

and last but definitely not least
- Balint Szombathy (Art Lover) and Milan Mumin raise a Toast (35 times)
  to the last Video Artwork

For all questions and requests (including invitations for visa, etc.), 
please, get in touch with the ostranenie-team on
emi@stiftung-bauhaus.de, or tel. +49-340-6508 311, fax +49 340 6508 326
http://www.ostranenie.org (soon... )

* Transmediale / 11th Videofest
12 - 22 February 1998, Berlin/D

The upcoming Transmediale / 11th Videofest will once again be hosted parallel
to the Berlin Film Festival. "Submitted may be works from the areas of video,
computer animation, television, films with digital parts and multimedia 
projects (CD-ROM, CD-I, discs, cartridge, internet) which were produced since
1996. Works will be considered for selection which are dealing with reality
in an innovative way, or those which aim at furthering their respective medium.
Exhibition installations and performances are expressedly invited for 
submission.  The transmediale will award three prizes of DM2500,- for
outstanding works in the fields of video, television and multimedia. Further
awards will be donated by sponsors."

DEADLINE: November 28th, 1997

For details about the festival, about conditions of submission and application
forms, please contact:

Klosterstrasse 68-70
D-10179 Berlin
tel. +49-30-247219-07
fax  +49-30-247219-09
email: info@transmediale.de
URL: http://www.transmediale.de


'98 China International computer Conference & Exhibition on Virtual Reality
(CIVR'98) will be held in April 1998 in Nanjing, which includes academic
reports,the technique exchange, the products show and so on. It is the first
time that the conference & exhibition on this subject is held in China.
Native technical experts & users of VR, and international well-known VR
producers & traders will gather in Nanjing when the meeting is held.
We are ready to supply the more detailed material concerned for you if you
are interested in the  meeting .

Tony Xu
Head of VR Technology committee in Nanjing China

Reply to : npccc@public1.ptt.js.cn

____I am interested in it. Please supply the latest material.
        My Name                 Sex
        Organization            E-mail

____I am not interested in it. Please cancel my name from the list.

____I will recommend some individuals or the organizations that are
    interested in it. The following are their names & E-mail addresses.

REMINDER: 1998 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC98)
                     October 1-6, 1998, University of Michigan

                   CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS


ICMC98 seeks papers, demos, presentations and posters in all aspects of
computer music.  All submissions are subject to peer review according
to the following categories:
* Long Paper - 8 pages published in the Proceedings and  30 minutes 
  presentation time
* Short Paper - 4 pages published in the Proceedings and 20 minutes
  presentation time
* Demo/Presentation - 4 pages published in the Proceedings and 30 minutes
  presentation time
* Poster - 4 pages published in the Proceedings and 20 minutes presentation

For submission guidelines, please see the ICMC98 WWW site after 
September 1, 1997 or the ICMC98 Brochure (initially available at ICMC97).

All paper, poster, demo and presentation proposals should be submitted by 
e-mail to:

no later than December 1, 1997.

Notification of papers, posters, demos and presentations acceptance/rejection
is May 1, 1998.


ICMC98 is particularly interested in electro-acoustic music  that includes
some aspect of human real-time performance.  University of Michigan Ensembles
participating in ICMC98  include the Symphonic Band (woodwinds, brass and
percussion), the Contemporary Directions Ensemble (ensemble committed to the
performance of new works), Percussion Ensemble (electronic and acoustic
percussion), the Digital Music Ensemble (electronic and acoustic instruments)
and the University Dancers.  Since the University of Michigan School of Music
offers studio instruction in virtually all traditional Western instruments,
small ensembles can easily be created as  required by the ICMC98 program.
A number of architecturally-interesting spaces are available for installations.
These spaces are in close proximity to ICMC98 sessions.

Submission Fees:

ICMA members may submit up to two works (installations and/or music) at no 
charge. Each additional submission must be accompanied by a $20.00 submission
fee. Each work submitted by a non-ICMA member must be accompanied by a $20.00
submission fee.

Musical scores must be professionally prepared to receive a performance.

All fees are in US dollars.

All music and installations must be POSTMARKED by December 1, 1997.  Mail to:
ICMC98 - Conference Management Services
600 E. Madison, Room G-121
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Notification of music/installation acceptance/rejection is March 15, 1998.

E-mail:              icmc98@umich.edu
WWW:                 http://www.music.umich.edu/icmc98/
Telephone:           +1 (313) 764-5297
Fax:                 +1 (313) 764-1557
Address:             ICMC98 - Conference Management Services
                        600 E. Madison, , Room G-121
                        University of Michigan
                        Ann Arbor, MI
Conference Chair:    Mary Simoni msimoni@umich.edu


some of the current problems in Electronic Art Culture

by Ian Haig
published in 'Practice' Journal of Visual, Performing and Media Arts issue 2,
Melbourne , Australia.

The International Symposium on electronic Art  (ISEA96) was the 6th 
installment in the series of conferences/exhibitions this one took place in
its country of origin - The Netherlands. This year ISEA was part of DEAF
(Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, organised by the V2 organisation) and
occurred over five days in Rotterdam. The week long conference/exhibition
is a melting pot for the art and technology community consisting of
technologists, academics, scientists, futurists, researchers, industry dudes,
nerds, educators, students, digital evangelists, new agers, hippies,
and artists. This year, however, ISEA had major problems. To be fair, some
of these problems were associated with limited budgets, resources and
sponsorship available to the organisation. Other problems, however, relate
to the bigger picture of contemporary electronic art culture in general.
The frontier status ascribed to electronic art at events like ISEA and
SIGGRAPH is becoming increasingly problematic. It's not so much a case that
the electronic art on offer at  these events takes itself too seriously,
it's more a case that it often believes in itself with too much enthusiasm.
It truly believes the hype about itself as a revolutionary and utopian new
medium. As artistic works a large amount of electronic art does not seem
to locate itself away from this hyped up techno-utopian vibe, but rather 
contributes to it. Electronic art generally has to get more critical,
more cynical and more playful in relation to its own medium/material and
the culture that surrounds it. Electronic Art Shows like those at ISEA or
SIGGRAPH originally established themselves as a way of supporting what was
an alternative and unrepresented practice, viewing the real art world as
a hopelessly dated museum culture, incapable of accommodating electronic art.
However I am not so sure that ISEA and the like are actually an alternative
to this anymore; but in fact are suffering the same problems.  Electronic art
despite its claims as a multidisciplinary medium, it's ideas can be just as
stereotypical and rarefied as those of the 'museum' art culture it rejected.

The focus at ISEA, along with other exhibitions such as SIGGRAPH is 
'convergence': the convergence of art, technology and science into a
revolutionary new medium. However 'convergence' at ISEA seems largely
restricted to the computer sciences and art. The idea of convergence in any
wider or looser cultural sense, with other contemporary art forms or other
sensibilities just doesn't seem to be occurring. The non electronic art
world at least, is full of cynicism, clashing sensibilities, irony, perverse
humour, and a general eclectic difference. Electronic art at ISEA/DEAF,
seemed to have a set agenda firmly in place. Artists and speakers here talk
a lot about establishing a revolutionary new art form and of colonising new
digital territories, however notions of irony, or cynicism and aesthetic
difference in regard to this now established medium  are often relegated to
the periphery. For all the claims as purveyor of a revolutionary new medium,
ISEA is a society after all, with strongly mapped out set of cultural rules
and regulations in regard to artistic sensibility and its concepts of cultural
value, which is often at odds with its perceived frontier status and not
exactly the location of a rich, diverse and challenging contemporary culture.
At events like ISEA one often hears about the purist notion of electronic art,
as something which can only exist within the realm of the computer and as a
result of the computer. However such a notion ghettoises electronic art into
its own specialised canon, removed and dislocated from other sensibilities and
contemporary art practices and cultural dialogues altogether. This kind of
attitude, while maybe advancing the careers of certain artists, and making
good copy in electronic art show catalogues does little to open up electronic
arts to a wider and broader cultural nexus.  It was the acknowledgment of
electronic art as a medium in its right  which has always part of the
intention of ISEA. However, just as the mediums cultural location has shifted,
this shift should also be reflected in key events like ISEA. These events
should be representing a far broader and more culturally diverse electronic
art then what they currently do, otherwise they run the risk of producing
a specialised technological arts ghetto, with no real relation to a broader


This year the art show at ISEA was relegated to the confines of a temporary
exhibit space in a conference centre foyer.  Providing another reminder that
electronic art really has to get out of the conference centres and the trade
shows and back into contemporary gallery spaces, if it wants to have any
kind of effect at all, and not just cater to hyped up converted attendees 
and the established electronic arts community. As much as ISEA has rejected
the confines of the art gallery as being both culturally inadequate and
limiting to the context of electronic art, the alternative location its 
offering  for this kind of work is a whole lot worse. ISEA along with DEAF
proved once again that a curatorial agenda should not only be confined to
the formal properties of the medium alone. There has always been a tendency
in electronic art to group work together on the basis that it is
'interactive' or 'electronic' first and foremost. The result is often an
electronic art show that is largely unrelated in anything but formal concerns.
Some works did manage to succeed at ISEA /DEAF in successfully  fusing
interactivity with aesthetic intent, notions of irony and self reflexiveness.
The most successful ones were those that did not take the notion of 
interaction too literally, but were simply works which had interaction as a 
part of, but not all of their experience. A standout at the Deaf exhibition
was the robotic installation piece by Bill Vorn and Louis Philippe Demers,
"Espace Vectoriel",  which sensed and located its onlookers in a scenario of
oppressive techno surveillance.  Across town Martine Corompt's Installation
"Sorry", was one of the few interactives which connected with the world of
popular culture. Masaki Fujihata's work "Beyond Pages" also provided a  work
which went beyond the cliched computer monitor on a plinth, and considered 
a new model for interaction and aesthetic engagement, by taking things to 
a playful level of one of the simplest instances of  interactivity - the 
humble book. Sadly some of the other highlights were not even part of ISEA
or the DEAF exhibition, but were coincidently showing at Museums in Rotterdam
at the same time. These included the brilliant video installation work of 
Tony Oursler along with Tony Brown's  meditation on networked identity
"Better Living Through Remote Access". Both exhibitions while not strictly
electronic art in the purist sense, but both had something on offer that
much of the work at ISEA and DEAF lacked....cynicism, humour, and a general
funky self reflexiveness. You get the feeling that ISEA, like SIGGRAPH and
Ars Electronica, all have something in common: they are not specifically part
of the art world per se, but an expanded art and technology movement, all of
which is part technology fest, part trade show, part science fair, part
academic conference and part art, often it seems in that order.


A lot of the focus at ISEA this year was on 'connectivity', in particular
networked media and the potential of the internet. However for all the talk
and rhetoric of connectivity between art, culture, technology, there was
little connection between the actual art and the papers/panels given.
This in itself reveals the medium's academic roots and institutional base,
which is made obvious by the number of academics delivering their M.A or
PHD research, while the actual art work is very much an afterthought. More
considered curatorial forethought, towards the art and more critical
engagement with the actual  work itself  to support the forums, the papers,
would be a welcome relief to the talk fests, particularly when so many
of the papers are published either electronically or in the proceedings anyway.
The Symposium framed the internet and Information technologies in very 
speculative terms, predicting how technology is likely to emerge in the future.
I, for one, would like things to be more focused on the here and now, 
exploring the real issues which are affecting us today.  Its also a reflection
of the times that for all the techno utopian hype about the delivery of online
media and the web, participants still happily travel 1000's of miles to 
actually hear and witness  digital evangelism in the flesh. It is ironic that
conferences like ISEA (And ARS Electronica have already made inroads in this
direction) don't integrate the internet more as a real world application for
delivering forums, papers etc, over the web, concurrently with the conference.
Once again, inevitably  the standard stars, from Stelarc to Sandy Stone went
through the motions, delivering their stand up comedy routines on The Future
of Networked Art and The Erotics of the Internet. Some of the smaller and less
attended forums delivered more. Highpoints included the surprise inclusion of
Toshiya Uenos short presentation on 'Anime and Techno Orientalism', Mark 
Tribes short piece on 'Web art'.  Perry Hoberman spoke of the backlash towards
technological art as being caught up in the same subset as the hype itself.
Other highlights were  Katerina Thomadaki's overview of the French Arts 
organisation 'Astarti' who are dedicated to the ecology of media, and a 
festival which draws thematic connections between  super-8  filmmaking, 
computer animation, early 20th century cinema and new media works in the name
of curatorial content. Graham Weinbren and Barbara London's Paper on 'New Media
and Self Expression' touched on some important points in regard to interactive
models, with the memorable line: 'choice is about shopping, choice is not about


At ISEA the electronic artist  who uses 'innovative tools' is held up at the
same time as having innovative ideas. To assume the use of new technology
in art instantly translates to a sophistication of ideas and sensibilities
is a real danger. Some of the artist's talks and 'poster sessions' presented
the role of the artist in inflated terms, which ironically related more to 
old definitions then to new possibilities. The artist as a visionary genius
working with emerging technologies and exploring new and uncharted territories,
is a very romantic, modernist vision of the artist. All too often the artist
was presented as the gifted individual on a pedestal showing the rest of us
plebs in the audience just how visionary and revolutionary they and their
technology are.  I get the feeling that this internal contradiction stems
from the fact that generally a lot of electronic art, its practitioners, its
value systems, its notion of aesthetics and sensibilities display a very poor
understanding of art and art history. Remember that this is a culture of
'convergence', so its practitioners have arrived on the scene from anywhere
but art; industry, science, academia, maybe, but not fine art in a formal
sense. Whilst I may sound like a purist (with all it's negative connotations)
there is a historical lineage in art, of modes of address, gestures, 
strategies and the role of the artist, which the culture of electronic art
seems ignorant of and is excused from.


During much of the conference the generalisations and techno speculations on
the 'future of art' and  'obsolete media' were quick to be dished out.
Such generalised claims, which sees the medium of film to be obsolete for
example, strangely compounds both the medium of the celluloid film gauge
with that of the Hollywood narrative as the same thing. Similar bizarre
comments were later heard  in the keynote at ISEA which was delivered
by Jos de Mul, who pulled out every cliché in the book, relating to the new
technological arts. With the standard, overtly simplistic analogies of new
media obliterating the old and rendering them obsolete.  
To map the media landscape as historically linear, with the computer and
information technologies at the end of a long line of media forms over the
last 50 odd years is to miss much of the point. Historically other media
have always been re-defined and recommodified as a result of new technology,
spawning new audio visual synergies and hybrids which otherwise may not have 
occurred: The drive-in, Widescreen Panavision,  3D movies and dolby stereo
sound,  were not technological coincidences but can be seen rather as a 
response to the cultural and commercial impact of the new technology of
Television in the 1950's. 
It would be more productive and more interesting to talk about some of the 
exciting new technological mutations occurring within existing media culture,
as a result of new information technologies and interactivity, then it does
on defining and dismissing this old media as obsolete within the conference
program, including: Interactive cinema, Web Television, computer special
effects, computer games etc ...Jos de Mul, received the criticism that his
concepts of the convergence of electronic media are largely 'eurocentric'
and limited to a privileged European culture of educated academics and
those that can afford it. Cultural difference also came to a head during 
the ISEA plenary session, where ISEA was criticised  for its narrow definition
of an 'international symposium' of largely white, European constituents. Much
of the rhetoric heard throughout the week on the colonisation of cyberspace,
of creating new virtual frontiers in electronic art left a bad taste in my
mouth. A reminder that the colonisation of cyberspace is predominantly a
white, middle class, educated, European and American phenomenon. The rhetoric
and language concerning 'colonisation' and 'new frontiers' bantered about
events like ISEA (along with the common 'digital convergence' analogy as 
being just like the 'old west'), becomes uncomfortably more like the rhetoric
of overtaking other cultures, establishing new territories and putting up new
boundaries, then mere utopian idealism. The focus at ISEA really needs to get
back to a more fundamental level of critical inquiry and debating not what
glorious techno utopias are being established - but rather to issues like 
what in fact is electronic art ? is it art,? Is it even about art ? what is
art ? fundamental critical questions that have always been at the crux of
contemporary art  regardless of its medium, are not really being discussed,
or being questioned.  The important issues of cultural difference raised at
ISEA this year are only really  part of the larger problems that are plaguing
contemporary electronic art culture. ISEA is an organisation and event that
can do with a good shake up and a new direction in more ways then one.

Ian Haig November 1996
Electronic noise, published in 'Practice' Journal of Visual, Performing and
Media Arts issue 2, Melbourne , Australia.

The Inter-Society aims at joining a world-wide network of artists, 
scientists and their institutes, making it easier for the institutes and
individual members to share expertise with each other. The aims of the 
Inter-Society are to promote a structured approach to electronic art and 
to help finance worthy electronic art projects. For membership information
contact ISEA at the address on the front page. ISEA distributes a hard
copy version of this Newsletter in order to keep its members, who have no
access to Electronic Mail, informed. Those members can, if they desire,
get in touch with the Email addresses mentioned in this Newsletter by
contacting ISEA.

Support: Fondation Daniel Langlois, Ministere de la culture et des
communications du Quebec, Montreal International, School of the Art Institute
of Chicago, ANAT, FACT, Leonardo, EMAF, Ars Electronica, University of Vermont,
SAT, McGill University, Universite du Quebec a Montreal.
end of newsletter


Leave a Reply