COMMON PULSE will present a forum for presentations and discussion during a three-day symposium. Twelve artists and curators have been invited to present their experience creating work in the context of university research. These presentations will spark a dialogue among all of the participants. Together we will be able to examine current developments in digital media production and consumption within contemporary art practice and how they predict, reflect or refute parallel media phenomena within North American culture in general. We will look at societal shifts in authorship brought about by file-sharing, sampling and the open source movement, as well as collaborative initiatives sparked by mobile media such as citizen journalism, wiki culture and flash mobs. In each model of research-informed, digital media art practice, the flow back and forth between analysis and production is strongest and most focused in the artist-led research labs of the symposium contributors.
SOCIAL AUTHORSHIP: WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?
Friday, June 10, 10 am – 1 pm
NSCAD Universtiy, Halifax, Canada
Crossroads of Creativity: Hypermedia and Net Art
David Clark will speak about his long-form interactive narrative projects for the web. These works use the web to create a form of literature on the scale and complexity of the feature film or the novel, including 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein and Sign After the X (with Marina Roy). These will be considered in the context of recent collaborations where new media has been used to create interactive experiences in public space, such as the interactive film Meanwhile, Touch & Go created for the Toronto International Airport, and Waterfall commissioned by the CWF for the 2010 Olympics.
OCAD University, Toronto, Canada
Poking and Prodding: Working in a Mode of Interrogation
When artists positions themselves as researchers they straddle the line between asking and telling. Though the terrain may be deep, by poking and prodding, artist/researchers seek to uncover questions and answers that focus on the ever-emerging realities we encounter. In organizing this event, Shea seeks to highlight the uniqueness and commonalities we encounter as artists working explicitly in a mode of interogation.
Purchase College, Purchase, NY
Brooke Singer is a media artist who lives in New York City. Her work blurs the borders between science, technology, politics and arts practices. Working across media and disciplines, Singer creates platforms for local knowledge to connect, inform and conflict with official data descriptions. She engages technoscience as an artist, educator, nonspecialist and collaborator. Her work lives on- and off-line in the form of websites, workshops, photographs, maps, installations and performances that involve public participation in pursuit of social change. She is an Associate Professor of New Media at Purchase College State University of New York, a fellow at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center and co-founder of the art, technology and activist group Preemptive Media.
DIGITAL IDENTITY: THE PUBLIC SELF
Friday, June 10, 2 pm – 5 pm
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Necromedia: Death, Self and Technology
The rapid and relentless production of new technologies has outstripped our ability to carefully consider their social, ethical, psychological, and physical implications. This situation has been observed by many artists and academics over the last fifty years, but their efforts have not led to a broad integration of critical awareness into our cultural consciousness. I will draw on my experience in the Critical Media Lab (CML) as both a media theorist and digital artist. This will establish a model that challenges the boundaries between art and science, research and artistic practice, resulting in the invention of new technologies and media artifacts, dialogue facilitation across disciplines and communities, and policy formation that directly impacts technological design and implementation.
David Jhave Johnston
Concordia University, Canada
The Always Known
I am a poet/programmer/audio-visual artist researching computationally-enhanced literature. The majority of my work is created for online viewing. Language is at the core of its meaning. In this talk I'll dissect a few of my language-based combinatorial works situating them as digital meditations which draw on traditional poetic content: vulnerability, knowledge, innocence, loneliness and epiphanies.
OCAD University, Toronto, Canada
Mobile Art & Design: Responsive Environments and Social Practices
Mobile art and design engage social practices that are playful, provocative, and ephemeral. Locations are often public and audiences are on the move. The participatory realm in mobile art and design creates speculative links between individuals in real and virtually augmented environments. Often artists and designers are concerned with interactions in communities of players in urban public space, and these mobile projects offer an evocative local narrative: a portrait of the past and current life of the community. These projects lay a veil of information over the public and the local, offering artists, designers and participants new fora for creative interactions. In this way, mobile art and design can be used as a force for community building, critique, and social change.
USERS AND VIEWERS: THE ROLE OF PARTICIPATION
Saturday, June 11, 10 am – 1 pm
V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Participatory Culture in Canada and Europe
User generated content, pro-ams, and participatory culture create a conundrum for the art world as it is traditionally configured, especially the international art market and biennale circuit. The curator is also often thought of within the confines of this world, or even as a signifier of it. However as new methods come into being, some curators have adapted and are using their knowledge and experience to both strengthen their own position as well as re-think how they work with artists. I’ll illustrate these emerging curatorial approaches using examples from research projects and labs in Canada and Europe.
Jason Edward Lewis
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
Like Pulling Teeth: User-Generated Text and Its Discontents
This is about our experience doing the Public Lettering series (Cityspeak, Citywide and Passage Oublié) in the oh-oh's, and subsequent turn away from work that solicited user input towards works where we controlled the content while letting users interact with it. I want to introduce the notion of the 'prosumer' artwork, and question the difference between such a creature and notions of 'democratically' generated or crowd-sourced artworks. Finally, I'd like to reach way, way back to a paper I wrote in the early 90's about the difference between being media-literate and being media-hip, and how 'participatory' artworks in the digital age often operate in the latter register and rarely in the first.
Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada
From Prints to Interactive Installations
Jean Bridge is an interdisciplinary visual artist whose work in digital media ranges from prints to interactive installations. Her art has been exhibited widely in Canada and internationally. Most recently, her interactive image/sound environment - Livelihood - was exhibited at Red Head Gallery in Toronto. Other recent projects have been included in the 2009 Niagara Biennial at Rodman Hall Art Centre; in Cases – part of the UpArt Project at the Gladstone Hotel in conjunction with the Toronto International Art Fair, and in the Red Dot Show at Red Head Gallery. Bridge lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, where she teaches new media at Brock University. She is affiliated with the Department of Visual Arts and the Centre for Digital Humanities where she led in the creation of the new Interactive Arts and Science program. Her research interests are focused on preservation strategies for new media art focusing on the possibilities of simulations and games for the purpose of documenting or recreating experiential artworks. Bridge is also a founder of nGen, Niagara Interactive Media Generator, funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation and a consortium of regional partners.
THE ARTIST IN THE RESEARCH LAB
Saturday, June 11, 2 pm – 5 pm
Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
I am a maker. I am an artist. I am a scientist. The former label I have worn my whole life. The later two, I earned through University study and public gallery practice. I often wrestled with these labels, what they mean and how they drive me. I am curious about boundaries. I bind networks to inanimate objects in an effort to learn what they would say. I juxtapose disparate knowledge systems and experiences in an effort to reveal their underlying structures and assumptions. I use electronics and communication technologies to create kinetic sculptures, ubiquitous spaces and networked events.
Subtle Technologies, Toronto, Canada
Jim Ruxton worked as a high frequency electronics engineer before realizing he would be more fulfilled by integrating art into his life. Now he collaborates with other artists in dance, theatre, film, and installation. Jim's work varies from kinetic installations to interactive systems and specialized lighting. His interest in trans disciplinary collaboration led him to co-found and become Director of Programs at Subtle Technologies. After fourteen years, Subtle Technologies continues to provide a forum for artists and scientists to meet and share their work, ideas and techniques. He is also a professor at OCAD, instructing students on developing interactive works integrating electronics with various media.
Jessica Antonio Lomanowska
University of Waterloo, Canada
The Roach Lab: Biomedia and Technoculture
According to Robert Mitchell, bioart enables an embodied experience on two levels: "bioart produces in its 'spectators' an embodied sense of the link between two senses of media, by using living beings—or by revealing ways in which spectators are bound, beyond their control, to other forms of life—bioart frames spectators as themselves media for the transformative powers of life". These two conceptions of media—generative and communicative—converge in a way that questions what technology does for us, and to us. My project, The Roach Lab, includes an artistic installation that links mutation, embodiment and finitude to the posthumanist study of nonhuman animals and insects. This installation involves the construction of what Sherry Turkle terms "an evocative" object through which to rethink our relationship with nonhuman others. The focal point of the project is the construction of a robotic "thinking" cockroach, endowed with the capacity to respond to participants vis-à-vis a web interface. The cockroach subject opens the possibility of cross-species identification and multiplicity precisely because its position as media in and of itself produces "uncanny potentials that cannot immediately be pinpointed in terms of a register of known possibilities". By crossing the boundaries of animality and digitality, this project proposes that modes of "becoming-with" in posthumanist thought offer the most productive engagement with "pluralism's call for attention to embodiment", where the metamorphosis of the human is contiguous with nonhuman animal modes of communication and media. By coupling animality and technology, biomedia art exposes the human animal.
WRAP UP SESSION
Sunday, June 12, 10 am – 1 pm