Eduardo Navas on Fri, 8 Aug 2008 00:18:21 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Text: On Distributed Social Cinema and the Nano Market

Current Exhibition: SPECFLIC 2.6 and Particles of Interest
Installations by Adriene Jenik and *particle group*

Text: "On Distributed Social Cinema and the Nano Market", by Eduardo Navas

Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
Map & Directions:

August 6 to October 3, 2008
Closing Reception: October 2 at 6 to 8 PM

August 6 through September 19:
Wednesday - Friday: 11AM - 5PM
September 22 through October 3:
Monday - Friday: 11AM - 5PM

The installations "SPECFLIC 2.6" by Adriene Jenik, and  "Particles of
Interest" by *particle group*, on view at the gallery@calit2 from August 6
to October 2, 2008, ask the viewer to consider a not-so-distant future in
which we will be intimately connected in networks not only through our
computers, but also via nanoparticles in and on our very own bodies.  Both
projects respond to the pervasive mediation of information that is
redefining human understanding of the self, as well as the concept of
history, knowledge, and the politics of culture.

Information access to networked archives of books and other forms of
publication previously only available in print is becoming the main form of
research as well as entertainment.  Access to music and video via one's
computer and phone as well as other hybrid devices has come to redefine
human experience of media.  From the iPhone to the Kindle, visual interfaces
are making information access not only efficient in terms of time and money,
but also in terms of spectacle.  Accessibility usually consists of a
combination of animation, video, image and text, informed in large part by
the language of film and the literary novel.

Adriene Jenik, in her ongoing project SPECFLIC, currently in version 2.6,
explores the evolution of film language as Distributive Social Cinema on
multiple screens, from cell phone interfaces to large image projections.
For the gallery@calit2, Jenik offers the public a speculative, futuristic
reality that takes place in the year 2030, a time when books exist as rare
objects that can only be described by the InfoSpherian, who is equivalent to
the Reference Desk Librarian.

In SPECFLIC 2.6 gallery visitors can use their cell phones to share their
reflections on the future of the book and the library.  They are also able
to sit down on specially designed stools made out of actual books, and
listen to the InfoSpherian tell stories of a time when people were still
able to walk into the library aisles.  As Jenik envisages the year 2030, the
library can only be accessed by specialist book Stackers.

The InfoSpherian has three InfoFaces: FLO, CORE, and HYPERTIA.  FLO greets
visitors in English, French or Spanish, and assists in accessing
collections; HYPERTIA helps with books and metadata, and guides visitors
throughout the InfoSphere; and CORE constantly interrupts FLO and HYPERTIA
to remind visitors about security measures: to make sure that all their
papers and reading permissions are in compliance with "the Software
Protection Authority."  The InfoSpherian also directs the user to look at
the projections on the side-walls, in which one can see the Stackers
fulfilling book requests.

Inspired by the fictional writings of Jorge Luis Borges about the library,
SPECFLIC 2.6 offers a plausible future when people's access to information
will be thoroughly recorded to make sure that data is consumed at a "healthy
level."  Users' activities will be monitored to ensure that people are
properly contributing to the InfoSphere's "information flow."  Jenik's
installation reflects on a future that is dependent on a network with
defined boundaries modeled after, or part of, the Internet.

In juxtaposition, "Particles of Interest" reflects on nanotechnology, which
has no clear boundaries because it links humans to machines in ways that are
beyond binary networks. Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field in
which particles the size of one billionth of a meter are manipulated for
diverse purposes.  It is at the intersection of scientific research and
corporate investment.  Research on nanoparticles has led to the commercial
development of products such as improved rubber tires, coating in glass that
makes it easier to clean, as well as improved water filtration systems and
sunscreen lotions, among many other innovations.  In short, nanoparticles
are already implemented in electronics, sporting goods, cosmetics and
clothing, which means that they can be found in accessories people may use
or wear as well as in lotions and cosmetics people are likely to use on
their bodies.

Surprisingly, there has been little consideration of the health implications
of nano-products, and to reflect on this, the *particle group* at the
gallery@calit2 presents "Particles of Interest," in which visitors can learn
about the growing concern with nanoparticles in public health.  In the
installation visitors are invited to view videos that comment on the
production of nanotechnology and to interact with sculptural devices to
discover the dangers of  nanoparticles on  people's skin or clothing.
Through this engagement the user begins to learn of stories and incidents
relevant to health concerns and conflicts in the nano market.

"Particles of Interest" appropriates and combines cultural codes of the
scientific laboratory as a "clean room" and the art gallery as a "white
cube" to create an aesthetic experience that reconsiders the historical
links of performance and minimal art to current forms of interactivity, in
sharp contrast to the authoritative, privileged position of scientific
research.  Art, science and technology are questioned in "Particles of
Interest" in the tradition of institutional critique, meaning that the
*particle group* does research inside the institutions that support
nanoscience, deliberately questioning nanotechnology and its links to the
commercial marketplace.

SPECFLIC 2.6 and "Particles of Interest" share a critical focus on people's
growing anxiety with dematerialization: Once the content of a book becomes
part of a database, the possibilities for content re-presentation increase
dramatically. Likewise, once one understands how to work with atoms, the
possibilities for creating nanotechnology invisible to the naked eye,
whether in lotions or microchips, also increases dramatically. Both
installations offer reflexive criticism due to the fact that they are
exhibited at Calit2, a research center where knowledge is constantly being
redefined.  The installations by Adriene Jenik and *particle group*
ultimately pose important questions about the complexities of representation
in art, science and technology.

Related Links

Particles of Interest

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact: