Given financial and time considerations, Linz and Austria are almost impossibly remote from my current home in Berlin. This is especially unfortunate since I have been looking for good new media art festivals and conferences to attend in Europe ever since last year's exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, Vom Funken Zum Pixel, was such a brilliant success.
Fortunately, Ars Electronica 2008, which took place at the beginning of September, has left behind a substantial database of podcasts and images that I've only begun to explore. I had originally intended this post in order to address the principal theme being addressed in the artistic section of the conference, interactivity, which included speakers such as Christiane Paul and Suzanne Lacy-- I've even heard of them. As a scholar and critic of contemporary theatre and performance, interactivity is particularly important as a constitutive limit of this discipline. However, in turning towards, very vaguely speaking, notions of the non-senuous in representational form, my recent research has moved away from the propsepct of interactivity, at least as a dynamic form.
Vague references to own research aside, in beginning to explore Ars Electronica's 2008 Conference Website revealed that, although it is undoubtedly quite vast and interesting, many of the best-known speakers could only be seen in live webcasts. Nevertheless, there are a number of podcasts available, (the list is below,) and even more than I could easily explore on my own.
In order to get a general sense of the conference's theme and flavor, I went ahead and listened to the introduction by Joicho Ito. Although decidedly not academic or artistic in approach-- he struck me as something like a creative institutional/business thinker (his English and speaking tone alike were ebullient, improvised, and optimistic)-- he mentioned artists as those who push the boundaries of new technologies, who outthink it. However, consistent with his chosen theme, "A New Cultural Economy," his real interest was in the conditions of the production of knowledge in the rise of amateur Internet culture. He wasn't interested in transgression as a political force, (but nor was he interested in denegrating it), but rather in the personal passion of the amateur, a word whose root, as he points out, is the Latin stem for "love."
This confluence of amateurism and love permits me to conclude with a connection to my own personal passion, which is much less "new" media, than"old" media, or rather, the practice of looking as framed by Barthes. In La Chambre Claire, Barthes writes: "(Ordinarily, the amateur is defined as an immature form of the artist, someone who cannot-- or wants not-- to dedicate themselves to the mastery of a profession. But in the field of photographic practice, it is the amaeur, on the contrary, who is the ascension of the professional: for it is only him that holds itself most closely to the noeme of Photography.)"
Ito: The difference between information and knowledge-- knowledge is connected to action, collective action.
I would be curious to know more about the conference participants from other disciplinary perspectives.
A New Cultural Economy Symposium IWelcome and Introduction by Joichi Ito »Yochai Benkler »Tim Pritlove »Michael Tiemann »ChristianForsterleitner, Leonhard Dobusch, Thomas Gegenhuber, Stefan Pawel,Manuela Hiesmair, Barbara Hofmann: Project "Knowledge Space Linz" -only available in German »Panel / Discussion moderated by Tim Pritlove »
A New Cultural Economy Symposium II
A New Cultural Economy Symposium III
A New Cultural Economy Symposium IV
Interaction, Interactivity, Interactive Art - a buzzword of new media under scrutiny
Welcome and Introduction by Dieter Daniels / Katja Kwastek - only available in German »Christiane Paul: From Virtualities to Embodiment ? Interaction in Media Art »Lars Blunck: ?I mistrust audience participation? ? Thoughts on Participation Art - only available in German »Suzanne Lacy: Terms of Engagement: Interactivity in Visual Art Practices »Christoph Neuberger: Interaction & Interactivity - the perspective of communication sciences - only available in German »Wendy Hui Kyong Chun: Control and Freedom: Interactivity and Invasion »Gillian Crampton Smith / Philip Tabor: Designing Interaction »Noah Wardrip-Fruin: Understanding Gameplay »"User Art" - discussion of Peter Weibel's notion and exhibition »Marie-Luise Angerer: Presentation of the Media.Art.Research Award 2008 - only available in German »Arjen Mulder: Interact Art from a Biological Perspective »Panel / Discussion moderated by Katja Kwastek »