Archive for October, 2006

An idea for another way of Funding….2004

October 22nd, 2006

stanza-art-032In order to do something special and unique that would respect your audience, you have to give them that. So give them something new, something special, something out there, something blue sky, something different for London.

An idea for another way of Funding….

I wrote this in 2004 when I was asked about typed of festivals for London.

Anyway I decided to put it online it was addressed and sent to the arts council.

Why does London need a new media festival just because everywhere else has a festival.

A call for a new type of engagement with interactive new media and a call for a new type of gallery with a new a new understanding.

There are many festival worldwide specialising in attempts to bring new media art to a wider audience. Indeed if it is really the intention to have a media festival here, one could do no better than to visit some of these around the world. If one wanted to adopt a model for a London festival there are many. I have exhibited at seventy in the last two years and been to many of these. Pick the one that takes your fancy. But some decision would need to be made about the reasons for doing this.

What London does not have is a focused attempt to bring together and represent what artists are currently exploring in new media. The Future Physical programme attempted this in some way with commissions, exhibitions, forums and discussions, Cybersonica has a go, Dorkbot has a go. I had a go my with project. But to understand this properly it needs to be seen in a broader framework than just laptop music or projected video. There are currently no real attempts to understand the interactive, generative and locative aspects of the current climate of new media. This is what is needed.

London does indeed lack a central hub, it had one in the LUX but even they didn’t understand the nature of the ‘new’ media. And the ICA which has always positioned itself at the forefront for the ‘new’ in media has wasted numerous attempts. What London really lacks is the ability to focus on what it has to offer and demonstrate this coherently.

I would propose to build a venue, a unique responsive architecture for new media that would be a world focus for new developments in art. The UK now has more than a handful of major media centres dotted around the country. And the most relevant observation here, is the lack of communication between these organisations in the way they share resources, data, exhibitions and technology. A major capital building in the city with a national DATA centre to unite all these enterprises would be a great thing to do. (for further reading read text at

Galleries and institutions do understand the nature of new media to a certain degree; but often they are faced with budget restrictions that means that they have been slow to adopt these new works. The galleries probably also have deep reservations when they are dealing with the promises of new technology because it often doesn't often communicate what it is supposed to. Some work looks good in funding forms forms I am sure but many fail to deliver. It is a fact the technology must work.

It is also true that media art does have a tendency to dissappear.

The V2 is one organisation which has always understood the “unstable “ nature of the practise. Artists more than most in this field also recoginise the need for art historical provenance and documentaion. But within this context the Arts Council should already have mechanism in place; ie they fund most or the work, somebody should be there to do this. Curators already have much to say, maybe they could be invited for comments also or to flag up curators ideas. But more importantly maybe its time to let the practitioners develop the agenda. The historical continuation and context for which new media is understoood will only really placed in an art historical context when some history has passed ie, when some time has passed . If curators want to discuss art historical values they should set up their tent and agenda in the field also. Because of the nature of the intergrated technologies involoved it would also be prudent to involve technologiest artsists that understand this unstable nature and ask them.

Overall my view from this is that someone needs to decide what they want and not what is needed. All the issues in a consensus lead to a summative conclusion that really doest take into account the nature of these new types of works.

My view is that one has to understand the nature of the media and where it is going in order for an audience to be able to relate to it. There are now many specialised areas of interest from robotics, mobile, new architectural, generative systems, new musics, nano-techs, 3d imersives etc etc.... I think you need a broader range of artists with more experience of the ‘media’ than on your list if you truly want an opinion.


All these opinions wont really matter and you will need some ideas. There are now many festivals worldwide, as I have said, and they often often repeat the same work, and make the same catalogues, design the same websites but all in their own cultural domain. And as each year passes then a new thing is in fashion; this year for example its locative, mobile, wifi.

In order to do something special and unique that would respect your audience, you have to give them that. So give them something new, something special, something out there, something blue sky, something different for London.

My suggestion is an event called .....BLUE SKY.

From open submissions and international invite (like an architecture project).

One invites and selects a shortlist of say fifty projects.

The objective is to take 12 of and realise them in London.

12 top mind blowing cutting edge projects.

Set up a web based format to enter so that people can see everyones ideas.

And then an illustrious and knowledable panel shortlists fifty.

They are paid to develop the idea further and then 12 are selected done.

Each project would then be supported by a venue, technically and ...etc etc...

Projects would be international collaborative and original.

The middle men, the festivals, need to be cut out of the funding process—->

the distributers need to go since they distribute; they don’t contribute—>

Stanza. June2004