Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The “ego-tag”, managing your identity
and eco mapping at PICNIC '09

PICNIC is an annual 3 day technology-art-business conference in Amsterdam
www.picnicnetwork.org | See my 2008 review
The 4th edition was held, 23-25 September 2009

This time I was one of the Mediamatic volunteers, so most of my experiences of PICNIC '09 involved one of their RFID projects.

There were 10 of these playful 'gadget-games' visitors could interact with using their “IK” RFID heart-shaped tags issued free to everyone.

“IK” means “I” in Dutch and these “I-tags” were the keys for interaction, not only for yourself but with others as well.

To start playing you registered yourself with the “I-tag” which then would identify you as the player, from the information gleaned from your profile on the PICNIC website.

Most of the games created at the week long Mediamatic Social RFID Hacker Camp (Link to introduction, blog and photos) were playful interfaces which then uploaded a score, a drawing, or webshots of you. So the “I-tag”, a type of 'ego-tag' was relatively harmless unless you were embarrassed by the webshots :).

On one level the games as games were simplistic, you won a point or lost to your opponent. On another level the simplicity allowed for social interaction: businesswomen run, catch and throw.

>> “IK SPIN” (a frisbee game for teams) by Mark Wubben & Eelco Wagenaar starts when you pass your “I-tag” over the reader. The screen shows your name (found on the PICNIC website) and links this with the others who then register as members of your team for the game.
A photo of the team is then uploaded to your profile on the PICNIC website. Then the goal is to pass the team frisbee over the reader under the flashing light. There are 4 of these and they flash randomly in succession and team members may only catch or throw the frisbee, not run with it.

<< Mark Wubben, one of the makers, passes a frisbee over the reader to start the game.

Like a game of basketball, members throw one of the two frisbees to their teammates until one can pass the frisbee over the reader underneath the flashing light and win a point for their team.

<< Here one of the makers, Eelco Wagenaar scores a point while the other player in the other team runs to the frisbee thrown to him.

More about this project is here.

Below: Overview showing 3 of the 4 lamp posts which flashed randomly during the IK SPIN game. Underneath each is a pink “IK” sticker. Players need to pass the frisbee over the sticker while that light is flashing to win a point.

ik-a-sketch made by Edwin Dertien & Neil Mendoza at the Mediamatic Social RFID Hackerscamp 2009.
This image is from Brady Forrest's blog which also has a review.

Then you could participate in a joint drawing on a metres-large screen with a stranger (or friend), one being the vertical influence and the other the horizontal influence, as in ik-a-sketch.
These drawings were then uploaded to your picnic profile page. It is a pity that it so easy to just make a mess of lines as you can see in the image below. As a gadget it worked if someone, such as myself was there to explain the concept but even then many people once they got the idea, found it too clumsy to manoeuver or not interesting enough to do something creative with it. Admittedly it probably served its purpose, as a fun thing for two people to collaborate with for a few minutes.

FRIENDSLICER is made by Eric Gunther, Andras Sly Szalai, and Jeff Lieberman.

Standing inside the FRIENDSLICER studio you were asked to dance or make a sound in front of a camera which I found silly, but the resulting video shown on the wall on the outside of the 'studio' was amazing. The way the video and sound were cut created aesthetic experiences. My advice would be to re-work some meaning into the instructions so that the process of being inside the studio resonates as part of the end result. Perhaps the instructions inside the studio could be related to the theme of friends and slicing rather than asking for a random weird sound or a dance. The title and the point of using RFID technology was that the resulting clip was made with slices of video and sound from other individuals connected to your PICNIC profile as well as from slices of what was previously recorded. That was part of the surprise in the resulting video as well which then played continuously -a music video with your social network- until replaced by the next recording.

Breaking The Frame” worked beautifully as a gadget, producing short (stop motion) films of you around the space from multiple viewpoints, which were then uploaded to your PICNIC profile page. I just wish there had been more in terms of a 'why' or perhaps some sort of question, assignment, or comment for the participants to do other than to just madly run around in the space. Perhaps some reference to staging, the panoramic image or even the photographic portrait, but of course, I'm projecting in ways not intended by the makers nor Mediamatic for that matter. And this is a criticism I have of many new media installations or gadgets. I missed some 'engagement.' A reasonable counter argument is that these gadgets were made in a week, so there was only time for 'play'. But how do we 'play' without engagement? Is entertainment actually play?

Yet the Mediamatic gadgets were a valuable contribution at PICNIC as accessible and unpretentious entertainment or as playful experiments. The set-up was very open, so anyone could play, paying member or not, young or old. This openness, was an important element because it broke down barriers. And sometimes the simplicity of the games meant people would just spontaneously join in, such as in “IK TREK” a tug-of-war game where a rope moves one way or the other in response to the amount of friends each registered “IK”tag has). I was showing someone how this worked, and then a person with many friends on his PICNIC profile swiped his “IK”-tag on the other side, causing the rope to reverse and move in his direction. Suddenly those standing around swiped their tags on the reader to help our side and before many seconds had passed, 20 or so passing individuals were now standing on each side of the rope, yelling and laughing. What are the boundaries between entertainment and engagement and where do they matter?

IK WIN was first developed over one week at the 2008 Mediamatic Hackers club by Simon Claessen, Axel Roest and Mathias Forbach, for PICNIC 08.
For PICNIC '09 it was a beautiful machine. I rode up in the elevator a number of times, competing against my opponent in the other elevator. The winner is lifted highest into the air, if their name is linked to the RFID tag with the most google hits

<< The person on the right is wearing one of the “ikGNOME” hats by Tijmen Schep. People could wear a red or a blue hat while being photographed in front of one of the “ikCam" screens located around the displays, the idea being to see which colour would win by being the most photographed.

Then there was the IK WIN set of elevators. Someone small and as badly dressed as I am, standing in one could surprise the man in a suit or the nerd standing in the other elevator by soarng into the sky above him! I love the tongue-in-cheek title reminding us of the absurdity of 'competition' as an end. You won by having more google hits than your opponent. You won by being raised into the air. You won, by having your name announced as the winner. And then one of the phrases: a voice would boom out “Who is this person?”

And so from the extrovert to the inner: I sat in on some of 'The Privacy Paradox in Social Media' lectures.
Rene Hansen from UBC (A global biopharma company focused on long-term illnesses) gave an example of how what is normally considered private, one's health problems, were shared and exploited to help each other on the website: www.patientslikeme.com
Started in 2004 by family members of an ALS sufferer as a way to pool knowledge on treatment and experience, it is built for and around patients. It requires and relies on trust for individuals to supply the information themselves and from this the website generates all sorts of information which anyone who wishes can access, including healthcare charts that show individual conditions and treatments over time. With over 50,000 patient-reported outcomes, this was not only useful for patients but also for research institutes such as UBC, Hansen said. This system is entirely based on information and measurements of health as judged by the patient, rather than on the health professional. Results were made anonymous and aggregated. His presentation was a success story of how empowerment helps research in healthcare.

Benjamin Joffe's presentation: “Humans, Robots and the Digital Panoptican
(you can view this as a SlideShare presentation on LinkedIn) looked at the issue of privacy as an aspect of the mutable phenomena of just what is public and what is human.

It connected well with the presentation: “Forget Privacy, just manage your identity” by Christian van 't Hof (a researcher at the Rathenau Institute in The Hague). He gave examples of how digital gadgets were creatively 'hacked' by ordinary users, such as a tagging device used by parents to locate their children: the children then used this device as a way of meeting their friends. His focus was on using the digital as a form of empowerment rather than control or lack of control. He referred to the panoptican, the Big Brother idea of a central control, as being replaced by a synopticon, where your information about anyone also means they could find information about you. In a sense this is already happening with various social networks that people fill with data. The issue is knowing how to manage, how to use the data that is collected about you as a tool for negotiation, and to develop systems that empower: that assume individual choice.

On the final morning I listened in on the “Ecomap Lab: THINK!” lectures organized by de Waag Society. Six speakers presented various types of mapping and interpretations of environments. Drew Hemment (www.futureeverything.org) discussed a few examples of participatory projects in which technology was used to encounter the environment in innovative ways and were the data collected could help change people's behaviour. He stressed the need for simplicity, transparency and reciprocity to engage people. “Climate Bubbles” involved masses of individuals blowing bubbles in Manchester where they recorded the wind speed for 10 minutes in 'micro' climates. The data was to be incorporated into a map of Manchester's winds. “Biotagging,” another project at the May 2009 Futuresonic festival, went a step further in incorporating individual input. Individuals were invited to classify plants, animals and fungi along a particular route in their own ways. This folksomic approach was used to build a bottom-up taxonomy of an area which could help a city council see how residents relate to this area. Drew Hemment's talk focused on a list of design principles for such projects. For me, all the points related to issues of engagement, who are the people this affects, why, and the meaningfulness of the non-standard and how this can be useful for projects involving masses of people.

Five presenters then focused on project they had or were developing. Daniel Kaplan (click to view his slideshow) presented the Green Watch (La Montre Verte) which records Ozone and Noise levels which are shown real-time on a mobile phone and on a website. It had two aims. to multiply the amount of urban sensors and make individuals aware of these two variables in their environment. I borrowed one of these watches for a few hours but found it heavy, and the mobile phone around my neck was overkill, but as a prototype it functioned well and required no maintenance to do its work.

Because the Dutch government had claimed that it wasn't feasible to distinctively measure the noise of airplanes, in 2004 Rene Post and others set up 23 monitors around the Schiphol airport area, establishing a noise monitoring system on a budget of 10, 000 euros. The system, Geluidsnet, also produced data that could be understood and more importantly accessed by a lay person. As a result, aircraft noise became a political issue, and the value of independent monitoring was made evident. The law was eventually changed so that producers of noise, such as airports, were obliged to supply data rather than to say it wasn't possible.
Screenshot made on 14 October 2009 at 13.53.
See: www.geluidsnet.nl. The numbers and colours indicate raised noise levels. If you click on a number, more information is available from that sensor, including levels over a period of time.

Geluidsnet works brilliantly even today using multiple independent small monitors, displaying real-time and data over time, which can be seen by everyone on a website. It has also meant that noise level agreements, for example with contractors, can be monitored or, on a more personal level, that the noise level from a dance party is transparent. People can also subscribe to an email digest of this data, so Geluidsnet is certainly a success story in using technology as a means for empowerment and awareness.

London-based artist, then Usman Haque gave an outline of the Pachube project, a web service which 'patches' data in realtime from sensors (which can be objects, devices & buildings) from anyone around the world. Any device that is connected to the internet (wired, wireless or via SMS gateway) can store, share, graph and distribute its datastreams in real time using Pachube. So the pachube website can show, for example, that today (Oct 14th 2009) someone in Dipton, (a town about 30 km north of Invercargill in New Zealand) is sharing some data from a sensor measuring carbon dioxide levels. This page has a list of ways Pachube could be used: from farmer to scientist to designer.

Shane Mitchell introduced Connected Urban Development (CUD) organized by Cisco in partnership of 7 cities (Amsterdam, Birmingham, Hamburg, Lisbon, Madrid, San Francisco, Seoul) which works at reducing carbon emissions while enhancing the quality of urban life in these cities. He then showcased the San Francisco urban eco map.

Nerea Calvillo presented In the Air a visualization project for the microscopic and invisible agents in the air of Madrid (gases, particles, pollen, diseases, etc). She showed a number of prototype visualizations where the various elements changed a little like cloud formations in the air in real-time, and in a sense raised the profile of the intangible space of the city. 15 sensors feed information about 5 pollutants into the system which was used to make the dynamic visualization. The aim of the project is to provide a platform for individual and collective awareness and decision making, which it does via the website and displays in public spaces. They also run workshops using low-tech elements for the same purpose such as tagged balloons.

I also participated in the afternoon session, called “MAKE.” chaired by Frank Kresin and others. One of the exercises was to work in small groups to come up with an approach to creating systems that affect human behaviour. The group I was in had the theme: 'engage everyone', and we chose to view the environment as an interface so that individuals not only didn't need any gadgets to facilitate interaction, but rather individuals were needed to look or listen to the environment around them for input or output. Some examples we came up with were sensors that could read the speed of a passing mass (whether you passed by car, by foot or bicycle) which would affect a display on a board, in a tree or a shop. Some displays could be made so you could only see them if you cycled or walked, while perhaps for a driver, if they passed a point, the display went blank. In looking at ways to reward rather than punish, we thought that on days when pollution was high, buses would be free, and cycle lanes widened. Other ideas included using planning in the way plants or pathways or shelter-ways were made, so that walking or cycling to work was more stimulating as well as easier.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Mediamatic Hackers Camp

Tama and I worked at this for a day in Amsterdam doing odd jobs. See their own site for more

Monday, September 21, 2009

Open Monument Weekend in Amsterdam + Leiden

On Saturday 12th of September, Sen and I cycled around Amsterdam visiting the Huburtus huis (rainbow coloured banisters with lots of light and appartments designed for single mothers of young children) and few old mansions before visiting Claire + Tahirih.

On Sunday we cycled around Leiden and these photographs are from our visit to the Leiden Museum of Weaving (Wevershuis) which had demonstrations and displays of weaving from the ages. Sen and I exhibited our art in this atmospheric museum last year. See the youtube film I made from this here

And speaking of atmospheric we now have work in another part of the old city centre of Leiden. In a hairstylist shop that has been in business in this location since 1872.
See my future page for details of where and the opening hours. There's also a page linked to this with a list of the artwork in the show.
It is on till December 31st

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Change is a Law of Nature

Please don't copy this photo © Marco Secchi 2009.

About a month ago similiar photographs to this one featured on the front pages of newspapers in the U.K. of Sarah Brown, wife of the British Prime Minister taking part the London Pride March on July 4th.

And for a blog I wrote, I was generously given permission to use this photograph by London-based photographer Marco Secchi (www.marcosecchi.com)
More of his brilliant images of the march are here.

The blog is an attempt to get Bahais to discuss the implications of equality and justice for the LGBT community. Many Bahais believe gay Bahais can't have partners let alone marry, so that's the background to my blog where I'm looking at what the Bahai Writings say about religious law and communities being adaptable and changeable in response to the conditions of society.
There's also no Bahai Scriptual basis for this homophobic attitude, because Bahai Scripture is only the authenticated writings of Abdul-Baha, Baha'u'llah and the Bab and official interpretations of these by Shoghi Effendi. However the real issue I think is, for Bahais to look at where did these ideas come from and what Bahai principles could possibly support such an attitude if they are serious about the Bahai principles of equality and justice.

It is here, and if you have any responses to the blog, feel free to post these anonymously if you wish. In April 2010 I collected some of my posts together from Bahai Rants and put them in chronological order on my Just a Bahai blog.

July - August : Travels in the UK

A summary:
*Driving to Dunkirk + arriving at Dover
*Art in London + hanging our work in Regents Park
*Matt's BBQ in Sheffield + losing and finding our valuables
*Downpour in York (and lots of walking around)
*Debbie and her amazing mahi harakeke
*Tyre blow-out and a night at a garage
*Bahais in Newcastle and at Burnlaw
*Roger + Marion help us set up art for the Carlisle Arts Festival
*Discovering my gr gr grandmother's tombstone and of 5 other ancestors in a Haddington graveyard
*Meeting David and his rabbit-killer dog
*Hunting for Pict stones in Angus
*The Lossiemouth Folk Festival!
*An overdose of Prehistoric + Pict stones.
*Chilling in Inverness + the Black Isle
*A day at the Scottish Bahai Summerschool
*Sen gives a talk at the Bahai Studies Seminar
*Taking down our installations in Carlisle
*Overkill of castle and church ruins in Yorkshire
*Sen gives a talk in a tree in Regents Park, London
*Lots of art shows in London
*Castles and estates south of London
*Stonehenge, Avebury + being in a crop circle
*Haily Abbey + Kenilworth Castle
*Norfolk coast and art in Norwich

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bahai Related, Culture/Politcs/Gender, Friends, Travels, etc

Culture~Politics~Gender   |   Friends + Acquaintances   |   Travels + Places
Events, seminars, workshops, etc, I've participated in - things I've been up to not in other categories

Bahai Related

To my short introduction about the Bahai Faith

since 2009: My "Just a Bahai" blog
April 2010: A rant about the european air ban + the wonders of technology
August 2009: on some issues related to equality for homosexuals
April 2009: new animation inspired by a quotation with music by a Bahai
Jan 2009: Daniel visits
April 2008: Bahai and all that

Culture~Politics~Gender   (also current events)

Dec 2010: We come in Peace - on hackers, media and gender
Nov 2010: Funding cuts, the Dutch government, Leiden creative initiatives
Oct 2010: Coming Out Day in Leiden
April 2010: A rant about the European air ban + the wonders of technology

Travels + Places
Aotearoa/NZ   |   Amsterdam  |   Leiden   |   U.K.   |   Other places in Europe

Dec 2009 - Feb 2010: Christchurch > Auckland, via friends, festivals + one river
Jan 2009: Auckland, Folk festivals, Friends, Wanganui
Jan 2009: Climbing Mt Taranaki

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jan 2009: Frozen canals + the homo monument

Leiden, The Netherlands
Oct 2010: Coming Out Day in Leiden
Jan 2009: Daniel Orey visits
Sep 2008: Signing our names in the Leiden Uni "zweetkamer"

July - August 2009: 6 weeks of travelling in our van
July - August 2008: 5 weeks of travelling in our van

Elsewhere in Europe
April 2010: About air travel in Europe
Sep 2008: Linz + ARS Electronica, Austria

Friends + Acquaintances

Jan 2009: Daniel visits
Jan 2009: Auckland, Folk festivals, Friends, Whanganui
Dec 2008: Kath + I attend Luke's house concert
Sep 2008: Alex, Joris and I sign our names as masters' graduates

Events, things I've participated in or done

Oct 2010: Coming Out Day in Leiden
June 2008: Augmented Reality workshop at Mediamatic, Amsterdam
May 2008: I give a workshop on html in Amsterdam
April 2008: Bio Art course Sonja participated in
Feb 2008: Learning Cinema 4D for a game engine called Unity
Jan 2008: Learning about Vlogging + Flash
Oct 2007: Cinekid workshop on gaming + augmented reality, Amsterdam

Arts + New Media Related

Projects I have organized or curated   |   Own Art projects   |  Art by Others
New Media Related Art Projects   |   Theatre, Theatre-Performance or Dance   |   Music or Sound Related

My own art projects or our work in others' projects

10 October 2010: Final views of our video installation in the Aalmarkt studio
7-9 October 2010: Our video installation, Kāinga a roto, in the Aalmarkt studio
1-5 October 2010: Our video installation, Kāinga a roto, in the Aalmarkt studio
29 September 2010: About our video installation, Kāinga a roto
19 September 2010: Leiden art route | de Leiden kunstroute
September 2010: More about building our installation + "There is beauty in the Leiden"
September 2010: About the "There is beauty in the Leiden" project & our video installation, Kāinga a roto
August 2010: About the "There is beauty in the Leiden" art project
May 2010: The "There is BEAUTY in the CITY" project run by Anna + Glen
March 2010: Two minute video with music by friends, Kath + Sandy

September 2009: Exhibition of prints + paintings till December 2009
May 2009: Performance in Cyprus
March 2009: waka huia : new art work

Sept 2008: Solo show in Museum of Weaving, Leiden
July 2008: Show + performance in London
June 2008: My augmented reality game idea : Follow the Rainbow
Feb 2008: new video : Kitchen Pythagoras

Dec 2007: new video in Dog show
Sep 2007: sculpture in London

Art by others

May 2009: Exhibition in Leiden, the Zen of Japan
Jan 2009: A few NZ artists
Dec 2008: Contemporary art in London
Nov 2008: Contemporary art in London
Nov 2008: Installations in Leiden
March 2008: Art exhibitions in Amsterdam
March 2008: About the Leiden Museum of Weaving as an art gallery
Dec 2007: Contemporary art in London
Dec 2007: Area 10, artbook launch, London
Dec 2007: Contemporary art in Leiden
Sep 2007: Exhibition in Hague Art school + sound course
Sep 2007: Contemporary art in Leiden

Projects I have organized or curated

September 2008: mini-symposium I co-organized in Leiden
June 2008: Exhibition in Leiden shops closes : Olivier raps
May 2008: Galerie TamTam, Leiden

New media related art / design

November 2010: New Media related conferences and publications
September 2009: The “ego-tag”, managing your identity
and eco mapping at PICNIC '09

April 2009: Lectures in Amsterdam,
Utopian practices : Art, Science & Design REunited

March 2009: March 24th: women + technology
September 2008: My review of PICNIC '08, a new media professionals meet
September 2008: Sarah Kettley's wearable interactive gadgets + a mini-symposium I co-organized
September 2008: ARS Electronica in Linz, Austria
June 2008: Augmented Reality
June 2008: Augmented Reality workshop at Mediamatic, Amsterdam
May 2008: Eclectic Tech Carnival (tech stuff for and by females), Amsterdam
Feb 2008: Learning Cinema 4D for a game engine called Unity
Feb 2008: Video Vortex exhibition, NMiK, Amsterdam
Jan 2008: About Vlogging, New Art TV + Flash
Oct 2007: Cinekid workshop on gaming + augmented reality, Amsterdam

Theatre, Theatre-Performance or Dance

Dec 2007: Performance at the Laban Centre, London
Dec 2007: Tap dance performance
Nov 2007: Theatre-music performance in The Hague

Music, Musicians or Sound Projects

Feb 2009: Link to a song by Brenda Liddiard
Jan 2009: Links to a few NZ musicians
Dec 2008: Luke Hurley + Kath Tait (NZ singer/songwriters)
Nov 2007: Theatre-music performance in The Hague

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Artworks for the "go-ganesha-go" event in Cyprus

I'm in Cyprus for 2 weeks for 1 -14 May and the following is what I plan as my contribution to the go-ganesha-go project happening in and around the Ledra Street.

“Greetings From Leiden” is an art performance featuring origami elephants bearing local news of my city in the Netherlands, the city of Leiden. The performance involves laying these out along a street and responding to people's questions. In other performances I've found that this can lead to discussions, for example about what is a greeting, about communication in general, or the relevance of communication (or a greeting) in a situation of tension between local communities. As an outsider to the Ledra Street and to the country of Cyprus, it felt it would be most honest not to bring any sort of message but rather to bring a greeting, a potential for dialogue in equality.

See other performances i've done

On the other hand, the short animation: “And these realities of things, though in the utmost diversity, are yet intimately connected one with the other” by Sonja van Kerkhoff + Sen McGlinn is loaded with messages. Yet as a viewer, you have to work out your own message.

The title, a quotation from the Bahai writings, could refer to the changing elements in the animation or it could refer to a narrative that seems to spin off in several directions at once. In the end, elephants surface, fly and seem more human than the people in the animation, in the sense that they are more free from the constraints of the world around them. This freedom is as much a message about free will as about peace, because peace is chosen and created by society. The song, Son Maloso, is by Colombian David Dely + the band, Tumba y Quema, currently based in Budapest, Hungary.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Exhibition in Leiden, the Zen of Japan

On till May 31st at the Expansionist Art Empire Gallery, Nieuw Rijn 94 in Leiden.

Utopian practices : Art, Science & Design REunited

I attended this on March 19th 2009
It was a day of lectures and discussion organized by the Waag Society, the Virtual Knowledge Studio (KNAW) and the Centre for Arts & Genomics Leiden at the De Balie in Amsterdam.

Dutch trains are usually punctual but this time not, so Amalia and I arrived a half hour later than planned and so missed the beginning of Suzanne's talk.

>> Susan Kennard, Executive Director of the new media institute BANFF in Canada, presents Tracklines, a location-based storytelling experience designed to be delivered on wilderness trails in Banff National Park using GPS-enabled mobile phones.

I'd heard about the Art Mobile Lab from Angus who I met in NZ in February and did a residency at Banff in 1998, so wanted to meet the new director.

Next Beatriz da Costa spoke about PigeonBlog which equips urban homing pigeons with GPS enabled electronic air pollution sensing devices capable of sending real-time location based air pollution and image data to an online mapping/blogging environment. I'd heard her talk about this at Mediamatic about a year ago but what was new was her mention of her book Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience.

>> Martin Kemp discussed some of his articles from his 2006 book, Seen and Unseen

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24th: women + technology

I received an invitation to announce The Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Find out more at findingada.com.

For me personally, this is easy, since I'm so obsessed about technology myself, but recently I was invited to give a paper at a conference in Bremen on gender and ICT and there I met many amazing women from Costa Rica to the Philippines and quite a large number of women came from Scandanavia. In the spirit of openness that I'd like to think is a feminine characteristic (yes, men have this quality too :) most papers can be read or downloaded here. And so this blog is dedicated not only to those who organized this conference but to all (the men as well! - feminisim works to address gender imbalance afterall) who attended and participated in the
5th European Symposium on Gender & ICT
"Digital Cultures: Participation - Empowerment - Diversity"
University of Bremen, Germany, March 5 - 7, 2009

Now you might ask about the connection this image has with all of this. This is a reworking of a design for Kath Tait's song "Leaky Umbrellas" I recently submitted for a London show on artworks inspired by music. Made using photoshop and illustrator and a rather old mouse (I still haven't gotten around to using a pen) on my trusty computer, Huianui. Yes in our household we personalize our computers!

In making the pledge to mention some women involved in technology, I came across the pledge for praising those over 40. Being over 40 myself, well that's easy too :) Actually 40 seems so young since I'm closer to 50, but there's a lot of good work being done by us over 40 year olds. Here's a link to Kath's music as one example:

And I had a look at some of the responses to the Ada Lovelace Day.
Sign this pledge at PledgeBankSee Suw Charman-Anderson's blog about why she created this pledge.
UK artist, designer, educationalist, Christine Wilks made a flash animation, Binary Kitten (who's blog has some interesting links) posted about LornaJane one of the women in PHP women, which I must check out, since PHP is something I would like to get at. Roxanne wrote about Sandra Lerner, co-founder Cisco Systems and mentioned a number of other contemporary woman involved in technologies. Nice it was about someone living, Ada Lovelace, one of the world’s first computer programmers, died at the age of 36 in 1856. I loved bone's blog on Laurie Anderson.
And if you want more the list of blogs is here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

waka huia :: new art work by Sen and myself

I'm still struggling with a persist flu but have managed to get into the swing of things. This is a new work for a show (if it is accepted) that will travel from London to Venice called "Travelling Light" (and most likely to other locations as our work often ends up doing).

Here is our write up about the work:

Waka Huia (Feather Boat)

by Sonja van Kerkhoff + Sen McGlinn (Aotearoa | New Zealand | The Netherlands) www.sonjavank.com/sensonja

A “waka huia” is a container for holding valuables, but the name also
means “feather boat” in New Zealand Maori. Our work is a transculent vessel bearing a cargo of lightness. A cargo of the spirit.

Our ‘vessel’ is formed from the image of a feather from an extinct bird, the Huia
(Heterralocha acutirostris) combined with drawings by Sonja.

The Huia bird was last sighted in the 1920’s but its feathers and body have travelled the world, following the trade routes of colonialism. Seven skins are in the Leiden Natural History museum, the city where the artists live. These were acquired from a museum in Germany, from an auction house in London and from museums and auction houses in New Zealand.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feb 1 :: Climbing Mt Taranaki with my sister

>> View of Mount Taranaki and my sister, Linda.

We intended on an early start but it was 8.45 by the time we started our walk at the DOC (department of Conservation) North Egmont carpark. Then it was almost 2 hours of steep trekking till we got to the Tahurangi Lodge. And then the stairs, and then the scoria (a killer), but with Linda and only 5 or 6 others on the mountain there wasn't any dust and I could stop and video and take photos while catching my breath. Linda made the climb much easier for me by supplying the walking sticks, a good backpack and leading me up.

It was about 3.30 by the time we got to the top and it was extremely windy on the summit.

>> Linda in the crater

We both grew up in the shadow on this mountain in the heart of a red-neck farming area seeing it from the west with Fanthom's Peak in front.

Jeff had lent me the book Taranaki Whenua which I read later. It is a catalogue that went with an exhibition in Te Puke Ariki (Museum in New Plymouth) in 2008, which was beautifully illustrated with work by artists, photographs, survey maps and artefacts from the Puke Ariki collection. I learnt that in 1962, Moa bones had been excavated at the beach (Kaupokanui Beach) where we went as children.

Listen to this stunning song by Brenda

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sonja visits Aotearoa - New Zealand

Part one: 21-30 January

I arrived in Auckland on January 21st at 5 a.m.! My aunt Sue met me and we spent the day together. It was fantastic to be home again.

>> Detail in the Manuwera Sculpture Gardens

Still adjusting to a different time zone, I went to Jane's birthday party on the 22nd and on the left are a few photos of some of the music that was happening.

I spent the morning of the 23rd meeting a few old Tahorites and then headed off towards the Auckland Folk festival site. Jeff had warned us to take a different route because someone had been shot by the police on the motorway.
It felt like a scene out of a Western.

>> Jam session at Jane's party

Arriving at the site, I found it to be much bigger than I realised. So in the end just found a spot for the tent under some trees. Enjoyed my time at the festival wandering from place to place. A jam session (me on clogs) with Peter, Simon, Fiona, Richard and others late one night was particularly memorable. I also spent a lazy afternoon at Jeff's, drinking coffee and sorting out a paper that had been accepted for a conference.

Funny to see so many vaguely familiar faces and it was lovely to catch up with old friends.

>> Taranaki's Gumboot Tango perform their own stuff at the Auckland Folk Festival

I also videod vigorously and took heaps of photographs, for possible future art projects and with my current video project on migration in mind.

A day after the festival Michael took me to breakfast on the back of one of his Harley-Davidsons. What a blast zipping along Devonport.

Above: The Penman Family (David, Chris, Thiea and Jack) perform at the Auckland Folk Festival (They have a cd out - a fab English trad collection!)

Left to Right: Auckland Folk Festival:
Blue Grass musos jam along with Tracey, a loose group of Tahorites jam, session with Peter, Fiona, Simon + Richard and others, and Tracey Haskell performs on stage.

Jeff at work

On January 28th I went over to Waiheke Island to see the Headland Sculpture exhibition.

Naturally I thought Jeff's was one of the better works!
His is this water tank containing a choreography of debri (waves were created by the solar panel at the top). Jeff had salvaged this debri from the sea below this location after a boat fire a year or so ago.

Met up with Paul Cullen, an artist I'd met in South Korea in 2004 and then spent the evening with Elizabeth discussing film. On my final day I met with various gallery people and thanks to Hilary heard James Luna's inspiring talk before driving in Jeff's car to Hamilton. At Hamilton met up with an old friend Chris experiencing family life with hens and a huge backyard!

Filipe dropped in on his way north, showing me some images of his latest work for the New Plymouth Natural History Museum.

Then while driving at 80 kph, the bonnet flipped up smashing the windscreen. Fortunately it was an easy car to drive, so I could slow down and stop and managed to use the edge of the jack to fix the bonnet shut again. It was a nerve racking drive for the next half hour or so, while I looked for a place to ring my sister from. But after that I realised that the windscreen probably wasn't going to get any worse and then sped up again and took the "Forgotten Highway" route via Tahora to Taranaki. It was a magical drive even though driving on loose gravel isn't my cup of tea.

Part two: 1-20 February 2009

Canoeing and cycling along the Whanganui River: 10-16 February