The groups for workshops 5 and 6, led by Jordi and James, decided to integrate into a single group to include both theoretical and partcial issues, and to reflect on the ways that each informed the other.
If you would like to add reports or thoughts about the sessions, please do so here!
Initially we tried to structure or categorise the sorts of issues that are brought up when considering media lab practice.
Methodologies, Time, Place, Money, Enthusiasm, People… What is important as inputs to the media lab process? What is necessary to get a media lab started? What is the character of management or disposition of resources?
What is a local context? How does a media lab determine or define its local context? Is it important that a media lab engages with its local context?
Who is involved? Who is participating? How do we term these people - Agents? Participants? Users?
What do we value? Outcomes, products, processes. What are our objectives? Why is media lab activity a good thing?
It's quite clear that the central concept that we are considering when discussing media labs is people.
How can we use theoretical understanding as a practical tool for operating? How can we ensure that practical actions feed into theoretical understanding?
Jordi Claramonte asked, “What can socially-engaged artists learn from the processes and procedures of Operation Desert Storm?”.
“Operational Art” is a term devised by Soviet Military strategists to describe a methodology designed to cope with interconnected, networked battlefields in which the division between tactical (small scale) and strategic (large scale) is unclear. The key to operational art is about understanding scale. Can media artists learn from this attempt to cope with complexity?
Jordi, would you like to change this text or add more? Please do!
The term “Media Lab” is unsatisfactory. What other terms could be used to describe the kind of open, collaborative experimental practice that we are talking about?
We had a very interesting discussion which emerged from our difficulty in defining what a media lab is. Perhaps our difficulty stemmed from our reluctant to specify, or deliniate exactly what we wanted participants to do. Rather, our impulse seemed to be to create an open space, in which participants follow their own, self-directed creative pathways.
Our solution was to think negative, defining what media lab activity wasn't! How could we make media lab activity fail or become meaningless… Obviously, one can simply reverse the concepts that emerged from this session to discover more about how to support and sustain media lab activity.
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