#074 Oct/Nov 1999



#74 October- November 1999


* Editorial * ISEA News * News from Members * Feature Articles * Event
Reports *

*Une version francaise est disponible. Contactez le secretariat pour



The fall season usually brings a bumper crop of symposia, conferences,
exhibitions, and festivals in the electronic arts, and so it is no
surprise, now that the leaves are finally turning colour, Montreal is
experiencing its own autumnal flurry of new media events.

How appropriate that Champ Libre kicks off the season on the first cold day
of September with the 4th edition of their week-long Manifestation
internationale vidéo et art électronique. ISEA's General Assembly on New
Media Art, Cartographies, and the Media Lounge at the Montreal New Cinema
and New Media Festival (FCMM) take us into October. The autumn is rounded
out in November by NewOp8, a Conference on Creation, Voice, and New
Technology organized by Chants Libres which will bring ISEA Board member
Atau Tanaka (among other artists) to this city. Almost simultaneously,
Elektra, a festival of electroacoustic music organized by the Association
pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec (ACREQ), will
import the Austrian duo Granular Synthesis.

After a nomadic summer which saw our Executive Director Carlos Soldevila
and members of our tireless Board of Directors (namely Cynthia Beth Rubin,
Kathy Rae Huffman, and Nina Czegledy)  represent ISEA at Siggraph99 in Los
Angeles, Invencao in Brazil, and Navigating Intelligence at Banff (see the
event reports within this issue of the newsletter), ISEA has come home to

Buoyed by the excitement and enthusiasm demonstrated by those who attended
the ISEA "gatherings" at these events, ISEA HQ is poised to launch
Cartographies: the General Assembly on New Media Art, which finds itself
smack-dab in the middle of Montreal's "new media season". The ISEA
gatherings in Los Angeles, São Paulo, and Banff were an outreach to the
international electronic art community, and sowed the seeds for future
partnerships and collaborations. Conversely, with Cartographies, a look at
New Media Art across Canada and Québec with a nod to various international
models, ISEA brings the electronic art community to Montreal -a city whose
reputation as an international crossroads for research, innovation, and
creation in new technologies is cultivated in large part by the presence
and     synergy of organizations such as ISEA and the festivals mentioned

An important point on ISEA's fall agenda is, of course, the Annual General
Meeting of its members on the third day of Cartographies (October 14,
4-6pm) in the offices of ISEA HQ (full details in this issue of the
newsletter). This will be an opportunity for members to discuss the past
year's activities, as well as to brainstorm and plan for the months and
years to come. Following in the wake of an exciting programme of panels and
workshops (see below for the Cartographies programme), the AGM should be
chock full with new ideas and initiatives.

One such initiative has already been proposed by ISEA member Patrick
Lichty:  you will find his article and plan of action on disability issues
and diversity in this newsletter. We hope you will also enjoy a delightful
rumination on the electronic arts and millennialism written by Virginie
Pringuet, a member of the new media programming team at the FCMM.

If our Annual General Meeting and Cartographies were not enough, there
seems a multitude of other reasons for our members to find themselves in
Montreal this fall. We hope to see you in town!

Katarina Soukup

4e Manifestation internationale vidéo et art électronique
Champ libre
19-26  September, 1999

Cartographies: The General Assembly on New Media Art
12-14 October, 1999

The Montréal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media  (FCMM)
Ex-Centris Complex
14-24 October, 1999

NewOp 8: Conference on Creation, Voice, and New Technology
Chants libres
10 - 13 November, 1999

4-13  November, 1999


ISEA Annual General Meeting
Thursday, October 14, 1999
ISEA Headquarters
Ex-Centris Complex
3530 St-Laurent Blvd., suite 305
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

We wish to inform you that ISEA's Annual General Meeting will be held this
year in the Montreal offices of ISEA HQ during Cartographies: The General
Assembly on New Media Art. These 3 days of conferences organized by ISEA
will be an occasion to gather, we hope, the most ISEA members and members
of our various committees (Board of Directors, Cultural Diversity
Committee, and the ISEA International Advisory Committee). In the spirit of
recent ISEA gatherings at Siggraph and Invencao during which enthusiasm and
a strong desire to participate was generated by the large number in
attendance, we hope this AGM will open the doors to new projects and new
collaborations. Among other items, the agenda will include the ISEA
financial report, our report of activities and projects, as well as a
development plan for the year(s) to come.

Looking forward to seeing you,

The ISEA HQ team


The General Assembly on New Media Art
Montreal, Ex-Centris Complex, October 12-14, 1999


Towards a Definition of Media Art
A Canadian Cartography


Day I / Tuesday 12 October 1999
ZONE ZERO : New Media - Before and Beyond

9h to 10h : Registration

10h to 12h30 : Opening Conferences
- Alain Mongeau, ISEA , FCMM (Quebec)
- Sara Diamond, Banff Multimedia Institute (CA)
- Pierre Levy, UQTR, (France/Quebec)
- Gerfried Stocker, Ars Electronica (Austria)

14h30 to 17h00 : International models and centres
Moderator : Nina Czegledy, ISEA (Canada)
- Alex Adriaansens, V2 (NL)
- Nils Aziosmanoff, Art3000 (France)
- Tiina Erkintalo, MuuMedia Festival (Finland)
- Claudia Giannetti, Mecad  (Spain)
- Peter Ride, DA2 (UK)

17h a 19h : "Carrefour informel" at the Societe des arts
technologiques/ Technological Arts Society
Presentation of the work of the resident artist, Isabelle Choiniere (Corps
INFO SAT : 844-2033 / 307 Ste-Catherine West, # 610, Montreal

Day II /  Wednesday 13 October 1999
TACTICAL ZONES: The State of Media Art : Quebecois and Canadian Experiences
Guest Curators: Francine Dagenais and Sylvie Parent (Montreal)

9h30 -12h30 : Round-table: New Territories to Confront and Redefine the
Field of New Media Art

Moderator: Thierry Bardini  (Montreal)
- Luc Courchesne (Montreal)
- Shery Kootenhayoo (Calgary)
- Valerie Lamontagne (Montreal)
- Catherine Richards (Ottawa)
- Thecla Schiphorst (Vancouver)
- Sheila Urbanoski (Wishart, SK)

14h30 - 17h30 : Round-table: Interfacing Present Structures to the
Challenges of Digital Cultures

Moderator: Francine Dagenais
- Brenda Cleniuk, Neutral Ground (Regina)
- Marc Fournel, Daïmon (Hull)
- Tom Leonhardt (Toronto)
- Jocelyn Robert, Avatar (Quebec)
- Société des arts technologiques (Montreal)
- Gisèle Trudel, TechnOboro  (Montreal)

20h00 : Performance
La Mue de l'Ange, a new show by Le Corps Indice
Theatre La Veillee, 1371 Ontario East, Montreal
INFO Corps Indice : (514) 251-8588

Day III / Thursday 14 October 1999
MOBILE ZONES : The Challenge of New Networks /
Thematic workshops

9h30 -12h30 : Round-Tables

1.Conserving and Archiving Digital Work
Moderator: Petra Mueller, artist (Montreal)
- Alain Depocas, Daniel Langlois Foundation (Montreal)
- Steve Dietz, curator, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, USA)
- Robbin Murphy, founder of artnetweb, (New York, USA)
- Virginie Pringuet, D.A.T.A. (Montreal)

2. Research and Innovation
Moderator : Michael Century, McGill University (Montreal)
- Charles Halary, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
- Francine Lecours, Heritage Canada (Ottawa/Hull)
- Kathy Rae Huffman, ISEA/ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, EU)
- Bill Vorn, Concordia University (Montreal)
- Ron Wakkary, Technical University of British Columbia (Vancouver)

14h30-15h30 : Closing words

16h00-18h00 : ISEA Annual General Meeting

A production of ISEA/ Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts in
collaboration with the Montreal Festival of New Cinema and New Media
(FCMM). With the support of The Canada Council for the Arts, Le Conseil des
arts et des lettres du Quebec, Canadian Heritage, Office franco-quebecois
pour la jeunesse.

3 DAY PACKAGE including a ticket for the show La Mue de l'Ange (Corps
Indice): 100$ (75$ ISEA Members)
35$ per day  (25$ per day ISEA Members)
For more information about the AGM or about Cartographies, please contact

John Moores University has announced that the likely publication date for
the ISEA98 proceedings will be in November. ISEA HQ is in contact with the
university and will keep members informed about the availability of the


**  ISEA members YOSHI ABE (computer graphics) and SHINSUKE INA (video
installation) were featured in a group show of media art during Kyoto Media
Art Week 99.  The exhibition took place September 27 to October 9, 1999  at
Gallery Fleur, Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto (Japan).
Info: http://www.at-m.or.jp/~abe/iseajp/info/mart99.html

** ISEA board member THECLA SCHIPHORST participated in the Virtual-Physical
Bodies//the future synthesis Symposium organized by ResCen: Centre for
Research into Creation in the Performing Arts in Londo (UK), September 17 -
19 1999.
Info: rescen@mdx.ac.uk

** ISEA member JOSÉ-CARLOS MARIÁTEGUI's article "Techno- revolution: False
revolution?" was published in Third Text 47 (Summer 1999),  a special
edition edited by Sean Cubitt entitled "Third World Wide Web".
To order individual copies or subscribe:

Thank you and welcome to the following new and renewing ISEA members:

Melentie  Pandilovski
Réjean  Dumouchel
Antoinette  Geldun
Marieke  Istha
Shinsuke  Ina
Joshua  Berman
Ingeborg  Reichle
Georg  Muehleck
Beatriz de  Medeiros
Peter Bosh &  Simone Simons
Aarre  Kärkkäinen
Roy  Ascott
Ian  Oliver
Bjørn  Ross
Joel Chadabe
Sandra Dametto
Gregory Little
Jack Ox
Jeff Trupiano



By Virginie Pringuet

Encyclopedia Universalis, Millennialism: millennialism, the antici-pation
of a Kingdom of paradise revisted, is often placed under the guidance of a
charismatic leader, a messiah. It exists only among cultures in which myths
of paradise-on-earth are prevalent -with the addition of a myth of the
"return of cultural heros". Millennialism is the anticipation of a kingdom
of rest and peace, yet millennialists often resort to violence to speed the
coming of this kingdom. In fact, if millennialism is supposed to occur
suddenly and "on its own", if theoretically it requires no instigation,
millennialists nevertheless seek to expedite or aid its occurence through
revolutionary action. Another glaring contradiction: if the Kingdom is
situated in the future, it is nevertheless conceived as the return of an
original golden age. Millennialism is almost always both reactionary and
revolutionary at the same time. In general, it is made up of preliminary
phases and ordeals hailed by celestial and terrestrial portents: comets,
meteors, famines, blood baths, epidemics, earthquakes. These calamities are
usually orchestrated by an anti-messiah -the Antichrist.

In the fissures of the financial, industrial, and military sectors, the
milieu of the electronic arts seems to be anticipating the seismic shake-up
of the the end of the millenium and to be succumbing to the seduction of
the semantic black hole of Y2K -the mind-boggling bug of the century. Since
the fall of 1998, the majority of international electronic art festivals
and symposia have abandonned their traditional debates around content or
interactive writing to tackle themes more drenched with the scent of
millennialism. Last September "Revolution and Terror" were discusssed at
ISEA98 in Liverpool and Manchester; at Ars Electronica in Linz, it was a
question of "InfoWar"; and finally, in November of last year, the Dutch
Electronic Art Festival (DEAF) in Rotterdam ruminated on the "Art of the

With an anxiety about passing into the year 2000 and the third millennium
almost more belated than that of small and medium-sized businesses,
artists, theorists and organizers in the new media scene are now attempting
to measure the problem of  technological breakdown, viruses, computer
crashes, and other system bugs in order to reveal their artistic and
innovative potential. 1999 has jumpstarted an exploration of the relations
between art, technology and society, a seemingly relentless pursuit
accele-rated by the countdown to the millennium. In the mad race to
understand the mystery of this so-called fatal deadline, the millennium has
become the sign and symbol of the total accident, the time bomb. A time
bomb which subjects us to the fear of the nuclear mushroom cloud.

The DEAF festival is organized by V2, "the institute for the unstable
media" a pionneering organization in new media based in Rotterdam and
active since 1987. Unveiling the question of l'ars accidentalis, DEAF98
provided several unexplored routes of specu lation in terms of the
creativity that resides in all mechanical  dysfunction, whether this be a
virus, a bug, or a computer crash. The guiding principles of DEAF were
inspired by Artistolian philosophy, according to which the breakdown of our
inventions is inscribed in their conception, indeed, in their substance,
and profoundly constitutes their essence. As Paul Virilio has frequently
pointed out, the invention of the boat, locomotive steam engine and nuclear
fission coincides with that of the sinking, the derailment and the atomic
bomb. Thus the accident not as an external, unforeseen event in time, but
rather as a sudden transformation of matter in space. In this light,
Virilio, questioned on the subject of l'ars accidentalis (1), defines the
overall accident not as an external force perturbing a certain state or
order, but as an intrinsic element of reality, the fate of an internal
programme, a radical, uncontrolable mutation of the environment.

Artist projects presented at DEAF, such as the Live Room - Transducting
Resonant Architecture by Mark Bain, OSS from JODI or C.O.T.I.S. from the
KIT collective all reveal the same determination to deconstruct the essence
of the technological breakdown, to scope out the dynamic space/time
dimensions of catastrophies (aural, visual, and material), as well as the
desire to root out the aesthetics of the accident. These three projects
consisted of creating, manipulating or capturing a perturbation which
insinuates itself into the structure of an object (building, computer,
airplane), and after being amplified, takes hold of said object, thereby
radically and irreversibly transforming it. An audio, video, architectural,
or network system put in place to try out the crash; mould collisions and
parasites; degrade signals, machines, or buildings; confound navigation,
lines of code, and javascripts....

The Aesthetic of the Virus

Let's take the example of The Live Room by Mark Bain, a temporary
installation, a parasitic device exploiting the specificity of a given
architectural site -to whit: a bridge, a building, a boat, etc. Bain
deploys a cohort of wave-generating machines, small appliances each with an
acoustic intensification that attaches itself to strategic points of a
building in order to become synchronized with the resonance of its
structure and make it vibrate in the space which contains it. The Live Room
uses the principle of seismic induction to activate the interior and
exterior surfaces, creating an intense tectonic charge which connects the
different parts of the building by making them vibrate. In Rotterdam, the
offices of V2, as well as the barge upon which festival-goers found
themselves for the closing party (appropriately baptized "Titanic"), became
Bain's experimental terrain. A strange experience, both physically and
sonically, to feel a building enter into phase with oneself, and to hear
the interior song of an inert block of cement. As a virus, The Live Room
seeks to reinject a breath of fresh air into these constructions, to reveal
their secret life, and to make their internal characteristics and organic
structure perceptible -all while putting them in peril and dangerously
toying with the laws of demoliton and seismic action.

The Aesthetic of the Bug

For their part, the duo JODI, like good office pirates, have not yet
finished exploring the aesthetic potential of error messages, the no-mans
land, and electronic impasses which await all computer users on the web
from the inner most depths of its operating system. The idea behind their
preceding projects and OSS, a web project and CD-ROM, is relatively simple
yet effective:  when a calamity such as a bug infiltrates a hard drive, the
user -just as much as the machine- becomes non-operational. Loss of control
of the mouse, two if not three desperate clicks, ESCAPE, F3, Shift +
Control + Apple + Backspace... nothing works. Nerves become frayed, the
compulsive clicking, OSS, takes you hostage. Because JODI's forte is
writing programmes which simulate models of computer dysfunction, models
extolling the irrational, the anti-logical, the non-user-friendly, visual
noise, and erratic navigation, the user is obliged to improvise, to
unlearn, to break routines acquired by surfing a million web pages and by
being subject to a thousand hours of Windows.

The Aesthetic of the Crash

Just as radical is the installation C.O.T.I.S. (Cult Of Inserter Seat) from
KIT. It takes form as a kind of human-sized 'black box', abandoned on a
road meridian in Rotterdam, and consists of a sanctuary of sounds, words,
and images recorded before impact, as well as a geographic and sonic
compilation of various plane crashes. Visitors timidly file through the
padded universe of this metal container where the last seconds before a
plane crash are looped. The black box becomes the sacred object here,
having survived the explosion of space-time, a recorded space-time, an
accelerated return to the earth, frozen in the form of stammered words,
scrambled sounds, and images of the surface towards which we plummet. In
contrast to the ejection seat, the black box remains entangled in the
entrails of the doomed aircraft, and constitutes a final recording before
the ultimate fusion between human and machine, an irreversible and tragic
encounter between humans and their tools. Revisiting certain symbolic
elements of the Apocalypse (one of the last books of the Bible) which turn
the sky into a mirror of the earth and its future scars, C.O.T.I.S
expresses the impossibility of humans and their inventions to cross certain
boundaries (the conquest of space, speed) without mutual annihilation,
without transforming their points of intersection and zones of impact and

The bent of the DEAF Festival was the accident as a source of inspiration,
as a point of departure for contemplating the ecology of unstable media,
rather than a sense of pervading catas-trophism. The mass media, for their
part, seem determined to popularize Y2K, all while cloaking it in mystery:
proffering new representations of technological objects imbued with
millennial superstition and apocalyptic symbolism. Cognitive shortcuts
which impart a natural reference to information systems in order to explain
the dysfunctions of economic, social, and political systems -in short, the
information society. Having become the dominant metaphor of post-industrial
society, computer systems and networks have reformulated the powerful
symbols and recurring myths appearing throughout the history of science and
technology, as well as during the (rare) periods of transition between
millennia. We are thus living on the cusp of the transition into the year
2000 and of the universalization of the 400 MgH processor, an exceptional
conjuncture for the exacerbation of beliefs and superstitions which, since
the dawn of time, have always accompanied the invention of new tools by the
human being - the   fragile homo faber struggling to master his environment
and to quench an  insatiable need to control his destiny.

On the eve of 2000, the return of Christ has been translated into the
sudden looming appearance of a Y2K in which we find the same form of
sanction against the arrogant human being. God, divine punishment, and the
'bug' as the new "reincarnation" of an all-powerful God.

(1) Surfing the accident, "The Art of the Accident", NAI
Publishers/V2-Organisatie, Rotterdam, 1998

URLs :
V2 Organisatie : http://www.v2.nl
ISEA98 : http://www.isea98.org
Ars Electronica98 : http://www.aec.at/infowar/
JODI : http://oss.jodi.org ; http://www.jodi.org
KIT : http://www.gas.u-net.com/cotis/cotis.html

Virginie Pringuet has worked with the New Media section of the Montréal
Festival of New Cinema and New Media since 1997. The Festival takes place
October 14 - 24, 1999. http://www.fcmm.com

This article originally appeared in Synopsis, the journal of Main Film, a
resource centre for independent film makers in Montreal
(CANADA) . http://www.mainfilm.qc.ca/



by Patrick Lichty

In the technological arts, there have been recent initiatives such as the
ISEA Virtual Africa project [1], where the primary goal is to foster
greater diversity in the larger cultural discussion.  Although projects
such as this have created significant steps towards inclusion of a wider
base of colleagues in the practice of new media art, I find that many
diversity programs on the institutional level tend to focus largely on
gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and race. Concerns related to
disability seem to have less prevalence in contrast to these other
initiatives, although they are not altogether absent. When television
advertisements allude to the inclusiveness of online communities and the
Internet, it seemed curious that there was not a greater representation of
disabled artists online as such. Also in question are the representational
practices that the disabled person would use in constructing their sense of
identity as part of this demographic. Given that my examination of
disability and technological art is in its early stages, such topics appear
as excellent starting points for inquiry.

In taking into account the role of the disabled in technological art, Paul
Virilio's essay, The Third Interval [2] comes to mind.  He writes of the
convergence of cultural similarities between the technologically
accelerated person and the computerized person with disabilities.
According to Virilio, as we become subject to longer spans of computer
access, the body is immobilized, as physical mobility becomes irrelevant.
As the networked disabled get access to networked communications systems,
their mode of functioning becomes similar, as both place their emphasis in
cyberspatial mobility.  Has the notion of disability become transparent
within society as larger numbers of people gain access to Internet
technologies? In order to consider this question, we need to address the
question of access and the disabled.

Economic pressures frequently prevent the disabled individual from gaining
access to the Internet. Although in some Western countries, disabled
individuals may be eligible for assistance in obtaining computer equipment,
even relatively inexpensive access charges can be problematic to those
whose disposable incomes are frequently under ten to twenty percent of
their monthly amount [3].  This is compounded further by the fact that many
creative computer programs and peripherals are not covered under
governmental disability programs, and are simply beyond the economic reach
of the disabled. Perhaps one solution is that there are numbers of freeware
Web authoring and media creation packages available on the Internet to
allow creative expression in the areas of net.art and digital imaging.
However, this also presupposes a certain level of facility with the
equipment itself.  This presents challenges relating to the actual act of
interfacing with the disabled person.

There are physical obstacles to overcome for the disabled new media artist.
Assuming that these are overcome to one extent or another, what are the
representational issues of the disabled individual on the conceptual level?
This idea can be contrasted with others by artists who have developed works
based on social stereotypes, such as Gomez-Pena and Silfuentes, who have
created  sites such as the Temple of Confessions [4].  In the Temple,
visitors confess their cultural 'sins' relating to their prejudices and
preconceptions of cultural other-ness. 'Confessions" addresses Latino and
Chicano topics, but this author has, as yet, to see interactive sites that
confront matters of disabled identity.

The traditional perception of the disabled person is that of those with
impairments in mobility, as depicted by the international symbol for the
handicapped; the person in the wheelchair.  Although this symbol creates an
easily identifiable metaphor for this demographic, it represents only a
fraction of the entire population. Such a heterogenous group can be
difficult to define under any one classification. For example, many
disabled individuals and artists have very different interfacing needs.
These include amputees, the perceptually disabled (blindness, deafness), as
well as those with mental impairments or disorders.  Not only can these
limitations impair the manipulation of the tools required for the creation
of new media art, they also may alter learning curves for the gaining of
expertise with software, etc.  However, as an inclusive attitude in the
arts does not imply equality as instilling similar amounts of disciplinary
virtuosity in all people.  A discussion of the disabled in new media arts
must limit itself to those who first have a calling to the arts and the
requisite creative desire, and to addressing those interfacing issues for
those who do wish a creative voice in the emergent digital technologies.

Although my research in the matter of disabled identity in new media art is
ongoing, a majority of responses that I have had from disabled artists
relate to the social stigmas that are ascribed to them.  An example of this
is that of the association of the disabled artist with the state workhouse
craft shop.This is understandable, as a professional colleague possessing a
syndrome with symptoms similar to those of Cerebral Palsy was asked if he
would speak English in conversation. Therefore, we can reference back to
Virilio that in many cases the disabled artist chooses to pass in online
culture.This agrees with Goffman's work on virtual identity and stigma [5],
as the individual, when given the choice between the stigmatized identity
and that of a virtual one that passes in societal interactions, frequently
chooses to mainstream themselves. This is problematic in regards to
advocacy for handicapped demographics, as in the act of 'passing', the
disabled individual diminishes the visibility of their social group, often
re-marginalizing their cultural issues.

As a cultural director of a foundation that seeks to advocate the rights
of, and for the alteration of perceptions of the mainstream toward the
disabled individual, the place within the emerging digital art world that
the artist will take is of great interest to me.  There are some excellent
groups that are working with artists and the disabled to explore the
creative potential of the technological arts, such as Lighthouse Brighton
[6], and Renga-Sense 0f Touch [7].  However, it is my belief that disabled
culture is, by and large, not being addressed in many art genres, and in
digital art in  particular.  These issues could be addressed through
installation works, programs for access, and curated exhibits that center
around the technologically-(re)enabled artist.

Enabling the voice of the disabled artist has obstacles stemming from
socioeconomic, access, visibility, social stigma, and educational sources.
Also, many artists of this group who do work in the digital arts distance
themselves by eliding the issues of their own disability through the
adoption of Turkle-esque virtual personae. It is surprising that even
though there are a number of artists online who use technological media,
few feel that such personal experiences are not germane to their work.
However, in considering the role of the disabled in the furthering of a
more diverse environment for the technological arts, there is a need for a
larger dialogue than is already extent. And it is my hope that this brief
discussion will pose questions that serve to open discussion of the role
that the disabled artist plays in the larger cultural milieu.

[1] ISEA Virtual Africa Project, http://www.isea.qc.ca/welcome.html
[2] Virilio, Paul. The Third Interval, from ReThinking Technology, 1993,
ed. Verena A. Conley,  Univ. of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN USA
[3] Conversation with M. Cohn, CEO of Promote Awareness, a
disabilities advocacy foundation, http://www.promoteawarness.com
[4] Pena/Silfuentes, Temple of Confessions,
[5]. Goffman, Erving, Stigma. Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.
pp.10, 1963 Penguin. Harmondsworth, Middlesex
[6] Lighthouse Brighton, http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/
[7] Renga Project.  Sense of Touch, 1998, Japanese collaborative,



by Patrick Lichty

Discussing the possibility for the addition of a disabled culture to any
diversity program leads to the question of logistics in the  creation of a
space for that given culture in that given program.  The following is a
proposal for a series of projects that could involve disabled artists, or
disabled people who wish to explore their creativity, in ISEA's mission of

We all have our challenges, regardless of culture.  As artists, we are all
pressed for time and resources.  What I am suggesting then, is an
incremental, long-term project to be spearheaded by ISEA and Promote
Awareness which will strive to foster collaboration, the dissemination of
knowledge and resources, as well as spark further discussion.
Implementation of any of these programs may take from months to years, but
what I am convinced of is that there can be an ongoing synergistic
community involving all cultures as long as we offer to do some portion of
the work.

The projects that I envision are:

* Promotion of the initiative at conferences/symposia.

* Cataloguing of completed projects involving disabled artists/disability
cultures: This can give us a base of knowledge from which to draw upon in
reference to the construction of future artistic ventures.

* Resource/support lists for disabled artists.

* A database of disabled technological artists as a reference for future
collaborators and/or curators.  This only assumes that they would allow
themselves to be included in a database such as this (see article).

* Periodic forums addressing disabled culture and the technological arts:
The forums would invite a larger dialogue dealing with perception,
technical challenges and cultural implications vis-à-vis the whole concept
of 'disability'.

* Surveys to determine perception of/by disabled artists, and possible
ethnographic research. This would be completely anonymous, and could
determine unanticipated needs and directions for the project.

* Sponsorship/promotion of selected projects foregrounding disabled
culture: Possibilities could be similar to those presented by the Virtual
Africa Project.

* The establishment of an agora for the intercultural collaboration between
technological artists: This could be an online space within ISEA's webspace
where artists could meet and synergize.

In closing, I'll say that the creation/implementation of all of these
programs have a pretty linear resource to completion ratio. The fewer
people and less time afforded to such a project, the more time it will take
to get the program implemented. Like you, I have my shows, writing, and
survival that keep me pretty busy.  However, I feel that these projects are
at least worth investigating, and I hope you'll agree.

Patrick Lichty is a technological artist and writer who is Cultural
Director for Promote Awareness, a Minneapolis-based disabilities advocacy
foundation. He is also an ISEA member.


August 8-13, 1999
Los Angeles Convention Centre
Los Angeles, California

Report by Cynthia Beth Rubin

The SIGGRAPH annual Conference provided the opportunity for ISEA members to
meet formally and informally.  ISEA members, past and present, generally
expressed a high level of interest in the activities of ISEA, and an
interest in contributing to growth of the organization.  Clearly ISEA has
built a following of many people who are wonderful resources with a great
deal of experience and much to offer, and during SIGGRAPH they came forward
to offer their ongoing support.

At the official ISEA meeting, about 50 members and friends of ISEA gathered
to introduce themselves to one another, and to share information on
organizations and events around the world.  Among the many active artists,
arts administrators, and art theorists were representatives from
organizations that are of particular interest to ISEA members, including
George Fifield from the Boston CyberArts Festival, Diane  Gromala, Chair of
the SIGGRAPH 2000 Art Gallery; Linda Hersom and James Scidmore, SIGGRAPH
International Committee Chairs; Rhonda Jessen, Banff Centre; Eun-Sook Kwon:
KAIST, in Korea, and Gilbert Dutertre from Imagina.

The highlight of the ISEA meeting was the introduction of Carlos Soldevila,
our new executive director. Carlos was available to meet with any one with
an interest in ISEA, and he spent the time before and after our formal
meeting engaged in dialog with many ISEA members, past members, and
potential members.

Board members Kathy Rae Huffman and Cynthia Beth Rubin also attended
SIGGRAPH, and in addition to the ISEA meeting they represented ISEA at
events hosted by Ars Electronica, Imagina, and the Japanese Multi-Media
organization. They also engaged in numerous conversations with members
throughout the week. ISEA literature was distributed at both the
International Center and the RPI both (much thanks to both SIGGRAPH and RPI
for providing the space).

Cynthia Beth Rubin is a visual artist currently based in Providence, Rhode
Island (USA) and a member of ISEA's Board of Directors.


August 25-29, 1999
Itau Cultural Centre
Sau Paulo, Brazil

Report by Ernestine Daubner

From the 25th to the 29th of August, the Brazilian skyscraper megalopolis,
Sao Paulo, was the site for the international and transdisciplinary
conference, "Invencao: Thinking the Next Millennium." The opening
statements by the organizers, Arlindo Machado and Ricardo Ribenboim (Itau
Cultural), Roy Ascott (CAiiA-STAR), Roger Malina (Leonardo) and Carlos
Soldevila (ISEA) clearly set the tone for the conference.  We were leaving
Baudrillard's world of paranoia and entering an era of "telenoia" (Ascott)
which heralded aesthetic shifts and cultural transformations.

In the first plenary lecture, Eduardo Kac presented an engaging overview of
the history of Brazilian technological art and contemporary media artists.
This included a discussion of Otavio Donasci whose unscheduled TV-robotic
performance the last evening provided a fitting end to a seemingly
exhaustive and exhausting four days of total immersion in a panorama of
inno-vative projects and ideas.

From the "Cosmic Voyage" (the Imax project of Donna Cox and Robert
Patterson) to the possibilities of "Creative Visualization of Ocean Data"
(Gloria Brown-Simonns), to the dawning of a post-biological age (Roy
Ascott) of bio- and nano-technologies, we learned we were heading in
unfathomable directions.  Perhaps such prospects as transferring genes to
microorganisms or natural genetic material from one species to another
(Eduardo Kac) prompt investigations into other realms:  the world of dreams
(Nina Czegledy), shaministic worldviews (Roslyn Dauber), Oriental spiritual
traditions of mystics (Mike King), physics imbibed in subjectivity (Stephen
Jones).  Allusions to empathy, to dialogue, to cyberspace consciousness and
a revisioning of the Benjaminian "aura" (Margot Lovejoy) were also
prevalent themes.

The excitement exhibited by artists presenting their projects was
infectious.  Melinda Rackham recounted the love story of "Carrier," a viral
life that swarms within the nervous system of our planet.  Christa Sommerer
introduced her "Life Spacies" project, designed with Laurent Mignonneau, in
which creatures are born (through the mediation of web visitors), struggle
for survival, reproduce or clone themselves and eventually die. The a-life
computer systems of Ryohei Nakatsu and Naoko Tosa generate
three-dimensional imagery that can recognize and react to   emotions and
gestures of the interactors.  There was also the "Cyberdance" of Ricardo
Barreto and Paula Perissinotto, the sound walks of Andra McCartney, the
CAVE VR sound and image project of Jack Ox and so much more.

The overall mood was euphoric with few dissenting commentaries.  Michael
Punt's words about forgetting Armageddon seemed to hold true.  Sara
Diamond's zany (but dead serious) "performance manifesto event" was one
notable exception. For her part, the new millennium is not one of
rapprochement between technology, art and culture but one that exhibits an
acceleration of cruelty, irrationality and coldness on the part of science
and mass culture.  Stephen Wilson called for artists to make direct
interventions and to reflexively probe the cultural implications of new
areas of science and technology. Nell Tenhaaf, who explores the mythologies
and representational strategies informing a-life, is an artist who does
just that.  A participant in Wilson's panel, "Art at the Frontiers of
Scientific and Technological Research," Tenhaaf also partook in a special
woman's panel organized by Leonardo.  This female panel (which included the
pioneer computer artist, Sonya Rapoport) also offered a note of    discord.
Gender hierarchies are still an issue in the world of art, science and
technology!  That few women have reached the upper echelons in this domain
was highlighted by the all-male panel of organizers who opened the
conference.  A  consolation perhaps -- at least half the presenters were

Lively discussions spread beyond the parameters of the Red and Blue Rooms
-- to the exhibition halls, cafeteria, hotel lobbies and breakfast areas,
to the "fastfood" salad bars, sushi and samba bars, and to the many
delicious restaurants (Sao Paulo won the "world capital of gastronomy"
award in 1997).  After the last  performance by Infobodies and Donasci
(which provided the only "closing" for the Invencao conference), impromptu
groups formed, wandered off, found a place to eat... Such an ending
appropriately reflected the conference as a site for pockets of creative
interactions, empathetic encounters, random dialogues, temporary

Ernestine Daubner is a lecturer in the Art History Department at Concordia
University (Montreal, Canada) and an ISEA member.


September 9-12, 1999
Banff Centre for the Arts
Banff, Canada

Report by Nina Czegledy

The "Navigating Intelligence: a Banff Summit" conference held between
September 9-12, 1999 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, was publicized as a
"think thank" for artists, curators,  theorists and activists interested in
software development, data base and information politics.

In reality,  this meeting  -instead of merely a think-thank site for
serious, sober and solemn networking discussions -  proved to be an
animated, energetic and lively event for those who gathered for a few days
from both sides of this continent and far beyond.

The first day of the event was devoted to curating and reviewing new media
projects.  A wide range and variety of topics on emerging new paradigms in
media arts were presented. Sara Diamond  (Artistic Director for Media and
Visual Arts, Banff Centre) chaired these sessions and her quick overviews
and comments were of immense value.  Political and socio-political
presentations ranged from Latin American narrative projects for the Web,
through the contentious activities of Negativland, to issues related to
Canadian native art. In the afternoon, the St. Petersburg Bionet on-line
gallery was presented by Kostya Mitenev, Beryl Graham (UK) discussed
curating interactive work including the Serious Games exhibition at the
Barbican and Vera Frenkel's eloquent and witty presentation on issues of
cultural politics was one of the highlights of the day. Later  -in the
light of the afternoon sun on the balcony- the discussion continued on
international collaborative projects.

From Friday to Sunday, the focus of the conference -utilizing the metaphor
of navigated intelligence- was on the examination and evaluation of the
potentials and proficiencies of digital tools as used by artists, software
developers and designers, e-commerce experts, network specialists,
distributors, researchers and educators. It is impossible to list the range
of presentations within the scope of this report. Briefly, reflections on
the changing nature of art practice, digital culture, artificial
intelligence, aspects of presentation, as well as  features of the global
media-scape were extensively discussed. Access and the nature of project
collaborations was also a widely considered topic by presenters and
participants alike. It was intriguing to note the extent and scope of play
involved in software development - ranging from anarchist activism to
agents of artificial intelligence. We were treated to fascinating examples
of interactive music projects and an eloquent performance by Jools  Gilson-
Ellis & Richard Povall, co-directors of half/angel.  Beyond the daytime and
evening presentations, one should not forget to mention the hike up to
Tunnel Mountain, the pool and last but not least the great Saturday night

Together with Carlos Soldevila, director of ISEA, we repeated our
lunch-meeting performance of Sao Paolo  - presenting current and future
directions of ISEA, upcoming events, collaborations and asking for comments
from members and would be members alike.  It is hoped that the enthusiastic
interest shown at these various ISEA meetings by those who attended, will
continue in the future.

In barely four days of this conference, many fresh initiatives were
proposed, a wide range of projects presented, and new collaborations were
forged. Hopefully this is just a beginning of building a new network
attracted to navigating intelligence.

Nina Czegledy is an independent media artist, curator, writer, and ISEA
Board member.


ISEA NEWSLETTER ============================================================
Editor: Katarina Soukup / Translation: Caroline Martel, Katarina Soukup,
Natalie Melancon Collaborators: Yoshi  Abe, Nina Czegledy, Ernestine
Daubner, Patrick Lichty, Natalie Melancon, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Kathy Rae
Huffman, Virginie Pringuet, Eva Quintas, Katarina Soukup.

ISEA, 3530 boul. Saint-Laurent, suite 305, Montreal (Qc), H2X 2V1, CANADA
Tel: (514) 847-8912, Fax: (514) 847-8834 email: isea@isea.qc.ca
URL: http://www.isea.qc.ca
ISEA Board Members: Nina Czegledy, Kathy Rae Huffman, Amanda McDonald
Crowley, Alain Mongeau, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Thecla Schiphorst, Atau Tanaka,
Wim van der Plas.

To subscribe, send a message to:
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touch with the email addresses mentioned in this Newsletter by contacting

Support: La Fondation Daniel Langlois, Ministere de la culture et des
communications du Quebec.

ISEA- Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts
ISEA- Inter-societe des arts electroniques
3530 boul. Saint-Laurent, suite 305
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H2X 2V1
Tel. +1-514-847-8912  *  Fax. +1-514-847-8834
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