Re-Present: An international interactive studio collaboration
"Communicative action can be understood as a circular process in which the actor is two things in one: an initiator, who masters situations through actions for which he is accountable, and a product of the transitions surrounding him, of groups whose cohesion is based on solidarity to which he belongs, and of processes of socialization in which he is reared."-- Jurgen Habermas
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -- Paulo Freire
"There is no mystery to making history." -- Linton Kwesi Johnson
Since 9/11 there has been a pall in regards to creating a critical dialogue engaging free speech vs. homeland security. The media has assumed the role of public relations officer simply reflecting and reiterating our national foreign policy instead of fostering discourse. Any hint of criticism is nearly considered sedition. This proposal is meant to illustrate a process of redefining and a potential shifting of "traditional" avenues of information. We propose to use readily available technology to re-channel the direction of information from mega-corporate centralized mediated information capitols to a decentralized community-based series of networks. Our goals are to process and reprocess information as individuals that are members of separate communities and yet bound by technology, to democratize and amplify individual voices cross-culturally and globally. We have invited various artists to open their homes, studios, and/or institutions to the communities to which they respectively (and respectfully) belong, allowing members of the community access to technology. They will be assisted in articulating their own story through the digital media, while we at the Boston point of the network will be using both the digital and traditional printmaking process to foster our end of the dialogue.
During a 24-hour period between April 2 and April 5, 2003, an international network will be created for the electronic exchange of text and imagery. Through the use of email, fax or other communicative devices, this free transmission and reception of information will be put in motion by groups or individuals operating as hubs located around the planet. One such station will be in place in Boston at the 2003 Southern Graphics Council Conference. There we will receive, manipulate, combine, process and reproduce through traditional print media any incoming data. These serigraphs, monoprints, linocuts, transfers etc. will be digitized and transmitted back through the network for further manipulations and exchanges among hub members and their communities.
In order to address the issues of entitlement, empowerment, privilege and the elitism of our tradition, all hub participants are asked to enlist members of their local community to participate in this exchange. Most welcome is the inclusion of those silenced or marginalized by lack of access to technology, individuals not considered to be artists (or to be "creative") by others or themselves, and those who may not have realized their ability to effect cultural change or augmentation. In collaboration with GC&SU faculty and students, the Boston hub will involve random conference attendees in the development and creation of the hand-pulled prints, of which they may then take physical ownership.
Through this project we deny geopolitical divisions and promote a decentrilized and democratic experience in which leadership and responsibility rest with each participant, all freely sharing in the control, outcome and ownership of the media. Presently we have received enthusiastic responses for participation from Indonesia, China, Canada, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Brazil and several US locations. We will continue to solicit involvement especially from countries typically seen or portrayed as "unfriendly" with regard to US interests, Cuba and North Korea e.g.
To encourage involvement from the widest possible community base, participants will be asked to consider, but are not limited to the conference host¹s list of proposed themes when choosing data for transmission. We believe the very act of participating in such a project is a political act, and we hope through the nature of this proposed "communicative action" to be exemplary of many of the conference themes, including:
The contemporary use of the print as political expression.
Revolution in the print idiom caused by new technologies.
The representation of remote constituencies.
How electronic representation conditions the making or communication of images.
The new history of multi-media and installation; the changing functions of space and image.
Facilities needed at the conference site for 24 continuous hours:
- Internet/email access
- Fax machine(s)
- Print studio access
William Fisher, Richard Lou, and members of the GC&SU Fine Arts Faculty.