Testing in public places


Reflections on Week 3

This week saw the coming together of the ‘tech’ side of this arts and tech focused residency, with functional prototypes developed, a database created and the finishing touches of the bootstrap required programming taking place. The ‘bootstrap’ is a functional (but minimal) prototype that we can begin testing with people, and is what I am focusing on going into the fourth and final week of this residency, that (time permitting) will also include addressing the aesthetics of the beacons. (Although functional, they are clunky and intimidating.)

In speaking about this project to people who know nothing or very little about it, I find that contextualizing it as a location-based game at first provides an immediate entrypoint to understand and to begin thinking about the different possibilities to take place within it, and allows for people to start shaping their own objectives for game, or what they would do if they had a beacon.

I am excited and anxious for the first testing to start in public space and to begin to receive both anecdotal feedback from participants and data to start playing with. I anticipate that there will be some unexpected results, that may have huge impacts on how the next phases of this project unveil themselves.

At the same time, I am starting to become more and more interested in what patterns will emerge in participants experiences: retelling and the data, and the philosophical concept of the rhizome as outlined by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and provides a model from which to understand the movement of knowledge and development of culture in which such patterns and repetition are embedded:

“Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a ‘rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo”.

This, in tandem with the tactic of dérive, which is a walk that has an alternate motive than fulfilling everyday routine, but rather, it is determined by chance decisions and personal inclination and proposes that ways of being in physical space (particularly in the cities) are political acts. For instance, although there are various architectural, geographical and economic factors at play in urban space, value and meaning are attributed by individuals based on their personal experiences and perspectives.

“Men can see nothing around them that is not their own image; everything speaks to them of themselves. Their very landscape is alive” Theory of the Dérive (1958)

Reflections on Week 2

The pendulum swung from the arts, to looking at the business of this project, and in an erratic directions of inquiry this week. The perspectives and ideas gathered through progress made in the development of the prototypes, meetings with mentors and pitching the project in efforts to secure a future for this project provided lots to consider. I felt much like a sponge: taking in everything and later expelling the excess to be left with only that which is useful.

While the beacons, outfitted with working GPS and Wifi, are set for lights to be added, and programming with the server and the database to begin, the question of data, and what will happen with the valuable residual trail and archive of movements of participants and their beacons is no longer a peripheral detail of the project, but rather, has begun to play a prominent role in planning and decision making process.

And as such, I had a couple of breakthroughs…..

One: Participants/Collaborators

At the beginning of the week, I struggled with what to do with the data and how to make use of it without compromising the original intent of the project and isolating one audiences interested in the art and community building intentions – for those who would like to use the data for their own purposes.

Where I originally saw these two distinct pieces of the project as being in conflict, the realization that community can be build on both sides of the data by making the resulting project data and the code that upholds it free and accessible for anyone to use. By doing this, there is an opportunity to engage collaborators through participation, and for others to use data for their own art and research.

Two: Data/Memory

The primary aspect of memory is repetition. The repetition that is created within the database by people walking the same streets, making the same stops, searching for the same people (or not), the recording of these movements for repurposing – repetitive use of the data by others, and in relation to the memories of others. For instance, the data may say that a two beacons intersected for ten minutes at a set of coordinates at a specific time. The individual(s), when asked would likely describe the happening differently…they may describe a conversation, the person and the experience of that 10 minutes as a whole.

Is one set valuable without the other?

In the Introduction to Memory: Documents of Contemporary Art, Ian Farr states: “A single memory, or experience can only be deciphered, can only be seen, if it is juxtaposed ‘with or against or beside’ another.”

The meaning of the data vis-a-vis the personal memory, and vice-versa, is paramount, and where negotiation of meaning can occur.

Stay tuned.

Welcome to Convergent.Studio

We are proud to announce the launch of Convergent.Studio, a pilot program with the goal of increasing interaction and flow between the Kelowna arts and technology communities. This month-long residency provides up-and-coming artists with an immersive work experience, mentorship and interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and technologists.

The success outcome—new relationships formed, new initiatives developed and a culture of intensive collaboration between typically disparate community groups. Our ambition is to create new examples of how technology and the arts are intertwined, illustrating the symbiotic nature of art and tech in how the works are created with the goal of highlighting the creative immersed in a technology environment, and the technologist in a creative environment.

We are envisioning a cultural hub where educational, artistic, and entrepreneurial values are cultivated and exchanged. This project will be supported through careful consideration of the environment, qualities of the immersion, programs, events and activities, and types of collaboration with others.

Who are we attracting?

A newcomer or up-and-comer in the Okanagan artist community who is looking for an opportunity to work in a different environment, learn new skills and develop relationships. Ideally, an artist who is looking to challenge their normal working patterns, and is willing to share their experiences with the wider public.

The artist should have a brief in mind that they would like to work on for the duration of the residency, and has identified a need for expertise from the technology community. Our aim is that the residency would result in at least one finished work, or if not 100% complete, at least sufficiently so that the completion in the proceeding 2-3 months is extremely likely.

Interested in applying? Review our artist submission requirements.