Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interactivos Lima at

The technology of illusion

Jascha Hoffman1

-Interactivos? Lima '09: Magic and Technology
Escuelab, Lima, Peru. Sponsored by Medialab Prado.
Workshop held 13 April until 13 May 2009.


Viewing your arm through this box of tricks (top) transformed it into the furry equivalent shown above.

Magic is not limited to the tricks performed at children's parties. It can refer to anything that resists explanation, from cognitive illusions to high-tech wizardry. This broader sense of magic was in the air in Lima, Peru, earlier this spring, when engineers and artists converged to explore the intersection of magic and technology, with awe-inspiring results.

"It's nuts, it's very ambitious," said Julian Oliver, an artist from New Zealand who helped to organize the workshop for Medialab Prado, based in Madrid, Spain. "People bring the skeletons of ideas and build them in just two weeks."

The workshop began with a digital nod to the time-honoured manipulation of playing cards and coins. Using a suitcase that folds out to become a digital overhead projector, a Spanish magician doctored a live video feed of his tabletop tricks using a pair of wireless shoes.

Other artists endowed spectators with unearthly powers. One Brazilian artist gave visitors a 'magic wand' to change the outline of their shadows. A Mexican inventor used a hidden theremin, the musical instrument that responds to the body's electrical fields, to activate a magnet that causes a pair of ghostly silver spoons to flip over when someone approached. "We had to reject a project that involved a flame you could control with your hands by way of gas injections," said Oliver.

The conception of magic in Peru was not always the art of deception seen in the West. Instead of Houdini-style illusions, "there is superstition and metaphysics" in Peru involving "rites, summoning and prognostication", said Oliver. Abracadabra Pata, a box in which visitors saw their own arms transformed into the legs of insects or lions, gave a taste of the spirit of witchcraft. A sense of the miraculous also pulsed through an installation that asked passers-by to synchronize their heartbeats to revive an image of a dead man projected onto the floor, in a sort of shamanistic healing- ritual-turned-video-game that took its inspiration from the Peruvian poet C├ęsar Vallejo.

Magic could be defined as that which science has not yet made intelligible. But "even if science could explain everything, there would still be a place for magic," noted Kiko Mayorga, a Peruvian engineer and artist who co-founded the Escuelab centre that hosted the installations. This is because "magic is linked to surprise, and one's attention can never take in everything," he wrote.

Magic can comprise inventions that baffle us until we understand them. But this ignores a crucial fact: the best illusions rely not on advances in technology, but on permanent facts of psychology. "Magic, in the traditional sense, doesn't occur in the world, it occurs inside people," explains Oliver. "The magician merely helps people to trick themselves."

Monday, June 22, 2009


"There are 10 days left to enter a Live Media/audiovisual work in ‘Celeste Prize 2009’, submissions no later than 30 June !

6 Live Media sets will be invited to perform on 26 September 2009 at the Alte AEG Fabrik, the old Berlin city electricity generating plant, in Voltastrasse. All Celeste finalists artists themselves will vote the 8,000 euro which will go to the winning Live Media set.

Register on and upload your work for the Live Meida Prize, there is a 50 euro submission fee which also entitles you to full interactive functions onsite.

‘Celeste Prize 2009’ is an international contemporary arts prize
in which artists decide who wins the 40,000 euro prize money.


The 6 finalist Live Media sets will be chosen by:
Claudio Sinatti artist and teacher at IED (Italy)
and a team of selectors which includes
Justine Beaujouan, co-curator & organiser of Mapping Festival (Switzerland), Boris Edelstein & Ilan Katin, Modul8 software (Germany),
Lillevan, artist (Germany),
Bart van der Ploeg & Edwin de Koning, Resolume software (Netherlands),
Marius Watz, artist and curator (USA).

The other 40 Celeste finalist works are selected by a panel of international art critics which include: Mark Gisbourne, Adrienne Goehler, Victoria Lu.

terms & conditions of prize :

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Residence in Hong Kong

Videotage <> , the media art organization in Hong Kong is calling for artists to submit proposals for an artist residency program - FUSE. Please apply or forward to people you think will be interested. For details, please click the link below. Thanks.

enGage ludiCity


Los Angeles

enGage ludiCity
by REMAP for Photocartographies @ g727
a module of Remapping-LA

A situationist-inspired participative experience/performance
using mobile technology for collective exploration and dialogue
about Los Angeles, its psychogeography and its historicity.
June 15 to June 19 - personal disruptive ludic actions

Re-envision the city through playful actions.
Disrupt habitual patterns and generate significant situations.
Transform the common and obvious into extraordinary and interesting.
Create maps of the city based on creativity, play and discovery.
Re-label the city with a language of personal experience.
Have fun.
Participate by registering to use the Situationist Messaging System (SMS)
Based on your registration profile our Situationist Messaging System will
suggest (through SMS) periodic random ludic (playful) actions and request
The information sent about the participants' ludic actions will generate an
emergent experiential map of Los Angeles posted every couple of hours
June 20 - collective situationist ludic engagement
Daylight Engagement: 4pm to 6:30pm
Night Engagement: 9:30pm to 12midnight
at "Photocartographies/g727, 727 Spring Street, Downtown LA
Join participants to engage downtown LA through the maps and directions
created through playful actions (described above).
Explore color, texture, shape, and function in the urban geography.
Re-label physical space with the collective language of personal experience.
Re-define the city's purpose by turning it into an open library, archive, and stage.
Create trails of images, sounds and text for future reflexion.
Have lots of fun.
Participation in "personal disruptive ludic actions" is recommended but not
required to join the "collective situationist ludic engagements".
An mobile technology automatic documentation system will be used to
generate a multi-perspective representation of the experience.
June 20 - situationist D&D (dialogue and drinking)
7pm to 9pm at "Photocartographies/g727, 727 Spring Street, Downtown LA
A stimulating dialogue about the situationist frameworks, situationist action,
situationist technology and their relevance to Los Angeles.
Created by the Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance
School of Theater, Film & Television and Henry Samueli School of Engineering
A Cultural Civic Computing System by
Fabian Wagmister & Jeff Burke
Photocartographies Curators
Adam Katz & Brian Rosa
g727 Co-Founders
Adrian Rivas & James Rojas

Curator Position at CiC - Cairo

The Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) is an independent non-profit arts initiative founded in Cairo, in 2004, by a group of visual artists and professional photographers.

CiC works to create a platform for production, exhibition, dissemination, research, education and exchange. CiC's mission evolves from an interest in the multifarious modes of image production and consumption, contemporary and historical, arising from within and without art practices, and the ways in which they reflect and deflect the present.

CiC has a special interest in the photographic image at large. Over the years, CiC has sought to engage a wide range of local and international cultural producers, in an attempt to enhance and augment local artistic production and discourse. CiC's interest in exploring, questioning and responding to local artistic needs and concerns qualifies its interest and engagement in international art production and discourse.

CiC is seeking a highly motivated individual to take on the role of curator. This is a key artistic and management position within the institution. The curator will work closely with the CiC director to further the depth and breadth of CiC's mission. It is a complex and demanding role, offering significant responsibility and a diverse, in depth engagement with the local, regional and international art fields. The curator should have a demonstrable knowledge of contemporary art practices and discourse, as well as an active interest in researching and engaging other paradigms of knowledge and practice.

The successful applicant will be expected to develop, fundraise for, and realize CiC's program, ranging from art projects, exhibitions, workshops and classes to various discursive activities. The curator must be able to realize their artistic program, from the stage of conceptualization to financial closure and reporting.

This program should be able to draw on, question and enrich local and regional cultural capital, as well as maintain an international awareness and interest. The program should be exciting, engaging and pertinent, and in its diversity of scope and fields of interest, should address a professional as well as a general public.

Excellent interpersonal skills and advanced organizational skills are necessary, as well as the ability to develop effective partnerships and work collaboratively with the other CiC staff and various other collaborators.

Interested applicants should apply with a detailed CV and a letter of motivation, explaining their interests in working in Cairo and with CiC, and giving a general proposition for their vision of a curatorial direction of CiC.

Applicants do not have to be currently residing in Egypt but must be willing to relocate upon accepting the position. A competitive local salary is offered.

Application deadline: 30th of June, 2009.

Applications should be sent to this email:
For an overview of CiC's activities, please check
More information provided upon request.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Taiknam Hat @ ORF

For those who are in Austria this weekend the channel ORF will broadcast an interview with Sabine Seymour where she talkes about fashionable technology. One of the presented projects is Taiknam hat that I did with Ebru Kurbak and Fabiana Shizue.


ORF Newton
saturday 18h45
ORF Channel

More info:

Friday, June 5, 2009


CALL for proposals:

August 13-16 in Aizpute (Latvia)

The 4-day symposium gathering together artists, activists, technologists, scientists and researchers, to share their ideas and explorations which deal with renewable energy resources, alternative ecological use of technologies, and other sustainability related issues.

- - - -


Environmental science and ecology - Ecosystem research - Permaculture and biosystem design - Biomass as renewable energy resource - Critical and alternative approaches to biotechnology

Sunlight as constant energy resource - Process of photosynthesis - Solar energy technologies

[open source]
Sustainability using open source/information approaches: in art and grassroots culture, ecology, architecture and environmental design

[myths & legends]
Historical traditions and modern alternative solutions - Speculations - Critical, utopian or scientific visions of future terrestrial energy

- - - -


The symposium will take place in artists residency center SERDE in Aizpute, a small town in Kurzeme region of Latvia. SERDE is located in old wooden historical building (that also will be used as a specific case for which alternative and ecological approach in developing sustainable systems and renewable energy technologies can be explored and applied).

- - - -


For this symposium, we invite those interested to send their proposals in relation to above mentioned themes,
to the following email address: <2009> (and/or )

!!!!!!! Deadline: June 8, 2009

- - - -


Travel and accommodation/subsistence will be covered for 10 participants from Baltic and Nordic countries, and for 2 participants from EU countries.

For others, participation costs include:
1) admission - free
2) travel (to Riga) - has to be covered by participants (local transportation from Riga to Aizpute will be provided by organisers)
3) accommodation - 10-25 eur per night

- - - -

The outcomes of the symposium - new projects, artworks, co-productions - will be presented during the international art and science conference ENERGY that will take place in the framework of Art+Communication festival in Riga, October 15-17, 2009.

Symposium is organised by RIXC, the center for new media culture
with the support of Nordic Culture Fund.