ISEA instanbul 2011 travels through hyper-liminality: exploring the space where digital meets real

Updated: Oct 10, 2018




How this work reflects the theme of “… stepping from one world to the other, a conceptual moving from one state of being to another.”:

This work is an example of artists generating ‘a threshold’ experience for participants, as mentioned by Dew Harrison:


“… stepping from one world to the other, a conceptual moving from one state of being to another. Contra to human-to-avatar experience, virtual objects are transformed into a solid materiality by crossing this threshold. The threshold is then a magic alchemical space, an interstice between the real and the virtual, a moment of change, of becoming other.”

In the soundsketches being developed at rampisham, radio with its signifiers of information and cultural manipulation (eg. Rampisham was home to the BBC world service transmissions during WW2); the disembodied ‘voices’ (due to microphonic effect caused by ‘faults’); the ‘Åeolian harp’ evoking ‘music of the spheres’, ie. sounds of wind in the huge curtain arrays , and the architectural ‘matrix’ of hydraulic switches manipulating the transmissions all contribute to a densely layered environment problematising our relational concepts of ‘self’ and ‘being’. This is explored in the video which would be presented as installation in an evocative architectural space with multichannel sound.

The artistic intention, in all these works, is to invite the audience to experience a heightened sense of being within the physical - rather than ‘out-of body’ or denying the relevance of the physical (avatars and ‘virtual’ alternative identities). Most participants express a joy at having their senses ‘opened’ or enhanced by experiencing the installation and are more engaged in everyday listening.

“at all times and in all places people have entered ecstatic or frenzied altered states of consciousness and experienced hallucinations. Indeed the potential to shift, voluntarily or involuntarily, between different states of consciousness is a function of the universal human nervous system. All people have to cope with different states of consciousness in one way or another. Some people - by no means all - became shamans.” (Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams, 1996). Our modern society also has its ‘sonic shamans’- priests, musicians, and politicians- who are revered for their ability to evoke powerful emotional responses with the sound of their voices or instruments”.

spaces speak, are you listening? experiencing aural architecture, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, 2007, p.73

This expresses the notion that we are constantly experiencing “a moment of change, of becoming other” (Dew Harrison), as intrinsic in our experience of being. Contemporary consciousness has the potential to be comfortable and self-aware within varied states, as normal experience:

.. “When the aural experience of an acoustic space is sufficiently strong, its voice contributes, however slightly, to creating an altered state of consciousness in listeners, even in modern listeners. By extension, the aural architect who designs a space is also an aural manipulator - a modern day version of an ancient shaman.”

Ibid.,p.73



Chair: Prof. Dew Harrison

On the threshold of crossing over being neither real nor virtual, an oscillation between two states of existence, online-offline, awake but dreaming in a sub-consciousness state, the bubble between starting and arriving, the in-between, a disappearance, the third space ... Considering the diverse determinations as to what the liminal means in our digitally driven culture this panel asks 'To what extent are artists digitally facilitating convivial spaces where participants can engage with and co-create an art work?'. Six different approaches are displayed within the panel expertise to interrogate digitally facilitated liminality as either a transformative space of creative transcendence, or a convivial and social space where art can happen.

Digital media and new technology is reconfiguring our relationship with the world and is also affecting how artists relate with their public. Now technologies can help to position art into the everyday of people’s lives and activities, outside the gallery space. Digitally enabled new spaces have opened up where artists can engage with audiences in a participatory experience. Within the cityscapes of our urban environments ‘Big brother’ media and cctv surveillance allow for few informal, ungoverned social meeting places so it is the creation of interstices between the formal constructed and observed social spaces that artists are interested in, where unorthodox art can happen and engage directly with its audience. Digital media provides such relational opportunities but as virtual platforms where accessing them means stepping from one world to the other, a conceptual moving from one state of being to another. Contra to human-to-avatar experience, virtual objects are transformed into a solid materiality by crossing this threshold. The threshold is then a magic alchemical space, an interstice between the real and the virtual, a moment of change, of becoming other.

Artists continue to explore the notion of the ‘liminal’ that has arisen with the evolution of digital technology. Through this panel we hope to further interrogate current contemporary understandings of this amorphous state of presence by generating discussion and argument around its nature.

JULIE PENFOLD

LABCULTURE AND THE LIMINAL

by Julie Penfold

LabCulture is a unique, dedicated Artists’ space for R&D where experimentation and exploration can take place. This paper will discuss the historical, conceptual and functional studio practice as an example of liminal space in action. Using examples of Artists’ process and practice, the paper will demonstrate LabCulture's ‘birth’ and historical role as go between, the conceptual linkages between creative process and institutions, and the Lab’s physical/digital function. It posits that contemporary being and self-awareness is already distanced from ‘reality’, “falling through the cracks, in the interstices of social structure" (Turner).

LabCulture is a viral structure.

It pops up wherever favourable, often hosted by partner ‘organisms’.

It is durational, temporary, capable of mutation.

It occupies diverse spaces and situations.

It offers physical and virtual platforms for meeting and action.

It works at the interface between interdisciplinary practice, architecture and the environment.

This paper aims to map the 'neither here nor there' of individual artist's process and sensibility and offer it as a modus vivendi blueprint for the future.

Consortium, is active within APD networks [a-n, NAN, Turning Point SW] and is a Director of B-Side CIC.

Julie is the co-curator of a number of new media related events and exhibitions including:

LabCulture Residencies; Coast to Coast Symposia; Universal Value Commissions;

B-Side Festival; ReThink – ReThinkingTime [Substation Singapore].

Julie is a Director of LabCulture Ltd and is Dorset’s core contact for ALIAS Arts CIC. She represents PVA MediaLab at the Big Picture.


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