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                          ELECTRONIC NEWS

  _________________________________________________________________

 January 15, 1992                           Volume 3 : Number 1
  _________________________________________________________________

WORDS ON WORKS ISSUE
  Contents:
            <<<<<   WORDS ON WORKS  >>>>>
          Community Centered Interactive Art: Judy Malloy
          HALL OF WHISPERS: Brian Andreas
          SOUND PLAYGROUND: Bill and Mary Buchen
          THE LAST GARDEN: Richard Povall

        <<<<<< PROGRAMS, PRODUCTS, REVIEWS >>>>>>
          RESTORE THE HABITAT: Aviva Rahmani
          TISEA Report: Anna Couey
          SHVIDKATSA, A Film Company: Kiazo Beriashvili
                                      and George Barabadze
          ACTION POETIQUE: Judy Malloy

        <<<<<     FAST INFORMATION    >>>>>
          FAST Updates: Annie Lewis
          FAST Calendar: Annie Lewis

==================================================
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  WORDS ON WORKS  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

COMMUNITY CENTERED INTERACTIVE ART

Shifts in how art is experienced and perceived seep slowly into our
consciousness.  As is evident from the 1992 issues of LEONARDO
ELECTRONIC NEWS, the role of the audience has radically changed from
that of static viewer to that of participant.

The seeds of this interactive art that involves and connects the
audience/reader partially lie in performance art that integrated art
with life, such as Tom Marioni's "The Act of Drinking Beer with
Friends is the Highest Form of Art", a San Francisco series that
spanned the 1970's. Marioni's social, beer centered events worked well
with his audience of fellow artists and bar goers. But, as artists who
performed on street corners, on city hall steps, in the zoo [1]
discovered, when the audience is interactively engaged, the nature of
the audience itself becomes integral to the work.  Performance artist
Paul Cotton, for instance, occasionally angered or offended observers
who did not understand that when he removed his clothes in public parks
and lecture halls (and once on Halloween in Glide Memorial Church in
San Francisco when every one else was putting on costumes), he
considered himself a live sculpture.

Although what the audience is like/likes may not be integral to all
interactive art, artists like Brian Andreas and the Buchens (whose
statements about their community oriented art appear in this issue of
LEONARDO ELECTRONIC NEWS) have begun taking the nature of the audience
into account as they reach out to audiences no longer made up solely of
fellow artists.

Andreas' HALL OF WHISPERS is a collaboratively produced narrative that
simulates mythological Babylonian ziggurat (stepped pyramid) rooms
where whispers were permanent residents.  Andreas started with themes
that his neighbors could connect to -- generation gap stories,
parenting stories, moments of love.   "Story is an invitation rather
than a statement of position," he wrote me by electronic mail. HALL OF
WHISPERS is so compelling that some members of the online audience
complained when Brian's children had the flu and the work went on hold
for a few days.

Bill and Mary Buchen's SONIC PLAYGROUND, recently completed for Public
School 23 in the South Bronx, New York City was designed to encourage
children, (its audience/users) to explore conceptually linked elements
of sound and vision.  A few days after the information about this work
arrived in my mail, I walked through a room where a television was
running just as a news clip featured a group of young children of all
races actively using and obviously enjoying an interactive playground
that I recognized with pleasure (and the feature later identified as)
SONIC PLAYGROUND.

The third work in this "Words on Works" is THE LAST GARDEN, an
intermedia performance piece, collaboratively produced by composer
Richard Povall and composer John D. Mitchell, choreographer Kathleen
Smith, and set designer Jeff Thomson.  THE LAST GARDEN is community
centered in its origins. It takes as its starting point a garden that
once existed in Manhattan, New York City's Lower East Side.  "This
garden had become a community focal point and a positive endeavor -- a
focus of communication, education and empowerment."
----
1. Bonnie Sherk, "Public Lunch", 1971.  Sherk sat inside The Lion House
at the San Francisco Zoo and, at "feeding time", ate a meal catered by
Vanessi's Restaurant.

                        Judy Malloy  <jmalloy@garnet.berkeley.edu>
****

HALL OF WHISPERS: A VIRTUAL OPERA

Brian Andreas
2972 Otis St.
Berkeley, CA  94703  USA
Email: <briney@well.sf.ca.us>

  An worldwide interactive artwork coordinated by Brian Andreas
  In conjunction with John F. Kennedy University, Graduate School
  of Arts and Consciousness, Orinda, California, USA.

HALL OF WHISPERS takes its name from an ancient Babylonian myth
of a specially constructed room in one of the ziggurats where a
whisper would stay alive forever. I have an image of the electronic
networks whispering ceaselessly with the voices of these times. The
form of the project is deceptively simple: I wanted to create a
situation where a group of people could share the experience of
living, where we could join each other around a technological
campfire, for the profoundly human act of storytelling.

The guidelines were very simple: participants were asked for two
items. First was the text, whether story, observation, or poem. This
was the "whisper". Second was the "theme". By theme, I meant a simple
distillation of what this story/observation/poem meant to the
participant. Each person chose their own theme for their text. Once it
entered the HALL OF WHISPERS, other people could assign it other
themes, or connect it with a story of their own, or one of the many
stories already sent in from around the world. Meaning was no longer
individual and sacrosanct, but communal.

Someone faxes in a story about the time they were followed by a
horde of wasps when they spilled Hi-C tropical fruit punch on them-
selves at a family picnic in Iowa. Someone else writes that every
Friday night when they get off work, they get caught in the traffic of
hundreds of high school kids cruising down the one street of their
Alabama town. And someone else e-mails in that the week before
Carnival in Rio, her family buys everything they'll need, as if
they're preparing for a hurricane; she says it's much like returning
to primitive times. And all three stories are connected by a larger
theme of <NATURAL DISASTERS>.

HALL OF WHISPERS has two stages. The first stage circulated
stories between participants on the electronic networks via FAX,
computer, and telephone. Several people also participated via standard
mail. A large part of the project I didn't foresee in the beginning
were the conversations in my own neighborhood. For people who had no
experience, or interest, in using the net, but still had a wealth of
life experience to share, I became a scribe. I would pass on the
stories from the net, and they would tell me their own. It became a
sharing of gifts, flowing across the arbitrary boundaries of virtual
and physical communities.

The second stage of the project is still in formation. At this
writing, I foresee the stories in digitized human voice, so it will
literally begin to whisper. The same interconnections of the stories
will still hold in a hyper-linked database, allowing visitors to
follow their own thread of associations. For this, I'm looking at the
possibility of CD-ROM distribution. This stage will be completed in
the first part of 1993.

I was interested in several things at the outset of HALL OF
WHISPERS. First, I wanted to create a virtual community using an
ancient fundamental of community-making: shared stories. Second was
creating a council model for understanding our world. Basically, the
council model holds that it is in the sharing that greater wisdom
evolves. Finally, in a turbulent world, it is easy to lose sight of
the small beauties and moments of grace that occur constantly around
us. I wanted HALL OF WHISPERS to give voice to that side of ourselves
that recognizes that this is as much a time of renewal as it is a time
of decay.

Has it succeeded? I can't say for sure; it's still very early in
the life of the piece. But I talked to one of the participants the
other day, and I asked her what happens for her. Here's what she told
me: "First, I think I should write something. I should respond. But I
don't. Not right away. Instead, I read the stories and I start
thinking about things I haven't thought about in twenty years. I take
my time because I'm looking for something. I don't know what, but I
know it when I find it. I don't want to send back just any old story.
It's too special."

****

SOUND PLAYGROUND

Bill and Mary Buchen
Sonic Architecture
P.O. Box 20873
Tompkins Sq. Station
New York, NY  10009  USA

SOUND PLAYGROUND (at P.S. 23 in the South Bronx) is a unified design
for a playspace where children explore acoustic and visual phenomena.
In this sonic sculpture, school children interact with uniquely
designed acoustic elements that invite investigation and learning.
Interactive sound sculptures, landscaping, and textured paving enhance
the courtyard site.  Overhead, small wind bells chime as children
create percussive rhythms.  The school bell carillon is programmed to
play songs composed by the students and teachers.

"Bronze Drum Tables and Seats" are actually hollow chambers for
percussion.  Children play rhythms on the surfaces of the tables and
seats to make harmonious musical pitches resound.  A nearby concrete
bench has sonic tubes hidden within.  Students tap on the ends of the
tubes or whisper into them to transmit secret messages.

At the 17' tall sculpture "Big Eyes/Big Ears", children peer into a
periscope which shows them a view of the world six feet above their
heads.  "Big Ears" is simultaneously transmitting sounds from a 'higher
level' down to the child's own ears.

"Parabolic Bench" invites children up an inclined walkway that leads
between two tall stainless steel dishes.  As they clap their hands or
sing, voices can be heard reverberating between the two dishes.  A wave
of the hand suddenly stops the sound.  Children create sound and dance
movements each time they play with the sculpture.  "Echo Chamber" makes
use of a space which is invisible.  A buried storm drain forty feet
wide, constructed to collect rainwater is now activated by an acoustic
sculpture mounted on the playground directly above it.  Children sing
into an Echo Chamber to hear their voices reverberate from the
underground chamber.

SOUND PLAYGROUND took two years to build. It was commissioned by the
New York City Public Schools, the NYC School Construction Authority and
the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and was supported in part by a
grant from the Design Arts Program of the National Endowment for the
Arts.

****

THE LAST GARDEN

Richard Povall
Asst. Prof. of Music, iEAR Studios
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  518/276-4784
Troy  NY 12180-3590  USA
EMAIL: <povall@iear.arts.rpi.edu>; <povall@iear.arts.rpi.bitnet>;
<rpovall@skidmore.edu>

THE LAST GARDEN is an intermedia performance piece: a collaboration
between composer Richard Povall and composer John D. Mitchell,
choreographer Kathleen Smith, and set designer Jeff Thomson.  The piece
is an experimental fusion of movement, music, and technology, using an
interactive computer music system and a virtual set created by three
channels of video projections, and three moving screens.

The catalyst for the piece is the story of a community garden in
Manhattan's Lower East Side.   This garden had become a community focal
point and a positive endeavor -- a focus of communication, education
and empowerment. The City of New York eventually bulldozed the garden,
and it sits empty, garbage-strewn, to this day.

The set is part physical set, part virtual set.  The physical set is
expanded and enhanced by the three large projection screens that
surround the  performers, and on which are projected up to six
images from three interactive videodiscs. The performers' images often
appear on the screens, sometimes as they are on the stage, sometime as
they are in real life.

There is an entirely discrete environmental sound system, with four or
more channels.  This allows movement of the performance space out into
the audience, and allows for some more subtle control over the balance
between music and environmental soundscape.  The environmental sound
contains such elements as murmured voices, singing (very distanced),
traffic and city atmosphere, altered sounds from nature, and other
similar environmental building blocks.  There is also a purely musical
environment,  music that is algorithmically generated, controlled
by the interactive motion sensors built into the set.

Povall and Mitchell are co-creating the electronic  score for the
piece, each developing their own sound environments which ultimately
combine to become a single sound score.  The composers share common
data generated directly by the performers, through actual and virtual
triggers.  The real triggers are light sensing devices built into the
set;  the virtual triggers are created within an Amiga computer, using
a digitized view of the stage.  The dancers are able to change the
music, soundscape, video imagery and stage lighting environment by
moving through  programmable triggers in the virtual space of the
computer screen. Kathleen Smith's choreography is designed to take
maximum advantage of the virtual space.

The Last Garden premieres April 7th through 11th at the Arizona State
University's Institute for Studies in the Arts.  Sites are still being
sought for a fall  '93 tour.

========================

                <<<<<<< PROGRAMS, PRODUCTS, REVIEWS >>>>>>>

RESTORE THE HABITAT

Aviva Rahmani
Box 692, Vinalhaven
Maine  04863  USA

As part of my GHOST NETS project I will restore wildlife habitat on a
section of the Maine Island where I live by reclaiming the land and
portions of the waters.  This includes informally replanting indigenous
shrubs, trees and wildflowers, some of which are rare or protected
species; re-establishing water routes and habitats for displaced
animals, such as bats, bluebirds and butterflies; restoring earth
wounded by industrial and commercial activities such as a sawmill, a
garbage dump, and a speculative building site, while maintaining areas
that are considered good nesting sites such as dead trees.  As Jude
Schwendenwien wrote in the September-October 1991 issue of SCULPTURE, I
work to "return the land to its prehabited state, before the arrival of
people on the island 200 years ago...The land will ideally become a
self-sustaining ecology bearing seeds, fruits and nuts that are
beneficial to birds and insects.  Like other site-specific reclamation
projects, this piece illuminates ecological problems and solutions in a
systematic manner."
----
ed: THE MEDICINE WHEEL GARDEN, that began Rahmani's GHOST NETS (an
environmental art project) is described in the "Words on Works" section
of LEONARDO 25(1), 1992, pp. 96-97.

****

REPORT FROM TISEA

Anna Couey
Telecommunications Subcommittee/TISEA
Arts Wire Network Coordinator
1077 Treat Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
Email: <couey@well.sf.ca.us>; <couey@tmn.com>

The Third International Symposium on Electronic Art (TISEA), which took
place in Sydney, Australia, November 9-13, 1992, was an international
forum for artists, scientists, musicians, critics, theorists and
performers, to explore questions concerning recent developments in
science, art and technology and their impact on the evolution of
culture. TISEA was held in 12 sites, in various locations across
Sydney.

As part of TISEA, I organized "Cultures in Cyberspace" (in
collaboration  with George Baldwin, Phillip Bannigan, Anne Fallis, Sue
Harris, Judy Malloy, Joe Matuzak, John S. Quarterman, Randy Ross, and
Eric S. Theise). "Cultures in Cyberspace" was an open participation
virtual panel on the development and impact of artistic and cultural
activity on computer networks on the following systems: American Indian
Telecommunications/Dakota BBS (USA); ArtsNet (Pegasus, Australia);
Arts Wire (The Meta Net, USA); USENET (International); The WELL (USA).

TISEA was a stimulating and inspiring event, the first time I've been
to an electronic arts conference that addressed issues of the cultural
and social implications of new technologies. These included questions
such as:

* Are electronic technologies, evolved out of Anglo-European cultures,
yet one more step in Western cultural imperialism? What do they mean
for cultures, such as those of the Australian aboriginals, in which
meaning and identity is so connected to the earth?

* Achameleh Debela, an Ethiopian electronic artist who spends part of
his time in the US and part in Ethiopia told of other Ethiopians
thinking he's "sold out" to Western technoculture. He pointed out that
these people tend to drive Western cars, and dress Western, etc.

* Racism and cultural equity in general was questioned and criticized,
in particular the lack of communication among different cultures.

* Would technologies and interfaces created by women be different than
those created by men?  What is the status of women in cyberspace?  What
can and should it be?

* What is the justification for using such expensive tools (this in
particular addressed artists work with virtual reality technology) for
creative expression? does the technology allow for cultural and social
justice in a way that traditional artistic media do not? does
"aesthetic" investigation stand strong enough on its own to justify the
expense of the medium?

* What do electronic tools (viewed as prosthetics) imply about the
future of physical human evolution. are we leaving our bodies?  Will we
pull our electronic prosthetics into our bodies? (a la nanotechnology).

There were several attendees representing computer networking
efforts and projects in various countries. ArtsNet coordinators Sue
Harris and Phillip Bannigan (suephil@peg.apc.org) were kind enough
to organize a dinner for us to discuss our various situations and
to explore connectivity among ourselves. Participants included:
Yoshiyuke Abe (Japan, where artists have no online access, language
is also a problem since they don't tend to speak English); <suephil>
(ArtsNet, Australia, where telephone lines stretch equally to rural
and urban environments thanks to state monopoly!, but where full
access to the Internet is much less available to the general
public than in the US...Pegasus just made telnet available when I
was there); Scot Art and Jason Gee (System X, Australia, a free BBS
for electronic artists and musicians, that carries USENET groups
and local discussions, and offers Internet email addresses for a
suggested donation); Ivan Pope (ArtNet UK, a BBS. Ivan has Internet
connections through his work...); and myself, Arts Wire, US. Those
of us who attended expressed interest in developing ongoing
connections among our systems.

****

SHVIDKATSA, A FILM COMPANY

Kiazo Beriashvili, George Barabadze
N:128 Barnov str., Tbilisi
Republik of Georgia
Tel: +7 (8832) 223184
Telex: 212103 KINO SU
Fax: +7 (8832) 955399
E-mail: ROOT@fnikola.sasco.georgia.su

We are the owners of private film company SHVIDKATSA, which was
established in 1989. We have made eight movies, as well as documentary
films.

We have our own office and a movie theater that seats 100 persons. Our
finance possibilities allow us to offer potential partners the
opportunity to work on joint film promotion. We have concrete offers
for promotion of joint films that we can detail if you are interested.
We also invite interested persons to make their films economically in
Georgia where we have many very beautiful natural landscapes.

For those who are interested in making films in Georgia we offer:
organization of film making; hotel with meal; development and printing
of movie materials; transportation with radiophone; translators; telex;
fax; E-mail and security.  In addition, we are looking for distributors
and producers around the world for long term business partnerships.

In fall of 1993 our company is organizing an international film
festival and film market The GOLDEN EAGLE and an international
conference  - GEORGIAN CINEMATOGRAPHY - YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW.
We hope that our foreign colleagues will consult with us, and we invite
all interested persons to our film festival, film market and
conference.

****

ACTION POETIQUE - INFORMATIQUE

A topic of discussion at the "MetaNetworks/MetaCulture" Conference at
A Space Gallery in Toronto last year was the (considered imperialistic
by some) use of English as the sole language in electronic newsletters
and in electronic works of art that are internationally distributed.
We editors, I suggested, might consider publishing some sections in
other languages.  The following information about an issue of the
French literary journal ACTION POETIQUE that includes a MacIntosh disk
is excepted from the introductory description of its contents.  Please
excuse the missing accent marks.

"Ce numero d'ACTION POETIQUE contient exceptionnellement une disquette
informatique, nous avons voulu ainsi, dans la lignee permanente de
notre travail, mener de front ecriture et reflexion sur
l'ecriture....... Le programmes qui y sont contenue - appeles "piles"
par Hypercard - sont tous geres par le logiciel Hypercard....La version
d"hypercard choisie est la version 1.2..... Les programmes contenus
dans cette disquette ont tous ete realises au sein de 'atelier
hypermedia de l'Universite Paris VIII, sous la direction de Jean-Pierre
Balpe.  Ils obeissent tous au meme principe ergonomique : tout lecteur
doit pouvoir participer a la lecture electronique.....

Le programmes de la disquette sont de quatre types :

1. Lecture scenarisee: Pascal Gresset
2. Programmes de generation automatique : Jasper, Jean-Pierre Balpe,
reponse de Jean-Pierre Balpe a Claude Adelen, question d'amour et de
poesie d'Henri Deluy.
3. Mise en ecran de textes de "l'anthologie" que constituent les
numeros anciens d'ACTION POETIQUE : poemes indiens d'Amerique du Nord,
jeune poetes egyptiens, Tangos.
4. Creations originales as partir de textes inedits : Marie Etienne,
Gil Jouanard, Bassam Mansour. "

Contact: ACTION POETIQUE, rue J. Mermoz, Res. La Fontaine-au-Bois, n 2,
77210, Avon, France
                                         Judy Malloy
---------------------------------------------------------
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<     FAST INFORMATION     >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>      FAST UPDATES       <<<<<<<<<<<<<<

A new bibliography -- Television and Society -- and a new Words on
Works Update have been posted. FineArt Forum and Leonardo Electronic
News have been uploaded.  The calendar has been posted.
                               Annie Lewis  <fast@garnet.berkeley.edu>
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<CALENDAR FEBRUARY 1993>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1 February 1993

Application deadline for MONITOR 93: The Second Coming
of the Cryptics-Video as Art Festival

Contact: Monitor 93, Bbox 63 S-421 21 V Frolunda, Sweden,
phone + (0)31 85 16 65, fax + (0)31 85 16 67
_______________________________________________
1 February to 31 March 1993

Maui Marine Art Expo
Wailea Stouffer, Hawaii

Includes Pulsed Holographic Art by Bernadette and
Ron Olson. Contact: 408-335-2288 for more information
______________________________________________
3-5 February 1993

The Music Library Association's 62nd Annual
Meeting, The Westin St. Francis Hotel
San Francisco, CA, USA

Contact:  Christine Hoffman, Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives
of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library for the Performing
Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY, 10023-7498, USA,
tel: 212-870-1662, fax: 212-787-3852, E-mail: 4642927@MCIMAIL.COM
________________________________________________
17-19 February 1993

Imagina, the 12th Monte Carlo International Forum on New Images

Contact:  M. Philippe Queau, INA, 4, avenue de l'Europe,
F-94366 Bry-sur-Marne Cedex, France, Tel 33-1-49832714, fax:
33-1-49832582
_____________________________________________
21 February to 4 May

Thinking is Form: The Drawings of Joseph Beuys
Musuem of Modern Art, New York

Contact: The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York,
NY, 10019, USA, tel: 212-708-9400
*******************************************
Executive Editor: Craig Harris     Co-Editors: Annie Lewis, Judy Malloy

Editor this issue: Judy Malloy

Published by Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts,
Sciences and Technology (ISAST), 672 South Van Ness Avenue, San
Francisco, CA 94110

Send requests for subscription to Leonardo Electronic News (LEN) to:

<fast@garnet.berkeley.edu> with the message: SUB LEN, your name,
email address and postal address.
*******************************************************
End of Leonardo Electronic News 3(1)
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