GVA speaking next Fri in Together Elsewhere: Toronto/Montreal/Lille
Submitted on Wed, 01/23/2008 - 16:34 — Greg Van Alstyne
On Friday Feb. 1st, I'll be speaking in this Ryerson University-organized international conference:
Together Elsewhere, Toronto/Montreal/Lille
My talk is in the session:
"Having My Cake and Eating it Too: Distance Learning and the Kindness of Colleagues"
"I recently undertook a unique project with Polytechnic University in Brooklyn and the Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity in Toronto. In this brief talk I will recount the emotional and pedagogical triumphs and tribulations of an ad hoc but transformative, techno-social, distance-learning mashup in which my McLuhan-esque telepresence joins a seminar room full of engineering grad students at the Integrated Digital Media Institute (IDMI) at Poly. As the real challenges arise, from the limits of commodity technologies to the psychology of ability and entitlement, we see the power of cooperation, kindness, ingenuity and collegiality begin to overcome virtually every obstacle." --GVA
Here's a fuller set of blurbs from the organizers:
Toronto/Montreal/Lille: TOGETHER ELSEWHERE will examine the diverse positions of artists and theoreticians who confront questions of distance, convergence, isolation, and the realities of the modern technological world. In this, the third iteration of the conference, the biennial tackles the theme of coming together and breaking geographical space for a meeting of minds that does not necessarily imply a meeting of bodies. The School of Image Arts at Ryerson University is collaborating once again with the School of Media and Visual Arts at the University of Quebec in Montreal. In addition, this conference is bringing in one more element of collaboration across distances: the participation of a third institution, le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains (Lille), which will contribute an additional international perspective. As the schools involved in this conference are, themselves, centres of art education and production, the conference theme will be examined, largely, in relation to new media technologies and innovation in the arts.
THEME 1: THE FABRIC OF MEMORY
Godard described cinema as an "immense fabric of memories," a marvelous time machine. Through the combination of image, sound, and movement, the cinema, more than any other medium, transports us together elsewhere or connects us within the abstract duration and location of the site of projection. Photography, too, has had the power of restoring the presence of an absent being. One could also return to literature, this older technology that, from its inception, permitted the externalization of memory. In addition to focusing on modern technologies, our conference will examine how the theme can be addressed through historical media.
THEME 2: THE EFFECTS OF REMOTE PRESENCE
In an artistic context within which the real and the virtual are associated, the notion of presence becomes central. Presence in the arts seems to lead to virtuality and telepresence (video, animation, performance, internet art, video-telephony, etc.). We will examine various devices and interfaces that permit telepresent subjects to irrupt into the scene as partners or to intervene as agents, their roles directing their actions.
THEME 3: UBIQUITY AND SOLITUDE
The list of networking interfaces is literally infinite. It is as diverse and subtle as is our need to be together, here and elsewhere, today and formerly. Each of these discoveries has allowed for the restoration of some form of presence—yet it is a presence on a foundation of absence. The jubilant state of being connected cannot exist without the anxiety and irritation of being disconnected. The impression of being here and there, of being everywhere simultaneously, this power of ubiquity given to us by technologies that keep us connected to the continuous flux of networks, is accompanied by a dark shadow: solitude and the fear that one will become lost in the vast expanses of text and image.