Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Atenir - Greece

The conference has been a good if not a slightly random one.

The panels I attended were really fascinating on the whole with such diverse subjects as the history of the Black Arts Council in the US, Screenplay methods (Jools from Nottingham), lots about practice research which is really good for my PhD arguments and the wierdest last one that I attended because it sounded completely crazy and involved a huge attractive Texan Professor talking about Sky Diving, Scuba Diving and the sublime, referencing Jonathan Living Seagull. I thought i'd gone into the wrong conference and ended up in a marine equipment convention, which was fine by me...

Our session on Tuesday went well I think, lots of good feedback although I was terrified of how to merge my normal presentation style of talking generally, however it comes based on my chosen selection of pretty pictures and the seemingly accepted style of reading from the paper. I attempted to merge the two and after two minutes when I thought I was going to choke and the audience die of boredom I managed to get into the swing of it. People said it worked well so i'll trust it did and lots of people came up and talked about the project, was very interested in the climate change stuff and generally met a bunch of really lovely, interesting people from it.

The rest of the panel was great, although a wierd selection of digital arts type stuff. Una was fantastic, talking about her project with Marina involving posting animals (particularly Raccoons) into Google Street View, looking at how animals are reinhabiting cities. It was humourous and interesting to find out more about her work looking at animals.

Kathy (who I had great chats with yesterday) from Philidelphia presented some really cool software that she is using to teach about fashion design, costume and textiles, she is a wonderfully interesting person and I really enjoyed sitting in the bar and chatting with her on the greek islands yesterday, comparing corporate horror stories and chatting about romance, life, being one of so few woman in a world of male geeks.

After the panel me, Una and Shonu (Una's daughter) went to the roof lounge and celebrated with extra large gin and tonics overlooking the Pantheon at midday, bliss. We then returned to the hotel for a sleep and I had a wander round.

The afternoon involved a wonderful walk round the Pantheon, we explored the ruins and laughed at the rusty engineering littered about and admired the AMAZING views. They felt practically religous but not quite, you could see what the Ancient Greeks were trying to. We've had lots of talks about Atheism, Communism and Richard Dawkins over the last couple of days.

The evening ended with Retsina (fizzy red wine, whats that about??) and a meal in a taverna where my vegetarian option never came.

Yesterday was heaven, a cruise around 3 islands Hydra, Aegina and cant remember the name of the first one. Lots of sea, sun, rocks, pistachio trees, olive trees, bars, Ouzo, seafood, pina coladas, Ouzo, mythos beer, Jools Ska dancing to Greek Music, greek elvis, dancing greek man with a strange foot fetish, lounging on deck and talking incessantly about stuff, great chat about performance with Kevin and Suzanna from Philidelphia, good talks about Prussia with Ana from Riga, such lovely people. The day ended with a takeout from the vegetarian restaurant eating on the roof with one last pina colada overlooking the Acropylis with Jools, Una and Shonu. A great day.

On the way home we walked past the Bank of Greece as a van of riot police was emptying out, there was hardly anyone there, but it's definately a reminder that all is not heaven and bliss here or in the world.

Time to come home.

Monday, June 07, 2010

AI on their travels again...


It's been awhile since we have blogged and as normal I'm taking advantage of the being on the move to write and contemplate. AI Hq these days is pretty hectic, with lots of changes occurring and us all in and out all the time, what with my PhD at Nottingham University and Matt working alot of the time in Birmingham with Mudlark.

Anyhow i have the pleasure of sitting on a balcony in Athens, overlooking one of the main streets, and if I stand up the Acropylis and Pantheon. Its amazing, and hot (despite the BBCs warnings of rain). Im at an art and creativity conference organised by Atenir. After months of computer science, engineering and geospatial engineering studies (or avoidance of studies!) it is a relief to be back where my heart is, in intense art discussions.

I arrived last night to a a chaotic city, no demonstrations, all seems calm and where I am staying not very skint at all. I am sure away from the main streets and amazing array of posh and high street shops it is a completely different story. The rich continue to shop whereever you are in the world in these days of global captialism.

I had a report to finish for uni last night so stayed in the hotel, couldn't find much more than cheese on toast, so got drunk on the free very potent spirit left in the room and then tried to write stuff. It was lovely when I went to the rooftop bar and sat facing the Acropylis all lit up at night, drinking G+T and working on my laptop. I am one of those sad workaholic world travellers sitting with their laptop for company... like an arts carpet salesman... The life of a mobile artist, I have been thinking alot about the discussions at the Tracing Mobility event last week, and this new world that is part of our locative practice where artists, fly around the world talking, meeting each other and living partly in transit, part virtually, bridging virtual collaborations such as the one with Silvia Leal and part at home in Nottingham with my friends, never mind the travel to and from London. It often feels so disconnected. Technology and connectivity definately makes you more disconnected until you get txts from friends wherever you are in the world.

Today I went to the conference, finally finding Una who is also staying at the hotel with her daughter, she is chairing the panel I am presenting in and has been in email contact through Gabriella who led the paper and is sadly not able to come becuase of the BA strikes.

The conference is really interesting although the panels are huge and strangely diverse (not well curated), I am unsure about this arts academic practice of reading the paper out loud as a presentation and am very surprised that artists would do this. I am thinking about how to give that paper justice and feel comfortable with reading the paper.

I am presenting a paper written by Gabriella, Myself and Steve Benford about the Dark Forest project in context of other performances of nature, within nature, about nature... . Una is presenting about represtentations of climate change which I am really looking forward to hearing.

Found an old friend here, Jools from Nottingham Trent so it all feels a little less lonely and im looking to the Greek Night tonight, whatever that is, should be fun. Hopefully I will get more than cheese and bread (there is a theme to my travels). Eat pig by accident again in the vegetarian pizza things at lunch (another theme of these travels) although managed to gracefully spit it into a serviette without too much drama. Found an amazing vegetarian greek cafe across the road from the conference venue, bought a delicous vegetarian slice of yummy stuff, spilt water all over it, accidently dropped it in the bin and am therefore starving... gonna lose some weight this trip I think if things carry on like this!