Collaborations across Borders: Physical and Disciplinary

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Digital Mediterranean and New Media Dialogue by Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio/ ART IN PROCESS – cross-border and beyond by Elisabeth Maria Eitelberger and Bello Benischauer/ Phi territories by Alexandra Antonopoulou and Elenaor Dare/ 
Technology, Creativity and the Artist-led Workshop by Jamie Allen, Rachel Clarke, Kamila Wajda, and Areti Galani/ ZEUGMA by Anna Hatziyiannaki/ Sustaining Creative Relationships across Africa and Europe through Artist-led Innovation by Atau Tanaka and Joelle Bitton
Dates: 
Thursday, 15 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:45
Chair Person: 
Ali Miharbi
Presenters: 
Elisabeth Eitelberger
Presenters: 
Bello Benischauer
Presenters: 
Eleanor Dare
Presenters: 
Jamie Allen
Presenters: 
Rachel Clarke
Presenters: 
Kamila Wajda
Presenters: 
Areti Galani
Presenters: 
Anna Hatziyiannaki
Presenters: 
Atau Tanaka
Presenters: 
Joëlle Bitton

Digital Mediterranean and New Media Dialogue

by Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio

In the contemporary global framework, the convergence between art, creativity and new media offer a different way to think about the community, with its local connections and intercultural relations. In the specific Mediterranean context is developing a renewed awareness around concepts like “mobility”, “representation”, “mutual understanding”, “connection”, “dialogue”, “exchange”, “network”, “flux”, that are inspiring an increasingly production of ideas, artworks, seminars, researches and new forms of encounter.

Is it possible to realize a new social and cultural Mediterranean dialogue through media technologies? How does it change the mutual understanding and knowledge through the new media dialogue? Is it Information and Communication Technology (ICT) a new stand and tool for intercultural education and comprehension? How does it change the practice of conversation, exchange and dialogue in the social digital era? How do art and creativity operate, interact and influence in the “Digital Mediterranean”?

Intercultural communication is extending and developing itself through multiple mechanisms: we seek, we find ourselves and we interact more and more through technology tools and social networks that act as platforms for gathering, dissemination and knowledge. Online participation experiences, festivals, exhibitions and virtual galleries; research and dissemination of free information, platforms of social and political criticism, etc., are just some of the stages where art, creativity and new information and communication technology meet and converge. The Internet becomes the continent where multiple cultures, one humanity coexist (Bauman, 2008), where the in between element of the border disappears.

There are several projects - between real presence and virtual communication, between “relational aesthetics” and the tools of Web 2.0 - with the ambition of finding different ways to create interconnection points where Mediterranean cultures and people can meet and shared their visions, creative expressions and thoughts.

A new media landscape – transformed also by art and creativity - is defining and challenging the social relationships and interactions within the Mediterranean area.

ART IN PROCESS – cross-border and beyond

by Elisabeth Maria Eitelberger and Bello Benischauer

This artist presentation involves a case study about ART IN PROCESS (Austria/ Australia), a partnership based in Fremantle, Australia. Our work is a critical engagement with a number of issues specific to cross-cultures, consumer culture and behaviour. We work together on the intersection of installation, video, new media, performance and live art.

The presentation will address the growing inter-human and artistic communication through interdisciplinarity and our work throughout the past decade.

We currently work on a monograph (spanning the past ten years of work), which will be part of the presentation.

The presentation will further give some deeper insight into current projects by ART IN PROCESS based on discussing, how the use of New Technologies led to the creation of new work and could enhance our artistic profile in reaching out for another and wider audience. (These projects are addressed in the Proposal for Artwork Presentation).

Another objective of the presentation is how New Technologies and Interdisciplinarity can increase the transportation of artistic message today and lead to transformed, extended and even enhanced work-conglomerations between artists from various disciplines and a wide international audience. This opens up for completely new forms of expression, extended varieties of working on participatory projects, linking artists from around the world. Over the years we have started to grow cyber-work relations with individual artists and institutions around the world that result today in various projects and still grow and develop further.

New Technologies enable us to look across borders, to increase the awareness of the various traditions, languages, cultures and individual people that live in this world. It has become one of the main tools of our artistic work to communicate cross-cultural issues.

All our digital work is distributed by CAM (www.artfilms.com.au), one of the leading suppliers of films and books for Arts Education worldwide.

Phi territories: neighbourhoods of collaboration and participation

by Alexandra Antonopoulou and Elenaor Dare

The Phi Books Project is a collaborative endeavour between Alexandra Antonopoulou, a designer and children’s book writer-illustrator and Eleanor Dare, a computer artist. We would like to present the development of the Phi Books Project, showing its different stages, from the initial formulation of algorithmic fictions to technologically mediated and embodied systems for collaboration.

The paper will outline how the Phi Books have used the house as a metaphor for interdisciplinary collaboration and how the two researcher-artists use narrative, making and performance to explore how borders, walls and doors facilitate collaboration. This has lead to the production of books and interactive material produced by the authors and the participants, which are both fictional and imaginative while also being methodologically reflective. These mediums have been presented and produced in conferences and symposia in the form of performances and  interactive installations in which the Phi Books deploy recursion and collective re-mediation. We have also developed performative and collborative software, enabling us to explore and critique notions of consent and participation. Now we are merging the physical with the virtual by asking participants to perform their own stories via a motion capture system. With this system we map participant’s movements as mathematical vectors from which we can extrapolate new layers of embodied narrative and subjective articulation.

Our common practice, therefore is grounded in a reconsideration of the ways in which interactivity and collaboration can be deployed and defined. These issues will be outlined and clarified in an interactive and participatory presentation.

Creative Ecologies in Action:
Technology, Creativity and the Artist-led Workshop

by Jamie Allen, Rachel Clarke, Kamila Wajda, and Areti Galani

For art-and-technology practitioners, the artist-led workshop is an established tool for public and community engagement.  The workshop format is integrated into academic and artistic gatherings and events, and is an excitingly varied and multimodal part of conference and festival activities internationally.  Perhaps most particularly in new media contexts, the invitation to participate in or deliver a workshop includes the implication that technological tools will be taught, and practical skills will be imparted.  As such the artist-led workshop, as a form, is a site where a complex ecology of artistic, social and educational goals and interactions are held in relief.

Within more traditional communities, the workshop has been regarded as a somewhat lesser format for the presentation of ideas that presentation of papers (conferences) or artworks (festivals).  To the curator, the workshop can be an economic way of having an artist involved in an event, lessening the cost of commissioning and/or transportation.  In community arts practitioners interrogate the effectiveness of engaging and congealing local communities.  Pedagogues usefully develop evaluations for educational and material goals.  For the artist-leader, too frequent delivery of workshops servicing broader agendas can serve to cloud artistic objectives.

This paper presents technology-based art practice workshops that have been designed to develop the workshop form as a collaborative and artistic output in its own right.  Inspired by Kaprow’s formulation of Happenings, and Beuys’ interest in open-works and wordless-teaching, the work presented attempts to make workshop groups into ad-hock creative ecologies in action.  These workshops are discussed with particular emphasis on the design successes and challenges of these events, the context specific environments employed and self-developed, low-cost construction kits created.

Through collaboration between artists and with educators, creative, conceptual and constructionist learning goals are designed into public invitational formats drawing on topics in interaction design, sound design, media ecology and sustainable energy.  The context of new media allows for a public invitation which is partially technical, yet centers more markedly on the embodied and social outcomes of bringing people together in experimental, interactive and technology-infused artistic happenings.

ZEUGMA

by Anna Hatziyiannaki

“Zeugma” is a New Media Art Project, inspired from the ancient twin city Zeugma, now covered by the river of Euphrates, because of the construction of a dam. 

In Greek, «Zeugma» means «link». so,  «Zeugma» may be called any place where foreign and strange between them elements meet, co-exist, are bridged over, harmonize.  Thus, six Greek New Media Artists, traveled to the closest to Zeugma twin city,  Istanbul, looking for the «Zeugma»  of Ancient and Modern times, the «Zeugma» of cultures through time, the intercultural node of east and west.  

The works of the six artists, permeates key-notions that transcribe to forms as: twin elements, vis-a-vis in a mutual axis, contra positions, nodal points, passages, joints, sacred and profane in a dialogue

They used contemporary techniques and media: installations and constructions out of metal, rope, electric light, plexiglass and readymade objects, video installations, interactive multimedia installation, and video performance.

Their intention was to experience the meaning of «zeugma» and to implement it in contemporary art works. They investigated also a plastic glossary that may be a link among all kind of cultural diversities, without undermining the autonomy of each one, but conversely building a horizontal network, without any hierarchy, a kind of cultural rhizome. Perhaps this is the bet of the 21st century?

Finally, we would say that the proposal of the six artists applies not only for the lost city Zeugma, and for modern Istanbul, but for the Mediterranean sea as well,  that liquid –zeugma among Asia, Africa and Europe.

Sustaining Creative Relationships across Africa and Europe through Artist-led Innovation

by Atau Tanaka and Joelle Bitton

We present a longitudinal series of artist interventions in West Africa, focusing on Burkina Faso, that span the decade, 2000-2010. Its long term nature offers rare insight into sustained relationships with rural, hard to reach tribal communities. By bringing electronic media technologies to destinations offgrid from main information and utilities infrastructures situates these means of creative production in contexts that reveal their potential to facilitate cross cultural communication and actualization of local identity in global contexts.

The Festival de l’Eau is an artist-led initiative of musicians Camel Zekri and Dominique Chevaucher, founded in the late 1990’s with a series of artist exchanges between Europe and Africa that took place in the form of concert tours by boat to remote villages in Niger, the Central African Republic, and Burkina Faso. This was followed by concerts on alternate years in Europe with the African musicians met on location. In this paper we focus on the tour in 2000 of six villages along the Mouhoun River in Burkina Faso (documented online in Leonardo) and the follow up tour of three of those villages in 2010 by a subset of the same artists. In parallel, the development of the project, RAW, in Mali in 2003 (presented at ISEA2004) created audio-photography techniques for capturing the practice of everyday life. The experience from RAW, and impetus from the Social Inclusion through the Digital Economies (SiDE) research hub at Culture Lab, facilitated the delivery of a digital photography workshop at one of the villages on the 2010 edition of the Festival de l’Eau.

This paper presents the dynamics of re-encounter after 10 years catalyzed by four types of interventions: the screening of a film of the 2000 trip in 2010, concert performances of European and African musicians in sequence and in collaboration on traditional and electronic instruments, the diffusion of results from the digital photography workshop to participating villagers, and spontaneous interactions. Through this we interrogate notions of post-colonialism and the "glocal," and draw upon multiple theories of gift economies and gift culture to frame a vision for artist-led innovation.