ISEA in 2006 is a multi-faceted experiment. And like all good experiments, there will be much to learn at and from ISEA2006. ISEA2006 is an experiment in themes. Interactive City is a timely theme as the intersection of mobile computing, ubiquitous networks, and locative services allows us to present more than 40 projects that operate entirely or significantly outside of the gallery/museum context. The Community Domain theme focuses on artists who are creating platforms for general, self-defined, and emergent publics to use. The Pacific Rim theme is an exploration of technology-based art practices in countries along the Pacific Rim, with which there are significant economic relationships but which are not normally as well represented in the cultural sphere of Western art festivals and symposia. The Transvergence theme explores how the discourses and practices of creativity, alternative cultures, academic research, and information technology-based industry have changed each other—and how they have been changed from within—based on their interaction. Edgy Products and C4F3 both respond to specific functional locales—the convention center trade show and the café—as an impetus for a specifically sited type of work. While each of these themes is relatively broad, they are not open ended, and part of the experiment is to evaluate the effect of this interlocking set of relatively focused themes on the ISEA Symposium experience.
ISEA2006 is an experiment in location. As we wrote in our original proposal:
“Artists, academics, advocates, and entrepreneurs of Northern California have been instigators of a remarkable twinning of parallel and divergent histories, from the steps of the Free Speech Movement to the garage doors of Silicon Valley; from open source inspired systems such as the Internet and Unix to the home of non-disclosure agreements and “vulture capitalism” from one of the most globally diverse populations in the United States to one of the most economically stratified; …from communitarian to libertarian politics; from hacker to entrepreneur. Yet even if it is binary-encoded programming that has fueled much of this explosion, there is a growing realization that the binaries of culture—us/them, good/bad, free/marketare not solutions…. To what extent can we think of transvergence as a vector away from these divides, modeling practices across the domains of culture, creativity, academia, and entrepreneurship to dream up a responsible future?”
Finally, ISEA2006 is an experiment in proselytizing. Everyone will have noticed over the course of the past year variations of the phrase, “ISEA2006 and ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge’: ISEA, of course, has always been a global—or at least international—festival of art, even from its earliest days. Part of the experiment of ISEA2006, is whether it can spawn a sustainable Festival for North AmericaZeroOne San Jose—after it leaves. Will ISEA, as Archigram’s brilliant Instant City proposal suggests, infiltrate in such a way that the “network takes over’,’ even after ISEA leaves? We hope it will. We hope you will return to ZeroOne San Jose in 2008. We know your critical participation in 2006 will help something remarkable emerge. Thank you.
Steve Dietz, Director
ZeroOne San Jose and the 13th International Symposium of Electronic Art