[NetBehaviour] banff

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Apr 24 14:13:17 CEST 2008


Hi Annie,

Sorry for not responding to your post on here earlier. Since coming back 
it has been extremely busy with much happening at furtherfield and the 
HTTP space, plus I have been marking dissertations. In fact I am aiming 
to finish the dissertations later today (one can hope:-)

Your comments regarding the collaborative piece 'Fundamentalism v 
Evolution: another dilemma of coexistence', by Ruth and myself; 
originally performed live at Banff, and then archived.----------- are 
very interesting.

Before the actual live, networked performance on visitorsstudio.org we 
spent an awful lot of our time collecting much data from the Internet 
for this work. All files that we used as well as material we did not 
use, can be traced. There is information on the Diwologue blog listing 
where all the files originally came from - http://diwologue.net/blog/?p=25

We collected, edited and looped over 300 files found in a range of other 
online archives and blogs: general, special interest, didactic and 
evangelical. All the software that we used for editing the found 
material was open source. Some of the tools used can be found on this 
page called 'Tools and Production' - http://diwologue.net/blog/?page_id=4

'Acknowledging that we are mediated by the tools that we use we are 
making a conscious choice to inform ourselves about the culture of the 
tools and platforms we engage in. We are giving our artistic attentions 
and energies, wherever possible, to Free and Open Source (rather than 
proprietary) tools and platforms.'

The reasoning behind our Diwologue adventure can be viewed on this page 
- http://diwologue.net/blog/?page_id=2

Sorry for all the links, because this e-mail is becoming a little longer 
than expected I didn't want to cut and paste loads of info here, 
creating too much information overdose.

At the residency we decided to focus our our attention for the creation 
of collaborative, net art work in Visitorsstudio.org. Mainly because we 
know this live, networked platform very well, and we wanted to 
concentrate and give quality thought and time to the theme of 
'Fundamentalism v Evolution: another dilemma of coexistence' which in 
itself was a learning curve for us. Plus the added experience of 
embarking of researching downloading, editing the content and learning 
how to use some of the new open source and free tools for editing, it 
all also took up much of our time.


 > I am impressed, It's beautiful, and it brings on reflexion!
 > Great.

Glad that you enjoyed viewing the archive it looks as though you sat 
through the whole thing which of course deserves a full 'thumbs up' of 
respect.

One of the things we decided to do was not make a piece of work that was 
just about the technology alone. We wanted the work itself to matter. As 
you can imagine, when one is immersed in exploring and researching non 
propriety tools you have to discuss it and explain why (well, we do), 
and this to some degree can get in the way of the content of the work. 
So we wanted the content and the theme to be equally respected. Even 
though, we think that it is extremely important that we are always 
conscious about the medium that we use, and that users of technology 
make an effort to understand more deeply what it is, as well as the 
political and social responsibilities behind it all. We have always 
known that we are here because we wanted to create artwork that has 
significance and relevance that can be appreciated for its own 
imaginative intentions. The work needed to look outside of the medium, 
which means no 'one liners' in the work about the medium itself. We 
wanted the art to reflect something about the human condition somehow.

The trigger which inspired us to take on the theme for 'Fundamentalism v 
Evolution: another dilemma of coexistence', happened by chance. We found 
this old film on-line called 'Fundamentalism vs Evolution' released by 
the BFI Creative Archive Licence Group. It was originally made in 1925 
produced in 1925 by Topical Film Company www.creative.bfi.org.uk/. It 
features a “Head-on train smash staged at ‘Monkeyville’ to typify clash 
in U.S.A. between adherents of Bible and followers of Darwin.” This film 
represents “the blaze of conflict between Science and the Scriptures…” 
surrounding the Scopes ‘Monkey’ trial in the USA.

It seemed so relevant that we just had to use this archived material. 
Yet we wanted to include other forms of Fundamentalism as well, which we 
did. Which included certain sound extracts of Quran prayers, sound files 
of discussions about religion and politics, music placed in the public 
domain by Rev Bill McGinnis for “children of god”, Evangelical Preaching 
which included old and new recordings of evangelical preachers from 
www.biblepreaching.com. And much more of this kind of stuff as sound 
files, as well as movies, images. Then we collected a large amount of 
material that related to Darwinism from sites such 'Evolutionary theory 
in layman’s terms - by Dr Zachary More'. As well as extracts from the 
The Selfish Gene: Thirty Years On, a Daniel Dennet and Richard Dawkins 
lecture www.edge.org/3rd_culture/selfish06/selfish06_index.html. And yet 
again, even more material. The process of editing was arduous, 
especially if you are editing sound files repeatedly and listening to 
various evangelists expounding extremely didactic statements about how 
evil and sinful we all are.

 > While watching I sometimes thought the whole thing was promoting a 
believe in God. If it wasn't for the undertitle and the context I would, 
could believe you being fundamentalists.
 > So strange!

That's so funny...

I think that, because we were very keen to give all the 
subjects/beliefs/theories/ideas their own equal presences, to argue 
there own perspectives, create controversies within the work as it 
happened. Much of the performance had a kind of spiritual flavour to it. 
We did not place any personal ideas within it at all and just mixed it 
all up equally, so to let it all speak for itself as much as possible. 
Even though the content was mediated through ourselves in the production 
and performance, the subject matters stood out very strongly in contrast 
to each of their own stances. One example of how strange it was, was 
when the Quran prayers were mixed with music, it was very beautiful, 
especially if one does not know the actual language and just listens to 
the singing. The other thing is we did want to make something that was 
beautiful even if it did feature subjects that we find repulsive such as 
'creationism'.

 > I was wondering how people reacted after your performance. Could you 
please tell us more about it, and maybe also about your stay in Banff?

The whole event, performance was filmed but the camera guy forgot to 
turn the sound record on, which was pretty annoying. Although, we may 
show the film anyway and put the sound track of the performed piece over 
the top, soon.

Ruth and myself performed the work in front of about 40 people. It was a 
full studio harbouring various peer resident artists, others who 
practised different forms of creativity, such as dance, classical music 
etc. It was a rich mixture of people who turned up to experience our 
performance. Of course, some people did not have a clue what kind of 
thing was going to happen, and many did not conceptually understand what 
a live networked performance really was until that evening. We explained 
the context of our residency and about why we chose the theme and what 
visitorsstudio was. When we performed we were not the only ones in the 
platform, there were others visiting from different parts of the world 
as well, which was great. So that we could perform the whole piece, no 
one could use the studio (even though they were in there) until we had 
finished. So, at the end everyone dived and began collaborating, some 
uploading their material, some using the files that were already there.

There were two screens, one so the audience could view Ruth mixing the 
images and video in real-time. The other screen was the main larger 
screen where it all happened. We sat in chairs half facing the audience 
and mixed. Ruth on visuals, myself on sounds. The audience enjoyed the 
whole event, and it felt invigorating making work in front of everyone's 
eyes in real-time.

We now intend to do more performances using visitorsstudio in physical 
spaces around the world, as well as in Internet space at the same time. 
The fact that we are physically involved, creates a different element to 
the whole thing and seems to add a context that we feel was missing (for 
us). With ourselves being there, explaining the context of it all as 
well discussing the subject matter really helps to ground the work.

It was an excellent evening :-)

 > The piece has a good pace, beautiful sound, it's not imposing, but 
letting you time to adjust, to find your way, and all the time it isn't 
where I thought it would be, it doesn't bring me where I thought it 
might bring me. That's probably it's force..

One of the interesting elements in creating a piece of work that is 
real-time, is that it offers an engagement which allows a rhythm to 
settle, which is not about the product but more about the process, the 
happening and the thoughts that rise up during the experience. Time is 
the magical factor here, because we not only go through a journey with 
it, but also reflect upon what is explored in the work at various 
levels, in a context or manner which is closer to lived intuition and 
emotional reflection, about the subject and our own feelings and 
relational connections with it. Such a non linear work opens up 
different options for personal engagement if the piece is allowed to 
breath, if the artists and viewer can live with it for a little while. 
For it does possess multi-layered meanings that need time for one to 
process.

 > I wish someone would write about it.

So do I.

Wishing you well.

marc




 > Dear Ruth and Marc,
 >
 > I just watched
 > http://www.visitorsstudio.org/session.pl?id=88
 > Fundamentalism v Evolution
 > another dilemma of coexistence
 >
 > the archives of your performance at Banff
 >
 > I am impressed, It's beautiful, and it brings on reflexion!
 > Great.
 >
 > While watching I sometimes thought the whole thing was promoting a 
believe in God. If it wasn't for the undertitle and the context I would, 
could believe you being fundamentalists.
 > So strange!
 > "genes are forever" ?
 > ??
 > I was wondering how people reacted after your performance. Could you 
please tell us more about it, and maybe also about your stay in Banff?
 >
 > The piece has a good pace, beautiful sound, it's not imposing, but 
letting you time to adjust, to find your way, and all the time it isn't 
where I thought it would be, it doesn't bring me where I thought it 
might bring me. That's probably it's force..
 > I wish someone would write about it.
 >
 > Yours Annie
 > --
 > http://www.bram.org
 > http://aabrahams.wordpress.com/
 >
 >
 > _______________________________________________
 > NetBehaviour mailing list
 > NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
 > http://www.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour




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