Nina Czegledy on Thu, 23 Sep 1999 21:42:08 -0400 (EDT)

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Syndicate: Navigating Intelligence at Banff, Canada

Hello All,

The "Navigating Intelligence: a Banff Summit" conference held between
September 9-12, 1999, (in the midst of the Canadian Rocky Mountains) at the
Banff Centre for the Arts, was publicized as a "think thank" for artists,
curators,  theorists and activists interested in software development, data
base and information politics.

In reality,  this meeting  -instead of merely a think-thank site for
serious, sober and solemn networking discussions -   proved to be an
animated, energetic and lively event for those who gathered for a few days
from both sides of this continent and far beyond.

The first day of the conference was devoted to curating and reviewing new
media projects. Sara Diamond,  Artistic Director for Media and Visual Arts,
chaired these sessions. Considering the wide range and variety of topics,
her quick overviews and comments were of immense value.  Reflections on the
changing nature of art practice and aspects of presentation, current
developments in new media as well as the prevalent issues embracing the
global media-scape were extensively discussed. Ubiquity and metaphors were
two of the most frequently used buzzwords.

Political and socio-political presentations ranged from Latin American
narrative projects for the Web, through the contentious activities of
Negativland, to issues related to Canadian native art.  In the afternoon,
the St. Petersburg Bionet on-line gallery was presented by Kostya Mitenev,
Beryl Graham (UK) discussed curating interactive work including the Serious
Games exhibition at the Barbican and Vera Frenkel's eloquent and witty
presentation on issues of cultural politics was one of the highlights of
the day. Later  -in the light of the afternoon sun on the balcony- the
discussion continued on international collaborative projects. I took this
opportunity to present various aspects of the VR (Virtual Revolutions),
Crossing Over, Aurora Universalis, Polar Circuit and EMARE residencies

>From Friday to Sunday, the focus of the conference -utilizing the metaphor
of navigated intelligence- was on the presentation, examination and
evaluation of the potentials and proficiencies of digital tools as used by
artists, software developers and designers, e-commerce experts, network
specialists, distributors, researchers and educators.  It is impossible to
list the range of presentations within the scope of this brief report.
Briefly, reflections on the changing nature of art practice, digital
culture, artificial intelligence, aspects of presentation, as well as
features of the global media-scape were extensively discussed. The contrast
between proponents of high technology versus Norman White's "build it from
junk" approach was highly intriguing. Access and the nature of project
collaborations was also a widely considered topic by presenters and
participants alike.It was intriguing to note the extent and scope of play
involved in software development - ranging from net activism (Webstalker)to
appropriation (Negativland) to interactive musical projects (Noodle,
Interval Research) to agents of artificial intelligence (Verbots). We were
treated to interactive music projects and an eloquent performance by Jools
Gilson- Ellis& Richard Povall, co-directors of half/angel.  Beyond the
daytime and evening presentations, one should not forget to mention the
hike up to Tunnel Mountain, the pool and last but not least the great
Saturday night party.

Friday or was it Saturday? - together with Carlos Soldeville, director of
ISEA, we repeated our lunch-meeting performance of Sao Paolo  - presenting
current and future directions of ISEA, upcoming events, collaborations and
asking for comments from members and would be members alike.

In barely four days of this conference many  fresh initiatives were
proposed, a wide range of projects presented and new collaborations were
forged between the participants. Hopefully this is just a beginning of
building a new network interested in navigating intelligence.

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