Deindustrialization and the Materialities of Labour – Part I – Discussion Recordings

Enjoy highlights and listen to ambient recordings from Part I of Telematic Cafe labour-themed discussions! As announced before – this Telematic Cafe event was inspired by VACANTGeelong Project.

Telematic Cafe is thankful to the VACANTGeelong Project organisers, especially, Mirjana Lozanovska and Cameron Bishop of Deakin University for collaboration with Telematic Cafe during Open Studio Day, 24 May 2017. Telematic Cafe would like to extend special thanks to Ian Priddle from Codeacious for responsiveness and time!

The “Labour of Making” discussion focused on the significance of manual, constructive and creative production. Discussion partners: VACANTGeelong project artist Robert Mihajlovski (RM) and architect & Senior Lecturer of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at Deakin University Dr David Beynon (DB). Moderator: Telematic Cafe curator Marita Batna.

DB: There are similarities between drawing by hand and drawing with a mouse or trackpad. But there is also a difference. There is some kind of distance between you and the object… maybe because you can’t actually touch it. Your hands have been away from it… [physical object] appears through some kind of alchemic process.

DB: Meaning of writing comes through syntax and context more than the physical. [..] Maybe it does not matter so much for the reader whether it is actually written by hand or written on a word processor – that makes a difference to the person who is writing.

DB: Is there a difference when you are physically constructing a robot and when you got parts?  Or, when you are actually doing a design for a robot? I am used, as an architect, to be one step removed from any kind of real construction anyway.

RM: By industrial revolution people used to make everything by hand. [..] Today many things are made in an industrial way but through robots. There is less and less skills. [..] In art – in the past – one used to make colours by hand – now everything is going through the factory. Acrylic is made like plastic bags. The past knowledge about how to make [art] materials by hand is nearly forgotten. [..] It is much easier to create but some things are always missing – and that is our creative and spiritual side.

DB: I think, in some ways, for people who are traditionally already removed from making things, like architects [..] there is a potential that maybe this will give you more control. [The future] will essentially give a possibility to make a building like you make a model. [..] In some ways you will be less limited then now because it will be you and one medium as opposed to you and a whole series of processes.

DB: We are tool making and using species. And if we don’t have a capacity to make tools of some sort whatever the medium is – we lose some of our purpose. People need to feel that they are actually contributing something to the world. And the basic way of doing it is to make something: there is something in the world that wasn’t there before.

RM: In the beginning art was made to serve magic and religious purposes. Even today art is a mirror of our social and ideological ideas we have. [..] Art has different branches and targets. [..] Popular art is serving masses – it is more mass media than it was in the past, but still – it’s a mirror of the human condition.

 

Full Recording:

 

The “Labour of Technology” discussion was looking at the role of “post-fordism” in connection with information technologies, communication systems and data. Discussion partners: architect and Senior Lecturer of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Deakin University Dr. Mirjana Lozanovska (ML); artist and Lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University Dr. Anne Wilson (AW), and Ian Priddle (IP), the founder of Codeacious, a software company based in Geelong. Moderator: Telematic Cafe curator Marita Batna (MB).

ML: Post-fordism is often described as this fluid thing of production and consumption. [..] How can you have general public? [..] The question of who is the producer and who is the public is erased theoretically but I would contest that to an extent. [..] It becomes a transnational way of understanding production but [..] there is still labour production of objects.

ML: The idea that the line between production and consumption is blurred – is interesting on one hand. [..] Obviously, when those things are blurred, it is not “products.” [..] So, what is then produced, and what is being consumed? I think those details will become important for us to get into a discussion that is below conventional understanding of contemporary work. [..] One of the things that might be produced is new social networks, new digital networks, new ideas of what, in fact, is social – what is friendship. [..] Our friendships that are manufactured due to kinds of interactions and interfaces that people have in social media – what do these friendships mean?

IP: Governments providing data they have and making it freely available is extremely beneficial. [..] If I present to you all the rainfall across entire country and I also say – here is this other set of data – all the traffic lights [..] you might go: “I know how to combine those two things!” to come up with something interesting and useful.

IP: I encourage you to go to http://www.data.gov.au/ – you can see huge variety of data that is currently available. Unfortunately, it is not live, they are data sets but you just get ideas by seeking all the things that you could become aware of.

IP: In the case of public services [..] – sharing that data is incredible. [..] It is definitely developing. I am glad to say that Geelong has one of the highest number of open data sets for a local council, I think, in Australia. So, Geelong is doing a really good job. There is a shift towards making more data open. Then, the next phase will be making that data more live and more accessible. I think that is an area we need to explore.

AW: As I understand that quote [Sean Cubitt claimed that technologies are symbolically inhabited by ancestors and their knowledge but it is invisible to us – MB] our ancestors are inhabiting data through knowledge, through distillation of facts and knowledge that comes through data. [..] Data that is available to us now, in whatever form, has come about through other knowledges and other forms of media in the past. [..] It ended up today as ways of reading information. [..] Pixels and particles are quite different. Particles are in chemical photography and pixels are in digital photography. And that is a different reading of light. [..] One relies upon mathematical formula and one relies upon inherent nature of quantum physics and how light travels. [..] So one appears to be more organic, but one appears to be a distillation down. [..] There is a kind of disconnect, but obviously information is important. [..] I see it as a limitation – that distillation down.

ML: If you look at some of the works done here, for example, Sarah Duyshart’s work: she took the sounds of the raw data that were recorded during the workshops with Macedonian community. To take that and feed it into the program that identified just the base sound [..] – it turns this social chatter into [..] a kind of bodily biological life force. [..] I think what Sarah did was primordial and futuristic.

IP: We recently did an installation that required VR hardware. We didn’t have VR experience but we could combine this with sound, light and movement to create an experience for people. Because we have focused on understanding those mediums – we knew those boundaries and created art “of sorts” within those boundaries. Because all of this stuff is so new it requires a lot of time and effort and, in particular, digital skills to understand what you can and cannot work with. [..] As technology evolves we will be able to play with it more.

ML: What is the possibility of experimentation? The experimentation requires preparatory work of labour in order for it to be a real experiment otherwise it is just immersive pleasure.

IP: With the emergence of maker spaces you can join other people who have certain knowledge (these are treated as public spaces) – you can play with different things. Then, people who are interested in that will be able to create, but I guess: will they put in the labour and efforts to go further?

AW: In creative practice, I have noticed, technology is the second thing, [..] you have idea and then technology [..] this is how you learn. And this is one way of learning technology.

Full Recording:

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Announcing the next event of Telematic Cafe!

Hello all! A new event of Telematic Café is here. This edition is inspired by the VACANTGeelong project: an art and discursive initiative addressing de-industrialization with the leadership from Deakin University researchers at Geelong Waterfront. In the context of this project is a recent history: last year, yet another industrial landmark – Ford Engine Plant became “vacant” in Geelong (Victoria, Australia), a city with large and diverse industrial sites. VACANTGeelong is allocating creative and communicative energies to contemplate on memories and urban surroundings in the moment between “vacancy” and the change.

Over the next months, Telematic Café is bound to deliver “telematic communication models” in the form of discussion with the title De-Industrialization and the Materialities of Labour.

How do we understand the labour in the context of the vacancy of industrial spaces? They speak of human desires – progress and advancement of technology. This direction of civilization continues, but the process of de-industrialization signifies that the understanding of labour, productivity and value is transforming.

The project invites local minds to discuss labour not only as something at the service of economic system but as the human resource and cultural feature. The concept of labour suggests materiality.  What are kinds of this materiality and uses of “productivity”? Who benefits?

The process of discussions will be tracked in this blog, including links to audio recordings of live discussions.

Telematic Café is teaming up with VACANTGeelong to become its guest during its OPEN STUDIO on Wednesday 24 May 2017 (discussions from 3pm) at an old industrial space – 10 Baxter street, North Geelong. Here, Part I will be conducted with invited academics, artists and processionals discussing the themes:

Labour of making. Significance of manual, constructive and creative production.

Labour of technology. The role of “post-fordism” – information technologies, communication systems and data.

Project curator: Marita Batna.

VACANTGeelong OPEN STUDIO runs  from 1pm to 5pm 24 May 2017. For more information on VACANTGeelong – contact Dr. Mirjana Lozanovska, Deakin University, mlozanov@deakin.edu.au

Documentation and Wrap-up of Telematic Cafe: On Air (6 May 2016)

Telematic Cafe: On Air,  6 May 2016 as part of Geelong After Dark (GAD). View photo-documentation on Flickr – Telematic Cafe GAD.

Thank you to the Geelong After Dark co-producers: City of Greater Geelong and Diversitat and the venue owners/managers.

Key artists and partners of this edition of Telematic Cafe were:

Kazuhiro Goshima (Tokyo, JPN)
Michael Morgan (Batesford, AUS)
Stephanie Andrews, John McCormick, Jordan Vincent and Motion.Lab (Deakin University, Melbourne, AUS)
THE PULSE 94.7FM (Geelong, AUS)
Geelong Amateur Radio Club (Geelong, AUS)

Curator: Marita Batna (Melbourne/Geelong, AUS)

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Telematic Cafe: On Air welcomed 400 visitors during the four-hour event (6pm to 10pm).

For two hours from 6 to 8pm, Beav’s Bar became a ground for a collective communication space broadcast live on THE PULSE 94.7FM community radio. Referring to Bertolt Brecht’s proposition of “radio as an apparatus of communication”, the project Radio Whispers (Bhagavad-Gita) delivered a loop of communication based on interpretation of Bhagavad-Gita verses. Participants picked verses through a blind draw. These verses were delivered on screen as a computer feedback generated though voice-to-text software. Participants were reading (interpreting) the generated verses live on radio. This live content was re-broadcast from FM onto AM band and provided for simultaneous listening via crystal radios. Readings were combined with layers of world music in various national languages with rap rhythms and chants among other styles. Audio recording of the broadcast (courtesy of THE PULSE 94.7FM):

Thoughts from one of participants: “Such a pleasure to read, to observe, to listen, to admire and to converse… I have a longing for more…”

Thank you goes to team members Terry Guida, Stephen Juhasz, Matt Gogarty, Darby Hewitt, Toki Babai, and Cal Lee for smooth running of Radio Whispers (Bhagavad-Gita)! Special thanks to THE PULSE 94.7FM coordinator Leo Renkin for making this project happen.

In the cosy back room of Telematic Cafe (Beav’s Bar) the participants could put the 3D glasses on and traverse the night-time Tokyo through the immersive and poetic world of Shadowland – award-winning work produced by Kazuhiro Goshima with single 2D camera. Thank you to Ray Luke for providing screening equipment for this work.

The other side of Telematic Cafe: On Air was occupying the empty shop across Little Malop street, opposite Beav’s Bar. In here, the GAD participants encountered Michael Morgan’s installation Symbiotic Illusion – created for the GAD night. This elaborated structure referred to the illusion of symbiosis and contrived human ideals, and was composed of glass fish tanks containing illuminated figures of heads (in ice and plastic), and water environments featuring salon-like scenography made of ceramic figurines.

Part of the room, behind the large shop windows, was an exciting pop-up off-site for Deakin Motion.Lab. Here, the GAD participants experienced a great night of “dancing a duet” with VR / artificially intelligent partner – trying out and contributing to Duet created by Motion.Lab’s artists-researchers. For the duration of four hours artist Stephanie Andrews was engaged in continuous talk and answering of questions about the function of Duet, whilst participants immersed in the work.  She was joined by fellow artist John McCormick.

What a night! Telematic Cafe: On Air was extraordinary and gained a lot of amazing response and incredible level of participation! Thank you to all who joined in and see you in the next event!

 

Shadowland

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Image  – Kazuhiro Goshima

Kazuhiro Goshima’s film Shadowland uses the night-time Tokyo to construct the illusion of 3D vision discovering this process with one 2D DSLR camera.

“Shadows” are cast on the streets by the headlights of cars driving through the city. Every night, the city itself is overwritten like a retina thousands of times, and no one can decipher its memories [1] – this observation has led the artist to focus on the poetic nature of city at night that became a key to creating 3D imagery. Shadowland is a stereoscopic (3D) film but unlike common 3D works it takes the viewer on a journey of immersion from 2D to 3D image unveiling the subtlety of 3D formation through the language of shadows.

How does Shadowland work? Kazuhiro Goshima explains its main principle: The essential factor of 3D vision is binocular parallax. I derive parallax from the slight time lag between the movies projected onto the right and left eyes. There are no digital special effects. I show the same movies to each eye but there is slight time lag (1-5 frames). (…) In Shadowland, I shot footage using one fixed camera. The moving element as the source of parallax is the car headlights [2].

SHADOWLAND-mechanism-by-Kazuhiro-Goshima

Full story of the technical production of Shadowland can be found on the Ars Electronica webpage: http://prix2014.aec.at/prixwinner/12220/

The film poetically embraces the feeling of walking the streets at night and being present in the moment, appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of imagery that emerges and disappears like ocean waves. The viewer is bound to discover aesthetic pleasure in reading shadows.

Shadowland won Award of Distinction in the world’s leading forum of electronic media art Ars Electronica in 2014 in the category of  Computer Animation/Film/VFX. Fragment of the jury statement: Shadowland is a wonderful combination of what we call  “found animation” with an innovative use of stereoscopic technique [3].

The stereoscopic side-by-side version of Shadowland will be presented for watching with 3D glasses within Telematic Cafe: On Air (at Beavs Bar) as part of Geelong After Dark on the 6th May 2016 between 6pm and 10pm.

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Image – Kazuhiro Goshima

 

Kazuhiro Goshima’s website.

[1] Kazuhiro Goshima. 2014. Shadowland. In CyberArts 2014, Ars Electronica, 26-27.

[2] Kazuhiro Goshima. 2014. Shadowland. In CyberArts 2014, Ars Electronica, 26-27.

[3] Suzanne Buchan, Joe Gerhard, Jurgen Hagler, Sabine Hirtes, Quayola. 2014. Intangible Worlds. In CyberArts 2014, Ars Elecronica, 17.

 

Radio Whispers (Bhagavad-Gita)

A project of Geelong After Dark 6 May 2016. Venue: Telematic Cafe located at Beavs Bar

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The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him. On this principle the radio should step out of the supply business and organize its listeners as suppliers. Any attempt by the radio to give a truly public character to Public occasions is a step in the right direction.

    —  Bertolt Brecht «The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication», 1932

Telematic Cafe teams up with THE PULSE 94.7 FM – Geelong region’s community radio to deliver the apparatus of radio that is inclusive of its users throughout its entire cycle of communication. Radio Whispers (Bhagavad-Gita) works as a collective radio model – people-generated communication space within the system of radio. The three activity stages enacted for participation within Telematic Cafe are:

  • send,
  • listen,
  • talk.

Radio Whispers become a process in which information is fed into, processed, interpreted and transmitted for yet another interpretation. Participants randomly select and submit (send) numbers of Bhagavad-Gita quotes. This information flow generates a feedback of quotes recovered in the form of written text which is used to read them for live transmission (talk).

Radio experience continues at the listening stage.  Instead of delivering a soundscape feeding into the space of everyday noise, Radio Whispers re-broadcasts the audio signal from FM to AM band and captures it through self-made devices  – crystal sets and headphones – replicating early days of the radio. Listening from crystal sets becomes an intimate and meaningful radio experience for the listener.

Containing a total of 700 verses Bhagavad-Gita is written in Sanskrit, but has become a global text – translated in many languages and in many versions, it is also a subject of constant interpretation. Mixed with the English reading of quotes by participants are songs of rap music, (rhythmic vigorous chanting) in national languages which feature global adaptation of this US-born music genre to powerfully express political views and identities of marginalized or not marginalized groups of people, communities or nations.

 

Live broadcast: THE PULSE 94.7 FM 6 May 2016 6pm-8pm AEST. Radio listening with crystal sets within Telematic Cafe continues till 10pm. 

Team:

Marita Batna (concept)
Michael Morgan (concept)
Leo Renkin, THE PULSE 94.7 FM (concept)
Terry Guida
Matt Gogarty, THE PULSE 94.7 FM
Darby Hewitt, THE PULSE 94.7 FM
Steve Juhaz
Toki Babai

Crystal sets by Geelong Amateur Radio Club. Thank You to Lou Blasco

Bhagavad-Gita website.

 

Symbiotic Illusion

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“ONE OF THE FEW GOOD THINGS ABOUT MODERN TIMES: IF YOU DIE HORRIBLY ON TELEVISION, YOU WILL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN. YOU WILL HAVE ENTERTAINED US.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, “Cold Turkey,” In These Times, May 10, 2004

FOW ER TOO     42

— military call sign of 42

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the civilization created a super-computer DEEP THOUGHT to discover the meaning of life. It took 7.5 million years, and the produced answer was FORTY TWO. They have forgotten what the question was.

These descriptions of Modern Times are key references for Michael Morgan’s new work  Symbiotic Illusion. It examines the nostalgic glorification of conflict in contemporary societies compartmentalised within their biased geographical, cultural, religious, ethnic and ideological spaces.  The authors of Bhagavad-Gita would never comprehend modern day philosophers’ awareness of digitised destruction such as drone killing televised in our lounge room, while eating dinner.

Humanity considers that “symbiosis” is the ideal, an idea of mutual benefit. However, humans are far from being able to adopt symbiotic relationships.

Symbiotic Illusion is a large scale sculptural installation that features enclosed environments. Both “natural” and artificial (plastic and ice head casts, water, ceramic figurines, LED lights, air pumps contained in fish tanks) —  these environments portray illusions and the escape of meaning through temporarily sustained transitory formations of life which, regardless of their agenda, are the subject of the nature’s progression.

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Michael Morgan website.

 

Duet

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Image – Motion.Lab

Created by Deakin Motion.Lab researcher Dr. John McCormick, PhD candidate Stephanie Andrews and researcher Dr. Jordan Beth Vincent, Duet is a Virtual Reality artwork that invites viewers to don a VR headset and engage in a movement interaction with an Artificially Intelligent entity.

“The AI entity incorporates machine learning and neural networks in its design,” says McCormick. “The AI agent is able to accumulate movement knowledge in a way that mimics human learning and transforms an interactive experience into a collaborative one.”  In other words, the AI entity learns from previous participants in terms of how to move and respond like a human, and allows a user to embark on a movement-based dialogue between participant and digital partner.

Duet incorporates virtual reality, full body motion capture, and the AI entity to explore concepts of embodied knowledge, shared movement poetics, and distortions of personal identity.

As Andrews describes, “both the human participant and the AI avatar become performers, spontaneously improvising with each other and exploring wordless communication.” 

Within the VR headest, Duet generates a visualization of the relationship between the user and the agent, exploring illusions of perceptual space through the use of minimal aesthetics, and offers a new perspective on how virtual reality might expand the possibilities of human-computer interaction.

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Images – Motion.Lab