Call for New Media Art: Digital Checkpoints – deadline 31 January 2011

Subject: Call for New Media Art: Digital Checkpoints exhibition for FLEFF 2011 (deadline: 31.01.2011)
Types: Call for new media art, locative media, tactical media, electronic civil disobedience, experimental coding, radical cartography, opportunity, announcement, festival, prizes, competition

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) provides a vibrant space for debates and dialogues of environmentalism according to twenty-first–century global perspectives that embrace the complex nexus of political, economic, social, and aesthetic dimensions, such as public health, genetically modified seeds, endemic disease, indentured labour, militarized international borders, civil war, biological war, neoliberal economic policies, intellectual property, free trade zones, bioengineered foods, informal economies, rare minerals, women’s rights, and human rights.

We invite submissions of new media art, database documentaries, locative and tactical media with a distributed network component, digital video designed for online exhibition platforms, experimental coding, data-visualization applications, experimental archiving, and other web-based media that engage the theme of “Checkpoints” for FLEFF 2011’s juried competition and online exhibition, Digital Checkpoints. One prize of 250USD will be awarded.

Checkpoints evoke crossing over to a different physical, artistic, social, political, psychic, emotional, or intellectual place. In the 1940s, aviation instituted the term checkpoint to denote checking altitude in comparison to landforms or structures. Checkpoints functioned as reference points, markers, navigational aids.

Later, its geographical significance expanded: Checkpoint Charlie, the West Bank, the United States and México, Baghdad, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Myanmar and Laos, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Colombia. Checkpoints entangle surveillance: Homeland security. Airports. Sobriety checkpoints. Weigh stations. Checkpoints undergird the new international security apparatus. Checkpoints test safety, monitor progress, and refuel in adventure racing or the Iditarod. You probably want to know where you are, but so do others.
Checkpoints evoke both orientation and control. Renaissance polyphonic music pointing allotted syllables to notes. Transaction checkpoints recover data in computer systems. A gamer who dies can restart via a checkpoint. Biological checkpoints block cell division and stave off cancer. Checkpoints modulate the body’s ecology. Checkpoints mark environmental turning points: global temperature gradients, flooding, heat waves.
A checkpoint is a check-in—and check-out. Check, checkup, checkmate, checkpoint, checked, spot check, checkered, checking, boiling point, border point, match point, point, pointer, pointing, flashpoints—principles of operation and crossings to somewhere else.

Comparably, distributed networks, such as the Internet and mobile communications, allow freedoms and controls of information via digital checkpoints that are rhizomatic, layered, coded, and transcoded. China makes international news for its violations of unfettered flows of information on Google and other popular commercial search engines; others states, such as India and Saudi Arabia, make news for threatening to shut down Blackberry services that are not in step with domestic and international security measures. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks makes news for its ‘democratization’ of information in its ‘Afghan War Diaries’ and ‘Iraq War Logs’.
States and corporations often collude to quell electronic civil disobedience by switching off the root of networked communication. Whether T-Mobile’s blocking the Institute of Applied Technology in 2004 for its TXTmob, which facilitated SMS communication among protestors at the national conventions of the only two officially sanctioned political parties in the United States, or University of California San Diego’s sanctions against one of its own professors, Ricardo Dominguez, in 2010 for his ‘Transborder Immigrant Tool’, which facilitates safe crossing of the inhospitable and deadly terrains of the ‘Devil’s Highway’ between México and the United States by providing information via GPS and mobile phones.

Indeed, political theorists suggest that an epoch of disciplinary control is giving way to one of regulated control in a center-less, yet hierarchical, distribution of power that functions like distributed networks of what was once called the ‘Information Superhighway’.

Checkpoints are everywhere—in the airwaves and on our hard drives. Artists, community activists, intellectuals, and students respond with innovation and circumvention.

We invite submissions that engage with FLEFF 2011’s theme of checkpoints by any means possible—disrupting them, visualizing them, allowing users to experience or embody them.

The Digital Checkpoints exhibit will go live in April 2011 in conjunction with the festival in Ithaca (New York), USA. Visit the FLEFF web site at for details, links to previous new media art exhibitions and blogs, including the curators’ blog Digital Spaces: Speculations on Digital Art and Viral Spaces. Please also read about other events associated with FLEFF and its global network of partners in the Open Cinema Project.

Please send links to submissions with a brief bio in an email to curators Dale Hudson (UAE/USA) and Sharon Lin Tay (UK/Singapore) at no later than 31 January 2011.

Only projects that can be exhibited online can be considered for this exhibit. Media artists working in off-line formats, should visit the FLEFF web site for other calls. Unfortunately, we cannot consider projects previously curated in FLEFF exhibits, nor can we consider projects by Ithaca College students, faculty, or staff.

Sharon Daniel (USA) is Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research involves collaborations with local and online communities. Her role as an artist is that of “context provider,” assisting communities, collecting their stories, soliciting their opinions on politics and social justice, and building the online archives and interfaces that make this data available across social, cultural, and economic boundaries. Her goal is to avoids representation – not to attempt to speak for others but to allow them to speak for themselves. Daniel’s work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Biennial, University of Paris, Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Ars Electronica, and the Lincoln Center Festival, as well as on the Internet, and her essays have been published Leonardo and the Sarai Reader.

Carlos Motta (Colombia/USA) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work draws from political history in an attempt to create counter narratives that recognize the inclusion of suppressed histories, communities, identities and ideologies. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at MoMA/PS1 Contemporary Art Center; Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá; as well as in numerous international group exhibitions. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and an alumnus of the Whitney Independent Study Program.


Dale Hudson (UAE/USA) teaches film and new media studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. His work on global cinema and new media appears in Afterimage, Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video, Screen, Studies in Documentary Film, and elsewhere. He is preparing a book manuscript entitled Blood, Bodies, and Borders.

Sharon Lin Tay (UK/Singapore) teaches film and digital theory at Middlesex University in London. She is on sabbatical in 2010 and is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. Her new book about women filmmakers and digital artists, entitled Women on the Edge: Twelve Political Film Practices (2009), is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Hudson and Tay have co-curated four previous exhibitions at FLEFF: Undisclosed Recipients (2007), ubuntu.kuqala (2008), sticky-content (2009), and Map Open Space (2010).