Dispatch from Vancouver – ISEA2015 Part 2

ISEA2015 is barely half over, and its amazing to think back to what's already happened and also what is still to come. I'm not able to stay for the entire conference, but have really enjoyed the engaging programming and all of the events. I'm going to just mention a few... as I'm sure you know its impossible to see everything that you really want to at a conference of this scale. The quality of what I've seen and heard about, however, puts you in the position where its difficult to make a bad decision - there's something for everyone.

On Sunday morning, Brian Massumi delivered an intense and immensely interesting keynote address to a packed room. The talk was centered around what he sees as key concepts in explaining his approach and interest in affect. He also careful expanded on some of the misconceptions surrounding those concepts. Although the talk was dense, it was a great way to kick off the next several days which will include hundreds of papers, posters, demos, exhibitions (proceedings here).

And in regards to exhibitions, it would be hard to report on what I did and saw in Vancouver without going back to the Saturday evening opening of the ISEA Disruption exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery. The show coincided with an annual event at the gallery called FUSE. After the private opening for ISEA attendees, the gallery opened to the community and it included music and performances in the gallery courtyard/park. The word is that something like 5000 people attended the opening - it was completely packed. The gallery was so crowded at times it was tricky to see the work, but if that's a trade off for being able to show and share the work that artist involved with ISEA are doing then its not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion.

A second keynote was given by Michael Connor from Rhizome on Sunday afternoon. He gave an interesting overview of the development of the site and organization over the years and its numerous shifts in focus. I couldn't make out in his conclusion whether or not he thinks Rhizome , as an institution of some sort, is acting basic or is normcore. 

Sunday evening programming included an opening at the Museum of Vancouver. Just outside the museum, as the evening went on, the sun set over the mountains/bay. And after a quick ride back to the SFU Woodwards campus the night continued on with audio/visual performances. This was the first of the two nights of performance programming from the Mutek Cabaret. It was another intense and interesting way to end a intellectually stimulating and fun day.

I'm about to board my plane... I can't believe I'm gonna miss the next few days, with equally engaging content. Don't miss The Yes Men or Rosa Menkman - all having keynotes later this week.

--END DISPATCH