[spectre] FWD: Excavating the Future

Eric Kluitenberg epk@xs4all.nl
Fri, 9 Nov 2001 11:56:34 +0100

Thought this might be of interest...



From: "milos" <milos.vojtechovsky@fcca.cz>
Subject: excavation the future
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 19:59:12 +0100



Prague, December 3-5, 2001

This media symposium brings together artists, scientists, and critics to
discuss theory and practice, and to reflect on the past, present and futu=
of new media, and on their social, political and cultural context.

Organized by:
Goethe Institute Prag, Center for Contemporary Arts Prague, National Film

As contemporary societies' dependency on new communication technologies i=
growing, we need to understand what the roots and ramifications of their =
are. The appearance and transformation of various forms of image-making
associated with the recent development of digital technology have had a
major impact on our perception and our concept of reality.  But, for all
their novelty, these changes were unthinkable without cinema and other ea=
technologies and methods, as well as without scientific discoveries that
made them possible, starting with the exploration of the persistent image=
scientists in the early 19th century.

In his dissertation published in Prague in 1818, Johann Evangelista Purki=
(Jan Evangelista Purkyn=CF) observed that we still see a latent image of =
object a fraction-of-a-second after it disappears from our visual field. =
study of this perception-phenomenon, which was described in a greater det=
by Peter Mark Roget in 1824, laid the foundation for technical devices an=
new media which turned still images into moving pictures, including cinem=
television, as well as digital audiovisual technologies.

Purkinje's work, which represents a fundamental connection between the da=
of neuroscience and the rise of the technologies of the moving image, can
serve as a point of departure for reflections on the present development =
electronic media and their influence on our everyday life. As these
technologies provide us with new possibilities and change our way of life=
they necessitate explorations of their historical and theoretical concept=
raising questions such as:

1. How have our perceptions of reality changed in respect to a more and m=
sophisticated technical apparatus, constructed to record, scan, and gener=
images, and even to artificially simulate audio-visual environments and

2. How do new cognitive models contribute to the evolution of electronic
media and, conversely, what is the role of digital technology in cognitiv=

3. How is the rapid growth of electronic media embedded in history?

4. How do cultural traditions condition the use and development of new me=

on one hand, and how do new media reconfigure these traditions and our
notion of history on the other?

5. How do different timeframes of discourse (social, political and
geographical...) determine our reflection of technology?

6. What models of collaboration between scientists and artists have been =
still are constructive?  And what are the platforms, goals and framing
issues of such inter-mediations?

Preliminary program:

Sunday 2nd December

5.p.m. informal meeting and

Machine Centred Humanz
Guy van Belle
Audio-visual Performance
will be confirmed

National Museum of Technology
Kosteln=CC 42
170 78  Praha 7

Monday 3rd December

Goethe Institut. 10. - 13.00

Opening statement:

Johann Evangelista Purkinje: From Dromology to Moving Pictures
Jaroslav And=CFl, Independent Scholar, New York.
Johann Evangelista Purkinje, whose work provides a framework for the
conference, can be considered a precursor of dromology, a discipline that
studies the perception of movement. The opening presentation argues that =
exploration of the perception of movement inspired the rise and rapid
advance of the technologies of moving image - a link evident in Purkinje'=
work. His ideas and experiments serve as historical reference for the six
topical themes of the conference.

Observation and Experiments of the Physiology of Senses
Ji=AF=CC Hoskovec, Professor, Charles University Prague
Purkyn=CF, polymath of the Czech/Austrian/German scientific community in =
19th century whose work is associated with the dawn of neuroscience, made=
number of influential discoveries, but none of them as interesting as his
earliest enquiries into vision. Prof. Ji=AFi Hoskovec collaborated on the
recently published book Purkinje=A5s Vision: The Dawning of Neuroscience =
Nicholas J.Wade and Josef Bro=E6ek.

11:00 - 13:00
Session 1.
Moving Pictures and Optical Devices: Machines for Observation and Machine=
for Dreaming - Technology, Science, Entertainment and Art.

Among many developments leading to the emergence of early cinema and movi=
pictures in the 19th century, is the most spectacular the tradition of
optical and communication instruments, associated with painting, optics,
natural history, but also with entertainment industry and magic: Magic
Lanterns, Kaleidoscopes, Phenakistoscopes, Zoetropes, Praxinoscopes,
Zoopraxinoscopes, Mutoscopes, as well as tools used in the Fantasmagorie
performances by Etien Gaspard Robertson. These did contributed towards th=
rise of Cinematographe and Cinema, and this tradition determined shapes a=
contemporary approaches towards new telecommunication devises. Media
archaeology explores the recurring elements and motives underlying and
guiding the development of media culture and "excavates" the traces in wh=
these traditions and formulations have been "imprinted" on different medi=
machines and systems in different historical contexts.

14: 30-16:30

Session 2.
Kinetic and Cinematic: From Mobility to Telematic Bodies.

Cinema and the consequent generations of new media can be viewed both as
products and symbolic systems of mobility, one of the principal
characteristics of modernity. The study of the perception of moving bodie=
laid foundations for the development of new media. This further fostered =
fascination with dynamics, fluidity, and the transitory that have inspire=
d a
great number of modern scientific and artistic concepts. This link thus
provides a historical context for understanding the multiple interchange
between new media and new fields of explorations.

Session 3.
Exploring Senses, Reinventing Media.

The notion of visual culture has recently been hailed as a fresh approach=
reality that contests the dominance of text-oriented thinking in favour o=
the visual perception. Purkinje=A5s ideas and experiments suggests that t=
dichotomy of the visual and the discursive can be surpassed by exploring =
different senses contribute to the constitution of reality and how they
relate to each other. His work can serve as an inspiration for a deeper
understanding of issues of inter-mediality and trans-mediality - studies =
the relationships and interchange between different media as well as sens=
in relation to the constant effort to negotiate our concepts of reality.


Session 4.
Media Inventors: Redefining the Boundaries between Science, Technology, a=

Media inventors through the history have often crossed the boundaries
between individual fields while redefining their relationships. The
scientist Purkyne was a prolific translator of poetic works and bridged t=
gap between science and art by executing his scientific experiments on
himself. The painters Daguerre and Morse invented media that accelerated =
growth of scientific knowledge and the poet Charles Cross used scientific
systems for groundbreaking inventions of colour photography and sound
recording as well as for a visionary method of communication with
extraterrestrial civilizations.


Session 5.

The Moment of Discovery: From Science to Art and Technology and Vice Vers=

Discoveries connect different traditions and fields while opening new
developments. This was the case of Purkinje's exploration of the movement=
the eye, which inspired his prediction of the rise of abstract and kineti=
art. His studies of the perception of movement led him to contribute to t=
emerging science and art of moving pictures. Similarly, color theories pa=
the way for Neo-Impressionism and technologies of color photography. In t=
twentieth century, the invention of the computer was made possible by
mathematical theories. How does the notion of the thinking machine effect
the cross-fertilisation of arts, science and technology?

Panel 6.
Media Visions: Beyond the Dialectic of Liberation and Control?

In his article "Kinesiskop," written in 1865, Purkinje envisioned the
spectacular advance of the visual associated with the moving image and it=
applications in science and art. He also introduced the system of
fingerprint reading (dactyloscopy), which was soon adopted for personal
identification and became one of the first modern methods of control and
surveillance. Empowerment and domination, liberation and control are clos=
intertwined in the rise and evolution of technology and new media. Can we
find today a frame of reference that would enable us to look beyond this =


Dawn of Cinema
(from the National Film Archive Prague)

first films from the collection of The National Film Archive, Prague
Bartolom=CFjsk=B7 11, Praha 1, tel.: 24237233

Additional Program

Wednesday 5th December

10. - 13.30
Academy of Fine Arts - New Media Department
U Akademie 4

Discussion and presentations

7.30 p.a.

Camera Magica,

(from the archive of Werner Nekes)
Kino Konvikt
Bartolom=CFjsk=B7 11, Praha 1, tel.: 24237233

quotes from Purkyn=CF works

"For a couple of years I have been interested in the theory of the so-cal=
optical magic wheels this being but the result of my observations of the
pseudo-picture (Purkinje's term for the persistent image) carried through
long ago. The pseudo-picture lasts through the wink of the eye in front o=
the inner sense causing that the vision of the realities viewed is
uninterrupted. I succeeded to discover several modifications of the here
mentioned apparatus by which the representation has been speeded up as th=
popularisation of the apparatus made easier after all. I have felt so muc=
enthusiastic for that idea which I think to be of much significance not o=
as a branch of art but also in the respect of profit so that I decided to
have it registered as a patent on the result of which I still wait in."

In: "Z neznam=C8 korespondence J.E.Purkyne II," edited by F.X.Halas,
Universitas 87. Revue Univerzity J.E.Purkyne v Brne, vol. 20, April 1987,=
50(?, 56?).

"Kinesiscope, is a word from Greek for the instrument of physiology and
physics by which various movements of natural as well as artistic objects
can be represented. That is to say every movement is becoming in a sequen=
of time, in every moment of this time the object occupies a certain spati=
position, which changes while making transition into the next moment. The=
changes represent themselves on a moving plane in a sequence, when this
plane then moves either in a circular or linear way so that individual
pictures occupy the same position in a highest speed and stop for a momen=
there, the eye conceive them as if on the same spot changing in time. In
this  way, one can achieve that even movements of all kinds can be
represented. To achieve this goal, there are various means used, simple o=
more elaborated according to how this branch has evolved with time. (.) i=
is especially important that the most diverse movements of natural,
historical, and artistic performances can be presented even to a wider
public, and a special branch of scientific industry will emerge from this=
useful in schools and, in general, for education and entertainment. For
instance, in the field of physics, it is possible to present various kind=
of the wave motion of liquids, sound, and light, the most complex machine=
in their motion; in the field of physiology, the motion of the heart, the
blood circulation, the nerve currents, the muscle activity; in natural
history, the movement of various animals on the ground and in the air, th=
most diverse play of colors, physiognomic expressions on the human face,
dramatic motions,  the growth of plants and other organic bodies, figurat=
representation from all sides, which otherwise is not possible to execute=
a simple plane; in the field of history, the performances of various
groupings of human action, for instance, battles, balls,  marches and
others. These performances can take place either on a smaller scale or in
any enlargement on transparent surfaces. It can be expected that thanks t=
the mastery of artists this thing will become in time a special branch of
fine arts, in which it will not suffice to create only a single moment of
the evolving act, but also a complete story and complete narrative."
("Kinesiskop," Riegruv slovn=CCk nau=CBn=9B, 1865)


Initiators: Jaroslav And=CFl,  Art Historian, Curator, New York
Milo=BC Vojt=CFchovsk=9B, Art Historian, Curator, Prague,
Michael de la Fontaine, Program Director of Goethe Institut Prag,
Michael Bielicky, Media Artist, Academy of Fine Arts Prague

The project Excavating the Future is part of the activities of the Center
for Contemporary Art in Prague, resulting from the Center's long-term
interest in broader applications of art and technology in everyday life.
Excavating the Future originates in the framework created by several
projects that FCCA organized or participated in in recent years, includin=
the New Media Exhibition Orbis Fictus (1995), active participation in the
series of Flusser Media Symposia in Prague, and other programs related to
the Media Laboratory founded by the FCCA three years ago. Organizers hope=
help foster new international connections between individuals from differ=
backgrounds, resulting in durable and fruitful collaborations in the futu=
The conference will be documented in a small brochure and, more extensive=
on a website.

The project Excavating the Future continues in the tradition of the Fluss=
Media symposium series organized by the Goethe Institute Prag between 199=
and 1998.

supported by: German Czech Future Funds, Trust for Mutual Understanding,
Royal Netherlands Embassy in Prague, Ministry of Culture of Czech Republi=
Ministry of culture of Finland, British Council, Austrian Cultural
Institute, Pro Helvetia Zurich and Prague, Polsk=9B kulturn=CC institut v=
The program of Medialaboratory is supported by grant from Daniel Langlois
Foundation for Art, Science and Technology,

Collaborating Institutions:

Department of Informatic of The Charles University Prague, The Faculty of
Fine Arts of The Technical University Brno, The Academy of Fine Arts Prag=
The National Museum of Technology in Prague, The National Museum Prague, =
Center for Culture and Technology Budapest, The Institute for Advanced
Studies at Charles University, The National Film Institute Prague, Center
for Culture and Communication Budapest, Center for Old and new Media
Amsterdam, and other Czech and foreign initiatives, individuals and

Milo=BC Vojt=CFchovsk=9B, Katherine Kastner

Center for Contemporary Arts
Jeleni 9
118 00 Praha 1
Czech Republic
tel 00420 224373178
fax 00420 57320640

Michael de la Fontaine
Program Director

Goethe Institut Prag
Masarykovo nabrezi 32
CZ - 110 00 Praha 1
Tel: (00420 2) 219 62-111
Fax: (004202) 219 62-250
email: fontain@goethe.cz

Jaroslav And=CFl

309 East 4th Street, New York
Tel/Fax: 001 212 387 9347
 email: jaroslavandel@hotmail.com


Eva K=AFepelka

Goethe Institut Prag
Masarykovo nabrezi 32
CZ - 110 00 Praha 1
Tel: (00420 2) 219 62-111
Fax: (004202) 219 62-250
email: spra@goethe.cz

film screenings:

Milan Klepikov
N=B7rodn=CC filmov=9B archiv
Male=BCick=B7 12, 130 00 Praha 3
tel. +420 2 71770509, +420 2 71770502-3 fax. +420 2 71770501
e-mail: nfa@nfa.cz
email: milos@fcca.cz