I presume that there are many Rhizomers who are planning on attending
ISEA 2011 in Istanbul this year. If you have not looked at the
registration fees for the conference, prepare yourself for some sticker
shock. The fees seem to be disproportionately expensive for a
conference hosted at a university. Student fees begin at EUR250, with
non-student fees beginning at EUR300---and both jump to EUR400 if you
don't register by Sunday May 15th. In comparison, fees for last year's ISEA were
EUR100 to EUR150 for non-VIP passes, and fees for ISEA 2008 ranged from
100 to 450 Singapore dollars (translating to, if I remember the
conversion rate correctly at the time, around US$70 to US$320), with the
highest-priced pass for presenters rounding out at around US$250.
As a graduate student I am most concerned about what appears to me
massive gouging of an already cash-strapped population. I do not
understand how an event for digital arts hosted at a university can have
registration fees that approach those of academic-corporate conferences
such as CHI. At least for CHI the cost is understandable, if
problematic, because of existing agreements organizations such as ACM
have with major hotel chains. In this case, I cannot see where a fee of
US$570 (if you don't make the Sunday deadline) is appropriate for
graduate students---or anyone for that matter.
This pertains to our shared concerns, namely more open access to digital
technologies and their use in new forms of expression. How can fees of
this sort enable any sort of open dialogue with people who are not
already attached to well-funded institutions? And even within the US,
as well as elsewhere, funding for the type of work we do has been
massively scaled-back in the recent years, making fees like this
prohibitively expensive even for those of us in the Global North.
I have my own thoughts as to why this has taken place this year, namely
ISEAs choice to be associated with the global art market via the
Istanbul Biennial. However that is only a supposition and I would
encourage anyone on the list affiliated with the ISEA organization to
chime in with explanations for the high fees. I'm also waiting on
information from the tourist company that ISEA has contracted with. I
think it's only fair that we receive a complete breakdown of where our
conference fees are going when we are personally forking over so much of
our limited amount of money.
These fees make me seriously reconsider my participation in ISEA 2011.
I wonder if our money is not better spent organizing a
counter-conference that does not discriminate based on ability to pay.
Perhaps we would then be able to have a real "international symposium on electronic art".
I encourage others to chime in publicly.
Afflator breathes upon the conditions of today's robotic creatures that
are pulled into the muck of mimesis. To have a robot that is spoken
to in natural language, that walks in a bipedal fashion, is the
research that is valorised. Afflator deforms these conditions to
suggest that the robotic form does not need to resemble anything we
have seen before, that the means of engagement with a robot can be
something other than traditional language and movement. Draping
from the gallery ceiling and extending along the floor in a wave of
fabric, afflator unfolds onto contemporary robotics research to suggest
other ethico-political options for engagement with the robotic other.
Extending from afflator is a tube with an attached mask, worn by
the gallery visitor to create a machinic assemblage of human and
creature. Sounds from the visitor's mouth stimulate afflator's
activity; afflator's activity stimulate sounds from the visitor's
mouth. Engaged in the ecstasy of communication, human and afflator
in an assemblage work to deflate the present bubble of functional
For "social media," let’s say we mean all these new-fangled media platforms which are highly accessible, and based around enabling open-ended conversations between networks of participants.
The utility of this operation is that it lets us see that the question of "art and social media" actually involves an opposition between two different fields, with different logics: a relatively exclusive, closed-in type of expression vs. a relatively open, relation-based mode of operation.
Maybe this is a parody essay? Riffing off at least one recent (2009) book that I've read that uses Krauss and the "expanded field" to explain sound art? That's my only way of explaining it, because if it's meant in seriousness we're in a really bad state.