« March 2006 | Main

What's the Frequency...


I just recently had the pleasure of meeting Nancy Nisbet (and her 2 person and 1 dog crew) as she passed through Champaign-Urbana as part of the journey with her "Exchange Project." They were hosted by the Open Source art space. The project is a kind of personal barter system operating in the context of NAFTA, RFID tech and global transport. I thought it would be useful to post this here, as the iDC list has been seeing a somewhat heated discussion over the merits and critiques of social software and the hype of "Web 2.0." The use of RFID technology by artists has been another topic that generates a fair amount of arguments. The major points of the project as outlined by the artist are:

Politics: Exchange engages in cross border, person-to person, trade negotiations. It offers artistic resistance to international economic agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Surveillance: Exchange critiques and exposes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Fears of terrorism, national security, and identity authentication have bolstered the demand for RFID.

Identity: Exchange questions and disrupts correlations between corporate consumer data and personal identity through the dispersal and exchange of personal belongings (corporate data elements).

I'm interested in the differences, not in a polemic sense, but in a qualitative sense, between projects like the Exchange Project and another recent project that Natalie Jeremijenko (among others) is working on called "How Stuff is Made." Both have a didactic and experiential component at their core, but stake out different positions for the role of the artist. Both engage in the currency of "Thing Theory" to a degree, but I think from a critical perspective rather than from a utopian one. Not that there isn't some utopianism there...


06:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)