SPRING 2012: V.08 N.01: CAA Conference Edition 2012

Joyce Rudinsky
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

The New Media Art Camp Unconference was held during the CAA conference at the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles. This was the first year the New Media Caucus hosted such an event. An unconference is a participant-driven meeting where all are encouraged to suggest topics for breakout sessions. After the discussions, the event ends with a report back to the entire group. The goal is to create an alternative to the typical lecture-style conference.

New Media Caucus members during the Unconference gathering. © Paul Catanese.

New Media Caucus members during the Unconference gathering. © Paul Catanese.

Prior to the conference a Facebook page was established to allow attendees to post ideas for discussion ( Posts indicated an interest in discussion about current conceptual work including virtual identities, performative aspects of code and the boundaries between New Media Art and entertainment. Working with new platforms such as game engines, augmented reality and art apps was another interest. Other suggestions were visualization as art and new media pedagogical concerns. The variety of posts indicated the interest for conversations among artists and theoreticians.

“The NMC unconference gathering was a great opportunity to meet like-minded collaborators from the arts practice community connected to CAA. I really enjoyed learning about how people think about and organize their projects, especially those that involve collaboration across disciplines. I came away with some ideas about how to make my work better, as well as with tips on whose work I should be getting to know further.”
Victoria Szabo

The format that evolved was the entire group discussing a variety of themes of common interest, generally centered around practice-based pedagogy in code studies, physical computing and location-based media. Conversation was both theoretical and practical.

“I was enthralled by a fantastic conversation in which a number of members could share information and thoughts with one another on a wide variety of topics that otherwise might not have been able to happen.  I know personally, I learned about a few new artists, software tools, and venues – in addition to finding out more about some of the teaching practices that my colleagues are using in the field, especially with regard to coding in the context of art practice.” Paul Catanese

Another thread was the ways New Media Caucus could become a more effective force within and outside CAA. One idea was to raise the profile of the group at other conferences and events such as the Society fro Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA). The group brainstormed ways to get the word out and make events more accessible. Past events such as student blogging, conference focused projects such as the hotel room installation (2011) were reconsidered. We all agreed that the opening night event at the LA Center for Digital Art was a great success, and that we’d like to provide more opportunities for people to share their work.

“The New Media Caucus is a great forum for providing both overall and detailed views of circumstances, events, programs, technologies, projects, questions, and more…all happening within this rapidly and always changing field. It was very useful to come away with a snapshot of where we are now, and possible future directions.” Paula Levine

Participants voiced an interest in creating opportunities for conversations through the year through virtual meetings and online forums.

The New Media Art Camp Unconference was a stimulating and informative session where participants discussed current issues related to research, art, and teaching.

“The New Media Caucus Unconference offered the opportunity to talk with other practitioners and professionals about a number of topics from research and studio questions to issues of teaching new media during a recession.  The panorama theater and the garden out back were perfect for meeting new people, catching up with old friends, and enjoying the LA sunshine.” Victoria Bradbury