Panel: Creativity as a Social Ontology
We are constantly faced in our networked culture with creative tension between individual and collective activities. The network-aware artist necessarily acts as both originator and participant in this new context. The medium is the people, the environment, the complex physical and technical networks that we all engage and the interfaces that mediate our interactions. Imaginative and critical approaches informed by a grass roots perspective are neither technologically determined nor do they serve institutional, theoretical and art historical values (although these things play an important part). Instead, people (artists) challenge, hack and reimagine or reshape given interfaces to create their own imaginative contexts on their own terms. We claim the medium, we are the medium as individuals, groups, collectives. I will present two images as the basis for my contribution to the panel discussion. The first, the familiar image by Paul Baran illustrating three different communication network topologies from “On Distributed Communications: 1. Introduction to Distributed Communications Network”. Internet and world wide web topology can be understood as combining the decentralised and distributed networks in which all nodes have the potential to both transmit and receive. All nodes are accessible by all nodes and new nodes (people, machines, programmes, content) can always be added. This is an open, scale-free network which maintains connectivity regardless of the number of nodes added. Secondly, the graphic invitation to join in with the first DIWO (Do It With Others) E-Mail Art exhibition. It represents a category-jumping network of actors: groups, a philosopher, an emoticon, a couple, devices, connecting materials, visual analogies (the tuft of grass- for grassroots) the speaking dildo (to acknowledge the material effect of sexuality on the life of the Internet) etc.
- Ruth Catlow is an artist and curator working at the intersection of art, technology and social change. As co-founder, with Marc Garrett, of Furtherfield a grass roots media arts organisation, online community and gallery (formerly HTTP Gallery) in North London, she works with international DIY artists, hackers, curators, musicians, programmers, writers, activists and thinkers. Her current focus is on practices that engage an ecological approach featuring an interest in the interrelation of technological and natural processes. Ruth has been involved with developing networked participatory arts infrastructures such as VisitorsStudio and NODE.?London. Ruth has worked in Higher Education for over 15 years and is currently running degrees in Digital Art and Design Practice and developing a new MA in Fine Art and Environment at Writtle School of Design, UK.