Yet another announcement… it’s a big year!
Many of you know me because of my constant rantings on social media (for those who don’t I’m most commonly found via @feesable and my facebook page). I’ve been building and maintaining online communities for seventeen years, long before social media as we know it existed. Now that so many more people are actively online, and we’re dripping with off-the-shelf social platforms, it’s turning out to be a kinda useful skill to have. It allows me to top up my meagre artist income by doing the odd-job pimping festivals and conferences and live-tweeting events. I’m often confused for being a digital marketer, but I’m not at all. I am explicit with how and where I work and only ever use my social media services with communities I’m passionate about (…like Adelaide’s Mini Maker Faire for example).
This next one is the ultimate in glee for me.
ISEA – the International Symposium on Electronic Art – is coming to Sydney from 7-16th June. It’s a nomadic festival (which obviously just appeals in itself) so happens in different countries with different organising teams each time. Being one of the longest-running electronic arts gatherings in the world (it’s 25 years old) it has a pretty loyal following; it’s an incredible opportunity to reconnect with like-minded collaborators and colleagues around the world every two (or so) years.
I am thrilled to announce that I am going to be ISEA2013‘s resident social media floozy, covering Twitter account @ISEA2013 and Facebook page http://facebook.com/ISEA2013 (plus some other things that will be revealed nearer the time). The hashtag for the main event is #ISEA2013 and there will be various tags used for conference-specific threads. I’m picking up the reigns over the next few days, so expect to hear a LOT more about this from me in the coming months (but follow those accounts to be sure).
We’re a bit greedy over here, this is the second time ISEA has been to Australia (the first was 1992, also in Sydney). This year’s production team is made up of the Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT - headed by Vicki Sowry) in partnership with Vivid Sydney. The Artistic Director is Jonathan Parsons with an academic & curatorial committee co-chaired by Professor Ross Harley (COFA) and Dr Kathy Cleland (University of Sydney).
The core theme is “Resistance is Futile” which covers six sub-themes; ‘Resistance is Fertile’, ‘Converging and diverging realities’, ‘Life … but not as we know it’, ‘Histories and Futures of Electronic Art’, ‘Ecologies and Technologies’ and ‘Creation, Collaboration and Consumption’.
ISEA typically consists of an academic conference and exhibitions/events program, and this year will also host crossover (and less academically focused) talks with Vivid. Their swanky new website (http://www.isea2013.org - designed by the lovely folks at The Nest) is currently being propagated with info on all the artists, speakers and events so you can get all excited and book your tickets.
Me & ISEA
To give you some context on why this is such a thrill for me… I basically cut my media arts teeth on ISEA98 in Liverpool & Manchester. I’d just finished an MA in Interactive Multimedia Production which was designed as a Computer Science course, so my experiments with performance art & the internet there were considered a bit odd. It was only after graduating that I even discovered that ‘media arts’ was a thing (when suddenly SO MUCH MADE SENSE!).
I stumbled into ISEA by chance (or maybe fate). I had applied for a job as an administrator at an arts organisation in Liverpool, FACT. When they asked me to come back for a second interview they told me they wanted to offer me the job, but really I should reject their offer because what they really wanted was to try to create a different post for me. That job was Projects Assistant to work on ISEA98. They needed all the geeks they could lay their hands on, they said. I didn’t know what media arts was, and until that point I had NO IDEA I was a geek! I thank my lucky stars that I went for that job and that their then Director, Eddie Berg, took a punt on me.
I’ve been a long-standing ISEA-addict ever since, having been some combination of team member, speaker, exhibitor, workshop leader or delegate for five of them, mainly with my old company the-phone-book Limited. 1998 was in Liverpool/Manchester UK; 2000 Paris France; 2002 Nagoya Japan; 2004 Stockholm/Talin/Helsinki (and a cruise ship floating on the Baltic Sea!) and my most recent return for 2011 Istanbul Turkey.
Every single one of them has completely blown my mind and created opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. In fact I met Julianne Pierce, the then-director of ANAT at ISEA2002 which lead to my first visit to Australia in 2003 and my eventually moving here – see, life-changing stuff!
ISEA and its network has fundamentally shaped my understanding of the extremely long and rich media arts cultural history, given me extremely knowledgeable audiences to observe and learn from, provided brain-expanding academic research and cultural debate and challenged me to make better work (if not be a better person). The people I have met through this network are my highest inspiration and some of my best friends. If I have anything to offer the media arts world it is largely thanks to this community.
OK… that’s quite enough gushing! Just sign up to the feeds and I’ll see you there!