~e; Re: "Electromagnetic art & artifacts"

From human being <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 6 Apr 2003 15:00:39 -0500
In-reply-to <007c01c2fc40$efe899a0$a7670f50@portable>

  hi Etienne, thank you for the URLs, they are fascinating.
  it is very timely, also, as it brings up many questions (for
  me) about what EM art exactly is, and is not, which has
  been one of the hardest questions i've encountered and
  am nowhere near satisfactory understanding, unless it is
  encountered, then it is easier to identify. all the links sent
  were, in my mindset, electromagnetic art, in varying ways
  and degrees. why... i still do not know exactly, but maybe
  describing these works would show some assumptions...

from the ~e; #21 newsletter
>> // GPS/tablets/storytelling narrate a city's cultural hotspots...
>> Only in L.A.: parking lot as art exhibit
>> <http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0404/p19s01-alar.html>
>> '"We wanted to get at the kind of cultural information that makes a
>> cityscape come alive," adds Mr. Knowlton, who calls the experience an
>> "emotional archaeology."'
>> <http://www.34n118w.net/>

this work intrigued me for several reasons, one being the
use of cultural information (not commercial, necessarily,
but more of industrial-archaeology) and invisible culture
as a value of the work, that is revealed by using EM sci-
tech to reveal this culture, it could be the past, present,
and-or future, and it has a few aspects of pseudo-science
where someone could make a device to mimic scientific
explorations (like devices used by geologists, say, or the
devices of meteorologists, to measure quantity) whereas
this project seems to be authentic in that it is approaching
a measurement of the quality of a place, the missing part
in a solely scientific and technological approach to culture.
in this way, another artist-experimenter could repurpose
everyday PDA/tablet and GPS and multimedia technology
yet try to abstractly quantify or express this experience that
(to me) would be entirely different in terms of cultural value.

so maybe it is a novel experience/experiment, of sorts, that
is exciting about this- and yet the use of spatiality, temporality
(stories could be about the present, or distant past, or possible
futures of a GPS marker) opens up a way of experience that
is, in itself, like an invention. the same idea, most likely, is not
being used outside of the arts as of now. yet, in terms of its
use in sharing history, in site planning for construction, in the
interpretation of place, or the documentation of it, it is unique.
there could be ten thousand other such experiments, and at
that point it may not be definitively 'electromagnetic' as the
role of questioning the science and technology and culture
may recede into a background importance, with a foreground
quality/value of the content, not necessarily the whole project.
it is for this reason that the early models may be more 'artistic'
(to me, at least) than those that may follow, but for use of the
platform and not questioning the (electromagnetic) platform
upon which the ideas (and the content) are mediated. this
aspect of awareness is similar to internet-based works, also.

> This show reminds me the "walk" series
> by canadian artist, Janet Cardiff (since 1997):
> http://www.abbeymedia.com/Janweb/muenster.html

  thank you, this is wonderful to know about. this piece reminded
  me of how people go about museums with headphones on, a
  thing i have yet to be able to accept doing, and yet the historical
  or interpretations contained in those audio tours may offer the
  stories of artworks that will be invisible to someone who may not
  interact in a historical approach but rather a raw experientialism
  based on what gathers at the encounter. else, the little name-and-
  data-plaques which tell such things as title, medium, date, artist,
  and with fine arts, often more information about cultures via short
  descriptive paragraphs introducing the atmospherics encountered.

  yet, to take this audio outside, into the street, it is (for me) 
  once again a questioning of such an audio tour technology and
  putting it towards an opened interpretation. i compare it to making
  maps of a place, as this eludes to in ways, where there may be
  placenames for things, only a set of people may know about, as
  'the caves' or 'big rock' etc, which may never get recorded in EM
  media, outside of the human brain (electromagnetic, naturally).
  thus, in a sense, this audio tour may be an artificial and virtual
  extension of another's or others imaginations, captured/recorded.
  and shared, for understanding, enrichment, experience, and it
  may bring a value to a place, revealing its hidden dimensions.

  there is also the aspect about wearing 'head-phones' that has
  been long contemplated, and that is their 'private' aspect, there
  is an intimacy in closing one's ears to listen to an internalized
  recording, people cannot speak to the person, they cannot hear
  what others are saying, and they exist in silence, and even in a
  type of oblivion to their surroundings, which can be dangerous.
  if the audio tour questions this, bringing people closer to where
  they are, instead of further away/abstracted/escaped, it would
  be interesting in regards to its public aspect. one reason to not
  wear headphones is to be able to hear what is going on, which
  is obvious, but also for safety, as otherwise one can be out-of-
  touch (via sound communication) with their local environment.
  for instance, i would never bike with headphones as it is how
  one can hear cars from echoes off buildings nearby the street
  intersections. one can hear animals, birds, cars, noise. and it
  is a question, all the music being played, what is listened to in
  those automobiles and cars and people with headphones on--
  are people existing in these private bubbles of audiospace...
  and what might this do for their cultural awareness. this is what
  the above project URL made me consider. and i also believe
  it is like the first, in that i would consider it electromagnetic art,
  whereas someone with an .mp3 player and headphones is not.
  i do not know why this is, and i wish there was more information
  about Russian developments in EM art, online. to get some idea.
  if one has a chance, the essay included in the .docs posted here
  was an excellent introduction, and there is a longer version in .fr
  that i wish i could read but have yet to learn to read the language.

> "Electromagnetic phenomenas" by Yannick Dauby
> is part of research concerning the way we listen
> (listening forms ?):
> http://kalerne.free.fr/emagnetic/index.html

  again, this is a great piece of audiowork and the way it is presented
  is also very fun. how to present this in a larger group? that is my
  question- how to bring snippets of widely-divergent works together
  that share an electromagnetic exploration and-or an examination?

  after learning about 'foley-artists' (approximately, home-made sound
  effects makers, creating sounds such as 'shutting a door' for a movie)
  the idea of sampling sounds had an intrigue to it, and there is an URL
  of someone who actually recorded something from a lake nearby here
  that, when cracking and creaking in the winter with ice, creates sounds
  otherworldly, that ice-fishers know well. listen to, "december 9, 2002"
Ice Booming at  <http://www.quietamerican.org/vacation.html> , 1.3 mb.
e.g., a foley-artist could take such a sound, say, and use it for a 

cataloguing such diverse EM works has become quite challenging.
and, at present, there are so many aspects against recontextualizing
works, that it may not be possible to see this type of artwork as a 
for some decades to come, until the benefits are more well understood,
and issues of intellectual property are made 'public' in some basic way
via the fair-use of works, for the advancement of human knowledge.

> "Cluster", network game on a cluster of 10 computers
> is a collective work in which I take part,
> but it is only in french for the moment (sorry):
> http://www.teleferique.org/projects/cluster/

  this work blew me away, i did not try to translate it but instead 
tried to
  guess what it was about, and by the time i reviewed it, i believe i did
  understand it, and yet it is a 'complete' work, on several levels for 
  that i then translated it to find out more. the front page via 

	"Cluster (bunch in English) indicates in data processing a group of 
computers connected between them.  Each machine is a node of the 
cluster, the unit is regarded as only one and single machine being able 
to compete with the power of the supercomputers.  This type of 
architecture makes it possible to circumvent the limits which the 
systems centralized pose by distributing work on several systems at the 
same time.

	At the time of a residence of production to multi-media space Gantner 
in winter (1), we conceived a play in network on Cluster of 10 
computers.  In a large room on the first floor we liked our insulation 
because it evoked the conditions under which Frankenstein was written 
(2).  Gantner space is an old farm reconverted in multi-media space.  
In this local context, Cluster seems a hybrid, powerful and worrying 
monster by its capacity of calculation (3).  From a total point of 
view, our Cluster revÍt more the aspect of a small thing, a miniature 
Internet.  The 10 computers posed on tables form a pentagon, wink at 
the organization of American state which initiated Internet engaged to 
date in a war against Iraq.

	The play in network that we conceived consists in making of real space 
the play-ground represented with the screen.  The virtual topology of 
the play (software) reflects the real topology of Cluster (the 
material).  Neither a checkerwork, nor a labyrinth, the adversaries 
clash on a network (4).  The two players, recognizable by the color, 
move bonds in bonds on a more or less complex network with an aim of 
putting itself in failure."

what amazed me was the use of the screen in relation to the floor plan 
the space, and the pentagon as the screen experience and the user's
experience of the space, outside of the screen, as if one is existing in
the next dimension, while simultaneously occupying both 2D and 3D
(and sound and time, for that matter). i thought it was a game of some
kind of strategy, which was great fun to consider. and just now i wonder
if people actually would get up and change spaces as they moved the
colors around the pentagon's circles. another aspect that is intriguing
is the focus of the photos on the router or hub or whatever it is for 
networking of the computers, and photographing all the cords & plugs
and to see the conceptualization turned into a screenshot turned into
a room of computers and, participants, one is to assume. this aspect
of addressing in an almost 1:1 (one-to-one/approximately equivalent)
of the 'virtual' space-time-place events of the computer with those of
the (more traditionally) 'actual' or "real" space-time-place of the room
and the bodies of inhabitants is especially cerebral, in that the human
brain is mediating both in a very clear reflection, it would seem. very
exciting to learn about such work. i wish more architects would explore
these simple but highly complex and elegant approaches, instead of
using EM for technological decoration and quantified aesthetic value.

thanks for sharing.

  the electromagnetic internetwork-list
  electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization