[ISEA2006] Introduction: Joel Slayton – 13th International Symposium on Electronic Art

Symposium Intro

San Jose is a globalized city shaped by the economic and political complexities of Silicon Valley. For better or worse San Jose is an environment of discontent informed and shaped by constant reinventions of commerce, power and creativity. It is this reinvention that is both self-referencing and a model of the perceived other. Contested representations demand to be examined, not so as to validate any claim to uniqueness, but rather as a call to the responsibilities of a global actor. How do we locate ourselves within a global terrain of ideas, partnerships and transaction systems? I would argue that this alone is an appropriate motivation for hosting the 13th International Symposium on Electronic Art.

ISEA2006 addresses four important themes: Interactive City, Community Domain, Pacific Rim, and Transvergence. What tactics, issues and conceptual practices expose or inform the distinctions of these subjects relating to contemporary art practice? What analyses illuminate art practice engaged with new technical and conceptual forms, functions and disciplines; provide for innovative tactical implementations of cultural production involving urbanity, mobility, community and locality; examine the roles and responsibilities of corporations, civic and cultural organizations; discuss strategic and economic planning as it relates to creative community; serve to expose new portals of production and experience; provide for interpretive bridges between cultures and identities; and allow for provocative examination of contemporary political and economic conditions? In other words, how is new media art practice reshaping the world?

ISEA2006 established the largest International Jury in ISEA history with over two hundred reviewers responsible for evaluation of 1800 academic and exhibition proposal submissions. The ISEA2006 organizers sought the advice of international artists, academics and professionals on how this event might be structured to offer a unique experience for both presenters and the audience. It was determined that ISEA2006 would be designed as an alternative to the traditional academic conference by offering an unparalleled platform for artists and the general public to experience and discuss practices involving new media with an emphasis on conversation led by a prestigious group of independent moderators. There will be no reading of papers. Abstracts and final papers will be available in public forums prior to the Symposium.

To complement the conversation-based orientation of the Symposium, a unique venue design at Parkside Hall incorporates a media studio/presentation space that utilizes mobile and lounge seating for the audience: an approach that allows the audience to self-organize into appropriate social groupings. Symposium proceedings are also webcast to the Internet and video-streamed to other Symposium venues at South Hall and the San Jose Museum of Art. A parallel virtual symposium, ISEA2006 re:mote, features presentations not bound by geography thus enabling broader participation from artists and researchers around the world. A unique feature of 1SEA2006 is the Symposium Rapporteur who provides for live online coverage of the event. Posters featuring artist projects and research are exhibited throughout the Symposium venue. A ‘break out’ room for extended discussions stemming from presentations will be available. Last but not least, to ensure the largest number of Artist Presentations, a dedicated auditorium at The Tech Museum of Innovation’s New Venture Hall features continuous short presentations throughout the week.

The ISEA2006 academic host is the CADRE Laboratory at San Jose State University. Speaking on behalf of the organizers I extend our appreciation to the many scores of individuals whose time and expertise has helped define this ambitious program. As Director of CADRE and Chair of ISEA2006/ ZeroOne San Jose I extend a warm welcome to all participants and attendees. Please join us in making this a truly wonderful program.

Joel Slayton, Chair ISEA2006 Symposium and ZeroOne San Jose, US