Art Papers

Building Possible Dreams

4 - 5 pm
Wednesday, 8 August
Room 30 A

Heitor Capuzzo
Professor and Director, midia@rte Laboratory, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Belo Horizonte, Brazil
hecapuzzo (at) yahoo.com

Never before in our history has media had such a strong effect on our lives as in the 21st century. Does digital media increase our understanding of life and culture? Is is possible to know ourselves better by recreating life in an artificial environment? Is the fascination with artificial worlds proof of our limited understanding of the "analog" human experience? It is possible to control and destroy cultures? When it happens, human heritage is impoverished, resulting in less diversity and less focus.

The digital media revolution is a kind of involution, a return to the type of colonial-era destruction that exploited continents. With the current level of destruction at its most intense, perhaps at its limit, our life experience is disconnected from the real world. Digital media can be a negative game, entertaining young people with virtual destruction, preparing them for analog wars, and a multifaceted complex system of economic domination. Misinformation, decreased plurality of viewpoints, increased disconnection with life, and the spectacularization of human experience are only some of the symptoms of the strategies used by the corporate media world. Our analog lives need analog values connected to nature and respect for our planet and its fragile resources. This must inform our digital world.


Identifying New Myths for Convergence and Creative Collaboration in the Age of Digitalia

Richard L. Loveless
Global Connections: Art and Technology Consulting Services
Arizona, USA
rloveless2 (at) cox.net

To assume that it is possible to predict the future of technological innovation beyond the next week, month, or year is sheer folly. To believe that our participation in endless think tanks, conferences, or seminars will shape a consensual vision, one that we all agree may be worth perpetuating, is merely an elitist group exercise in courage.

This paper proposes another scenario: that business, educational, and cultural institutions exist as the sum total of the myths they believe about themselves. In this context, myths are not only about who we are, they are essential to the development of all human understanding and belief systems. This practice is not to be confused with acquired situational narcissism, a self-bestowed sense of ingratiation, but a shared belief that the invention of new myths is an on-going design and discovery process unique to all sensing and feeling human beings. Such an enterprise evolves into the creation of enlightened and expressive forms through continuous real-time simulation of living and learning in the stacking of moments. The challenge is to prepare individuals to adapt to rapid changes, ones we can't even imagine: to prepare to be comfortable living through one's imagination; and to trust and embrace the inevitable transformations that will challenge future participatory energies.


Transdisciplinarity, Yesterday and Today

Carlos Antônio Leite Brandão
Presidente do Instituto de Estudos Avançados Transdisciplinares, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Belo Horzonte, Brazil
brandao (at) arq.ufmg.br

In the first section, this paper intends to show some symptoms and reasons for the advent of transdisciplinarity as a strategy of knowledge in the 21st century. In the second section, it develops the basis for a transdisciplinary attitude required to solve complex and contemporary problems, and to promote a new articulation among science, art, technology, and culture.


Around the Antenna Tree: The Politics of Infrastructural Visibility

Lisa Parks
University of California, Santa Barbara
California, USA
parks (at) filmandmedia.ucsb.edu

With the globalization of mobile telephony during the past two decades, cell towers have sprouted up across the world. The "unsightliness" of these towers has generated responses ranging from neighborhood protests to manufacturers' concealment strategies.

This paper explores the installation of towers in a variety of locations, from urban spaces to national parks, and considers how their emergence relates to a set of concerns about technology, knowledge, and power. In addition to examining cell towers in different environments, the paper describes various "concealment strategies," including covering towers in tree camouflages and hiding equipment in mosque minarets, flagpoles, birds' nests, and other hiding places. It explores what is at stake in hiding infrastructure and how such practices end up trading technological awareness for a highly synthetic version of "nature." By disguising infrastructure as part of the natural and/or built environment, concealment strategies keep citizens naive and uninformed about the network technologies they subsidize and use. Finally, the paper considers whether it might be possible to develop modes of affective engagement with infrastructure sites such as cell towers by discussing the work of artists such as Robert Voit (Enchanted Wood), Marijetica Potrč (Permanently Unfinished House with Cell Phone Tree) and Olaf Nicolai (Antenna Tree).