Report on Luci Eyers' visit to Nodes in Linz27 – 30
My visit was as the first of four
NODE.Londoners who are invited by the medienstammtisch, instigated for
media arts networking in Linz, to discuss what relevance NODE.London's
organisational model could have in developing a more open and networked
media arts community in 2009 when Linz will be European Capital of Culture
as "City of Media". I was invited as an co-initiator of NODE.London to
discuss the starting points for the project and early organisational
structures and directions.
Linz has an extremely active Freie Szene or
independent art community. It also has Ars Electronica a major
international media arts festival generated by AEC, the 'Museum of the
Future' an institution which is heavily invested into by the city of Linz.
It seems to have an extremely high number of media arts related courses
which no doubt feed into the thriving creative industries sector, as well
as the alternative cultural nodes.
There was particular interests in
the tools and how they could be made to work in a more widely community
based way with questions about who input data into the tools, how this was
moderated and edited and who controlled information. Questions also
focused on shared ownership for the project, about motivations for opting
in, and how it is possible to develop these collaborative projects when,
similarly to London, almost everyone in the media arts community in Linz
works at full capacity already.
The workshop ended focusing more fact
finding from their end than as a discussion and once ideas have been
absorbed and more widely discussed they will feed back about what they are
finding useful, what they need to know more about and which ideas seem
pertinent and transferable to a Linz context. It will be good to continue
this critical and energised discussion.
Diary:Tuesday 26 June.
I was shown around and able to quiz Aileen Derieg on Linz histories and
spaces. Aileen is a translator specialising in art and theory and has been
our main point of contact with the Medienstammtisch. She visited
NODE.London in March.
Wedneday 27 June.12pm
met with with Barbara U. Schmidt, Media theorist and researcher from the
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute
and discussed the outline for my presentation
in the evening.2 – 5pm
A visit to Ars
Electronica Centre (AEC) 'The Museum of the Future'.7pm
Presentation at the
Institute for Cultural Interfaces
on NODE.London a 'flexible collective
The Interface Culture programme is a postgraduate
programme exploring interactive interface design at Linz University of
Art's Department of Media, run by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau.
My presentation focused on starting points for NODE.London:
historic precursors, the media arts landscape in London in 2004, reference
points and influential projects and models, the early organisational
structure including initial immutables and mutables. I summarised by
describing the NODE.London 'a flexible collective' and talked about the
strengths and weaknesses of the organisation as an open system.
was an inquisitive discussion at the end with questions relating to the
tools and whether they were really community based, and to how we
encouraged widespread participation in the process.
Thursday 28 June
I met with Christopher Lindinger, Director of Futurlab at AEC.
We had an interesting discussion about the tools and the difference between a
managerial tool and a community tool with some reference to 'WikiMap Linz'
a current project at AEC. Questions Christopher raised included: can a
managerial tool also be a community tool? Would an actitive community tool
be self-regulating and be able to work without moderation, at least at
some level? Christopher suggested it would be interesting to see a media
arts tool which reflected constant collective activity and was based on
media arts community input (ie not just season oriented). I outlined
speculative future plans for the tools (funding allowing). He expressed
interest in keeping in touch over further developments.3 – 6pm
Workshop at Time's Up
Time's Up is a collective working on 'situationist
pseudo-scientific' ideas with physical body activated interfaces. Their
beautiful space is by Linz harbour, a warehouse packed with tech, books, a
server and distracting objects – an active and fascinating space. Tim
Boykett, a member of Time's Up hosted the workshop. Tim also visitied
NODE.London in March.
The workshop was a small but intense session with
six of us discussing NODE.London processes; taking a look at the tools
backend together; considering transferability and other ongoing
discussions with Stockholm and Sao Paolo – particularly what other
projects are finding interesting about models we used. We also discussed
what could be considered core NODE.London qualities. This was an intensive
fact finding and investigative session from their end with the intention
for the medienstammtisch to discuss what seems relevant to Linz's
situation and then to feedback to us.
plans to expand for 2009 with Futurelab taking over a green space in front
of the neighbouring church. As a protest three lambs had been put to
peacefully graze this contested space with the sheep shelter build roughly
in the shape of the proposed extension. The protest came to an end as the
lambs were taken away and a barbeque of lamb kebabs was held on the little
green. (I didn't eat them). The title of this project was Fudderlab which
means Fodderlab.Medienstammtisch meeting
the end of a meeting. A stammtisch is a table in a pub where the same
locals always congregate – the idea being that this is a public space for
exchange (about media arts) but that you need to have some connection in
order to sit at this 'table'. I was peripheral to this meeting but it was
interesting to see the media arts discussion in flow.
Friday 29 June
Visits to independent spaces:KunstRaum
independent art space on Goethestrasse run by Suzanna currently showing an
installation by Nicole Knauer called 'curious implantation'. The main
gallery space was taken over by a glowing, breathing, artificial
installation made from transparent cable ties obsessively woven into
bubblewrap. It was funny and eerie and rather beautiful; hairy but yet
I met with Ushi Reiter who runs
(a mailing list
and women's network).
Ushi runs the public access media lab in a space
near AEC which was historically run by an art collective. She runs
hacking, Linux and community based workshops in the space and runs the
server for independent projects including the free (public) radio in the
same building. Ushi raised an observation that media art projects made by
women were not particularly visible as a part of NODE.London.
relation to the tools Ushi also raised "the phenomenon of communities and
[her] doubt that content which is shown on the node.l page was added by
I very much appreciated
the warm hospitality I received and would like to thank Hans from Transart
for offering up his artist resident apartment for accommodation, to Aileen
for translating, orientation and guiding me to the right part of Linz at
the right time, to Chista and Laurent for hosting the presentation and Tim
for hosting the workshop and to others including Barbara, Christopher and
Ushi for taking time to talk and include me in media arts activities
during my visit.
Thank you to AN and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for
supporting this visit and to the VOs for suggesting that I should go.