Ando Keskkula on Fri, 4 Jun 1999 10:02:50 +0100

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Syndicate: INTERSTANDING3, Tallinn/Estonia


BEYOND THE EDGE Escaping from Marginality

Preliminary Announcement -  June 4, 1999

>From November 25 to December 12  1999  the Centre for Contemporary Arts
Estonia, in co-operation with the Estonian Academy of Arts and various
partners, will organise a series of international art and media events
Tallinn. INTERSTANDING3  is a follow-up event to the successful
Interstanding 1 and Interstanding 2 conferences which took place in
Tallinn in 1995 and 1997.

INTERSTANDING1:  Interstanding - Understanding Interactivity.
Interdisciplinary Conference on Computer Mediated Communication and
Interactivity. The conference tried to create a coherent perspective on
social, cultural and economic implications of an emerging global
infrastructure for computer-mediated communication and the interactive
multi-media industry. The conference aimed  to put these developments in
perspective for the Baltic and neighboring countries.

INTERSTANDING2:  The focus of the events shifted towards the possible
strategies and opportunities for the arts in the 'expanded field' of
electronic media and the world-wide interconnected computer networks.
Interstanding 2 addressed the possibilities and threats for free
personal and cultural expression in the emerging information society.

INTERSTANDING 3 will consist of separate layers of interrelated events:



- NYYD - International Contemporary Music Festival, Tallinn, November 23
- 29

- offline@online media art festival
   The 2nd editionof this festival, called "Media Non Grata",
   is organised in conjunction with Interstanding 3 by the
   E-Media Center, of the Estonian Academy of Arts,
   in Tallinn, November 24-25

Interstanding 3  - Editorial Team:
   - Ando Keskk¸la
   - Sirje Helme
   - Eric Kluitenberg (Amsterdam)
   - Stephen Kovats (Dessau)


    (Names of invited artists and spekaers will be annouced
      around the summer)

November 26 - December 12, 1999

An international media-art exhibition in the Rotermann  Center for
Contemporary Art and Architecture.
Opening night: November 25, 1999.


In the context of Interstanding 3 a number of workshops are set up,
involving especially local artists and the local population of Tallinn

- Community Arts Practice
- Streaming media
- Converging Media ( / Web-TV, etc..)


Escaping from Marginality

A two-day conference in Tallinn, November 26 & 27

The conference will bring together critical ideas about art, media and
the emerging international


Critical cultural activity has always identified itself with an
existence at the edge of society, but that position has become increasingly
Increasingly we seem to be living in a society without clear and fixed
boundaries: A globally interconnected economic and social system with
constantly shifting borders.

Our time seems to be one of limitless possibility. Ideas and money
travel at the speed of light through virtual networks, and capital can
accumulate in boundless quantities.

Our time also seems to be one of limitless brutality and violence
(Rwanda / Kosovo). A time of limitless political transformation, where
empires disintegrate without a clear reason (SU). A time also where new
collapse even more quickly than they emerged (Asian Tigers). Where the
dream of independent economic success is bought away by foreign
investors overnight (Estonia and other newly 'emerging states').

The boundaries of society have become so fluid and open that any attempt
to define what exists 'inside' and 'outside' of the social framework
becomes irrelevant. The edge of culture can quickly be turned around into a
profitable mainstream trend. The outsider becomes the trend-setter, the
oblique the eccentric, the perverted the exclusive. Otherness is
embraced as a market opportunity. Meanwhile, authoritarian politics
implode, but re-emerge shortly after as if nothing ever happened (Juganov).

The role of the avantgarde artist, finally, becomes a tragic joke. The
advertisement industries have long understood the shock of the new, and
make art look retrograde. The utopian visionaries have become entrenched
in an increasingly self-referential art-scene that propagates itself
through exclusive coffee-table books and glossy international art-zines.

So, where is the edge?

The third Interstanding "Beyond the Edge", should be understood as an
attempt to get away from the clichÃ?s of what supposedly constitutes the
edge in culture, in social live and in politics (be it regional or
international). By leaving behind the false oppositions between "system"
and "opposition", between mainstream and so-called sub-culture, it could
also be an attempt to escape both repressive systems as well as a marginal
existence 'at the edge'.

The aim is to  map out a new territory of culture, social live and power
that reveals new opportunities and new discontinuities for critical
cultural activity; inside society, as well as in the shifting
constellations of the international community.

        It is necessary to map the new minefields,
        to avoid treading on a misplaced shell....

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