[NetBehaviour] Pikslaverk2008 - Pixelache in Iceland - Call for proposals

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Aug 22 17:12:55 CEST 2008

Hi Clemos,

What an interesting question,

I think that it does matter. I feel that it depends to what degree the 
programmer is involved in changing the original concept of the work, as 
well as what is agreed between the artist and programmer. Which can get 
quite ambiguous at times.

In 1991, I used to organise regular artists talks at the Ikon gallery in 
Birmingham, in the UK. One of the artists who was asked to do a 
presentation at that time, was a female sculptor called Alison Wilding. 
I posed a question to her asking 'what difference do you feel that it 
makes to your work once you have designed the concept of your artwork, 
then to be put together and made by men at a factory?' It turned out to 
be a very complicated and fascinating discussion for all...

This is a very complicated subject. When we work with Neil Jenkins on 
Visitors Studio, even though Ruth and myself are the main drive behind 
getting it happening, as connecting it an interested public and finding 
money from funding - figuring out the ideas, function, context and 
direction. Neil is the the programmer, and he his highly skilled. He 
also had a lot of input into the design, although we do as well. His 
skills in pearl programming (and much more) are an asset which has 
greatly advanced VS, through the years. We do not view that only us 2 
thought of VS, because Neil came up with the functionality out of 
another project we collaborated on called 'furtherstudio'. So, it was 
more about sharing an adventure in exploring where it can go together, 
with regular meetings. Even though Ruth and myself, between us possess 
skills in Linux, processing, MySql, PHP and Drupal etc. We are aware 
when involved in such a dynamic culture as we are in, when being 
multi-skilled is an advantage that, there comes a point when others have 
to asked to be part of the team. This is when collaboration happens, and 
the work can sometimes change its original reason of being, to become 
either something completely different or something close to what was 
intended. When working with Neil, we know that he is an artist as well 
as a programmer, and we see this as an advantage for all concerned.

The other things is, when working with various groups of people on a 
project such as VS, others contribute as well in less technical ways. 
For example, offering suggestions that reflect upon their own experience 
in using the platform. This creates useful information, that in its 
process incorporates them also as collaborators also, but not in the 
same way. Then you have high-end users who contribute in the culture of 
VS, organising regular events on there who are also collaborating, such 
as Roger Mills with networked live events, who is the editor of 
furthernoise.org and Graziano Milano who also set up events and worked 
on line with various users around the world, as well organising 
workshops in places like Bosnia, with VS. So, I suppose the most 
important thing is that everyone is respected for their input and skills 
as much as is possible.


 > > * Does it matter whether or not artists do their own programming or 
 > > professional programmers to do it?

I've been chatting a *lot* about that with Annie Abrahams, and we even
gave a kind of "public talk" once which was largely related to this
topic, here in Montpellier. We spoke about our relationship which,
though she knows a bit of programming and I am (or have been, once) a
bit of an artist, was of this kind (she has "hired" me for programming
some little things for her).
I've also been working that way with quite a lot of "artists", and met
many other "artists" whose work was only to "write the concept" and
let programmers do the job, as well as a few programmers who had been
working for "artists" (though they sometimes claim to work *with*
artists, or even to be "co-authors"... ).
There are lots of differents situations.
Some artists I've heard use to compare new media with the movie
industry, where huge teams of specialists work together, and see
themselves like "directors"... Some don't even credit the other people
involved in the creation (programmers, or even the tools used, which
can be very important), and I think this attitude is mainly inherited
from the "contemporary art" world.
Some artists, who act like minimalist artists or conceptual artists,
feel like the IDEA is everything, and its realisation is almost
nothing (it's programming, so it's technical, so it's "exact", so it
doesn't make sense... talking computers will be able to do this alone
soon ).
(by the way, I know an artist who paints blue squares every year; he
started to paint a 50% square on a white canvas in 1983, and every
year, he added 1% so that in 2033, the canvas will be filled with
blue... He needs to paint 70 times over and over to get the "blue"
color he's looking for. In a project like his, it's important that the
artist himself do the work, paint himself - painting 70 layers takes
him about 3 month. He could have easily hired someone to draw his
squares, but drawing squares and "running a program" is apparently
interresting him... The fact of doing this single thing during 50
years makes sense to him. His idea is nothing compared to the
realisation iteslf, while the project is still minimalistic and
somehow conceptual. And what has been surprising me the most is that
he loves doing this, and is deeply sincere...)
Now everything depends on the nature of the work.
exist.pl is IMHO a very good programming art work, luckily by the same
artist who seems to organize the event  :) . In the case of a work like
this, it seems difficult to have a "team", because it's something
deeply related to how computers work, what a software is, etc and
involves direct relationship to programming. Lots of (nearly all,
actually) early net.art work in the same way, and that's often why I
like them (Form art, for example). You just can't expect something
like that to be produced by a duo artist/programmer, because it has to
do with "playing" with computers, and getting more or less unexpected
things, or at least surprising things. (There are duos, like Jodi, and
it would be interresting to see how they work, but I doubt that one is
the programmer, and the other the "artist", or the concept-guy)
Then the "mainstream" new media art is more about using computers to
do what you expect, like interactive movies, or installations,
whatever... It often interrest me a little less; or let's say that
I've seen less interresting works in this field. And there are so much
crappy interactive things.
I think the main problem comes when (how can I say it...) when a
person, who is more a programmer than an artist, tries to "wrap" his
work into some poor art discourse, or add badly understood art
concepts around it (or currently "sexy" hype concepts), and, on the
other side, when an artist who has poor knowledge in computer and
programming expects his work to be a very interresting "anticipative"
work about "technologies", by hiring programmers and explaining them
his pseudo-revolutionnary techno idea, and so on. This will almost
always produce terrible things...
There are a few persons who have a good and practical knowledge of
both art and computers, and only these persons are able to do
something interresting. Or, to say it in a slightly different way: a
few people who are *very* interrested in computers and technologies,
can also, sometimes, be very creative, have a very original point of
view, and use both. You must definitely understand what the medium you
use actually is, you must have a practice. In the case of computers,
some artists do very interresting things with few "technical"
knowledge, because using computers (for whatever reason, art, reading
emails, ...) is not necessarily programming, and you can do *lots* of
cool things with computers without programming, though it sometimes
looks less "sexy" (some artists try to learn programming anyway,
because it looks more powerful, almost magic, and end up loosing
themselves... because they are artists!)
I think it's all about finding both skills in a single person. You can
do very good things in a team, but in the end, an artist is definitely
someone who is alone.

I'm mainly interrested in DIY projects, because computers make them
possible. But computers also make it possible to do huge things, and
such projects need teams which can gather artists together with
programmers, and so on.
Being interrested in both programming and "culture" (I don't call it
art anymore cause I often find so-called "art" sucks, whereas
"culture", which contains "pop culture" - not the "pop" from "pop
art", the "pop" from "pop culture" - is at least "alive" sometimes), I
consider some block-buster games are artworks, just like some movies
are, but also love tiny projects like exist.pl, or even more "nerdy"
things like http://www.rockonflash.com/blog/?p=42 , which I could call
"art", despite the fact that even its creator don't call himself an
artist. Actually I hate the "art-like" discourse in general. I find
that it's more important to do something interesting than to do
something not very interesting or even interesting and then talk and
talk and talk around it to make it seem more interresting.

Anyway, the festival and conference look very promising  :)

On Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 1:35 PM, Pall Thayer <pallthay at gmail.com> wrote:
 > > New node in the Pixelache Network - Reykjavik!
 > >
 > > - - - -
 > >
 > > Pikslaverk
 > > November 6 - 9, 2008. Reykjavik, Iceland
 > > www.pikslaverk.org <http://www.pikslaverk.org>
 > >
 > > The Pikslaverk 2008 conference is the Icelandic component in the
 > > international network of Pixelache conferences. It is organized by 
 > > (the Icelandic organization for electronic arts) in collaboration with
 > > The Icelandic Academy of the Arts and The Reykjavik Municipal Art
 > > Galleries. Through a series of lectures, presentations and 
 > > this year's conference will continue Helsinki's theme on education and
 > > act as a precursor to Bergen's them on Free, Libre and Open Source
 > > Software by focussing on artists' use of computer programming code to
 > > create works of art. Invited and selected guests will present a variety
 > > of views regarding issues relating to artistic applications of computer
 > > programming code. Amongst the questions that will be explored are:
 > >
 > > * Can we view computer programming code as a distinct artistic medium
 > > and if so, what are the conceptual and aesthetic implications?
 > > * Does it matter whether or not artists do their own programming or 
 > > professional programmers to do it?
 > > * Can the "open-sourcing" of artistic code aid in the long-term
 > > preservation of this type of artwork?
 > >
 > > Call for Participants is open, deadline 30 September 2008!
 > >
 > > (Participants who would like to apply for funding to cover their
 > > travel costs should send in their applications ASAP)
 > >
 > > More information: www.pikslaverk.org <http://www.pikslaverk.org>
 > >
 > > - - - -
 > >
 > >
 > > Lorna is now accepting submissions to Pikslaverk 2008. Please read the
 > > festival description well to determine whether or not your submission
 > > fits into the scope of the festival. What we are especially interested
 > > in are work or papers that examine the roll of code within computer
 > > programmed art. Whether you feel that code means everything, is the
 > > *essence* of the work or that code adds nothing, is simply a tool,
 > > nothing more, we would like to hear from you.
 > > Send your submissions to Pall Thayer at pallith*AT*mbl*DOT*is.
 > > Submissions should include the following information:
 > >
 > > * In the case of work include a brief description, link and/or up to 5
 > > images (JPEG or PNG). Also explain how you think the work fits into the
 > > scope of the festival.
 > >
 > > * In the case of papers/presentations include a brief abstract.
 > >
 > > * All submissions should include the names of those involved, i.e.
 > > collaborators, co-authors, etc. and a bio/CV or a link to one online.
 > >
 > > * Include contact information, i.e. Name, address, email.
 > >
 > > Please send only PDF, ODT or DOC (DOCX files are unacceptable) for text
 > > files and JPG or PNG for images.
 > >
 > > Participants who present or show work should be prepared to share any
 > > relevant source-code. That's what it's all about, people.
 > >
 > > Pikslaverk will pay accepted artists and speakers a small fee but we
 > > cannot cover travel costs and lodging. We can however assist selected
 > > practitioners in finding funding to cover these costs. We would
 > > especially encourage people from nordic countries to apply.
 > >
 > > The official deadline for submissions is September 30, 2008. But we 
 > > do our best to accomodate those who may need to reach travel-grant
 > > applications before that time, such as the KKNord Mobility grants where
 > > the deadline is September 3, 2008. SO PLEASE GET YOUR APPLICATIONS 
 > > _______________________________________________
 > > NetBehaviour mailing list
 > > NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
 > > http://www.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
 > >

NetBehaviour mailing list
NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list