[ISEA2011] Panel: Jamie Allen & Tom Schofield (moderators) – The Matter with Media

Panel Statement

Chair Per­sons: Jamie Allen & Tom Schofield
Pre­sen­ters: Mar­tijn Stevens, Ale­jan­dro Schi­anchi, Ceci Moss, Shin­taro Miyazaki & Thomas Zum­mer

Along with in­vited pan­elists, the se­lected par­tic­i­pants will be wel­comed to dis­cuss their ideas, art­works, media and other forms of prac­tice-in­fused re­search in re­sponse to the fol­low­ing ideas:

“The early human artists who tapped into this ex­pres­sive reser­voir for their cave paint­ings, body tat­toos, and rit­ual cer­e­monies, far from in­tro­duc­ing artistry into the world were sim­ply adding one more voice to an on­go­ing ma­te­r­ial cho­rus.” _Manuel De­Landa

Our dig­i­tal, net­worked age hides from us in plain sight the con­crete, his­tor­i­cal and af­fec­tive cor­re­spon­dences be­tween mat­ter, in­for­ma­tion and per­cep­tion. The prac­tice and cul­ture of art-and-tech­nol­ogy make it easy to for­get the ma­te­r­ial un­der­pin­nings and im­pli­ca­tions of artis­tic ac­tiv­ity and pro­duc­tion. In­for­ma­tion sys­tems, media and the elec­tronic arts in par­tic­u­lar re­quire the sup­port of a be­wil­der­ing nexus of power and in­fra­struc­ture. This fact “alerts us to the at­ten­u­ated in­dex­i­cal trace of an ob­jec­tive real that haunts the ap­par­ently self-ref­er­en­tial world of pure sim­u­lacra.” The ubiq­ui­tous tem­po­ral and spa­tial free­doms promised to us by cy­ber-the­o­rists and rei­fied in ex­am­ple by artists, are a no-show, or as Kit­tler em­phat­i­cally put it, “There is No Soft­ware”.  Ques­tions & topic areas:

  1. What frame­works for con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing “the dig­i­tal” best em­pha­size its tan­gi­ble ap­peal and con­se­quence, as well as its eco­log­i­cal and sys­temic reper­cus­sions?
  2. How do we best chal­lenge the ab­stract rhetorics of cy­ber-the­ory and vir­tu­al­ity of later-day 20th-Cen­tury new media and in­ter­ac­tive art dis­course?
  3. What is the ma­te­r­ial of “raw data,” and what are its canon­i­cal or iconic forms?
  4. How can we work as artists with in­for­ma­tion/ sig­nals as ma­te­r­ial and un­der­stand the in­ter­pre­tive and rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­trap­o­la­tions nec­es­sar­ily being made?
  5. How does data dif­fer from other ma­te­ri­als which have a more ob­vi­ous phys­i­cal ma­te­r­ial forms?
  6. What pow­ers have we del­e­gated sig­nals and data as things-in-them­selves?
  7. Dis­tinc­tions be­tween the “nat­ural” and “man-made” as we re­gard tech­nolo­gies as com­plex ecolo­gies of mat­ter.
  8. Dis­tinc­tions be­tween what is within and with­out our un­der­stand­ing, con­trol or com­po­si­tion (in­dus­trial or eco­nomic com­plexes, ecolo­gies).
  9. His­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and con­tem­po­rary artis­tic prac­tice re­la­tions be­tween “tech­nol­ogy”, “new media”, “elec­tronic art” and “main­stream con­tem­po­rary art”.
  10. Dis­courses on aes­thet­ics as to the pur­pose and func­tion of art as pre­scient, dec­o­ra­tive, memetic, in­ter­rog­a­tive, chal­leng­ing and de­fi­ant.
  11. Ed­u­ca­tional, epis­te­mo­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences in the hu­man­i­ties, cre­ative arts prac­tices, and en­gi­neer­ing and the sci­ences.
  • Jamie Allen makes things with his head and hands. These things most often involve peoples’ relationships to creativity, technology and resources.  He tries to give people new, subversive and fun ways to interact with these aspects of life and experience.  Jamie is an artist works at the intersection of art and technology, is an artist, designer and a technologist, as well as a teacher, researcher and experimenter. Jamie’s interests are in the ways people relate to electronic media and digital information in their diverse forms, beginning with their transduction into and from energy, as a material resource.  In a technological culture, art-and-technology practice may suggest new insight into how we shape our tools, and how our tools shape us. Recent work includes a public multimedia tour From Here On Out (fromhereonout.org, commissioned by the Wunderbar Festival), CURRENT a permanent interactive lighting installation, and the large-scale media facade work Refractive Index (refractiveindex.cc) supported by Arts Council England and being completed for the London 2012 cultural programme. jamieallen.com
  • Tom Schofield is an artist who works with technology and lives in Newcastle, UK. He has lived and worked in Japan, France and Nepal. He is currently writing his Ph.D in Culture Lab – part of Newcastle University. ncl.ac.uk/culturelab