Randall Packer
Since the beginning
Works in WASHINGTON, District of Columbia United States of America

ARTBASE (2)
BIO
Since the 1980s, multimedia artist, composer, writer and educator Randall Packer has worked at the intersection of interactive media and live performance. He has received international acclaim for his socially and politically infused critique of media culture, and has performed and exhibited at museums, theaters, and festivals throughout the world. Packer is also a writer and scholar in new media, most notably the co-editor of Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality and the author of his long running blog: Reportage from the Aesthetic Edge. He holds an MFA and PhD in music composition and has taught multimedia at the University of California, Berkeley, Maryland Institute College of Art, American University, CalArts, and Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design & Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where he teaches the art of the networked practice. Most recently, he developed Open Source Studio (OSS), an international project exploring collaborative online research and teaching in the media arts. Packer is also an artist educator at the Museum of Modern Art: his online course received an award from Museums and the Web as the best educational site of 2014. Packer works and teaches remotely from his underground studio bunker in Washington, DC.
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DISCUSSION

Secretary to Address Armed Artists of America in NY


US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us
Washington, DC

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 7, 2004

Secretary Packer to Address Armed Artists of America in NY
Announcing 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation
at the 2004 Republican National Convention

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary Randall M. Packer will address the Armed
Artists of America (AAA), calling on them to lead a coalition of
artists to carry out 10,000 Acts of Artistic Mediation at the 2004
Republican National Convention in New York City. The speech takes
place on Saturday, June 12, 7:00 pm, at the Studio 84 Active Duty
exhibition in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York (84 S. First St.) - a
show "armed with ideas and the tools to create a rapid response
agenda to stop the global progression towards World War III." A
reception with the Secretary begins at 5:00 pm.

At the invitation of Army Veteran Lee Wells, curator of Active Duty,
the Secretary will call on Active Duty artists to inspire other
artists into action by carrying out acts of artistic mediation that
counter the Republican National Convention. The Secretary will
announce numerous artists who are already in various stages of
planning: from Jonny America's march down Lexington Avenue in
colonial garb declaring "The Republicans are Coming," to the Revelers
who will mount the Staton Island Ferry and stage a heroic "Crossing
of New York Harbor" to liberate Manhattan from the Bush Loyalists, to
the Missile Dick Chicks, a posse of pissed-off housewives from
Crawford, Texas charged with opposing consumerism by singing songs
like "Shop! In the Name of War."

The Secretary will also announce the US Department of Art &
Technology's 2004 Experimental Party (Un)Convention &
(Dis)Information Center, a convention intervention that subverts
Republican propaganda and welcomes all RNC delegates in order to
inform, transform, and redirect their way of thinking.

The Secretary added, "Like other totalitarian movements, the
Republicans seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed,
and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity.
We offer to the oppressed peoples of our nation and around the world,
the great alternative of human liberty through creative expression.
Our country must never allow the Republicans to preach religious
extremism with 9-11, to use New York City and Ground Zero as the
pulpit for its ideologies."

As Reverand Billy poetically declared, "we have to match that
theater, to supplant it, and the RNC is going to be our 9th Symphony."

******

The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States
principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend
aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of
all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

Active Duty: Armed Artists of America
http://www.leewells.org/activeduty2/active_duty_press_release.jpg
Studio 84, 84 S. 1st St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Active Duty is curated by the artist and US Army Veteran Lee Wells in
collaboration with Studio 84 artists in residence Michael Krynski and
Tom Billings. Active Duty has mobilized over 33 artists in less than
21 days as a direct response to the current socio-political state of
America and the phenomenal events taking place on, in and around the
world today.

The Experimental Party 2004 (Un)Convention & (Dis)Information Center
http://www.experimentalparty.org

From August 20 to September 4, the US Department of Art & Technology
will present to the nation a uniquely redefined convention: the 2004
Experimental Party National (UN)Convention & (Dis)Information Center.
New York City and LUXE Gallery on 57th St. will serve as the focal
point, but the Department encourages participation by citizens all
over America and throughout the world.

*****

# 01-133

DISCUSSION

Secretary Delivers Speech at Seoul Digital Forum


US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us
Washington, DC

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 11, 2004

SECRETARY DELIVERS 'ARTISTIC CONVERGENCE' SPEECH

Secretary Packer Unveils Initiative for Securing the
Role of the Artist in the Corporate Sector
Remarks by the Secretary at the Seoul Digital Forum
Seoul, S. Korea

WASHINGTON, DC - On May 6, 8:32 PM (UTC/GMT +9
hours) Secretary Randall M. Packer of the US
Department of Art & Technology completed his
first tour of Asia at the Seoul Digital Forum to
deliver the "Artistic Convergence" speech,
announcing a bold new initiative intended to
embed revolutionary artistic strategies for
social transformation into the heart of global
information and communication industries.

The following is the transcript:

Speech by Randall M. Packer
Secretary, US Department of Art & Technology
Presented by the Seoul Broadcasting System
at the Seoul Digital Forum
Grand Hilton Hotel
May 6, 2004

THE SECRETARY: Thank you Soh-Yeong Roh of Art
Center Nabi for the warm introduction. Thanks to
the Seoul Digital Forum for letting me come by
and share some thoughts. You picked a great place
to have a conference. What a great city Seoul is.
(Applause.)

I want to thank Seyoung Yoon, the Chairman and
CEO of the Seoul Broadcasting System for hosting
the US Department of Art & Technology at the
Seoul Digital Forum. And I want to thank those of
you here who are leaders in the information and
media industries around the world. I want to
thank you for your dedication; I want to thank
you for your spirit; I want to thank you for your
vision; and I'm here to say "thanks" on behalf of
all of America. (Applause.)

Not only do I want to talk about the role of
artists in our society today, but I want to talk
about 'artistic convergence' as we promote a new
generation of artists engaged in 21st century
survival techniques of artistic mediation.

For as Marshall McLuhan declared, "The artist
picks up the message of cultural and
technological challenge decades before its
transforming impact occurs. He, then, builds
models or Noah's arks for facing the change that
is at hand."

* * *

You know, the artists closest to the situation at
hand are those who can best devise a strategy:
tactical methodologies for social change through
experimental acts of artistic expression for all
citizens. This is the rallying cry of the
Department, formed by artists seeking to reclaim
America's Government.

It was just three years ago, shortly after 9-11,
that I proposed the idea to President George W.
Bush to form a new government agency to
revitalize utopian ideologies in America. We
faced a crisis. And those were tough times,
obviously, for the nation.

The President issued an Executive Order to form
the US Department of Art & Technology and named
me as its first Secretary.

I was sworn into office at an official ceremony
pre-sided by Alice Denney, founder of the
Washington Project for the Arts.

Here in the nation's capital, and all around
Washington, DC, are emerging signs of the
artistic achievements of the US Department of Art
& Technology.

We now have the strength of the artist helping to
guide our nation's policy. And that is -- it's an
amazing statement, when you think about what this
country and the world have been through for the
past three years. And the reason I bring that up
is because I know how important the artistic
spirit is; I know how important art is to the
future. And I believe it is the spirit of the
artist, in part, that will help us overcome the
challenges we face.

* * *

In the past century it has come to be generally
acknowledged that, in the famous words of the
late Billy Kluver, "The artists have to create
with technology because technology is becoming
inseparable from our lives." Knowledge of this
simple fact is now needed for human survival. The
ability of the artist to develop immunity to the
extensions of new technology of any age, and to
parry such extensions with full awareness, is
age-old.

Let me give you some examples:

The "paroxysm of junk in motion" to the fluidity
of human locomotion is apparent in Jean
Tinguely's Homage to New York, which
self-destructed in the Sculpture Garden of the
New York Museum of Modern Art in March of 1960,
in front of a well-dressed audience. Here, during
27 minutes of cataclysmic motion, smoke, and
explosions, Tinguely awakens machine parts from
their dreams and makes them come alive. Anything
brought back to life in this way is frightful and
menacing; the term intelligent-machine would have
been an oxymoron; the artist seeks a
rapprochement between art and science, between
the human and technology; He endeavors to get
people to interact with his art, to entrance them
while simultaneously freeing their minds.

Nam June Paik's 1974 TV Buddha was created with a
strange twist of television technology combined
with the ancient statue of the symbol of Asian
Buddhism. The Buddha sits in front of a
television set and contemplates its own image. A
question of origin. The Buddha, who traditionally
wishes to keep himself free of all external
matters, now sits in deep contemplation
confronted by his own image via closed-circuit
television.

Decades later, Paik reinterpreted this theme by
placing the Buddha sculpture in front of a
computer monitor in Buddha Re-Incarnated. The
connection is not made through a contemplative
gaze, but rather mediated by a telephone receiver
teleconferencing the Buddha figure to a computer
monitor.

We find human bodies merged with technological
cyborgian attributes here in Lynn Hershman's
Phantom Limbs, pointing out our reliance on
electronics and media, and how it permeates our
physical and psychological collective selves.
Media infiltrates the body and in doing so gives
birth to our virtual selves.

Ken Goldberg's tele-robotic installation,
Telegarden, allows World Wide Web users to view
and interact with a remote garden filled with
living plants. Participants can plant, water, and
monitor the progress of seedlings via the tender
movements of an industrial robot arm. Internet
behavior might be characterized as ``hunting and
gathering''; the purpose here is to consider the
``post-nomadic'' community, where survival favors
those who work together; the Telegarden projects
a techno-utopian society where the individual's
relationship to nature and to one another is
supplanted by virtual means and technological
extension.

Alba is a very special animal, but I want to be
clear that her formal and genetic uniqueness are
but one component of the "GFP Bunny" artwork. The
"GFP Bunny" project of Eduardo Kac is a complex
social event that starts with the creation of a
chimerical animal that does not exist in nature.
It also includes at its core an ongoing dialogue
between professionals of several disciplines
(art, science, philosophy, law, communications,
literature, social sciences), as well as the
public, on the cultural and ethical implications
of genetic engineering.

And finallly, if you're going to ask the media to
take responsibility for your view of reality, you
should be willing to take responsibility for your
own. The Media Deconstruction Kit is an
information service, news and media project of
the US Department of Art & Technology, serving
viewers around the world. The Media
Deconstruction Kit has forged a unique position
within the media arts through an unparalleled
combination of appropriation, theory, collage and
real-time processing tools.

By providing instantaneous access to broadcast
media - and the ability to act upon it - the
Media Deconstruction Kit seeks to transform the
one-way paradigm of broadcast media into
many-to-many forms of interaction by leveling the
playing field between medium and viewer.

In today's media, events, information, ideas, and
images are packaged, and delivered to our
television screens as soundbytes, slogans, ads,
logos, and banners. This state of affairs is only
compounded in times of crisis such as we have
experienced since 9/11: the media and the
manipulation of its content must be understood as
a breakdown between credible, meaningful
communication and the distortion of reality that
confronts us today; The Media Deconstruction Kit
amplifies and subverts this condition by
reconfiguring and disorienting live broadcast
media into an immersive, sensorial, multimedia
experience.

* * *

Technology can be construed dystopically, but one
must also recall Martin Heidegger's claim that
where technology's danger lies, so does its
saving power, a saving power not merely secondary
to its danger. Underscoring the ambiguous nature
of technology - Heidegger reminds us that in
ancient Greece "the poiesis of the fine arts was
also called techne" - he says any decisive
confrontation with technology "must happen in a
realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the
essence of technology and, on the other,
fundamentally different from it. Such a realm is
art."

And that's precisely why we must not isolate the
work of the artist from the rest of the world.
We've got to reject artistic isolationism and
embrace, rather, its total convergence. And in
turn we must redefine the role of the artist as a
mediator whose reflections, ideas, sensibilities,
and abilities can take significant action on the
world stage.

And in turn, the artist must move into action by
undergoing aesthetic operation as a form of
magic, as a mediation between our strange hostile
world and the human spirit. Again, quoting
Marshall McLuhan, "To prevent undue wreckage in
society, the artist tends now move from the ivory
tower to the control tower of society."

* * *

And so, the artist is indispensable in the
shaping and analysis and understanding of the
life forms, and structures created by digital
technology.

Now as we encourage innovation and change it is
always important to remember the vital role the
artist plays in our society. Technologies change,
but the spirit of art never changes.

If we are to be convinced that art is precise,
advanced knowledge of how to cope with the
psychic and social consequences of the next
technology, would we all become artists? Would we
begin a careful translation of new art forms into
social navigation charts?

The Government and industry can help this effort
by embracing the artist. One of the things we've
got to recognize is that if you want to be
competitive in the future, you've got to
encourage art and technology.

To quote the great Korean artist Nam June Paik,
"Cybernated art is very important, but art for
cybernated life is more important, and the latter
need not be cybernated."

Paik also said, "there is no rewind button on the betamax of life."

The US Department of Art & Technology will
continue to promote the convergence of art in all
aspects of society as an integral part of that
strategy. That's what I'm here to tell you. It's
an integral part so long as you're willing to
listen to the needs of the artist. Art and
technology is the cornerstone of good economic
policy. It's a cornerstone of sound business
policy. And it's one of the reasons why I'm
optimistic that the artist will continue to lead
the world when it comes to innovation and change.
And that will be good for all people. That will
be good for the revitalization of what I call
"The Artistic Spirit."

I want to thank you for what you do. I appreciate
your compassion. I appreciate your interest in
the future of digital media.

And I am confident in those principles of
virtualization that will unite and lead us
forward. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

***********

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdat.us

The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the
United States principal conduit for facilitating
the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry
into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and
spiritual well-being of all Americans by
supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into
the social sphere.

# 01-132

DISCUSSION

Secretary to Announce 'Artistic Convergence' in Seoul


US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us
Washington, DC

Press Secretary
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2004

SECRETARY PACKER TO ADDRESS SEOUL DIGITAL FORUM
ANNOUNCING 'ARTISTIC CONVERGENCE'

WASHINGTON, DC - In his first official tour of Asia, Secretary
Randall M. Packer will give an opening address at the Seoul Digital
Forum in South Korea on May 6th, 7pm (UTC/GMT +9 hours), announcing a
bold new initiative, 'Artistic Convergence,' intended to embed
revolutionary artistic strategies for social transformation into the
heart of global information and communication industries.

Seoul Digital Forum has as its key thematic objective, "value
reshuffling," where the "previous paradigms to extract profit by
creating value no longer applies." Secretary Packer plans to
reshuffle the corporate deck through the introduction of 21st century
survival techniques of artistic mediation, stating Marshall McLuhan's
declaration, "the artists picks up the message of cultural and
technological challenge decades before its transforming impact
occurs. He, then, builds models or Noah's arks for facing the change
that is at hand."

The opening ceremonies of Seoul Digital Forum, organized by the Seoul
Broadcast System (SBS) will take place at SBS Mok-Dong Headquarters
May 6-7 in Seoul, featuring such notable media luminaries as Nicholas
Negroponte (MIT Media Lab) and Jeffrey Katzenberg (DreamWorks), as
well as the Minister of Information & Communication, Republic of
Korea. Secretary Packer, quoting his Under Secretary for the Bureau
of Cultural Transformation and Paradigmatic Shifts: "No curators, no
critics, no CEO's really know where it is artists are taking us in
this extraordinary moment. I find that quite exhilarating, a little
frightening at times, primarily it's energizing. We can only project
the hope and promise of creating a new structure for artists to gain
access to the technology of the broadcast medium, which until now has
been monopolized by corporate interests."

During his tour, Secretary Packer will unveil the Media
Deconstruction Kit (MDK), a recent initiative of the Department
intended to confront corporate control of mass media. The Secretary
will install MDK at an exhibition at the Seodaemun Prison in Seoul
(organized by the Institute for Media Art, Yonsei, University,
opening May 4), to raise awareness of an escalating social condition
in which we are imprisoned by the Spectacle through a distortion of
information as disseminated by the broadcast news media.

With a view to the creation of conditions of artistic convergence in
government and industry to effect radical change in the adoption of
cutting-edge information and communications technologies, the
Secretary will promote: (a) tactical methodologies and techniques of
artistic mediation; (b) recognition of movements of international
activist, hyper-mediated, utopian, and related ideologies; (c)
universal respect for, and observance of, social change through
fundamental creative acts of expression for all citizens; (d) the
transformation of the one-way paradigm of broadcast media into
many-to-many forms of interaction by leveling the playing field
between medium and viewer.

The Secretary will also discuss a new array of important services to
US citizens and to foreigners seeking to visit or navigate through
virtual environments.

Secretary Packer's address will be open for press coverage. Media
representatives may cover this event upon presentation of either (1)
a US Government-issued identification card (Department of State,
White House, Congress, Department of Art and Technology, or Foreign
Press Center), (2) a photo ID issued by the employing media
organization, or (3) a letter on official letterhead from their news
organization verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied
by an official photo
ID.

***********

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdat.us

The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States
principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend
aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of
all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

# 01-132

DISCUSSION

INTERFACE @ LOCAL 16 / Experimental Party


INTERFACE
@ LOCAL 16 [art + activism]

JOIN THE EXPERIMENTAL PARTY
FOR AN EVENING OF DECONSTRUCTIVE
SURGERY ON THE ARTIFICIAL SKIN

Activating the Nation's Capital through Artistic Mediation

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 6PM
LOCAL 16 [UPSTAIRS]
1602 U ST, NW
WASHINGTON, DC
free/cash bar

DEPARTMENT VIDEO WORKS, SONIC MIXOLOGIES, & TRANSFORMATIONS
Andy Deck, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky & 47, Randall Packer, Trace
Reddell, Rick Silva, Wesley Smith

LIVE PERFORMANCES
Noskilz Sound & Video Syndicate, Pneuthogram, Sick Bed

http://www.experimentalparty.org/interface

Organized by the US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us
Washington, DC

DISCUSSION

Online Deconstruction of Live Broadcast Media


US Department of Art & Technology
Washington, DC
http://www.usdat.us
press@usdat.us

Press Secretary
For Immediate Release: March 24, 2004

US DAT Announces New Online
Media Deconstruction Kit (MDK)
to Transform & Deliver Live, Altered
News Broadcasts to the World

MDK Broadband Services Enhance Citizens Experience of Live Cultural
Appropriation (http://www.experimentalparty.org/mdk)

Washington, DC - The US Department of Art & Technology announces
today new network and Internet service capabilities that transform an
array of appropriated live news broadcasts - from advertisements to
political pundancy, live news updates to cable network logos - and
put the altered matter out on the Net. The Department believes these
techniques could swamp the mass media with total illusion in 2004 as
the election rhetoric ramps up.

A project of its Experimental Party initiative, The Department said
it is introducing these new capabilities to deconstruct networks like
Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, and to reliably deliver to its end-users a
range of transformed imagery and fragmented sound to bring about the
systematic reordering of the senses.

Trace Reddell, Under Secretary for the Bureau of Pharmakogeographical
Surveying, advocates systems of varied media ambiences "diverting
[mass media] from its current roadmap to manufactured similitude
through an hallucinatory recycling of composted media content."

"Today's announcement is significant because it illustrates US DAT's
continued commitment to confront corporate control of mass media,"
Secretary Randall M. Packer stated outside his office in Washington,
DC, "so that a new century is spared new horrors of Fox News - the
issue Americans should care most about."

The US Department of Art & Technology, responding to the gravity of
the situation, is collaborating with artists and engineers, including
Under Secretary for Cultural Appropriations Wesley Smith, to discover
new tactics that stand at the cradle of art and science. As Secretary
Packer stated in a recent Washington speech at Johns Hopkins
University, "we must achieve the total deconstruction of media in
order to build new formations, and we will advance this
transformation we've created for purposes of propaganda."

Media Deconstruction Kit Online
A Project of the Experimental Party
http://www.experimentalparty.org/mdk

********
The US Department of Art & Technology
http://www.usdat.us

The US Department of Art and Technology is the United States
principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend
aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real
action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of
all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity
from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

The Experimental Party
http://www.experimentalparty.org

The Experimental Party - the "party of experimentation" - is an
artist-based political party that has been formed to activate
citizens across the country in an effort to bring the artists'
message to center stage of the political process. This is a political
awakening, 'representation through virtualization' is the major
political thrust of the Experimental Party, it is the driving force.

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology
press@usdat.us

# 01-133