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Archive for the ‘New Media Projects’ Category

Information visualization field is becoming more and more into the physical space. Sometimes as an everyday life practice and often in the form of an ambient object .

We can observe projects in which data about casualties in Iraq is visualized through a tatoo made on a man’s back, that  shows the relations between places, deaths and military operations; energy consumption data is undertaking collectively by illuminating the inside of the apartments in a community building with different light colors, and global warming awareness campaign in China, is realized by representing traffic CO2 emissions with a big black globe of “pollution” coming out from a real car’s pipe.

In the design field, ambient devices can show data about energy consumption at home. This objects that are increasingly becoming part of our home furniture, work always as a useful and expensive “behavior adviser” in order to “save energy”. In parallel, wearable data devices are commonly used by people as a way to communicate their own information with other people or to inform others about, for instance, the environmental noise level. By wearing clothes, jewelry, etc.. data is visualized with commercial purposes by companies or with technological goals by labs. Anyway, performing information visualization  can be a persuasive tool and can contribute to make people aware about different issues as Andrew Vande Moere explained in his last lecture at the SEE Conference last April (2010). Researchers, artists, activists and educators who work with software programs for turning numbers into images are also interested in making these images more effective and subsequently turn them into physical objects or performances. Persuasive visualization’s main goal is to make data visible and present.

It seems clear by following these examples, that the “performative turn” has become part of the Infovis field and that the  ubiquitous computing world is  integrated in new ways within the data information realm.  Data showed in these ways is blurring the boundaries between disciplines (architecture, data art, Infovis, locative media, geography, etc) and interests (commercial and academic). In this context  it is difficult to distinguish an efficient and proper information visualization project related to the performative  field.

Dance, for example, has always been one the artistic disciplines that has made use of data movement information to recreate and suggest new ways in which audience can perceive and experience movement, through bodies and in the space around us [1] .The goal is not exactly the same that the examples above. In dance, the visualization of the performance has always been related to the realm of human computer interaction in oder  to create closeness between dancers and audience. Gideon Obarzanek has worked on this kind of visualizations with interactive software and dancing movement. Based on aesthetic and kinesthetic stimulus, his work with the Chunky Move dance company, has created visualizations distributed into different layers of images and movement that “we cannot normally see but which we feel or know to exist”. It can be perceived as an aesthetic way to understand better the dancer’s movement and appreciate much more the movement generated. It is a sensitive way to complement the dance with visualizations that in several ways works as a feedback tool.

However, what about the other way around? How can we understand the movements of a dancing  performance not focus on an aesthetic experience but on the movements and rules that make a choreography of movement?. We cannot perceive every movement in the space in a choreographic performance. But  can we understand  the process of a choreography? Is it possible for us to understand dance in a scientific way?.  How can Infovis help us to understand  relational movement in space?

I propose in the following brief overview, to explore the connections between choreography of movements and information visualization within an educational research context, through a project that visualizes choreographic information in new ways, Synchronous Objects. This project is seeking to make dance accessible through visual communication techniques.  It  flows  from dance, to data, to  objects. Through visualizations in forms of information graphics, 2D and 3D animations and visual dance scores, an interdisciplinary team (choreographer William Forsythe, Ohio State University’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and the Department of Dance, Synchronous Objects) has develop a set of data visualization tools that can capture, analyze and present the choreographic structures and components of Forsythe’s “One Flat Thing, reproduced” (OFTr), which premiered in 2000. After 3-year collaboration, the project has involved a group of over 30 artists, dancers, designers and scientists who explain here their interdisciplinary research.

The dance piece is based on the idea of expressing and transforming the choreographic ideas behind William Forsythe’s dance  [2] explained through 20 visual objects, over 40 movies and 5 generative tools. The interesting thing is that the academic aim of this project is to make understandable dance and movement by using visualizations techniques; movement densities, annotations, generative tools and algorithms are used with this purpose. Forsythe says about the collaboration that his approach is  to put into question things like: “What else might this dance look like?” and “What else, besides the body, might physical thinking look like?. Specifically, the project wants to explain how the Forsythe’s “counterpoint” concept is performed by dancers. Movement material, cueing and alignment are the three systems that interact in form of themes (understood as  dancing movements). There are 25 themes which are recombined over the dance and also improvise movements that dancer can do “by translating specific properties of other’s performer’s motion into their own”.

Their data includes Spatial Data, tracking a single point of each dancer in three-dimensional space, and Attribute Data, “built from the dancers’ first hand accounts, such as when the gave or received a cue, what alignments they followed, when they were improvising and what themes they were performing in every second of the dance”. Forsythe’s dance is very related to time. To him, “bodies in dance are time machines, time is the exquisite product of dancing body” [3]. Erin Manning writes; “In Forsythe’s work, time-machines often stand-in as propositions for generating movement. Using both quantitative methods (clocks, watches, metronomes) and qualitative devices (varying the volume and melody of a voice while counting, altering the duration and rhythms of the counts), Forsythe plays with the double time of movement”. [4]

To Forsythe, choreography and dancing are two very different practices; “in the case that choreography and dance coincide, choreography often serves as a channel for the desire to dance. One could easily assume that the substance of choreographic thought resided exclusively in the body. But is it possible for choreography to generate autonomous expressions of its principles, a choreographic object, without the body?”.[5].

The intersection of this project in the new media field is that the use of media technologies  does not look for the common purpose of complementing the artistic performance or tracking the dancer’s body movements. Instead, dance as artistic experience is relegated and the concept of choreography is highlighted to get further insights. their purpose is  to reflect the challenge of “making dance knowledge explicit and sharing it not only on stage and in the studio (as we are accustomed) but also through media objects”[6].  This is perfectly reflected on the project team’s comments at their website, where it can be understood, that in this case, is not the art field that uses visualization techniques to improve their performance, but the dancing performance itself is deconstructed through visualization techniques to offer users, a better understanding of the movement executed. Thus, users are everybody who “doesn’t understand dance” and want to play with synchronous objects data. The project offers a fruitful understanding about what information visualization and art, as an interdisciplinary research is about.

[1] Manning, Erin Prosthetics Making Sense: Dancing the Technogenetic Body. Fibreculture Journal Issue 9. 2006 http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue9/issue9_manning.html

[2] Forsythe’s choreography is grounded in a deconstructive reconsideration of the possibilities of classical ballet structures and theatricality, innovative applications of improvisation which he and his ensemble have developed and refined in over two decades of sustained dance research, and an increasingly collaborative approach to producing choreography. Forsythe works engage deeply with performative conventions and the fields of contemporary visual arts, architecture, and interactive multimedia. In 1994, Forsythe authored a pioneering and award-winning computer application Improvisation Technologies: A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye which is used by professional companies, dance conservatories, universities, postgraduate architecture programs and secondary schools.

[3] Forsythe, William. Suspense, ed. Markus Weisbeck (Zurich: Ursula Blickle Foundation, 2008).

[4] Manning, Erin. Propositions for the Verge. William Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects Inflexions magazine, January 09.

[5] Forsythe, William. Choreographic Objects, 2009 at http://www.wexarts.org/ex/forsythe/

[6] Zuniga, Norah at http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2010/04/28/synchronous-objects-what-else-besides-body-might-physical-thinking-look

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We live in a constant struggle to steer through the big and varied torrent of data which is unleashed everyday. And data cover very different things. By following the Concise Lexicon for the Digital Commons created in 2001 by the contemporary art group Raqs Media Collective, data could be ‘artistically’ defined as follows: “Information. Can mean anything from numbers to images, from white noise to noise to sound. A weather report, a portrait, a shadow in surveillance footage, a salary statement, birth and death statistics, a headcount in a gathering of friends, private e-mail, ultra high frequency signals, sale and purchase transactions and the patterns made by pedestrians as they walk in a city – all of this can be and is data. Data, like coal, uranium and other minerals vital to the running of the world economy is mined, processed, refined and sold at a high price”.

Information visualization field has emerged as means not only to make the complex accessible and the incomprehensible understandable, but the hidden visible and the unmappable mappable. Contemporary information age creates what André Lemos has coined as informational territories; areas of control of digital information flow in an intersection with a physical area. Virtual, invisible, infinitely small or large, multidimensional, time-based, and even cultural and political spaces are the informational terrain for “invisible data mappers”, artists who use cartographic information or metaphors to visualize and re-visualize this territories of data. [1] These invisible spaces are the Internet together with the stock market, the human genome, the global corporate power or the electromagnetic space.

What are the different ways in which, for instance, the electromagnetic space can be visualized?. How do artists, activists or scientists deal with the goal of select, categorize and visualize data from this “invisible” space?. Which are the political implications of visualizing the radio spectrum?

An info-graphic based on research

Bureau d’ Etudes is a French collective that usually works with maps from a critical political perspective in order to present new ways of understanding the networked economy and power that rules the world. In 2008, they presented a research project called Skrunda Signal in the context of an Art & Communication exhibition in RIGA. The project was based on several issues related to the spectral ecology. The research resulted into a map (info graphic) complemented with videos. The map positioned the city of Skundra, in Latvia, in relation with its electromagnetic pollution and the electromagnetic myths derived from its Soviet past of Radio Location Station (RLS). In fact, the intent was to encourage the debate of technical, geopolitical and spectro-ecological aspects of electromagnetic radiation by taking into account all the agents involved in the creation of the powerful radar of Skundra RLS, as well as the radar’s regular transmissions and signals and its negative effects on people’s health and behaviours: “signals of this nature are ‘blamed’ for affecting the way the people behave – they can effect the ability to be calm, the ability to rationalize… After having interviewed Skrunda researchers, it became clear, that Soviets (at least in Skrunda case) were more interested in developing ‘cold war’ weapons and espionage tools, and not in mind-controling experiments…”

The map resulted showed what effects such facilities can have on nature and humans living in their everyday surroundings. By developing a critical and political position of this military use of the electromagnetic space, the artists opened a debate about the use and effects of this informational territory by governments. They visualized the agents and actors involved in this network, and gave attention to the relations and effects generated by presenting the data obtained from their research. The info-graphic resulted from this investigation is a ‘static map’ that only can be well-perceived in person, that is to say, by observation of the content in an exhibition, where the map is reproduced in a higher scale to make it understandable.

An interactive visualization of the electromagnetic space

There is another visualization technique that goes beyond info-graphics, in terms of aesthetics, interaction and availability. In this context, we are talking about information visualization digital techniques and the use of visual metaphors to make sense of complex data located in “invisible” spaces. The Atlas of Electromagnetic Space is an interactive visualization of the Radio Spectrum available on the Internet. This project has been developed by Bestiario in 2008 and it presents several things at the same time. On the one hand, the project is a clear and comprehensible representations of how the spectrum works scientifically. Furthermore, it shows its relationship with our everyday life technologies like Wifi, Mobile, Bluetooth, etc… On the other hand, these spaces are related to an artistic archive that allows users to know projects and interventions in Hertzian Space that can make easier to understand and represent this complex informational phenomena.

The importance of aesthetics in this project provides a good example for understanding how information aesthetics bridges the gap between functional and artistic intents of visualization. Compare to the previous example, we can easily understand the differences between information visualization and information aesthetics, term coined by Lev Manovich in 2002 in his essay ‘The Anti-Sublime Ideal in Data Art’. That means that by focusing on aesthetics as an independent medium that augments information value and task functionality, visualization techniques have been opened to interdisciplinary discourse that engages with design, art, communities and scientific research at the same time.[2]

Data art and the invisible space of radio frequencies.

Visualization art (data art) can be seen as the last step in this categorization of visual representations of data from the electromagnetic space. The understanding of data as “space” and the creation of visual relationships from non visual phenomena finds on the visual metaphor, its more accurate way to express the subjective experience of our information society.

Bubbles of radio is a project developed by Ingeborg Marie Dehs Thomas based on the idea of our sensory perception of the electromagnetic space. Inspired by richly illustrated books of botany, zoology and natural history, the artist created in 2008 a selection of fictional species drawings that visualize the ways in which technologies like Wifi, RFID or GSM inhabit space. She used a critical visual design for the bubbles and related them to different visual scales that indicates proportions of the “invisible space” occupied by these technologies. She compared scales between people, mobiles and buildings.

Artist’s intention was not to offer accurate actionable information but to open the debate of the radio spectrum into the tangible and physical. She focused mainly on artistically conceived project in order to reflect and consider radio as something to be experienced by the senses and not only through the screen. That is what makes of this project a visualization within the data art field.

Through this reflection on how electromagnetic space can be mapped in different ways, my aim is to show the wide range of possibilities that information visualization techniques can be applied by artists to open political and technological debates. Mapping data into visual forms has become a way of making sense of things through visualizations maps and more abstract or conceptual visual representations. The huge data landscape can be mined, visualized and in some cases, experienced. These three projects pretend to be an example of how information visualization can be a socially engaged discipline that contributes to open invisible spaces dominated by power that should be better understood in order to be reclaimed by people.


[1] D’Ignazio, C “Art and Cartography”. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, Waltham, MA, USA. 2009

[2] Lau, A & Vande Moere, A. “Towards a Model of Information Aesthetics in Information Visualization”. Key centre of Design Computing & Cognition. University of Sydney, Australia, 2007. Accesed at http://web.arch.usyd.edu.au/~andrew/publications/iv07.pdf

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Personas is a student’s project developed in the MIT Media Lab that shows people how Internet sees them. Using a language processing, computer creates a data profile of your online identity, when entering your name. The program attempts to characterize the person from a massive corpus of data, so most of the times, the personal profile generated not corresponds with your own view. This is because Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. [1]

“Apparatus” and the destruction of the individuation process.

The machine cannot distinguish our personal information from other people who has a similar or the same name. To Giorgio Agamben, a leading Italian philosopher and political theorist,  this computer, as an “apparatus”,  literally has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions or discourses of living beings. [2]. So, he understands the medium as something that distorts the facts. A camera is an apparatus too, but to Agamben, photography explains another point of view of this relation between human and  the medium; when you take a picture of you and you watch it in the actual context, and this “now” refers to another time, according to Agamben, you see a “certain exigency”. The photograph demands something from us. The apparatus is asking us something about ourselves.  At the same time that offers you an image of yourself, asks you something about how are you. In this sense, the Personas project computer intercepts, controls and models -as it is showed in the example below-,  our behaviors, opinions, and discourses. Furthermore, it arouses new vision of your own idea of yourself. It makes you think about your diagram. Enter your name in Personas. Do you recognize yourself?. How much truth does it reflect?.

agambenbuena

Even more, Agamben will suggest that today there is a destruction of the individuation process of our “singular special being”. Transformed by apparatus, not only technological but political, social, etc… there is the reduction from the special to the personal. There is a shift from singularity to particularity. The personal profile resulted, lack of gesture and expression of genius (understood as a potential feature of the individuation process for achieving the special being of everyone), could have its more recognizable example in our online identities in Internet. We show ourselves to the world in a tagged way.

The question of experience

Another question that gives rise to Agamben’s idea is how many of our “tags” reflects a real experience. People has lost the experience as a knowledge. For the modern man, experience is not longer accessible. Benjamin Walter claimed this idea in 1933 within the concept of “poverty of experience”. Moreover, to Agamben, the destruction of experience not longer necessitates a catastrophe and that humdrum daily life in any city will suffice. For modern man’s average days contains virtually nothing that can still be translated into experience. Neither reading the newspaper with its abundance of news that is irretrievably remote from his life, nor sitting for minutes on end at the wheel of his car in a traffic jam. Neither the journey through the nether world of the subway, nor the demonstration that suddenly block the streets. Neither the cloud of tear gas slowly dispersing between the buildings of the city center, nor the rapid blasts of gunfire from who knows where; nor queuing up at a business counter, nor visiting the land of Cockayne at the supermarket, nor those eternal moments of dumb promiscuity among strangers in lifts and buses. Modern man makes his way home in the evening wearied by a jumble of events, but however entertaining or tedious, unusual or commonplace, harrowing or pleasurable they are, non of them will have become experience.[3]

It sounds pesimistic, and of course it is but to Agamben, that doesn’t mean that today there are no experiences, he argues that they are enacted outside the individual. So, where do we transfer the experience? Do we loose it through the mediums?. Do we really experience those items; books, travel, movies, politics?. Being turists we often let  the camera have the experience  insteadd of ourselves and we losse it since the moment we look the picture through the  viewfinder.

If the destruction of our special beings implies the destruction of our capacity to see into ourselves, thus, understand the others, to Agamben, there is no form of political or ethical responsability. This situation lead us to live in a permanent State of Exception, that is his starting point of his political approach.

The language and the apparatuses of media

What does it happening today that causes this lack of “freedom to be humans, to live”? Of course, capitalism, that according to Agamben, is nothing but a system for capturing things, objects and people, in order to remove all possibility for singular use. Any aspect of life is available for control. In its extreme phase, capitalism is nothing but a gigantic apparatus for capturing pure means, that is, profanatory behaviors. That means, in a philosophical point of view, that profanation -as a technical juridical concept-  removes  the use of something from the original use by  man.

According to Agamben’s idea, the media, and particularly, the global audiovisual technical system aim precisely at neutralising this profanatory power of language as pure means, at preventing language from disclosing the possibility of a new use. For writing (any writing, not only the writing of the chancellors of the archive of infamy) is an apparatus too, and the history of human beings is perhaps nothing other than the hand-to-hand confrontation with the apparatuses they have produced – above all with language. [4]

If language is a pure mean for humans to be humans, and it is reduced and profaned by consumption, what is the importance of the computer language machine in a new media context?. Are the hackers and programmers the only ones who manage this language?. Are the digital illiterate people (most in the world) without tools to be humans, to be “connected”?

Language for Agamben, can be the image and place of justice, but only because language is an instance of what can exist outside representation as property- information.

Where do we go?

Many questions can be asked. But it seems clear that according to Agamben, a transformation of the conditions of individuation in a individual, technical and collective way is need to be done in order to permit any future for politics, and of course for a real life for the human being. Quoting Mackenzie Wark: “Diagrams for this time, in which the true is merely a moment of the false, for turning the false again itself, one might need to consider them, as incomplete diagrams”. [6]


[1] PERSONAS Website http://personas.media.mit.edu/

[2] Agamben, Giorgio. What is an apparatus? and other essays, 2009. Stanford University Press.

[3] Agamben, Giorgio. Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience, 1993.

[4] Agamben, Giorgio. Profanations, 2007.

[5] Agamben, Giorgio. The Man without Content, 1999.

[6] Nettime: BioPolitical Tattoing, 2004. http://www.mail-archive.com/nettime-l@bbs.thing.net/msg01597.html

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A smart artist makes the machine do the work

Cornelia Sollfrank

German artist Cornelia Sollfrank’s career has been linked to hacking, conceptual art, cyberfeminism and net.art. Since the nineties, she examines the digital cultural techniques of copying and the machine-supported production in order to question the traditional models of authorship through methods like appropriation, repetition or plagiarism.

An example that seems significant is her project net.art generator. This is a computer program which collects and recombines material from the Internet to create a new website or a new image. The program requires the user to enter a title which then functions as the search keyword, and to enter a name as the author. The resulting images and websites are stored online an archived from where they can be downloaded. Since 1999, when Sollfrank launched her first version, five different versions of the “machine” had been realized in collaboration with different programmers.

Few artists have explored the Western concept of originality as Cornelia Sollfrank. She has been working in the last few years contributing with irony and humor to the topical discussion of authorship. Her work means a constant challenge that culminate in a conflict with intellectual property and copyright assumptions and the complex rules and regulations governing laws related to them. Her appropriation strategy undoubtedly reflects that the question of authenticity appears obsolete in the present-day remix culture, as Sabine Himmelsbach (artistic director at Edith-Russ-Site for Media Art) pointed out in the preface…

It has often been suggested that art is simply there and not subject to any rules, especially “good” art. This vehement negation of an existence of rules for art is what makes it necessary for me to seek out these rules and visualize them with artistic means. Repetition is an obvious choice, because it directly causes the disruption of the mechanisms important to the art system. And sometimes it is not even necessary to repeat, but simply appropriate what has been repeated by others. Cornelia Sollfrank, 2008.

Expanded Original, is the recently-published catalog on the occasion of her exhibition Original and other fakes from January 24 to April, 19, 2009 at the Edith Russ Site for Media Art in the german city of Oldenburg. This book documents this exhibition and includes essays by Sabine Himmelsbach, Javob Lillemose, Rahel Puffert, Gerald Raunig, Silke Wenk.

In Original and other fakes exhibition, the viewer was surprised by the presentation of  classical paintings and sculptures, located in the top floor of this media art institution. All them were loaned by Oldenburg museums and the visitors were invited to go through the different spaces of the gallery, as if those spaces were spaces for discussion for the aesthetic, medial and juristic conditions under which these works were copied, reproduced and distributed by Cornelia’s proposal.

Disscusing about the idea of the devaluation of originality, the artist, in a continuation of the MuseumShop project begun in 2007, showed a video for understanding the professional reproductions standard procedure -the marking of copyrighted digital images with a logo or “watermark” thus making them unusable for other purpouses-, carried out by a museum photographer. Furthermore, there is a “Contract Space” which offered to the viewers the possibility of reading a number of contracts that define the conditions at which the reproductions can be feed into the commercial cycle. Finally, the central component is the Web Shop of the stock photography agency created by Sollfrank in 2007, where the contents are offered for sale. Whoever wants to see or own their works without the “watermark” must pay for it, as it is adviced in the catalog text.

fake1

As Jacob  Lillemose pointed out in this publication, Sollfrank’ net.art generator has become one of the most complex and intriguing “escape attempts” from the cultural logic of authorship to come out of contemporary art. However, Sollfrank goes beyond “The Death of the Author” declared by Roland Barthes in 1967. Furthermore, Sollfrank’s work is directly related to Walter Benjamin’s concept of “similar” which are the things that exist in numerous specimen, the opposite to the unique or what Benjamin calls the “maximal unique” elevated in the auratic area of the art works.

Lillemose  analyses another Sollfrank’s exhibition called This is not by me.  The leitmotiv of this project is the art of another artist, Andy Warhol and his flower prints. Warhol’s prints are based on an appropriated photograph of another artist, Patricia Caulfield, and it is not a coincidence that Sollfrank chose this art work for developing and expanding the matter further; changing an image production with an industrial age machine as Warhol did with Amiga computer, but using a networked machine without any centre of control, not paying attention to the debate of originality and genious.

This is not by me flower images exhibition was complemented with several videos of Sollfrank  presenting her work to four different lawyers, asking them to comment on it. And finally, a video entitled “I don’t know” (1968/2006) that is a staged interview with Andy Warhol for which Sollfrank used parts of old interviews with the artist and combined them with new shots. His responses to Sollfrank’s questions about how he understand copyright and property are mostly “yes”, “not” or “I don’t know”. She asks him if he would accept the reworkings of his images by the net.art generator and he answered affirmative. Those videos extend the challenge to the level of a philosophical, a legal and an aesthetic discourse.

legal perspective

Sollfrank has another interesting work that involves the generative art with the generator, Female Extension. This project resulted from a fake registration of almost 300 women in a net.art competition called Extension sponsored by Galerie der Gegenwart, in Hamburg, all made by Sollfrank. She invented profiles for all those women artist and the machine did the artistic works of all them. The cultural institution announced its satisfaction for the high number of women who submitted their works in the contest. Nonetheless the three winners were men. Was at that moment when Cornelia make public that she was responsible for all the registrations and her work became an absolute scandal.

In a later interview, Sollfrank claimed that she did it because I thought it was silly that a museum would stage a Net art competition. For me, Net art has nothing to do with museums and galleries and their operations, their juries and prizes, because it goes against the nature of Net art. Net art is simply on the Net; so there’s no reason for a museum or for a jury that decides what the best Net art is.

The final essay of this book, signed by the artist and entitled “Early influences, late consequences or: why machines did it for me” is the final “acting out” of Cornelia, because after an exact reading of the text, you  are not sure  about the structure  and truthfullness of the text and you will be tempted to wonder about its real authorship. Possibly you read a word game resulted from another art generator. Or not?

Review of Expanded ORIGINAL. Cornelia Sollfrank, 2009

Ed. / Hrsg. Sabine Himmelsbach
for the Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst

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Trama Virtual (TV):

This is a Brazilian net label founded in 2004 as part of Trama, one of the largest recording studios in Brazil. Trama Virtual is a web-based distributor for independent musicians. Trama Virtual allows free music downloads and pays artists directly through advertising revenue from different sponsors that change every two or three months; Ray- Ban Sunglasses, Banco Real or Sol Brazilian beer are some of them. Trama Virtual has uploaded more than 35,000 songs by 14,000 Brazilian artists. Its database is one of the biggest about Brazilian music. The web has around 150.000 downloads of songs or videos every month. The interesting thing is how they have created a business model that makes everyone win: users, artists, and sponsors. Every month the sponsor total sum is divided among the most popular artists who have been downloaded. The total amount of money earned by sponsorship and the download numbers are showed on the website permanently. The new model for music business is a good idea in order to pay the creators of the cultural product. It is not a great deal because the amount paid to them is not so much, but is a good option for independent musicians for distributing their works.

Techno Brega:

This Brazilian network brings together Brega-style DJs and musicians who perform at parties and weekly concerts to finance their operations. They distribute their music to make their network known and give street vendors the rights to sell their personalized CDs. At a mere US$1.50, the CDs are highly affordable by the local population, thus providing greater access to the music at a grassroots level. For independents, they enjoy widespread popularity. Techno Brega reflects the philosophy of Brazil’s Ex-Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, who supports new policies that have made copyright more flexible, such as the Creative Commons, a free tool for licensing intellectual property. Since Techno Brega does not have a Website, the network has not been able to expand further.

Tecno Brega and its alternative business model has emerged in the city of Belem in Brazil. This parallel music industry has been active for years and has achieved great success. Several hundred new Tecno Brega records are produced and released every year by local artists, with both the production and distribution-taking place outside of the mainstream music industry. The tecno brega model is simple: the music lies outside the realm of traditional copyright and is used as a method of marketing events. Every weekend the “sound system” parties attract thousands of people to the outskirts of Belem to listen to the Tecno Brega “sound system” weekly parties. The parties are advertised by the distribution of the music itself. The numbers are incomplete, but the Belem scene alone brings in yearly revenues of several million US dollars.

The goal is not for artists to make money on conventional CD sales. Instead, the price charged works exclusively as an incentive for the local vendors to sell the CDs and in effect market the tecno brega parties. The artists thus make money through innovative business models related to the sound system parties. One such example consists of artists recording their live concert sets at the parties in real time and then selling the recordings at the conclusion of the event. This enables the audience to go home with a souvenir of the concert they have just attended. Another technique utilized by the artists is to acknowledge the presence of various people and neighborhoods in the course of the live presentations. Hearing such acknowledgment is greatly valuable to the audience– naturally people want to hear a “shout out” to them, their friends, or their neighborhood. As a result, thousands of people buy copies of the live CDs to have a permanent memoir of this form of homage.

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Tecno Trecos was an art and technology exhibition that ocurred in Brazília during the Art and Technology Week in June, 2007. TVLATA project was showed from its analogical point of view. Daniel Miracle, from Neokinok Tv, presented an analogical process for building an experimental television, using the cameras made of tin and cans that the students and teachers from the project had created.

tvlataBrasilia0

tvlatabrasilia2

Etienne Delacroix (click and you see his internet platform for collaborative research called The Next Layer), presented a project  related to electronic devices made of electronic rubbish.

Mariana Manhaes, a brazilian artist who gives voice and movement to our daily objects at home. She does it by building some odd machines made with electronic circuits, wires, movement mechanisms and small TVs, through which the cups and teapots speak and come to our world.

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TVLATA is an educational and creative experience in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Development field, created in 2007 for young people who belong to a brazilian civil society organization called Bagunçaço. The project is located in Alagados, a suburb of Salvador de Bahía city, in the Northeast of the country. This experimental television project has been developed by Neokinok.Tv, an audiovisual-experimental and artistic collective settled in Barcelona, Spain.

tvlata

The idea of the project came up in 2006 while I was working for the Spanish Agency of Cooperation for Development (AECID), the institution that put the project in motion and gave to them the economic support.

From that moment on, the objective is to implement an experimental television platform whose digital contents – texts, images, music and videos- are all made by the students with the assistance and supervision of their teachers and trainers. In the TvLata Laboratory, students use new media technologies and Web 2.0 resources to create their own audiovisual television programs. As well, they have their own blogs to post information and a radio for showing their musical recordings. One of the most interesting achievements has been taught  them how to make a streaming on line program, that allow them to make live programs too. We did not pay attention to their lack of knowledge or skills in order to motivate them all to enrol the project. They designed the logo, they have intensively participated in the process of designing the web and they choose the contents of the television.

Since the beginning of the project, the main intention was to offer them (involved in an entertaining and easy environment) a digital culture formation in order to contribute to their knowledge about the power of the civil society in the new media, the main differences between traditional and new media or subjects like “what it means to have a voice in the world wide web for expressing themselves”.

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