PhD Planetary-Collegium M-Node** NABA Research Grant Contest*

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The PhD Planetary Collegium M-Node Doctorate program created a grant contest for 10 PhD researcher positions. The grants will be divided into: 4 partial grants and 2 full grants, for part-time program.The research grants will be assigned by the international committee consisted of: a keen emeritus Academy member, a doctoral research member and a keen representative of the world art.

In the event that the researches collected do not meet the excellence level requested, the International committee reserves the right of not issuing any grants. The grants will be issued during the Admission Sessions indicated on the M-Node website:
http://www.m-node.com/mnode_programs.html .
The grants will be assigned based on: project’s cultural relevance (national and international) with particular emphasis on: a) the effective new  knowledge improvement b) the effective contribution to the digital media research development as well as to the tecnoscientific dimension c) the level of attention that has been dedicated to the partecipatory themes. UE Citizens can participate to both (partial and full) grant selection, whether the Non-EU citizens can participate only to the selection of partial grants. The grant contest will be pubblicated on the website: www.m-node.org as well as on NABA website: www.naba.it.

It is binded to the Planetary-Collegium M-Node research program admission. To participate to the research grant contest, please download the application form at : http://www.m-node.org/mnode_programs.html_, fill it out and send it by cetified mail, not email, at the following address: PhD  M-Node, NABA, Via Carlo Darwin 20, 20143 Milano. The grant  selection will last until all grants have been assigned.

OMM plays Nag Hammadi a Torino

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The Torino Chamber of Commerce and Piemonte Share invites you to the show:

Orchestra Meccanica Marinetti plays Nag Hammadi by Angelo Comino aka Motor

Wednesday 23rd September 2009 – 06.30 pm
inside the activity of Polincontri and Polincontri Classica
Aula magna of Politecnico di Torino, c.so Duca degli Abruzzi 24

free entry.

Share Festival is coming

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Dear friends of Share Festival,

the 5th edition called Market Forces is starting in a just a bit over two months .
From the 3rd to the 8th of November, 2009 at the Regional Museum of Natural Sciences of Turin and other locations in the city, there will be lectures, performances, screening, the Share Prize exhibition with the six finalists, the exhibition dedicated to the this year’s theme and the personal exhibits of  Erik Natzke.

The title Market Forces stems from the awareness that the market has become the prime battleground for any idea or product where issues related to chaos and value, meaning and randomness, politics and economics collide. These relationships arise because of external forces acting on the culture which will influence the material, symbolic and strategic levels. Each force is a relation. Each force has the potential to influence, educate and create.

We have asked the guest curator Andy Cameron to address the issue of complexity as a central subject of the conferences.
According to Andy Cameron, a systemic approach that looks for homologies and conflicts that arise from market forces and culture is central to addressing the complexity of the future and the unpredictability of the cultural system and business.
The unexpected acts on market forces playing a decisive role. And the theory of complexity is particularly interesting because of its ability to handle the unexpected, which in this case is a variable included in the system. So what to do? Our guest lecturers will be handling such issues at Share 2009.
So far Richard Barbrook, Joel Baumann, Erik Natzke, Sorin Solomon, Alessandro Ludovico, Franzisca Nori, Bruce Sterling, John Ferrero, Roberto Burlando, Kath Kelly have confirmed their presence.

Please follow the evolution of the program on our website which we have updated and refurbished, both the GUI and contents thanks to Salvatore Iaconesi who has helped us in the concept, architecture and development.
The most important thing is to launch a publishing project devoted to the art of digital society. The goal is to aggregate new collaborations with critics, journalists and artists active in innovation culture, to be an instrument of information, reports and discussion.

In order to let you know about our previews, links, warm-up real time events you can check us out on Twitter and Facebook, so that you can follow us throughout the pre-production process and the exhibition.
As during the months before the event, we will continue to use social networks as a way to keep you updated regarding the exhibition, artists, events, projects, conferences, texts and blogs that have inspired and enriched the development of the program.

We are also glad to announce that on September 23rd , the “Meccanica Marinetti” orchestra will be presented at the Polytechnic of Turin.

Gogbot Festival 2009

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The nuclear disaster in Tsjernobyl, the fall of the Berlin wall, the nuclear threat of North-Korea, the armed peace between East and West, the first ever landing on the moon; these are only parts of the Atompunk-theme of the GOGBOT festival, that takes place in 10 locations in the center of Enschede, in September.

The festival has a free entrance. The festival that has known 15.000 visitors with the 2008 Steampunk-edition, is an initiative of PLANETART, organization of the Multi-media art, and sci-fi guru/cyberpunk godfather Bruce Sterling. Especially for the GOGBOT festival, several themes have been developed, based on the technological and industrial innovation starting from 1945.

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The GOGBOT festival offers more than 200 multi media artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, architects, scientists and “techies” a platform to present themselves to the public, who will be overwhelmed with Sputniks, the first satellites, Soviet Cosmonauts, communist design, interactive robots, an autonomous rocket-launch, nuclear testing, space design, ufo’s, superheroes, drive-ins, unpredictable professors and Sexy Soviet art! So, step into the time-machine of the GOGBOT festival!

More bits in english on http://GOGBOT.nl and http://ATOMPUNK.LIVE.NU

Banksy vs Bristol Museum

I never have seen such a long queue for such a long time to visit a street artist show. But when a so brilliant artist pop up with his genius, it happens. Yes, he is Banksy.

Who is he?
There is a awful lot of talk about the guy. He is one of the most discussed but acclaimed cultural provocateur of our time, and maybe the only one who grabs the headlines with such an unusual medium as visual art. Banksy has gained notoriety in recent years by using stencils to paint images in an array of out-door locations.

Nobody knows his name, he uses only a nickname, not only because spraying graffiti is illegal and all street artists want to protect themselves. Infact some regard the artist’s street works to be vandalism, pure and simple.

But also because, even thought is he is very famous and his works are sold for much money,  he doesn’t want to be a celebrity and became part of that system he criticizes in his work. Even thought there is a contradiction in this, because it is not simple to be critic about the system and be part of it at the same time, I like him, because he has chosen to not have the copyright of his works.
The show here “Banksy vs Bristol Museum” is a unique collaboration between a cultural institution and a very controversial artist. More than a collaboration it is often a squatting of the space, putting fake paintings through the ancients true, replacing many of the museum’s regular artefacts. The result delights the public of every age. Banksy wasn’t  able to afford “The flight to Egypt” by Claude Lorrain, so he has provided a no frills alternative.

A lot are the issues raised by his works as the relation ship between  animal and human egoism, putting them in the circus and using them for testing make up. Money is the reason our societies are collapsing and police officers who use violence and a heavy-handed approach aren’t appropriate for the job and need to be dismissed.
In the museum there is also a reconstruction of Banksy’s studio and how he makes the stencil using software. My favourite piece is “Flower power”. See below.

During his trip to Palestine, Banksy created nine images on Israel’s West Bank barrier which explain more about this absurd conflict then any ONU delegation.
If you want to discover how it all comes from, his early graffiti career and the amazing fertile music scene called trip-hop (shared with Massive Attack, Tricky, Roni Size and Portishead) and how it started in Bristol and went global I suggest this book: “Home sweet  home”, the -of course – unofficial guide to Banksy’s Bristol by Steve Wrigth.

The agent of psychic forces: interview to Roy Ascott

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I met Roy Ascott in Plymouth fifteen days ago, visiting the Planetary Collegium, an advanced research center which he set up in 2003 at the University and where he is Professor of Technoetic Arts.

In May I visited the first retrospective dedicated to the pioneering cybernetic artist, curated in collaboration with i-DAT (Institute for Digital Art and Technology, University of Plymouth) has come to a close at the Plymouth Arts Centre.
The exhibition explored the influences and rhetoric of Roy Ascott’s work, mapping the impact, history and development of technology and looking to the future of Web2 and Second life. Roy Ascott sees telematic art as the transformation of the viewer into an active participant in creating artwork, which remains in process throughout its duration.

The agent of psychic forces: interview to Roy Ascott

Significantly, the content of his projects were often spiritual: staging the first planetary casting of the I Ching with an early form of the Net in 1982, whilst his major installation at the Ars Electronica centre in 1989 explored Gaia theory.
In all the biographies and articles I have read about him, Roy Ascott is rightly defined as a man who “brought together the science of cybernetics with elements of Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus and Pop Art.”
I think that looking retrospectively at his work, Ascott was more than a pioneer, more than an artist. He was the founder who invented an artistic language that didn’t have a name before he gave it one: telematic art. (A combination of computers and telecommunication, designed as interactive collaboration with the web, long before the artistic use of the Internet; see net.art, new media art, crowdsourcing art) .
Much more than a pioneer, much more than an inventor, he was, above all, a theorist –all definitions that go hand in hand with each other, laying the foundations of the techno-artistic world.

Ascott worked to overcome the boundaries of cultural/conceptual and aesthetic frame, dedicating himself to theoretical activities that projected him as an artist-creator of a world first conceived and named by him.

Indeed Roy Ascott didn’t need the Internet or e-mail to give shape to the plains, mountains and seas of his digital creativity. He just simply turned on his computer and connected it to the first network of the early Sixties, creating an artistic language from all his activities.

Who would have thought of it? This was the stuff of engineers and armies! Ascott immediately understood that the web was a tool of transformation, an alchemical, somatic or pharmaceutical medium to develop access to consciousness.

As the concept of telepresence came and went with the birth of the Internet and the personal computer, his theoretical work broadened, becoming a wonderful inspiration for us all: from syncretic research to technoetics and moistmedia.

Here an interview to him in which he explains many things and the socialnetwork phenomena in a new way.

Simona Lodi: You are always described as a pioneer, but I think you are much more than that. What conceptual assumptions lie behind your work? Is it a sort of techno-determinism or the response of an artist to the information technology revolution and the digitalisation of culture?

Roy Ascott: My underlying  conceptual assumptions predate “the information technology revolution and the digitalisation of culture”.  The world that led to my ideas of interaction, transformation, and transcendence grew from my dissertation on Paul Cezanne and the Expression of Change, the Tarot and I Ching, Pollock, Duchamp, Zen and the  primacy of gesture, the occult and esoteric more generally, alongside an early passion for the cybernetics of Ross Ashby, Norbert Wiener and my friend Gordon Pask. Hence my early change-paintings and other participatory analogue structures, especially the transactional table-top work. It’s all about interface and connectivity. I have always assumed that consciousness is a field for which we can develop tools of access. Oddly enough, my exposure to the operational and technological aspects of radar fighter control (I had a National Service commission) gave colour to the term ’screen of operations’. Telematic art avant la lettre!!
So, my conceptual assumptions have nothing much to do with technology in the raw. I like my technologies to be as near to invisible as possible. For me, it’s all about tools for transformation, whether they are alchemical, somatic, digital , or  pharmaceutical. Chance and change, connectivity, sacred spaces, networked, extended senses (what I once called ‘psibernetics’), these constitute (some of) the rubrics of motivation for me.

S.L.: You have contributed much to changing art, redefining its aesthetics and its purpose in today’s society. What role do you think the artist has today? Looking at yourself, where does the artist end in you and the researcher begin?

R.A.: Art and research: the quest is spiritual, the attempt to penetrate consciousness more deeply, to flow with the Tao. But it’s also  an endless urge to speculate, to try to think things into being. The specificity of technology is secondary: that’s why I am as interested in ayahuasca as I am in telematics.  A kind of moistmedia organicism is what I endorse; dry digitalisation alone is deadly.  I’m more syncretic than Socratic in my thinking. On the global level, more interested in the connectivity of minds, than the proximity of bodies; on the personal level, love, light and the extension of the senses.
I speculate therefore I am. Our role is to maintain  art as the agent of change and transformation. We think ourselves into being.  ‘Artist’ is the tag that confers freedom, the right to live out of the box, to transgress  orthodoxies of thought and being.  Art always tries to go beyond itself; the artist as supersensory self.
Art and research: it’s a continuum. In fact, these terms are, in the best sense, interchangeable when they are informed by rigorous creativity! We have to avoid at all costs the inappropriate, deadening effect on art research of the tunnel vision methodologies of Humanities research (linking the two together, as in AHRC, betrays a total misunderstanding of art practice), as well as the blind ‘rationality’ and materialist fundamentalism of institutional science (e.g. how quantum scientists deny the ontological implications of their craft).

Grey Skies research is having a disastrous effect on creativity. Art research must be blue-sky, speculative, anticipatory, and visionary.  It involves thinking out of the box, seeking to move the mind, the senses, and the arena of action beyond the initial frame of inquiry. Art research must produce its own protocols; the artist as researcher must engage with knowledge in new ways, creating new language, new frames of reference, new systems and behaviour. Art research must be non-linear, associative, risky, connective, transformative as well as intellectually, aesthetically  and even spiritually challenging. If only industry and business could understand that! Then we’d really get the ‘enterprise culture’ that institutions so desperately seek.

S.L.: How do you manage to invent so many neologisms and new concepts? You haven’t stopped since the Sixties, with words such as “telematics”, “global consciousness”, “distributed authorship”, “cybernation”, “syncretic art”, “technoetics”, and “moistmedia”.

R.A.: Does anyone actually know how ideas arise, or where they come from?  We know little of the mind’s constitution (it’s not an epiphenomenon of the brain, I’m sure of that). Consciousness is the ultimate mystery, the final frontier.  The artist’s role is to navigate it.  I often feel like the agent of psychic forces.

In the search for new forms of behaviour and in trying to access the inner recesses of consciousness, I find that new language is needed, partly in explanation and partly to galvanise action in others. As we move out of the old order we shall develop new language behaviour, just as in, at a simple level, texting, and the use of the thumb. In short, new behaviours demand new language, new language generates new behaviours.

S.L.: These are all concepts that have inspired many artistic initiatives (including our own Action Sharing project). What brought you to formulating these theories and the projects you have put together (from Terminal Art to La plissure du Text)?

R.A.: The need to be distributed, to be present simultaneously in many places at different times. The asynchronic state of being is addictive. It’s the need to live many lives, to create many selves. I share the impulse of the Portuguese writer Fernando  Pessoa , who, through his creation of heteronyms, affirmed his belief that a man cannot possibly live and fully understand life by being only one person, but that you must lead simultaneous lives to achieve this higher understanding.

S.L.: You are also known to be an omnivorous thinker and experimenter. What common thread can be found between cybernetics and Michel Duchamp, the I Ching and shamanism in Brazil?

R.A.: I’d nominate change, transformation, non-linearity, connectivity,  associative thought, aperspectival perception, ability to create/move through a variable reality. But . . .it’s the weaving of discontinuities, not the commonality of the thread that I favour. That’s why I advocate syncretism in all diversity.

S.L.: What do you predict for the future? What prospects do you see?

R.A.: The mind is outgrowing the body, and its ability to manage identity is becoming less socially constrained. We shall be increasingly concerned, not simply with our own individual personal (re)creation (think Nietzsche!), but with the creation of multiple selves. We are no longer effectively a single-self organism. Early evidence of this can be found in Second Life and other multiverse scenarios, as well as in the social networking community. Computers and Architecture will learn to see, feel and anticipate; both interfaces and places will evolve emotional sensibilities and the capacity to think. We shall move seamlessly through material and virtual fields, recognising that we can build reality as we go.

The body will host our moist technology of communication (e.g. the idea of handheld tools will become quite foreign). As in the early Middle Ages, we shall increasingly turn to syncretism to resolve the geo-political, religious and civil disputes, such as those currently plaguing us. The importance to this process of  the syncretic impulse in art should not be underestimated. However syncretism calls for participant communities of thought that reject orthodoxy and celebrate change. Consequently art education will reform or perish. The same for universities: only their radical reform into  dynamic  organisms of transdisciplinary learning and inquiry will save them.

SL.: Thanks, Roy.

Simona Lodi

Special thanks to  Gianni Corino , professor at the University of Plymouth and member of supervisory team i-DAT Center.

Feedback

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