PVA Lab Culture

LabCulture Symposium at Tate Modern
Art, Lifestyle and Globalisation
Saturday 7 April

This symposium focused on the growing complexity of the art business and its relationship to globalisation. At a time when huge lifestyle changes are taking place, how is the art community responding? Can artists retain a critical perspective on global issues? Why are so many corporations rebranding themselves around lifestyle? How are artists working within the globalised economy and how are they perceived by corporations?

Speakers’ Biographies and Abstracts

Anne Nigten
Co-authoring electronic art

Anne Nigten outlined some of the key issues affecting today’s art practice in a technology driven age. In this short presentation Nigten brought to the surface hypothetic parallels of sharing and team-working in today’s art and technology practice and collaboration in the open source and free software community. Is collaboration the ground which hackers, cultural activists and artists working with technology share? Is this in line with MacLuhan’s predictions in the 1960’s? How does this collaborative attitude relate to the so called ‘established’ art world?

Nigten is the manager of V2_Lab, the aRt&D department of V2_, Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. ANne is lecturing on research and development in the interdisciplinary field from an art perspective.  She is advisor for several media art and science initiatives in Europe and board member of ISEA. She completed her PhD at the University of the Arts London (UK), and frequently publishes papers on art, engineering and (computer) science collaboration and software development. Before her current position at V2_ she has been working as an independent media artist, and simultaneously fulfilled several management jobs for the media art sector in the Netherlands.

John Jordan
Radical Aesthetics at the end of the world

Ecological systems around the world are collapsing, the chasm between rich and poor expands daily, and our climate could tip into catastrophic runaway collapse within our lifetime... What a time to be alive. What is the role of art faced with such global crisis? Perhaps it is time for art to shift from being an end to being a means, from holding out a promise of perfection in some other realm to demonstrating a way of living meaningfully in this one? Perhaps its time for the artists to walk away from the prisons of the art world, the glamour of corporate lifestyles and the annihilating logic of global capitalism?  Perhaps its time for artists to disobey again…

Jordan's work merges the imagination of art and the social engagement of politics. Co-director of social practice art group Platform (1987-1995), he then went on to be a co-founder of the infamous cultural resistance collective Reclaim the Streets (1995-2000).   He has written and lectured extensively about the space between art and activism, ecological thinking and aesthetics, including at the Tate Modern and Museum of Modern Art Barcelona. In 2003 he co-edited the Verso book "We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anticapitalism" which has been translated in 6 languages.

He was Senior lecturer in fine art at Sheffield Hallam University for 8 years, until he gave up the relative safety of academia to go to Argentina during the popular uprising, to work on the documentary film "The Take" with Naomi Klein.

Obsessed with developing new methodologies of direct action and civil disobedience that bring pleasure, the Carnivalesque, fantasy and the body into radical politics, he set up the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army which went on a national tour, with the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, (www.llabofii.net), leading up to the G8 mobilizations in 2005.

He has just finished co-writing an operatic downloadable guided walk "And while London Burns" that explores London's Square Mile and its role in climate change. (www.andwhilelondonburns.com)

Jemima Rellie
Tate 5th Gallery

Using Tate as a focus, this presentation will explore how digital technologies act as both a catalyst and a support for the ongoing transformation of culture and museums. Tate Online's core functions will be presented, as well as well how the site impacts on visitors, activities, distribution channels and the organization's competition.

Rellie has worked at the interface of new media and contemporary art for over 10 years, gaining extensive experience in cross-platform commissioning in both commercial and not-for-profit sectors. In 2001, she was hired as Tate’s first Head of Digital Programmes, with responsibility for public-facing digital content, including a bespoke online programme crucial to establishing Tate Online as the fifth Tate gallery and a destination in its own right. Jemima speaks and consults internationally on issues facing museums in the digital age. She is the co-curator of Feedback: art responsive to instructions, input, or its environment at Laboral (Gíjon, Spain 2007). She sits on the steering group for Ofcom’s Creative Forum on the Public Service Publisher; the editorial board for CHArt (Computers and the History of Art); the programme committee for Museums and the Web and is a trustee of the 24 Hour Museum. Prior to Tate Jemima worked in interactive TV (EC1 Media), internet development (Saltmine Creative), and art book publishing (Phaidon and Macmillans).

Tim Kindberg
Digital City

The city is increasingly a digital system, as well as a built environment. Thanks to wireless communication, and the phones and other small devices we carry with us, digital phenomena are no longer confined to our desks and personal players, they are becoming embedded out on the streets and in public places. The cityscape has become not only a locus for new types of digital creativity, but also a place where unexpected digital phenomena are emerging. Kindberg will first describe a collaboration with artist Simon Poulter: I Can Read You, a physical-digital puzzle embedded in Millennium Square, Bristol, via barcodes. Secondly, he will outline Bluefish, an application in development for the cities of Bath and Bristol, based on the sub-culture his team has discovered of naming Bluetooth-equipped mobile phones.

Tim Kindberg's research interests are in ubiquitous and nomadic computing, particularly in urban settings. He has been a senior researcher at HP Labs since 1999, first in Palo Alto then in Bristol.
He is a visiting professor of Computer Science at the University of Bath. Previously he was senior lecturer in Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London, and principal software engineer at start-up Zebra Parallel. He is co-author of the textbook Distributed Systems - Concepts and Design. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Westminster and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

Bella Dicks
Culture on Display: a cultural economy of visitability.

Bella Dicks will be talking about the difficulties and implications of putting culture on display in a cultural-economic context that insists on interactivity and accesibility.  Display-oriented settings for cultural consumption are proliferating, whether in web-mediated or physically-embodied form. Two technologies are of particular interest in the cultural economy of visitability: interpretation and interactivity. Both interactivity and interpretation claim to narrow the gap between consumer and cultural artefact. The talk will assess this claim and consider the various ways in which culture is transformed in the process of being brought into alignment with 'users'.

Dicks is senior lecturer in Sociology at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences. She has published and researched in the areas of heritage, regeneration, cultural display, placed identities and digital methodologies. She has written or co-written a number of books, including: Heritage, Place and Community (University of Wales Press, 2000);  Out of the Ashes (with David Waddington, Chas Critcher and David Parry: Routledge, 2001); Culture on Display (Open University Press, 2004); Children, Place and Identity (with Jonathan Scourfield, Mark Drakeford and Andrew Davies: Routledge, 2006) and Hypermedia and Qualitative Research  (with Bruce Mason, Amanda Coffey and Paul Atkinson: Sage 2005).

Organised by PVA MediaLab
Supported by alias, London College of Communications and Arts Council England