Funding for the Methods Network ended March 31st 2008. The website will be preserved in its current state.

Still from Paul Sermon's installation 'Headroom' produced at Taipei Artists Village April 2006

The Potential of High Speed Networks as a New Space for Cultural Research, Innovation and Production Abstracts

Kelli Dipple: Remote Exchanges and Collaborative Working Methods, Research and Access in High-speed Networks

Interacting with external memory machines such as collections and libraries of knowledge located on computer servers around the globe are central to academic pursuit and increasingly, the education of the population.

In this context, how do we undertake and sustain satisfying and feasible experiences of remote exchange? Media and cultural practices are inherently social, and have never quite fitted into an individualistic model of ownership, authorship or distribution. The methodologies of distributed production and co-authorship have become as ubiquitous and pervasive as the technologies that distribute, aggregate and deliver them. Many forms of cultural production are seeking more effective ways to frame practice and distribute work that sits outside a single author paradigm.

Based on a range of projects that have made use of high speed networks and associated technologies; this presentation will touch on remote and collaborative working methods, research and development processes, narrative, archiving and access. The talk will look at both personal artistic practice as well as curatorial and institutional perspectives.

Ruth Catlow ( VisitorsStudio: From Passive Audience to Networked Co-producers

Furtherfield’s interest in collaboratively developed visions has led them to develop artware (software platforms for generating art) that relies on the creative and collaborative engagement of its users to become co-producers in a network, rather than ‘audience’. This illustrated presentation will describe the development from Furtherfield’s FurtherStudio, real-time, online residencies to VisitorsStudio, a platform for online, multi-user, audiovisual-jamming.

With VisitorsStudio the art is created and distributed in real time across the Internet by many participants linking together at the same time, who mix and remix files that they have created or found and then uploaded to the common database. Alternatively, participants retrieve, manipulate and remix files that have been uploaded to the database by other contributors.

The platform is being used by artists, musicians, writers and activists in a number of ways: to meet, discuss and develop ideas, more formally as a showcase for their work and also as a space to share and develop collaborative polemic. It is also being developed as a place where young people can develop audiovisual work together across geographical and social divides.

This platform is deliberately developed with maximum accessibility in mind, to enable participation by users across the globe including those connecting via 56k modems. So this presentation will end with some thoughts and ideas about the potential benefits for Furtherfield of connecting with HEIs and specifically projects like the MARCEL network.

Paul Sermon: Puppeteers, Performers or Avatars – A Perceptual Difference in Telematic Space

Paul Sermon's work in the field of telematic arts explores the emergence of a user-determined narrative by bringing remote participants together in a shared telepresent environment. Through the use of live chroma-keying and videoconferencing technology, two public rooms or installations and their audiences are joined in a virtual duplicate that turns into a mutual, visual space of activity. Linked via an H.323 Internet video-conference connection, this form of immersive interactive exchange can be established between almost any two locations in the world.

The audiences form an integral part within these telematic experiments, which simply wouldn’t function without their presence and participation. Initially the viewers seem to enter a passive space, but they are instantly thrown into the performer role by discovering their own body-double in communication with another physically remote user on video monitors in front of them. They usually adapt to the situation quickly and start controlling and choreographing their human avatar. Nevertheless, the installation set up in the form of an open accessible platform offers a second choice of engagement: the passive mode of just observing the public action, which often appears to be a well-rehearsed piece of drama confidently played out by actors. Compelling to watch, it can be a complex issue to discover that the performers are also part of the audience and are merely engaging in a role. The entire installation space then represents two dynamic dramatic functions: the players, controllers, or puppeteers of their own avatar, absorbed by the performing role; and the off-camera members of the audience, who are themselves awaiting the next available slot on the telematic stage, soon to be sharing this split dynamic. However, the episodes that unfold are not only determined by the participants, but by the given dramatic context. As an artist Paul is both designer of the environment and therefore ‘director’ of the narrative, which he determines through the social and political milieu that Paul choose to play out in these telepresent encounters.

Thor Magnusson: Musical Collaboration Over High-speed Networks

Musical collaboration over high-speed networks is the topic of Thor's talk. Thor will present some problems regarding timing in networked music and talk about various experiments and concerts he has been involved with exploring these technologies. As an example Thor will talk about a networked concert he organised between Helsinki, Finland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Over the years, as part of ixi software, Thor has delivered workshops in various European institutions and universities where the ixi software's team have taught the technology behind networked instruments and performance tools in multi-media. Thor will also talk about the strong culture of using open source software to create unique musical instruments for the computer and show some examples of the work that ixi software has been developing.