[ISEA2018] Paper: Vanessa Sonia Santos & Gastão Frota — Cyber attractions of WagonNet: modes of activist engagement for reclaiming the public space


Keywords: performance, public space, cyborg, cyberspace, mobile media, locative media, technological misuse, activism, relational aesthetics, participatory cartography.

This paper investigates modes of activist engagement on a performance in public space. The discussion anchors on the case study analysis of the project WagonNet (Brazil, 2011-2014). The
artistic practice combines a procedural and relational aesthetic to presuppose the other in the city context. It imbricates human and non-human agents in a wagon converted into a “cyber machine”, which works as a mobile digital station connecting the material and the virtual world and audiences. The performance evidences some dialogic aspects of culture, such as the relations between local and global, archaic and modern, backwardness and progress. The authors focus on this artistic experience to discuss two main topics: how to potentialize the urban environment as a place of encounters, and how the exploration of the city suburbs
can be turned into an activist act.

  • Vanessa Santos is a digital media artist and researcher. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Communication (2017), from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain.. Her expertise is in audiovisual production, digital storytelling, interactive systems, locative and mobile media. She has collaborated with research groups involved in the study of the following topics: technology inclusion, socio-tech networks, open source software for multimedia production, virtual and augmented reality based systems to experience complex data sets. The artist is interested in the creative use of technology and in the stimulus that it entails in the formulation of new narrative genres. In 2014, she integrated the research line on Locative Media of Hangar Center for Visual Arts. Her last work is “Chronica Mobilis”, an interactive and geo-located performance with gameplay, which happens in public space. Currently, she investigates the audience experience in response to different modes of engagement.
  • Gastão Frota works with public Art propositions, performances and intermedia related to open source tools and activist context. He teaches Visual Arts at the Instituto de Artes of Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Brazil. Currently, he is a researcher at Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), Faculdade de Belas Artes, Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas-Artes, where he is PhD candidate on Multimedia. He holds a master degree in Visual Arts from the Pratt Institute (NY-USA). Lives between Lisbon, Belo Horizonte and Uberlândia.

Full text p. 123-129