Call for Online Digital Media: ‘Ubuntu’ at FLEFF 2008 – deadline 1 November 2007

Radically reconfigured for the 21st century in 2006, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) is a multimedia festival that explores the theme of sustainability and the environment within a large global conversation that embraces a range of political, economic, social, and aesthetic issues, including labour, war, health, disease, intellectual property, software, remix culture, economics, archives, HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, and human rights.

‘Ubuntu’, the online digital media exhibition for FLEFF 2008, takes its name from Bantu-language African philosophies that foreground interconnectedness and interdependence through expressions such as ‘a person is a person through persons’ and ‘I am because we are’. The exhibition applies this conception of intersubjectivity to explore understandings of environmentalism—ways that it affects us collectively, suggesting that online digital media can affect awareness and positive change.

The curators of ‘Ubuntu’ are looking for submissions of online digital/new media art and video that explore issues related to the four ‘content streams’ of this year’s festival: camouflage, counterpoint, games, and gastronomica. (See details below.) We are particularly interested in collaborative work, interactive work, multiscreen or multilinear work, and work that underscore the aesthetics of the political and the politicisation of the aesthetic. Submissions from artists living and working in the global South are of particular interest. Selected works will be exhibited and archived on the festival’s official web site.

‘Ubuntu’ aims to deploy potentially progressive aspects of globalization, such as digital technologies and internet communication, as a means to prompt critical dialogues on the often repressive aspects of globalization, including the rapidly accelerating disparity among populations in terms of wealth, power, and access to basic human rights. ‘Ubuntu’ aims to demonstrate that environmentalism is not just about nature, but about our collective existence.


Sometimes mistakenly conceived as “blending in,” camouflage achieves its objectives by disrupting visual fields and fragmenting their boundaries. Ironically, through its disruptions, camouflage fosters mediation, connectivity, integration, and engagement, blurring boundaries between bodies, species, environments, and cultures. Military camouflage, now digitally designed, is offered in dozens of styles, each tailored to the needs of a specific regional conflict. In streets, galleries, and fashion houses, camouflage is accessorized as accoutrement of critique and resistance.


Different melodic lines heard simultaneously identify counterpoint. Counterpoint matches horizontal lines into vertical harmonies, creating dimension. Counterpoint germinates polyphony. Discords produce tension. Dissonance resolves into consonance. Inventions, fugues, and canons exemplify counterpoint with their rhythms, modulations, episodes. Contours and climaxes shape counterpoint. Counterpoint also spells argument—pushing against the dominant, the assumed, the accepted. A contrapuntal position releases us to see, hear and invent fresh meanings and radical structures.


Games are sports. Games are conceptual environments. Games spin dialectics between competition and collectivity, interaction and immersion. The ludology/narratology wars pit process against story. Games fuel fun and flow. Games conjure liminal zones. Bounded by space and time, game players torque rules and components. Through movement and climax, games create imaginary and real places exempt from quotidian routines. Whether in words, wars, boards, cards, courts, virtualities, fields, ecologies, computers, or minds, games mobilize abstract strategies and risk.


Constituted by chemical compounds—sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, salts, and fats—food is the essence of environmental tangibility and provides the material foundations of life. Food spawns all things gastronomic, the refinements and complexities of cuisine, with attendant implications for taste, nutrition, family, community, and identity. Gastronomica connotes multiple divisions of labour, sweeping political economies, ravaging famines, heterogeneous ethnicities, hidden histories, complex systems of production, vast regimes of regulation, daunting genetic manipulations, mountains of cookbooks, and billions in advertising.

FLEFF 2008 will take place from 31 March to 06 April 2008 in Ithaca (New York), USA; ‘Ubuntu’ will go live on the web on 31 March 2008. Visit for a description of last year’s exhibit, ‘Undisclosed Recipients’, and for links to curated work.

Please send submissions, with links and a brief bio, to *BOTH* Dale Hudson, Amherst College () *AND* Sharon Lin Tay, Middlesex University () no later than 01 November 2007.

Only work that can be exhibited online can be considered for this exhibit. Media artists working in offline formats, should submit work to FLEFF under other calls.