Finger Lakes Enviro Film Festival

North-South-East-West exhibited at 2007 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival  Ithaca New York.

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The North-South-East-West DVD, an interactive Video presentation, was exhibited at the 2007 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) in Ithaca New York.

Codirectors Thomas Shevory and Patricia Zimmermann Describe the FLEFF

One question erupts repeatedly around the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival: How is FLEFF an environmental film festival? Our answer is simple: join us in reimagining the environment.

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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival moves from the idea of a fixed, stable, and unified environment to an endlessly fluid, open, and plural notion of environments. FLEFF is programmed to open up ideas about the environment rather than to close them down. We do not presume to define the meaning of the term environment. In this period of global crisis, it is not productive to be too inert, closed, or blinded.

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Selected Works – Maps and Memes

North-South-East-West by Graham Thompson

North-South-East-West 1.0 utilizes Macromedia Flash animations, new media installations, streaming media, digital videos, webcasts and video conferences to guide audiences through the four directions or four seasons of our lives. Inspired by the meaning of the four sacred directions as taught by the Anishinaabe peoples of North America, the work tells a story about our lives in terms of four challenges-the challenge to survive, to find a vision, to find a path, and to learn the wisdom of the path of the vision. Graham Thompson (Metis Nation/Canada) has exhibited his work with computer graphics and digital video globally.

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North-South-East-West 1.0 utilizes Macromedia Flash animations, new media installations, streaming media, cell-phone downloads, digital videos, webcasts and videoconferences to guide audiences through the four directions or four seasons of our lives. Inspired by the meaning of the four sacred directions as taught by the Anishinaabe peoples of North America, the work tells a story about our lives in terms of four challenges-the challenge to survive, to find a vision, to find a path, and to learn the wisdom of the path of the vision. Graham Thompson (Metis Nation/Canada) has exhibited his work with computer graphics and digital video globally

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Other Work Shown at FLEFF

Entre Deux creates a space for experimentation between two artists where, far from “civilization,” human bodies confront nature with endurance, contemplation, defeat, and cooperation. Clad in white tennis clothes and armed with no more than a piece of rope, the artists perform these meditations on the body’s relationship with another body, as well as with the terrain in which they find themselves, to hilarious or poignant ends. For example, the characters are defeated by their surroundings when they fight each other (Entre Deux – Untitled (Jumeaux)) and are at one with the spaces they inhabit when they cooperate with each other (Entre Deux – Untitled [Epaule contre Epaule]). Donald Abad and Cyriac Allard both of France are artists who live and work in Paris.

Flag Metamorphoses interrogates international relations between nation-states as they clash with ideas of permanent transits, hybridity, and border crossings. Using Macromedia Flash animation, the official flag of one nation-state transforms and reforms itself into the flag of another nation-state, mapping a history of interrelations between the two states. Some of these interstate relations developed via colonialism, others via more recent moments of globalization. This ongoing collaborative project is compiled by Myriam Thyes (Germany).

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Recycled Image Studio (Sweden) is by Robert Willim and Anders Weberg.

Surreal Scania is a web-based art project that combined digital video with global positioning system (GPS) technology to explore overlooked similarities between ostensibly disparate landscapes, such as industrial harbors and nature reserves, as well as ostensibly disparate objects within these landscapes, such as artificial dinosaur heads and wrecked automobiles. GPS tracks the global positioning in as many as three dimensions (longitude, latitude, and altitude) to determine information such as speed, distance, movement, and times of sunrise and sunset. These visual contemplations of Scania, a region in southern Sweden, enter into dialogues with different representations of these precise locations on Google Earth and GPS units.

Metropoli

Anima takes a journey in extreme close-up over the surface of Grafsgaard’s painting Geo Grande. The digital video takes a panoramic view of the systems and energies of planetary ecology, particularly an imaginary biological community of microbial and fractal forms. The piece offers space for a meditation on experiences of time and space, relationships of scale, and energies of color, motion, and breath to consider ways that “organic metropoli” regenerate and mutate in response to their destruction by humans. Jim Grafsgaard (United States) collaborated with P.J. Tracy (United States), who composed the original score for this work.

Ectropy is a witty and topical hypertext work about surveillance, profiling, identity theft, biometrics, and violations of civil liberties within the paranoiac irrational space of ongoing global war. The work’s title, Ectropy, designates an increase in information or its organization, typically contrasted with the term entropy, which suggests a decrease in information or its organization. Ectropy also refers to a disease that manifests itself in eyelids that deteriorate, so that eyes cannot close and often cannot see.

The Kabul Project is an ongoing collaborative, community-based, interactive, and accumulative enterprise that is designed as a series of open-ended databases and systems that grow through the input of the artist, collaborators, community members, and audiences. As part of the Kabul Project, Permanent Transit is a database road movie about the anxieties of continual migration, the shifting identities of the hybrid generation, and the state of statelessness. Filmed through the windows of planes, buildings, and vehicles in various countries, the 12 screens of Permanent Transit alongside the fragmented soundtracks result in an experimental documentary reconstituted as a documented experiment. All this is designed to relocate viewers from their ordinary lives to the crossroads experienced by the hybrid generation, that difficult, absurd, productive zone where borders blur and cultures intersect, overlap, and exchange. Mariam Ghani (United States) works in video, installation, new media, photography, text, and public dialogue performance to investigate ways that history and memory are constructed and reconstructed as narrative in the present, particularly in the border zones and political spaces of transition where past, present, and future emerge as stories told in translation, contest, and counterpoint.

The Network of No_des adopts the nodal structure of a rhizome that splits into fractal systems and is composed of memes. Exploring the media practices of young South Asians in urban Delhi, whose ecological and economical utilization of knowledge resources might be called “piracy” by some people, the work reutilizes “driftwood from web searches, messages in data bottles, re-mixed fragments of Hindi and Bengali film scenes, and research notes from Sarai’s ongoing exploration of new media street culture in Delhi to present an array of associational possibilities.” Sarai Media Lab (India) is Jeebesh Bagchi, Mrityunjay Chatterjee, Iram Ghufran, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta.

The Trustfiles questions the ambiguities of perception and the impartiality of the written word to dismantle through artistic intervention the symbols and codes that facilitate power. Drawing upon mystical traditions of combining the letters and numbers of sacred texts to move beyond their literal meanings, the project combines visual and auditory images, often of urban spaces, to prompt the user to investigate ways that transmitted information, which is invariably incomplete information, conceals as much as it reveals. Nadine Hilbert and Gast Bouschet (Belgium) are Brussels-based artists whose works explore the potential of transmitted information to reflect, comment, and posit interventions on the functions of political and social-economic sign systems.

Soundscapes

aux2mondes is an Internet audio work that links commentaries by Arab woman living in France and the United States to create a non-narrative story based upon the user’s interest and intuition. The project concerns representation and “human linkage,” drawing from audio recordings of interviews linked by keywords with the interface tracing their progress. This approach-like sound itself-resists the voyeurism inherent in representation and returns the user to her or his own self-interest. The project is a collaborative work between Nicolas Malevé, Pascal Mélédandri, Chantal Dumas, and Isabelle Massu (United States/France) and was supported by grants from Le Centre National de la Cinématographie (Paris) and La Compagnie (Marseille).

thefLuteintheworLdthefLuteistheworLd is part of Henry Gwiazda’s repertoire of sonic works that remixes field recordings and sound effects to produce the intrinsic musical qualities of everyday noises. A virtual-audio piece meant to be listened on headphones (as opposed to some of his other works that are designed as installations to be experienced from speakers with particular specifications), thefLuteintheworLdthefLuteistheworLd surrounds its listener and creates an experience of the composer’s combinations of sampled sounds as poetry. Henry Gwiazda (United States) is a pioneering artist of sampled sounds and has been described as a poet of sonic art.

SameSameButDifferent generates new sound combinations at each hearing and transmits a proliferation of Icelandic aural imaginaries over the Internet. Thor and Runar Magnusson (Iceland) are sound artists.

SameSameButDifferent v.02 is a project that generates a new musical work every five to eight minutes from field recordings of Icelandic nature. Such sonic productions via algorithm, composed in real time by computer interface, challenge the format of traditional radio and sound production. Miming the natural archives of Icelandic nature sounds, SameSameButDifferent generates new sound combinations at each hearing and transmits a proliferation of Icelandic aural imaginaries over the Internet. Thor and Runar Magnusson (Iceland) are sound artists.

Untitled (FLEFF) is part of an ongoing investigation into aural patterning. Working with “incidental” sounds that typically fade into the recesses of consciousness and are “misheard,” this work heightens the listener’s aural sense by isolating found sounds (or field recordings) that evoke a sense of place through their frequency and repetition. The work consciously evokes what Paul Carter has termed “the sonorous identification with foreign surroundings” by isolating sounds that are supposedly part of the everyday and elevating them to the status of cultural place markers. Born in London, Catherine Clover, (United Kingdom/Australia) is a sound and digital artist currently living and working in Melbourne.

Panic Attacks

Goobalisation is an ongoing series of short animations that remix images retrieved through the Google search engine and downloaded from the web. The images are found through the project’s four search terms-surveillance, difference, resistance, and globalization-chosen to expose the complexities of power struggles and notions of progress at play in the online world. Images begin in an assigned frame space (upper left corner for surveillance, for example), then fade in and out at different intervals so that the user experiences an often uncomfortable proximity between the concepts and familiar media objects. Eduardo Navas (United States) is a critical theorist and artist currently based in Los Angeles/San Diego.

La Conchita Mon Amour studies the struggles of life in the beach community of La Conchita in California that was inundated by debris flow after a devastating mudslide. Caused by increased winter rains, an effect of global warming, this digital video project documents vernacular shrines to the dead built by surviving residents, when governmental assistance for victims of cyclical recursion of disaster is not forthcoming. Christina McPhee (United States) is a multimedia artist who interprets landscapes by integrating data mediation with empirical observation at sites where the psychic terrain of trauma meets environmental instability and generative chaos.

Pandemic Rooms explores the social paranoia over killer flues, plagues, diseases, and other disasters, particularly in light of current obsessions with viral transmissions and the increased interdependencies of globalizations. A cough in one part of the world travels across the world; sickness echoes on empty rooms; pandemics emerge so that irrational fears and necessary precautions become confused in this interactive net/web work. Jason Nelson (United States/Australia) is an artist/writer/coder who works in the medium of digital poetics.

The Samaras Project is an antiadvertising collaborative project that gives reason for everyday panic in a moment of ongoing global war. The blog includes extremely useful information about alternative and sustainable economies as alternatives to capitalist enterprise. For instance, the blog entry dated February 20, 2006, discusses the setting up of worker-owned cooperatives. Apart from worker owned cooperatives, the project actively promotes gleaning, gift economies, open culture, and community economies both online and locally in the San Francisco area. Dara Greenwald (United States) and Josh MacPhee (United States) are activists/artists who have worked in a variety of media, including print, video, and digital.

{transcription} and [FALLUJAH. IRAQ. 31/03/2004] examine questionable media coverage of events that works to confuse real and imagined situations. In {transcription}, constant scratching sounds and the imposition of a “digital skin” over the images emphasize the mediation of the news, the constant deluge of round-the-clock news coverage, and the perpetual sense of panic and paranoia that the news engenders. [FALLUJAH. IRAQ. 31/03/2004] ponders on the relationship between ethical filtering and manipulative remixing of the news, the significance of which increases with technological advances that enable the generation of history in “real time.” Michael Takeo Magruder (United States/United Kingdom) uses new media technologies within fine art contexts to explore the simultaneous utilization and dissection of new technology as a means to explore the formal structures and conceptual paradigms of the digital realm.

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