Tag Archives: ISEA

ISEA 2011 in Istanbul and Heather Haley appears at The Shebeen Club August 2010 meeting

The International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) in 2011 is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey. A call for proposals and submissions has been posted. Here’s more from the notice I received,

call for panel, artwork, paper and workshop proposals: ISEA2011, 17th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Istanbul, Turkey, September 14 -21 2011

The ISEA2011 Istanbul exhibition will coincide with the Istanbul Biennial. Invited are submission from artists, scientist and academics interested in how the digital and electronic media are re-shaping contemporary society and behaviors.

The conference website is here. The deadline for submissions is December 2, 2010.

Heather Haley; the Siren of Howe Sound

I’ve mentioned Heather here many times but never before as the Siren of Howe Sound (hats off to Raincoaster for coining this phrase). A well known local poet, Heather has been a punk rocker, video poetry innovator, and more in her pursuit of  image, sound, and language as expressive forms rising from deeply felt personal experience. Her next appearance is on August 16, 2010 at the Irish Heather (in Vancouver, Canada) as the guest for The Shebeen Club’s August 2010 meeting. From the news release,

Who: The Shebeen Club and the Siren of Howe Sound, Heather Haley

What: A night of multimedia delights celebrating the recent publication of Three Blocks West of Wonderland. (For more information on the Shebeen Club (http://theshebeenclub.com/about/)

When: Monday, August 16, from 7pm-9pm

Where: The Shebeen, behind the Irish Heather, 212 Carrall Street

As always, $20 buys you dinner and a drink and some of the finest literary company this city has to offer. No RSVP is required, but it¹s appreciated so we have a rough idea of whether we need to reserve the snug or to lay in crowd control! [go to The Shebeen Club website to RSVP]

Join us as we celebrate the release of Heather Haley¹s latest book of poetry, Three Blocks West of Wonderland. Heather is both the digital AND actual troubadour of the West Coast, from Bowen Island to Venice Beach, and for the first time she¹ll be bringing her multimedia performance experience to the Shebeen Club. There will be poetry. There will be prose. There will be beauty. There may be song. And there WILL be videopoems, a dynamic genre that seems to have sprung fully formed from the forehead of the Siren of Howe Sound herself.

We¹re very proud to help celebrate a pivotal local literatus¹s latest launch! And that¹s my allotment of ³L¹s² for the week right there.

ISEA 2009 and bioart (part 1); Nano-Society book

I’m mentioning a bioart panel discussion that I attended at the 2009 International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) as a precursor to part 4  of my series on Science Communication in Canada.

The panel discussion, Is the (Art) World Ready for Bioart?, held on Saturday, August 29, 2009 was moderated by Andy Miah and featured  Tagny Duff with Kathy Rae Huffman, Laura Sillars, Kerstin Mey, and Anna Dumitriu.  The panel arose as a consequence of a controversy that erupted after Duff’s art work was accepted for exhibition. Duff had proposed a showing of her work with a modified (dead) HIV/AIDS virus injected into pig tissue and also into human breast tissue with resultant ‘bruising’ marks in the tissue.

First off, the only comment I’m going to make about the art aspect to this project is that it’s highly conceptual and not my kind of thing. There are many people who find these kinds of works (bioart) important and worthwhile.

Duff is a Canadian and an assistant professor in communication studies at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and has an extensive background in media and studio arts.  About her latest work (from the faculty page at Concordia),

The research-creation project “The Cryobook Archives investigates the strangeness of wet and cryo-suspended bodies in an era when art and science is increasingly turning to computer generated and digitized bodies to extend human knowledge (and life). In particular, the project considers how book form is evolving from the skin of trees (paper) and animals (leather), digital pages via the internet and computation screens, to biotechnological applications and cryogenic tissue banks. The creation of limited edition book/ sculptures series made from human and animal tissue, biological viruses and immunohistochemical staining is the means for thinking through the changing status of bodies in the postbiological era. This project is funded by The Canada Council for The Arts.

I wish Duff had mentioned this description when she spoke at the panel as this helps me to understand her work much better. At the panel, she was focused on the process that occurred after her work was accepted for exhibition. Because the exhibition was being held in Northern Ireland the laws of the United Kingdom came into effect when Duff applied to send her artwork to Belfast for the exhibition.

There is a law/regulation which is unique to the UK. I’m not sure if it had something to do with the dead virus or the tissues that form Duff’s art pieces but a government bureaucrat misapplied a set of rules which pertain to this law/regulation and refused Duff’s art work entry in the UK.

Duff did some detective work and determined that the law/regulation did not apply to her art work and the government official reversed the decision. However, the institution that was hosting the exhibition had some concerns and wanted to exhibit the work in a room that was removed from the other exhibits and (if I remember rightly) would require that a visitor open the door to the exhibit with a key. The artist agreed and then somehow the institution (or perhaps it was the ISEA 2009 organizers?) decided that this particular art work could not be exhibited.

All of this led to the panel discussion where Duff discussed the entire process and the chief ISEA 2009 organizer (Kerstin May) talked about some of the difficulties from her perspective.  ISEA 2009 is organized by various committees and it’s those committees which make the decisions about who will and won’t present and/or exhibit. There are many, many potential exhibitors and conference presenters from around the world making submissions so it’s already quite demanding. The symposium was further complicated by the fact that it took place in Belfast, Londonderry/Derry, Coleraine, Dundalk, and Dublin. I also had the impression that much of this transpired in the last few months (if not weeks) before the conference and anybody who’s organized anything will tell you, you can’t deal with this kind of a problem at what is effectively the last minute.

I found the whole discussion quite illuminating. First, Duff displayed a mindset that I associate with scientists. She presented a logical, well-reasoned case. She’d gotten permission from the patient who donated her breast tissue for the project and the virus she used is a dead virus commonly used by researchers around the world, including the UK. She mentioned that she’s a professor and she noted a couple of papers (along with a list of her co-authors) that will be published soon. All of it identical to behaviour I’d expect from the science mindset I mentioned earlier right down to the fact that Duff did not seem to grasp the nature of the concerns (panic) she had set off.

We (not just scientists) sometimes forget that other people are not us. They have different experiences, reference points, and opinions. I can’t be certain of my insights but I do think the ‘mad cow’ disease in the UK has had a profound effect on how the population there views any number of issues associated with science. As well, the GM food (aka frankenfood) controversies affected European populations in a way that I don’t think Canadians understand very well.

More on this tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Michael Berger of Nanowerk has written Nano-Society – Pushing the boundaries of technology. You can read more about it by clicking the link (Nano-Society). I imagine that the book is an expansion of the articles he’s written on the Nanowerk site. I’ve always found Berger’s writing to be very clear and informative, presumably the book will be the same.

2009 ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) talks

It’ll be impossible to describe everything at ISEA in this or even several postings and I’m eager to get back to nanotechnology.  So, I’m going to summarize ISEA keynote speeches  briefly today and then fit in various observations about the sessions over the next week or so, as there’s room.

I didn’t manage to get to the opening keynote speakers as the travel agent I used decided that attending the first few days was not a priority for me. (Yes, I’m still steaming about that and more but enough about the travel agent.)

The first keynote speaker (for me) was Clive van Heerden of Philips Design (part of Royal Philips Electronics), the creative director for their Probes program. He seems to be some sort of futurologist who rather than simply speculating actually designs new objects that might be sold as products one day. I have oversimplified this vastly as the Probes Program seems to be an adventure into social science as much as it is designing future-oriented products. You can check out their Food Probe here which features a “diagnostic” kitchen.

“Ubermorgen.com is an artist duo from Austria” (that’s straight from the program notes) who gave an enthralling, provocative, and disturbing presentation about their work. According to Wikipedia (retrieved Sept.9.09),

Ubermorgen focuses on exploring contemporary legal issues, especially those of security, privacy and copyright. Übermorgen is the German word for “the day after tomorrow” or “super-tomorrow”.

You can go to their site here. You should know that their latest work is about extraordinary or irregular rendition and so there are images of people (some of them children) being shackled. These are not pictures of actual prisoners but people who have agreed to participate in their art project.

One of the best questions asked at the ubermorgen.com session was about the art duo’s research. What type of research and fact checking did the pair do? The process seems to be informal and they rely on the number of stories and mass of information which supports the claims rather than checking out individual stories. In short, they talk to a lot of people and they read a lot and then they distill the information which they use for their pieces.

The Sala-Manca Artist Group based in Israel presented something that struck a chord with me. They examined the use of pastoral images (starting from the 1920s) to attract immigrants and visitors to Israel. So much of the tourist work done for Vancouver (where I live) relies on the pastoral images that I’ve taken it for granted. Being presented with something that seemed familiar but referenced in ways that are unusual (to me) made me view landscape painting from a different, more politicized perspective. (Pun was unavoidable.)

Moritz Waldemeyer was one of my favourites largely due to the fact that he’s an engineer and he discussed the issues involved with creating fabulous, out of this world design pieces that are partly machinery. He’s worked with Bono, Hussein Chalayan, and Swarovski Crystals amongst many other clients. (Oh, and he worked with Clive van Heerden at Philips Design earlier in his career.) The images are stunning but what really makes it for me is hearing about the technical issues and the work required to pull off these feats. For example, Chalayan designed dresses that transformed as the models walked down the runway while Waldemeyer was tasked with making it happen.

“Mika ‘Lumi’ Tuomola is concept designer, writer, dramaturge and director – and occasional performer – for procedural, participatory New Media.” (Again, this is straight from the programme notes.) He had a big hit on Finnish tv with a musical romance between a hot young (30ish) rock star (male) and older (looking late 50ish) cabaret singer (female). Viewers were invited to text the show and affect the progress and outcome of the relationship. Multiple options were shot for each episode and they received millions of texts as the relationship progressed from one episode to the next. What they hadn’t anticipated was that people would start writing their own scenarios for what they’d like to see happen next. I was much struck by the fact that the project was entertaining and attractive in a way that a lot of new media projects aren’t. His next project is an opera about Alan Turing (considered the father modern computer science). It provided an interesting contrast with the other piece which had a more light-hearted air although that was due to viewers’ choices. Tuomola had created a darker ending for the romance where the older woman starts on a course of plastic surgery but the viewers wanted a happy ending.

The final keynote was Sadie Plant. From the Wikipedia entry (retrieved Sept.09.09),

Sadie Plant (born 1964 in Birmingham, England) is a British author and philosopher.

She gained her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Manchester in 1989, then taught at the University of Birmingham‘s Department of Cultural Studies (formerly the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies) before going on to found the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at the University of Warwick, where she was a faculty member. Her original research was on the Situationist International and contributed to the Situationist-inspired magazine Here and Now (published between 1985 and 1994), before turning her attention to the social potential of cyber-technology.

Sadie Plant left academia in the early 1990s to pursue a writing career.

I was very excited to hear a writer speak at this conference and, sadly, was disappointed. She told a great story (she’s a good speaker) but it’s one I’ve heard many times before, i.e. mobile phones are opening new opportunities particularly in the developing world.

Tomorrow: Preston Manning.

Back from the 2009 International Symposium on Electronic Arts

I was a little optimistic about being able to blog while I was in Ireland and Northern Ireland for the 2009 International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA). I’d forgotten just how jampacked conference schedules can be.

First off, my presentation (Nanotechnology, storytelling. sensing, and materiality which was part of the Posthumanism: New Technologies and Creative Strategies track) was on Aug. 26, the first day (thank goodness), and according to the moderator, it went well. It’s the first time I’ve had a relatively full room for one of my presentations. Of course, I had a typo on my first slide … I’d misspelled my name. We had some good discussion after my talk which is usually a sign that people have been engaged at some level.

I was excited and thrilled to find out that the moderator for the session was Andy Miah (you can find him here or here) as I know he’s been interested in nanotechnology (he had a nano project for a PhD student a few years back).  He’s currently a professor at the University of the West of Scotland and much in demand at various conferences and symposia.  His interests are broad ranging from literature, sciences, philosophy, and more. I found out from him on the last day of the conference that 40% of the submissions for my track were accepted.

I also got to meet Julie Freeman, an artist who worked with Jeremy Ramsden (scientist) to produce: in Particular; Nano Novels – Art & Science from the Tiniverse. She very kindly gave me a copy of their work and I have to say it was a thrill to meet her. If you’re interested in the “novels”, go here. (I think the word novel is being used in a form of word play as is “particular” i.e. playing off nano particle.) If you’re interested in Julie Freeman’s work, go here.

Unfortunately my notes are nowhere near as coherent as I imagined them to be but I will be blogging more about the conference in the next day or so. Also, I will be posting an interview with Preston Manning later this week.

ISEA; more about nanoparticle hazards (China); Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival

I am presenting a paper at the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Belfast next week. Yay! My paper is called, Nanotechnology, storytelling, sensing, and materiality and is being presented as part of the Posthumanism track. The symposium is quite an undertaking as it takes place in several locations; the main conference is in Belfast with events in Derry/Londonderry and Dublin between August 23 and Sept. 1, 2009. This means that my blogging pattern will change as a consequence of  attending the conference and events and if I do blog, I will be focusing on ISEA.

Very briefly, the article in the European Respiratory Journal about the deaths in China due to nanoparticle exposure (mentioned yesterday Aug. 18, 2009) has been published. More detailed information about the article can be found here on Nanowerk News. Dr. Andrew Maynard (Chief Science Advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies) has commented extensively on his blogs (2020 Science and SAFENANO) about the study and he has  also posted thoughts from other experts. From 2020 Science,

Professor Gűnter Oberdőrster is considered by many to be the “father” of research into the toxicology of inhaled nanoparticles.  His group at the University of Rochester has led global research in this area for over two decades.

Professor Ken Donaldson, a toxicologist specializing in workplace lung diseases, Professor Donaldson is one of the world’s leading authorities on the health impacts of inhaling airborne nanoparticles.  His group at the University of Edinburgh has conducted extensive research into the potential health impacts of inhaling nanomaterials.

Professor Vicki Stone, editor of the journal Nanotoxicology and a professor of toxicology at Napier University in Edinburgh Professor Stone is a foremost expert on the mechanisms by which nanoparticles potentially interact with the body and cause harm.

Dr. Rob Aitken, dDirector of Strategic Consulting at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh and director of the SAFENANO initiative, Dr. Aitken has a wealth of experience addressing workplace safety and health.  He is a leading international expert in developing safe practices for working with engineered nanomaterials—including nanoparticles.

Dr. Kristen Kulinowski is Director of the International Council On Nanotechnology (ICON) at Rice University, and a global leader in developing safe and responsible nanotechnologies.  Under her direction, ICON has established the foremost on-line database of nanotechnology health and environmental impact research papers, and the GoodNanoGuide—an initiative to enable people share and develop the best possible practices for working safely with engineered nanomaterials.

Please do check out Nanowerk News which offers a summary and links to Andrew’s individual postings (I’ve linked to the front page of his blogs) and do check out Andrew’s postings as it is quite illuminating. I tend to prefer Andrew’s 2020 Science blog but I think that’s because I’m more familiar with it.

Heather Haley will be giving a literary performance of her poetry at the 2009 Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival (Vancouver, Canada) an event produced by Pandora’s Collective. The festival is on Saturday, August 22, 2009 from 12 pm to 7 pm at Lumberman’s Arch, Stanley Park. It’s a free event and Heather is scheduled for 5:10 pm to 5:30 pm. You can read more about the event here (scroll down).