Energetics and Informatics: Programme

Programme Overview

Welcome to the 7th ADA Network Symposium. In this 3-day event we explore the relationships between energy and information in media arts. We ask how sustainable is the technology that supports media art? What new forms of practice are developing at the intersection of energy conservation and production, technology, and art? And how can we balance a global arts practice with the ethical complexities of global air travel, and the social complexities of remote participation?  These issues will be examined through keynote presentations, discussions, artist presentations, workshops, a screening programme and two exhibitions. A wide range of artists and researchers from Whanganui and New Zealand will present current projects in art and sustainable energy, in conference sessions including Sustainable Media (Art), Energy Networks, and Social Energy.

Friday is dedicated to a day-long workshop with American artist John Hopkins that will explore Whanganui and its river, via waka. Following the workshop the Sarjeant Gallery will present Ozinal (2010) (a radio station from the sun) by Joyce Hinterding and David Haines, courtesy of the artists and Breenspace.

Saturday’s program includes a remote conversation with London-based media artist Graham Harwood, a panel discussion on sustainable media and the dichotomies of immediacy, followed by a series of short interrelated presentations, and a keynote presentation by Australian theorist Douglas Kahn. After lunch an artist talk at The Green Bench on the exhibition ‘Burn’ will also be a feature of the day. In the evening an outdoor video screening programme and a live VJ performance will showcase national and international artists whose works explore aspects of energy and sustainability.

Sunday’s program features a keynote presentation by Australian artists David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, a themed session on Energy Networks, a second series of short presentations followed by a themed session on Social Energy. The final session will conclude with a discussion on the implications of energy issues for current media art practices in New Zealand and elsewhere.

DAY 1 : Friday, 10 December

10am: Registrations at the Putiki boat ramp, 1 Tikarangi street. Tea and Coffee.
10:30am – 4pm: Energy, Creative Action, and Sustainable Systems Workshop: John Hopkins

This workshop will draw on Hopkins’ international experience in facilitating creative encounters in the context of the Temporary Autonomous Zone. With an open structure for engaged and focused dialogue, the workshop will explore a powerful energy-based worldview that can open up new awareness of social, cultural, and natural systems. The dynamics of collaborative human relations confined within an attentive space is guaranteed* to generate provocative and inspiring outcomes. Creativity is, by definition, about the formative flow of energy between living organisms. We will move through a variety of environments (including on the river by waka) as we share life-time in the workshop. The workshop will augment the processes of any creative practitioner with a profound, situated, and practice-oriented conceptual toolbox that address the following areas and more:

(Keywords in no particular order): energy, creativity, thermodynamics, technology and techno-social systems, art, attention, entropy, learning, media, networks, participation, process, virtuality, creative action, human presence, Light, human encounter, mediation, concentration, optimization, pathways, meals, sustainability, simplicity, synchronicity, auspiciousness, and serendipity.

*on the condition that you bring along your entire Self, not merely your body, mind, and spirit

1.00pm: After lunch the workshop continues at The Green Bench, Guyton Street. (Participants may join the workshop at this point.)

This is a parallel event with ADA, supported by Creative Communities Wanganui, run by Green Bench & One River.

5:30 – 7:00pm: Sarjeant Gallery opening of Ozinal (2010), a radio station from the Sun by artists Joyce Hinterding and David Haines.

Video Stills (left to right): Brit Bunkley, ‘Cargo Paradox of Plenty’; Superflex, ‘Burning Car’; Erin Coates, ‘Voyage to the Common Wealth’.

DAY 2 : Saturday, 11 December

9:15am: Registrations and coffee, War Memorial Hall, Watt Street
9:45am: Introductions and welcome
10:00 – 10:45am: Remote keynote presentation: Graham Harwood – Coal Fired Computers
(300,000,000 Computers – 318,000 Black Lungs)
(Moderator Julian Priest). Presentation and discussion.

British artist and media activist, Graham Harwood is best known for his collaborative work ‘Rehearsal of Memory’ (1995) produced with maximum security mental patients at Ashworth Hospital and as the founder of Mongrel an internationally recognised artists group specialising in digital media. In the Coal Fired Computers project he continues his exploration of power structures in relation to media ecology and exposes the conditions of the marginalised and working classes.

10.45 – 11:15am: Morning Tea

11:15 – 12.30pm: Themed session – Sustainable Media
(Moderator Su Ballard) conversation: Trudy Lane, Sophie Jerram and Bridie Lonie

Is the world indifferent to media? In what ways do we make our practices mean something at a scale beyond the local? Information technology and air transport each use about 2% of global energy at present. ADA symposia have always foregrounded the value of personal interconnection in a physical space, and the need to bring people together regularly to sustain our already distributed network. This conversation builds on this experience to address the dichotomy of immediacy. How do we participate in (and keep up with) global arts practice if long distance air travel is increasingly ethically problematic? Is remote participation sustainable – environmentally, socially, and mentally? Alternatively, can we embrace ‘slow’ media? We ask: what would a slow media arts practice look like?

Trudy Lane is an artist, organiser and designer whose practice has become increasingly focused on ecological issues. She seeks to create inspiring models of encounter between specialized cultures of knowledge.

Bridie Lonie teaches in Art History and Theory at Dunedin School of Art, her current research explores theories of the commons as a way to work with things that do not think as we do, or perhaps at all, but act on us as we do on them.

Sophie Jerram is a Wellington-based artist and curator. She is the co-founder with composer Dugal McKinnon of Now Future, which seeks to instigate and realise arts led projects that address key issues in sustainability and ecology.

12.30-2:00pm: Shared lunch, followed by artists’ talk at The Green Bench (Burn Exhibition)

2:00-3:00pm: Short Presentations Session I (Moderator Stella Brennan)
1. Ian Clothier – Park Speaks (via skype from Pukeura park, New Plymouth)
2. Sally McIntyre – Visible City, Melbourne
3. Richard Edkins – Environments project
4. John Hopkins – Neoscenes
5. Kerry Ann Lee – Am Park Shanghai Project
6. Shane Farrow – The Film Archives + Digital Archiving
7. Gregers Peterson – Digital Archiving

3:00-3:30pm: Jude Chambers:
Introduction to CNZ’s new ‘Media arts’ Contestable Funding Category

3:30-4:00pm: Afternoon tea

4:00-5:00pm: ADA AGM (open to all ADA members)

6:00 – 7:00pm: Keynote presentation: Douglas Kahn ‘Music from Brains’ Imagine: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Chuck Berry and others on the television studio floor in 1972, electrodes clinging to their heads, making music with their brains. Draw the historical curtain back and find Norbert Wiener and John Cage, mentors of the physicist Edmond Dewan and the composer Alvin Lucier, respectively. Dewan had already performed his brainwaves on national television with Walter Cronkite in 1964, and Lucier composed his “brainwave piece”, Music for Solo Performer the following year. For each, brainwaves formed one flank of an audible and naturally-occurring electromagnetic spatiality, the other being on a geophysical scale, with the intervening space caught between Cold War and Counter-Culture.

Chair: Zita Joyce Respondent: Su Ballard

Douglas Kahn is Research Professor at the National Institute of Experimental Arts (NIEA), the University of New South Wales. Prior to NIEA, he was Founding Director of Technocultural Studies and Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (1999) and co-editor of Wireless Imagination (1992). Current projects include a book sourced from Source: Music of the Avant-garde, edited with the composer Larry Austin; a collection, edited with the art historian Hannah Higgins, of essays and documents on the arts and early computing, Mainframe Experimentalism; and a book on the arts and aesthetics deployed across the electromagnetic spectrum, Earth Sound Earth Signal, all for University of California Press.

7:30 – 8:30pm: Dinner

9.30 – 10.30pm: Energetics and Informatics Public Video Screening outside the Sarjeant Gallery

(artists and works in order of screening):
Amelia Hitchcock – The opposite of green 1:53
Karen Curley – Licht und Klang 3:00
Erin Coates – Voyage to the Common Wealth 4:10
Julian Priest – Information Comes from the Sun 2:00
Sophie Jerram – Refined Life 7:16
Brit Bunkley – Cargo Paradox of Plenty 3:00
Don Hunter – Carfall 2:00
Ubermorgen – DEEPHORIZON 3:33
Superflex – Burning Car 9:30
Dylan Thomas Herkes – Curse of The Tape Man! 2:33
Naomi Lamb live VJ performance to silence 10:00
Video stills (left to right): Amelia Hitchcock, ‘The Opposite of Green’; Dylan Thomas Herkes, ‘Curse of The Tape Man!’; Don Hunter, ‘Carfall’.

DAY 3 : Sunday, 12 December:

10:00 – 10.45am: Keynote presentation David Haines and Joyce Hinterding – The Sun
(Moderator Janine Randerson)

Joyce and David share a long standing interest in the energetic nature of the world and produce works based on experiments that come from firsthand experiences, sensations and an exploration of fundamental principles. This methodology often includes misunderstandings and subjective understandings that produce works that incorporate both truth and fiction. In this keynote, Joyce and David talk about how their work with the sun has been achieved through an expanded investigation of frequencies.

David Haines and Joyce Hinterding live and work in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Their collaborative work has produced large-scale immersive video and sound works that explore the tension between the fictive and the phenomenal. These works incorporate Joyce’s investigations into energetic forces and David’s concern with the intersection of hallucination and landscape. EarthStar was awarded an Award of Distinction at Ars Electronica, 2009. They are represented by Breenspace.

10.45 – 11.15am: Morning tea

11.15 – 12.30pm: Themed session – Energy Networks (Moderator Julian Priest)

Conversation: Scott Willis and Gregers Petersen

With the rise of renewable energy technologies there is renewed interest in convergence between the electricity networks and information networks and the potential for the emergence of a distributed energy infrastructure. As we approach this infrastructural change the session looks at parallels between the technological cultures around recent wireless community network initiatives and the upcoming community power generation projects. What are the social interrelationships that make the production of these forms of infrastructure possible?

Gregers Petersen is an anthropologist who explores notions of ownership and property in the boundary location between a free software project (OpenWrt.org) and commercial companies. The research is part of a large project focused on the intersection between open source software development, commercial interests and institutional entrepreneurs.  Gregers Petersen has a long lasting engagement in the world of free wireless networks, with strong ties to the Freifunk movement in Europe (freifunk.net) and the global WSFII network. He is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at Copenhagen Business School, Open Source co-ordinator of Denmark’s National Art Museum, and co-ordinator of Ungdomshuset Vegan Community Kitchen.

Scott Willis is Project Manager of Blueskin Power, a community initiated Renewable Generation project building a NZ blueprint for a resilient national energy system. He has an MA in social anthropology.

Julian Priest is an artist and independent researcher. He was co-founder of early wireless network community consume.net and an advocate for the freenetworking movement. He has been active in radio spectrum politics in support of an open spectrum in the public interest with OpenSpectrumUK.  His current artistic practice concerns the boundaries of technology and environment with a focus on energy, and expeditionary methodologies. He shows, performs and writes internationally, is director of the Green Bench project room in Whanganui, and board member of the Aotearoa Digital Arts Trust.

12.30 – 1.30pm: Shared lunch

1.30 – 2:30pm: Short Presentations Session II (Moderator Stella Brennan)

1. Jeff Nusz – Screens online gallery for art interactives (Remote presentation)
2. Sophie Jerram – Article Biennale (of temporary and unstable art) in Stavanger Norway
3. Naomi Lamb – Migration of a VJ
4. Pete Gray (WDC) – ‘Only connect!: Breaking down the digital barriers, one bit at a time.’
5. Trudy Lane – Preserving energy sources
6. Richard Thompson – Energy co-operative in Whanganui
7. Janie Walker – Hikurangi Foundation: Sustainability and climate change in Aotearoa NZ
8. Michael Poa – One River: the impact of hyrdro-electric power on the Whanganui River
2:30 – 3.00 Afternoon tea

3.00-4.30pm: Themed Session – Social Energy (Moderator Zita Joyce), participants:

Eric Kluitenberg – Electrosmog Festival of Sustainable Immobility
Caro McCaw – Storytelling, narrative and media art
Sally McIntyre – Social energy in / through radio and small-scale participatory media projects
John Hopkins – The architectures of participation

Network culture has quickly established itself over the last 20 years as a result of the technological innovations of the Internet and Digital Media. The spread of network technologies has been driven by people and the uses they put the new media to. ADA is itself a social network, based currently in both the technology of email, and the social connectivity of face to face meetings. This panel explores participatory art and media, and the social energy of symposia such as this, to examine how artists use social networks as a medium for art, and also a tool for support and connection.

This panel will begin with a presentation from Eric Kluitenberg, head of the media program at De Balie – Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam, reflecting on the complexities of generating and maintaining social energy across the distributed remote Electrosmog festival, in which ADA participated in March 2010.

4.30 – 6:00pm: Closing discussion: Implications of energy issues for current media art practices in New Zealand and elsewhere.

6:00pm: Conference closing, Dinner

DAY 4: Monday, 13 December :

10:00 – 12:00 Art and Energy: An open discussion and critique forum with Douglas Kahn and Caroline McCaw around individual artists / musicians / others works and how they respond to or relate to the themes of the symposium. All welcome, bring work (complete or in progress) and ideas to discuss. Forum will be held at The Green Bench, Guyton Street.

Download the Energetics and Informatics 2010 Programme