Revolutions in the Digital Mediterranean: The Southern Mediterranean Forum

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Has art, and new media/digital art in particular, any requirements to inspire a new social engineering and participate in the new evolutionary models of cultural production? Is the digital community a mythical representation of our imaginary or a new socio-political tool that is allowing the development of a new digital Mediterranean-way based on ‘Southern’ social approaches?
Dates: 
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 09:00 - 10:30
Dates: 
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 13:00 - 18:40
Author(s): 
Lanfranco Aceti

Chair: Lanfranco Aceti
Co-chairs: Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio, Beral Madra, M.Luisa Gómez Martínez

Participants:

Beral Madra
Maria Chatzichristodoulou [aka Maria X]
Manthos Santorineos
Melentie Pandilovski
Mónica Bello Bugallo
Islam Muhammad
Nat Muller
Isin Onol
Samirah Alkassim
Mohamed Ben Soltane
Amina Abdellatif
Ali Akay
M. Luisa Gómez Martínez
Karem Ibrahim
Iannis Zannos

In a cultural context within which some new media commentators and academics from Northern countries more or less privately argue for isolation under the banner of ‘Egypt to Egyptians, Greece to Greeks, Spain to Spanish, Turkey to Turkish, etc.’ the Forum wishes to address this statement and move beyond the lack of willingness to engage, support and discuss cultural transformations that are changing and perhaps threatening traditional hierarchical modes of cultural production imposed from the North onto the South.

For over two decades digital media and their representations have been curated and contextualized, with a few exceptions, in a framework that is exclusively Northern European vs. North American, leaving on the sidelines or completely dismissing from the new media’s history books the artworks and conceptual engagements of the Mediterranean areas. 

In this age of globalized Internet presence and engagement, the concept 'Egyptian issues to the Egyptians, Greek issues to the Greeks, Italian issues to the Italians, etc.' sounds somewhat problematic. It denies the existence of a Mediterranean culture and affinities that had bound together and still identify all of those that recognize themselves as being Mediterranean beyond national boundaries in a geographically rooted sense of belonging that is similar in its underpinnings to the idea of ‘being Scandinavian.’ These Mediterranean cultural identifiers are based on larger cultural perspectives that are not defined by state/national boundaries.

Years ago I remember being asked the following question: "Being Italian, how can you understand and have a grasp of the Northern European Visual Arts?"
My response was: "The same way in which you can understand Giotto, Masaccio, Leonardo and Michelangelo."

These are some of the issues that the Forum will address, taking as starting points the renewed evolutionary and revolutionary events happening from Egypt to Syria, from Greece to Algeria, as well as the new social democratic movements in Spain, Greece and Italy inspired by the Arab Spring.
Where and how new media/digital arts and new forms of cultural productions within the Mediterranean should and can stand in these processes of transformation is a matter open to discussion – as well as the fact that perhaps it may be time to rethink new media and scholarly engagements beyond national boundaries.

Mediterranean Forum - Program    
   

Monday, 19 September 2011   

Opening Session: 9:00 - 10.30

Lanfranco Aceti / Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio - Introduction

Beral Madra – Opening Speech

Islam Muhammad – “New Media Repository for Arts & Culture in the Mediterranean”

Afternoon: 13:00 – 18:40

Panel 1. Curating in the Contemporary Mediterranean. 13:00–14:45  

Chair: Beral Madra

Nat Muller – “The Cultural Hype of Connectivity: On social media, commodification, (im)mobility and revolution”
Maria Chatzichristodoulou / Manthos Santorineos – “On Curating Collaboration in the Mediterranean region: The Medi@terra Festival”

Isin Onol - Mediterraneanising the Mediterranean: Altering Definitions in the Digital Media Era

14:45/15:00 Break

Panel 2. Artistic and Creative Experiences. 15.00-16.40   

Chair: Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio

Samirah Alkassim - Back to the Streets – Art 2.0 in Egypt

Mohamed Ben Soltane - Recognition of Contemporary Artists from Africa in a Postcolonial Context

Amina Abdellatif - How would digital art in the Arab world be like today if dictators didn’t rule it?
Karem Ibrahim - Everything is Exceptional: a solidarity art project on Facebook


16:40/17:00 Coffee Break   

Panel 3. Cultural and Academic Production. 17.00-18.40

Chair: M. Luisa Gómez Martínez



Iannis Zannos - Re-mediating traditonal cultures through New Media Art
Melentie Pandilovski - Skopje Electronic Art Fair 1997-2011.
Ali Akay – New Contemporary Art Centers in Istanbul
Mónica Bello Bugallo - Participation in times of crisis. The Spanish case.

Paper Abstracts

New Media Repository for Arts & Culture in the Mediterranean

by Islam Muhammad

Political borders are the main obstacle hindering artistic interactions between artists of both sides of the Mediterranean. However, those physical barriers have less power within the virtual sphere of the internet.

Internet has provided a safe haven for many artists to create, upload, distribute and share their artistic creations with the rest of the world. It created a space where experience can be shared and inspire. As the geopolitical borders keep tighten up every day, the usage of folksonomies keeps in increasing especially in the south among young people. They use them to get inspired, to interact, to showcase and even ignite and mobilize revolutions to topple regimes in the region.

How the internet has affected how we create, distribute and rate art has given us new perspectives and ideas on how we can interact with art and hence culture in general. Giving new ideas for the creation of new arts and also merging of some of the existing arts. New aims and purposes of art have been arisen in the last few years arguing the world to put a definition of this newly created multi-purpose easy to distribute art; and hence an online collaborative community-shared art. Welcome to art 2.0.

The term art 2.0 was proposed by EMYAN in 2007 and since then it based its new media initiatives on it. The Online Arts Festival as an annual festive virtual event aims at showcasing the creativity of young talents of the Euro-Med region and recently the New Media Repository for Arts & Culture in the Mediterranean.

The Repository is an initiative being proposed by EMYAN to act as a collective research platform dedicated to the topic of New Media and its usage within the Arts & Culture industries with special focus on the Mediterranean region.

The platform is to harvest researches and stimulate discussions on how young creatives and their societies are adopting digital and networked media in creating, presenting and distributing their works, as well as showcasing the works of groups or individuals that are incorporating new media in innovative ways serving the arts and culture sector in the Euro-Med region.

The Cultural Hype of Connectivity: On social media, commodification, (im)mobility and revolution

by Nat Muller

The art world loves a good revolution: it provides spice, urgency and direction, especially when coupled with a technological revolution. It coats a fluid and complex political situation in a safe and recognisable blanket of modernity. In the case of the “Arab Spring”, which has turned in a hot and violent summer, the commodification of a political momentum makes good business for journalism and art.  However, how representative was social media for the Arab Spring, and how much of that sensibility has rubbed off on creative practices if at all? Which were the artistic precursors that have not made the headlines?

On Curating Collaboration in the Mediterranean region: The Medi@terra Festival

by Maria Chatzichristodoulou and Manthos Santorineos

Medi@terra was an international media art festival co-founded by Prof. Manthos Santorineos (Athens School of Fine Arts), Dodo Santorineos and myself in 1997, with its first edition taking place in 1998. It was the first Art and Technology festival to take place in Greece. Its history was brief, but intense: the festival lasted a total of 9 years, with its last edition on the subject of ‘Gaming Realities’ (co-curated by Daphne Dragona) taking place in 2006. It was supported by the Greek government and several cultural institutes, boasted substantial budgets (within its geopolitical context) and, during its lifespan, enjoyed a high profile in Greece and Southern Europe. Those histories are badly –if at all– documented, due to lack of finances, methodical planning, or indeed interest (as they are often seen as peripheral, even by their very organisers/ curators/ funders). Thus, Medi@terra is little remembered or acknowledged as a Mediterranean media art initiative of some scale, and a substantial contribution, and a contributor, to the international media art scene.

For the Mediterranean forum in ISEA 2011 we propose to reflect on the importance (or lack thereof) of the Medi@terra festival on both a local (Greece) and regional (Southeast Europe) level, in terms of supporting and showcasing media/ digital arts and other interdisciplinary practices, as well as facilitating their acceptance as cultural phenomena that are no less important than other, non-technologised and single-disciplined, contemporary art practices.

Mediterraneanising the Mediterranean: Altering Definitions in the Digital Media Era

by Isin Onol

To focus on issues pertaining to the Mediterranean region is to analyse the power struggles of the globe on a condensed scale. Being the meeting point of Europe, Asia and Africa, the Mediterranean region contains the dichotomies of the West and the Middle East; South and North, colonised and coloniser, black and white, Christianity and Islam, Judaism and Islam, Christianity and Judaism, as well as a few recently-solved and several lasting conflicts involving the former Yugoslavia, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, and issues pertaining to Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. Despite these ongoing concerns, the word “Mediterranean” has been rather romantically identified with tourism, natural beauty, beaches, olive oil and cuisine. However, struggles pertaining to democracy, national identity, racism, ethnic nationalism, several kinds of terrorism, sexism, gender, immigration, poverty, corruption and degeneration increasingly persist in each Mediterranean country; not detached from the rest of the globe, but rather as a microcosm of the overall picture. For this reason, visualizing the Mediterranean region as a condensed version of the global power struggle is crucial for art actors, who are subsequently able to examine the possibilities of going beyond governmental and official versions of history and comprehend concepts on a transnational platform.

For the Southern Mediterranean Forum, I propose to discuss the ways in which the notions of Orientalism and self-Orientalism still manifest themselves in contemporary art practices, especially within the framework of the given area. As an opposing response to these notions, I propose to discuss a fresh theme and a trendy way out: “Mediterraneanising” in relation to digital/new media art.

Back to the Streets – Art 2.0 in Egypt  

by Samirah Alkassim

Many have been quick to embrace the idea that the ongoing revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were successful because of the Web 2.0, but this is a strange appropriation of the technological determinism permeating early discussions of new media. On the contrary, social media did not cause the political revolutions in the “Arab Spring”, nor did it suddenly change the cultures of those countries in which revolutions have been underway (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen). The technologies of new and social media exist in the same order and register of banality, ubiquity and everydayness as they do in the North and West. They did, however, speed up the movements and effects of revolution, which are far from over. Because of the speed with which the communications, events, and developments spread through social and industrial media, knowledge and awareness shared within this region and across the globe increased dramatically.

When addressing the Southern Mediterranean as a geographic entity it is important to state the obvious: though each is unique, the countries of the Southern Mediterranean appear to have more in common with each other, with the Arab Middle East, and Asia Minor because of certain common threads of religion, language, and the apparent legacy of the Ottoman empire, than they do with the countries of the Northern Mediterranean (of course Turkey has ties with both). So there is an apparent dichotomy between North and South, even though it is equally obvious that there are many distinctions among these countries of the Southern Mediterranean: there are many dialects and languages; different experiences of colonialism, modernization and development; different religious groups, and geo-political wars. In this age where foreign interests have fomented ideological strife as a pretext for appropriating the resources of a country (ex. oil in Iraq; the Nile in Sudan), the differences between a world imagined as bipolar have seemed extreme. Deeply invoked by the ideological strife, if not more explicitly connected, is the Israeli-Palestinian problem, which seems to never advance towards a positive solution for either side but is always hampered by the impunity of Israeli’s illegal occupation and actions on the global stage, and the lack of recourse of the Palestinians to the application of international law. The countries of the Southern Mediterranean have been on the brink of social and political upheaval for decades, and now some of them are on fire. With the current global economic crisis, following on the heels of revolutionary movements in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, and anti-austerity demonstrations in Europe, it is possible to imagine the similarities of people and populist movements around the globe.

In the case of Egypt, the progress and outcomes of its current revolution notwithstanding, there have been at least four effects on the cultural sector: art is reinvigorated with political consciousness (although there is already a long history of this in Egypt); artists are refocused with substantive content; the role of documentary as an art form is reinforced; and a sense of inter-regionality among populist movements from Tunisia to Bahrain and Syria, calling for democracy and government reforms, is reconfigured. This paper will address these points looking at the recent proliferation of graffiti art and documentary photography in Egypt.

Recognition of Contemporary Artists from Africa in a Postcolonial Context.

by Mohamed Ben Soltane

French: Reconnaissance des artistes Maghrébins dans les pays du Nord: Au-delà de la postcolonialité

Dans mon travail de recherche, je m’intéresse à la reconnaissance artistique des artistes Maghrébins ou d’origine maghrébine dans le circuit international de l’art contemporain.
J’ai constaté, en me basant sur un indicateur de la reconnaissance artistique (www.artfacts.net), que les artistes Maghrébins ou d’origine maghrébine reconnus à l’échelle internationale, travaillent tous ou presque dans les plus grandes villes européennes ou américaines et qu’ils pratiquent les médias contemporains (photo, vidéo, installation) plutôt que les médias traditionnels (peinture, sculpture).
Il y a plusieurs raisons qui expliquent cette reconnaissance internationale des artistes Maghrébins résidents en Europe ou aux Etats Unis d’Amérique. Des raisons liées aux représentations postcoloniales et d’autres liées à la professionnalisation importante du milieu de l’art contemporain international.

Nous allons nous intéresser dans ce papier aux programmes de bourses et de résidences d’artistes qui existent dans les pays du Nord et qui permettent aux artistes de développer leur démarche artistique en ayant les moyens pour vivre et s’adonner entièrement à leur art. En effet, ces programmes constituent de véritables rompes de lancement des artistes internationaux. Les artistes du Sud de la méditerranée profitent-ils pas comme il le faut de ces programmes ?

Dans un monde de l’art international qui s’est professionnalisé, il est difficile de percer les cercles de la reconnaissance sans un programme d’aide et de soutien aux artistes. C’est, entres-autres, ce genre de programme qui permet à des artistes Maghrébins ou d’origine maghrébine de commencer une carrière artistique et d’acquérir un début de visibilité à l’échelle internationale. Toutefois, c’est à partir des villes du Nord que ces artistes accèdent à ces bourses et résidences. Les artistes qui vivent dans les pays du Sud de la méditerranée ne trouvent pas ce genre de programmes à cause, entre-autres, d’une politique culturelle Etatique totalement dépassée.

C’est cette hypothèse que nous allons essayer de vérifier en étudiant le parcours de certains artistes Maghrébins ou d’origine maghrébine qui ont atteint une certaine reconnaissance internationale.

Re-mediating traditonal cultures through New Media Art

by Iannis Zannos


New Media Art and related digital art forms have a great potential in the Southern Mediterranean, as the traditional culture forms of this region have a different relationship to text than Northern European ones that participated in the "Gutenberg Revolution". So to investigate the potential of Digital Revolution in this region is very fitting. The relationship of the individuals and communities from these regions to digital technology is in many ways markedly different than that of western european people, because of the patterns inherited from different attitudes to written media and to semiotic processes in general.  The approach to digital media can be at once "naive" as well as deeply original and suffused with aesthetic sensibility. Thus, given that each new technology is innately linked to the culture of its origin, and so it creates artefacts when it meets cultures of new regions, the question arises as to how this applies to Digital Culture, or to different varieties of Digital Culture(s). It is further necessary to consider whether Digital Culture(s) are subject to slightly different mechanisms, because of globalization, because of the properties of the Digital and of Networked Communication, and how much on the other hand, Digital Culture is based on an "Anglosaxon Mode", the most prominent expression of which is the prevalence of the english language. Other questions relate to the role of the Digital in creating bridges between people of different cultures. How much is intercultural dialog dependent on Technical Media? 

We can understand the cultural phenomena ushered by the Digital Ages better if we re-discover previous intercultural niches and investigate them with regard to both Media and other factors. Non-digitalized niches are rapidly disappearing, and the ways of life are migrating rapidly gravitating towards a new all-pervasive lifestyle permeated by technology. In the case of the Mediterranean, there are however still some remaining vestiges of oral traditions alive, which preserve a very special kind of cultural genome.  The participative and communal aspects of Artistic activity can help open alternative avenues for exploring the genesis of digital cultures.  Traditional art forms but also other cultural activities can serve as starting points for cultivating this approach.  To give a specific example, the makam system, that is the modal system of traditional turkish music is member of a family of highly formalized systems for musical practice that can serve as start for experiments in novel artforms by seeking ways to translate and re-mediate its principles in the digital medium.  The term re-mediate is used here to mean the process of transformation of a system underlying an art form that takes place when this system encounters media with properties different from those of the art form from which the system originated.  In this context, the question posed to the forum is what are the different forms of re-mediation that can be discerned or triggered by bridging traditional cultures in the mediterranean region with digital arts?

How would digital art in the Arab world be like today if dictators didn’t rule it?

by Amina Abdellatif

Sadly we cannot answer this question, but one thing is sure. Censorship pushed artists to explore new ways of expression and to find creative solutions. It was their muse. Now that they lost their muse, digital artists are faced with the challenge  of finding a new one: freedom and the hope of building a better society.

Skopje Electronic Art Fair 1997-2011.

by Melentie Pandilovsk

i

SEAFair (Skopje Electronic Arts Fair) was initiated for the first time in 1997 (although CAC organized various electronic art projects since 1994), represents the first manifestation of this type on the Balkans, connecting the local and international artists, critics, and theoreticians working in new technologies and media, has for its five years of existence attracted artists and theoreticians from all five continents. The Festival has achieved a great international importance being envisioned as a series of events, exhibitions, symposia, workshops, and web conferences that explore the creation and practise of new media arts. The event has since served traditionally as an international and inter-cultural meeting place of arts and technologies, influencing the discussions about artistic, philosophic, educational and other aspects of the processes, which characterize electronic culture, but also of the processes and the challenges which biotechnology, genetic engineering, and nano technology place before us. Skopje Electronic Arts Fair is an annual event that has established a great local and regional significance, not only because SEAFair represents historically the first manifestation on the Balkans that since then has become the central focal point in the region for the dispersing of knowledge of electronic arts, but SEAFair also exceeds with the approach that is always positioned in the finding of strategies for dynamic exploration and adjustment towards the conceptions and technologies which surround us.

New Contemporary Art Centers in Istanbul

by Ali Akay

The new media become a turning point of the renewal of Turkish contemporary art since 1990's.

This new approach to The art is the possibility for the artists to have a visibility in the international  contemporary art context . The Biennial of İstanbul has been giving another interesting point of view before the creations of the new contemporary art centers by the banks in the 2000's.
We can problematize this kind of new visibility of the bank's art center's in İstanbul and in the other cities.

Participation in times of crisis. The Spanish case.  

by Mónica Bello Bugallo  

After being witness of a decade of digital optimism, cultural creators are facing the challenges of the general crisis that is affecting Europe. This can be seen as an opportunity to prompt new dialogues and to take the paradigm of participation into a new scale. Taking Spain as a studio case, we aim to contribute with a meaningful dialogue about the impact of the current developments in cultural production in this particular geographical area, reflecting about the role played by key cultural actuators, artists and how links to the recent events of the so-called 15-M movement.

Bios of the Participants

Lanfranco Aceti

Lanfranco Aceti works as an academic, artist and curator. He is Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths College, department of Computing, London; teaches Contemporary Art and Digital Culture at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanci University, Istanbul, and is Editor in Chief of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (the MIT Press, Leonardo journal and ISAST). His work has been published in Leonardo, Routledge and Art Inquiry and his interdisciplinary research focuses on the intersection between digital arts, visual culture and new media technologies.

He is specialized in inter-semiotic translations between classic media and new media, contemporary digital hybridization processes, Avant-garde film and new media studies and their practice-based applications in the field of fine arts. He is also an Honorary Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, Virtual Reality Environments at University College London. He has exhibited works at the ICA in London and done digital interventions at TATE Modern.

Previously an Honorary Research Fellow at the Slade School of Fine Art, he has also worked as an AHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, School of History of Art, Film & Visual Media and as Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio  

Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio is a Research Fellow in Art History, Theory and Criticism at the University of Barcelona. He studied Humanities and Philosophy at the “Università  degli Studi di Roma Tre” (Italy) and gained a Master in “Advanced Studies in History of Art” from the University of Barcelona. Currently he is part of the research group “Art, Architecture and Digital Society” (UB). His current lines of investigation involve the subjects of interculturality in contemporary art, the interactions between artistic, media and cultural practices in the Mediterranean and the impact of new technologies on art, communication and contemporary society. He has participated in several international conferences and developed projects and research in Europe, Asia and Middle East. He has collaborated, among others, with Love Difference / Pistoletto Foundation; Mediateca of the Caixaforum Barcelona; OVNI Archives. He writes articles for several international magazines, works also as a critic and independent curator and is co-founder of the platform www.interartive.org

Beral Madra

Beral Madra, a critic and curator, directed Gallery BM (1984-1990) and directing BM Contemporary Art Centre (since 1990); lives and works in Istanbul.

She coordinated the 1st (1987) and the 2nd (1989) Istanbul Biennale, curated exhibitions of Turkish artists in 43rd, 45th, 49th, 50th and 51st Venice Biennale, co-curated the exhibition Modernities and Memories-Recent Works from the Islamic World in 47th Venice Biennale. Curated Central Asia Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennale, (2009). 2011 Advisory Curator of the Pavilion of Azerbaijan at 54th Venice Biennale.

Selection of exhibitions since 2008: Bahcesaray, Crimea, Contemporary Art Exhibition (Turkey, Greece, Russia, Ukraine) (2008); Neighbours in Dialogue Exhibition, Sarajevo (2008); A week of Art and Culture from Turkey, Pamplona (Huarte Contemporary Art Center), Spain (2008); Istanbul Diptychs, Istanbul Centre in Brussels (2008); Contemporary Art Collection for Point Hotel, Istanbul (2009); Next Wave, Exhibition of 17 Women Artists from Turkey, Berlin Academy Pariser Platz (2009); 2010 Cityscapes, Lothringer 13, Munich.

She is representing Istanbul Scholarship of Berlin Senate since 1995. She is founding member Diyarbakir Art Centre (established September 2002) ; founding member of Foundation of Future Culture and Art; founding member and honorary president of AICA, Turkey (established 2003). 2008-2010 Visual Arts Director of Istanbul 2010 European Culture Capital.

Islam Muhammad   

Islam Muhammad is the general coordinator of the Euro-Med Young Artists Network. He is from Alexandria, Egypt. Currently he is doing a creative residency at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, United Kingdom for nine months.

Nat Muller

Nat Muller (Maracaibo, 1974) is an independent curator and critic based between Rotterdam and the Middle East. Her main interests include: the intersections of aesthetics, media and politics; media art and contemporary art in and from the Middle East. She has held staff positions at V2_Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam and De Balie, Centre for Arts & Politics,  in Amsterdam. She is a regular contributor for Springerin, MetropolisM and other art publications. She has curated video screenings for projects and festivals in a.o. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin, New York, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Grimstad, Lugano, Dubai, Cairo and Beirut. With Alessandro Ludovico she edited the Mag.net Reader2: Between Paper and Pixel (2007), and Mag.net Reader3: Processual Publishing, Actual Gestures (2009), based on a series of debates organized at Documenta XII. She has taught at the Willem de Kooning Academy (NL), ALBA (Beirut), the Lebanese American University (Beirut), A.U.D. in Dubai (UAE), and the Rietveld Academy (NL). She has served as an advisor on Euro-Med collaborations for the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), the EU, and as an advisor on e-culture for the Dutch Ministry of Culture. She is currently working on her first book for the Institute of Network Cultures and Nai Publishers. She serves on the advisory board of the Palestinian website project Artterritories (Ramallah), the arts organisation TENT (Rotterdam), and seats in the selection committee of the Mondriaan Foundation (NL), The Netherlands largest fund for the arts.

Maria Chatzichristodoulou

Maria Chatzichristodoulou [aka Maria X] is a cultural practitioner (curator, performer, producer, writer). Maria holds a PhD in Art & Computational Technologies from Goldsmiths Digital Studios, University of London. She is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Lecturer in Theatre & Performance at the School of Arts and New Media, University of Hull. Previously, Maria taught at the University of London Colleges Goldsmiths, Birkbeck and Queen Mary, and Richmond the American International University, and worked as a Community Officer at The Albany in South London. She was co-founder of the international media arts festival Medi@terra and co-director of Fournos Centre for Digital Culture (1996-2002, Athens, Greece). She has performed with Diplous Eros Ensemble and director Syllas Tzoumerkas (Greece). Maria is co-editor of the volume Interfaces of Performance (Ashgate, 2009) and the forthcoming volumes Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance (Palgrave MacMillan) and From Black Box to Second Life: Theatre and Performance in Virtual Worlds (publisher TBC). The Intimacy volume follows on the Intimacy festival and Symposium that Maria initiated and co-directed in London (2007), a 2nd edition of which is currently being developed. Maria has lectured and published widely (including invited lectures at Yale, Georgia Institute of Technology and MIT). She has been involved in several interdisciplinary projects and cultural initiatives, such as the Thursday Club (Goldsmiths UK), Expanded Play (Zaragoza Spain and London UK) and the ICP (Interdisciplinary & Collaborative Practices) Research Cluster (Hull, UK).
See: http://www2.hull.ac.uk/scarborough/campus-departments/sanm/meet-the-team/maria-chatzichristodoulou.aspx

Manthos Santorineos

Dr. Manthos Santorineos, Intermedia artist – researcher, is Assistant Professor at Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and Artistic director of Fournos Centre for Digital Culture. Since 1984, he has been active in promoting art and technology, having established the Department of Art and Technology at the Ileana Tounda Centre (1987), the Fournos Center for Digital Culture (1991) and the Mediaterra Festival (1998). At the ASFA he is responsible for the multimedia/hypermedia lab in the pre-graduate course and for the “hybrid forms of art” in the postgraduate course in digital arts. Santorineos has directed films and television programs (1985-1995). His personal artistic works belong to the fields of video art, interactive installations and net-based projects and have been shown at festivals and museums in Greece and abroad (Argos Festival, Roma Europa, Locarno Festival, Videofest, Festival Interferences, VideoBrasil, etc.). He is author of the book De la civilisation du papier à la civilisation du numérique (From Paper to Digital Civilisation) Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007 and editor of Gaming Realities Athens: Fournos Center, 2006.

www.medialab.asfa.gr/santorineos/en
www.fournos-culture.gr 

Isin Onol

Isin Onol (1977, Turkey) is a curator based in Vienna. She is a Dr. Phil Candidate, Cultural and Intellectual History, University of Applied Arts, Vienna. She completed her MAS degree on Curating at ZHdK, Zürcher Hochschule der Kunst, Zürich, Switzerland (2009-2011). Participated to Ecole du Magasin, International Curatorial Training Programme, Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France (2009-10) and Gwangju Design Biennale International Curator Course, Gwangju, South Korea (2009). She received her MFA on Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design from Sabanci University (2003), and her BA on Art Education from Marmara University (2000), Istanbul, Turkey. She worked as the art coordinator at Bosporus International Schools, Istanbul (2003-2006), and worked as the director and curator at Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul (2006-2009). Independently, she has curated/co-curated exhibitions in Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland. For a curatorial concern, she focuses on the paradoxical impossibility of national representation within nation-based exhibition conceptions.

She has curated/co-curated the following shows:

Handle With Care, September 2010, Uni-Credit Bank Gallery, Milano, Italy;
Seriously Ironic: Positions in Turkish Contemporary Art Scene, June 2009, Centre Pasquart, Biel, Switzerland;
Getting Even, May 2009, Sabanci University Kasa Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey;
Privacy, December 2008, La Giarina Arte Contemporanea, Verona, Italy;
Accumulated: Put Aside, Left Aside, October 2008, Gallery 5533, Istanbul, Turkey.

Samirah Alkassim

Samirah Alkassim is an experimental/documentary filmmaker with over 12 years’ experience teaching film production and studies in Singapore, Cairo, Jordan and the San Francisco Bay Area. Formerly head of the film program at the American University in Cairo, her published articles include “Cracking the Monolith: Film and Video Art in Egypt” and “Tracing an Archeology of Experimental Video in Cairo”, among others. Film credits include Far form You (1996) about Umm Kulthoum and memory; and From here to There (2003) about imaginary and real technologies in Cairo before the invasion of Iraq. Excerpts from her work can be viewed at www.deristea.com

Mohamed Ben Soltane

11/11/1977, TUNISIA. Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis; ISBAT. Research Center: Pratique Artistique Moderne en Tunisie.
Mohamed Ben Soltane holds a Master in Arts and Science of Arts from the High Institute of Fine Art of Tunis « ISBAT ». He is carrying a PhD research on the recognition of contemporary artists from Africa in a postcolonial context.
He is also a visual artist exhibiting his work in Tunisia, Spain, Italy, Algeria… He is represented by Kanvas Art Gallery and Ammar Farhat Gallery.
Mohamed Ben Soltane is the artistic Director of  B’chira Art Center, a new Contemporary Art Center that will open in Tunisia in november 2011.

Iannis Zannos

Iannis Zannos has a background in music composition, ethnomusicology and interactive performance. He has worked as Director of the Music Technology and Documentation section at the State Institute for Music Research (S.I.M.) in Berlin, Germany, and Research Director at the Center for Research for Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has taken part at numerous international collaborative Media Arts projects and has realized multimedia performances both alone and in cooperation with other artists. He is teaching audio and interactive media arts at the Department of Audiovisual Arts and at the postgraduate course in Arts and Technologies of Sound of the Music Department at the Ionian University, Corfu. Publications include: "Ichos und Makam" (Comparative Studies on the Modal systems of Greek and Turkish Music, 1994), "Music and Signs" (edited proceedings of the 1997 conference on Music Semiotics and Systematic Musicology), an a number of articles on Music Technology and Media Arts. Participation in artistice collaborations include (2000), with Martin Carlé programming of interactive sound for Eric Sleichim / Bl!ndman Quartet, and Ulrike and David Gabriel,  2005-2006: Cosmos-X - Multimedia installation with multiple audio and video projections based on the work of Iannis Xenakis, with Efi Xirou, and 2004-2005, with Jean-Pierre Hébert real-time sound programming for the installation series on "Sand". Currently Iannis Zannos is focussing on how environmental issues as well as problems of multiculturality are reflected in media-art terms.

Amina Abdellatif

I graduated from the National Design Technologies School of Tunis in 2006.
I worked then at JWT Worldwide, an American ad agency as a junior art director. I joined afterwards the French ad agency Havas Worldwide as a digital art director and I still work there today. I am a painter in my spare time. I also write and illustrate children stories. I’ve taken part in some charities. I was one of the Tunis Twestival organizers.

M. Luisa Gómez Martínez

M. Luisa Gómez is a PhD candidate in “History, Theory and Criticism of Art” at the University of Barcelona, art critic, independent curator and co-founder of the international cultural platform Interartive.org. Her academic background includes a BA in Art History (University of Santiago de Compostela), a MA in “Advanced Studies in Art History” (University of Barcelona) and a research fellowship with the research group “Art, Architecture and Digital Society” (UB). She has also carried out different research residencies in Europe and Mexico and has participated in several national and international conferences and academic publications. Among other teaching, training and investigation activities, she has collaborated with the Multimedia Centre (CNA, México), the research group “TimeSpace” (UNAM-IPGH, México) or the Mediateca Caixaforum Barcelona. Her research interests are focused on the influences of ICT and digital media on artistic practices and social imaginaries, covering subjects from aesthetics and phenomenology of contemporary space-time to Media Art cultural policies or digital image theory.

Melentie Pandilovski

Dr. Melentie Pandilovski is a new media art curator and theorist. His theoretical research deals with examination of the links between art, culture, technology, individual identity, and consciousness. Editor of “Art in the Biotech Era” (EAF Adelaide, 2008) and Understanding the Balkans (CAC Skopje, 2002). His publications include  "On Modes of Consciousness(es) and Electronic Culture", In Glimpse, Phenomenology and Media, San Diego, California, 2000, "The Position of Culture in Southeast Europe", In Understanding the Balkans, Contemporary Art Center, Skopje 2002, "Consciousness and Electronic Culture", In Consciousness Reframed (Catalogue of 4th International CAiiA-STAR Research Conference), Perth, 2002.

Melentie Pandilovski has been a contributor to the International Symposium of Electronic Arts as artist and theorist (Chicago 1997, Liverpool/Manchester 1998, Nagoya 2002, Singapore 2008). He has delivered texts for international conferences such as “The Phenomenology and the Web” in San Diego, “Consciousness Reframed” in Perth, “Qi and Complexity”, in Beijing.

Melentie Pandilovski is currently Executive Director of Video Pool Media Arts Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Previously he was the Director of the Visual and Cultural Research Centre, Euro-Balkan Institute in Skopje (2010), Director of the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide (2003 – 2009), and Director of the (Soros) Contemporary Art Center in Skopje (1998 – 2003). He has curated more than 100 exhibitions and organized numerous symposia, conferences, and workshops, in Europe and Australia, such as SEAFair (Skopje Electronic Art Fair) in the period 1997 - 2011. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Society for Phenomenology and Media in San Diego.

Ali Akay

Professor at Mimar Sinan Fine art Univesity, head of the Departement of Sociology
Visiting professor at Humboldt University (Berlin), Paris VIII University and İ.N.H.A in Paris. Art Consultant of Akbank Art center
Founder of the Journal of Toplumbilim (Sociology) which had first been published in 1992 and is currently published biannually. Each issue focuses on a special topic; some of which are: Gilles Deleuze (1995), Feminist Critique (2000), Jacques Derrida (1999), Enlightement (2000), Health Sociology (2001), Cultural Studies (2002), Sociology of Migration (2004), and European Cinema (2005), On Photography(2006), Visuals Arts(2007), City and Crime(2008), Sociology odf Body(2009) ,Postcolonial Theory(2010).

Some selected Last Books Published   

Sanat tarihi: Sıradışı bir disiplin (History of Art: Unusual Discipline), Yapı ve Kredi Editions, 2006, 2 edition 2009.
Contemporary Art : An Akbank Art Center Anthology, Akbank Sanat Edition, 2009
Unleached (collective work),Times and Hudson, 2010
Postmodernizmin ABC’si Say yayınları 2010
Disjonctive Synthesis, Yapı Kredi yayınları, 2010
Grames of the Art, Baglam, 2010
Le Postmodernisme et apres ? (cloective work), Editions Kime, Paris, 2010

Some selected exhibitions (curator):

Continous Variations, Ayşe Erkmen, Seza Paker, Füsün Onur, Akbank Art Center, 17 May-18 June 2011
Buildings amongs the city, Societer Realistes, Akbank Art Center, 21 April- 10 May
Megalopolis, mounir fatmi, Akbank Art center,15 mars-15April 2011
(Istanbul) Transit Topos, Akbank Art Center, Istanbul, 27 may-17 June, ,2010
Nomos and Physis, 29 april-15 June ,Uqam Montreal, Canada
(İstanbul) Transit, 27 March-24 april Passage de Retz, Paris, France 2010
Variations Continues, 26 November-9 January 2010, CREDAC,Paris, France

Un mot d’amour dans une chambre d’echo, (M/M) Akbank Art Center, February 2009-April 2009

Mónica Bello Bugallo

Mónica Bello Bugallo is artistic director of VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Awards founded in 1999 by Fundacion Telefonica (Madrid, Spain).

She has curated several exhibitions, seminars and workshops on art, science and technology in society. She is co-founder and curated Capsula, a platform for research into, and production of, cultural events involving art, science and nature; Res-qualia, a web-based project aimed to promote research in art-science and evolution of consciousness. She has iniciate Biorama with the Digital Research Unit (DRU) of Huddersfield University (United Kingdom) consisting in a serie of fieldwork explorations and debate platforms on digital culture and natural phenomena.

Between 2008 and 2010, she held the position of head of educational programs of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creacion Industrial in Gijon (Spain) in which she lead experimental programs in digital media and education, research on new formats which facilitate artistic production, as well as promoted the collaboration between art and academia.

She participates in different advisory boards and she has published articles on art, science, technology and new education modes on arts.