Walker commissions 3 net art projects (finally)

The Walker Art Center has awarded a third series of net-art commissions
to emerging artists, which will appear in Gallery 9.

In the spirit of project-driven exploration, Emerging Artists Emerging
Medium 3 encouraged proposals that broadly explore and interpret the
translocal, particularly in relation to issues of situatedness,
embodiment, and agency in a connective, global context. These
commissions are funded by the Jerome Foundation.

alpha 3.8

Scott Paterson and Marina Zurkow

Translation Map
Warren Sack and Sawad Brooks


alpha 3.8
Tien Woon and Charles Lim Yi Yong

The alpha series of projects by Singapore-based tsunamii.net (Charles
Lim Yi Yong and Tien Woon) have all explored the relationship between
physical space and cyberspace. In alpha 3.0, "web walkabout" (2001), Lim
and Woon used a G.P.S device to track their movement in physical space.
As they approached specific areas of the local Tampines housing estate,
their location triggered specific web pages related to that place,
showing "the complex
levels at which net communities overlap with real communities as well
as of how real space interacts with web space" (Gunalan Nadarajan).

For alpha 3.4 at Documenta 11, according to the New York Times, the "two
artists walk[ed] from Kassel to Kiel, Germany, as their movements are
tracked by a Global Positioning System device. The G.P.S. data is sent
by mobile phone to a base station that initiates a sequence of Web
browsing in Kassel, creating a bridge between the real and the virtual."

For alpha 3.8, tsunamii.net propose, over the course of one month, to
electronically migrate their site from webserver to webserver in
countries around the world. After each migration, they will change the
DNS address to reflect the new geographic location from which the site
is served. tsunamii.net will negotiate contractual arrangements for this
cyber-migration from Singapore to Cambodia to London to Alaska to
Palestine to Belarus, among other countries, documenting and probably
challenging the extent to which a frictionless, borderless economy
"really" exists independent of national boundaries, international
regulations, and local customs-i.e. translocally.


Scott Paterson and Marina Zurkow

"When we were little, we really wanted a little companion who would ride
sidesaddle on the crests of our ears. A mischievous and constant pal,
who was our charge and also our commentator, who gave context and
breadth to the world and shook up our autonomic ways."

The goal of Scott Paterson and Marina Zurkow's PDPal is to use mobility
and networks as a mediating and recording device that reactivates our
everyday actions, transforming them into a dynamic portrait of our urban
experience. At the core of the PDPal experience is an "Urban Park
Ranger" (UPR) - an individual software persona who, once downloaded into
a PDA, encourages the owner to log her momentary experiences (actions,
proximities, and perceptual phenomena) in iconic broad strokes as she
moves about her environment. The UPR helps to create personal and
idiosyncratic maps, of our "Temporary Personal Urbanisms."

Not reliant upon the dominant space/time signatures (date + time, x/y
plotting, landmarks), PDPal instead provides the tools to create maps as
place-based memory shells or to stand in as a narrative
shorthand–marking personal intervals of place and experience, which can
be later uploaded to a central website and shared as a kind of
"communicity" blog-a made-up city of individuals who share a subjective
and poetic language with which to express their local(es) in ways that
can render visible the invisible.

We write our own cities.


Translation Map
Warren Sack and Sawad Brooks

"While there is great hope that the Internet will one day truly be
worldwide, mutual understanding and worldwide communication cannot be
accomplished simply by running fiber optic cable across international
borders. Right now on the net, discussion is dominated by the English
language. If we hope to include most of the Earth's population in a
global conversation the means will need to be found to connect people
across languages and cultures."

Translation Map by Warren Sack and Sawad Brooks will facilitate
multi-lingual communication between online environments.

For over 50 years, computer-assisted translation has been conceived as a
question of decoding. We all understand, however, that language is far
more nuanced and culturally inflected simple replacement of similar or
even same meaning words. Any parsing of a text by one of the popular
translation bots will quickly show the foibles of this approach.

Sack and Brooks propose to create a piece of software that piggybacks on
existing messaging networks, such as AOL Messenger, to enable people on
the network to collaboratively translate a message piece by piece,
forwarding along its pieces to others for further translation. Like a
FedEx package, the message would be trackable as it is parsed along,
only instead of a history of timed signatures, Sack and Brooks will
create a visualization of its linguistic transformations in relation to
its geographic travel across the network.

In addition, in order to create a conduit for the message to travel
outside digital networks, Sack and Brooks will develop a printing
protocol which would translate the "transformative collage" of the
message's journey into a three-dimensional collage of interlocking
shapes. The 3-D collage would be representational of the overall
structure of the translation, while its component parts would be
physical instantiations of its linguistic fragments, each its own
enfolded message/envelop.

Today's computer networks are built on software protocols that are
fundamentally textual. Paradoxically, this linguistic medium of software
is not only nearly undecipherable to the layperson, but it has created
radical, material transformations through these linguistic
means–computers and networks as forces of globalization. Translation
Map develops an approach to inhabit and visualize computer-based or
computer-mediated language as a space or material form.


The jury for EAEM3 was:

Steve Dietz, Curator New Media, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Douglas Fogle, Assistant Curator Visual Arts, Walker Art Center,
Gunalan Nadarajan, Dean, Faculty of Visual Arts, Lasalle - SIA College
of Arts, Singapore
Yukiko Shikata, independent curator, Tokyo

Funding for EAEM3 is generously supported by the Jerome Foundation.

Steve Dietz
Curator of New Media
Walker Art Center