SOON: media arts


Perth’s digital biennale

BEAP 2002, The Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth, is already laying claim to being “the premiere electronic arts event in Australia.” If size matters, then BEAP already looks like the biggest of Australia’s smattering of digital arts events. As for how much of it will be about art, that remains to be seen. It’s the wide-ranging art-science-technology-education brief that BEAP has assigned itself that helps make for the size of the event, a reflection of the breadth of the impact of new media on older disciplines and the making of new art. Like the 2002 Adelaide Festival’s conVerge, with its focus on the much vaunted science-art nexus, BEAP promises a scientific bent. Paul Thomas, Director of the Biennale, has announced “that the inaugural thematic focus for BEAP is LOCUS—where we believe consciousness exists. This idea is being expanded through the developing biological relationship to consciousness, contrasted with the external input of the computer generated or augmented realities and their effects on consciousness.” It’s not surprising then that Consciousness Reframed, an annual international conference on its 4th outing, will be held in Australia for the first time and as part of BEAP. All the Biennale’s exhibitions will focus on aspects of consciousness: Immersion, at the John Curtin and spECtrUm Galleries, “explores our relationship with concepts of external virtual realities”; BioFeel, at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts “explores emerging relationships between art, biology and consciousness”; and Screen, at the John Curtin Gallery and other venues around Perth, “will focus on the relevant aspects of cinematic realities.” Other events include forums tackling developments in the relationships between art, technology, biology and consciousness; ethical questions of using living systems and biological technologies; current pedagogies and future possibilities of spatial practices in the arts; cinematic realities within the digital domain. BEAP 2002, July 31-Sept 15, http://www.beap.org

Big bad broadband?

Megan Heyward argues in her interview with Mike Leggett that “the added complexity and expense of the production process for broadband delivery (after shooting and editing, compressing, coding, hosting), and the specialised marketing required to actually get people to visit your site”, pose serious challenges for artists. The AFC, in association with the ABC, are much cheerier. With a series of capital city forums (Hobart and Darwin excepted), they plan “to inspire and encourage filmmakers, television producers, digital content creators, interactive media producers, animators, web designers and other creators of screen content to develop projects for broadband delivery.” Perhaps more inspiring is the announcement that funds will be available 2002-4 to help create interactive programs for broadband delivery. Less inspiring is the requirement that these innovative works “be designed for audiences or user groups in the areas of children, youth and education.” That’s going to leave a lot of artists out of the loop. Remember Creative Nation’s fatal splurge on the CD-ROM with many a turgid educational product. Doubtless, however, many an artist will be curious to hear what the AFC & ABC think broadband’s got to recommend it. The seminars will outline the Broadband Production Initiative and screen examples of interactive content.

More than a digital playground?

dLux media arts’ 5th d>art opens at Sydney’s MCA with a performance by Wade Marynowsky (Apocalypse Later) and the premiere of Mari Velonaki’s Mutual Exchange # Throw. There’ll be 2 forums: Debra Petrovitch and Danielle Karalus will ‘walk’ audiences through their CD-ROMs; and Nigel Helyer, Marynowksj and Velonaki will discuss experimental media—“digitally enhanced playgrounds or tools to reflect the magnitude of current affairs?” Seventeen screen works will be presented as part of the Sydney Film Festival before touring nationally. A Fun Night Out with Severed Heads (June 17, 8.45pm & June 19, noon) could turn out to be the highlight of this year’s d>art, with clips and tracks from this seminal underground music and v-jaying group. The d>ART02 web gallery will be launched June 13, housing web works from Canada, Australia, Germany and USA. d>art02 features gesturally interactive installations by Sophea Lerner (The Glass Bell, a giant touchscreen with water running down), Nathaniel Stern ([odys]elicit, viewer movements trigger stuttering text onscreen), and Mari Velonaki’s Mutual Exchange#Throw (soft satin ball interfaces with projected characters as targets). d>art02, from June 13.

RealTime issue #49 June-July 2002 pg. 22

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1 June 2002