Leonardo, Volume 39, Issue 4

August 2006

Contents

Special Issue: Pacific Rim New Media Summit Companion

  • Disentangling the Seams
  • The Pacific Rim New Media Summit
  • Network Theory: Art, Science and Technology in Cultural Context
  • Container Culture
  • HowTo: the will to organize
  • Technology Issues and the New ICTs
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    The author provides examples of low-cost information and communications technologies (ICTs) and suggests five major strategies for their low-cost deployment in developing countries: (1) appropriate technology, (2) free/open software, (3) compulsory licensing, (4) pay-per-use public stations and (5) community/public ownership of ICT infrastructure. Aside from the problems of affordability and universal access, the author identifies the Internet's built-in biases for (1) English, (2) subsidizing globalization, (3) automation and (4) the technofix, and explores the implications of these biases. The challenge is not only to design affordable and accessible technologies or to redesign technologies to be consistent with our deeply held values, but also to make ourselves less technology dependent.

  • The Bandung Center for New Media Arts: Local Commitment and International Collaboration
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    The article focuses on the Bandung Center for New Media Arts (BCNMA), an autonomous cultural space set up in 2001 by three Indonesian artists and architects. The BCNMA aims to encourage a dialogue with circles outside the art world and to offer greater dynamic possibilities for experimental forms of expressions. The Indonesian sociopolitical context after 1998 has had a great influence on the nature, development and methodologies used by this center. The case study of the Third Asia-Europe Art Camp, coorganized in 2005 by the BCNMA and the Asia-Europe Foundation, also highlights how international projects are developed by the BCNMA while taking into consideration the local cultural networks and creative environment.

  • Notions on policy in Eastern Asia-Europe media spaces
  • Local Knowledge: Place and New Media Practice
  • Color Plates
  • Compasses, Meetings and Maps: Three Recent Media Works
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    The article explores possible cultural approaches to new-media art aesthetics and criticism through an in-depth appraisal of recent works by three contemporary practitioners from Asia and the Pacific: Lisa Reihana, Vernon Ah Kee and Qiu Zhijie. Particular attention is paid to the issues of place, location and cultural practice in their work, issues currently under-examined in new-media art discourse. The analysis pays close attention to the operationality of the works, the influence of pre-digital aesthetic histories and the richly locative and virtual schemas of indigenous epistemologies that serve to meaningfully expand Euro-American notions of locative media art.

  • Making Things Our Own: The Indigenous Aesthetic in Digital Storytelling
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    This essay makes use of the characteristics of oral story-telling to define indigenous perspectives on narrative and to provide a framework in which to interpret video and new media art created by Zacharias Kunuk, Nation to Nation's Cyberpowwow project and Paula Giese's Native American Indian Resources.

  • Locative-Media Artists in the Contested-Aware City
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    The adoption of mobile devices as the computers of the 21st century marks a shift away from the fixed terminals that dominated the first 50 years of computing. Associated with this shift will be a new emphasis on context-aware computing. This article examines design approaches to context-aware computing and argues that the evolution of this technology will be characterized by an interplay between top-down systems for command and control and bottom-up systems for collective action. This process will lead to the emergence of “contested-aware cities,” in which power struggles are waged in public spaces with the assistance of context-aware systems.

  • Locative Arts
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    The author discusses the field of locative arts, focusing on works and interests from 2003 to 2004. An overview is presented of the artistic project types found within this field, and the author considers in depth a number of issues such as how projects are shaped by their reliance on positioning technologies and the importance of the social within this area of practice.

  • Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things
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    Locative media has been attacked for being too eager to appeal to commercial interests as well as for its reliance on Cartesian mapping systems. If these critiques are well founded, however, they are also nostalgic, invoking a notion of art as autonomous from the circuits of mass communication technologies, which the authors argue no longer holds true. This essay begins with a survey of the development of locative media, how it has distanced itself from net art and how it has been critically received, before going on to address these critiques and ponder how the field might develop.

  • Pacific Rim New Media Development: A Search for Terra Incognita
  • Creative Industries in Beijing: Initial Thoughts
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    This article reports on current developments within “creative industries” in Beijing. The article discusses Dashanzi Art District and the Created in China Industrial Alliance in relation to such issues as labor, intellectual-property regimes, real-estate speculation, high-tech development zones, promotional cultures and the global variability of neoliberal capitalism. The article maintains that creative industries, as realizations of a policy concept undergoing international dissemination, are most accurately understood as cultural practices in trans-local settings that overlap with larger national and geopolitical forces.

  • Art and New Technology in Mexico: The National Center for the Arts
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    The author chronicles the history of Mexico's Centro Nacional de las Artes (National Center for the Arts) in Mexico City, and in particular the Multimedia Center, a space dedicated to the creation and teaching of the arts and preservation of cultural heritage through the use of new technologies such as CD-ROMs, the Internet and teleconferencing, as well as exhibitions. After 10 years of operation, the Multimedia Center faces new types of challenges as the new technologies become successfully integrated into creative practice. In response to the changing environment, the center is moving toward collaborations with similar institutions internationally and toward new funding models.

  • Crafting Change: Envisioning New-Media Arts as Critical Pedagogy
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    As India enters the sixth year of the new millennium, there seems to be ample evidence to validate the claim that it is new technologies and their infrastructures that have supported and enabled its current economic revolution. This revolution promises a new society based on knowledge and information. This emphasis poses tremendous challenges to educators and forces them to question the fundamental tenets on which they would develop pedagogies and create learning that is both sustainable and critical. The author argues that the process of creating new-media art can in itself be construed as critical pedagogic practice and that new-media artists have a role to play as public intellectuals.

  • Pirates of the Pacific Rim
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    The term piracy once referred simply to crimes at sea but now also refers to widespread crimes by which intellectual property is copied and sold or given away through electronic networks and in kiosks, shops and flea markets. Countries such as the U.S.A., whose origins were based on technology piracy, are now the most protective. Companies that were once sued for infringement are now suing others. Piracy is cited as a source of income for criminal and extreme political groups. Cultural appropriation of traditional herbs, songs and art is not easily combated. Fake drugs and airline parts create safety issues that are not encountered with pirated books or DVDs. Some scholars and legal experts have called for abandoning copyright or have proposed alternative schemes for intellectual property.

  • Common Systems: The Invisible Dynamics of the Pacific Rim and the Bay Area
  • The Exploratorium's Invisible Dynamics Project: Environmental Research as Artistic Process
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    The Exploratorium's Invisible Dynamics project seeks to manifest the inevitable and reciprocal relationship between art and science that is at the heart of the museum's mission. An attempt to visualize invisible, often cartographic, systems in the San Francisco Bay Area, it places various elements of Bay Area life in a context that can then proportionally be used to relate San Francisco to the greater Pacific Rim in a similar scalar relationship. The paper analyzes one part in particular of the Invisible Dynamics project—Hidden Ecologies, a photographic, cartographic collaboration between a microbiologist and an architect. The flexibility between artistic and scientific processes is expressed by those involved in Hidden Ecologies as well as the “artists” of the other three projects that make up Invisible Dynamics.

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