THE INTER-SOCIETY FOR THE ELECTRONIC ARTS ISEA NEWSLETTER ISSN1488-3635 #73 August-September 1999 _______________________________________________________________ * CONTENTS * * Editorial * ISEA News * Special Dossier * Event Reports * _______________________________________________________________ *Une version francaise est disponible. Contacter le secretariat pour l'obtenir* ************************** EDITORIAL ************************** INTERACTIVE THINKING As you may now know, I have just been appointed ISEA's new executive director. Files and papers are already mounting on my new desk, a lot of fascinating history to learn about, urgent current affairs to deal with, and many great projects to realize. At ISEA's Headquarters in Montreal, I found a very stimulating team, all of them driven by a passion for electronic arts and, as I quickly found out, also for ISEA. Most of all, they have been very helpful to me, for tomorrow or later are not words in their vocabulary whenever I ask them for a little help to better understand ISEA. The same applies to board members, most of whom patiently answered my many questions about ISEA via e-mail. For each of you, ISEA means something different: a first break into the international electronic arts scene, a good place to promote ideas on science, arts and technologies, etc. As a journalist and online editor, ISEA was for me the source of great people to interview. Last spring, I met with the board in Montreal while I was filming a first draft of a documentary on new media artists. I would stand in the hallway, waiting for Atau Tanaka or Techla to come out of the meeting so I could follow them with a video camera. I was very impressed with ISEA, the board, and all its international members, and felt very lucky: I knew for certain that I was at the right place at the right time. After all, my main interest as a journalist covering the new media scene is not technology in itself, but the people using it. And I had almost ten of them in the same place! Of course, it never occurred to me that Alain Mongeau would one day approach me with a job offer at ISEA. Today, I'm just glad he did, for the more I get to know ISEA's members and projects, the more I know that I am, again, in the right place at the right time. My experience as an online editor as proven very useful in many ways. If I am still left with many unanswered questions, I acquired at least one certainty: interactivity with our online community proved incredibly enriching. The implementation of tools that facilitated and promoted member generated content was and still is a great success in Voir (http://www.voir.ca) and Hour (http://www.afterhour.com) websites. Thus, promoting online interactivity within ISEA's members and community is certainly one mission I would like to carry on during my mandate at ISEA. ISEA is a great place to debate the relationships between arts, sciences and technologies, on the social, psychological and cultural impacts of technologies, and I think we should find ways to make sure these debates carry on outside our symposia. Interactivity between members could make this organization a place where Derrick de Kerckhove's notion of "connective intelligence" could emerge. In a recent interview with him, the director of the McLuhan Program in Toronto defined connective intelligence as "intelligence that works with many people on objects that were before confined to individual intelligence. The idea of an intelligence that would live outside the narrow limits of the individual human body is essential." ISEA, an intelligent organization that thrives thanks to the interaction of its members? Sounds good to me. As a journalist, I've repeated to myself again and again one simple mantra: "be a good listener". And I do not intend to change that soon. So please, send me all your ideas and comments on how we could make ISEA a better place to "think interactively". Carlos Soldevila firstname.lastname@example.org ************************** ISEA NEWS ************************** ISEA ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY 15 October, 1999 Montreal, Quebec CANADA ISEA HQ would like inform all ISEA members that the Annual General Assembly will take place just after Cartographies: The General Assembly on New Media Art (details on this event below) which will be held at the Ex-Centris Centre in Montreal, Canada this October. Details about the AGM agenda will be sent to you by email very soon, but you may also contact Carlos Soldevila in this regard: <email@example.com> ********* CARTOGRAPHIES THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON NEW MEDIA ART 12-13-14 October 1999 Complexe Ex-Centris Montreal, Quebec CANADA As many of you already know from previous newsletters, this pan-Canadian event will examine the state of new media art across Canada (Before and Beyond) with reference to models and strategies from around the world (you will find the preliminary programme below). * PRELIMINARY PROGRAMME * Updates and a final programme will be posted on the isea website: <http://www.isea.qc.ca> DAY 1 : TUESDAY 12 OCTOBER 1999 ZONE ZERO : Toward a Definition of New Media Art - Analysis, evaluations and diagnosis of the emergence and the state of New Media Art in Canada and around the world. In 1999, how do we define and approach new artistic practices which fuse different disciplines with technology? What do we mean by electronic art, media art, or even new media? Can we outline these distinctive practices in technological, interdisciplinary, collective, or political terms? What are the emergent contexts, the leading concepts and the key questions that have been part of the discourses and practices surrounding the media arts in the past twenty years ? 1) OPENING CONFERENCES 10h to 13h 2) INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND CENTRES 14h30 to 17h30 DAY II : WEDNESDAY 13 OCTOBER 1999 TACTICAL ZONES : The State of New Media Art : Québécois and Canadian Experiences - Current Organizations and Models of Creation, Production, Distribution and Conservation of New Media. 1) NEW TERRITORIES TO CONFRONT AND REDEFINE THE FIELD OF NEW MEDIA ART 10h to 13h Many media art works can be placed in relation to the so-called traditiotional arts which become "fields of potentiality" that are more and more hybridized through contact with technology. In contrast, other works are new in the sense that the technology required to create them did not exist before. These works of today are polysemic, multi-sensorial, interactive, virtual. In search of an identity of their own, they demand new criteria of evaluation and understanding, as well as new sensibilities. What happens to the traditional questions of the author, the work , the user, the processing of information, etc. What happens to the author when his/her identity is effaced in order to make room for fluid and shifting collaborations; when the lines between creation, production and technique are blurred? How do we approach questions relating to copyright, intellectual property, and censorship? What happens to the work itself: is it an object, tool, or process? 2) INTERFACING PRESENT STRUCTURES WITH THE CHALLENGES OF NEW MEDIA 14h 30 to 17h30 The question of definition related to new media art, corresponds to the questions centres of production and distribution are also asking themselves. Like art works, art venues are marrying new forms, opening up new fields of action, or are grafting new activities onto their traditional structures. If the community model of the artist-run centre corresponds to the needs of the last decades, is it still adequate today? Do we require other types of organizations to define emerging artistic fields and to represent new generations of artists? In this context, what is the place of research centres and university laboratories ? Do virtual networks and communities respond to these new needs? DAY III : THURSDAY 14 OCTOBER 1999 MOBILES ZONES: The Challenge of New Networks - Thematic Workshops TENTATIVE SCHEDULE : 10h -11h: Presentation of the workshop themes by the leaders/moderators 11h-14h: Workshops 15h -17h: Reports & conclusions from the workshops by the leaders/moderators and closing words 17h-19h : Closing cocktail 19h30 : Opening film - FCMM Opening night at the Media Lounge - FCMM WORKSHOP I: CONSERVING AND ARCHIVING DIGITAL WORK Does the ephemeral character of New Media in general, and digital works in particular, offer enough stability for conservation? Is the traditional idea of conservation itself an illusion, is it viable and relevant? What about the available tools and methods? In this new context, what is the role of institutions such as museums and how can artists intervene? WORKSHOP II: RESEARCH AND INNOVATION Discourses that call for new models of collaboration between art, education, industry and the state are proliferating at the same pace that technology infiltrates all economic and social activities, that access is defined by the speed of the connection, that the market is deregulated, that mass media become "new media", and that artistic research requires new modes of action. What are the cultural initiatives in new media? Where are the financial incentives and the venture capital, measures which, thus far, have been confined to the computer industry, leaving artistic creation marginalized in a blurred definition ? What is the place of the artist in fundamental research ? On a Québécois, Canadian and international level, do we see emerging modes of partnership and networking ? ********* NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ISEA is pleased to announce the appointment of Carlos Soldevila as the new Executive Director of the organization. Carlos Soldevila is a writer and new media editor. While working as press correspondent in Cuba for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting corporation) and later in Quebec City for Reuters Press Agency, he participated to the realization of many online magazines. Before accepting ISEA's executive directorship, Carlos worked as the multimedia editor of the online magazines Voir <http://www.voir.ca/> and Hour <http://www.afterhour.com/>. Carlos still writes a weekly column on new media for Voir. He is also the author of three books on travel (Cuba, Guatemala, Belize). Carlos replaces Claude Schryer, who left ISEA in March to take on the position of coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Programme at the Canada Council for the Arts. ********* ISEA PARTNERSHIP EVENTS INVENCAO August 25-29, 1999 Itau Cultural Centre Sau Paulo, Brazil http://www.isea.qc.ca/symposium/1999.html firstname.lastname@example.org INVENCAO is an opportunity for those working at the creative edge of the arts, sciences and technology to collaborate in the transdisciplinary development of ideas and innovative strategies for life in the next millennium. Invenção is a "seeding" event that seeks to identify key questions and issues that can lead to the radical transformation of culture. Just as artists increasingly work with the metaphors of science, so scientists are employing forms of representation, such as visualisation, which owe much to research in the digital arts. As art is transformed by interactivity, so science increasingly recognises the subjectivity of the observer. In turn, technology informs our aesthetic and epistemological structures and is engendering new processes of perception, communication and cognition. INVENCAO will examine the consequences of this convergence of art, science and technology on our sense of self and human identity, on consciousness, community and the city, as well as on learning and leisure. INVENCAO is organised by the Itau Cultural Institute in collaboration with: ISEA, Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts <http://www.isea.qc.ca > Leonardo/ISAST <http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-journals/Leonardo/home.html> CAiiA-STAR, Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts, University of Wales College, Newport and the Centre for Science Technology and Art Research, University of Plymouth, UK <http://caiia-star.newport.plymouth.ac.uk> and supported by IDEA <http://nunc.com>. The organising committee consists of: Arlindo Machado (chair), Roy Ascott, Roger Malina and Alain Mongeau. The scientific committee is: Diana Domingues, Claudia Giannetti, Eduardo Kac, Marcos Novac and Margarita Schultz. INVENCA0 will take place at the Itau Cultural Centre, Avenida Paulista, 149, Sau Paulo, Brazil Blue Room and Red Room 10am to 6pm (panels and presentations of papers) 7:30pm to 9pm (lectures by the guest speakers) To attend : Send e-mail from July 10 forward to <email@example.com>, with your complete name, phone and e-mail. Then, wait for a confirmation notice. There is no registration fee. Once your registration is accepted and confirmed, you can go to the INVENCAO secretary from August 23 to the final day of the event and get an identification card. Congratulations to the following ISEA members who will be presenting at INVENCAO: Roger Malina, Nina Czegledy, Ernestine Daubner, Marikki Hakola, Patrick Lichty, Jose Carlos Mariategui, Jack Ox, Andrea Polli, Patricia Search The following event is hosted by ART 3000, ISEA's partner in the organization of ISEA 2000 in Paris, France <http://www.isea.qc.ca/symposium/2000.html> 3rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON INTERACTIVE WRITING 15 - 17 November 1999 Forum des Images Paris (75001), France Over the course of three days, the General Assembly on Interactive Writing will gather artists, researchers, and experts in order to examine the state of emerging concepts and tools in the domain of interactive creation and new media. ON THE PROGRAMME (this is not an exhaustive list) 1. A COLLOQUIUM (plenaries and panels) bringing together more than 40 participants THEMES: -Interactive Creation: Towards Generative Systems -Interactive and Generative Music: A Thorough Overview -New Platforms in Interactive Creation -The Use and Practice of Multimedia in Publicly-Accessible Spaces: Analyses and Experiences -French Resources in Interactive Writing: Tools and Reseach 2. AN EXHIBITION open to the public at large Over the course of 10 days, this exhibiton will present a secletion of the most important artist works in the domain of interactive and generative creation (virtual reality, multimedia installations, networks). PLUS -TWO FESTIVE EVENINGS featuring artist performances, cocktails, and music -A CATALOGUE of events including analysis and opinions -THE LAUNCH OF THE 2nd EDITION OF THE GUIDE PRATIQUE DES AIDES FRANCAISES ET EUROPEENNES AU MULTIMEDIA -THE LAUNCH OF THE ART 3000 WEBSITE presenting numerous sections dedicated to culture and to new media creation. The 3rd General Assembly on Interactive Writing is organized with the support and collaboration of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, SACD, and the Forum des Images de la Ville de Paris, Canal+, and numerous other partners. Information and reservations: ART 3000 Sarah Mascheroni Communications Officer Tel : 01 48 06 28 10 / Fax : 01 48 06 28 83 email : firstname.lastname@example.org ********* ISEA MEETINGS AT INTERNATIONAL EVENTS Just a reminder of the following ISEA activities taking place during the events below. All ISEA members, friends, and interested parties are welcome to attend. Please contact the hosts of each meeting listed below for more information on how to participate: Siggraph 99 August 8-13, 1999 <http://www.siggraph.org/s99> ISEA GATHERING during Siggraph 99 Thursday August 12, 1999 12-2pm Room 511A Los Angeles Convention Centre Los Angeles, USA hosts: Cynthia Beth Rubin <email@example.com> Kathy Rae Huffman <firstname.lastname@example.org> INVENCAO August 25-29, 1999 <http://www.isea.qc.ca/symposium/1999.html> ISEA Meeting at Invencao Sunday 29 August, 1999 4pm-6pm Itau Cultural Centre Avenida Paulista, 149, Sau Paulo, Brazil host: Nina Czegledy <email@example.com> ISEA CALENDAR The Events Calendar on our website is up-dated almost daily and features events and entry deadlines listed by month. Point your browser to: <http://www.isea.qc.ca/links/index.html> ISEA ELECTRONIC ARCHIVES - CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS ISEA HQ is currently compiling, processing, and organizing archive materials from the last 9 ISEA symposia in preparations for ISEA's 10th anniversary celebrations in 2000. Our goal is to launch a state-of-the art multimedia (audio, video) website which houses the digitized material and incorporates a powerful search engine tool to aid site visitors. We feel this material will be an important resource for both the specialized (researchers, artists, curators, students) and general publics. It will also constitute a significant historical legacy for the documentation of the electronic arts over a decade which has seen an exponential growth and interest in this artistic discipline. ISEA HQ posseses quite a lot of material already. We are seeking the collaboration and cooperation of previous ISEA participants and hosts in order to make this important archive project as complete and thorough as possible. In particular audio/video documentation of exhibitions & performances, websites, proceedings, and catalogues from the early ISEA symposia (FISEA88 in Utrecht, SISEA90 in Gronigen) would be most appreciated. We would digitally process this material and integrate it into the archive database, returning the original documents (if requested) afterward. To find out how to send material or for more information on ISEA's Electronic Archive project, please contact Katarina Soukup <firstname.lastname@example.org> CHATTERBOX on ISEA FORUM ISEA is pleased to announce a new project on the ISEA-forum listserv. ChatterBox is a series of moderated discussions on ISEA-Forum (open to both ISEA members and non-members). The discussions will be around selected and specific topics in the electronic arts; around issues, for instance, such as the intersection of the arts with the fields of technology, science, education, and industry. These texts could be about creative process, specific art practices, the work of specific artists, art theory, artist centres, etc. The possible topics are endless. ChatterBox will be a bi-monthly affair beginning this September and each edition will consist of 3 or 4 people, in addition to a guest moderator, who will contribute texts (500-750 words each) to ISEA Forum. The texts could be released all at once, or one per day over a period of a week. They could be theory, criticism, personal accounts, or creative writing. The ISEA-Forum public-at-large would be invited to intervene, comment, discuss. The idea is not to re-orient ISEA Forum away from its current form as a free, open discussion, but to add to this existing framework a series of more structured and specific debates. The first edition of this project will be launched at the beginning of September. ChatterBox 1.0 features guest moderator Laura McGough of Nomads and the subject of New Media Art Collectives. ISEA Members are invited to send proposals as guest moderators. The guest moderator of each edition of ChatterBoxis responsible for finding and obtaining the texts of the 3 or 4 panelists, as well as for writing a short 500 word text that links them all together. Please send your ideas and proposals for ChatterBox to Katarina Soukup <email@example.com>. To subscribe to ISEA Forum, send an email message to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Leave the subject field blank and in the body of the message write: subscribe ISEA-forum with your first name and last name. ************************** WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS ************************** This is a new feature of the newsletter. ISEA HQ sends a warm greeting to the following new and renewing members. Welcome to the ISEA Community! Yoshiyuki Abe Amanda Aronczyk Kit Blake Michael Boyce Erik Brisson Leslee Broersma Isabelle Choinière Rosalind Dimon Kathy Rae Huffman Marieke Istha Kathy Kennedy Ryszard W. Kluszczynski Emmanuelle Loubet Maureen Nappi Eduardo Pla Patricia Search Janina Simioni Sanchez Linda Tauscher Tonyia Tidline Herwig Turk Roman Verostko Margaret Watson *********************************************************** SPECIAL DOSSIER ON Gender/Sex/Technology ************************************************************ In this edition of the Newsletter, Carlos Soldevila profiles two organizations dedicated to bringing women into digital culture: Studio XX from Québec and Les Penelopes from France. We've also asked Old Boys Network -the instigators of the Cyberfeminist International conferences- to give us the low-down on their organization and what "cyberfeminism" means to them. Finally, Kathy Rae Huffman reviews several recent CD-ROMs, all of which explore issues of gender and sexuality. Links related to articles can be found in the Flash News section of our website: <http://www.isea.qc.ca> WOMEN OF THE WORLD by Carlos Soldevila The Internet is still, unfortunately, a den of men. But several groups of women have decided to make the Web a vehicle for their ideas on cyberfeminism and, why not, their new battle field. Each in their own way, these organizations chose to show that feminism, today, also implies women's appropriation of new information technologies. In Montreal, Studio XX (http://www.studioxx.org) is a well known organization. Founded in 1995, its principal objective is to offer women better access to digital technologies. Over the years, their Web site has acted as a catalyst for the quebecois cyberfeminist movement. The Studio XX web site offers, among other things, interesting articles on cyberfeminism and reflections on how women are touched by new communication technologies. One also discovers spaces for Web art, forums and Femmes branchees, a series of informal meetings that take place outside the Web framework. These "techno cocktails" offer an eclectic mixture of artists' presentations, performances and discussions around technologies and new media. Montreal has also a Webgrrls' chapter (http://www.webgrrls.com/montreal /). This organization, which was founded in 1995 in New York has been able to foster unparalleled media attention to the causes of cyberfeminism. The general mandate of the movement is to help women succeed in an increasingly technical workplace and world. In Montreal, Webgrrls offers mentoring and training to women in the areas of computing and the Internet, a growing database of members in order to facilitate networking and job opportunities, special events such as career nights, international videoconferencing, and most of all, a mailing list for all Webgrrls to keep in touch, share tips and plan activities. The use of the Web by groups of women has also started to have an echo in France. Created last April, Les Penelopes (http://www.mire.net/penelopes) have created an original Web site. Les Penelopes is an association whose mandate is to diffuse, transmit and exchange information created by and for the women in the world. Their site acts as an "observatory of women's appropriation of information technologies", explains Joelle Palmieri, of Les Penelopes. "Information circulates much more quickly on the Web, and it acquires an international dimension which multiplies our efforts by ten. It especially allows encounters to take place." Les Penelopes also produce Cyberfemmes, an interactive television show on the Web, which airs each week on canalweb.net. In addition to this, Les Penelopes organized many events, such as a Forum on women and the multimedia industry and a conference on new technologies from the point of view of the women. "Penelopes of today weave their own fabric," we read on their Web site. Journeying through the Internet, they establish connections, tie links. Their projects? To affirm themselves as female creators and users of new communication technologies. To set up a server for feminist and female associations to build bridges between women of the world and to weave a multicultural fabric on the web ." ********* OLD BOYS NETWORK: The Mode is the Message--the Code is the Collective "What is the regulating structure of OBN? What are the special operational conditions which make this transitory group work the way it does?" We shall try to answer these questions through a critical reflection on our rules, discussion-habits, decision-making processes and work in general. 1. Every member of the OLD BOYS NETWORK is required to call herself a woman (without consideration of the biological base of this intelligent life-form). 2. The functions of organisation, execution and responsibility of and for the work are shared - there is no chief. This is what we call the principle of the 'missing chief', aka 'open stage'. 3. Decisions are made by consensus of the core group of OBN (ca. 5-9 members) of which every member is personally named on the official website [http://www.obn.org] 4. Every member has agreed to find a personal position in response to the question: what is 'cyberfeminism', based on her scientific or artistic work. And each has agreed to share and support the efforts of working out the potential of this term on an international level. 5. A plurality of communication-channels is used: from personal e-mail, chats, hours of regional or international phone calls, 'in the flesh' meetings to an official mailing-list. 6. Every core group-member can leave anytime, and new members can join the group, if there is a consensus on the matter. 7. With regard to its contents - the elaborations of 'cyberfeminisms' - our aim is the principle of disagreement! 8. There is an outer circle of associated women who actively participate in a more transitory way (ca. 60-70 women). 9. The general public, including persons not calling themselves women, is kept informed by television, radio-reports, personal interviews, articles in electronic and printed media, the website, presentations in the scientific and art-communities, the Cyberfeminist International Conferences etc." Personal statements from OBN members "The OLD BOYS NETWORK is a collective experiment aiming to develop non-hierarchical structures - on the organisational as well as the textual plane. Such a structure is determined by the grammatically inclusive power of a "non-"; it includes in its conception the commitment to base its work on controversial and different personal styles and goals, i.e. on conflicts and debates. This mode of production is oriented around one primary question: "What is Cyberfeminism?". It asks for the reinvention of feminist procedures in theory, art and politics under the contemporary conditions of a digital reinvention of every aspect of human existence. The different approaches and interests of the NETWORK lead to a complex structure of contradicting answers, thus questioning the mainstream prejudices about CYBERFEMINISM. By virtue of its structure, the NETWORK questions the irresponsible and inappropriate business of the well known ideologues who, with every thought they put out, contribute to the ruling omniscient stupidities. To counter this widespread understanding of 'different' feminine theory, the OLD BOYS NETWORK instead performs the concept of "difference" operating as its fuse - with one or some predictable explosions - hopefully targeting and hitting the context of dominant representational structures. My way of dealing with the open structure of the NETWORK is to understand the formula "CYBERFEMINISM IS A MISUNDERSTANDING" as a broad and embracing one. The art of mis -understanding, -chief, -behaviour, -use, -fit etc. indicates a delicate but effective mode of production. It emphasises the drive towards collective interaction, the encounter with otherness and the radical search for 'different' approaches towards the idle motion of old cultural techniques that have been caused by the digital medium." -Claudia Reiche "The Old Boys Network is a group of women doing research on Cyberfeminism, while providing an open and experimental platform for diverse discussions and strategies by Cyberfeminists. The word Cyberfeminism is inconsistent in its meaning. It ranges from dealing with feminist issues in connection with the digital media to a trendy movement. After theories of the end of history and the human, Cyberfeminism offers hope for a new start, a sort of next wave. But this time one which makes it possible for us to focus in a much more precise and radical way. The stupid hype around digital media helps Cyberfeminism a lot. It is a mixture of utopian dreams, avant-garde ideas (leading a movement etc.) and the urgent desire for a new and easy sensibility in a difficult world. Cyberfeminism will use it as long as it lasts. " -Helene von Oldenburg "For me new cyberfeminist politics involve examining the connections between historical and contemporary sites of feminist theory, analysis, contestation, struggle, and resistance, and the new technological developments which are having a profound impact on these sites. It is now necessary to become aware of how we deal with differences in our most intimate spheres. At the same time we need to strengthen our presence in the greatly contested digital domain as technology has been an integral part of the construction and positioning of identities. In the current state of technologically facilitated global capitalism it becomes imperative to find new ways of interacting in and out of cyberspace. In the 90s we have seen increasing erosion of many feminist gains, and new problems are arising for women: global capitalism, and the spread of technologised work and life to even the remotest parts of the world are having far-reaching effects on all populations of women. Ironically, the global pancapitalist network has closely interlinked the fates of people from different cultures, backgrounds, races, classes, and economic levels everywhere into complex chains of interdependency which need to be much more closely examined and understood. Changes of identities and subjectivity are taking place rapidly bringing with them new problems of representation of difference in the face of global homogenisation. New medical and biotechnologies, as well as new reproductive technologies are posing entirely new questions about women's health, embodiment, sexuality, and gender identification. These are all important issues for new cyberfeminist investigation and action." -Faith Wilding "In the beginning it was very important for me to participate in a feminist group with similar ideas and hopes of releasing new aesthetics or symbolic-political issues in the age of new technologies and digital media. Now, after OBN's organisation of the second cyberfeminist conference, I think it's more important to develop these issues and define them more carefully so as to better connect internationally with other women concerned with similar questions, especially those working with digital media. The biggest problem, or rather my starting point for the future, is that Cyberfeminism - or even the New Cyberfeminism as we practice it - does not differentiate itself clearly enough from other Feminisms, many of which are closely linked to Western theorists. Cyberfeminists believe that technologies shape our body and subjectivity, and they want to enjoy that. Therefore, we cyberfeminists of OBN have to extend our network into technological fields; try to engage women with this idea and to insist on it, especially if others don't find it important or want to bash women. Now the question arises if we should act more as a pressure group or an open and global network alliance which becomes a competitor with the powers that be and is much more than a small group of people doing an art project. For most of us, direct political intervention or activist strategies in the body of the group were not necessary until now. We relied much more on being resistant, provocative or extensive in our own individual work which we dealt with politically. The operational field of OBN has been based on symbolic and not activist engagements. All of us work in the fields of art, literature and science. Personally, I believe in the importance of art and art criticism as places for cultural, political and social reflection - the main issue in my life and work is to invest in the (more or less...) political independence and openness of that space. Obviously, symbolic-political, aesthetic and theoretical strategies have to be developed. Acting as a group might be more efficient than working alone. Herein lie OBN's next common concerns: 1. Do we want to be a group with common issues and concrete political aims? 2. What is our message? 3. Who are our enemies/friends? 4. What could our strategies look like? 5. What do we like to do? 6. With whom do we want to make further alliances?" -Yvonne Volkart "OBN is not explicitly an art project, but a hybrid which evolves at the interfaces of art, science, philosophy and politics. As OBN deals with power-structures and questions of representation, a political self-understanding suggests itself whereas OBN's methods as much as the outcomes of its work indicate an artistic one. OBN understands politics as working with confusion, disappointment, annoyance, impatience and excitement. The new spaces for thinking and acting which OBN opens ultimately remain hollow. OBN does not formulate theories, nor theses; it does not give any instructions nor does it offer answers to the pressing questions of our times. OBN tries to escape the imperatives of a traditional understanding of politics. At the same time, by focusing on the issues of cyberfeminism, OBN approaches a classical political debate: feminism. Although categories like class, race and gender and their related restrictions can no longer offer a basis for political action, OBN still refers mainly to one of these categories - namely gender - and attempts to deal with it in an expanded sense. But cyberfeminisms are individual, and so cyberfeminist strategies continue to be partial, on-going and even to contradict each other. OBN's understanding of politics seems paradoxical. It is about forming alliances, about defining common issues, about creating a discourse; it is pragmatic and dreams of meaningful action. But it also rejects common goals and strategies, and plays with the different notions of politics, i.e. intentional, ideological or playful and anarchic. This is an understanding of politics which refuses to be political but is, at the same time, politically effective. Such an understanding of politics approaches art." -Cornelia Sollfrank For me, old boys network stands for a small, concentrated and therefore potent group as well as a being a structure, a cyberfeminist network that is working in and on the net with cyberfeminist strategies and on cyberfeminist issues. Far more than merely a strategic alliance, obn operates on the basis of personal sympathy as well as mutual acknowledgment and recognition - a community which obtains its agency by way of its common sense about dissent as a common sense: many-voiced instead of a univocal chorus-line that needs to be guided by a conductor or a leader. Important is continuous exchange, discussion, and transdisciplinary collaboration, especially in the sense that old boys - though coming from different disciplines, referring to different theoretical backgrounds, having made different experiences, relating to different methods - have a common basis and field of work: cyberfeminism. Also important is that we all are prepared and willing to develop common cyberfeminist strategies. Of course it is by no means a mere accident if these cyberfeminist strategies can be aptly seized as aesthetic strategies. This shall not suggest that the net is a work of art in the traditional sense, nor should obn be understood as a kind of artistic project (again in the traditional sense). Rather one could state that obn is a working group acting in the realms of the art world as a operating system (betriebssystem kunst), but without any obedient reference to the limiting conditions of this operating system. At this point it might become clear, that obn's aesthetic strategies are always to be understood as political - of course not to support any kind of aesthetisation of the political (as it is to be observed widely on the net wherever net.art is being abused to mask economical interests), but rather because any aesthetic is to be understood as political at the same time. Actually, for me cyberfeminist (self-)understatment and (net-)work(ing) in a very basic sense could be defined as working on the code, or, to be more precise: working on the texts and subtexts the net consists of and is built on. Where ever these texts and subtexts (and this seems to be in the very nature of things, respectively in the technology the net is based on) serve to contribute to the consolidation and conservation of the binary code the traditional notions of gender are erected upon. Moreover, to me it is an important, maybe the most important concern of cyberfeminist (net-)work(ing), to analyse and deconstruct the pertinent practices of representation and regulation as well as to develop effective strategies that are appropriate to queer and to subvert those practices, and, of course, to search for new perspectives that might lead us beyond any binary system of the so-called gender arrangements (ordnungen der geschlechter) - on the net. - Verena Kuni Old Boys Network can be reached at <email@example.com>. The last Cyberfeminist International Conference was held in Rotterdam in March, 1999. This text was originally published in Mute Magazine #13 <http://www.metamute.com/>. ************************************************************ NEW CD ROMS- WITH VIEWS ON SEX AND GENDER by Kathy Rae Huffman Five new multimedia works on CD ROM have been introduced during the last year, each presents artists in the unique medium that allows archival preservation, serves as an exhibition (or exhibition documentation +), and is often an original digital artwork. The medium itself: CD ROM, is a primarily storage medium for digital information. It is stable, reliable, easy to copy, and it can represent a range of technical innovations. With content and an interface design to provide a meaningful navigational metaphor, the CD-ROM is a useful format. The following 5 works are special editions that represent artists. They are not commercially available, but can be purchased (by individuals or institutions). Each brings new, international perspectives on the individual artist. Each is worthy of the attention of the serious collector of multimedia works, and presents the artist in a perspective of sex and gender, but especially from personal, individual (and most often female) perspectives. 1. Art-int-act 5 (1998). The fifth edition of the annual artists' interactive CD-ROMagazine from the ZKM - Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Media Museum in Karlsruhe) was published for dual platform use (MAC Power PC version 8 and above or PC - Pentium recommended). Art -int-act 1was issued in 1994. Each edition has provided a hard cover book, with a CD ROM built into the cover. This edition brings texts by the artists, theoreticians and curators. They are bilingual (German and English). Each edition has been commissioned by ZKM, not created around themes, but as the result of residencies at the Institute for Visual media or the ZKM Institute for Music and Acoustics, as a new kind of multimedia exhibition. The 5th (1998) edition features three new works that bring the topic of sex and gender to the forefront in subtle ways. And, if it is not obvious through the works themselves, the accompanying essays tie the artists works together. The introductory essay "PVC - PerformanceVideoComputer" by Gerhard Johann Lischka is (by its title) a reflection on the state of the medium and a content provocative work about identity, lifestyle and the mediatized life. It also identifies the undercurrent of each work to be the individual, the body and the mediated experience. "Frozen Places" by Forced Entertainment (Tim Etchells and company, United Kingdom) & Hugo Glendinning is accompanied by texts by Etchells and Peggy Phelan. "Things Spoken" a text and image work by Agnes Hegedüs (Hungary/Germany) has an accompanying text by Tjebbe van Tijen. "Impalpability" a sensuous interpretation of the human body by Masaki Fujihata (Japan) has texts by Hans-Peter Schwarz and Fujihata. Contact: ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe Lorenzstrasse 19 D-76135 Karlsruhe Image@zkm.de http://www.zkm.de 2. Terminals 2.0 (1999) Terminals 2.0 is a cross-platform CD-ROM, but certain pieces requiring specific plug-ins (for text-to-speech synthesis) will only work on MACs. "Terminals" is the documentation of an exhibition and conference at the University of California Santa Barbara, on the cultural production of death. It began as Terminals 1.0 (Considering the End) in 1994 (as a website only). The final project has been realized with a catalogue/book with a limited (first) edition of 500, edited by Connie Samaras and Victoria Vesna, the CD ROM, and a website <www.arts.ucsb.edu/terminals>. The CD ROM is available online and has the entire contents of the book. In addition to this, it includes visual projects by Carolee Schneemann, Auriea Harvey, Mark Benthin/Yan Breuleux, Carol Jacobsen, Gary Smith, Sheree Rose, Robert Nideffer, Allan DeSouza and Laurel Beckmann. It also contains excerpts from the journals of: Kathy Acker, Bob Flanagan, Christine Tamblyn, all recently deceased. The exhibition, shown in the UC California system, is available for archives and libraries from the Department of Art Studio, University of California Santa Barbara, California 93106-7206 <www.arts.ucsb.edu>. 3. Gender Media Art (1999) This CD ROM was created for a MAC sys 8.0 or higher or a WIN Pentium machine with 90MHx or faster. Using keyboard navigation, it is an archive of exhibition and projects at Axis dealing with gender. The interface is a roulette of faces and styles?a nice gender mix-up that calls into question each individual user, and what gender mix the target could be. The CD ROM is divided into sections: 1. A Gender Media Art projector offers a multimedia presentation in QT 3.0, of excerpts from exhibitions at Axis. These are excellent documentation. 2. The AXIS annual report 1997-1998 is offered in Dutch and English. 3. The HTML home page of the exhibition Gender Media Art , complete with links, is archived. 4. 2000: a millennium updated archive of the calendar pin-ups of "Women with Beards" a unique Dutch web project introduced online in 1997 5. 00: The Living, a segment by Debra Solomon, which requires the crescendo plug-in to view, offers a peek at this "live" and online "living" work. Axis writes that "gender and transgender, queer and post-queer marks the new range of visions on sexual identity at the turn of this millennium". With this statement, they bring some of the most provocative projects together as an archive and testament to the groundbreaking work of artists. Theorists, critics and artists are combined to discuss and present these issues. This work is available from Axis, Bureau voor de Kunsten V/M Oudezijds Voorburgwal 72, 1012 GE Amsterdam NL firstname.lastname@example.org -- www.axisvm.nl 4. Bilder der Berührungen : Vali Export (1998) An archival CD ROM, this autobiographical work was created by Valie Export, professor of multimedia performance at the Media Academy in Cologne, Germany. The programming ,y syntax, for the MAC Power PC, system 7.1 or higher or a multimedia PC (Win 95/NT) has by far the most sophisticated interface of this selection. It utilizes the hand, a powerful symbol, one found often in Exports work, as the metaphor for navigation. The CD ROM is centered around Export's experimental film "Syntagma", and a film menu allows the user to experience associatively the links to other works - with varying combinations and sequences that reveal different ways of perceiving the individual works. Export, who says "the body is the center of my world" offers more than 50 films and video works, photographs, texts, quotations and poems, and texts are in German and English. The full-length version of "Syntagma "(1983) is included. This work is distributed by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, Köln ISBN 3-88375-321-1 5. Archival Quality - Christine Tamblyn (1999) This CD ROM is a memorial project initiated by Christine herself, before her death in 1998, and completed by her friends and colleagues to accompany an exhibition of her work. Archival Quality contains her complete journals (from the time she was a child of 10), the criticism that she wrote, including "Remote Control: The Electronic Transference", which was included in the book Processed Lives: Gender and Technology, ed. by Jennifer Terry and Melodie Calvert (1997 Routledge). An introductory text entitled "Archive Fever" by Margaret Morse, a longtime friend and media theoretician, introduces the disc, which has the complete collection of excerpts from performance works and installations by Tamblyn. Not included are the works Tamblyn authored on CD ROM, both of which were on the topic of gender: "She Loves It, She Loves It Not: Women in Technology" was shown in the Art Show at ISEA 94 in Helsinki, and profiled in Leonardo 28, no. 2 (1995) p. 99-104, as well as in "Mistaken Identities: An interactive CD ROM Genealogy" profiled in Leonardo 30, no. r (1996) p. 265. Both of these original interactive works are exceptional insights about women, gender and technology. The memorial CD ROM offers the necessary background on Tamblyn and allows access to original documents, images and ideas, to give any viewer the tools to deconstruct her work, and have a primary experience with her innermost thoughts, questions, and insightful overview on contemporary media art. Archival Quality is distributed by LACPS for $15. Contact: Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, email@example.com. Kathy Rae Huffman is Associate Professor of Electronic Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), and an ISEA Board member. ************************** EVENT REPORTS ************************** IMPAKT FESTIVAL 1999 Utrecht, The Netherlands May 11-16, 1999 http://www.xs4all.nl/~impakt/ Review by Sandra Dametto Held each Spring in Utrecht, Impakt describes itself as an international festival of "idiosyncratic audiovisual art". The central meeting place (Brandweerkazerne), which housed the main festival desk, also served as a host space for installations, the Couch.club, the Videogallery, and as party central for food and drink. Within a stone's throw, eight additional venues provided screens, gallery and club space for festival events. Events and screenings were structured around two major programs that reflected the different ways that organizers go about soliciting and/or classifying works. Thematic programs promised to focus on "current social or artistic developments". This year, an array of writers, musicians, and media artists were collected under the rubric of six distinct motifs: Turntablism (music), Berlin Berlin (music), RE:collections (films/videos), Candid? (films/videos), The Experience (event), and Extrusions (off-site works). In contradistinction to this, the Panorama program promised an overview of the best new a/v productions: films, videos, installations, cdroms, and websites. This year, attendees shuffled between 10 installations, 9 cdroms/websites, and 70 film/video works. With so much to do and so little time, I scaled my interests down to two key areas: cdroms and film/video screenings. Cdroms and websites were housed on three computers available in the Brandweerkazerne. Unfortunately, little consideration was paid to the presentation of computer based works. As with other festivals, all too often stations are squeezed in to any available space, notably high traffic areas. The inevitable result is that one must compete with a barrage of sounds in order to attend to the headset, which makes serious consideration of the work difficult. Luckily, I had previously come across the excellent Where Where There There Where (Zoe Beloff & the Wooster Group, U.S.A.) on the Web (albeit in condensed form). Regretfully, I found myself struggling to concentrate on the promising Postfuturistic Encyclopedia (Staffan Backlund, Sweden) and the ironic critique of Microsoft found in Map Msn-Adult Playground 1.0 (Joan Leandre, Spain). Within the Panorama program, the general commitment in programming appeared to lean towards the "experimental". Sometimes this meant encountering amateur work (tapes without titles or soundtracks were surprisingly commonplace), other times polished gems. Amateur work however, is not in-and-of-itself a bad thing. Often, work that is saddled with such a label is valuable for its politics or candor, for its approach, or technique, its energy or vitality; qualities often lacking in the conventional tapes found in more "professional" festival programs. In this sense, the diamond-in-the-rough that is missing a soundtrack or a credit roll is hardly a problem. The question of amateurism however, becomes more critical when faced with work that lacks temporal direction or relies on one idea - or technical achievement - for it's aesthetic rationale. Impakt's Panorama program offered a diversity of work from the amateur to the sublime. As with most festivals, the buzz on the "must see" comes from the experience of sitting through one too many programs with few too many exceptional works. While it is always exciting to attend festivals for the chance to encounter new artists and ideas, sometimes one needs to find shortcuts to the best of the fest. The Videogallery provided just that sort of opportunity. As a collaborative project between five international festivals: the European Media Arts Festival (Germany), L'Imagine Leggera (Italy), International Festival of New Film and Video (Croatia), VIPER (Switzerland) the Videogallery presented a selection of tapes from each festival's lastest program. The emphasis is largely on each country's national productions but not at the expense of exceptional works from other places. Of the installations, one high point was the off-site work of American artist Mark Bain. Bain's project is to take structures and ring them - like a bell - to create a resonant sound. The interest, as he put it, is twofold: "to infect architectural structures with energy" and to "add the structure's sound to the environment". Particularly fond of bridges (metallic structures, he notes, ring well), Bain once rang the Boston Harbor Bridge which at some 200 meters created not only a low frequency ring but visible motion. At the DEAF Festival in Rotterdam he strapped resonators onto columns which turned the structures into vibrating strings. At Impakt, Bain's Transient Vehicle Project involved attaching various oscillators to a large shipping container located just outside of the Brandweerkazerne. The sonic vibrations sent tremors through neighbouring buildings and had at least one local resident in a tizzy over the rattling windows. At the Couch.club (an informal forum for guest artists to discuss their work) the artist assured his audience that these wave-inducing experiments wouldn't send buildings crashing to the ground. His credentials from MIT, where he studied architecture and art, gave some reassurance to those who later stepped directly into the freight container to experience the sonic sensorium in full effect. Ten years in the running, Impakt offers a unique mix of new media, audiovisual arts and music. As a festival committed to showcasing independent media arts productions, Impakt appears particularly well suited to those works that fall outside of mainstream expectations. It is a festival where one is certain to find the extraordinary, the unorthodox and the unexpected. Sandra Dametto is an independent producer/director and media artist living in Montreal. ******************************* JOBS AND CALLS FOR PROJECTS WILL BE SENT AS SEPARATE EMAIL ******************************* ISEA NEWSLETTER =========================================================== Editor: Katarina Soukup / Translation: Michel Lefebvre, Marie-Andrée Charron Collaborators: Carlos Soldevila, Eva Quintas, Natalie Melancon, Sandra Dametto, Old Boys Network , Kathy Rae Huffman. ______________________________________________________ ISEA, 3530 boul. Saint-Laurent, suite 305, Montreal (Qc), H2X 2V1, CANADA Tel: (514) 847-8912, Fax: (514) 847-8834 email: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.isea.qc.ca _____________________________________________________________ ISEA Board Members: Nina Czegledy, Kathy Rae Huffman, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Alain Mongeau, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Thecla Shiphorst, Atau Tanaka, Wim van der Plas. ___________________________________________________________________ ISEA LISTSERV: To subscribe, send a message to: email@example.com, no subject, with the message in the body: "subscribe ISEA-forum first name last name" =========================================================================== 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: La Fondation Daniel Langlois, Ministere de la culture et des communications du Quebec. =========================================================================== end of newsletter **************************************************** Please note our new addresses : Veuillez prendre note de notre nouvelle adresse : 3530 boul. Saint-Laurent Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H2X 2V1 Tel. +1-514-847-8912 * Fax. +1-514-847-8834 firstname.lastname@example.org * http://www.isea.qc.ca
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