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February 14, 2005

On Locative Media's European Reception


Lack of Diversity

Though the expertly moderated event maintained a relatively very high level of cohesion, a common criticism that arose in my discussions with other conference-goers regarded the perceived lack of diversity amongst Locative Media projects. While a few visionary art works generated some buzz...the field of Locative Media that emerged from this discourse-driven event seemed best expressed by two particular projects: Urban Tapestries and Blast Theory. While it is only a very young medium...it seems that Locative Media is developing its own stars system of artists supported by the State and, perhaps, somewhat more interestingly, by industry...

...In conclusion it is interesting to note some of Anne Galloway's words from the PLAN event. In her research, which involves Urban Tapestries as a case study, the leading academic in the area of locative media has come to question and problematise the very distinction between the new category of the artist/researcher in locative media, and that of the corporate researcher, suggesting that the latter had a much better developed sense of accountability, professionalism and ethics." From PLAN: On Locative Media's European Reception by Marc Tuters.

Posted by jo at February 14, 2005 12:35 PM


response from Anne Galloway on her blog http://www.purselipsquarejaw.org/2005_02_01_blogger_archives.php#110841386496419513:

"Many voices

PLAN: On Locative Media's European Reception by Marc Tuters

This commentary on the recent PLAN event in London - and on locative media in general - focusses on its characterisation by the broader European electronic arts community as a (somehow unified and homogenous) practice that avoids positioning itself as politically avant-garde. In other words, seeming "relatively content to directly collaborate with industry and government" is apparently not compatible with a critical position.

As an academic, I lurk at the very edge of the new media arts world. In other words, I keep up on my reading but I am not an artist. In fact, it was only at last year's Mobile Connections conference at Futuresonic that I got my first direct exposure to the arts community.

At the time, I was quite confused and disappointed by the overt hostility towards any sort of politics or practice that diverged from the norm. In the social sciences, politics and political practice are just as highly contested as anything else, and to think that there can be absolutely 'acceptable' or 'unacceptable' politics makes no sense to me. Personally, and not a little ironically, I found it rather oppressive to be discouraged from engaging different or more nuanced understandings of politics, ethics and production. After all, I had always been taught that critical theory began - not ended - with the Frankfurt School.

Plenty of artists and researchers have dismissed my work as being dull, irrelevant, or insufficiently revolutionary, and in the end I can only assume we have divergent interests, desires and agendas - despite my, I think, genuine appreciation of their work. Nonetheless, PLAN is an EPSRC-funded initiative to investigate what sorts of collaboration are possible between the sciences, arts and industry. And while I heard scientists express overt interest in more critical approaches, and I listened to industry researchers hoping the audience wouldn't throw things at them, I wondered how the arts community would extend the proverbial olive branch.

But in the end, I don't think that it's productive to talk about artists any more than it makes sense to treat all academics, corporate or government researchers as if they were the same. Clearly, we all share an equal ability and responsibility in keeping potential collaborations open and just, and this is no time to crush the diversity of cultures at hand."

Posted by: Jo at February 15, 2005 01:54 PM