1 - Artistic Statement : Digital Pluralism ?
2 - Attempted Concept : Project Description
3 - The Project's Origin : Tokyo, a Networked City
"In these troubled times with the world in search of its bearings and wayward minds using
the terms "culture" and "civilization" in an attempt to turn human beings against one another,
there is an urgent need to remember how fundamental cultural diversity is to humanity itself.
Far from seeing it as a concession to variety on the part of some imaginary
singular identity, we must bear in mind the thought that diversity is the very essence
of our identity. One strand cannot be set against the other, for they are intertwined."
UNESCO, Universal Declaration on "Cultural Diversity,
Common Heritage and Plural Identities", 2002.
Artistic Statement : Digital Pluralism ?
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How can pluralism be achieved today, using a "digital" medium familiar to few people and accessible to even fewer?
How can pluralism be negotiated within limited concentric spheres of contemporary art(or science), New Media and avant-garde; and, taking into account its pandemic conception, how can it be achieved through the wider eccentric scopes of globality, availability and versatility?
- The Third Medium: What can a digital medium bring, that a non-technological medium cannot?
Though "digital pluralism" could be seen as an antonymic notion, if the plural identities of humanity are to be joined together today under technological dominion, it is necessary to choose a medium that has such dual potential: the World-Wide Web, this relatively primitive hypertext system which hosts "the most useful and most widely used service today, as well as the less glamorous workhorse of the network : email".
The hallmark characteristics of this New Medium are: That individualized messages can be simultaneously delivered to a theoretically infinite number of people and that every person involved shares reciprocal control over that content. In other words, the New Medium has the advantages of both the Interpersonal and the Mass media, but without their complementary disadvantages. This New Medium makes it possible to simultaneously deliver an infinite number of individualized messages while providing equal control over the content, which might lead one to refer to the New Medium as the "many-to-many" medium [distinguishing it from the "one-to-one" (Interpersonal) or "one-to-many" (Mass) media] and therefore it constitutes the ultimate way to achieve digital pluralism.
Still, acknowledging the world's actual situation and the great need for meaningful exchange, the primacy of message over medium is, we believe, essential.
As diversity remains a prime constituent of human identity, the Golem would consist of a digital entity that introspectively represents cultural pluralism by gathering singular cultural elements to its self-multiplicity, for in one human can be found all.
Attempted Concept : Project Description
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- Concept: The Digital Renaissance
More than anything else, we would like to propose a cross-cultural gathering that only digital technology may host, as we stand at the threshold of a new era provoked by what analysts call the Informational Revolution.
We do not forget that nowadays the notion of art itself is equivocal and puzzling, and that "digital art" could definitely be looked at as a specialized, hence categorical, field. Consequently the artwork itself lies at the very edge of the communication and exchange process and doesn't need to be antecedently acknowledged by all participants (this therefore enhances the possible scope of dialogue and exchange). The chat corpus will anyhow be turned in real-time into a semantico-digital art installation, creating a memory that transcends the physical situation of the beholding.
The project's aim to reach another step in net-art and mobile communication in public space following other recent projects that have used such device or email such as : Blinkenlights of the Chaos Computer Club(2001-2002), hello Mr.president of Johannes Gees(World Economic Forum - 2001), Caterina Davinio's global project GATES(July/September 2003), Kaleidophone of Christian Möller(ZKM - 1999) or Markus Schnell Wunschbrunnen(Basel 2003).
The "Golem" is an allegory, based on the humanist reciprocal idea that all of humanity exists in each human.
- Project Description:
This gathering is aimed at forming a multi-language/multi-topic world-wide chat involving e-mail coming from cell phones directly within the exhibit space choosed for the project, as well as from any web-accessed computer or digital device on the planet. There is few technical or material requirements for participation in : basically, any device that can send e-mail.
Extended dialogue will be sentence-based : every submission will be limited to a definite number of characters (between 60 and 70).
A digital metaphor of human identity, it will be born, thrive and pass away just as we do, endeavoring only to relate. Content will be deleted almost immediately following its communication, nothing will be recorded. The sum of our existence amounts to having touched and been touched by others. Perhaps that is our greatest legacy, more than any monument or statue or anything else that can be left behind.
It will be accessible in real-time on the internet and easily browsed and reviewed using a succession of appropriate filters : language/topic/person (if relevant). This implies that the chatter can choose the level of participation he engages in by himself. Whether he will want to be overcome by the discussion, swamped in it or decide to triumph over it will be his own choice:
Example = [Swahili/Children's rights] or [Virtual Reality Modelling] or [French/Philippe Dujardin], etc... possible chat experience range from monologue to simultaneously overwhelming cross-language debate.
Here the four different installations are explained as well as the methods of participation according to one's global position :
- Poetic Divaguation : From Multiple Selves to a Plural One:
The email stream is the blood, the sap that gives life to the global entity, while every single cell phone's digital camera becomes one of its many eyes, and wires become nerves spread all over its constitution. Vehiculated within the Golem, message content could well symbolize these overwhelming thoughts that shake the soul of every human being; in all possible languages they would evoque love, melancholy, thrill, vehemence, rage, remorse, sadness, hope, warmth or anger : emotions.
Some of these feelings would be their own answer, some would call upon new ones, some would remain unsolved, but all would reach closer to the imbroglio of the human heart.
The more correspondents who chat or argue, the stronger and healthier the allegorical anthropoid becomes: its mental and emotional state reaching a climax visible around the venue's installations, as on the face of a man he confesses the true condition of his affection.
As the worries and passions of the group are to be found within each individual human spirit, the metaphorical anatomy of the Golem would unite in its semantic flesh world cultural diversity and, by means of ego, attempt to bring humanity consciousness of its own plural identity.
This virtual, formless entity -- an embodiment of man's striving towards others -- would then die. Speech is impossible, should be attempted.
How can I participate? / Frequently asked questions
The Project's Origin : Tokyo, a Networked City:
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"Digital Golem" - the concept and initiative was conceived through daily observations of the world's most advanced portable communication device: the Japanese cellphone or "keitai" that nearly 100 million people use daily.
Handsets in Japan now come with TFT color screens (from 256 to 65k colors) and sufficient resolution and size to display large quantities of information when suitably formatted and paginated. Thumb-controlled joysticks are used to navigate through all functions while screen savers, background images, music and other reliable mini-programs can be sucked straight off the web.
Data speed is adequate (38k+) and getting faster (384k). In the entire web, hence human knowledge is actually available on a phone screen, sites that wish to attract phone users must benefit by reprogramming the content for smaller screens (such as this one). From the young to the elderly, everyone has his own handyphone and number.
Handsets come with a "GPS" like feature, and some of the current ranges of regular (non-3G phones) make good use of the quality color screens by offering an integrated digital camera: pictures are snapped by the user, previewed, then sent to any other cellphone or computer by email as an attached gif.
Cellphones cover almost every square inch of urban Japan. The system appears to be built to cope with an extraordinary number of simultaneously active connections and is utterly cheap.
The newest 3G handsets already available offer streaming video, handle multi-task programs and run at 384k/64k in speed *.
All phones come with email accounts, and fairly long e-mails may be sent and received in both Chinese characters and Latin or Greek script. More than a "Personal-Computer", one should reconsider this device a "self-computer".
Within this fertile Matrix, we believe, a project can be created, using e-mail to trigger and spread a world-wide chat, personifying cultural exchange and finally digital pluralism : Digital Golem. How can I participate? / Frequently asked questions
The production process will take place in four stages:
1. Software programmation and web design :
2. Promotion and sponsorship :
3. Rehearsals :