FRAMING THE PROCESS

Because this is an experiment in remote conferencing, we are going to document the process of putting it together, including the development of the idea, and some of the communications between the remote team. There will also be documentation of the technical set up and the testing processes. After the event we will write up what worked and what didn't... hopefully that section will be very short...


re:mote is intended to have a budget of exactly $0! - though we seem to be spending money anyway...

Part of the aim of re:mote is to document the process so we can repeat and improve upon the first festival (this one).

For this purpose this page has a bit of info we have been trading amongst us as we have put the event together. Essentially the process has followed this timeline:

September 2004 r a d i o q u al i a writes to ((ethermap to propose a collaboration to organise re:mote. ((ethermap agree and thunderbirds are go.

November 2004 some light trading of emails takes place trying to refine the idea, some possible people to invite and the name.

December 2004 we refine the theme and list of invitees, approach the venue, iand discuss generalities about the format.

January 2005 organisation begins in earnest and we confirm details with invitees that have accepted the invitation, and send a Call For Proposal to the Aotearoa Digital Artist list (ADA). We also approach Lara Bowen for assistence finding a 'refreshment' sponsor.

Feb 2005 Jayne Joyce very kindly agrees to do the website design, and we start refining the details with all concerned.

March 2005 more of the same! Meet with techies, and put site together!

Heres some of the docs.......



CALL FOR PROPOSALS posted to ADA (Aotearoa Digital Arts) mailing list:


Tue Feb 15 15:41:26 NZDT 2005

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  Dear Ada,

  Since we've started to discuss this already, it is probably a god time to
  send you the call for proposals for the 're:mote' project which ethermap
  and r a d i o q u a l i a have been developing.

  We are very interested in your ideas for this.

  We know there isn't much time to react to the call, but we're really
  looking for the simple outlines, rather than detailed theses, so if you
  have any reactions to the theme, please feel free to jot them down, and
  send them through.

  We're really looking forward to your feedback and your participation.

  Best wishes


  Adam & Honor, r a d i o q u a l i a
  Adam & Zita, ethermap

  remote@r...
  ah@r...


  ----------------------------------------------------

  r a d i o q u a l i a & ethermap are calling for proposals for:

  re:mote

  New Zealand's first International Symposium of New Media Art


  * Venue:
  Elam School of Fine Arts
  Auckland
  New Zealand


  * Date
  March 19, 2005


  * Deadline for proposals
  28 February 2005


  r a d i o q u a l i a and ethermap are calling for proposals from New
  Zealand artists and commentators to present their ideas and projects on the
  theme of 'remoteness' at the forthcoming international symposium, re:mote:
  auckland.


  INTRODUCTION

  re:mote is a one-day experimental festival, bringing together new media art
  practitioners and theorists from geographically diverse areas, through a
  combination of live and online presentations.

  re:mote is to be an ongoing series of events, which will take place at
  locations around the world. Its global premiere, re:mote: auckland, will
  provide New Zealanders with an opportunity to contribute to international
  new media art discourse.  re:mote: auckland will bring presentations from
  London, Helsinki, Tokyo, Rotterdam and Sydney to an audience in Auckland.

  The keynote presentation will be from Japanese artist, radio pioneer, and
  lecturer, Tetsuo Kogawa (Professor at Kessai University, Tokyo), who is
  travelling to Auckland especially to present at re:mote, on the topic of
  technology and the body.


  CONTEXT

  New Zealand is at an interesting moment in relation to new media art
  practice.  After a period of highly productive new media art
  experimentation in the mid 1990s, through exhibitions such as 'Electronic
  Bodyscapes' at Artspace in Auckland, and online art websites such as
  'Codec', a period of hiatus ensued.  Now, at the beginning of the new
  millennium, New Zealand-based artists and thinkers are again developing a
  confident and nuanced discourse on new media, through the Ada (Aotearoa
  Digital Arts) list.  The evolution of this discourse was evidenced in
  January 2005, when New Zealand new media art was the principal topic of the
  influential -empyre-  forum, which is
devoted to thematic discussion of networked media.

re:mote aims to share the emerging enthusiasm for new media art and culture
within New Zealand, with an international audience of new media
practitioners. re:mote also aims to provide New Zealand audiences with an
opportunity to 'meet' international artists and commentators.

Thematically, the forum aims to question how being geographically remote
from many of the established centres of new media art exhibition, funding
and production, can impact on the development of a local scene.


BACKGROUND

New media art practice has become an important part of international
contemporary art and cultural spheres. The impact of digital technology on
artistic practices has been explored in many exhibitions, festivals and
symposia worldwide.

International new media art discourse is often stimulated by festivals and
events, such as, transmediale in Berlin,
Germany, and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. Many
countries also have major organisations that curate and coordinate events
and exhibitions, which bring together local and international audiences and
practitioners, to display and discuss their field of practice. The
Australian Network for Art and Technology is one
such example, as is v2 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The social and professional intermingling of local and international
practitioners catalysed by such activity, raises the level of research,
debate, and cooperation between new media artists and commentators. Though
the projects being presented and discussed may use media which is 'new',
often networked and sometimes 'virtual', this does not detract from the
significance of face-to-face meetings. As the noted Amsterdam based
theorist and writer, David Garcia once noted, "Face-to-face is always the
highest bandwidth".

Through the activities of these kinds of organisation and festivals,
certain 'centres' within the new media arts sphere have become apparent.
The existence of 'centres' raises the issue of how small countries, such as
New Zealand, on the geographical periphery, can remain visible as sites of
creative production and dialogue. Issues like geographical remoteness can
impact on the ability to partake in international forums, and can often
frustrate the evolution of emerging communities of practice.

It is interesting to note that many small nations have referred to the
concept of remoteness, in the development of new media arts strategies and
policies. The Welsh new media arts agency, bl0c is one example
, as is New
Media Scotland . More
recently at club transmediale in Berlin, the programme 'splendid isolation'
profiled the work of
artists outside the centres of electronic music production.

The re:mote festival aims to further some of the issues explored in these
events. re:mote will ask questions such as: what does it mean to be remote
in an electronic art world? Can there be said to be 'centres' and
'peripheries' within a world increasingly bridged, criss-crossed and mapped
by digital technologies? Can communication mediated by technology ever
substitute face-to-face dialogue? Is geographical isolation a factor in
contemporary art production?


CALL FOR PROPOSALS

The organisers for re:mote are calling for proposals from New Zealand based
artists and commentators. In an attempt to reflect the structure of the
symposium within the content of the event, the topic is 'remoteness'. This
can be interpreted widely. Possible readings of this term, may include:
- remote distance
- isolation
- telematic communication and machinery as a mediator of remoteness
- remote control

Proposals should be for presentations, which are based on the author's
interpretation of these concepts.

Presentations can be enhanced with audio-visual material.
A data projector, speakers and a fast internet connection will be provided.
Presentations must be a maximum of 15 minutes and time keeping will be
strict to assist with the combination of local and remote international
participation.


Proposals should include:

- a short paragraph briefly outlining the ideas or projects you wish to
explore and how they relate to the theme

- A brief biography (maximum one-page)

Please format your proposal as a standard word processor, RTF or text
document. RTF documents are preferred.

Completed proposals should be emailed to:

remote@r...

AND

ah@r...


Please include the phrase:

remote: auckland proposal

in the subject line of your email.


***** DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS: 28 FEBRUARY 2005 ******


re:mote does note receive any financial support and thus unfortunately the
organisers can not offer participants fees, accommodation or travel
expenses.




FORMAT OF EVENT

re:mote: auckland will be a prototype from which a documented format and
technological specifications will be developed, to enable the successful
implementation of the festival in other geographically isolated locations.
It will provide a space in which the technical and social logistics of
remote co-operation and presentation can be explored. This prototype
festival will utilise a mix of presentations by New Zealand-based new media
practitioners, live online presentations, and specially prepared video
presentations where necessary. The experimental nature of the format means
that flexibility will be required.



ORGANISERS

r a d i o q u a l i a
http://www.radioqualia.net

Adam Hyde is currently the Digital Artist in Residence at the University of
Waikato. Adam is an artist who works with sound, new technologies, and more
traditional forms of broadcast. He also has a long history in New Zealand
broadcasting, having managed the radio stations Contact89FM (Hamilton) and
95bFM (Auckland), as well as establishing New Zealand's first community
television station, Static TV. Adam left New Zealand in 1998, relocating
first to Australia and then to Europe, where he has worked in new media in
Amsterdam, London and Riga. Adam now works as a freelance software
developer, producer and artist, and has gained an international reputation
for his work in these areas.

Honor Harger is currently Consultant Director of the AV Festival, Newcastle
UK. Honor's practice includes design, curation and art-making, and she has
a particular interest in artistic uses of new technologies. In New Zealand,
Honor was active in cultivating sound culture and experimental music. She
co-founded sound art collective Relay, worked for Dunedin's Radio One and
edited the publication, SpeC. She also worked at Artspace gallery in
Auckland, and in 2003 completed two radio documentary commissions for Radio
New Zealand. Since leaving New Zealand in 1997, Honor has worked for ANAT,
the Australian Network for Art and Technology, and Tate Modern, where she
developed many conferences and festivals.


((ethermap
http://www.ethermap.org/

Adam Willetts is an artist and musician working on a Masters degree in
Intermedia at Elam School of Fine Arts. Adam's practice investigates simple
robotics and autonomous machines, exploring relationships and overlaps
between humans, technology and the environment. Adam was involved with
Christchurch radio station rdu through the late 1990s, helping initiate new
shows focused on experimental content. In 2000 Adam received a travel
scholarship from the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. He
lived in Amsterdam for three years, working in interface design for
interactive television, and participating in new media projects, including
the Acoustic Space Lab project in Latvia in 2001.

Zita Joyce is a PhD candidate in the department of Film, Television and
Media Studies, University of Auckland. Her research explores the radio
spectrum, with a special interest in artistic uses of radio technologies'
both in traditional and new media. Zita was Programme Director of
Christchurch radio station rdu for three years, developing radio shows
focused on experimental music, the arts, and New Zealand music. Zita has
written and edited for print and web, and organised a wide range of gigs
and events. Living in Amsterdam from 2000-2003, Zita worked in
telecommunications, and participated in several projects with the RIXC
media lab in Latvia.



CONTACT

Email the re:mote team

==============================================================
march 8
email to refine tech specs discussion


Presentation set up
1. machine for replay of video
- can also be used for chat rooms
- needs audio out
- video out to projector
- realplayer installed
- quicktime player installed
- icq installed
- aim installed
- skype installed

we can run the video window next to the chat window
audio will goto the speakers
video to the projector on the main screen

This could be the G4 in the space already

2. streaming computer
windows machine for streaming out, needs:
- audio card
- ethernet card

can be my laptop if necessary

3. router
zitas router

4. cables
audio and ethernet cables

5. extension boxes
for power

6. inhouse pa for presentations

7. second pa for performances
- 2 powered speakers
- mixer

8. video camera to document + tapes (adams)

9.mic for presenters

10. wirelss mic for stream

11. mixer for presentations / stream hookup

12. digital stills camera

13. someones lappy to upload pics to the site as we go

==============================================================
Thoughts on the tech process and testing so far

Well, its been very interesting making the preparations. The biggest concern we had initially was what the firewall was going to throw up in front of us. At first it looked like we might not get much assistence with firewall matters as the techies at the University are very busy and this is very much an extra ciricular activity. Hence we trod softly but brought our technical backgrounds to the table. Diplomacy is the key I think when dealing with technology within organisations, and we have found that a good cheerful attitude and gratitude can get you a long way, far further than being about to talk the tech talk (Although that helps).

G etting online was initially explained to us as a very complicated process. It seems something had to be 'installed' on all the machines to be used, and then removed afterwards. This seemed odd to me and worrying as personally I don't like anyone fiddling with my laptop unless I trust them and I don't know the techs at Elam. So I held my breath and it seems like it worked out...instead of asking to install things I think the main Techie realised we knew something about networks and offered us 6 IPs so we could connect directly to the network. This sounded good but unfortunately the firewall was maintained by entirely another part of the school, and we would have to go and put our questions to them via the departmental techs...hmmm...well we tried, setting a list of ports that we needed clarity on and got no response. Rather than wait we decided to test everything immediately and if there looked like trouble then we would approach the firewall gurus.

So the first obstacle to testing was getting access to the room where the symposium is to be. We all really wanted to test as much as possible in the room the actual event was going to be. It would be possible to test elsewhere in the school but there is no way of telling if the same network environment exists in the actual site for the event without actually testing there. We also wanted to test on a saturday as the event was on a saturday for similar reasons. We had one access card which was out of date and wouldn't open the doors, but then we also had to get a key to the lecture theatre and the alarm code. Fortunately we found a friend at the top and with a few wiggles of the boss's magic wand we had a renewed access card, key and alarm code. Next up was booking time in the room to test as there are many lectures in the theatre...it being a lecture theatre in all....so the same magic friend booked us testing time under their name so any disputes would go to the top...phew!

These issues seem trivial but are worth noting here because if you are thinking of doing this kind of event then we have found that finding an empathetic soul near the top of the ladder, diplomacy and lots of smiles can make your life a whole lot easier.

So we finally got to do some testing. Organising the testing also relied on getting the international guests that would do remote presentations (over the net) to set up the technologies they would use so we can see if they get through the firewall etc.

First up was Stephen Kovats and Sophea Lerner. Both using Quicktime Darwin streams. So, it being more or less a 12 hour difference between NZ and Helsinki/Rotterdam where our kind collaborators are, we asked them to set up a stream and leave it running over night. They both complied and we tried first testing Steve's stream. No luck...hmmm...QT player was saying 'switching transports' which is a bad sign if you are worried about firewall issues. So the next morning we recieved an email from Steve saying 'opps, stream went down in my sleep!'..hehe!...this didn't stress us at all but it goes to show how tricky it can be to co-ordinate these things when you are juggling multiple timezones and schedules of busy people. So we were no further in knowing what the status of the firewall was. Furthermore Steve was leaving town for a week. Ok....so next we though we would test Sophia's stream....no luck....poor Sophea had asked us to call her if there was problems and at 0100 she recieved an apologetic phone call from us asking her if we could try a few things as we couldn't receive the stream...2.5 hours later still no luck and we all agreed that Sophea should get some sleep.

So, we then waited a day or two until James was available to test and we tried his RTSP stream (RealMedia)...we were nervous as the Darwin stream were RTSP and we had no luck and couldn't work out where the problem was....so we crossed our fingers and tested onsite at the lecture theatre and all worked well...cool! We then got excited and ambitious and installed SKYPE and tried a VOIP call to James. I had SKYPE installed on my Linux Box and James on OSX...it worked bueatifuly and sounded great. We will use this to talk to james after his presentation.

Next up we tried SKYPE with Sophea and all seemed cool. We then tried a day or so afterwards to test again with Sophea. This meant an early rise so we wouldn't need to ask her to be up at an awful hour. We tested and still no luck. We decided to stop testing the Darwin Stream and tried iChatAV instead and it worked first off! Cool! Nice video and good sound. So we will use iChatAV for Sophea's live presentation. Rockn.

Finally (today) we got to test Steve's Darwin stream again from Elam and it worked...cool!....

A word about iChat. It's a nice application but when I used it I was using Zita's machine and it asked me for a username and pass to set up a .mac account. I made one up and damned if it didnt overwrite the default user preferences in the OSX address book! this meant that every mail sent by zita or recieved by her looked like it had been sent or recieved by me! Nasty! Zita tried first uninstalling iChat to see if this was the problem and then found that it is very difficult to re-install it once it has gone...boo hiss!

We have still to test the Tennis stream...fingers crossed..........

 

 

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