Eric Kluitenberg on Tue, 16 Mar 2010 05:31:18 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime-ann> Final Call: Highlights of the ElectroSmog festival


Final Call: Highlights of the ElectroSmog festival

ElectroSmog - International Festival for Sustainable Immobility

Amsterdam / New York / Madrid  / Riga / London / Banff  / New Zealand / Munich / & on-lIne 

March 18 – 20, 2010

The ElectroSmog festival develops a critique of the worldwide explosion of mobility, and investigates the oldest promise of the information age that new communication technology could lead to a radical reduction of hyper mobility, without giving up our connections to the rest of the world. 

The simple question if communication technology can help us to do something about the continuous growth of mobility reveals a world of complexity: Do these new technologies not lead to a dramatic increase of electro-magnetic pollution ("electrosmog" - think of the discussion around umts transmitters)? And isn't the desire for physical encounter actually heightened by all these new connections, leading to more travel instead of less? When is a remote experience rich enough so that a physical encounter is not always necessary? How do we design sustainable immobility? 

The format of the festival is an exploration of sustainable immobility in itself. As a collaborative project it is developed by a network of organisations and initiatives spread over more than ten countries and 5 continents. No one is allowed to travel and all connections are established on-line. 

ElectroSmog offers a diverse program with art projects by among others  Bureau des Etudes, Karen Lancel en Hermen Maat, Costas Bissas, Esther Polak, Jon Cors and Kai-Oi Jay Yung, Sean Kerr, Kevin McCourt, live performances, screenings, book and project-presentations, and a series of live connected thematic discussions with participants from 5 continents, covering a time-difference of 20 hours.

De Balie in Amsterdam is the initiator of the ElectroSmog festival and a central node in this extensive international network. The aim is locally to stage an intimate festival that links, reproduces and multiplies itself via the various participating locations. The festival can be followed on-line in its entirety, where audiences can actively contribute to discussions, follow live webcasts, or alternatively can participate via virtual theatres set up in second life. 

The ElectroSmog festival brings together a broad coalition of designers, environmentalists, urban and spatial planners, technologists, artists, theorists, and engaged and concerned citizens, to explore and ‘design’ sustainable immobility.    


High-lights from the festival program:


The ElectroSmog festival-program is organised around a series of interlocking thematic programs, discussions and debates.

Around this main program a host of satellite events is organised locally and translocally, including

• Art projects and local interventions

• On-line projects and environments designed specifically for the festival.

• ElectroSmog Specials: book presentations and screenings

• A program of connected and localised workshops

Local Venues & Ticket Information:


• Bureau des Etudes:
  Electro-Magnetic Propaganda - the statement of industrial dogma

A downloadable do-it-yourself exhibition.
Locations: Amsterdam (exhibition) / on-line

The art collective Bureau des Etudes (Paris/Strasbourg) created an enigmatic mapping of the influence of electromagnetic waves on the biological body. This map is now transformed for the ElectroSmog festival into a downloadable exhibition to print out and display in your own locality. The exhibition and download URL will be launched at the start of the festival.

“Humanity has known electromagnetic waves for a century, but their massive use for technical applications only began with the Second World War. Since then, the density of electromagnetic radiation has doubled every four years, and electromagnetic pollution has been multiplied a hundredfold over the past thirty years. Medical and epidemiological research has accumulated over the past few decades showing the destructive effects of these fields on our organisms, affecting our health or even modifying our ways of apprehending the world.” (B.d.E.)

See also:

• TeleTrust
  Participatory performance by Karen lancel & Hermen Maat

Daily: 9.00 – 11.00 & 20.00 – 22.00 hrs CET (GMT+1)
Venues: De Balie, Amsterdam / Banff Center for the Arts / Dunedin, New Zealand

Artists Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat are conducting a series of networked performances in public spaces involving a wearable ‘data-veil’ that covers the entire body. The veil is touch sensitive allowing the wearer to trigger stories he/she can listen to inside the veil, while the audience observes the same stories on public screens and via the web. All stories are interviews conducted around the public performances with the TeleTrust veil, and centre on issues of trust and veiled presence in public space: “Do I need to see your eyes in order to trust you?” How is trust established under veiled conditions?
The project can also be seen as a metaphor for the hidden presence of people in digital networks, where ‘the design of trust’ (Nevejan) remains a highly problematic issue.

The performance will be staged simultaneously in Banff, Canada, Dunedin, New Zealand and Amsterdam, The Netherlands – covering a time-zone stretch of 20 hours.

• Urban Wilderness Action Center – John Cohrs (with Eyebeam New York)

Venues: Eyebeam, New York / Skulpturenpark Berlin / De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: London
Online linkup between New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam  and elsewhere will take place at 21.00 CET (GMT+1).
Follow live updates from each city on Twitter at #uwac from 15.00 – 24.00 CET (GMT+1).

The Urban Wilderness Action Center (UWAC) is a project initiated by Eyebeam alum Jon Cohrs, in collaboration with the Eyebeam Student Residents (New York), Eyebeam Education Coordinator Stephanie Pereira, and Kai-Oi Jay Yung (UK). The UWAC project includes a web platform and a day of action where people from NYC, Berlin, and London will work together to design and disseminate specific guerrilla gardening projects.

• NomadicMILK project

Art project and installation by Esther Polak
Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam (exhibition)

The NomadicMILK project is a quest in the tradition of landscape painting. Based on a collaboration between the artist, robot engineers, anthropologists, documentary makers and philosophers, the project triggers new consciousness with new means.
NomadicMILK project tracked the daily routes of two milk related economies between January and December 2009 in Nigeria. 
The resulting installation  depicts the nomadic life of cow herders versus truckers by visualising their routes, stories and daily life.

This installation is related to the theme program "Food and global mobility", Saturday March 20, 16.00 - 18.00 CET (GMT+1).
Join the on-line discussion in preparation of this program here:

• LocalSoundScapes

Sound project created by Costas Bissas
Locations: Amsterdam / Forres / on-lne

LocalSoundScapes is a collection of geography specific audio recordings created from the activities and processes of local businesses and their surrounding natural environment. The recordings reveal otherwise inconspicuous practices of everyday life and moments from the creation of various products.
The project uses binaural microphone recordings to immerse the audience in the 3D sonic environment of the greater area of Forres in the highlands of Scotland.
Supported by Distance Lab.


• Virtual theatres and second life hubs

The live-streams of the ElectroSmog festival will be streamed at a number of virtual theatres and public spaces in open sims and second life.  At these meta-locations various art projects and on-line performances will be staged along and in-between the ElectroSmog programs.
Meta.Live.Nu 3D-Lab-Camp in Second Life.
Eyebeam has its own island in Second Life, and plans to stream their New York activities on the Island, as well as host a performance by Second Front ( during the festival.

Live performance art in the user created virtual world Second Life:

Saturday march 20:

19:30 CET (=SL 10:30 PST)  Ze Moo - "The Future of Social Mass Media" on Ameland sim. thanks to

20:00 CET (=SL 11:00 PST) Avatar Orchestra Metaverse - Audio-visual performance with virtual music instruments on secret sim. Audience welcome at:

20:30 CET (=SL 11:30 PST) Second Front - Conceptual live performance on Eyebeam sim


• Korawiki – Kete of Remote Artworks wiki

A catalogue of projects from Aotearoa New Zealand using communications technologies to present, perform, and collaborate over time and distance.

• M4RI ( Music 4 Remote Improvisation) Ping Pong Pop

A collaborative sound project by Sean Kerr.
Four online multi-user sound nerds, performing from their bedroom, pinging each other sine wave tone with a few pops, bells and whistles.

• ‘Backyard Dances’
   - being everywhere at once, while staying at home, in our own backyard.
Becca Wood + globally distributed collaborators

‘Backyard Dances’ transports the backyard as actuated space for live choreography using web cameras, chat rooms, transcriptions, the imagination, text to speech software and the dancing body.

• Klanggang / Soundwalk
  Sam Hamilton and Luke Munn

Two iconic streets from Auckland and Berlin are sonified and mapped in this web-based project, allowing users to explore the echoes and architecture of two spaces at once.


Thursday March 18 

• Global perspectives on hyper-mobility
  10.00 – 12.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Delhi / Dhaka / Nairobi

A live-connected panorama of the worldwide mobility crisis: Global responses from a local perspective, drawing on first-hand impressions from some of the hotbeds of mobility-out-of-control, around the globe.  Responses from among others Dhaka, Nairobi, Delhi, London, The Netherlands. Filtered, edited and commented by urban researchers and activists.
Aarti Sethi, film maker, Sarai media lab, Delhi
Mongrel Cities (Sarai media lab)
Ralf Graf, SasHivi Media, Nairobi
Partha Pratim Sarker, co-founder of the South Asian network Bytes for All – Computing and the internet for the majority of the world, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Program host: Eric Kluitenberg, De Balie, Amsterdam.

• Witnessed Presence
  Research presentation and discussion, hosted by Caroline Nevejan
  13.00 – 15.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Cambridge

Caroline Nevejan will present the extensive research she has been developing on witnessed presence and system engineering since the Fall of 2008, together with members of the Autonomous Systems group at Delft University of Technology, artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines.  A scientific site is made on which the research design, academic publications as well as the source material of 21 interviews and work of 4 artists can be accessed:
With Mediamatic Lab an experimental site is being made to unfold knowledge from academia, the professional realm and the arts in relation to one another. This work in progress can be accessed at:


Dr. Caroline Nevejan

Debra Solomon reflects in her work on urban agriculture and the formats in social structures that human beings need to be able to sustain and participate such communities of practice. 
Debra Solomon’s contribution to this research can be found at:
Debra Solomon’s work can be found at:

Remote presentation: Dr. Satinder Gill, Center for Music and Science at Cambridge University.
The interview with Dr. Satinder Gill that took place in the context of this research will become available at:

Ronald Ophuis paints scenes of suffering and victimisation. 
Ronald Ophuis contribution to this research can be found at:
Ronald Ophuis work can be found at:

Dr. Martijn Warnier – Leaving the comfort zone
This presentation focuses on the role of values in systems design, discussing the role of collaborative, interdisciplinary research along the way.
The interview with Martijn Warnier that took place in the context of this research can be accessed at:
Homepage of Martijn Warnier:×7e/

The session concludes 14.45 with closing statements on 4 dimensions

• Hyper-mobility and the urban condition
  16.00 – 18.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: De Balie, Amsterdam / Medialab Prado Madrid

Hyper-mobility poses a myriad of challenges for urban planners: How is urban planning responding to conditions of hyper-mobility? Are networking technologies playing a role in policies and actions? Can technology offer solutions in the urban zones most affected by the mobility catastrophe?

Bas Boorsma, Director, Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco, on Connected Urban Development (CUD):

 Nerea Calvillo & Medialab Prado, Madrid
In the air -  a visualisation project which aims to make visible the microscopic and invisible agents of Madrid’s air (gases, particles, pollen, diseases, etc), to see how they perform, react and interact with the rest of the city. The project proposes a platform for individual and collective awareness and decision making, where the interpretation of results can be used for real time navigation through the city, opportunistic selection of locations according to their air conditions and a base for political action.”

Jean-Paul Close: Stad van Morgen (Tomorrow’s City)
A network of profits and non-profits for sustainable renewal of urban conditions set up from the city of Eindhoven.

Martijn de Waal,  writer, researcher, curator and consultant based in Amsterdam, specialised in the relation between technology, media and society.

• City & country branding debate
   Discussion hosts: Merijn Oudenampsen & Ana Méndez
   21.00 – 23.00 CET (GMT+1)
   Venues: De Balie, Amsterdam / Eyebeam, New York / Medialab Prado Madrid / ADA Network, New Zealand

City and regional branding strategies contribute disproportionally to increased travel and mobility, both for touristic purposes as well as for professional travel and conference-mania. In a broader sense the critique of city branding addresses the question of whether it is a good idea to profile a cities as products (in an international market) instead of living environments for its inhabitants?
Is an ecologically more responsible approach possible? Are cities and regions economically viable at all without effective branding and promotion strategies?

Daniel van der Velden, designer and writer, Meta-haven, Brussels / Amsterdam
Beka Economopoulos, Not An Alternative, New York
Jason Jones, Not An Alternative, New York
Ana Méndez, Observatorio Metropolitano, Madrid
Isidro López, Observatorio Metropolitano, Madrid
Eva Ramos López, Town Planning and Housing Area, Madrid City Council
Merijn Oudenampsen, Amsterdam
Essay: On Dog Shit and Open Source Urbanism
Damoclash, Amsterdam
Invited responses from the ADA network, New Zealand

Friday March 19

• Deep local and remote technologies
  10.00 – 12.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: ADA Network, New Zealand / De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Montréal / Forres

What does it mean to become Deep Local (again)? How can we reconnect to the local, without giving up the rest of the world and without burning up the last remaining carbon-hydrates? Can we reconnect the remote by means of the new networking and communication technologies without ravaging the environment? Can traditional life-styles be accommodated with global connectivity?

Stefan Agamanolis, director of Distance Lab, Forres, Scotland.
Julian Priest, artist and director of The Green Bench
Matthew Biederman, artists and team member of the Arctic Perspectives project, an international group of individuals and organisations whose goal is to promote the creation of open authoring, communications and dissemination infrastructures for the circumpolar region.
Susan Kennard, former director Banff New Media Institute. (tbc)
Hosted by: Zita Joyce & Eric Kluitenberg

• Designing for (im)mobility
  Hosted by: John Thackara
  13.00 – 15.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: De Balie Amsterdam / Land of NoR: Virtual World

ICT developers have been working on video communication since 1946 – but the experience still ‘sucks’. If massive amounts of bandwidth are not the answer, are there more artful ways to enhance remote communication?
John Thackara discusses how they would approach it with game designers, theatre directors and artists.

John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception an international network that tries to find new ways of designing information and communication technology (ICT). He also blogs on design and mobility.
Martin Butler, artist, choreographer, and creator of the Girlfriend Experience project involving audience controlled real-life avatars in a paradoxical quasi game setting.
Caroline Nevejan, researcher and designer focusing on the implications of technology on society, with a particular interest in interdisciplinary projects.

• e-mobility versus immobility
  17.00 – 19.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Berlin / London

The bandwidth in closed societies like for example Iran and Syria are low because of political reasons. Even though at the same time it slows down business opportunities. Thereby the system of filtering and blocking on line content is sophisticated. Both countries have a young population (50 – 70% younger than 30 years) and lots of them want to connect with and have access to information. No surprise that circumvention tools are widely used.
How can this politically induced slowness of networks be addressed in a discussion of global connectivity?
In collaboration with Monique Doppert, Hivos, The Hague & Tactical Technology Collective (London).
Sami Ben Gharbia, co-founder of (which means the core in Arabic), a Tunisian collective blog about news and politics, and Advocacy Director at Global Voices.
Menso Heus, consultant with Gendo on open innovation and smart applications of internet technology, member of the editorial team of HAR 2009 (Hacking At Random).
Reinder Rustema, board member, advisor eParticipation at ICTU / Burgerlink and teacher at the University of Amsterdam.
Tactical Technology Collective - Security in-a-box

• Public media art projects and sustainability
  20.00 – 22.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: Muffatwerk, München / De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Boston / London

What are the prospects of making of on-line and media art practices more sustainable? How do artists and cultural initiatives position themselves in the discussion on the ecological impact of networking technology?
What are the new models making more intelligent use of current media technologies and tools?

Horst Konietzny, curator and director of Reframes, Munich.
Jo-Anne Green, Co-Director New Radio and Performing Arts, and editor of the Networked Performance blog, Boston.
Manu Luksch, intermedia artist,, London
Karen Lancel & Hermen Maat
Followed by 5 dancers performance and remote sound interventions from Banff.

Saturday March 20

• Energy and information
  10.00 – 12.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: ADA Network, New Zealand / RIXC, Riga / De Balie, Amsterdam

Exploring the energetic implications of global communications. The most challenging direction of this debate revolves around the emergence of smart electricity grids that can monitor in detail actual energy use patterns and allocate peek capacities much more efficiently. Such smart grids raise important privacy concerns for individual customers, however. With the old idea of fusing energy and information infrastructures back on the table, these concerns increase exponentially. What are the trade-offs between sustainability and the necessary safeguards of the personal sphere?

Julian Priest, artist and director of Green Bench, New Zealand
Michiel Karskens, policy advisor on energy matters, Consumentenbond (national consumer association), The Netherlands.
Rasa Smite, RIXC, Riga – organiser and curator of the 2009 art+communication festival: “ENERGY – Scientific and artistic, utopian and critical visions of future terrestrial energy”.
Sacha van Geffen, director of

• ElectroSmog is Good for You!
  Exploring artists’ engagements with the spectral ecology
  13.00 – 15.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: RIXC, Riga / De Balie, Amsterdam / Remote: Strasbourg / ADA Network New Zealand

This program brings together artists fascinated by the invisible and most ephemeral side of electronic media, the varying densities of the electro-magnetic spectrum. The program continues the discussion started at the RIXC’s Spectral Ecology event in 2007. Besides the exploration of the invisible and intangible, also critical environmental issues are addressed. How is the body, the brain and the nervous system affected by the increasing density of electromagnetic waves around us? Since the nervous system relies on electromagnetic energy flows there are certainly effects, but which? In many countries heated debates flared up in the past about the effects of new umts transmitters (high capacity mobile phone networks), and scandals erupted over transmitters fitted on apartment buildings, apparently making residents sick.

Bureau des Etudes / Spectral Investigations Collective
Zita Joyce, ADA Digital Arts Network, New Zealand
Rasa Smite & Raitis Smits, RIXC, Riga

• Food and global mobility
  Tracing the path of food to our kitchen-table
  16.00 – 18.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venues: De Balie, Amsterdam / Skulpturenpark, Berlin / Remote: Barcelona

  Join the on-line discussion on food and global mobility in the run up to the festival.  

What does food mean for us today? There is a growing understanding that food is not only a fuel to keep our bodies working, a source of pleasure, and for some also a source of income. It is also an important link between us and our environments, natural and social, local and global. More and more people are trying to rethink our relationships with the world through food and different forms of engagement with it. The issue of sustainability in the age of hyper-mobility is one of the most urgent ones. 
Should we reduce global food mobility and start buying more local products? But what then about farmers and communities in the developing countries for whom supplying us with fruits and vegetables is of great economic significance? What exactly would we like to know about the pre-shelf life of our food in order to make an informed responsible choice? How can we access this information? What alternative ideas for sustainable food strategies are out there? Is urban farming a promising way to reconnect to your food? And what does it actually mean – “sustainable food strategies”?
This panel brings together people involved in practical and theoretical research related to sustainable food strategies.

Tania Goryucheva, editor of the Food and Global Mobility theme, and co-founder of the Cool Mediators Foundation.
Artist Esther Polak will present findings from her project under development NomadicMILK
Ir. Toine Timmermans, program manager sustainable food chains of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre)
Hernani Dias, “Refarm the City” project: open software and hardware tools for urban farmers.
Fairfood International, a non-profit campaign and lobby organisation, promoting sustainability in the food and beverage industry
Dr. ir. Frank van der Hoeven, Associate Professor, Chair of Urban Design at Delft University of Technology
Michiel de Lange, (moderator) researcher at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, involved in the Playful Identities research program and co-initiator of the Mobile City platform.


• Première Screening of 10Tactics
  Thursday March 18, 19.00 – 20.30 CET (GMT+1)
  Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam / London
  Presented by Tactical Technology Collective & Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, 
  and Hivos, The Hague & De Balie, Amsterdam.

This film is a work in progress, currently released one tactic at a time, about the use of digital technologies for advocacy projects.
Stephanie Hankey, co-founder of Tactical Tech, about 10Tactics: “The project came about when we hosted an info-activism camp in India earlier this year. The event brought together more than 100 rights advocates, technologists and designers from around the world who we knew had really interesting stories to tell about how they had turned information into action using digital technologies. We decided to document and explore people’s stories throughout the camp. When we had finished we knew that what we had collected was pretty remarkable. Many of the stories highlighted ground-breaking use of the internet and digital technologies. They show what is possible for rights advocates to achieve now even with very few resources.”

10 tactics features 35 info-activism stories told from the point of view of advocates in 24 different countries including Lebanon, India, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Indonesia, South Africa and the UK.

• Book Launch of Plan B, by John Thackara
  Friday March 19, 15.00 – 16.00 CET (GMT+1)
  Venue: De Balie, Amsterdam

At the occasion of the launch of the Dutch translation of John Thackara’s book “In the Bubble”, now titled “Plan B”, with 4 new chapters added, John Thackara will introduce the main topics of his book and devote special attention to the relationship of design, telepresence, and (im)mobility.

• Urban Wilderness Amsterdam
  ElectroSmog goes Schijnheilig
  Venue: Schijnheilg, Amsterdam (note alternate venue: Schijnheilig!)

Amsterdam, a city once known as a happening place, is suffering from the bureaucratic drive to over regulate. In the nineties, an abundance of underground initiatives marked Amsterdam as a home of spontaneity and experimentation. Squatted cultural centres lined the waterfront, free radio stations populated the air waves. Due to sparked up property prices and an ever growing political pressure to formalise everything and anything, Amsterdam underground culture has dissipated. In stead of the metropolis it claims to be, it has become the village we all know it to be. Where one has little chance of running into the unexpected.
As a necessary antidote, the closing event of the Amsterdam Electrosmog festival will take place in the squatted gallery Schijnheilig. There will be lectures on branding and public space, streamed guerilla gardening actions from around New York, London and Berlin, performances, ex-pirateers of radio 100 behind turntables, and much much more.
Come along and play!
Saturday March 20, 20.00 – till late… (CET)


• SkillShare on tools and models for online collaboration
  Venue: Eyebeam, New York
  Saturday, March 20, 2010 | 10AM – 5PM (Eastern Standard Time / 16.00 – 23.00 CET (GMT+1))
  Free with RSVP
  Limit of 30 participants (in New York).

On Saturday, March 20 Eyebeam will run a day-long series of presentations on tools and strategies for online creative collaboration. Eyebeam’s senior fellows will cover software solutions as well as practical and conceptual models for making and distributing collaborative work. This SkillShare was conceived as part of the ElectroSmog Festival, a new, three-day, international festival that will introduce and explore of concept of “Sustainable Immobility”: a critique of current systems of hyper mobility of people and products in travel and transport, and their ecological unsustainability.

• Riverrun: A collective and experimental online artwork.
  Venue: Medialab Prado, Madrid
  Thursday, March 18, 18.00 - 20.00 CET (GMT+1) 

Riverrun could be described as an emergent “Exquisite Corpse.” It focuses on social interaction, with more than a hundred creators collaborating in the making of a collective story in real time. Each person participates, using their own computer (client), by writing a small part of the collective story which is housed in a central computer (server). Each participant is asked to log on to the project from their own computer for a short period of time (the duration of the experiment). These creative experiments can be performed in different languages and the story will be available online to the general public.

The project of artist Kevin McCourt and theoretical physicist Bartolo Luque is executed as an open, participatory workshop during ElectroSmog, organised and hosted by the Medialab Prado, Madrid.


nettime-ann mailing list