FLEFF 2010 Call for New Media Art: Map Open Space – deadline 5 January 2010

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) launches a yearlong exploration of nomadic routes and provisional maps in Open Space. We invite submissions of radical cartography and other new media art that engage the themes of mapping and spatiality in a juried competition and online exhibition, Map Open Space. Two prizes of $US200 will be awarded: a jury’s prize and a curators’ prize.

Open Space assumes myriad forms. It migrates across diverse practices. It loosens multiple meanings. It roves across technologies, social relations, landscape design, politics, ecology, development, critical theory, and media formations. Open Space swaps rigid vertical hierarchies for more fluid horizontal modes. Open Space serves as a catalyst for collaboration, communication, and convergence. It spawns biodiversity, public usage, green neighbourhoods, cultural resources, and land protection beyond development. Open Space stirs up new ways to work, active participation, lived phenomena, surprise.

Digital environments offer ways to imagine, invent, and inhabit Open Space. We’re looking for artists and collectives who deploy digital technologies within new media ecologies to mobilize, manipulate, and map Open Space. Acts of radical historiography, for example, can amplify power structures that have silenced multiple, competing histories. They can visualize power relations made invisible through historically uneven and unequal access to resources. Map Open Space seeks mapping projects that provoke and educate through disruption and intervention, that supplement knowledge rather than combat it, and that invite participation.

Digital maps interpret information visually, graphically, spatially—in layers, pixels, and vectors. Digital mapping infuses information with malleability, manipulability, and mobility. In An Atlas of Radical Cartography, Alexis Bhagat and Lize Mogel explain that the mere inversion of the standard North-oriented world map can serve to ‘unhinge our beliefs about the world, and to provoke new perceptions of the networks, lineages, associations and representations of places, people and power’. They define radical cartography as ‘the practice of mapmaking that subverts conventional notions in order to actively promote social change’. We seek mapping projects that unhinge familiar habits of thinking to chart new possibilities for historical and cultural clarity.

Focusing on the interstices, Map Open Space explores ways that new media can complicate and dislodge the either/or thinking that creates divisions and hierarchies. Instead, the Map Open Space exhibition works towards exploring the both/and thinking that characterises contiguities and convergences. We are especially interested in projects that engage with FLEFF’s ongoing commitment to situating sustainability and environmentalism within global conversations that embrace political, economic, social, and aesthetic issues, including labour, war, health, disease, intellectual property, software, economics, immigration, archives, women’s rights, and human rights.

The jurors for Map Open Space are Babak Fakhamzadeh (Iran/Netherlands) Ismail Farouk (South Africa) and Christina McPhee (United States).

The Map Open Space exhibit will go live on 01 March 2010. Visit the FLEFF web site at www.ithaca.edu/fleff for details, links to previous new media art exhibitions, and blogs, including the Map Open Space 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 (USA) and Sharon Lin (UK/Singapore) digifleff [at] gmx.com no later than 15 January 2010.

Only projects that can be exhibited online can be considered for this exhibit. Media artists working in offline formats, should visit the FLEFF web site for other calls under the Open Space Project, including Make Open Space, Define Open Space, and Compose Open Space. Unfortunately, we cannot consider projects previously curated in FLEFF exhibits, nor can we consider projects by Ithaca College students enrolled in the FLEFF Open Space Lab.

This call for submission is available at http://www.ithaca.edu/fleff/mapopenspace/.

Jurors’ Biographies

After obtaining an M. Sc in maths, Babak Fakhamzadeh started with an office job at a major blue chip company but soon realised he’d do better on his own. Fakhamzadeh is a traveling web guru with a penchant for doing good and a love for visual and experimental art. Together with Ismail Farouk, he won the prestigious Highway Africa new media award in 2007 for sowetouprisings.com.

Ismail Farouk has a background in Fine Art and Human Geography. His work explores creative responses to racial, social, political and economic injustice. Farouk is currently employed as a research officer at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, where he is responsible for the running of the Central Citylab and the urban culture portfolio.

Christina McPhee creates topologic site studies of environmental risk in layered, abstract visual and media suites. Her photomontage, drawing, time-based arts and writing concern speculative landscapes between biological and technologically emergent states, making connections between human traumatic memory, disturbed terrains, and bare life. A much exhibited filmmaker and digital artist, her latest project, ‘Tesserae of Venus’, is a science fiction multimedia series on carbon-saturated energy landscapes that will run at Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, from October to December 2009. Currently, she is visiting lecturer in the graduate program of Digital Arts and New Media (DANM), University of California–Santa Cruz.