Distributed Aesthetics Abound

The notion of cross-media storytelling is creeping into academic and art. A sibling concept, ‘distributed aesthetics’, is being bandied about at a few ‘spaces’. Here are a couple in Australia:

Fibreculture Journal: upcoming Distributed Aesthetics Issue

It has been widely argued by sociologists, cultural and media theorists such as Manuel Castells, Arjun Appardurai and Geert Lovink that we now live in a landscape shaped by the flows and traffic of globally networked information. We have become, in Castells words, a ‘networked society’ and our cultural, social and economic practices must operate within this global space of flows. The geography of place and history in which association through physical proximity and tradition such as neighbourhood, or through identification based upon race, class or sex, recedes to give way to information space. Artists have responded to this shifting cultural landscape by taking up the net itself as a medium for practice, by forming their own artistic networks facilitated by net infrastructure and functionality, and by critically responding to what distributed spatio-temporalities might mean for the art object itself, for art production and for audience interaction. Beyond the identification of an historical art movement – net.art – distributed aesthetics names ways of artistically operating in a time and space of information flows, and of engendering modes of perception specific to these flows.

In this issue of fibreculture journal, we are seeking contributions to the aesthetic and artistic theorisation, use and development of networked spaces, times and technologies. How, in short, has the network considered in its broadest sense contributed technically and culturally to contemporary modes of perception? Writers may approach this from the perspective of speculative, empirical, historical and/or critical theories. Specific case studies of online artistic practice, the use of ICTs in artistic community and collaboration, politics and networked aesthetics, and analyses of networked art projects are encouraged.

The Art Association of Australia & New Zealand [NSW Chapter]in association with the Art Gallery of NSW and the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, UNSW present the 2005 Conference: TRANSFORMING AESTHETICS, 7-9 July 2005, Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney, Australia.

DISTRIBUTED AESTHETICS: HISTORIES AND THEORIES
Anna Munster
The ‘undoing’ of New Media Art: Towards a distributed aesthetics

Darren Tofts
On the street where you live: stencil art and the
poetics of ephemera

Pia Ednie-Brown
Processual Consistency: a form of composition

DISTRIBUTED AESTHETICS: MEDIA AND PROCESS
Andrew Murphie
Distribution and assemblage in the work of
Joyce Hinterding and David Haines

Susan Ballard
Flickering and delay: materiality in digital installation

Sean Cubitt – CLOSING KEYNOTE
New light: fragments and responsibilities

I’ve just been hacked

I changed my blogger ftp username and password yesterday and I get up today to find my site has been hacked with message left: irdex owns joo! None of my other websites were touched so I can only presume that blogger is currently unstable (for those that ftp to another server and don’t have their blog hosted at Blogger). Damn. I’ll email them to let them know. So, for now my blog will be available at: www.crossmediastorytelling.blogspot.com. But I’ll keep these pages alive so you’ll always be able to get to the blog from crossmediastorytelling.com.

Books into the Mix

I think books are an under-utilised media in cross-media projects. It is understandable to some extent — they take a long time to produce and are really a one-person job, whereas most other forms of entertainment (besides painting) can be/are more collaborative. Another reason why they are not utilised in cross-media works is because they are a ‘fixed media’. Cross-media works usually have texts that are mutable, that can be altered according to inside or outside pressure. A fixed media is an element of the cross-media universe that cannot be changed, and so every new text introduced has to account for the static state of the fixed media. This is a big problem when the work is employing ‘alternate reality’ devices to make the events being expressed seem as if they are real and are happening right now. But some cross-media works do use fixed media, and I’ve put a selection of them on my polymorphic narrative site (a name that will change soon, because my theory has!).

But back to books specifically. Jeremy posted me this article thinking I would be interested and I am. The article tells the story of how Liz Dubelman, who has a film production background, started a company called VidLit in September 2004. VidLit is described as a music channel for books. What Dubelman does is create flash ads to advertise books, and emails them out to booklovers to pass amoungst each other (viral marketing). I like that this is happening for a few reasons: 1) the web is being utilised as a marketing platform for books; 2) books are being marketed by ad types that are usually utilised by any cool, rich or clever company. There really isn’t much marketing push put into selling books. And books are usually marketed via print, via text-oriented means (text ad in a paper, reviews etc). 3) another channel is being employed to point the reader/user/client to yet another channel. This acclimitises book readers to cross-media navigation and therefore opens up delivery avenues for creators. With readers feeling comfortable with toggling between media channels the stage is set for stories that are likewise delivered.