Digital Output, Analog Process


As most of the world is making the crossover from analog communication to mandatory digital television and radio reception, and Americans slowly become aware of the February 17th, 2009 deadline to do so, it is not entirely clear what this historic shift will really mean. While the internet allows us all to be 'broadcasters,' in a sense, the relationship of this opportunity to actual democracy and hegemonies of power is still worth considering. As such, the focus of the fourth edition of NOW: Meetings in the Present Continuous lives up to its title. This year the Barcelona-based three-day project will explore 'three dimensions of the new urban condition: the conquest of the radio-electric space, the recovery of the public space, and the city as an ecological challenge.' Each day is full of intellectual exchanges, workshops, and film screenings, including Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott's influential documentary The Corporation (2004) and Reclaim Power (2006) about direct action and CO2 emissions. Friday night, sociologist Richard Sennet, Steve Lambert of Anti-Advertising Agency, and Pierre Humeau of Resisting Aggressive Advertising will discuss the privatization of public space. Every day will feature an installation by the art collective Orquestra del Caos (Orchestra of Chaos) Radio Art, 'an interactive exhibition of radio art and sounds from the electromagnetic spectrum.' Each facet of the project is a reminder that greater virtual freedom often masks the evaporation of public space. - David Michael Perez