recombinant territories - Instituto Sergio Motta

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recombinant territories - Instituto Sergio Motta
c a m i l a du p r at m a rtins | daniel a c astro e si lva | renata mot ta (orgs.)
r e combinant terri tori es
art and tecnology | debates and laboratories
recombinant te r r i to r i e s
art and tecnology | debates and laboratories
Camila Duprat Martins | Daniela Castro e Silva | Renata Motta (orgs.)
Sergio Motta Institute Publications 13 | Cultural Collection
Organization: Camila Duprat Martins, Daniela Castro e Silva e Renata Motta
Editorial Coordination: Camila Duprat Martins
Editorial Production: Aline Gambin
Texts: André Lemos, Camila Duprat Martins, Daniela Castro e Silva, Élida Tessler, Gisele
Ribeiro, Helga Stein, Lucas Bambozzi, Luiz Duva, Marcus Bastos, Raquel Garbelotti
Images: Adenor Godim, Anderson da Silva, Bruno Zorzal, Diego Scarparo, Ding Musa,
Fabiano Andrade, Fabrício Noronha, Gilbertinho, Itamar Aguiar, Janaina Sterir, Janete Kriger, Lucas Mariano, Penha Schirmer, Thamile Vidiz, Thommy Lacerda Sossai.
We thank all artists, who have kindly provided the images of their work.
Revision: Alice Raskin
Translation into English: Camila Barreiros
Version: Gavin Adams
Graphic Design Project: Paula Astiz Design
Design: Ângela Mendes
ISBN 978-85-60824-01-4
CTP, Printing and Finishing: Imprensa Oficial do Estado de São Paulo
Print Run: 1,500 copies (Portuguese) | 1,000 copies (English)
São Paulo, Brazil, 2007
s e r g i o m ot ta institute
President: Luiz Carlos Mendonça de Barros
Vice-President (Deliberative Council): Wilma Motta
General Secretary: Maria José Tenório de Paiva
Trav. Dorothy Poli Zioni, 7 | São Paulo-SP | 05016-070 | Brazil
Telephone (5511) 3873-0279 | [email protected]
s e r g i o m ot ta art and technolog y prize
Institutional Relations: Wilma Motta
General Coordination: Renata Motta
Curator: Vitória Daniela Bousso
Project Coordination: Camila Duprat Martins
Production Coordination: Luciana Dacar
Production: Aline Gambin
Administration: Sadao Kitagawa
www.premiosergiomotta.org.br
content s
r e c o m b i n a n t t e r r i to r i e s :
a rt a n d t e c h n o l o g y
05
Camila Duprat Martins
d e b at e s
Recombinant Territories: Deviating Borders
Daniela Castro e Silva
19
21
Remix as Polyphony and Collective Agency
Marcus Bastos
27
s a lvad o r | Cyberculture as Recombinant Territory
35
André Lemos
v i t ó r ia | Appropriation and Politics in the Territory of Art
49
Gisele Ribeiro
v i t ó r i a | Soundscape – Rainy Day in Vitória – 43’
61
Raquel Garbelotti
g o i â n i a | Behaviours or On The Forms of Identity Building in
Network Environment
Helga Stein
65
p o rto a l e g re | The Wireless Telephone and Other
Microlessons of Things
Élida Tessler
69
pro j e c t l a b o r ato r i e s
83
85
Account-Hiatus
Lucas Bambozzi
Project Laboratories
Luiz Duva
Testemonies
87
89-110
recombi n a n t t e r r i to r i e s :
art and t e c h n o l o g y
Camila Duprat Martins
Recombinant Territories is part of Sergio Motta Art and Technology
Award’s strategy of diffusion and reflection on the impact of technology on contemporaneity.
From 2006 onwards, with the establishment of a biennial calendar,
beyond the award fomentation actions, others activities, centred on the
diffusion and reflection were formulated to the further deepening of
the issues that permeate contemporary artistic production in the field
of new technologies. The project was conceived by the general coordinator of Sergio Motta Award, Renata Motta, and by the artist and researcher in new medias, Daniela Castro e Silva.
The impact of the digital era, of globalization, of information in real
time directly affecting daily life implies the formulation of new theories and new concepts of being in the world. In the same way, artistic
production in the interface with new technologies cannot go without
the debate that permeates the very ethics of new languages.
Establishing networks between creators from different regions,
activating connections and widening the democratization to access
and participation in the country’s contemporary cultural production,
Recombinant Territories seeks to neutralise possible hierarchies that
characterise the knowledge production in Brazil. At the same time
it seeks as well to strengthen the exercise of citizenship by means of
digital inclusion.
The displacement of Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award
into new territories, in the North (Bahia), Central (Goiás), South-east
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| recombinant territories
(Espiríto Santo) and South (Rio Grande do Sul) regions, previously
started off with exhibitions in Goiânia and Porto Alegre, stresses
further its aims of contributing to the discussion, the diffusion and
incentive to contemporary artistic production in the interface with
new technologies.
th e p ro j e c t
The detailing of the project and of the subsequent phases for its execution have relied, on the constitution of a team, composed both by members of the Award and by artists who had received prizes in previous
editions. This team has outlined the general working structure of the
itinerant workshops and has prospected interlocutors in each of the
places, for the carrying out of partnerships with cultural and university
institutions.
Once a local interlocutor was defined as well as an adequate
place to receive the project, the proposal was discussed afresh so as
to meet the local specificity and expectations. The outcome was the
definition of a similar structure in each of the cities contemplating
theoretical discussions, on Saturdays open to the general public, and
Laboratories for the presentation and discussion of pre-selected work,
on Sundays. The opening of all four debates, focused on a general explanation of the whole project was carried by myself, as institutional
coordinator of the project, together with the representative partner
of each institution. The Debates counted with the permanent participation of Daniela Castro e Silva and Marcus Bastos. Luiz Duva and
Lucas Bambozzi coordinated the Laboratories. Local theoreticians
and artists were also incorporated. This format has secured in each of
the four places a particular physiognomy, with its own nuances and
varied approaches. Finally, the partnerships were completed in the
production of the event coordinated by Aline Gambin and producers
indicated in each city.
The project’s main issue – the extended territorial space, in a wide
sense, grounded on the changes brought about by the massive diffusion
of new technological media – has featured particular characteristics
in each discussion. From this central guideline, aspects have emerged,
where the territories were, indeed recombined, grounded on several
recombinant territories |
7
propositions: as geographic, political, temporal, reappropriated and
transformed space, remixed.
The project’s original concept – the change in the territorial notion
with the advent of new communication media, was introduced by the
project co-idealizer, Daniela Castro e Silva. Marcus Bastos, Ph.D. in Communications and Semiotics, professor at São Paulo Catholic University
(PUC-SP) and author of experimental projects in graphic, audio-visual
and digital media, highlighted in his presentation the discussion about
mixing and new combinations, through the presentation of some artwork examples.
The coordination of the laboratories was in charge of Lucas Bambozzi and Luiz Duva. Lucas is an artist and has developed, from the end
of the 1980’s, studies and artistic work around the expressiveness of audio-visual language with emphasis on electronic media and its confluences. Duva is an experimental creator in the field of video art, having
developed personal narratives in video, as well as a series of experiments
with video installations and immersive audio-visual projects and the
development of specific content and environments for new media.
n e w t e r r i to r i e s
Salvador | Bahia was the first displacement. The event was carried out
in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Salvador – ICBA, on the 12th
and 13th of August 2006. André Lemos, professor at the Bahia Federal
University (UFBA) Communications Faculty and director of the Advanced Studies Cyber research and Cyberculture Research International Centre, was the guest debater.
The second trip, on the 25th and 26th of August, was South-eastward
bound in Vitória. In partnership with the Espírito Santo Federal University Arts Centre (UFES), through its director, Professor José Cirillo, Recombinant Territories brought together for the Saturday discussion Raquel
Garbelotti and Gisele Ribeiro, visual artists and both professors at UFES.
The third displacement was realized on the 12th and 13th of September to Central Brazil, in Goiânia’s intense heat, in partnership with the
Visual Arts Faculty of Goiás Federal University (FAV-UFG) and Professor Carlos Sena, director of the FAV-UFG Art Gallery as an interlocutor.
The invited debater was Helga Stein, professor at Anhembi-Morumbi
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| recombinant territories
University and new media artist. Helga was one of the winners of the 3rd
Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award Scholarship.
Finally, on the 23rd and 24th of September, the last trip, into the cooler Porto Alegre temperatures, in partnership with Santander Cultural
and the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University (UFGRS). Debating with
Daniela Castro and Marcus Bastos, was artist Élida Tessler, professor and
researcher at the Visual Arts Department of UFGRS. And also coordinator of Torreão, a production and research space in contemporary art in
Porto Alegre.
Recombinant Territories could establish an important exchange
between theoreticians and artists. By the retaking discussions and enabling consequent reflections on the impact of the new communication media on the universe of daily life as well as in personal and artistic relationships, it has unveiled new possibilities for the understanding
and the formulation of poetics. For the team of the Sergio Motta Art
and Technology Award – Renata Motta, Camila Duprat, Daniela Castro,
Aline Gambin and guests Marcus Bastos, Luiz Duva and Lucas Bambozzi
– the project has underlined the need for constant interlocution, of approximation and of the establishment of partnerships within the scope
of its line of action.
The present publication seeks to constitute a report of this experience, which was characterised by exchange, dynamism and by the
opening up of these new territories. This is why one does not stick
to the simple transcription of the debates and to the list of participants. Instead of a documental edition, within a standard language
and style, organized in chronological form, we sought a format that
would mirror, in part, the unfolding of events. The lecturers’ texts,
edited from the papers sent by the authors or through edited transcriptions, express, precisely, the variations in discourse and in the
very profile of the lecturers – of a more artistic or academic bias. The
aim was of including, further, directly or indirectly, all of the participants for their indispensable contribution to the development of the
proposal.
To the partners, to the interlocutors, to the local producers, to the
artists and participants in the project in each of these cities, our sincere
thanks for the warm welcomes, for the exchanges and the energy spent.
recombinant territories |
9
New territories will be visited in 2008. After all, Brazil is a territory
of continental dimensions! And it will be precisely in this exchange and
widening of frontiers that the Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award
will be reinforcing its aims of contributing to contemporary artistic
production in the interface with new technological media.
r e c o m b i n a nt territories
Organization: Sergio Motta Institute | Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award
Idealization: Daniela Castro e Silva and Renata Motta
Project Coordinator: Camila Duprat Martins
Debates Coordinators: Daniela Castro e Silva and Marcus Bastos
Projects Laboratory Coordinators: Lucas Bambozzi and Luiz Duva
Production Coordination: Aline Gambin
Production Team: Ângela Santos, Mônica Koester (Goethe-Institut Salvador) and
Wellington Pereira (Arts Center, Vitória)
Partners: Goethe-Institut Salvador – ICBA | Elizabeth Lataro
Arts Center – Espírito Santo Federal University (UFES) | José Cyrillo
Visual Arts College – Goiás Federal University (UFG) | Luis Edegar Costa
Santander Cultural | Liliana Magalhães
Sponsors: Odebrecht, Prince Claus Fund and TBE
10
| salvador
12
| vitória
14
| goiânia
16
| porto alegre
deb ates
The advent of new communication technologies and of connectivity culture is characterised by a territory crisis – both the political territory and
the territory of subjectivity. Grounded on the texts by Daniela Castro e
Silva, Marcus Bastos and by the guest participants in each one of the cities, the debates touched on diverse issues, involving the complexity and
the reconfigurations of connectivity culture, the artistic production in its
interfaces with new technologies and the very individual in the face of
these new territories.
salvador | Goethe-Institut Salvador – ICBA | André Lemos
vitória | Arts Center – Espírito Santo Federal University (UFES) | Gisele Ribeiro
and Raquel Garbelotti
goiânia | Visual Arts College – Goiás Federal University (UFG) | Helga Stein
porto alegre | Santander Cultural | Élida Tessler
recombi n a n t t e r r i to r i e s :
deviatin g b o r d e r s
Daniela Castro e Silva
The conception of the event that has yielded the title Recombinant Territories: art and technology was triggered by the realisation that the advent of new communication technologies and the culture of connectivity signals, above all, a territory crisis. On one hand we live today in
the political territory of nations that, the more globalising, the more
delimited and fixed seem to be their borders; where the flux of products
and people is ever more effectively controlled and watched by means
of biometric technologies and the RFID (radio frequency identification
technology). This territory is extremely (and violently) defended with
the use of war technologies whence video and network technologies
emerged; it is the territory of urban spaces where the corporate laws
dwell and present the development of technology as a progressive ideal
of a better and more connected life.
On the other hand, there is the territory of subjectivity, the place
in which those fixed borders are de-territorialized. This place transits
between diminished distances, between monitored privacies, in immediatist times, between sensations and the creation of new possibilities
for artistic representation and identitary manifestations, by means of
the unexpected use of technological instruments and languages. That
is, a shared territory where parallel and transversal spaces co-exist in the
experience of movements in constant deviation (detour).
For French philosopher Bernard Stiegler1, contained within every
1. BARNET, Belinda. Infomobility and Technics: Some Travel Notes. http://www.ctheory.net/articles.
aspx?id=492 (accessed in 23/01/2007).
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| deb ates
technology is the mnemonic function, that of the construction and
mapping of subjective memory. Today, pervasive technologies and the
ubiquity of digital networks create a tension both from the phenomenological point of view – as we perceive every day life’s events – and
from the technical point of view – the technological artefacts that mediate and/or serve as a surface of inscription for these events.
From the uprooting of the individual as a sympto(so)matic result of
what we call digital culture to the embracing of new technological artefacts in the cultural specificity of each place, what we witness emerging
is a “reproducibility” of places. This territorial dilation is the result of
the intervention and constant reinvention of the subjective territory in
the daily use of such apparatuses, and, in the political territory, of the
insistence on the vital need of these apparatuses so as to justify the market rush and military thrusts. Brian Holmes signals that the globalised
economy is the brain of contemporary capitalism and the optical fibres
– the cyberspace highways – its nervous system.2
Thus, these kinds of territory are not in opposite ends. They intercept each other in a relationship of interdependence. At the same time
that new digital and connectivity technologies watch and control our
individualities, as they establish networks of the most diverse types,
they stimulate new forms of collective agency. At the same time that
the new technologies market and culture engender new hierarchies,
new centres and margins are configured.
Deleuze has described the diagram of power, based on Foucault’s
studies on the microphysics of power as highly unstable and fluid, constituted of points of emergence and creativity. That is, this diagram is
revealed both by means of the solid lines with which it is outlined as
well as the holes – the intervention points that permeate each and every
power structure – that engender it.
About this accidented territory, Drew Hemmet recalls that the “basis of the Panoptic was that we did not know if we were being watched
or not, and thus we would act as if we were always being watched. With
the network technologies, there is a new group of variables that govern
2. HOLMES, Brian. Flowmaps, The Imaginaries of Global Integration. https://pzwart.wdka.hro.nl/
mdr/pubsfolder/bhflowmaps (accessed in 23/01/2007).
deb ates |
23
this scenario, but completely new issues emerge, such as the fact that
now we leave traces of information behind us”. 3
Here one notices the detour: a spatial and temporal detour that complicates the individual’s position in contemporaneity. Before, the feeling
was one of internalisation of perpetual watch and disciplinary control
within a continuous present. Now, the fact that we leave information
traces behind us for an indeterminate amount of time (and that will be
analysed to configure new consumers profiles) creates a tension characterised more as a “future of the past”, or the realisation of the present as
an anterior future, where space-time relations are compressed within
an imminent and contingent present.
This new map of the individual’s relationships with the usability
of new technologies, above all the mobile technologies, intertwines the
cyberspace with the physical space, and the placing of the individual
becomes a plane of technological inscription: the subject, in transit or
not, becomes a series of simultaneous location zones.
What takes place on this plane of crossing is that from the possibilities of new de-territorialisation that this new cyber/spatial map propitiates, new re-territorialisation mechanisms are potentialised. Returning
to Hemment, he adds that “because of these parallel fields and intersections, the world of surveillance and control becomes in many ways very
difficult to be declared as a neutral space or one without engagement.
Inversely (and for the same reason), there emerges an ambiguity, which
art is equipped to face”.4
The so-called technological art also figures as an inscription surface
for our lives’ events, as it reflects the ambiguities that characterize the
context where it is produced. However, due to the complex and labyrinthine relationships that involve the architecture of techno science
and communication and the transnational economy’s legal structure,
it is no longer sufficient to declare the conscious use of these technologies as a subversive manifestation against its genealogy and regulatory
implications. In a reality where information becomes algorithms and
3. HEMMENT, Drew. Traces of a Moving Trajectory. http://www.artemov.net/page/revista01_p3.php
(accessed in 23/01/2007).
4. Ibid.
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| deb ates
software are turned into bits, a horizon is created beyond that of the
appropriation and mere juxtaposition of old techniques for the advent
of the next one. What happens is that an intertwining of techniques
creates not the new, or the post, but the recombined, remixed, sampled,
or still, the hybrid.5
This “hybrid” is different from the hybridisation that featured the
post-modern discourse, rendered by means of the idea of the pastiche
or of the euphemistic multiculturalism. This hybrid refers to a fundamental change in the conduction of technique and its diverse use, and
in many cases the recreation (remix) of new technologies. As examples
of inverted practices of the technology, we have the smart mobs, where
WAPs (Wireless Applications Protocol) mobile phones work as a mechanism of control and surveillance in the part of activist/artist over those
who watch and control with the endorsement of the government; and
the enormous proliferation and creation of softwares among VJ artists
personalise the artistic activity with corporate technologies.
Keeping in mind that there is a wide relationship between knowledge and power, the remixed media become metamedia6 created/manipulated/produced/distributed both by the information industry and
the individual. At the least, this hybrid territory implies a reconfiguration of art as social interstice, an opening point for endless discussions;
a point that fits in more or less harmoniously in the dominant system,
but that suggests possibilities for exchange other than those in force
within this very system. This opening point is by no means a fixed point;
in fact, it figures itself as an attentive detour.
The intention of the Recombinant Territories is precisely to engender spaces for the possibilities of other exchanges. Academics and artists from four Brazilian capital cities were invited to debate the possible
recombinations within this unstable territory of digital culture in its
political, subjective and artistic spheres.
André Lemos, in Salvador – Bahia, has spoken on the three fundamental principles for the understanding of the impacts of what he
5. MANOVICH, Lev. Deep Remixability (2006). http://pzwart.wdka.hro.nl/mdr/pubsfolder/
manovichessay (accessed in 23/01/2007).
6. BOURRIAUD, Nicolas. From Relational Aesthetics (1998). www.creativityandcognition.com/
blogs/legart/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/bourriaud.pdf (accessed in 04/02/2007).
deb ates |
25
calls the digital informational territory. The broadcast of information
coupled with the principle of generalised connection and the diffusion
of the “personal” information reconfigure the notions of access and control as given in mass culture. In the post-mass culture, the mobile access
to and production of information in the intertwining realms of physical
and cyberspace have imprinted a polysemic notion to the definition of
territory, which begins to unfold in its juridical, economic, cultural and
artistic spheres.
In the city of Vitória – Espírito Santo, Raquel Garbelotti presented
her sound installation project Rainy Day in Vitória – 43’ (2006) and discussed the possible displacements of the individual within the physical space of the gallery and the suggested soundscape, by means of the
mobile use of the Discman apparatus. In the same city, Gisele Ribeiro
sketched out a critical panorama of the history of art from the advent of
the analogical up to the digital technologies, considering the relationships between art and language as technology – not the use of technologies in these areas, but “technology as art”. In this reflection, Ribeiro
points at some of the frailties of the discourse that permeates new media art under the sign of “appropriation” and “remix” and its inherent
risks of favouring the instrumentalisation of culture.
In the context of the society of spectacle, as formulated by Guy
Debord, Helga Stein, in Goiânia – Goiás, spoke about her own artistic
practice regarding the unfolding and representations of ambiguous
identities that emerge in the inscription of the physical world through
technological devices. A series of digitally manipulated self-portraits
circulate in the proliferation of sites that serve as platform for the organization of social networks, such as Orkut, Flickr, Multiply, among others. As a counterpoint to Debord, Helga understands that the network
culture is not a spectacle mediated by images, but it is transformed into
a spectacle when it becomes social relations mediated by people.7
Wireless Telephone and Other Microlessons of Things, the text-poem by
Élida Tessler, who presented her work in Porto Alegre – Rio Grande do
Sul, offered a re-signification of the artist’s time in face of deviations
7. Giselle Beiguelman, in a text about her work published in Bravo! magazine, “Sociedade do Espetáculo 2.0,” nr. 109, September 2006.
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| deb ates
and vertigo of the “communication noise” caused by the culture of connectivity, with her disconnected (wireless) technological artefacts (the
bic pen).
Finally, Marcus Bastos, who sat at the debate panels beside me in the
four cities, introduced us to discussions around a series of artistic examples that sought to find unexpected and critical uses for digital media.
These works emerge through recombinations, remixabilities, other possibilities that diverge from corporate practices by means of the artist’s
performance over the digital applicative (agency).
Recombinant Territories sought less to map out the artistic practices and theoretical positions that characterise this kind of knowledge
production in the country and more the liberation of the traces that
were left behind us, so that they can be reconfigured in new forms of
subjective and collective agencies in an effort to displace borders and to
re-signify the inscribed and the instituted.
remix as p o ly p h o n y a n d
collecti v e ag e n c y
Marcus Bastos
Contemporary culture is impregnated by practices in which the production of meaning results from the combination of fragments. The bestknown procedure has emerged in music. It is the remix, a process that
has become popular with the emergence of the sampler (an instrument
that stores sounds and music sequences in its memory, so as to reproduce
and alter them1). The remix can be understood as a form analogous to
the electro acoustic music practices, but it emerges in the Pop universe
a few decades later. The remission is important, for the 20th Century experimental music anticipates the collapse of discrete syntaxes. Electro
acoustic compositions abandon traditional sound syntax, as they explore
sound qualities instead of the articulation between notes (in which, by
the way, it dialogues with concrete music). The binary code consolidates
the process, as it converts all languages into numeric sequences, which
allows most of its characteristics to be easily modified.
In part, the use of fragments of sounds and music to create new compositions is similar to appropriation and collage. Suffice to remember the
better-known works of Dadaism, Surrealism and Pop Art. There are, in addition, likenesses with parody, pastiche and quotation, to stick to a few
of the many types of intertextuality typical of literature. It is especially
relevant to the subject of this article the similitude with processes such as
the cut up. Still, it is not possible to indistinctly bring all of these process1. For further information, see the definition for “sampler” in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Sampler_%28musical_instrument%29.
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| deb ates
es close together. They are similar from the point of view of the reuse of
materials and of the flux of ideas, but different in the form they take place.
The remix is the most contemporary form of polyphony and, because it is
a process possible only in digital electronic media, it is more fluid.
The most evident difference between the processes described above
is that, in the case of music, it is easy to alter qualities such as pitch, volume and duration of the sound fragments.
In the visual arts, in their turn, such procedures are more restricted.
It is more difficult to operate changes in the quality of analogical images. And, in the case of writing, the diverse forms of intertextuality, in
which the process of recuperating a previous text takes place chiefly on
the logic plane, are more common than the physical practices such as
the cut up. Therefore, the issue is deployed in a particular manner in
the case of writing. One concludes that the proximity of these practices
with the remix needs to be examined with due care, for there are aspects
that go beyond the immediate similitude between them.2
Another aspect of the issue is the wide understanding of the remix,
possible due to the fact that the computer itself is, in part, a multimedia
sampler. In this context, the connection between the remix and cultural
practices become even more insufficient. The analogy does not describe
in a satisfactory manner the workings of the digital language, since it
does not take into consideration characteristics such as programmability, its connectivity and its growing ubiquity. Therefore, one needs to
investigate what is beyond the remix, so as to understand the limits of
the comprehension that the digital language is a language that always
engenders from previously given fragments.3 This is not to belittle re2. The proximity between the practices of collage and appropriation in the visual arts and remix is the object of Sara Diamond’s articles (Quintessence. Art History Skake & Bake, http://www.horizonzero.ca/text
site/remix.php?is=8&file=1&tlang=0 and DJ Spooky (Loops of Perception. Sampling, Memory, and the
Semantic Web, http://www.horizonzero.ca/textsite/remix.php?is=8&file=3&tlang=0), among others.
3. This hypothesis, which needs to be better examined, in view of the relatively consensual understanding that language is a polyphonic mesh in which the signs always echo other signs, and so
on. There are evident differences in the form as this happens within the scope of digital culture,
in view of the new reticularity and fluidity. But it is not clear yet how the range of possibilities in
which digital culture offers will be absorbed. The most solid example up to now is the online music
distribution. The emergence of equipment such as Ipod, the iTunes virtual shop, communities such
as MySpace and of streaming sites such as Last.Fm ease the initial impact of archive sharing practices by means of softwares such as Napster, e-Mule, KaZaA, SoulSeeker e Limewire.
deb ates |
29
http://www.djspooky.com/photos/djspooky_rebirth.html.
DJ Spooky, in a performance of Rebirth of a Nation at Chicago Contemporary Art Museum, in November 2004.
mix practices, even less not recognise its importance in digital culture.
Instead, one should recognise that digital language is not restricted to
the aspect related to the traffic of media that it stimulates.
A useful metaphor to discuss the difference between the remix and
practices that explore the fluidity of digital language is the fruit salad
and the shake. To make a fruit salad one needs to cut and mix the pieces
of (for instance) apple, banana and papaya. The fruit are re-contextualised, but it is still possible to recognise the flavour of each one and
even eat each piece separately. In order to make a shake, fruit pieces are
also used, which are also mixed together. The difference is that, mixed
to pulp in the food processor, it not possible to distinguish each one
anymore. The binary code converts all languages into one. Nevertheless, it is not always the case that it is deployed so as to jointly articulate
its components.
To stick to the universe discussed in this article, suffice to observe
how the most common forms of remix are like the fruit salad, a mixture
of parts that mix by means of physical grouping (but keeping their qualities intact, considering that displacement has been sufficient to modify
its meaning). One example is Rebirth of a Nation, by DJ Spooky. This is a
remix of the film Birth of a Nation (1915), by D.W. Griffith. The new artwork denounces the racist gaze (indeed, the original film has been used
as a recruiting instrument for the Ku Klux Klan), using images from the
film itself as material to build its audiovisual sequences.
Less common are instances in which the liquidity of digital lan-
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| deb ates
guage involves a mixture of qualities that fuse into a whole in which
the parts become inseparable. One such example is CodeUp, by Giselle
Beiguelman. The piece also starts off from a film (Antonioni’s BlowUp). But, instead of using its sequences as material, the piece translates the procedures of enlarging photographs, which is one of the
leading plots within the story of a photographer that conducts a kind
of mediatised investigation of a possible crime. In the first implementation of the piece, the audience was invited to insert images in the
three screens opposite, with the help of a bluetooth mobile phone.
Then, it was possible to navigate through the three-dimensional
compositions generated by the processing – the programme used to
develop the //**CodeUp), infinitely enlarging and revolving the floating compositions.4
Several recent artworks that emerge within the scope of an increasingly wide network culture, dialogue with this universe that oscillates
between remixability5 and programmability, usually built from an aesthetics of placing fragments in relation. Leaving behind for a while the
dimension of the traffic between the languages discussed above, it is possible to relate works such as the essay, understood as a practice that ranges
from literature to photography and to cinema. The likeness with Walter
Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, or Here and There, by Jean-Luc Godard – to
stick to two expressive representatives of the practice (deliberate or casual) of approximating parts not necessarily belonging to the same whole,
as a way of finding crevices between ossified thoughts – it is not complete,
but serves as a starting point to think the aspects of digital language that
are not linked to the dimension of remixability.
Besides the relative proximity with the essay – already pointed
out by Arlindo Machado in “Essays in Hypermedia”6 –, it is possible to
4. For a deeper analysis of Giselle Beiguelman’s work, see the article Uma arte do não-espectáculo
e de vestígios dispersos por telas pequenas, médias e grandes, in the on-line magazine Arte.Mov,
http://www.artemov.net/page/revista03_p1.php.
5. The term remixability was used by Lev Manovich, in the text Remixability and Modularity, http://
www.manovich.net/DOCS/Remix_modular.doc, in which the author describes remixability as a
procedure typical of the 20th century culture, which is generalised in digital culture.
6. ARLINDO, Machado. “Ensaios em Hipermídia”. In: O Quarto Iconoclasmo. Rio de Janeiro: Rios
Ambiciosos, 2001.
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http://www.13terstock.com
In 13ter Stock the user interferes in
the unfolding of the Documentary,
as it chooses from the three windows
that provide continuity of the video
sequence screened on the main interface window.
detect, especially in some applicatives that explore the unfoldings of
audiovisual in digital media, a return to the report (in part due to the
portability of the equipment, which renders them media of easy transport). A good such example is the interactive documentary 13ter Stock,
by Florian Talhofer and Kolja Mensing, which records the daily life of
a degraded Berlin neighbourhood, with the aim of revealing how the
stereotypes attributed to the its dwellers are groundless7. In this sense,
the applicative in question are experiences close to that of the narrator
described by Walter Benjamin in his essay about Nikolai Leskov, as they
record a kind of “experience that passes on from person to person”, often recuperating practices that do not circulate through the medium, in
which they place themselves in the margins of the supposed information society that is in a process of consolidation.
In digital applicatives, it is the user who establishes the relationships between the parts. And this procedure involves unusual links, often unpredictable. Specialists denominate this performance of the user
on the applicatives as agency – after all, more important than the higher
or lower performance of the machines, that so worries the IT industry. To
offer the audience the possibility of acting on a field of possibilities pre-
7. Florian, Talhofer and Kolja Mensing. 13ter Stock. Interactive documentary [DVD].
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viously established is the common merit of the best works that emerges
in the increasingly consolidated universe of digital media. According to
Janet Murray, “agency is the satisfactory power of significantly acting
and seeing the result of our decisions and choices”. She sustains that
there is an expectation for this process of action, “when we double-click
on an archive and it opens up before our eyes or when we insert figures
in a spreadsheet and we see the total sum being readjusted”8. Agency
stimulates the performative dimension, which integrates the user to
the experience of meaning production.
In A narrativa: metáfora e liberdade, Olgária Mattos explains that the
“experience, memory and narration belong, to Benjamin, to the same
semantic field (...) for these do not constitute concurrent discourses but
two manners of living in community, two diverse planes of life in a given culture. Narration demands a listener, information aims a market”.
Many of these characteristics of narration appear today in artwork that
explores the uses of video in digital interfaces, as Valetes em Slow Motion,
by Kiko Goifman, Somewhere Between Here and There, by Alicia Felberbaum and the already mentioned 13ter Stock, by Talhofer and Mensing.
Curiously, there is a etymological ground for this proximity, as Olgária
Mattos herself indicates, in footnote 3 of her work: “From Greek, historiè,
this term remits to histôr: ‘judge’ or ‘witness’. Its Greek root is id, which
corresponds to Latin vid-, both indicating the act of seeing”. The relationship is questionable, or is at least partial. In digital media, the act
of transmission is more important that the act of seeing (and, after all,
than the acts of sound making, writing, etc.).
Digital language depends on this agency in order to make sense.
This is why Sean Cubbit’s observation is very precise that “in its digital
format, spreadsheets, databanks and geographic information systems
are central components of new media”. For Cubbit, this importance is
underlined by what they mean to the business computation. Besides, the
convergence of these three systems in popular packages, such as Microsoft
Office and Apple Works, indicates the degree of even greater integration that
the one claimed by sound, image and text in communication media in net8. MURRAY, Janet. “Agency”. In: Hamlet on the Hollodeck. The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997, p. 126.
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wc_mech.html.
http://www.ntticc.or.jp/Archive/1994/EX_MECH/Works/
ex.Mech, by Bill Seaman, is a recombinant machine: 33 audio-visual fragments work as a matrix for sentences
that can be built by the user.
work”.9 In New Screen Media. Cinema/Art/Narrative, Martien Rieser and Andrea Zapp state that we live the beginning of an “era of narrative chaos, in
which traditional frames are being superseded by experimental and radical
attempts of redrawing the art of story telling in emergent technologies”.10
Rieser’s and Zapp’s diagnosis is correct, when we take into consideration pieces such as The Exquisite Mechanism of Shivers, by Bill Seaman,
Ambient Machines, by Marc Lafia or Flora Petrinsularis, by Jean-Louis Boissier, to stick to but a few examples. In the best websites and CD-ROMs,
there is a range of meaning not only on the plane of fruition, as is usual
in literature, in cinema and the visual arts, among others. It takes place,
also, on the plane of functioning, shared with the user by means of interfaces in which the producer builds the context in which he or she
is going to act. These are processes in which the polyphony typical of
the remix emerges, revealing to the public the workings of digital language. It is a powerful process, as it can be explored for the construction
of tools for the stimulus to critical exercise and the plurality of views.
Its importance is proportional and inverse to the unfoldings of the network cultures, increasingly bridled to corporate protocols.
9. CUBBIT, Sean, “Spreadsheets, Sitemaps and Search Engines. Why Narrative is Marginal to Multimedia and Networked Communication, and Why Marginality is More Vital than Universality”.
In: RIESER, Martin; ZAPP, Andrea. New Screen Media. Cinema/Art/Narrative. London: British Film
Institute, 2002.
10. RIESER, Martin; ZAPP, Andrea. “An Age of Narrative Chaos?”. In: New Screen Media. Cinema/Art/
Narrative. London: British Film Institute, 2002.
cybercu lt u r e a s
recombi n a n t t e r r i to ry
André Lemos
ava n t p rop o s
For a better understanding of the way in which the recombination of
the diverse elements at play in contemporary culture operate – which
some call the information society, post-industrial society, cyberculture
or knowledge society – I shall establish three basic principles, or three
laws for this information society, specially with regards to the cultural
practices that I will bring in again at the end of this conference. The
three guideline principles allow, generally, the understanding of the
emergence of the diverse social, communicational and productive practices that create multiple and unusual recombinations in contemporary
culture. Cyberculture is, so to speak, a “recombinant territory”. We shall
explore the “cyberculture remix”, the information society’s principles
and the notion of territory in order to reach, at the end, the hypothesis
of the creation of informational territories, today in full expansion with
the wireless technologies and with communication. These will foment
new recombinant practices in contemporary cities.
p r i n c i p l e s o f r e c o m b i n a n t cyberculture
Let’s be direct: to recombine, copy, appropriate or mix the most diverse
elements is no novelty in the field of culture. All of culture is, above
all, hybrid; the formation of habits, uses and socio-technical-semiotic
processes always take place grounded on the embracing of differences
and on dealing with other cultures. The recombination of diverse elements be them productive, religious or artistic, is always a constitutive
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trace in all cultural formation. On the other hand, all closure attempts
in themselves result in impoverishment, homogeneity and death. Culture needs, in order to keep vibrant, strong and dynamic, to accept the
fact that it is, in some way, permeable to other cultural forms. This process is on the march from the most “primitive” cultures to the most contemporary culture, cyberculture. Thus, it is not recombination in itself
the great novelty, but the manner, the speed and the global reach of this
movement.
The new communication and information technologies are vectors
of social aggregation, of communicational bonds and of informational
recombinations, involving the most diverse information embodied in
various formats: text, still or animated images, and sounds. The “postmassive” network cultures, in its expansion with the sites, blogs, relationship networks such as Orkut, the exchange of photographs, videos
and music in systems such as Flickr, YouTube and P2P network, shows
very well this movement of cultural recombination within an electronic territory in planetary growth.
In order to understand this recombinatory process we should try to
find the principles that guide such movements. We could say, as a hypothesis, that there are three laws that are on the basis of cyberculture’s
present day cultural process: the liberation of the broadcasting pole, the
principle of network connection and consequent socio-cultural reconfiguration grounded on new productive and recombinatory practices.
As stated above, contemporary culture is a recombinant territory
and the novelty is not so much recombination in itself, but its reach.
Recombination, which has dominated Western culture from at least the
second half of the 20th Century, gains planetary aspects from the beginning of the 21st Century.
Cyberculture installs a peerless mediatic structure (a “post-massive”
structure, as we shall see below) in the history of humanity, where, for
the first time, any individual can produce and publish information in
real time, under diverse formats and modulations, can add and collaborate in network with others, reconfiguring (“massive”) cultural industry.
The examples are numerous, planetary, and in geometric growth: blogs,
podasts, peer to peer systems, free softwares, social softwares, electronic
art… It is a growing exchange and sharing processes of diverse cultural
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elements grounded on the possibilities opened by electronic-digital
technologies and by contemporary telematic networks.
b road c a s t a n d p ro d u c e !
The first principle is liberation of the broadcasting pole. This principle is at
the basis of everything, and it is different from the times of massive culture or the way in which information and communication was accessed
then. This is the first characteristic of this “post-massive” digital culture.
What we see today are countless social phenomena in which the old
“receptor” comes to produce and broadcast his or her own information,
in a free, multimode (many mediatic formats) and planetary way, which
symptom is sometimes confused with the “excess” of information. The
Internet’s socio-communicational practices are here to show that people are producing videos, photographs, music, writing blogs, creating
forums and communities, developing the software and the tools of the
Web 2.0, exchanging music etc.
These practices reflect the potency welled-up by the massive communication media, which have always controlled the broadcasting pole.
Publishing houses, television companies, newspapers and magazines,
music and film industries, control the broadcast in the much-studied
mass communication culture. In the massive cultural industry, there
is an information broadcaster that directs its production to a mass of
receptors, who are transformed, with some luck, into public. This does
not mean that there were no possibilities to access and production of
underground information: fanzines, pirate radio and television etc.,
have always existed, but in a very limited scale range. The evolution
of electronic-digital technology creates an effervescence, an excess of
information by the possibility that each one is also a content producer
and broadcaster. Exception made, of course, to the totalitarian/authoritarian regimes, of countries who seek to control and filter the Net, to
limit the production, circulation and consumption of information, as is
the case in China.
In the post-massive culture that constitutes the present day cyberculture, to produce, circulate and access increasingly more information
becomes a daily, trivial, banal action. To give more concrete examples,
we can say that blogs and podcasts have become the new manners of
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text, image and sound broadcasting, where each user makes up his or
her own vehicle. Blogs are today a world phenomenon of free sound
broadcasting on diverse formats (personal, journalistic, entrepreneurial, academic, community….). Podcasts are, in their turn, free forms of
sound broadcasting where each user is able to create his or her own
programme and disseminate it the Net. The forms of collaborative electronic art show diverse collective, participative and recombinatory actions, where people and groups cooperate through the telematic pathway. The same happens with the development of free softwares, today
a powerful system that is also part of this liberation of broadcasting.
Here the codes are altered and made available for further modification
by means of developers scattered around the globe.
We could say the same of the information production practice (liberation of broadcasting) from mobile devices. Much of the information
and images that we received at the time of the tsunamis, or the Madrid
and London bombings were disseminated by people by means of cameras embedded in mobile telephones. In the same way, the late urban
guerrillas that took place in Paris were not only documented, but also,
in some way, driven by the testimonial use of mobile telephony, such
as the case of an individual who has filmed, from his home’s window,
through a mobile phone, the police beating up young people in the outskirts. This video, disseminated in the Net, in blogs, has increased the
revolt. Thus, with the liberation of broadcasting we have witnesses who
can produce and broadcast in a planetary scale the most diverse types
of information. These examples are proof of the potency of liberation of
broadcasting in present day recombinant cyberculture. This leads us to
the second principle: connection.
pro d u c e , b road c a s t a n d. . . c onnect!
It is not enough to broadcast without connecting, sharing. One must
broadcast in network, to enter connection with the others, produce synergies, exchange bits of information, circulate, distribute. This second
principle, connection in telematic networks, seems to be a fundamental characteristic of cyberculture. The Internet, from its beginnings, has
configured itself as a place of connection and sharing. Thus the first discussion lists were born, the email exchanges, the ftp, the chats, muds…
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and this from the first BBSs in the 1970’s. We must not forget the TCPIP protocol, produced to integrate the operational systems (a technical
language for the exchange of data between computers) and put it to the
service of humanity in a freely way. Since then, the production forms
and informational consumption has grown through free production,
through circulation and collaborative processes. A new political economy seems to take shape: production is the liberation of broadcasting,
whereas consumption is connection, circulation, distribution. Cybercultural recombination takes place by information modulation and by
the circulation in telematic networks.
Diverse social phenomena that we have mentioned, such as blogs,
podcasts, peer-to-peer networks (networks for the exchange of files
such as for instance music, which makes the phonographic industries’
hair “stand on end”, with their questioning of copyright), the Web 2.0
and its social softwares such as Orkut, Flickr or YouTube, free software
developer’s networks, mobile phone users and their text messages,
their photos and videos etc., fulfill well this connection function, this
community and of social bond functions by means of electronic-digital technologies. This is indeed a characteristic feature of cyberculture:
the use of networks and information and communication technologies for the creation of social, local, community and even planetary
bonds. The principle of broadcasting will be thus linked to the principle of information exchange generalized connection. And this will
be rich in consequences.
pro d u c e , b road c a s t, c o n n e ct and...transform!
It is not just a matter of broadcasting, as we have seen, but also one of
connecting. Every time there is free broadcasting (freedom of voices, of
opinion, of ideas) and connection (between people and groups) there
is always change, movement, lines of flight. It is not by chance that repression of the free word and of free connection is always a prerogative
used by totalitarian regimes, be it the oppression of a small group, of a
city or of a country. Thus, to broadcast and to connect produces a third
principle in vogue today in contemporary culture: the reconfiguration
(of practices and institutions) of mass cultural industry and of the industrial society’s sociability networks. Several analysts today show that
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there is a crisis in the mass industry’s economic and productive model,
though this does not necessarily mean its annihilation.
Regarding the reconfigurations of mass culture, one of the great
issues that presently emerge is that of authorship and the protection
of work for reproduction, use and copy. Some systems are emerging as
an option for the creation of the legal mechanisms of recombination,
known as open licenses, or copyleft. A success example is the Creative
Commons – a use license that allows the modification, copy and distribution of work, with diverse modulation for the protection of the author’s rights. It is, indeed, a crisis of cultural, legal and economic systems
due to the reconfiguration of classic mass cultural industry.
There is, therefore, reconfiguration and remediation. Newspapers
making use of blogs (a reconfiguration regarding both blogs and newspapers) and of podcasts. Podcasts emulate radio programmes and Radios
edit their broadcasts in podcasts. Television makes reference to the Internet and the Internet remits to television. American authors Bolter
and Grusin call this reconfiguration of remediation. Remediations indeed in the sphere of media, and reconfigurations of social practices and
institutions (organizations, laws, regulations…). We can say that, presently, we are immersed in a double audiovisual landscape, where two
wide communicational systems, sometimes antagonist, coexist, offering a greater info-communicational plurality: the massive model of 19th
and 20th Centuries mass culture industry and the “post-massive” model,
characterised by the digital media, telematic networks and recombinatory processes of informational content emerging from the 1970’s.
Post-massive digital culture does not mean the end of mass culture
industry. In its turn, mass industry will not absorb and “massify” postmassive digital culture. Cyberculture is this configuration where massive and post-massive processes alternate, in the network or outside it.
Will radio die out with the diffusion of podasts? Will the Web finish off
television? There is no evidence for that. What there is in recombinant
cyberculture is an info-communicational reconfiguration. Not the end
of mass culture, but its transformation, embracing bi-directional, open
processes where the liberation of broadcasting prevails under diverse
formats and modulations, as well as a generalised and planetary connection by means of telematic networks.
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These are the three basic principles for an understanding of the recombinations that are at play in contemporary culture: broadcasting,
connection, reconfiguration. Recombinations that originate from the
liberation of broadcasting, from the connection principle. It is a cultural, artistic, imaginary, subjective, productive, economic, juridical reconfiguration on the go. The understanding of these principles will allow
for the understanding of what we shall call the informational digital
territory and the social cultural impacts of present day mobile communication and information technologies.
r e c o m b i n a n t i n f o r m at i o n a l territories
The idea of globalization, a strong feature of contemporary culture, remits to the sensation of loss of territory, of the erasing of borders. Globalization remits us to several border problems (cultural, political, geographic, subjective...). What is the limit of an individual and his or her
subjectivity today? What is contemporary subjectivity with regards to
modern subjectivity but its collapse? What is the border between the
physical body in the midst of so many technological prosthesis? What
is the limit of the economy of a Nation-State? Up to what point does our
government, for instance, is autonomous to freely decide over the fate of
our economy? Would it not depend on supranational organizations such
as the IMF, GATT and the World Bank, which lay down the guidelines, in
a certain way, of our national economy? Isn’t Europe a continent and also
a community, a zone that brings together countries that have to adapt to
the European Constitution, often waiving their own sovereignty?
This cultural, political de-territorialisation is also economic. Money
circulates around world cities seeking greater returns, indifferent to territorial frontiers. In the cultural sphere, frontiers have also been erased
by what is called multiculturalism. Today, by means of the Internet, it
is possible to listen to a Russian radio station, read a Korean newspaper and visit a site in Finland. We do that daily, with great ease. We can
chat to someone in Sri Lanka via Messenger unaware that we are living
a generalised process of de-territorialisation. We participate in several
events, we have access to several cultures and much information that
are not necessarily part of our territory. Sociologist Anthony Giddens
calls this phenomenon of “unhinging”.
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Mass media certainly create de-territorialising processes with world
information, “live”. However, television could only be watched locally,
the same taking place with radio and newspapers that always refer to
our local spaces, to our territory, to our city. With digital culture of postmassive media, and specially with the mobile technologies, we will aggravate our de-territorialisation processes. But, at the same time, we also
create new territorialisations.
We have developed in the Cybercity Research Group (GPC)1 over the
last few years, work geared towards the interface between the electronic
space and the urban millieu, research on the relationship between new
technologies and the cities. Recently, the work has been directed to the
analysis of mobile technologies, specially the processes that result from
technologies such as mobile phone networks, Bluetooth networks,
RFID labels, and Wi-Fi connection areas. These technologies create deterritorialising processes and also territorialising ones from the flux of
information exchanges in digital informational territories.
Mobile phones are today a world phenomenon and Brazil has recently reached the 100 million mark. It is a piece of equipment in which
diverse functions converge, a kind of “tele-all-in-one”, able to connect
voice, data, still and animated images, videos, music, text messages… Network technology via Bluetooth chips allows for the creation of smallscale networks between diverse pieces of equipment. These technologies
are already available in some mobile phones, computers, photographic
cameras, among other devices. The radio frequency labels, RFID, are labels that are today replacing the old bar codes, broadcasting information
about the product/object within a small perimeter. The Internet connection wireless forms by means of equipment such as laptops, palmtops
and smart phones is known as the Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) protocol,
wireless Internet access networks of a range up to 100 m (Wi-Max, which
is a prolongation of the Wi-Fi technology of a 50 km range).
Such technologies, or locative media, are reconfiguring social and
communicational practices in contemporary cities grounded on actions
1. GPC is part of Cyberresearch: International Study and Research Centre in Cyberculture, of the
Contemporary Culture and Communication Post-Graduation Programme at UFBa’s Communications Faculty. Cf. http://www.facom.ufba.br/ciberpesquisa/gpc.
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that are developed in what we shall here call informational territories.
The interface between the electronic space and the urban space creates
the informational digital territories. These are formed in the broadcasting
and reception of digital information in hybrid, informational and physical spaces, by means of the mobile devices mentioned above. The informational territories are characterised differently with regards to mass media information space, such as television, radio and the printed media.
The issue of territory, as defined by some geographers, bears direct
relationship with control. The notion of territory as control comes from
ethology, showing how the behaviour of animals establishes effective
zones of control. All the notion of territory bears a relationship to access and control within borders. These words, access and control, are extremely important to the understanding of contemporary technological society. The access to the informational universe is given by means
of passwords. And there is today, in the Web, a greater control over what
we broadcast and receive, different from the practice of consumption of
information in the massive culture.
In mass culture the possibility of control rests only on received information: the choice of newspapers, of television broadcast companies,
of radio stations etc. But does not rest on broadcast. If there is no total
control over the informative flux by the user, there is no informational
territory. Today, with post-massive media, this freedom exists, as we
have seen in the examples of the principles of broadcasting, connection
and reconfiguration. We can state that in present day cyberculture, we
can hold greater informational control, since we enjoy more choices of
what we consume as information, and we can also broadcast our own
information. The control locus of this informative flux is the informational territory, where the user controls what goes in and out of his or her
informational border. These informational territories are configured by
means of mobile telephone, mobile access to wi-fi networks, bluetooth
and RFID labels. It is an invisible territory, constituted in the intersection of the physical and electronic spaces. We propose here a polysemic
idea of territory, going beyond the physical space, the juridical frontier
of the states, where notions such as subjective, cultural and artistic territory fits in... The informational territory is a heterotopy (Foucault) of
control and access to digital information.
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The Internet and contemporary digital technologies, from the fixed
Internet to present-day mobile technologies, allow, effectively, the experience of de-territorializing processes, but, at the same time, of informational control, that is, the creation of territories. We can see de-territorialising processes in total immobility (the act of thinking is, for Deleuze,
de-territorialization par excellence), as well as territorialising processes
in mobility, such as the mapping of territories by GPS or mobile phones.
An individual can be, for instance, still in his or her own house, but deterritorialized, as he or she experience events that are not necessarily
part of his or her culture (via television or today via the Internet). On
the other hand, an executive who travels with a laptop is in mobility,
but, at the same time, he is controlled, and thus territorialized by the
informational monitoring exerted by the entrepreneurial structure.
These two notions are very complex and we have no time to develop
them here.2
Effectively, mass media (newspapers, television, radio) create deterritorializing processes. Cyberspace also creates de-territorialising
processes as it allows multicultural consumption. A Chinese activist,
for instance, can obtain information and disseminate it, trying to escape
the police and political control of his country, creating a line of flight, a
de-territorialisation act via the Internet. The same can be said of the PCC
(a Brazilian criminal organization)’s informational coordination in the
recent attacks to the city and the State of São Paulo. Territorialized by
the judicial power within a prison system, the PCC leaders are able to,
with the use of mobile technologies, mobilise and hit diverse points not
only of the capital but also of other cities in the state. We are witnesses
here to de-territorializing processes by means of telematic, computers
and, mainly, mobile telephones.
Authors describe cyberspace as an unlimited space constituted by
planetary informational networks, allowing unrestrained circulation
outside. This space would be pure, without fiction, ethereal and virtual.
In cyberspace, the granulated and resistant space is erased, being re2. Cf. LEMOS, André. Ciberespaço e Tecnologias Móveis: Processos de Territorialização e Desterritorialização na Cibercultura and LEMOS, André. Mídia Locativa e Territórios Informacionais. http://
www.facom.ufba.br/ciberpesquisa/lemos/artigos.html.
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placed by a fluid space, made for circulation. However, although it effectively allows this type of circulation, cyberspace is also a striated space,
institutionalised, controlled, made up by access protocols grounded on
informational passwords, organized by technological patterns that are
managed by the ICANN, an institution of the American Trade Department. Cyberspace is not only a smooth territory; it is also a territory of
control and of surveillance, that is, a place of territorialisation.
Thus, for instance, my sites, blogs, podacsts, my community, my relationship network, are forms of territorialisation in global cyberspace. I
create my informational control zones amidst a planetary flux of de-territorialisng possibilities, A process does not exist without the other. Informational technology such as the mobile telephone, palms of laptops
are devices through which we exert informational control. This place
of control constitutes my digital informational territory, constituted by
the telematic space, by means of access passwords and physical spaces
connection . However, though territorialized, I can effectively carry out
flight movements, of de-territorialisation. Which processes are at stake
today with the informational territory?
Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells has created a polarity between
what he calls flux space, which is cyberspace, and the place space – streets,
monuments, squares, a city’s physical places. Castells brings our attention to the synergy of these two space modalities. The flux space is not
ethereal, but is anchored in the place spaces instead. It is the interlinked
computers, satellite networks, optical fibre cables, servers etc., creating
a concrete infrastructure for the constitution of the telematic networks.
In this fusion of place space and flux space we witness the constitution
of informational territories: beyond the physical territory, of symbolic,
corporals and cultural controls, we witness the emergence of a new dimension of a territory that we can call of information control territory,
the informational digital territory.
These informational territories are constituted, in their turn, increasingly, not only by “presence points” (access via cables, attached
to a specific place space) where it is possible to access information on
the move in the interface between the cities’ electronic space and the
physical space. Some American and European cities offer free Wi-Fi access zones in the city centres and strategic points. In this place, in the
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intersection of the informational flux with the physical space, where it
is possible to control broadcast and reception, widening the spectrum
of communication and of social information, is a digital territory. But
what is the relationship between these informational territories and the
recombinant cyberculture?
Massive media – television, newspapers, radio, printed media are
informative media used in the private sphere, devoid of any broadcasting possibility. These products of massive media are, erroneously, called
mass communication media. They effectively play a communicational
role, but only in their informative role. Thus, television, radio, magazines and newspapers are mass informative media that do not allow for
the establishment of deeper and wider communicative processes, with
two-way communicational formats and the effective exchange between
consciences. In fact, they are information media that allow no interaction, except, indirectly, by the interpretation and other symbolic processes of reception and formation of public opinion.
Post-massive culture establishes two-way processes, increasing the
effective possibilities of communicative phenomena. The difference
regarding massive media is that in massive media territory is, most of
times, a private space (or semi-private) and the consumption of information takes place in an unidirectional way, only as reception, and
without mobility. Today, digital territory creates a zone within other
territories where it is possible to access, produce and distribute information, in an autonomous manner, establishing collaborative networks
and more complex communicative processes. Thus, any individual can
take pictures or shoot a video by mobile phone and rapidly send it to his
or her community at YouTube, Orkut or blog. This flux management is
a priori uncontrollable by the physical territory where the connection
takes place.
For instance, from this theatre, I can send photos, films or text messages so that those who control this physical, legal, symbolic territory
know or even could do anything to prevent it (unless they block access
to the Web stopping the creation of my informational territory). Here
we have an imbrication between the diverse territories that compose
this experience of mine: the physical territory (ICBA, Salvador, Brazil...),
my corporeal and subjective territory, the economic, juridical, cultural
salvador | deb ates |
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territory in which I am immersed, my informational territory with my
personal access passwords. Thus, the informational territory must be
thought in this myriad of territories and must help to keep privacy and
security of my territory. The recognition of the informational territory
is communicational, but also social and political.
As the exchange possibilities between consciences increase (blogs,
fora, chats, p2p networks etc.), post-massive media increase the possibility of the occurrence of communicative processes, widening the
recombination forms. With the mobile technologies and the informational territory, this potency of emission, of connection and of reconfiguration further increases the practices of collaboration and recombination, more forcefully bringing together communication, community,
sociability and mobility. Whence emerge diverse and unusual forms of
informational and cultural recombination (SMS exchange, photos and
videos via mobile phone, smart mobs and flash mobs, mobile phone
short films, file exchange via Bluetooth, change in the spaces and in the
social practices carried out in these spaces, based on Wi-Fi zones, RFID
labels, street games…). Here there are new tensions between the public
and the private, between control by the physical or institutional territory (which are the laws, the rules and all that it is at play in an institution) and the electronic space.
Informational territories thus allow the emergence, in the urban
space, of new social and communicative forms, of different uses of urban
space, allowing diverse reconfigurations that will, in their turn, feed further the three basic principles: the liberation of broadcasting, the generalized connection and the configuration of the diverse instances of
culture. We are, however, already living today the potency of the remix
cyberculture, where the recombination takes places by many territories, be it in the fixed Internet, be it in the mobile Internet with wireless
technologies. We witness, in the present day recombinant cyberculture,
to diverse processes of mixing that take place in various physical, cultural, symbolic and informational territories.
To recognise this dynamics is fundamental and even strategic, so
that Brazilian culture may produce the contents for the information society. We must understand and take advantage of the three fundamental
principles of such information society: broadcasting, in the production
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of content, connecting, in collective and collaborative processes, producing collective intelligences and changing life conditions, reconfiguring culture and social life. This must not be very difficult since we understand recombination and remixing, as we are results of such process.
We were born inside mix, in syncretism and cultural pluralism. So it
makes sense to make use of this inborn and corporeal knowledge to be
able to actively participate in cyberculture and create new recombinant
territories.
appropr i at i o n a n d p o l i t i c s
in the t e r r i to ry o f a rt
Gisele Ribeiro
In view of the event’s title, Recombinant Territories, one needs to explain, before anything else, from whence, from which territory, space
or field, this discourse will be voiced over. We shall take the territory
of art as place, considering not obvious that, as we speak of digital media, we will necessarily be speaking of art. That is, it is of interest here
to think in which way art (including art as technology) can help us to
think problems related to digital media.
This is the reason why the need of this explicitation. And, perhaps as
a provocation, instead of a “de-territorialisation”, this text may propose a
“re-territorialisation”1. Which doesn’t mean that this territory is taken as
a refuge for specific issues, such as defended by part of Modern Art.
What we will examine here, then, is the relationship between art and
technology, from the point of view of art as technology. It is not so much
the use of technology that is the starting point for this discussion, but art
being technology. As Jean-Luc Nancy would say, art is technology, but a
technology without an end. But, after all, technology has no end.2
It has been known for a long time that art has ceased to be defined and
thought of grounded on the use of materials and techniques.3 Instead, it
1. DELEUZE, Gilles and GUATTARI, Félix. Mil platôs, capitalismo e esquizofrenia, vol. 1. Rio de Janeiro: 34, 1995.
2. NANCY, Jean-Luc, “Jean-Luc Nancy e Chantal Pontbrian, Uma Entrevista”. Arte&Ensaio magazine. Rio de Janeiro, nr. 8, yearly, November, 2001, p. 150.
3. Marcel Duchamp, Ad Reinhardt, Joseph Kosuth, Rosalind Krauss, Ronaldo Brito, Thierry De Duve, etc.
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is defined as a field of interest where anything can be posed as art. This
means that from the contemporary point of view there is no materiality
or medium that, on featuring more or less advanced technology (or more
or less traditional) has a priori its guaranteed access to this field.
But is also indicates that this access does not require a gift or special
manufacture, genius or any special funding.
According to Belgian critic and theoretician Thierry De Duve in
“Kant after Duchamp”:
“In face of a readymade, there is no technical difference whatsoever between
making and enjoying art. Once this difference is erased, the artist has waived any
technical privilege regarding the layman. The artist’s profession has been emptied
of all its métier, and, if access to it is not limited by any barrier – be it institutional,
social or financial – one deduces that anyone can be an artist if so desired”. 4
The procedure attributed to Marcel Duchamp, derived from his artwork gathered under the title “ready-mades”, widens thus the limits of
art through the logic of appropriation. We shall take, then, appropriation as the interest focus, since it is the ground for one of the current
discussions about the potency of digital media as artistic media.
Of course, as it can be realised in the preceding phrases, one does
not believe that there are means or media more or less potent for the
articulation of artistic problems, and we intend to establish, indeed, a
counterpoint to this idea, from the discussion around appropriation.
We sustain, then, that regarding the political aspect, appropriation does
not guarantee a critical point of view or even a reflexive one. We shall
try to explicit, then, the subtle differences between a critical appropriation and the one we consider acritical, indicating also the ethical-political consequences of these differences.
If we consider the logic of appropriation in a wide sense, despite
the fact that it has become evident and extremely sharp in the Duchampian readymade procedure, it is possible to take it (from the very readymades) as something that also belongs to the logic of photography and
of the phonograph, both technical reproduction devices invented in the
4. DE DUVE, Thierry. “Kant Depois de Duchamp”. In: FERREIRA, Glória, VENÂNCIO FILHO, Paulo.
(ed.). Arte & Ensaios magazine, nr 5. Rio de Janeiro: Master dissertation in History of Art/Escola de
Belas Artes, UFRJ, 1998, p. 128.
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51
19th Century, which have invested in the possibility of appropriation via
image or sound of anything in the world.
But, what that renders this logic conceptually so important in Duchamp’s work is the possibility of appropriation, without the need of
any elaborate “technical reproduction device”.
However, if we widen the notion of “device”, as stated by Villém
Flusser, in his book Filosofia da Caixa Preta [Philosophy of the Black Box5],
taking it not only as an object, for instance, the photographic camera,
but as a system that also includes the photographer, the observer, the
observed and the industry, we realise that we do talk about a device, but
a conceptual device, “widened”, the system of art.
With the readymade we have the idea of appropriation elevated to a
procedure that goes much beyond the material or technical aspects of a
given “medium”: we look at the incorporation of a reality translated into
another by means of a conceptual displacement (not always physical,
temporal or spatial).
Thus, Duchamp brings the “art” device close to the photographic
and phonographic devices (later the cinematographic, videographic, infographic devices etc.), without it implying the explicit use of the photographic materiality, for instance.
However, despite the fact that it waives any “specific media”, the
Duchampian procedure does not waive the discussion about what we
do with such appropriations. Far from celebrating the art system, this
procedure places it under a critical focus, rendering visible the power
mechanisms that influence the meaning of the work of art.6
Starting off from there – as Joseph Kosuth stated, “all art (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in its nature), because art exists only conceptually”7 –
shouldn’t we think about how to replace photography, and all images and
sounds produced from the logic of appropriation under the critical focus?
5. FLUSSER, Vilém. Filosofia da Caixa Preta, Ensaios para uma Futura Filosofia da Fotografia. Rio de
Janeiro: Relume Dumará, col. Conexões, 2002.
6. DUCHAMP, Marcel. “O Ato Criador”. In: BATTCOCK, Gregory (org.). A Nova Arte. São Paulo: Perspectiva, col. Debates, 1975.
7. KOSUTH, Joseph. “Arte Depois da Filosofia”. In: Malasartes magazine, nr1, September-November.
1975, p. 11.
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If in Duchamp’s piece Fountain (Fontaine, 1917) the appropriation of
the porcelain urinal bears the signature “R. Mutt, 1917”, added to the industrial object, stressing the importance of the signature as inseparable
part of the meaning attributed to a work of art, at the same time as it
questions the idea of authorship as expression of an individual subject,
is it not the case that we should step back and ask about what takes
place with photographic appropriations – including the beginnings of
its experiences?
In the case of William Henry Fox Talbot’s photographs, in which he
uses lace in contact with the paper, could we not ask, what is the difference, in the end, between the lacework proper and the lacework “taken”
by him?8
If, on the one hand, we take that photograph as document, which
would indicate its “transparent” feature, should we not investigate
something about this lace? Who has designed the appropriated image?
Some unknown lacewoman? Some will say that it does not matter who
or how the lace was made: the photograph is what matters.
So, on the other hand, if we take the photograph as an object, by
its “opaque” character, should we not have to investigate the context in
which the photograph is being received, its distribution, circulation and
conventions system? The here and now of its reception and in which
way this photograph places a critical focus on this system?
If we take the problem of the documentary today, we find two political perspectives: some can state that Talbot has appropriated the
lacewoman’s work, exploiting her and taking personal advantage, as
well as financial, since it masks the relationship with previous work in
the defence of photography’s potentiality as specific medium; other can
argue that Talbot has given the lace visibility, valuing it and inserting it
into the system of valuable objects (a more Benjaminian position).
8. This kind of photography is interesting because it is so flat, separating positive and negative
areas, thus generating a relationship between the structure of the lacework and that of the photograph. According to Douglas Crimp, the lacework and the photograph share the same problem
of the positive and negative; and according to Geoffrey Batchen, it also shares the problem of the
digital: bit: 1/0. Cf. CRIMP, Douglas. “Introdução: As Fotografias no Final do Modernismo”. In: CRIMP,
Douglas; LAWLER, Louise. Sobre as Ruínas do Museu. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2005.
vitória | deb ates |
53
From the point of ethical-political point of view, another important
consequence of the Duchampian and photographic procedures is also of
interest. According to Walter Benjamin, the “techniques of reproduction”
allow a lowering (or even destruction) of the work of art’s aura, grounded
on a redistribution and horizontalisation of the power that involves the
figures of the artist/author and of the spectator/reader, which would balance out these two forces. Benjamin’s project – as well as Duchamp’s and
his “Creative Act”, Lygia Clark’s and the notion of the “participator”, Hélio Oiticica and his “semantic participation”, as well as John Cage with
the absence of a distinction between the composer, player and audience
– invest in the de-hierarchisation of these roles, causing a change in the
politics of art, where the spectator (or the “mass”) would gain power equal
to those of the artist (or ruling class, who detains the production means).
The appropriation as reproduction would thus serve to a diminution of the cult value of what is put forward by the artist, causing the
artwork to be close to its receptor “both in human terms and spatially”
However, the difference that we consider problematic here, between
the Benjamin’s propositions and of the other artists quoted (Duchamp,
Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica and John Cage), it is Benjamin who places
the responsibility chiefly on the mechanised hands of the “technical
reproductions”. Thus, he seems to consider that the mere use of these
“reproduction techniques” (for him: photography, cinema, the phonograph, radio; and after him: television, video, digital media etc.) would
already provoke this political emancipation of the spectator/reader. Although Benjamin’s contradictions in his classic text “The Work of Art in
the Age of its Mechanical Reproduction”9 have already been pointed out
by many, few have done so grounded on the confrontation of artistic
strategies that deal with the politics of art.
Although he defends in a “progressive” way the pertinence of the
political potency of cinema regarding the traditional forms such as theatre and painting, in the distinction that he makes between capitalistic
and soviet cinemas of the time, it is possible to notice that it is not “the
9. BENJAMIN, Walter. “A Obra de Arte na Época de suas Técnicas de Reprodução”. In: BENJAMIN,
Walter; ADORNO, T. W; VELHO, G. (orgs.). Sociologia da Arte IV. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar Editores, 1969.
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cinema” or even the notion of appropriation that it bears that is going
to necessarily transfer this power to the spectator.
For Benjamin, the reproduction techniques allow not only a wider
access to images and representation by the ”masses”, in the role of the observer, but also that this access would also generate the insertion of this
“mass” into these representations, as the observed. We see then that the
appropriation includes one more element in the power game between artist, spectator and institution, which is the “appropriated subject/object”,
the observed, which for Benjamin will divide its role with the spectator.
Of course, then, the articulation between these characters and their
roles becomes more complex, rendering appropriation as agency between the artist/author/producer, spectator/reader/audience, appropriated
subject/object, institution/context and means/instrument. The political workings of this agency cannot logically depend only on the instrument of
technical reproduction. (Again, many new discussions about documentary cinema today seem to deal precisely with this issue).
In a few further points in this text, Benjamin gives us clues of what
happens with his own discourse in the course of the 20th Century leading up to this day. When, in Chapter XI he compares the painter to the
filmmaker, relating the first with the healer, or magician, and the second
to the surgeon, he indicates that the painter relates in a “magic” manner
to “reality”, whereas the cinematographist “penetrates in depth in the
very structure of the given”. According to him, “the image of the real
furnished by cinema is infinitely more significant […] it only succeeds
because it uses the instruments geared to penetrate, in the most intensive way, the heart of reality. We notice that magic, previously deposited
in the space between the painter and reality, rests today exactly on what
is interposed between the cinematographist and reality, the “medium/
instrument”. That is, the aura that Benjamin so much would liked to
see destroyed concentrates today in a more emphatic way in what he
considered capable of destroying it, “the techniques of reproduction”, or
better said, in the rhetoric about them (according to Phillipe Dubois10,
always the “new technologies”). It is not a coincidence that Hollywood
10. DUBOIS, Philippe. Cinema, Vídeo, Godard. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2004.
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55
cinema, for instance, will only waive the star system to replace it with
“special effects”.
In this way, instead of an equalisation aiming the balance between
artist/author/producer, spectator/reader/audience, appropriated subject/object,
institution/context and means/medium we have a rhetoric that transfers
the power of the artist, not to the spectator, but to the means/medium,
leaving the spectator/reader/audience and also the appropriated subject/object (which can be the one and same) in similar conditions to the previous system (of the “Fine Arts”). In this case, the discourse legitimates
the “digital media” as instruments that carry out the “creative act”, even
keeping a large part of the laurels, keeping as passive extras, the spectator/reader/audience, appropriated subject/object and now also the artist/author/producer.
But attention is needed, for this apparent passivity of the artist can
obscure an even bigger return of power, for isn’t he, who tries to mask
his power, more authoritarian than he who renders visible, and questionable, his position within the system of forces?
The celebrative appropriations, which consider appropriation on
its own, a priori, politically democratizing, often incur in the danger of
once again invoking magic and aura, but now taking advantage of a political discourse that would place them as responsible for the breaking
of authorship, thus masking the power system in which they are immersed.
It is interesting and even ironic that, more than the political will to
re-dimension the artist’s and the work of art’s power, there is also, in the
sights of most of contemporary strategies, a need for the equalisation of
the powers of the art institutions system. However, the valuing of the intermediate – means/instrument – by the practices that speak through the
“new media” seems simply to replace the institution as a great “distributor” of art with technology as “distributor”, as is the case in the passage
of economic power from the hands of the “record companies” to the CD
and DVD burners. That is, once again, there seems to be a masking of
the power that the products and companies linked to digital technologies gain in the process. The acritical appropriation, valuing simply this
means/instrument, operates through the logic of the “distributor”, which
in the capitalistic system is the one that gains in the end. (Cultural cen-
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tres linked to banks and telephony enterprises that invest heavily in
this art niche know very well what they do).
Thus, we can agree with American critic Douglas Crimp, when he states:
“the appropriation strategy is no longer a certificate of a specific attitude in
the face of contemporary culture conditions. […] Appropriation, pastiche, quotation – these methods extend into virtually all aspects of our culture, ranging
from the most cynically calculated products of our fashion and entertainment
industries to the more committed critical activities of artist […] If all aspects of
culture make use of this new process, then the very process cannot be an indicator of a specific reflection about our culture”.11
In this sense, Sherrie Levine’s work – in which, an “exact” or “similar”
reproduction of Walker Evans’ photographs are presented, for example,
is very incisive as it deals with appropriation and its relationship with
photography to focus, in a critical way, on the very procedure. After all,
what records all, also records itself. In the same way, what appropriates
all appropriates also itself. Photography turns against itself. It is the very
subject/appropriated object now.
The problem of the relationship between appropriation and representation (or exploitation and representativity) returns again here,
but in a very ironic way, since it does so in a double manner: the doubt
rests not only on Sherrie’s procedure, but also on Walker Evans’ photographs. The artist does not construct for herself an immaculate place,
neither alienated nor passive, but a place of visibility that allows for
questionings:
“As she unashamedly steals existing images, Levine does not make any
concessions to the conventional notions of artistic creativity. She makes use of
images, but not to constitute a style of her own. Her appropriations only hold
functional value for the specific historical discourses in which they are inserted.
[…] Levine’s appropriation reflects the very appropriation strategy – the appropriation of the classic sculpture style by Weston; [the appropriation of workers
by Walker Evans] the appropriation both by Weston and by Mapplethorpe [or
Evans] by the institutions of high art, or, in fact, the appropriation by photography in general; and, finally, photography as a tool for appropriation”.12
11. CRIMP, Douglas. op. cit., p. 115.
12. Idem, p. 121.
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57
Douglas Crimp also stresses how much this work does not claim a
place for the artist as an autonomous creator whose creativity is singular (evidently in the face of these photographs, we can easily utter that
phrase: “I also can do this”) and in this aspect it includes the history of
art as part of the “creative act”.
Taking another kind of work that operates the logic of appropriation keeping the critical aspect, but in a very different manner, we can
consider the reflections on John Cage’s ideas taken further by artists
connected to the Fluxus. The absence of distinctions between composer,
performer and listener sustained by Cage – who, in a Benjaminian style,
compares the composer to the king and the conductor to the primeminister13 – will manifest its most interesting consequences in the conceptual scores of George Brecht, Yoko Ono and La Monte Young.
In his piece Water Yam, 1963, Brecht thinks of the artwork as texts/instructions/scores distributed in cards inside a box, which can be executed
in diverse ways by performers, institutions and spectators, now proposing another relationship between composer/artist/author/producer, perfomer/institution/context and listener/spectator/reader/public.
Banality, as well as complexity, of language as means/instrument renders its fetishisation as an instrument of advanced technology almost
impossible. The performer/listener is thought of as a “critical appropriator” of the work, being up to him or her the various decision, such as for
instance: to execute the work mentally, extracting from there a sound
effect; to execute the work using equipment or instruments to produce
and then listen the sound effectively; or to perform its reading, both
mentally and orally, as an execution of the piece, considering the sound
of language also sound production.
However, in works such as by Bruce Nauman, Ann Sofie Sidèn or
even Ricardo Basbaum (to quote a few), which make use of means/instruments such as surveillance cameras, for instance, for the appropriation of the spectator’s image as part of the work, obviously unfold the
problems arisen regarding appropriation, using videographic or digital
13. “The Master-Pieces of Western Music Exemplify Monarchies or Dictatorships. The Composer and
The Conductor: King and Prime-Minister.” CAGE, John. “O Futuro da Música”. In: FERREIRA, Glória;
COTRIM, Cecília (orgs.). Escritos de Artistas, Anos 60/70. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Zahar, 2006.
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recent means, but not without discussing or pointing at the dangers of
appropriation as control and surveillance instrument. They do not celebrate, thus, these means/instruments by placing more power in its hands.
On the contrary, they render visible their use as instruments of power.
Using or not using photography, or any other means considered to
be “technical or digital reproduction”, the appropriation will not enable,
by itself, a change or a critical and reflexive attention regarding the political structure of the art system. It is necessary more than this, as Ronaldo
Brito would say, it’s necessary that “the technique ceases to be the subject’s expressive means. On the contrary, it becomes the objective need
of the artists to master a deep and generalised rationality so as to accompany the determinations of the cultural system. The need to investigate
its field of action on the level of critical conscience”. [The contemporary
issue] “is less malleable to simplifications, for it rejects formal schema or
privileged contents.” 14
The place of contemporary art “is only and radically reflexive.” 15
14. BRITO, Ronaldo. “O Moderno e o Contemporâneo (o Novo e o Outro Novo)”. In: BASBAUM,
Ricardo (org.). Arte Contemporânea Brasileira: Texturas, Dicções, Ficções, Estratégias. Rio de Janeiro:
Rios Ambiciosos, 2001, p. 207-208.
15. Idem, p. 212.
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59
bi b l i o g r a p h y
a p p ro p r i at i o n a n d p o l i t i c s in the
te r r i to ry o f a rt
BENJAMIN, Walter. “A Obra de Arte na Era de suas Técnicas de Reprodução”. In: BENJAMIN, Walter; ADORNO, T. W; VELHO, G. (org.).
Sociologia da Arte IV. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1969.
BRITO, Ronaldo. “O Moderno e o Contemporâneo (o Novo e o Outro Novo)”.
In: BASBAUM, Ricardo (org.). Arte Contemporânea Brasileira: Texturas,
Dicções, Ficções, Estratégias. Rio de Janeiro: Rios Ambiciosos, 2001.
CAGE, John. “O Futuro da Música”. In: FERREIRA, Glória; COTRIM, Cecília (orgs.). Escritos de Artistas, Anos 60/70. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Zahar,
2006.
CRIMP, Douglas. “Introdução: As Fotografias no Final do Modernismo”.
In: CRIMP, Douglas; LAWLER, Louise. Sobre as Ruínas do Museu. São
Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2005.
DE DUVE, Thierry. “Kant Depois de Duchamp”. In: FERREIRA, Glória,
VENÂNCIO FILHO, Paulo. (ed.). Revista Arte & Ensaios, nr. 5. Rio de
Janeiro: Masters Thesis in History of Art/Escola de Belas Artes, UFRJ,
1998.
DUBOIS, Philippe. Cinema, Vídeo, Godard. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2004.
DUCHAMP, Marcel. “O Ato Criador”. In: BATTOCK, Gregory (org.). A
Nova Arte. São Paulo: Perspectiva, col. Debates, 1975.
DUCHAMP, Marcel. “A Propósito do Readymade”. In: DUCHAMP, Marcel, et SANOUILLET, Michel, PETERSON, Elmer (orgs.). The Writings of Marcel Duchamp. New York: Oxford University Press/Da Capo
Press, 1973.
HENDRICKS, Jon. Exhibition Catalogue: “O Que é Fluxus? O Que Não
É! O Porquê”. Rio de Janeiro: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil – The
Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Foundation, Detroit.
2002.
KOTZ, Liz. “Post-Cagean Aesthetics and the Event Score.” In: KRAUSS,
R., MICHELSON, A., BUCHLOH, B., et al. October magazine, nr. 95,
inverno de 2001.
OITICICA, Helio. “Esquema Geral da Nova Objetividade”. In: Aspiro ao
Grande Labirinto. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1986.
soundsc a p e –
rainy day i n v i t ó r i a – 4 3 ’
Photo: Ding Musa
Put the earphones on. Take the discman with you and walk about the
exhibition space. After use, return the
player to its place.
Raquel Garbelotti
tw o m o m en t s a n d t w o a p p roximations to the
so u n d s c a p e p ro j e c t : r a i n y day in vitória – 43’
1. First moment: presented at the Urbe group exhibition. Curated by
Cauê Alves. Casa Triângulo Gallery. São Paulo. June 2006.
2. Second moment: At the Sergio Motta Award discussion panel, a hearing of the sound-project was carried out before reading this text, with
the presence of the participating public at UFES’ auditorium, which redefined the soundscape through the updating of the project by means
of this collective hearing.
This text poses basically two problems around the sound project
that I have presented at Casa Triângulo. The perception of the landscape
and the space in which we are and with which we relate, and the idea of
participation in contemporary art projects.
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1. f i r s t a p p rox i m at i o n : l a n dsc ape and space
In order to understand the terms landscape and space I put forward, I will
use Milton Santos’ definitions presented in his book The Nature of Space :
Space and Time: Reason and Emotion [A Natureza do Espaço : Espaço e Tempo:
Razão e Emoção].
Milton Santos states that “landscape and space are not synonyms”.
He describes the landscape as trans-temporal, as it brings together past
and present objects. As a system, landscape is unchangeable, therefore a
material system, and space is a system of values, which is permanently
transformed. In the landscape, historical moments co-exist with the
present moment.
Regarding space, Santos equals the term with the idea of society that
acts on the place. For him, “It is society, that is, Man, who animates the
spatial forms, attributing content to them, a life”.
It is worth retaking an issue put forward by the author: “Can one
think of a dialectic between society and the whole of the spatial forms,
between society and landscape? Or would the dialectic take place exclusively between society and space?”
For the author, it is only possible to act on a group of social forms
within a dialectic between society and space. “The dialectic here is given
between the new actions and one ‘old’ situation, an inconclusive present aiming to realise itself on a perfect present. The landscape is only
part of the situation. The situation as a whole is defined by present day
society, as society and as space. At each moment, in the last analysis,
society is acting on itself, and never exclusively on materiality. The dialectic, thus, is not between society and landscape, but between society
and space. And vice-versa”.
The term soudscape or sound object used in the project I presented
coincides with the terms landscape and space developed by Milton Santos. In the recorded sound object, space is the past, that which constitutes it as landscape. In other words, the sound of the rain that falls on the
drainpipe that we hear in the recording is past, and will only be heard
and animated as space when relived/lived under the circumstance of
listening, which is thus transformed into listening of the place. A hearing
that, even though is displaced from the site of capture/recording, which
is always an origin, provokes the perceived present surroundings. Thus the
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subtitle – Rainy Day in Vitoria – 43’ retakes the place of origin of the recorded sound object, and constitutes itself as present (sound of rain), at
the present moment of hearing.
Thus, the project proposes the relationship between the soundscape
with the space in which it is put forward in the present moment, as the
participant moves along the direction of the soundscape listening the
sound of rain recorded in the city of Vitória. This indication of context
or place of the rain is given as previously described by the title of the
project. What affirms the idea of the recording/capture displacement
into the São Paulo context – in this case the Casa Triângulo Gallery.
2 . s e c o n d a p p rox i m at i o n : participation,
in t e r ac t i v i t y a n d r e l at i o n al aesthetics
What interests this project towards Nicolas Bourriad’s relational idea, is
the notion of possible form or formation in what he calls the meeting
between art and its audience in contemporary projects.
For the author, “The possibility of a relational art is given by the
taking up of the human interactions sphere and its social context, more
than the affirmation of a symbolic private autonomous space”.
It is worthwhile to deal here with the notion of interactivity versus
participation, as being pure interactivity, no more than the realisation of
the mechanisation of the senses. I approximate the idea of the mechanisation of the senses to what Bourriad calls the mechanisation of the
social functions that, according to him, progressively reduces relational space. For him, “Contemporary art develops a political project as it
makes an effort to take up a relational function and problematises it”.
It is important to stress that participation is not secured in the case
of proposition. The listening of the proposed place in the sound project
described depends on the operations that trigger perceptive and relational codes between landscape and space. The relational sphere to
which I refer, and that moves away from Bourriad, is an individual operation of the subject that relates landscape to space. Therefore it is not an
exchange of collectives, but of an individual and relational operation of
the subject with the place. This subject, as it operates between landscape
and space, causes the project to distance itself from the mechanisation
of the senses and also of the idea of the autonomous space.
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The participation intention that I tried to deal with here is not tied
to the idea of interactivity, or to the collective exchanges format between
subjects, but of a building of thought of the possibilities of participative
forms.
bib l i o g r a p h y
so u n d s c a p e – r a i n y day i n v itória – 43’
“Estética Relacional”. In: BOURRIAD, Nicolas. Esthetique Relationelle. Paris: Les Presses du Réel, 1998. Translation by Jordi Claramonte.
“Uma Necessidade Epistemológica: A Distinção entre Paisagem e Espaço”. In: SANTOS, Milton. A Natureza do Espaço: Espaço e Tempo: Razão
e Emoção. São Paulo: Hucitec, 1999, 3rd edition.
behavio u r s o r o n t h e f o r m s
of ident i t y b u i l d i n g i n n e t w o r k
environ m e n t
Helga Stein
Grounded on the network environments such as Orkut, Flickr, Multiply
and other similar communities, I intend to discuss today the behaviours
or identity building forms in network environments. In order to clarify
how I arrived at this discussion, I will briefly relate my trajectory.
Some of my first work with computers was on the BBS support,
which is, in a way, a predecessor of the Internet, that is, a way of connecting by means of text. Besides the BBS support, I entered the chat rooms,
that, at the time, was a kind of chat. And what has always intrigued me
was the way in which people introduced themselves. As there were no
images available, all participants asked questions about the interlocutor’s physical attributes. And the answers could be wide-ranging: either
true or not.
A long time has passed since then, but I began to take up this issue of
identity in my work. Presently, I am developing a series of self-portraits
that, at first, is photography. This is the way people understand it. If it is
photography, so why is the project placed within new media? This is an
interesting discussion, because, despite working with a medium that is
not new – photography – this work is placed within the context of new
media indeed. What is this work then? They are self-portraits that I take
and digitally manipulate, taking up several “personae”.
These are portraits in which I initially modify the features of the
face, and, more recently, the full body. All these images are online,
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Photos: Helga Stein
available for comments, for download, by means of Flickr. It is important to notice the difference from one image to the other, all elaborated
from the same matrix. So, in what does the work consist? Why does
this work, despite appearing as photography, is part of the discussion
on new media? I work with one of Guy Debord’s theses. He is the author of “The Society of Spectacle”. In this book, Debord says: “Maybe
my theses will not serve up to the end of the century”. Indeed, there are
many ideas put forward there that have passed, but many still prevail.
One of the theses he defends and with which I identify myself, in the
society of the spectacle we live today, there is a relationship between
people mediated by images. What catches our eye in this proposition
is that the author questions our facility and our unbridled image consumption, and the way in which we relate, how we build our identities
through these images. So, what does the work present? It is the result of
an experience of network community, such as Orkut, Flickr, Multiply
and Last FM. These communities demand, so to speak, the building of
a profile. What kind of image, what kind of material to be made available in the Internet, or in a blog? What kind of material to deploy so as
to be identified, to present my online presence, through which I may
or may not make myself known? Often, the issue of the building of
identity is ephemeral, mutant. Who has never tried to introduce oneself with another kind of identity, another kind of profile? So, how are
these issues built nowadays? How do people relate? As an illustration,
visit the site www.last.fm. It is possible to relate to people by means of
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your musical taste. In this site, it is possible to listen to your favourite
music. Just enter the artist’s name, song title or genre. There are many
search possibilities. When a user spends a reasonable time listening
to music, the site itself suggest neighbour profiles (user with similar
profiles in terms of musical taste), with whom contact is suggested by
means of exchanges and exchange of information. What does it mean?
It means that your musical choices signal a profile generated by your
tastes and musical choices, devoid of any other additional information
or images. In a similar manner, the same takes place in the Amazon
site, which files all searches carried out, processes the gathered data
and also determines the user’s profile.
Returning to the issue of my work, I use a single matrix. At first I
worked only with my own image, always modifying it. Each photo generated a different result. Later, I started working with a single photo, generating many characters I called “family” (this is all available in a website). But, shortly after, I began to think that “family” did not meet what
I intended. This led to a third step, which was taken at Paço das Artes, in
São Paulo, by means of the occupation proposal, where I selected several
people, photographed them and tried to frame them into the same type
of figure. It is possible to notice that they are different people, different
matrices, but the final result is very peculiar, for everyone features, with
a few variations, the same eyes, more or less the same skull build, similar
mouths, the same kind of light. The final result is somewhat strange. In
the beginning, I abandoned the matrix and made several images. Then I
took several matrices and tried to reach a single result.
And what happens in Flickr? What is funny is that many people
enter but notice nothing at all. They think it is a “model” or many “models”! They do not realise that it is the same person. They even ask who
are those models! They “consume” the image, but do not realise there is
something strange with those women! On the other hand, there are people who enter the site, notice something strange and ask themselves if
that character is someone real or not. We go back to the BBS issue: does
it really exist? Is it real? Is there a matrix behind that figure or not? It is
obvious that there is an exaggeration in this sense, but there are people
who feel very disturbed because they do not understand whether what
is before their eyes is a single person or many people.
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Another usual issue that has emerged with the exhibition was
whether or not I had altered the images, as if today all images were not
implicated in this kind of modification. If we research the history of
photography from its beginnings, we shall see that the act of framing is
already a form of deformation, of a world reading. But today, in a more
radical manner, fashion and lifestyle magazines are consumed, and are
all of the readers aware that these images are fabricated? Because, if they
are all aware that they are false, maybe the behaviour disorders would
not be happening so often. We witness cases of bulimia, food disorder
illnesses, which take place because of such tales. My creation then develops as a way of criticising this consumption society, its passivity in
the absorption of images. It is a way of saying – “hang on, pay attention to what is actually happening. Are you aware? Do you realise this?”
And this pervades the issues of communities, because my laboratory are
these communities. That’s my testing ground. When I modify my photo
in Orkut, for instance, what happens? Do more people visit my profile?
Less? The most visited images at Flickr are the full body ones, which feature 5,000 hits approximately. The most visited face portraits manage a
lower 1,200. This reveals an unbridled consumption and I do not know
up to what point people are aware of this fact.
the wire l e s s t e l e p h o n e 1 a n d
other m i c ro l e s s o n s o n t h i n g s
Élida Tessler
2006 – 57672
“Few men reach their epoch”, Murilo Mendes.
The emergence of the wireless telephone a few years ago has re-signified a
large part of our childhood’s play. It would be unthinkable to conceive an
electronic device without the total connection of its elements (the handset, the hook, the base, the support, the wall socket, the wall, the house,
and, following along this cable, to the posts, the urban and inter-urban
networks). I intend to outline a few considerations related to time as language in the field of art, bringing in examples of the work by artist Gê Orthof 3 and by a few other artists whose work integrate the discussion. The
central issue will be the re-signification of the artist’s time and of his or her
interlocutor in view of “communication noises”.
th e r e i s a w o r l d o u t t h e r e !
With this exclamation, Gê Orthof starts off his lecture and text, in a
course titled History(ies) of Art: From The Modern to The Contemporary4,
1. Note: As Chinese Whispers is called in Brazil.
2. Coincidentally, the debate integrating the Recombinant Territories’ programme carried out in Porto Alegre took place on the same day that the Jewish year of 5767 started. All the time relationship
evoked in this text have acquired new meanings, taking into consideration our “space odysseys”. I
sought to preserve, in this text for publication, the same evocative format of the lecture.
3. Gê Orthof (1959, Petrópolis-RJ) is an artist that lives and works in Brasilia. He teaches at the
UnB. His most recent works have driven me to the reflections I present in this text.
4. PANITZ, Marília; AZAMBUJA, Renata. (orgs). História(s) da Arte: Do Moderno ao Contemporâneo.
Brasilia, CCBB/UnB, 2004. This publication is part of the seminar that took place between August
and November of the same year. I remit the readers to Gê’s text – Modernidade – in the same
publication (p. 57 and following ones).
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when he was called to contribute to the debate. Gê Orthof can be situated as an artist who interrogates about the time of an action, creating
apparatuses able to retain this time a little further, in the face of, or even
within, certain situations in the context of contemporary art. Usually
making his own objects, appropriating a few more and including literary fragments inscribed on the surfaces of the wall or on small pieces of
paper stuck to distinct parts of the occupied space, the artist is permanently pointing at:
There is a world out there!
I am tempted to begin the proposition launched here in the same
manner, for there is always a point of impact between the here and there
of an issue, that is:
What is the best way of working with the space-time relationships in
our contemporary context?
To know the history of art is to ride along a history of impacts. Let’s
bring the issue closer to us:
– Is art, as a specific language, able to place us once again before the
detour and the vertigo of information multiplicity, brought in by the contact network, by connectivity culture, by the acceleration of time that
subtract us time itself?
Let us now place a spyglass on the issue:
How to live better?
We need to live better, inhabiting the equations related to time and
space. We need to survive the pressures of accelerated life that are imposed on us day by day, year by year, redimensioning our territories, or
recombining them, as suggested by this project.
Pablo Neruda, in his Book of Questions.5
How many weeks does a day have
And how many years does a month have?
With the suggestive title “Modernity”, Gê Orthof told us, in his
lecture delivered in the seminar, about the modern utopias and about
the desire to create an art accessible to all. But the issue put forward is
crucial:
5. NERUDA, Pablo. Libro de las preguntas. Santiago do Chile: Pehuén Editores, 2005. p.31.
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– Will art’s aura survive reproduction for the masses?
Repositionings. Recombinations. Recalls. Reconfigurations. Reorganizations. Remanaging.
Reflections. Technical reproducibility?
“Here we notice a detour: a spatial and temporal detour that complicates the position of the individual in contemporaneity”.6
There is no doubt that the point is one of displacement. Temporal,
if we think of a before and an after, not necessarily in this order. Spatial,
if we want to situate the almost invisible outline between one territory
and another, regarding artistic language. In this case, there is a transport
of poetic charge to be carried out, above all from within outwards, an
operation that causes the vertigo effect.
Silently, Francis Ponge also contributes to our last question, shifting
attention from how to live better to the how to live further:
“…what does a man who comes to the edge of the abyss do, someone who
suffers from vertigo? Instinctively, he looks at which is closer – you have done
this before, or have seen it done. It is simple; it is the simplest thing. We fix our
gaze on the immediate ledge or on the parapet, on the balustrade, on a still object, so as not to see the rest (…) The man who lives this moment will not do a
philosophy of the fall or of despair (…) We look intently to a stone so as not to see
the rest. But it so happens that the stone opens up, and, in its turn, also becomes
the cliff (…) no matter what the object may be, suffice to want to describe it, and
it opens up, the object itself becomes an abyss, but one that can be closed, it is
smaller; we can, by means of art, come to close the stone once again, but what
we cannot close is the large metaphysical hole; but perhaps the manner of closing the stone may be therapeutically valid for the rest. This allows us to live a
few days longer”. 7
So here is a sketch of an answer to the positioning issue (the position
of the individual) proposed by Daniela Castro: we are before an abyss,
we suffer vertigo, but we know how, therapeutically, to live a few days
longer, and in a better way. To stop over a detail, a lapse, a stone, rendering the closing procedure into a method: our microlesson of today.
6. This is one of Daniela Castro’s propositions, in her Recombinant Territories presentation text,
sent to all participants by email.
7. PONGE, Francis. Métodos. Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1997. p.106.
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mi c ro l e s s o n s o n t h i n g s
Since I received the invitation to participate in the Recombinant Territories project, the idea of talking about a pen has dawned on me. This
insight has become an idée fixe: the biro pen.
Idée fixe is the title of Paul Valéry’s book, where he writes the phrase
that has become a kind of aphorism, i.e., “what is deepest in Man is the
skin”.8
The mobility of an idée fixe is what drives me to write this text, and,
as we know, the Carbon blue liquid of a biro pen can only be deposited
on a plane surface if its metal sphere gyrates, slides, moves along the
paper, causing attrition and heat: “It is the poem’s execution that is the
poem. Outside it, these word sequences curiously brought together are
inexplicable fabrications”.9 This is the first lesson on Paul Valéry’s poetics. For us, a second microlesson.
In the context of our work, we shall consider a biro pen as a poem,
beginning with Murilo Mendes: 10
The Biro Pen
Murilo Mendes
In those times the pen was an enlarged pick, to which a static feather was
attached.
Today, the pen has also suffered the enormous review that touches all things. Divided in three nickeled parts, with a handsome aluminium supplement;
a drawing in black and white, rigidly calculated. The ink is involved within a
space capsule that protects it from external noise.
The noises! According to Mallarmé: “presque tout le monde repugne
aux odeurs mauvaises; moins au cri”. Certain noises, which would cut
them short and expel them from the elected territory, the territory of daily
life. But not only the familiar noises, at the reach of the hand, of the ear: but
instead the noises circling the earth, the wrong noises of the trigger, of the
firearm, of the adversative blades’ dance, of machines conspiring for the in8. VALÉRY, Paul. L’idée fixe. Paris: Gallimard, 1961.
9. VALÉRY, Paul. Variedades. São Paulo: Iluminuras, 1999, p.186.
10. This poem is part of the book Poliedro. Microessons on Things sector. In: MENDES, Murilo.
Poesia completa e prosa, single volume. Organization, preparation of texts and notes by Luciana
Stegagno Picchio. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Aguilar, 1994.
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crease in the absurd screams, descendants of that formidable one uttered by
Christ on the Cross.
Isolated in its space capsule, will the pen hear these exorbitant screams?
Oh pen, swallow circling the white skies of the page. Every now and then the
shepherd takes it to drink from the fountain, the inkpot, square, or round, blue
or black.
*
After some thousand and one days, after so many thousand and one nights, the pen, permanently attached to the body, driver of word and blood, had
written “Les grands actes qui sont aux cieux”? Turning left and right, at the
centre and in the periphery, will it one day draw peace at last? This future day
breathes heavily already.
*
The pen knows all the pathways, from the grain of dust to the totality of the
cosmos: minimal machine, microscope of the macrocosmos .11
Photo: Richard John
Gê Orthof. Máquina Mínima [Minimal
machine], 2004. Pens and string, 110
x 14,5 cm.
The potency of the pen-machine has constituted the work of artist
Gê Orthof. A pen that brings writing within itself. Four words in careful calligraphy on a blank wall, following the object’s linearity. Four
11. Murilo Mendes’ poem was read during the lecture, at the same time as a slide was projected
on the screen, featuring Gê Orthof’s Minimal Machine (pens, string and written words, 110 x 14,5
cm, 2004). Murilo Medes’s poems were a kind of thematic device for the exhibition Microlessons
on Things, curated by Valéria Faria. CEMM – Juiz de Fora University, 2004.
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words that can be a whole book, when read one by one, in the context
of the proposition: MURILO – MINIMAL – MACHINE – MENDES. The
operation of subtraction provides us with a differential rest: by taking
out the name and the surname of the poet, we are left with the title of
the work: Minimal machine. At this moment, the pen is also a bomb,
an explosion; the pen is the feather that, once in a while, needs to be
sharpened. Luiz Fernando Veríssimo, ironically, causes us to remember
that we all need to sharpen our pens before we dip them in the inkpot.
After all, we all rehearse the gesture of writing before carrying it out. We
are distracted in this gesture. We postpone the beginnings so as to retain
the time of meeting with the word. However, what is more instigating,
the equivalent today of sharpening the feather is to wait in obedience
to the simple hourglass designed on the computer’s screen. This small
icon requests our patience as we anaesthetise ourselves of our urgency
rhythms.
For Jacques Derrida, the pen is a prolongation of the body. Pen-syringe,
evoked in its text-flux, a text parallel to Geoffrey Bennington’s, which
tries to systematise an open and contemporary thought.12 Derrida
brings us many images. One of them is that, just as a text, the blood
transports the invisible from within outwards, as in a kind of confession. Above all transport. Syringe of the very finger, when a hole is made
at the tip, and from it runs red ink. Text-dripping, text-excess, text-secretion, text-secret, in short, all that is built secretly in the act of writing.
Let’s follow on asking ourselves what is that the pen-syringe reveals: a writing? In this case, one must find the vein, find the trace, hit
the focus. Minimal machine, maximised body. Life being displayed in
the dimension of gesture. Derrida writes:
“(…) a gesture, I would dare say of a writing, if I compared the pen
with a syringe, an aspiring tip in place of this hard and rigid weapon
with which one must inscribe, incise, choose, calculate, take the ink be12. BENNINGTON, Geoffrey. Jacques Derrida. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1996. It’s important to add
that the whole of Benington’s text is “surrounded”, as a kind of shore with floating borders, by
Jacques Derrida’s writings, which bring to the reader a work in preparation, carried out between
January 1989 and April 1990.
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Photo: Gê Orthof
Richard John. Pilot BP.S, 1998. Pen
on paper, 25 x 67,5 cm.
fore filtering the inscribable, finger the keyboard on the screen, whereas
here, once the right vein has been found, no more work, no responsibility, no risk of bad taste or violence, the blood alone hands itself in, that
which is within hands itself in and can make us of itself, it is me but I
have nothing to do with it (…)”.13
A pen can also be a measure of distance. Both the simplest biro pen
found in ordinary trade and the sophisticated Fisher Space Pen, of which
we will talk more below. I would like to refer here to one of Richard
John’s work14, which I saw in 1988 and that since has been serving as
a counterpoint to some of my reflections on the issues of time and the
passage of daily life objects into the artistic field.
A horizontal plane divided in half, the box frame as a needed separation between container and content, featuring, on the left side, the
whole of the biro pen’s ink, laid out in overlapping lines. On the right
side, also fixed horizontally, the pen-carcass, emptied of its vital content – the blue ink – and supported by the following enunciation:
Continuous scribbles with the Pilot BP.S blue pen for the left hand. Time of
execution 5h 24’ 44’’. Edition 1/4. Richard John 1988.
In an email conversation with Richard John, I could notice that
13. BENNINGTON, Geoffrey. Jacques Derrida. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1996, pp. 16-17.
14. Richard John is a visual artist, with an M.A. at PPGAV, Arts Institute – UFRGS. He was born in
Bom Princípio, RS and lives in Porto Alegre.
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this work was so to speak filed in his memory, as if being part of the
other territory in relationship with his more recent actions. He told
me that he had never written anything about his proposition, but he
sent me a list of questions pertinent to our theme, which I transcribe
in full:
–What is the time of work, its life and its itinerary?
–What results hence?
–When is work finished (I think that what is left – the finished piece – is a
kind of residue)?
–What is the difference between the means and the ends?
–What kind of commitment, constancy and time, on the part of the artist,
should a piece contain?
–What should one do if one does not wish to represent?
–How to escape a certain intentionality?
–How to “evade” the author seeking just an action?
Richard John’s questions could integrate Pablo Neruda’s The Book
of Questions, such is the evocative and investigative character they
hold. The scribbles on the piece correspond to the shuffling of some
concepts, such as time and space, when we decide to face them in our
experimental exercise. Richard says, in addition, that he has carried
out two works of similar nature, one with a Bic pen, and the other
with a pen called Kilometric, which, ironically, seems to have run the
shortest course.
wi r e l e s s t e l e p h o n e : i ’ v e h e a rd that... someone
to l d m e . . . i’l l t e l l yo u …
During the time of the great space achievements, superpowers like
the USA and the Soviet Union undertook their explorations. They
competed in every detail. They dedicated themselves to advanced research. Their rivalry continued between one piece of news and the
other. The problem of the biro pen emerged. How to write in space?
Without gravity, there was no possibility of writing. The ink ran out
of the pen. The Americans spent their time researching what kind of
pen would write in space. In the meanwhile, the Soviets continued to
use their lead pencil.
We know this is an anecdote, but we shall follow its pertinence to
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continue with our questionings.15 I still prefer to use the image of the
wireless telephone, which is how the game Chinese Whispers is known
in Brazil. This old game enabled in a joking way comments, on the “communication noises”, i.e., the “disinformation” that slipped in as word
went from mouth to mouth, or, better said, from ear to ear. I take the opportunity to underline the sound qualities of the word, for I would like
to point another microlesson: all hearing contains some forgetting.16
Well, you will agree with me that it is interesting to be able to approximate a common biro to an antigravity pen, of accurate and elegant
design, small, light and bullet-shaped, recommended for situations in the
digital and cybernetic worlds. Now, Derrida had already announced the
term “rigid and hard weapon” to signal his pen. Now we have a metallic projectile denominated Space Pen. If we return to the poem by Murilo
Mendes, we realise that the pen was characterised as “a space capsule that
protects from external noise”. How to recombine these territories? What
kind of impact the invention of new technologies produces? As always,
we are undergoing changes promoted by the use of new instruments, no
matter how rudimentary they are, but always provoking new attitudes.
It is worth examining the detailed description of the Space Pen, and
with which we shall depart to other reflections:
“Created to efficaciously solve the writing problems of astronauts in space
missions, it has rapidly become a tool of intense use here on Earth. Fruit of a
technology as complex as efficient, this biro pen is able to write on an infinity of
wet or dry surfaces, as well as on the most diverse positions, and, therefore, is
also ideal for current use”.
15. For those who would like to drift along my investigations, I quote here the website that has
become my starting point: www.spacepen.com/usa/index2. There I found the following dialogue:
Question: In the film Apollo 13 actor Tom Hanks writes with a biro pen in zero gravity. Is this possible?
Answer: Hi, John, no! It is not possible to use a biro pen in space. So much so that this has resulted
in a billion dollar research to develop a pen (which is for sale at the Discovery Store, the Discovery
Channel’s shop) that would write under any conditions of pressure, upside down etc... the Russians
have always used pencils… I should mention here a curiosity that I have learned some time ago:
the USA and Russia faced the same problem: how to write in space, since the normal pen did not
work. While the USA spent a fortune in research to develop a pen that would write in space, Russia
resolved the issue in the quickest and most economic way: they took a pencil up.
16. To forget: olvidar, from the Latin oblitare.
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Regarding time and space, we hold the following information: the
Space Pen can last up to 100 years and write the equivalent to a seven-kilometre line, thanks to the sealed and pressurised ink cartridges, avoiding ink dehydration. In this moment, we could imagine another work
by artist Richard John, since his Kilometric pen’s performance left something to be desired. Besides, 100 years supersedes the 5 hours work by
the artist, recalling the myth of Sybilla, who would live as many years
as grains of sand held on the closed palm of her hand. We would live as
long as the ink run. We would live writing our story, so that, perhaps, we
dissolve ourselves in it.
“Thoughts came to inhabit and then dissolve”17 in the context of our
recombinant territories, this would be our comfort. The ephemeral of
some propositions contributes to us not being suffocated by the excesses of information and of images. We do write, but to eliminate some
noise. We generate networks with our secretions:
“Text means textile; but while, up to here, this textile has been taken
as a product, as a finished veil, behind which lies more or less concealed
the meaning (truth), we now stress, on the textile, the generative idea
that the text is made, is worked through a perpetual intertwining; lost
in this textile – in this texture – the subject is undone in it, as a spider
that dissolves itself in the constructive secretions of its web”.18
ab ov e a l l t r a n s p o rt
“Above all transport” is the title of a series of pieces that Gê Orthof has
been presenting – his last public presentation has taken place this year.19
“Above all transport” is configured as an installation composed of
various elements manufactured or appropriated by the artist, placed so
17. ADORNO, Teodor. Notes sur la Litterature. Paris: Flammarion, 1958. Quoted by Glória Ferreira,
in her catalogue presentation text for the exhibition Microlesson on Things.
18. BARTHES, Roland. O Prazer do Texto. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1977, coleção Elos, p.82.
19. This presentation took place during the exhibition Melhor de Três I – Transteatralidade.CAL-UnB
– Casa da Cultura da América Latina, from 11/8 to 6/9/2006. In the year 2000, Sobretudo Transporte: Destino Madrid was presented at Galeria Cruce, Madrid, Spain. In 1999, Sobretudo Transporte: Destino Torreão was presented at Torreão, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Its first presentation took place in
1998, at Galeria Valentim, in Brasília. The images referent to each one of these presentations were
projected during the lecture.
porto alegre | deb ates |
79
as to take up the totality of the space available for the exhibition. It is
difficult to describe the work, since it demands the active presence of
the spectator in order to be completed. Following the flux of the words
and of memory, here are a few of these elements: cloths, lines of several
types, liquids of various origins, always encapsulated within plastic or
glass vessels, erasers, polystyrene balls, cushions, assorted maquette pieces, specially those representing the human figure, in diverse positions,
masculine and feminine genders, which render the macro universe into
microsituations, demanding our attentive detailed gaze. Always abyss.
Constant vertigo. Our body is fated to the horizontal position. In order
to see the work, one needs to lie down on a trolley, like those used by
mechanics, able to penetrate small spaces. Our feet are our engines. Our
brain is sparked by what our eyes see and all the following sensations
that this kind of situation provokes. Above all transport. From one territory of language to another, sometimes we have sound, as is the case
of the soundtrack specially created for the presentation at the Torreão,
featuring the voice of little Olivia, the artist’s daughter, reading to the
cadence of her then 5 years of age, hesitating along the Six Proposals for
a New Millennium, by Italo Calvino. Or in his last presentation, where he
added images to his installation. Not any images, but those produced
by a lapse, and therefore laden with uncanniness. Image-enigma. Image-uncanny. Image-wait. The wait for a telephone call was made out of
a ‘wireless telephone’. The use of the webcam updates some noises. In
the exhibition, people received images as an enigma, inside a dark corridor that led the public to the toilets. A hazy environment, according to
Gê Orthof’s report, produced by successive applications of smoke. Very
high volume sound, for Gê, resulted only in white noise.20 “In the beginning, it was not a work, it was the wait for a phone call. I was not going
to shoot a film, but the camera did so. I was not going to show in the
exhibition, but I decided to rework the images, and I realised that what
was produced was a kind of mirror, with communication noises. These
images are, for me, results of a ‘wireless telephone’”.
20. The artist gave all information over the telephone to me, on the day before the Santander Cultural lecture. Additionally, the images described above were sent by email, which were projected at
the opening of the Recombinant Territories.
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| deb ates | porto alegre
During the projection of the video, one hears, besides the ring of a
telephone, the whistle of a ship, the sound of the changing of reels in a
cinema. The sounds of a walk through a swamp, sounds captured in the
Internet. Perhaps because it is a waiting time, a narrow time, this image-noise has recalled Bill Viola, both in Heaven and Earth of 198221 and
one of his more well-known films, The Passing, of 1991, and which, according to Rolf Lauter, seems to bring what the artist has always sought:
render visible the complex relationships between being and the world,
microcosm and macrocosm, space and time, being and nature, body and
spirit, thought and feeling of life and death.22
In the same telephone conversation that I had with Gê Orthof on
the day before the Porto Alegre Recombinant Territories.23 I decided to
tell my friend about the fact that I wanted to watch Stanley Kubrik’s
2001 A Space Odyssey again, simply because I remembered the biro pen.
A important instrument-sign, floating in the space ship, provided the
spectator with the information: zero gravity. Of course, it was a Space
Pen, which had escaped from Dr. David Bauman’s pocket. We cannot
linger on the film right now. We know it is about a long odyssey spanning from the origin of Man, four million years b. C., up to the year 2001,
always dealing with the evolution of the species, the influence of technology and of what would artificial intelligence mean. I was, like many,
fascinated with HAL, the computer, and only later I came to know that
his name is a direct reference to IBM, for each of the letters H-A-L is the
one prior to I-B-M in the alphabet.
We cannot linger on the film, but we can hold on to the pen. By the
way, this was our intention from the start of this work. Let’s see what it
can still bring us.
Wireless telephone: there is still something to narrate of this experience. Gê tells me that his father watched the first session of Kubrik’s
film, in Brasilia’s first cinema, in 1968, when the city was very young.
21. Video installation by Bill Viola. The piece is composed by two black and white playback video
channels, to wooden pillars and two video monitors.
22. LAUTER, Rolf. The Passing: Recuerdo del Presente o Dolor y Belleza de la Existência. In: Bill Viola
– Mas allá de la mirada (imágenes no vistas). Madrid: Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia,
1993. Concept of the exhibition: Bill Viola. Curator: Marie Luise Syring. p.99.
23. Telephone conversation in 22/9/2006.
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81
On this day, Gê’s father, a medical doctor, decided to make it a holyday
and took the whole family to watch the film, such was the impact that
film had caused him. He relates his remembrance: strange images and a
feeling of being between heaven and earth. But, what about the pen?
Very well, in his first visit to New York, Gê Orthof made his first purchase: the Space Pen at the Science Museum. Above all transport.
“I am not my survivor. I am my contemporary”, Murilo Mendes.
project l abor ato ri e s
Presentation of ongoing audiovisual projects by the artists selected from
each city. The projects are discussed and analyzed from technical and conceptual points of view, under the coordination of Lucas Bambozzi and Luiz
Duva.
salvador | Goethe-Institut Salvador – ICBA
vitória | Arts Center – Espírito Santo Federal University (UFES)
goiânia | Visual Arts College – Goiás Federal University (UFG)
porto alegre | Santander Cultural
account- h i at u s
Lucas Bambozzi
I still kept a few doubts regarding Salvador. For a while, sometimes for
many whiles, I have wanted to live there: the sea, the sun, the mixtures.
The distances yield to the discrepancy between worlds and temperatures, explicitated by the aeroplane’s speed: Waly Salomão, dona Dina,
“seu” Nenê, the stillness of Bonfim, the end of the endless… The loud
music in the streets broke the spell. But there would be sun, there would
be the fish market, the smell of the dendê oil, ice cream at the Ribeira [the
strength of myth], lots of cool people. And what did new technologies
got to do with all this?
A slight apprehension in face of possible-encounters is not a bad
thing. I took the situation as a reinvigoration for improvisation capacities. I mean both the improvisation related to the technological techniques and that other one, that of the thinker, that synapse fryer. That
which makes us mute renders us more eloquent? My colleague Duva, at
my side, would agree, if we talked more to each other about such things
indeed. The fact is that any amount of time, even Bahia’s, is not enough,
no matter how generous, for verbal deep diving. Some of the enrolled
people did not turn up (it was Father’s Day). Other encounters took
place. The other matters above all things, especially in Bahia.
I entered my room in Vitória and talked to myself, training difficult
words: mameluco, guarapari, meaípe, cafuso, marajoara, etnolaringologista,
muqueca capixote, engaging in small-scale confusions with the language
and the so-called local culture. To be confused did not seem to me a
symptom of fever. Neither would the opposite be so, despite the body’s
high temperature insisting on some similar premise.
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| l aboratory of projects
Amongst bridges and boats beaten by the strong wind of the first
intense afternoon, I tried the plumb: the intensity makes the encounter, one is justified by the other. There would be lots of the “other” in
the burning campus of a clammy Sunday. Easy conversation, companion Duva fine-tuned, the full room, audience arranged in a circle, good
vibes, one after the other, in dissonant subjects, between dense projects
and words brimming with intentions, in a capixaba-roulette.
I arrived in Porto Alegre on Sunday. On time, on schedule, but the
codes had been already fixed. The condition of estrangement, through
the bias of time and not of the space took over our initial relationships.
People known to me seemed strangers, I did not locate well the right
point of language. I carry on testing mutual empathy. Time to balance
out what goes on screen and what goes beyond screen. Time to clock up
the inputs and the outputs, of learning more profoundly each one of the
participants. Listen and listen. Think up the process, learn as I fly. I don’t
even remember if the sun was shining outside, if the Sunday beamed
out its face on the square or over the exhibition of popular motifs within the institution that isolated us from life along the river Guaíba.
I report crookedly, I remember through the crevices, I write between
the lines, I seek that which is fleeting in this mesh of relationships and
contacts. There remains the rare feeling that there are certainties. That
the networks that have extended, that the us was strengthened. To have
participated in the Recombinant Territories was an experience of maturity, of sharing of thinking and, above all, of listening: of knowing the
time to speak and the time to reflect. Of better understanding the pause
and the entr’acte of discursive convictions. It was an experience of deautomatisation, of mutual respect and idea fluxes in many directions,
beyond the obvious axis.
project l a b o r ato r i e s
Luiz Duva
August 2006. Leaving Salvador airport, 2 p.m. Heat, damp, heat, lots of heat
and, inside a taxi, I am literally driven through an image that later I would
understand as the perfect translation of my experience in Recombinant
Territories, which, at that moment, was just beginning. I explain: from
the taxi’s speed, from the discomfort caused by the change in temperature, from São Paulo’s cold to Salvador’s heat, and, chiefly, the discomfort
caused by the feeling of being fleeced by the driver, who charged me a fortune for the drive to the hotel and who looked at me as if I was the “tourist prey” of the day, I find myself going through a long tunnel formed by
giant bamboos, sliced by sheaves of silver light, which composed, along
with the two-way road street and with the to and fro of the cars, the image
of a frenetic flux that I tried to apprehend at all costs – turning my head
from one side to another, in search of the best angle, of the best view of
something I knew to be a part of, at the same time as I was just a witness.
And it was just like that in Salvador, Vitória, Goiânia and Porto
Alegre, that all happened and, what had begun as a presentation and
technical and conceptual analysis proposal of the projects submitted,
could now be discussed and analysed not only from the point of view
of the coordinator’s experience, but chiefly from the experience of the
participants themselves, by means of the crossing over of different ideas
and different strategies that went to and fro ceaselessly, forming a flux,
a dynamics, which was adapted to each one of the four groups, to the
four different realities, so that we were able to leave the place, as I left
the image of the bamboo tunnel, recharged and full of energy. I am sure
that we did it.
testemon i e s
91
Photos: André de Faria
Cobaia mecânica para fins estéticos e afins (I, II e III), 2002 | scanner and digital print
Opportunities such as this are of fundamental importance for the in-depth discussion of issues related to
technological art. For the artist, to participate in this type of event becomes an irreplaceable experience due
to the contribution and reference to his or her career and production. .
and ré d e fa r ia
salvador | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
92
This Recombinant Territories project was important for Salvador, as it helps to awake many speeches posed
by contemporaneity, and which in some way break away from the isolation ideology. In this sense, I believe
that different discursive traditions ended up electing the colonial past as the fundamental element when
thinking the city of Salvador. The widespread hegemony of these interpretations has largely guided the
gazes, practices and intervention policies in the urban scene. Its sumptuous architectural heritage, with its
17th to 19th Century style buildings, have guaranteed its place as humanity’s cultural heritage, at the same
time as it imposes ways of understanding and signifying them.
Because of this specificity, the cultural policies and the forms of artistic expression that remit to the city and
its territories have favoured a certain liturgy of the cityscape, dominated by interests and demands linked to
tourism, to the exotic, the historical, to the museological and the monumental. In a certain way, the very insertion of Modernism in Bahia has secured this apology of the cityscape, even with new grammars, and was
put forward as a fundamental element in thinking identity policies, which coin the cultural forms of recognition in circulation. The African-Bahian identity, for instance, has enthroned the archaic, the traditional
and the roots as a more legitimate condition of our policies of belonging. In a certain way, these findings lead
us to understand the deadlocks of the dialogue between past and present in Bahia; the limitations imposed
by these interpretations for a more “recombinant” exchange between contemporary artistic production and
the city.
dan ill o b ar ata
salvador | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
Photos: Adenor Godim, Danillo Barata
Narrativas Sobre o Corpo, 2006 | videoinstallation
dan ill o b ar ata
salvador | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
93
94
Photos: Fabiano Andrade and Anderson da Silva
Ilê e Aiyê, 2006 | video (DVD)
To participate in the Instituto Sergio Motta’s event was an exchange of experiences. It was an opportunity
to contribute showing work on a theme so relevant for our society. The film speaks of the political need for
Black people. Blacks and Power.
lou rd es f e r n a n d e s
salvador | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
95
Photos: Adriana Camargo
Homeop(h)atias: In Perpetua Titling MT Font, 2005 | video performance
The lectures and the workshops were great opportunities to know the crowd who is beginning to work with
new media here in our State, and also working artists who are already in the circuit such as Bambozzi and
Duva. Of course, it was also a rich experience of idea exchange with all participants.
ad ria na c a ma rg o
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
96
Photos: Diego Scarparo, Penha Schirmer and Thommy Lacerda Sossai
Qualquer Felicidade, 2006 | digital photograph
It is very interesting to debate about art, and Recombinant Territories gave us the possibility of fomenting
the discussion about production, applicability and the stance of art amalgamated with technology.
dieg o s c ar paro
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
97
Photos: Gilbertinho
Kill Bill – Falcatrua Session at UFES | Troféu_Honda
Recombinant Territories has allowed for a space for us to project certain disquiet that did not find an outflow
in Vitória. Ideas that, not matter how much they develop by the disperse electronic mesh, only gain body as
they as localised – even though in the form of plans, hypothesis, dialogue due to the meeting’s short span.
gabr iel m e n ot t i
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
98
Photos: Janaina Steris
Objeto Escatológico, 2006 | palimpsest (drawing on photography)
The participation in the Recombinant Territories project was enriching, so as to understand the production
in art technology, without losing what is essential to the artist, the capacity for expression. The developments of these experiences have widened my technological alternatives of building something that is still to
come and the result is in the production of drawings in various dimensions and that’s limitless.
mar celo ga n d in i
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
99
Photos: Melissa Guizzardi
Isabelita Bandida, 2006 | 2D animation
Recombinant Territories was an excellent opportunity to show our work. The whole experience was very
gratifying for the opinions and comments, for the material that was given to us and the contacts we have
established.
mel issa g u i z z ar d i
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
100
Photos: Meng Guimarães
Arquétipo 1 e 2, 2005/2006 (work in progress) | digital photography/performance
To produce is to conceive, attract and “be caught”. The meaning of the exchange, in this practice, renders it
less painful. To think on something that does not belong to me puts me at ease, accepting issues from who
is my peer.
men g g ui ma r ãe s
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
101
Photos: Bruno Zorzal
Cartografias do Desmedido Tempo [Real Tempo], 2006 | video, DVD, color, 15´
The discussion period in the project laboratories was very productive. It is interesting to observe how the
work by different artists has developed, the way in which they have been presented and the feedback received. In the same way, it is interesting to see how a diversity of technologies was employed – be it analogical, digital or even hybrid – and also the different creative processes.
miro soa r e s
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
102
Photos: Amanda Freitas
Pele – Superfície – Mercado, 2006 | mixed media: photography, installation, intervention and video
It was good to participate in the laboratory, for we had great opportunity to talk about experiences and to
exchange ideas.
rubi ane ma i a a n d am an da f r e i ta s
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
103
Photos: Fabrício Noronha
Encontro Mesmo Remix, 2006 | sound piece / live sound
Considering the meeting, here is something that I have been working on, related to the relationship between
author and student teacher. I place the site of the “workshop” as a place for the presentation of the sound
piece Encontro mesmo remix. Through statements (verbalized), possible interest from each one can be articulated in these keys, and in the other keys presented, respectively a joint authorship shared between all the
participants of the workshop.
si lfarl e m ol iv e i ra
vitória | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
104
Photos: Thamile Vidiz and Lucas Mariano
Intermitência, 2006 | video
I have participated in the Goiânia’s workshop, with a project that I am still developing, called Intermitência
(Intermittency), which is a series of videos that are still being worked on. The workshop has given me a better vision of setting up and of the better employment of names… Research sources were also suggested.
an na b e h at r iz az e v e d o
goiânia | t est emonies | l ab oratory of p ro ject s |
105
Photos: Noeli Batista
No Title, 2005 | video
To participate in the project and to recombine territories – philosophical and technological – amongst the
many levels of perception regarding the image and its organization in interactive media, was, for me, a unique
learning and reflection experience about art, technologies and poetics between the virtual and real spaces.
noel i b at i s ta
goiânia | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
106
Photo: Daniel Malva
No Title, 2004 | process: black and white
To get to know the production of independent artists from other states and cities was an unprecedented experience. Not to mention the contact with great artists and to listen to criticism that has added much to my
work. An opportunity that has certainly changed my ways of thinking my artistic production.
dan iel m alva
porto alegre | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
107
Photos: Dirnei Prates
Polifonia do Lugar, 2005 | site specific
To present my research and discuss it with artists of great experience in the new media field, and with likeminded people, has allowed me to widen my thinking about the proposed project (Polyphony of the Place),
which consists of a site-specific piece. The opinions, critiques and suggestions emerged in the discussions of
the project have served, in a certain way, as the guidelines for future set ups of this intervention.
dir nei pr at e s
porto alegre | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
108
Fotos: Lissandro Stallivieri e Janete Kriger (Medalhas)
Boxing’n Snoopy, 2003 | video | Giocattoli a New York, 2003 | video | Medalhas, 2006 | digital photography
The Recombinant Territories project has become a landmark in my artistic production. It was a great opportunity to show my work of a high level critical audience, which was not limited to simple evaluations, but
has indicated new inroads.
lissan d ro s tal li v ie r i
porto alegre | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
109
Photos: Niúra Borges, Itamar Aguiar
Dobradura, 2006 | site-specific | Entremeio, 2004 | video installation
It was extremely gratifying and stimulating to participate in a project of this magnitude. I was able to listen,
debate and receive considerations relevant to my artwork from artists with great experience in the area. This
was fundamental for the development of my research project, besides, of course, the important contribution
received in the exchange with the colleagues participating in the event. I stress, also, the quality of the organization and the competence of the team involved. Congratulations to all and thanks for the opportunity.
niú ra bo r g e s
porto alegre | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
110
Photos: Pablo Paniagua
From the Tartarugas no Céu [Tortoises in Heaven] series, 2006 | video
It was very good to participate in this project by Sergio Motta Institute. The contact with several artists, and,
more than that, with their work in a building stage, I believe that has been determinant in all participant’s
production. They were special moments of dialogue, of technical information exchange and multiple experiences about the artistic practice and all of its implications.
pabl o pa n iag ua
porto alegre | t est emonies | l ab oratory of pro ject s |
recombinant territories
Recombinant Territories is part of the Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award’s
strategy for the widening of the debate around digital culture and the impact
of technology on contemporaneity. Grounded on partnerships with cultural
and teaching institutions in the cities of Salvador, Vitória, Goiânia and Porto
Alegre, critics and artists linked to the Award met interlocutors in each of those
places for a weekend of debates and laboratories, in order to discuss and diffuse
the production of art and technology in Brazil. Establishing networks between
creators in different regions of Brazil, activating connections and widening the
democratization of the access to and the participation in the country’s contemporary cultural production, Recombinant Territories proposes to neutralise
possible hierarchies that mark knowledge production in Brazil and to strengthen the exercise of citizenship by means of digital inclusion.
Sponsorship
Partnership
Support
Centro de Artes
Secretaria de Produção e Difusão Cultural
Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo
s ergio mot ta institute
Sergio Motta Institute is a tribute to a Brazilian personality who has significantly
supported the country’s culture. In the period in which he was Minister of Communications (1994-1998), Sergio Motta has played a fundamental role in the
Brazilian telecommunications modernisation process. The Institute was created
in the year 2000, as a centre for investigation and debates, especially around
the challenges of Brazilian development. The Institute directs a great part of
its efforts towards the fostering of social inclusion and citizenship promotion
policies and mechanisms. It also supports culture and art manifestations, in
their diversity of forms and platforms, notably those seeking to identify our national identity. In this regard, the Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award – the
Institute’s chief action in the area of culture – aims to promote the emergent
artistic production, democratising access to and the participation in contemporary cultural production in Brazil.
s ergio mot ta art and technology award
The Sergio Motta Art and Technology Award was created in 2000 with the aim
of supporting artistic creation in new media. Several artistic and theoretical
creation areas have been contemplated: visual arts, music, literature, dance,
performance, interactive arts, art and science, as well as theoretical research.
From 2005 on, the Award became a biennial event. Parallel to its main actions of artistic production foment, the new calendar seeks to widen reflection
and diffusion actions in the field of digital culture, featuring lectures, forums,
workshops, publications and exhibitions. Thus, in the odd-numbered years, the
award giving itself takes place, and, in the even-numbered years, the complementary actions are carried out, among them the Recombinant Territories and
the Technological Connections.
www.premiosergiomotta.org.br
Corporate Members
Production
This publication was set in Bliss and Proforma typefaces and
was printed on May 2007 by Imprensa Oficial do Estado de São Paulo
on 90g/m2 offset paper.