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<nettime> Interview with Giselle Bieguelman
Kanarinka on Tue, 9 Dec 2003 15:31:20 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Interview with Giselle Bieguelman


Interview with Giselle Bieguelman
by kanarinka

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
background

from Bieguelman's website www.desvirtual.com:
Giselle Beiguelman is a new media artist and multimedia essayist who
teaches Digital Culture at the Graduation Program in Communication and
Semiotics of PUC-SP (São Paulo, Brazil). Her work includes the
award-winning "The Book after the Book" (1999) "Content = No Cache"
(2000), nominated for the Trace/ Alt-X New Media Competition, and
"Recycled" (2001).

kanarinka: I became interested in Giselle Bieguelman's work after reading
about her project poetrica [http://www.poetrica.net/] in which people from
around the world send messages via the web, SMS, and WAP to be displayed
on large advertising billboards in Sao Paulo. My questions to Bieguelman
center around the fascinating way her projects break down fixed notions of
space (such as public private real virtual) and her projects' connections
to everyday activities like reading, writing, and travelling through your
daily environment (which for many of us is urban and saturated with
advertising messages).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
interview

kanarinka: It looks like you began working with the internet first as a
poet and that you have recently moved into creating large-scale public
installations where people submit text messages via the internet for
display in public places. Could you describe how/why you shifted from
net.based poetry to net. based public installation?


Bieguelman: I don’t think there was a shift, but a link. Actually my first
contact with new media was related to public art, working with a
non-profit organization Arte/Cidade (www.artecidade.org.br) devoted to
arts and urbanism responsible for amazing urban interventions in downtown
São Paulo, curated and coordinated by the Brazilian philosopher Nelson
Brissac. In 1994 they were preparing a CD-ROM with artists and architects
involved in their “The City and its Fluxes” project. It changed my mind
and my life.

I was captured by the computer but all my work by this time was devoted to
visual poetry. The web redirected this thematic and made me pay attention
to ways of reading in entropic situations. Wireless communication spread
the meaning of reading in entropic situations and I think “Wop Art’ (Op
Art for Wap) (www.desvirtual.com/wopart) , a wap site I did in 2001, was a
new turning point that pointed to the possibility of working with
literature and with urban space. The first result of this was “Did You
Read the East?” (2002), my first intervention in public space using
electronic billboards and on line public streaming. It was done for
Arte/Cidade East Zone project and it was a dialogue with the graffiti of
São Paulo East Zone that resulted in a series of six videopoems. The
audience was invited to choose one of them and upload to a commercial
electronic billboard. They appeared in the schedule of billboard between
regular ads. It was a very good experience because made possible to
connect net based poetry to net based public intervention.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

kanarinka: Could you describe the poetrica project? Is it similar to other
projects that you have done in the past? What has the response to poetrica
been like (how many submissions, what have the reviews been like, general
public reception)? Have the responses to poetrica been different in Sao
Paulo where the billboards are versus on the internet?

Bieguelman: Poétrica (www.poetrica.net) is an investigation about
reading and reception in cybrid and entropy situations. It involves a
series of visual poems conceived by myself with non-fonetic fonts (dings
and system fonts) and a teleintervention mediated by creations made by
the public using the same typographic background.

Poétrica is an upgrade or expansion of things I’ve been researching in
The Book after the Book (1999), Wop Art (2001), and my former public
interventions Did you Read the East? And egoscópio _or egoscope (both
from 2002), all at www.desvirtual.com.

Poétrica is a work in progress. It begun in October and ends in February.
The opening was at Galeria Vermelho, in São Paulo. The closing, at
Kulturforum, in Berlin, during P0es1s exhibiton.

All the broadcasted images were produced anywhere and submitted by SMS,
the web and by wap. They appeared in three large electronic billboards
located in downtown São Paulo, around Galeria Vermelho, between Paulista,
Consolação and Rebouças avenues.

I received more than 3 thousand submissions and they are very similar:
poetic experiences, love messages and urban messages (Rick, I will be at 5
in…).

The critical reception was very good too, including mailing lists,
Television, newspapers etc.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: What do you mean by the term "nomad poems"? What do
you think is the relationship of the text in the poems submitted to
space? I am particularly fascinated by the complex interplay that your
project creates between space and the activities of "reading" and
"writing". What are you thoughts on those relationships?


Bieguelman: They are nomad poems because they do not have a link to a
specific support. For instance: Those images produced in the
teleintervention were also transmitted back by on line webcams and
reproduced in different devices (mobile phones, Palms, computers) and, in
some cases, printed in large formats. All images are archived at the web
site gallery.

Nevertheless, they result always in imagetic meanings independent of
textuality and unlinked to their places of production and transmission.
Everything that is created is seen, read and perceived in different ways,
according to its reception context and this is not a consequence of the
screen sizes to which the submitted images adhere. But due to a particular
esthetic phenomenon pertaining to nomadic literature: on being hybrid and
unlinked to support, it dematerializes the medium, and the interface
construes itself as the message.

This is maybe the most interesting change in the ways in reading today.
The nomadic reader is someone who reads on the move, in moblie phones and
PDAs, in accordance to entropy and acceleration logic, it is a kind of
multi-task reader adapted to distributed content who reads in between,
while doing other things…

Poétrica seeks that reader: the inhabitant of the global city.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: I am particularly interested in your work from the standpoint
of the everyday activity of "reading". We all read billboards and
advertisements every day of our lives, yet you are subverting the normal
content of these consumer messages and inserting a new, "global" text
into a local, specific context. How does this affect the "reading"
activity that we conduct in our daily environment?


Bieguelman: It is disturbing… It makes the passive reader (this one who is
in his car or crossing the street) to pay attention in something and in
some ways discover that it is something disturbing because it was already
there… The city is a kind of mega stoned book, multimedia and distributed
that we read intentionally or not.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: What are your thoughts on working in both real and virtual
space? How and why do you choose to navigate both of these domains (or,
perhaps more importantly, do you consider them separate?) Is the
activity of "reading" different or altered across net space and/or
public space?

Bieguelman: I do not consider them separate. Poétrica deals with
cybridism, it means its default situation is a cross platform of numerous
on and off line network (traffic, electricity, billboards, mobile phones,
handhelds). And this, this “cybrid” state is what alters the activity of
reading as an activity of dispersion and distribution rather than
concentration and convergence.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: Have you had any unexpected responses or messages submitted
to poetrica? What do you think is the space of "indeterminacy" in
poetrica, e.g. what spaces did you as the artist leave open for
participants to fill in?

I was surprised by the large number of love messages…

The indeterminacy is everywhere (connection, for example…) but I think the
most interesting challenge of the project was to make people face the
strange situation of hacking the advertisement structure as part of their
public space signing it with non phonetic phrases that points to a new
code, but a code they could understand and share with other participants.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: What do you think is the role writing and reading in the
urban landscape?

Bieguelman: It is one of the rules of the game… The metropolitan landscape
today is a kind of photoshop image. Everything can be pasted to
everything. The modernist dream is over and there is no logic neither
formal logic. The lansdcape is so polluted by ads, signs, outdoors,
banners and in cities like São Paulo, all covered by different grafitti _
a kind of visual guerrilla_ that you should be reading all the time. The
city today is a palimpsest to be deciphered.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: Could you explain more what you mean by teleintervention?
Would you say that poetrica has a political agenda (i.e. what do you
think that a teleintervention intervenes into)?

Bieguelman: Teleinterventions are urban intervention mediated by
telecommunication. Poétrica, egoscópio an Did You Read the East have a
political agenda not only because you hack the advertisement structure and
use this as part of your public space, but also because they question the
role of the author and the work of art aura.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
kanarinka: What are the dates/locations where poetrica will be shown?

Bieguelman: It was in SP from October to November. It is now at
turbulence.org with ICONOgraphy_ curated by Patrick Lichty
[http://www.turbulence.org/curators/icon/index.htm] (“only” net action)
and it will be in Berlin next February, as part of P0eS1s project curated
by Friedrich Block.




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