Dear friends of RHIZOME and of ISEA,
I would like to propose a few precisions regarding what is happening
with ISEA since the Rotterdam plenary, and more precisely with the
diversity and multiculturalism issue. As you might already know, the
headquarters of ISEA have moved to Montreal this September. We are
still reorganizing things here and we are taking this opportunity to
rethink and restructure ISEA.
I reacted to the mail issued by the Displaced Data Project a few weeks
ago in a private manner because it could not reflect any official ISEA
position. It slows things down to work with what I call a Virtual Board
of Directors, grouping people stationed in remote locations. […] In
a very short future, several announcements should be made by the new
Montreal HQ, some of which will deal directly with the diversity issue.
At this point, the seriousness with which we are considering and working
on the diversity issue has not been communicated to the outside world -
and that's something I would like to rectify with this mail.
For instance, the new ISEA Multi-Cultural discussion list was created by
Cynthia Beth Rubin and is to be moderated jointly with Lily Diaz. (you
will find the invitation to subscribe below). The Chicago team that is
organizing ISEA97 has also drafted a statement with a series of measures
in relation to the diversity issue - it should be released in a close
future. For the rest, many of Shanken's suggestions overlap the general
direction that is already being considered and taken by the ISEA Board.
ISEA96 marked a serious transition towards a future stage of existence
for the ISEA organization with the transferring of the HQ to Montreal.
Perhaps at this moment all we ask is a profession of faith, but I would
like to emphasize that the current Board of ISEA, the organizers of the
next two symposiums (Chicago and Liverpool/Manchester), as well as the
new Montreal HQ are very much committed to address the diversity matter
in a serious and effective way. By bringing ISEA to Montreal, we would
like to contribute in introducing gradually more languages into what has
been called the "Digital diaspora". French and Spanish are already on
the horizon (the ISEA Multi Cultural list experiments with
multilinguism), and then we hope the process will find its own life and
include more languages in a free flowing universe of communication.
ISEA is still a very young and fragile organization, and we are
currently working on reconfiguring it so that it could become a platform
of convergence and an effective vehicle for the critical development of
our field. What has been lacking in the past is a sense of continuity
between ISEA symposia. We would like that to change in the close future
and one way it could be made is by convincing more people to actually
become members of ISEA and to participate actively in the development of
the organization. It is only if ISEA manages to secure a more solid
membership that it will be able to use its potential to function as an
I could go on and on like this. But I'd rather invite you to wait for
the public announcement that will be released shortly by the new
Montreal HQ, its first official signal since it took the relay in
Rotterdam. In the meantime, if the diversity issue is of interest to
you, why not subscribe to the ISEA Multi Cultural list?
[the author is a member of the ISEA Board of Directors]
+ + +
Announcing ISEA Multi-Cultural
ISEA Multi-Cultural, a discussion list of the INTER-SOCIETY FOR THE
ELECTRONIC ARTS, has just been set-up.
This discussion list is for those who want to contribute to developing
specific strategies for making ISEA more multicultural. It grew out of
the discussion at the plenary session of ISEA 96 in Rotterdam.
Since one of the primary obstacles to making ISEA more inclusive appears
to be the English language bias of the organization, we are
experimenting with making this list multi-lingual.
To subcribe, send a message to:
with the message in the body:
sub ISEA-Multi Your Name