Concept of Exhibition de Cross

November 11, 2011

CROSS, Digital Art Festival Taipei VI, DAC:2011, Taipei(ISBN:9789860320534)

 

The 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei – Cross

 

The original concept of cross is a portrayal of the current digital world – web and software with unrestrained terms of use, and the opaque line between the digital space and the material world. That gives rise to political questions with infinite answers. Take the evolution of digital copyright laws for example: Jail-breaking allows consumers to escape the electronic prison imposed by telecom and computer monopolies. The US copyright law amendments in 2010 granted smart phone users the right to download phone apps. Another equally contentious issue is that with free software. With its loose authorization clause and resource sharing capability, free software has been questioned as being anti-capitalist. Freedom and sharing become a reactionary force within digital capitalism. With limited resource, the 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei is presented in a fractal fashion. Crossing the boundaries between technology and art has long been a topic of interest in Taiwan, so are the events and phenomena in the virtual world. Hence, cross is chosen as the thematic concept – a word living up to the terminology of the digital times and reflecting the digital phenomena and events.

 

Extension of “event” in the digital space

 

Every “event” takes place due to its specific geographical environment or space. Our thinking changes as our environment alters. The location and occasion of an event become important factors. The digital space is now another reality. What differentiates it from the historical and geological environment is that a mere glitch may produce a whole new object. Mid 1980s saw the birth of the first computer virus. Via the Internet, it could spread to the entire globe within hours, invading into personal computers. The source code of a software application is a product of collective wisdom. It opens up to various types of software, which form a real field that does not exist in the real space. In trying to draw the contours of the relationship between event and field, one should see that field in the digital times is depicted as a space filled with complex web cables. The direction, length and dimension of the cables are invisible, making it difficult to gauge its composition and direction of movement. Infinite linkages between multiple terminals create events. Anticipating or following patterns and rules becomes impossible, as events break away from their conventional structure and recreate a new order. Individual events born out of the various possibilities in the digital space are not individual questions that exist independently. They are but reflections of social phenomena and extensions of other orders. For example, in the earliest days, hackers were a group of Internet specialists with a conviction to share. Against the authority, they pursued solutions and shared resources. Meanwhile, in the digital field where rules had yet taken shape, another group of crackers (self-declared hackers) acquired the mere strength of hacking into security systems. The original hacker philosophy was distorted. These crackers became a separate category. Such events could only happen in a digital environment.

 

From outside to internality – Subjectivation process

 

Field is defined differently in different disciplines. Perspectives may vary greatly. Literally, field is a territory with defined boundaries. In abstract algebra, fields are the algebra structures for addition, deduction, multiplication and division. A digital field is a signal of the transition from one field to another; it also represents the pursuit of the best signal in the transition process. In art, discussions about field usually concern boundaries and scopes, collaboration of skills or transcendence, ambiances or other subjects of artwork analysis. Contemplation about artworks and that about how one is influenced by his/her surroundings – an internalization process, may also open ground for discussion about cross. Put simply, daily routines become the basic component of an entity. Cyber network, real-time communication, virtual reality – these products of digital technology have become part of the life of the current generation. Our mode of behavior causes us to internalize external digital gadgets; relations between subjects as a result become all the more complex.A mere glance at today’s various academic disciplines says it all: Cross is no longer a matter between artists or a consensus between them. When subject in different systems (those without a shared consensus) fail to discern the nuances of their internalization processes, cross becomes merely a type of art creation using technology as its medium. It could at best be regarded as a fake cross, made possible by technological breakthroughs. Be it digital art creation or criticism, crossing into an unfamiliar territory is a frequent topic and also an obstacle for artists. Engineers working in science parks have never imagined they could make art out of the computer language they are so familiar with. There are different levels of understanding to a single artwork. Such is the nature of subject, and crossing two different fields becomes a process of subjectivation.

 

Cross

 

We are used to imagining ourselves crossing boundaries on a two-dimensional basis, and our perception of boundaries is pre-defined. We push outwards using ourselves as the center and define scopes or meanings on our own. The line between subjects is only imaginary. Crossing from one field to another in a paralleled fashion, be it technology, art or self transcendence, is no longer (at least in digital art) possible. Boundaries are becoming more and more opaque, and crossing more difficult. Artists could easily fall into a state of loss or uncertainty. Crossing is often imagined on a linear basis. If crossing can tolerate overlaps or internalization between two (or more) subjects and develops vertically along an imaginary z axis, not only can subject gauge the location of one another, they can also produce a whole new dimension.When field is no longer a field and the other field no longer so, cross is not simply a one-to-one leap or a union; it extends to form another real time and inert digital field. To be more specific, in a digital field, cross is an active process of “tumbling, changing, reconstructing and creating”.In spatial terms, fields are like spaces built on one another – not in a two-dimension way but similar to how the roots of a plant ramify. It is a three-dimensional distribution defining how spaces connect with another in time, and the connections between them have infinite possibilities (single or multiple joints). These connections are without direction – much like a space filled with overlapping threads where one cannot tell where they begin or end. Such an open system is also built on a reciprocal basis. It is non-linear and does not include any causal relations. It creates complex and ever-changing diversities.

 

Policy priority mode

 

The execution of the 6th Digital Art Festival Taipei faces two predicaments: policy priority, which limits the scale of the Festival, and limited resource. Digital Art Performance Competition is one that encountered particular difficulty. In order to encourage young artists to continue their participation in digital art competitions, Digital Art Foundation and Quanta Arts Foundation co-organized a digital performance competition with a million-dollar award. Digital art performance requires manpower, equipment and venues on a larger scale. The competition is a perfect opportunity to observe how visual art and traditional theater interpret digital art performance differently, and it allows us to identify points of conflict.At the International Digital Art Exhibition – one of the five components of the Festival, most artworks are events (instantaneity and happening) presented in text. Unlike previous interactive and entertaining pieces, these event-based artworks are reflections of the micro events of the digital times, corresponding to this year’s curatorial philosophy – cross.

 

第六屆台北數位藝術節 越域Cross

 

「越域」原初的概念來自於當前的網路和軟體使用規範的無際邊界、數位空間與物質空間的模糊界定等,因而延伸出政治的、無盡可能的問題。以被視為數位版權法躍進的事件為例,「越獄」(Jail breaking)使消費者可以逃出電腦業者獨家電信供應商的電子監獄,為此美國2010年版權法之修改,智慧型手機的使用者將被允許合法下載手機軟體;具爭端的問題還包含自由軟體(Free software)的多元授權條款與資源共享的反資本行為,「自由」與「分享」在數位資本主義之中形成一股反動力量。2011年第六屆台北數位藝術節面臨資源限制的窘境,形成碎型結構的活動型態;面對科技和藝術各領域跨越籓籬之課題一直是台灣持續討論的議題;以及非實體物質存在的空間所產生的事件與現象,故取同音之《越域》(Cross)作為主題概念,具有數位時代的慣用語彙反應其數位現象種種發生的事件。

 

在數位空間裡「事件」的延伸

 

每一「事件」都是因特定的地理環境或特定的空間而發生,思維也隨著不同的環境而變化,發生事件的地點、場所成為重要的因素。數位空間成為今日另一個真實的環境,與歷史的地理相異處在於數字運算過程中發生的錯誤演算,卻創造了另一新的物件、1980年中旬出現第一隻病毒,它可透過網路在數小時內蔓延至全球,侵占個人電腦的存取空間、一件軟體原始碼可匯集眾多人的智慧,發展出多種的自由軟體等現象,形成一個不存在現實空間的真實場域。若要描繪出「事件」和「地域」之關係輪廓,數位時代的「域」就像是一個充斥著錯綜複雜的網絡線空間,看不見線的方向、長度和維度,難以掌握線的構成和移動方位,多個端點的無限連結交疊出的「事件」,無法預料或依循事件發生的秩序和規則,它已經打破了傳統的結構再進行重組新秩序。數位空間在各種可能之下發生的個體化事件,不僅只是獨立存在的單一問題,反映出當下的社會現象及延伸其他秩序,譬如早期駭客(Hacker)指的是一群持有共享主義理念的網絡專才,他們因反對霸權的抵制而積極解決問題、方法及分享資原,但在一個尚未形成規則的數位域裡,有另一群自稱駭客的破壞者(Cracker),僅擁有侵入保安系統的能力,扭曲了原初駭客的態度與理念,卻自成一格,然而這樣的事件也只在數位環境之下才會發生。

 

由外面至內在的主體化過程

 

「域」在各學門之中釋義皆不同,觀看的視角大相逕庭,在文字字義上解釋為在一定疆界內的地方;在抽象代數中的概念為加、減、乘、除四則運算的代數結構;數位域所指的是從一個領域過度到另一個領域的訊號,在過度之中找尋最佳訊號。如果在藝術範疇裡談論域的議題,不僅是圍繞於疆域界線與範圍、技藝的合作或超越、場域空間的氛圍等藝術品分析,除此之外,在藝術品之上思索與探討自身受到周圍環境的影響而內化的一個過程,將有可能開闢「越域」、「跨域」一條討論的路徑。簡言之,日常生活中的習慣將會是主體的構成之根本,網路社群、即時通訊、虛擬實境等數位科技已經成為這世代生活中的一部分,人類的行為模式已將外在的數位物件內化成習慣,因此主體與主體的問題更為複雜。綜觀各學科,在數位藝術之中談論的「跨域」已不再只是藝術家和藝術家的事情,或是與藝術家之間達成的共識。然而,在非共識的相異體系下的主體,若無法察覺主體與主體的內化過程之間的差異性,「跨域」就會演變成使用科技作為藝術創作的媒介,因技術上的突破而造成跨越領域的假象。數位藝術無論在創作或評論之中,對於另一陌生領域的跨與越是經常被討論的議題,也是創作者所面臨的難題。在科技園區裡的工程師從未想過自己也可以用自己熟悉的語言創造藝術品,面對藝術也有不同的理解程度,這就是主體的特性,兩個不同領域的跨越將會是主體化的過程。

 

跨、越

 

人們最常以單一的平面思維想像越界(域),同時心中已對界域有了既定的概念,則以主體為中心對外界定範圍或意涵,例如主體跨越主體之外想像中清晰的那一條界線,由「域」到「他域」的橫跨,無論是技術與藝術,或是自我的超越,在數位藝術裡平行橫跨已無法跨越另一領域或另一主體。各領域的分界點越來越模糊,越域卻顯得困難,似乎容易產生迷失與不明確的狀態,對於跨越界線的想像往往是線性思考,跨與越倘若能在兩個(以上)主體之間產生褶疊與內在化,建築於Z軸的縱向發展,不但可以測量他者的主體位置,而且在「兩者之外」產生新的面向。

「當域不再是域,他域亦非他域」時,「越域」(Cross)絕非是純粹的一對一的跨越或聯結,延伸出另一個真實的時間和慣性的數位域。更準確的說,在數位域裡「越域」意旨一種「翻攪、改變、重新組合、創造新物」的運動過程。 「域」假使以「空間」概念進行描繪或譬喻之,就如同是相鄰的空間構成,這裡所指的相鄰的空間絕非是以平面的狀態存在,而似植物的根莖(塊根)分布的概念,是一種三維分佈並涵蓋時間的相鄰位置,每一空間之間有著無限可能的連接方式(單點與無限多點的連結),無方向性的連結方式像似佈滿線的空間無法辨別開端與結束;這樣的開放系統建立在交互作用上,非線性及非因果關係,而是創造出複雜的、不斷變動的多樣性。

 

政策先決模式

 

第六屆台北數位藝術節在執行上面臨政策決定活動規模以及資源緊縮的窘境,在一個諸多限制的條件模式下,「數位藝術表演徵選計畫」是其中面臨執行困難的徵件獎項,為了鼓勵年輕的數位藝術家持續參與數位創作徵選,數位藝術基金會於今年首度與廣藝基金會共同舉辦百萬數位表演徵選,數位藝術表演需要具規模性的人力、器材和場地,此獎項同時也凸顯視覺藝術和傳統劇場對於數位藝術表演不同的解讀,從徵選的過程思考其中的衝突點。 在活動五大主軸之中,「國際邀請展」多數作品將發生的事件(即時性與偶發)以文件方式呈現,異於以往互動、遊戲 性的作品,更具數位時代微觀事件的本質內涵,符合今年台北數位藝術節《越域 Cross》的理念。

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