The Banff New Media Institute, ZER01, and Sundance Institute Announce Locative Cinema Commission

Joint Venture to Stimulate and Showcase New Media Technologies

The timeframe for applications is short – due August 3 – but the opportunity for a residency and technical support to produce a new work to be shown at the 2010 01SJ Biennial, the 2011 Sundance Festival, and the 2011 Banff Summer Arts Festvial is enormous. Please distribute widely.

For more information on the Locative Cinema Commission:

San Jose, Calif. – July 8, 2009 ―The Banff New Media Institute at The Banff Centre, ZER01: The Art and Technology Network, and Sundance Institute’s New Frontier initiative today announced the formation of The Locative Cinema Commission, a joint venture to stimulate and showcase the creation of a locative cinema project. The Commission is presently soliciting proposals. The chosen artist or artists will realize their proposed project during a residency at The Banff Centre, to be completed by July 2010. They will also receive a $4,500 (four-thousand five hundred dollar) commissioning fee, related production funds, and will present their work at the 2010 01SJ Biennial from September 15 – 19, the 2011 edition of New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival from January 20-30, and the 2011 Banff Summer Arts Festival.

“ZER01, Sundance Institute and the Banff New Media Institute all have proven commitment to supporting emerging forms of creative practice,” said Susan Kennard, Director and Executive Producer at The Banff New Media Institute. “It is our hope that this collaboration will inspire the creation of a dynamic new work that can be exhibited to wide and diverse audiences in San Jose, Park City, and Banff and excite the public about changing ways to experience art.”

The purpose of this commission is to use “locative cinema” as an apparatus through which artists can share their vision using place in ways that are both specific and generic, or at least transferable. The Commission understands the notion of “locative cinema” as a platform-agnostic apparatus through which artists share their vision of place. Any variation on how to present an artist’s work will be considered, from cell phones to the black box of the cinema, from mixed reality to street theatre, from GPS to handhelds, from distributed to ambient. Proposals will be evaluated on their ability to engage people using place as a key element of the experience. The chosen project will receive a $4,500 commissioning fee a residency in Banff with up to $5,000 in related costs, and technical support from the Banff New Media Institute. Reasonable presentation costs, including necessary travel, will also be covered. The final project will be presented in San Jose, California, Banff, Canada, and Park City, Utah, and therefore must be realizable in those locations.

Proposals will be accepted until August 3, 2009, and must include a conceptual proposal describing the relationship of the project to the place, a technical proposal outlining the basic parameters of the project, and strategies for problem solving during the residency. Other requirements include a budget, list of collaborators, links to examples of related past work, and resumes of key personnel.

More information and specific application details are available at

Non- “FLOS” public space and aesthetic invention

Are the iPhone and iPod Touch new spheres for public art?

Bloom iPhone Application from Lawrence Brown on Vimeo.

The question is more than whether you like a particular aesthetic app on your device, such as Bloom or Buddha Machine, but how does the controlled space of the iPhone and iPod and their app store constitute a public sphere for artistic intervention?

Some might argue that as closed, legally controlled systems, the devices do not truly constitute “public space.” On the other hand, from Linda Benglis’s magazine ads to Giselle Beiguelman’s interactive billboard art to Dara Birnbaum’s Rio Videowall for an Atlanta shopping mall to the world-making in corporate controlled Second Life, there are numerous examples of important experiments by artists in legally constricted but nevertheless functionally public spaces. It is crtical, however, to always keep in mind that these spaces are not what one might call FLOS – Free/Libre/Open Source – spaces.

Pixi by Tiny Wonder Studios Recently, Tiny Wonder Studios releaased Pixi for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to it website:

“Tiny Wonder Studios is on a mission to create tiny miracles for the iPhone. Using nanotechnology, our patented “chaos process”, and very small screwdrivers, we lovingly craft the finest stuff for your mobile enjoyment.”

The first Tiny Wonder release is Pixi, which they “introduce:”

“Meet Pixi. Create infinite animated spirals of color and light by touching your screen. It’s magical. It’s mesmerizing. It’s music for your eyes. Pixi is simple to use, but you’ll find endless ways to express yourself the deeper you explore.”

Pixi is a bit like creating your own screensaver and can be mesmerizing, although, since I don’t use my iPod Touch as an ambient device – visually – it hasn’t, yet, migrated to my first screen of most-used apps.

In a conversation with Lawrence Bricker, a “film school graduate and lead geek” of Tiny Wonder Studios, he demonstrated a prototype version 2.0 that used the network to share Pixi creations and even locate nearby users in real time.

Target headquarters in Minneapolis at night Personally, I’d like to see Pixi as a multi-storey display on the Target headquarters building in downtown Minneapolis and be able to modify it from my iPhone (which I plan to buy when Apple no longer forces me into a device-marriage with ATT, speaking of non-FLOS public space . . . ), like a Twin Cities version of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Vectorial Elevation.

Mostly, however, Pixi makes me think of some kind of Moore’s law of aesthetic invention, where what decades ago Dan Sandin or John Whitney might have labored over for months or even years is now accessible in my pocket with the flick of a finger. That’s an interesting kind of progress, which like un-FLOS public space can’t simply be ignored.


“In PERMUTATIONS, each point moves at a different speed and moves in a direction independent according to natural laws’ quite as valid as those of Pythagoras, while moving in their circular field. Their action produces a phenomenon more or less equivalent to the musical harmonies. When the points reach certain relationships (harmonic) numerical to other parameters of the equation, they form elementary figures.”
John Whitney

Symposium: Experimenting with art in public places

Experimenting with Art in Public Places is a symposium free and open to the public, which will explore ways to support and present experimental art practices in public places, including in the virtual realm, outside the traditional white cubes and black boxes of cultural institutions. It brings together local and out-of-town artists, curators, producers, and presenters for a collaborative conversation about the public sphere as a site for works of art and art practices that spark the imagination but also challenge perceptions – artistic, cultural, social, political.

Full schedule here.

Friday evening, there will be a keynote presentation by Seattle phenoms SuttonBeersCuller. Saturday will be a day of Pecha Kucha presentations and panel discussions. Saturday evening, registered symposium attendees can attend the hearSIGHTED party for R. Luke DuBois’ Hindsight Is 20/20 exhibition at the Weisman Art Museum for half price.


Experimenting with Art in Public Places is free, but seating is limited for the symposium, which takes place at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. To register and reserve a space, email

Keynote: SuttonBeresCuller

Friday, October 10
MCAD Auditorium
6:30 pm: reception
7:00 pm: Keynote

On Friday evening, SuttonBeresCuller (John Sutton, Ben Beres, Zac Culler), a 3-person collaborative from Seattle will give a keynote talk about their experimental art practice in the public sphere. Their work deals in the realms of experimentation and discovery through site-specific installation, performance and sculpture. The work is meant to be accessible, and it actively involves and challenges the viewer, discouraging passive viewing. It’s meant to create an ephemeral circumstance, caught perhaps in a fleeting glimpse, which removes the viewer from a daily routine and leaves them with a sense of bewilderment.

Saturday, October 11, MCAD Student Center, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

8:30 am
Coffee and refreshments

9:15 am
Welcome and Introduction: Steve Dietz, Executive Director, Northern Lights

9:30 am

Pecha Kucha: Art(ists) On the Verge

Northern Lights recently awarded grants to 6 emerging artists “working experimentally at the intersection and technology, with a focus on practices that are social, collaborative and/or participatory.” In part, Experimenting with Art in Public Places is an opportunity for these artists to “boot up” their practice, and, Pecha Kucha style, Avye Alexandres, Kevin Obsatz, Andrea Steudel, Pramila Vasudevan, and Krista Kelley Walsh will each have 6 minutes – 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide – to answer 3 questions:

  • What is the intersection with technology in their work?
  • How is their practice experimental and social/participatory?
  • What are they planning to do?

10:15 am

Julie Lazar, A History and Future of Experimental Art Practice

Julie Lazar is a trail blazer in the support and presentation of experimental art. She was a founding Curator then Director of Experimental Programs for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1981-2000). As a curator, Lazar specializes in commissioning new art works in all media.

11:30 am

Panel: Playing in Public

Moderator: Jack Becker, Executive Director, Forecast Public Art
This panel will look at a range of projects that have played with our expectations for art in public spaces.

R. Luke DuBois’s
Wing Young Huie’s
Piotr Szyhalski
Marcus Young

A buffet lunch wil be available in the MCAD cafeteria, next to the Student Center, for $7.50.

1:00 – 3:00 pm: Breakout Session: Forecast Public Art
This grant-writing workshop will discuss Forecast’s annual grant program, provide an overview of recent innovative public art projects, provide time for artists to brainstorm and discuss their own project ideas and hear about the experiences of past grantees. More information here. To reserve a space in the grant-writing workshop, email Forecast.


Panel: Technologies of Engagement

Moderator: Carl DiSalvo, Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

New technologies have clearly enabled new means of engagement with an audience, whether through networks of delivery or interactive and partciipatory installations or both. Technologies does not always mean “Computers! or Internet! or iPhone!”, however, and this panel will explore a more nuanced idea of the technologies of engagement, from the recent past into the near future.

Chuck Olsen
John Schott
Scott Stulen
Diane Willow


Panel: Building an Audience / Community for the Experimental

Moderator: Diane Mullin is Associate Curator at the Weisman Art Museum.

If “build it and they will come” was part of the first generation of technology-enabled community-building projects, experience has shown that building a true community for experimental public art that goes beyond the memorial or the plop is not an easy matter. This panel will explore successful strategies for building a committed audience for experimental art practice over the long term.

Tom Borrup
Doryun Chong
Carl DiSalvo
Doug Geers
Peter Haakon Thompson

7:00 pm – late

Performance: hearSIGHTED AT THE Weisman Art Museum

hearSIGHTED is an evening of music, dancing, food and drink at the Weisman Art Museum, presented in celebration of the exhibition Hindsight is Always 20/20 by R. Luke DuBois. See the exhibition and hear performances by University of Minnesota electronic music students in the galleries. Catch a special musical performance by DuBois at 9:30 p.m. Following the performance, kick up your heels to electronic grooves spun by Minneapolis-based DJ ETones.


Experimenting with Art in Public Places is free, but seating is limited for the symposium, which takes place at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. To register and reserve a space, email


Experimenting with Art in Public Places is a public progoram presented by Northern Lights October 10-11, 2008, with the support of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Jerome Foundation, through its support of the Art(ists) On the Verge grant program. Northern Lights is supported by the McKnight Foundation.

Full schedule here.