ISEA2012: 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art

ISEA2012:  [Overview] [Venues] [Presentations] [Workshops] [Art Events] [Gallery]

18th International Symposium on Electronic Art


Albuquerque, New Mexico United States


19-24 September, 2012


The conference and a partly curated Art Exhibition were held at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. Other conference sessions took place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the New Mexico Museum for Natural History and Science, Explora and other venues. The juried exhibition was staged at the 516 ARTS Gallery in down town Albuquerque, also the location of the ISEA2012 Block Party. Many other ISEA2012 exhibits were held all over town. Concerts, Performances and Screenings were organised at different locations, like the historic KiMo Theater, the UNM Campus, the International Balloon Museum, the Box Performance Space and other venues. An educational project involved local schools and a ‘Dessert Initiative’ involved the surrounding desert as a exhibition and workshop space. After the main part of ISEA2012 had taken place in Albuquerque, additional programs were organised in Santa Fe and Taos. The Santa Fe events included a session at the Institute of American Indian Art and at the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, presented by SARC. All through the Fall of 2012 there was an exceptionally extensive program of associated events all over Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, and Southern New Mexico.


Machine Wilderness: Re-envisioning Art, Technology and Nature

The title for the overall ISEA2012 project is Machine Wilderness. As part of a region of rapid growth alongside wide expanses of open land, New Mexico presents a microcosm of this theme. ISEA2012: Machine Wilderness presents artists’ and technologists’ ideas for a more humane interaction between technology and environment, in which “machines” can take many forms to support and sustain life on Earth. The project focuses on creative solutions for how technology and the natural world can coexist. The term “Machine Wilderness” was originally coined by cultural geographer Ronald Horvath in the 1960s to describe the transformation of the landscape of the American Southwest caused by the automobile. For ISEA2012, the term “Machine Wilderness” is being reclaimed to represent the potential for humans, animals and machines to coexist in a positive, sustainable future. ISEA2012 featured artists, presenters and organizations seek to define wilderness and our place in it in the 21st century.


Power: Gridlocked

Flip a switch and the lights come on. Flush a toilet and waste disappears. Swipe a card and money is transferred. Sophisticated yet often invisible grids of power sustain contemporary life throughout the farthest reaches of our world, providing electricity, gas, water, sewage, finances, materials, transportation, communication and more. Rolling blackouts, economic fallout, climate change and natural disasters test the viability of this interconnected system of dependence. The Gridlocked theme aims to provide a multi-layered exposé of the structures and infrastructures of power, and make visible their origins, mechanisms, consequences and alternatives. Featured programs explore power in its simplest manifestations as well as its complex hold on global society.

Creative Economies: Econotopias

From the local to the global, the Econotopias theme engages a critical dialogue around the challenges and excessive demands of the global marketplace and its impact on everyday life. It explores the future of creative economies as drivers of possibility in diverse communities and environments and through new technologies. By bringing local and international artists, engineers, economists, labor specialists and community organizers together, Econotopias focuses on the need for more sustainable social and production practices through programs on topics such as open-source ideologies, the gift economy, micro-credit, the culture industry and global outsourcing.

Transportation: Dynamobilities

The once-simple task of moving from point A to point B has become a minefield of choices and consequences. The Dynamobilities theme features artworks and presentations that ask questions about and offer possible solutions to the issue of 21st century mobility. Featured projects include new devices for moving through space, mobile media that depend on the user’s movement through space, projects examining the power needed for mobility and question the need for speed, as well as theoretical presentations addressing the mobility of people, goods and ideas.

Wildlife: Trans-Species Habitats

Coyotes, bears, peregrine falcons, many charismatic mega-species are making cities their homes. Bees, bats and other smaller animals are suffering disease and perhaps species collapse. Plant and animal communities are failing due to the control of natural cycles such as flood or fire to accommodate settled human development. However, humans are copying animal adaptations and replicating complex natural systems in sustainable design from Velcro to storm water infiltration. The Trans-Species Habitats theme showcases work that re-imagines the city as a viable space for the integration of overlapping species flowing in patterns and spatial organizations.

The Cosmos: Radical Cosmologies

The Radical Cosmologies theme gazes at the universe and questions our place in it. It explores a wide range of creative perspectives and practices around the cultural, scientific and philosophical possibilities of contemporary astronomy. This theme incorporates various forms of media, written word, performance and installation, as well as workshops, community-based actions, lectures and online projects to offer viewers fresh interpretations and experiences of cultural myths, indigenous histories and contemporary science.