Article categories: ANAT ReportsIssue 62
January 26th, 2009

Our daily lives are mediated by technology. Interpersonal relationships are facilitated by phone, txt and email and our perspectives on the state of local, regional and global affairs are delivered via public video screens, radio, broadcast TV, net lists and blogs.  Conversely, these communication modes increasingly allow artists to intervene into our ordinary states of existence, providing aesthetic, alternate, entertaining and challenging perspectives.

This special Media State edition of Filter investigates these practices including the do-it-yourself yourself activism of tactical medias, public projections, networked and mobile arts, bioarts, emerging artforms, and interdisciplinary and artist initiated publishing. Together these critical perspectives, along with the exhibitions, forums and workshops, co-presented by ANAT and The Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts 2006, provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of media.

Media researcher Robert Hassan investigates how tactical uses of ICTs are evolving new forms of politics as a background to our Media States Forum. This day focuses thematically on media arts intervention into public debates and spaces through projects, perspectives and networks that intersect urban, regional and biological arenas. Media projects include portable and distributed mobile phone artwork from the Mobile Journeys initiative; the guerilla-style projections in ANAT’s Surface Tension project; and Sydney based cross media artist Deborah Kelly’s recent project Beware of the God, which looks at the rise of religious literalists in the public sphere.

We are pleased to be joined by Steve Kurtz – a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, an artist collective that developed the concept of electronic civil disobedience. Constantly exploring the fields of biotechnology and tactical media, CAE’s new film Marching Plague centres on the recreation of sea trials conducted by the UK government in the 1950s as part of a programme of bioweapons research.

Also joining us is astrophysicist and editor Roger Malina, Chairman of the Board of Leonardo publications. Roger will facilitate Hard Copy – a professional, strategic workshop on publishing the outcomes of, and criticism about, interdisciplinary creative art practices. Hard Copy is co-organised by ANAT and Lizzie Muller from Creativity and Cognition Studios, in conjunction with the Fibreculture Network and RealTime.

Media State highlights include Zhang Ga’s The Peoples’ Portrait which joins Adelaide with other global cities via large-scale publicly located video projections; Carsten Nicoli’s compelling audiovisual performance of sound compositions morphed into electronic projections alva noto; the Australian Mobile Journeys exhibition; Project 3 a rich program of electronic and computer music and film by local, national and international artists including Robin Minard; and workshops which skill participants to set up and manage Artist Run Initiatives. Critical writer Linda Carroli discusses the political implications of emergence of newness in the innovation economy as precursor to the Emerging Fields Forum, and we investigate the tapestry of media arts networking and residential projects across the Asia Pacific region with the participation of MAAP, Asialink and the Pacific Rim New Media Summit.

This intertwining program on minuscule and monstrous screens, invoking both public spectacle, intimate moments, and critical debate would not be possible without the assistance of many organisations. I would like to particularly thank the Australia Council for the Arts, the Sate Library of South Australia, Fibreculture Network, RealTime, Creativity and Cognition Studios at UTS, Motorola, Smart Internet CRC, and Aura Digital.

Providing yet another perspective on the current state of art is the ANAT supported New Constellations: Art, Science and Society Conference at the MCA in Sydney.  New Constellations presents the latest collaborations between artists and scientists, their changing definitions, methodologies and practices, and the social implications of their work.

Keynote speakers include Professor Ruzena Bajcsy, Centre for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, University of California; Chris Powell, Chair of NESTA, UK; and Professor Elizabeth Grosz who was instrumental in the development of cyberfeminist and spatial debates.

I am looking forward to seeing you either in Adelaide or Sydney for these landmark events.

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