user_mode = emotion + intuition in art + design is an international symposium at the Tate Modern and Science Museum 9-11th May, examining what is meant by emotional engagement, and how it can affect the content of interactive work. Among the multi-disciplinary participants are critic Lev Manovich, artists Golan Levin, Natalie Bookchin and Sara Diamond from the Banff Centre. There will also be networked role-playing, smart textiles, wearable technologies and a specially commissioned work: Remote Home. I find the Tate Modern emotional at the best of times due to the lack of digital works in their collection, but maybe that is about to change?!
Lew Baldwin is known in net art circles for his stunningly tortuous redsmoke.com, and for projects like milkmilklemonade.net and goodworld.ws. But Baldwin is also an illustrator/designer/musician, and he's made a Flash video for one of his songs using charmingly demented illustrations from his sketchbook. The plot has something to do with automobile accidents and mental institutions, all done in an Edward Gorey meets Peter Max style. The crazy thing is, Nike is paying him to do the similar work at nike.com/nikeskateboarding/ Somewhere Dr. Seuss is smiling. - Curt Cloninger
A night of rocking music, interactive art projects and FUN is promised at 'FLUX_DAS,' the first fundraiser for Flux Digital Art Space, a new arts group based both in Harlem NYC and on the internet. FLUX aims to provide an artistic forum for underprivileged and underexposed sections of multicultural communities in NYC through the presentation of digital art works and interdisciplinary projects. Upcoming exhibitions include 'Shorty' - an examination of hip-hop's representation of the female - and 'Myself in the Community' - an online 'digital quilt' of images created by participants at the Children's Aid Society's East Harlem Center. Visit the web site to view and comment on exhibitions, join discussion forums and find out the details of the FLUX_DAS fundraiser, which happens tomorrow, Tuesday 6 May. - Helen Varley Jamieson.
The genealogy connecting Net.Artists to Duchamp, as claimed by Vuc Cosic, may be inflated to some, but the originator of the readymade makes a versatile springboard for many art discussions. 'Duchamp's Ideal Children's Children: Net Art's Brat Pack' is a curatorial project of artist Eryk Salvaggio that re-presents the works of four other artists all under the age of 25. Interviews conducted with the artists - Cory Arcangel, Geoff Lillemon, Kalx and Michael Mandiberg - provide opportunities to read about the various influences and histories that inform their work. And as one would expect from descendants of Duchamp, they neither refute nor confirm any family ties. -Ryan Griffis
If you want to find out if Edward Shanken and Roy Ascott embrace each other as much as they do technology, you better get to San Francisco for May 10th (5:00- 7:00 pm SFAI Quad) where they will discuss the launch of
As the multicultural marketplace absorbs differences in its attempt to capture every audience, the Other can become a symbol of prestige (remember blackpeopleloveus.com?). Conceptual/performance artist damali ayo has created a web site that seriously plays with the commodification of race and continuing racism (and sexism) in the multi-culti USA. Rent-a-Negro.com represents the artist as a cultural escort, providing services like 'a black opinion' ($75) and 'challenging racist family members' ($500) to those wishing to capitalize on their connections with people of color. The no-frills design of the site gets right down to business, and the quotes from satisfied customers leave few questions about the quality of service: 'After seeing me with her, people wanted to know more about ME!' -Ryan Griffis
Psy-Geo-Conflux 2003 comprises a festival, conference and exhibition investigating
An initiative of the University of Art and Design Helskinki, Crucible Studio has been established to provide a forum for the study of digital, non-linear and interactive narrative. Its goal is 'to achieve deeper emotional experiences in interactive media and to create production methods to develop content and technology simultaneously in the multi-talented teams of artists, designers, scientists and technology experts.' The web site showcases current productions, which range from mythological aphorisms delivered via PDA or internet, an interactive cinematic installation and a television programme where viewers can influence the plot by sending text messages from mobile phones. These experimental projects give us a glimpse at the future of interactive drama and narrative in digital mediums. - Helen Varley Jamieson
Ah, the poetics of computer code! It can be read as a subtext of the art it creates (Whitney's CODeDOC exhibit). Or its syntax can be appropriated into English writing (Mez Breeze, Mark Amerika, NN). 'Life Program' takes the latter approach, but with a multimedia twist. It's the history of mankind as an animated Action Script 'poem.' 'God,' 'human,' and 'nature' are all variables. Unlike lesser code poetry, the syntax isn't merely cyber-fluff; it logically correlates to the plot of the narrative. And the accompanying visuals (animated using Action Script, naturally) make for a provocative experience. - Curt Cloninger
Australia's first major academic conference on streaming media, computer games and game culture, hypertext & interactive film begins on May 19th. The 5-day Melbourne DAC +streaming wor(l)ds+, hosted at RMIT University, Melbourne, promises academic papers, artist talks, public forums and performances. Alongside the conference is +playengines+, a survey exhibition of recent computer art games, streaming and interactive media projects, featuring work by major Australian and international artists. The conference web site has been created as a blog in order to promote process over content and document the event, and the organisers plan to experiment with live blogging during the conference. Torill Mortensen, of Volda College in Norway, blogs on the homepage, "it is the first time I blog the conference and the first time I do so in moveable type." Sounds like something worth keeping an eye on (unless you suffer from migraines). - Helen Varley Jamieson.