oliver grau on Tue, 13 Jan 2004 10:39:51 +0100 (CET)

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[rohrpost] An Archaeology of Imaginary Media

Hier eine weitere interessante Intiative die zwischen
MedienKunstGeschichte und Bildwissenschaften changiert...


An Archaeology of Imaginary Media

Excavating mankind's dreams of the ultimate communication medium

February 5 - 8, 2004,
De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam

An Archaeology of Imaginary Media is a mini-festival in De Balie in 
Amsterdam around the eternal return of mankind's desire for the ultimate 
communications medium. Will technological progress finally resolve the 
human communication problem? The mobile phone mania demonstrates a 
compulsively attempt to arrive at an affirmative answer to this question. 
Digging in the history of human communication and its media provides ample 
grounds for serious doubts.

De Balie will bring together a distinguished selection of artists, 
filmmakers, authors, theoreticians, and especially media archaeologists, to 
undertake a thorough investigation of the utopian visions of the ultimate 
communications medium. In a variegated and highly diversified panorama, the 
visionary perspectives of technological dreamers throughout the centuries 
will be excavated and held up to the audience.

Already for some years, cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling has been collecting 
dead media. Media that have withered and are mostly forgotten (much like 
Dutch tv comedians van Kooten & De Bie predicted the demise of phillips' 
cd-i many years ago). Erkki Huhtamo has been digging up the pre-history of 
interactivity from the caverns of forgetfulness. Edwin Carels discovers in 
the pre-history of cinema the bizarre concept that moving image and sound 
might be a medium to establish contact with 'those in the hereafter'. 
Siegfried Zielinksi also finds death in media in the (delusional) 
conceptions of the media-engineers. Edison created a machine to communicate 
with the "sprits", and Zoe Beloff made a film about it. She will cast a 
light on the matter. And wasn't cyberspace the ultimate means to abolish 
the borders of race and gender? Away with the body!!! Who still beliefs 
that today? What is it that inspires men time and again to believe in their 
own machines? Maybe literary scholar and media-sociologist Klaus Theweleit 
can shed some light in the dark?

Peter Blegvad became famous as a musician because of his involvement with 
cult-bands such as Faust, Slap Happy and Henry Cow in the early seventies, 
after which he went through a remarkable solo career. As an avant-gardist 
he appeared in New York in the environs of people like John Zorn (Locus 
Solus). Simultaneously he established himself as an extraordinary 
cartoonist with his series Leviathan, widely regarded as an important 
innovation of the cartoon genre.
Blegvad created a theatrical performance "On Imaginary Media" specifically 
for this program. A philosophical drama, a multi-layered collage of 
meditations on the sublimity and tragedy of imaginary media, of the dream 
for the ultimate communications medium. Musicians John Greaves and Chris 
Cutler, with whom he has previously realised many avant-gardistic music 
projects, and Dutch actor Kees Hulst accompany Blegvad during the performance.

Richly illustrated lectures, films, discussion, a narrative space with 
works by cartoonists and artists, the philosophical theatre of Blegvad and 
an extensive film program, together paint the contours of an eternal dream 
that manages to hold people time and again under its sway, from Heinrich 
Suso's late-medieval Horologium Sapientae to the unfolding debacle of 3G**.

(**3G: third generation mobile phones)



Zoe Beloff is a film maker and media artist, originally from Edinburgh, she 
lives and works in New York.

Peter Blegvad is cartoonist, musician, writer, and the creator of the 
cartoon series Leviathan. He also produces radio plays for BBC radio, and 
lives in London.

Edwin Carels is a freelance curator and writer, who is especially 
interested in the relationship between visual arts and film, video, and 
photography. He writes a.o. for "Andere Sinema".

Timothy Druckrey is a curator, writer, and editor concerned with issues of 
media history, representation, and technology. He lives in New York.

Erkki Huhtamo is a Finnish Media Researcher, Curator, Writer and Professor 
at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Bruce Sterling is a writer, mostly renown for his cyberpunk fiction oeuvre. 
His publications include Schismatrix, The Hacker Crackdown en The 
Difference Engine (met William Gibson).

Klaus Theweleit is a writer, literary scholar, and cultural theorist. He is 
the author of a.o. the monumental series "Buch der Könige" (Book of Kings) 
and "Der Pochahontas Complex".

Siegfried Zielinski is a media researcher, the founding and former 
principal of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. He teaches and researches 
on the history, theory, and praxis of audiovision; his special field of 
interest is media archaeology, and he has published numerous books and 
articles on the topic.


Narrative Space

The idea for a narrative space was developed together with Peter Blegvad: A 
visual space where the visions and conceptions of imaginary communication 
machines are presented. A number of cartoonists and artists have been 
invited to contribute their visual imaginations about imaginary media in 
the form of drawings or short cartoons. During the entire weekend these 
visions can be viewed continuously in a simultaneous three-channel 
projection in the public vide in De Balie.

Participating artists:
- Thomas Zummer
- Jonathan Rosen
- Peggy Yungue
- Sasa, aka Aleksandar Zograf
- Gary Panter
- Dick Tuinder
- Neal Fox
- Les Coleman
- Ben Katchor
- François Ducat
- Peter Blegvad


Further background information, essays, information about the presenters 
and web links can be found in the dossier "Media Archaeology" on the 
website of De Balie:


Film Program An Archaeology of Imaginary Media:

- Main program 22:00 Thursday, February 5:

My Browser
A web browser imagined as a person's alter ego

Modern translation of the Greek myth about Orpheus and his wandering in the 
underworld, where a radio becomes an indispensable device to communicate 
with the after-world.

- Main program 22:00 Friday, February 6:

Shadow land or light from the other side
Stereoscopic film about the connection between technology and imagination, 
presenting a mental projector to communicate with the dead.

In Absentia
Many visual illusions in a hybrid animation film in which the thoughts of a 
woman writing a letter are visualised. Soundtrack by Karl Heinz Stockhausen.

Out of the ether
Handmade 16mm film, composed on an optical printer, tells about dark techno 
forces that attempt not only to invade or bodies, but also our minds.

Gothic Aztecs
A demonic reliquary of Medusa-Quetzalcoatl gives godly and demonic visions 
to a young woman. Gothic Aztects is a film in which the viewer is projected 
into the brain of the female priest, and in doing so experience her 
artificial mediatized delirium.

- Late program 23:30 Friday, February 6:

Anatomy of time
The waving to the camera of filmmaker and time-traveller Arthur Dauphin, 
obscure contemporary of the Lumière brothers, who already knew a century 
ago that behind the seemingly lifeless machine of the camera a new secret 
future world was hidden.

Out of the present
Russian cosmonauts leave the Soviet Union for space station Mir. Meanwhile 
the Soviet empire collapses, leaving the cosmonauts in limbo. Out of the 
present contains the first breathtaking 35mm footage ever made of planet 
Earth. Due to technical problems the majority of that footage and a 35mm 
camera were set overboard before the last crew returned to earth, leaving 
the pictures of the earth encircling it forever.

- Main program 22:00 Saturday, February 7:

Conceiving Ada
Programmer Emma wants to get contact with the long since passed away Ada 
Byron King, pioneer on artificial intelligence and daughter of the poet 
Lord Byron. Emma manages to establish contact by emerging her body into an 
experimental DNA memory-coding device. The narrative of the film is 
structured along the spiral of the double helix of DNA.

- Late program 23:30 Saturday, February 7:

Clay-animation in which a lonely engineer invents an apparatus that makes 
live in the industrial age bearable again: 'Happy product', though without 
happy ending thanks to the management of the world.

Quatermass and the pit
London subway construction is immediately halted when bones and sculls are 
found. The well-known professor Quatermass discovers that the bones and 
sculls are enclosed within the rotten structure of an ancient spacecraft.

- Main program 20:00 Sunday, February 8:

Esoteric illusions of the Quay brothers within an 'illustrated' reading 
about physical and mental perception.

Eye like a strange balloon
A drawing of the French Symbolist painter Odile Redon is taken as the 
surreal inspiration for a story about the triangle relationship between a 
father, his son and an orphan girl during a strange train travel.

Like Plateau's disk, the 'retrospectroscope' can be seen as a procession of 
flickering phantasies and fragmented lyricism; its existence today lies 
hidden within the processes from which it has created itself.

Contemplation about the apparent void of time and space as communication 
vehicles for thought and matter.

- Continuous screening of documentaries,
   6, 7, 8 February 14:00 - 20:00 hrs, among others:

The man who wanted to classify the world
Documentary about Belgian visionary Paul Otlet, who, long before Ted Nelson 
claimed and invented the term hypertext, imagined the so called 'Mundaneum' 
as a kind of proto Internet, aimed at a worldwide information system to 
support and establish world peace, but obstructed by WWII.

"Alle kennis van de wereld, het papieren internet"
See description of  'the man who wanted to classify the world'.

Archaeology of the moving Image
Three issues of a Finnish documentary series about the archaeology of the 
moving image.
(English subtitles)


Tickets and reservations

Ticket prices:
Lectures and film screenings: ¤E 8,-
With reduction: E 7,-

Opening hours ticket office:
During working days from 13:00 till 18:00 hrs. or till the start of the 
During the weekend from 1,5 hour before start of the program.
Reserving by phone: +31.20 5535100, during opening hours, till 45 minutes 
before the program starts.

De Balie
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10
1017 RR Amsterdam
Tel +31(0)20 5535151
Fax +31(0)20 5535155

Reserve: +31(0)20 5535100


- Tram 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, en 10
- De Balie is accessible for wheelchair users, and is equipped with audio 
systems for hearing impaired visitors.



Eric Kluitenberg, concept and final editing
Lucas Evers, coordination production, editing, film program

T(C), H&M, Felix Janssens.

Book & DVD:
Alongside the program a book and DVD will be published by Uitgeverij De 
Balie, including contributions by all presenters in this program. During 
the weekend of 5 - 8 February it will be possible to pre-order this 

Special thanks:
Edwin Carels, Carel Alphenaar, Elly Ludenhof, Peter van Hoof, Peter Sep

Supported by:
VSB Fonds, the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

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