Visions of the Now, an international festival and congress on the subjects of art and technology, will take place at Fylkingen in Stockholm on May 24–26, 2013.
New values are being created as a consequence of the rapid pace of technological progress. Through the filters of art, technology and the future, we will investigate where the ‘now’ is situated, while focusing on the impact of technology on humanity, society and artistic practice.
Visions of the Now is a reconsideration of the 1966 festival and congress Visioner av Nuet, which was initiated by Fylkingen and held at Tekniska Museet in Stockholm. This updated version takes place nearly half a century later, in a world that is fully immersed in the technology that in 1966 was still called ‘the new’. What are our visions of the present — now, and what do we imagine for the future?
This occasion brings together a group of international artists, musicians, theorists and scientists to perform real-time research on the now, in lectures, panels and open discussions under the themes: Technology, Values, Image, Music, Language and Environment. The festival will also manifest the interplay between art and technology — at this exact moment in time — with new art and music performances, sound pieces, installations and screenings.
CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS!
There is an aesthetic crisis in writing, which is this: how do we write emotionally of scenes involving computers? How do we make concrete, or at least reconstructable in the minds of our readers, the terrible, true passions that cross telephony lines? Right now my field must tackle describing a world where falling in love, going to war and filling out tax forms looks the same; it looks like typing.
Mathematical Films of Manfred Mohr
Just stumbled across this collection of digital math and geometry films created by pioneering digital artist Manfred Mohr in the early 1970’s. This stuff puts most modern GIF artists to shame, and he made them in Fortran IV on a CDC 6400, which is considerably less powerful than Photoshop. They had to then be captured by a microfilm printer in order to be converted to 16 mm film!
Super cool look back at early digital art, though. Get inspired! Here’s another, “Cube Transformation Study”:
Saw an exhibition of Manfred Mohr’s work at bitforms gallery (NY) two years ago that was spectacular.
3 excerpted questions about reading from an interview between Tan Lin & Rhizome
- Rhizome: In an interview with Katherine Elaine Sanders for BOMB, you stated that "Reading is a kind of integrated software." Could you elaborate on this?
- Tan Lin: Integrated software is a genre of software that combines word processing, database management, and spreadsheet applications, and communications platforms. This genre has been superseded by various full-function office suites, but I was interested in reading modelled in that way, i.e., different kinds of reading, each with specific functions. I mean, you read Harlequin romances differently than recipes, and you read Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets differently than you read Excel, and you read experimental Japanese novels differently than you read text messages, and in terms of documents processed by software, you have distinctions between, say, end-user manuals, bills of sales, Unified Modeling Language models, and legal contracts. These are genres of reading, and they’re housed or processed in the same generic platform that I call “reading.” So reading is an application that processes or assembles varied kinds of material. I was interested in creating works of literature that could be read like recipes or spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations.
- Rhizome: So how is the experience of reading your works different from a more conventional novel or a Hollywood movie?
- Tan Lin: Usually you go to a movie or read a book to experience an emotion: Hollywood and even independent cinema is excruciatingly good at eliciting (i.e., manipulating) feelings in the audience—that’s why most people read novels and go to movies, and directors like Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke play with this by artificially manipulating an audience’s emotions via specific cinematic genres. Michel Houlbecq does something similar with literature, but less effectively to my mind. Think about the tragedy of “Dancer in the Dark” presented as a Broadway musical! But I think that reading that ends in an emotion is lame; I like it more when literature generates not a distinct emotion or feeling but a more generalized overall mood, and I like this more because I think it’s more reflective of the way we actually spend most of our lives. Psychologists have identified something like 6 major emotions, but the thing is we don’t feel them very often, which is a good thing because most of them are quite unpleasant: disgust, fear, anger, etc.
- Rhizome: How has Internet culture affected your work? How has it affected literature in general?
- Tan Lin: For me, I think of reading as data management rather than passive absorption on a couch, though these dichotomies are ultimately false. Reading is and probably always will be a bit of both. At any rate, ideas about information processing are altering the contours of printed and digital works. Suddenly the book is just one element in a larger system of textual controls, distribution models, and controlled vocabulary systems. [...] The idea of a network as a platform for collaborative work (rather than software housed on an individual’s desktop) might be applied to a book, no longer regarded as discrete, stand-alone object but as something that gets updated on a periodic basis in a social network. But this may not be that new an idea. After all, David Hume praised the printing press because it made it possible to issue countless emendations, revisions, and new editions.
In the case of voice-to-text technologies, however, all writing becomes a kind of rehearsal for verbal interaction. In this light, an important effect of computerized dictation technologies is that they could lead people to become more skillful speakers, and thus more thoughtful participants in meaningful discussions. If writers of the future are composing text almost exclusively through computerized dictation, then they may become more thoughtful and nuanced speakers in the process. That is, the effect of dictation technologies may not be just on our writing, but that they may train us to be better verbal communicators, not just with our machines but with our fellow humans too.
Thought about this very thing today when I was struggling to compose a letter. I was drowning in descriptors and needed to speak aloud to my iPhone voice memo app in order to sort out what I was trying to get at.
In a day, sometimes I feel so much love for the world, I think my heart is bursting. Sometimes, I feel so scared, I want to shrink myself even further. I think that’s what happened to us gods and goddesses. Like the dinosaurs, we realized that it’s too dangerous to be so large. So we kept shrinking ourselves to what we are now. We might get even smaller. I see the sign in the engineers making smaller gadgets, smaller and smaller. Pretty soon, our fingers will be too large to operate them. So what are we doing? I trust in the human wisdom. We are incredibly intelligent beings. So we might know something without thinking that we know….
Have a good day!
New York City
Dear Tumblr friends,
I’ve been keeping things under wrap for the past few months but I’m ready to reveal the name of the project I’ve been working with: If We Are Digital. The name is an homage to Charles Traub and Jonathan Lipkin’s essay of the same name which was published 1998 in Leonardo. The essay talks about the merging of our digital identities with our real selves, and what it means to be a creative interlocutor. With my wide-spanning interests in art, tech, science, poetry, social media, art, etc. I often find myself in the position of being a translator between various cultures or vocabularies. At the risk of sounding hokey: crossing the boundaries, spanning the gaps. Traub and Lipkin write:
“We define a creative interlocutor as a person who facilitates the exchange of ideas and information between one human need and another. This person is the producer, director, and organizer. More specifically, this person is the curator, editor, and collector; and the maker, weaver, welder, builder, and distributor […] Creative interlocutors are programmers, producers, inventors, researchers, teachers, scholars, and volunteers. the creative interlocutor is one who negotiates revolutionary associations.” (Full text on JSTOR)
I identified with this person, and all this recent talk about the New Aesthetic and the coining of the term “digital humanities” had me feeling right at home. So with a nod to T&L I registered the URL http://www.ifwearedigital.com which will launch on May 22nd. Until the site launches, you can follow the project on Twitter @ifwearedig or like us on Facebook. Since this project is so much a part of myself, I’ve decided not to create a separate Tumblr for it but rather to lead the discussion on those other social media sites, and through the site itself.
What is the project? Wishing to gather information, thoughts, and experiences about how art institutions use social media and other digital tools to engage audiences, I conducted a series of questionnaires and interviews with practitioners in the field. This anecdotal research resulted in a series of informal Skype chats which will be shown on the project web site. Those I chatted with represent art museums and exhibition halls in Stockholm, but also extend outwards to the States (SFMOMA) and the UK (Tate) and this list will keep growing. Here’s a teaser:
What do we talk about? Anything from the museum’s departmental structures to the decision-making behind what different kinds of content are uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc., to what it means that kids today are learning with iPads, to what challenges copyright poses to museum ed, to the benefits and drawbacks of Google Art Project, to what it means that we wake up and go to sleep with our smartphones, to what the future of learning holds (one idea: artist-to-audience direct telepathy).
The conversations are meant to force participants to pause and consider issues water-cooler-style and try to see the bigger picture: if we are digital, where are we heading…? As curators, educators, producers, and editors it is our job to look ahead and try to provide audiences with the best possible entry points to, and experiences with, art. The casual nature of the chats seeks to provide a type of knowledge exchange, and to act as a complement to the more formalized learning happening at conferences such as Museums and the Web, MuseumNext, and Communicating the Museum.
For my May 22 deadline for my graduate program I have completed a certain set of interviews, but the project will continue to grow afterwards as an archive of experiences and resources. Between editing, transcribing, and all the other associated tasks with the web site (not to mentioning finishing my thesis!) I have my work cut out for me until the end of May, but I know many of you represent art institutions yourself so if you’re interested in participating with a chat in June give me a shout: hej (at) jenniferlindblad (dot) com. I’ve always been so grateful to the Tumblr community for your input and support, and would of course love it if you would share this project with anyone you think would find it interesting. Please feel free to send any thoughts, comments, or questions via tweets, RTs, DMs, reblogs, wall posts, FB msgs, likes, hearts, stars, or plain old emails.
The project launch will be celebrated in Stockholm on Wednesday, May 23rd 6-9 pm (+1GMT) with all the social media channels blaring. If I made a Google+ Hangout would you come?
Looking forward to the discussion!